Thursday, December 12, 2013

All Hopped Up

Something interesting has popped up over the last couple of days in the fitness industry, notably over a controversy regarding the television show "The Biggest Loser". I thought I might give my two cents since this is currently trending and has been generating a fair amount of steam with the media.

Allow me to first give a slight recap: Jillian Michaels, who is arguably the most recognizable personal trainer in the nation right now was exploited for giving her team caffeine pills before a weigh-in. The host of the show uncovered this and penalized Jillian's team for being administered a non-authorized supplement per the rules and guidelines of the program.

Jillian stood by her decision that administering caffeine pills was a better alternative than letting her team get loaded up with coffee before a weigh-in. Her only apology came that she was sorry her team had to suffer over her "professional decision".

So, it becomes a matter of principle.

And to be fair, you almost have to penalize both parties.

Let's consider the show first:

Since it began, The Biggest Loser has been one of the most monumental and inspiring shows when it comes to weight loss and how the public perceives it. They should be applauded for showing people how difficult losing substantial weight can be. In addition, the viewers can see how former contestants have managed to either keep the weight off or (in some cases) regain much of it back. Another added plus, is the huge shift it has caused for corporations to start their own Biggest Loser contests in efforts to get their employees more mindful of their individual health and wellness.

Where I feel the show has betrayed the public is in how unrealistic the entire program is. The amount of work the participants have to endure is borderline insane. Instead of approaching weight loss with more mindfulness and balance, it's constantly about more, more, harder, faster, more.

Having run a business which specializes in weight loss, I can assure you: most people in a similar situation have no business pushing THAT hard.

And the show lets you see the grim side of that as well: when the injuries occur, or someone has to leave the show due to contraindicated exercise or program design.

Is it a bad show? Not necessarily. For the right person, it can be just the right amount of motivation to say "I need to start taking better care of myself. If "they" can do it, so can I".

Ultimately, if it gets someone off their butt...mission accomplished.

On to Jillian.

As fitness professionals, we have a lot of tools at our disposal for helping people lose weight. Nutritional counseling, high intensity training, supplement advice, etc.

Is caffeine a terrible thing to administer? Absolutely not. Many people do quite well with caffeine combined with exercise.

However, she does have guidelines to follow and her team paid the price for her executive decision.

One has to consider, Jillian committed a minor infraction on a show with already vastly unrealistic expectations.

But chock up a big win for the show. As soon as controversy rears its head, the show gets more attention, hence more views and don't you think that makes those commercial sponsors really happy?

Sadly, I find so many people who can regurgitate every detail about this show and in the same breath say, I wish I had time to exercise...

I'll let you marinate on that statement for a moment.

In my opinion, if the Biggest Loser wanted to offer a great service to it's viewers it would spend more time showing how the average person can make enough lifestyle changes to see the results they want. Instead, they'd rather show you what you can accomplish when you are forced to adhere to their competition, on their terms.

We can help you establish the guidelines without sacrificing your entire day to get there!

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet...

Sometimes, it's okay to be a cheater.

Alright hear me out on this one.

When it comes to diet plans and weight loss, you may hear the terms "cheat meal" or "cheat day" used with a fair amount of frequency. So, what do they accomplish?

If you've been living in caloric deficit, meaning: you're eating less than a maintenance level of calories to cause weight loss, your hormones are postively and negatively affected. In many ways, you get the response you're looking for by losing weight. However, when you spend too much time in deficit, your body might stall with progress.

Many diet plans add in a cheat meal or a cheat day to accomplish one of a couple scenarios

1) Allowing you to have the food you've been depriving yourself of so you can justify the restrictions of your "proper eating"
2) "Reset" your hormonal balance so you can return to weight loss again

I've found something else interesting can happen as well...

Let's say you've been eating really well from Monday through Friday. Calories are in line and you're not bingeing on foods you might normally.

Then on Saturday evening, you have something you normally wouldn't like: cheeseburger and fries, or pizza, or a slice of cake. Typically, your body recognizes that you're eating junk and a thermogenic effect can happen internally. In other words, signals go off in your body saying "This shouldn't be here!!!" and your body works overtime to help flush the system of the food.

This is where the cheat meal can be really beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight.

That being said, you HAVE to have dietary consistency for this to work and it does NOT work for everyone.

Taking our typical week as an example, let's say you eat really well on Monday and Tuesday but you go out with your friends for chicken wings and beer on Wednesday. You most likely won't get the option of having a cheat on the weekend as well. Your body needs/craves/wants consistency in many ways. When you can establish several days in a row of clean eating, you stand a better chance of the cheat meal having positive effects.

I'll add this as well: the thermogenic effects tend to be more pronounced if you have a "greasy" meal.

But here's the other thing: if you have a significant amount of weight to lose (let's say over 30lbs), you would be better served to stack up several weeks of consistent eating to lock down the habits before you can even consider a cheat meal.

The downside to adding the cheat in prematurely is, from a behavioral standpoint, you may not know when to stop eating the "unhealthy" food choices. It can trigger more poor eating and turn a cheat "meal" into a cheat "weekend".

So, while there can be some really positive outcomes to an unhealthy food choice, you have to EARN that luxury first.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Fruit can get a bad rap.
Too much sugar?
Not good for weight loss?
Not so fast.
There's a way to navigate the fruit section of your supermarket with your sanity intact.

Let's start with the lowest sugar options of the bunch: berries.
Berries arguably pack the most bang for your buck when it comes to fruit consumption. For one, they're an excellent source of fiber. Two, they're great sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries would be the best options and strawberries should be mentioned as well. In most cases, you can consume between 3/4 to 1 cup as a serving size and you'll hardly see 100 calories. To even out a potential blood sugar spike, you can combine the berries with a serving of nuts or Greek yogurt to get additional protein and healthy fats.

At the midway point, you've got fruits like apples, peaches, melons, fresh apricots, and grapefruit (among many others). These are still good options as long as you're keeping them between 1 and 2 servings a day.

On the high-end of the spectrum, you consider fruits like bananas, mangoes, figs, grapes, and cherries. The biggest issue with fruits like these is the fact that you lose a considerable amount of fiber which can slow the digestion of the food in your system.

Last but not least, the type of fruit you generally want to stay away from is dried fruit. The reason: most of it has added sugar and artificial preservatives.

So, how can fruit help or hurt your weight loss goals?

Consider that most people consume far more carbohydrates in their diet than necessary. That doesn't mean you should cut them out altogether but rather be cognizant of portions.

You see, fruit isn't the only source of carbohydrates in the typical western diet. Most people are getting more grains than they need from over serving cereal, too much bread (much of which is heavily processed), rice, potatoes, and pasta. I didn't even mention dessert!!

While it's possible to keep many of these foods in your diet to help you with your weight loss goals, many people are unaware exactly what a portion size should be and end up going overboard.

A couple of tips to consider: limit yourself to 3-4 carb options per day. For instance: a measured serving of steel cut oats, 1-2 fruit options per day and a small sweet potato with dinner. If you're going for a higher sugar fruit, try to save it for after your workout along with a protein option (or mixed with a protein shake) to help push protein into your muscles faster.

How about those super-mega-ultra exotic fruits? I'm talking to YOU acai and goji. These fruits are fine but they're not the miracle fruits everyone would like to claim. To be honest, you can find miracle fruit in the same aisle as those miracle pills...which is to say, you WON'T find them.

Sorry to burst your miracle bubble!

As for fruit juices, most of them are better left alone. Going back to the comment above about fiber, if you strip a food down to it's juice you lose the majority of the fiber. Not to mention, most commercial juices have added sugars. If you absolutely have to partake, stick with the standard portion size (8 oz. for most) and go 100% natural.

While I'm on the natural topic, another issue comes up which is whether to buy organic. If you have the financial wherewithal to buy only organic, go for it. Otherwise, if it's a food you typically peel before you eat you're generally safe to buy non-organic. Any fruit you eat as-is, should either be washed excessively to lessen the amount of potential pesticides or just purchased organic to be "safe".

It's easy to consider all-or-nothing approaches to food selection but they aren't the only way to be successful with your goals. You can make more appropriate choices and spread them out throughout the day without feeling like you're sacrificing everything you enjoy.

We can help you understand how to fit what you love into your goals!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Pains of Perceived Perfection

Not sure where you are with your current fitness level, but most anyone can relate to this:

Let's say you've been working out for a while (weeks, months, years) and you've seen a measured amount of progress. Maybe you're leaner, clothes fit better, and/or you're noticeably stronger than you were the last time you checked.

But you wake up one day and you just don't feel right. Sleep was less than spectacular, the alarm clock went off much earlier than your body was ready for, and you're pushing it to get to work on time. You shuffle through work (extra caffeinated please) and it's safe to say you're not firing on all cylinders. You know that after work you're going to have to get in a workout and you're just NOT feeling it.

By time you lift the first weight, you're shocked at how a weight that was so easy a week ago feels like a ton of bricks now. By the end of your workout, you know you didn't make one bit of progress. Depressed, tired, and aggravated you beat yourself up unmercifully the rest of the evening.

If you've never experienced this, you can easily switch out exercise for diet. You know, you eat REALLY well for a few days and you're already seeing weight loss, then you eat that cheeseburger and order of fries you told yourself you weren't going to touch. The next day you're bloated and the scale is laughing at you.

All too often, people expect perfection from themselves. I see it here with my clients on a regular basis. The thing is, NOTHING is that easy to perfect.

Your job doesn't operate on perfection and perfect accomplishments, recognitions, etc.
Your marital/intimate relationship isn't happiness and sunshine every day.
You don't have days of perfect parenting.
And most certainly, you don't have infinite days of perfect eating or perfect workouts.

I have 3 words I will affectionately say: Suck it up.

You may have heard the adage, "If it was easy, everyone could do it"

This goes for really any aspect of your life: work, healthy relationship(s), parenting, workouts, diet, you name it.

It's time to get away from the guilt of your less-than-perfect days. Not only are they inevitable, they're necessary.

The people who can work through the proverbial valleys of progress are the ones who appreciate and enjoy the peaks.
The people who cherish consistency and can forgive the detours they make, reap the highest benefits.

Understand that your body due to age, genetics, and any other imperfections will see different peaks and valleys.

Perfection, while admirable, is a bit misguided.

Aim for progress.
Hold yourself accountable.
Stop blaming external stimuli for everything you don't get accomplished properly.
And then remove the guilt from your misgivings and trudge on.

The people enjoying the spoils of their efforts have already embraced these things.

We can help!

Friday, October 11, 2013

158 in 52

When I've been asked about why I did it, I point my finger in the same direction: Pat Rigsby. In the fitness industry, Pat has been one of many influential pioneers. As a fellow fitness entrepreneur, I was reading one of his success manuals and he made the comment that he tries to stay ahead of the pack by reading constantly. To the tune of 3 books a week. At that point, I told myself: "If one of the leaders in my industry can do it, then I should be making the effort as well".

Little did I know, how taking on this task would change me both personally and professionally.

At first, it was a welcome challenge. I've always loved reading and I was already buying books at a faster rate than I was reading them so it seemed like as good a time as any to get started.

To help keep myself accountable, each Monday morning I would get on Facebook and list the next 3 books I had racked up on my mission. I had no idea how long I would keep it up for but I knew that if I made some type of public announcement, it would keep me honest and keep me on pace.

So that I wouldn't get stale on the reading material I would give myself one book on exercise, one on nutrition, and one on motivation/self-help/business etc. I didn't always stick very closely to that formula but that's how it started.

On average, I would consume 600 pages a week. Total time expended: roughly 2 hours a day. The longest book I read: Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger (646 pgs). The shortest book: Flinch by Julien Smith (approx 60 pgs).

Along the way, several things started to happen either as a result of or pure coincidence: More thought went into interactions with clients, friends, and family. My business grew over 25%. I felt more confident as an individual, business owner, father, fiance, friend and son.

There were 2 separate occasions when I read 4 books in a week, hence the 158 books as opposed to 156. I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't difficult. There were a handful of occasions where I would be up reading on a Sunday night trying to cram in the last book so I could report in by Monday. I also had to get somewhat strategic about the books I read on a given week if I knew I'd be out of town or busier than normal. So there were weeks where the books were intentionally shorter in comparison just to fit them all in.

There were also times when I dreaded the task. Some weeks it took everything in me to head back to the bookshelf and grab another but I knew I had to keep it going.
Somewhere along the way, I told myself I'd make it a full year. There are a couple of certifications I've had in my sight and I know how difficult and time-consuming the studying process would be.

What does any of this have to do with a fitness newsletter?

Maybe more than you think which is why I thought I would dedicate this letter to each of you.

Picture yourself embarking on any fitness journey: losing weight, gaining strength, aiming for a competition (endurance, strength or combination).
You start off with a goal and you know it will take "X" amount of time to accomplish it. Maybe you're realistic with the time commitment and maybe you're not. But after a few weeks in, you realize that time won't always be on your side.

Despite your best efforts, careful diligence and sincere desire to succeed there will always be things that stand in your way: work, family, daily outlook, potential illness, vacation, holidays, etc.

One step you might take is making a public announcement of your goals. Tell your friends "I'm training for a half marathon", or "I'm trying to lose 50lbs in a year". Involve the people who you know will be honest with you in efforts to keep you going. Realize that some may (for reasons unknown) attempt to sabotage your efforts. Give yourself a mental plan for how you can stay on pace without affecting too much of your life.

Accept the fact that some days/weeks will be significantly easier than others and you still have to keep your eye on the prize.

There will be days when you detest the activity and it would be profoundly easier to back out, take a day off, and get off course.

Realize that every worthwhile goal takes both sacrifice and compromise in equal measure:

I own a business.
I work 50+ hours a week.
My work schedule is rarely the same from day to day.
I train myself 5 days a week (3 days strength, 2 days cardio).
I make every effort to have some semblance of a social life.
And despite all of those "obstacles", there was still time to fit in 158 books in 52 weeks.

No, I'm not asking you to embark on the same book frenzy that I did. But I am asking you to take a personal inventory and realize that health/fitness/wellness are an ongoing process and you can rarely succeed on your own. There IS time in the day for you to make time for yourself if you know how to schedule it accordingly. Trust that there will be imperfect workouts, imperfect nutrition, and many detours.

Where does your journey start?

Friday, September 27, 2013


The newest member of the RevFit family, trainer Megan Winiarski! Megan is a graduate of Kent State University. She got her degree in educational studies with a focus on health and physical education and also has a minor in community health. During college, Megan coached golf and softball and participated in numerous student organizations. She values family and friends and was recently married on June 22, 2013. She enjoys working with individuals who strive to better themselves through fitness. Developing programs that fit and complement the individual's goal or goals is her primary focus.  Megan is a certified personal trainer through the ASFA (American Sports and Fitness Association).   Our current clients love her and I'm sure you will too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Battle at Home

Staying the course is so much easier said than done.

You make plans, maybe even a list of the things you need to do to get your health/physique/weight in line to something closer to where you want it. In the grand scheme of things, you'd think it would be like a grocery list. Go down the aisle, get your food, cross a line off the item on your list and move on. Theoretically, your health and fitness work in a similar manner.

Until life happens.

Let's assume the list looks something like this:

Exercise 5 times a week
No junk food
Log food into journal
Track calories burned
No late-night snacking
Only 2 cups of coffee a day
Buy groceries on Sunday, prep food to start on Monday
Drink 3 liters of water a day.

Now that's not such an unrealistic list. It's measurable, short, and shows a series of baby steps.

All in all, I'd say if you could knock out that list consistently you'd be damn proud of your progress.

So Monday gets off to a great start. Food's in line, your exercise is either completed or scheduled for later in the day, you had your 2 cups of coffee and work's not going so bad.

Tuesday starts off much the same.

Then you get a message from your boss you're going to have to stay later than normal. So much for working out that night, have to shift 'til Wednesday. You barrel home between 7-8p and you haven't touched a morsel of food since noon. So, you let your ravenous urges take over and next thing you know you've consumed more than half your daily calories right before you retire for the evening. The optimist in the back of your head says "Just get back on the wagon tomorrow".

Wednesday comes and you oversleep. You rush to work, no breakfast. Head hurts and you order a double-mocha-frappa bomb at the local coffee shop. Your spouse calls and says, "I know you're stressed, let's just take the kids out for pizza tonight after their sports practice."

Sound vaguely familiar?

If not, maybe you don't have a spouse or kids. Your scenario may turn into friends, significant other, etc telling you it's the middle of the week and you need to head out for dinner and drinks to unwind a bit. And before you know it, the alcohol and food have turned into a 2000 calorie bender. But if you're not tracking your calories you wouldn't know how bad the numbers actually are.

Not to mention, the frustration when your friends/neighbor/significant other can eat anything that isn't nailed down and not gain a pound.

Not you, a fantasy about a brownie keeps the scale stuck in one place for 4 days.

Take a second.


There IS a way out.

The problem with the "list" is that although it seems easy, it can be terribly daunting in practice. Screw up one day and it's easy to blow a week.

But also remember, it's about the steps. Take one of those items and commit. Take a week with it, maybe two. Get comfortable. Then move on to the next item.

Don't treat it like a grocery list or a daily to-do. This is much bigger, far more important.

I try to tell people, take the easiest item first. Make it a habit. Then move on. You didn't habitually brush your teeth every day. You were instructed, supervised, and reminded it had to be done. One bad trip to the dentist reminded you of the importance. Now brushing your teeth is a 2-3x daily ordeal. Piece of cake. No pun intended.

The journey may begin with a step but the journey doesn't end just because you took the first step. Steps must be continued, made habitual, and become second nature.

The battle at home begins with choice. The good news is, nearly every possible decision that needs to be made about your health is YOUR CHOICE.

We can help you pick the wise ones.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Something REALLY Special

I want to let you in on an exclusive secret. Over the last several months, I've been privy to a brand new product that is going to blow the socks off of anyone who tries it. In fact, once this concoction hits the market, I will probably be able to retire a very rich man.

Just some of the details about this amazing drink:

It's gluten-free
Lactose free
Vegan and vegetarian friendly
Sugar free
High in Omega-3's
Only has 5 calories per serving
High in essential vitamins and minerals
Has the equivalent of 5 fruits and vegetables per serving
Chock full of organic, natural stimulants that are 100% non-habit forming and won't make you crash
Scientifically proven in double-blind studies to melt body fat
And price wise?

Only $30 for a month supply.

Because I'm close with the manufacturer I can tell you that I am the only person to break this news so far. But once it's released, EVERYBODY is going to know about it.

It's called:


Hopefully, you were able to realize before you heard the name of this: this product is NOT REAL.

But sure sounds a nice!!

The sad thing is: someone out there (actually lots of people) are peddling products like this to you. Promises of better looking bodies with lightning fast results. Please understand: these products (generally) are overhyped garbage.

That doesn't necessarily mean they aren't somewhat effective but try to see through the smoke and mirrors.

Chances are you have either heard of or are using products that are boasting many of the benefits of what you saw above. And as the media continues to perpetuate our need for more, it becomes difficult to see something out there and go "Gee, I bet you I could really look, feel, and perform better if I just took Product X!

Not to mention, all of these companies are making a huge mint off of you selling these things to your friends, which they in turn sell to their friends and next thing you know...we've all quit our jobs living off the residual income from Product X.

So, be skeptical of what's out there. The supplement industry is not even remotely regulated for safety by the FDA (that goes for organic supplements too). Current laws have allowed the supplement industry to pump out unheard of amounts of products and it could take months if not years before a harmful ingredient attracts enough attention to be banned. By the time an ingredient does get ripped out, there are very savvy chemists who have devised another combination to get filtered back in so products don't have to disappear completely.

These companies are trying to wow you with just enough buzzwords in their descriptions that you just couldn't possibly turn them down.

And chances are, if you have any involvement on Facebook or Twitter, you've got friends who are really publicizing things not too different than what I mentioned above.

So, while SEXY JUICE doesn't exist there was probably a moment where you were going through the list of benefits saying, "WOW, I've gotta get that!"

The lure of SEXY JUICE may be too hard to resist, but as my father was always smart enough to remind me "If it sounds too good to be true..." Well, you know the rest!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Depends...

How quickly can I lose this weight?
How hard should I be working out?
How many carbs should I be eating?
What supplements will help attain goal "X"?

The answer begins with the two words above: It Depends

So often, it's easy to forget the goal we're after. Is it strength, weight loss, better stamina, better sex life, all of the above simultaneously?

Let's cover the givens:

Genetics will always play a significant part. Whatever ratio you want to attribute to your overall results (20,30,40%)
Consistency is crucial. Do you give the program your all 1,2, or 3 days in a row?
How high is your stress level and how well do you cope?
How are you sleeping? How many hours of quality deep sleep?
Oh yeah, before I forget, how young are you? 28 or 68? Makes quite a difference...

There is no ideal circumstance. There is only YOUR circumstance. And the results, no matter how they come, depend almost solely on YOU.

Granted, you can hire someone like me. Or you can find your answers from a website/magazine/book. Join a class, fitness community, or you can keep sitting around at your desk hoping your results will come via osmosis...Let me know how that last one works out for you!

It's important, if not vital, to appreciate and embrace your differences and realize the path you're on is one only you can discover success on. Not what your best friend saw success with (although that may happen).

Where it all gets confusing is the massive amount of information getting poured on you no matter where you go. Should you be training like the elite? Should you starve yourself for faster results. Maybe you'll just say screw it and get cosmetic surgery.

Remember the mass media is spending millions trying to persuade you into a given direction. You can't visit a single website these days without a banner ad telling you how strong, thin, or invincible their amazing product can make you. There are pyramid schemes with supplements to dazzle you with effectiveness and make you rich with promises of endless residual income. What's not to like and be enticed by?

It (all) depends.

My questions to you: How hard will you work to get results you can be proud of? How patient can you be to try different options and stick with something diligently before you determine it's efficacy?

The good news: there is something out there for every BODY. The one thing you can't afford to do is rush the results or sit on your butt hoping for that proverbial pill to get your attention.

We can decipher the rest of the nonsense for you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Elimination Diet

See if this sounds familiar: You've just read/watched/heard about some nutrient or food group that is going to wreak complete havoc on your body and shorten your lifespan if you continue to consume it. And this wasn't just any old piece of alarmist media, it comes straight from the mouth of (insert trusted media journalist, internet guru or talkshow doctor here).

What should you do?

Let me get this disclaimer out of the way first. This message pertains only to people who are not removing foods because of religious or ethical reasons. If, for example, you are completely opposed to the handling of animals for food and as such have chosen to be vegan/vegetarian, I'm not touching that one. I respect anyone's beliefs and think you should stand your ground accordingly.

But for the REST of you...and believe me, that's a lot...

Let's pick on a good buzz topic: gluten.

However, you can insert anything here: dairy, red meat, etc.

We will also need to do some simple mathematics.

Suppose you are a somewhat overweight individual who consumes an average of 2000 calories a day. You have just read a highly inflammatory book about the terrors of gluten. You sit and examine your diet and it looks something like this:

Bagel with cream-cheese for breakfast (Bruegger's?)
Turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch (Panera?)
Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (Olive Garden?)

If the aforementioned book got you all unnerved, you would take a diet like this and change it to:

2 eggs for breakfast
Chicken salad for lunch
Pork chops and broccoli for dinner

After 1 month of dietary changes like this, you lose 10lbs. You make the somewhat safe assumption that gluten was to blame and you're never having another piece of bread, cookie, cracker, pasta again.

However, you've forgotten a slight detail. Without even remotely cracking a calorie count, by eliminating all gluten products from the first mealplan you have cut back on your calories by 500-800 a day. It's very safe to assume that you have lost weight not because of lack of gluten but because of a decrease in total calories. Had you taken the first mealplan and cut back on portion sizes to net the same total intake the results would have been...about the same.

But wait! That same gluten bashing book also said that I would have less soreness, bloating, and overall crankiness if I pulled it out of my diet and when I took it out I FELT SO MUCH BETTER!!!

This is, in many ways, anecdotal at best. And here we have the PLACEBO EFFECT.

If you trust the source of your information and you convince yourself that if you follow THAT PLAN, you will feel/look/perform better then there is good reason to assume that you will. In addition, if you were to carelessly eat a piece of bread one evening on your gluten-free diet you may tell yourself through every bite "I'm really going to feel like crap because of this bread". Then guess probably will feel like crap. And yet again, you will blame gluten for all of your life's miseries.

Life/Diet/Health, my friends, is all about BALANCE. Unfortunately, some people hear that word and they equate it to walking on a tightrope with their eyes closed and a hard breeze blowing against them.

Let me clear the air of one more thing too. There are SOME people who have legitimate allergies, which have been tested for, diagnosed, and advised with. If you have Celiac disease, by all means, stay away from gluten.

I can also safely say that it's more likely we all have a threshold. For instance, I might be able to tolerate 8-10 ounces of dairy products a day. You, on the other hand, might only be able to tolerate 4-6 ounces. This is closer to reality.

Make rational decisions with your food, if you feel the need to experiment with different portions and intake amounts of different food groups and nutrients, by all means DO IT.

But playing the elimination game not only can have negative physical ramifications but can screw with your mental perception of food as well.

Need guidance? We can help.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Knowing How, When and Why To Stop

Funny things happen in the health and wellness industry. Sometimes funny (like HA-HA) and sometimes funny (like puzzling and bizarre). One constant that seems to keep popping up is the rampant trend of individuals not knowing when to put the brakes on a given behavior/exercise/action. 

Perhaps you've heard the old joke that goes something like this: 

Man walks into his doctor's office and says "Doc, it hurts when I go like this."

The doctor, very matter-of-factly, says "Then don't do that".

So, what's the problem exactly? 

We tend to fall into certain traps when it comes to behaviors we hope will make our body look and feel the way we want it to. I wish I could attribute it to one particular activity but it isn't that easy. So, I'll give you some examples I hope can illustrate my point. 

I'd like to affectionately recall a conversation I had with a client of mine just last week. This individual is always in a fantastic mood. Always smiling, always upbeat. Never an unkind word drops from her mouth. She also is more active than any other person I currently know. Yoga, tennis, golf, personal training. She literally never stops. To her credit I'll say, she's in great shape. But she has recently recovered from a fairly nasty injury and has been trying to regain full mobility of that joint again. While we continue to work in efforts to give her full strength back, I ask her how she's doing. She remarks the joint is pretty sore. When we target the issue directly, what we find is that she never stops moving. Every day contains an activity. I ask her if she's ever considered taking a day of recovery and that's when "the look" strikes. That look which innocently asks "What do you mean, recovery?" 

You see, as someone who people pay their hard-earned money to in efforts to get and keep them moving, you have to learn 

Elite athletes have to do it. And it isn't just because they push their bodies to the limits so often. We all have limits. We all have thresholds. Your body needs a break sometimes. Me personally, I take two days off each week. Usually Saturdays and Sundays. However, everyone is different. It has to be a trial and error experiment for you. 

If you find you're not getting as strong as you'd like, your soreness lingers for days on end, or your endurance/stamina capacity isn't improving your body may be screaming at you to give it a rest. 

It's not just about taking a day off though. 

It's amazing to me how many people I meet and work with who continue to perform an activity that their body clearly is not equipped to handle. So they injure and re-injure themselves and are never firing on all cylinders. I know this may come as a shock to some people but there are actually people out there who really have no business running. Or doing yoga. Or competitive cycling. Blame genetics. Blame biomechanics. Or maybe you need to get a more qualified coach to make sure your body is performing the way it should be on any given exercise. I'll be the first to say, I'm not the expert if you need a coach on proper running mechanics. That's something I would reach out to far more experienced people than myself for. 

Take a personal inventory and be honest with yourself about what's working and what isn't. Know when your body is telling you to back off a bit and rest or abandon a form of exercise altogether. You're not going to be perfect at every occupation and your body is not going to be amazing at every style of athletic movement. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Nation of Guinea Pigs

Imagine life if we could all live it the same basic way: eat similar diets and expect similar outcomes, take the same medicines when illness strikes and have similar results, etc.

As each of you well know; life sadly, is not like this. My diet doesn't look like yours, your body doesn't look like your neighbor. She's stronger, he's smarter. They make more money, and those over there have less opportunity.

Frustratingly, the media allows us to believe certain myths which allow us to believe greatness, perfection, and beauty are easily attainable. Especially for those genetically blessed celebrities who can spend all day with personal trainers, dietitians, and have nannies watch their children so parenting can take a backseat to physique and appearance.

The trick becomes: finding what works for YOU.

Some people need fewer carbs in their diets, some need more. Some people can eat grains and consume dairy products, others can't touch them. Prozac for you, Wellbutrin for your buddy. I think you get the picture.

Progress starts with admitting you're different, special. Not in a silly way. And your first step becomes driving yourself with patience. Patience is a difficult word from me. Those who know me will be the first to tell you, it's not a virtue I'm blessed in abundance with.

However, this is your body we're talking about. And it will take time to see any reasonable goals you hope to achieve. Just like it took time for you to be good or great at your job; parenting, marriage, etc.

Not to mention, most of us plan (or hope) to be on this earth for quite some time. To be healthy for our loved ones, to give back, whatever your burning motivation is.

In all seriousness, it's not just about the length of life but making damn sure the final years aren't completely a nuisance!

And it means, that despite all the best intentions and unforgiving deadlines, you have to be willing to experiment with yourself to find the right balance. Just the right foods in proportionate amounts and the best mix of exercise and rest. You'll have to be a proverbial guinea pig.

So, it's the middle of this fine summer week. If the heat doesn't slow you down, focus on YOU. Look at what food is doing to you. How it's making you behave. If you're happy with the image you see when you step out of the shower. Is there more (or less) you should be doing right now?

We're here to help.