Fitcoach99’s WOD

wod

Tabata workout – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 rounds. Rest 1 minute between exercises. (Tabata stop watches available for free in your app store)

  1. Burpees
  2. Dumbbell curls
  3. Scissor kicks
  4. Dips

Total time: 19 Minutes

Good Luck!

Posted in WOD   

Life Changing Fat Loss Hacks You Aren’t Using

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I wanted to share this fantastic article by Eric Weinbrenner.  While I still feel strongly that you should work with a professional and map out a true weight loss plan, this article deserves its kudos for hitting home on really good advice.  For all 7 hacks, check out the full article, but here are the ones I found noteworthy:

Karate Kick Your “Diet”

“Diets don’t work.

Kind of a weird way to start off a list of rules about losing weight, right? But let’s be honest: diets aren’t fun. Massively restricted eating, carrying around tupperware containers (of food you don’t even like), and skipping out on social events? No thanks.

By encouraging a short-term mindset, diets may allow you to lose some fat quickly, but most people end up gaining all of the weight lost back (and more) when their “diet” is over.

Diets rely on willpower, which is actually quite unreliable. Most diets force you to “blacklist” all of the foods that aren’t good for you, like cake and pizza. Do you know what happens when you make something forbidden? You want it even more. You think about it constantly. And before you know it, you’re twelve slices into a deep dish wondering what the heck happened.”

This is one of the first things you’d read in my upcoming e-book, and one of the first pieces of advice you’d get from a professional.  Sustained weight-loss comes only from lifestyle changes, not ‘diets’.  Do yourself a favor and get off the merry-go-round now.

Avoid The “What-The-Hell Effect”

“This concept, first introduced by dieting researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman, describes a cycle of indulgence, regret, and greater indulgence.

Here’s how this plays out in real life: you walk into the break room at work and notice some fresh doughnuts sitting on the table, waiting to be eaten. You start to think about how you’re trying to lose weight and be more fit, but before you know it, you’re halfway through glazed doughnut smothered with sprinkles.

Instead of stopping things right there, throwing the rest of your half-eaten doughnut away and going back to your desk for an apple, you think, “ah, what the hell, I’ve already blown my healthy eating for the day – I’ll just eat three more.”

doughnuts pic jumbo

 

Sound familiar?

Instead of minimizing the harm by stopping an action that isn’t consistent with your goals and making the next best decision to get back on track, you compound one bad decision by make more bad decisions.

Here’s what you need to do instead: no matter what happens, don’t throw yourself farther down into the gutter. Instead make the next best decision to get back on track with your goals.”

I take this a step first in a previous post and say – don’t even start.  Too often ‘what the hell’ is what we think before we even take a bite.  There should be hard and fast rules in your weight management plan that say when you can and when you can cheat.  If it’s a day you can’t, you don’t.  Simple.

Stop Labeling Foods “Good” and “Bad”

“Chicken and broccoli are  “good” while ice-cream and pizza are “bad.” Sounds like a good idea, right? Actually – no. It would seem that by identifying which foods are good, and which are bad, you will be more likely to choose good foods and get closer to your fat loss goals.

But that’s not usually how it works.  Labeling foods “good” and “bad” is actually making it more likely that you will make choices that lead you further away from your fat loss goals. In psychology, there’s something called “moral licensing”, which describes our natural tendency to feel justified about doing something bad after we feel like we’ve done something good.

Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, consider your goals. Before eating a specific food, ask yourself if it will take you closer, or further, from your goals. This allows you to make good decisions without the negative effects of moralizing your food choices.”

I hadn’t heard of this before, but anytime we can leverage psychology I’m all in with both feet.  I have to say though, that this one will take practice as it’s a long nasty habit to label!

Embrace Fast Food

“Is hitting up a drive-through a common experience for you? If so, sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t permission to do that more, and that’s not the kind of “fast food” that we’re talking about. Enter: made-for-you meals.

Thanks to places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other health food stores, it is possible to get the convenience of fast food while staying on track with your fat loss goals. Instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant, swing by a health food store and hit up the fresh salad bar or grab one of the many made-for-you meals like grass-fed chili or cooked chicken, steak, and fish – along with along with different vegetable and bean medleys, fresh salad fixings and more.

When eating typical fast food, it can be easy to knock down a few thousand calories of the scrumptious – yet artery clogging – cuisine in a matter of minutes. Ditch the ‘old’ fast food and embrace the new, healthier version and everything – from your health to your waistline – will benefit positively.”

I often talk about planning and preparing so that you’re not left to make on-the-sport decisions when you’re hungry or strapped for time, both of which are huge pitfalls.  I love this advice, and while I don’t have a whole foods nearby, there is a nice section of prepared foods and a salad bar at my local grocery that I’ve relied on countless times.

If losing weight is one of your resolutions, check out our recommended at-home weight management plans:  www.fitcoach99.net/products

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Fitcoach 99’s WOD

Tabata workout – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 rounds. Rest 1 minute between exercises. (Tabata stop watches available for free in your app store)

  1. Front Squats (weighted if doable)
  2. Kettle-bell Snatches (Right)
  3. Kettle-bell Snatches (Left)
  4. Plank (Advanced: one leg)
  5. Side lunges (Alternate)

Total time: 24 Minutes

Good Luck!

Posted in WOD   

Fitcoach99’s WOD 

Tabata workout – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 rounds. Rest 1 minute between exercises. (Tabata stop watches available for free in your app store)

  1. Push-ups
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. Dumbbell fly
  4. High knees

Total time: 19 minutes

Good luck!

Posted in WOD   

Fitcoach99’s WOD

Tabata workout – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 rounds. Rest 1 minute between exercises. (Tabata stop watches available for free in your app store)

  1. kettle-bell swings (Dumbbells can be used)
  2. 2. Goblet squats (hold kettle-bell or dumbbell in front)
  3. 3. Pike push-ups (substitute overhead press with light weight if you can’t do pikes)
  4. 4. Jackknife crunches

Total time: 19 minutes

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

Posted in WOD   

Fitcoach99’s TOD: It’s More Strategy Than Willpower

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I too often hear people blame their lack of willpower for their dietary slip-ups, which not only derails the day but can also lead to shame and depression.

The truth is, though, that the issue is more attributed to improper planning than internal fortitude.  As they say, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.  Planning removes on-the-fly decision making, which is usually where your willpower is tested.  If you’re hungry and empty handed, it’s pretty certain poor choices will win the day.

Imagine, though, that when lunchtime comes you have a delicious, filling, and clean meal at the ready; and a nutrient dense, tasty snack for the afternoon lull.  Not only will you stay true to your meal plan, you’ll be sated and full of energy, no need for an afternoon nap on this day!

Think it’s too good to be true?  Try it. Build a meal plan for the week and brown bag it when you can’t be home.  You will see it’s much easier to stay on plan without the internal battle of will!

Fitcoach99’s Guide to Eating Out

dining out

I don’t actually remember thinking this last year, but from a weight management perspective, I really can’t wait to be done with this Holiday season. Being at my goal weight and having my weight management plan pretty much on auto pilot (meaning that I put in the gym time and eat relatively clean 5 days a week), doesn’t remotely mean I don’t suffer from temptation and ultimately a strong feeling of deprivation.  Or worse, giving into temptation and feeling the immediate guilt and loss of control.  These are likely relatable feelings, and they are exactly why I can’t wait to get back to my regular lifestyle that isn’t littered with parties, treats, and gift baskets.

What won’t go away after the new year, however, is dining out. It’s a staple activity in our culture and no matter how much you’d prefer to stay home and cook your own meal, for practical purposes (or because you simply enjoy it) it really is unavoidable.   So, unless you want to just throw caution to the wind and deal with the guilt later, I’ve built the following list to help you navigate the experience.

  1. If all else fails, employ portion control. If you’re the type of person that would simply sit with a puss on your face if you were forced to eat a kale salad with grilled chicken, and absolutely must indulge, at least exercise portion control. While this doesn’t avoid poor quality food, eating slowly and only to the point in which you are full will help you dramatically cut down on calories. This is not without its own problems, however, good luck pushing away from the Fettucine Alfredo while a half a bowl still stares back at you. For help on portion control, check out https://www.pinterest.com/pin/25755029092920200/
  2. Stick to lean protein and veggies. Be careful here as proteins in restaurants are usually fatty and bathed nicely in high sugar and salt marinades/sauces (exactly why they’re delicious). Look for chicken or lean cuts of beef (e.g. sirloin) and ask to skip whatever sauce is slathered on. Vegetables should also be as close to natural as possible as even they get a special helping of salt and sugar to make them more palatable. Request them steamed, if possible.
  3. Don’t drink you calories. As a kid I was a soft drink lover and it took a while to break that habit. Finally, though, it has become second nature to skip it even in ‘cheat’ situations. For the most part, I stick to water, unsweetened tea, or seltzer with a splash of fruit juice (go easy here, fruit juice isn’t skinny friendly)
  4. Load up on salad. It’s hard to over eat if you’re already full. Order a big salad, but one that’s loaded with leafy greens and vegetables (avoid the croutons, bacon, cheese, etc). The fiber content will help you feel sated and you’ll be chewing along with everyone else, which helps against feeling deprived.
  5. Don’t order dessert. Please tell me this one is obvious. Get a decaf coffee with skim milk (no sugar!) and engage in conversation. Nothing good is coming from lava cake.

Employing these rules should help you avoid total derailment while you focus on the real purpose of being there: enjoying the company of your favorite friends and family. Also, if dining out has become simply ‘something to do’ on a Saturday night with your significant other, try swapping that ritual for one in which you team-up and cook a meal together (expand your cook book and try new recipes often) and pick a digital movie to watch in your own home theater (keep the butter off the popcorn!).

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The War of Milks!

milk

I’m not a huge milk drinker, other than a splash of non-fat in my morning coffee, so I don’t have a pony in this race, but I’m asked the question often enough that it deserves some attention on this blog.  I will say, however, in my limited needs (e.g. the rare bowl of cereal) I do prefer cow’s milk.  I always grab organic to be sure there are no hormones or antibiotics, but other than that, I don’t fear the sugar (it’s in the natural form of lactose) and I don’t suffer from intolerance.  For those on the fence, or those who may be being into other varieties specifically for the (supposed) nutritional benefit, let’s explore this further.

First, the benefits of Cow’s milk. From a Men’s Health Article by Julie Stewart:

” An 8-ounce glass of whole milk has nearly 8 grams of protein and 149 calories.  For comparison, a 4-ounce skinless roasted chicken breast has 35 grams of protein and 186 calories.  Beyond being easier to chug than chicken, that glass of milk also provides 28 percent of your daily value of calcium and 31 percent of your immunity-boosting, inflammation-reducing vitamin D.  And the saturated fat in milk—even in full-fat form—won’t necessarily hurt your heart. A European Journal of Nutrition study found that people 55 and older who consumed 4 ounces of full-fat dairy a day were 12 percent less likely to suffer fatal strokes than those who consumed low-fat dairy.”

 

I will call out that if you’re fighting to save calories for the purposes of weight management, the low-fat and fat free version saves you a handful.  Regarding the sugar content, the articles offers this:

And sure, cow’s milk also contains sugar, but it’s in the form of lactose, which may not drive up your blood sugar as quickly as sucrose—the kind you’re likely to ingest in processed goods like nut milks.”

If you’re an almond, soy, or rice Milk drinker, the article provides a nice and neat pros and cons list”

ALMOND MILK
The Upside
Unsweetened almond milk has just 30 calories per cup, which is less than half the calorie load of even skim milk. The stuff tastes pretty good too, especially when you use it to thin out your homemade smoothies.
The Downside
If you think this drink is a good protein source, you’re nuts: It has 1 gram of protein per cup. And while almonds have research-backed heart benefits, it’s less clear if their milk is as good, says nutritionist Alissa Rumsey, R.D. Those perks come from the healthy fats and fiber of unprocessed almonds.

 

SOY MILK
The Upside
Soy milk has the most protein of all the nondairy options–about 7 grams per 80-calorie cup. Mississippi State University research suggests it also has cancer-fighting properties; its isoflavones may lower cancer cell growth.
The Downside
Soy contains phytoestrogens, plant-based hormones that may, in excess, lead to dips in testosterone. Up to four servings a day, however, shouldn’t hurt, says MH nutrition advisor Alan Aragon, M.S. Oh, and watch out for sugar: One cup of Silk Very Vanilla has 15 grams of sugar.

 

RICE MILK
The Upside
If you have dairy, nut, or soy allergies, rice milk is a good option. Most brands are enriched with vitamin D, calcium, and B12. And if gluten is something you’re concerned about, don’t worry–rice milk is naturally gluten-free.
The Downside
Rice milk contains virtually no protein. Plus, like most rice-based foods, rice milk might harbor small amounts of toxins. In a study from Mississippi State University, samples of rice milk contained traces of arsenic, in some cases exceeding the levels the EPA allows in drinking water. Scary stuff.

To read the full article, visit: http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/do-new-milks-deliver

 

 

HIIT Training – Maximizing Your Workout

 

afterburn

One of the biggest obstacles to keeping to a training regimen is finding the time within our busy schedules. After all, between careers, raising children, cultivating personal relationships and every other responsibility that competes for our precious time, it is a very valid concern.  That being the case, it should be within our best interest to maximize the limited time we can dedicate to exercise.  As a matter of simple mathematics,  why spend 60 minutes when you can achieve similar (if not better) results in 30?  The answer is obvious, yet, it’s surprising how few people design their workouts within this framework.

Based on first hand conversations, folks who are not dedicated gym rats and fitness buffs tend to immediately gravitate toward walking, slow jogging (outside or a treadmill) or the elliptical machine, using it as the basis of the workout, rather than a complimentary activity.  These types of exercises are known as steady-state cardio, meaning that it’s performed at the same pace for the duration, and tends to be done at a low to moderate intensity.  The main logic behind it is to keep the body in the fat-burning zone, allowing the body to draw energy from fat rather than glucose.  It should be noted that it typically takes at least 20 minutes to move into fat stores for energy and the body never completely draws from one source of energy, but consistently tries to keep the system at it’s most efficient best.

While it’s not my intent to attack or defend this position, it is my intent to categorize steady-state cardio as an inefficient means to fat-loss.

From an article by Rachel Cosgrove written for TNation:

”Back in 2008, I wrote a controversial article for T Nation: The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin. In it, I talked about how my body composition suffered when training for an Ironman Triathlon. Despite twenty hours per week of endurance training, time spent mostly in the so-called “fat burning zone”, I barely lost any fat and definitely lost muscle, even with a controlled diet plan and a couple of weight training sessions per week.

This solidified my belief that steady-state aerobics is absolutely, completely, utterly ineffective for fat loss. Long, steady-state endurance is not the answer for a defined, lean physique, and it’s a waste of time if your goal is long term fat loss. Endurance work is only the answer if your goal is to compete in an endurance event, not if you want to actually look your best. If you want to lose fat but not look like a soft endurance athlete, metabolic interval training is the way to go.”

 Read Rachel’s full article here: https://www.t-nation.com/training/death-of-steady-state-cardio

So if plugging in the earphones and grinding out 60 minutes on the treadmill isn’t the answer, what it is?

High Intensity Interval Training seemingly has the answer.  From a 2014 post on 12minuteathlete.com:

“Studies have shown that high intensity workouts like the workouts on the site and in the 12 Minute Athlete app can burn upwards of 12 to 22 calories per minute.  Compare that to about 10 that you burn exercising moderately (jogging, biking, etc.), and that seems pretty awesome.”

In addition to the calories burned within the routine itself, there is the afterburn effect.

The afterburn effect refers to the amount of calories and fat that your body is able to burn post-workoutVarious studies have shown that high intensity interval training can burn up to nine times more fat when compared to steady-state, low intensity cardio workouts—and increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours afterwards (moderate intensity workouts only burn calories during the actual workout, not afterwards).”

 Read the full article here: http://www.12minuteathlete.com/calories/

If that isn’t enough, many HIIT routines are designed to build lean muscle mass, which in itself should be a primary goal (one which is completely overlooked if your entire routine is simply steady-state cario).  Muscle is more ‘expensive’ for the body to maintain, so it burns more calories at rest.  The gradual loss of muscle that we experience as we age is at least partly responsible for our gradual weight gain over time.

So, having trouble finding the time to work out?  A quick google or YouTube search should provide you with more than enough options to bang out a high intensity workout less time, and provide you with a myriad of additional health benefits.

Much like Rachel Cosgrove, I have completely removed steady-state cardio from my workouts completely, and have so for over a decade.

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Why I mostly avoid community posts!

why

A funny thing happened a decade ago when I quit my nicotine habit. In the early days of the process (yes, it was a long, arduous one), I was using the patch and, as often advised to me, I joined a few communities to take advantage of the buddy system, so to speak. I read that doing it with others can help success rates. However, and I don’t know if this is just me or a counter-intuitive phenomenon, but the more I read about their struggles, the harder I found it to cope myself. It was almost as if reading about it made it seem even harder. Even if I wasn’t craving at the moment, reading about about their difficulty made it seem nearly insurmountable to me. Eventually, I stopped visiting sites, did some research on what exactly was happening with my mind and body while quitting, which made sense of the withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and decided to stop using the patch. I ended up quitting cold turkey from that day on, and haven’t since used nicotine at all.

I say this because it relates to weight management as well. Over the past few months, I’ve been visiting weight-loss community boards and blogs in hopes of lending support, encouragement, and advice. Now, before I go further, let me tell you that I’m already at my goal weight and usually don’t stray too far from it, even over Holidays. I ‘m in the gym 5 x’s a week and can count on a single hand how many workouts I’ve missed this year. I eat clean 5 days a week and relax a little on weekends (only because i’m at my goal, I didn’t do that in weight-loss mode). I’m only saying this to say that my weight management plan is pretty much set in stone and on auto-pilot. This is my lifestyle and I’m 100% in love with it.

Now, As I’ve been visiting these sites and blogs and reading the struggles of those that are either just starting out or severely struggling, I’m looking at it from their eyes and even I’m finding it hard. Reading about having to drag themselves to the gym after work and how hard that is for them, or having to keep super strict on a diet when they really want to indulge in Holiday foods, even i started thinking wow this is really hard! meanwhile, this is my life! It’s such a strange thing for me, but I almost want to stop reading!

My point? I can’t imagine not living my life the way I do. I feel amazing, I love how I look, I’m rarely sick and I’m very happy. Those are my motivations to continue as is and it’s a wonderful thing, not something I struggle with. I’ll reiterate that I’ve only ever read that it’s a good thing to join a support group, so by all means, please continue to do so, but maybe be aware of how your time with that group makes you feel. If you find yourself like I was, completely frustrated and negative afterwards, maybe you should try a different approach.  I immediately did better without it.