Below is a testimonial from a client of mine that I wanted to share every where that I can. Not because it is a testimonial about working with me, but for the reason that this client is my hero everyday as well. He is an inspiration to me and I hope everyone!
I am a Wounded Warrior…
On June 9, 2010, my Pavehawk helicopter was shot down over the skies of Afghanistan during our third flight of the day. We were rescuing a critically injured Marine that needed to get back to a medical facility ASAP. We hit the ground at 120 knots from over 150 feet. I lost 4 of my crew upon impact. My pilot and co-pilot would survive but would be in comas. My pilot would never wake and die 23 days later. Upon impact I broke my ankle, hip, tailbone, back in 4 spots, compressed disc, 4 broken ribs, sternum, collar bone, jaw, punctured lung, and puncture to the upper left hamstring. In addition, I would suffer a minor brain injury. The worst injuries were burns to 35% of my lower body, leaving my left calf with only 10% muscle and no Achilles tendon. I would also suffer amputations to my lower extremities.
I went thru normal physical therapy. It helped, but was slow. Coming from a career field that requires above average physicality, dedication and a special calling had my therapist running. I needed new challenges every day. It was never enough. Soon, my therapists were scratching their heads as they had achieved their task and returned me an independent lifestyle. Per my health insurance, they had completed their jobs and could not do any more for me. Don’t misunderstand, it was good, however I was still struggling to walk to the restroom and I felt exhausted all the time. I knew there was no way I would pass the Medical Board or the Flight Exam to get my job back.
Before being shot down, in fact, the day before, I was a healthy 225lbs, running 14 miles a week, benching 375lbs. I was feeling great. When I woke from my medically induced coma, I was 150lbs, and would spend 5 months in the hospital on bed rest, and another 5 months in a wheelchair at home. I was pushing myself outside of the normal physical therapy, but I soon hit a plateau.
I needed help so I hired Mel…
It didn’t take long for my body to come around; however I NEVER had to ask for an increase in conditioning. Mel did my initial assessment, knew my capabilities that day, and would continue to challenge me in every training session since. She pushes me, and keeps me within limits to prevent injury. Never lets me quit, and knows how to push my buttons to get my energy level up to beat a goal for that day. My 1.5 mile run is under 14 minutes; I can max out my sit ups and pushups. And every week I am lowering my run time.
I am a “Wounded Warrior,” but with Mel, I’ll soon be a “Warrior.”
Here the summer has come and gone and I have not posted a blog all summer long. Not good! I tell all of you how important it is to care for yourself and take the time for You and I did not do it for me.
Hmmm...Well it proves even fitness professionals are human and need a little kick in the behind everyonce in a while.
It was a busy and fun summer. I have many new and wonderful clients and love teaching bootcamp every Wed/Fri at 6 am and Saturday at 8 am at my gym Snap Fitness on North Decatur Blvd in Las Vegas.
With that said, I hope that all my blog followers except my apologies for being lax on posting this summer. I will make sure that I take the time for me and to provide you with the fitness support, solutions and ideas that I want to provide you every month.
As always, be YOUR best, Get Fit, Feel Good and Be Well!
Cardiovascular exercise is necessary. A lean appearance cannot be done with without cardio. In addition to fat burning, cardiovascular exercise offers many benefits such as an improved glucose metabolism as well as a lowered heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
How do we make it enjoyable and effective?
1. Choose A Cardiovascular Activity That You Like
While this may seem rather obvious, many people completely miss the boat on this one. Choosing an activity that you like will ensure that you keep doing it long term. There are many choices, just choose your weapon of choice and go for it!
2. Choose Some Good Music Or A Good Workout Partner
I always notice that when I choose some good music (I like pop dance myself) I not only burn more calories during the activity, but the time flies faster. My mind also is concentrated on the music and not on what the body is feeling so it makes it easier to get through longer sessions.
3. Perform Cardio On A Fairly Empty Stomach or Before Weight Training
Glycogen levels (stored carbohydrates) are lower at these times, and thus, it is easier for the body to access fat stores. If you can perform the activity 2-1/2 hours after a meal so that your blood glucose levels are not so high that all you burn during the activity is carbs. Note: even if carbs is all you burned, those are calories that would not have been burned otherwise so you are still benefiting.
On weight training days if you do cardio, only do 20-30 minutes of cardio at no more than 70% of your maximum heart rate prior to the weight training. This will provide you with a good calorie burn, keep some of your energy saved for weight training and being done prior to weight training really loosens your muscles and allows for slightly more strength output. Some scientists say as much as 33% more strength output.
4. Performing Cardio For A Minimum Of 30 Minutes And A Maximum Of 60 Minutes 5-6 days a week is Optimal.
Most of you will benefit from 4 sessions of 30 minutes, but 5-6 days will ensure greater benefits. Never go above 60 minutes at a time when doing cardio as after 60 minutes the catabolic hormone Cortisol will increase and you will risk losing muscle tissue and protecting fat!
When doing the longer the longer sessions, your heart rate should be 70-75% of the max for optimal fat burning. Shorter sessions you can do at a greater heart rate.
5. Perform The Cardiovascular Activity At A Comfortable But Challenging Pace – This is working to get your heart rate into a specific zone.
As beginners, you want to perform the activity at a pace that allows your body to comfortably continue for the amount of time required (30-60 minutes). Once your body adjusts to that, you can start to move quicker and look for a more challenging pace.
Eventually you will be able to achieve a heart rate that falls around what is called the fat burning rate, which is approximately: 220 – (Your Age) x (.75). During your cardio session you will want a 5-minute warm-up, be in the heart rate zone for the duration of 30-60 minutes and then a 5-10 minute cool-down.
6. Don’t Stick To The Same Exercise Or The Same Amount Of Time
Your body thrives on change. Your body adapts to all that you do or use it for. If you do the same thing all the time, you will not only get bored but also your body stops responding as it adapts!
Once you are more advanced, make sure that you have at least three cardiovascular activities that you like. Cycle them on almost a daily basis. In addition, feel free to do some days of 30 minutes at a very challenging pace or as intervals (30 seconds to 1 minute as hard as you can and then 1-2 minutes at your regular pace) and other days of 45-60 minutes at a more moderate level. Variety is the spice of life!
Stop draining your energy. Use your energy! Draining your mental energy is easily by always comparing yourself with others. Comparing yourself with others will only give you two results. One is you feel proud when you are above that person and the second is you feel jealous and intimidated when you are below that person. Both results are negative emotions and they do nothing but harm your emotional wellness.
Unfortunately, our culture and society are full of comparisons. People like to compare everything, including themselves with others. Some people say that comparing themselves to others is a way to motivate them. This may be true in some cases but most of the time it is not. There is a better way to motivate yourself without draining your mental energy.
Find a role model. Role models are people whom you feel live the way you would want to live. Work on learning what they do and emulate those things into actions of your own. A role model is someone whose quality and achievements are things you admire. It is no secret that the way to be great is by emulating those who are great. Finding the right role model is key. With the right role model you will have concrete example of the qualities you want to achieve. Once you see those qualities are tangible, it will make it easier for you to begin developing goals on how to achieve them.
Here are some things to begin working on as you work toward using your energy to make yourself the best YOU that you can be:
1. Stop looking at others’ statistics:
You must stop comparing yourself with others. This is not easy to do since we have the tendency to compare ourselves with others, but you have to remember this will only drain your mental energy. Resist the temptation to look at others’ statistics for comparison to you.
2. Find a person whom you want to emulate:
Stop comparing and find that person you want to emulate. This can be difficult, as it is not always easy to find the right role model. Your role model should: have significant achievements that you want to emulate (this is the only time you want to look at a persons statistics). You want to make sure that their achievements are not so far ahead that you can’t realistically emulate this person have and be able to achieve your own accomplishments by learning their characteristics.
One other point that is important to remember is that some people may have the achievements you want to obtain, but when you look at their characteristics they may be very different from you. This would make it difficult and unnatural to truly emulate them. The more similar your personal characteristics are, the more natural it will be to emulate them.
There may be many people that you would look to emulate but one is best. Just like having one main goal to strive toward brings greater success. Remember that you are unique. You can emulate and learn from your role model but it is to enhance yourself not to become that person.
3. Look closely at how your role model does things:
Find out the details of how your role model does things. Watch your role model closely. Study their work, life, and methods. Try to dissect the traits and actions that make that person successful in the different areas of their life.
4. Set some actions to take based on your findings:
Once you have your findings, you need to take them and put them into some actions. These are the goals that you will put into action. These things will help bring you closer to your own achievements.
5. Set your role model’s current statistics and quality as your target:
Your role model actions are to be used by you like a pacer in a running race. Set his statistics and qualities as your target to run after. Remember that you should not blindly try to match the numbers, as these are targets. Adjust things to match your unique circumstances and characteristics.
6. Aim to emulate your role model as quickly as possible:
Don’t just sit back and relax. You need to make a decision to run as fast as you can and strive to achieve all that you can achieve. Your role model may have always be ahead of you when you reach their level of achievement that you were aiming for, but that’s fine. The most important thing is you run as fast as you can and continue to strive every day to reach new goals and height. This should be done all while maintaining your personal integrity, levels of success and being the best you can be.
When I begin working with clients we start with discussing their nutrition habits. I will ask for them to describe to me what a typical day of eating is for them (how much and what they eat). 9 times out of 10, I hear 2-3 meals a day of foods that lack nutrition.
I then proceed to ask them why they are not eating more. They state I need to lose weight and that is why I want to start exercising too. Well folks are you wondering what my response is? I tell them, I am glad that they want to workout and exercise but then I inform them that they need to eat more and eat more nutritious foods. Guess what look I get...That's right the deer in the headlights look. Eat more, they are shocked. Yes eat more.
If you do not eat enough you will struggle with losing weight and maintaining it, if you lose weight at all. A lot of people will gain weight when they workout and not eat enough. You have to eat enought food to fuel your body to function properly and then eat enought to fuel workouts. I can't tell you how many times I have clients come up to me and say I have been working out but I hit a wall and I am not losing weight anymore. I tell them to add 200-300 calories more to their diet. Low and behold, they come back to me a few weeks later and they started losing weight again. Food is fuel.
When you are not getting enough, it can have detrimental effects on your body. Learning about these effects and things that you can do to not put yourself in that position is important. You must become aware of the signs that you are not getting enough, so you are able to correct it and continue on the path of heath and wellness.
Mental Signs and Risks:
Eating too few calories every day can cause serious harm to your mental health and your overall emotional outlook. You are more likely to feel depressed and irritable when you're consistently hungry and have strong food cravings that you are more likely to give into. A diet that is too low in calories can also cause extreme fatigue and poor concentration and put you at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
Physical Signs and Risks:
Cutting calories can lead to long-term health conditions and serious nutritional deficiencies. You may want to take a closer look at your low-calorie diet if you are having fertility problems, dental health problems, and are developing more colds and infections than normal. For woman another issue can arrise and that is the absence of menstrual periods or fluctuating menstrual cycles. Other health conditions that can be associated with a very low-calorie diet are bone loss, anemia and decreased thyroid function.
Fortunately, improving your diet may reverse or improve many of the mental and phsyical conditions that can be brought on by very low calorie diets.
The biggest red flag that you are eating too few calories are as follows; obsessing about your weight and trying to reach a progressively lower weight is a good indicator that you may have a mental disorder such as anorexia. Other signs are: frequently skipping meals, repeatedly examining perceived flaws in the mirror, consistently checking your weight on a scale, eating only a few "safe" low-calorie foods, and avoiding eating all together.
As I said before, the irony of crash dieting and not eating enough is that you will have more trouble losing weight when your calorie intake dips too low. Because your body is committed to staying alive, it will go into survival mode if it feels as though it's in danger. For example, it is likely to slow down its metabolism to conserve energy and maintain proper functions if it feels deprived of calories.
What are Your Calorie Needs:
If you are a woman, your body may begin entering survival mode and experiencing negative physical and mental side effects once you dip below about 1,200-1,300 calories each day and if you are a man who dips below approximately 1,500 daily calories. You need to know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is the lowest calories that your body needs each day to live and function. To find this out, you should meet with your local Personal Trainer / Nutritionist. Work with them to get the professional expertise that you need to lose weight and make sure you are getting enough food to take care of your body and its functions.
You cannot truly achieve your fitness goals, without first cleaning up your diet. Changing your diet is one of the biggest challenges that people seem to face when wanting to improve their health. The majority of people are used to eating highly processed foods on a regular basis and breaking away from that can be difficult. The good news is, it isn't impossible and once you make it a habit to eat clean, it becomes a part of your life.
In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the junk 95% of the time. These types of food include man-made sugar, bad fats (hydrogenated, trans-fat), preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary. An easy way to remember if a food is clean is, ask yourself the question “Was this man made?” If it is then don’t eat it. The other question to ask is “Did my food grow?” If it did, then yes, it is clean.
A person that eats clean generally practices the following:
Eliminates refined sugar
Cooks healthy meals
Packs healthy meals
Makes healthy choices when dining out
Drinks a lot of water
Eats 5-6 small meals per day
Eliminates alcoholic beverages (or significantly limits it)
Always eats breakfast!
Eating clean can be a major transition for a majority of people due to addictions to sugar, junk food and fast foods. It takes discipline in order to make eating clean a habit but it is possible. It truly has many long-term health benefits. Once you have made it a part of your healthy lifestyle it will be second nature.
There are times when we focus so much on our jobs, other things in life and doing for other people that we completely forget about the person who needs us most“ourselves!
To become and be the best person YOU can be, you MUST love yourself from the deepest part of your being—completely, unconditionally, and faithfully. Listen to your heart’s desires.
Daily you must relax your mind and body, allowing all the good of the Universe to flow effortlessly through you. Daily you should express your creativity fearlessly with or without outside understanding. Delight in your differences, your uniqueness and everything that makes you, YOU.
You must begin to accept that you are special. You are one of a kind and perfect as you are. You are good enough to believe in the very best, experience the very best, and live the very best life possible.
Each of us should create our own individual definition of success. This should encompass goals and use a pace all of our own. Push yourself according to your aspirations, not the expectations others have for your life.
Every day you should acknowledge your strengths, assets and talents; allowing them to blossom unimpeded by self-doubt. Forgive yourself for all past mistakes and move forward without regrets. Look at all things from your past, good or bad as learning experiences.
Celebrate your achievements and believe in those yet to come. Know that you are never done. Your life and opportunities to expand, grow and evolve are eternal. Life is a journey not a destination.
Be yourself! Love yourself! Take care of yourself! Follow the path that shines brightest, and never stop reaching for your hopes and dreams. Show the world the very best YOU!
Keep your motivation and stay on track. Sometimes it gets hard to stay on track but there are ways to keep you going.
Use these following strategies and you will be on the way to sticking to your program. Even if you have a day you don't, these strategies will help you pick up where you left off the day before.
Always Start Small: Changing small things and one or two things at a time is much better than making all of your changes at once. Once you have been successful at the changes you made and can maintain them, then you change a few more things.
Don't Waste Your Will Power: Continuing to deprive yourself will only make your chances of throwing in the towel greater. If you are really craving something, allow yourself to have a little. The key is a little. Remember to have self control.
Vocabulary Make-Over: If you have a tendancy to say you "Should" workout or eat that food that is better for me, start changing those words to "I Want". Just changing those words will have a profound impact on how your body and mind interact with each other when it is time for your to go workout or when making the right food choices.
Do the Right Thing: Keeping a journal when you first start a new healthy lifestyle regimen helps keep you accountable. Knowing that you have to right down what you did or ate also helps keep you on track for making the right decision.
Take these things into consideration and you will be on your way to keeping your motivation high!
Health and fitness seem to be something that is important to everyone, yet they never seem to make it to the top of the priority list. Why is that? Why do people lack the motivation to take their goals and put them to good use.
Making a goal a priority is a conscious choice. Making your life and health a priority should be as important to you as all the other things you attempt to accomplish in life. Most people are scared because they allowed themselves to reach this point that they feel is a point of no return. The thing is, they are wrong. Yes, if you are very overweight it will take more work and effort than someone who is not as overweight, but it is still obtainable. The conscious decision come down to, you caring about yourself and knowing that every person deserves to be or become the very best person they can be.
I do know a bit about achieving personal goals. I myself hit 189 pounds when I was 19-20 years old. I consciously told myself, I did not want to be that person, I wanted to be the best me and I cared about me. What I'm going to do here is to give you some general goal setting advice.
Here are the reasons that I think many of us start a fitness regime, but then let it lapse.
First, we don't consciously make a firm commitment to achieving a particular goal. It's more like "I'd like to be a thinner or weigh less", rather than "I will do cardio training and weight training for 30 minutes every day".
Second, we don't support our initial commitment by establishing a consistent routine. For example, it is very useful to write your goals down. Then every day to read them and to speak you goal aloud. Once step better is to do this every morning and night. This helps your reticular activating system (the part of your brain that is vital to helping establish goals and keeping you ont track) keep you on target.
Third, we often chose strategies that don't have much chance of working for us. People often don't seek out strategies that will fit into their schedules or work with their lifestyle. So, then we get discouraged because we don't acheive the results we want. It's important to research for yourself rather than just follow the latest trend.
Fourth, I think it's important to choose activities and a strategy that you will enjoy. For example, your best friend may enjoy a weight loss class but you might prefer swimming. Also you may prefer a solo activity or to be part of a group. It's always easier to stick to a goal when you can find enjoyment in what you are doing.
These are some general strategies that can help you. If you visit my website at www.amppersonalfitness.com you can download some goal setting and self evaluation forms to help you see where you are at and set up goals for you. If you want more help beyond that, hiring a personal trainer to assess your current nutrition and fitness levels, help you assess your goals and then design a program that falls into those guidelines will increase your chances of success.
Whether you choose to do it on your own or with a trainer, these general guidelines will help you. Set your goals and become the best YOU!