“I just want to be toned,” “I lost the weight, but I don’t have the body I want,” “I want to look like I lift . . “
Any of those sound familiar? This is what I hear from most people that come to Kayli and I for coaching. Most people just aren’t happy with the shape of their body. Some have lost weight but still don’t like the shape of their body. Some state they would be happy if they just looked “toned.” If you’ve been following Kayli and I, you know we shudder when we hear the word toned. Toned was a made up word by marketing people to sell fitness and lifting to women. When you say you want to be “toned” what you really mean is you want to gain visible muscle definition. This can mean either building muscle or losing body fat to expose your muscle tissue. This can stop some people, particularly women, in their tracks. Many women become afraid of lifting weights and gaining muscle because they don’t want to “get too big,” “look like a man,” or “get bulky.” What they don’t realize is that because of their hormonal makeup, it is virtually impossible for them to do any of those things. Men have much more testosterone than women. Testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone. While women have some testosterone, we do not have the amount necessary to get as muscular as men.
So now that we have put the worries to bed and I have you super stoked to start growing muscle . . . let’s look at the 10 laws necessary for muscle growth.
Alright friends . . . you are now armed with the laws of muscle building. Go forth and grow!
So you’ve been listening to Kayli and I about how to lose body fat and you’ve adjusted your diet and you’ve started resistance training. That’s fantastic news. Wait . . . you say the scale is up this morning. Oh man that must have been scary huh? Well guess what! I have more good news for you, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it’s totally normal.
Fat loss and weight loss are not linear. It is very common and incredibly normal to see the scale go up and down from day to day. This is why I suggest that you weigh daily. Now, if you struggle with body dysmorphic disorder or the scale causes you severe emotional distress, that suggestion changes. When you weigh daily and record that weight somewhere, you can plot the weight on a chart and you will see the overall trend going down. We don’t care about what is happening in the micro perspective here, it’s the macro that matters.
When you are in a fat loss phase, you should be watching several different metrics. I suggest keeping track of your body measurements, biofeedback, how your clothes fit, and the scale. Oftentimes the scale won’t move but you notice your clothes are looser and your measurements are dropping. This is usually a good indicator that you are gaining muscle mass and losing body fat. None of these metrics by themselves are good indicators of your progress. You must look at all of them together. As a matter of fact, the very definition of a plateau in fat loss requires a consecutive 4 week of no scale movements and no measurement movements. Unless both are stalled for 4 consecutive weeks, you are still making progress.
There are several things that can cause the scale to fluctuate. Your body weight can fluctuate up to 4% from day to day depending on the situation and your body. Water can often be a driver of scale weight. You could have been dehydrated one day which made your body hold on to more water, this can make the scale go up. Your body could be inflamed from a hard workout, this can make the scale go up. You could have undigested food left in the gut which would make the scale go up. You could be full of poop. I don’t mean that facetiously. If you’re struggling with constipation or you didn’t get enough fiber to help you clear out your bowels, the scale will go up. Stress, lack of sleep, eating later at night, eating fried or sugary foods can all make the scale go up. It is important to be aware that in order to gain 1 pound of body fat in a day, you had to eat 3500 calories OVER your maintenance calories. So if you eat 2000 calories per day just to stay at the same weight, you would need to eat 5500 calories that day for the increase in the scale to be due to body fat. So the next time the scale is up 2 pounds from the day before. Ask yourself, “did I really eat 7000 EXTRA calories yesterday?” I would almost guarantee the answer is no.
Since I mentioned measurements, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a swing in the other direction. I mentioned all the different types of metrics that you should watch for a reason. We don’t just watch these to test the validity of the scale. They are important in their own right. For example, say the scale is going down and you’re super stoked about that but the measurements are not dropping. That’s discouraging isn’t it? If you are a person with quite a bit of extra weight to lose and the scale starts dropping but the measurements are not budging and you aren’t noticing a difference in your progress pics, there’s a good chance you are losing fat, but it isn’t going to be the superficial body fat that gives your body shape. You are most likely losing the visceral fat first. This is the fat that surrounds your organs. This is a good thing. Do not let this discourage you. This is why the first 10 pounds lost causes the most impact on your health markers on lab work with your doctor. When you drop the visceral fat, your body can work more efficiently.
I would strongly suggest watching several different measurements of progress. Scale, measurements and photos are all great ways to judge your progress. I would argue that even if those things aren’t moving or changing, but you feel better, you are winning. Oftentimes if you chase health and wellness, the body you want will come later and then you can really enjoy your newer body and actually feel better in it.
If you would like more 1 on 1 help reaching your fat loss goals fill out our coaching application to hop on a free coaching call so we can discuss your goals and see if you would make a great fit for the Phoenix Rising Program.
First, what is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and fragile bones that are liable to fracture. Normal, strong and healthy bones contain large amounts of minerals, which make them strong. The amount of these bone minerals within our bones is referred to as our bone mineral density (BMD).
Our bones are in a constant state of adaptation, with bone being broken down and remodeled and rebuilt continuously. When bones break down faster than they rebuild, our bone mineral density decreases.
Our BMD is highest when we are aged in our 20s, and then as we get older our BMD gradually declines. If this loss of minerals from the bone is excessive, our BMD will become very low, and we will develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common cause of fractures in older Americans, especially women. In women, the greatest rate of bone loss occurs in the years immediately following menopause.
How can resistance training help?
Resistance training to prevent osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise in children and teenagers helps produce strong bones; in adults it helps to maintain bone mass; after menopause it can be part of an overall treatment plan that aims to slow the rate of bone loss; and in adults over 65 years physical activity can be used to both reduce the rate of bone loss and avoid injury to bones by improving muscle strength and balance. The strength of your bones also determines the type of exercise that is appropriate and safe for your bones.
Certain types of resistance training have been shown to minimize the loss in BMD, and in some research studies to even produce an increase in BMD. This is beneficial for both the prevention and the treatment of osteoporosis.
If you already have osteoporosis or other medical conditions and have not exercised regularly, speak to a professional about designing an exercise program that is suitable for you.
The best types of exercise for decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis are:
Exercises such as swimming and cycling help improve cardiovascular fitness and build muscle strength, but are not as effective at preventing osteoporosis as weight-bearing exercise. So if you are already swimming or cycling regularly but not doing any other forms of exercise, you should consider adding weight-bearing and/or resistance exercise to your weekly routine.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Resistance training helps improve your bone health by putting strain on the bones, which helps make them stronger. As your body adapts you will need to increase the resistance to continue to improve bone strength. There is some evidence indicating that progressing to heavier resistances is most effective in preventing the loss of an increasing BMD.
Doing a program of resistance exercises 2-3 times per week has been shown to help maintain and even increase bone mineral density in women who have gone through menopause. Resistance training also helps to build up and maintain muscle mass, which helps reduce the risk of falls.
Resistance Training For All
Since the prevention of osteoporosis is a far better strategy than trying to reverse it, all adults should undertake regular weight-bearing and/or resistance training regardless of their age. In young people this will help to increase their BMD to higher peak levels, which will then reduce the risk of it declining to osteoporotic levels later in life. Continuing with this exercise throughout your life will minimize the decline in BMD that occurs with age and further reduce the risk of osteoporosis in old age.
Not sure where to start or what program to run? That’s where I come in! Let me help you get started in your fitness journey with a safe, effective resistance training program tailored to your body and your goals.
If having someone in your corner every step of the way in training, nutrition and mindset sounds like something you would greatly benefit from then take 2 minutes and click the link below to fill out an application for a 15 minute coaching call with me.
Where we will discuss your goals in great detail and find out if we would make a great fit to work together.
You have probably heard me talk fat loss killers in social media posts and videos, but there are so many moving parts that have to work in harmony to achieve fat loss that it’s important to really highlight the major sources of problems. We have talked about how water, diet, sleep and movement all affect fat loss, the one that most people tend to forget is STRESS.
Stress can affect your fat loss in several different ways. As a matter of fact, it can be the major wrecking ball that takes out the other pillars necessary to keep your weight trending down toward your goals.
First, let’s address what constitutes stress. People use the word stress interchangeably with anxiety, feeling anxious, fearful, nervous, overwhelmed, panicked or stressed out. Usually stress manifests in people’s lives without them noticing, but usually shows it’s ugly face through anger, irritability, depression, tension, headaches, joint and muscle aches, gastrointestinal distress, frequent illness and lack of sleep. Your body cannot tell the difference between stressors or negative emotions. All of these things to your body are simply stress. A fight with your spouse, rough day at the job, lost $20 at the slot machine, feeling under the weather . . . the situations are numerous, but the point is, your body doesn’t know the difference between these situations or if you’re being chased by a lion or starving. All stressors cause your body to automatically go into flight or fight mode to help you survive that famine or fight that lion. To do this, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is released, glucose is also released into your bloodstream. Glucose is your body’s primary source of energy. Great, your body is now suited up for battle.
The problem is when the threat is gone (great job, you killed the lion), your adrenaline wears off and your glucose wears off, but your cortisol goes into high gear to replenish your energy supply. So what does this mean for you? Let’s break it down
When your glucose level drops, your body craves sugar because your body knows that sugar will give it the quick energy boost it thinks it needs. The problem with this is, when you consume so much sugar after stressful situations your body tends to store as abdominal fat, which is usually one of the hardest areas to lose it. This creates the infinite loop of stress, cortisol, gain weight, crave sugar, eat sugar, gain more weight and round and round the mulberry bush we go.
So maybe you think you’re stronger and smarter than your body so you don’t end up in the sugar cycle mentioned above. Ok, let’s cuss and discuss what that pesky cortisol does to your metabolism. Even if you aren’t eating high fat or high sugar, cortisol slows your metabolism and as an added perk, also raises your insulin, a hormone that contributes to fat storage. Researchers have found that stress could cause as much as an 11 pound weight gain in one year.
So there’s other perks of high stress, anxiety, cortisol (whatever word, be it 4 letter or otherwise, you’re using for it) on your body. (I really hope you’re picking up on my snarky sarcasm toward stress, because it can be a pesky bugger.)
Are you an emotional eater . . . STRESS. Cortisol not only causes unhealthy cravings but can also make you eat more than normal.
Do you struggle to plan meals or prepare meals when you’re stressed? That probably makes you want to hit up that Chik-Fil-A down the street or just grab something easy rather than taking the time to make a healthy choice.
Stress can often mean you’re overworked, have a busy schedule or spend too much time commuting can really cut into your time at the gym or other activities you would usually do. This also makes people cut out meals from their diet.
And last but not least . . . DRUMROLL PUH-LEASE . . .
Remember SLEEP and how not getting enough sleep can cause you to hold on to extra body weight?? Let’s recap, not getting enough sleep can cause ghrelin, your body’s hunger hormone, to increase and also make your leptin levels decrease. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. So basically when you don’t get adequate sleep, you eat more because you’re hungrier and feel less full.
Ok back to stress. Stress comes in clutch to really round out this terrible cycle by making it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep and get good sleep. So that cycle ends up looking like this>stress=little sleep/poor sleep=increased appetite. It is a nasty cycle, and when you pair that with the research showing that lack of sleep also leads to a decrease in metabolism, you then aren’t sleeping, you’re eating more and your body isn’t burning as much of what you put in.
I’m not sure how you’re feeling about that little cocktail of weight loss disasters, but if you’re 100% not ok with it, continue reading and let’s talk strategies to fix it.
First, we need to say that you will never be fully free of cortisol. Your body does need some, but it produces its own normal amount without you jump starting it like a dead car battery. You have to practice stress management. You can do this through self care, meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, getting adequate sleep, exercising, journaling, reading, listening to music, and eating a diet of health foods. These things are very important to your mental health, physical health and overall well being. There’s nothing frou frou about taking care of yourself. You have one body and one life, treat them well. Other simple things you can do are drinking water and eating more whole foods. These things help fight cravings but you have to put in the work to keep your mind right in order to hit your goals.
If you have questions or want to discuss your situation in more detail, click the link and apply for a coaching call.
Again - the stuff on the bottom of the pyramid is the most important stuff. As you make your way up the pyramid, you get less and less meaningful impact per time invested.
1. Sustainability And Adherence
The most important thing about your diet? It has to be something you can stick to.
Even with fast weight loss, you'll still be dieting for quite some time. If your diet isn't something you can stick to for at least a few months, you won't be able to get results.
When I first started coaching, I gave all my clients macros - based on my own success with tracking.
What happened? Hardly anyone could stick to their diets.
This is exactly why we spend so much time initially talking about your lifestyle, and what diet structure will work best for you currently. That's how we create a diet easy for you to adhere to.
Now, our goal is NOT to keep you dieting for the rest of your life - so you don't have to be able to see yourself doing this for years... but it has to be maintainable for the course of the diet (typically 3-6 months).
So really, after the diet is over is when sustainability comes into play. The habits you've learned - eat protein at every meal, prepping ahead, focusing on high-volume foods, balancing calorie intake with movement - these are what allow you to sustain your new bangin' body composition once you get there.
Basically, you'll never just be able to eat crappy food constantly and be fit. So while you don't have to constantly be dieting - you do need to implement the healthy behaviors you've learned to sustain your results.
2. Energy Balance
-When you eat FEWER calories than you burn in a day, you lose weight.
-When you eat More calories than you burn in a day, you gain weight.
^This is how ALL diets work. They're simply different ways of getting you to eat less.
For everything else you could possibly want to know about energy balance, check out last week's email.
All your foods are made up of some combination (or at least one) of these “macros”.
our macro intake can have a pretty big impact on your body composition, but it does NOT overrule energy balance. Calories in - calories out is still the most important factor.
The calories per gram varies a bit by macro:
*Protein: 1 gram of protein contains ~4 calories
*Carbohydrates: 1 gram of carbohydrate contains ~4 calories
*Fat: 1 gram of fat contains ~9 calories
*Ethanol (alcohol): 1 gram of pure ethanol contains ~7 calories
Keeping protein high is crucial to building a great body, BECAUSE:
2. Carbs: 5-10% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
3. Fat: 0-3% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
When you eat more protein, you're actually increasing the Calories outside of the energy balance equation, since you're burning more calories via TEF.
Outside of controlling energy balance, increasing protein intake to .8-1 grams/lb of bodyweight daily is likely the most impactful thing you can do to improve body composition. (Although you're good to take protein higher than this, there are no added benefits. So no need to go over the top.)
This begs the question: Does drinking kill fat loss?
Well - no. You can absolutely drink and still hit your fat loss goals. Seriously, don't feel like you need to give up your social life entirely to get in great shape.
Now, your body views alcohol as a toxin. So priority one for your body after drinking is getting the alcohol out of your system A.S.A.P. To be more efficient at this, the body shuts down other processes to clear the system faster. Processes like: Oxidation of fat, hormone production, muscle tissue repair, etc.
Basically, when you drink, your results (losing body fat, building muscle) stop until your body clears the alcohol.
All that being said, fat loss still comes down to creating a calorie deficit. So no need to be afraid of alcohol.
To work alcohol into your daily intake:
*If you're tracking: swap preferably fat, and then carb calories for macros.
-For fat: divide the total calories in your drink by 9. The resulting number is the grams of fat to subtract from your daily intake.
-For carbs: divide the total calories in your drink by 4. The resulting number is the grams of carbs to subtract from your daily intake.
Basically, always keep your protein higher. Carbs and fats are going to have to take a hit. Try to keep carbs as high as possible, as long as possible. Don't let fat drop below 15% of your total calorie intake.
Ok - so this could get really boring. I'm not going to hit you with an exhaustive list of vitamins and minerals. We'll just cover the essentials quickly.
You've probably heard the term nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are simply foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are key to overall health, gym performance, and even your mental state.
Typically whole or minimally processed foods are nutrient-dense foods. Think - anything that comes from the earth OR lives on the earth. Meats, veggies, fruit, etc.
On the other hand, highly processed foods typically contain very few nutrients. Think - Food that's produced in a factory. Typically a very long ingredient list.
Now, the five most common micronutrient deficiencies are:
^A diet with a good variety of whole foods should cover all your bases here. Consuming dairy, red meat, and getting regular sun exposure will keep you on point.
As far as fruits and veggies - a good rule of thumbs is to eat one serving of fruits and veggies for every 500 calories you consume.
So how important is food quality?
Here's the thing - you could eat only Twinkies and lose weight, as long as you maintained a calorie deficit.
For real. The professor in THIS STUDY ate strictly Twinkies and the like for 10 weeks.
Dude lost 27 LBs, while eating strictly highly-processed, sugar-laden foods. All he did was maintain a calorie deficit.
Now, do I recommend this approach? Absolutely not.
Your health will be awful. You need adequate intake of the nutrients whole foods provide to feel good, perform in the gym, and function properly.
Plus, while dieting, you have to deal with being hungry often. Highly-processed foods are literally engineered to make you want to eat more. They're "hyper-palatable". Not ideal when the goal is to eat less.
Eating mostly unprocessed, whole foods will keep you full longer. Whole foods typically have more volume per calorie (you get more "bang for your buck" as far as satiety per calorie goes). They also generally contain more fiber, which also increases satiety.
So does your diet have to be strictly chicken breasts and tilapia? No way.
But - making 80-90%of your diet whole foods will make the process much easier, and you'll feel better throughout.
From there, you're free to enjoy the other 10-20% of your calorie intake from whatever your heart desires (as long as you work it into your food intake goals) without any negative effects on your results OR your health.
5. Meal/Nutrient Timing
How many times have you heard: "You HAVE TO eat six meals a day to lose weight."
^This is super not true.
The thinking behind this myth was - due to TEF, you burn more calories (via digestion) when you're eating. So eating more often means you're burning more calories.
Thing is - on average, TEF is about 10% of the calories you intake. 10% of a larger meal, or a smaller meal. Whether you eat 2,000 calories in 4 different 500 calorie meals, or in 2 different 1,000 calories makes no difference. TEF at the end of the day will still be 10% of 2,000 calories.
So does meal timing/number of meals matter at all?
Well, yes. It CAN make a difference. Just be sure to prioritize. All the stuff we've talked about previous to this makes MUCH more difference for your body composition. Treat it as such.
A few things to consider:
The most important thing - finding the meal frequency that is easiest for you to adhere to. (Anecdotally, clients usually do best with 3-4 per day.)
“Get ripped in two weeks with the SuperShred-69 fat burner!... And don’t forget to use my promo code.”
-J. Swollzz, Instagram Fitness Model
Most everyone has tried some type of fat burner, detox, etc. expecting dramatic results...and…..nothing.
The problem is, the supplement industry is crazy good at selling on the idea that “the thing” is out there somewhere.
You know, "the thing" that’s finally gonna get you the body you want, without having to put in years of hard work and consistency.
"The thing" doesn't exist.
Truth is, most legal supplements do little to nothing. That's why they're way up here, at the top of the pyramid.
Are any supplements worth the money?
*A Note On Proprietary Blends:
Supplement labels often include “proprietary blends”. This allows for the total amount of ingredients in the blend to be listed, while leaving the exact amount of each individual ingredient unspecified.
Taking supplements containing proprietary blends is much more likely to be a health hazard.
Finally, do your own research. The following is purely informative, not a recommendation. It’s up to you to determine if a supplement is safe to take.
That being said, a few supplements do have merit.
Creatine is an extremely well researched supplement, with the most effective form being creatine monohydrate.
Our bodies use creatine phosphate as a fuel source for the first few seconds of intense or explosive movement/exercise. Think of supplementing with creatine as “topping off the tank”. It allows you to maintain high-intensity exercise for slightly longer.
This means an increase in strength, and overall workload you’re able to handle in the gym, equating to building more muscle.
That being said, the effects of creatine are far from “steroid-like”, but it is a proven supplement to aid building muscle and strength.
3-5 grams/day will do the trick.
We’re all well-versed in/potentially addicted to this one.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Although considered a psychoactive drug, its use is extremely common and mostly unregulated.
Of all the supplements on this list, caffeine has by far the most noticeable effects. Not only does caffeine boost mood, alertness and mental clarity, it also has some real benefits to your workouts.
Research shows that caffeine decreases perceived effort, increases power output, and improves endurance.
Not that you needed an excuse for more caffeine, but it’s a real performance booster. Just keep your intake reasonable. Ideally less than 400mg per day.
If you’re able to hit your daily protein requirements entirely from whole foods, there’s no need to use a protein powder. Protein powders are lacking many of the micronutrients that quality, whole food protein sources will have.
But, if you’re struggling to meet your daily protein requirements, supplementing with a protein powder can be helpful.
Whey protein and casein proteins have the best amino acid profiles of available protein powders. They're the easiest for your body to absorb and use. It’s debatable which is superior. The body digests whey protein quicker than casein protein.
Whey and casein protein are derivatives of milk. So if animal products are a no-go for you: pea or rice proteins have the best amino acid profiles.
Getting all of your micronutrients from whole foods is ideal.
Ideal, but not always realistic. Taking a multivitamin is a good way to ensure your daily micronutrient needs are met.
We obtain vitamin D naturally through food and sunlight.
The issue? Most of us don’t get enough time in the sun, and the amount of vitamin D is negligible in most foods outside of fatty fish. As a result, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common
Taking a vitamin D or Cod liver oil supplement can be extremely helpful in preventing this deficiency.
The typical recommended dose is 1,000-2,000 IU per day
EPA And DHA (Fish Oil)
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids. Now, if you eat fatty fish 2+ times per week, you're good on these. If not, a fish oil supplement can help.
Typically, 1-2g EPA + DHA per day is advised.
Again, supplements are the LEAST important factor. You'll rarely see any noticeable difference from taking a supplement. So don’t get caught up in the minutiae of things like supplements, and forget to focus on the things that really make a difference when it comes to changing your body.
Ok, got all that?
A quick summary:
Week Three: The Nutrition Hierarchy
1. Finding a diet you can adhere to and learn sustainable behaviors from is by far the most important factor.
2. You must have a negative energy balance for weight loss. You need a positive energy balance for weight gain.
3. Adequate protein is super important. Carbs and fat intake can be geared towards what is easiest for you to adhere to.
4. 80-90% of your food intake should come from whole foods.
5. Meal timing doesn't matter all that much if you don't have 1-4 dialed in. Eating 3-5 meals per day is slightly more ideal. The most important factor is finding a meal frequency that fits your lifestyle.
6. Supplements typically make little to no difference. A few will help you hit your nutrient needs, and/or slightly improve gym performance.
Feel free to shoot me comment below or send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Coach Kayli
Studies have shown that resistance training has many positive effects on physical health, but did you know that resistance training is also a good tool to use for mental health as well?
Studies have shown that resistance training has had positive benefits on many mental health issues. Of the trials conducted, participants have seen reductions in anxiety symptoms, reduction in pain intensity among patients with lower back pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, improvements in cognition among older adults, improvements in sleep quality among depressed older adults, reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression and fibromyalgia, reductions in fatigue symptoms, and improvements in self esteem.
Many of these things all seem connected. For example, weight training helps a patient sleep better which is going to lower ghrelin (the body’s hunger hormone). In turn, potentially causing them to reduce unnecessary snacking to help them lose a few pounds which could cause an improvement in self esteem. All of these things are interconnected in various different ways. Aside from all the mental health positives, resistance training also seems to have some built factors that help your overall approach to life a bit differently. Other than peace of mind and some self confidence, resistance training seems to also act as a wise janitor of life coming to teach you valuable life lessons and skills.
The first, stronger muscles make daily tasks easier. If your everyday tasks can be performed with less pain and more ease, the stress of completing them will drop. Plus, the confidence boost of feeling stronger and being more self reliant isn’t a bad side effect either. Unless of course you are a husband that takes pride in opening the pickle jar!
Second, let go with care. Hear me out! So when you lift weights, it’s important to perform both the eccentric and concentric motions with care and purpose in order to get the most out of the movement. It is simply key to proper performance. You should always use as much care to put down the weight as you did to pick it up. In life, when we are exhausted or overwhelmed by something, we often just cast it aside thoughtlessly and be done with it. Just give up. This will rarely serve you well.
Ah, yes, next up, the value of rest. When I design programs, I assign specific rest periods between sets. There is a reason for this. You need to give your central nervous system a break and allow it to regroup before jumping right back into a lift. This is often why rest periods are longer on programs with heavy compound lifts. They are more taxing to your CNS than lower weight accessory movements. So, how does this relate to life you ask . . . well, just like weight training, when you pause in other areas of your life instead of rushing through tasks as quickly as possible, you’ll find that you are more productive and more positive results will emerge. Often you just need to find the right balance between rest and work.
This one is another favorite of mine! The power of breath! Yes, breath. I know breathing is essential to life, but that’s not where I’m going with that. Those of you that have trained with me in person have probably heard me instruct you on how to breathe when you are lifting weights. It is very important for effective weight lifting to breathe properly. Generally speaking, you should be inhaling during the concentric and exhaling during the eccentric. This allows you to get maximal force in your lift. Similar effects can be seen during trying times in life. When you are feeling pressure or anxious, take a deep breath. Taking a few deep breaths will help you speak up, calm down and keep your cool much easier.
Last but not least, to build strong muscles, you must break them. Yep, that’s right. When you lift weights, you tear your muscles. That’s the point, because they come back bigger and stronger. (insert Hulk growl) Think about it. You experience muscle growth after you tear the muscles. So basically to make a muscle stronger you have to injure it. It’s through the process of repair it gets stronger. Think about the hardest moments in your life. Think about how much they hurt. Did you get through it? Are you stronger now because of it? I would bet that every challenge you’ve encountered in your life has made you stronger and that’s because with pain comes growth. That growth can be emotional too. After all the heart is a muscle too.
If I haven’t already spoken enough about the benefits of weight training, here’s just some more science backed evidence to show that resistance training literally can benefit everyone, in some way. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or a powerlifter that’s training for a show to see benefits. Everyone has something to gain.
If you’re ready to make a change in your life, but don’t know where to start, apply for a free coaching call. I’d love to be a part of your journey to a better life.
. . . Motivation Is NOT one of them. I know that may come as a huge shock to you. Motivation ebbs and flows and relying on it will lead to failure.
Now, let’s get right to the top qualities:
1. Open Mindset – Having an open mindset and the will to learn and try new things is a must. If you keep repeating that same ol' diet and training routine, yet never see lasting results, why do you keep going back to it??
2. Consistency – Consistency trumps perfection any day of the week! I can’t preach this enough to my clients. Strive to build great habits and make small changes you can stick with. Don’t try to eat perfect, I promise you, no one can keep that up. This used to be me. I wanted every little thing to be absolutely perfect and some days were, but when one thing went wrong my whole plan would come crumbling down around me.
3. Pain – Now, let me explain. Everyone who reaches out to me for help is dealing with some form of pain. Some physically but others are struggling with pain, both mentally & emotionally as well, from all the years of trying to change their bodies and failing.
When they come to me they have finally realized the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.
Is your pain great enough to make some sacrifices?
Are you ready to change?
If so, apply for a free, no pressure coaching call and we can evaluate your goals and see if my methods are a fit for you.
I want to teach you where you should put the majority of your focus on if you're wanting to lose fat, build some muscle and just care about your overall health.
This Hierarchy was explained very well to me by my Coach Jeremiah Bair.
I would love to share with you what I have learned from him.
To the right, you will see The Fitness Hierarchy
Ranked from most-least important:
Most people are surprised by this, expecting cardio to be the number one focus, followed by stepping into the gym a few times, and dieting hard for a couple weeks every January.
Now why doesn’t this work?
In order to lose fat we must eat fewer calories than we burn in a day.
It is impossible to erase a poor diet with exercise. Why? Because you just don’t burn very many calories when you exercise (about 5% of your total daily calorie burn comes from exercise.)
Calories in < Calories out = Fat Loss. This is called Energy Balance
Main takeaway here is watching your diet to control the “calories in” side of the energy balance equation is much easier than trying to lose fat by ramping up the “calories out” side of the equation.
This is why Nutrition is the most important factor to pay attention to.
Lifting weights actually burns fewer calories than cardio. But, resistance training has many more benefits for you than cardio:
It’s a huge psychological boost
Find a plan you can see yourself sticking to for a really long time.
Cardio is still helpful. We just don’t want to put the majority of our focus in it.
Cardio has obvious cardiovascular health benefits-it’s good for your heart.
Cardio has carryover to your resistance training. It allows you to recover quicker - both between sets and between training sessions.
Now the biggest issue with cardio is that your body adapts very quickly to it.
When you adapt to something, you become more efficient at it. Becoming efficient means you’re burning less calories.
So take this for example:
If you were to run 1 mile you might burn 100 calories. As the adaptation occurs, the calorie burn decreases. So after running a mile every day this week and burning a 100 calories each time you may end up only burning 90 calories the next week, and then 80 the next. The only way to keep burning 100 calories is to increase the distance and/or time spent running. The problem is - who has the time or desire in our busy lives to keep adding miles forever?
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Have you ever gone to your doctor asking about ways to lose weight, and the first thing they tell you is that they have a “magic” pill that will help you lose weight fast? All you have to do is take this pill and eat 1,200 calories a day.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Unfortunately, this seems to be common practice. Did you know that on average, U.S. medical schools only offer on average 2.8 hours of instruction on obesity, nutrition and physical activity counseling.
That sure doesn’t seem like much time dedicated to nutrition to me, but then again, this isn’t normally why we see our family doctors. They are great at many other things but sustainable fat loss isn’t one of them.
I have been training and coaching for almost 5 years now and I have had many clients seek my help after having gone through extreme dieting and pills prescribed by their doctor. They dropped a lot of weight fast, but then gained it all back and then some after stopping the pills!
For 99% of people, 1,200 calories is way too little to be consuming. Our bodies need that much energy intake just for basic needs, things like breathing and to operate our internal organs. Our bodies are extremely capable of adapting though. This is what has kept us alive for so long. We have survived countless famines throughout history. We used to be hunters/gatherers and only ate when we made a kill or forged and found food. There would be a feast followed by many days of not eating while searching for more food. How did we survive??? We survived because of our bodies ability to adapt. Our metabolisms would “learn” how to run off lower calories and would “slow” down our metabolisms. Meaning we could survive off less food and when we did find food again it would store it as body fat in case of emergencies when there would be no food.
Nowadays we rarely have a problem finding food, in fact, we have the complete opposite problem. You can find something to eat on every street corner! We are constantly tempted.
Okay, back to why eating 1,200 calories is “wrecking” your metabolism. As described above, our bodies don’t understand that you want to look better in the mirror or drop a couple pant sizes. Your body only knows it isn't receiving enough nutrition to survive long term. So it does its job and lowers your metabolism to keep you alive! I’d say a thanks is in order haha. So rather quickly after eating only 1,200 calories you will notice you are no longer losing weight like you were in the beginning. At first it just slows, then weight loss all together stops. You’ll notice other signs too: constant hunger, cravings, moodiness, poor sleep, skin issues, and women can lose their cycle. This is our body's way of saying, “Hey! I need some nutrition, damn it!”
So most of us cave. We go back to eating just like we were before and gain every single pound back. We have to find something sustainable to lose weight, because we will have to continue it to keep that weight off.
Enough of the negative. Now, let me share some ways I help my clients lose body fat and keep it off!
First, we want to do as little as possible to elicit the most amount of change. Stay with me here. I want my clients to keep eating as much as possible during their fat loss phase.
During the first week, we will figure out what their maintenance calories are (what they need to eat to stay at their current weight.) Once we find this number, we will lower their intake by just 250-500 calories max. You will start to see fat loss from this amount. A sustainable fat loss rate is around 1-2 pounds per week. If you are losing more than 2 pounds per week you are not eating enough to keep your metabolism in a healthy place. After a few weeks, their calories may need to be lowered again to keep seeing results but this is why we start high so we have room to make adjustments along the way.
Next, I will have them incorporate resistance training 1-2 days per week. Resistance training is proven to build and preserve muscle on our bodies. The more muscle we have on our bodies, the more calories our bodies will burn at rest. It will keep our metabolism “higher.” Plus, I believe you may find yourself to look more aesthetically pleasing with the added muscle.
Last, and definitely not the least. . . We program in periodization. This simply means we don’t want to stay in this fat loss phase for longer than 8-24 weeks depending on their size and how much fat they want/need to lose. There needs to be times where you go back to eating at maintenance again or even in a surplus to get your body back to a healthier place. Yes, you may put a few pounds back on but if done properly, it won't be much.
If you try to rush the process and stay in a fat loss phase for a long amount of time you will end up “slowing” down your metabolism and end up gaining all the weight you just lost and sometimes more!
If you still have weight to lose, you can always go back into a fat loss phase after spending some time in a maintenance phase.
The key takeaways here are:
I hope this helps you in your fat loss journey and if you would like even more guidance, I have a few spots opening up soon in my online coaching.
Shoot me a DM and let’s talk about what you are struggling with the most right now and see if I can help.
Since becoming a coach/trainer so many people have confessed their deepest and darkest struggles with me.
I feel extremely blessed knowing people feel comfortable enough to be honest & open with me about their current hardships with weight, self-confidence, anxiety, etc. because by doing so it has allowed me to help them reach far beyond their initial goals.
Because of this I would like to share one of my own past struggles that still comes back to haunt me today.
At 10 years old, I suffered from my first eating disorder. It all started when I had fallen ill with strep throat and my throat became very irritated and swollen. I remember that morning clear as day. I was getting ready to take a bath and was finishing my blueberry Pop-Tart on the side of the bathtub before getting in. Being a hyperactive kid, even while sick, I was rushing to finish my Pop-Tart when I began to choke.
Terror set in immediately! I couldn’t breathe. I began to panic, jumping up from the side of the tub not knowing what to do. Thankfully my Grandmother was close by in the hallway and saw the look of terror and my hands at my throat and she knew immediately what was happening. My frail, 75 year old grandmother rushed over to me and saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if she had not been there.
Little did she or I know that this would be the catalyst to my eating disorder. From that day, I went close to 8 months without swallowing a single bite of solid food. Even the mere thought of attempting to swallow food would send me into a panic.
Being 10 years old, a shy child, and a poor communicator, I struggled to get my parents to understand what I was going through.
My mother blamed herself. I could see the look of sadness daily in my father’s eyes as my body began to waste away.
For a short time, I was still allowed to go to school. I had to see our counselor at 10am daily to talk to him and drink a meal replacement shake. Next was lunch, where I would have to sit on a stool isolated from everyone to choke down another shake. This was due to me bribing kids with a candy bar my grandmother always packed to “accidentally” spill my shake at lunch so didn’t have to drink it. My grandmother thought I would eat the bar if I let it melt in my mouth, which I never did. These shakes would take me so long to drink I would never get time to go outside to play. Think about being 10 years old and how much recess meant to you?!
As the months went on, I started to become weaker and weaker. My mood started to diminish and I had very little energy to do anything. I could no longer go to school most days. I spent most of my days under a big homemade quilt with my best friend Ricco (my border collie).
Every two weeks, my parents and I would make the drive up to Menninger’s Mental Health Hospital in Topeka, KS to see a psychiatric specialist to try and figure out what was going on with me. They had already run all the physical tests, things like scopes and barium x-rays to make sure nothing physically was wrong with me. I swear I was radioactive that year from all the tests and x-rays I completed. From what I can remember of these sessions, they included lots of crying and arguing from my parents with me repeating the same thing I always did, “ I’m afraid to eat”, “No, I don’t think I’m fat”, “Yes I want to eat”. Let’s just say these visits didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.
Fast forward to about month seven. The only thing I was able to consume were liquid shakes, Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes, to be specific. To this day I have not and will never drink another one of those. These were not giving me the fuel or nutrition I needed to survive. I was about 5,5” in 5th grade and was now weighing in around 65 pounds. The doctors finally told my parents that soon, as soon as two weeks possibly, my body would begin to shut down. Their only option would be to admit me into a recovery program in Topeka where I would be monitored 24/7 and if they couldn’t get me to eat, I would then have a feeding tube inserted.
The thought of trying to eat terrified me, but the thought of being taken away from my home and family terrified me even more. I was a complete disaster days before I was to be admitted, crying and trying to talk them out of taking me.
My grandmother came to my rescue yet again. She talked my parents into letting her try something and if it worked they would hold off on admitting me into the hospital. My grandmother knew me better than anyone and knew how to get my attention. She explained very calmly, in a voice only a grandmother can have, that I only had two options from here. She told me in order for me to get better I would either have to be admitted into that hospital alone, with only the hospital staff around me, hooked up to different machines in order to keep me alive or I could trust her and attempt to eat and swallow just 1 little macaroni noodle with her right behind me just in case something happened. She told me she saved me once and she would do it again. She promised she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me and if I did this and then continued to add things little by little each day I wouldn’t have to go to the scary hospital.
She convinced me, I opted to try to get that tiny noodle down. I remember my hand shaking as I lifted it to my mouth asking her if she was ready, just in case. I chewed, and chewed, and chewed, and then finally swallowed. The action felt so foreign to me. It had been so long since I had chewed anything. But I did it! I had finally gotten it down, no problem at all. Which I’m sure came as no surprise to my grandmother. I turned around to see a smile of pure joy on her face and as soon as the shock of actually swallowing something went away, I was just as happy!
I slowly started to add different foods back into my diet again and continued to grow stronger and healthier day by day. By the time the next school year rolled around, it was almost like nothing had happened.
To this day though I am extremely careful when eating and if you ever dine with me, I am always the last person finished. I eat very slowly, making sure to chew my food a set number of times. After experiencing everything I did though, I think I can handle a little OCD. Haha.
I know my eating disorder is quite a unique one but I do hope I can help others feel safer sharing their own struggles. You will never receive judgement from me, we all have different hardships that we have had to overcome and that makes us who we are today.
I know I am a stronger woman today because of this and of course from the quick actions of my beloved grandmother.
If you need someone to listen to your story, I can be that person for you. I would be blessed to be part of your journey.