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Information Overload

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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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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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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.”

Jonce Gets His Groove On!

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Sometimes at IMS, you gotta let your hair down and let the music take you where it will. You can still get one heck of a workout, as demonstrated by the Jonce and his technical techno-magical trampoline trouncing technique! Go, Jonce go!