Getting Over A Fitness Plateau

1.  Exercise Less or More

When it comes fitness progression is key.  Many times exercising less can be the answer because intensity can be increased and recovery can be improved.  On the other hand, an increase in volume can help improve as well.  If you have been training for a long time without a week or two off take a break.  If you have been working out two times a week up it to three.  It really depends on the person and a qualified professional can help you improve on this.

2.  Train for a goal  

I am not sure if I have ever trained for a weight goal.  Instead I have trained for a specific strength, power, or speed goal.  I have also trained to be able to advance in specific body weight exercises.  The point here is focus your energy on getting to a specific result.  A word of caution here.  I do believe that goals can be conflicting.  For example, becoming really strong and becoming better at marathons are opposed.  That is not to say that a runner should not get stronger but the programming should be inline with the specific goal.

3.  Manage Stress and Sleep More

Our bodies need sleep and many times.  Most people say we need 7-9 hours of sleep.  When it comes to stress we all have it.  It is not the stress but rather the reaction to the stressful situation.  Things like prayer, meditation, focused relaxation, quite time, and much more can help break that plateau.

4.  Change nutrition

The obvious things are reducing bad carbs, sugar, alcohol, trans fat, and so on.  On the other hand, little things like maybe eating more or less could help depending on the person.  Eating more good fats or other nutrition tweaks may just improve performance.

5.  Get some support

This can come in so many forms from professional support to the support of a friend.  It could mean a training partner or a small group personal training class.

6.  Get some recovery

Massage, foam rolling, chiropractic care, band stretching, walking, yoga, vacation, hot cold showers, and many more are all examples of ways to recover.  Remember results happen after the workout.  Working hard is important but so is working smart and consistent.  Recovery techniques are crucial and might be what you need to bust through a plateau.

7.  Supplementation 

Finding supplementation for your goals is important.  It is not the first thing to look at however I believe it is the easiest way to see some results.  Try some supplements for performance and use those.  Figure out what you like and what your goals are then you can add those into your overall plan.  However some people focus on supplementation but do not look at nutrition or any other factors.

What have you done to break a plateau?  Comment below!

American Ninja Warrior Training

I am training for American Ninja Warrior.

Here are some things that I believe need to be a focus when training for this type of competition.

1.  Really focusing on grip strength.

Many of the successful warriors have great grip strength especially per pound of body weight.  I was really impressed with the football player who made it through because his weight was much greater than the other competitors (I digress).  The truth is that grip strength has to be incredible to do well in this competition.

Here are some examples of exercises I am using.

– Two finger pullups

– Two finger KB carries

– Weighted pull ups

2.  Must be explosive in the lower body.

The reasoning is because of the jumps that are needed throughout the competition.  Fortunately my many years of training for lower body jump height has potentially prepared me for this.  My main goal is to maintain strength and explosiveness in the lower body.

Here are some examples

– Single leg squats

– Deadlifts

– Different jump and sled work

 

3.  Advanced body weight training

In the past I wrote about different exercises for body weight.  I feel that strength per pound of body weight also known as relative strength is key.  None of the warriors have a high percentage of body fat and many do freestyle tricking or are rock climbers.  Without doing these specific things I will need to focus on other ways to be strong.

Here are some examples

– L-sit

– Planche

– Explosive dips

Here is some of the training I have done in the past

 

Comment What You Think… Is anything missing?

The Perfect Diet?

I want to start of by saying that there is not such thing as a perfect diet.

So what diet is best and how should a person eat?

Here are some guidelines that I have noticed throughout the years.

 

1.  The best nutrition plan is individual to you and to your goals.

Let me give you an example.  A sumo wrestler versus a sprinter versus a marathon runner.  These three people will eat completely different, train completely different, and perform completely different.  They have different goals, lifestyles, and missions in life.  Say what you want about genetics if any person moves to a different style of training and eating they will become more like that person.

2.  The diet (how we eat) is only a part of a long, fit healthy, life.

I know some healthy and fit vegans (although only a few) and I know healthy and fit meat eaters.  There are some cultures that have been studied because their longevity (age).  Here is further reading on the subject it is called the blue zones.  The interesting thing is that eating is just one part of the equation.  Stress reduction, sense of purpose, faith, happiness, exercise, and personal healthy relationships were keys to a long healthy life.  My point is that people can have very different eating styles and still be healthy and fit.

3.  Processed foods are minimized

We all know that sugar, fast food, processed foods, trans fat, bad carbohydrates do not make us live a longer more fit life.  In all instances these are controlled, or cut out completely.

4.  Calories are in check but most importantly healthy foods are the majority of the plan.

Healthy carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats are all important to a successful nutrition.  None are bad when they come from healthy sources.  Also they do not eat too little or too much but usually this is controlled by what we eat.

5.  They never diet they just have learned how to eat.

This is the point of Personal Trainer Food.  Dieting by fad diets and or other programs that do not educate a person how to eat is know good.  The issue is not just portion control it is also what foods will give us sustained energy, strength and vitality.

6.  It is not about restriction or deprivation but it is also not about gluttony.

This happens all the time.  It is called the all or nothing syndrome.  Where people stick with something for a week or even a few months.  Instead making small continual little changes would be better.

Looking at the typical american diet really is more towards gluttony.  The problem arises when a person goes cold turkey and says “I am never going to have ______”  This is dangerous water and most likely will lead to failure.  A person should have rewards in place but  they should fit into that persons goals and lifestyle.

7.  They take the 70-90% approach

What does this mean?  It means they eat healthy and for their goals most of the time, but lets face it we all like to indulge and that is not a bad thing nor should it be avoided in my opinion.

There you have it some common things for a nutrition (diet) program that works.

Comment below your thoughts or questions!

 

Subtle Yet Crucial Performance and Fat Loss Concepts

When it comes to performance and weight loss the focus is usually on quick but temporary changes.
Below are five subtle yet crucial performance and long term fat loss techniques.

1.  Monitor workout recovery and intensity

This is so important for long term performance and fat loss.  I am constantly asked “What should I do on my off days?” or “What workouts can I do on my own?”  Many times people will look at me bewillered when I say nothing or I tell them to do some walking.

You see our bodies need recovery and rest to perform optimally.  Now I am not suggesting that every day should be a rest day or that you should not get after it, but rather pay attention to your performance and how you are feeling.   I would much rather increase intensity over a long period time versus exercise often at the same or lower intensities.  Less can be more if done with appropriate training!

2.  Eat to perform well with no more dieting

Today we are looking at thousands of different diets including all sort of crazy fad diets.  Some are crazy, stupid, and others are just downright lethal.  If you do not believe me read these http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition-pictures/crazy-diet-fads.aspx#/slide-13  Cigarette Diet, Baby Food Diet, HCG, and the Twinkie Diet just to name a few.  A wise man once told me “show me someone who is dieting and I will show you someone that struggles with weight.”

3.  Manage Stress and Sleep

This one goes along with number one but it deserves a spot of its own.  When a person lacks sleep and is unable to deal with stress hormones become out of whack.  When hormones become out of whack weight loss becomes more challenging or even impossible.   This article explains it very well http://www.theiflife.com/fat-loss-101-master-the-basics/.  People always tell me their hormones are out of whack because of age.  I think instead that hormones become out of whack largely because of  lifestyle.

4.  Foam roll and band stretching

At this point you might think I am  stretching it a little bit.  Well the truth is when someone is consistent with these two things recovery speeds up, performance goes up, and risk of injury goes down.  These are all things that are needed for long term performance and fat loss.  http://www.3fatchicks.com/the-benefits-of-a-myofascial-release-massage/ talks more about the benefits of myofascial release.

5.  Focus on strength per pound of body weight

I have never seen someone who is overweight that can do amazing body weight feats of strength.  I am also not saying that a person should not focus on absolute strength because they should.  I am saying over a period of time a person should get stronger in bodyweight movements and keep advancing in these.  If I go from zero pull ups or assisted pull ups to being able to do five trust me when I tell you your body will look different.  The benefits of bodyweight training are many and not the purpose of this blog post but again a person should be getting stronger per lb of bodyweight to see long term fat loss results!

Please share your thoughts below do you agree, disagree, or have any ideas of your own!

10 Truths You Can Learn From The Fitness Career

The fitness business is changing rapidly.

Despite fitness being around forever the business of fitness  is still in its infancy.

With several years experience and many observations here are some things I have learned.

1. You cannot make other people change they have to want to change.

There are times in my life where I figured out the problem. I wanted people to change more than they did. On the other hand, people can change and these are the ones that give me the best sense of purpose. The ones that change their lives, get fit, and really change their mental attitude towards life. They increase confidence, become healthier, more fit, and take charge of their lives. Act as though you can change people but remember they have to want it.

2. Progression in exercise intensity is WAY more important versus exercise duration.

It never ceases to amaze me. People join a program, gym, or try some sketchy method. They go super hard for one month or even a few months but then quit. I find people still improve after 7 years of progressive training. How can people expect to be fitness rock stars in one month or even six months? Gradual progression in strength, speed, movement patterns and conditioning should always be the focus of an exercise program.

3. All good deeds and wanting to help others will be faced with resistance and rejection.

I do my best to always try to help when I can. It is in my personality to want help others. If you feel convicted in something and are passionate the level of success will be come with resistance and rejection. I think the best people are the ones that want all people to be successful. In my life I have faced resistance and rejection and if you have know you are on the right path.

4. Being lazy can be good for innovation but not for fitness and work.

For example, we have created the car, fast food, air planes, movies on demand, and so on the list goes. I am willing to bet there will never be a quick fix or a way to become fit and healthy without work! Although, we will keep trying. If there is a way to give someone a pill that makes us lean, fit and healthy without side effects the person who creates it will be very, very rich.

5. A person cannot be great at both sprinting and long distance running.

Talk about an endless battle. This is something I am very passionate about explaining. I have never seen anyone be a great sprinter and a great marathon runner at the same time. Yet some people want both. First is to decide exactly what you want then work back from there.

6. Nutrition is highly debated but the truth is people can be healthy and fit with very different diets.

This website http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/ looks at how to live longer based on diet. The one thing that I noticed is that people eat differently in the cultures that live longest. However, one thing really stuck out to me. They have a sense of purpose, low stress levels, and many work labor jobs. It is fair to say that nutrition is only part of the equation. I personally adhere to a paleo style of eating but believe that people can eat differently and be both healthy and fit. Here is how some of my clients lose 1-2 pant sizes per month.

7. Nobody can exercise themselves out of a poor lifestyle.

Calories are not meant to be burnt off. The are meant to improve performance, great lean muscle tissue, make us feel full and yes for enjoyment in moderation.

8. Too much exercise and too little are both a problem, finding the right amount is key.

 

How to lose stomach fat: Does beer make you fat?

This is contingent upon goals, recovery, and movement patterns. From my experience less can be better in most cases for the average adult but again there are so many variables.  I know that most people want results too fast which actually slows long term results.

9. There is not magic pill or easy way out to be HEALTHY AND FIT.

It bears repeating. This was explained in number 4.

10. Just because a workout is challenging does not mean it is the best one.

Many people want to feel like they got there butt kicked in from workouts. This is not the most important thing. Yes getting more intense over time is great but slow and steady progress is the answer. If I get someone for two times a week over a year and someone else trains intensely for 5 times a week over a year… most likely my client will win based on similar lifestyles especially nutrition. Again more is not better but better is better.

Express Fitness/Fitness Revolution Testimonial

What was one obstacle that might have stopped you from starting in Express Fitness?

The main obstacle that would have prevented me from investing in bootcamps is cost. I use to think all working out was equal. Thus, why would I pay X number of dollars for bootcamp when I can join a gym or do an aerobic class for less. It turned out I was wasting even more money in the long run because I was paying for things that weren’t producing any results. With bootcamps, not only have I seen results, I’ve seen results I’ve only dreamed of. To me, that’s worth every penny.

 What have your results been?

I’ve been working with Jeremy for over 2 years. During that time, I’ve lost at least 40lbs of fat and have gained a considerable amount of muscle. I can actually see some muscle definition now! I’ve also noticed an increase in my strength, power, and conditioning. For example, I can do a full pull-up, which I have never been able to do in my life.

What specific feature do like the best?

The fact that the workouts are only 30 minutes is great. Now, I have no excuse that I’m too busy or don’t have time to work out. I use to think you had to spend hours in the gym to get a great workout and see results.

What are some other benefits?

There are many things other things I like about bootcamps. First, I like the variety. I use to get bored doing the same old thing at the gym or I’d waste more time trying to figure out what I was going to do than actually doing it. Second, I like the people. Not only is it more fun to work out with a friendly group, but they and Jeremy hold you accountable. If you haven’t been at camp in awhile, they ask why not?

Would you recommend Express Fitness?

Absolutely.

Anything else you would like to add?

You really have to stick with it. It’s not going to happen overnight like we all want it to. That’s what is really nice about working out with Jeremy. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit because it was hard or I wasn’t seeing the results I thought I should be seeing, but Jeremy was always encouraging and really wants you to succeed.