Archive for the ‘Health and Wellness’ Category

“We’re almost going home!”

“Psst! We’re going home!”

“Just a few more days!”

That’s what Lauri Ann keeps reminding me as I wake up every morning. All I can think about was just how awesome Star Wars was. Suffice it to say, I am pretty excited that I get to be home with my family for the holidays. It’s tough being away when you’re trying to climb the proverbial ladder of success, so to speak.

The predicament I always seem to have when I’m back home though, is trying to stay on track with my nutrition.  Call me bias, but I think Saipan makes the best food (Hawaii would be second on my list), so it’s pretty obvious as to why I have such a difficult time staying on track.  The food is just too damn good!

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Story of my life…

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Saipan

With 2015 coming to a close, the vast majority are getting ready to hop on the “get fit” wagon in hopes of becoming a better version of themselves. They’re all probably going to start “eating clean” and cut back on carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and bread, in an attempt to start strong on their new year’s resolution.

Let me make this clear: Carbohydrates are not inherently fattening. *Gasp*

What?!

You heard me… carbs are not fattening.

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Much like fat back in the early 90’s (when I was still in diapers), carbs are being demonized for the cause of weight gain. People who are looking to get lean are quick to dismiss certain foods that are high in carbs.  While it has been shown that a reduction in carbohydrates are extremely beneficial for fat loss (topic for another day), it’s not the real cause of why we’re failing miserably to get the body we want.

Get Your Protein, You Must

In reality, many of us don’t get enough protein in our diet.  Funny thing, before I started to meticulously track my clients macronutrient intake, they weren’t getting enough protein either. Earlier this month, I came across an article online on protein intake and why we necessarily don’t need that much.  Interestingly enough, the author stated that we only need 40-60g of protein. All I could do was scratch my head at such misleading information — don’t believe everything you read, folks.

Without a doubt, the most important macronutrient for fat loss and improving body composition is, protein. People don’t realize that it does such a good job at increasing your metabolism and limiting hunger. It’s damn near impossible to find a fit person who doesn’t consume a moderate to high protein diet. If you’re adamant on living a sedentary lifestyle then yes, a minimal intake will suffice.  However, that minimalistic approach just won’t do, when your goal is to get lean.

Strength training is catabolic (breakdown), so when you’re strength training on a consistent basis, you’re increasing the rate of muscle-protein breakdown, with the goal of building more muscle, so eating minimal amounts of protein isn’t going to give your body enough supply to rebuild itself.  Hit the gym and get your protein; supply and demand.

How Much?

It is suggested that athletes or highly active individuals should make it a priority to get in anywhere from 0.68 – 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.  If you weigh 160 pounds, your daily protein intake should range from 108 grams to 160 grams.  Now just to make things clear, this is purely dependent on your goals and activity level. If you are training to build muscle and/or preserve what you have while losing fat, then you should absolutely make it a priority to consume a high amount. With most of my clients, I’ve found a gram per pound to be just right. The only time I’ll increase their protein intake above that mark is if I reduce their daily calories.

Obviously, the take home message here is to eat protein in every meal and combine nutrient-dense vegetables with sources of protein and fats such as meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy for sustainable fat loss and improvements in body composition.

And as always, don’t forget to continually get stronger in the gym.

 

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I’ve been seeing quite a few trainers do a lot of questionable things recently and it has me wondering, “What the hell are you doing?!” Considering I’ve only been a strength coach for two years, I’ve progressed fairly quickly in terms of gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to make an impact.  Much of that can be attributed to having great mentors, and I was very fortunate to have worked with like-minded individuals when I started at 24 Hour Fitness.

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24 Hour Fitness – Bishop St. Honolulu, HI

While other coaches and trainers may not have had the same opportunities, that doesn’t negate the fact that they should take the time to continually improve as a fitness professional — or as I like to put it, sharpening the sword.  I cringe every time I see a coach or trainer putting their clients through ridiculous workouts.  I’m not one to criticize, but you’re doing a disservice to your clients  if all you’re trying to do is impress them.  Educating them should be the number one priority, period. Below are two stupid things coaches do.

1. Plyometric Conditioning

 

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Movements that require a high amount of force production should be taken lightly when it comes to conditioning work. Treating box jumps as a means for improving endurance is asinine. I’ve said this time and time again, the purpose of plyometric work is to learn how to generate force — but more so, how to absorb it.  Taking your clients and having them repetitively do rebounding box jumps in a circuit fashion defeats the purpose. Training should yield some positive results. I can stand right in front of you and tell you to give me 20 burpees and 20 box jumps for three rounds, but the only thing you will have gotten in return is a “workout.”

The goal of implementing conditioning work is to elevate your heart rate, and improve both muscular and cardiovascular endurance. There are types of movements that don’t require a lot of coordination and those are the ones you can have your clients grind through.  Incorporating prowler/plate pushes, medicine ball stomps, battle ropes and kettlebell variations are much better choices than the former.

2. Lack of Assessment and Individualization

 

It amazes me how many coaches and trainers don’t even bother to thoroughly assess their clients.  Joint congruency and structural integrity should be prioritized before anything else.  Moreover, assessing allows you to individualize your strength program for each client.  It gives you insight as to what movements are applicable to them. For instance, incorporating a boat load of mobility work with someone who is already hypermobile to begin with is counter-productive.  Conversely, some may need to spend an ample amount of time doing mobility work in order to perform at a high level.

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What I’m trying to convey is that completely disregarding an individual’s limitations and restrictions at the expense of burning calories is irresponsible and is the very reason why our profession still gets a bad rap. Every aspect of the training program should differ from one individual to the next — this is critical as a coach.  You have to respect each and every individual’s anatomy and anthropometry. Training programs should not be the same across the board.  Take the time to evaluate your clients.

Takeaway

 

As coaches, it’s our moral obligation to motivate and push our clients so that they can perform at their best and yield the results. Granted, there are much more stupid things coaches do, but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones I see most.

And please, for the love of God, stop with the kipping pull ups and burpee box jumps.

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Become An Insider

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Today’s post is pretty much a follow up to my previous blog, “The ONLY Advice You Need to Build Muscle and Lose Fat.”  I felt like I needed to follow it up because funny enough, a buddy of mine asked me a similar question with regards to building muscle and concurrent fat loss.

The undeniable truth is that the vast majority of society are indeed overweight. We run through a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain and as result, it discourages us.  2016 is around the corner, so all those new year resolutions are coming and we all know how that goes.

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 Here’s what you need to know:

  • Having the right mindset will prime you up for success.
  • Motivation is for amateurs. Commitment and discipline reign supreme.
  • If you can’t see yourself maintaining your current diet/nutrition protocols, then it’s not going to work for you.
  • Maintaining strength is key if you want to hold onto muscle while you drop weight.

1. Get your mind right

 

One of my former mentors once told me that successful people do what is necessary whether they feel like it or not. That’s what differentiates the successful ones and the not so successful ones.  I’d be lying to you if I told you that my energy is through the roof for every workout — it’s not. Through the course of training, the amount of stress that you’re going to accumulate will be taxing both mentally and physically.

It’s easy to train your ass off when you’re eating whatever you want, but extremely difficult when you’re dieting. When you factor in other outside stressors such as your career and family, it makes things even more challenging.


 I never worry about action, but only about inaction”– Sir Winston Churchhill

 

One thing you have to understand is that the bigger the change you’re suggesting, the more it will sap your self-control. Self-control is an exhaustible resource (willpower isn’t going to do you any good), which is why you have to make sure you have the right mindset. This is why when I start working with a new client, one of my top priorities is to instill commitment and discipline because that’s what creates accountability and sustainability.

2. Prioritize your diet and track your macros

 

The most pertinent issue with regards to fitness is adherence to a sound nutrition protocol. We’ve all heard that you can’t out-train a poor diet and it’s true.  I’ve experienced so many people who train their asses off and have subpar results. Don’t overlook the importance of quality nutrition.

Figuring out how much you need to eat is going to be determined by how active you are, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you’re training 3 times a week. By tracking your macronutrient intake, you can key in on what’s working and what’s not. Are you taking in too much carbs? Not getting enough protein? Are you consuming a sufficient amount of calories? Things like that can help you dial in what is needed.

Put another way, it’s adds a level of precision towards achieving your goals. It’s ensures that you’re consuming the appropriate amount of calories and an ideal amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

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Getting in shape is suppose to complement your lifestyle, not take away from it.  What ever nutrition protocol you decide to do, just make sure it’s something you can adhere to and sustain.

3. Prioritize strength training

 

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to get lean is not placing a premium on strength, and to my own misfortune, I was a victim of this as well. You have to understand that building muscle and losing fat are two of the most dichotomous things when dealing with the human body. When you’re attempting to shed some fat, you will lose some muscle. Conversely, when you’re trying to build muscle, you’re going to gain some body fat.

MAINTAINING AS MUCH MUSCLE as possible should be your top priority and you can only do that through strength training. Copious amounts of cardio does not give your body a reason to hold on to muscle. While the benefits of cardio are clearly evident, you don’t need to employ it that much. In fact, I’ve had clients make progress with little to no amount of cardio at all.

Remember — lift heavy, live healthy!

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Here’s Ann who lost 8lbs and 4% body just in time for her trip to New York by meticulously tracking her macros and doing no cardio.

Here’s Joyce still lifting heavy while trying to lean out. #Boss

There you have it. I hope that these simple tips can help you get to your goals. Remember, extreme methods don’t pan out in the long run.  Be patient and stay the course. Don’t wait for the new year to get started. Get after it!