Now, I may take some heat for this.  My clientele may come out and think that this is about them.  It’s not.  I promise.  But what we know and what we continuously find out all the time is that consistency is the key to success.  No excuses, no issues, no rationalizations.  So many new gym goers give up so quickly because they are not seeing the results that they want in the time span that they think they should.  So they quit and say that it wasn’t worth it or it wasn’t working.  But just like anything else, exercise is a SKILL.  And skills need to be practiced.  Now, that being said, practice does NOT make perfect, as the old adage goes.  Practice makes PERMANENT.  It’s good to be consistent, but you have to be consistently GOOD.   If you practice exercise poorly (a discussion that I have with person after person that I come in contact with), you will only emphasize and promote poor movement and long-term injury.  But so many people are not willing to put in the consistent practice to make sure that what they do, they do WELL.  It is just like your mother always told you when you were a kid….Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well.  So be good at it!  But you have to practice.  And in order to practice, you need to BE THERE.  Get consistent.  Get good!

Hard Before Easy

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What is good to eat?  It’s a question that trainers and health experts have been getting……well, since there were trainers and health experts.  So, here are just a few simple dietary must haves (in my humble opinion) that you should get some of each and every day:

1.  Quality proteins – Fiber One bars and Clif Bars don’t count.  These are low quality sources of protein (and that’s being generous).  Quality proteins include things like eggs, lean grass-fed meats and dairy.  If you’re not of the animal eating club, then things like nuts and seeds (almonds, chia and quinoa work well, just to name a few).  Try to avoid the packaged and processed as much as possible, just like you would with anything.

2.  Quality Fat sources – Over the course of time, the media and limited research have turned fats into a dirty F-word.  The fact is that the body needs fats to survive and properly function.  Good sources include things like EVOO, Coconut milks and oils (great source of vital saturated fats and the oil is great to cook with).  Again, eggs are a great fat source and completely nutrient packed.  Avocados, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, cashews and the list goes on.

3.  Nutrient dense foods – Nutrient dense defines a food that packs a whole lot of nutrition into a small amount of food.  Colorful fruits and most vegetables.  The fresher the better.  Remember, the more that something is processed and rendered, the less nutritious is becomes.  So, the closer that you can get things to their natural state, the better.  If you can grow it yourself, then even BETTER!

4.  Balance – The biggest thing that one needs on a daily dietary basis is balance.  Diets that cut out entire food groups just don’t work.  Or fads that promise quick and huge results.  Your carb/fat/protein ratios should be a lot closer than you think.  I like to try to make about 1/3 of my calories FAT, and a quarter to a third protein.  Great nutrition (good sources, of course), and I’m less hungry all day long.  The sugars get limited, for the most part, to natural sugars (fruit, honey, etc.).  Try to limit the processed stuff whenever you can.  But remember, that there also has to be a note of desirability to what you eat every day.  If you hate everything you eat, you are less likely to stick to the plan long term.

Eat well!

Fat_Vs_Thin_diagram

Truthfully, that was misleading.  This isn’t a post about weight lifting at all.  Not about good ol’ Arnold and his books and methodologies.  It’s actually about your food.  Did you know that Iron is a very important part  of your diet?  Well, it’s also one of the most commonly deficient nutrients out there, as well.

First off, let’s look at what Iron is for.  For each and every one of us, there is a structure in your blood called Hemoglobin (Hb).  This Hemoglobin’s job is to carry Oxygen (as well as other stuff) to your cells so that it can be used to create energy for you to perform your daily functions.  So, follow the chain of events here.  If you lack Iron in your bloodstream, then your body cannot properly create enough Hemoglobin.  If you can’t create Hemoglobin, then you cannot carry a sufficient amount of Oxygen to your cells.  If your cells don’t get the Oxygen, you can’t create enough energy.  How do you feel when your body cannot consistently create energy?  Tired, right?  Chronically fatigued.  Which is one of the primary symptoms of the condition, Anemia.  Anemia, which is most commonly caused by a lack of Iron in the bloodstream.

So, you have to increase the Iron in your diet (assuming your are somewhat deficient).  But where do you get it?  Well, your best source of Iron is simply red meat (sorry vegetarians).  Per unit of food, red meat blows away the next best sources.  However, there are other sources of Iron out there, including leafy greens (the darker, the better), eggs (YOLK part), beans, lentils and chick peas.  Also, if you are getting Iron, make sure to get enough Vitamin C, as well.  It helps your body use the Iron the way that it’s supposed to.  So, there is your daily physiology lesson, all wrapped up in food, as usual.  So, go have a steak and get some energy!

iron-rich-vegetables-and-meat

Seriously?!  That’s about all that I can say about the image below!  We saw this on a billboard on our way back from Tennessee over the weekend, and I almost hit the person in front of me because I was so IRRITATED that this is even allowed.  Yes, obesity is going to be classified as a disease in the near future.  This, to me, is super-ridiculous!  Obesity is NOT a disease for most people.  I’m not saying that some people don’t have legitimate genetic, chemical, reasons for obesity.  THAT, my friend, makes up a vast minority of the cases.  For most, this will serve as an excuse to get MEDICATED instead of MOTIVATED.  And it pisses me off.  Cancer is a disease.  Parkinson’s, Alzheimer and Diabetes.  These are diseases.  As defined:

dis·ease
diˈzēz
noun
  1. 1.
    a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
    I don’t think that obesity fits the definition.  We’ll see.
    Obesity is a disease

Well,  I hope that you all had a wonderful and Tryptophan/Carbohydrate-induced coma Thanksgiving.  Heaven knows that we did in the Sabino household.  Always good to see the fam.  However, now we’re into crunch time.  Only 3 weeks until Christmas week and it’s filled with treacherous holiday friend and office parties.  So, I just want to impart a couple of things to remember over the next month in order to keep you in line and OFF the upper ends of your scale (and therefore off the edge of the cliff):

1.  Moderate.  You can’t avoid the parties.  You can’t avoid the treats.  They are going to be around no matter how you happen to feel about it.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to pull up permanent residence at the snack table.  There’s this little thing called will power.  Find it and use it.  There is no need to go back to the trough for third and fourth helpings.  It’s OK to have some, but don’t bogart the entire plate of fudge and hide shamefully in your office.

2.  Keep active.  The weather is getting uglier, but you can still do something.  Not only will it help fight the battle of the bulge, so to speak, but it will also keep your mood and spirits elevated throughout this holiday season.

3.  Make sure to stay hydrated and get a good mix of foods.  Get those vitamins, minerals and water into  your system.  ‘Tis also the season that colds and flus start going around pretty rampantly, and everyone is always eager to share.  So do everything you can to keep the viruses and bacteria at bay.  Not through tons of supplements, but eat good foods and stay healthier (says the guy with the scratchy throat).  Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but lower your odds as much as you can, and shorten the duration if you do happen to come down with something.

Have a great holiday season (no matter which version of the holiday you celebrate).  Stay happy and stay HEALTHY.

have_a_very_fit_christmas

So, as you can probably guess, this will be our only posting here for the week.  I love you guys, but not nearly enough to go to work on a National Holiday (don’t be offended).  Anyway, I just want to take the opportunity to make sure that all you people out there in The Land of The Truth ENJOY your Thanksgiving holiday.  This is a time for celebration and joy.  So many people are going to fret and stress about what they are eating and how much fat and how many calories are being consumed in just one day.  Listen.  Forget about it.  Just for a day.  Part of my mission here is to teach people to be healthy and HAPPY.  One of the things that ruins happiness the most is constantly stressing out about what you eat.  Now, you all know that I am NOT saying that you have carte blanche to eat whatever and whenever.  You KNOW better than that.  However, take some time for you.  Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy your family.  And if you don’t like your family, enjoy your friends.  Whatever works, I promise not to judge.  But whoever you are with, you will drive them NUTS if you are stressing about fats and calories, etc.  If you are really feeling guilty, join a local Turkey Trot in the morning.  You’ll feel justified for burning off some pre-meal calories and the monies always go to a good cause.  But relax the rest of the day or even the weekend if that is what is required.  You can easily jump back on the horse next week.  You’ll have 3 full weeks to fret until Christmas.  So, Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your family.  Enjoy your friends.  Enjoy your food.  Enjoy your life!

charlie brown thanksgiving

Did you know that Americans spend over $30 billion annually on weight-loss programs and products?  $30 BILLION dollars (I feel like Dr. Evil when I say that).  Things like juice fasts that can last up to 30 days (WAY unhealthy), acupuncture (only effective when COMBINED with diet and exercise), fad diets and hot yoga (don’t even get me started).  That breaks down to hundreds of dollars per person spent on weight loss.  Not to mention the time, effort, and frustration that go along with it.  And all of it stems from our notion that we are owed some form of instant gratification.  That just because it took me 10 or 20 or 30 years to make our bodies look like this, there is no WAY that it should take that long to take it off.  I should be able to shed this extra 10, 20 or 30 pounds in the next month, or definitely by Christmas.  You and I both know that that’s not how it works, right?  We know that good old clean eating is really the key.  So, how do I “eat clean”?

Eat a Balance of foods – You can’t be healthy if you are completely eliminating an entire food group.  You may need less carbs than you think (only about 40% of your total calories will probably do), but you still need them.  Fats are essential, etc.  Get a good balance of foods in your diet.  Look for lots of colors.

Choose Whole Foods – Supplements are meant to be just that.  They are supposed to go WITH your diet, not INSTEAD of your diet.  Supplements will never give you what food will, especially in terms of QUALITY.  You have to eat good, whole, REAL food.  Vegetables, fruits, meats/nuts/fish, etc. to get the results that you are looking for.

Make it a “lifestyle” – Diets are temporary.  Lifestyles are forever.  Make your food habits forever.  Don’t look for the temporary fix.  Look for the lifetime of health.

Be patient and have a plan – This is not an overnight fix.  You and I have discussed this and know this all too well.  You have to be disciplined and be patient.  If you are dropping 1-2 pounds per week, you are in a really good place.  Remember, as well, this is not a linear process.  You’re going to have bumps and setbacks along the way.  You have to make sure that you are in it for the long haul, and don’t get down on yourself if you have a bad day or a bad week.  Just get back on the horse and back on track.

If we could re-divert the money we spend on quick fixes over to good, whole foods, a lot of our problems would sort themselves out, don’t you think?

Eat clean 2