Too Many Excuses

“Excuses are like armpits, everyone has them and they all stink” -Chad Lemons

The quote above was from my high school water polo coach and man did I hear it a lot. And, when I actually thought about it, it makes a lot of sense. People find excuses for everything. Excuses why they were late, why dinner wasn’t ready, why they forgot to take out the trash. Another common reason for excuses; why I am not losing weight.

I spend my weekend doing many random things, and during this time I saw a countless number of overweight people, and I don’t mean a few pounds over weight. On seeing this, my wife made the comment, “I would feel so embarrassed if I were that heavy.” However, if she was that heavy I feel like she would almost fit in more than if she were in good shape, like she is. It is normal now to be overweight or obese. The CDC (Center For Disease Control) has estimated that by the year 2030 86% of adults will be overweight, 51% of adults will be obese, and 30% of children will be overweight. And if your are not overweight and you are reading this, these statistics effect you too. Tax payers pay $350 billion dollars for problems that are causes by the overweight/obesity epidemic. Why is this? Do people just feel better about themselves when they are overweight? Is it something that kids grow up wanting to be? I sure hope not. I personally blame it on a few things and one of them being EXCUSES.

I don’t have time to workout. It is easier to go get a McDonalds hamburger. I am too tired. I have no motivation. Blah blah blah. These are all excuses. The definition for the word excuses is: “A reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense”. I feel that people are just trying to justify themselves for being overweight. There is always a reason for their actions, however they never want to change their actions. They are fine with the way they are living. But then they ask themselves why they are so heavy, why their joints always hurt, why they can’t sleep well, why they have to take so many medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. All these questions can be summed up in one short answer…you are overweight.

It is time to stop making excuses and start changing your life. I would like to think that there i not one overweight person out there who would say they feel so much better about themselves and so much more healthy being overweight. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your body. Yes, it is going to be hard to get healthy again. But when it is all over, you are going to feel so much better. You will be able to spend more time with your family, you will be a better example for your children and you will be able to play with them, you will save money on all your medications.

There are so of you that are saying, “I just can’t do it. I have tried and nothing seems to work.” Did you really change your diet? Did you really give your workouts all your effort? YOU CAN DO IT. There are so many people that would love to help, and most of them will help FOR FREE.

Now stop making excuses and get out there and get healthy. Post a comment about your goals, what workouts you are doing, what is keeping your motivated, or your reason for wanting to get healthy. Lets us this post as a place to find motivation. Lets help each other stay accountable. I promise, once you reach your goals you will never want to go back.

The Dreaded Exercise Plateau (Have You Hit A Wall?)

Have you ever felt that your workouts are just not doing anything for you anymore? You aren’t losing the weight you want or gaining the muscle? This is because you have hit a wall, or the exercise plateau. Hopefully this can help you in breaking through that wall and continue to lose weight and accomplish your goals.

What Is The Exercise Plateau?

Plateauing is something that is natural. It is not because you are doing something wrong. It is your bodies natural to hit a plateau because the body is trying to regulate itself. When you plateau, your body has finally become used to the workout routine you are doing and has mastered it. Once your body is used to it, it is not going to give you the same results as it did when it was not used to the workouts.

How Do I Avoid Hitting A Plateau?

The most important thing you need to know when trying to avoid hitting a plateau is to always mix up your workouts. Always keep your body guessing what is coming next. If you are always lifting weights, add in some cardio. If you have the same routine every day, change the routine a little.

This idea of keeping your body guessing is why many workout programs are broken into stages.  They have a Foundation Phase which builds your base fitness. Then you move into an Adaptive Phase where you master the movements. After this phase, there is a Growth Phase. Once your have mastered the workout you make accelerated progress. Lastly, there is a Recovery Phase where you back off a little and allow your body to recover from the stress of the previous phase.

Plateauing is going to happen when you spend too much time in one phase or you are not pushing yourself hard enough.

5 Tips To Help Avoid The Exercise Plateau

  1. Back Off: the most common reason for plateauing is overtraining. The Recovery Phase is built in because, if it is time for your recovery phase or not, when you over train you need to back off (this doesn’t mean to stop exercising completely, it means to lower the intensity of your workouts to promote recovery).
  2. Plateauing also happens when you are bored, preoccupied, or not working as hard as you could be. The easiest way to change this is to add resistance; bands or weights that increase the intensity of your workouts. This should force your body to adapt and you are back into a new phase. You will know if this is the right tactic because you will either respond and feel energized or you will hardly be able to finish the workout (if this is the case try backing off a little).
  3. Streamline you diet. Try to stop giving yourself all the little “rewards” for a job well done. Instead, try eating ultra strict for a week and see what happens.
  4. Add a little cardio in the mornings (20 minutes or easy to moderate cardio). This will boost your metabolism. If you do it on an empty stomach, you get the added benefit of training your body more efficiently a it uses stored fat for fuel.
  5. Add or Subtract a few hundred calories each day. You might have miscalculated your caloric intake, which is common as your body composition changes and you get into shape. And yes, you might need to add calories. Click here to read my blog about how adding calories can help you lose weight.

I hope this has giving you new inspiration about your workouts. Now get out there and keep up the hard work. It will soon pay off. YOU CAN DO IT!

Add Calories = Weight Loss?

Every one knows that the more calories you eat the easier it is to gain weight, right? If I were to tell you that adding calories to your diet would help you lose weight, would you believe me? Probably not. However, maybe your opinion will change after reading this.

Weight Loss Basics

You are not going to find a crazy, new, revolutionary diet as you read this. All you will read are the easy, basic facts to losing weight. When trying to lose weight, there are three key strategies. These strategies are:

  • Changing Your Diet
  • Increasing Your Exercise
  • Adding Supplements (this is more of a supporting role to losing weight)
If you put all three of these strategies together, you will have the perfect program to losing weight. The average american diet today probably consists of a lot of processed food, because it is easy to come across and it is CHEAP. However, these processed foods do not have all the nutrients needed to help support a healthy diet. It is hard enough to find the nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle let alone in processed foods. An apple today has 20% less of the nutrients than an apple from 40 to 50 years ago. This is do to all of the chemicals used to grow our fruits and vegetables. What I am trying to say is, get rid of all the processed, chemically enhanced foods and start eating healthy, fresh, and natural foods. CHANGE YOUR DIET! Along with changing your diet, you need to exercise. You have to burn those calories that you are taking in, no matter what type of calories they are.
Now, when it comes to a weight loss program, maybe you feel you have found the perfect solution. The perfect weight loss strategy at one point in your life might not be the best strategy at another point in your life. As your body composition changes so do your dietary needs. For example, maybe you found a weight loss strategy that worked wonders when you were 50 pounds overweight and 35% body fat. That same strategy might not work when you are 10 pounds overweight and 20% body fat. When you first started out, weight loss was very quick and easy. All you needed to do was take in less calories then you burned. At this point weight loss should be rapid. Add in a few supplements, such as Shakeology, protein shakes, or multivitamins, to help get all your needed nutrients and you are on track to losing weight.

You might be asking, “I thought you said ADDING calories would help you loss weight?” Yes, I am getting to that now.

Hitting A Plateau

Now that you have been rapidly losing weight, how many of you have ever hit that weight loss plateau? This is where the crazy idea of adding calories comes in.

For a while, you have seen your workouts getting easier and easier, but now they seem to be getting harder. This is when you know you need to change your diet. Workouts are getting harder because your body is not getting enough fuel to help you get through them. You need to add more calories (calories = energy). However, make sure you are adding healthy calories (supplements can help here as well such as performance supplements like protein shakes).

At this point, weight loss should be associated with building muscle and not losing pounds on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you don’t see the scale dropping, do not worry. As your body loses fat and gains muscle, your metabolism increases and your body shrinks, but the scale doesn’t change much. For example, you might be at 140 pounds with 24% body fat, and in a few weeks you only loss 5 pounds but you are at 19% body fat. Your body will look a lot different, but the scale doesn’t show the same results. As long as the workouts are improving, the body is probably changing even though the weight is staying the same. DON’T GET FRUSTRATED (I strongly recommend before pictures so you have something to compare to).

Here is a true example of a guy who had to add calories to lose weight. He was working through the Power 90 workout program and in the first round he went from 230 pounds to 190 pounds and ate 1200 calories a day. For the second round his target weight was 175 pounds, but he hit a plateau at 190. He was finally convinced to start adding calories and as he got up to 1800-2000 calories a day he saw weight starting to drop again. It wasn’t until he reached 3000 calories a day, that he could get to 175 pounds. This is a extreme example, not all examples will be like this.

Add Calories To Fuel Your Workouts

As you feel your workouts getting harder or as you hit your plateau, remember that your body needs energy. Add more calories to get your body through the tough workouts that you weren’t able to complete when you started your weight loss journey.

Figuring Out Your “WHY”

Why are you trying to get into shape?

Working out for me has been a steady roller coaster. There have been times when I have been extremely motivated for a few months and then times when I had no motivation at all. Growing up, I was a good swimmer and I swam almost every day of the year. It usually wasn’t too hard for me to go to practice because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do too well at the next swim meet (and being the competitive guy that I am, I hated not doing well).

When I got into college, I tried to continue swimming, but the motivation just wasn’t there. I didn’t have a team to swim with so I would have to try and workout by myself, basically impossible. As I look back at my high school days, I now realize the reason it was “easy” to workout. I had a reason to, I had my “why”. Swim meets were my “why”. In college, my “why” was gone. There was nothing in particular that was making me workout. So I didn’t.

Finding Your “Why”

The very first thing you need to do before starting any kind of workout program is to figure out why you want to do it. Do you want to get into shape to live a healthier life? To feel more comfortable with yourself? To be around while your kids are growing up? To live a more active lifestyle? Why is getting into shape important for you? I challenge you to sit down with a pencil and paper and write down ALL the reasons why you want to get into shape.

For me, I was finally sick of the “inner tube” around my stomach. I hated looking back at old photos and seeing the guy I used to be. For years I wanted it back, but I did nothing to change it. I made my New Years Resolutions every year and that was the closest I got to changing my life. It all changed as I realized I would be starting a family some day soon and I didn’t want my kids to see me the way I was. I want my kids to see how to live a healthy and happy life. That is when I found my “why”. My “WHY”: to feel comfortable with myself and to be a good example.

Living Your “Why”

After you have written down all of the reasons why you want to change your lifestyle, think about the most important one, or two (maybe they are all the most important, that is ok too). The key to picking your why is to make sure it is a strong enough reason to keep you motivated. Wanting to look good for an event coming up might get you into shape for that event, but what are you going to do after the event is over? Your “why” needs to be motivation for a life long change.

Once you have found your “why”, post it somewhere that you will see it everyday. Maybe on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator, in your car. Read it every day. Then when those days come around where you just don’t want to workout (and trust me, those days will come) your brain will have that “why” programed in. It will remind you of “why” you are trying to change your life and it will motivate you.

Letting your friends and loved ones know your why is also a great idea. If they know your reason for wanting to change your life, they will keep you motivated on those days you just don’t feel like working out. Not only that, but it might just motivate them to change their lives as well. Then you have someone else to workout with.

Stay Motivated! Don’t let all the little things of day to day life hold you back. Figure out your “why” and live it! Remember, it took you many years to get the lifestyle you have now, it is going to take some time to change it. YOU CAN DO IT! I encourage you to reply to this post and tell your “why”.