Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Top 10 Most Common Fitness Mistakes
(and How to Avoid Them)

Having a regular exercise program is an important part of staying fit, but people frequently make mistakes that sabotage their hard work and keep their efforts from being as effective as they could be. Below is a list of ten of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to working out.

      1)  Not having a specific plan or goal.  Just going to the gym for the sake of working out may help you blow off some steam or burn some calories, but not having a specific plan is a recipe for failure.  You’ve probably seen some of these indecisive people at the gym who appear to be just hanging out.  

The Solution-Determine your goals and objectives first so you can develop a program that will address those issues and help you accomplish those objectives.  Then you can get in and get out without worrying about what you should do once you get there.

      2) Having an incomplete fitness program. Your workout program should address strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, and stress management.  These different components don’t need to be incorporated in every workout, but you will want to make sure you are not completely omitting any of these areas from your program. You don’t want to be the muscle guy or gal who can’t run for a minute without getting winded or the cardio fanatic who can’t do 10 pushups.

The Solution-Take a closer look at your workout and assess if there are some aspects of fitness you are completely neglecting.  Incorporate those components of fitness into your daily activity so you can get more balanced results.

      3)  Overtraining. This is especially common when someone is just starting a program and is gung ho. If you go too hard and overdo it on your first few workouts, it can be discouraging and painful.  I really messed up my knees by training for a marathon for just over two months, as opposed to allowing sufficient time to build up my exercise load gradually. Overtraining is also common among serious athletes who exercise too frequently or too hard without giving their body the needed time to recuperate and recover.

The Solution- Give yourself time to build up and ease into a new program by making gradual progress.  You don’t want to burn out or get injured, so allow your body time to adapt to the new stresses you are placing on it.  You also need to remember to get enough rest.  If you are overtraining or putting too much stress on your body, skipping a workout and giving your body enough time to heal can actually be beneficial.

4)  Underestimating the Importance of Nutrition. You can’t exercise your way out of poor nutrition.  Intense exercise breaks the body down, and you need to eat a healthy diet that will give your body the building blocks required to become even stronger.  What kind of fuel are you using to run your body? If it’s empty calories coming from junk food or highly refined food, then you are asking your body to perform an impossible task.

The Solution- Many people work so hard exercising but sabotage their efforts with poor nutrition. Give your body the nutrients it needs. Remember that nutrition is even more important than your physical activity, in fact, many fitness experts believe the results you get are 70% nutrition and 30% exercise.

      5)  Having Unrealistic Expectations. Are you trying to lose 35 pounds in a month? It took you time to get out of shape, and it will take you some time to get back into shape.  We live in a society that tells us that we should look like fitness models and have six-pack abs. That is simply not realistic for most people, but we can all make improvements and be our healthiest selves.

The Solution- You need to take into account your current condition, genetics, commitment level, and other factors when setting goals and determining expectations. Having realistic expectations will keep you from getting discouraged. Gradual or slow progress is still exciting as long as you are going in the right direction. 

      6)  Not Being Accountable. It’s way too easy to talk yourself out of previously set goals when things gets difficult, but you are much more likely to stick to your program when you are accountable to someone else.  The single most important service a trainer provides is accountability.  If you are going to make lasting changes, then you have to be determined to change, and this is accomplished much more easily and faster if you have others supporting you in your efforts.

The Solution- Enlist the help of a workout partner, friend, or trainer.  Having someone who is willing to support you in your efforts and hold you to what you said makes a huge difference. Sharing your goals and commitments with others can be very motivating, but just make sure you don’t share your goals with people who don’t believe in you or who don’t care if you succeed.

      7)  Failing to Periodize Your Workout. Your body adapts quickly to change, so if you are in an exercise rut and do the same routine every time you workout, you will stop making progress.  Not only does doing the exact same exercise all the time keep you from getting ahead, it is also monotonous and can make exercise a dreaded experience.

The Solution- Change the variables of your workout occasionally by adjusting to the duration, intensity, frequency, and type of exercise. Instead of always opting for the treadmill, do some cardio work on a stair stepper, bike, or jumping rope instead in order to add some variety.  Doing so will allow your body to continue to progress and will make your workout more interesting.

      8) Not Warming Up or Cooling Down. The warm up and cool down part of an exercise program may not seem as glamorous or fun as actually working out, but don’t ignore them. They are important to help your body adjust prior to exercise and to help you avoid injury.  These activities obviously help your body prepare for a workout, but they also help your mind get focused and ready, too.

The Solution- Spend a few minutes before you exercise warming up and remember to cool down afterwards. Remember that stretching is most effective after a workout when your body is still warm and pliable.

      9)  Using Improper Technique. Using poor form will not isolate the muscles you are trying to focus on.  Bad form can be dangerous and may also cause injury.  I used to think you could learn proper form by watching what others are doing at the gym, but lots of people have horrible form when working out. Although you can still get stronger and get results with poor technique, doing so with proper form will be more effective, safer, and make your efforts more productive.

The Solution- Invest in several sessions with a trainer to make sure you learn safe and effective form.  Once you learn the basic habits you will be much better off.  Remember, the mirrors at the gym aren’t just there for the narcissists to check themselves out. Observe your form as you perform exercises to make sure your technique is correct.

      10)  Kidding Yourself. The 11th commandment is “Thou shalt not kid thyself.”  Most people underestimate the amount of calories they consume and overestimate their activity level. When I feel like I’m doing everything right but not getting the results I want, usually after closer examination I find I have just been going through the motions and have not been very strict with my program.

The Solution- Be honest with yourself.  Taking the stairs instead of the elevator will not burn off the cupcakes you had at lunch, and ketchup and fries don’t count as two servings of vegetables! Be honest and accurate with what you are doing.  We all know deep down inside if we are giving our best or just faking it.

I know these 10 mistakes are real and can make a big difference because I have been guilty of making all of these mistakes over time and still struggle with some of them today.  Identify which of these things may be holding you back and work on improving them. Remember not to beat yourself up or get discouraged, but just keep on making more improvements each day so your workouts will be much more effective.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hungry For Change Movie Review

I enjoy watching documentaries about fitness and nutrition. I recently saw Hungry For Change and I thought it was one of the more entertaining films I have seen about how to improve your health.

This movie highlights the problems with the average American diet and tells how most of us over eat yet are under nourished. There is not one particular star or celebrity in this movie, but it features over 10 health and nutrition experts and their thoughts on the subject of nutrition. They all seemed to agree that people consume too many processed foods and they suggest we eat less sugar, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, aspartame, and junk food.

One reason I liked this movie is because it provides simple solutions. They all promoted a basic common sense approach to improve our health by making better food choices. Their solutions include eating more vegetables and fruits with the idea that if we introduce more healthy food into our diet it will crowd out much of the addictive junk food and empty calories that we frequently consume.

One concern I had was that mid way through the program it felt like it was turning into an infomercial for juicing. That would usually bother me more if there was one particular product or diet they were specifically trying to get the viewer to follow, but they only promoted basic principles so it was not like they had an agenda to sell us on any specific product. I may not have agreed with everything that was said in this film but I still think people would be healthier by following the ideas they presented and their messages are worth hearing.

The movie also emphasizes the importance of stress control, exercise, visualization, and self acceptance which I thought was helpful since these things are frequently over looked by some people who are trying to lose weight. Hungry For Change does not talk about how to drop 10 pounds fast or lose inches, but rather it takes a more meaningful inside out approach and focuses on taking care of your body and living a healthier life so those external benefits can happen down the road.

I give Hungry For Change 7.6 stars and suggest it for anyone who is looking to improve their dietary habits and live a healthier life.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Website and Services

I am very excited to announce that I will have a brand new website which should be live very soon. In the future when you go to you will be directed to a brand new site with a very different look. I will continue to maintain this site but it can be accessed under the "blog" section of the new website. In the mean time, here are some of the services and packages that I offer.

Nutrition Services

Kitchen Clean-Out  Package includes all 5 services below for $249

* Menu Make-Over -- We go over 2 weeks of what you actually eat and teach you how to substitute healthier choices. We look at your specific nutritional needs and tastes and make sure you are never hungry! (an $89 value)
* Shopping Support -- We go to the grocery store with you and show you how to substitute healthier choices. We teach you how to compare brands and labels so you can make informed decisions without having to think too hard. We begin at the practical foundation of your nutrition - where you buy your food.
* Ready Refrigerator -- If you don’t have it easily available, you won’t eat it! We teach you how to have your refrigerator at the ready, with time-saving tips and practical points.
* Pantry Purge -- We go through your pantry, again teaching you what to substitute for what is already there. We go in depth with the glycemic index so you know the chemical and metabolic significance of what you put in your body.
* Kitchen Clean-Out on a Budget video -- Most people notice it can be more expensive to eat healthier. We give you suggestions and tricks to maximize your budget while actually eating much, much better. (soon to be released)

Menu Make-Over $89
* Private Consultation
* 2 weeks of menu substitutions for what you’re eating using foods you actually LIKE.
* A healthy lifestyle is 30% exercise and 70% nutrition. We go in-depth on the importance of nutrition to your fitness goals.

Shopping Support $89
* Private Consultation
* How to read a label
* Be less overwhelmed by all the choices at the grocery store
* Learn to speak the language like a pro!

Pantry Purge $89
* Private Consultation
* Practical working understanding of glycemic index vs. glycemic load
* Whole Foods
* Macro nutrients (relationships between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats)
* Metabolic and chemical processes of the body.

Ready Refrigerator $89
* Private Consultation
* Time saving tips for food preparation
* Fruits and Vegetables!!! It’s all about how you prepare them!
* Convenience, convenience, convenience!

Training Packages

Package #1
·         1-month training package
·         10 sessions
·         Newsletter
·         Free Consultation
·         $495 package total (a $115 savings)

Package #2
·         3-month training package
·         30 sessions
·         Newsletter
·         Free Consultation
·         1 nutritional service of your choice (Menu Make-over, Ready Refrigerator, Pantry Purge, or Shopping Support, a $89 value) 
·         $1395 (a $404 savings)
Package #3
·         6-month training package
·         60 sessions
·         Newsletter
·         Free Consultation
·         Complete Kitchen Clean-Out (including Menu Make-Over, Ready Refrigerator, Pantry Purge, and Shopping Support, for $249 (a $356 value) 
·         Gym in a Box 
·         $2695 (a $1,019 savings)

Package #4
·         1-year training package
·         120 sessions
·         Newsletter
·         Free Consultation
·         Complete Kitchen Clean-Out (including Menu Make-Over, Ready Refrigerator, Pantry Purge, and Shopping Support, a $249 value)
·         Entry fees waived to all Your Fitness Quest events
·         Free Kitchen Clean-Out on a Budget video
·         Gym in a Box 
·         $4680 (a $2,179 savings)

Ala Carte
·         Individual 1-Hour Session     $65
·         Initial Consultation/Plan         $55
·         Gym In a Box                       $200
·         25% discount for groups of 2 or more
·         Free training session when you refer a friend who starts training