All Posts by Clay Henderson

Why You’ll Never Achieve Your Goals

Most People Never Reach Their Goals

Can you achieve your fitness goals?  Many people struggle sticking with a routine, making changes, and eventually give up on their fitness goals.  The truth most fitness professionals and trainers will never tell is, the average person will never reach their goals.  This is because it takes more than average.   

Continue reading and you'll learn why.  If you learn these things, you can derail this truth and finally do what it takes to succeed.  

Most people desire a better body and better health.  They'll spend time searching for the perfect program, the perfect exercise, the perfect plan for them to succeed.  

First, there's no such thing as 'perfect', so just do something.  Anything is better than continuous scrolling for something better.   Achieving your goals rarely comes down to the workouts or the diet you choose.  That can all be refined over time.  

What it comes down to is an action most are not willing to work on.   You may not want to hear it because it's not sexy.  It's all about your mindset.  There's no coach or program that can change your mindset.  

If you really want to succeed then you need to know these two things. Without knowing them, your chances of success is zero.


1. HOW YOR MIND WORKS AGAINST YOU

We want immediate satisfaction.  Now more than ever, we are dependent on high dopamine activities, things that give us quick rewards such as; scrolling through social media, watching YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix, food, alcohol, porn, etc...  

These activities are pleasurable in the interim but don't last long, leaving you unsatisfied, addicted to the activity and wanting more.  

As we become more dopamine resistant, we are less likely to focus on low dopamine activities.  Fitness does not have a fast ROI.  It takes time to get the reward.  You have to work for it.  However, the gratification you get from reaching your goals is far more than anything else.   

Understand that your brain is working against you.  If you realize this and accept that fitness takes time, consistency, and dedication, then you are on the right path.  

Reaching any meaningful fitness goal will require making sacrifices and minimizing distractions.  It might mean doing things that are painful and out of your comfort zone. 

It's important you find some joy in your workouts and pride in the changes you need to make.  If you don't enjoy it, you wont stick with it.  The discipline that it would require to do something you don't enjoy that is strenuous, and difficult is monumental.  It won't work. 

2. YOUR GOALS SUCK 

You might not be setting the right goals.  If your goal is something like, the perfect body then you are doomed to fail.  That's because 'the perfect body' is not actionable or measurable.  It's certainly cool to want to improve your body but that can't be the goal you focus on.  

First off, what is the 'perfect body' and why do you want that?  To make your ex lose his mind when he sees you?  I can understand that might feel satisfying but it's not the right motivation.  The motivation has to be intrinsically valuable to you, not for the benefit of anyone else.  You don't really want a better body.  You want the feeling you think that's going to give you.  You want to feel more confident.  This is can only be attained through a long dedicated process that requires consistent work.  

When you rededicate yourself to actionable goals, awesome things start happening.  These will include things such as;

  • Scheduling your workouts
  • Getting 4 workouts in this week
  • Fasting for 13 hours
  • Meal prepping for the week.

This makes the process very satisfying because you are constantly achieving small goals.  These little things are what make big changes.  Before you know it, you'll be the slamming hot confident person you want to be.  

Other very impactful goals are performance oriented.  If you are performance is improving so to will your body.

  • Faster mile time
  • Heavier back squat
  • More pushups in a minute

These are the type of things you need to make any changes in your body.  If your performance isn't changing, why would your body? 

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

I want you to be successful, so please follow my advice.  If you are not willing to work on your mindset and rededicate your goals, nothing is going to work.  

Accept that it's going to take a lot of work, deep dive into your goals to find out what it is you truly want, and take joy in the process.  That's the foundation for any success.  The average person just isn't cut out for it.  Solution - just don't be average.  

Please follow and like us:
error

Best Supplements For Building Muscle

Building muscle is not a complicated procedure.  It's quite simple; break the muscles down with resistance training and recover with a good diet, active rest, and quality supplements.  

The best supplements for building muscle can make a huge difference but choosing them is difficult in the sea of junk.  If they seem scammy with grand promises, stay away. There's nothing magical in the market.  Like anything else, nothing will replace diet and hard work.  However, supplements can greatly change your appearance if you are taking the correct products along with consistent workouts and solid diet.  

Don't spend a fortune

You do not need buy every supplement available.  Keep them to a minimum. A good diet high in protein and vegetables combined with a few supplements will get you where you need to be.  Let's start with the basics.  

1) Whey Protein

Plenty of research has been done to prove whey as one of the highest quality sources of protein.  It's fast digestion makes it a must for building and repairing muscle tissue.  As long as you do not have an allergy to whey, this can't be recommended enough.  Whey is one of the highest qualities of protein.  Adding this to your diet will help speed recovery, which is the most important aspect of repairing and building muscle. 

2) Creatine

Research has shown creatine to have more benefits than just building muscle.  It has an impact on cognitive abilities as well.

There is no doubt, creatine increases horse power.  Your performance in the gym will go up big time.  By adding more creatine phosphate to your muscle cells, you will be able to lift heavier weights for longer periods of time.  The greater the performance in the gym, the bigger the gainz!

3) BCAAs

BCAAs fire a neurological pathway that speeds protein synthesis.  This is the physiological process for repairing and growing muscle tissue.  

It is important to know, BCAA's are not complete proteins.  This means you will only benefit from this when you have a sufficient supply of complete proteins such as whey.  

Optimize your diet to build muscle fast

With all the popular diets out their backed by pseudo experts, it's difficult to pick one.  Diets are like ideology.  People are as defensive of their diets as the are their political and religious beliefs.  It's crazy.  The truth is there is no one way to go about it.  The nutritional habits that work for you are the ones most appropriately.  If your energy and performance is high as well as you biomarkers, you doing fine.  Don't fix something that isn't broke.

Here are some universal practices that work for any diet.  I've had great success personally and for my clients.

  1. Meal prep.  This is the greatest dietary habit there is.  Do not use the excuse; I don't have time.  Make it happen.
  2. Time restrict. The more I read into it and practice it, the more I believe in its many benefits.  They include
    • Improving the body's ability to burn fat
    • Reduces the reliance on glucose (blood sugar) for energy
    • Improves sustainable energy and limits your midday crashes
  3. High protein. Protein is the building block for muscle.  Most people are not getting enough protein in their diet.  Without an adequate supply, good luck building any muscle.  This does not mean you need to go crazy.  A 'high protein diet' is around 33% - 40% of your macronutrients.  Or .5-1 gram per pound of body weight. 
  4.  Lots of water.  The source of life, don't let yourself get dehydrated.  Water has many essential functions for the body.  It helps your body process the energy you are putting in your body.  As a result, your metabolism runs higher, your protein does it's job better, and your brain functions better when you are hydrated.  The recommended amount varies depending on your energy output.  Usually 80-100oz will take care of you.
  5. Limit your sugar.  This does not mean eliminate, just keep it to a minimum. It's also important to clarify by I am referring to table sugar, simple sugars, and highly processed foods.  Keep it under 20 grams per day   

Hope you found this helpful

Like anything else, if you want something, you are going to have to work for it.  It is a simple process of overloading your muscles with progressive strength training, eating right, and taking quality supplements to enhance performance and recovery.  

If you want help making unbelievable changes with your body, check out one of my professional training programs.  

Please follow and like us:
error

THE ULTIMATE 30 MINUTE WORKOUT

Life gets busy and too often the wrong things are sacrificed.  There are always things that will come up, so the idea of waiting for the right time or not having enough time is never a valid excuse.  We make time for what's most important to us.  

If time is limited, as it is for most of us, you need to do short and efficient workouts.  The main thing is being consistent and giving it your all. You can get amazing results with 20-30 minute workouts.  Spending hours in the gym is not necessary.  In most cases it's not feasible.  What will never get results is making excuses or waiting for the right time. 

The Workouts

These workouts will cover the entire body.  They are designed to be relatively intense, comprehensive, and time efficient.  Alternate these two workouts 3-4x per week.  Additionally, add 20-30 minutes of cardio on the other days. Consistency is key. 

The workouts will be comprehensive.  They strategically work all planes of motion and all muscle groups.  The focusses that make a good routine are as follows:

  • Push exercises in horizontal and vertical planes
  • Pull exercises in horizontal and vertical planes
  • Hip exercises with squats/lunges/deadlifts
  • Full body exercises

This focus insures we are working the body symmetrically, which is missing in most peoples workout routines.

These workouts incorporate both strength and cardio.  Your heart rate will be up and you will feel a pump.  

Workout A.

For both workouts; Perform 3 sets of each circuit. Your circuits will consist of the 3 exercises. Rest no more than :30 between exercises and no more than 1 minute between sets.  Make sure to have a timer.  *This workout is more Push dominate.  

3 rounds x 12 reps each 

3 rounds x 12 reps each 

  • Squats.  Depending on your experience, you can perform any squat you wish; back squat, front squat, goblet squat... 
  • DB bench press
  • DB step ups (12 each leg) - lose the weights if you are a beginner

3 rounds x 12 reps each (abs)

Workout B.

This workout is more Pull dominate.  

3 rounds x 12 reps each 

  • Dumbbell Bent over rows
  • Deadlifts (use heavier DBs or a barbell if you are experienced) - a tight core with no bend in the back is essential.   
  • Dumbell bent over flys

3 rounds x 12 reps each 

  • Pull-ups *modify with lat pull downs if you have access to cables or you can perform a modified pullup with a band.  
  • Split squats on the bench (6 each leg, add DBs to advance the movement.  This one is more push dominate but it works the glutes like nothing else!)
  • Standing DB hammer curls

3 rounds x 12 reps each 

  • Russian twists with any form of weight.  (24 total)
  • Leg raises with :03 count on the way down.   

Further instructions:

It might be the case this routine is more advanced than you are ready for.  No worries; all you need to do is set the 30 minute clock and reduce the SETS to 2 instead of 3.  When you are ready, increase it to 3.  

Trust me, you have the time.  You just need to prioritize it.  

Recommended Workout essentials

Please follow and like us:
error

Amazing Transformation

Jason's Amazing Fitness Journey 

I can't speak highly enough for my client and friend Jason.  He is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can do not only for your body but your mind overall wellbeing too.  

With a full time job and business to run along with a wife and 4 kids, time is not abundant for him.  If he heard that excuse from anyone he might smack them.  Actually, that's unlikely, as he's a very nice guy in addition to be a dedicated person.  t 

He is currently down over 50 pounds and is in the best shape of his life doing things he could never do before.

There's nothing magical about his transformation.  It's just professional programming, coaching, and follow through on his end.    

Please follow and like us:
error

Best Weight Loss Exercises – burn fat with just 2 moves!

The right exercises with the right amount of intensity makes all the difference in the world when it comes to making significant changes with your body.  People get bogged down by all the possibilities and get overwhelmed with not knowing what to do.  My advice is to keep it simple, learn the basics, and keep upping your intensity as your body acclimates to the stress.  We are going to cover the best weight loss exercises and how to burn fat with just 2 moves.  I also wrote 3 very simple but extremely effective workouts for you to try.

The best weight loss exercises have to fit the criteria; functional, compound, and high energy.

Watch the video and check out the workouts below for a highly efficient way to burn fat.

  1. Functional is a broad term thrown around in the fitness circle.  It means movement patterns that rely directly to ever day life, such as running, jumping, pushing, pulling, picking things up, etc.
  2. Compound just means using more than one joint.  Compound exercises have significantly more impact on metabolism, hormones, and muscle growth than isolation exercises.
  3. High energy out means you are expending a lot of calories!

In my experience the two best weight loss exercises are burpees and thrusters. 

If I had to reduce my strength and conditioning training to two exercises it would be burpees and thrusters.  Ugh, the thought of only doing those exercises forever is a nightmare but wow they are effective!  

These moves are highly functional, multi-compound, and high energy output exercises.  If you are familiar with them, you may hate them BUT they are well worth your efforts.  Embrace the suck and do these exercises once per week!

1. Thruster

The version of the thruster in the video is used with dumbbells.  Although I do love using the bars, I am huge advocate for dumbbells too.  They do an amazing job of building symmetry and stability of the muscles.  Here are a few points of performance:

  1. Position DBs on your delts with your elbows up
  2. Feet shoulder width apart
  3. Drive hips back and the knees outward as you squat to full depth maintaining a tall neutral spine with the triceps parallel to the ground.
  4.  Standup forcefully and punch your arms to full extension.  You should finish with your arms fully locked out by your ears.
  5. Breathing: in as you go down, out as you go up.

2. Burpee

The burpee is a high energy – full body exercise that works almost every muscle in your body.  It is one of the best conditioning exercises there is.  The burpee activates  arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs.

  1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Put your hands on the floor and sprawl your legs back so you end up with your stomach and thighs on the floor.
  3. Then press yourself up and pull your feet under your hips.
  4. Stand up and finish with a little jump.

Workouts

These two moves are peanut butter and jelly.  They are meant to be together.  Here are a few workouts to try.

A.  (21-15-9) with little to no rest

21  thrusters

21 burpees

15 thrusters

15 burpees

9 thrusters

9 burpees

 

B. (chipper) with little to no rest

Run 1 mile

50 Thrusters

50 burpees

 

C. (Intervals)

10 rounds :30 work and :30 rest (thats 5 intervals each)

minute 1. Max burpees

minute 2. Max thrusters

Pick weights that challenge you but manageable.  If you are having to stop every couple of reps you went to heavy.  If you are flying through the workout you went to light.  


Try one of my killer ab routines!

If you ask 10 different trainers what the best exercises for weight loss are, you would likely get 10 different exercises.  While it is true, there are many that will help get the job done, they have to meet the 3 criteria mentioned above; Functional, Compound, and High Energy.  Nothing hits all three better than the thrusters and burpees.  If your goal is getting toned and dropping some pounds, why not do it as quickly and effectively as possible?

Thank you for reading! Try these workouts and let me know what you think.  Hope this was helpful for you!

Let me know what you think about these exercises in the comment section.

Please follow and like us:
error

Killer Ab Routine!

Who doesn’t want well defined abs?  If you are wanting to develop these elusive muscles, here is a simple killer Ab routine that you need to start doing. It will hit all aspect of your midsection. These movements have been proven to be some of the most effective exercises for stimulating the abdominal muscles.

Disclaimer… You’ll have to get your diet in check before you see any results. These moves will significantly improve the look of your abs as you lean down with the proper nutritional habits. If your body fat is over 25% you can still do these moves with great benefit, but it doesn’t matter how developed they become, they will not make an appearance until you have peeled a few layers of fat.

1. Hanging knees raises.

Hanging knees raises. STRICT! Go slow and try to raise you knees to your chest.

2. Ab roll outs.

Maintain a flat back. STOP if your back begins to hyper extend. You should feel this in your abs and lays, not your back.

3. Scissor crunches.

Like the bicycles but with straight legs. Go slow and crunch up as high as you can towards the opposite knee.

 

Try this killer ab routine.

2 rounds

10 hanging knees raises

10 Ab roll outs

20 scissors.

Rest no more than :30 between exercises.

Click here for more ab workouts

Each set should take NO LESS than :30. You have to keep these muscles under tension for a long time. They are primarily ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibers. They hold a lot of oxygen and twitch slowly, meaning they have higher endurance compared to primarily ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers that do not hold much oxygen but twitch quickly.

BEFORE changing the routine, increase volume over a two-week span before. Work on proficiency and quality movements. If your back is hurting, that is the prime indicator you were not engaging you abs rendering the effort pointless.

Try this routine and let me know how it goes please!

If you are serious about transforming your body and gaining insane functional strength, consider following a calesthenics program.  Literally anyone can start this program and the potential is limitless.   Follow the link below to look into it.

Click here to build an insane body with little to no equipment

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error

3 Keys To Mastering The Muscle-up!

The muscle-up is my favorite body weight exercise.  It requires a lot of strength, power, and skill to master.  Although, it is a highly difficult movement, everyone can work on the progressions to make improvements.

In the video, I discuss the 3 key elements to performing a muscle up with efficiency.

  1. False Grip.  This grip is tough for most people to master.  It feels unnatural and demands some strength of the forearm to stay activated.  The video does not go into detail on the false grip but I can’t stress it enough how important it is to get comfortable with this style of grip.
  2. Hip Extensions.  Like any other great high power output exercise, explosive hip extension is important for getting the body moving.  As you begin to pull towards the rings, powerfully thrust your hips straight up.  This will put you in a horizontal position and ready for the turnover.
  3. The Turnover.  This is the last step.  It comes right after you have extended your hips and pulled the rings to your armpits. At this point throw your torso forward while quickly bringing your elbows back and up.  You want to land on top of the rings in a sturdy position with the rings snug to your sides.

Then of course, just finish the movement with the dip.  Make sure to hangout there for a while and smile for the camera!

[saa group=”2″ position=”left” limit=”1″]

It is without a doubt one of the most advanced exercises in CrossFit but there is nothing like getting your first muscle-up.  It’s an awesome feeling for the athlete and the coach as well.  It is an awesome milestone to reach and a big goal I have for everyone who walks into my gym regardless of current skill level.  It may be months or years, I want to see it happen.

Elizabeth’s 1st muscle-up on camera! So awesome!

Let me know how it goes!

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Exercise For Anxiety – The Ultimate Medicine

Anxiety can destroy your life. It impacts every aspect. It can significantly affect habits, relationships, performance, and overall well being. We are going to talk about how exercise is the cure for anxiety.  Unfortunately people suffering from anxiety commonly choose harmful things to cope with the pain, such as alcohol, drugs, and junk food. They use anything that induces pleasure to escape from the stress of chronic worry.

Anxiety is a natural thing. It is an automatic response mechanism to stressful stimuli. Some anxiety is a good thing.

We are talking about daily chronic ‘impending doom’ type of worry. This kind of anxiety is a killer.

Psychological or Physiological problem?

Actually it is both. When we experience stress, our sympathetic nervous system gets stimulated and triggers the release of cortisal causing our blood pressure and blood sugar to rise. The fuel pumped into our blood stream gets us ready to move. Physically, our nervous system doesn’t decipher from the threat of a hungry lion or asking a girl out who is way out of your league. It only senses danger and wants you to respond in a way that will keep you alive or prevent you from embarrassment.

The mental side of things is all about perception. What do we think is dangerous? When you perceive a situation to be threatening that inherently isn’t, the physical response is the same.

Two people can have totally different perspectives. Both should probably take the lion serious. Remember, some anxiety is a good thing. Person A approaches the girl thinking, ‘what’s the worst that can happen? She says no? That’s cool, maybe her sister wants an awesome guy!’. Person B is terrified of being rejected and what it might do to his ego. No risk, no reward.

How to cope with anxiety

Chilling on the couch watching Netflix may offer some feeling of satisfaction temporarily. Drinking alcohol and eating poor quality food can make us feel better for a brief moment. But this approach just leads to further misery. Bad habits amplify the stress.

If you really want to beat anxiety you have to move. We were born to be active. Stress, as we mentioned, is not just mental, it is physical. When we get over stressed and we do not do anything to burn off the excess energy, major consequences kick in.

You can deal with anxiety in many ways but some are better than others.

  1. The negative approach. This one is easy.  Just pick a few temporal pleasures to help you escape your current state of mind and allow you to get through the day. This includes watching TV, drinking, using drugs, and other non-productive activities.
  2. The positive approach. Most people are not going this route because it is harder. It takes exertion and when anxiety has zapped your energy, expending more energy is not appealing. But, if you do it, the payout is amazing. This includes some form of physical exercising like running and a mental exercise like reading. Yoga may be the best answer. If you do not have a studio to attend or would prefer to get started on you own, there are great programs online to follow.  Check out Grokker.

Get Two Weeks of Free Yoga and Fitness Classes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combo of running and reading is another high-powered weapon against anxiety AND learning! Studies prove that exercise lights up areas of the brain responsible for learning just as it does for calming anxiety. The physical activity helps circulate the blood, getting nutrients and hormones past the blood-brain barrier. One chemical in particular that exercise has a big impact on is Brain-derived Neurotropic Factor, BDNF. BDNF helps build stronger connections between neurons. When you learn a new word, the connection between neurons is weak but after enough repetition the connection strengthens and it gets deposited into your memory bank.

What if you could do something to speed the learning process up while reducing anxiety? The answer is simple; do yoga, run, jump, hike, or skip for 30 minutes before tackling a big task or reading. That may not sound like fun but it is definitely the best thing you can do. Don’t just take my word for it, hear it from people way smarter than me.

Do two things every day, run and read” ~ Will Smith

John Ratey, MD is a psychiatrist and author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.He treats his patients with exercise. As an MD he also uses traditional medication but he believes if exercise were to be synthesized and made into a pill it would be the most powerful drug on the market. This is from years of research, studies, and experience. In his book Spark, he talks of a case study done at a school in Chicago where students ran every morning before first period. They wore heart rate monitors to ensure they were going at a necessary intensity. These students score significantly higher on standardized tests than students who did not exercise in the morning. Pretty cool stuff!

My anxiety

High anxiety is one of the reasons I chose the path I did. I’ve been a fitness professional for 11 years now. I went this route because I liked the way exercise made me feel and I saw what a lack of it could do to a person. My dad lived an unhealthy lifestyle. He drank hard liquor ever day, smoked over a pack of cigarettes per day, and worst of all did not exercise past the age of 30. Unfortunately his choices caught up to him.

I always thought alcohol was his problem. It was later that I realized, the real problems always lie underneath the habits. Bad habits are just the medicine. The real problem for my dad was his anxiety.  It was unbearable. He did not have any positive skills to combat the stress. It is sad knowing he was in pain and was trying to medicate himself. Had he known the right things to do, he’d be alive and well today.

I am fascinated with the power of simple lifestyle choices. It is incredible what a healthy diet and regular exercise can do for you. Working out, for me, is not about getting ripped and squatting heavy. It’s about how it makes me feel! I feel amazing after I workout.  I’m calmer, sharper, and I feel good about myself for a simple accomplishment. (OK, so it’s a little about looking good too…and lifting heavy..but mainly feeling good!)

Letting your anxiety go untreated

The consequences are not good. Here’s a list of some issues you can expect

  • Compromised immune system
  • Stomach problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Elevated heart rate
  • It can even cause a heart attack if not dealt with

What you can do right now to treat your anxiety

  1. First I recommend you make yourself, if you are not already, do some yoga, walk, or jog for half an hour every day. Start adding intensity each week. When you are feeling stressed and are about to reach for alcohol or sugar, try doing 20 squats instead. The result will amaze you. Just by moving your body a little, your mood changes.
  2. Meditation is simple and does not require much time. The benefits are immense. Mental clarity, enhanced self-awareness, focus, and many other remarkable side-effects. Reduce Stress, Sleep More Soundly, And Lead A More Successful Life With Guided Meditation Videos at a Grokker.com!
  3. Yoga is like the ultimate drug for treating anxiety. It is a mix of meditation and exercise. This exercise modality can change your life. Yoga is for everyone!.
  4. Changing your diet. It’s true, you are what you eat. Cleaning up your nutrition will improve your health in every capacity. Try it for a week and see if you agree with me. Get on a plan that has proven to work for others. One of the best plans to follow is the PaleoPlan.

The paleo plan gets you off harmful sugar. High sugar intake causes a lot of detrimental problems and can exacerbate your anxiety.

Get it going!

Don’t dwell on the consequences of anxiety; instead do something about it. Re-establish balance for your mind and body by doing some variation of exercise and reading every day.

The great thing about exercise and clean eating is that there are no negatives. It only yields positive results.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

Please follow and like us:
error

Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine And You Are An Addict

People kid about being addicted to sugar but its no joke. I doubt you would think to compare sugar to cocaine but sugar is more addictive than cocaine. For the average person it is more addictive and more harmful (although you probably aren’t getting cuffed for eating too many Twinkies).

You may think this is hyperbole from a health nut trying to scare you into dropping the cookie tray, but it is a fact; the metabolizing of sugar lights up the brain similar to a line of coke. One difference is the accessibility. To get cocaine I’d first have to find a dealer (is there an app for that?) then I’d have to endure the awkwardness of asking for the product without sounding like a cop (there’s a certain vernacular for this exchange I’m sure). Whereas the other white powder; I don’t have to go far.

Sugars from fruits, vegetables, and some complex carbs like sweet potatoes are not the bad guys we are talking about. These foods have a lot of nutrient value. We’re talking primarily highly processed foods, sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup (really bad guys!)

How is sugar more addictive than cocaine?

Cocaine and sugar trigger the release of dopamine. This is the neurotransmitter that tells the brain we feel pleasure. The surge of dopamine is followed by a crash. Once we are bottomed out we naturally look to the source that got us high and want more.

The difference is we do not have any biological drive to snort things up our nose, whereas we have to eat in order to survive. Food provides us energy. Sugar is by far the fastest metabolizing source of energy there is. The body becomes accustomed to using sugar for energy and then craves more.

As we mentioned earlier, sugar is easier to access.

It is also socially acceptable. More than that, people push it on you…”oh live a little. You can have one. Life’s too short not to enjoy some desserts.” This happens a lot when people clean up their diets. Friends and family get weirdly self-conscious and say things like that to make them feel better.

Most people do not realize sugar is addictive. Nor are they aware of the bodily consequences of over consumption.

We can also note that things like brownies buried in my grandma’s ice cream taste AMAZING.  It’s hard to refuse.

 


 

The sugar cycle

Sugar is hard to kick because of its hormonal effect. The reason we are drawn to sugary foods when we are depressed is because of its instant hyperpalatable reward. But this doesn’t last. It’s an artificial pleasure that fades fast once the insulin is spiked. People are often stress eaters. This is a bad hole to fall into. The cycle goes:

  1. I’m stressed
  2. Give me sugar
  3. Damn that’s good!
  4. I’ll have just one more
  5. I need a nap
  6. I’m still hungry
  7. More sugar please

Stopping this cycle and cutting sugar out of your diet is the first step to improving your health dramatically. High sugar diets are the norm in America and they are literally killing us.

(Discover the easiest thing you can do to optimize your fat burning metabolism)

The good news is, it takes less time than you think to kick this habit. If you give it a few days, your cravings will decrease. Your taste buds will adapt. After this happens, sugary foods will taste too sweet. Every time you power through temptation, it gets a little easier.


How sugar has you fooled

  1. Excess sugar drives the pancreas to release insulin, the key to the cell doors that converts and stores sugar as fat.
  2. After the insulin has done its job, our brain doesn’t think we are full. The cravings are still there because the hormone (leptin) that tells us we are full never gets received.
  3. Sugar is now the most desired of all the nutrients because the brain has become addicted to the quick energy and pleasure it provides.

Sugar is a killer

We know that excess sugar leads to hazardous issues including obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and cancers. It feeds cancer cells and facilitates nearly every disease process.

The constant yoyo of insulin and blood sugar will result in insulin-sensitivity, at which point you are in real danger of Type II diabetes and other diseases.

It gets worse…

Not only does it have devastating consequences on the body, we are learning that processed and sugary foods have a terrible effect on the brain. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and a Prevention advisory board member stated, “There’s a compelling argument being made that Alzheimer’s disease is actually ‘type 3 diabetes,’ or insulin resistance of the brain”.

A 2009 study in Diabetes Care, researchers studied people with type 2 diabetes and other risks for cardiovascular disease and found diabetics are at greater risk of brain shrinkage and dementia. Furthermore, new studies suggest you do not have to be at a diabetic diagnosis sugar level to be at risk. Sugar levels at the higher end of the normal range can make you vulnerable.

If we know elevated blood sugar leads to these ailments, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume it causes or at least exacerbates other problems, such as depression and other mental illnesses. There are many assertions I will not include because I haven’t found scientific data but I think research in the near future will link high sugar diets to other problems.


Detoxing and replacing sugar in your diet.

It does not take long to detox from sugar. One thing you want to make sure of is that your diet is not too bland. Sugar addicts are accustomed to tasty – hyperpalatable foods. So, use plenty of spices and herbs to prepare your meals. You will want to up your protein intake as well as your vegetables to get that nutritional satisfaction. The fuller you are, the less tempted you will be to eat the sweets.

One of the best ways to make changes to your diet is to have a plan to follow.  There a lot of great resources you can follow to keep you on track.  One of my favorites is PaleoPlan

You will probably crave sugar for the first few days, but it will be worth it when you feel more energetic with a clearer head and a better mood.
Replace the sweets with the following:

    • Peanut butter. It’s delicious and it fills you up more than sugar. Get the natural kind with no preservatives.
    • Fruits. Eat 2-3 servings per day. Yes fruits are sugar but they are not hyperpalatble or processed. When have you ever binged on apples? Fruit is good for you.
    • Meat! Sorry vegans. Meat is highly satiating and the protein does a body good.
    • Whey protein shakes. The right kind is tasty. You can drink them plain or make a smoothie and mix it with greens and fruits. That will take care of your sweet cravings!


Be happier, live longer. You deserve it.

Is it really that big of a sacrifice to put down the plate of brownies in the scheme of things?

It would be highly hypocritical of me if I did not admit my own sugar cravings. I LOVE sugar! Chocolates, pies, brownies, candy bars,…. I love it all and if its around I am tempted to eat some (ok, a lot!). My discipline lies in knowing how tempting it is, so I do not buy it. If its not around, I don’t think about it.

It is also important for me share that I am a believer in enjoying things in moderation. If you’re having desserts on occasion, its not likely to be an issue. Eat a cupcake every once in a while. Just don’t have the whole plate.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you found it useful. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way. Thanks!

Please follow and like us:
error

How to get lower abs – 5 Exercises You Must Do

Shredding the lower belly takes more than crunches-n-bunches. You are going to have to show some commitment with these lower ab exercises and a few nutritional tips I’ll be covering. They take some work to shine but it’s well worth it! If you can stay consistent, you’ll see the results.  Let’s talk about how to get lower abs.

We will cover:

  • 5 of the best lower ab exercises
  • Nutritional tips you need to follow
  • a 4 week complete ab programs!

The wrong approach

Starving yourself + thousands of crunches = frustration. The other common mistake is neglecting the big exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. Don’t be that girl or guy! Get your squat on.


 

Exercises

Just as important as ‘what’ exercises to do is ‘how’ you do the exercises. If you perform these moves poorly you will not get the desired results. The abs require a lot of time under tension to change. This means slow and smooth reps.

Here are the exercises to start incorporating today.

1. Hanging Leg Raise

If I had to reduce my ab training to one or two moves, I’d pick variations of this or the Ab roll out. Scale to hanging knee raises or captains chair knee raises

2. GHD or decline sit ups.

If you are serious about a home gym or have your own, this is piece well worth the money.  It’s an incredible exercise. Start with short sets to get acclimated to the high demands of the movement. If you go blasto out of the gates without experience on this, you’ll be sorry.  Go slow on this exercise and make sure you are maintaining tension on your abs.  People often complain of low back pains from GHD sit-ups.  They are either not ready for the advanced exercise or they are not keeping tension on their abs.  No ab exercise should cause back pain.  Ever.

 

3. Ab wheel

The ab roll out is my favorite. Keep your abs engaged – don’t let your back arch. You’ll see this mistake often. Hyper extending the back means your abs are not firing, which can lead to injury. These are super cheep.  Ad this to your arsenal!

The next two are more oblique exercises but are vital to getting that complete cut.

4. Scissor Crunches

Trade the bicycle crunch for this exercise immediately. It is a big upgrade. It is the same motion as the bikes but with straight legs. Each rep should take to less than 1 second.

5. Shoulder taps from a plank position

Squeeze your core (quads, abs, glutes) and breathe steadily the whole time. If you are shaking, that’s good.  tap your hand to your shoulder WITHOUT raising your hips up.

*Bonus*

Another one to try is a pike on the stability ball.

Include lower back exercises

It is a big mistake to not work the opposite muscles. Add some stiff legged deadlifts and back extensions into the mix. Here’s an example routine

3 Rounds:

12 Stiff legged deadlifts

12 back or hip extensions


 

4 Week Ab routine

Perform each workout once per week.

A. 3 round circuit:

10 hanging leg raises. 30 scissor crunches. 10 ab roll outs.

Rest :15 between exercises and less than 1 minute between sets

B. 3 round circuit:

10 GHD sit ups. 20 spidermans. 10 Hanging leg raises

Rest: same as workout A.

Next week advance reps to 12 leg raises, 40 scissors, 12 ab roll outs. 12 GHDs, 30 shoulder taps, 12 Leg raises

Week 3 advance to 3 workouts using the same rep scheme. If you feel you need to

Week 4 advance to 14 Leg raises, 50 Scissors, 14 ab roll outs. 14 GHDs, 40 shoulder taps, 14 Leg raises


 

Keys to the workouts

1. Do the movements correctly

2. Do the movements slowly

3. Do not exceed the rest periods prescribed


 

Nutrition

Do not skip over this!!! It is commonly said, ‘abs are made in the kitchen’. Unfortunately , there’s a lot of truth to this. Sorry but the ab routine won’t work if you don’t fix the holes in your diet. Follow this and you’ll be solid.

Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar spikes insulin. Insulin converts sugar into fat, which usually gets stored as fat in the gut.

Eat fibrous foods. This is important for many health reasons but it relates to burning fat simply because it helps you feel full. You are less likely to over eat when you go to town on the greens.

Consume 1/2 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight or up to 35% of your caloric intake. Any more than 35% and you are probably wasting the protein, as it gets stored or converted to sugar.

Drink 80oz of water every day. Some recommend more than this. The point is, drink a lot of water. The exact amount is really dependent on how active you are. I’ve found 80 to take care of most peoples’ needs. If you are constantly peeing, it is a sign your water intake is obnoxiously high. You do not have to put down a gallon jug every day.

Prepare your meals! By preparing your meals ahead of time you are canceling the risk of spur of the moment bad choices when you get hungry. There is no more Big Mack temptations when everything is ready for you. Please, don’t give me the ‘I don’t have time excuse’. If you use that, I can’t help you.

Eat within a 9-12 hour window.

This means fasting for 12-15 hours every day. This is the easiest thing no one is doing that has been shown to dramatically improve your health and speed the fat burn. Without even changing the content of your diet, this will help with fat loss and a slew of other health related things.

Dial in on your macro profile. This is a dicey thing to cover, as there is a library of battling literature for your reading pleasure. It deserves several more blogs but for now I’m just going to give you a standard I have found to work very well. Trainers and nutritionists will argue different things. This can be exhausting for people who just want to know ‘what the hell do I eat!’. The truth is there are several methods that have been proven to get you great results.

Here is a profile that Like. I’ve found it to be highly successful for myself and my clients. It is 30% carb 35% pro 35 % fat. If you are thinking ‘damn that’s a lot of lard!’, I understand your logic. I agree, it seems counterintuitive to eat a high fat diet to burn fat. But, that is exactly what will happen.

Contrary to what you may believe, you do NOT have to count calories to be successful! No one likes counting calories and it is NOT necessary. More on that later, but the gist of it is, eat in the restricted window mentioned above, cut sugar, eat healthy fats, and drink a lot of water. To track progress, all you have to do is look in the mirror and assess your performance. That will tell you if you need to cut the volume of your food down or not.

If you are dedicated to the ab mission, think about the ketogenic diet. Nothing will burn the fat faster. However, it takes a lot of sacrifice and a rough adjustment period. It’s not for everyone but research is pouring in that suggest there are benefits from lowering the risk of cancer to better moods, fat loss and improved cognitive function. It’s worth looking into. It is extremely effective for fat loss because it regulates insulin and forces the body to use fat for fuel.


 

Happy gains!

Abs don’t just show up. It will take the diet+exercise equation. If you can add this up, I guarantee you will love the results. Sacrifice the sweets and show your abs some love!

Also, – take before and after pictures and let me know how it goes!

I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions or would like to make a comment (good or bad) please do so! I’m happy to help any way I can. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Is The Keto Diet Good For You? What You Need To Know

The keto diet is a hot item right now. I have no doubt at least one of your friends or family members are on it right now and just like your CrosssFit buddies, they won’t shut up about it. The popularity has snow balled because of its undeniable affect on weight loss. It will definitely shred the fat but is the keto diet good for you?

Lets dig in and find out what the pros and cons of the new cool diet.

What Is Ketosis?

The purpose of the keto diet is to put the body into Ketosis; a metabolic state causing the body to produce and use ketones for energy. In other words, you will burn fat instead of sugar. You achieve this state by eating a specific diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Eliminating nearly all carbohydrates from your diet will result in the depletion of glycogen. Glycogen is like a warehouse for glucose, which is the body’s main source of energy. Once these stores have been raided, the body goes in search of alternative fuel sources. It just so happens we have extra fuel close by in the form of fat. The breakdown of fat produces ketones and voila we have a brand new power source.

Learn more about the diet and how to implement it correctly.

Eating a diet high in fat seems counter intuitive. We have been programmed to believe fat is bad. The truth is, fat is bad for you only when you are consuming too many calories on a diet that is also high in carbohydrates. It goes without saying, your food choices are important too.​


Is It Safe?

I personally thought the keto diet was a terrible idea as it went against everything I was taught in school. New paradigms are hard to shift. I became interested in learning about it years later after seeing people not only lose weight but improve every biomarker imaginable, from blood pressure to resting heart rate.

Ketosis is nothing new. No one invented it. It is a natural state of the body. There will likely be side effects in the beginning as your body transitions from glucose to ketones but these will subside in a few weeks if you can hang in that long.


The Pros

I’ve had clients drop over 50 pounds in 3 months on the keto diet. That’s a little speedier than I recommend but its just easy to do once the fat burning process begins.

Shredding body fat is the least of the benefits.

First it regulates your blood sugar and insulin. Insulin is the hormone that keeps fat on our bodies. When insulin spikes, you will store fat rather than burn it. Regulation keeps everything in check, from appetite to energy swings.  Maintaining the hormonal balance improves mental focus once you are acclimated to ketosis.

Ketogenic diets may reduce the risk of cancer. Cancer cells are thought to feed off of sugar. Depriving them of their sugar can stop the growth of cancerous cells.


The Cons

The biggest drawback for me is the scientific fact, Carbs are tasty!!! You will have to accept the sacrifice. Life without beer, chocolate, or bread is a tough adjustment.

There will likely be several side effects as ketosis kicks in but these will go away over time.

  • You can count on being very tired the first few weeks.
  • Your brain will be foggy.
  • You will be hungry
  • You will crave carbs like an addict going through detox.
  • Your physical performance will fall off. Keep exercise light during this transition phase. No worries, you’ll get it back.
  • Your digestive system may get out of wack
  • You may experience dehydration. Glucose stores water.  The majority of your weight loss in the first few weeks may be water simply because your body will not be retaining as much.

How To Safely Implement The Diet

  • Start with a low carb diet to ease into it and test the waters. Do not attempt full keto off the bat
  • Have a plan to follow instead of winging it.
  • Drink a lot water
  • Eat fibrous vegetables
  • Scale your workouts back for a few weeks
  • Regular check ups with your doctor
  • Make sure you are getting enough sodium
  • Test your ketone levels

While there’s no denying the benefits, you have to decide if its worth it or not. Achieving ketosis is simple but it is far from easy. It’s a commitment. You have to endure a rough couple of weeks before your body acclimates. It takes 1 to 6 weeks depending on how long you have been running on sugar. Most people will give up in the first week.

If you are seriously going to follow a ketogenic diet, another drawback is you will likely have to buy a lot of new clothes!


Test Your Ketone Levels

This is easy to do and fairly inexpensive

You will want an accurate method of testing. The blood monitoring is the best route to go. Testing for ketone levels in your blood is more accurate than urine tests. It will tell you what you need to know in a few seconds.

 

You can us urine strips if you want. This is the most common form of checking ketones but they are far less accurate. The strips will indicate if your body is producing more ketones than you are burning but not an accurate sign of being in ketosis.


Tips

Follow a good plan. This is new to you and the body. Following a plan will help ensure success.  Here is the best plan on the market.

Test your keto levels often.

KETO-MOJO Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit, Monitor your ketogenic diet, 1 Lancet Device, 10 Lancets, 10 Ketone Test Strips, Carrying Case. Does NOT include Glucose Strips

See your doctor for a physical before you begin. Do a checkup every month for 3 months.

Take measurements and before and after pictures! You will not regret it.

If you are going to test this diet out, do it right.  Follow the tips I provided closely.  See your doctor, get on a plan and test your levels ​regularly.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions on this subject. I am happy to help out anyway I can!

Please follow and like us:
error

Best Way To Build Glutes

Having a nice backside comes with a lot of benefits.  Weak glutes can cause a bevy of issues with your low back, hips, and knees.  Your glutes are not just for cushion.  They are part of that ‘core’ everyone talks about.  Strong glutes stabalize your hips, keep your body in alignment, prevent injuries, and several other things.  Not to mention, they make you look great!  Let’s talk about how to build awesome glutes.  

Compound Exercises

Gym goers can get in the habit of doing too many smaller exercises specific to the glutes while neglecting the big moves.  This is a critical error.  Start your routine with the basic squats, deadlifts, weigthed lunges, or hip thrusters then move into a few smaller movements.  

It goes without saying, you have to make sure you are doing these exercises correctly.  If you’re not, you won’t see much payout. I’ve seen a lot of bad form in my day.  It makes me cringe and say ouch.  Bad form leads to low activation of the muscles, muscular imbalances, and possibly injury.  Not exactly what we’re looking for.

Perform lower volume sets (about 3-6 reps) at a relatively heavy load.  Once a quater go for either a 3 rep or 5 rep max to measure your progress.  You want other metrics than selfies in the mirror for instagram.  Recording your PRs has many benefits.  5×5 is the most popular prescription.  It works great but you will need to mix it up.  

You do not need to do several compound moves every leg day.  I suggest picking one or two. The deadlift and hip thruster is a killer combo for one leg day then back Squats and weighted lunges for the next.    

Once you have completed your compound movement(s), pick 2 specific exercises.  

Warm-up

Warming up is the most important component to any workout.  How well or crappy you start will impact your performance.  My standard warm-up goes as follows:

  • 5-10 minutes aerobic exercise.  This can include dynamic movements, joggin, biking, etc.
  • 1 minute pigeon stretch.  This is minimal.  You can pick a couple stretches. (many say not to hold static stretches in the beginning of the workout but that’s entire other blog)
  • 2-3 sets of an activation exercise.  My favorite is banded lateral walks.  10 steps one direction, 10 the other.  
  • Boom you’re ready

Pound The Protein

How you fuel your body will determine how well the engine runs.   Your progress in the gym falls on your diet.  Protein is the building block for muscle tissue.  It repairs and stimulates growth.  Whey protein shakes are a great way to supplement you diet to ensure you are getting the optimal dose.  I have found drinking a shake before and after workouts has produced the best results for me and my clients.  You will need other sources as well (hence the operative word ‘supplement’) but the whey protein shakes are by far the best source for quick recovery. Here is one of my favorites for the money. It’s a great product.   

The last thing you want to do is work your ass off with nothing to show for it aside from chonic soreness and an awkward limp up the stairs.  So, get your nutrition in check and make sure you are eating plenty of protein.  

My favorite exercises for building the glutes:

  1. Reverse lunges.  Perform 6 reps each leg.  Do not alternate your legs.  This will keep tension on the muscles and stimulates growth.  I do not have hard data to back it up, just my personal expereince, but I believe this to be the best of all the exercises for developing the glutes.  Dare I say better than back squats?  Yes, if we’re just talking glutes, much better!  My favorite wat to do this is with a barbell on my back.  Place the bar as you would a back squat.  Go as heavy as you can handle with proficiency.  If you want the ultimate core challenge, then do the the front rack position. This places an insane demand on the anteriror and posterior core muscles, while putting much less stress on the spine.  You can also hold heavy dumbbells or kettle bells to your side.  
  1. Deadlift.  The deadlift, in my mind is king of all exercises.  This move does amazing things for the entire posterior chain.  Learn to do it well.  
  2. Weighted walking lunges. These are not quite as brutal as the reverse lunges but are highly effective.  Do the same rep scheme as mentioned above.  
  3. Hip thrusters.  This move is easy to learn.  The form does not require a fraction of the time to master as the squats and deadlifts.  Still – find out how do it right and practice perfect form!  Concentrate on squeezing the glutes at the top, feeling them stretch at the bottom, and go at a slow tempo. :02 up, :03 hold, :02 down. 
  4. Back Squats.  The back squat is my favorite exercise to perform.  It does a body good.  They definitely have more affect on the quads than anything else.  Nonetheless, they are still great for the derrier.  They are also fantastic for core strength.  
  5. The hip abductor.  This is the only isolation exercise I will mention.  It works.  Do this exercise after the compound move you pick with high volume; 10-15 reps.  Each rep should take NO LESS than :05.  If you do not have an abductor machine, no problem.  You can use bands to get the same results.  Go slow and use the proper tension.  
  6. GHD hip or back extension.  These are amazing exercises.  They will tremendously improve your glute activation making the big moves more effective.  Furthermore, they build a resiliant posterior chain, which reduces injury.
  7. Sprinting.  Have you ever seen a sprinter with a flat ass?  Didn’t thinks so.  Enough said.  However, I warn you to ease into this!  If you are an armchair quaterback who hasn’t stepped foot on a track in 20 years, you are going to hurt yourself!  

Here a 2 example workouts guaranteed to build awesome glutes!

Workout Routines

Workout I

  • Banded lateral steps 3×10 each side
  • Back Squat 5×5 *heavy
  • Reverse lunges 3×6 each leg

Workout II

  • Deadlift 5×5 *heavy
  • Hip Thrusters 3×8
  • Hip extensions 3×15

*heavy as you can go while maintaining solid form

Key Notes

Remember this quote, ‘move well then move heavy’.  Take the time to get the form down on the big moves.  This may take a while but it is worth it.  Coaching is the most surefire way to go about it. Hiring a coach or trainer is a small price to pay for your health, safety, and performance.   There is nothing compared to learning hands on from someone who has years of experience in not only performing the training but educating people as well.   

Do leg workouts 2x per week.  If you do crossfit, you get plenty of leg work!   

One of my personal favorite brands of whey protein is Dymatize. It is high quality and inexpensive.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If you have any questions or need any help, please leave a comment below!  I am happy to help.  Thank you for reading!  

Please follow and like us:
error

Build Awesome Abs in 3 Simple Steps

I can’t do the work for you but if you follow these guidelines you can build awesome abs. 

Hiding underneath the layer of potential energy wrapped around your waist lurks the 6-pack that everyone wants. They are one of the most difficult parts of the body to achieve (for most). To be honest, yes genetics do play a role, but stop with that excuse right now. Anyone can get them to shine. It is a matter of developing the muscle and trimming the fat. Let’s get to it!

I am going to give you the 3 main steps to take to get that sexy core and a workout you can start following now.

3. Do The Big Core Exercises

The most effective exercise for building a great core are probably not what you expect. Prioritize the big movements; squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. These movements pack tremendous value. If you are doing them correctly, they place an intense demand on the entire core. The front squat in particular is a killer ab exercise. Your core has to work hard to keep you in an upright position when you are load baring in front of your body. The deadlift, especially the Romanian deadlift, is my favorite for the posterior chain (the whole backside of the body). Working the posterior chain is mandatory. Train it often. Do each of these moves 1-2x every week.

2. Training Your abs The Right Way

You do not need to train your abs every day. 3-4 days per week is the most you need to do. Doing 1,000 crunches is not going to get you anywhere. Your ab specific routine should take no more than 10 minutes, so stop spending a whole workout on your belly. Specific ab training is to be done at the end of your workout session. Focus on the form of each exercise.  Your reps should be slow and controlled.  Your rest periods need to be short.

1. Abs Are Made In The Kitchen