Tag: Personal Trainer

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.

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.

Over the years I’ve dabbled  with a several ways to lose weight. What you put in your body will impact how you look and feel. When I first got into fitness I was well over 300lbs, wasn’t active and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what calories truly were. The cambridge dictionary defines “calorie” as a unit used in measuring the amount energy food provides when eaten and digested. If you eat 1 cup of blueberries at 80 calories, once digested your body will have 80 calories to expend for energy. Pretty simple right? When weight loss is the goal, as long as you’re not eating more calories than you burn you will lose weight so as a fitness professional I highly suggest tracking calories but it isn’t a must.

 

First let’s cover why tracking is beneficial for weight loss. For the majority of my life, I never was conscious of the food that I was putting in my body. If you’d ask me if I was allergic to any foods, I wouldn’t know because I would just eat whatever food that was available which explains how I accumulated the weight that I did. Tracking calories allows you understand how your body responds to certain foods due to the fact that your documenting all meals. But the most important part of tracking your calories is that you have data of what you’ve done in the past so that you can adjust to overcome plateaus. Plateaus are going to happen and there’s very little you can do to avoid them especially if you’re making great weight loss progress. The more your weigh, the more calories your body will require. As you start dropping weight, the less calories your body will require. As an online coach, my clients typically experience plateaus when their start calorie deficit becomes their new maintenance calories for their new weight. It happens, its normal and counting your calories will only make it easier for you overcome that small obstacle in your weightloss journey in my opinion of course.

 

But as I mentioned earlier, counting calories isn’t a must because for the first 4 years of my fitness journey I didn’t count a single calorie. I just created a structure that I could commit to, but will also change my eating habits. If you are like the old Chayan in the past who ate anything and everything, incorporating meal preps into your routine can help you lose weight. From eating as you go through your day to having a set number of meals for day is what help me lose my first 70lbs. Makes sense right? Prior to starting my journey, I would rarely cook. Most of my calories would come from eating out which means I never knew how much I was really eating at a time. Once I incorporated meal prep, now I cook my own meals, I know exactly what’s in them and I have a food scale to weigh out my portions for each meal. Even the best tracking app isn’t 100% accurate when eating out therefore cooking your own meals and knowing every single ingredient that included is the best way to know the exact amount of calories you are consuming.

 

Now let’s say you’re not like the old version of me and you eat home cooked meals consistently but still struggle with weight loss, one thing you can try is try to identify on average how many meals a day you eat. For example let’s say you eat 6 home cooked meal a day and scale isn’t going down. It’s a possibility that the 6th meal is putting you in a calorie surplus or maintenance which is why you haven’t been losing weight. Easy way to correct this is by simply eliminating one meal all together or replacing one meal with a small snack that isn’t as calorie dense. Let’s say that 6th meal is about 500 calories, by eliminating it from your diet you are eating 500 calories less everyday. If you replace it with a small snack at 250 calories, now you’re eating 250 calories less each day. Both method can create a calorie deficit and that’s the most important factor to weight loss. Calories in versus calories out!

 

Life can be so fast paced for the majority of us that we sometimes ignore the little things that could be hurting our weight loss journey. From the creamer in your coffee to the one serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you have every night. All these factors matter because everything has calories. In all honesty you can continue eating the way you do especially if your eating a well balanced diet of home cook meals, but eliminate those small factors from your diet and you’ll lose weight. Next time you grab coffee either look into drinking it black, add a artificial sweetner or almond milk. It’s easy to get carried away when using a creamer because we never just add the recommended tablespoon serving. Depending on how many cups of coffee you drink a day, you can see that eliminating the creamer all together can save you anywhere from 30- 200 calories. These calories that can be used towards your deficit instead of adding extra calories to your drink. Evaluate your overall diet, look at those added factors that aren’t a necessity and by minimizing or eliminating then all together, you will set yourself on the right path to a successful weight loss story!

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.

 

When embarking in anything new, it’s important to to start small so that you prevent feeling overwhelmed. A lot of times we tend to want to become experts to start something, when in reality waiting will only delay the results we desire. When it comes to your fitness journey, look at all the habits that are prevented you from achieving your dream body and focus on the small things you can change in a short amount of time versus the overall big goal. If the small goals are headed in the same direction as the larger goal, you will see progress in the efforts you are making and eventually become successful at your goal if your remain consistent & discipline.

The Scale

Let’s say you have a weight loss goal of 50 lbs. This may seem like an eternity if the scale isn’t moving fast enough. A quick fix that a lot of us fitness professional implement is creating a weekly weight loss goal. For my online coaching clients, I give them a goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week and over a period of time they get closer to their end goal. 1-2 lbs a week is more realistic than finding a way to lose 50 lbs in the fastest way. Remember that outside of the gym you have other responsibilities that require your energy so following a diet that can potentially affect your energy levels dramatically isn’t the smartest idea. Please refer to my past blog article “Losing Weight Too Quickly? A Bad Thing?” for more information on the risks involved when losing weight too fast.

Buy Food In Servings Not Bulk

Next time you step foot in the kitchen, take a look around and look for foods that attract your taste buds. If they are sweets, soda, chips or any other processed food, just go ahead and toss those out or give them away. You don’t want them in your home if they are triggers for you. They will serve no benefits in your current fitness journey especially when it comes to weight loss. But if you have some healthy options or foods that aren’t very calorically dense, next time you go shopping look into buying them in individual serving sizes. Reason being is that it’s easy to snack on a bag of almonds or rice cakes and realize a few minutes later that you’ve eaten more than you should have. I’ve been guilty of this and I can assure you that you are not alone! The convenience of having separate serving may cost a bit more so if you prefer saving a few dollars at the store, use gladware or zip lock bags to package them separately instead. It’s all about building the discipline to eat just one or two servings but not over indulge. Also if you’re always on the go like myself, having these quick servings ready to go make great snacks to ensure you are not going long periods of time without fueling your body. Even though you are dieting, missing meals or unintentionally fasting should be avoided.

Compete With Yourself

Have you ever been in the gym, took a look around and saw someone with an physique you admire? I’m sure everyone has experience that but I’ll say this, don’t worry what the next person is doing! Just focus on you and only you because everyone is at different points of their fitness journey. Comparing yourself to another individual will only cause you to lose the motivation in your journey. I highly suggest getting a workout journal or downloading an app on your phone to document your workouts in the gym. If the next week you do more repetitions, lift more weight or perform the same distance of cardio in a shorter amount of time, thats a small win! Not only does that give you satisfaction that your efforts are working, it’s also keeps you motivated to continue your own journey. At times we miss the small progress we make in the gym because we focus on the bigger goal way to much. Yes improving our appearance is important to us but if your getting stronger or able to move like you’ve never had before, thats a huge accomplish too!

If your ultimate goal is to pack on the most amount of muscle you possibly can, the exercises you choose to perform matter. Most of the old school movements fall in the category of exercises that allow you to maximize the most amount of tension. Not to say that some of the newer exercises won’t provide you with results, but the risk of injury are much higher and/or the effectiveness of overload is very limited. Muscles understand tension therefore choosing exercises that allow you to successfully progressively overload, will serve as the best options for you for gaining muscle. If you’re unfamiliar with progressive overload please refer to my article “Progressive Overload Is The Key To Continuous Progress In The Gym“.

Plate Presses

Image result for Plate Presses

Even though the chest is being contracted because the arms are horizontally adducted in frontal plane of the body, there are other isolation movements such as the the pec dec machine, cable flyes or dumbbell flyes that will allow for a greater way to progressively overload. I’ve perform this exercise in the past just to test it out and what I’ve discovered is that at some point you won’t be able to hold more than a 45lbs plate in your hands. The only way to continue to progress through this movements to stack weights above your body which creates the risk of weight falling on your chest if they happen to slide out of your hands. Very high risk for the reward in my opinion!

Alternating Lat Pull Downs

Image result for LAt Pull Down SIngle Variation

This is a popular exercise that a lot of individuals are performing in the gym. It allows for each lat to be isolated individual while using a bilateral attachment. Bilateral simply means both hands are needed to perform the movement. The problem I see with this exercise is that tension isn’t evenly distributed between each lat which can cause imbalances in the future. Instead I suggest used a single handle attachment versus a bar attachment to prevent imbalances and to help strengthen each lat individually.

Behind The Neck Shoulder Presses

Image result for Behind The Neck Shoulder Presses

I think we can all agree that shoulder health is extremely important. If you’ve been performing this exercises for some time and have the shoulder mobility to perform it great! But if you don’t and feel pain while performing it, I’d suggest you to stop immediately! This exercise puts the shoulders in a very vulnerable position which is why I’ll suggest to stay away from it. Instead performing the standard military press will be a safer choice being that the arms are in front of the body which is a natural range of motion for the shoulders.

Behind The Neck Pull Downs

Image result for Behind The Neck Pull Downs

Similar to the Behind The Neck Shoulder Press, this one also puts the shoulders in a vulnerable position. This pull down variation not only recruits the lats it’s also activates the mid back as well which is why I believe a lot of people lean towards it. But again as stated on the shoulder press, if the shoulder mobility is there carry on. But if its not, perform your standard lat pull down in the front of the body which is again a natural movement for the shoulders. Then you can perform a row movement to target the upper back mid back.

Glute Band Work

Image result for Band Work

While I believe that bands have a place in time in everyone training, I also know that just because you feel a burn in a muscle doesn’t mean it’s the most optimal approach. If you want to maximize the most amount of muscle you can build for your glutes, exercise such hip thrust, deep squats, cable kickbacks & romanian deadlifts are better options because the higher chances to progressively get stronger with these movements. Now I’m not saying that using bands are bad because they have great benefits for untrained individuals or when combining them with weighted exercises. For example if you perform hip thrust with bands around your legs, the force from the bands will cause you continue to push your knees outward throughout the movement, which from experience, has help increase my muscle to mind connection with my glutes. But just doing band work alone won’t give you the same results as the exercises that I listed above. There’s always a better & more effective way!