Rules are Made to be Broken

When you are running a fitness business you absolutely must have a presence on social media.  Or so they say. Who are "they" anyway? What else do "they" say?

You must have your post-workout shake within minutes of your last set or else all your lifting will be wasted and you will not grow any muscle... so they say..

"They" say a lot of things. Full range of motion. Compound movements first. Machines are worthless.. squat ass to hardcore, hustle.. Most of which I have learned. Then I learned to forget them.

I've been doing this all my life.

Whenever I didn't do this and I did what I was supposed to do, my results were average at best. It doesn't matter what I was doing. And more importantly, I am not happy when I go according to the "rules"..

What does this have to do with you and your fitness pursuits?  Glad you asked.

You have to learn the basics first. Of nutrition and training. The most effective ways to lift weights, burn fat, gain muscle and strength..

Once you learn your way around and you achieve some results you can start to tweak to your own design. Eventually you may break every rule.

I'll use myself as an example-  I ate every 3-4 hours, decent amount of lean protein, small amount of carbs, very small amount of fats. I saw some results.

I also made sure to focus on the "most important meal of the day"- breakfast and the post-workout shake. I got some results.

Eventually I started to break those rules. And guess what,  I got results that way too.

So yes, you need to learn the tricks of the trade. Gain some discipline and make some progress. Then you will hit a plateau. This is normal.

Then you start to experiment. Find out what really works for you. What speaks to you. What do you really enjoy and know that you will be consistent with?

Maybe one exercise is not effective for you or makes you feel too much pain in a joint. Or maybe it's one specific food you think you're supposed to eat, according to the rules, but you can't stand the taste of it and dread packing it in your lunch..

Break the rules. Find your own way.

As Jim Morrison once said "Learn to forget"..

That's what we need to do. In fitness and in life.  There's only one you and I believe that within each of us there's some sort of wisdom, an instinct and knowledge that we can align with, that will give us great strength and lead us to evolve and adapt as we go through life.


Brisket Burger

I had the most amazing beef brisket burger today. Just wanted to share that.

How do you fit those types of meals into your eating plan?

One way is to count your macros/calories. If you want to lose fat you eat less than your body needs per day. (or over the course of a week)

The other way is to eat "clean" most days of the week and to have a meal or two one day a week where you go off the normal diet plan.

Either way works. Any diet can work.

For how long?  And will you have a big rebound?

Here's a big concern that no one really thinks about. Ok, you lose 20 lbs. in 6 weeks. Then what? What does your diet become after that? Can you sustain it?

Or do you go right back to where you were before ?

Diet and training are simple yet complex at the same time.

The human body is an adaptive machine. Our body doesn't want to be super lean. It wants to survive, which means having more fat stored up.

We have to constantly work with our body and understand it. The best diet is the one you can stick with and adapt as you go. As you change, as you age,  go through different transitions, transformations, have new goals etc..

The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to listen to your body.. Pay attention. Write down what you experience. Take notes on what foods make you feel bloated, what foods give you great energy, what drinks give you a headache etc..

What I want to say is this - have that brisket burger. Enjoy it. And don't worry about it. When the meal is over, that's it. It's over. No guilt. No starving yourself for a half a day. Have a plan, stick to it 80-90% of the time depending on your goals. If you want more fat loss then go more towards 90% but you can still enjoy that apple pie or burger or whatever treat you want.

Don't stress about it. Just eat the damn burger already.


Dogma and Feedback...or Waffles and Maple Syrup?

I had these two great ideas to write about. Then I started eating a 'treat'- some waffles with real maple syrup. 

As I savored the taste, I realized it would make a much better blog post than my other topics about fitness.

So let's talk about waffles. Or pancakes. Or tortilla chips and salsa... whatever you like. Those foods you are told not to eat, and when you eat them you feel guilty. Or you think you need to do more cardio to make up for it.. or you wonder why you can't control your cravings..

I go through these phases. For a week or two usually. Sometimes it's honey nut cheerios I crave. Or peanut butter cups. Or chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Or those bagels with all different kinds of seeds, topped with melted butter..

Here's how I find a way to fit these kinds of foods into my life and satisfy those cravings that we all eventually give into.

I track my calories daily.

I know what numbers I need to shoot for. It's not perfect. Rarely do I ever hit the exact numbers but you know what? I am getting leaner.

I get to eat the foods I crave (within reason) on top of the normal go-to meals I eat that contain a good amount of protein, veggies/fruit etc.. I make sure to get as close to my protein goal for the day and the carbs and fats will often vary.

This has been the easiest 'diet' to follow for me. When I want to cut fat, like I am now, I cut calories per day by about 500.  Give or take.

It's not an exact science. I don't use a food scale and I'm not obsessed over the minutiae. - love that word--   but this way of eating some call 'flexible dieting' or "if it fits your macros' is very effective.

Just like any other training or nutrition protocol, it may or may not be a good fit for you. But I need to stress here that YOU are the most important part of this process of finding a diet you can stick with long-term. 

When I get down to the bodyfat percentage I am shooting for I can then bring up the calories a bit to maintenance level or higher if I want to start building some mass.

So have your waffles and real maple syrup or whatever you desire. It's your life! Train hard, eat for fuel/performance 85% of the time and fill in the rest however you want.

A Boring Diet Post

Do you love reading about diets? Or does it bore you to tears?

I've been on both sides.

Right now I have been enjoying reading about transformation stories and the diet that each person employed.

Every one is different and has different needs when it comes to nutrition, fuel, eating, diet, macros, micros, breaking bread, having a snack, enjoying a big sunday feast..

So you're thinking, ok what's the point of this post? Glad you asked.

I've been tracking my cals/macros for quite some time now. Yes, both. They are both important.

Some say macros are all that matters, some say total calories is the only thing that matters. On and on it goes.

Back to my point.

Tracking. Even though I am pretty good at eye-balling meals and keeping tabs on what I'm eating, I still like to have a better idea, ESPECIALLY if I am attempting to build size or drop some fat.

Can you get by without tracking and make progress? Yes. Great progress? Maybe.

But why not utilize a great strategy that's really not that hard or time-consuming?

So if you have never tracked your meals or if it's been awhile since you have, and you aren't making the gains in muscle or the losses of fat, that you'd like..then try it.

Even if it's only for a month. I bet you will be surprised what you learn.

And if you learn something valuable and decide you don't want to track anymore, that's fine. It will be worth it.

How do you track?

You can use an app or do it on your phone or go old-school and do it with pen and paper. I have done all three. Right now I prefer using the notes in my phone.

I'm cutting fat right now so it helps me to know for my last meal I need to get in a certain amount of protein and carbs or whatever. 

If you can prepare many meals for the week and you know exactly what you will eat and how many times a day and at what times, that's great! More power to you. I don't. My schedule doesn't allow for that and I imagine that's possibly the same for you.

When you track your macros for the day and attempt to get close to those numbers each day, you will be amazed at the progress you can make. And fast!

Good luck.

Information Overload

I don't know about you but I get tired of all the information on diets, weight loss, the newest greatest pill that will burn fat while you sit on your couch and eat donuts all day.

Most of it is just garbage.

I love to learn and find new tips I can use in my own life and to help others, whether it's clients that I train or people I help over the internet.

But I like to learn and take action on what I learned.

Not just soak up endless information and never apply it. Just talking about it does nothing for me.

I'm an action man. I would rather get into the gym and try out a new method rather than debate if it will work or not.

How about you? Do you find there is way to much info, much of it conflicting?

One day there's a study saying coffee is bad. Next week it's good. It goes on and on with just about everything.

How do you sort through this mess?

Keep it simple.

You know what is good for you. What works for you and what doesn't.

You've tried different programs and failed or found success with them.

One thing people often overlook is the ability to listen to your body. To what the signals are. What it's telling you. If a certain food gives you problems. If an exercise keeps causing injury. If you feel one movement in the "wrong" area.

Take time to listen to your inner self. Whats going on inside. Really listen to it and forget about all the info on diets, fancy programs, supplements..

By all means, read. Learn. But take what is useful, apply it. And forget what is just taking up space in your brain.

Take action.

And if you find you still struggle, ask someone who has some experience dealing with the issue you are struggling with. Often, just one tip will make all the difference.