Tag: Cardio

If you clicked on this article, you’ve already read the title and I truly mean what I’ve titled it. Why you may ask? The answer is simple, you can take the necessary steps to the change you want way before the new year but most people allow themselves to wait however long is left until January 1st to take action. Many people will fail in achieving their resolutions not because they don’t want it but because they don’t want it bad enough! Patiently waiting for the perfect time to start something is only delaying the process to be able look at every possible gap that can prevent you from being successful at what you’re trying to attain. If you can tap into your life as whole and identify all areas that could potentially cause conflict with your goals, the greater the chances of you being successful at reaching your goal(s).

Adjust Your Mindset

I know it’s easier said than done but if you’ve been obese all your life, it won’t take a few weeks or months to lose the amount of weight you want. Instead of waiting for the new year to take action, get a head start before everyone because you already identified your weight as being a problem for you. What the difference between a problem that you’ve identified and a problem that let’s say your doctor has identified? They both don’t bring joy to your life therefore waiting for the new year to take action will only cause more internal pain and suffering. Take action now!

Search For Sustainability

Every year, someone either on social media, TV or even the radio is raving about a new fad diet and it’s so easy to feed into believing that this may work for you. But it won’t! Reason being is that most of these fad diets dramatically change the way you’ve been eating in past years. I believe that anyone can follow any diet and be the happiest person ever but most people don’t ease into a diet. 9/10 times they go in cold turkey because they want change fast instead of asking themselves “can I do this for the long term or even the rest of my life?” If they answer is no to that question, that diet isn’t for you and you have to find something else that is sustainable for your lifestyle.

Change Your Environment

As a former heavyweight, not referred to myself as a boxer, I realize that in order to make a new habit permanent I had to change many visual aspect of my life. From tossing out all processed snacks from my kitchen to limiting the time I spent with people who had the luxury of eating whatever they wanted without the fear of gaining weight. Our environment is huge part of our success and a lot of us take that for granted or just ignore it all together. But I can tell you first hand that you shouldn’t ignore it especially if its influencing you to go back on your word of commiting to the fitness lifestyle. It doesn’t mean cut everyone in your life that doesn’t want to get fit and be healthier. It simply means communicate your goals to your circle so they understand what important to you at this present time. If they’re not willing to understand your goals, surround yourself with people that will and support you to continue your journey.

The exact time frame it takes to create a new habit is very subjective but once you’ve mastered it you’ll know. How? Let’s say every day or on the days you’re schedule to go to the gym, you don’t create any excuses and get your workout done feeling like you’ve conquer the world. Or every week you go grocery shopping and as you shop you’re thinking of what new delicious healthy dish to make for this upcoming week. These are all powerful signs that you’ve committed to changing your old habits to better yourself. Many personal trainers live for new years to come along because that when so many people seek help with their goals but don’t be like the rest. Follow the advice I’ve provided for you above, educate yourself from reliable sources and start working towards redefining the new you now!

Cardio isn’t required in your training routine but it is highly recommended. In order to keep things simple I will only focus on performing LISS(Low Intensity Steady State) cardio as opposed to discussing all forms of cardio. Along with benefits such as increased heart strength, most people utilize cardio to burn extra calories to increase fat loss. The best times for you to perform your cardio will ultimately depend on your goals and/or lifestyle. In the past, I’ve done cardio post workout, pre workout and even fasted. Each time frame has its own benefits believe or not. Choose the time frame that will benefit you the most in your own journey.

Post Workout Cardio

If your goal is to build the most amount of muscle possible, cardio at the end of your workout will be the smartest choice. Main reason is to be able to utilize your energy on the lifts that will build the most muscle instead of cardio. If you have scheduled to perform a 30 minute cardio session and you get that done first, you’ll have less energy during your strength training portion of your workout. It’s completely fine to warm up with 5-10 mins of cardio but completing the entire cardio session before hand can impact your strength levels during your strength training. Prioritizing your energy for the heavier lifts will allow you to lift the most amount of weight while applying the most amount of tension to your muscle. With LISS cardio being low impact on the body, you should still be able to perform it towards the end of your workout.

Pre Workout Cardio

Let’s say your someone who doesn’t care much about building or retaining muscle while dieting, performing your cardio before hand is an option. Also if the strength training fatigues you to the point of where you have little to no energy to perform the cardio post workout, doing your cardio first will benefit you tremendously as well. I always emphasize to my clients to incorporate strength training and cardio together because it’s the smartest way to lose fat, but if the strength training is more taxing on the body, prioritizing cardio first will ensure that you have the energy to complete your full routine.

Fasted Cardio/Separate Session

Fasted cardio is a concept a lot of individuals believe in. The theory is that if you perform cardio while being in a fasted state, your body resorts to its fat stores as energy to get through the cardio. Makes sense right? Only problem is that there isn’t any studies to back up this claim. Instead we have a study where 20 women were divided into two groups, one group performing cardio in a fasted state and another group performing cardio after consuming a meal. The conclusion was that body compositions were similar between the two group regardless of being fasted or fed prior to training. Click here for the full article on the study. So what’s the point of doing fasted cardio anyway? Fasted cardio or performing your cardio session separately can help with potential time constraints while at the gym. For example if you prefer to strength training later in the day when you’ve eaten a good amount of calories but only have about an hour for your session, doing your cardio separately can help you not feel like there isn’t enough time to complete your entire routine.

After reading this article you should now understand that the best time for YOU to do cardio is the time that works best for YOU! There is a lot of misinformation in the fitness industry that has cause many of us to over complicate our lives to reach our fitness goals. If you don’t like doing cardio first thing in the morning, you can do it at other times of the day. Cardio is a tool that is used to create a larger caloric deficit therefore as long as you get it done and the time you choose to perform it aligns with your goals, you will lose fat and reveal the physique you desire.

If I was to categorize the amount of messages I get on a daily basis, the winner would be how to tone up and reduce belly fat. I know what everyone wants to hear! Most likely a list of exercises to perform or maybe some magic foods to accomplish that but the truth is simple. In order to tone up and/or reduce belly fat you have to be focus on continuously reducing your overall body fat as a whole to start seeing the definition and results you desire. If anyone is telling you different they are simply lying to you! There are many different factors that affect how you effectively lose body fat but if your consistent in your approach, you will get closer to your ultimate goal.

Calorie Deficit

If you’re not in a calorie deficit, your body will remain the same or worst you will gain weight. How do I know if I’m in a calorie deficit you may ask? Without changing anything, eat and train as normal then weigh yourself first thing in the morning for 2-3 days. If your weight is dropping you’re already in a deficit. If your weight remains relatively the same, you may be close to the amount of calories to maintain your weight also know as you maintenance calories. If you weight is increasing, you could be eating over your maintenance which puts you in a calorie surplus. The most accurate way to figure this out if through trial and error. Most individuals who have been tracking for a while will know how many calories their bodies would need but that comes for years of experience. You can utilize any macro calculator from any website but understand that those are just estimates and it’s impossible for a calculator to understand your body let alone what your daily life consist off so trial and error will be your best bet!

Continue To Strength Train

From beginners all the way to the more advanced lifters, you’re strength training should remain consistent while you diet. For advanced lifter if you completely abandon lifting you run the risk of losing muscle mass which is what you don’t want. If your a beginner you’re leaving potential muscle growth on the table that you would have put on. Untrained individuals or beginners can take advantage of the “newbie gainz” due to the new stimulus on the body of strength training. The less muscle mass a person has, the slow their metabolism will be therefore while dieting, one of your main objectives should be to retain or build the most amount of muscle while being in a caloric deficit.

Use Cardio As Needed

I’ve seen many people get extremely lean just from dieting and strength training. Cardio isn’t necessary for fat loss but it definitely helps when the diet isn’t enough. Start small maybe 15-20 mins on your preferred cardio machine and continue to monitor your weight each morning to see if the extra cardio is in fact putting your a deficit. Cardio and diet go hand in hand meaning that if you prefer to eat more food while dieting, you will have to do more cardio and vice versa. The trick is to do enough cardio where your weight is still dropping but not too much where you’re creating a huge calorie deficit that your body hasn’t slow work towards. Adjust cardio in small increments maybe by about 5 mins. The same way you wouldn’t just drop 1,000 calories from your diet, you should just add 30-60 minutes more cardio than what you were doing prior to making the change.

Be Patient

Any knowledgeable trainer or coach will tell you that losing 1-2 lbs per week is great! But for some people that amount of weight just isn’t fast enough for them to see their bodies changing. If you’ve been overweight or obese all your life, it took several years for you to reach that point. It’s going to take time for you to lose the weight so don’t rush the process. As a person who had bad eating habits growing up, I’ve learn alot about how certain foods, following specific macros or different types of training styles affect my body. Use this time to do the same because that is how you lose the weight and keep it off for the rest of your life. As a online coach for my clients, I create sample meal plans at the start of their coaching so they understand what I would eat if I were them but they are not obligated to follow the meal plan exactly or at all. I want my clients to eat what they want as long as they stay within the calories/macros I provide for them. That way they still eat the foods they enjoy while still continue to chase their progress. Dieting shouldn’t be depressing. Sure there will be days, where your just not feeling it but ultimately there are plenty of good healthy choices that are delicious. Find the ones that work for you and keep incorporating them to help you throughout your journey!

Picture this! You had a long weekend with family & friends and decided to eat freely because these gathering with your loved ones rarely take place. Fast forward to Monday morning, you wake up, the scale is just waiting for you to step on it but you are too afraid to see the number and realize the possible setback you have taken on your goals over the weekend. In all honesty the scale isn’t something to get upset or frustrated about. It is simply a tool to track your progress but it DOES NOT define who you are!

 

The scale doesn’t measure fat meaning that just because you gained one, five or even ten pounds in a matters of days, it doesn’t mean you gained that weight in the form of fat. If you can change how you view the scale, you won’t be terrified the next time you may want to weigh yourself. The scale simply measures everything in the human body from muscles, body fat, water, bones & organs. Depending on the time of day and how much you’ve eaten or how much water you’ve drank, that number can reflect differently than your weight first thing in the morning. As you eat food and drink water throughout the day, the more and more you’ll weigh which is why it isn’t recommended to weigh yourself multiple times a day. This is completely normal so safe bet is to stick to weighing yourself first thing in the morning or when you wake up.

 

Like any other measuring tool, the scale should be used to compare and contrast progress instead of putting a label on a person. Just because you weigh a certain number doesn’t make you obese, overweight or underweight which are categories of the BMI(Body Mass Index) chart. The truth is that the BMI chart has been debunked for several years now! I’m currently 6’3 weighing 211 lbs which puts me at a BMI of 26.4 considering me overweight. Reason being is because BMI doesn’t take muscle mass into account when categorizing individuals. Muscle weighs more than fat therefore you can be an extremely muscular individual and not fall within the normal weight for your height. Which brings me to my next point, if you just started going to the gym and building muscle is one of goals, expect your weight to go up. It’s not a bad thing. It just means that you are reaching your goal of putting on some muscle on your current frame. As long as you’re not gaining drastically noticeable amounts of body fat and the scale is going up, you have nothing to worry about.

 

There are some other instances where the scale can reflect a number that shocks you. For example, women during their menstrual cycle experience bloating therefore causing their weight to fluctuate more as opposed to when their cycle ends. For someone who doesn’t intake a lot of sodium but eats a high sodium meal, the body will retain excess water causing the scale to read higher prior that meal. If you had some drinks the night before you will weigh more the following day due to alcohol serving as a diuretic which causes an increase urine output and dehydrates you. These are all scenarios that will affect your weight but how important is the scale at the end of the day?

 

The simple answer is no its not extremely important because there are other ways to track progress. I recommend to have two or more ways to measure your progress so that one form doesn’t become the end all of everything. If the scale isn’t moving but you are losing inches in certain areas of your body, you’re still losing fat. If your entire focus is on losing a certain amount of weight, you’ll drive yourself crazy finding new ways to force the scale to move which is why some people skip meals or do massive amount of cardio to change that number. Don’t be that person! Instead use other forms of tracking such as measurements, progress pictures, calipers, body fat readers, dexa scans, etc. In conclusion the scale isn’t the king when it comes to measuring your progress. Use it to your advantage but also have another form of measurement for when the scale isn’t playing in your favor.

 

Every year on January 1st, many individuals attempt to start going to the gym to either improve their health, physical appearance or just to take on a new challenge. New gym members can look at the more experienced lifters and say to themselves “they make it look so easy”. The reality is that is wasn’t always that way. Most of us had to force this habit through constant repetitions for it to become a lifestyle. Anytime you try to do something for the first time it will be tough but if you have the right mindset and continue to educate yourself with credible information, what was once tough before, will become easy for you as well.

Before you even think of stepping foot in the gym have a game plan. With fitness being at an all time high, its easy to find exercises or training programs to follow to get the ball rolling. Use this to your advantage! As an untrained individual, there’s only so much work load your body can handle and going to the gym, performing every exercise/machine for legs as an example may not be the best approach. Instead write out 4-5 exercises to start out with each day and progress through those movements. I like to think of going to the gym the same as going grocery shopping. Typically if we go grocery shopping without a shopping list, we tend to purchase things we don’t necessarily need. Same goes with the gym! If we step foot in the gym without a plan of attack, you will soon find yourself performing all the exercises you see other members doing. More doesn’t always mean better! Start small, progress slowly and you’ll prevent yourself from feeling exhausted from the stimulus of strength training.

The internet exist therefore research fitness professionals who have uploaded tutorials on how to perform certain exercises. If you’re going to begin your journey performing the compound exercises such as Bench, Squats & Deadlifts, I would highly suggest to study on how these are performed due to the high risk of injury if not perform correctly. Some of my favorite YouTubers who provide great content for their viewers are Jeff Nippard, Chris Jones from Pumpchasers, Terron Beckham, OmarIsuf and the list goes on. Use these videos to educate yourself on the proper way to remain safe in gym while still making progress throughout your journey. Its 2019 now so there’s no excuse to not know how to do something!

If your goal is weight loss, patience is key. You didn’t gain the unwanted weight overnight. Its something that accumulated through your past bad habits so don’t expect change immediately. Instead trust the process and monitor your progress on a weekly basis. At my heaviest weight at around 300 lbs, it took about a year and a half to lose the weight through trial & error and finding new ways to stick to my diet to remain consistent with my new fitness lifestyle. While their are some foods you should absolutely stay away from, there are so many foods you can enjoy that will only help you reach the progress you desire. Focus on those foods and cook them to your liking. The most common mistake most people make is focusing on the things we can’t do which creates a huge limitation on our lives because of our old habits. I suggest you make a list of foods you can eat and pick and choose from there. That way you have several options to choose from, you continue to change your eating habits and your body and/or health will start to improving. It’s a marathon not a sprint so take your time and make the necessary adjustment as needed.

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas slowly approaching, the thought of losing track of our fitness goals has cross the minds of a lot of people. The holidays are meant to be around your family and friends while enjoying those special foods that are only cooked once a year. But if you’re like me, you don’t want to lose yourself in the satisfaction of consuming extra calories. Enjoy it but don’t over do it!

The holidays are very social times where alcoholic drinks may be served. If you wished to save yourself some calories, either drink your choice of alcohol straight or mix it with a zero calorie juice, soda or sparkling water. Granted there are calories in alcohol but if you choose a zero calorie mixer, you’ll save some calories to enjoy other foods and treats throughout the day.

Sometimes when we are around family, it can be hard to say no to food. I completely understand. Growing up in a Dominican family its an insult to turn down food. But I’ll say this don’t just eat everything that is offered to you because you don’t want to be rude. If you have goals and don’t want to set yourself back, don’t afraid to polity tell your family member or friend “no thank you!”. Some cultures may take it personal but don’ worry too much about it. They will eventually get over it and act like you never turn their dish down once the drinks start flowing.

The best way to prepare yourself for a night of eating is getting a workout in first thing in the morning. If you have a specific program that you’re following by all means do that. But if you have some flexibility with your training routine, I would highly suggest full body, upper body or lower body training session. This will ensure that you stimulate multiple muscles groups before your big feast in the evening. I personally enjoy a upper body session,2-3 exercises per muscle group, 3-4 sets each exercise and 10-15 rep range. I’m able to burn away my glycogen stores also known as carbohydrates after digestion and make room for all the delicious carbohydrates I’ll be having that evening.

If there was a day to not skip cardio, this would be the day. Typically when I skip cardio, I’m usually following a strict diet when I leave the gym. But on the holidays when I know I’ll be following the “See-Food Diet”, I shoot for a 10-15 minutes cardio warm up and end with 20-30 minutes once I’m done weight training. Cardio adds to the calories burned during your training session. The more calories you burn at the gym, the more calories you can enjoy when it’s time to chow down. 

If you followed these tips but still overindulged over the holidays it’s not the end of the world. Below are some helpful tips to follow the day after to get yourself back on track!

  • Drink at least a gallon of water to help release water from the body.
  • Eat a high protein diet! Protein has a thermogenic effect meaning your body burns calories during digestion.
  • Consume at least 25-35 grams of fiber! Fiber also has a thermogenic effect and helps you stay regular to eliminate waste from the body.
  • Go to the gym, get your workout in  and make sure you do at least 20-30 minutes of cardio. Don’t try to burn the calories you consumed the night before. Just get your workout done and allow your body to regulate from cleaning up your diet!