5 Things I’ve Learned This Month: September

Adding more content to my website, I’m looking to make these posts monthly as I find reflecting to be very important in personal growth. So, without further ado here are 5 things I’ve taken away from this month from personal, professional, social, and all things random. Let’s have fun with this.

Whatever you feed will grow

When you feed certain things –your time, energy and focus– understand those things are going to be the priority in your life even if you didn’t intend it to be. Whether it be in conversations, training, at work or personal time, you will find yourself not as present in the moment. That or someone will call you out on it. It’s not a bad thing, but it is important to be aware of that. When you intend to get a lift in that day but your mind wanders to what you have to do afterwards or thinking about what transpired before, it’s hard to get shit done. My work schedule has taken a nose dive over the past couple weeks and I can honestly say I haven’t really been giving it my all when I’m there. As a result, clients have been cancelling or rescheduling sessions. Some are taking a “break”. For me this was a big wake-up call for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture in my life and see what areas are getting too much attention and areas that aren’t getting enough. Once I’ve been able to recognize the issue, I create an action plan to fix it. Balance is key, whatever that looks like for you it’s important to work on that. Now, I’ve gotten some clients back that haven’t been around for various reasons. I’m reaching out to those I haven’t heard from in a while and doing more reading and writing with the extra free time that I have. And working on communicating more/better with those that are important pieces in my life in making it work functioning better.

Recognize the different components in your life and make sure they’re all fed “property” to make your life better. I promise, you’ll have better relationships with others (and yourself), better training sessions, more productive at work (and enjoying it), and a happier life(style).

Sushi is LOADED with sodium

I’ve only been eating sushi for a few years and I’m glad I took the leap (the thought of raw fish for years wasn’t appealing. I decided to become an adult and try it. Even drink coffee!). However, it became apparent that sushi was high in sodium when I went to get a massage last week. I had sushi with the wife for lunch and went right to get a massage afterwards. Once I was done, Erica goes “did you have sushi earlier?? Your skin soaked up 2x more lotion than it normally does!” My jaw dropped. I had no idea it would make that big of a difference that fast. After looking it up, the sushi (rice) alone is 500mg of sodium…in a half cup which is the normal amount used in making 1 roll.

I had to have probably about 1 1/2 rolls =). Muahahahaha!!!!!

Why am I talking about this? Well for one I knew NFL Combine athletes would eat a ton of sushi before the combine so they could drink enough water and soak it into their muscles to keep them hydrated and therefore increase their work capacity. The opposite can be done when you don’t drink enough and can cramp up. In my profession, this was an important finding because I work with people that want to lose weight and look better naked. Well, they all know how important hydration is for not only athletic performance, but in how your body looks and how much water you’re going to hold when you consume a lot of it. Now I don’t know how many of you eat sushi that much on a regular basis, but the point is when it comes to body weight, sodium is a huge contributing factor in weight retention. HOWEVER…do not mistake sodium as a bad thing. Remember what I said earlier about how sodium helps keeps and draw in water into the muscle? Well, if you’re wanting to improve body composition, have better athletic performance/training sessions, you have to train harder and sometimes for longer periods of time to elicit muscle mass and strength gains. How much is too much? Well that’s different for everyone. What’s a lot for you might not be enough for me, etc.

Fat loss is about persistence and consistency

Since I’ve been training all summer to get my competition strength back I’ve changed my focus to gaining more muscle AND reducing body fat. You see, gaining muscle and losing fat aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. With that being said putting on muscle is not easy and neither is fat loss (espeically when with the more experience you have) which means both are going to take some time and and consistency to achieve this goal. Because there are so many factors in achieving fat loss (nutrition, exercise, sleeping habits, water intake, and stress management to name a few) the persistence of achieving lower body fat levels is the utmost important element.

 

Today at the end of a relatively light #okaybenchday sessh at the hub. After flirting with 300 on the bar last week, the body wanted a break. Went the bodybuilding route for the workout routine and felt really good. No more than 5 movements and a minimum of 6 reps for each set. #### Not going off of a strict program has really allowed me to feel my best and ultimately look my best. At 213 now (up 5 from the previous weeks) it’s been at least 3 years since I’ve been this shredded. No strict crazy diet. In fact, I was up north visiting my buddy Cabbage Patch Kevin in Naperthrill enjoying some drinks til 1:30 in the am after a hefty Italian dinner I enjoyed with his family. Part of getting great results is simply enjoying life and having some fun once in a while. I’m bout ready to get back on the platform though…in due time. #shredded #success #fitspo #consistency #livelife #havingfun #trainhard #trainsmart #eatwellmostofthetime #powerlifting #power #powerbuilding #bodybuilding #powerlifter #thick #gym #afathlete #selfconfidence #appreciatethejourney #dowork #hylete #hyletenation #trainhylete

A photo posted by Donovan’s Personal Training (@train_with_donovan) on

 

 

Conversely, it takes no time to increase your body fat levels when you neglect just about any of the previously mentioned factors OR if the method you chose is contraindicated or not helpful. Take running for instance. I love running for what it does for people: Improved athletic performance, general performance enhancement and heart health benefits, stress relief (endorphins/”runner’s high”), and a genuine love of running and competing. However, long-duration cardio such as running doesn’t build muscle. Building muscle is what raises your resting metabolism (how much energy you burn at rest) which is key for fat loss. So, while cardio isn’t a bad thing in general, it isn’t ideal for fat loss goals. It goes to show there IS a specific approach to fat loss and while you may need little tweaks here and there to individualize that approach, it’s paramount to be persistent in training to get stronger and building muscle. To make the best of your training, get outside and enjoy life Earlier this month I visited the St. Louis Children’s (City) Museum with my family. It’s always a great time there because it really makes me feel like a little kid crawling and climbing around that place. I also have a profound respect for the creativity and architecture. Check it in out this video!

 

It was pretty empty when we got there since they opened up an hour early and we were probably one of 5 cars in the lot. Once I got there and did some crawling around and running up and down the stairs, I had to pause for a moment and appreciate all the things I can do because of my persistence and consistency (there are those words again) to my training and mobility work. Some of the places at the museum are clearly made for kids. Not going to lie there are some situations where I thought I wasn’t going to make it.

I am not claustrophobic I am not claustrophobic I am not claustrophobic….#someonepleasecall911 secall911

A photo posted by Donovan’s Personal Training (@train_with_donovan) on

 

 

At times like this it helps me to understand what all my hard work and focus in the gym can do besides help me make cool videos to put on instagram. For the past several years I’ve had clients tell me stories about all the times they’ve done something in the real world that can attribute their success to their training. Take my client Adriane for example. For years, she couldn’t ride her road bike without serious back pain. Goal number 1 was to get her able and functioning. This is an important step because when you have more function, you can do more things. Case in point, any fat loss or weight loss goals you have to be able to perform physically to achieve those goals. Bike riding is great for weight loss and since she enjoys it- it makes sense to get her healthy enough to make that happen and accomplish both getting back on the bike and improve body composition.

 

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“Kim Kardashian doesn’t provide much value and asks for a lot of money, why can’t I when I provide more value to people?”

I heard this knowledge bomb on the “Barbell Business” podcast this week and it totally caught my attention. It’s not easy asking folks for money knowing how hard times are for most people. Early in my career it was painful asking people to pay me for the service I provide. It still is at times. But then your bills don’t get paid and when you do charge people it ends up being overdue and therefore pressuring people in a way you didn’t want them to be in the first place. Reading that out loud it doesn’t make sense, right? I’m sure some of you out there feel the same way. It’s an honest and genuine feeling. I know if I won the lottery, I’d still use my skill and talents to help people become a better version of themselves. Perhaps it’s natural to think this way when you truly love what you do.

Though this quote really woke my ass up. I mean really…why should I feel guilty for placing a monetary value on a service I provide that could help thousands (maybe millions one day) of people in my lifetime when there are folks asking to be paid for being themselves on television? It’s crazy.

For me, the takeaway is this: get really fucking good at what you do and provide a service people will want. If they’re not interested in paying then perhaps they’re not ready and that’s okay. Problem is I want to help as many people as I can. But this year, my most successful year ever, those that are willing to invest in themselves are the best clients and get the best results and stick around the longest. Especially because they pay a premium price for training. Keeping that in mind forces me to continue to elevate my game for these people.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Look for next month’s edition!

Trainer Thought of The Day: September 16, 2016

When it comes to results, you have to have the physical capabilities to make that happen.

If you look around social media, you’ll see testimonials about the results people get from some nutrition program or training program they’ve done for X amount of time. Naturally, you get inspired by these people and what they’ve accomplish and decide you want something similar. What most folks DON’T see is the hard work that’s being put in. Often once they do….they ain’t about that lyyyfe.

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Granted, when the bright lights start to dim, we realize we don’t actually want the same things that we might marvel at, like having a body like Ronnie Coleman. Say what you will, like it or not, not many will have the dedication or the time to commit to such a feat. And I think that’s where most people get caught up.

While most of the results you want comes from how well put together your nutrition plan is, there is still the physical work that is a huge variable. Want bigger/stronger legs? You’ll going to need to get lots of lower body work, whether it’s some squat variation, machine work or sled work. Want to get more efficient at running? You’re going to have to put in the miles and technique work to become a better runner. Want to have a better looking upper body? You have to be able to do enough pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, presses and pulls to attain such goals.

It’s important to look deep within ourselves and ask what are we actually willing to do. It’s hard to know this sometimes until we actually get up and start doing. Though it might seem like a waste, if you’re diving into new waters and realize what you want isn’t for you, it’s better to know it then and learn something about yourself you didn’t know before. Which is always a good thing.

Testimonial No.11: Gemma Billings

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I was never an athlete.  I still don’t call myself one.  But I do train for a better life, and that’s what I got from training with Donovan.

 

In mid-2013 I had constant, debilitating back pain.  Trips were cut short, housework got ignored.  Most doctors said “Exercise.  Take ibuprofen.  Stretch.”  Okay.  But the light bulb went up when my friend Marisa mentioned that she had a personal trainer and the three magic words: “No back pain.”  Well, sign me up.

 

I have skipped some days.  I have whined plenty, especially on days that were hot.  I have whined that I was too weak to lift a kettle bell.  But I still went and lifted.  Donovan Muldrow does not belittle you or yell at you.  He learns how you move and how you learn, he writes your workout programs, and most importantly, he teaches you what your body is capable of and how to do it right.  And despite my protests before (okay, and some during), I never, ever leave a workout feeling bad.  I am elated, and sweaty, and accomplished, and that is the mark of a most excellent trainer.

 

The back pain is gone.  Granted, it got replaced with a little soreness after leg day, but that reminds you that you worked on something and that something is developing.  I have biceps and quads now.  I move better.  I feel more comfortable in my own skin.  What you get out of training with Donovan is a new sense of self-respect, better understanding of the wonders that your mind and body are capable of, a strong desire to test and push beyond your boundaries, and you get the friendship of one of the best men you will ever meet.

 

As a side note, I noticed while writing this that I had a lot of difficulty finding a “before” picture, because I hated having my picture taken.  There’s a lot more recent ones now to use as “afters.”  That should tell you something.

Trainer Thought of The Day: September 2, 2016

It’s the time of the year when people are going on work/vacation trips, getting sick, or getting injured with the weather changing. There is a lot of concern that the progress you’ve made in the gym in the weeks prior will deteriorate due to a lack of training.

This is can be true or false.

Depending upon the amount of time that you spend recovering you will still be able to maintain your strength and potentially your body composition. However a lot of that depends on your level of activity and most definitely your nutrition.

When it comes to injuries – your nutrition is going to be the utmost importance especially if it means that you will not be able to train for a while. Having an understanding that how you train has a correlation with how you eat in reference to your goals. In other words, the general idea that you have a higher training frequency you also need to have a higher amount of calories to supply the energy for the demands of the workload.

When you don’t have a high workload, of course you’re going to want to decrease the amount of calories coming in to the body.

When you are on travel or vacation, the same principle applies. However, it depends on your level of activity or dedication to training when you are away. It is also important to note that when you are away on a vacation, you are also away from a lot of stresses that you must factor in into your training.

In other words, you may benefit more from your training when you are on vacation and still get away with eating not so “clean” because being away from the hardcore lifting you’re doing is helping your body recover. Simply be more aware of the work you’re doing and the places you’re going to make the best of your situation. Life is going to happen whether you like it or not. It’s important to be prepared mentally and emotionally for the changes that are bound to come.