Posts Tagged ‘build muscle’

“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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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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If I was given only a handful of exercises to choose from, it would be:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
  3. Chin Ups
  4. Prowler Sprints
  5. Farmer Carries
  6. Turkish Get Ups

Sorry! Fads and gimmicks have no place in my training philosophy. I have a simplistic approach in that regard, and I do not believe in shortcuts. If someone tries to sell you on a “magic” program, they’re snake oil salesmen, not coaches.

Turkish What?

 

Turkish Get Ups (TGU) is a dynamic movement I picked up from Dr. Mark Cheng when I was out in Los Angeles last November and I have been incorporating it into my programming since.  Interestingly enough, it has also become one of my all-time favorite exercises because of the complexity it presents.

I love a challenge!

The TGU is really difficult to classify because of the series of movement one must go through just to complete one repetition, so for simplicity’s sake I’ll be concise on why they’re awesome and how you can incorporate them into your training.

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Why They’re Awesome

 

My ego took a beating when I first started doing this exercise.  It was a reality check, if you will, because the amount of load I was only able to lift was laughable to say the least.

What I’ve found as I started to refine my technique is that it improved my shoulder stability.  Now if you didn’t know, the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, therefore; it’s the most prone to injuries. It only made sense because I had to hold a relatively heavy object steady while moving through multiple planes of motion — doing so requires a tremendous amount of shoulder stability.

Another benefit of the TGU is increased core stability and hip mobility, which translates into improved strength gains in your heavy lifts. “Who doesn’t want that?” That’s what makes the TGU a bang for your buck exercise. And since you are moving through multiple planes of motion while holding a relatively heavy object in one arm, you need to have an appreciable amount of strength and control, otherwise, you’d fall over. Not a good sight!

One thing I’ve learned now that they are a staple in my programming is, the slower the better. I made the mistake of treating it like a squat or a deadlift, where the only objective for them was to move the weight as quickly as possible.  You have to be cognizant that this is a different scenario and this is not an exercise you want to rush through. The slower and more controlled you are in executing the movement, the better.

How To Program the Turkish Get Up

 

There are various ways of incorporating this boss movement into your program.  You can apply them as “fillers” in between heavy sets of squats or deadlifts. You can also use them in a tri-set routine, which I often do for my clients. They love it, by the way 😉

1A) KB Turkish Get Ups

1B) KB Goblet Squats

1C) KB Swings

Personally, I like to implement them into my dynamic warm up and I’ve found them to be tremendously beneficial when I want to lift some heavy a** weights. I’ve always said that improved stability = better control = strong.

Squat

To put things all into perspective, I think everybody should learn this movement and incorporate it into their training.  It’s a dynamic movement that will not only make you learn more about your body (restrictions, limitations, and capabilities ), but you’ll also become a boss in the process.

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Become An Insider

My biggest pet peeve is somebody asking me for “fitness advice”, but ignoring it and then doing the complete opposite. Seriously?!?!?!

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The most pertinent issue with regards to fat loss is adherence. Adherence is the most difficult thing for most people —including myself. We all have different goals (get stronger, lose body fat, build muscle), but no matter what your goal is, adherence is that X FactorIt’s going to keep you afloat.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll skip on the whole what to do to maximize fat loss because let’s be honest, majority of us already have a general knowledge of what to do and the foods we should minimize, if not avoid. That’s not the problem. The problem is adherence coupled with a “I don’t give a F**K mentality.”

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When it comes to fat loss we’ve all made mistakes before and evidently we still continue to make those same mistakes. I’d like to call these mistakes, the dark side. It’s like what Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Crash Dieting

As the saying goes, the best diet is the one you can stick to.  In hindsight, I should have ditched the whole notion of “strict dieting” because it’s not sustainable.  I’ve tried it and I felt miserable. I made my clients try it and they felt miserable.  Sure, there are outliers who can stick to intense diets, but improving your quality of life is suppose to be enjoyable.

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Research has shown — and I’ve seen this myself — that the vast majority of people who lose weight, almost inevitably gain it back and more. This is typically a result of strict dieting or as I’d like to put it, the all-or-nothing approach.  Unfortunately, this is the way most people diet — they go on a low calorie, carb restricted diet, coupled with exercise. Consistency is key and with extreme methods, they never pan out in the long run. Moreover, it will wreak havoc on your metabolism making it more difficult for you to lose fat.

We’re all in this for the long run, so adding in a little more flexibility as opposed to strict (crash) dieting, goes a long way.  The quality of the food you eat should never be overlooked, but they pale in comparison to being consistent with a diet.  Put it this way, if you do not see yourself maintaining your current diet, then it won’t work for you.  Sustainability is the key for long-term success.

Neglecting Your Health

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At the end of the day, we’re only human, and what I mean by that is that we all want results…FAST! Our natural inclination is to want everything right this minute. Well let me tell you, nothing deteriorates your health quicker than training to lose fat in a short amount of time.  It doesn’t matter how slow your progress will be, just as long you keep going. Consistency is key. Keep this in mind: the faster the fruit ripens, the quicker it rots.

Remember the story about the tortoise and the hare? Slowly does it every time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if your health is out of whack then the last thing your body wants to do is lose fat. While it is necessary to set a deadline to create urgency,  it is also a detriment to your health to rush through it. Losing weight or dropping body fat isn’t the problem — it’s keeping it off. Looking at the hierarchy of importance, your health is at the top of the list, so don’t be in such a rush to lose X amount of weight or X amount of body fat because through my experience of training different people, the slower you lose it, the more likely you’re going to keep it off.

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May the force be with you.