Monthly Archives: December 2012
It’s almost here, the new year is just a few days away. Thank god we have survived another 365 days and another end of the world prediction. We are now all one more year older and wiser, well at least that’s the hope.
The New Year is the time to reflect on all that you did well and what you need to improve on. It is a time to be optimistic about all that you might accomplish in the coming months. It could be finishing a project you have been putting off, quitting a bad habit, or the most popular one getting that mythical body you have always wanted.
Whatever your goal is you need to have a plan to accomplish what you seek to gain. This will consist of process goals (goals you have control over) Example: working out, outcome goals (goals you do not have control over) Example: winning a game, as well as short term and long term goals.
Picking a Goal
The first step to completing your 2013 New Years resolution is to pick what you want to achieve throughout the course of the year. This sounds simple enough, because it is. Is it weight loss, new personal best in and of the big three lifts (bench, squat, and deadlift) and I’ll throw pullups in the mix too, so if you were counting that’s now four.
Make sure that your goal is specific. Don’t just say get in better shape or get stronger.
Set numbers: I want to lose 5% body fat or I want to deadlift 2x by body weight.
Set dates: I want to lose it by May 1st, to say.
Just make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Example: I want to lose 50 pounds in two months. Is it realistic? Answer, No. You’re looking at 4 or 5 months to lose it in a healthy way.
Marathon Not a Sprint
Every January people start off their resolutions like they are running a 100m sprint, but in reality they are running a marathon. If you were running a marathon you would not go all out in the beginning, for you would never finish. So why would you sprint into the New Year knowing there is 12 months.
Pace yourself. What this means is if you have not workout for 3 months don’t start working out six days a week start with two and work you way up, making it a habit. People fail every year because they make to many changes all at once. One of my favorite quotes is from Brain St. Pierre, “Make a change so small that you can’t fail.” This mindset will lead to success.
Long Term and Short Term Goals
It is important to have an over arching goal, this is your long term goal. This would be losing 50 pounds or benching 315. These goals are not going to happen over night, they will take weeks and months of committed work to achieve.
That is were short term goals come in. These are your goals that can be quickly achieved. For instance losing 5 pounds in a month. These goals are designed to keep you motivated. Showing you your steady progress toward your goal.
Outcome and Process Goals
Outcome goals are ones you don’t have control over. These are the goals of winning a game or placing well in a competition. There are other variables outside of what you can do that will affect the outcome.
Process goals are the goals you have control over. I like to think of these as the means of accomplishing your other goals. If you are going for weight lose then you need to set your long term and short term goals, but you need a means to accomplish the over all goal. That is where the process goal comes into play.
These would be your goals of going to the gym three days a week, cutting out soda and simple sugars from your diet. They are the steps you need to take that will lead to you succeeding in your pursuit of your goal.
Long Term: Lose 5% body fat by May 1st
Short Term: Lose 1% each Month
Process Goals: Gym 3 days a week, decrease simple sugars, soda, go to bed before 10 p.m., and so on.
The only thing to remember is when implement your process goals, do it step by step. Little changes lead to big results. Make your changes habits.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
A great way to stick to your goal is to put some money on the line. What I mean by this is sign up for a competition, whether that is a power lifting meet, a Spartan Race, a Tough Mudder, or a marathon. By signing up you are more likely to commit to your training and succeed in your 2013 resolutions.
P.S. What are some of your goals for 2013?
This week I did a post on 4 Christmas Party Survival Tips. Check it out to see what you can do to stay on track.
Here is what others have been writing about this week.
Earlier this week Jon Goodman put out his free ebook Fitness Blog Blueprint. Jon puts out a wealth of free knowledge about starting up a blog.
4 Things I Learned in 2012 by Mike Reinold
High Box Jumps: An Overrated and Dangerous Exercise by Dan Blewett
Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 27 by Greg Robins
8 More Random Thoughts and Training Tips by Ben Bruno
A Critical Reply to an Uncritical Coach by Bret Contreras
How to “Stick” the Box Squat by Tony Gentilcore
It’s Christmas, the time of giving and receiving, friends and family, and mounds of food. It would seem as if the holidays were bent on ruining your fitness goals. With going to holiday work parties, friends parties, family parties, and you get the point there is a lot of parties to go to, which means a lot of chances to slip up in a span of a week. The only chance that you have of surviving the holiday is hoping the Mayans were right about the 21st, and if that’s the case you might as well party.
All joking aside here are four ways to keep you on track with your fitness goals during the Christmas season.
The good thing about Christmas parties is that they are not last minute occurrences, there is a good chance you have known of the party for a week or have been told a few days before hand.
This is plenty of time to change your eating habits for the day of the party. What you need to do is eat light throughout the day. Have a light breakfast and lunch and save your calorie intake for the mounds of food, which is assuredly to be there.
You don’t want to miss out on all the eating and merriments that will ensue because you are worried about your caloric intake. Planning ahead of time will allow you to not be seen as the Christmas party food Nazi Grinch.
Similar to eat light to eat late, is the idea of just eating late.
What? Isn’t that the same thing as above?
Yes and no, with the above I suggested to snake lightly throughout the day so you can consume the majority of your calories in the PM.
This is more of an intermittent fasting approach. If you are not familiar with IF it’s a planed period of not eating for an extended period of time, usually more then 12 hours.
How this works is you just don’t eat until the time of the party. Sounds hard but its not. This will allow you to eat to your harts content. And maybe over the course of the 12+ hours of not eating you will have gained more control over your eating habits.
From my personal experience with this technique, I have found that after not eating for a long period of time it is hard to eat a lot. You my feel hungry after the IF but you will find that you will feel full very quickly. Allowing you to eat your foods but prevent you form over eating.
I got this idea from Greg Robins over at Cressey Performance.
When it comes to portion control there is no bigger factor then the size of plat you are eating on. You can only put as much food on the plate that is permitted by the circumference of the plate. Simple put larger circumference = more food, smaller circumference = less food.
If you have a choice of a dinner plate or a smaller dessert plate pick the dessert plate. This will limit the amount of food you can take at any one time.
When you’re faced with the choice between succulent animal flesh and doughy goodness. Load up on the meat and go light on the pastas and breads.
People can eat around ten thousand plus calories in one meal, if it consists of carbohydrates and fats, but it has been shown that it is hard for the body to process more then two thousand calories in one meal if made up of high protein foods. This is because protein is able to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, compared to carbohydrates and fats.
FYI desserts, breads, and alcohol are all high in either fats, carbohydrates, or both.
Save your food intake for the party or the big meal, whether that is by eating light early on or fasting before hand. Take a smaller plate to control your portions and stick to high protein foods over doughier fattier foods.
If you have any other good tips for eating or staying health over the holidays, feel free to share them in the comment section.
Don’t forget to connect on Facebook and Twitter
Athletes and lifter alike have been searching for the best times to eat their nutrients, to optimize results. That is why research in nutrient timing is so big. So what is the best time to drink your protein shake and ingest your carbohydrates? There are many questions and variables to consider.
Here is what some of the research is saying about nutrient timing.
Before Working out
It has been suggested that you should eat protein and carbs before your workouts to help increase your performance. The idea is that your muscle will have plenty of muscle glycogen to pull from throughout the workout. Giving your body ample energy stores to keep you fueled throughout your workout. Ingesting protein is supposed to supply your body with plenty of amino acids to help with muscle growth. The question is, does any of this really help improve your workouts?
Research looking at carbs before exercise show that there was no improvement in training performance with carbs(3). This was also found to be true with protein alone and carbs plus protein (1).
It would seem that your workouts would not be improved with ingesting protein and carbs directly before a bout of exercise. This is not to say you should not have anything before going to the gym. It is just saying that it will not increase performance, it is still important to be hydrated and if you like to have a snack before, go for it.
Similar to eating before working out, it is also believe that eating during workouts will help you last longer and be able to perform at your best.
No surprise, the research does not back any of these claims. What is does say is that ingesting carbs during exercise will not help you lift any more and ingesting a protein carb mix does not benefit you but it will not hurt you either (3,4).
What this all means is that for now taking in carbs and protein during exercise will not necessarily help or hurt your progress. Which can be interpreted as there needs to be more research done. It comes down to personal preference, if you want to eat something, then eat something.
Post workout protein shakes have been a staple for most for years, and for good reason too. This goes for eating carbohydrates post workout as well. By ingesting a carbohydrate protein mix, this will insure that your muscle glycogen stores are filled and ready for your next workout and also increase protein synthesis, which leads to muscle growth. Protein has also been shown to prevent muscle soreness or DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness (2).
Taking in protein and carbs post workout is seen as the best time to take in your nutrients, when your body is low after its bout of exercise. By doing so you will ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body need to build muscle and recover. Leading to better results and a better looking sexier you.
If you did not read the first three sections it’s ok, because I am going to sum every thing up in one sentence.
Taking carbs and protein directly before and during a workout will not increase performance, but post workout eating is essential to muscle health and recovery.
1. Baty, J., & Wang, B. (2007). The effect of a carohydrate and protein supplement on resistance exercise performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage. J Strength Cond Res, 21, 321-329.
2. Jackman, S., & Witard, O. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42, 962-970.
3. Kulik, J. R., & Touchberry, C. D. (2008). Supplemental carbohydrate ingestion does not improve performance of high-intensity resistance exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(4), 1101-1107.
4. Stearns, R. L., & Emmanuel, H. (2010). Effects of ingesting protein in combination with carbohydrate during exercise on endurance performance: A systematic review with meta-analysis . Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2192-2202.
Don’t worry I am not going to tell you about how its important to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep to perform at your best. If you don’t know you should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep – now you know.
I see this all too often in the gym, people flying through a workout in 15 minutes that should take 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Why is this? Because they take 5 second breaks in between their sets. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for little to no rest in workouts, but not when it comes to training for power, strength, and hypertrophy.
The breaks between sets allows for your Creatine Phosphate and your ATP, the two main sources of energy during anaerobic exercise, to resynthesize.
Think of it this way, if I asked you to bench your 5 reps max and then asked you to do it again, with no rest, you could not do it. If you think it takes about 1 second in the eccentric phase (lowering) and 1 second in the concentric phase (pushing) that is 2 seconds it takes to complete 1 repetition on the bench, times 5 give you 10 seconds. Within the first 10 seconds 90% of your ATP is used up and within 5 to 30 seconds 50 to 70% of your creatine phosphate is used up. That does not leave you with much to work with.
It takes 3 to 5 minutes for your ATP stores to refill and 5 to 8 minutes for creatine phosphate. So, if I am going for strength I need as much ATP and creatine phosphate is I can get. That means my breaks are going to be between 2 to 8 minute breaks between sets.
Rest times breakdown as such for exercise goals.
- Strength: 2-5 min
- Power: 2-5 min
- Hypertrophy: 30 sec – 1:30 min
- Endurance: <30 sec
I know sitting around for 5 minutes sounds like more work then lifting mad weights. There are several things you can do to fill your time between exercises.
- Rest it out: get some water, sit around, talk around the water cooler, Anything but looking at yourself in mirror.
- Stretching/mobility work
- Super Set: two different exercises back to back
When Not to Rest
As mentioned above, there is a time and a place when we want little to no rest between sets. This may be for weight management, muscle endurance, or being more sports specific. By having little to no rest this will keep the heart rate up and also increase the lactic acid threshold, increasing weight loss and muscular endurance.
Proper rest will lead to grater fitness success
Feel free to post your comments and questions. I love talking anything fitness, so ask away. You can message me here, Facebook, and Twitter.