When most people come into the gym, they come in because they want to feel better, but also because they want to lose weight.
I usually ask them how much they want to lose and why they want to lose that amount. Most of the time the weight people want to be is the lightest there were at some point in their life.
I then ask them about the type of workout program and diet program they were following.
Many times people will tell me that they were just trying to eat well. Most of the time men will tell me that they were active and lifting and just sort of fell off which is why they gained the weight. Most of the time women will tell me that they had been running while eating well and then fell off the wagon for some reason or another.
When I hear this, I usually believe that the men will be more likely to hit their target goal than the women.
Because I believe that in our current culture women become cardio queens and calorie restriction junkies to lose weight because thin is all they care about while most men don’t just want to lose the weight to be skinny. Guys actually generally have the opposite pressure on them – they should be strong and muscular.
Whether or not having either standard is right, is a discussion for another time. The point is that both standards exist and that both genders generally go about reaching their fitness goals in different ways.
Which leads me to usually state to women, “You know that you can’t just focus on that number on the scale right? With the addition of weights into your program, you may not lose all the weight that you want, BUT you may actually look slimmer and fit into that ______ that you want to wear even better!”
I then usually turn their focus to circumference measurements and body fat measurements. AND I usually only do these once a month…at most every two weeks.
BUT I definitely try to avoid the scale obsession.
While it would be great if we could all just focus on how we FEEL and how we PERFORM, wanting to look good is the reason why most people head to the gym.
So while you can check the scale, you can’t let it be the be all and end all. You’ve got to use some other measures.
And if you are going for aesthetic changes, circumference measurements and body fat tests can be great.
If you are dong circumference measurements, you need to make sure to measure the same spot each and every time. Here is a link that tells you WHERE to take measurements so that your measurements are consistent so you can actually track progress.
For body fat testing, there are a few ways to do it. Whichever way you do it, you will want to use this scale to find out what your body fat means. Please don’t set your goal for essential. Even the bodybuilders who reach that point DON’T maintain it for very long. At the essential level is where you get into health ISSUES.
And depending on the tool you use, there is some room for error, especially with tools like these handheld “electronic” measures or the scales that supposedly measure body fat. These tools are very dependent on hydration status so can be easily effected by how hydrated you are that day and whether or not you just worked out. If you use these tools, try to keep when you measure as consistent as possible.
Calipers are great too, but make sure you measure the same spot and really read up on how to use them. It is best to actually have a trainer who is experienced use them on you or at least teach you to use them.
The best body fat test is the dunk test or the bod pod. Both are more expensive, BUT if you really have an aesthetic change as your goal, why not use the most accurate measurement? Do one when you begin and then one every 90 days! It will definitely keep you from becoming obsessed each week with the measurement! (And you could still use circumference measurements just to see where you are at.)
Anyway, try to experiment with these other two measures of “weight loss.” I mean shoot, you can even use pictures as a measuring tool. You can see changes when you compare pictures even if you become used to seeing yourself every day in the mirror. And if you see changes that you like, who cares what the scale says?
Along the way to looking the way you want, if you can throw in some performance measurements, you may just find that after a while you become less and less worried about exactly how your weight loss progress is going and more and more focused on working hard and sticking to your program.
And guess what?!? When you start focusing on performance, you may actually more easily look the way you want to look! You won’t be obsessed with each fluctuation of that scale!
So try to take the emphasis off the weight you see on the scale. I know it’s not easy, but it really causes more pain than anything else!
People come to me confused about why things aren’t working. Why they aren’t losing weight. Why they aren’t gaining muscle. Why they aren’t getting stronger/fitter/faster.
The first thing I ask them is to take a closer look at what they are TRULY doing. What does your diet or workout program truly look like?
You know what I most often hear back?
Not the facts. Just excuses.
Well I had only a little bread. Oh well I couldn’t come in on Wednesday for an hour because of work. Oh I was tired. Oh I didn’t feel 100%. Oh well I was hungry. Oh well someone brought in snacks. Oh well….
Oh well nothing!
Seriously I’m sick of excuses. I’m sick of whining.
Freaking just do it people! Stick to the diet. Don’t just have a “little” bread. Stick to the workout program. Don’t go easy because you are a “little” sore or you have too much work that day.
There will always be excuses – there will always be things that can get in the way.
But if you want results, you need to work to get them.
I was inspired to write this post because of all the whining I’ve heard recently and this old Nike ad.
Next time you whine, think seriously before you do it!
But for some reason I just can’t get myself to do it consistently.”
We know that we should be exercising and we know what foods we should be eating, but for some reason it is sometimes hard to make ourselves do it!
Why is there sometimes a gap between what we know we should be doing and what we actually make ourselves do? And how do we close that gap?
I think we can have issues making ourselves stick to a healthy diet or workout program for numerous reasons.
Self-control, stress, schedule, support and resources all influence how easily we transition to a new lifestyle and maintain it.
Honestly, you can name a thousand reasons as to why we don’t eat the way we know we should or workout as much as we should. You can even claim you don’t truly know what is healthy because of all misinformation out there about health and fitness.
But if you truly want something, only you can make it happen. No matter how many excuses you can come up with, only you can CHOOSE to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help you transition to a new healthy lifestyle and STAY COMMITTED:
- First determine which works better – slowly eliminating bad foods or going cold turkey. Don’t go cold turkey if you know that it will make you feel so deprived that you feel the need to cheat in only a couple of days. For some, it works better to do a looser version of a diet and slowly become more strict. For instance start eating whole natural foods, but keep in rice and potatoes while you eliminate grains if you eat lots of carbs currently. Then maybe slowly lessen the amount of each that you eat. OR if you are a sweets person, don’t cut out all treats. Maybe just allow yourself only “healthy” treats like dark chocolate or berries or the Man Bicep whipped cream! If however, you are the type of person that just needs to go cold turkey, don’t tease yourself with little treats…GO COLD TURKEY!
- Write up a plan. It’s easy to cheat on some vague idea, but when you have a solid plan written down, it is a lot harder to cheat on it. Outline what foods you want to eat or what workouts you want to do on certain days. Also plan out how long your program or diet will run. If you set an end date, you can REWARD yourself when you succeed. Treat yourself to something when you accomplish your goal (preferably not food related!). I found it motivating to know that I would get a treat like a massage or shopping spree if I stuck to my plan! And yes, we are striving for a lifestyle change, but if you make up a plan for three months and stick to it, you will find that after that you’ve made it enough of a habit to go it on your own!
- Display your plan and let others know what you are doing. If only you know about your plan, you are much more likely to cheat…especially if you hide it away in a drawer. Display your plan on your door or in your kitchen on the fridge. If you can see it every day, you are a lot less likely to cheat. And if you tell others about your plan, they will help keep you in line. Both their support and just the fact that others know will make you want to succeed so that you don’t let them down!
- Don’t DEPRIVE yourself! When you feel deprived, you are most likely to cheat. So don’t starve yourself! Eat till you are satisfied…not stuffed just content. Also, allow yourself days to indulge a bit more. For one, it will help you stay committed. For two, calorie cycling can help you lose that last little bit of fat since your metabolism won’t slow from constant calorie restriction! For me having one day each week where I eat as much as I want of “healthy cheats” allows me to recharge. Also planning in full cheat days helps me remain committed because I know that even if I feel deprived, it won’t be for long! Remember, the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and indulge 20%!
Workout partners and trainers are also definitely good motivation…Anything else help you stay committed?
So it is almost the end of March, which means you only have 1 more week to get a FREE, CUSTOMIZED 2 month Man Bicep diet plan! In April, I will be launching a new second Man Bicep site for online training. YAY!
Have I mentioned yet how much I love warm weather?!?
This week it’s been warm enough for Ryan and I to BBQ (great recipes to come!). It has also been warm enough to tempt me to eat ice cream, which I’ve only avoided by indulging in one of my favorite healthy treats….Want the recipe? Check back tomorrow!
This past week I started my new workout program, which I’m EXTREMELY sore from. Try this week’s weekly workout and see how you feel afterwards!
And some motivation to get you going…
A 10-year-old girl sets powerlifting world record for all age groups!
AND an awesome bicep from Jill!
Weekly Workout #6
Front squat 3×10
Auxiliary lift circuit: 3 sets
50 KB swings
50 Double unders
50 Sit ups
Who doesn’t want to floor the gas pedal and go from 0-60 in less than 1 second?
Who doesn’t see a motivating fitness picture or read a success story and not want to start working out right then and there?
Who wants to take it slow when they first start a new workout program?
But unfortunately, unlike some of the race cars out there, our bodies aren’t built to go from 0-60 in less than 1 second!
If you try to workout too often and do too much too soon, you aren’t going to see results any quicker. Actually, you will most likely slow your progress or even keep yourself from progressing AT ALL. You also risk getting an injury that will stop you from doing anything for a while.
I’ve seen it happen all too often. Especially around this time of year.
People get all gung-ho about their New Years resolutions. They have their goals and they want to accomplish them right now!
They start up a gym membership and may have never worked out before in their life, but they are now hitting the gym at least 5 times a week. They start logging in millions of miles or jump right into lifting heavy weights.
Their bodies aren’t prepared for either activity. They’ve haven’t taken the time to create an aerobic base or get their bodies ready to handle heavy loads. They haven’t worked on their mobility or form and haven’t really even taken the time to develop a specific program/routine that can be monitored to see if it is working.
They are perpetually sore, but don’t slow down. They may develop some slight pain in their hips or knees or muscles, but rehab and prehab are only given a fleeting thought as something they should be doing, but just don’t have time for now.
And they just keep pushing. They’re up there at 60. And they may have seen results right at the beginning.
But guess what?
They can’t keep up that pace. Their body gives out. Little injuries become chronic pain. Their numbers and miles slowly go down because their body is stalling.
They weren’t patient. And in their rush to achieve their goals, they’ve actually delayed themselves from reaching them.
I know it’s so tempting to start lifting heavy 4 times a week, always trying to hit your max. I know it’s tempting to workout more and more as you see your body become slimmer.
I FULLY understand the desire, the drive, to work as hard as you possibly can to achieve your goals NOW!
But if you really want your goals that bad, you need to rest too. You need to be patient. You need to outline a long-term program and you need to learn to enjoy the ride.
Learn to love the workouts themselves and enjoy each and every part of improving your health, even the rehab/prehab and rest days.
Constantly remind yourself that when your body rests, that is when the muscles are actually growing – that is when you are actually reaping the benefits of all the time you spend in the gym!
Honestly, if you can remind yourself to be patient now, you will reach your goals a million times quicker than if you try to rush to reach them now.
Don’t let your drive to reach your goal (be it a weight lifting competition, marathon or even just weight loss) make you push yourself too far too fast.
It’s all about the ride! Enjoy each and every moment of it!