A quick reminder to be careful of false advertising for food. While we are all trying to eat healthier and make better choices, food companies are trying to figure out how to maintain or even boost sales. They'll throw on extra ads like "X Vitamins and Minerals" or "Protein Bars" or "Only 100 calories!"...
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE pop tarts as much as the next person, but this sugary treat does us a lot more harm than good because it is LOADED with PROCESSED carbs. These type of carbs are foreign to our body and our therefore processed differently than a whole food carb i.e. fruits and veggies. If you are going to still eat this type of product, try to consume them as close to your workouts (preferably weight training) as possible. You can at least take advantage of the added sugar, although this is still detrimental to your progress.
Also be careful of protein ads. Protein is an essential macronutrient to in weight management and lean muscle mass and food companies will slap any kind of protein label on their products because of the increase in awareness and overall use. So when you see the "6 g of Protein!" on a label, don't go overboard. Bars and crackers are not the best source of proteins. Stick to the egg whites, lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. In the long run the extra 6 g of protein you get from a bar is petty, anyway.
Over the last 22 months and counting, I have had the privilege of working with a plethora of people each with his/her specific goals. With that being said, one of my favorite parts of my job is to unravel the mystery gift each person brings to the table. This gift being their mind and body.
Proper strength training is a fun adventure on its own and that's what we usually spend most of our time doing with our clients. Nutrition, on the other hand, holds most of the power when it comes to results; therefore, I like to spend an enormous amount of time on nutrition with most of that time coming during rest breaks, outside of the training session, or during an actual training session. I love spending time working on each client because each client is so drastically different as to how their body works. It's putting together the puzzle!!
What I've found though, is that not everyone accepts a specific nourishment plan the same. Some clients see tremendous success with a specific breakdown while another client can experience severe misfortunes on the same plan. My point, we all work a little differently so just because a research article says this works or that works, doesn't necessarily mean that will work for you, but that's okay!! Keep eating well! Continue consuming whole, natural foods that your body loves. Also, stay positive! Stressing out over something will only make things worse on all accounts.
As trainers, we are just as influencial on helping you with nutrition plans as we are with exercise. It goes hand-in-hand and we need to be prepared. Be willing to accept your trainer's recommendations no matter how absurd they may seem. Finally, if you need help with nutrition plans please feel free to message me, I'd be happy to help!
A big thing I’ve been preaching to my clients as of late is to persevere through all obstacles. We all have them: injuries, job, family, relationships, and mentally. My words might not always come out like this, but I’m trying to say, “Stay calm, be strong,” more or less. What I mean is that I don’t want clients to become overstressed. Don’t sweat the things you can’t control – the things that are beyond our control. Control what you can control and you’ll take care of business in the other areas.
When you go to exercise, you should be at your sanctuary from life. A majority of the people out there follow suit on this manner although we do have tendencies to bring it into the gym from time to time. If it happens, this day of exercise usually has a high potential to be “the best work out of my life”. Who cares if it’s actually not! It’s how you feel when you leave the gym or arrive back home from your run that counts!!
A lot of times I see people who are upset that they still have to come into the gym when they’re having a bad day. Well guess what? There hasn’t been a single instance where a client has left the gym and they weren’t feeling better. Not one. A lot of times the client has a smile on their face that couldn’t be peeled off with wax. Take those 30 to 60 minutes and get in that workout. I know it’s hard to rationalize a work out in the midst of your day crashing down, but I promise it will make a positive difference. Stay calm and be strong everyone!
Have you ever been hampered by an injury that felt like one that you may have had at a previous time? The injury may be showing some of the same characteristics as before, but you can’t really remember. What were you doing when you became injured? If it has happened before, were you doing the same thing? Did your injury feel different two days ago? Maybe it went from a sharp pain to a burning sensation. All of these features of an injury are quite important, especially if professional medical help is required. A way to combat some of these questions is to create an injury log. Similar to any other kind of log you might use, an injury log can be designed to help keep track of critical information to your injury.
I came up with the idea for an injury log a few years ago when I was working as a part-time merchandiser at Pepsi. I hurt my left shoulder during a big 2 liter sale, and if you recall, 2 liters are placed on the top shelf in your soda aisle. Filling these bottles several times a day can be taxing and I eventually hurt my shoulder three days into the sale. After I filled out an injury report for Pepsi, I sat and thought about all the questions they asked me and translated that into my personal injury log. Thus, began one of my most useful ideas to date.
An injury log should consist of a lot of questions that allows you to be very specific on your description. Obviously if you do not wish to be more specific you certainly do not have to, but I feel like it is more important. First and foremost, you want to have the date and time of the injury and the location of the injury on your body. I also include the following questions in my description:
What was I doing when the injury occurred?
Was it in any way, shape, or form fatigued, sore, or weak before the injury occurred?
Have I had this injury before? If so, when?
What does the pain feel like (burning, aching, sharp, pulling, tight, etc.)?
What movements or actions cause the injury to feel better or worse?
Do I have limitations?
Those are my solid eight parameters for my injury log. I include additional information if I feel it’s necessary, like for migraines. I log everything, or I at least try to. I’ve logged every migraine and every low back injury since I started the log…It’s all there. I believe that my log has helped my doctor(s) with his/her diagnoses (i.e. a right knee pain that was reoccurring for a few years turned out to be a torn meniscus). I have also benefited from my logs. I noticed that my migraines came during the changing of the seasons and I tried to log as much as I could on leading up to the migraine. Other questions can be asked for the injury as well. I also log how long the injury lasts and if it feels different during the healing process. I always save a space at the bottom of the page for any extra information.
I’ve mentioned the idea of keeping an injury log to all of my clients. I know a few of them have started their own logs. I can now use that information during our training sessions. It is especially useful when a similar injury may occur from weight training or a form of exercise. Their injury log combined with my workout log usually does justice on the situation. I would suggest at least giving it a shot. You never know, you might notice a relationship with certain injuries that you never knew existed!
Being a trainer means we have to be in tune with everything health and fitness. Trainers are constantly reviewing equipment, research articles, recipes, and so much more. If we are not reviewing these factors on a consistent basis then we are not doing our job. Trainers are absolutely good enough without reviewing all of the compiled information, but we owe it to ourselves and (more importantly) to our clients to make sure this is done.
As a proud member of IDEA Health and Fitness Association, I am an avid user of the entire website by browsing through their enormous health and fitness library of articles, videos, etc. I am also a huge fan of their magazine Fitness Journal which is also available as an online source. Every so often, IDEA will ask its members to fill out a survey. Coming from a research background, I go bonkers for data and even more-so for the results. June’s Fitness Journal asked its members to take a survey that asked numerous questions in regards the members and his/her profession. Each magazine also asks members to respond to simple questions that they can email to an editor. Last month’s edition asked: If you could choose between your client taking 45 minutes a day to either prepare fresh food or to complete a 45 minute workout which would you choose?
As much as I love hearing that a client made it in for a workout (especially on the weekend), the quality of our food is astronomically more important than our training. What we put into our bodies directly resembles how we are represented on the outside. The first thing I tackle with new clients is nutrition, or nourishment. I hate the word “diet” so I completely shut that word and thought process down. According to me and countless others, nutrition is the largest factor in determining results for most people. Just by simply changing how one eats breakfast can have an enormous impact on a person’s life.
I’ve seen several percentages as to how much nutrition influences a person’s results. Some say nutrition is 50% or 66% or even 80%. Regardless, it counts as at least half of the battle, if not more. I like to think it’s around the 60% range with weight training and exercise accounting for 30% and 10% coming from mental aspects. Your nourishment plan directly correlates with the type of results you want to achieve. There is no doubt about it. Whether you want to lose 70 pounds or gain 50 pounds over the next year, what you feed your body is the key. Obviously, the type of foods that you consume is a whole other story. Long story short: whole, fresh foods are essential. Take the next step in your routine and eat better. We can all eat better.
Please shoot me a message if you want more details on this.
Finally, as I wrap this up, I’d like to leave you with a train of thought: How many people do you know that work out 6 days a week for the past year, but haven't changed one bit? On the flip side of the coin, I bet you know at least one person who has worked out 6 days a week for the past year and looks phenomenal. I would bet that it's because that person changed their diet dramatically. It's hard. It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy EVERYONE would do it. But EVERYONE does not do it.
YOU are not EVERYONE.
I cannot begin to describe how beneficial a proper amount of sleep can help you progress through your strength training program. I’ve always been one to just get by with a few hours of sleep per night even when I knew more sleep was the way to go. I was felt like I had too much to do before I went to bed or I could catch up on sleep during the weekend…wow, was I wrong.
For the last couple years I have been on a fairly strict and regular strength training routine: P90X, college gym, 24/7 gym, and now I have access to the gym I currently work at. Through all of my routines and programs I have never set up a program for rest (besides days of rest from the gym, of course) until mid-December of last year. Only then did I decide to set up a sleep regimen in hopes that I could see new results. A majority of my time before last December I would incorporate at least 5 hours of sleep per night, 7 to 9 if I was lucky and that would usually come on a weekend. Not this time around. Now I was prepared to set up a schedule where I would get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night, maximum 9 hours.
To start off this new routine, I started using the sleep supplement, TrueSleep, which I was very reluctant to initially try. My idea was that if I could use this product and fill out my “Sleep” Profile on truestar.com to help me get use to sleeping for 7 hours, then I can take care of the rest on my own. Fortunately, it seemed to do the trick along with a solid mental approach to making sure I was in bed by a certain time every night according to my following day’s schedule.
Since mid-December, I’ve seen incredible gains in some big-time lifts. I’ve increased my bench, dead-lifts, power cleans, and I have also gained nearly 10 pounds while maintaing the same body fat percentage. Now I know some of that comes from overall strength increase and proper nutrition, but I’ve been trying to break through a couple plateaus lingering from last Fall and I was wondering of added sleep was a missing link. As far as I’m concerned, it was definitely one of them. I definitely appreciate a proper amount of sleep a lot more and I’m still making sure to get my 7 to 9 hours every night.
I know I inherited my sleep habits from my mother. She’s always been one to work in her spare time whether it was at one of her jobs or doing something around the house. Simply put: there’s always something that needs to be done. I still have that mind-set, but now I am scheduling my daily tasks more efficiently and effectively. Additional sleep also improves your mental and emotional health along with the physical benefits that I was strictly aiming for. I’m trying to stress more sleep to my clients more than ever by relating my experience with them, rather than have them read article after article. Ultimately, more sleep should help clients gain strength and lose some additional weight along the way!
Happy New Year everybody!!
I wanted to start off with a post about migraines. As a sufferer of these nasty buggers for the last 10 years I have had plenty of experience in how to deal and treat them. It’s really unknown as to what actually causes migraines, most studies say MSG, lighting, caffeine, alcohol, stress, lack of sleep, and several other factors can all play a role in triggering a migraine. Personally, there’s not one factor that seems to be the leading cause to my migraines. When they happen, I try to think back about all of the possibilities that could have led to the disaster. I recommend that every person should do the same.
I have a client that suffers from migraines (she’s had 3 since we’ve been training together since March) and I’ve had her look into potential causes. We can’t really find our prime instigator, but coincidentally all 3 of her migraines happened on a Friday evening after a training session. We’ve looked into her diet and what she did that day as well as checking her training log, but nothing seems to stick with her as well.
Another weird occurrence with my migraines is that I tend to get them when the seasons change and also in the heart of the summer and the dead of winter. Not sure what that’s about either, maybe seasonal changes could be a cause as well.
At one point I was given prescription medicine to treat my migraines. It’s also helped to go somewhere dark and quiet. Placing a cold wash cloth on my head has been a wonder as well. However, sometimes one isn’t always by their prescription, or, in my case, you run out. There’s a series of steps that I now follow to help relieve the migraines and even prevent them: Step 1) Relax. Going into a frenzy will release some endorphins into the body that will elevate your heart rate which will only make things worse because more blood is rushing to your head; Step 2) Avoid looking directly into any kind of lighting. Focus on keeping your eyes down as much as possible and wear sunglasses when you go outside; Step 3) Take Ibuprofen and Tylenol as soon as possible. Ibuprofen for the pain and it also thins the blood. Tylenol will help the pain; Step 4) Consume caffeine and sugar as soon as possible. Caffeine also helps decrease the pain of the migraines. I let the sugar run its course for the quick carbs; Step 5) Get to a place where you can rest, preferably sleep. It might seem like the caffeine and sugar will keep you awake, but I’ve been able to crash after consumption – probably because of the pain and other effects of the migraine.
These steps are my method of medication. I’ve been able to test it twice and it’s worked each time. Everyone is different so these steps might not help for you. I just wanted to share my experiences on how to crack down on the migraine before it cracks you too much. I hope it works for you if you ever have to deal with one of these bad boys.
Hi everybody! Here I go again starting this blog with a comment saying, "It's been so long since my last post". And as I look back at my past posts I can definitely see each time I say it the time in between posts has been getting longer and longer. So I'm here to say I'm still alive and well.
Even though I haven't had much attention to my site, there has still been a few things that have been keeping me busy. First off, my work with my clients. I currently don't have too mnay of them and I haven't a large clientelle basis since late Summer. I'm really hoping that changes with the first of the year rolling around (assuming we are going to make it through Dec. 21). Even though my workload has been light, I feel like it has allowed me to get more in touch with my clients via face-to-face, text message, and social media. I've been keeping more and more tabs on each of them like giving them "shout-outs" online or simply sending them a text sometime after a great workout. I've also come to find it extremely valuable to text my clients on their off days to remind them how important this day is to them and their plan. To be completely honest, I'm seeing the results.
So far I have yet to come across a former client of mine who didn't increase their Fit Score (the scoring protocol offered through Snap Fitness Co.). Even though that seems a bit naive of me to say, I really value this scoring system. Not only does that tell me I'm doing my job, but it also tells me the client is doing theirs. It's a visual aspect that we can all see and appreciate from clients and trainers alike.
I've also been busy putting together several tremendous client success stories. I have three clients’ stories just about finished and at least three more on the way. I'm really proud to be able to put these clients up on our wall with the other success stories. I see other members are the gym reading these stories and confronting my clients and congratulating them on their success. It really doesn't get much better than that, folks.
I’ve had my hands full with plenty of other activities as well: working on my band’s demo (yes, a band and a hard rock band at that…check out “A Dive to Depths Below” of Facebook for all the info), handling the departure of my two roommates who left to go overseas for 6 months with the Air Guard and trying to get new roommates to move in, starting my very own business (my next blog will cover this subject), and, most importantly, spending time with my friends and family. I promise to get some more uploads in before the end of the year. As always, thanks for reading!