30 Days of Motivation
How many times have you left the gym feeling discouraged? Whether it was because your workout got interrupted fifty times, or you were lacking the energy you needed to hit it hard, it’s easy to forget you did something truly amazing – you showed up.
We all tend to focus on abilities, power, strength and performance, and forget that a bad day in the gym is still better than most people’s average day. There will always be someone faster, stronger, more powerful and more athletic, but most people’s weakness is not how they perform once they get to the gym – their weakness is not getting to the gym at all.
You strive to live healthy, lift strong and train hard, but you can’t forget the commitment you’ve made to keep showing up. Every day you show up, whether your workout is good, bad or ugly, you should celebrate because you followed through – and that requires a strength of it’s own. (love this pic from Patty’s page, Reach-YourPeak.com). Everyone who finishes their workout should get two thumbs up!
While your performance may determine the pace of your progress, your consistency is the most powerful component of your workout program.
It takes discipline to wake up an hour early so you can run before you get the kids up. It takes determination to go to the gym even after a long hard day at on the job. It takes willpower to look past the pizza everyone else is eating and focus on the prize. Even on your weakest day in the gym, you are strong as an ox.
Ok, so I’m actually giving you 31 Days of Motivation! Consider this a bonus day! I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s theme of daily motivational mantras and encouragement. Yesterday, in “Fat Will Surrender“, I talked about why we struggle with weight loss at the beginning of a fitness program. We talked about fat vs muscle, and I explain how there’s a lot going on inside the body that the scale will not report initially.
Today, I will talk more about muscle. I’ll talk about what the mysterious muscle weight gain is all about, and give you some red flags to look for as well. Hopefully, by the time you are done reading, you are fired back up to hit it even harder in the gym, and tackle February with the same fever as you had in January. Now, let’s get to it!
Muscle Gain vs. Bulking Up
The balancing act I talked about yesterday, between fat and muscle, typically only happens in the beginning of a program. Another words, you won’t continue to keep gaining 4lbs of muscle every few weeks. It is not that easy to gain actual muscle (without the help of serious supplements – and drugs). Also, don’t think of this weight gain as truly muscle – like a bodybuilder tries to “bulk up”. This weight gain is from loose, flat, out-of-shape muscle (picture a deflated balloon) filling back up and coming back to life (picture a fully-inflated balloon).
You see, the increased muscle weight comes from storing more glycogen and water in the muscle cells from the increased activity. It’s basically an initial gain of increased water weight – but the good kind. We want our muscles full because that’s what makes our muscles firm and shapely. That weight will level out and, then eventually as you lose weight, you should start to see your weight drop on the scale as your fat loss outweighs your muscle gain. If you don’t (red flag), then somethings wrong.
You Have to Consider, You Might Be Wrong
People LOVE to find a reason for why they are where they are. They want solution without making changes or working any harder. As a result, many people that read this will hear what they want to hear, and all they hear is “muscle weighs more than fat“. They lock onto that truth, and use it every time the scale doesn’t budge. Before you know it, they’ve used “i’m probably just gaining muscle and losing fat” as their ongoing excuse all year long – but this isn’t an ongoing process. Yes, it happens, but it won’t continue to happen all year long, so don’t use that as an excuse to convince yourself you are doing good, when you know good and well you need to crack down a little more. If your scale has been stuck for over 30 days, you are likely doing something wrong.
Unfortunately, people also LOVE to use that phrase to encourage people when the scale doesn’t move. Many times they are just wishing the person would shut up and quit their complaining, but telling someone what they want to hear isn’t helpful. That only enables them to continue doing what they are doing, and feel better about it. If you truly want them to quit complaining, tell them to do whatever it takes to figure out what they can improve on. While this weight plateau can definitely happen during a course of the first 3-4 weeks of a program – if the scale is sticking after that, it’s time to do some major troubleshooting. They may not want to accept they are doing something wrong, especially when they are doing so much right, but they will thank you later.
What to Expect
To give you an idea of what to expect, for an average person taking one of our 6-week boot camp programs, we often have people gain 4-6lbs of muscle and lose anywhere from 6-15lbs of fat (depending on how much they have to lose). Since we do a midterm analysis, we can see that the majority of the muscle gain is already happened in the first half of boot camp. So, by the midterm weigh-in, they normally have lost 5-6lbs of fat and gained 3-6lbs of muscle – but the scale might only show a small drop in weight – or none at all. However, after they see what’s REALLY going on inside, they get encouraged to push through to the end for the next step, which, normally, is primarily all fat loss. If they continue through boot camp at the same rate, they might end boot camp with another 3-6lbs of fat lost, but their muscle weight will be the same – resulting in 10-12lbs of fat lost overall.
What You Need to Know
1.) If you have ALREADY been training hard, you may not experience this muscle increase because your muscles are already full and tone. So, you should experience fat loss (and weight loss) pretty soon in the program compared to someone who might just be starting out.
2.) If you have a LOT to lose, you should experience fat loss pretty quickly in the program. If you aren’t, then you are likely replacing the calories burned with eating more. Since exercise does boost your metabolism, it’s easy to also boost eating without even realizing it. That’s why I preach counting calories. The fact of the matter is, if you have a lot to lose, you will lose a lot more than someone who has a little to lose – so expect bigger numbers.
3.) If you are NOT consistent with your exercise, your muscle weight can go up and down as you muscles fill back up when you exercise, and then “deflate” when you aren’t working out. If you want consistent results, you need to stay consistent in your routine, or the scale will be all over the place and drive you crazy!
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn through out the day and the more energetic you’ll feel to go out there and burn even more calories. So, embrace that muscle – and know it will only help you to seriously kick fat’s butt!
When you can’t catch your breath, when your muscles are on fire, when your alarm goes off before your early am workout, when you’re hungry, when you’re tired, when the scale won’t budge, when you’re feeling sorry for yourself for how hard you are working to lose weight and get fit this year…Just know this; “Fat WILL Surrender”.
If you are doing everything right, counting calories, and working out regularly, fat WILL eventually surrender and give up the fight. Sometimes it takes a while to break a plateau. Sometimes it takes a while to see the results you want. But, IF you are doing everything right, fat will have to eventually raise the white flag.
Fat and Muscle, What Happens Behind the Scenes
Just because your scale hasn’t budged YET, doesn’t mean you aren’t wearing fat down. You could literally be losing fat and gaining muscle – and your weight could be the same (while you are losing fat). Of course, over time, your weight will eventually drop, but it is common for the scale to remain the same in the beginning of a fitness program because of these changes going on inside.
Our muscle gets fuller from the new activity, causing them to weigh more. That’s why our muscles feel firm and “pumped up”. While our muscles fill out, we are also simultaneously losing body fat, but our weight appears to balance out on the scale (or worse, it actually goes UP!). Have no fear. Just because you don’t see the changes on the scale doesn’t mean you have SERIOUS changes going on inside.
Look at this photo of me holding a replica of 5lbs of fat (left) and 5lbs of muscle (right). See how much smaller 5lbs of muscle is compared to 5lbs of fat? This is why we can appear smaller, but our weight can be the same. That’s also why you can swear you are losing weight, then get on the scale, only to be discouraged that the scale is not agreeing with your belt. Your belt says you’ve lost in your waist, but the scale acts like no changes have been made. If you are feeling thinner, you are right. You are getting thinner – and eventually, the scale will agree.
If Only We Had X Ray Fitness Vision
Without doing a fancy body composition analysis (like the one we have, called the InBody), it’s hard to believe what is really going on. Yet, if you could see that you’ve lost 4lbs of fat and gained 4lbs of muscle, you could celebrate – and let that information motivate you to press on. Unforunately, it’s around this time that people give up. They let the scale sabotage their progress. They’ve worked harder than they ever have before, yet they aren’t getting the reward they want on the scale, so they quit – and they quit RIGHT before the scale would have started to show major progress.
Tomorrow, I will go deeper into fat vs. muscle – and I will address some of the exceptions to the rule, as well as some warnings. I will also give you some ideas of what to expect while you are working toward your goal. If you don’t subscribe, be sure to subscribe today so you don’t miss it!
Remember, the key to any fitness program is remembering you are a science project – and science projects have many variables. You have to understand that weight loss may take some trial and error ..and a lot of patience. Just promise me this: Keep Showing Up and Never Give Up! If you do that, Fat WILL Surrender To You!
Learn more about healthy weight loss:
Get weight loss tips and find helpful BMI and calorie counter tools at Reader’s Digest Health section
Here’s a million dollar question for you: Why is it SO hard to diet? Well, the answer is easy. We have issues! HaHa! Seriously, we have 6 common issues, or situations we find our self in on a regular basis, that we need to learn to face WITHOUT food.
Problem: One of the most common reasons people eat is out of pure boredom. This is most common in the evenings. It’s not like the world will come crashing down around us if we watch TV without a bowl of snacks, but for some reason we feel the need to feed as soon as our fat butts hit the couch. Think about this: 300 extra calories of junk a night is enough to ruin a 3-mile run – and if you aren’t working out, 300 extra calories a day for 365 days a year adds up to a whopping 30lbs of fat!
Solution: Snacking is just a bad habit. You have a learned behavior to entertain your tongue while you entertain your brain, and it probably started as a child. Fixing this bad habit is easy as saying your ABCs! A.) Go cold turkey, and teach yourself not to eat when you are bored. B.) Trade a bad habit with a good one, by learning how to eat lower calorie items instead. C.) Find something better to occupy your time, like going for a walk or going to bed early. People who stay up late watching TV have more time to be tempted. You may just be better off going to bed and getting your beauty rest.
Problem: In my opinion, laziness is one of the primary reasons we have a restaurant on every corner. Often times we don’t feel like cooking after a hard day’s work. So, we eat out because it’s easy. We like to be served – who doesn’t?! We don’t have to cook and we don’t have to clean up afterwards. Another reason people are tempted to eat out, or eat poorly, is because we make it too difficult to eat healthy. Our meals may be too complicated and time-consuming, and our snacks may not be realistic for our needs. So, we a grab quick fix or head to our favorite restaurant.
Solution: If you simplify your recipes, cooking won’t seem so overwhelming. But, if you know cooking a meal means spending 45 minutes in the kitchen, slaving over the stove, you will probably do anything to avoid it. Always keep some foods that are quick to cook, like frozen vegetable Steamers and defrosted meats. This will require changing your shopping habits. You can have the best intentions at the grocery store, but you also have to make realistic choices you can actually use in the kitchen.
Problem: We live in a world filled with instant gratification. We don’t like to wait for ANYthing, and this includes food. Being hungry makes us impatient. The hungrier we get, the more impatient we get – but patience wouldn’t be needed if we weren’t so hungry to begin with.
Solution: Hunger makes us stupid. Seriously, we do some of the dumbest things when we are hungry, so the solution to the problem is to avoid being that hungry to begin with. Keep healthy snacks, like a bag of almonds or a protein bar, nearby. So, when you get hungry, you can have a couple of bites of the bar to hold you off until you can eat something healthy. Better yet, snack periodically BEFORE you even start to get hungry to begin with. By the time lunch or dinner rolls around, you can make healthier choices – and think with your brain, instead of think with your stomach.
Problem: This is probably one of my own biggest personal stumbling blocks. I do GREAT – as long as I’m prepared. But, as soon as I eat up all my healthy groceries, and no longer have healthy choices on hand, my diet goes out the window.
Solution: Make grocery shopping and cooking a priority. Don’t let your kitchen run low on the things you need to eat healthy. It is impossible to eat healthy if you don’t shop healthy. Set 2 days a week you can cook in bulk so you always have prepared food in the refrigerator. Keep a good supply of Tupperware to make it easier to bring leftovers to work.
5. Emotional Satisfaction
Problem: We turn to food to satisfy our emotions. We eat when we have something to celebrate, and we eat when we have something to cry about. I don’t know why we turn to food to feed our emotions, but almost everyone does it.
Solution: We have to reprogram our brain. Some people have trained their body to want to go for a run when they are mad, or lift weights when they are stressed, but that didn’t just happen on its own. Those are trained behaviors, which you can also implement. At first, you’ll have to purposefully think of what the best response would be but, eventually, your body will catch on.
Problem: When you have money in your pocket, it’s hard not to spend it – and, if you have food in front of you, it’s hard not to eat it. Allowing yourself to be in a position where you are constantly exposed to food, is a great way to set yourself up for failure.
Solution: First, tell friends about your goals and request fewer outings centered on food. Second, Avoid going to events hungry so you aren’t as tempted to eat poorly. Third, drink a LOT of water. Keeping a glass in your hand, and your belly full of agua, can help you resist nibbling. Lastly, learn to say no. The key to saying no is to not even think about it first. As soon as you entertain the thought of tasting something you have said “maybe” – and maybe is the beginning to saying “yes”.
If you want to succeed this year, you have to figure out which of these above problems could be holding you back. As soon as you diagnosis your problems, you can begin to tackle them and develop the right solutions for you. With a little trial and error, you CAN learn to face your issues withOUT the need to feed!
Today’s Motivation: You have the power to change your future by what you do today. Food no longer has to boss you around. YOU are the boss! YOU are in control! And, YOU CAN SUCCEED – and that success can start today!
In yesterday’s blog I talked about how it would take 8,250 sit ups to erase one cheeseburger. Why did I pick sit ups for the exercise? I didn’t choose it because it’s the most effective exercise. I chose to use sit ups as my example simply because many people are still under the impression you can work your belly off with ab exercises.
While many people would say it’s a “no-brainer”, that you need to do cardio to burn calories (or stored fat) over doing a specific exercise to target one area, tell that to the millions of people who spend their hard-earned money on silly ab-flattening devices. Why? Because dumping money on a chance to get abs with ease is a lot more tempting than trimming down the hard (and right) way.
If you want to lose your belly fat, tighten your midsection, and see a six-pack, here are 25 ways to waste your money.
25 Ab Gadgets You DON’T Need
- Ab Rocket
- Ab Glider
- Ab Lounge
- Six Second Abs
- Ab Roller
- Ab Rocker
- Ab Wheel
- Ab Doer
- Ab Flyer
- Ab Force
- Abs of Steel
- Ab Coaster
- Go-Fit Core Ab Ball
- Flex Belt Abs Toner
- Waist Trimmer
- The Crazy Abs
- Ab Energizer
- Ab Circle Pro
- Semi-Recumbent Ab Bench
- Abmat Abdominal Exerciser
- Slendertone Abdominal Muscle Toner
- Body by Jake Abs Exerciser
- Ab Rocket Twister
- Velform Sauna Belt
- Multi Core Flex Pro Ab Gym
NOTE: If you are bowing up right now, and about to post a comment telling me how much you love your Ab Wheel, hold your breath. I’m not saying that some of the ab devices don’t actually work your abs (although most of the items on the list are junk). What I’m saying is, you don’t need them to get great abs – plain and simple!
Fact or Fiction: You Can Target Belly Fat
If you REALLY want to get rid of all those past mistakes stuck to your belly, you need to improve your diet and do cardio. There’s really no other way around it. You can’t target fat, and isolate what you want to lose, and what you don’t. Answer is No. You can’t target belly fat.
For instance, you can’t hop on the Ab Wheel and lose just belly fat, just as much as you can’t do a bunch of cardio to just lose belly fat – but here’s what you CAN expect.
Ab Machines: Tighten, strengthen, build, and tone specific muscles.
Tip: Ab machines are great for tightening stomach muscles, which can make it easier to hold your stomach in, and keep your tummy flat. They also can help build each individual abdominal muscle (the “cube-like” squares) so your abs have that six-pack appearance. The leaner you get, the more definition you will see.
Cardio Machines: Burn calories, burn fat, and improve overall muscle tone.
Tip: Cardio helps melt the fat that covers your abdominal muscles. If you do cardio that incorporates upper body movement, like boxing, running, elliptical, and aerobics, you can increase calorie burn and tighten the core from the rotation in your upper body. However, the primary reason most people do cardio is to burn calories to manage weight.
Diet: Controls body weight, body fat, and muscle mass.
Tip: Even if you do abs exercises, and do a ton of cardio, none of that matters if you replace the calories burned by just eating more food. That’s why diet is SO important while on the quest for six-pack abs.
Here is a great workout that will get your heart rate up, as well as tone your core!
5-Minute Abs Circuit
Do each exercise for 60 seconds each, back to back, with little to no rest between exercises. I use the Gymboss Interval Timer to track my time.
Repeat 3 – 5 times
Today’s Motivational Quote:
We think about what we can, and cannot, afford to spend all the time – but do you ever wonder what you can afford to eat?
There are just as many repercussions to eating more than you can afford to eat, than spending more than you can afford to spend. In addition to weight gain, many unnecessary health issues stem from poor eating habits. Yet, we rarely see food in that light.
If menus placed the required exercise to erase each item, I believe we’d change our mind about what we wanted to eat pretty quickly. But, out of sight means out of mind. The same way work adds value to money, physical work adds value to a calorie – and unless you track it, calories will remain valueless, and meaningless.
Next time you decide you want to cheat on your diet, don’t try to decide whether you deserve it or not, decide whether you are willing to work it off or not. Because, eventually, you WILL have to work it off just like you would have to pay off a bill. Whether you have to work off the weight gained from irresponsible eating, or you have to work off the damage it has done to your health – believe me, you WILL pay eventually.
The cost and calories in the above graphic are for a regular Five Guys Cheeseburger. I calculated the calories burned doing sit ups using LoseIt.com. To test what YOU can afford, log your calories and activity daily. Just for fun, try looking up exercises on the LoseIt app and see how long you would have to exercise to erase some of your favorite foods.
In 2013, let’s not just eat healthier, let’s eat smarter!
Since I have many new followers, I wanted to pull out one of my favorite workouts to share with you. Many people tell me they either workout at home, or they travel a lot and have to workout on the road. Well, if you thought not being a member to a gym was a good excuse, it’s not! Although a gym can definitely boost results and give you more tools to help you reach your goal, you most definitely can do some serious damage at home – just with your body weight. Here is a workout that demonstrates how 4 simple exercises can kick your butt. Enjoy!!
Click on the workout below to view the matching video with Steve.
Get more of these workouts at www.DoBCx.com. View this workout at http://goo.gl/j26k8.
This was a mantra Steve just created and, I loved it so much, I just HAD to put it in my 30 days of motivation. Be encouraged! If you are tempted to give up, remember this mantra. Plus, you’ll never regret trying, but you will always regret quitting.
#getafterit this weekend!
When I was growing up, I always said “the grass may be greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed”. I have no idea what made me think of that, but I remember as a kid knowing that just because something looked better didn’t mean it didn’t require work.
Like our yard, our body is a direct reflection of how well we take care of it. We can nourish it, sculpt it, cut away dead grap, get rid of the garbage and maintain it to look exactly how we want it to look. OR, we can ignore it and let it grow out of control, unshapely and malnourished.
Next time you see a physique you like (like this smoking hot mystery chick I found), remember you could most likely look like that too if you took as good of care of your body as they did.
Not deciding to make a decision to get fit is making the decision to stay the same today. The problem is, as each day passes, you continue to get more and more out of shape – as well as waste valuable time you could be making progress. Unfortunately, if you don’t make a decision to start today, six months from now you will look back and realize how far you would have gotten if you just had acted on your desire to change your life today.
The decision you make today is not just about what you are doing within this 24 hour period – it’s what you are STARTING, and how your decision will impact your future.
Don’t make decisions (or NOT make decisions) you will regret later. Make yourself proud.