Archive for January, 2011

Why we do it that way (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered why we train the way we do in boot camp? Why don't we do more extended cardio? We do interval training over steady state cardio (going for a walk or jog at the same pace for the duration of your walk or jog is an example of steady state) because it burns more calories. Not DURING the workout, but AFTER the workout. This is the "afterburn" effect I mentioned a little while back. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (next time you go to the beach, take that for some light reading) found that when participants performed 12 sets in 31 minutes of a circuit style workout like we do in camp. They found that their metabolism was elevated for 38 hours AFTER their workout. So you can calories for a day and a half when you stop the workout. Not too bad. So why do we do it that way? You can burn double and triple the calories you would burn during a 30 minute run. So if you're in camp, that's why we do it that way. If you're not in camp, give them a try!

Even I have bad days


Maybe my day is not so bad after all...

You ever just have one of those days? Nothing seems to go right, you feel like you suck at everything you do. You feel like even the things you know you're good at just aren't good enough. Just feeling like a failure period. I am upbeat and positive 99% of the time, but yesterday was a 1% kind of day. Had some things that happened all in a row that got me down. So why am I telling you this and why do you care? Because I'm throwing a pity party and you're all invited. So what did I do to snap out of my little funk? I did three things. Pooped my pants, cried, and took a nap. Then I did 3 more things. I went running. For those of you that know me, you probably know I hate running. I do hate running and since I did a heavy leg workout yesterday it was not the smartest thing to do, but it is a great way to clear your head and get refocused. It was an awesome day, so I did my running outside and then I stayed outside in the sun. I had some paperwork I needed to do, so I just sat there in the sun basking like a lizard with a calculator. Since the sun hasn't been out for awhile I encourage you to get in it when you can. Even if it's cold it can still help tremendously. The third thing I did was ask myself "Is this really that bad?" And of course once you really get down to it, you're fine. It is all about the perspective you choose. You want to know how much of a nerd I am? It made me think of a nutrition study done at Penn State. One group was told to restrict certain foods and a certain amount of calories, while the other group was told to simply eat more fruits and vegetables.The fruits and vegetables group was more successful across the board. Do you think about what you can have in life or are you too caught up in the things you can't have? Next time you're down on yourself just realize that it isn't your fault that you there, but it is your job to get out.

Words you shouldn't use


This man knows the power of words. And bow ties.

Today is about words and phrases you need to eliminate from your fitness program vocabulary. In no particular order:
But (Rachel Cosgrove defines this as Behold the Underlying Truth)
Sort of
I do....most of the time
Roll Tide
I can't
I give up
I'm not good enough
I don't deserve
Words have a lot of power. Do you doubt me? Go watch old episodes of Pee Wee's Playhouse when the word of the day came up. Madness! You can use words to tear yourself down or build yourself up, why choose to tear down? When I hear people say things like "I will try to eat better/exercise more/cook dinner tonight." I know that the majority of the time they will not be doing it. Now if someone says I am determined to eat better/exercise/cook dinner, then I am confident they will be taking care of business. It is a little mental trick that you can use. Using the right words can cement your commitment and help you get things done. 

Is your endurance training making you fat?


Grown up Oompa Loompas

It sounds like a simple enough plan. Go run for several miles and the fat will melt off no problem. It does work for awhile, but you eventually get to a point where it will slow to a halt.  For instance, you have been running 5 miles a day but not losing any weight. What in the world is going on? There are probably several things going on.  One major factor is that the more you run, the more efficient you become at it. Great for running, but not so great for fat loss. Your body will get to a point where it burns less calories to do the same amount of work it used to.  Getting to the point where you can run 5 miles was probably a great milestone at one time, but if you keep doing the same mileage in the same amount of time you’re not making progress. You need to run farther or run faster. This goes for any exercise you do. If you are doing the same speed, reps, weight, etc... every time you are spinning your wheels. That's the bad part about exercise, you have to keep trying! I know that's tough. This also leads to another factor and that is overeating. Some runners will assume they can eat and drink whatever they want because they have put in so many miles.  Another contributing factor can be skipping out on your strength training workouts to focus solely on your cardiovascular training.  Strength training will not only help keep you injury free, but it will also help tremendously with fat loss. Strength training workouts will not burn the same amount of calories DURING the exercise session as cardiovascular training, but you will continue to burn calories for hours AFTER your workout is completed. This effect is called the afterburn and we will talk more about that later. Also, the more lean muscle mass your body has on it, the more calories you can burn sitting around watching the Jersey Shore.   It’s t-shirt time! While it is possible to lose muscle from doing too much cardio, it has to be an excessive amount to do so.  You need to pick a lane. It is hard to lose fat and to do long distance training. I speak from experience. It made me skinny fat. When I was running a lot, I got to where I weighed about 185 pounds, which is a good weight but I was a soft 185 pounds. I weigh around 200-205 now, hardly ever do long distance running, and my body fat is much lower now. If you punch me in the stomach you will hurt your hand. If you're my 5 year old son anyway. So that's the lesson for the day. Pick a lane. Are you concerned with performance or how your body looks? Two different approaches.

Small changes to make big changes

First ones here! Walking 2 hours to work may be a little excessive.
Today's tip is all about the little changes that can add up to big changes. For instance if you did the following tomorrow:
-Drank a glass of water instead of a Coke for an afternoon pick me up
-ate a small whole wheat bagel with a tbsp of peanut butter instead of an Egg McMuffin
-Walk up and down stairs for 10 minutes
-Walked briskly for 10 minutes before boot camp
-Did 10 minutes of yoga after work instead of plopping down in front of the TV.
You would save about 550 calories. You do that every day and you lose a pound of fat per week! Don't just count on boot camp being your only savior. We tend to overestimate how much we have worked and underestimate how much we have eaten. That is how people get frustrated because they think they are doing everything they can to lose weight and get in shape. Live a healthier lifestyle overall. Park farther away, stand more (obese women on average sit 2 more hours per day than other women. Standing burns about 110 calories an hour), drink ice water (takes calories for your body to warm the water up to a usable level), take the stairs, fidget more, if you are stuck at a desk for hours on end do some desk aerobics (Warning! May cause a rumor that you are insane and possibly have Tourette's). Do all you can to help yourself out. Just look at the 550 calories you can take care of in the above example. Extremely doable. You guys may have your own ways of staying active and burning sneaky calories. If you do, let me know, I always like to learn. I also like to move it, move it but that is another story.

The Truth About Scales


She looks nice enough, but eat some trans fats in front of her and you better watch out!

It's one thing if I keep telling you how much the scales don't matter, it's another if a decorated veteran of the weight wars tells you that. So today's post is brought to you by Tammy Beasley.  Here is a little bit about her.  She is a certified eating disorder registered dietitian (CEDRD) through the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals since 1993, and was the first Alabama dietitian certified in sports dietetics with the American Dietetic Association in 2006. She is an active member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Human Sciences, Auburn University. She is the founder and creator of Rev It Up! (you will be hearing some good news pertaining to you on this program in the near future), which originated in 2001 and has been or is currently offered in a class format in 25 states within the U.S. Pretty impressive huh? Plus she is one of my boot campers so she practices what she preaches.  Nutritionally and exerciserly (it's a word dude, look it up).  Here is her take on scales. Have you ever asked yourself, “WHY does the scale seem to fluctuate so much?  How can I gain 2 or 3 pounds overnight, even if I haven’t done anything to justify it?  You have discovered how fickle the scales can be. They never really tell the whole story. Did you know that an overcast or stormy day can actually add several pounds to the scale? Low pressure keeps water in your tissues, and since our bodies are mostly water, an overcast day can make us “gain weight”…that is, fluid! Did you know (well, at least most women do!) that hormones can add 2 to 6 pounds over a three to seven day length of time? Anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, or steroid type drugs for allergies may cause temporary fluid retention, resulting in temporary weight gain. Even not getting enough sleep may slow down your body’s ability to burn carbohydrates, which makes more glucose available for fat storage, and increases the stress hormone cortisol, which stimulates your appetite for rich, high-fat foods. And did you realize that just three shakes of salt, or ½ teaspoon, can add 1 pound of body weight? One gram of sodium can hold onto 16 ounces of water, and that equals a pound. So that dinner at the local Japanese restaurant may explain why your clothes fit tighter the next day-salt! So try not to obsess about the pounds on that scale. Remind yourself that your body’s weight is a combination of water, muscle, bone, fat, and body tissues…so any change on that scale is not just a reflection of fat alone. About 65% of our body weight comes from water, so most quick body weight fluctuations are a result of water changes only. Don’t get on the scale more often than once a week. Keep following healthy habits of eating regular meals and snacks, balancing your fuel choices, moving your body. Enjoy how your body feels, the increasing self-confidence you are gaining, the changes you see in your strength and aerobic ability, the way your clothes fit, and the power that comes from taking charge of your wellness and health. Don’t let a single number take that away from you.

How do I know what products are junk?

Stay away. It's not worth taking the chance your face might look like this
There are a ton of weight loss products, claims, gadgets, etc... So what are the ways to tell that it is junk?
Other than the fact someone with a ponytail is selling it to you? Here are 5 tips:
1. Have you ever seen a product that draws a simple conclusion from some complex research? The X chromosome of the lower buttock is stimulated 87% more with The Booty Shaking Shaker than the leading competitor, therefore you will lose 48 pounds with the BSS. If it's too good to be true...
2. They promise PERMANENT weight loss without exercise. Sorry it just doesn't happen. TEMPORARY weight loss does, but to make it stick you gotta do burpees. Or some exercise.
3. Have to buy pills, potions, or other dietary supplements for the program to work. Decrease your calories, increase your exercise, don't decrease your wallet. Do you ever see commercials for products that say "Use in conjunction with a diet and exercise program"? Hmm, strange huh? Remember to go with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest before you turn to the supplements. Have you nailed all 3 yet? Use supplements as supplements to your healthy plan, not the only way.
4. Any diet that eliminates a macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat). The most simple, effective route is to get a well-balanced diet, everything in moderation, and use portion control.
5. Anything that promises rapid weight loss without effort. You know what I did to lose 10 pounds in 1 day one time? Stomach virus. Let me know if you would like a little of that.

Scale Back JoeMama

Have you heard of Scale Back Alabama? You can red more about Scale Back at their website. It is a weight loss program that helps people lose 10 pounds over 10 weeks. You get in teams of 4 and if everybody on your team loses weight you are eligible for prizes. Well what about people like me who don't have 3 people that will hang out with them? That's where I come in. I will be a weigh-in station for Scale Back Alabama. It's totally free, all you have to do is come weigh-in this coming Saturday at Latham United Methodist Church from 9-12 in Farley Hall (where we meet indoors for boot camp if you've been before). You can win a free month of boot camp! Several other prizes as well, but that's the big prize. What about if you've already weighed in for boot camp and don't want to weight in again? Fine, be that way we can use your assessment weight you just have to let me know you want to take part in it and you're good to go. Just know that you will be subject to disapproving glances if you only lose 5 pounds, but you look awesome in 10 weeks and you're still not happy. I feel more comfortable having you under my thumb, I mean my watch rather than some scale Nazi. People with BMI's of 20 and below are not eligible. You can use this BMI calculator if you are unsure. 1 pound a week for 10 weeks is totally doable if you do it the right way.

The Blown Tire Mental Image

I popped one, now let's pop the rest!
The weekend is coming up where things can get out of hand so normally I give you my official boot camp plan for the weekend, but I want to try something new. Here is a little mental tool I learned from a famous fitness pro named Rachael Cosgrove. I want you to picture yourself happily driving down the road, letting your mind wander, you fixate on that dreamboat Al Roker as always, then all off the sudden you hit a curb REALLY hard. You get out to inspect your care and you find out you popped a tire. Your next move? You go around to the rest if the car and pop every single tire. Why? Because you screwed up! What? You wouldn't do that? Well let me ask you this, have you ever been doing really good on a nutrition program, have a slip up, and then just go NUTS on a binge? I have, so I know what it's like. Well I already blew it with the pizza on Friday, might as well drink a party ball of Budweiser and eat a dozen donuts. Weren't those things called party balls back in the day? Who knows, the point is to not blow it all based on one slip up! Build some cheats into your plan, practice portion control, eat healthier every day, and stop beating yourself up about food. We all make mistakes, many of you have seen my mullet pictures. I have been forgiven by society for that atrocity, so surely you can forgive yourself for having a little pizza.  

Type E personality

Is your health a priority? Have you made it a habit? Probably so, but is it a part of your personality? I saw this quote the other day. "It takes 21 days to form a habit, but it takes 6 months to make that habit a part of your personality."-Brian Tracy. I had never heard that and found it interesting. Too may people look at exercise as just a necessary evil that they have to do so they can look better/de-stress/eat pizzas the size of small children. A study named the top motivators for a group of long term exercisers (people who on average had been working out for 13 years):
  • Fitness
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Pep and energy
  • Enjoyment of the exercise
  • Making exercise a priority
  • Sleeping better
  • Feeling alert
  • Being relaxed
  • Weight management
  • Appearance
 Any of those on your list? How do you make exercise part of your personality? In my opinion you have to start with exercise that is fun and interesting to you. Not your friend or what someone else thinks is fun. I have friends that think running 31 miles in the mountains is a fun afternoon. Being airlifted off of Monte Sano is not my thing, so I do other activities. Somethings you just can't force. Next, find a way to exercise among other people. Preferably people you like, but watching someone you don't care for fail miserably at burpees can be good for you too (that's a little excerpt out of my upcoming book Chicken Soup and Burpees For the Soul). Exercising with a partner or in a group will keep you motivated, interested, and committed. Find a time that works for you. The two best times are either first thing in the morning or right after work before you go home. An object at rest stays at rest, I believe that is the Hippocratic Oath of Archimedes Pythagorean Theorem. Or something like that. Either get up and get it rolling or get off work and keep busy until your workout. The couch has magical Star Wars tractor beamesque powers, so stay away. Life is all about momentum, so once you got it stick with it. Once you fid that time that works, make that YOUR time. For everyone else in the world that hour does not exist to them. You have 23 hours in the day to give to others, just take one for you. And one more thing, reward yourself! It's ok to pat yourself on the back. I love me some me, so I don't need people to tell me I did a good job because I tell myself that all the time (you can read more of that here Yes I can if you're into that kind of thing). So your goal is to not only make exercise a habit, but also a part of your personality.
Plus this song goes out to my friend Allison Carter who knows good music videos with hand gestures when she sees them
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