My 24 Hour Weight Loss Experience

I’d like to start out by saying that I believe that there is a place for everything; certain exercises, foods, supplements, etc.

As a trainer, I’m all about trying to help people look better, feel better, as well as have more of positive outlook on themselves in general. There are certain things, however, that will constantly bring us down because of its inconsistent nature.
Of course I’m talking about the scale.

 
Earlier this week I decided to start reducing my carb intake in order to get my bodyweight down to be able to enter the 181# weight class. My girlfriend influenced me to document this publicly in order to show the ins n’ outs of losing weight. Not wasting anytime, I announced on my Facebook page that I will be documenting my weight for over 24 hours.

 

So at 3pm, I weighed myself on a Taylor Home scale that is located at work as well as my apartment.

 

Here’s how the experience went:

 

Monday-3pm: 192.2lbs

By this time, I had1-solo cup of my “Mojo Shake” (OJ, Oats, Banana, Frozen Strawberries, Ice, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Protein Powder) and close to 100oz. of water. I started work at 6am, showered, napped from 7ish-8, worked 830a-1230p, another nap, had a pound of lean beef and broccoli at work.


I was wearing biker shorts during the weigh-in, and then headed to work at 330p.

5:02p: 190.8lbs (-1.4lbs)

I’ve had 2 clients since the last weigh-in. Consumed nothing but water (with BCAAs)and then proceeded to weigh myself. I’m not at all surprised by the weight loss within the last 2 hours or so; mainly because it was hot a balls and I’ve been peeing like an old man.

I was wearing biker shorts.

7:30p: 191.8lbs (+1lbs)

Even though I haven’t been peeing as much, I certainly have become hungrier by this time. I weigh myself before I leave the gym and head home to end the work day. I am starving. This already is starting to suck.

I was wearing my work clothes (undies, shorts, socks, and shirt)

9:07p: 191.0lbs (-.8lbs)

So it’s night time aaand I can’t take it anymore. I have a super early day (again) and I have to squat big, one of my biggest squat days yet. I should also mention that it’s supposed to be in the high 90’s and humid. So I head to Fresh Market after work to pick up a regular rotisserie chicken from and 2-Youkon Potatoes. I wiped but satisfied my hunger. 

I weigh myself on the scale at home before heading to bed wearing socks, shorts and undies.

 

Tuesday-5:57a: 190.2lbs (-.8lbs)

It’s stupid early as this is the first week I will be waking up before 6am, 5-days a week. It’s a short 30-minute session after which I plan to go home and nap again (note: I like naps). I have my shake to keep the hunger pangs away. I have another half-hour appointment at 8am and plan on training afterwards.

 

7:59a: 186.2lbs(-5.8lbs)

Before arriving to work, I shower and start downing the water preparing for my training session in the hours ahead as it starts getting hotter and hotter outside. 

I weigh myself right before my appointment wearing work clothes (biker shorts, shorts, and shirt).

 

10:13a: 190.0 (+3.8lbs)

I start my workout at 9am warming up on squats (look out for my training blog at the end of the week). I knew I was going to feel like ass doing it so I was going to take my time before my next appointment at 1130am. Downing water because it’s already in the mid-90’s outside, JJ (CFBN/BNAF Owner) mentions that I’m probably going to retain water and bloat from the workout and supplements. Knowing me, not everything applies. 😉

I weigh myself wearing my workout gear (shorts, biker shorts, shirt, and socks) on the scale at work.

 

1:31p: 189.0lbs (-1lb)

I mention on my update that I forgot to weigh myself after working out and working. Seriously though, I was tired, it was hot and I just had an awesome squat session. I really didn’t give a shit about my weight at that point because I had more important things to focus on. With more water and a little food, I have one more weigh-in to go.

I weigh myself in my work clothes (shorts, biker shorts, socks, and shirt).

 

Final Weigh-in 4p: 193.0 (+4lbs)

With more work and programming to be done, I clearly forgot to weigh myself again. It’s the last one and I couldn’t care less if I didn’t see another scale for the rest of the week.

Some of you may be thinking:  wow, that fluctuation is cray, son!!

Because you know…everyone talks like that.

I ended up making 7 eggs and half a bag of hasbrowns with salsa and cheese. It. Was. Delicious.

But it made me realize how some people, including some of my clients, feel about their weight and how they go about life in dealing with it.

 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE??

It was hard. I hated having to check my watch for every 2 hours of the day. It was weird because when I weighed in past the deadline, I was kind of annoyed. I found myself thinking about it the whole time, mostly because I was interested in how it was going to turn out.

WHAT DID I EAT???

Monday I had my “Mojo Shake”, lunch (as referred to earlier in the log) and dinner. Tuesday I had more of the shake, but a bigger lunch in having tilapia and broccoli. Later that evening I made the eggs and hashbrowns I explain earlier.
To some of you folks, this may not sound too bad; Monday I had basically 2-3 meals as well as Tuesday.

 

But I’m a high level Powerlifter. I require 4-5,000 k/cals daily (more so on training days) and doing what I normally do with a calorie reduction seriously was messing me up. Tuesday and Wednesday I practiced my lifts for my competition upwards of 85-90% of my max. As you can imagine I was a bit cranky when I woke up, could barely get out of bed and longing for another nap soon.

WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ALL THIS???

I was told that going through what my clients go through is a great way to understand where they’re coming from so I can relate to them better. I agree completely. However, it doesn’t mean that they SHOULD be weighing themselves daily.

I do understand though that some have lost 10, 15, 50, 100 or more pounds and never want to go back. Based on some research at LIVESTRONG, people are going to gain some weight on average every year.

This piece reads:
Between the ages of 25 and 44, the annual increase in weight jumped to 3.4 percent in men and 5.2 percent in women. This means that if a man and a woman who each weigh 160 pounds both gained weight at this rate, the man would gain a little more than five pounds each year and the woman would gain a little more than eight pounds each year.”

 

What many don’t realize is that fluctuating +/- 5lbs IS NOT going to make you look any different. Sure people wear their weight differently, but the bigger picture is whether or not you feel better, are performing more efficiently, and looking better as a result. I remind you, YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO.

Everything that you do in life; how you handle stress, what you eat, how you eat, and how hard you train is all going to have an effect on your body…including your weight.

Ultimately, I went through a lot to try and lose weight in a short amount of time and I ended up gaining a whopping .8lbs. For some this would be frustrating to go through all of that, but people do this shit every day. It’s crazy and time consuming.

Again, I felt no better. I performed well but not better than I knew I could because I was tired and “under-nourished.” I also didn’t look any different. While I understand where my clients are coming from, it still makes no sense to weigh yourself every single day.

STOP IT.

stop it

There’s too much manipulation involved at the mercy of how you perform and how you feel. A gallon of water weighs 8.34lbs. If you drink that daily or more, you’re constantly gaining 8+lbs. Sure you’ll pee a lot, but don’t weigh yourself right afterwards. You’ll probably freak out.

See how silly that sounded? All you did was drink water!! Not cookies, or pies, or junk food.

Just. Water.

Water retention can cause an increase in weight beyond what is normal and has medical, hormonal and dietary causes. Common medical causes of water retention include heart and kidney problems because there is a reduction of fluids being moved through your body. Circulation problems may also cause water retention and swelling in various extremities. Lymphedema — prevention of lymph drainage because of lymphatic system congestion — can occur after surgery or as the result of a sedentary lifestyle. Hormonal fluctuates during a woman’s menstrual cycle may lead to water retention. In addition, cortisone released during periods of extreme stress can cause your body to retain water. Finally, too much salt in your diet can cause minor water retention and weight gain because it causes your body to hold onto fluids.”-Jackie Carmichael, LIVESTRONG.COM

Fortunately, most people don’t say “well I’m on water reduction to lose weight.” In fact, when they do gain, water is one of the last places people look. Why? Because It’s just water damn it! Chill the F out!!

 

Everybody Chill

 

DEVILS ADVOCATE

Now, let’s say you want to weigh yourself. I recommend doing it once/week. Want you want to lose is body fat. The less fat you have, the better you’ll look and keep THAT weight off. Since diet is a big contributor in weight gain/loss, it’s important to keep that under control.

 

You want to aim for .75-1lb/week. This is different for everyone of course; the more you have, the more likely it is to come off quicker. The less you have to lose (regardless of what YOU think) the harder it’s going to be. The body likes to get to a certain state at some point. So when there is a plateau, you have to do something different. What that is, is going to take some time and work on your part.

My body likes being around 188-195 naturally. If I want to get under that it is going to take a lot of work to get some off and keep it off. Otherwise, I let go for even a little bit and it’s going to shoot way up like it as shown on Tuesdays log before regulating.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS


Weighing yourself is totally a waste of time.

You worry? You gain weight.

You get stressed?? You gain weight.

You eat more calories than you expend? You gain weight.

You drink more water than you normally do? You gain weight.

All of these things happen on a daily basis. Life happens and you have to deal. The last thing you need to do is finish or start your day by getting on the scale and making things worse. YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU WEIGH.

I tell my clients all the time, no one walks down the street with a number above their heads for people to see. What we see ourselves in other people.

Yet no one else feels what you feel. No one else does what you do on a regular basis. To be judged or judge yourself on how much you weigh is so insignificant to everything else that you’ve accomplished and will accomplish. Don’t get hung up.

Be happy with yourself. Choose your path wisely. Look forward to where you want to. Don’t stop until you get there.

 

 

Why being Mentally Tough is Crucial in Your Performance

As I sit here writing this, I am just 4 weeks out of heading to Las Vegas for my first World Championships in Powerlifting. Forget the fact that it’s Powerlifting for a second.

 
Let’s say you’re me 4 weeks out from a huge event that you’ve been preparing for: a speech in Executive Office at work, an Olympic qualifier, on a game show to win a million bucks, your first time saying “Hi” to a girl…

You get the idea.

What you have done is what got you to this point. But hold up…now you start thinking differently. Why is that?

Wouldn’t it make sense to go into it as confident as you have been this entire time?

For quite a few of us that isn’t the case. There’s a difference in the thinking process of those who aren’t as experienced and those who are. Let’s address those for a moment.

 

The “In-Experienced”

“I can’t do this. I’m going to get demolished.”

“What if I fail?”

“What if I don’t lose the weight/body fat?”

“When will I succeed?”

These are all questions and concerns that I hear from other competitors and the clients I work with on a regular basis. I know for sure that I have had these thoughts running through my mind at various points in my Powerlifting career and otherwise. We all have.

The one thing that I find consistent is how those who have never been on their biggest stage don’t know what to expect or worse, have expectations.

The latter is the one thing that could really mess with your head. In competition, your first time out should always be to have fun and remember to follow through with what got you there in the first place.

A lot of us may suffer with what I call the “Rookie of The Year” complex. That is to try to win or be beyond amazing your first time out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good positive attitude and great approach to your sport or event, but having these high expectations might set you up for a big let down.

I try to tell my clients that you’re going to fail. A lot. Heck, if you don’t, you’re either not trying hard enough, are really lucky, or haven’t even started yet.

I’ve only have been competitively lifting for 4 years. I have multiple records, rankings and championships. You better believe that I’ve lost too. Not just on the platform, but in the weight room. I’ve been a trainer for over 6 years and some know the story, but I failed my certification exam 3 times before passing finally passing it.

Fortunately, it is ingrained in me to fight for what I believe in and have a stellar work ethic. Perhaps being introverted and finding confidence within or being around really supportive people is what helped. Maybe it’s all of it.

I know that focusing on what you CAN do and have done is a great start. Only will you get better with more experience and become mentally tougher.

 

 
“The Veterans”

For the less experience, these are the people you want to hang around. If you want to get better, work with those that have been in your shoes.

These may not be those who have gotten the best results or won a ton of awards. They’re the ones that are consistent. They’re the ones that if they fail, they’ll comeback with a vengeance rather than breaking down.

I have a client that wanted to have better health. Her name is Kim. She’s literally half the woman in size and weight that she was 3 years ago. She’s had her mouth wired shut, been through dozens of diets. It was only then did she have go to go through lap-band surgery to help her lose the weight.

She reached out to me to start exercising. She’s been told to do this over and over and over again and it wasn’t until the surgery that exercising and eating better was the only way to stay that way.

2 years later she shows me a photo of her in 2010. I see her a few times a week and I can’t believe it. It’s a lot different when you see transformations like that on TV, but when you’re involved it’s a bit surreal.

We started 30-minutes/day, twice a week. Then we got to 3 times/week. Then started to do 45 minutes and then hourly. Today, she’s gearing up for her first Powerlifting competition in October (I have no idea where she got that from; P).

It sounds great and all, but we haven’t been training consistently over the years. She’s had her body break down a couple of times. There was even one point when she was out for 3-6 months. As you can imagine she was discouraged.

When she came back, she was very hesitant about what we would do. The moment that pain would come back and she’d be out for a week or so.

But she had been down this road before. Knowing that becoming more and more inactive and being afraid to move on was going to lead her to more weight gain and bring her right back where she started.

Kim has had experience. We’ve been pretty consistent training ever since then. When ever there is an injury or an ache, we train AROUND it and work on something else that wouldn’t keep her from being out of the gym. We’re 6 weeks out from competition and she’s looking strong and staying positive.

 

That’s what mental toughness is.

 

It’s never giving up and focusing on the bigger picture ahead: That if you stop the journey, you will fail 100% of the time.

 

Can you teach it mental toughness??

159050_4960-640x250
Some people don’t think so. Some people think you just have it. Some people think you have to grow up being around it. But I believe it can be taught.

I’ve had the pleasure of training a young lady who coming out of Junior High was on a State Championship winning volleyball team. She didn’t start, but has wanted to continue playing on her high school volleyball team the following year.

With 60+ athletes trying out for the squad every year, your chances of making the team isn’t a walk in the park.

She wasn’t the best jumper when we started, wasn’t the strongest or most coordinated. It was going to be a long summer.

I explained to her mom that while she’s training for this, she’s going to have to accept the fact that she may not make it. Having been there I knew this from the start.

As I mentioned earlier, to not have the expectation that you’re going to make the cut is going to help you recover from it and focus on working harder next year.

Now that the talk was out of the way, we could start focusing on her training and nutrition.

Knowing full well when one is consistent with their training and keeping up fairly well with how they’re eating and hydrating, the next thing I wanted her to work on was visualization and mental preparedness.

I wanted her to write down on a poster board where she can see it every single day of when the tryout date was. Everyday she came in, I asked her when is try outs??

 

“August 14th!!!”

 

We got into the routine of this every training day; making proper hydration and adequate nutrition a habit.

Once you do the little things and feel more confident about them, you’ll automatically start to feel more confident about your chances of achieving success.

 

                        “There are no secret for success, there are only patterns.”

 

I know for me when I prepare for competitions, I watch videos of other competitions and getting psyched up. I go to bed dreaming about what I’m going to do the morning of. I also accept that I may not win, but I will make damn sure I go down swinging.

The week of the girls tryouts came and I could tell on our last session she had it on her mind. Day came and she made the team. I couldn’t be a happier coach.

I don’t care what the circumstances were of her making the team, fact is she made it. That means everything that we have done over the summer was worth every second, every medicine ball slam, every goblet squat, and every sprint.

And guess what?? Even if she didn’t make the team…it’d still be worth it.

She’s never worked that hard before and never had so much confidence and learned how to be mentally prepared for things like this.

 

Closing Thoughts

You can be the most physically gifted individual known to man. At some point we all know someone who has had “the potential”, but potential is wasted when never realized.

We all are so physically capable of doing so much and could be so far along than we are now. Our worst enemies aren’t the people you’re going up against for the job position or the title. It is our mind.

Those who crap out and don’t come back are not quite ready yet, and never will unless they revisit what defeated them in the first place.

Embrace the reality of defeat for you will also find success if you chose to continue on. If you do, you’ll be better off. You’ll be stronger (mentally) as a result.

Friday Reads and News Feeds- Take 1

T.G.I.F People!!!!! I know most of us still have to work (and I still have to work through tomorrow), but who cares! It’s Friday!!

Well for starters, I have been working with a very diligent and hard working young lady that goes by the name of (Kit) Oloffson. Coming out of 8th grade as a non-starter, she wanted to make her high school freshman volleyball team. NCHS has a good 60 girls or so, if not more,  that try out to make the team. Not being a starter at her previous school doesn’t give her the greatest of chances, but it gives her a chance none-the-less.

A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know...they need to bring their butts down...it was mid-take I promise)
A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know…they need to bring their butts down…it was mid-take I promise)

Even though we have only trained a couple times a month on average, the “homework” workouts and her conditioning from camps helped quite a bit.

*Note: Goes to show you don’t NEED to be in the gym ALL the time, you just need a plan of action and DO IT!*

The amount of improvement over the summer has proved to pay off. She new she belonged on the team, the coaches just had to see it or themselves. I’m a National Champion Powerlifting Coach, but I have to say that THIS coaching win has to be tops. To help a child achieve their dreams is priceless. ROCK ON, KAYLA!!!! 🙂

To add to the awesomeness, my training is going quite well. If you haven’t yet, you can follow my training progress here for the next 6-8 weeks or so before reaching the ultimate destination, the World Championships in Las Vegas!!!!

I’ve never been west of Mizzou so it’s an exciting time for me.

 

I love making random posts like these. I’ve always wanted to anyways to add a little more volume to my blogging as I need to write more (clearly).

So, I’d like to leave you now with some good reads for the week. Enjoy and have an awesome weekend. Peace and chicken grease!!!!

Perfection: Enemy of the Good When it Comes to Nutrition-by Jen Comas Keck

Yes, You Can!!! Chin Up Plan- Tony Gentilcore

Are Your Goals Setting You Up For Failure???-by D-Money 😉

One Mom’s Journey to Real Food- by Kelly Jordan

Conditioning: Just Make it a Habit Already-  by Jason Ferruggia

Are your goals setting you up for failure??

For a lot of us, training is a means to an end. Weight loss, fat loss, getting stronger, getting bigger, and getting faster are all good goals to have.

But how are you going to get there??

This is the mind set of a lot of clients that come through gyms like BNAF and all over the country. Understandably, we all want results and results fast because that’s how we live; by getting what we want at a faster rate than ever before.

I ordered clothes and shoes from Zappos a couple times and never had to wait more than 2 days to get it. One time I ordered socks and a hoodie and got it in 23 hours! How can you not be spoiled with those kinds of results!!

Today, we can receive information with the swipe of a finger. Make a large food order and have people bring it to our cars without getting out. Watch full seasons on how I met your mother for less than $10/month on Netflix (HOLLA!!!!).

Needless to say, we’ve gotten lazy and so has our goal making.

That is why it’s important for us to understand the process in how we get results, set a realistic time to achieve them and to go about it passionately.

So, here are 4 things you should do on how to set your goals.

Find a Trainer
15124.33532.file_.eng_.consultation.570.254

Figures, I know, but that’s what we’re here for. I have tons of stories talking my clients out of having a “flat bottom” or “working out 7-days a week.” What sounds good in their head may not be all that great when you’re explained as to what that really means.

It’s also important to find a good professional that understands and connects with you about the goals that you’re trying to set for yourself. I know it took me a while to understand that shooting down my female clients wishes to “not get too bulky” wasn’t very smart. A trainer that listens and is able to work with you on your level will make all the difference—and you haven’t even started training yet.

Don’t focus on the end result
(end_results1

After you find a trainer or fitness pro, it’s important to not focus on the “end result.” This being the X-amount of weight loss or X-dress/pants size. Setting little goals along the way is affirmation that what it is you are doing is working.

I like to remind my clients to focus on how they’re feeling on a day to day basis, how they feel in their clothes, or to note any increase in work performance. Talking about these results to your trainer or friends help with program-retention and continue on the path to success.

Have a plan
planning-workout-ask-these-questions

As I eluded to before, how can you expect to get achieve your goals when you don’t have a plan? This step is just as important when goal setting. Your behaviors should be in line with your goals.  Plan on partying hard this weekend? That’s cool. Those sculpted thighs will just have to wait a little longer to show. Hey, you’ll get there when you get there, right?

It’s vital that you plan for “drawbacks” rather than letting them happen unexpectedly. You’ll be more conscious about your choices and what you do.


Be kind to yourself—have a little fun
The Color Run

Being stuck in a program without any variation or a “deload” (low intensity or volume) day can be the root cause of your plateaus or boredom. Basically your training will begin to just straight up suck.

I remember scheduling deload weeks or vacations for myself—with no training at all— only to come back to feeling amazing. I wrote an article earlier talking about how excessive alcohol intake can send your progress down the drain, but having a LITTLE fun might be just what the body needs.  Sometimes going too strict on a program with out little breaks here and there can negatively stress the body out.

Every 4-6 weeks try reducing the workload by doing less weight and fewer repetitions, or even take time off from the gym. Sometimes despite what you plan, your body will decide when you need to take a break. Listen to it. It’s most likely to be correct every time.

Hope this helps! Consider the 4 steps I’ve given you to set yourself up for success. Happy Training!

Exercises to Boost Your Mojo: Yoga Complex Plus

Awwwww yeah!! This is the start of my new video series “Exercises to Boost Your Mojo.”

Why “Mojo”? It’s pretty much my family nickname because it sounds a lot like Muldrow. I stole this awesome article idea from a good friend (and Training Jedi), Tony Gentilcore, to post random exercises that people either should or probably don’t incorporate into their training program.

Introducing- The Yoga Complex Plus.

Where did I get it: I can’t quite remember where I saw this idea first- Diesel Crew’s  “Flow” warm-up, or Tony Gentilcore’s “Yoga Plex.” As it seems, I have combined the two versions of this exercise with a bit of my own “Mojo.”

What does it do: Provide mobility, stability and flexibility in the hips and T-Spine,  in the chest, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abdominals and shoulders. Pretty much the entire body! It’s a combination of a “Yoga Plex” with a reach; a down-ward dog and a cobra. Hold each position for no more than 3 seconds to get that feel good stretch.

Applications: These “moves like Jagger” is great for anytime of the day, anywhere you have space- I mostly use it in my programming for warm-ups or even as “fillers” in between worksets. Because it’s a multi-joint movement, it will certainly get your blood flowing and keep you loose through out your session. The more you do big movements like these the better you’ll move and feel!

Try this move out today for 1-2 sets for a warm up of 5-8 repetitions.

Powerlifting. It’s For EVERYONE.

*Note: There is a summary at the end of the article for those that want to skip ahead. Thank you.*

 

I know what you’re thinking-this is my subtle attempt to get everyone reading this article into Powerlifting.

Yes…yes, it is.

Don’t get me wrong, as Personal Trainers it’s not always in the best interest of our clients to be biased about a particular way to exercise. Our main goal-among keeping our clients safe during exercise-is to get results. It’s even better to get results that will last.

I’ve been a Powerlifter for 4 years now-won 2 National Championships, multiple state championships, appeared on powerliftingwatch.com among the world’s best Powerlifters,  and hold 5 state records. Trainer or not, it’s my duty to spread the word about the sport I love.

560 edited

Ok, so what is this Powerlifting? Well, it’s simple really. Powerlifting is a strength sport (like Olympic Lifting, and Strongman) that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and the deadlift. It’s a sport for men women, and even children.

100_0651

Yes. We wear singlets when we’re competing and awesome knee-highs with butterflies on them. Sometimes. Other than a singlet which is necessary; you can compete with different equipment.

RAW: a belt, knee sleeves (debatable), and wrist wraps.

Classic RAW: You can use everything in RAW, but knee wraps instead of knee sleeves.

Single Ply: Everything in Classic Raw, but with suits for deadlift and squat. The single ply refers to the amount of material for the suit.

Multiply: Much like Single Ply but more of a thicker material for the suits.

The more equipment you use to help your lift, the more you can lift. Each competition is based off of the equipment and the lifts you perform.

Like golf in a way, it’s one of the best sports to be competitive with you and with others.

It’s truly a way of life; what you do in the gym and out of the gym could make or break your performance on the platform.

Instead of talking about the latest fitness fad or workout you could do to get leaner; I’m offering PL as a means of getting stronger, looking better (naked) and gaining confidence about yourself. So I’d like to give you all 5 reasons why Powerlifting IS for Everyone.

 

Reason #1FOCUS

One of the most limiting factors about people, is the lack of focus.

ford focus

*Not that kind of focus.*

Fat loss, weight loss, strength, you name it-it has never became more apparent that having a “training focus” is crucial in attaining these goals. This will tie into some of the other points I’ll mention later, but focusing on performance based goals such as this makes you change your perspective on what kind of goals you set for yourself.

You begin to focus on the positive, than the negative.

“I want to workout because I want to get rid of this ‘inner tube’ around my waist.”

“Is there anything else I can do to help me work on my thighs?”

“I’d like to start out working out 6 days/week. I really need to get in shape. I’m so tired of looking this way.”

In PL, how you look is irrelevant. If you perform like crap- and eat like crap- of course you’re going to look like crap.

If you’re a numbers person, focusing on your training numbers- not the scale– is also a plus. Weight is too manipulative and there are way too many factors to try to control it. But you can most certainly control the weight that you put on the bar.

Having that kind of control is all a person needs to realize that having this kind of focus is much more valuable of your time and energy.

You’ll feel more accomplished YOU did what you said what you were going to do.

 

Reason #2: To Shed Fat and Lose Weight

You’re probably thinking to,

Dude, you totally contradicted yourself. You said to focus on your training numbers and not the scale. What gives?!?!

You’re right. I did.

However, it’s because of the focus on your training that you’re able to start reaping the benefits from your hard-work. How you look is an end result of what you do.

Need proof?

“In a 1994 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” study participants undergoing resistance training increased their caloric demands over a 24-hour period by 15 percent. Resistance training such as powerlifting has long been shown to be effective for fat loss.

It’s guaranteed that when you burn more calories than you consume, you’re going to lose weight. What you do exercise-wise will help keep the “bad weight” off and shed body fat.

Karin here is a prime example of how Powerlifting can help make you look and feel better.

photo
*NOTE: IT’S THE SAME DRESS!!!!*

Karin has been working with me for nearly 2 years now. We pretty much started out squatting, benching and deadlifting right from the jump. But it wasn’t in a manner that was as intense as it could be. About a year later, we decided that she needed a focus. Something more positive than just coming in to try and “lose weight.”

Since this was something that I was familiar with as an athlete, I knew what it would take to prepare for a PL event.

Starting in January of this year, we knew that alcohol was going to be cut (back), her eating was going to have to be a lot better and start training with more intensity and focus.

7lbs (10 lbs between the two pictures above) and 2 dress sizes later, she was ready for the competition. She won her age group and left with a first place finish.

More importantly to her though, she was in the best shape of her life (even before having 2 kids) and felt so much better. This was what she was wanting since the beginning.

When it came to her training; she ate better to perform better, lifted more than ever to get stronger, and looked and felt better as a result.

 

Reason #3: You don’t have to be bulky to Powerlift.

powerlifters aren't pleasing

While I agree that it’s not everyone’s goal to not fit into their EXPRESS slacks anymore because your quads are too big or barely get your button down shirt on because of the back you built; you’re not going to grow a set of testicles and sprout hair on your chest when you touch the bar.

Heck, people look at me all the time and don’t think I am a “Powerlifter” or believe that I can move the weight I can without being bigger.

Conversely, you can Powerlift seriously and not be a massive human being. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen is also one of the greatest Powerlifters of all-time, Jennifer Thompson.

Jen Thompson

Yeah. Her.

The woman in the photo with relatively small arms and “normal” looking legs. At least by American Society standards.

NOTE: The photo doesn’t do her justice though. She’s strong as hell. 

If you guessed by looking at her she’s a mom of 2, married, and a 7th grade math teacher in her late 30’s…you’re really good at guessing.

Seriously, you could make some serious dough off of that. Or have your own television show because you know we need more of those.

All she wanted to do was to get stay in shape, but realized that once she started PL she was already breaking American Records.

She has a 302# bench press, 314# Squat, and 409# deadlift.

RAW! And those records aren’t up to date.

There are full grown men that are twice the size of this woman and she’s putting up the same numbers if not more. It’s truly amazing and some might say that she’s a genetic freak. Whether that’s true or not, you have to put in the time and hard work to get that strong.

Men and women put in the time- hours -before they head to work every day to put on makeup, pick out their clothes, get their hair did. The same goes for the gym. How you look is going to be a result of what you do.

That’s the best news that you could get if that’s a main concern of yours.

 

Reason #4: Community

In my humble opinion, The PL community has one of the kindest-supportive groups of people around. Sure everyone will say that their group of support is best for them. I couldn’t agree more.

Powerlifting has had a bad rap for the videos and photos people put up at meets and in the gym. Stories of lifters kicking people off platforms for “not lifting enough weight” or speaking badly of others doing something they enjoy doing that’s not Powerlifting.

You’re going to have a few bad apples anywhere you go, but trust me when I say that is rare and is not what PL is all about.

“The powerlifting community as a whole is one of the most generous, kind, and supportive groups of individuals in sport. While it’s obviously important to focus on the meet and set new personal records, don’t forget to enjoy the moment and laugh with the people around you. Introduce yourself to someone new, cheer for a complete stranger, and have the time of your life.” -Jordan Syatt,

Read more from Jordan here on T-Nation.

There are tons of forums out there that are willing and able to help those looking to start. I know so because that’s how I got started.

All egos aside, every lifter has gone though their first meet not knowing what the heck they’re doing to some degree.

I went to a seminar once, not 6 feet in front of me were 11 of the world’s best Powerlifters that held at least 14 world records in the sport. Among them was the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time), Ed Coan.

me and Ed Coan

It was Q and A time and I said something about how I don’t belong up there with those people.
Just about all of them had a problem with that-they didn’t believe that to be true one bit.

They weren’t going to sit there and let me degrade myself in their presence. It was truly amazing and something I had never experienced before.

I can’t help but to think they knew exactly what I was talking about though. It made me think about how awesome this sport was. To get that kind of response might have changed my life forever.

 

Reason #5: ANYONE CAN DO IT

Whether or not you want to step into a singlet and onto the platform, you can never say you’re not strong enough or able.

ANYONE CAN DO IT.

Paralympics+Day+4+Powerlifting+Zf35zlmj9e5l

We all know we take our health and abilities for granted. It’s a matter of the mind rather than the body when it comes to doing the things we want to do. We don’t look at other people for what they are; we tend to look at people for what we are or are not.

Constantly judging ourselves based on what the person next to us can do what we cannot.

But don’t you have to do all 3 lifts to be a Powerlifter?

Nope.

There are some that would disagree, but who cares what they say. If you want to be the best deadlifter, or bencher, or squatter you can be. Then so be it.

Well…my leg is in a boot so I won’t be much of anything.

Oh really…

You wanna try again??

Like anything technical, you want to make sure you’re doing it right for health and safety reasons.

PowerliftING is something that you can incorporate into your training right away. If you’re interested, find a training partner or a coach/trainer is something to invest in to help you keep you doing what you love to do. Who knows, to the unsuspecting…you’re probably already doing it.

To sum up the 5 reasons why Powerlifting IS for Everyone:

1. Focusing on performance rather than what you don’t like about yourself, sets you up for success. With focus, you’re able to have sustainable results. When you get sustainable results, you’re likely to stick to what works.

2. You’re never going to out train a bad diet. Hands down, eating well to perform well is going to be the biggest factor in your weight loss and fat loss goals. Train with purpose and you’ll be on the right path to success.

3. The perception that in order to Powerlift, you have to be big and bulky. Some of the bigger numbers I’ve been come from some of the smallest people I’ve seen. Your body isn’t going to magically transform into something unrecognizable when you touch the bar. You have to put in the time and work. How you look all depends on what you do.

4. Having social support is undoubtedly a huge factor in your success. Your journey is yours and yours alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have help along the way. The Powerlifting community has one of the best social support groups around. Starting out can be rough. Everyone in the PL community has been there and struggled. We’re here to help.

5. If you can lift a bar, you can PL. You don’t have to be a competitor to Powerlift. You don’t need all parts functioning. To limit yourself is not a physical issue, it’s a mental issue. Angry, happy, or sad, PL is a great way to let your stress out in a productive manner. Do it right, and you’ll receive all kinds of benefits from practicing the sport we call Powerlifting.

Book Review: Poke The Box

*Disclaimer: I don’t read books often that aren’t about exercise, so it’s kind of a big deal. It may not be a conventional book review…I’m just writing about how much I like it*

Of course with experience and being surrounded by knowledgeable people, I started reading more and more about nutrition. It’s still pretty “basic”, but it’s enough to help coach my clients into the right direction. Now, my schedule is over flowing because of the referrals I get from people. It’s probably because I have learned to understand my clients better as I became more experienced. In fact, I’m more of a psychiatrist than trainer. I’m sure my fellow trainers/coaches out there could agree.

personal-trainer
I’ve always been confident in my abilities as a trainer, but when it came to being on my own as a business man just over a year ago, there was more fear than confidence.

I was afraid to step out of the my comfort zone having come from a commercial gym that basically took care of everything for me. I admit, I was neglectful in educating myself on the business of fitness as it never occurred to me to do so.

Having your own business/identity takes a lot of courage, knowledge and skill. I only wish I had read this book years ago.

It’s an awesome book written by Seth Godin, a multiple best-selling author, called “Poke the Box”

 

10-1080R1 PoketheBoxMech

 

The book greatly talks about  initiation, innovation, and STARTING.

According to an article on cnbc.com, U.S. Entrepreneurship is it an all-time high. One of the astounding statistics reads,

early-stage entrepreneurial rate increased to nearly 13 percent, an all-time high since the survey began tracking such activity in 1999. Such high entrepreneurial activity suggests business owners are opening up smaller shops—and chasing larger opportunities such as restaurant chains.”

I was immediately sucked in to the book right from the first page. It talks of a woman who stood up and told her boss she had an idea.

“I’ve got an idea, and I’m going to start working on it tomorrow. It won’t take a lot of time and it won’t cost a lot of money, and I think it’s going to work.”

“You’re probably wondering what her idea was. You might even be curious about how she pulled it off.

That’s the wrong question.

The change was in her posture. The Change was that for the first time in this job, Annie wasn’t waiting for instructions, working through a to-do list. Or reacting to incoming tasks. She wasn’t handed initiative. She took it.

Immediately connected with the book and knew where it was going. As a business owner or employee, the message of this book is to take a chance and start something.

You’re likely going to fail when you start things, but you’ll never succeed if you don’t try. It could be the message to encourage an employee to work harder or come forth with an idea that may change the face of a company. It could even double your income.

It’s nearly doubled mine.
seth godin

I highly recommend this book. Buy it for yourself. For your friends. For your employees. Maybe even for your boss.  It’s also available on hardcover on Amazon.com for less than $8. It’s a  relatively short read-and that’s saying a lot-and well worth the time!! GO!!!!!!!

It’s All About Da Booty!!

Every now and then a new client comes a long looking to improve something-from having nice arms, a flat stomach, “toned and defined” legs, become stronger, a flat butt…

flat_butt
WAIT WHAT?!?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

It immediately came to my attention that this was a problem. Of course there are tons of people out there who still have this goal.

I have dedicated a large part of my training career to keep this from happening. I was sure to not let this happen to this unsuspecting woman for she was unaware of the “power of the booty.”

As soon as I came up with the idea to write about this subject-for those of you who know me-I was über excited.

*Uhh creepo…what’s that supposed to mean?*

Yes, I’m an ass-man. Asside (see what I did there) from my personal preferences-I’m talking from an aesthetic and performance point of view that should be a  means to work towards in your training. So what’s the big deal? Let me holla at ya for a moment.

Biomechanics

Note: I’m not the biggest nerd on the planet-thus explaining the biomechanics to you at best will be in what others might consider  “laymen’s terms.” Simply because, well, people don’t really care. They just want a nice functioning (and looking) bottom.

gluteals

Gluteus Maximus– The larger-outer part of the buttocks. It helps you rotate your leg outwards, lift the thigh frontward and raise the thigh to the side. So when this bad boy is tight or really sore, this is the muscle screaming at you while you go up a flight of stairs or get up from the toilet. 😉

Gluteus Medius-It’s essentially the middle part of the glutes. It’s what we call an internal and external rotator for the hips (bringing your leg inwards and outwards) and is a major factor in hip stabilization. Remember when grandma broke her hip because she fell on the slippery floor? Heck, remember when you slipped on the floor???

Yep, this is one of the reasons why that you weren’t able to catch yourself. So we’re talking about lateral movement and stability here. Think of ice skaters, basketball players, football players; just about any athlete that is required to play a sport utilizing these kinds of movements. The glute med needs to be “awake” and ready for activity to keep you up right and stable.

Gluteus Minimus– This little guy runs deep in booty. It rests below the glute max and glute med. It works to stabilize your hip and thigh and also helps to lift the leg to the side and rotate the leg inward-so it partners up with the glute med to keep things all balanced out.

People who don’t even want a bigger-better butt *lord help them*, all the things that you want to do just to keep fit-yoga, pilates, dancing, running, walking up the stairs sideways, ice skating, etc .-you’re gonna have a bad time.

you're gonna have a bad time squats meme

But let’s put all that business aside for a second and think about the implications of not having a “strong enough” butt for daily living.

80%+ of my clients pretty much sit on their bottoms for a living. In fact a lot of jobs in the US are sedentary and with poor posture. Which pretty much means sore backs, and weak butts.

Anytime you sit down, you’re basically training your muscles to shut off. In this case-we’re referring to the core muscles. Your core is basically made up of the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, glutes, and hip muscles. When those are inactive, the spine and internal organs are subjected to harm if the muscles aren’t strong enough.

There’s a reason why most bodyguards and bouncers have a pretty good amount of muscle….for protection from of others. 

There are tons of runners and triathlete groups in the town of Bloomington-Normal. You’d be hard press to not find a single one of them that sit down for a living.

Training the behind in this case especially needs to be a priority. Nope, not your chest or your arms or even your calves, it’s all about Da Butt!!

Leon Phelps Da Butt
There are tons of different ways to train your legs as a whole, but which ones work best?! Check it.

As displayed by the man himself, Bret “The Glute Guy” Contreras, the “American Hip Thrust” is a fantastic way to build up your glutes. Why is he called the glute guy? Check out his website and see for yourself.

I use this movement quite regularly in my training to improve power in my squat and deadlift…and to look good in my Lulu-bottoms of course.

 

Speaking of deadlifts….it’s my favorite exercise. There are many ways to do it; going conventional, sumo, semi-sumo, even using a trap-bar or kettlebell will do. Here’s Ben Bruno performing Trap Bar deadlifts (for lots of reps).

 

Here’s another good one by my guy, Tony Gentilcore. Shown here is a single leg movement that works very well. Notice this move is training lateral movement.  We like to use a movement like this for our athletes, particularly for hockey players. Still, anything to train the backside properly is a good exercise.

 

Lastly, here is one of my favorite exercises to train the glutes explosively and also as a conditioning tool-the Kettlebell Swing. Here, Marianne exquisitely demonstrates the movement with not one…but two kettlebells totaling  88lbs!!. How bad ass is that!?

Training your backside is only one piece of the puzzle, but it’s a big piece.

No matter what your goals are-as eluded above-having strong glutes is essential in everyday life. Working on mobility, stabilization, strength and flexibility is going to make everything so much better. Keeping it simple like the exercises above. can make all the difference.

So incorporate some of these into your programming and let me know what you think!!! Happy Training!

Why (Excessive) Drinking Can Eff-Up Your Training Progress

It’s the middle of the week and you’re on vacation heading to STL. Why? Because it’s cheap, you bought Groupons and you need to get the heck outta dodge!! You’re away from the stress at work, or the Bloominton-Normal traffic after 4 pm, or the noisy neighbors the poodle you want to punt across the street  for not letting you nap in the afternoon(*note: I love dogs. I have one. She’s a chocolate-Labrador and her name is Fanny Mae. Mae for short.*). You get there and you enjoy the city and all it’s awesomeness: massage, booze, food, walks around town, booze, the City Museum, booze outside of the restaurant….you get the idea.

Monday comes and you know you’ve got to hit it hard in the gym…

Yeah, right.

I’m pretty sure reading all this you’re probably guessing I know this all too well. Yeah, I sure do. And it happened this week.

alcohol and exercise family guy

 

What can I say, it was vacation-which rarely happens-and I enjoyed myself. Apparently a bit too much. Went to go and squat this past Monday, and boy was it rough. Even the warm-up sucked.  After my last set of 5 x 8, I pretty much passed out from the heat-but definitely from having too much fun. After a few days of not having a drink, downing water like it’s the last thing on earth, and eating-better-I feel totally different and stronger.

I realize I’m the trainer and this could probably ruin my credibility a bit, but I’m not ashamed to fully admit to living a little…OK a little more than just a little. Sheesh.

However, it is my personal experience that prompted me write this article. To many of us fitness-enthusiast out there, this is common sense. On the other-hand, some that are new to this workout-thing are missing the boat on some of the reasons why their gain’s aren’t….gaining.

While there are plenty of stories and studies out there to tell you why booze and exercise don’t mix, written in this article, a study explains,

“Alcohol can’t be stored as energy in the muscles (since it’s not a nutrient), so it’s stored as fat instead.” 

This makes total sense. I am known for telling my clients that the body works extra hard to get alcohol out of it’s system. So having that-on top of too much of it- and with all the other amazing thing’s the body is trying to do to make it better, it’s going to push back the timing of your results. However, I’m here to tell you that cutting ALL of it out, might not be necessary.

A new study found that “red wine can boost testosterone.” As written about  in this article,

” An enzyme called UGT2B17 attaches specific molecules to testosterone, enabling your body to get rid of it. But researchers at Kingston University in London found that quercetin—a compound in red wine—blocks UGT2B17 in lab studies. That means potentially elevated T levels in your bloodstream, and less in your urine.

What whaaaaaat!!!! Sweet! I’m gonna get jacked drinking wine! Hopefully I’ll look like Arnie.

"muscle-building-alcohol" that's what the caption said on Google. Not kidding.
“muscle-building-alcohol.” That’s what the caption said on Google. Not kidding.

However, the study isn’t conclusive. It goes on to say,

“This is a classic example of a study done in a test tube that potentially might have implications for humans, but there are many steps that need to be taken to see if these findings can be translated to humans,”- Michael Joyner, M.D., an exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic

The study may carry some potential, it’s better to be safe and keep wine-in this case- to a minimum of 1-2 drinks a day for males. Typically 1 for the ladies (ideally).

 

Pretty much felt like this guy...
Sometimes, working hard doesn’t mean you get to party harder. If you’re serious about your goals, alcohol consumption should be limited and not necessarily canceled out. At the same time it’s imperative to know how your body feels during your training. Maybe it’s beer. Maybe it’s vodka-or wine that makes you feel like crap no matter how much of it. For me it’s beer and I try to stay away from it when I train seriously for a meet. In fact, I try to stay away from it all. But there is a means to an end.

Everyone has stress and has a way to go about reducing it. For some it’s going to the gym to get a good sweat or go out for a run-or maybe have a drink or two. Moral of the story is there is such a thing as having TOO MUCH of anything. Food, alcohol, exercise, even sex*just kidding*. We all need moderation-but even moderation needs moderation. Just be smart about what you do when you intend to have fun.

For me, I know next time that I need to limit myself because my goals are that important to me. It’s about sacrifice. I realize when I don’t drink I feel the best. I do, however, have a social life and sometimes having one or two can make the best of times. It’s all about what’s important to you? Is it worth not binge drinking for a weekend? Is it worth not drinking at all for X-amount of time? That’s entirely up to you. No matter what, you’re responsible for your actions.

Be smart. Have fun. Train hard. And especially don’t drink and drive.

2 Ways To Get Your Teenage Daughter in The Weight Room: A Trainers Experience

I was originally going to write this post solely based on the premise of two point’s that I’m going to speak about later in this article. Now, I don’t watch tennis very much only when highlights come on ESPN or something-but this is too disturbing to ignore.  This past weekend, a new women’s Wimbledon winner was crowned…but she was also crowned with a bunch of nasty names to go along with it. It was brought to my attention through an article. In case you’re too busy to click on the link, the article was written about the horrible Twitter responses around the world about the 28-year old winner, Marion Bartoli of France.

2013 Wimbledon Winner, Marion Bartoli
2013 Wimbledon Winner, Marion Bartoli

Now, anyone and everyone who has watched tennis are very aware of the “type” of women that have played the sport and won. Each are scrutinized in some form or fashion, but this one really (*pardon my french*) lit a fire under my ass. I have spent the last 6 years training and empowering women to become stronger, more confident and secure in their bodies. If the barrage of these negative comments from people about a woman’s looks in her pursuit of this amazing accomplishment aren’t enough, then what hope do little girls of today have of being great or reaching their goals?

Having said that: GIRLS NEED TO BE IN THE WEIGHT ROOM. It’s hard enough as a trainer to be able to train women without the concern of “being too manly…” or ” too bulky like those bodybuilder women.”  These are legitimate concerns though. For years I would dis-spell these concerns and push them off as “non sense”, but if a client believes it to be true, it’s a problem. This ideology starts early too. I can’t tell you how many times my female clients tell me ” I wish I had this stuff back when I was younger.” The neglect to educate and support women in the weight room isn’t as bad as it was, but it’s nowhere near where it should be. Fortunately, trainers have the help of women who know their stuff, like the “Girls Gone Strong” group and countless women around the world. However, I have seen there are more and more ways teenage girls are beginning to make their way into the weight room.

                                                                   Sports

6a0133f2e9fdbf970b0133f36d6338970b-800wi
Besides the weight room, sports are a fantastic way to open a kids mind to just about anything. They become more creative, learn to work well with others, and have a fun and active lifestyle. I have a client who’s 4 year old daughter wants to play baseball like her older brothers after watching them play. She’s a super-athletic kid and it’s always a pleasure when she comes in wanting to push the sled or stand on it while her mom pushes it (*did I mention I like this kid?*). But she doesn’t want to play T-Ball, she wants to play “REAL BASEBALL!!” I love it. Now, at 4 years old they don’t NEED to be in the weight room. In fact, they need to be outside playing (all kids should be, really). As they get older, of course, strength is going to become a more important role in enhancing performance and basic maintenance on the body. This should be done as soon as they can to put on muscle mass (not like a bodybuilder) for athletic performance reasons as well as self-esteem. With the help of sports, they’ll want to become better and work harder. Strength training will be a major component in that pursuit. I have been fortunate to have worked with three girls to help them prepare in their sports (gymnastics and volleyball). The agility, speed, quickness and strength have been apparent after consistent and hard training. Nothing fancy, just doing ol’ fashion weight training in the off-season. We have seen this in all kids here at AF, but as more girls come in, they’re coming in playing a sport OR aspiring to play one.

                                                               Social Support

A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know...they need to bring their butts down...it was mid-take I promise)
A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know…they need to bring their butts down…it was mid-take I promise)

For men, women, or children, social support is essential in any aspect of life. No one really wants to do anything alone. Life is just way harder. With the awfulness that you hopefully are now aware of about Marion Bartoli, that’s not the kind of social support I’m talking about. For kids, parents being there at your biggest game of your life or getting you practice on time is essential. But parents being there for their training helps, too. Sure, you can’t be involved in their sports training (unless you’re volunteering) but being a teen, that may not always go well. My dad raced around the bases one day at the end of baseball practice against another dad; the man sprinted around first, and ate dirt rounding second. Scarred for life (that’s not the kind of social support they need either :P).

But a perfect example is of a pair of ladies, a mother and her teenage daughter Cathy and Kayla (in the photo above). Cathy (the mom) wants to get in shape and Kayla (the daughter) is trying out for her high school volleyball team. To me, there’s no reason why they can’t achieve their goals together. Plus, being in the same place, in the weight room, getting their “swole” on (slang for lifting weights with purpose….not bulking) is great for the both of them. It helps to be in a training environment like ours that has all kinds of people just getting after it in the gym. This kind of support isn’t necessary, but it certainly helps. As coaches, we support these kids, too, by holding them accountable for their schooling as well. If they’re not making the grades, if they’re not on the team; if they’re not on the team, they don’t need/deserve their parents forking over hundreds of dollars for their training.

Mind you, these aren’t THE best ways to getting your daughter to weight train, but they’re ways that I have experienced. At the end of the day, regardless of sports or any external factors for weight training; being healthier, having more confidence, and feeling awesome on a daily basis is always a great “excuse” for getting in the weight room. In response to the negative tweets about Marion Bartoli, she says:

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”-Marion Bartoli,  Wimbledon Champion

That’s what it’s all about. Ignoring the naysayers, dreaming big, and hardwork. It all pays off in the end.