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Apr 26, 2011

Cardio on an Empty Stomach

I ate so much banana pudding on Easter that I'm still full.  Yes, that much.  Ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm clearing up the confusion about "Cardio on an empty stomach" today.  I'm sure you heard the saying, "do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach so you'll burn more fat".  Well, let's set the record straight...

(Insert dramatic pause here)  But first, let me tell you how excited I am about an upcoming project that I've been working on for over a year.  It will be released hopefully this week, so keep your eyes open for that :)

Alright, now back to the topic.  I first read about this study from Craig Ballantyne. It was a study done in Italy from researchers who had a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition Exercise and Metabolism (21:48-54, 2011).

The Italian researchers wanted to see what would happen when eight healthy young men did the following workouts:

Workout A: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning without eating
Workout B: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning AFTER a small meal

The results:

4 hours after exercise, the results found that eating before cardio increased both calorie burning AND fat burning. Yep, eating before the workout increased fat burning in the 24-hours after exercise. The scientists concluded that “fasting before exercise does not enhance lipid utilization; rather, physical activity after a light meal is advisable.”

What it means for you:
You certainly don't need to do cardio on an empty stomach to "burn more fat".  Another myth debunked.  For those of you that have been following me, you already know how I feel about "cardio" anyway.  If you really want to drop fat, you need to do interval training.  I put up a post about that here.

Keep in mind, you have to do what's right for YOU.  If I have the chance to knock out a workout at 5:30am (which I've been known to do because I have a full plate that day), I'll be honest...  I go to the gym and work out with nothing in me.  Why?  Because I actually perform my workout better.  I've experimented with a little snack and eating nothing.  "Nothing" wins.  I have some clients that have a better workout with an apple and half a protein shake.  I encourage them to "experiment" and really figure what works best for them.  That's what you have to do.  If I work out mid-day, I find that eating a small snack about 90 minutes before my workout is what works for me.  Some people like to eat 15 minutes before.  Everyone is different.  Experiment and see what works for you, but don't do something one way because it's the "magical" way to lose fat.  Sorry, there is no such thing :(

To your fitness success,

Apr 13, 2011

Why Do You Hate "Hump" Day?

Happy Hump Day!  First of all, let's get this out of the way.  Why are Wednesdays called, "Hump Day"?  That's kinda weird to me, but whatever.  If you're in a job that you hate so much that you even look forward to the middle of the week to say you're halfway there, then I suggest looking for another job. 

I know, I know.  "Easier said than done", you say.  But the way I look at it is you take one step back to take two steps forward.  Take me for example; I used to work at a big corporate company behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day.  I left that job to go work for my Dad, which was 42 miles away.  I went from an 18 mile commute to a 42 mile commute job, but darn it, I was happy.  I mean, after all, I got to work with my Dad for crying out loud.  For most people that would be horrific, but for me it was great.  He taught me the entrepreneurial spirit and good old-fashioned hard work.  

My passion for fitness was overwhelming and I knew that's what I wanted to do ultimately.  So, at one point, I had 5 jobs as I was trying to get my fitness business up and running.  Yes, 5: 
  1. Worked with my Dad in Jasper, GA
  2. Trained clients in their homes (traveled quite a bit)
  3. Trained clients at the gym I just started at
  4. Delivered coupon books to local businesses 
  5. Wrote the sports section in a local newspaper
It was alot of work, but I realized that it was just temporary until I built up the client base I needed to do fitness full time. I don't regret it at all.  I learned alot about myself and knew that I gave it my best in order to do what I want with my life.

Now, I'm in the fitness industry full time and LOVE it.  The sacrifice of my time and giving of my best effort has paid off.  I would rather do 10 hours of research, training people, doing boot camps, writing programs and blogs to help more people finally get out of their fat loss struggles than work 3 hours a day at a job I absolutely despise.  But that's just me.

The same goes for fat loss.  Sometimes, you simply have to look at what you're willing to give, in order to gain.  So it may mean you have to skip "Happy Hour" with the gang because you know you will end up binging on bar food and caloric drinks.  Instead of eating your favorite beef nachos 4 nights a week, you may have to cut down to 1.  Instead of going out to eat every day for lunch, you may have to bring something with you and work out during your lunch hour so you don't spend time away from your family, yet get your exercise in.  Are you giving your fitness goals the absolute best you can?  Reach further and you might surprise yourself.  For a little inspiration, watch the video below.

To your fitness success,

Apr 7, 2011

Simple Fat Loss Nutrition "Rules"


I've seen it too many times - people training their booty off anywhere from 3-5 times a week, yet their body doesn't change.

Some people blame genetics (which I don't buy into.... thanks to my genetics, I can easily gain weight, but I've managed to lose over 100 lbs and keep it off for 7 years... and sure, genetics can slow down the process, but with consistency, you can still get there).

Some people blame their hormones (hormones can play a role, but it certainly can't stop you)

Some people blame their routine isn't working (in which I can certainly agree with... if you're on a fat loss program and you're doing crunches and tons of cardio - we need to talk).

I would guess most of the time, it's the nutrition that's holding you back.  There are many diets out there that work and make sense, but you have to use one that fits your lifestyle (if you can't manage eating 5-6 times a day, than a plan that requires eating 5-6 times a day won't work... duh).

But if your nutrition doesn't compliment your training efforts, I'll be brutally honest with you. 
That's stupid... and you're wasting your time. 

That's so like...not politically correct!

So here are a few "rules" that you can implement immediately without having to count calories to help you with your goals until you find something that's right for you.  By the way, if you need some ideas, 
I posted a blog about that HERE.

Rule # 1
Get the "bulk" of your carbs from fruits and non-starchy vegetables (especially vegetables)
Why:  Compare 3 cups of raw spinach to 1/4th cup of brown rice.  They are both healthy, however, which one do you think you will get more full off of?  Not only will you feel fuller, but you also slashed your calories in half (roughly).  And 1/4th cup of rice is a joke.  That's like 2 bites for me.

Rule #2
Liquid calories are stupid, so back off of them
Why:  Well, you certainly don't get full off of soda, juice, beer, sugar-saturated energy drinks, etc., etc.  Why would you waste your calories on that?  I would rather save my "cheat meals" for real food... like pizza!  Mmmm, pizza.  Anyway...  3 sodas a day = roughly 450 calories.  And that = ridiculous nonsense.  Instead, opt for good old-fashioned water, unsweetened tea (or green tea), etc.  

Rule #3
Re-vamp your environment
I'll be the first to tell you that if "Funyuns" are in my house, or any other chips for that matter, I'll eat them.  I love chips.  If you sat me down and said, "here's a bag of Doritos and here is a playstation 3... now enjoy", I would reply with, "You are full of awesomeness".  And I would probably eat close to the whole bag.  So, I eliminate it from my house.  If my wife wants chips in the house, I actually have told her to hide them from me.  The same goes for cookies, candy, ice cream, etc., etc.  If it ain't in the house, you ain't gonna eat it. 

Just adopting these few rules until you find the right, sensible diet that fits your lifestyle should help.  And remember, you don't have to give up your favorite foods forever... you can still treat yourself every once in a while and still get results!

And to help you even more - a new fat loss cookbook has been released and can make fat loss nutrition tasty.

Grab your copy here =====>  Fat Loss Cookbook (Over 250 tasty recipes)

To your fitness success,
Mikey, CFT, CFNC

Apr 5, 2011

Beginner Workout

I've seen it many times... beginners coming into the gym, not knowing where to start; looking very intimidated.  Trust me, I know how that feels because I've been there.  Remember, I used to be almost 300 lbs and I had to start somewhere, too.  This post is all about taking away the fear, intimidation and lack of knowledge and setting you up for success.  I'm going to walk you through a beginner workout, step-by-step.  Now you have no excuses :)

Alright, first of all, you GOTTA warm up.  I'd rather you cut your workout short than skip the warm-up.  And forget about hopping on the treadmill or elliptical.  We're going to do a dynamic warm-up, which will get your body better prepared to get through the workout, as well as prevent injury.  By the way, you must speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen (legal crap is so boring).  Your warm-up is the following circuit (do the exercises back-to-back with no rest, but resting for 30-60 seconds between circuits).  You'll do the following circuit twice.  And don't worry, I've attached videos for you to watch so you will know how to do it.  If you want a written description, you can click on the link in the video to read it.

Jumping Jacks (15) (sorry, no videos on this YET... but c'mon, you know what jumping jacks are)
Body Squat (10)
Kneeling or Regular Push-ups (5-10)
Waiter's Bow (10)

Alright, now you're warmed up.  Let's go for it!...

Quick note: - If this is the first time you're stepping foot in a gym, I strongly recommend using a very conservative weight, as well as doing only 1 set per exercise.  

Do the following superset (2 exercises back-to-back with no rest, but after doing both exercises, rest for 1 minute and repeat)

1. DB Squat (10 reps)
2. Kneeling Push-up or Regular Push-up (10 reps)
Do the above twice

Next superset (do it in the same fashion as the above superset)

1. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown (12 reps)
2. Good-Morning (Dumbbell or Barbell) (12 reps)
Do the above twice.

Last superset (let's get the core strength going.... NO CRUNCHES!) - same fashion as above supersets
1. Plank or Modified Plank (20 seconds)
2. Side Plank (10 seconds on each side)

For a great article on the plank, click on this link -----> Plank Description

Now, do some intervals.  Not sure what intervals are?  You can read that post by clicking here
Being a beginner, I suggest you do it like this:
30 seconds "on" (7/10), 60 seconds "off" (3/10) - Do this 4-5 times if this is your first time on interval training.  Again, for reference, click the link above that details my approach to interval training.

There you have it, now you can go into the gym with some confidence.  Bring a workout partner, and finish strong.

To your success,