Monday, June 20, 2011

21 Summer Tips to Get You FITTER, FASTER!

It’s almost here: The halfway point of 2011, with 6 months down and 6 more to go.  Are you 50% closer to losing bodyfat?  50% closer to running a faster race?  What about workout goals?  Are you working out 3 times a week on average?  

With the approaching 4th of July holiday, more and more people will be self-conscious as they shed t-shirts for board shorts and cover ups for bikinis.  Your wardrobe might be ready, but are you? 

Here are a few methods I have used with clients to help them reach their workout goals, get bikini and board short ready, and continue on their journey towards excellent health and fitness.   


1)      Sleep more than 7 hours. And try to get to bed around the same time each night.
2)      Eat before you're hungry, and average 3 meals a day and 2 smaller 'meals'
3)     Practice similar food and eating habits (instead of a diet) for 2 weeks.  After that point, you should be more accustomed to the foods, food preparation, and how you feel with more fuel. 
4)      Do not avoid fruits and vegetables.  Yes, they have small amounts of sugar in them, but strategically placed after a workout or as dessert (instead of a calorie-bomb sundae) wins out every time. 
5)      Eat a hearty breakfast, mostly protein and fat.  Have a healthy lunch, protein, fat, and greens as 'carbs'.  Dinner consists of protein and vegetables.  Simple, really!
6)      Avoid beer, juices, and/or blended Starbucks or Dunkin Donut drinks
7)      Practice eating no sooner than an hour before and no later than an hour after your workout.  You need to prepare muscle energy stores (and blood sugar levels) for the workout and also fix lower blood sugar and damaged muscles. 
8)      Practice more than one 'trait' (strength, endurance, mobility and speed, for example).  Surefire way to increase metabolic efficiency of many muscle fibers and nervous system, while completely enhancing others (long distance runners practice sprints with great results).  
9)      Do NOT be scared of fat.  If you are avoiding carbohydrates then you need to increase your fat calories (extra-virgin olive oil, fish, grass-fed beef, nuts) in order to prevent your metabolism from coming to a screeching halt.  
10)   DO NOT follow a diet/cleanse/workout program. LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT!
11)   Go to the gym with a plan and a program.  Can't afford a trainer?  Fine.  But you can pay the best trainer in your gym (or yours truly) to make you a program.  
12)   Do NOT jump right into your workout without warming up.  You don’t have time to warm up?  But you have time to get hurt because your posture is awful and you like physical therapy?  Didn't think so...
13)   Get out of your comfort zone.  Good at running slow and long?  Add sprints.  Good at lifting light weights?  Add strength workouts and heavier weights. 
14)   Judge your progress by the scale, but get your body-fat tested to tell the whole picture.   
15)   Going on vacation doesn't mean your eating habits have to.  In fact, that should be more of an excuse to eat perfect! More time, less stress = better eating habits. 
16)   All calories are not created equal (my problem with Weight Watchers).  If that was true, then you could have 5 glasses of wine, 4 english muffins, 3 bowls of pasta, and cereal, and still be 'under in points.'  Protein, fat, carbohydrates (size demonstrates importance).     
17)   Have a business dinner or party to go to?  Plan to go to the gym the day before, day of, and day after.  You owe your body better than to completely let go of your health and lifestyle.  Plus it's MUCH more expensive to get BACK in shape, than it is to KEEP yourself in excellent shape. 
18)   Big movements = big metabolic disturbances.  Especially the rower, interval training, and circuit workouts.  That’s why hardly anyone does them (except celebrities getting ready for movies).  
19)   Pay attention to how dairy makes you feel: if you feel bloated after yogurt, avoid it.  Cottage cheese though, is a different type (much more whey, remember Miss Tuffet?).  Same with skim or 1% milk. 
20)   Going out with friends for drinks?  Try having 2-3 glasses of water before, and you will find yourself less thirsty (especially in hot weather) and forced to drink alcoholic beverages for 'hydration'. 
21)   Watch your carb intake, and manage your blood sugar.  Keep your blood sugar steady and you will be SHOCKED at your progress.  This picture below is of me in Puerto Rico in 2010 at just under 8% bodyfat, and the program I used included no cardio, a strict 4 weeks of eating and lifting 3 times per week for 45 minutes.  This is the leanest I've ever been.  168 lbs at 7.8% bodyfat. 
Most people don’t want bigger cars – just a bigger engine.  In other words, they don't want 20 lbs of muscle,  just a faster metabolism. 

These recommendations are staples of many a trainer; try to implement some of them now, and others later, and watch your body look more like that of a trainer.  

-Coach Kev

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