Tag: Gym

A number is defined as “an arithmetical value, expressed by a word, symbol, or figure, representing a particular quantity and used in counting and making calculations” by the Oxford dictionary. In several areas of life a number can tell us a lot about an individual without ever knowing them personally. But is a number the most important factor in everything we do? In fitness, numbers can take over our lives if it’s the only thing we focus on. A number can change if adjustments are made to the approach but what do you do when the number isn’t moving or going in the opposite direction of where you would like it to? It is imperative to view a number as a value that we can measure and make the necessary adjustments rather than allow it to place a mental barrier on our lives.

 

As a fitness professional, I’ve trained individuals from all walks of life.The gym for most is where you get the opportunity to better yourself and have fun in the process. Day in and day out we train our butts off and expect a certain result. Sometimes we achieve that goal and sometimes we fall short. I’ve been there before and I’ll be the first to say that if you didn’t succeed in particular lift, it’s not the end of the world. For example, if your main goal is the gym is to increase strength, chasing a number gives you sometime to aim towards but it doesn’t make you any less of a person if you’re not successful. If you fail one day, like most people you beat yourself up about it because that failure is still fresh in your mind, body & soul. So I ask the question of why get stuck on something that’s now in the past and out of our of control?

 

The future we can control and that’s where the focus should be instead! Let’s say during your first working set in the gym you don’t perform the way you would like, shift your focus to the remainder of your workout regime because those too have benefits for you to improve. As long as you step foot in the gym and give maximum effort, you’ll be one step closer to your goal(s).  If you able to identify where you went wrong during the exercise, awesome! You can now work towards progression versus regression. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you didn’t eat enough food for the day prior to your training session. No matter what could have contributed to your poor performance, use the number(s) to assess progress and make further progress in the future.

 

The body weight scale is the one of the main reasons people lose motivation to continue to attack their fitness goals. If the scale isn’t moving, there’s typically a reason why. Good or bad! If you have the knowledge to figure out why, great you won! Make the necessary changes and put your focus on other parts of your life. But in the event you can’t, having multiple ways to assess progress can be crucial to your mental health. As online coach, I don’t simply like relying on the number on the scale. I can name several reasons why but the most important one is because the scale has many contributing factors. From water weight to muscle mass, fat mass, meal timing, etc. If you have a coach and his/her only method of assessing progress is your bodyweight, I highly suggest you find a new coach because the scale is end-all for progress. For those of you that do feel stuck due to the scale not moving, use other forms to assess progress such as daily pictures, body measurement or even body fat percentage. For more information on how the scale should be used and why you shouldn’t allow it to affect your progress, please check out one of my past blog article called “The Scale Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of“.

 

Tracking macros has become extremely popular in recent years. I personally track macros to calculate a rough estimate of how many calories I’m actually consuming daily. But I don’t stress myself to be 100% perfect to track every single gram. Even if I’m dieting to cut down and I need 150g of brown rice for each meal, I’m not removing grain after grain if I happen to measure 153g on the first attempt. That in my opinion is just silly! If you think that 3g extra of a carbohydrate is going to cause your progress to slow down or stall out you are highly mistaken. Similar to the scale there are many factors that can impact how many calories each individual will need to consume to truly be in a deficit. Aside from your strength training and/or cardio regime, how physically demanding your job is, the commute or travel to work and even daily activities with family & friends all play a role in daily calories burned. If the goal is weight loss, I wouldn’t suggest anyone to consume more calories because you played basketball with your kids once school was out. Instead it should give you peace of mind that you don’t have to be perfect when tracking your food intake. The goal should be to aim for close enough estimate so that you can still achieve your goals while continuing to enjoy the other aspects of your life!

 

 

One of the popular questions I get asked alot is what supplements should people take? Supplements aren’t needed but some are definitely helpful. For the purpose of this article I will focus on the benefits of why you should be taking creatine to assist you in your fitness journey. Several people shy away from creatine due to the fear of water retention. If you ever had several alcoholic drinks, high sodium meals or just didn’t consume enough water, the day after you will notice a weight increase and more of a fluffer look to your physique. That’s your body retaining water in the skin. Creatine on the other hand causing you to hold water in the muscles which in my opinion makes it a very useful supplement.

If you’re a powerlifter, bodybuilder, crossfitters or just someone who wants to put on some muscle size, creatine can benefit you. Creatine may also help those who perform high intensity sprints or endurance training. So how does creatine actually work? Creatine increases your muscles phosphocreatine stores which help create additional ATP energy. During high intensity exercise such as resistance training, ATP fuels your muscles during your workout. ATP energy is burned faster than the human body can reproduce it so supplementing with creatine allow you to produce more ATP which will improve performance during your high intensity training sessions. If you’re currently not supplementing with creatine you probably notice days in the gym where you hit a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of reps successfully. But on the last set with same weight, you’re unable to execute. This is due to not being able to reproduce ATP fast enough at that present time. Since supplementing with creatine, I’ve noticed an increase in energy. Prior to using creatine I found it difficult to successfully complete 4 sets of 3 reps on my heavy squat days being that my body wasn’t producing more ATP. This is the key benefit of creatine supplementation!

Now you know the most important benefit of creatine so which one do you purchase? With the supplement industry constantly growing, several different forms of creatine have been developed. Creatine monohydrate is the one I’d recommend for two reasons. One is the cheapest form of creatine and two other forms are still relatively new which haven’t been tested to see if they actually work how supplement companies claim they do. Creatine monohydrate is the most common you will find and is the form that most scientific studies have used to conduct their research on the effectiveness of the supplement. So instead of possibly paying an overpriced charge for creatine, stick to the one that has been proven to work for years. Just to give you an idea of how cheap creatine is, a 200 serving container of creatine on Vitacost.com will cost $17.32 not including shipping. That should last you about a half of year if you’re only taking the daily recommended amount of 5 grams.

Out all the supplements that exist today, creatine monohydrate is one of the few that is actually backed up by science. I personally used creatine whether I’m bulking, dieting or just maintaining simply because of the improved performance during my workouts. So to address the title of this article “no creatine DOES NOT make you fat”. Instead it provides your muscles with additional energy than what your body can naturally produce to push past intense training sessions. If increased strength, muscle or endurance is one of your goals, creatine is the one supplement that can benefit you!

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!

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!

No motivation is required when you have a discipline! I can recall so many days where I just posted a workout video on my Instagram and I receive a message saying “I wish I had your motivation”. The honest truth is that the more experience you acquire from practicing a certain skill or activity, the less so called “motivation” is required. Everyone has their own life to manage and responsibilities that come with it, but with a sold routine that strengthens the discipline is how most successful people are able to do what they do. Discipline comes with time but establishing a routine that you can commit to on a daily basis is the best way to be successful in any field.

Training Scheduling

Analyze your current schedule and see where you can fit your training session in the gym. If you work a 9 to 5 that can be stressful at times, where you schedule your training session matters! For example, for myself in particular I currently work a 9:30pm-8am overnight job. Knowing that I may or may not be exhausted when I clock out of work, I choose to schedule my training session around 4-5pm after I’ve had some sleep and wake up with a clear mind. Sometimes our jobs can get the best of us and that may impact our workouts in the gym or even cause us to want to skip the gym. If you work a job that you love and is never stressful, you are blessed. But if you work a job where some days you may get out on time and some days where you won’t, thinking of scheduling your workout before work may benefit you to stay consistent in the gym without the added stress of working your full time job. If you can allocate a time slot in your schedule that you will never miss is one thing that has worked for me. I like to think of it as a class in college that I must attend and knowing that other things won’t affect me showing up, helps me rarely miss a day in the gym.

Meal Timing

With the fitness industry continuing to grow, different myths are being broadcast to the world. I’m sure everyone has heard the old myth of “don’t eat carbs after 8pm”. I’ll be the first to say that meal timing for the average individual is not as important as to someone who lets say is a powerlifter, bodybuilders, athlete, etc. If you want to lose weight and following a low carbohydrate diet where you’re only eating about 50-150 g of carbs a day, its okay to leave those carbs for later in the evening when you mostly crave carbs. Get to know yourself and learn what works for you versus what doesn’t work for you. No matter what your goals are, if you reserve your carbs for later in the evening lets say before bed time, yes you’ll feel weaker during your workout but you get to enjoy foods you like when your home relaxing. Any knowledgeable fitness professional can tell you that you can’t out train a bad diet. Therefore structuring your meal times to make sure you’re happy while remaining consistent with your diet is the most important factor for you reaching your goal(s).

Reserve A New Circle

You are a product of the company you keep! I’m not suggesting to cut all ties with people that you have in your life for years but instead limit the time you spend with them. The more comfortable you get in the gym, the more friends you’ll make with people who share the same fitness lifestyle. You won’t be excited to go to the gym every day. On those days use your friends to keep you consistent. Something I’ve notice within my own fraternity via Instagram is that brothers will post on their stories and tag each other a picture of them in the gym with a caption of “just checking in”. Something as simple as that can give you that extra push from those you keep around to make sure you take the necessary steps to continue to master your discipline in the gym.

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.