Monday, February 16, 2015

One Thing

When we start our pursuit towards a new goal, we often think about EVERYTHING we need to do in order to get there.  What happens as a result of trying to do everything all at once is that nothing gets done. 
So let’s simplify.
What is the one thing that you need to focus on right now?  What one thing is going to create the biggest change for you?
Here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to identify what you goal is, no matter if its fitness related, health related, work related, or just life related.  Then work backwards.
What steps do you need to take in order to get from where you are now, to where you want to be?
Make a list of what needs to get done.  And then ONE at a time, check them off as you accomplish them.  But only focus on one thing till it’s done and till its routine.  Say for example, you want to run a marathon. You’re not going to start day 1 at running 26.2 miles.  That would be foolish.  So what you do is make a plan of how to gradually build up to that end goal.   
It may look a little like, Day 1 walk/run a mile, and each day/week you build and build. 
Buckle down and identify the most pressing MUST-DO's, and then develop a strategy and action-steps around that.  Maybe you even have to determine what you need to eliminate in your life to help further focus your efforts.  Sometimes eliminating a negative is just as powerful and necessary as adding a positive. 

So what is it?  How are you going to improve?  What are you aiming to improve?
Is it in your nutrition?
Is it in your day to day life?
Is it in your relationships?
What “ONE THING” do you NEED to focus on that will best help get you to where you want to go? Identify that and then go DO IT!
In the end it’s up to you to take action on the one thing that you NEED to get to where you want to go.  Are you ready to take action? 

Is it your fitness?
Is it in your nutrition?
Is it in your day to day life?
Is it in your relationships?

What “ONE THING” do you NEED to focus on that will best help get you to where you want to go? Identify that and then go DO IT!

In the end it’s up to you to take action on the one thing that you NEED to get to where you want to go.  Are you ready to take action? 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Maximize Your Sleep

Think of the best night of sleep you've had. You wake up feeling renewed, refreshed and as though you could take on the world, right? That feeling is what you should have every morning. Not just because it feels good emotionally, that good mood is reflective of how your body has recovered through your sleep cycle. Now think of a restless night of sleep, the aches, the tension, that resistance to get out of bed, the groggy feeling that most likely carried through the rest of your day. The same thing holds true in this case as well. It's an emotional manifestation of how your body has healed overnight.
    Why does sleep have such an affect on us? Is it really that important? How can we maximize our recovery while unconscious?
    Sleep allows our body to repair all the 'wear and tear' we experience throughout the day.  When our body is finally at rest the healing process can begin. Our tissues are able to regenerate and our brain can process and learn from our days experience. Without giving ourselves the proper time needed for these things to occur, we most definitely feel the affects of it the following day. Imagine if your body were battery operated. When a battery isn't charged completely it cannot carry out its full potential. Our bodies react the same way. Sleep is how we 'charge' our body. Without the proper amount of sleep we will be unable to perform to our full potential. 
     So how can we maximize our sleep? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26-64 get 7 hours of sleep.

That amount will either seem appropriate, excessive or no where near what you could possibly ever sleep, depending on what you can afford to sleep and are used to. For those who find themselves shy of this recommended amount, which seems to be the majority of adults, we will highlight a few points that will allows us to get the most out of our sleep. This does not necessarily mean we need to sleep more. In today's society it can be hard to find time, especially time for sleep when our lives are so tightly scheduled. Here's some tips that will help you to sleep soundly no matter the time you can allot for it. 
•Electronics: Did you know the waves that electronics devices emit can interact with your brain waves and cause your sleep to be disrupted? Try to keep all electronic devices turned off and at least three feet away from you while sleeping. Even television before bed cause restless sleep. When preparing for bed, turn the television off 30 mins prior to bedtime. As we watch television our brain activity accelerates and our neurons start to race. When you shut off electrical devices 30 prior to sleep, you allow your brain to calm down and prepare for sleep. 
•Caffeine: A cup of coffee or tea sounds like a great way to relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this could be the exact reason you can't seem to relax. The general rule of thumb is to switch to decaf after diner. However, even then the lingering caffeine in your system from hours before can cause problems when it comes to sleeping. If you have to have that cup of coffee or tea, try switching to decaf after lunch.
•Exercise: Exercising regularly is a known contributing factor to a good night of rest. The one thing we do want to think about it the timing of our workout. After vigorous exercise you want to allow 3-4 hours before going to sleep. It will take that long for your body to settle and calm down enough to allow proper sleep

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Goals

"Leaders aren't born, they are made.  They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile." - Vince Lombardi

Because of yesterdays Super Bowl, it felt appropriate to use a Vince Lombardi quote.  Leaders are made. They are made by the situations they are thrust into, for the decisions they have to make in crunch time.

Are you willing to put in effort?  Reaching your goals isn't going to come easy.  Sometimes you need to ask yourself "How much effort am I putting into my goals?"  Is it enough?  Maybe you need a little help getting there.

At the beginning of the month we set a January behavior goal.  Remember?  How'd you do?  Well now its February and its time to set a new goal.  Go ahead and write it down!

Here are a few tips that could help you get there:

1. There is no one diet that is the best or will work the best for everyone.
Everyone is different and their body chemistry is different.  Use your own body as your guide and let your results tell you whether or not you’re doing what’s best for you. Always pay attention to what your body tells you, NOT what somebody else is doing.
2. The best way to measure your fat loss is by using a mirror!
The scale is just a number.  Seriously if the scale is your #1 concern, move to the moon, the effects of gravity are different.  How you look and feel is always more important than numbers.  Body measurements and taking pictures are also a good way to track progress, but if you look good then you look good and it doesn't matter what the scale says.
3. Omega 3’s are your friend.
Salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts and fish oil are a good part of your daily meal plans. The difference with and without them is incredible!
4. You can't out exercise bad nutrition.
How many times have you heard this? Your workouts are 20-30% of the fat loss equation and nutrition is 70-80%. If you’re exercising regularly and not seeing fat loss results, you must make an adjustment to your nutrition.
5. Cheat days or an off day here and there are a good addition to the fat loss equation.
Remember, it's not about being perfect all the time.  Following a guideline of 80-90% healthy eating is a good start.
6.  Stop eating processed crap.  Stick with the basics. 
Fill your day with natural proteins, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and healthy fats. 
7. Fat loss is not only about what you eat and how you train but also about the thoughts you have each day.
Positive thoughts breed positive behavior and positive results. The same is true for negative thoughts and attitudes.  I've always said this.  Stay positive, no matter what.  You reap what you sow.   
8. Working out is not just about the exercises you do at the gym.
Get outside and exercise.  Its cold now, but there are lots of things to do.  Snowboarding, ice skating.  Find something you enjoy and get out there and do it.  Even just every day activities of walking is a good addition.  Just move.
9.  Find some sort of social support system.  A friend or a group of friends with a common goal will almost always succeed. 
Telling someone, or going on the health journey with someone holds you accountable to them.  Accountability is key.  Exercising with a friend is even better as you have someone that will push you more than you would push yourself.  I see this when I train people together in pairs or groups.  There starts to be a mini competition.  

Enjoy these tips. Hopefully you will use at least some of them.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Does Your Weight Fluctuate?

Every so often, you get the urge to hop on the scale and see where you're at, wondering where your relationship with gravity lies.  Maybe its up, maybe its down.  Who knows how gravity is going to affect you today. Quick physics lesson- The pull of gravity is different at different latitudes, so if you want to weigh a little less, move closer to the equator, or weight a little more go towards the poles.
9 times out of 10 I'd be willing to bet that your mood the rest of the day is going to be a result of what that scale tells you.  The problem is, it doesn't tell you the full story of what's going on in your body.
Before we get to what's going on in your body, lets first take a look at what makes up your scale weight?

  • Muscle
  • Bone
  • Waste
  • Fat
  • Glycogen Storage
  • Water

and let's take a look at what it's not measuring 

  • Sleep Quality
  • Stress
  • Health
  • Strength

Still think it's a good way to measure your progress?  Those are some variables that'll play with the number on the scale.  Yea, to a degree it can show you if you're trending towards your goals, but the mirror, pictures, how you feel and how your clothes fit are better indicators of success and progress.

Weight is going to fluctuate.  It's just how the body works.  It's going to change depending on what time of day it is, what you ate, what you drank, what you wear, what the weather is among many other reasons.  

Here's a little run down of how much your weight could fluctuate in a day.
from Dr. Melina Jampolis, who wrote The No-Time-To-Lose Diet:

For every 16 oz of fluid you consumed, that's an immediate gain of
1 pound

Need to poop?  Being backed up can cause a weight retention of as much as
2 pounds

Air pressure changes in flights that take 4 hours or longer will actually increase fluid retention typically to the tune of
2 to 3 pounds

Have a high sodium dinner and you'll likely find yourself waking up heavier by
2 to 3 pounds (Maybe more)

That time of a month?
Hormone fluctuations for up to a week leading into your period, or for the guys truly connected to their wife's pregnancy, expect a water weight gain of up to
5 pounds

So, if you're a thirsty, constipated, frequent flier, with a penchant for pizza and heading to that time of month, expect a quick shift in the scale of up to:
19 pounds !!

What if you worked out?  Doing any sort of strength training is going to lead to some water gain, not necessarily water retention associated with bloating, but water gain within muscle cells. Sometimes that water retention can last for 4-52 hours.

That's some intense weight gain right there!  Not necessarily fat gain and most likely completely temporary. But the stress and freak out over the tiniest increment will still happen without a thought as to why it might have happened. 

So don't freak out over every little half pound or pound(s) gain or loss.  If you're doing your work, which means eating well, exercising, and adding in daily movement, then you should have nothing to worry about. 

Remember its not about weight loss.  It's about changing your body composition and about fat loss.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's Your Story?

"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful." -Eric Thomas
What's your story? 

What's the story you're telling yourself? What kind of things are you telling yourself?

When someone has the capability, strategy, plan and tools to succeed...but still doesn't...the problem often lies in the story they're telling themselves.  

They can't succeed because of _____.
It comes down to excuses.  What kind of excuses do you use for why you're not where you want to be?  

Time, Energy, Money?
We're all going to spend time, energy and money on our health.  It is inevitable.  But we all have a choice as to WHEN we spend that time, energy and money.  Are you going to be proactive about your health?  Are you going to start exercising and following a sound nutrition plan (both available at AMP)?
Or are you going to be reactive?  Staying on the same path of inactivity, making poor nutritional choices, and ending up sick.   

Change Your Story
There is no good reason as to why you can't succeed.  So stop believing and telling yourself that!  You CAN succeed! You CAN reach your goals!  
All it takes is changing your self-talk and start believing in yourself.  

Take responsibility for your thoughts, words, belief system, and mindset just like you do with anything else you want to be successful with.  This is the heart of what determines who you are going to be, who you are shaping yourself to be.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015


It's the beginning of 2015 and inevitably its time to see all the "I'm doing ___ cleanse or ___ detox to rid myself of toxins."  Or even worse, I see ads for people trying to sell this cleanse or this detox, promising instant results, instant gratification.  But you know what else will give you instant weight loss?  

Chopping your arm off!

So whenever I read about this stuff, it gets me really agitated because it seems that these people prey on peoples emotional attachment to weight loss.  And if you know me and my sarcastic nature, my immediate response to cleanses is "What is it? Drain-O? And my response to any detox is "What kind of drug are you getting off of?
Looking to clean out your pipes, get rid of that built up grime? Drain-o seems to work to clear plumbing in your bathroom, why not your internal plumbing(clearly I'm being sarcastic, please don't go and drink Drain-o)

First things first, there is no need to do a cleanse if you are eating a healthy diet. That healthy eating will, itself, make your body healthier and remove all of the “toxins."  If you want to replace all the processed garbage you are eating with fruits and vegetables, go for it.  Most likely you'll lose some amount of weight just doing that.  Remember though that there is no quick weight loss solution. If you want to lose weight, eat clean whole, natural foods. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and meat. (Shoot I would even say a well-balanced diet of vegetables and meat, which is completely the opposite of some of those fruit and sugar-laden cleanses!)

Second, the whole premise of these cleanses stems from the fact that they try to convince you that your body is like an air filter in a car that builds up junk.  This however ignores basic physiology in that the liver & kidneys are quite efficient in eliminating anything harmful to your body on a daily basis.  That's one of their main roles in the body.  If you don't believe me, you can pick up a biology book in the library(do those exist) or just Google "Function of the Liver"

There are many, but my favorite seems to be the juice cleanse and you have to ask the question of "Why a juice cleanse?"
What about them makes them so appealing?  Is it the celebrity endorsements or the exaggerated promised weight loss, weight being 100% arbitrary because you don't really care if its from water, fat(doubtful), or muscle mass.
Why is it so easy to convince people that all you need are 6 juices a day, all mushed up in a bottle, but convincing anyone to take those fruits and vegetables in the bottle, keep them whole and just freaking eat them is so hard?
It's really that simple.  Next time you think about a juice cleanse, ask yourself "Why am i doing this?"
Is it really that much healthier for me, or would I get more nutrition and more benefit out of eating all this produce? 

Lastly, if there is no physiological reason for results, if there is nothing credible behind it, then maybe its just a load of phooey. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015- The Year of Not Falling for Gimmick

It's coming up on 2015 and the craze of setting resolutions is upon us.  The quest for better health, losing weight, getting in better shape are among the top resolutions many will set come January 1st.  And the solution that most will use to take on their resolutions?  They will be of the quick fix, gimmicky, too good to be true variety.  Pills, shakes, mangled exercise science applications, cleanses, detoxes, super-foods, etc.
And why is that?

Because losing weight and getting healthier is an emotional endeavor.  And companies prey on that emotional attachment.  But you're smarter than that, right?

Let 2015 be the year that you don't fall for the shiny object promising this & that because chances are if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  We are smart people, but we seem to fall for every little magic pill or new "secret to weight loss" without using any sort of logic or rationalization.  Let 2015 be the year you use logic and rationalization.  In one of my upcoming articles for Watchfit, I focus on the latest craze of waist training and the dangers that are inherent in doing something like that.  Basically a fad or gimmick that has a celebrity endorsement and promises the world.  My key takeaway from that article?  Making sure there is a physiological reason for the results that are claimed.

"We go to great lengths to find the quickest and easiest way to get results, to find that one “magic pill” that will make our lives easier and/or better.  But if there is no physiological reason as to why something will work, then it’s most likely a gimmick that won’t have long lasting results.  
We are always in search of that one thing that will help our aesthetics without analyzing whether or not it’s actually healthy for us.  Yes, we are a society that bases a lot on appearance and less on what will make us healthier, but what if instead of wasting the time and energy we spend on gimmicks like waist training, we focused on solid exercise and nutrition programs.  We’d have a much healthier society as a whole."

That was my conclusion.  We waste so much time searching for the next best thing instead of looking at what works and what has always worked.  Exercise and nutrition!
We over complicate and cloud common sense with a lot of garbage that is unnecessary.

If there was a magic pill or secret way to lose weight, don't you think everyone would be doing it?  Don't you think doctors all over the world would be prescribing this magic?

That's because it doesn't exist.  What does exist is following a consistent exercise and nutrition program. One like we have at AMP where we test you strength, your conditioning, and we stay on top of your nutrition. We try to steer you in the right direction and away from fads and gimmicks, because why waste your time and money.  

Let 2015 be the year you make the healthy choice, the one that will leave you with long lasting results, not ones that last a few weeks and go away.

Happy New Year!!