Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Introducing: Rev6

Late last year, I set out to design a program that we could actually sell to the masses. Many of you have probably heard of programs like P90X or Insanity that can be performed in the comforts of one's home or home gym. I loved the concept of that but knew what some of the limitations were of  these types of programs.

Don't get me wrong: EVERY program has limitations.

But I know that our clients got to experience our perspective on an effective workout regimen: challenging, progressive, and time-efficient.

However, not everyone wants a personal trainer. And there are many of you who receive this newsletter but aren't geographically close to here to take advantage of training at RevFit.

It's people like you who inspired me to design Rev6.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll continue to unveil some more insight to this program as well as direct feedback from the clients of ours who have allowed us to use them as subjects for how well it works.

Besides, it's easy for me to promote a program I designed and tell you how great I "think" it is. I'd prefer you hear it from those who have taken part in it; women, men, even adolescents!

When it is finally available for sale, you will be among the first to know.

So, who is the right fit for the program?

Rev6 is a base-level conditioning system. I wanted it to work for people who had 2 or 3 days a week to dedicate to strength training.

I will say that if you have over 50lbs to lose, this program may be too challenging for you. However, if you're a conditioned athlete, Rev6 may be too easy.

It's a program for the average person who wants realistic and no-nonsense results. I've taken all of the fluff and hype out of it. You won't be bored sifting through pages of theory and physiological jargon, just to get to the heart of the system.

One of the greatest things about it, like the aforementioned programs, you only need access to dumbbells and your own body. If you have some weight to lose, or muscle to gain there is something in Rev6 for each of you.

Over half of our clients have been introduced to this program and our first "graduate" finished it yesterday. She had wonderful things to say about it, which I will be sharing with you next week.

Until then, I would like to formally thank you for giving us the opportunity to expand our fitness vision yet again.

Rev6 is officially coming soon!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

All Or Nothing?

People do strange things when it comes to fitness. In a newsletter I wrote a few months ago, I talked about people who continue to do exercises they enjoy even though they continue to get injured with those activities.

One has to ask the question: Is the activity bad for the individual or are they suffering from incorrect form?

I like to use running as an example.

Few will argue that running is one of the best calorie burners when it comes to fat loss. Not to mention, it takes little to no equipment to perform it.

However, other factors contribute to the high injury rate associated with running. (Have no fear runners, I'm not picking on you. There are other suspects as well!)

-Does the individual have too much weight to lose, thereby adding excessive pressure on their joints when they run?

-Is the individual wearing proper running shoes (fitted appropriately based on gait, arch, etc.)

-Is the body given ample time to recover from a run before embarking on another or is the individual "fighting through the pain" to be able to exercise?

This list isn't comprehensive but rather a brief look at things to consider.

So I'd like you to consider something else as well:

The Extremist.

This person can float within different spectrums. They can be the obsessive dieter, the hardcore fitness enthusiast, the holistic wellness snob, etc.

Frequently what you see, is someone who will either completely embody something or completely abandon it, with no cognizance of a middle ground.

Examples like:

"If I can't work out 5 times a week, I won't work out at all."

"If I start the day with a bad meal, I might as well eat poorly for the rest of the day"

Or using our previous example

"If I can't run, then I just won't get to exercise"

I have to say, all approaches are incorrect.

If you've been sedentary for awhile or if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you just can't go from a base level of zero to 10 in the matter of a week or two.

Often times, it pays to start things off gradually and build a foundation for yourself.

Remember that for many people, drastic and abrupt changes don't work well. They have to be slower and with moderate progress so both body and mind can adapt without being overly taxed and shutting down.

To use a frequently heard phrase: burning out.

It bears repeating (as I've mentioned in other newsletters), some forms of exercise just DON'T working for some people. Maybe your body does really well with Zumba but not with Yoga. Unfortunately, you hate dancing but you love "downward facing dog". Sadly, you may have to give up on yoga or find a practitioner who is more flexible with instruction (or willing to give private instruction so you're not as likely to be injured).
Or maybe you like lifting heavy weights but your body is prone to injury and lighter weights for more reps are actually more beneficial for you.
And to use the running example one last time, maybe your inability to recover from long distance running is keeping you from being able to enjoy other types of exercise.

Your body is constantly sending you signals. You can prefer to ignore them and risk injury that may be difficult (or impossible) to recover from or you can listen to the signals.

Exercise, dietary adherence, and personal wellness should never be an all or nothing approach. You just have to be flexible with what works and doesn't work for your body so you can have a lifetime of healthy patterns and habits without making things more difficult on you than they should be.

We're here to help discern the difference!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When You Care, You'll Change

Where do you fall in your list of priorities?

Is your exceptional ability to please and tend to others among your best traits?

Maybe you're the loving parent who makes sure their children have everything: material needs, your physical companionship to their sporting or extracurricular events, etc.

Maybe you're the perfect partner: always carving out time to make meals for your loved ones, making sure you spend ample time at the end of the day with each other, etc.

I love being around "pleasers". They're so impressive with their ability to multi-task and accomplish everything they need to and then some, so that no one is disappointed or left wanting in their life.

So, what's the problem?

Well, typically pleasers take care of everyone but themselves.

Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a fantastic parent, spouse, significant other, etc.

But when you invest your 110% into all of those avenues, many pleasers get to the end of their day and realize they accomplished little for themselves.

It never ceases to amaze me, many of the pleasers I work with can cover the most intimate details of all the things they did for others.

Only to discover, they forgot to shower, brush their teeth, fix their hair, put on matching socks, remember to wear all the proper clothing, etc.

At a certain point, you have to stop, take pause, and realize that only YOU can take care of you.

No one can make you exercise, eat right, or sleep well.

The initiative starts and ends with you.

Sure, you might hire someone like a trainer or a dietitian or a doctor to help get you on the right path but ultimately you're the one making every step.

Sadly, the pleasers save themselves for last.

And what happens?

Try this:
Repeated bouts of illness (due to exhaustion, poor nutrition, or too much stress)
Excessive hypertension (due to lack of balance in the homelife since one person is carrying more of the load than another)
Weight gain (due to lack of consistent exercise or adherence to a food regimen)
Decreased self esteem (see any of the above)

And this is why I respectfully say, when you decide to start caring about YOU, then YOU will change.

Sometimes it starts with reconfiguring priorities, schedules, and lifestyles. No one could (or SHOULD) penalize you for taking control of your health.

But any hope of having some sense of balance in your life will come when you start to take control and start looking after the few things in your life that are within your power to fix.

The pleasers I train who haven't wrapped their arms around this concept see slower weight loss, higher likelihood of regaining weight which was previously lost, and the frequency with which they get sick is astonishing.

And you look at their lifestyle and say..."Well, it's no wonder".

We can't force you to care about yourself and make YOU a priority.

But we can help you once you've made that very important step.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Trainer's Call To Arms

Over the last several years I've been blessed with the great opportunity to own my business. Along the way, I've met some amazing trainers and wellness professionals who continue to inspire me and show me new perspectives on how our industry evolves.

But there's been a fairly alarming trend between a lot of professionals I know. While this is not exclusive to all and we all have our different areas of emphasis, I send this message out to all of you who work with clients from a weight-loss perspective.

When you have a client who is battling issues from being overweight it isn't JUST an exercise (or lack thereof) issue. It isn't JUST a food (or overabundance of) issue. There can be deep-rooted behavioral issues grounded in years of patterning. There can be hormonal issues which NO trainer is in a position to test for and diagnose. Although, you can liase with a doctor to help determine proper protocols for balance if the client releases authorization with which to do so.

All this being said, it stands to reason that when you post "motivational" pictures of ridiculously fit people with slogans that say things like "If you work hard enough, you'll look like this", etc. You're only reinforcing one more negative association into the mind of someone who potentially has enough negative stimulus in their psyche to begin with.

When you flaunt all your great accomplishments in the gym and your undying dedication, it's reveals a "well, duh" response. YOU are expected to be in the gym, and in many cases, are expected to be in great shape. So, while those crazy fit models in the pictures are motivating to YOU, they likely are not motivating at all to your clients. Why? Because it's not realistic.

Despite your best efforts to motivate, you stand to lose more clients than you gain. The reason: most of your weight-loss clients couldn't give a damn about being ripped. They care about being healthy.

So, if you CARE about your clients. Start learning psychological habits of overeating. Spend less time searching for memes of unrealistic physiques with overused cliches to motivate and teach yourself about things like probiotics, hormonal balances, and lifestyle changes that STICK.

Most of all, be patient. It might shock you but a lot of people HATE exercising. They will likely never enjoy it the way you do. It's your job to make it reasonable AND effective.

Don't be the trainer who shames them into success. A client doesn't become dangerously overweight without issues of shame to begin with.

As always, this is meant with the most respect for each of you. Just don't forget that we all motivate differently. Shy of you adding a license in psychotherapy to your list of credentials you won't be able to fix all the issues your clients will have, and I'll be damned if a dumbbell can fix the rest.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

All Hopped Up

Something interesting has popped up over the last couple of days in the fitness industry, notably over a controversy regarding the television show "The Biggest Loser". I thought I might give my two cents since this is currently trending and has been generating a fair amount of steam with the media.

Allow me to first give a slight recap: Jillian Michaels, who is arguably the most recognizable personal trainer in the nation right now was exploited for giving her team caffeine pills before a weigh-in. The host of the show uncovered this and penalized Jillian's team for being administered a non-authorized supplement per the rules and guidelines of the program.

Jillian stood by her decision that administering caffeine pills was a better alternative than letting her team get loaded up with coffee before a weigh-in. Her only apology came that she was sorry her team had to suffer over her "professional decision".

So, it becomes a matter of principle.

And to be fair, you almost have to penalize both parties.

Let's consider the show first:

Since it began, The Biggest Loser has been one of the most monumental and inspiring shows when it comes to weight loss and how the public perceives it. They should be applauded for showing people how difficult losing substantial weight can be. In addition, the viewers can see how former contestants have managed to either keep the weight off or (in some cases) regain much of it back. Another added plus, is the huge shift it has caused for corporations to start their own Biggest Loser contests in efforts to get their employees more mindful of their individual health and wellness.

Where I feel the show has betrayed the public is in how unrealistic the entire program is. The amount of work the participants have to endure is borderline insane. Instead of approaching weight loss with more mindfulness and balance, it's constantly about more, more, harder, faster, more.

Having run a business which specializes in weight loss, I can assure you: most people in a similar situation have no business pushing THAT hard.

And the show lets you see the grim side of that as well: when the injuries occur, or someone has to leave the show due to contraindicated exercise or program design.

Is it a bad show? Not necessarily. For the right person, it can be just the right amount of motivation to say "I need to start taking better care of myself. If "they" can do it, so can I".

Ultimately, if it gets someone off their butt...mission accomplished.

On to Jillian.

As fitness professionals, we have a lot of tools at our disposal for helping people lose weight. Nutritional counseling, high intensity training, supplement advice, etc.

Is caffeine a terrible thing to administer? Absolutely not. Many people do quite well with caffeine combined with exercise.

However, she does have guidelines to follow and her team paid the price for her executive decision.

One has to consider, Jillian committed a minor infraction on a show with already vastly unrealistic expectations.

But chock up a big win for the show. As soon as controversy rears its head, the show gets more attention, hence more views and don't you think that makes those commercial sponsors really happy?

Sadly, I find so many people who can regurgitate every detail about this show and in the same breath say, I wish I had time to exercise...

I'll let you marinate on that statement for a moment.

In my opinion, if the Biggest Loser wanted to offer a great service to it's viewers it would spend more time showing how the average person can make enough lifestyle changes to see the results they want. Instead, they'd rather show you what you can accomplish when you are forced to adhere to their competition, on their terms.

We can help you establish the guidelines without sacrificing your entire day to get there!

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet...

Sometimes, it's okay to be a cheater.

Alright hear me out on this one.

When it comes to diet plans and weight loss, you may hear the terms "cheat meal" or "cheat day" used with a fair amount of frequency. So, what do they accomplish?

If you've been living in caloric deficit, meaning: you're eating less than a maintenance level of calories to cause weight loss, your hormones are postively and negatively affected. In many ways, you get the response you're looking for by losing weight. However, when you spend too much time in deficit, your body might stall with progress.

Many diet plans add in a cheat meal or a cheat day to accomplish one of a couple scenarios

1) Allowing you to have the food you've been depriving yourself of so you can justify the restrictions of your "proper eating"
2) "Reset" your hormonal balance so you can return to weight loss again

I've found something else interesting can happen as well...

Let's say you've been eating really well from Monday through Friday. Calories are in line and you're not bingeing on foods you might normally.

Then on Saturday evening, you have something you normally wouldn't like: cheeseburger and fries, or pizza, or a slice of cake. Typically, your body recognizes that you're eating junk and a thermogenic effect can happen internally. In other words, signals go off in your body saying "This shouldn't be here!!!" and your body works overtime to help flush the system of the food.

This is where the cheat meal can be really beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight.

That being said, you HAVE to have dietary consistency for this to work and it does NOT work for everyone.

Taking our typical week as an example, let's say you eat really well on Monday and Tuesday but you go out with your friends for chicken wings and beer on Wednesday. You most likely won't get the option of having a cheat on the weekend as well. Your body needs/craves/wants consistency in many ways. When you can establish several days in a row of clean eating, you stand a better chance of the cheat meal having positive effects.

I'll add this as well: the thermogenic effects tend to be more pronounced if you have a "greasy" meal.

But here's the other thing: if you have a significant amount of weight to lose (let's say over 30lbs), you would be better served to stack up several weeks of consistent eating to lock down the habits before you can even consider a cheat meal.

The downside to adding the cheat in prematurely is, from a behavioral standpoint, you may not know when to stop eating the "unhealthy" food choices. It can trigger more poor eating and turn a cheat "meal" into a cheat "weekend".

So, while there can be some really positive outcomes to an unhealthy food choice, you have to EARN that luxury first.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Fruit can get a bad rap.
Too much sugar?
Not good for weight loss?
Not so fast.
There's a way to navigate the fruit section of your supermarket with your sanity intact.

Let's start with the lowest sugar options of the bunch: berries.
Berries arguably pack the most bang for your buck when it comes to fruit consumption. For one, they're an excellent source of fiber. Two, they're great sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries would be the best options and strawberries should be mentioned as well. In most cases, you can consume between 3/4 to 1 cup as a serving size and you'll hardly see 100 calories. To even out a potential blood sugar spike, you can combine the berries with a serving of nuts or Greek yogurt to get additional protein and healthy fats.

At the midway point, you've got fruits like apples, peaches, melons, fresh apricots, and grapefruit (among many others). These are still good options as long as you're keeping them between 1 and 2 servings a day.

On the high-end of the spectrum, you consider fruits like bananas, mangoes, figs, grapes, and cherries. The biggest issue with fruits like these is the fact that you lose a considerable amount of fiber which can slow the digestion of the food in your system.

Last but not least, the type of fruit you generally want to stay away from is dried fruit. The reason: most of it has added sugar and artificial preservatives.

So, how can fruit help or hurt your weight loss goals?

Consider that most people consume far more carbohydrates in their diet than necessary. That doesn't mean you should cut them out altogether but rather be cognizant of portions.

You see, fruit isn't the only source of carbohydrates in the typical western diet. Most people are getting more grains than they need from over serving cereal, too much bread (much of which is heavily processed), rice, potatoes, and pasta. I didn't even mention dessert!!

While it's possible to keep many of these foods in your diet to help you with your weight loss goals, many people are unaware exactly what a portion size should be and end up going overboard.

A couple of tips to consider: limit yourself to 3-4 carb options per day. For instance: a measured serving of steel cut oats, 1-2 fruit options per day and a small sweet potato with dinner. If you're going for a higher sugar fruit, try to save it for after your workout along with a protein option (or mixed with a protein shake) to help push protein into your muscles faster.

How about those super-mega-ultra exotic fruits? I'm talking to YOU acai and goji. These fruits are fine but they're not the miracle fruits everyone would like to claim. To be honest, you can find miracle fruit in the same aisle as those miracle pills...which is to say, you WON'T find them.

Sorry to burst your miracle bubble!

As for fruit juices, most of them are better left alone. Going back to the comment above about fiber, if you strip a food down to it's juice you lose the majority of the fiber. Not to mention, most commercial juices have added sugars. If you absolutely have to partake, stick with the standard portion size (8 oz. for most) and go 100% natural.

While I'm on the natural topic, another issue comes up which is whether to buy organic. If you have the financial wherewithal to buy only organic, go for it. Otherwise, if it's a food you typically peel before you eat you're generally safe to buy non-organic. Any fruit you eat as-is, should either be washed excessively to lessen the amount of potential pesticides or just purchased organic to be "safe".

It's easy to consider all-or-nothing approaches to food selection but they aren't the only way to be successful with your goals. You can make more appropriate choices and spread them out throughout the day without feeling like you're sacrificing everything you enjoy.

We can help you understand how to fit what you love into your goals!