Monday, April 11, 2011

Exercise When You Don't Want To

Motivation - (n) That which prevents most out-of-shape adults from getting their lazy butts to the gym.

The problem with motivation, from my experience, is:  what does it take to get some of it?  Over the years, when I've lost motivation to get or stay in shape, it's never just one thing that gets me back in the right mind-set to do what I know needs to be done.  Lots of things have sparked motivation in me:

- Reading Fitness Rx Magazine and learning something new.
- A new song that fires me up to workout and I put it on my iPod.
- Seeing an old picture of myself when I was at my physical best.
- Seeing an old picture of myself when I was 200 lbs.
- Having a friend that pushes me to workout.
- Taking a new supplement that makes me feel like working out.
- Grocery shopping for healthy foods (and actually eating them).

All of these things have worked at some point in the past.  However, the one thing that never fails is, to quote Nike, just doing it.  I have always found that when I don't want to go to the gym, but then I go anyways, I'm likely to go back the next day.  Then, when I string a few days together, or even just a few days in a week, and combine that with healthy eating, my motivation begins to turn on.  I start to feel frustrated if I eat or drink something that doesn't fit with working out.  I find my self remembering to take my supplements, instead of forgetting.  When I eat good and take my supplements, I find myself looking forward to getting in the gym and doing something with all of that healthy stuff I put in my body that day.  I start to remember that those supplements are relatively worthless without a good workout and I remember that the most effective workout plan combines exercise, healthy eating, and (safe) supplements.

And what do you know?  I'm motivated again.  This topic is very fresh in my mind right now because I'm going thru it now.  I got the magazine and added new music to the iPod.  I went shopping for lots of fruits and vegetables and starting taking my supplements again.  I happened to see an old picture of myself from when I was on my honeymoon in Cancun (oh to be 24 again!).  And, my friend that I workout with is keeping me on my toes to help me get to the gym.  All of this is really helpful, but today I told my buddy that even though I didn't feel like working out, I better get to the gym anyways.  This was day 4 out of the last 5 days.  I'm getting my motivation back and the real key was day 1 in the gym.

So, when you don't want to workout, think about how good you're going to feel about yourself after a week of going, even when you didn't want to. 

Just make it to day 1.  Find your motivation once you're there.  It's waiting for you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Worlds Healthiest Foods

I stumbled across this web site just now and thought it was worth sharing it.  Check out:   My favorite foods from this list are:

Avocados, Mushrooms, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Kiwifruit, Raspberries, Strawberries, Eggs, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Venison, Cashews, and Peanuts.

I agree with this list though.  You could eat nothing but foods from this list and be very, very, very healthy.  With the seasonings added to this list, you could even make the foods taste good.  Drink a lot of water and take your vitamins too.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Gain 14 Pounds: Drink Coke

People often ask me what the best way is to lose weight.  This is a very complex question because each person is different.  I always ask what a person's typical diet consists of because this is the best way for me to find a meal plan that will work best for each person.  Inevitably, I always find at least one thing that a person eats or drinks on a regular basis that is a total deal-breaker for weight loss and the most common thing is Coca-Cola.

In my opinion, Coke is by far the absolute best carbonated drink on the market, and always has been.  If I'm going to drink a soft drink, I'll always choose Coke.  Lots of people refer to soft drinks as "Cokes".  It is well understood that Coke can literally mean Coke, but it can also be a general term for any soft drink.  My point is that in the world of sodas, Coke is king.

Now, with that said, Coke seems to be the one thing that is hardest for people to cut out of their diets.  Well, I was thinking about this problem and I have a way to convince people to drink water or tea instead.  Here it goes (and this is the best I've got when it comes to this subject).

1 - 12 oz can of Coke has 140 calories.
If a person drinks 1 can per day, that's 980 calories per week.
In 52 weeks (1 year), this is 50,960 calories from Coca-Cola.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound, so. . .
50,960 annual Coke calories divided by 3,500 calories = 14.56 pounds per year.

What's worse?  If you drink JUST 1 Coke per day, the first 15 minutes of cardio that you do that day will only burn off that can of Coke.  That's your caloric break-even point.  After 15 minutes, your workout will officially begin.  Yea for you!

Sure, you can cut out lots of things to lose 140 calories per day - I know.  The point here is that you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage from the very start if you continue to drink your carbonated beverages.  So instead, when you REALLY want to do EVERYTHING that it takes to drop serious pounds, first drop the can.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hit the Gym in the AM

I did this last week and I'm doing it again tomorrow morning.  I'm waking up at 5am to hit the gym.  My plan is to do 40 minutes of cardio, probably on the elliptical and try to hit the 400 calorie mark.  When I did this last week, I had more energy throughout the day that I had in the last couple of months.  My thinking was more clear, I yawned less, and I didn't feel hungry before it was time for me to eat. 

It definitely takes a higher level of motivation to drag myself out of bed before the sun comes up, but it's going to be worth it.  Just like I recommended in a previous blog post, I've taken my measurements and now I'm ready to see the results.  This kind of thing is going to take a consistent effort, but it's going to pay off.

Last week, I worked out 5 times - including mornings.  It was awesome!  I logged lots of time in the cardio room, which is a change from the norm for me.  Usually, I just lift weights.  I got that done too last week.  I worked every major muscle group at least once and on bench press day, I lifted 275 twice on my 3rd set.  I'm shooting for the 300 pound mark and I think I'll get there by January since I like to take it easy so not to blow out my shoulders.

Building muscle burns a lot of calories.  I'm finally adding a high level of cardio to go with it.  Tonight, my 16 year-old son came into my office and read my shirt that says "RUN" on it.  He said, "why are you wearing that shirt?  You don't run."  First of all, he is doesn't know about how his dad was a strong runner in his day and second - it's on now.  5am, here I come.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Low Testosterone Makes Men Fat, Depressed, Lazy, Sick, and Dead

I researched 15 sources to find information (especially for men) on the risks of low testosterone and ways to get it up.  I am not a doctor.  I did not make up any of the data that you will read in this article.  I found all of it in professional / scientific articles on the various topics related to testosterone.  If you have any questions about testosterone in general, or as it relates to you personally, I recommend that you do your own research at sites such as Web MD, and/or to consult your own personal physician.  Now, with that said, I have compiled a lot of data on the subject of testosterone to make it easier for you to access and to give you some food for thought as it may or may not relate to you personally.  So, here it goes.

Facts About Testosterone

1. Testosterone levels decline gradually in men starting around age 30 to 35.

2. Biologically Active Free Testosterone in men decreases by 50% between the ages of 40 and 70.

3. By age 50, 25% of men have low testosterone linked to premature death, heart disease, sexual problems, and more.

4. Testosterone helps you grow large, strong muscles, is necessary for strong sexual health, and prevents erectile dysfunction.

What causes decreased testosterone?

1. Rapid weight loss can lower testosterone. An example would be losing 10% of your total body weight in 2 weeks. 2 pounds per week is a good average for weight loss.

2. Long-Term dieting with very low calories can decrease testosterone.  So, take it easy and don't starve yourself.  Instead, add exercise to your routine and lose calories that way.

3. Obesity lowers testosterone.

4. Gut fat decreases blood testosterone levels.

5. Cigarette smoking lowers testosterone.

6. Carbohydrate supplements after weight training have been shown to decrease testosterone.

7. Green Tea Extract may lower testosterone in men.

8. Emotional stress has been shown to decrease testosterone levels.  So, stay positive.

9. Soy decreases testosterone by increasing estrogen. Cut out soy products.  Stick with Whey Protein for supplementation and no soy burgers (what's that about anyways?).

10. Excessive alcohol drinking reduces testosterone.

What are the risks of people with low testosterone?

1. Causes obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, and more.

2. 52% increased risk of premature death.

3. Low testosterone causes sleep disturbances. Poor sleep is linked to obesity and other serious health issues.

4. Decreased testosterone leads to depression.

What increases testosterone?

1. Positive psychology has been shown to increase testosterone. Examples are humor, winning and other successes, and other forms of happiness.  So, get happy.

2. Moderate intensity training can increase testosterone by 15% in health men.

3. When lifting weights, do compound workouts. Examples are bench press, shoulder press, leg press, squats, lat pulls, and rows. They are called compound because they work more than one muscle area. Lifting weights increases testosterone.

4. Caffeine might increase testosterone during training.

5. Testosterone supplements (gels, pills, injections, etc) can increase testosterone (consult your physician for more information on testosterone supplementation. I am not a doctor.)

6. Healthy fats may increase testosterone, such as those found in nuts, seeds, salmon, avocados, olives, and natural peanut butter.

7. Men who get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night have been shown to have higher testosterone levels.

8. More frequent sexual activity has been linked to increased testosterone levels.

9. Take ZMA Supplements – Zink, Magnesium Aspartate, and Vitamin B6. These naturally promote testosterone production.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maximum Fat Loss During Exercise

The September 2010 Fitness Rx issue has an excellent 3-page scientific article about fat loss.  It's called, "The Scientific Approach to Ultimate Fat Loss:  Burn Body Fat As Fuel".  Let me save you the trouble of trying to sift through all of the scientific verbage that was even tough for me to get through (and I made an A in that class).  I'm going to concisely sum up the main points of the article.

1.  To burn maximum fat during exercise, use interval training.  This is where you mix in bursts of high intensity exercises with periods of moderate intensity exercises.  As an example, if you were on a treadmill, you might speed walk up hill at 3.5 mph and 5% incline for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of jogging at 6.0 mph and 5% incline, then continue those intervals for 3 cycles.  This alternates you between moderate and high intensity exercise.

2.  Time your exercise for 4 to 6 hours after a meal if you're not planning to work out before breakfast.  This allows blood insulin levels to level off and puts your body in the best position to burn fat during exercise, especially in the type of exercise described above.

3.  More on timing:  The best time to exercise is first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast.  I explained this point in my previous post that can be found at:

So, there you have it.  Most people drown in the science.  Even I think it's boring sometimes.  You don't want to read about mitochondria, fatty acids, and adipocytes.  Just give it to me straight.  Well, I did.  Interval training and exercise on an empty stomach.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight or just a few inches off your mid section, it all starts at the grocery store.  Look in your refrigerator and pantry right now.  What foods do you see?  Muffins, Fruity Pebbles, tortillas, rice crispy treats?  If so, you need to change the way you buy groceries if you want to change the way you look in the mirror.  Wives, how many times have you asked your husbands if you're still pretty or if you look fat in something?  When you already know you look good and you already feel good about the way you look, you don't need to ask those questions anymore.  Guys, get a measuring tape out for this one - how many inches does your gut hang over your waste line when you're sitting down?  Now, ask your wife how much she likes how that looks.

Listen, weight loss and fat loss isn't rocket science.  It's just math mixed with common sense.  So, in this artice, let's talk about changing your shopping patterns to something that will subtract inches instead of adding them.  If you buy groceries from this shopping list instead of the junk you're used to buying, you will lose weight.  Here it goes.

Fruit:  Apples, Bananas, Strawberries, Rasberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Pears, Grapes, Oranges, Cherries, Plums, Peaches, Kiwi

Vegetables:  You don't need a list here.  Eat your vegetables.  Skip the potatoes.  No, you can't fry them.

Breads:  Whole-Grain / Whole-Wheat / Multi-Grain Breads.  Absolutely no White Breads.

Cereal:  High Fiber, Bran Cereals.  Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran, etc.  If you can't stomach healthy cereals, don't eat cereal at all.

Rice & Pasta:  Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Whole-Wheat Pasta

Dairy:  Skim / Fat-Free Milk, Low-Fat Yogurt, Fat-Free Yogurt.

Meat:  Lean Beef, Fish, Chicken, Tuna, Turkey.  Sorry - ribeye's good, but it won't make this list.

Snacks: Natural Peanut Butter, Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Other Nuts, Whey Protein

Other Foods: Eggs (not fried), Beans (not refried), Oatmeal (no sugar), Olive Oil, Avocados, Garlic

Juice:  No High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Read the labels.  Never buy juice with this ingredient.  With that said, drink Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Cranberry Juice, Pineapple Juice, V8 Juice.  All juices must be 100% Fruit Juices.

Now, if you're going to count calories, get your calories from this list.  If you're like a lot of people and counting calories isn't for you, eating from this list will still change your life.  Not only will you look and feel better, but it also has the added benefit of making you healthier so you can live longer.

To lose weight and lose inches, change the way you buy groceries.