Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Exercise & Weight Loss, 5 Steps to Get You Going

I have been working out for almost two decades now, trying every type of training program imaginable. I thought I knew everything about physical training, what to do and what not to do, how to do it well, and how not to get hurt; unfortunately, I didn't know everything. You might say that I was a tad frustrated when I gained a lot of excess weight. I worked very hard to lose the weight only to gain it all back again several years later. I started a different program which offered a strategy called muscle confusion and that seemed to work well until I plateaued and lost my motivation to continue; and every fitness buff I knew gave their two cents worth on how to properly "work out," "lose weight," or "get ripped" along the way.  I must admit that I had run into so many suggestions and opinions on the topic that I began to wonder if anyone really knew what they were talking about.
Thus, for the past two years I have been sleuthing for answers on physical training, exercise, weight training, and health. There was so much conflicting philosophies I decided to start experimenting on myself.

I condensed all that I have learned into five steps to get anyone over the many hurdles which prevent us from working out. Here they are: 

1. Choose a Goal That Motivates You
My goal: 
To get toned
To get ripped
To get the perfect physique 
To Get Sexy as F*

I toyed around with my goals for weeks but nothing really motivated me and pushed past the excuses until the last one.  At this point it is all a mental you play with yourself. Having a set goal, a vision of what you are after is key, however you need it put in a way that gets you to kick down that door.  There are many versions of yourself so it is very important to pick one, envision it, put it in motivating words and go for it.

Think about a motivating goal and write it down.

2. Train for the Body You Want
I had a couple dead end conversations with some fitness experts about how they stay slim and toned only to discover that they were in fact slim all of their lives and really didn't have to do much to maintain a good looking, slim, toned body. In fact, one fitness expert, who also owns his own gym, told me that he has trouble gaining weight and must force his daily intake of over 3000 calories per day just to keep from losing weight he works so hard to keep. His advice to me was to calculate how many calories you burn in one day (BMR) and to consume exactly that amount every single day while lifting more weights. Another personal trainer told me that very same day to decrease my reps and max out my weights. I went from 30 reps of benching 90lbs to 5 reps of benching 125lbs (equivalent to a man bench pressing 230lbs).
The advice kept coming from every corner. A fitness trainer at my gym told me that I was working out all wrong and that I needed to pyramid, starting my weights at 55lbs and work my way up to 125lbs and back down again. Yet another muscle man told me the only way to get the body I really wanted was to stack, I assume he meant to supplement while I lifted. And still another Arnold wanna-be told me that the proper way to lift weights was to use progressive strength training by repetitively maxing out to encourage rapid muscle regeneration. I tried each and every technique and I was rather disappointed with the lack of progress I had made during that year. I can bench 125lbs with ease, but I never lost a single pound of fat doing it this way.

Then one afternoon I stumble upon one expert who eloquently told me that you need to train for the body that you specifically want. Out of all the advice I was given over the years, this made the most sense. After all, runners run, swimmers swim, weight lifters lift weights, boxers box, body builders build muscle mass, gymnasts do gymnastics, football players play football, and dancers dance. Each physically train their bodies to preform the tasks they desire to do and each have their own unique look. Sure there may be some cross training from one athletic build to the other, i.e. a line backer would be required to run, bulk up, and strength train, however he would look ridiculous on stage performing Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; the famous ballet would surely become a comedy at that point. Cue the Rock in a tutu.

Pick the appropriate exercises for the physique you desire.

3. Pick a Schedule and Start Training
Back in my ol' Navy days, at one of my duty stations we were required to PT every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before our 7am muster. There were two groups, those who swam in cold water from 4:30am to 5am and those who ran laps from 5am to 6am. I chose to swim! Ahh, those were the days!

Let's get real here. You have a busy life and it is hard to find time to work out; after all there are only 24 hours in a day and it would be nice to get a few hours of sleep in that time frame. One trained professional (gym coach) told me the best time to exercise was in the morning, just like my ol' Navy days, so I begrudgingly got up at 4:30am to work out. This lasted for only two weeks before I decided sleep was more important, that and I don't have to get up that early anymore. The bad part about that was I abruptly stopped working out, making excuse after excuse why other things in my life were more important than maintaining a physically fit physique. After a couple months of excuses and a difficult time buttoning pants, I decided to get my butt in gear again and I started going to the gym. My new routine started after dropping off the kiddos at school, which then crunched up my morning schedule like an accordion virtually screwing me on the back end of my day. This funky routine lasted for the remainder of the school year. The biggest problem I ran into with the morning routine was that I unconsciously consumed more throughout the day, thus it was negatively impacting my progress. Plus it was difficult to get back into every Monday morning. Then when the kiddos were out for summer break my routine abruptly changed and consequently I stopped working out again. The excuses came back again and I slowly packed on an excess 10lbs of fat, ultimately destroying all the progress that I had made while the kiddos were in school. The struggle is real!

Fast forward to now: I found the best time for me to work out is after the kiddos go to bed at night and the house is finally quiet. Screw the "professionals'" opinion, this schedule works for me! I can get an uninterrupted 45 minutes of cardio and strength training in, stretch for a couple minutes and then take a hot shower before climbing into bed. I still manage to get a full night's sleep and wake up feeling energized and full of pep.  I still track and journal my progress in a calendar book and have my phone programmed with alarms and reminders so I stay on track. It is quite effective.

Schedule in a routine that works best for you.

4. Track your progress

One key bit of advice I found useful was to track everything. Of course I had to track everything when I started to experiment, however I found that tracking my progress, or my lack of progress, was extremely helpful. Quintessentially I could look back three years ago and see how good I was doing then verses now. I can thumb through my records and see what worked and what didn't.

Then the subject was brought up again when I talked to a lady who lost a significant amount of weight, about 300lbs to be more precise. Inspirational! There is no excuse you can come up with now. Her biggest tools for the successful transformation was that she kept track of everything that she ate and every workout that she did. She recorded her feelings, her thoughts, her fears, and her goals. She even recorded her bad days and the days which she wanted to give up. Her journal kept her mindful, cognoscente, diligent, and on track.

I don't go that far into detail. I record my diet, my weight, and my workout schedule. I plan everything in advance and modify it as I go, recording the failures with the successes along the way. It works like a charm.

Keep a journal to record and track your progress.    

5. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition
Every gym rat, fitness coach, personal trainer, weight loss professional, doctor, nutritionist, dietician, and sports trainer has their own "educated" personal opinion about this topic. Trust me on this one, I have heard it all! The only plan I have found 100% effective is what I dub the Lipolysis Diet with a daily multivitamin. I wrote about it in previous articles and have used this particular meal plan to lose over 30lbs and significantly tone up. Is it USDA approved? No. Is it effective? Yes! It works very well for losing weight toning up. There is no calorie counting and no rules other than stick to the menu. Add more vegetables if you need more to eat. If you plan on bulking up, you will need twice as much protein than this. It is that simple.

Even if you don't feel like following this particular plan, you must drop the garbage food. Make small changes every week and toss out the junk food so it is out of reach. Make simple replacements to sugary and starchy foods and add tons of vegetables to every meal. You cannot overdo vegetables in my opinion; albeit a nutritionist once told me that I could get fat on celery if I ate too much of it (enter the confused emoji here). Just make sure you consume a variety of vegetables so that your skin doesn't turn strange colors.

I have heard this advice from several fitness pros now: precook and store your meals in individual containers so that you can grab, nuke and go.  Examples are chicken breast with vegetables and wild rice, roast beef with vegetables and cauliflower mash, tuna salad wraps, chicken noodle soup, or even curry shrimp with vegetables. There are literally hundreds of recipes online which can be used to replace fast food and prepackaged junk food.

Replace soda, juice, and alcohol with tea, coffee, and sugarless drinks. Chew gum in between meals. Eat before you go to parties or out to eat with friends. Go grocery shopping with a good friend so that they can keep you from buying junk food. Most importantly, tell your addiction enabler that you are changing your eating habits and what you need from them so that you can successfully make the changes you need to transform your physique. Stay tuned for that blog.        

Eat wholesome, clean meals complete with a lot of vegetables

Following these five steps should help motivate you, pump you up, and push you in the right direction.

You Can DO THIS!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lipolysis Diet: Lose Up to 2lbs Per Week

In some of my previous blogs, I wrote about the weight loss plan I had created for myself when I was in my late 20's when I was studying for my bachelor's in healthcare. Finding the diet quite successful, this was my go-to plan right before summer started. After some tweaking here and there, I eventually called it the Lipolysis Diet, which still seems to work better than anything else I have ever come across or tried.  I understand that "lifestyle choice" is better than a diet, however most people, including myself have to eat food occasionally. Like most people I know who accidentally fall face first into the middle of a buffet table during the winter, I find myself 5lbs, or even 10lbs heavier by springtime. Thus the diet!
I was recently asked by several people to make a simple chart to follow. Feel free to copy and print out the menu plan and the list.

 You too can lose up to 2lbs per week by following this plan:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What to Expect When Losing Weight

I created the Lipolysis Diet about nine years ago after some extensive research and a bit of experimenting on myself and watching others who I have coached have the same success. I have helped quite a few people lose weight and I continue to educate people like me who love food and struggle every day to keep the weight off.

Unlike those personal fitness and weight loss gurus who can virtually eat anything they want and stay as thin as a pole, I have struggled to stay fit and healthy while combating all my food addictions, depression and hormone changes. I personally know what the inner battle is like and how hard it is to fight the lethargy, lack of self-esteem, depression, anxiety and fear, hunger pangs, and all the cravings on a daily basis. I know just how easy it is to fall back into bad habits and let go of self-discipline.

Over the last 18 months or so, I had forgotten to take care of myself as I focused on life events and the craziness that consumed every waking hour of my life. As that slurry of messiness wrapped up, I found myself around twenty-five pounds heavier- YES 25lbs over weight. This was on top of the residual fifteen pounds I still struggled to lose left over from the dismal sixty-pound weight gain during my toxic marriage back in the mid 2000's.   In summary, my weight crept back up to over 205lbs again simply because I was more worried about other things than what went into my mouth and adhered to my waistline.

In April, I decided to be diligent and go back onto the Lipolysis Diet I created and honed over the years.  I know that it is very effective at dropping fat efficiently and quickly without causing dramatic muscle loss in the process. The diet is easy to follow and easy to do; it is easily modified for dietary restrictions and can be followed even at restaurants or parties. In this diet, there is not a lot weird rules or crazy meal plans. Anyone can lose fat by following it and anyone can afford to do it.  It is a very simple, easy, straight forward, and cost effective, plan.

Here are the basics:
1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
2. Stretch and exercise every morning
3. Drink unsweetened tea and coffee
4. Increase fiber intake
5. Take probiotics and prebiotics
6. Replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates
7. Limit sugar intake to 25 grams per day, keep a food log
8. Increase protein and "good" fat intake
9. Consume 70% vegetables, 20% proteins, 10% all the other stuff
10. Use ergogenics (optional) to help accelerate weight loss

Please refer to my previous blogs about my Lipolysis Diet to learn more.

 Here is basically my Lipolysis Diet regimen:

  •  Breakfast
4 Eggs, 3 - 6 oz Meat, 1/2 C Lintels, salsa, Coffee or Tea
(Steal Cut Oatmeal with fruit after Workouts)

  • Snack
Nuts or legumes, Protein shake

  • Lunch
1/2 C Vegetables, 6 oz Meat,  Water or tea
(Cottage Cheese Optional)

  • Snack
Protein Bar or Vegetables & Hummus

  • Dinner
1/2 C Vegetables, 6 oz Meat, Water or Tea

  • Dessert 2X per week
Peanut Butter Bars                        Chocolate Coconut Squares
4 TBS Peanut butter                      Chopped Coconut                    
2 Scoops Protein Powder              1/2 TBS Cocoa Powder
1/2 TSP Stevia Extract                  1/2 TSP Stevia Extract

What to expect when losing weight:

  • The first two weeks are awful! I won't lie. The withdrawals from sugar and simple carbohydrates will drive any person insane. As Americans, we are addicted to sugar and are used to consuming hundreds of grams of refined sugars per week. Sugar is in just about everything and hard to avoid. The addiction is both mental and physical, so while headaches, temperature irregularities, and the shakes are common physical withdrawal symptoms, the mind is constantly thinking about its next fix and plays mean tricks to get you to succumb to its cravings. But after the two weeks, the nasty withdrawals subside, the cravings calm down, and it gets easier to maintain the diet. 

*Hint: going cold turkey is easier than decreasing sugar intake because it is harder to convince the mind to stick to a scheduled decrease at regular intervals than sticking to a preset limit of 25g of sugar per day. Plus, most people find excuses to increase their sugar intake back up to where it was originally, such as on Tuesday, "It was just a slice of pizza and a medium soft drink, I will start where I left off tomorrow," and by Friday "But it is my friend's birthday today so a few drinks isn't going to hurt."  (Note: one slice of pizza has 110g of sugar, a medium Coke has 44g of sugar, and a few alcoholic drinks can be as much as 380g of sugar.)

  • Most people who follow my Lipolysis Diet loses anywhere from 2 - 8 pounds in the first two weeks. Most of the initial weight loss is water weight. Then the body starts sloughing away body fat. Most of the people who follow this precisely loses 1 - 2 pounds of body fat per week. I knew a person who lost 13 pounds in her first month simply by sticking to the diet plan.
  •  Eating fruit, dairy, simple carbohydrates, or alcoholic beverages completely stalls fat loss and adds water weight. Eating anything with a high sugar content, whether natural or artificial, will bring back the cravings and subsequent withdrawals again.  Find replacements (sugar-free substitutions) if the cravings get too bad. Call a friend who will help you out of indulging.
  •   Plan ahead and use slow-carb recipes to help mix it up. Add flavor with herbs and spices. Make casseroles and large dishes to section it out for quick, easy lunches or dinners. Replace rice and bread with cauliflower. Replace pasta with spaghetti squash, sweet potato, or zucchini.  Do something different every week. Eat as much vegetables as you want.  Have fun with it! 

I would love to hear from you. Tell me about your success story.