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The Difference Between “Fitness” and “Training”

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To the average person, fitness and training are the same, since they both involve sweating and burning of calories. But in actual reality, there is a big difference between fitness and training. Fitness involves sets of exercises taken on to help an individual achieve a good state of health and good feeling in their body. Training however, involves building resistance and strength.

Fitness exercises are geared towards burning calories and maintaining a good size and shape, meanwhile training activities are geared towards making the individual skillful in certain area of specialization. For instance, a footballer must train in order to be successful on the football pitch. It is mandatory, not optional, else they would fail in their set task. For fitness persons, exercising is not mandatory, it is important, but optional; no one imposes it on him.

Fitness is a fundamental part of a healthy person’s regime. It has to be done just to ensure we stay healthy or in shape. Fitness is mostly performed by most people just for the fun of it; some do it to stay in shape, while others do it because they just feel like it. Many gym-goers even go to the gym with exercising as a secondary motive, along with other motives such as socializing and making new friends. With training this is not so, most trainees such as athletes and sports persons know that training is mandatory for them to accomplish their long term performance goals.

With training comes planning. Planning is very important to achieve the desired goal of every trainer, and this planning is done strategically with a series of intense and strenuous exercises going into making it successful. Fitness does not require much planning, as anyone can do certain reps of aerobic exercises each day and still be fit. There is no end goal in mind, other than to be healthy, which is why there is no necessity of systematic planning for a fitness regime.

Fitness does not involve any form of intensity, because you do not necessarily have to have a set goal in mind nor something to look up to to make you always stick with it. Training takes effort and involves pain. It is intense and takes a lot of hard work. It involves putting yourself under a lot of tension to bring about your desired objective, meanwhile fitness is easy and fun, and can be done by almost anybody. It does not require much intensity or much effort, unlike training. Many trainees may want to quit because of the intensity involved, but constantly reminding them of the end-goal makes them spurred to keep at it no matter the pain and pressure involved. They see the pain as mandatory and a normal feeling for them to encounter the rewarding effects of training later on.

With fitness, most people tend to stop working out or exercising once they have gained the desired shape or size they wished for before starting the fitness regimen; they usually do not see a reason to follow through, since they now seem fit. They may just exercise at irregular intervals just for health’s sake. Trainees on the other hand go through the exercises with an end goal in mind, most of which are long-term goals with great rewards. These may include monetary, trophies, accolades and other forms of personal accomplishments. With this end goal in mind, they can easily put aside thoughts of quitting like the average fitness person would. This end goal pushes them to keep going the ‘extra mile’ in their training hoping to reap the rewards sooner or later.

Training is aimed towards making the individual strong and make the body able to do certain tough activities usually not easily achievable. Fitness on the other hand, is geared towards making the individual be in good shape and maintain proper health. Training makes you more conscious of the abilities of your body, its strengths and limitations, how responsive it can be to certain tensions put on it, and how that tension transforms it. It empowers you to know the capabilities of your body, its endurance limits and helps you to stretch yourself even further.

For the average gym-goer, fitness involves going to the gym and repeating the same types of exercises each time. This makes the effect of exercise predictable and yields fewer results, because it gets to a point where the individual plateaus in those sets of exercises and it just becomes the norm, or a fun thing to do; otherwise not stimulating any new desire or growth. With training, series of exercises are systematically arranged and planned to attain specific results.

Training is a task that must be mastered through consistency. Being consistent in training makes the body adapt to it and only then does it start yielding the desired results.

Fitness is something that can be performed on your own without the need for any support or enforcing party; meanwhile with training, because of the intensity of the exercises carried out, there is a tendency to want to quit, which is why training has to be done alongside an experienced coach who encourages you to keep going, even when you feel like quitting. The training coach ensures you stay true to your training goals without compromising. Most of the time, these training coaches help to design the training programs and plan out how to realize the goal.

I wanted to write this blog so that people understand the difference between “training” and “fitness”, and to truly realize what goes into “training.” I also think that training helps one cope with the hardships that we encounter in our lives. How so? Well, if someone can develop themselves to go through a challenging training, he/she will then be able to handle the challenges of life. Because when one is training, he/she is not only training the body, but also (and maybe even more importantly) the mind. And that is why at IMS, I train my clients with the hope that not only can I help them become better ‘performers,’ physically, but also ‘mentally.’

Training changes your philosophy of life because you recognize that you are capable of using your mind to change your body. –Jean Nidetch

 

I Don’t Have Enough Time to Workout… Really?

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timefliesTaking care of our health is a non-negotiable factor for longer living. Living a life of perfect health involves a lot of personal effort on an individual’s path, including eating right and having a proper fitness regimen which is strictly adhered to. As important as this may sound, it seems a rather difficult task for many people to keep up to.  When it comes to lack of proper exercise schedule, the number one excuse people give for not working out is that they do not have enough time. With the daily pressures of work, family and pursuing a career, many people feel less compelled to put much priority to having regular exercise.

Exercise is rather important because of the innumerable benefits it offers our bodies, among which is the ability to help us live longer and healthier, by ensuring we do not lose a lot of bones and muscle as we age. The benefit of exercise is common knowledge to most people, and they wish they could engage often in it, but they are laid back because there are so many activities all seeking for their attention. Yet among these activities, a fitness program is of utmost importance to sustain a healthy and well balanced life.

If we carefully analyze our lives, we would find out that, if our priorities are properly organized, we would have enough time to do the important things such as exercising. We often focus most of our time on a lot of irrelevant tasks, such as watching TV, reading emails, or chatting for long hours with friends. These tasks are not bad by themselves, but they could be properly prioritized to enable us have enough time to focus on keeping our health together. Being accountable with our time and setting priorities would enable us have time to include a workout schedule.

People complain they don’t have time to exercise because they don’t see it as a priority. They admit it is important, but their failure to workout shows that it is not a priority in their list of activities; because what we actually do is what determines our priorities. Seeing fitness as a priority would change your perspective, ensuring you create time for it no matter your tight schedule. How your time is spent determines the priority you place on something. Carefully planning your time and minimizing the time spent on some other activities would allow you have time to put in on a workout.

With 168 hours in a week, exercise time can easily be included. If you count family time, work time, and sleep time, time should also be reserved for taking care of your health. If the health is neglected, when the body breaks down, we would be forced to take off work and family time just to get our health back. Since this is the case, it is imperative to avoid the body breaking down by taking time to care for our health. It’s sufficient to state that we all have equal hours in a day; what we do with it determines our outcome.

Some ways to make exercising a lifestyle is:

  1. Hire a qualified fitness professional (and as you can see I’m using the word qualified, not certified, because as I always say, certified does not mean qualified.)
  2. Set up your fitness goals: You could have a diary or an app on your phone which you use to set up your fitness goals and set reminders to achieve them, setting up the times and days of the week to work out. When we have goals, the rate of achieving them is high.
  3. Choose your most favorable times of the day: You can fit your workout sessions as the first thing do in the mornings. That way you are not exhausted from work, and it has been planned for earlier on. You could get up earlier in the mornings just to have time to exercise.
  4. Adjust your timetable: Adjusting your timetable to allow workout time is very paramount. Cut down a little time from some of your usual tasks to have extra time that can be used for exercise. Ensure that the extra time is not used for anything other than exercise.
  5. Incorporate exercise in your work: While working you could take short breaks of 10-15 minutes to work out even while at the office. Simple exercises such as plank, squats, lunges do not need any special equipment, and can easily be done anywhere.

To make exercise a lifestyle, it is important to be consistent with it. Do it consistently for about a month and you will see how it forms into a habit you will always enjoy doing without much effort.

Exercising is not comfortable but it is necessary. The benefits of engaging in it regularly far outweigh whatever discomfort you may feel initially. Making time for it would go a long way in ensuring we live better and healthier lives.

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. – William Penn

Interview: Prela – Lost 47lbs in 4 months

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So how did you first hear about IMS?

Well, I was at a friends coffee shop, and he pointed out that I had gained a lot of weight. He told me about this trainer that he knows by the name of Jonce. This was a Saturday. I came in to IMS on Sunday for my consultation, and started my training that Monday.

What had you actually make an appointment and show up?

I’m 43 years old, and I know that excess stomach fat is very bad for you. I didn’t want to develop problems later in life. So I figured I’d get motivated and get back to where my ideal weight is, around 200-205lbs.

So how long have you been working out at IMS?

This is my fourth month, and so far I’ve lost 47lbs.

That’s amazing. So what keeps you motivated to keep going?

Every time I get up and take my shirt off I look better and better. My shirts fit good, I feel great, I breath great, I can move better, and I can even get out of bed easier. It changed my life dramatically, from waking up in the morning, to going to bed at night, whatever I do in between is what helps me get better, faster, and do what I do.

So aside from the physical changes, how else has training at IMS impacted your life?

Well my confidence has gone through the roof. I feel great, I look great. It’s given me a real vote of confidence that I’m at my ideal weight. Now when I put clothes on I look the way I want to look rather than them making me feel like I’m overweight.

In terms of nutrition, what to do tell yourself when you’re tempted to eat something that you know isn’t going to be good for you?

Well, I have this idea in my head that any time I want to eat a slice of pizza or a bacon cheeseburger, I think about my trainer Jonce. I know what he puts me through, and to eat that burger or that slice of pizza isn’t really worth it, because I know if I eat it on Tuesday and then I go to train on Wednesday, I’m not getting any better that day, I’m just working off what I ate the day before. So instead of getting stronger and losing more weight, I’m setting myself behind. So instead, I just wake up in the morning and eat healthy and stick to the program. Now don’t get me wrong, I will still eat a slice of pizza on occasion, but everything is in moderation and I don’t overindulge myself.

My motto is “whatever tastes good you eat; whatever tastes delicious you don’t eat.”

So it sounds like you’re keeping in mind that that instant gratification is going to pale in comparison in the long term to how you’ll feel about yourself if you do the right thing.

Absolutely. To get to where I want to get to, I know I have to follow the program.

What advice do you have for people who right now are struggling to stick with a nutrition plan?

I’m probably one of the laziest people when it comes to working out. I’ll be straight up honest with you. The only thing I can recommend is DO IT, DO IT, DO IT. You will feel great! When I first started training, I did two pushups, two minutes on a rowing machine, and I was done. I was at 251lbs. Now I feel wonderful. The first two weeks of training were hell. Since then it has gotten easier and easier, and better and better.

Whatever you do, whatever you decide to eat, think about what you’re going to eat before you eat it. Ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”.

I used to say to myself “I can’t wait until I get home and eat that bowl of pasta, it’s going to make me feel happy.”. And for that 5-10 minutes, it made me feel happy. But for the next 24 hours, I felt like crap, and I looked like crap, simple as that.

Many people go on a diet or have a personal trainer, but to lose 47 pounds in 4 months is really something else. What do you attribute having lost all of that weight so quickly to?

Support and positive reinforcement man. The way my mother looks at me, or my brother telling me “wow you look so different!” or “wow you lost so much weight!”. What it comes down to is that you always know what you look like. If you’re afraid to take your shirt off at the beach, then you know you’re overweight. So for me taking my shirt off, and feeling way more confident than I used to feel, that’s my motivation.

I think that in many ways most people know that they need to eat healthy and workout. It sounds simple but very few people actually do it.

Jonce told me a long time ago, “next time you go to the grocery store, or next time you go to the mall, or next time you go anywhere, look around, and see how many people are overweight.” And I never used to think about that or notice it, but now I’m mindful when I’m out and I see people, and I feel bad for them, because I know how I feel now compared to how I felt 4 months ago. After 4 months of hard hard work, I’ve becoming addicted. I’m addicted to doing what I’ve got to do, to get to where I need to get to. Once you get there, it’s much easier to maintain your body once you’re at your peak. But if you don’t get to your peak, you could workout for a week or two and then quit, and you’ll gain more weight than you had two weeks ago. So keep on doing what you’re doing, and keep on fighting. I don’t know anyone that loves to go workout, but you gotta do it if you wanna feel comfortable with yourself and if you wanna look and feel amazing.

“Whatever tastes good eat, whatever tastes delicious, don’t eat!”

Fitness or Weight Loss? Two Different Goals

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Being healthy involves living a balanced lifestyle with both fitness and proper nutrition. Many people consider weight loss to be the highest priority and sideline the effect of having a proper fitness program in place. It is important to note that both weight loss and fitness are crucial aspects of achieving wellness, though neither one depends on the other.

In weight loss, a certain amount of intake restriction is required.  Reduction of calorie intake is vital, as excess calories form a majority of the excess weight. When losing weight, look at food and drink options that are beneficial to the body yet contain fewer calories. Focus on healthy options such as fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins.

It is a well-known fact that exercise is important for a healthy body. Weight loss alone is not enough to live a healthy lifestyle, it must be coupled with exercise and working out as part of a lifestyle regimen to maintain a healthy body. When starting a new fitness program, something as simple as taking a daily walk will help increase weight loss as long as it coincides with a healthy diet. Since many people are sedentary for most of the day, including physical activities in their lives will increase their weight loss efforts.

Fitness benefits the body in many ways regardless of the weight of the individual. It helps in preventing cardiovascular disease. It also helps the heart function optimally, without fear of certain heart diseases such as stroke. Fitness also contributes to the CNS (central nervous system) operating with a higher capacity. It does this by ensuring that blood is pumped efficiently throughout the heart and brain. Exercising also helps in burning calories, whether light physical activity or high intensity. It is beneficial to our emotional health, and helps to reduce stress. It even improves sleep, which is essential for a healthy body.  

Fitness is an important aspect of wellness that will benefit anyone whether you are slim or overweight, meanwhile weight loss efforts are common among people who are overweight, obese or people who are generally unhappy about their weight.

Generally, the process of weight loss ends when you achieve your desired weight. It’s not a go-ahead to binge or return to old eating habits, it just means no more anxiety about losing that extra fat. Fitness, however, is a lifelong journey. It is necessary for both the old and the young. We can’t outgrow the need for a regular fitness routine. It is an important aspect of any weight loss journey. Weight loss meanwhile, isn’t required for any form of fitness endeavor. Exercises vary from cardio, to endurance, to strength training; all of which are geared towards achieving total health.

Fitness and weight loss are both crucial elements of wellness. Each one enhances the other. Weight loss focusing on nutrition and food choices, without including a complete fitness plan, is unrealistic. Likewise, using exercise to burn calories without considering, and making adjustment to your eating habits, is a wasted effort. A healthy lifestyle can be countered by missing out on any one of them. Including regular exercise like running, lifting weights, or even walking helps to complement a healthy diet.

“Development of the mind can be accomplished only when the body has been disciplined.”

 

DIETS DON’T WORK, REALLY!

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Diets don’t work in long-term effectiveness. They are a quick fix. One must change their lifestyle for long term success.

So many diets have come and gone, with many promises of quick weight loss if certain programs are adhered to. It has quickly become a massive industry generating a lot of income, because of the desire of many people to achieve the slim-figure constantly shown to us in the media. It is interesting to note that, despite all the multitudes of dieting programs, there has been little success in the weight loss efforts of most of the population. People attempting to lose weight seem to do so initially at the start of these diet programs, but end up with much more weight after the dieting is over. This leaves them resigned, wondering how they blew it again.

Maintaining a healthy weight involves much more than food restriction. It is a lifestyle that  needs to be developed and not just a program to stick to for two or three months. Dieting is just a temporary fix to solve your weight problems, the results really aren’t going to last, because once the diet has ended, you find yourself plugging back to the same old habits that got you stuck with the fat in the first place; and then the cycle continues. For effective weight loss, everything from what you eat, to how you think, to what you do, should all be in alignment with the healthy lifestyle that you are developing.

For effective weight loss,

Through research carried out by psychologists, it has been found that, the effect of dieting on the brain is such that it sends a message of “I am being starved” to the brain. The effect of this is that after the dieting period has ended, the body tries to regain every ounce of the fat it has lost, thereby leading to additional weight gain. Diets really don’t work because they just focus on one aspect of weight loss: food. Other aspects such as mindset, exercise, sleep, stress management, and hydration are left out, making it totally one-sided, which is not what the body needs. Effective weight loss focuses on total management of every area of health and wellbeing, ensuring a balance and not starvation in any form.

A common assumption among dieters when they fail in their efforts to lose weight is that they are not disciplined enough, or that they lack the willpower to stay lean.

Some attribute their dieting failures to their own laziness or gluttony, failing to realize from the inception that, dieting is bound to fail, because it is not a healthy way to lose weight. Meanwhile, losing weight shouldn’t be this difficult and strict-ruled. It is easy to maintain a healthy weight when it’s fun, and not with stringent rules. Dieting produces a kind of tension in our minds, with don’t- eat- this rules, eventually causing stress that makes many well-intentioned efforts backfire.

Through research carried out by psychologists, it has been found that, dieting sends the message “I am being starved” to the brain. The result is that after the dieting period has ended, the body tries to regain every ounce of the fat it has lost, thereby leading to additional weight gain. Your body doesn’t understand the concept that you are dieting, instead it sees it as starvation and goes into fat storage mode; kind of like, storing fat for the ‘rainy days’.

diets_do_not_work

Diets really don’t work because they just focus on one aspect of weight loss: food. Other aspects such as mindset, exercise, sleep, stress management, and hydration are left out, making it totally one-sided, which is not what the body needs. Effective weight loss focuses on total management of every area of health and wellbeing, ensuring a balance and not starvation in any form.

Cultivating sustainable lifestyle changes is important, much more than just focusing on food restriction alone. What we eat, and how much we eat is equally important, but that shouldn’t be the only point of focus or weight loss efforts will just be myopic and yield no results. It is overall important to look at our previous eating habits and patterns, why we eat what we eat and how we eat it. It is a process of changing our negative patterns all around, both internally and externally, to influence every sphere of our life, and not just our food.

Dieting produces psychological effects such as obsession with food, and increased cravings to eat even in the absence of hunger, due to lack of attentiveness. The rigidity and restriction of dieting may eventually lead to some form of eating disorder and binge eating. The high focus on weight loss in dieting may lead to depression and low self-esteem, when the dieter eventually finds out the approach isn’t yielding any positive results. Medical complications that can arise from diet due to starvation include: weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and poor immune system.

Getting past the don’t-eat-this-or-that to developing a healthy habit of choosing healthy pathways to staying healthy; having a healthy approach to living allows excess weight to be lost  slowly and naturally, and because of the accumulation of healthy habits. This kind of lifestyle prevents you from being at war with your body through some diets that could damage internal workings of the body as a whole. When weight is lost through healthy lifestyle habits, the effects are lasting.

not-on-a-diet-1

Being healthy isn’t all about weight loss. It involves choosing to live daily with habits which ensure your overall well-being. Our lifestyle choices would determine in the long run whether the excess weight is lost, and not merely by boycotting certain foods. For overweight/obese persons, it’s a change that should be taken one step at a time.  It should not be a quick fix, but instead a long-term guarantee to better living that improves overall health even without weight loss. Dieting or any method of losing weight other than lasting change in habits may cause more problems.

Better lifestyle changes that can help maintain a healthy weight without any dieting input include eating consciously, ensuring to eat a balanced diet, being active and engaging in regular moderate physical activity.

After all, what we should all be striving for is total Wellness. “A state of complete physical, mental, and spiritual well-being; not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

“Learn to eat to live, and not to live to eat.”

 

Mindful Eating Vs. Hedonic Eating

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HEDONIC EATING VERSUS MINDFUL EATING

hedonic – of or characterized by pleasure

mindful – conscious or aware of something

We eat food because of its ability to provide us with the necessary nourishment and its ability to aid in our brain function. But with the vast majority of foods available, and their desirable tastes, eating can become a pleasure tool to satisfy our desires. Hedonic eating is eating just for the pleasure it brings rather than for the nutritional benefits that can be gained from such eating. Hedonic hunger makes an individual consume certain pleasant food even in the absence of physical hunger. Food is consumed because of its rewarding component. Hedonic influences abound with the multitudes of technological instruments appealing to our sensory organs. With multitudes of snacks, sweets and various high-calorie foods out there, hedonic eating is a common phenomenon. These foods are palatable, convenient, easily available ,and the desire to consume them is high. Cravings are form of hedonic eating, making the eater desire certain food or drink.

Mindful eating is being more aware of what you eat, savoring every taste and taking every bite consciously, with an effort to stop at just being satisfied, meanwhile hedonic eating makes you eat more food, mindlessly, in a bite to have it all, get over-satisfied and still keep going. Mindful eating observes the body, considers the hunger signals, weighing them rightfully before deciding to eat. While eating, mindful eating takes time to note that all distractions are put aside and focus is put on the food in front of the eater, consuming every bite more consciously, feeling every texture and taste of the food.

Hedonic eating can be triggered by emotional circumstances, such as loneliness and stress. While mindful eating seeks to understand emotional feelings that may trigger hedonic eating, and focuses on not entertaining such feelings and to stay on the course of eating consciously and purposely. Mindfulness while eating encourages you to put away distractions such as TV, internet, and cell phones which could spur overeating. Every time spent in mindful eating can be well accounted for, as the senses are in full corporation with the mouth and stomach.

Consciously putting your mind into eating is very beneficial as it helps you be more in control of your eating behavior. Mindful eating connects with the brain and signals to the body when to stop eating and when to start eating, unlike hedonic eating which hardly connects to the brain in the process of eating; The end is just to satisfy this ‘pleasant urge’ to eat. Mindfulness in eating involves breaking free from usual eating habits by thinking through the feelings and internal forces that influence how you eat and your purpose for eating.

Hedonic eating doesn’t require much effort, most times it’s being programmed by impulse into our subconscious, so when the desire to eat something palatable comes, we just move to eat; meanwhile mindful eating requires effort, programming your mind to consciously choose how food is being eaten. Mindfulness helps you listen to your body when it screams hunger or being full. It allows you to obey your body cues. Self-control is a necessary attribute when it comes to hedonic and mindful eating. Hedonic eaters hardly refrain from food which seems pleasant and desirable to them. Mindful eaters on the other hand consciously weigh all options before eating, and know how to control their mind and sensory organs towards their food.

mindfulhedonic

Hedonic eating is one major cause of obesity, as most times the eaters go over the limit satisfying their hedonistic desire, and eventually accumulate excess fat which is then stored up in their body. Mindful eating is beneficial in weight management, as it helps the eater to be more aware of food choices, portions, and manner of consumption.

Hedonic eaters can become more mindful eaters by taking into consideration their motive for eating and how they eat. It would require conscious disciplined efforts for a hedonic eater to overcome the habit. One way is for such an eater to have an eating diary which helps put in check what to eat and when to eat, and also rating on a scale their level of hunger before having any meal or snack. Questions such as the following should be asked before embarking on any meal: Why am I eating this meal? Am I really hungry? Did I eat in the past 1-2 hours? Am I eating just to satisfy an urge? If these can be answered rightly, it can help the hedonic eater to become more mindful. Also, it would help them overcome their hedonic habits gradually.

It is also important to note that mindful eating is not a method of dieting nor some form of food restriction. It doesn’t limit to certain food structure, but rather it helps to coordinate eating behaviors. On the other hand, dieting could lead to some hedonic behaviors, when the eater becomes emotional or judgmental.

Final thoughts: I could use the term “hedonic” for many other behaviors in today’s society. We are all seeking some form of “self-pleasure” in different aspects of our lives. The danger is when our lives become utterly consumed with a particular “hedonistic” action. Let’s be honest with ourselves, that kind of lifestyle is quite selfish, and not only damaging to one’s self, but also to the people closest to us. So, I think if one can shift from “hedonic eating” to “mindful eating,” then you will at same time start living a conscious life.

“Happiness doesn’t derive from location, or material possession, it derives from a higher state of consciousness.”

Information Overload

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think-for-yourself

Information Overload!

“Eat this and not that……. Train this way and not that way!

 

Information: Knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.    

So the way I understand the definition of “information” is, for us to gain more knowledge about a particular fact/condition. Concerning my present writing about nutrition and training, that would mean that all we have to do is go to a “reputable” source and there we would find all the necessary data regarding what and how we should eat, and how we ought to be training, etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are hundreds of “reputable” websites out there telling us what to do. Which one is it?? Well, I believe that they all are trying to “sell” you, the consumer, their “magic” diet or training concept. People are getting bombarded with information about weight loss and training philosophy. Just stop for a minute and think for yourself. If any of those diets or training concepts would actually work, then we would not need that vast amount of information. We would need just ONE, the one that really works!

Obviously there is no “one fits all”’ concept, considering the number of obese and out of shape people out there. One would think it’s an easy question to answer: What should I eat? But far from that; figuring out what to eat is “ad infinitum”, complicated, and confusing. The reason is, because it’s inconsistent, contradictory and complex. There are approx. 55,000 diet books out there besides endless websites about “healthy eating”. A person who truly wants to live a healthy life does not know what is true or false. One day we are being told drink “tons” of water. After drowning ourselves in the matter, we are told, no, sorry not true anymore. Fat is bad, no, fat is good. Carbs make you fat, no, carbs can help you lose weight. Too much protein is bad, no, more protein will curb your hunger. And the same dilemma lies within the exercising. Train easy, no, train hard. Do HIIT, no, do volume training. CrossFit is good, no, it is bad. Do periodization training, no, do steady linear training. The list goes on and on and on to a point where a person simply feels like giving up.

So to whom can we turn for the “true” information? Doctors still don’t receive adequate nutritional training in medical school. The FDA (food and drug administration) and the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) are certainly not reliable sources for the fact of conflict of interest; they have their money invested in the food and drug corporations. Dietitians and nutritionists are being funded, paid and sponsored by the very same people, who are telling us to eat their junk. Unless you have a lot of money to hire a “professional”, not all of us are a celebrity, you start feeling pretty lost and hopeless. But I say, you don’t have to feel that way, nor do you have to give up on your goal to live a healthier and fuller life.

And now I will share with you how you can find your way out of the “Information Labyrinth.”

Start taking matters in your own hands and initiate to educate yourself about healthy nutrition and proper physical activities. Stop reading about how this “celebrity” lost 50 pounds in 3 months, or how that “fitness guru” is working out. First of all, it’s all about marketing. Secondly, it’s not real nor true, period. But what is much more important, is the simple fact that those people whoever it might be, is NOT YOU! You are an individual; you have a different life, a different bio chemical pathway/composition, and last but not least a distinct gene makeup. That means, what works for xyz does not necessarily have to work for you. Just one simple example. Your BMR (basic metabolic rate), (rate that your body burns calories for merely sustaining all the body’s systems), is certainly different than the BMR of another person. Why is that of importance for you? The BMR depends on gender, age, weight and height. At least one of these components varies from person to person. Hence, an individual who wants to start weight management must know their BMR. Why? Once we know how much energy (food) we need to survive, we can also calculate how many calories from food we need per day, depending on our lifestyle, what kind of work we do, and the amount of physical exercise. That means, the amount of calories that you need to reduce in order to lose weight is different for another person. There are many more factors why you must begin knowing yourself, via self-education. When you start to be physically active, it is the same criteria. What Mr. /Mrs. XXX is doing is not necessarily for you, for the fact that he/she probably has a totally different history of being physically active, or even simply a different goal. By now you are hopefully realizing that in order to succeed in your journey to a healthier and fuller lifestyle you ought to take matters in your own hands, if you are truly sincere.

Now I will give a “map” how to arrive at your destination. Notice, it’s “a map,” not “the map.” For the fact, that there are various paths to get where you want to be. Concerning Nutrition, which by the way will be 90% of the factor whether you succeed or not. Here are the recommendations.

First and foremost, you must not compare yourself to other people. You are a special individual. That means you ought to start educating yourself about your body. And also begin to discover yourself, again. In order to do that you have to think back to the time when it was easier for you to lose extra weight. And I’m not talking about the time when you were much younger, but go maybe 2 to 3 years back. How were your eating habits? Where was your activity level? What made you stop all those things that made you feel good about yourself, and made it easier to succeed in keeping your body in better shape? Then start learning about the human body in a general way, meaning that you don’t have to know the very details of human biochemistry, but e.g., macronutrients, calories, metabolism, hormones that are crucial for weight loss e.g. cortisol, the brain in correlation to weight loss, processed food and the lies of the food and weight loss industry, etc. Once you start gaining more knowledge about these factors, I guarantee you, you will want to know more about it. Which means you will begin learning more about yourself. And if you say to me: “but this is way too much work to do.” Then I will tell you that you are not serious about changing your lifestyle in the first place, period. What can be more important than one’s own health? Nothing! Another “tool” that you can use is, a common denominator. For example, you visited a few websites about a certain subject, let’s say “is sugar bad for us?” And 3 out of 5 reputable sites are confirming that sugar is bad for you, then there is a great chance that sugar is indeed bad for us. You should also look into buying some books. I don’t mean the kind of books that you need to graduate with a doctorate or PhD, but easy to understand, e.g. ‘Nutrition for Dummies,’ or ‘Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, and ‘The China Study’. These are just a few of many good and easy to understand publications. And last but not least; use common sense. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to figure out, that processed food is bad for you. If you don’t know what categorizes processed food, find out. It’s not hard. One of the very disturbing facts is, that people have stopped thinking for themselves. They want to be told how to live their lives.

The same strategy applies in the matter of, as I like to call it, “physical activity.” You don’t need to become a member of those “high tech mega gyms.” Just commence moving your body. With probably the most primal motion, that is – walking. If you are completely out of shape, start walking slow and for a short duration. Then, exponentially increase your speed and distance. There are many great exercises that can be done at home. All you need is your own body. A good book to have for that is, ‘You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises.’ Another good one is ‘Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy.’ Both of these books are under $15. Stay away from so-called “experts,” who are just trying to sell you their “magic”’ exercise concept or equipment. Your body is the best tool to work with.

If you come to a point where you want a bit more than “merely” being healthy, and desire to get to the next “level,” in your fitness journey, then I would advise you to seek out an experienced personal trainer. I am putting a lot of emphasis on the term “experienced.” Because, all the certifications cannot make up for what a trainer who has been in numerous situations knows and more importantly, understands. As I always say, “certified does not mean qualified.”

If you begin to travel this exciting route, always have this quote in mind:

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                           -Greg Anderson

 

 

….but, I was expecting to lose more weight by now….!!

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instant-gratification

The life as a fitness professional is a life full of passion, excitement, and gratification. How can it not be, we help people changing their life style, hence they are getting healthier, happier, and even more successful in all their endeavors. Besides guiding them on their journey through proper physical exercises and accurate nutrition, we also have other roles that we fill in. One of them is being a “psychologist.” I can assure you that we trainers/coaches know more about our clients’ personal life than even their closest family members. So, not only are we helping our clients in the physical aspect of life but also in the mental/emotional. Most of us trainers are doing it out of genuine compassion for the individual, at least that’s what I want to believe. I know very well that some of us are pretending to care or to have empathy and doing it for the money. But that is not the subject of this writing.

As I said before, the life of a fitness professional is very worthwhile, but there is also a part of it that at times can be very frustrating, particularly when the client is unjustifiably not “happy” with the results. Most of us have dealt with situations where it is challenging to stay calm and professional, when being questioned or even doubted by our clients. And to a certain degree it is understandable when our trainees lose patience on their journey to a healthier and better life. Because, we do live in a society where the media and the corresponding sources are lying to the people about the, as I call it, “quick fix.” Hence, we have “evolved” into a society of instant gratification. But the truth of the matter is that there is no such thing, as a quick fix. That is the essence, which we must convey to our clients. Nobody can undo an unhealthy life style of many years in a matter of a ‘short’ duration of time, period. It is unrealistic and not fair to the trainer, who truly puts a lot into the well-being of the client, to expect unworkable results. But I sincerely believe, if a person is genuinely serious about changing his/her life style to become the individual that one has set to be; then we as professionals must overcome our egos and solely think that we are dealing with a human being, who has its own daily frustrations in his/her life, when we are contested by our clients. In my 23 years of training people and “putting up” with them, I’ve never been in a situation where my clients did not understand the concept of “everything worthwhile takes time.” I took it upon me to explain to them how our bodies work and most importantly I would listen to them. I must admit that sometimes it’s not easy, but the thought that this person has chosen me to guide him/her on the journey to a healthier and fuller life makes it worthy to me, over and over again.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

-John Holmes

Personal Training or Training a Person?

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training-a-person

One might ask, “Isn’t that the same?” The answer is —-NO! When I started in the fitness industry almost 30 years ago, there was no “Personal training” available: hence, the concept of personal fitness training as a profession was non-existent. A lot has changed ever since, but one thing has not changed, and that is, how to train a person as an individual, and how to approach the human body as an object of physical activity. And these two factors are the dividing edge between “Personal Training, or Training a Person.”

Nowadays the fitness industry is flooded with personal trainers. They come from all different walks of life. But more important than that, is their reasons and motivations to be a Fitness professional. Most of the personal trainers present are under the age of 35. And by no means do I want to discredit young fitness professionals, but there is something to it, and that is experience. Not just professional experience, but also life experience. See, when I started training/coaching people I was in my mid-twenties. I had a fair amount of knowledge about the physiology and anatomy of the human body. But what I was lacking were two things, empathy and understanding, for the individual as a person, and as a client. When a client comes to a fitness professional for help, for whatever reason it might be, it’s because that person has concluded that he/she cannot do it on his/her own. So, that individual is coming with a certain level of trust. Now, as his/her trainer you can make that trust grow or eventually diminish. And I can tell you this, if one is just a “personal trainer” then I can guarantee you that client will not stay long with you. So what is the difference between “personal training and training a person?” Let me start with the biggest difference, and that is, you actually truly care about your client. Ask yourself these two questions: Would I care about this person if she/he would not be my client, and also would I care about him/her if he/she decides to leave me after a few sessions. If you can honestly answer these questions with a definitive “yes” then you are “training a person.” But if you cannot then you are “personal training” that person. If the trainer is” training a person”, then and only then he will put everything into the goals and wellbeing of his/her client. But if the trainer is doing it for his own satisfaction and image, then the client is only an object for making the trainers portfolio look good. We fitness professionals must understand that for an utter stranger to come to us and asking us to help change his/her life so that that person not only becomes healthier, but also perhaps to be able to be a better husband or wife, not to be merely a sideline mom or dad, an active grandparent, a more ambitious employee, and the list could go on and on. That person has to make a huge step out of his/her comfort zone. Hence, if we want our client to trust us with his/her desire to change his/her life, we ought to “train a person,” and not simply do “personal training.” We fitness professionals must make it to our ultimate goal to help our clients achieve perfect “Wellness, which is, the state of complete physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”