Stress, Your Diet, And Weight Loss

Health, Nutrition, Strategies, Weight Loss No Comments »

Chronic stress is so commonplace that it’s easy to ignore the effects.  But stress is a definite threat to your losing weight as well as your overall health.

Let’s look at what happens to your body when you’re stressed…

Your body is constantly working to maintain homeostasis, which is a state of internal stability.

When you’re hot, you sweat to cool yourself.  When you’re cold, you shiver to warm yourself.  But these are very simple examples.

When your body is stressed, it has a stabilizing reaction to compensate for the real or perceived threat that caused the stress.  This is called your stress response.

Now a stress response is a good thing if a bear pops out of the woods right in front of you – the stress response will help to keep you alive.  But chronic stressors in modern life – traffic, cell phones, bills, bosses, etc – create so many stress responses that you get worn down.  Instead of saving you, they are killing you.

Stress responses involve a series of biochemical changes.  Many of these changes are there to get you out of the situation, and the rest are there to help bring you back to your pre-stressed state.

When you’re stressed your body will release various chemicals and hormones including adrenaline and cortisol that prepare you for a fight-or-flight response.  These biochemical signalers increase your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

If these changes are channeled into action – sprinting away from the bear – the stress is resolved and your body starts to go back into homeostasis.

If your stress is unresolved, these chemical signals are ongoing and dangerous, leading to burnout.  This is what I meant by “chronic stress” up above.

Chronic, unresolved stress leads to depression, adrenal fatigue, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, and a host of other maladies.

Most germane to those us interested in body transformation, unresolved stress has been linked to developing insulin resistance and inflammation.

Excess cortisol (a stress hormone) also leads to leptin resistance.

Leptin is a hormone that turns off your hunger signals.  Leptin resistance makes controlling your hunger a continuous challenge.  Sticking to an eating plan is tough when your body is constantly crying out for more, no matter how much you eat.

Chronic cortisol release when paired with adrenaline tells your body to stop burning fat, and even to store more.  Plus, the insulin resistance from cortisol leads to elevated insulin levels which makes you store more fat, especially around your abdomen.  (Did you know it’s impossible to burn fat when insulin is being released?)

These complicated biochemical reactions do everything they can to stop you from losing weight.

And as a bonus, stress-related cortisol plays a huge role in bone loss over time.  So that’s another thing to stress over!

So what is a good starting point for dealing with stress so you can start losing stubborn pounds?

First, de-stress yourself as much as you can.  It sounds too simple to work, but a few basic stress reducing strategies will greatly reduce the physical effects caused by stress.

Here are a few great techniques to help you de-stress (No “woo-woo” stuff here, only techniques that have been shown to reduce physical stress responses will be listed.  Keep your healing crystals on the shelf)

  • Exercise: Any form of of exercise except for endurance aerobics (yoga, walking, tai chi, and weightlifting are great)
  • Relaxation Techniques: meditation, mindful walking, and my favorite – power naps
  • Hobbies: Something that you enjoy.  Studies have shown stress-relieving benefits from journaling, scrapbooking, playing music, reading, and learning a language
  • Mind/Body Training: Visualization, guided relaxation, chi gong
  • Complementary Health: Massage, counseling, chiropractic, acupuncture

These techniques have a threefold advantage – they will help you relieve stress, resist stress, and be stress resilient.

Think of it like moving with thrown rocks and dodging others before they are even thrown.

Stress management breaks down into a three step approach:

  1. Follow the stress relieving techniques listed above
  2. Remove stressful foods from your diet (this reduces inflammation and internal stress)
  3. Get regular exercise (helps to dissipate negative chemical responses)

The stress relief techniques in step one will only work if supported with proper diet and exercise.

You can find plenty of in-depth info on food, supplements, and exercise elsewhere on this blog, so here are the biggest things you can do…

Stress Relieving Diet Tips

  • Cut out Grains, dairy, soy, sugar, and all artificial foods
  • Eat more vegetables (also important for your health)
  • Add herbal remedies: Ginseng, rhodiola, siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, licorice
  • Add supplements: B-complex vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc

Stress Relieving Exercise Tips

  • Move frequently at a leisurely pace: Walk, hike, commute by bike
  • Train your whole body
  • Lift heavy once in a while
  • Sprint occasionally
  • Stay away from aerobic modes of exercise like step classes, zumba, and jogging – these raise your stress hormone levels instead of lowering them

And now here are a few emergency stress busters, for when things are really getting out of hand:

  • Get up and walk.  Both diffuses stress hormones and removes you from the situation
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Breathe deeply
  • Hit a punching bag
  • Clench and then consciously relax all of your muscle groups
  • Force a laugh
  • Close your eyes and visualize a relaxing scene (not for use during traffic)

Ahhhhhhhhh :)

De-stressing is one of the most important things you can do for your health, your weight loss, and most importantly, your peace of mind.

NEW Information To Fight Belly Fat

Exercise, Health, Strategies, Weight Loss No Comments »

Ok, today I have a special guest article from my friend John Romaniello.

John is a kung-fu master at helping people get rid of “stubborn fat” through fighting the hormones that make fat stick.

John is also freakin’ BUILT:

Suffering from Belly Fat?
By John Romaniello

Like many people, you probably suffer from regional fat storage issues. That is, while you store fat over your entire body, it’s probably most noticeable in certain areas, and it’s from these areas in which we struggle most to lose fat. You know–the problem areas.

These problem areas are influenced heavily by your hormonal environment, and where you store that last bit of fat is determined by which of your hormones are most out of whack (and yes, sometimes it’s quite a few of them).

Today I’m going to talk to you about belly fat specifically.

One of the things that has been talked about quite a bit in fitness media lately is the relationship between belly fat and a hormone called “cortisol.” To put it simply, the higher your cortisol levels, the more belly fat you’re likely to have.

By the same token, if you have a good deal of belly fat, it’s reasonable to assume that you have high cortisol.

Having high cortisol is detrimental for other reasons, but for our purposes, let’s focus on the fact that cortisol is keeping you not-so-little in the middle.

Rather than just suffer through this, the obvious solution is to try to lower cortisol levels and resultantly lower belly fat. And I’ll tell you, lowering cortisol is a LOT trickier than you might think.

I’m sure you’ve seen the late night TV ads trying to sell you anti-cortisol pills. Even if they worked (they don’t), it’s a hormone like cortisol can’t be fooled by a little pill.

Besides, wouldn’t it be much more effective to find a solution without taking expensive pills? Something that is also going to help you burn fat overall?

Well, that’s actually possible.

You see, I’m big on using certain hormones to tame other hormones. Essentially, you CAN actually fight hormones WITH hormones. Clever, I know. It’s just a matter of finding which hormones work well against one another. When it comes to cortisol (and belly fat), you need look no further than Growth Hormone.

Also known as Human Growth Hormone or simply GH, growth hormones is produced in the pituitary gland and is responsible for growth (obviously) among other things. More specific to this writing, growth hormones is actually one of the most effective things in the world to offset cortisol.

Put simply, if you want less cortisol, just make more growth hormone.

Just tell your body to do it. Make a few calls.

Okay okay, it’s not that simple…but I have some really good news.

Did you know that there are certain types of training that are actually exceedingly effective at producing growth hormone?

It’s true–indirectly.

You see, growth hormone is normally produced and released in response to something, and in the case of training, GH is released as a response to the production of something called lactic acid. Lactic acid is a waste byproduct of some of the chemical and metabolic processes that happen during exercise.

So, if you do exercise in a specific way, you can produce MORE lactic acid, which will then produce tremendous amounts of growth hormone as a result. That growth hormone surge will also help to work against your high cortisol levels. And as we’ve established, that will absolutely assist you in getting rid of your stubborn belly fat.

Of course, you’re wondering: how to I do it!? It’s easy. While lactic acid is produced in most forms of intense exercise, there is an unusual style of exercise that can actually produce even MORE lactic acid than is generally possible with other types of exericse. Appropriately (and not-so-cleverly) called “lactic acid training,” this type of training uses slow lifting speeds and fast lowering speeds.

The reason for the structure is that lactic acid is primarily produced during the “concentric” or positive/lifting phase of an exercise, and not so much during the “eccentric” or negative/lowering phase. To take advantage of this and produce more lactic acid, we simply–with apologies to Bing Crosby–accentuate the positive and (almost but not quite) eliminate the negative of each rep on all of our exercises.

To quantify it a bit, for each rep, you’d lift it over a period of about 4 seconds, and lower the weight extremely quickly, but safely.

If you were squatting, you’d drop down to the bottom position relatively quickly, and push slowly back to the top. In an overhead press, you’d lower the dumbbells quickly but safely, and press them back over your head over a period of 4-6 seconds.

Performing exercises with these extended concentric movements is going to create a tremendous amount of lactic acid, which in turn is going to prompt your body to produce fantastic amounts of growth hormone. And that growth hormone is going to help you manage cortisol and fight belly fat.

And if all THAT wasn’t enough, lactic acid training is also just a great fat loss training methods, so you’ll lose fat overall.

If you want to fight your cortisol issues, you need growth hormone. And for that you need lactic acid training. Utilizing this method, you’re one step closer to fighting off your belly fat for good.

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If you want John’s full course for losing stubborn belly fat, you can check it out at ->

Final Phase Fat Loss

17 Ways To Fix Back Pain

Exercise, Health, Strategies 2 Comments »

Back pain SUCKS!

I know first-hand how much.  I was rear-ended a few years ago and it messed me up big time.

When your back hurts, it’s hard to be happy or think of anything else.  It wears on you constantly.  My friends tell me that car accident aged me ten years.

So I want to share a few simple strategies that can help you with your back pain.  These have helped me.

1.  Loosen up your hips.

If your hips are tight, your back has to take on the work that you should be doing with your legs and butt.  Here’s a post with videos of my top three favorite hip loosening and strengthening exercises: http://woldfitness.com/2010/08/fixing-knee-pain-with-hip-exercises/

2.  Train with kettlebells.

I know, I know.  The personal trainer at your gym has been telling you that machines are the safest way to exercise.  But the truth is, when you exercise on a machine it can actually INJURE your back!

Machine-based training forces you to follow the path of the machine, even if you’re built too tall, too short, or too wide.  And when you’re all braced into a machine, you’ll do whatever it takes to lift the handle or push the platform, which can wreak all sorts of havok on your joints.  And…. your back is an incredibly complex series of joints and muscle levers, so machines will jack you up right quick!

“Real world” exercises like moving your own bodyweight, barbells, dumbells, and odd objects like kettlebells teach you to support and use your whole body, not just one isolated part.

One of the most info-packed articles I’ve ever written about back health has to do with kettlebells.  Check it out here: http://carsoncitychiropractor.blogspot.com/2010/07/kettle-bell-expert.html

3.  Stop eating grains, sugar, and dairy.

Grains, sugar, and dairy all have an inflammatory response in your body.  The more inflammation you have, the more joint pain you’re going to have.

Getting rid of inflammation causing foods can have an IMMEDIATE effect of reducing total body pain.

More info on…

Grains: http://woldfitness.com/2009/10/grains-suck-wheat-celia/

Sugar: http://woldfitness.com/2010/09/99-ways-sugar-is-poisoning-you-diabetes/

4.  Quit doing crunches!

My chiropractor told me that as long as people are doing crunches, he’ll have job security.

Yes, a strong core is essential for getting rid of back pain, but the old Jane Fonda-standard crunch is exactly the wrong exercise.

The way your back bends during crunches puts enormous stress on the disks in your low back.  And studies have found that after doing crunches your back is actually able to handle LESS stress!

Reverse crunches, planks, and rotational core exercises are all going to strengthen your stomach muscles without damaging your back (provided you find a trainer who teaches you correctly and then watches your form).  Check out tip number 11 below.

5.  Learn the Cook Hip Lift.

This drill will help you fire up your butt muscles, so they can take on the load you’ve been putting on your back.

6. Fix your sleeping position.

Just think, if your sleeping posture is bad, you’re spending 6-9 hours tweaking your back!

If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees.

If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees.

If you sleep on your stomach, STOP!

7. Get in line.

If you’re trying to exercise and your back is jacked up, you’re likely to make it worse – even if you’re doing the exercises correctly!

See, sitting, postural problems, and bad exercise habits have mis-aligned your spine, and until it’s in place, you’re just training it to stay misaligned.  The pain won’t get worse, but it won’t feel much better, either.

I get regular chiropractic adjustments to make sure my spine stays in line.  Here in Carson City is the best chiropractor I’ve ever been treated by: Dr. Brian Russell.

Here’s his website and contact info: http://www.chiropracticcarsoncity.com/

The big mistake people make with chiropractic is only going in when their back hurts.  That’s like exercising only when you get fat, it doesn’t work!

You need to see your chiro regularly, to stop back pain before it starts!  We get constant small misalignments in daily life, they add up over time.  Regular chiropractic treatments keep your back healthy and happy.

8. Learn the Shin Box Switch.

The guy who taught this to me said to use it with clients who are becoming “chair shaped.”

It’s a great drill that I do at regular intervals whenever I’ve been sitting for a long time (like when I’m writing awesome health and fitness posts and bootcamp workouts!)

9. Get a ten dollar massage!

Go to amazon.com and order a full-round foam roller.  There are lots to choose from.  Then do this series of self-massaging exercises every day:

Every day you build up little bundles of scar tissue in your muscles.  This scar tissue binds up and pulls you out of alignment.  The best way to break up this scar tissue and prevent it from re-forming is a daily massage over the most common trouble spots.

A foam roller lets you massage yourself effectively without having to visit a spa every day.  (And they are fun to hit people with!)

10. Drink more water.

Drinking more water can help you lose belly fat, which will definitely help relieve back pain.  (Here’s how drinking water affects metabolism: http://woldfitness.com/2010/09/raise-your-metabolism-without-diet-or-exercise/)

But a lot of people experience back pain because they are dehydrated.  Sometimes people will come into my bootcamp gym and point to where their back hurts.

It’s actually their kidneys!  Kidney pain can radiate through the back, and a lot of kidney pain is caused by not drinking enough water.

I recommend working up to drinking an ounce of water per pound of bodyweight every day.  Since this seems SUPER HIGH to most people, set a bare minimum of half an ounce per pound of bodyweight.  (If you weigh 200 pounds drink a MINIMUM of 100 ounces of water a day)

Or you can follow the “pee rule” I learned as an athlete:  Look at your urine, if it’s brown stop what you’re doing and drink a lot of water.  If it’s yellow, drink more water.  If it’s clear, drink more water anyway!

11. Strengthen your core!

Your stomach, side, and back muscles all make up what is called your “core.”

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and dazzle you by talking about muscles with names like multifidus, transverse abdominus, and quadratus lumborum ;))

Here are a few posts I’ve done with videos of REAL core exercises that will strengthen your middle and help get rid of back pain:

ValSlide Core Exercises: http://woldfitness.com/2001/09/five-valslide-core-exercises-for-my-facebook-amigos/

Bootcamp Core Exercises : http://woldfitness.com/2010/11/7-boot-camp-core-exercises/

“Secret” Core Exercises: http://woldfitness.com/2010/08/5-confidential-core-exercises-ab-stomach-training/

(All of the exercises above are advanced, talk to your trainer to see which are right for you)

12. Build low back endurance.

Dr. Stuart McGill, the MAN when it comes to back health, says that lower back endurance is more important for preventing pain and injury than is low back strength.

It makes perfect sense if you think about it, no matter how strong you are, if your back is tired you’ll have bad posture and when you try to use your strength, you injure your back.

I like to use the Bird Dog exercise for building back endurance:

Two big mistakes most people make with this exercise are:

a) Looking up or forward.  Keep your neck neutral and look at the floor.

b) Sagging or twisting the low back or hips.  Envision a cafeteria tray on your back, and keep all four corners of the tray even.

13. Dehydrate your spine.

When you sleep, your spinal column fills with fluid.  If you start exercising or stretching or even bend over wrong to pick up your slippers, you can herniate your low back.

Before you do any bending, lifting, or twisting, stand or walk for at least ten minutes to let the fluid in your spinal column dissipate.

I walk around my condo complex first thing every morning while my kettle heats up for making tea.  All you need to do is stand up tall before you start any activities.

14. Quit eating soy.

Like tip number 3 above, soy is a food that causes all sorts of damage inside your body.

The more your cells are under chemical attack from your food, the less your body will be able to focus on healing and strengthening your back.

Check out my in-depth thoughts on soy: http://woldfitness.com/2010/04/soy-my-nipples-and-your-health/

And here is a soy horror story (WARNING: Adult Language!!): http://woldfitness.com/2011/01/soy-tried-to-kill-me-profanity-warning/

15. Double down on hip flexor and piriformis stretches.

Tight hip flexors and piriformis muscles cause your pelvis to tilt forward and pull your spine out of alignment.  To help fix that, do a LOT of these two stretches (several times a day, not just before workouts):

16. Read this blog post:

http://carsoncitychiropractor.blogspot.com/2010/05/check-out-these-great-tips-for-low-back.html

17. Lose weight and fix muscle imbalances.

When you gain weight, it pulls your hips out of alignment. Then when you exercise to lose weight, the weight might go, but the muscle imbalances remain!

So losing weight is the FIRST step, then second is to work with someone who understands muscle imbalances and how to fix them.

I was going to make a video about this, but my bro Kevin beat me to it! Check it out:

All right!

I have another 33 tips for getting rid of back pain already written down, so make sure to check back on WoldFitness.com again :)

Talk to you soon,

~ Luke

Questions And Answers: Quinoa, Stamina, Breakfast, and “Barefoot Shoes”

Health, Nutrition, Rant, Strategies No Comments »

When I’m not writing kick-butt boot camp workouts and nutrition programs, I try to answer as many questions as I can.  I want to share some from this week.  (The answers are my actual replies, so please forgive all the grammar errors!)

Q: Quinoa, grain? I just read it is in the same family as spinach.

A: Yeah mang, it’s related to Spinach and Chard. Even though it’s not a grain, it’s still very carb-intensive and has proteins in it that act a lot like gluten.

I use it two ways:

a) As a fuel source for paleo-minded endurance athletes. Having… a tupperware of quinoa in your panniers isn’t as stylish as a power bar, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better for you.

b) As a “bridge food” for people adjusting to paleo-style eating. See, most people who want to cut out grains and processed foods severely under-eat. They don’t increase their meat and veggie intake enough to replace the calories from grains and dairy. So when they’ve cut out a thousand Calories they get hungry and tired and fall off the paleo wagon.

Adding some quinoa, lentils, or tubers in to the mix helps keep calories in satisfaction levels while eaters learn to adjust their intake of other foods to compensate for the lack of carbs.

But I recommend minimizing quinoa and going for veggies as soon as possible.

Q: Question right now is breakfast? That is when I’ve eaten whole wheat toast …. and coffee.

A: For breakfast I recommend eggs as a starting point. They are paleolithic foods, plus have plenty of fat and protein.

Studies have found that eggs for breakfast lead to greater weight loss than eating the same calories in oatmeal. And another study found women who eat eggs for breakfast have less body fat than women who don’t, even if they eat the same calories.

Eggs are a “base” like salad, you can add anything you want! I personally use eggs to mix in a whole lot of vegetables, starting my day with veggies keeps me on track the rest of the day.

Here are a few egg ideas from my blog:

http://woldfitness.com/2010/07/lukes-hyper-veggie-breakfast-scramble/

http://woldfitness.com/2010/10/bootcamp-fuel-paleo-peach-and-pecan-scramble/

http://woldfitness.com/2010/11/apple-scrambled-eggs-paleo-recip/

And here’s a few reasons to avoid toast: http://woldfitness.com/2009/10/grains-suck-wheat-celia/

Q: right now i’m trying to work up to running 5 miles at a go, because i found a pretty good training program for runners who are at that level. any advice on how to increase my stamina?

A: I always promote the idea of diminishing rest interval training.

Basically, you set your goal time and figure out how fast you need to run to do it. Say you have a goal of 9 minutes a mile (about a 2 hour half marathon). You make all of your training runs at 9 minutes per mile or FASTER. So, 4:30 half mile, walk 2 min, 4:30 half mile, walk 2 min. Next time you do the workout, you do 4:30 half mile, walk 75 sec, 4:30 half mile, walk 75 sec, etc.

That way you are never training your body to run below your goal pace, and you don’t get the overuse injuries (knees, ankles, back) that you get when slogging along with bad form.

Here’s a post I wrote about the idea: http://woldfitness.com/2010/05/smoking-your-5k-race-how-to-do-it-carson/

Also, read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. It made ME want to start running. Good motivation.

Q: what are your thoughts on the Paleo diet providing enough fuel for an active athlete to improve performance?

A: The problem most people have when switching to a paleo-style diet is that they dramatically cut calories because they don’t replace the grains, dairy, soy, etc with more meat, veggies and nuts.

It depends on the type of athlete what paleo diet to put them on. Strength and power do great on a straight paleo (no tubers, lentils, etc). There is an initial loss of strength and power the first 4-6 weeks, then it ramps back up to normal levels over the next month. From then on there is greater progress because they can use all of the nutrients for training and recovery, not for fighting off inflammation and allergies from the diet.

Hard-core endurance athletes are doing something that cave-dudes wouldn’t have done: going maximally for brutally long distances. So in their case I follow the paleo-diet base, with the addition of some higher carb as-much-paleo-as-possible foods: sweet potatoes, yams, some lentils, some quinoa. And a little more fruit.

Even with the extra “paleoish” carbs, there is an initial drop in endurance and speed, followed by a ramp up to normal levels, then better increases once the inflammation, allergens, extra weight, blah blah blah are removed.

The biggest thing I tell my athlete clients who switch to paleo is to make sure calories stay the same or even INCREASE, otherwise they’ll feel fatigued and start breaking down.

Q: What is your take on the Vibram 5 finger shoes…?

A: I think the Vibram 5 Fingers are just about the best thing ever!

You know my back got jacked up in a car accident, these are the only shoes that I can wear that don’t leave me crippled at the end of the day.

My clients who wear them swear by them. Cuts down on knee, back, and hip pain. (But when you first switch to them, be prepared for searing pain below the knees as your calves, shins, and feet muscles are forced to work) Actually, with all the beach volleyball you might have conditioned them already :)

Check out these blog posts for in-depth info:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/even-if-the-shoe-fits-forget-it/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/flat-feet-treatment/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/vibram-fivefingers/

I highly recommend getting a pair of Vibrams!

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Ok, that’s it for today!  If you have any questions, the fastest and easiest way to get them answered is to post them as a comment on my facebook wall.  Here’s a link:

Talk soon!

~ Luke

Cancer Sucks, Here’s How To Cut Your Risk

Health, Strategies No Comments »

Cancer is one of those creepy things that can attack us any time, anywhere.  Your skin, lungs, brain, pancreas, kidneys, lymph system, and stomach are just a few place you can get cancer.

But what is cancer anyway?

Basically, cancer is what happens when the cells in one part of your body start growing out of control.

Once you become an adult, new cells are basically built as replacements for worn out cells.  There’s a constant turnover but the number of cells remains fairly constant.

cancer dna

Cancer cells, though, keep growing, dividing, and multiplying.  And then all these new (and damaged) cells outlive your healthy cells and start piling up; this is how tumors are formed.  These cells then start interfering with your normal body function and your health begins a decline…

There are all sorts of theories about what causes cancer, but science doesn’t have a thorough answer yet.  We know lots of things can set it off: electromagnetic waves, ultraviolet radiation, smoking, toxic chemicals, and obesity are all common causes.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic shield to defend you from cancer.  Eating better and exercising will help protect you from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, but cancer remains more difficult to predict.

Decreasing your weight and reducing your exposure to toxins (both environmental and in your food/water) are ways to lower your cancer risk.  Here are a few more tips to help you stay healthy:

Eat Tomatoes And Red Bell Peppers: These are two of the best sources of lycopene, a nutrient that has been shown to help protect against prostate cancer.  In fact, a study showed that only two servings of tomatoes a week can cut prostate cancer risk by 34%.

tomatoes

Eat More Protein: Protein will supply you with the amino acid cysteine, which is a major piece of your inner-cancer-fighter glutathione.

Find More Fiber:  Researchers discovered that people with the highest fiber intakes are 40% less likely to develop colon cancer.

Eat The Rainbow: Diets with the highest amounts of fruits and vegetables have been shown to lower digestive-tract cancer risk by 70%.

Slam Some Spinach:  Neocanthin is a nutrient found in spinach that prevents the growth of some forms of cancer.

spinach

Drink Green Tea: Green tea is not only a great source of anti-oxidants, it also can help protect you from skin cancer.

Get Zesty: Lemon and orange zest (the skin of the fruit) contain d-limonene.  Even small amounts of d-limonene can cut your skin cancer risk by 30%.

Be Down With D: Vitamin D helps detoxify the carcinogenic chemicals released when you digest fatty foods.

Take Fish Oil:  Or krill oil.  Or eat some fish.  The omega-3 fatty acids in fish will reduce your cancer risk.

Consume More Antioxidants: Eat more thin skinned berries like blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, and grapes.  The antioxidants in these fruits will help protect you from cancer.

Bet On Beta-Carotene:  Beta-carotene is a nutrient that protects against cancer and aging.  Food is better than supplements, so here are the ten foods with the most beta-carotene: sweet potato, herbs, kale, spinach, carrots, turnip greens, butternut squash, mustard greens, lettuce, and collard greens.  (Choose organic)

carrots

Eat Broccoli:  Compounds in broccoli have been shown to fight different forms of cancer.  Add in cauliflower and daikon when you get bored with broccoli.

Go Organic: When you get organic foods, you’re choosing what’s NOT in the food: pesticides and other toxins.  Reducing your toxic load by going organic and natural-fed will lower your cancer risk.

Don’t Get Burned: While some sunshine is good for your health, get in the shade before you burn.  And stay away from sunscreens, they’re full of chemicals and they let you stay out in sun for far longer than you should.

Stay Light: The American Institute for Cancer Research’s number one recommendation for reducing cancer risk is to stay as lean as possible (while still in a healthy weight range).

fitness is fun

Get Moving: Exercise has been shown to lower risk of some cancers by 30-50%.  So break a sweat sometimes.

Reduce Alcohol: It’s been shown that ANY alcohol consumption will raise your risk of cancer.  Either cut back or cut it out.

Lower Your Stress:  Stress hasn’t been linked to any specific cancers, but stressed-out people engage in many unhealthy behaviors that can lead to cancer.  Relax.

Use CAUTION:  CAUTION is an acronym to remind you of early signs of cancer.  See this post for an explanation: Cancer Warning Signs To Get Checked Out

In conclusion, focusing on living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding major risk factors is your best plan for cutting your cancer risk.

cancer sucks

10 Primal Laws For Bootcampers

Exercise, Health, Nutrition, Strategies, Weight Loss No Comments »

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of the human fram, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison

Paleo eating and primal living are Big Topics in the health and fitness world.  What does it mean to “go Primal”?

Basically, it means eating the foods your body way designed to eat and living the way your body was designed to live, with the purpose of fitness and health in general, and often weight loss in particular.

Heading up the Primal movement is a cool guy named Mark Sisson:

He wrote the indispensable Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy, one of the most highlighted books on my shelves.

Primal (for the sake of brevity I’m going to drop the /paleo today :)) living allows your genes to express themselves in certain ways.  What do I mean?

Simple example: I have a tattoo on my forearm.  Think of that as a certain gene.  Maybe the gene for Type 2 Diabetes.

Whether I wear long sleeves or not determines if my tattoo will show, that the gene will be expressed.

In this example my sleeves represent my lifestyle.  If I exercise, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and meats, and stay away from booze, grains, and sugars, the diabetes gene won’t have a chance to be expressed.  It’s like wearing long sleeves.

If I skip the gym and eat whatever I want, it’s like rolling up my sleeves and letting the diabetes gene be expressed – my lifestyle determined I would get diabetes.

The gene was there the whole time, what determines if the gene goes into action or not is your lifestyle.

As Mark says: You Have To Fit Your Genes To Fit Into Your Genes.

To have the kind of lifestyle that allows your “skinny genes” and healthy genes to be used, you can follow simple Primal guidelines.  Here are Mark’s 10 Primal Laws…

1.  Eat Lots Of Plants And Animals


I believe nutrition is the single biggest thing you can do to lose weight and get awesome health.  And the two biggest things you can do to improve your nutrition are to eat more vegetables and to eat more animal protein.

You should aim to have some complete protein in every meal, as well as a bunch of veggies.

2. Avoid Poisonous Things


This one is a doozy!  No one goes around drinking drain cleaner, but we put things into our bodies that are almost as bad.

Grains, soy, sugar, alcohol – all poisons.

Even if you’re just interested in weight loss and don’t give a damn about your health, poison foods will still completely reverse your progress.

See, if you’re eating foods that your body has to fight (ex: grains), it won’t be able to absorb the good nutrients from your meats and vegetables PLUS it won’t let you lose any fat.

You know how an infected cut swells up?  The swelling helps fight all the funk from the infection.

As soon as you ditch grains, soy, sugar, and alcohol, all the bloating in your body starts going away.  Why the bloat?

Basically, your body was swelling to help it fight off foreign invaders.

Getting rid of poison foods will make sure all the effort you put into diet and exercise won’t go to waste.

3. Move Frequently At A Slow Pace


Another tricky one.  Back in paleolithic days, humans had to walk all over the place.

We didn’t run, we WALKED.  If we ran around and burned all our energy, we’d be screwed if we didn’t find food right away.

Almost no one goes for leisurely walks or hikes any more.  We have to turn it into an exercise challenge.  Whoever has the highest heart rate wins.

Walking does all sorts of good things for your body.  Yes, it burns some calories, but that’s not why to do it.

Walking gets you outside, walking is relaxing, walking through the forest can actually help fight cancer, walking just plain feels good.

My advice: Go for a walk outside a few times a week, on the weekends get up in the hills and go for a fun hike with family and friends.

4.  Lift Heavy Things


“Lifting heavy things” doesn’t mean hitting the weight room 3 hours a day to try and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It means resistance training.

Part of Primal living was moving rocks, climbing trees, dragging dead deer, lunging down to pick berries, pulling a travois, and all sorts of other full-body movements.

Dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, sandbags, tires, and my favorite – your won bodyweight – are all things you can use for resistance training.

5.  Sprint Once In A While


Sprinting doesn’t mean lacing on some old New Balance Joggers and heading down to the track, it just refers to moving very fast (for your level).

Interval Training on a bike, treadmill, or rowing machine works great.

So does rocking out a fast set or bodyweight exercises.

So does jumping rope.

Moving quickly is very Primal – imagine a bear was chasing you and if you didn’t make it to a tree you’d die.  No one moves with that kind of intensity any more.

6.  Get Adequate Sleep

Getting enough sleep is a HUGE piece of the weight loss equation.

If you don’t sleep your body will start craving simple sugars, completely screwing up your eating plan.

No rest means you won’t recover from your workouts, instead of building a healthy body you’ll just be digging yourself into a hole.

No sleep means you won’t be able to bring any energy to your workouts.  It SUCKS trying to do fast bike sprints when you didn’t sleep the night before.  You go so slowly you wonder why you’re even doing them at all.

Some simple things you can do to sleep better are: no TV or computer an hour before bed (the light from the monitor interferes with sleep hormones), no booze or caffeine in the evening, get exercise during the day, get sunshine as early as possible, and eat lots of meat and veggies.

7.  Play


So many people drop the ball on this one.

No one ever goes out and has fun anymore.

I love going to the beach and tossing a football around with friends, wrestling with my cousins’ kids, climbing trees, shooting hoops with my dad, and just enjoying life and movement.

The biggest mistake I see people making with play is this:  They play to get in shape, they don’t get in shape to play.

Weekend Warriors go out and play flag football without building up their leg strength, shoulder health, and agility, and they get hurt.

Go out and play to have fun, as you get in better shape you’ll be able to totally dominate more intense games.

8.  Get Adequate Sunlight


Did you know getting more sunshine will reduce cholesterol levels?  It’s true!  Your body uses cholesterol as part of the vitamin D making process.  It’s one reason why your cholesterol levels test higher in the winter than in the summer.

Vitamin D prevents a lot of diseases and is essential for healthy teeth, bones, nails, eyesight, and the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

Going out and getting burned is a Bad Idea.  20 or 30 minutes of sunshine a day (maybe during your walk!) will help you keep your vitamin D tank topped off.

(Oh yeah, smaller daily doses of sun have been shown to actually PREVENT skin cancer!).

9.  Avoid Stupid Mistakes


“Hey!  I’m going to make my New Year’s Resolution to run a marathon!  Tomorrow I’ll go out and see how far I can run!” <- Stupid Mistake

“Exercise sucks!  I’d rather be fat!”  <- Stupid Mistake

“But I don’t liiiiiiiiiiike vegetables!”  <- Stupid Mistake

“I worked out so I deserve this treat!”  <- Stupid Mistake

Back in paleo days, stupid mistakes could kill you fast.  “I’m going to poke that tiger with a stick!”  <- Stupid Mistake

Stupid mistakes can still kill you fast (“Screw the seatbelt!”), but most of the stupid mistakes we make are smaller ones:  Skipping breakfast, ditching workouts, going to bed without brushing your teeth.

As a guy who makes more stupid mistakes than anyone else (“Watch me jump off that roof!”), I can tell you that the fewer dumb mistakes you make, the better your life is going to be.

10.  Use Your Brain


Our Primal ancestors had to learn or die.  They had to observe what was going on around them and constantly solve problems.

Most of what we do now isn’t life or death, and we don’t have to track down our own meat anymore, but I’m always amazed at how people let themselves stagnate.

They never try anything new.  They never learn anything new.  I have no idea why.

It’s been shown that doing sudoku or word puzzles can help prevent dementia (I play games on Luminosity.com when my brain is feeling sluggish).

I figure that you can get even more bang for your mental buck by doing “body sudoku” – exercise puzzles that challenge your brain to learn something new while kicking your health and fat loss into overdrive.

An example would be the Spiral Squat – something totally out of the box for 99.9% of gym-goers, yet a great exercise and mental stimulant:

Just remember Rule Nine: Avoid Stupid Mistakes when you’re learning new exercises.  If you can’t get off the toilet without straining, don’t try a rock-bottom twisting squat, ok?

Conclusion

To put these Ten Primal Laws into your daily routine, here’s a painless method:  Pick one Law a week and get on it.  Or even one Law every 2 weeks.

Make each one a habit before you add the next.

Pretty soon you’ll be wearing your Skinny Genes :p

Talk soon,

~ Luke

10 Bootcamp Resolutions For The Real World – Guaranteed

Bootcamp, Strategies 1 Comment »

I wanted to do something special for my first post of the year, since the new Wold Fitness Bootcamp facility will be opening in just a few days.  When I think back on the hundreds of people I’ve worked with in person, online, and at seminars I’ve helped succeed with fitness, health, and weight loss, I wanted to share some of the secrets of people who’ve transformed their lives the most.

To that end, I’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions for you.

That’s a pretty “in-your-face” thing to do.  But this list is some of the easiest things to implement in your life, and it’s made up of the things that separate the people who get there quickly from those who just muddle along and never make any progress.

Any and all of these make great New Year’s Resolutions – so much so that I personally guarantee you results if you do these things and stick to them.

The Only “Improve Your Life” 2011 Resolutions You Need

1.  Get Out Of Your House


You can’t improve something you’re not working on.

In the phenomenal book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell shows that anyone who is great at what they do has put in approximately 10,000 hours of ‘practice time.’

Now, he’s talking about elite like Michael Jordan in basketball or the Beatles in music.

You don’t need to be anywhere near 10,000 hours to have a rockin’ body and glowing health – but you do have to practice.

A great mindset shift many of my clients have had is to think of health and fitness as ‘practice time.’  Not only time spent in the gym, but time cooking delicious meals, getting fresh air, and spending time with fit friends all count as ‘practice time.”

How much practice do you need?  Generally, more is better.  3-5 hours a week of exercise, and a few hours a week of preparing food is a good starting minimum.

Can you commit to this?

2.  Get A Good Group


A workout partner or group motivates you to get out of the house, lets you learn from their successes and failures, raises your mood, and makes losing weight much, much easier.

If your regular friends aren’t a good fitness group, train them!  (Or send them to my bootcamp and I’LL train them for you J )

A study from Harvard University found that hanging around with overweight people makes you much more likely to become overweight.  Tony Robbins says that your weight will be the average weight of your five closest friends.

While I’m not telling you to ditch your friends, spend more of your time with positive people who are moving towards something, not with negative Nancys or with people who just don’t care.

Here are some of the benefits of a partner or group:

  • Peer pressure to do what you said you would
  • Having a friend try something with you reduces the anxiety that comes from getting out of your comfort zone
  • Exercising with friends is more fun.  Good moods are contagious and stick with you.
  • Faster improvement.  You can watch and learn from your fitness friends (I always get great meal ideas and food strategies from my friends).  Plus, friends know you better than anyone – it’s really hard to analyze your own progress and you almost always need someone to help.

If your friends aren’t trainable, find some pre-trained.  The best place for this is at bootcamp and at fitness-based social events like highland games, 5ks, and the like.

Seriously, exercise and nutrition alone are far better than nothing, but you’re making it much tougher to learn, much tougher to stick, and much tougher to succeed.  Get a good group!

3.  Decide What You Want


If you don’t know what you want, if you don’t know how to get it, if you don’t know how to tell when you do get it, then your odds of success are very small.

Be specific:

Don’t just say you want to “lose weight.”  The scale sucks for measuring health, fitness, and vitality.  Decide you want to fit into size four jeans, or have visible muscles in your stomach.

Don’t say you want to “feel better.”  Decide that feeling better means no headaches, no energy/mood swings, and sleeping through the night.

Don’t cop out with “be healthier.”  Decide that you’re going to get off blood pressure medication, stop taking ibuprofen throughout the day, and never touch an antacid again.

And don’t just say you want to “look better.”  Decide that you’re going to upgrade your wardrobe, change the hairstyle you’ve had since the 90s, lose 4 inches off your waist, and start using moisturizer.  Which actually leads us to…

4. Upgrade Your Hair And Wardrobe


Weird advice on a health and fitness website, right?

But I have a theory (stolen from my sister) that people keep the hairstyle from when they thought they looked their best, no matter how it looks on them now.

I see women with the same hair they had in high school in 1985.  I see bald guys growing their fringe out long.  Hair and identity are wrapped together very tightly.

By changing your hair you signify to yourself that you’re taking charge of your life.  Who cares what you looked like in college, you can look great RIGHT NOW!

Seriously, losing fat and toning up is going to totally transform your life.  But as I’ve said before, you can make immediate changes in how you look and feel by changing your hair and your wardrobe.

Closet full of baggy black clothes?  Get rid of them!

Knowing what you’re doing is the only hard part, since the clothes that will make you look your best are very different than runway “high fashion.”

For your hair, find a good stylist.  (My totally awesome client Victoria cuts my hair.  The only direction I give her is “Make me look sexy.”  Here’s a video of me in her office:  Eyebrow Waxing Ouch!)

Women, get Clinton Kelly’s books: Freakin’ Fabulous and Oh No She Didn’t

Guys, it’s highly controversial, but I recommend Brad Ps Fashion Bible (Caution, everything else he’s written is for mature audiences only!)

Getting your hair and clothes handled is crucial, but not time-consuming.  You only have to work on your wardrobe once this year – if it looks great tomorrow it will still look great in December!

Oh, one last thing, if you’re joining bootcamp or going on a weight loss diet, don’t wait to start upgrading your look until you’ve lost the weight.  Like I said, hair and identity are intertwined.  Losing weight and getting in kick-butt shape will be much easier if you look and feel good while you’re doing it.

5.  Track Your Progress


It’s fascinating that any measuring will improve your progress.

There are infinite variable you can look at, but the first and simplest is keeping a food journal.  Interestingly, people who write down everything they eat and drink – even when they’re not on a diet – lose more weight that people who don’t write anything down.

And if you don’t like writing, here’s a cool trick that’s almost as effective: Use your phone to take a picture of absolutely everything you eat or drink and upload it to an online album.

The next step is measuring your body.  Monthly pictures in your underwear will motivate you like nothing else.  (Don’t want your spouse to take a picture of you in your underwear?  That’s a signal that you should make some changes!)

Scale weight is an ok starting point, too.  But scales can also be demotivating if your weight swings up just a little when you’ve been working out super-hard.  And a scale won’t tell you if that extra pound is muscle, fat, or just bloating.

It’s much better to take circumference measurements around your hips, waist, thighs, chest, and arms, and to check out your bodyfat percentage.

To get really serious, twice-yearly blood tests will tell you what’s going on with your health.

6.  Take Up A New Hobby


What you spend your time on should be things that you’re passionate about.  I can’t overemphasize how important this is to your happiness.

It doesn’t even have to be something fitness related – last year I started drawing and I’m still having a blast!  This year I’m working on cooking (expect some delicious recipes soon!)

And hey, leave a comment at the bottom of this post, I’d love to hear what your hobbies are!

7.  Stay Up To Date


I’ve been a trainer for a long time now, and I’ll be honest with you: It would be a lot easier to keep saying the same stuff I thought I knew back in 2000.  But that wouldn’t be good since I’ve learned so much in the last 11 years.

The pendulum swings in what’s popular in the fitness world, but the more people I work with the more I see what really works.

High carb, low fat diets paired with lots of jogging was popular 30 years ago, but it’s failed the test of the real world.  The same with machine circuits, step aerobics, “cleansing” diets, and all the other fads.

Fitness has come a long way in even the last 5 years, and any problems that someone has using an old system have probably already been fixed.

At my seminars and on this website I like to share the latest studies to support what works.

The biggest changes I’ve seen lately have got me really excited, they include:

  • Research into Paleolithic diets.  Switching to paleo eating makes weight loss easy and helps prevent almost every modern disease (diabetes, obesity, alzheimers, heart disease, etc)
  • Shifting to training with more “real world” tools like kettlebells, suspension trainers, ValSlides, and especially your own body
  • Focusing on raising metabolism rather than burning calories
  • Group functional workouts instead of solo aerobics and weight machines
  • Fixing body imbalances to make every workout more productive and to get rid of chronic aches and pains

I spend a lot of time and money making sure I’m up to date with what really works.  If you want to do the same start reading books and blogs, going to seminars, and investing in information products developed by trainers, nutritionists, and doctors who know how to get results.

8.  Take Something Out


It’s much easier to add something in (exercise, supplements) than it is to take something out (processed carbs, negative friends)

I know you don’t have a lot of free time.  And to add to your life you need to create time for yourself.

I don’t know exactly what your life is like so I can’t tell you exactly what to do here.

However, a lot of time-wasters, lifestyle-killers, and fat-adders have these things in common: indoors, non-social, can take a lot of time, and sucks all your energy.

TV and computers fit into all four of these.

If that’s how you relax, cool.  But give yourself a limit and stick to it.  The only TV show I watch is Entourage with my bro John, and other than that maybe a DVD or two per week.  I know people who watch more TV than that EVERY DAY!

Here’s a few ideas of things to take out that will leave you with more time for your health and fitness goals:

  • TV
  • Facebook/iPhone games
  • Drinking (go out, but not 3 nights a week.  Once or twice a month is plenty to have fun)
  • Hanging out with people who suck

9.  Expand Your Comfort Zone


Do things that push you out of your comfort zone.

Go scuba diving.  Ride a roller coaster.  Go camping.  Sing karaoke.  Learn to dance.  Do something!

Breaking free of self-imposed limits frees your mind and energy so much that losing weight is just another challenge, not some all-consuming dreadful monster that will take over your life.

Getting out of your comfort zone applies to working out, too.

Push yourself hard.  Learn how to use something cool (tire flipping anyone?).  See what you can do.

And of course, we all have food comfort zones.

I’m always trying new vegetables and spices, or new ways of cooking.  Hey, sometimes things don’t taste the way I wanted them to, I just chalk it up to experience J

10.  Ask For Help


I confess – I wasn’t great at this for a long time.  (It was too far out of my comfort zone)

Now I’m a help-asking MANIAC.  I get people to show me cooking techniques.  My trainer friends video exercises for me.  I get pointed to all of the right resources.

Guidance gets you to where you want to be.

Most people want to get their body from point A to point B, so they join a gym.  But joining a gym doesn’t get them there.

If you wanted to get from one town to another you’d think the solution would be a car, right?  But it’s not.  It’s actually directions, driving instructions, and a full tank of gas.  A car is useless if you don’t know where you’re going.

A gym membership or home workout machine is just the car.  To get from point A to point B you need directions, instruction, and fuel.

If you haven’t already, make 2011 the year you ask for help and take control of your life.

So… that’s it.  Nothing in here is that hard or unrealistic.  10 simple New Year’s Resolutions that will get you where you want to go.

Talk soon,

~ Luke

 

Shoulder Fixer Circuit: YTWLI

Exercise, Strategies 3 Comments »

Almost everyone who first comes into my gym has shoulder issues.

It may be from poor posture, injury, working on a computer all day, or poor exercise program design.

Whatever the reason for jacked-up shoulders, there’s only one thing to do… Fix them!

Most people think the reason for their shoulder pain is a weak rotator cuff.  They don’t realize that there are actually several muscles that make up the rotator cuff!  Take a look at this picture:

Notice anything interesting?  All of the rotator cuff muscles attach to the shoulder blade!

It doesn’t matter how strong your rotator cuff is if the muscles anchoring the shoulder blade are weak.  I like to use the anology of trying to throw a big rock while you’re standing on an icy parking lot: The stronger you can throw, the more likely you are to knock yourself down.

The same thing happens in the shoulder: Super strong rotator cuff muscles won’t prevent injury if they’re on an unstable surface.

Now take a look at the muscles that control the shoulder blade:

Shoulder pain happens when these muscles are stiff and weak; the shoulder blade dances around and causes all sorts of problems.

The circuit I’m about to show you is one of my very favorite ways to start fixing shoulder pain, and you can do it anywhere.  (Some of my athletes lie with their chest off their bed, some of my personal training clients lean over their desk)

This “miracle cure” is called the YTWLI.  Check out this 20 second video, the name YTWLI comes from how each position looks from above:

I’m going to break down each move for you, then give you a program you can follow at home to help get rid of shoulder pain by fixing the CAUSE of imbalances.

Shoulder Circuit Exercise: Y

Arms are about 90 degrees above shoulder level, with your thumbs pointing up to help with external rotation:

Shoulder Circuit Exercise: T

Your arms shoulder be just above 90 degrees from your torso, with your thumbs pointing to the ceiling.

The BIG KEY here is to squeeze your shoulder blades together – to “pinch a pencil” with your scapula.

If you have weak shoulder blade retractors, you’ll unconsciously pull your arms down toward your hips to substitute the big muscles of the lats for your weak retractors.  The angle should NEVER be less than 90 degrees from your torso.

Shoulder Circuit Exercise: W

Your upper arm should be at a 45 degree angle from your torso, with your elbows locked at 90 degrees.

Touch your elbows together in front of your chest, then pull your shoulder blades together to flare your arms.

Shoulder Circuit Exercise: L

This is a big time external rotation exercise.  When you sit or slouch, your shoulders pull inward.

With this exercise you reverse that movement.

Your upper arms should be straight out from your shoulders (90 degrees from torso) and you want to lock your elbows and rotate your arms until your wrists are by your ears.

A common mistake with this movement is to curl your hands in toward your body instead of keeping the elbows locked and rotating your upper arm.

Shoulder Circuit Exercise: I

Very simple: just push your hands out and up and pull your shoulder blades down towards your hips.

Bring your elbows all the way to your ribs and then press again.

I first learned this circuit while I was interning at a Physical Therapist’s office.  It’s very simple, and here’s the key to making it work: Focus on moving your shoulderblades in order to move your arms, not using your arms to move your shoulderblades.

The emphasis should be on scapulothoracic (shoulderblade) movement, not on glenohumeral (shoulder) movement.

This changes it from an ok shoulder exercise into a great shoulderblade stabilizing exercise.

Doing It

I like to use a Swiss Ball as my chest support, but a bench, incline bench, or any other support works as well.

If you’re SERIOUS about fixing your shoulders, you can do this every day.  If you’re just preventing shoulder issues, 3 times a week is enough.

What you’re going to do is 8 reps of each position with no weight and no rest in between movements.  This is a total of 40 reps per set.

Do two sets.

Add two reps each week until you reach sets of 20 reps each (100 rep set).

When all 100 reps can be done perfectly for 2 sets, go back to sets of 8 with very light (one or two pound) dumbbells.

That’s it!  It takes 2 minutes a day.

Lots of my personal training clients have found the shoulder pain they’ve lived with for years completely disappear in less than a month!

If you have shoulder pain, get on the YTWLI circuit!

30 Reasons Why Most People Fail With Weight Loss

Strategies, Weight Loss 1 Comment »

Hey there… it’s Luke.

It’s pretty sad but most people who try to lose weight fail (or else they lose a little then totally stall out)

Here are some of the biggest reasons why…

1. Waiting for everything to be “just right” before they start.  Things are never going to be “just right.”  Make the decision and get after it!

2. Don’t have clear and defined written goals.  Just saying you want to lose weight isn’t enough.  Be specific.  Example: I am going to fit into a size 6 by March 1st.


3. They fall into the “More Is Better” mindset and spend hours a day in the gym.  Just get in, get it done, and get out.

4. Not improving health.  The better your body is working, the better results you’ll get from your diet and exercise program.

5. Too much focus on trying to impress other people in the gym and too little focus on doing what you need for results.  Doing planks and lunges might not be as sexy as hanging out on a padded chrome machine by the water fountain, but they will get you results!

6. Not having fun during workouts.

7. Not bringing any energy to their workouts

8. Trying to out-train a crappy diet.  (Beast in the gym, wimp in the kitchen)

9. Not cutting out fake healthy foods.  Lean Cuisines, energy bars, whole grain bread, soy shakes, and the like will all keep your middle soft.

10. Skipping workouts.

11. Thinking about food as a calories in, calories out model.  100 Calories of cake is much worse for you than 100 Calories of broccoli.

12. Over-educating and under-doing.  I know a guy with more than 300 cookbooks who still eats out 3 times a day.

13. Doing the same things that other people do

14. Having a crappy lifestyle.  Get some sleep, get some fresh air, get rid of stress.

15. They hang out with negative people.

16. They don’t get expert advice.

17. Workout and diet A.D.D. – always doing something different, never giving anything a chance to work.

18. Not getting enough recovery.  SLEEP.  Massages.  Chiropractic.  Time with friends.

19. Having unrealistic expectations.  If it took you 20 years to put on, it’s not going away next week.  (I can get fat off your frame crazy fast though, just not overnight!)

20. Focusing on calories burned instead of raising metabolism.  (More about metabolism here: Components Of Metabolism)

21. Working out alone instead of with an awesome partner or a group.

22. Joining a cheap gym filled with losers who aren’t there to accomplish anything.  Go someplace that gets it DONE

23. Trying to change too much, too fast and totally burning out.

24. Not changing enough things and never making progress.

25. Not following any eating plan.  A properly designed meal plan will make you lose fat so fast you’ll wonder why you ever thought it would be hard

26. Not making fitness, health, and fat loss a priority.  One hour a day for YOU and your health.  Every other aspect of your life will get better with just 60 minutes a day of positive action.

27. Whining.  Don’t have a pity party; hardly anyone comes and no one brings presents.  Whatever body you have is a result of your choices and actions.  That means YOU can change it – and whining about anything you CAN change is very not cool.

28. Thinking that magic pills, ugly shoes, or expensive bracelets will miraculously cause you to lose weight.

29. Not investing in yourself.  Get some gym clothes you actually want to wear.  Go to a seminar.  Get yourself good food.

30. Quitting at their first weight loss plateau.  Pauses happen, give your body a chance to catch up to what your mind is doing.

I could go on and on, but this was just a short list that popped up in my mind

One –  Which of these mistakes are you making?

Two –  What are some mistakes I failed to mention?

Leave a comment letting me know…

Inside Luke’s Head: Hacking Your Workout For Faster Results

Bootcamp, Exercise, Interval Training, Strategies, Weight Loss 4 Comments »

When I walked up into the weight room someone’s Dad was in there “working out.”

He gave me a sheepish look when I told him the upstairs of the gym is reserved for private clients.  But since he’d already started I said to go ahead and finish.

After a quick warm-up I hit this circuit 6 times: Kettlebell snatch x6 each arm, ValSlide Reverse Lunge x 10 each leg, and Weighted Chin Ups x 5, repeat with no rest.

Then a quick sip of water and my second circuit was 3 rounds of: ValSlide Double Reach-Out x 10, Handstand Push Up x 3, and Bodyweight Row x 12.

It took me about 25 minutes.

In that same 25 minutes this guy did 5 sets of Dumbbell Curls.  Seriously.

Unfortunately, spending more time in the gym than you need to is super-common, and I think that’s why people whine that they have no time to work out.

Now, today I’m going to drop 2 studies showing that not only will high-intensity circuits get you out of the weight room faster, they’ll also give you BETTER results.

(Of course, you could spend the same hour in the gym training with this style and get more done in those 60 minutes than the standard gym-goer does in 2 weeks of screwing around.  I think that’s freaking cool!)

This is the first study:

Kelleher et al. The Metabolic Costs of Reciprocal Supersets vs. Traditional Resistance Exercise in Young Recreationally Active Adults. JSCR 2010 Mar 17.

Kelleher et al examined the difference between traditional “straight set” resistance training to “reciprocal superset” training.

Here’s two quick definitions for you:

STRAIGHT SET: Standard resistance training protocol – One set of presses, rest.  Set of presses, rest.  Repeat until all sets are done.

RECIPROCAL SUPERSET: Pairing opposite movements – Set of presses, quick rest, set of rows, quick rest.  Not only do you actually get the same amount of rest between presses, you get twice as much work done in the same time.  And thanks to a principle called “reciprocal innervation” you will actually be able to handle more weight in the paired exercises.

The researchers above concluded: “Reciprocal supersets produced greater exercise kJ.min, blood lactate, and EPOC than did [traditional straight sets]. Incorporating this method of resistance exercise may benefit exercisers attempting to increase energy expenditure and have a fixed exercise volume with limited exercise time available.”

In plain speak: You will raise your metabolism and make greater changes in your body IN LESS TIME with reciprocal supersets than with straight sets.

INSIDE LUKE’S HEAD: How can I create reciprocal supersets in all of my workouts?

The second study:

Paoli et al. Effects of three distinct protocols of fitness training on body composition, strength and blood lactate. JSMPF. 2010 Mar;50(1):43-51

Paoli et al compared 3 different training methods: cardio-only, low-intensity circuit, and high-intensity circuit.

Out of the 3 groups, the high-intensity circuit group lost the most weight, lost the most fat, lost the most off their waist measurement, raised their metabolism the most, and gained the most strength.

Here’s an excerpt from their conclusion: “The results obtained favored the conclusion that high-intensity exercise combined with endurance training in the circuit training technique is more effective than endurance training alone or low intensity circuit training in improving body composition, blood lactate, moreover high intensity circuit training results in significantly greater strength increase compared to traditional circuit training”

So… high-intensity circuits kick ass compared to low-intensity circuits and totally blow traditional cardio out of the water.

INSIDE LUKE’S HEAD (con’t from above): How can I put reciprocal supersets into high-intensity circuits?

When the chips are all on the table and changing your body really counts, forget traditional weight training and endurance-style cardio – use high intensity resistance training circuits instead.

Putting It All Together

Resistance training includes bodyweight exercises.  Build your workouts around bodyweight and loaded exercises either paired or put into circuits, combine them with interval training, and clean up your diet and you’ll have a totally slamming body in wayyy less time.

I design all of the circuits for my personal training and bootcamp members – all you have to do is show up and push hard.  If you’re not in bootcamp (why not?) start tweaking your workouts with these two ideas and you’ll finally start to see some results from your time in the gym!