Knowing vs Doing

Are you thinking too much?

You should be eating more vegetables.

I know.

Frequent protein intake will help you lose weight.

I know.

You should eat something before you come in to workout.

I know.

Stop drinking soda (I wrote pop originally because I am from the Midwest but was reminded subconsciously by my cheese-head friend that pop is a sound, stupid social conditioning).

I know.

The list goes on and on.

I hear a lot of “I know” everyday and most frequently from people who are not making very good progress. The people that make exceptional progress are doers.

I say “You need to eat more veggies” and they say “Consider it done,” or “This is how I am going to accomplish it.”

Knowledge is great, but when you don’t do anything with it its useless. Stop wasting your time acquiring knowledge, you know enough, and start doing.

Weight loss is an easy process, its whole lot of doing and a lot less knowing.

Stop “knowing” and start “doing.”

Walking, is it Exercise?

My knee jerk reaction to this is a resounding “Are you kidding me? No, seriously. Did you just say that?”

Remember, this comes from a guy who runs a training business and prides himself in getting people lean and fit as fast as possible. Walking on my hierarchy of exercise for fat loss is right next to sleeping, pretty close to the bottom.

First I want to give you my off the cuff, top of the head, spiel before I get into the geeky stuff and include some external viewpoints.

Walking, to me, is locomotion. It is how we get from one place to another. It is part of our lifestyle not something we should be seeking out to do as exercise. We should be walking because we need to get from one place to another and really enjoy the feeling of moving upright.

Having lived in Europe for many years, I had the unique opportunity to spend significant time with people in a different culture. Walking, to the Europeans, is an everyday part of their life. They don’t have to make a conscious effort to get their walking in, they do it to get from place to place. They walk to the train, they walk to the bus, or they walk to the store.

Quick side note: If I did ever see anyone out walking for exercise they had these goofy walking sticks and they definitely were not walking for pleasure. They were also ridiculed mercilessly in my mind because of the ridiculous looking sticks. Walking sticks are one thing if you need them because of a bad knee or balance issues or if you happen to be a shaman climbing a mountain, flat ground on the other hand should require nothing of the sort. 🙂

Seriously? Walking sticks? 🙂

The United States is different because many of our daily activities are so spread out that we need to take a car from point A to point B. Plus, it gets really cold here in the winter. All of this I realize, but this still does not discredit the fact that walking for thousands of years has been man’s primary form of locomotion. We are born to walk upright.

My personal opinion is that walking should be done as much as possible but should not be one’s sole form of exercise. I am going to talk more about that later but first lets take a quick scientific approach to walking.

Walking Defined

To decide whether or not walking is exercise we must first think about how we define exercise. According to freedictionary.com exercise is “the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit.”

I don’t think walking really fits the bill. Yes, we are exerting our muscles but we exert our muscles when we lift the remote to change the tv channel and I know we can all agree that that is not exercise.

Health Benefits vs More Strenuous Exercise

Let’s take a look at walking in terms of health benefits. True exercise provides numerous benefits to our health. If walking is indeed exercise, it should elicit similar health benefits to other forms of exercise, most notably moderate aerobic training. No, not Jane Fonda in leg warmer aerobics exercise but rather think running at a moderate pace.

According to a study from the University of Alberta “Traditional Aerobic Fitness Training Trumps Pedometer-Based Walking Programs for Health Benefits.”

The researchers compared a walking-based group and a supervised fitness group over a six-month period. After comparing the two groups, the supervised fitness program saw greater reductions in their systolic blood pressure, rating of perceived exertion during submaximal exercise, ventilator threshold (where breathing starts to become progressively more difficult), and peak VO2 (a measurement of peak oxygen uptake, higher VO2 equals someone in better shape).

These are all normal responses to a good exercise program but if you are not convinced here is another study to give you some more food for thought.

Please don’t go screaming from the mountaintops that Trevor is anti-walking. Walking is a great “lifestyle” activity.  In a sedentary society like ours people should try and increase their daily activity.  Don’t take the closest spot at the supermarket.  Race your kids to the door or try taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  All in all, utilize your ability to walk upright.  As a matter of fact I am going to take a quick lap around the house after writing this.

The Conclusion

I think people should spend MORE time walking and less time sitting, but don’t confuse walking with a proper exercise program.

Walking can be a great transition for those who are severely obese or sedentary to a structured exercise routine but in the end you need to push yourself harder than a leisurely stroll.

Exercise should raise your heart rate, make you sweat a little, and breath harder than normal. I think you will be surprised at just how hard you really can work. Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while and push yourself.

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the results.

-Trevor

The Truth About Sugar

Is sugar considered a poison?

Is all the added sugar in your diet hammering your physique and health, ABSOLUTELY.  Simply eliminating added sugars will put you on the fast track to improved health.  Most people look at sugar as this wonderful sweet substance that makes everything bland taste amazing (can someone say flour) .  I am here to give you an alternative way of looking at sugar, to quote Dr Lustig “poison!”

Dr. Lustig in the following video will explain in a very entertaining and intriguing way how sugar functions and affects our body once we ingest it.  You will definitely be surprised at the answer and probably never look at the substance the same again.

For the good of your health take an hour and sit down with the family and watch this talk.  It will change your viewpoints and probably your physique forever.

Without further ado, SUGAR – THE BITTER TRUTH

Does this mean we need to eliminate sugar completely and never consume the crap, OF COURSE NOT.  You guys should know I don’t ask you to give up those modern foods 100% of the time.  It all comes down to the 90% rule.  You can eat “forbidden” foods, during the 10%.

Personally, I don’t believe consuming sugar in moderation is healthy.  Moderation tends to get blown out of proportion and this is one thing I think we should limit as much as possible.  Save sugar for special occasions, holidays, and times with friends.  NOT for every time you walk past the candy dish.

Now, utilize the knowledge you just learned, pass this along, and help make America healthier.

-Trevor

Throw the scale out the window!

Throw the scale out the window!

Yes, you read it right, throw out the scale. Get rid of the sole object that has been causing you agony for all these years. You don’t need it, and its time to part ways.

Can’t do it, well at least tuck it away for later. I am going to show you today the methods of assessment you should be using. You are assessing your progress aren’t you?

If you aren’t, how do you know if you are improving or getting closer to your goals? Heck, maybe you even reached your goal and you don’t even know it yet.

If you are not assessing the qualities related to your goal through a variety of means, then you are simply guessing with your programming and diet, which is certainly not an efficient way to reach your goals. Remember that chemistry test is high school when you guessed C for every answer. How did that turn out for ya?

Why do should we assess?

Periodic assessments tell us whether or not we are doing things right. I am all about following how we “feel” but if you have specific goals like “wanting to lose 30 pounds of fat, gain 10 pounds of muscle, or do 15 full push-ups” you need objective evidence to determine whether the path you are taking is working or if some slight tweaking is in order.

I didn’t say overhaul but slight tweaking. Rarely does anyone need a complete program overhaul usually just a change of pace or intensity.

As a health and fitness professional I do this in numerous ways with my personal and small group-training clients. I require it of anyone in one of those programs because it tells me if the programs I write are working.

My boot camps on the other hand are more self-directed so today I am going to talk about a few quick and easy ways to assess body composition that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

As always, you can always contact me to do an assessment; it only takes about twenty minutes.

Assessing Body Composition

A person can assess just about anything from body composition, speed, power, strength, endurance, and the list goes on and on.

Most of you reading this get all jacked up about body composition so those are the assessment tools we are going to focus on today.

Why the scale doesn’t tell the whole story?

The first assessment tool that anyone thinks of when they are trying to make body composition changes is the ALL-MIGHTY scale. The scale is so 1970, here’s why you should throw it out with those velvet bell-bottoms. Seriously, they are never going to be stylish anymore, get rid of them.

Pro:

1. It’s easy.
2. It’s easy.
3. It’s easy.

Cons:
1. It tells us nothing about body composition. I am more worried about body composition than simply what the scale weight has to say. I might gain five pounds but if I drop a percentage of body fat I am elated.

2. It can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of day you decide to step on and for the ladies out there the “time of month.” Two words: water weight. No you did not just gain 5 pounds of fat from breakfast to dinner.

3. People can get way to attached to the scale and constantly measure themselves day after day living and dying by the number. I have seen the scale become an addiction and have had to remove it from client’s lives because it caused that much emotional trauma. It’s a tool, and only that, a poor tool.

Ready for an easier, more objective way?

An easier and much more objective way to tell what is going on in your body is to measure your waist right at the belly button. This gives better insight into body composition than the scale weight every day of the week. If this number consistently drops you are doing things right if fat loss is your goal.

(Again women, when bloating and retaining water become the norm, you know when, disregard these measurements because you are getting inaccurate readings of what is actually going on.)

Don’t measure everyday either. Stick to the same day, at the same time, every other week to do your measurements. Once every two weeks is perfect. You need to give time for the program to work and your body to adapt. Measure in centimeters too because you need to be able to record little changes. Plus, the entire world uses the metric system because if flippn’ makes sense. How does 12 inches equal a foot, come on people.

Need More?

If you are someone like me who needs lots of information to assess the entire situation you can do a few things.

1. Have a meeting with me and I will do all the work for you.

2. Set-Up an excel spreadsheet and record the changes in girth at multiple different body parts most notably, the neck, shoulders, chest, waist (at the belly button), hips, thigh, and calve. Always do the same side of the body and at the same time during the on each assessment. Every two weeks is frequent enough.
3. Use a cheap set of calipers to take your own body fat or have someone you trust do it. Then enter those numbers into a formula to get a number.

With my clients, I utilize a 3 -prong approach when assessing body composition: body fat percentage, body part girths, AND scale weight. This gives me a much more accurate picture of what is going on in my client’s or my own body.

If you want to buy your own set go to amazon.com and type in “calipers tape measure” and some great options will pop up for you.

Review

• If you are looking to make changes in your life, you must measure or assess or you are simply guessing with your programming. Start assessing NOW.

• Consult with me to have an assessment done or buy a kit of your own from amazon for less than $30, set up an excel spreadsheet and start recording.

• If you are not losing weight consider adding an extra half an hour of exercise to your regimen or cutting out 200-300 calories.

• If you do only one measurement measure your waist circumference directly at the navel.

• Stay emotionally unattached to the numbers. They are simply a guide to whether or not your programming is effective.