Monday, March 28, 2011

What does car shopping and working out have in common?

Come to find out, a lot! Every once in a while I'll take a trip out to the local big box gym to see what new or old and crazy things people are doing. It's usually a pretty successful visit as it gives me some good stories and plenty of ideas for blog posts. One thing I realized is, for most people, working out is a lot like buying a car.

Think about it... When people go to buy a car a lot of times they don't know what they want. They don't know what they need. They know what looks fun and what they see other people driving. They have been told via relentless marketing and advertising what the "best" is, but they don't do any real research on their own. They walk around the lot touching cars and looking at stickers until a salesman notices they don't have a clue; salesman enters picture, puts them in the driver's seat, explains they bells and whistles, and sells them on a piece of garbage that they use daily for the next 5 years.
Am I the only one seeing the similarities here? In the gym, the machines = cars. There are lots of them to choose from but most are just shiny and overrated. People walk around them, look at the little diagrams to see what should burn where, and touch it a couple of times like they're about to try it on. They think they're supposed to used it because they see other people on it and they've seen Jillian Michaels use it. Unfortunately they didn't come prepared. They don't have a plan and haven't done any research so in comes the trainer. Just like the car salesman they adjust the seat and start selling all the benefits. They give hope and promises to the unarmed victim instead of supplying cold hard facts.

I'm not bashing trainers. There are a lot of great ones out there. Car salesmen, I think there might be a few of you out there that are actually good people too. The takeaway is really for the average gym goer.. If at anytime during your workout you feel like you're at carmax you should probably reevaluate the situation. Go back home, figure out what you want, do some research, get a plan, and hire someone respectable to help you so you don't waste your time and money.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things (right now)

Ok, I can get on some serious binges and become a bit obsessed, but after a week or so I usually lose interest and it's on to something else. Here are a few things I've gotten hooked on that I just can't seem to shake.

1) New Verizon Iphone
I know everyone already has one but this is new to me so let me be excited. The phone itself is nothing life changing. It's the apps that make this thing so addicting. Here's a couple fitness / nutrition ones I like. Daily burn, helps you count calories and log workouts. It could be that one thing that could remind you that you have goals and probably shouldn't eat that cheesecake. I also like the nike training app. This one is great if your on vacation or away on business and don't have access to a gym. It gives you random interval workouts and syncs your ipod music to it. Alarm Clock; If you need to make sure you wake up dancing download this app and set the alarm to sound with your favorite 80s jam. I recommend WHAM! Wake me up before you go-go.

2) Kale Chips
Fast, simple, and delicious. Tear up some kale to whatever size you want. Line a cookie sheet with some aluminum foil and lay them down. Throw some olive oil, sea salt, and dried onion on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350. Remove and stuff your face. So good, so so good!

3) Innov-8 shoes

Bottom line, these things are mad comfortable. I haven't heard anyone use that term in awhile. I think I'm gonna bring it back. Seeing those kale chips above is making me mad hungry. Anyway, these are another option in the growing minimalist shoe market. They are not quite as minimal as the vibrams but I think they look a lot cooler. Great for trail running and since we have the tough mudder coming up it gave me an excuse to buy them. That reminds me; we still have the soles for souls shoe drive going on. I donated 19 pair. Help us out if you can. Thank you to everyone that already did.

4) My own concoction

I put a picture of the Fage greek yogurt but don't be fooled, it's much more than that. Here's what I came up with; try it and thank me later. I'll call it Justin's potent protein pudding. Here's what you do... Take a couple spoonfuls of yogurt and throw it in a bowl. Add a scoop of chocolate protein powder. Add a spoonful of organic peanut butter. Throw in a little splenda and some cinnamon and stir. No you have about 45g of protein in a why/casein mix so it breaks down slower and helps curb the appetite. The cinnamon gives it a little kick and some studies show it may help speed up metabolism.

5) The UA treadmill challenge

Ok you definitely don't want to do this more than once a week and if your asymmetrical in inline lunge, hurdle step, and active straight leg raise fix that before you go sprinting on a treadmill. I also much prefer ground running over treadmill, however it's still cold out and this is a fun challenge. Warm up properly by doing ankle mobility and foam rolling soft tissue. Once all that is out of the way try this out and see how you do. Set the speed at 7.0 and the incline at 4%. Run for 1 minute and raise the incline to 5%. Stay a minute at each incline and see how high you can get. I've gotten to 10% for 45s. Try it out for a quick butt kicking.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Things I got sick of in 2010 and hope disappear in 2011

1: P90X / Insanity / Anything by Beachbody
2: Zumba
3: Kettlebell frauds
4: Paleo
5: Crossfit
6: Jillian Michaels
7: Food Porn
8: Biggest Loser
9: Muscle Confusion
10: Jersey Shore
11: RKC vs AKC
12: 10 minute sets posted on facebook
13: Shake weight
14: Barefoot running
15: Carb talk
16: LISS
17: Justin Bieber
18: Twitter
19: Bracing vs Drawing
20: Tracy Anderson

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

I think I remember Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People making reference to what I believe he called “the law of the farm.” The reference was meant to show that most of the truly good things in life take time and can’t be forced or rushed. Covey described the process of farming and alluded to how it requires patience and diligence to grow crops properly. In addition, farming requires belief in the system. The farmer must believe that all the hard work and preparation will eventually yield a long-term result.

As a strength and conditioning coach, business owner and personal trainer, the concept has always stuck with me. The process of exercising is much like farming or like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results from exercise and there are no immediate results from farming.

First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Much like fertilizer in farming, too much food can be a detriment to the exerciser. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can underfeeding. As I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout or crops to grow, I feel many of the same frustrations of the new exerciser. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and — nothing.

The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and exercising are eerily similar. Continue to exercise and eat well and suddenly a friend or co-worker will say, “Have you lost weight”? Your reaction might be, “It’s about time someone noticed.” Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback. Clothes begin to fit differently.

When my friends or clients talk to me about their frustration with their initial lack of progress in an exercise program, I always bring up the farm analogy. We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results. This is why the farm analogy can be both informative and comforting.

An exercise program must be approached over a period of weeks and months, not days. The reality is that there is no quick fix, no easy way, no magic weight loss plan, no secret cellulite formula. There is only the law of the farm. You will reap what you sow. In reality, you will reap what you sow and care for. If you are consistent and diligent with both diet and exercise, you will eventually see results. However, remember, much like fertilizer and water, diet and exercise go together.

Try to grow crops or a lawn without water. No amount of effort will overcome the lack of vital nutrients.

The law of the farm.

Plant the seeds.

Feed and water properly.

Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.

Happy holidays!

Mike Boyle

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

By James M. Schmidt, a Marine Lance Corporal
stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1986

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The truth about working out, losing weight, and personal trainers. What you should know for 2010....

It's about to be a new year, and we all know what that means. "This year I'm really gonna do it!" The gyms will be flooded for 2 months with people pursuing their weight loss and fitness endeavors. Unfortunately 95% will not make it to April. It's hard work and as Americans we want instant gratification. It takes a whole lot of determination and intrinsic motivation to work so hard and not see a damn thing change. Your body is resistant to change as we continue to gain weight our body establishes a "set point weight." This is that number that pops up on the scale whether you starve yourself or eat a package of oreos. Some trainers will make you think that they are going to enlighten you with this weight loss secret that only trainers know. Unfortunately the trainers making the most money are some of the worst trainers out there, but what they are good at is marketing and preying on your emotions. They know that if they put a bunch of impressive before and after pictures up on their website you'll subconsciously want to be one of them. What they don't tell you is that none of those people actually train with said trainer. The "top" trainers all have one thing in common. They are all great bullshitters. I'm not saying hiring a personal trainer is bad. I'm saying hiring a bad personal trainer is bad. If you want someone to cheer you on while you're on the treadmill or make you do "hardcore" exercises any idiot can do that! Find a friend and go workout together. Keep each other on track, stay committed and you will lose weight together. Please do not pay someone 70 dollars a session to "push" you. Now if you want someone to make you move better, feel better, create balance, and lose weight then find a GOOD personal trainer. Too many people have no idea what that means, so I will tell you. When you go to get a trainer make sure you are the one doing the interviewing. First make sure your prospective trainer has a college degree in the field. Make sure they are certified with either the NSCA, ACSM, or NASM. Ask them who their mentors are. The exercise science field is fairly young, if they are not keeping up with their continued education then you are paying a lot of money to have someone harm you. Example: if you have a trainer now and they are having you do situps, crunches, russian twists or any other trunk flexion exercise to "get you abs" get out now! Just because a trainer was obese once and they lost weight doesn't mean they can help you! This does not qualify them as an expert. A study of one is not very reliable. As long as you consume less than you expend you will lose weight. That part is not rocket science. Never train with a trainer that offers their services for free or 25$ a session. They are charging that because that is all they are worth. A good trainer knows what they are worth plain and simple. If they put in the time to get a degree and a high level certification they will not sell themselves short. Would a doctor or lawyer or really any other professional give away their services?? Ask the trainer for references. If they are good, their clients will be begging to tell how good they are. What if you don't have the money for a good trainer but you like working out hard and being part of a group.. Sure there are "bootcamps," but if you are let into a group exercise program without being thoroughly screened and assessed then it's a matter of time until you develop overuse injuries and have to drop out leaving you in worse shape than when you got their. Group exercise can be good, but unfortunately a majority of the people that run them have a limited background and only see dollar signs. It's your health, make wise decisions regarding it, and don't trust just anyone with it! Good luck in 2010. I hope you are one of the success stories.