As the saying goes, a year older, a year wiser.
I’ve learned some key lesson in the areas of fitness and weight loss in 2018 and I’d like to share them with you. This way, we can grow together.
But first, some quick reflection.
THE YEAR I DOUBLED-DOWN ON FITNESS
This was a special year for me because it’s the year I recommitted to being a leader in the fitness industry.
Back in 2016, life changes and financial challenges forced me to take take a slight step back from my beloved Motion Traxx. After two years of doing random consulting work and ‘soul searching’, I decided in 2018 to double-down on my passion for fitness and trust that it’s where I’m meant to be.
I started coaching people with their fitness and weight loss goals. I’m finding it very fulfilling and am happy to say that all of my clients are succeeding in losing weight, looking great and feeling awesome.
I’m especially proud to have helped my client Carita, a mother of two, lose 33 pounds in just 3 months and totally get her life back. Now, she can play sports with her kids again, can fit into her favorite clothes again, and is getting a CRAZY amount of compliments on her transformation. (If you’d like to see how excited she is, here’s a funny video with her beaming about her success).
I FINALLY ACCOMPLISHED THIS FITNESS GOAL
In addition to refocusing on fitness as a career, I also refocused on my own personal fitness journey, and was able to accomplish something I had never been able to do before: bulk up.
I was able to gain close to 10 LB of muscle in just 6 weeks, while reducing body fat, by getting smarter about how I timed my carbs. (more on that in a future post).
By coaching people on their fitness goals and achieving a personal fitness goal, I learned some important lessons.
Here they are now.
TOP TEN LESSONS LEARNED
1. Worry Less About What The Scale Says
There are many reasons to not stress so much about what the scale says. One big reason is that your ‘scale weight’ only gives you part of the picture. To really get a sense of where you are, measure your body fat, take full body progress photos and see how you feel in your clothes.
This is particularly true if you’re training regularly and building muscle. If you add a pound of muscle and lose a pound of fat, the scale will tell you that you haven’t made any progress, when in fact you’ve made HUGE progress. (you can see this in my own transformation I had this summer; I looked leaner, healthier and more muscular but I was 8 LB heavier; so if you only judge by the scale alone, you miss what’s really happening).
Oh, and this is why when I work with clients, I measure their progress in terms of ‘fat loss’ not weight loss.
2. Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday
Because your scale weight doesn’t give you the whole picture, it’s best NOT to weigh yourself every day. I hear a lot of fitness folks suggesting you should weigh yourself every day but I think all this will do is make you anxious.
There are many factors that determine what we weigh and weight can fluctuate from one day to the next due to things beyond our control (e.g. sodium intake, hormones, inflammation, etc.). Which means your weight can be down one day and up the next, even though you’re doing everything ‘right’.
If your mood and motivation fluctuate with the number on the scale, this will set you up for failure because you will expect instant results and will want to quit when you don’t get them.
Instead, weigh yourself just once per week, on the same day, and take the other measures of progress as well. (i.e. body fat and body photos).
3. Train Around Injuries Not Through Them
I did myself a real disservice this year by pushing through an injury that I should’ve rested instead. I’ve been battling elbow tendonitis, on and off, for two years now. This summer, while on my bulking program, I kept doing the exercises (included weighted pull ups) that were aggravating my injury.
While the warrior in me was able to ‘tough it out’ I was only making things worse on my body. It got to the point where I had to go for an invasive treatment called PRP, and now I can’t use my hands to lift weight at all during a 12-week, post-procedure recovery. (Can you say ‘frustrating’?).
In hindsight, I should have found ways to do exercises that did not aggravate my elbows, rather than trying to push through the pain. Might sound like common sense, but my stubborn side caused me to make the injury worse. Remember: work around injuries, NOT ‘through’ them.
4. Ashwagandha Is Close To a Miracle Supplement
This year, I learned about Ashwagandha, which has a wide range of amazing benefits. Used forever in Ayurvedic medicine, and considered an ‘adaptogen’, Ashwagandha helps with overall health and has a powerful effect on weight loss by reducing cortisol (our fat storing hormone), increasing testosterone (our fat burning hormone) and speeding up your metabolism through improved thyroid function.
I take Ashwagandha regularly through a supplement called Organifi Green Juice. It’s one of the best-tasting greens powders I’ve ever tried (in over 10 years of trying many brands) and includes a slew of other great ingredients, including Wheat Grass. It’s not the cheapest on the market, but it is one of the best.
I put all my clients on it and have partnered with Organifi. You can use this link to save $10 on this awesome supplement.
5. Building Muscle Requires Both Protein and Carbs
For many years I was only focused on protein as the most important macronutrient for building muscle. While I was able to gain some lean muscle with a protein-focused diet, I was not able to pack on the kind of mass I packed on this summer when I upped my intake of carbs.
Now, this may not apply to you if your main goal is to lose weight / lose fat. But if you’re looking add some muscle mass to your frame (guys), learn to take in the right amount and right types of carbs and watch your gains take off!
Which leads me to…
6. Carbs Are Not The Enemy
I’ve been hearing way too much about the Keto diet this year (which is basically Atkins 2.0). This diet requires you eating a ton of fat and protein and almost no carbs.
I’m not a proponent of this diet for many reasons. It’s generally not fun, not sustainable and not optimal for quality of life, in my opinion. Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. Yes, the wrong kinds of carbs can be stored as excess fat, but the right carb strategy can help you achieve your fitness goals, while having all-day energy and without the need to starve yourself.
7. High Volume Training Sucks (For Most Of Us)
The program I followed this summer was a High Volume training program. This style of training involves doing lots of sets – 20 or more per body part. High volume training may work for some (namely, professional bodybuilders who have no life outside of the gym), but, overall, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Two things that suck about high volume training: 1. You don’t go to failure and 2. It takes way too long.
Not going to failure on a particular set robs you of muscle-building potential. You have to take each set to your max if you want to improve your strength and add muscle tone. With so many sets required with High Volume training, it’s impossible to go to failure because doing so exhausts the muscle quickly (and that’s what you want!).
Because you’re doing so many sets with High Volume training, the workouts take way too long. I was spending 2 hours in the gym each time (shoot me now!). The legendary bodybuilder Mike Mentzer said you can either train long or you can train hard. I prefer to train hard and get out of the gym quickly so I can move on with my life.
It’s why I designed The Sharp Body Time-Slicing Workout Plan. It can be done in just 2 hours per week! Download it now for free with this link.
8. Meditation Can Help You Lose Weight
One of my favorite and most consistent clients was a school guidance counselor named Marsha. She was a hallmark of consistency. She never missed a meal, never forgot to send progress photos and followed my program to a tee.
So, no surprise, then, that she would lose weight and add muscle tone to her body every week, like clockwork. I asked her what her secret was to such amazing consistency in her habits and her weight loss.
She said she meditated every single day for an hour. This helped her be grounded, present and beat stress. This consistent meditation practice allowed her to be consistent in all areas of her life, including her fitness habits.
Who knew that getting mindful regularly can help your waistline. Check out this video now to hear more about Marsha’s success, in her own words.
9. Enroll Help With Your Weight Loss Goal
Losing weight consistently is hard for most people. So don’t be down on yourself if you’re struggling (most people do).
A study released this year sought to identify the factor that made a group of dieters succeed, while the other groups had failed. The one thing successful dieters all had in common was this: They had someone supporting them. Someone who they would meet with weekly.
In short, the researchers recommended the following: ‘Don’t Diet Alone’.
This is also supported by the finding that having an accountability partner helps improve your chances of meeting a goal by 95%. So, to have weight loss success, don’t try it alone, get help.
Having the right support can help you transform your body and become the best version of you. Which is why…
10. I Love Helping People Transform Their Body (and Their Life!)
Having been a fitness coach now for the last 6 months has given me the opportunity and the privilege to help people with one of the most important areas of their life: fitness.
I believe that being fit helps us live our greatest life. I’m on a mission to help people experience the benefits of being fit so they can live their highest potential.
In January 2019, I will be launching my new brand, The Sharp Body. It will feature online fitness programs to help driven professionals find their edge in life by being their fittest and best, in 90 days, without spending their life in the gym.
To learn more about how I can help you find your edge by attaining the body and life you crave, drop me a line.
Here’s to being another year wiser.