Why some people are fitter than you are

 

andrea ager

 

If I was a statistics girl (I’m not at all, but I’m gonna go there for a sec) I would say that 25% of the people that walk into my gym have a mindset to kill it.  To dominate.  To work their tails off.  They also are consistent with this mindset.  Not just until they get to a certain weight, but for their whole lives.   The remainder of people come in out of obligation.  Because they know they have to if they want to be healthy. Because they want to fit into a pair of jeans or wear a bikini. They just do what they’re told.  I’m going to throw out an observation and say that group B (the 75%) are also cereal dieters.  They follow trends.  They can lose a lot of weight but then gain it back just as fast.

Two people can start working out at the same time, do the same workouts, eat basically the same type of diet but have completely different results. Why is this?  Why do some people get fit way faster than others?  Why do some people, despite working out every day, stay the same?

Trust me, there are a plethora of answers to this question.  But the one I want to tap into today is mindset.  The difference between a fit person and an unfit person is fit people have constant determination, perseverance, strong will power and an urge to dominate.

Every time a person comes to me and says they’re not competitive, its almost as if they are throwing in the towel.  Think about all of the amazingly in shape people you know.  I guarantee they are some of the most competitive people you have ever met.

Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  The difference between you doing amazing things or you being stagnant is all in how you talk to yourself.   If you are walking up to the bar and this is your inner voice…”oh crap, this is heavy.  I’ve never done this before.  I don’t think I can do this.  I’m going to look stupid.”  Well guess what?!  You’re right!  You will do all of those things if that’s what you’re telling yourself.

Where as a competitive person walks up to that same bar and says “All Freaking Day!”  Guess who’s in better shape

They are doing the same movements as you are but their workout is more beneficial because they have more energy output than you.  Meaning they are more explosive.  They are pushing themselves to their limits, where as you are just doing your workout to “get it in”.   Think of the body of a sprinter.  Their energy output is 100% for short periods of time.  They have amazing physiques.  Think of fit people as sprinters.  The non-fit people would be like a jogger.  The harder you can go, the better you will be.

How is else is a fit person different?  Fit people go into withdrawals if they miss a week at the gym.  Fit people will skip girls night out because they have to get their workout in.  Fit people stay after class to work on weaknesses.  Fit people research movements they want to get better at.  They will make an excuse to GO to the gym.  When they calculate weight for their sets and it comes up at 136 lbs, they automatically do 140.  They don’t skip reps.  When something burns or is hard, they push harder. They eat a ton of food because they want to smash their workout.  They are confident.  They don’t whine when something is hard.  They don’t need a coach yelling at them so they put in 100%.  They push themselves to exhaustion.  They are leaders.

Obviously, being fit isn’t always easy.  It isn’t something people are born with (most people anyway).  Its a decision.  Its will power, its mindset and its borderline obsession.  Its a skill that needs to be practiced and it comes along with a lot of sacrifices.  Not everyone has what it takes, or we wouldn’t be the most obese nation in the world.  But now you know you can change it.  You CAN be the person you want to.  Its not about achieving a body type, its about how you view life.  Are you going to grab it by the horns or are you doing to be part of the herd?

And before I get load of comments, No, that first picture is not me. I won’t lie and say I wish it was though ;)

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shrink that waistline!

How is everyone doing on their abs challenge?  I’m loving going into the gym and seeing everyone doing planks and sit ups!!!  Thanks to everyone for participating and don’t you worry!  There is another challenge coming right around the corner!

6 pack abs.  The most coveted section of body known to man/woman.  Why are these stupid little muscles so stubborn?!?  Even after 2000 sit ups.  How do you get rid of the belly flab?

The secret to having a hot body is this…STOP LOOKING AT THE SCALE!!!!  This is where most people get it wrong!  There is no magical number that you need to weigh.  There is no size that you have to achieve to look good.

This is what you NEED to do…

1. take your measurements.  waist, hips, chest, arms and legs.  Write it all down

2.  Get your body fat tested!  Healthy for a girl is around 20-25%  for a guy 15-20%.  But!!!  if you want to see definition in your muscles and have that 6 pack, girls you need to be around 12-15% and guys 10%.  And remember skinny fat??  Just because you weigh 115 doesn’t mean you’re not fat.  Or just because you weigh 150 doesn’t mean you are fat.

Now, get all of these numbers accumulated and dated.  Put them in a safe place and after 30 days of serious diet/exercise commitment, check them all again!

Keys to lose belly fat: exercise!!  Lifting heavy weights!! So many people underestimate how important it is to bring back the basics!  Back squat, dead lift, clean and jerk.  All of these are intense core workouts.  Of course the sit ups work well too.  And not those sissy crunches either!  Full range of motion sit ups.

Diet!!  Cut down those carbohydrates.  Weigh and measure your food.  Try to stay around 75 to 100 grams of carbs per day. Give up bread and grains and sugar!!  make sure that you are getting all of your carbs from mainly veggies.  If you give up these things I promise!!!!!  you will be looking smoking hot in no time!!!

AVOID!!!!  diet pills and other fad diets.  Every time I see an advertisement for some instant weight loss cure that lets you eat what ever you want and not exercise, I wanna punch someone in the mouth!  People really believe this crap!!!  Don’t buy into that stuff.  Its sooooo bad for your health!

Now go and do people!!!  and let me know how its working out!

quick snack ideas!

The most important thing to keeping your diet in check is to not let yourself get too hungry!!!  I find when I forget to eat or, better yet, when I don’t really have a lot of options I don’t eat, I tend to get ravenous and go for the first thing in my pantry. (like red vines!  shhhhh!)    The best thing to do is have snacks prepared before the fact so that you don’t slip up and pig out on bread and sugar.

My favorite snacks!!

1.  1/2 cup of greek yogurt with 1/2 tablespoon of honey!  I am obsessed!

2.  beef jerky and almonds

3. celery with almond butter

4. turkey roll ups!  for these I take some really good quality deli turkey or chicken.  I put 1/2 slice of pepper jack cheese (again, good quality)  I put 1/2 teaspoon of full fat cream cheese and spread it around.  Then i slice up some green onion and smush them into the cream cheese and roll it all up!  SOOOO good! (remember that I am not on a low fat diet!!)

5.  There are these new almonds that I found!!!!

Be still my heart!!!  Like candy.  I heard you can get them at Sam’s club, but I have recently come across a way to make these at home!!!!  Here’s the recipe!  So simple and clean. I can’t wait to make these!

So there you have it.  Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you will fall off the wagon!!! But if it does happen (it happens to the best of us)  just jump right back on!!!!  Happy Snacking!

Couch to in shape in 6 weeks

We’ve all seen the couch to 5k programs.  That’s nice in all, but as you know, from reading this blog there is way more to being in shape than running (especially running at a slow pace).

First off, check your diet plan.  I’ve been following the primal blueprint and i LOVE it. It breaks it down so simply.  Eat loads of lean protein and healthy fats and only 50-75 grams of carbs per day.  A few days ago I talked about the food diary I’ve been keeping.  I can’t even express what a difference having that tool has helped me!  Stick to the diet and you are on the fast track to fat loss and health!!

Next, get yourself some new shoes or a new workout outfit.  Something to motivate you to get dressed for your workout.  Getting there is always the hardest part!

Figure your plan.  Are you going to workout at home, at a large gym, or a crossfit gym.  If the first two, then your approach will take more planning.  If a crossfit gym, talk to your trainer and they can customize a plan for you and keep you accountable!

Now, start slowly!  Especially if its been a long time since you’ve worked out.  So many people are so excited at the beginning that they get dizzy, faint, throw up etc.  This can be a huge stumbling block.  If you go for your first workout and it makes you sick, you will be less likely to continue it.  So, do some slow rowing or inclined treadmill for about a week just to get your body used to moving and your heart and blood used to pumping. If you feel good this first week, you can up your intensity on the treadmill or row machine or other type of cardio.

After this week of light cardio you will start to incorporate body weight movements. This means squats, push ups, planks, sit ups.  Get comfortable with these movements!  Try doing circuits with these movements.  Example- 4 rounds of 25 squats, 20 sit ups (not crunches!)15 push ups and 30 second plank hold.  So in case this is hard to understand…all of the above exercises would be considered 1 round.  Find other body weight movements and mix and match them all like we did above.  Lunges, assisted pull ups, hand stands, jumping squats, burpees.  There are endless combinations. You want your whole circuit workout to be about 20 minutes long and try to keep it at a good intensity.

Week three you should start incorporating light weights with your body weight movements.  Try some weighted lunges with a dumbbell in each hand.  Try stepping up onto a box about 18″ high with your dumbbells.  Find a trainer or study proper technique and do some deadlifts, back squats, bench press, shoulder press with a light-ish weight.

example of a workout for week 2 rounds of 50 weighted lunges with 10 lb dumbbells (1 lunge equals 1 rep, so 25 each leg) 150 jump rope singles and 20 push ups.

Week four continue your light weight/body weight movements but now find a day to do some interval training outside or on the tread mill.  Interval training is a more intense and specific workout than just jogging on a treadmill.  Example of interval training.  Sprint your fastest 100M then rest for 90 seconds.  repeat until you’ve completed 8 rounds.

Week five, up your weights with your bigger lifts (deadlifts, bench and shoulder press, back squats) even if its only by 10 pounds.  Pick two days (not consecutive, though) that you will do stregth training.  Do 4 rounds of 10 back squats with each round getting a little bit heavier.

Weeks six it all comes together.  Workout week should look as follows

Day 1   Body weight workout (no longer than 20 minutes) followed by and interval workout

Day 2  Heavy weight training day

Day 3 body weight workout

Day 4 Rest!!!

Day 5 Body weight workout followed by interval training

Day 6 Heavy weights day

Day 7 Rest!

None of these workouts will exceed 45 minutes.  Interval workouts are only about 15 minutes long, but keep in mind they are always at a high intensity. And make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough protein!

There you have it!  Be ready for that swimsuit season!!

 

why you (and I) shouldn’t stray from the diet plan

I did the Spartan Race was this weekend.  It was an awesome event!  The only thing that could have made it better was if i wasn’t so stinking sick!!  I totally sabotaged myself this past week and my body seriously paid for it.  We had a bout of sickness running rampant in our house which kept me away from the gym for a WHOLE WEEK!!!!  Stupid virus.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard to stick to a good diet while A: being sick and B: not getting my work out on.  My whole week consisted of gatorade, sprite, saltine crackers, and bread stuff.  Talk about gaining 5 lbs.  (not sure if I did or not.  I haven’t braved the scale yet)  All of this sickness right before this awesome race.  Towards the end of the week I started to feel much better.  I even went to a Valentines Day fondue party the night before race day.  BIG MISTAKE!!  I ate more junk than I have in the past year!  Let me just say that it didn’t sit well in the gut.  I was up all night racing to the bathroom.  Even up to the starting gun I was still having issues.  I was so dehydrated and crampy.  But, I am not one to bail out.  The part I like most about races like that is the mental toughness that it builds.  If I gave up just because I was sick that would totally be defeating my point.  The struggle through the race (obstacles and stomach issues) was something that helps build my character.  It helps me to know that I can do hard things.  That if I put my mind to something, no matter how tough it is, I can pull through.  I could have stayed home in bed thinking about how much fun my team was having, wishing I was there.  But I put on my big girl pants and finished that race.  And let me tell ya’ it was 8.5 miles and 24 obstacles of pure awesomeness.

here’s the crossfit santan crew.  We totally represented!  Out of 150 teams, we took 12th place!  Not sure where my black shirt was. oops

 

 

There are three morals of this story here:

1. when you’re sick and miss a week at the gym, it really sucks.  Working out helps to keep your diet on track.

2.  When you are an avid paleo or healthy dieter, pigging out on sweets will make you feel really bad.  REALLY bad.  Just an affirmation on how our guts have acclimated to modern food.  People who sit around and eat junk all the time can totally tolerate it.  But people with a healthy diet can’t.  Makes bad food seem really scary

3.  When something is hard and you really don’t think you can do it, find that extra kick in the pants and do it anyway.  Being involved is way better than sitting on the sidelines.  Its better to struggle through something and make it than it is to sit on the sidelines and wish you had.  The confidence that you build will help you through every trial in your life.

effort makes all the difference

We all know there is no such thing as perfection. Even the people that can lift a ton of weight and have the best bodies need to work on something.   Now, we know I train people, and I LOVE my job.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  I love helping people learn. I love seeing their confidence grow. But… Let me tell you one thing that frustrates me…(and if there are any other trainers out there, please chime in) What frustrates me the most is when people come in and want to change and want to get better but only want to put in minimal effort.  They say that they aren’t seeing results and they aren’t getting a lot stronger.  This really gets me riled up because I know how good they could be.  I know if they pushed it a little harder they would break out of their funk.  But in order for this to happen, they need to prepare themselves for it.  It may sound crazy, but you should do some serious soul searching.  What is it that you want out of your workouts?  Are you looking to get stronger, faster, more muscle, more skilled or just lose weight?  Figure out your goals.  Write them down.  Short term first.

Example (me and my muscle up)  I tried relentlessly for 6 weeks.  There were times when my arms hurt so bad that I couldn’t lift my kids.  There were times when I thought “this is stupid and pointless” and “I’m not strong enough”.  But what mattered was that I didn’t quit.  I had set a goal.  Even though it didn’t happen by the deadline that I wanted it to, it still happened.  And let me tell you how rewarding it was to accomplish that goal that I worked so hard to achieve.  It taught me a lot about my character.

As a trainer I can motivate and teach you how to do something.  I can tell you when you’re doing it wrong, but I can’t put in the work for you.  If there is something that you’re struggling with PRACTICE IT!!  Take 15 minutes or so a day and work on it.  DON’T say “I can’t”.  If you say you can’t then you won’t, I promise you.  Set a goal, be optimistic and don’t get down on yourself.  So whether it be to up your max in your deadlift, finally do kipping pull ups, double unders or a faster race pace, you can do it!  It takes work and time but if you are determined then it will happen!