5 Surprising Benefits of Fitness Fads and Gimmicks

Shake WeightI’m the first to admit, how hard it is to keep a straight face when you are watching the shake weight informercial. The million dollar question is, “Can a fitness gimmick like the shake weight actually help someone?” Before talk shop about products, let’s talk about the “someone”.

As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen it all. I’ve met people from all walks of life, every shape and every fitness level. I’ve met so many different people at the beginning of their fitness journey and I think what most fitness enthusiasts forget forget there are SO many levels of “beginners” out there. You may feel like a beginner, but you already walk 2-3 times a week. However, that may be very advanced to someone else.

2000px-As_seen_on_TV.svg

As a I do more work for fitness products and informercials (like you see in the Chair Gym infomercial below), I get exposed to all kinds of fitness products. What I have realized more than ever is I’m the minority. There are so many people who have never worked out a day in their life or have never stepped foot into a gym. Sadly, that is the majority.

While I may never personally use some of these products on a regular basis, (mostly because I own a gym and do everything there), I have had the opportunity to see how they actually can help people. This came as a bit of a surprise to me honestly.

Chair GymMy point is, there is something for everyone and “starting” looks very different for different people. For example, when my mom first set out to lose weight, her first step was not into a gym or even down a specific grocery aisle in search for healthier foods. Her first step to a healthier life included a pen and notebook. Before she went on her first walk, she picked up her first fitness tools; a journal and my Get Pfit Workbook. She journaled and studied for 3 months.

You see, before you start actually getting fit and healthy, you have to WANT to get fit and healthy – but that takes hope. Something or someone has to give you hope. For my mom, knowledge gave her that hope. As she studies and did some soul searching along the way, she began to muster up enough energy to start her fitness and weight loss journey.

The next step included getting a rickety home gym treadmill. This was her first fitness purchase. Many people tease about their treadmill collected dust or being a clothes hanger, but it worked for my mom. While it was it wasn’t the best quality unit on the market, she used it. It was her beginning.

Rosalie BradfordLet’s look at another example. Did you ever hear of the story of the lady, Rosalie Bradford, who once held the Guinness World Record as the world’s heaviest woman? Her beginning exercise was clapping to a Richards Simmons VHS tape while she was in bed. Richard Simmons actually visited her and gave her the hope she needed to believe she could make a difference even if she couldn’t actually do his workout videos. So, instead, she would just clap to the beat while watching Simmons workout. Low and behold, that was her start to a complete transformation, losing 769 pounds.

So, while you may laugh at the sequined trainer dancing to the oldies, but it wasn’t a joke to her. It changed her life.

There are so many products out there. Many of them are actually great and many of them are less than stellar, but there’s more to an effective workout tool than the actual tool itself. These 5 benefits of fitness fads and gimmicks may surprise you.

5 Surprising Benefits of Fitness Fads and Gimmicks

richard-simmons1. It can give hope.

Just like how Richard Simmons encouraging Rosalie to clap her hands gave her much-needed hope, fitness products can do the same. For instance, even if a product only focuses on one body part (like the abs or just the thighs), it may give them the hope they need to get started on a total body fitness journey. And, even if it doesn’t scratch the surface of what they should be doing, it can be the beginning of a new healthier lifestyle. Some people just need to know they can do something, and that something doesn’t have the be the perfect thing, but just some thing. 

For more advanced fitness enthusiasts, some people enjoy collecting “toys”. You never know what new product, supplement or DVD can help you break your plateau or take you to the next level. As we plateau we can lose hope so even the smallest little gadget can be beneficial.

fun fitness2. It can be a motivational tool.

I recently tested a new ab product (which hasn’t come out yet) and I can honestly say I was skeptical at first. Most fitness professionals would definitely label this product as a fitness gimmick. However, I found when I used it, it motivated me to do even more work on my abs. Although I know the product alone won’t give me a 6-pack, it made me more aware of my core and my posture. It not only motivated me to maintain better poster and work harder on my core, it motivated me to take my diet up a notch too so I could uncover my hard work. While I know good and well this product is the solution to everyone’s bulging belly, I have to say proved to be beneficial for me.

Fitness_Chronicles_8_Mistakes_Beginners_Make_09.30.133. It can encourage you to seek more knowledge.

If you get a new fitness apparatus, it will likely require a bit of education and instruction so you know how to use it properly. Oftentimes this instruction overlaps to other new information and equipment. For instance, you may have never done one bicep curl before, but may you find yourself holding the shake weight and doing bicep curls for the first time just because you decided to give the vibrating dumbbell a try.

When I get a new fitness tool, I’m so much more apt to do more research online to learn more ways to use that tool. As I explore exercises, I often find more workouts and fitness equipment to try. Since knowledge truly is power, the more knowledgeable I become, the more motivated I am to apply the knowledge.

boring exercise4. It can prevent boredom.

There are so many fads and gimmicks that come and go, but they can entertain you for the time they are here. That is why it’s important for gyms to try new workout classes (like we recently started the new rocker workout called POUND at our gym). Anything you do or use for any length of time can get old over time so buying a new fad fitness tool for your home gym can help spice up an old boring workout.

5. We learn from our failures.

smiling yogiEven if a fitness gimmick doesn’t give you the results you want, you can learn from your mistakes. You will learn what you like and what you don’t like. You will learn more about fitness, as well as learn more ways to workout. I always encourage everyone to try every class and piece of equipment at the gym, and I think the same applies for home fitness.

NOTE: You can try a TON of different workout videos at LiveExercise.com. From yoga to kettlebell workouts – they have something for everyone. A subscription site like LiveExercise is a great way to get a ton of content for very little investment.

Remember, as long as you keep trying products and exercises, you are not giving up – and that is the only way you really can fail.

 

BUTT Wait ,Theres More! 40 Exercises for the Backside

little girl on beachWe are all born with the most amazing perky little compact bubble butts. I’m always baffled by how cute and bubbley little girl’s little tushes are. (And I secretly envy them.)

Once upon a time, I too had that cutie patootie. But, over time, that little perfect perky bottom went through a lot of changes over the years. It went through its fair share of ups and downs (literally!).

Without exercise and a healthy diet, our cute little rear can easily get bigger, flatter, wider and saggier if we don’t work on it.

If you are not pleased with your backside, then it’s time to get to work! But, before you do, here are 5 things you need to know before you do your first squat.

Before You Begin…

Bubble Butt1. Decrease Calories. As we age, we lose muscle and we gain fat. If you want to shape up, reduce your calories to reduce excess body fat. This will dramatically change the shape of your derriere.

2. Increase Protein. The bottom’s shape is not just dependent on losing body fat, but also gaining muscle mass. Strength training is what develops fit looking muscles and creates that bubble butt shape. This is where protein comes in. As we break down the muscle in the gym, protein is an essential part of rest, recovery and repair.  By boosting protein in your diet, you’ll boost your caboose.

3. Run Less. Running is always the go-to exericse for fat loss, but it also can make a flat butt even flatter. Since running doesn’t require a lot of muscle strength, you can actually lose precious muscle when you really want to lose body fat.  (Read my blog “Runner’s Beware: 4 Things You Need to Know“).

Instead of slow long runs, do more interval training. For instance, do a shorter walk/job cardio workout instead of a slow and steady run. Interval training burns more calories and more fat, while toning muscle.

4. Lift Like a Boy. Many girls avoid lifting heavy in fear of “bulking up”. However, most women don’t have the testerone needed for that kind of bulking. And, if you are the kind of woman who bulks up easily, think of it this way. If you have soccer legs to begin with, you’ll just have much fitter, more tone soccer legs after training. It’s your call. Do you want fat or PFAT?! :)

So, are you ready to start working that butt off? Here are my top 40 bootilicious exercises to add to your fitness library. Click on the exercise to view video demonstration.

40 Bubble Butt Exercises

  1. Bodyweight Bridgesbarbell-glute-bridge
  2. Single Leg Glute Bridge
  3. Weighted Glute Bridge on Floor 
  4. Weighted Glute Bridge on Bench
  5. Deadlifts
  6. Weighted Step Back Lunge (one leg at a time)
  7. SIde Lungelunge
  8. Lunge Kick
  9. Lunge Pass Throughs
  10. Plyo Lunge Jump 
  11. Walking Lunges
  12. Bulgarian Split Squat
  13. Curtsy
  14. Stomps
  15. Knee Repeater
  16. Donkey Kicks
  17. Step Ups (one leg at a time)
  18. Cook Hip LiftDeep Squat
  19. Straight Leg Deadlift
  20. Romanian Straight Leg Deadlift
  21. 1-Leg Straight Leg Deadlift with Dumbbells
  22. Straight Leg Cable (or resistance Band) Kickback
  23. Reistance Bank Kickback
  24. Barbell Squats
  25. 1-Leg Sit to Stand 
  26. Pistol Squats
  27. Plie Squat
  28. In and Out Squats
  29. Jump Squats
  30. Side Lying Leg Lifts (3-positions)
  31. Sumo SquatSquat
  32. Air Squats
  33. Lateral Band Walk
  34. Single Leg Press
  35. Bench Flutter Kicks
  36. Skater
  37. Mary Catherines
  38. Ball LCurl
  39. Clam
  40. Reistance Bank Kickback

Try This!

Steve demonstrates how to do his 3-position leg lifts for some gluteal bliss.

What is YOUR favorite glute exercise?

Fitness Motivation: Ordinary People Do the Extraordinary

Andreia_BrazierWhen we see photos of fitness competitors and professional athletes, it can be very motivating for some people – but very discouraging for others. It’s easy to set ourselves apart from the professionals, or from people we think we can’t relate to, and think to ourselves “I could never do that”.  But, when I see someone with my own struggles, it gives me hope and I am instantly encouraged.

The fact of the matter is, we can’t judge a book by its cover. Just because someone has succeeded doesn’t mean they didn’t have their own obstacles to overcome. They may have also at one point and time doubted their own potential. The only difference is they didn’t let it keep them from trying to be their very best.

That is why it is SO important to share their stories with you. And, if you have found fitness success, that is why it is SO important to document your journey and share YOUR story with others. You may be the next success story someone needs to hear.

That is why I put this video together of some of our competitors. Our competitors come in all shapes and sizes, different ages and backgrounds. And, after you watch this video, you’ll see they all learned something – not just about fitness, but about themselves. You’ll understand why a bunch of people took the plunge to face their fears and do something so crazy, so scary, so bold, so intense and so out there.

Get ready to be inspired, encouraged and motivated. Because, they are proof that ordinary people can do very extraordinary things.

Follow more max members and join the conversation with #mymaxlife

Transformations

Heidi & Mike  Jenn Maryann Dennis 2Kimmy mattleigh  Mike D

See more transformations and meet more of our competitors at www.maxfitnessclub.com.

NPC Bikini Competition: 10 Reasons To Compete

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterIf you told me 3 years ago that I’d compete and actually like it, I wouldn’t have believed you. I loathed the thought of competing. I didn’t just others for doing it, I just had no desire to do it myself.

Steve always told me I should do it, but I honestly didn’t think I could take being judged and putting myself out there like that. The thought of standing on stage half naked was the last thing I ever wanted to do. However, Steve finally talked me into doing it with him – not for the trophy, not for the walk on stage, but for the experience.

If you have ever thought about competing or going through the training, here are my top 10 reasons why I compete.

Why compete?

running couple1. More Purpose

You should never compete to win a trophy, in my opinion. I compete simply to have something to train for. Competing gives me more purpose in both my dieting and training. When you have a reason to train, your diet and entire workouts change, You quit working what you want to train, and you start working what you need to train.

2. Clear Goals

Competing helps me set goals. As I track my body fat and muscle weight, I’m able to set clear goals to reach by the time I hit the stage. Setting goals motivates me to improve and to avoid complacency.

set-personal-deadlines3. Set Deadline

Anyone can set goals, but competitions force you to reach your goal by a specific deadline. This helps prevent procrastination and staying in that continual vicious cycle of starting your diet over every week and not getting anywhere. Once you register for a show, you are committed and have a set date to reach that goal. No more procrastinating.

4. Experience

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterEach time you compete you learn something new. This is particularly valuable for people in the industry, whether you work at a gym behind the front desk or you are a personal trainer. You learn something new about dieting, about training, about posing, about others and about yourself. This experience makes you better and helps you help others get better.

 5. The Ultimate Test

Competing gives me a chance to see what I’m made of. Before my first show, I had never gotten below 14% body fat. I remember wondering if my 45 year old skin in my stomach could ever tighten up. I had no idea what my potential was. Could I stick to my diet? Could I lose the fat? Would my skin tighten up? These were all unknowns before competing. I learned my body was capable of much much more than I ever imagined. I got down to 10% body fat and my stomach lost that “old lady” skin. I didn’t expect to place much less win. I took the test, and I passed.

6. Personal Growth

family fitnessYou may think competing is a prideful sport. I guess it can be to some people, but for me it’s a very humbling experience. It’s very embarrassing to be on stage like that. Every flaw shows. You can’t hide a poor diet. You can’t hide your imperfections. Even when you are incredibly lean, you can still look fat on stage. You just have to do your best and that must be OK with that.

On top of it, posing practices remind you of how much work you still need to do. Everyone feels awkward when posing, especially me. There is no room for egos. You quickly realize you are all in this together. No one is better than the other, we are just all different.

As you watch others train, you realize everyone is working just as hard – and maybe even harder than you. Then add a freaky Oompa Lumpa tan and walk around with a gallon of water and you realize how ridiculous you really look to others. LOL It’s not a sport for everyone – and the more you do it, the more you realize people think you are kind of weird.

Every time I compete or prepare for a big shoot, I learn something new about myself. With hunger and fatigue comes a quick temper and grouchiness I typically can hide. The good, the bad and the ugly come out and I quickly realize just how much more work I need to do – both inside and out!

mad scientist7. Science Project

The thing I love most about competing is your body turns into one big science project. You learn how foods affect your body, your performance and your mood. You get more in tune with your body than ever before. With each show, you can try something new. It’s all trial and error. Sometimes you get it wrong, sometimes you get it right.

8. Self-Denial

One of the things I love (and hate) the most is putting myself in a position where I have to learn to say NO to what my body wants, and say YES to what my body needs. Denying your flesh is one of the best practices you can do for your health. We shouldn’t give our body everything it wants to eat or do. That is unhealthy. Competing has exposed areas of weakness, taught me more discipline and helped me take control of food instead of letting it control me.

Bonnie9. Reel It Back In

Everyone does competitions for different reasons, but I think one of the best things about competing is it can be used to reel things back if you’ve gotten too slack in the office season. I think many people believe that competing is for the fit and disciplined. To me, it’s the opposite. I’m not disciplined and I don’t have that great of a body. I do it because I lack discipline and I desire to improve my physique and health. I’m lazy and I like food. Without competing or doing something to break my big vicious lazy cycles, I would probably stay about 10-15lbs heavier all year around. That’s not horrible, but I am not happy at that weight. Competing reminds me of how good it feels to be leaner because we quickly forget and it’s very easy to get complacent and comfortable.

Team Max10. Accountability

The biggest benefit to competing is the accountability. Whether it’s the weekly weigh-ins, the posing practices, team meetings or just being seen in the gym when everyone knows you are training for a show, the added accountability takes everything up 10 notches. I think everyone performs better when you make your goals public – and it doesn’t get more public than stepping on stage in a a 2-piece bikini.

I’m not suggesting competing is for everyone, but I am saying there are a ton of benefits from competing. Only you can decide if it’s beneficial for you – but you can’t decide without trying it just once.

 

Fitness Class Sampler For Beginners: FREE 4-Week Program

Great news! LoseIt! has another fun workout program coming to premium users – PLUS, it includes a detailed meal plan too!  And guess who are your trainers? You guessed it! Steve and I are your LoseIt! coaches for the next month! It all starts August 1st!!

From Living Room to Aerobics Room

scaredLoseIt wants to help you get ready to take the plunge and try new classes, but we all know how scary it can be to take a new class. Sometimes our crippling fear gets in the way of us ever tying something new. So, LoseIt! asked Steve and I to develop beginner introductory workouts to help prepare you for the next workout DVD or class at your gym.

Whether you end up trying a new workout video at home or you decide to brave a class at your gym, these 4 introductory workouts will help you gain the confidence you need to take your fitness to the next level.

4 Workouts, 4 Weeks

The 4 workouts LoseIt asked us to cover are Kickboxing, Pilates, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training and Yoga). We’ve developed short workouts that can be done in around 10 minutes each, in addition to introductory videos that take you through each move and modification slowly so you have a chance to practice before you start the workout.

  • Kickboxing – Fat Loss and Cardio
  • Pilates – Core Strength and Toning
  • HIIT – Fat Loss, Strength and Cardio
  • Yoga – Flexibility, balance, strength and stress relief

Get a FREE month NOW by using my code PFIT at LoseIt!

Real and Motivating

To make the whole workout even more motivating, we used REAL people (our very own clients at our gym) who have gotten REAL results with LoseIt’s help! You will see them going through the workout for the first time too – and watch as they learn the moves with you – just like a real class. In addition, while Steve uses a lot of pilates exercises in his workout routines, he had never taken a pilates class so he invited one of our instructors, Tiffany, to take him through a pilates class so you can learn it with him!

Every week, you will get another chance to improve your skills and stamina. By the end of the entire 4 weeks, you’ll be ready to jump in a class and feel strong, confident and more experienced!

4 weeks to fit workout

Access to this program requires Lose It! Premium. 4 Weeks to Fit starts on August 1, 2016. Sign up below!!

Get a FREE month NOW by using my code PFIT at LoseIt!

CLICK HERE to learn More about the 4 Weeks to Fit!

FREE LoseIt! Premium App Promo Code

lose it premiumHave you ever thought about upgrading your LoseIt app to the premium but just didn’t want to fork out the $39.99 just to try it? Well, now’s your chance to give it a try for 30 days FREE!!!!

The only way I can lose weight and lean out for a job or competition is to use the LoseIt!

Premium app. It holds me accountable, tracks my progress, helps me project my goal date, plan meals, gives me new meal ideas and keeps me on track. I’ve tried leaning out without it and have not succeeded even once. It is the key component to my own fitness success and how I was able to meet my goals for this weekend’s NPC Bikini fitness competition.

Use my special promo code: PFIT to get your free trial. Once you are premium, you get access to more features, plan meals ahead, get meal plans, recipes, workouts (with Steve and I), fitness tips and more!! It’s a great way to try before you buy. But, if you are like me, you’ll enjoy it so much that it will be worth the money to upgrade after your trial. I love how it syncs to my RunKeeper and other activity trackers and let’s me customize my app to help me meet my needs! To me, it’s the most valuable fitness app on the market.

What’s NEW!!

They are launching a new detailed meal plan (WOOO HOOOO!) – and a whole new set of workouts with us very soon! Just the meal plans alone are SO valuable. I charge $99 to write a 1-week plan! You’ll get it FREE with your premium account!! But don’t wait another second to get the upgrade because this promotion (and chance to get the month free) is only for a week.

Get a FREE month NOW by using my code PFIT at LoseIt!

Have Your Cake and Lose Weight Too: A Diet You Can Stick With

Cheat mealOne of the things I hate most is when a fitness professional either brags about eating pizza and still having abs or they preach to people that they can still eat crap and lose weight.

The fact is, they are right. You CAN still get success and have your favorite treats – in moderation. HOWEVER, most people struggle with the whole moderation part. Most people can’t handle the freedom of factoring in their favorite treats. There must be some guidelines. There must be more accountability.

Playing things by ear or just cheating when you feel like it will lead you to failure. You need clearer boundaries to protect your success.

The people with a six pack who still eat pizza have figured out a way to fit treats in their new healthy lifestyle. But, living in maintenance mode is way different than diet mode. It doens’t mean you can’t have pizza or ice cream while dieting.

Breaking the Vicious Never-Ending Diet Cycle

So many people diet and train hard all week, only to blow it on the weekend. Sunday night is the time everyone reflects on their failures and decides to start their diet again on Monday. Monday after Monday, they start again and again – going one step forward at the first of the week and one step back by the end of the week. How can we stop this vicious cycle of weight loss sabotage? Here’s how!

Most people never diet long enough to get the results they want. However, most people need some kind of tangible reward to help them get through the rough times. People can’t stand the thought of giving up their favorite foods for 2, 3 or 4 months at at time. So, they cheat and they cheat too often – often enough to sabotage success.

rock eating pancakesSadly, when we work really hard in the gym and have dieted so hard all week, we get a false sense of achievement that makes us believe “we deserve a treat” – but it’s too easy to erase our hard work with a poorly planned cheat meal.

Not everyone trains like the Rock. It’s not really fair to look at what other people can and can’t eat because we are all different. However, when we train and diet like a professional athlete, we tend to think we can eat like one. That’s rarely the case. We need to eat like someone trying to lose weight, not someone who is trying to win a marathon or CrossFit game.

If your main purpose is to lose weight, then you are eating and training for weight loss – not sports performance. If you are training for sports performance, then you can exit out of this blog because that a whole different ballgame.

Weight loss requires a commitment. It requires a exercise and diet plan, but if you are one of those people that feel like they can’t give up their social life, their date nights and their eating out then you have to do a plan you can stick with. Instead of committing to a 30-day diet or going on a never-ending diet, try this 14 day weight loss plan.

14-Day Diet – 8 Tips for Weight Loss Success

14 days1. Stick to a diet for 14 days straight. No cheats, no exceptions. You can factor in small treats in your daily meal plan as long as it fits within your caloric budget but no big cheat meals or junk for 14 days. You can do anything for 14 days right? It’s JUST 2 WEEKS!

2. Set goals. Set a final weight loss goal and a 2-week weight loss goal. These goals will be the main determining factor when it comes to planning cheat meals and rewards. Use the LoseIt app to help you set goals and come up with a budget. LoseIt will even tell you when you’ll reach your goal if you stick to their plan!

cheat meal3. Plan a special celebration cheat treat for the end of the 14 days IF you reach your goal. If you didn’t reach your goal, you have to wait until your goal is achieved before you can cheat. Whether it’s having popcorn at the movie theater, enjoying dinner date out or eating your favorite dessert, make a clear plan of how you are going to spend that special celebration meal or snack so you can look forward to the reward.

4. Make you cheat meal just that – one meal. Don’t have a cheat weekend. You can do a lot of damage in a whole weekend. When you have to make a choice on how you want to spend that one meal, you’ll appreciate it even more and it won’t sabotage your progress.

5. Only eat what you love. If you plan a cheat meal and you order your food only to discover it wasn’t as good as you remember, don’t waste the calories on food you aren’t thoroughly enjoying. Have a do-overs and save those calories for something else that you will truly enjoy.

diet budget6. Budget your “spending”. If your special treat was a shopping trip, you would likely go in already having an idea of how much you could afford to spend. You wouldn’t just show up and spend as much money as you want, you’d spend as much as you could afford. The same goes with eating and dieting. You should have a limit of what you are going to “spend” your calories on.

Even though you are supposed to enjoy your treat it is good to know in advance how much it “costs” ahead of time. Look up the calories just so you know what that food is costing you for added accountability and education.

guilty dieter7. Don’t feel guilty. If you wake up the next morning feeling guilty for your splurge, DON’T! This treat is a planned treat and a necessary part in your journey to help you enjoy the journey. If you are down on yourself at all, use that guilt to help boost your motivation to hit it even harder the next 14 days. That cheat meal can actually cause you to work even harder than if you hadn’t had it at all. Don’t feel guilty. You deserved it and one meal or snack will not erase 2 weeks of success.

8. Go right back to your diet the next day. After your awesome cheat meal, plan on going right back to the next 14-day diet. Set your next goal and don’t cheat until you have reached that next goal. The next 2 weeks will fly by! 2 weeks will turn into 2 months – and before you know it, you’ll have reached your goal!

By spacing out your cheat meals and only focusing on dieting for 14 days at a time, you are avoiding creating a habit of eating poorly every weekend. Not only will you avoid creating bad habits, but you will make more progress and that progress will keep you motivated to reach your final goal! This is not only great for weight loss, but it’s also great for maintenance too!

Give it a try!! Remember, you can do anything for 2 weeks.

Get Help

Try our Pfat to Pfit workout and diet program for the home or the gym. No equipment necessary. Apply these same principles on this program and get the same results Steve and Tasha got on Fat To Fit To Fat. All you need is a little guidance and to make the commitment!

Fixed On Food? 5 Steps to Freedom

eat to live

We all have to eat, but are we living to eat or do we eat to live – and live life well? Meaning, is food Lord over our life or is it just part of life. Sometimes I think we give food way too much power.

This morning I was reading the passage “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…Joshua 24:15 and thinking about how we all serve something or someone. When you think of “serving someone or something” most people think of money, people, God or fame, but there are so many people who serve a master unlike any other. Food.

Since I am in the fitness business, I am face to face with people who let food boss them every day. It’s not that food is so powerful, but our bodies are so weak. We live in a generation where we are so spoiled to have anything we want. If we want a cheese burger, most of us can jump in a car and get it under $5.00 in less than 5 minutes. It’s just that easy. We live in a “get it now, pay later” society and it shows in our bank account – and our waistline.

It’s Your Choice

you chooseWhen you refer back to the verse “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”, we need to look a the action word “choose“. Most of us don’t purposefully choose to serve food or money, but we are enslaved to it because of our lack of making better purposeful decisions. As a result, our small seemingly meaningless decisions add up to one big bad decision that ends up meaning a whole heck of a lot.

For instance, our lack of discipline with money forces us to work more, stress more, pay more bills, be in debt up to our eyeballs and eventually be completely enslaved to money or our career. It’s not that we made a decision to make our career more important than our loved ones, it’s just that all our small poor decisions led us to that place where we now feel like we have no other choice.

The same goes with food. Every time we give in to letting our flesh (stomach, mind, taste buds) have what it wants, we are choosing to serve food. This verse reminds us we have a choice to choose who and what we serve. In the case of health and fitness, I can choose to serve my flesh (laziness, pleasure, taste, etc) or I can choose to serve life (putting God first, investing in things that matter most, making healthy food choices, eating in moderation, staying active, taking care of my body).

prioritiesIf I want to live long and well, I have to be very purposeful about my decisions. Good health will never happen by accident. You can catch a cold but you can’t catch good health – that requires work and setting your priorities straight.

This goes way beyond food. I have to make a lot choices today that affect me later. America is a very short-sited country, but scripture constantly reminds us to look ahead. Every decision we make today has an impact on tomorrow – and even eternity. From who we speak to, what we say, how we treat others and how we treat ourself. We must realize how our decisions or lack of decisions really does affect our future.

Making No Decision Is Making a Decision

ChoiceIf you do NOT decide, you are deciding to let your flesh take control and serve your flesh, which always leads to destruction. Your flesh doesn’t care about your bank account, it doesn’t care about your relationships, it doesn’t care about your waistline and it even doesn’t have enough sense to care about its own longterm existence (health, life, etc). All our flesh cares about is instant gratification and pleasure.

 

Romans 8:13 warns us about living for the flesh saying, “for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Paul (the author of Romans) doesn’t necessarily mean you will die and be buried, but he means you will not have the life on earth (or eternity) that God intended. You won’t have the health, the energy, the blessings and the freedom you could have if you live to please your body.

Learning to discipline our body gives us life. It frees us from bondages, it makes us feel better and is what is best for us. Is it easy? NO! Is it the right thing to do? YES! Even if you don’t believe in God, I think we’d all agree that living a disciplined life is good for us.

Philippians 3:19 actually addresses the power of food and warning us about how it can destroy us saying, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” 

5 Steps To Fix a Food Focused Life

possible1. We must recognize our own power to say “no” and make better choices. We have to ditch the “I can’t” mentality. You can. You just have to decide “you will”.

2. We practice discipline daily. We won’t automatically wake up disciplined. Leading a more disciplined life is a result of many small decisions. It will take practice and time to build a habit of living a more disciplined life. Practice makes perfect.

discipline3. We improve our far-sightedness. Put on your big picture glasses. We have to purposefully think about how our decisions today affect our future. We should have both short and long-term goals. If you are faced with a decision, you need to ask yourself “how is this going to affect me later?” Constantly thinking about your goals and the future is imperative to overcoming today’s temptations.

4. You don’t just focus on making decisions to stop something (like a habit of overeating) but you start making healthy decisions that replace unhealthy ones. It’s replacing a bad habit with a good habit. Whether it’s eating off small plates instead of large dinner plates or going for a walk instead of going for seconds. You must make new healthy habits to replace your old bad ones or you will just revert back to your old ways.

image5. We change our mindset. Instead of constantly focusing on what you can or cannot have, focus on what you are getting from making better choices. For every decision you make, you are choosing between “this” and “that”. In most cases you can’t have both. You can have donuts or a 6-pack, not both. You can have a new car or no car payment, but not both.

The problem with food is the repercussions sneak up on us. It’s not like McDonald’s sends us a monthly invoice for weight gain and diabetes. However, we WILL pay – eventually.

If we focus our thoughts on how we will benefit from all these great decisions, making a decision to live healthier is so much easier. Suddenly, unhealthy foods pale in comparison to our new healthy lifestyle. Over time, exercise is something we are willing to do for the benefit of having more energy and feeling so good afterwards. It’s an investment worth making.

arnold quoteAs Joyce Meyer says, “Where our mind goes, our body follows” and it’s so true. If we can get our mind to shape up, we can get our body to shape up!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Decide today that you will start making healthier decisions because you love life more than food or anything else that has bondage over you.

Enslaved By Food? Freedom IS Possible

CHOCOLATEOne of the biggest things that sabotages success is following the desire for temporary pleasure. We want instant gratification and one thing that gives us that is food.

Tasting our favorite treat is a craving that is hard to resist. However, most of us crave a fit healthy body too. Which one of those cravings will we let win?

Of course, being healthy and fit doesn’t mean you can’t have chocolate or pizza. However, we must be very careful about how much of that stuff we allow in our daily routine.

Treats need to be just that; a treat, something you have occasionally. Once a treat becomes a daily thing it becomes a habit. Bad habits are what sabotage us. Overeating can be a habit, eating whatever you want can be a habit, eating out of convenience can be a habit, drinking a certain beverage can be a habit. Bad habits have to be replaced with good habits.

I was talking to someone just the other day about the “freedom” to eat whatever you want. Some people may feel like “life is too short, so have a donut”, but I feel like life is too short to continue to hate how you look and feel. The interesting thing about exercising your “freedom” to eat whatever you want is that it ends in bondage – bondage to an out of shape body, bondage to insecurity, bondage to poor health, bondage to limitations due to poor health, bondage to weight gain – bondage is the end result to allowing yourself to do whatever you want.

Enjoying food without restraint or exercising limitations can become very harmful. It’s just too easy to become enslaved to food (and its cravings and temporary satisfaction) and eventually enslaved to your body. We can literally get addicted to the temporary satisfaction it gives us. When freedoms are exercised in excess or without restraint, they lead to bondage. Yet, when we practice discipline and live within healthy boundaries, that’s when we experience amazing freedom.

I encourage you to learn to say “NO” (to unhealthy foods) more often and say “YES” to your health and to new self-confidence, to more energy, to strength, to skinny jeans, to the ability to do things you couldn’t do if you are overweight. It’s your choice to choose temporary satisfaction or long-term satisfaction.

I may enjoy a huge bowl of pasta but I only enjoy it while it’s in my mouth so I limit how often I eat it. However, diet and exercise helps me feel good all day long so I try to do that as much as I can. I choose to feel good all day – not just for a moment. How about you?

Questions to help you make the right choice?

1. Can I “afford” this _________? (calories in vs calories out)

2. Will I regret it after I eat it?

3. Will this set me back? (ie: goals)

4. Will it be worth the calories? If you REALLY love it and you don’t do it often, the answer may be YES!

5. How long will it take for me to erase this? TIP: 1 mile normally burns about 100 calories.

6. When is the last time I ‘cheated”. If it has been a while, then you probably can go for it!

7. How will I feel later if I say “No” (normally, we’ll feel pretty darn proud – and fit!)

 “There is great freedom in saying ‘No!’.”

5-Hour Energy Now Packs a Musclebound Punch

5-hour ENERGY® Protein

While I love coffee, I’ve never really been big on energy products. I drink them occasionally on those long days when you need an extra boost or when I’m on a road trip, but if I’m going to drink caffeine I normally prefer it come in the form of a cold brew iced coffee. That is, until I discovered 5-hour ENERGY® Protein.

I gave 5-hour ENERGY® Protein from Walmart a try and here’s what I discovered.

It’s gulpable.

Most protein drinks come in huge cans. Since I don’t like the taste, drinking a whole can of yuck is no fun. I have NEVER EVER finished the whole thing until I tried 5-hour ENERGY® Protein. Since it takes so long for me to get most drinks down, it always gets warm so I waste the rest. However, 5-hour ENERGY® Protein is small, coming in a 6 ounce bottle. This means I can slam it in 5-6 gulps if I wanted to or I can sip it slowly and it will still be cold until the last drop since I like mine chilled.

It’s non-bloatable.

OK, so maybe that isn’t a word, but it’s the truth. Protein shakes are notorious for bloating you, and so are carbonated energy drinks. Less fluid and air (from drinking blended shakes or carbonated drinks) means less bloat.

IMG_5590It is customizable.

It comes in 2 strengths. You get to choose how much energy you get. You can drink half the bottle for moderate energy or the whole bottle for maximum energy. Steve likes the 5-hour ENERGY® Protein Extra Strength and I like the 5-hour ENERGY® Protein Regular.

It is helpful.

Not only does it give you energy, but it gives you 21 WHOPPING GRAMS OF PROTEIN!! This means you are getting a 2 for 1 deal – protein AND an energized feeling in just a few sips.

It’s affordable.

5-hour ENERGY® ProteinNot only is this 2 for 1 deal convenient, it saves you money. You no longer need to buy 2 different supplements. You can finally get the caffeine you want to help you through your workout with the protein you need to help support muscular development.

It practical.

This may seem small to you, but I love that it comes with a twist-off cap. This is one of my pet peeves with other protein drinks. Once you open most protein drinks, there’s no throwing it in your gym bag or saving the rest for later. The twist off cap gives you options – you can get it now AND later!

It’s drinkable.

There is one thing I won’t sacrifice and that’s taste. If it’s work to get it down, I simply won’t drink it. I was totally surprised at how good 5-hour ENERGY® Protein tasted since it was so compact. It’s berry flavor was surprisingly smooth and it didn’t make me do my automatic sourpuss face. Trust me. Anyone who’s worked out with me has seen that face and it ain’t pretty!

It’s portable.

I know I already mentioned that it’s small and that it comes with a lid, but look at the above picture. Do you really see just how small this sucker is? Try packing several regular sized protein drinks in your suitcase or gym bag and lugging it around. Since 5-hour ENERGY® Protein is small, it makes it the perfect choice for travel – from the gym bag to the car.

IMG_5586It’s reliable.

Their incredible blend has been providing people with lasting energy for years – and it’s not just about that. While the regular strength option has about as much caffeine as a regular cup of premium coffee and the extra strength is like having a big 12 ounce cup of joe, it has more energy-boosting ingredients that maximize its effect like B-vitamins and amino acids. Top that with the 21 grams protein from Whey Isolate and vegetable protein.

It’s doable.

What do I mean? Well, when you are dieting like I am, there are many things that I can’t even have because they are too high in calories (especially this close to a competition). 5-hour ENERGY® Protein is 100 calories!! this means it is DEFINITELY doable for me – even when I’m dieting!! This actually ends up being MORE protein for LESS calories than my normal protein shake – PLUS I get an energy boost too!

The 5-hour ENERGY® Protein Wrap Up

  • 100 Calories
  • 21 Grams of Protein (Whey Isolate/vegetable Protein)
  • Less than 1 gram of Sugar
  • Berry flavor with 2 different strengths
  • Available at Walmart

Get the COUPON CODE! (works on mobile devices only)

Follow the conversation – #myprotein5hour

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 5-hour Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

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