Thursday, January 1, 2015


The period of time between October 31st and January 1st, also known as “the holidays”, is one of the toughest for people. Particularly when it comes to diet and exercise. Trust me, even as a personal trainer, I have difficulties not indulging too much and getting enough exercise through this time period. It is a well know fact that the average person will gain anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds through the holiday season. And not always be able to lose it.

As we move into 2015, there are a few things you need to remember.  First, whatever you did or did not do in 2014, particularly during the holidays is past. You need to look forward and not backward at whatever mistakes, missteps or things you did or did not do.  The thing to do is get back on track immediately.  You will need to make a plan, avoid excuses and change your expectations. Demand only the best from and for you!

Second, remove the wrong to make it easier to do the right. In other words, eliminate temptations from your daily activities. Spend less time in front of the computer or the TV. Throw out the junk food remaining from the holidays. Throw out coupons to fast food places like Pizza Hut, McDonalds, etc.  Instead go out for a walk, eat more fruits and vegetables. If you go out to eat, make it a good restaurant and not a fast one.

Third, as you list your goals, don’t have too many. Too many goals makes it difficult to achieve even one. List three BIG goals and focus on them. Think of three actions you can take towards those three goals. Once you have achieved those goals then move one to the next three. 

Let 2015 be the year of a healthier, fitter and happier YOU!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Actions to a Better YOU! in 2014!

While debating whether to go to the gym for a workout or outside for a run, I was looking at my goals for 2014. They are goals that I know I can reach, but something was missing, then it hit me…what actions will I take to achieve these goals.  Many times we, myself included, make New Year’s Resolutions and Goals that are to broad and in the process of trying to reach these very broad goals, we do too much and ultimately fail.  This applied to just about anything in life, but is particularly true of weight loss.  In one shot we are going to do some type of cardio daily, lift weights 3-4 times a week, cut back our calories, go cold turkey on whatever food or beverage is our downfall, etc.  Sound familiar.  I know I can relate. These are great things to do, but when attempted all at once, not very sustainable and eventually will lead to failure. Dr. John Berardi has stated that studies show if you want to make one change in your life, you have an 85% change of success, change two or more things at once and chance of success drops to 35% and eventually zero.

So, while still debating what workout I am going to do, I’ve never been good at making quick decisions, I am going to share with you a way that you can set goals and actions and successfully achieve them. It’s an idea that was shared by a fellow trainer Chris Shugart at a conference I attended this past year.  Yes, I actually learned something outside of exercise at a conference, go figure :). He referred to it as the goal snowball.

1)   List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you're not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?
2)    List these things from easiest to hardest.
3)    "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.
4)   Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.
5)   One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.

For example: Maybe you sleep late. First goal might be to get up 30 minutes earlier every day. Second goal might be to go to the gym as soon as you wake up. Third goal may be to go to the gym four times a week instead of three. Fourth goal may be to make sure you always eat breakfast. Fifth goal? Reduce portion sizes at 3 out of 5 meals...and so on.

So in 8-10 weeks you're getting up earlier - never missing a workout, have done an extra ten workouts, and eaten breakfast everyday, while consuming less calories overall. These goals would "snowball" into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.

Weight loss is never easy…there is no easy fix, no instant gratification, so go easy on yourself and make your healthy changes, lifestyle changes.  Make 2014 not about a new you, but a better YOU! And make it stick!


ps: I have decided to....hmph...just when I thought I had decided. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year...BETTER ME!

As I sit here at my desk looking at the calendar, I can’t believe we are three days away from 2014. Where in the heck did 2013 go? What did I do to make a difference in my life and career? As a personal trainer, I am always telling people to exercise, eat right, focus on this, stop with the excuses, etc., etc., etc.  As I reflect back on the year, I can’t help but wonder how well I’ve practiced what I preach.
I realize that when I’m talking with a client (whether current or prospective), friends and family about diet and exercise, I am talking to my self as well. When I tell someone to stop drinking soda or cut down on the booze, I’m talking to myself. When I talk to someone about fitting in exercise only if it is 10 minutes a day, I’m talking to myself. When I tell someone to cut out the processed food, I’m talking to myself. That’s what I love about my job as a personal trainer, I don’t just help other people, I am a constant reminder to myself to eat right, exercise, and try not to let stress get to you.  Sometimes I do these things very well, other times, not.  And I’m not afraid to admit that. I may be a personal trainer, but I’m also human. J
My goal in 2014 is to do all of the things I tell my clients to do better than I did in 2013.  I do not want a New Me…I want a Better Me! My slogan for 2014, IT STARTS WITH ME!!!!! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Do You Know Your Metabolism?

It can be very confusing for people to figure out the number of calories needed daily or "rate of metabolism" and its affect on weight loss.  Let's see if I can shed some light on the subject...

The first step in determining how many calories you need to consume each day isn't just figuring out how many minutes you spent on the stair-climber at the gym, but rather what your metabolism is.

What is metabolism? Simply stated, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories while at rest.  Or, another way to look at it, the number of calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed and slept all day. A person's BMR decreases as they age, therefore you need to be more active to burn the same amount of calories that you naturally burned at a younger age. The BMR calculation below uses height, weight, age and gender to determine your resting calorie count.

Since your BMR (basal metabolic rate) or metabolism, is the number of calories you need to fuel your body's basic energy needs at rest, it is also necessary to have an honest idea of how active you are to determine your total daily calorie needs. A person can figure on needing 20-90% more calories than your calculated BMR. Here's how to calculate your energy needs:

1. First, find your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by using this equation:
o Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches ) - (4.7 x age in years)
    o Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

2. To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
o If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2

o If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
o If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55

o If you are very active: BMR x 1.725
o If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9

The number you get is the number of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight. Decreasing that number by 500 calories per day is a good place to start if you want to lose about a pound per week.

If you want to do a quick estimate without a computer or calculator, a rule of thumb is that most people generally need a daily caloric range of somewhere between 7 and 10 calories per pound for long-term weight loss success, with a minimum of 1,200 calories per day.

Quick Tip: To make this complicated process easier, there are several reliable websites that have calorie need calculators. All you need to do is add in your age, gender, height and weight, and activity level. Online BMR calculators, such as the one from the Mayo Clinic, will do the math for you! WebMD also has a fun tool that will calculate your BMI and provide additional information.

Monday, December 31, 2012

You snooze, you lose...literally

I'm sure that everyone has heard the phrase "You snooze, you lose". Well those words are truer than you realize. Particularly if you are looking to lose weight and belly fat.  In fact, let's rephrase that by saying "you snooze more, you lose more fat". How about that? :)

There is existing and current research evidence that sleep is a crucial factor in controlling your weight.  Just this past year, scientists as the University of Washington studied the effects of sleep habits of of both men and women and the effect of sleep habits on their BMI (Body Mass Index - which is a measure of someone's weight to their height. A lower number means a more healthy and leaner ratio.)

The men and women who reported getting more sleep had a lower BMI number. Which is what you want. It also showed that those people that did not get enough sleep had increased hunger and cravings throughout the day, which as we all know can contribute to expanding waistlines.

Lack of sleep can also cause difficulty in concentrating; reduced ability to cope with stress; Sluggishness during the day; the desire to nap in the afternoon; memory lapses; moodiness; frequent colds and infections; and lack of productivity in work and every day projects.

So before you ditch that extra hour of sleep to dash off a few more emails or finish that project or report you are working on. Or stay up a 1/2 later to watch a TV show or to organize your to do list for the next day. Think about how much easier tomorrow will be if you get that sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep try these tips to help you get back on track.

1) Sleep in complete darkness. Even a small amount of light has been shown to reduce a key sleep hormone called melatonin. Banish the bright lights of your alarm clock and put up some blinds or blackout curtains for your windows.

2) Avoid "blue" light leading up to bedtime. Light from your computer screen, TV and most overhead lights is in the blue spectrum. Your brain reads this as mid-day light and it inhibits the hormonal "wind down" before bed. So turn off the electronics an hour before bedtime and keep lights dim.

3) Stay cool. Your bedroom temperature should stay around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This mimics your body's natural night time temperature and improves sleep quality.

4) Maintain a bedtime ritual. Come up with a ritual or routine that leads up to lights out and stick to it every night. It will help you unwinds and is a signal to the body that sleep is near.

5) Exercise! Yes, exercise. Studies have shown that people who exercise fall asleep faster and stay asleep faster. But try not to exercise right before bedtime.

Here's to better sleep and better health!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why not NOW?

It’s December and everyone is busy with preparations for the upcoming Holiday Season, whether it is shopping, decorating, baking, cleaning, etc., add work and children into the equation and it is no wonder people put exercising on the back burner, “I’ll start up again after the Holidays” they say. Or, “I’ll start fresh with a brand new Resolution in the New Year”. My questions is, does that really happen and if it does, how long do you stick to it before distraction occurs again. 
This is the ideal time of year to start an exercise program; and start on building health and fitness goals for the upcoming New Year. Why? Well, first you can help avoid the typical weight gain that comes with the holiday season. Second, 30 minutes of exercise a day or every other day can help control some of the stress that the holidays can bring. Third, if you start now, you will already be in the habit of exercising and have a routine so that when January 1st comes around you will have a jumpstart on most of the people who wait until January to start a program. 

In a short period of time, you will have developed a whole new set of habits. You will begin to feel differently than you do right now. You will begin to see positive changes in your body in just a few weeks; and be ready to start off the New Year strong and ready to kick it up a notch. Being able to see your progress and being proud of your decision to start now and results can be great motivational tools to continue well into the New Year. Think about it, it’s New Years and instead of joining the throngs of people that will be just starting to respond to ads for gym memberships and the latest exercise or diet fad to fulfill their New Year’s Resolutions, you will be well down the road to reaching your exercise and health and fitness goals. It will have become a habit; and what a great habit to have.

All you have to do is make the decision to do it NOW. Don’t let the holidays stop you. Don't let a TV show stop you. Don’t let your crazy schedule stop you. Don’t let your temporary emotions stop you. Lace up. And exercise away.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year! What is your New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Once again its the time of year where everyone makes those new year's resolutions to lose weight or get in shape. People join gyms, buy the latest weight loss product they see on TV or in the store, pick up the latest diet book and off they go.

Unfortunately, most people will never succeed at their resolutions or will not be able to maintain those resolutions. Why? Well, people make a resolution for what they want, but not on how they are going to get there. They have no plan or actual goals. The resolutions made are too broad. For instance if you made a resolution to lose weight, and decide that you are going to go to the gym everyday, yet you've never worked out before or its been a long time since you've worked out regularly, it will be tough and 9 out of 10 times you will drop out after the 1st week. Trust me as a trainer I've seen it happen. You may have opted to go on a diet to lose weight, however with the numerous types of diets out there and most of them just starvation and deprivation methods that can not possibly be followed long term, frustration sets in and boom your done. You eventually gain back what little you lost, and then some.

Making a more specific plan to reach your resolution will allow you a better chance of actually achieving your resolution. For instance, make the resolution to exercise 3 time a week for 30 minutes; or to take an exercise class two times a week; or to eliminate or cut back on sugary drinks. These types of resolutions are much easier to maintain and easier to succeed at. Once you've made them, write them down. Keep track of what you have done. Get yourself a planner or notebook, once you've put something in writing you are more committed to it. And tracking your results is actually fun.

For example:
I resolve to lose 15 lbs by March 1st, 2012. I will do this by:
1. Exercising 3 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. This will include aerobic and metabolic workouts.

2. I will meet with a trainer once a week for help with my strength training and metabolic routine. Studies have shown that people who work with a trainer or coach are 60% more likely to have success. Why? They work harder than when they are working out by themselves, up to 30% harder. As a trainer, I've had more clients tell me I work harder with you than when I workout by myself.

3. After 4 weeks I will increase my workouts from 3 to 5 times a week from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

4. I will cut 500 calories from my diet, by eliminating or avoiding sugary drinks, snacks, etc. I will monitor my calorie intake with an online website, like CalorieCount.

Resolutions can be fun and successful, if you allow them to be. Resolve to make small changes rather than broad actions, you and your body will thank you later.

Yours in good health,