Get Your F&*#%^@ A$$ In Gear!

Alright, caffeine loaded, random rant based thought primed to unleash, knuckles cracked and game to check how fast I can still type. Oh and sickest Eminem song gonna be on repeat for the entirety of this blog. You’re welcome to join the party:

Get Your F&*#%^@ Ass In Gear!

Look, I’m going to start point fingers; I’m going to start calling some peeps out. I’m going to tell you this for your own good:

Bruce Buffer - It's Time!IT’S TIME!

 As per my usual I shall properly aim this:

If you gained fat in August (or over summer) this is for you. If you missed more than one workout for no real good reason in August, this is for you. If you aren’t in better shape today than before the summer, this is for you. If you don’t already know exactly what your next 4 weeks of training looks like, FAIL, and this is for you. If your posture is starting to resemble the hunchback of Notre Dame and your joints are creaking like an 87-year-old, this is for you. If you haven’t ra-ra’d with your training partner already about the GAINZ about to be had, this is for you. If you’re completely sick of eating the most random meal plan this summer (and it shows on your ass), guess what, this is for you.

This is not for the gym rat who’s in top shape, who’s been killing it week in and week out since April. This isn’t for person who’s got a game plan (stop reading sh*t and get to it)! This is not for the people who spent more time doing cardio than sitting on a patio drinking copious alcoholic beverages. This is not for those slamming chicken breasts on the regular. This is not for those clients who showed up for sessions every week this summer. To those people, I salute you! Keep going.

Merry Go Round

Seasons of Change

I’m 8 years into this fitness thingamajiggy as a career. Let me tell you something, I can nearly predict exactly what you’re thinking and feeling about your fitness, health, enthusiasm and motivation regarding your aesthetics as well. Just plug-in how often you’ve been working on those things and what time of the year it is and ping…..

Your fitness endeavors in August sucked, right! Was probably a lot of fun though. But you’re ready to get back to it. Aching to get back to some sort of routine in fact. Your muscle tone resembles stale spaghetti more than it does a statue carved with pure sacrifice:

Jelena Abbou

Jelena Abbou, oh my

Those of us in the fitness industry are heading into our absolute busiest time from: September-October. It’s even more busy than January is. So expect your gym to be nightmare. Expect your personal trainer to have very few available time slots if you don’t get them booked yesterday.

But some wait, especially the moms. School is going back in session (well, for those of us not facing a ridiculous government that won’t give teachers what they deserve leaving them to strike). The heat waves settle. We start wearing jackets at night. The night comes far earlier it seems. Sleep schedules are messed up. Endless fast food commercial capitalize on all of this chaos, and some of you lose to that.

It’s all a gong show. If you let it be that.

There are two times in the year that pretty much guarantee whether you’ll see your fitness, health and aesthetic/physique goals realized or NOT. You just walked into the second one this year.

See, in April y’all start thinking about summer, looking primo, feeling your absolute best, and making this year THE year. If you didn’t start by May, pshhh you didn’t make it. Not like you wanted to. So, again, everything being a cycle in this industry I can tell you with absolute certainty whatever goals you had set out for yourself during 2014 you have 8-12 weeks to put everything in motion and have it flowing tightly or you’ll be waiting for next April.

Why? Three things:

1) The weather! Let me ask you: did you move more because of the superb weather this summer versus say how much you were moving about in January? Yea, exactly. You’re 200+ days away from that easy groove again. GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

2) Thanksgiving! Come the end of October/start of November it all slows down. Whatever routines you set in the next 8 weeks those are the ones that will hold you through the winter. No one starts getting fit in November. GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

3) December! This month more than any other your diet is going out the window. The weather is the pits so NEPA/NEAT is going down the crapper (and with it your fat loss). If you’re a dude you start talking garbage like this 3rd double cheeseburger this week is “for bulking, brah!” Yea, it shows, brah. Add holidays, time off school (read: routines) if that affects you and the endless “c’mon just have one, you’re in great shape!” GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

Which Gear?

8 Speed Gear Shift 8Yea, that one!

Here’s what you need to do:

1) If you don’t have a training schedule, program and game plan already set up, do it. If you normally workout with a training partner (which you should, there’s nothing more valuable than a good training partner) chat with them about your plans and solidify some commitments to each other. If you don’t have a training partner consider a personal trainer that is frighteningly passionate about what they do, especially if you have never trained regularly in a gym or home before. You’re going to need help navigating the open gym space (yikes) for your go-to hamster wheels are going to be mighty unavailable.

Treadmill monkeys

This should NEVER be your first line of fat loss defense!

2) If you haven’t thrown out all the junk food from your cupboards yet. Do it right now. If you’ve thought about all the stuff you’re going to stop shoveling in your face, have you mapped out all the stuff you are going to replace it with? What’s for lunch 3 days from now? And breakfast the day after? You have all those groceries in your fridge right now, right? No? Okay, get to the grocery stores, butcher shop, and farmer’s markets to stock up. I’ve said it before, you buy your intentions! And if your eating patterns for this entire year thus far have not worked for you, step up and hire a professional for that! Seriously, you’re clearly incapable of understanding which foods work for you. And that’s okay, you don’t cut your own hair; there are times hired help just makes more sense. It’s just one less thing to have to worry about. Follow the plan laid out.

Prepped Meals

3) You may not have realized but all that down time this past month or so, times where there was actually nothing pressing to do, that’s all about to go bye-bye. REAL QUICK. Likely that was a big part in your enjoyment this summer. So be smart, plan your own down time. Meditate. Start taking yoga (or go back to it). Go for a float (seriously!!!). Book regular massages, especially if you have coverage people, c’mon! Your physiotherapist, massage therapist, chiropractor are all about to get super busy too so have standing appointments each month or you’re going to lose out! Have a date night with your spouse once a month at least. Set up a dinner date with family or you’ll get yourself so busy the next time you’ll see them will be Thanksgiving. Don’t get so hung up on your kids hockey and other extracurricular activities that you leave nothing for yourself (you moms do that FAR too much).

4) Measure progress. If you don’t do this one thing, you’ll fail, 85% guaranteed! Look, if you haven’t been on a weight scale (body fat scale preferably) in the last 3 months, normally I would applaud you; but cut the crap, get on the scale. If you haven’t taken progress pics lately, do it, now. Stop being a whimp. If you haven’t tape measured that area of your body that seems to matter most to you in a while, get on it. The point is you need a reality check. And you’re afraid of that.

To that end, I think progress pics are either better taken on muscles you find difficult to bring up, muscles or poses that are the least flattering, or front/side/back comparisons and generally back photos will tell you more than front ones. Pictures don’t lie. We see the front of ourselves nekid every single day!

I’ve always compared my back photos, they tell me most if I’m putting in work, if I’m doing enough to keep my back strong (I’ve had years of low back issues so if my whole backside isn’t big and strong I’m heading down a slippery slope). When I store fat it’s more on my love handles than anywhere else so that’s a good smack upside the head too when I take the photos.

Adrian - Back Progress Pics To Current Aug 2014

These pics tell me everything I need to know about my progress over the past 16 years of working out. 3 months before the 1998 photo I weighed in at a whopping 136lbs!! Within 4 months of weight training (and probably copious amounts of creatine) I ballooned up 30lbs (the first pic top left). I remember my grandfather asking if I was on steroids…at 165lbs HAHAA. As you age, the gains may slow down, but progress should always be made. When I saw my Dec 2013 pics it slapped me upside the head. in 2014 I’ve gained 3lbs of muscle, lost 11lbs of fat, and put two inches on my chest which has really be my main focus this year. But it’s time to get back to flying squirrel mode for my back training. Have to hit a clean 200lbs+ on the scale and beat my March 2013 lat spread!

The point is, if you’re not at your absolute best ever, this day, today, get back to being your best and get beyond it!

So…for those who talk so loudly about their goals, for those with wonky shoulders that do nothing but use it as an excuse as to your lack of being in your best shape ever, for those amidst a huge fat loss plan with hopes of getting married and seeing their best health ever, for those scared of dying of a heart attack if you don’t get your shit together, for those of you who’s ass looks to belong atop a stack of flap jacks at Denny’s, for those who haven’t in recent memory set a PR on a barbell movement or weight plates hanging off your bodyweight (no tricep pressdown PR’s are not a thing!), for those of you who think you’re living for your children by driving them endlessly to all their after school hobbies {first rule of being there for your kids is being ALIVE and hopefully a role model for your kids!}, for those of you who can’t touch your toes, for those of you competing in bikini, figure or such contests and are not absolutely sure you’re BY FAR bringing your best package ever, for those of you who don’t look at least 5 years younger than your actual age, for those of you with dust collecting on your skinny pants, for those of you who are closer to 60 than you are 40 and are in desperate need of packing on some muscle mass, for those of you who can’t recall the last time you cooked a vegetable, for those of you with life or quality of life threatening diseases that are not getting better with time, for those of you who feel blah about your life, your confidence, your motivational powers towards those around you….

Get Your F&*#%^@ Ass In Gear!

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

I’d be happy to help if you’re brave enough to holla!

Why You Don’t Have What You Want of This Life

*disclaimer: yes, unfortunately I have to start this blog this way. This blog isn’t going to be my normal. This isn’t going to be about fat loss, or maybe it is. It isn’t going to be about why you should exercise, or maybe it will be. But I need you to hear me on one thing: I am no guru, I am no saint, I can be hypocritical, and there are times you should just take my verbal advice at face value, not on my own actions… This is simply a, hmmmmm, story I’d like to share with some friends. The concept here has begun to and will drastically shape my life; it may yours as well, or it might not.

In about a month I’ll be turning 35. I don’t hang around any teenagers so I don’t hear them claiming that as old. It’s quite the opposite; I’m around a bunch of 50+ year olds so often it makes me realize how young 35 can actually be.

I’ve been a people watcher my whole life. I’ve always sought to study why we tick. As an introvert and loner per se I’ve never had anyone around me ask the hard questions like “what are you doing with your life?” “What do you think your purpose is?” “Are you truly joyful about the life you lead?” So I had to ask myself instead. And I ask a zillion questions ALL-THE-TIME!

Imaginary Foundation Unfolding

I also happen to run a business and career completely centered on one idea: “I WANT…” People come to me with I want _____, I want _____ or share their life stories about how they are working towards their I want….

So I have a question for you, WHY? Why do you not lead the life you dream of? Why are you not in the shape mentally or physically or financially or socially or whatever that you desire and long for deep down?

I mean seriously, consider that question. You’ll face an onslaught of information slapping you upside your dome. And likely, as usual, you’ll quiet it all back down and leave it for a “better time” to get to heart of the matter.

Step 1: Why We Can’t Sort Out All the Data

If you were going to live the life of your dreams and I’m not talking about the bullshit about how you want to win the lottery and never have to work for you a**hole of a boss again, I’m talking about the life you control (if you are actually in control?), it would have to start somewhere. And somewhere comes down to collecting some bits of data.

  • Who am I? Am I happy with this version of myself? I was recently in a heated discussion with someone about this and I stated that for myself it comes down to one thing: when I lay my head down on my pillow and say goodnight to this reality, if I didn’t wake in the morning, would I be pleased with how I’ve done it this far. Since I was 25ish, the answer has always been yes. And I asked her that question and she went blank, empty. You’re going to have to get to know who you are if you’re ever to figure out how to get the life that person wants to live.
  • What are my faults, what are faults others would say I have standing in my way from the ultimate life? What habits have I formed, good or bad? What outside factors weight in on and shape how I act?
  • What resources do I require to build the life I dream of? Maybe that’s education to work the career you want. Maybe that’s finances in place so you can invest in something. Maybe it’s a social network and family system that supports you where needed. Resources can be information, money, people or enlightenment.

Now a smart person would start making a giant list of all of that. Sort stuff into neat columns, prioritize and group common pieces together.

Nope, they actually wouldn’t. That’s a complete recipe for disaster. Mind as well go bury yourself in an avalanche.

This reminds me of a favored part of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography (shortly into part 2) where he speaks of virtues and trying to work on the one you feel needed the most attention in correction/maintaining for a short period of time and them moving to the next biggest challenge. He would make a chart and keep it visual daily to assess his self-work on virtues he felt would make his life’s quality more profound. When I read this book in my teens I always felt this would be a grand checks and balances sort of life to live.

Benjamin Franklin Autobiography Temperance Daily Check

No one’s got time for that nonsense these days! (Though I really wish I would make time for it)

Trust me, somewhere deep inside your noggin and/or your heart you already know all the answers to those questions above. So let’s move on.

 

Step 2) The Devil’s In the Detail

You know how psychologists, counselors and the sort really don’t dispense advice. It’s actually not their job at all. Their main job is to help you discover the advice from within. You ever notice how when you get someone to talk about their troubles long enough they eventually get sick of running in the same mental circle and come to their own solutions. It’s a beautiful thing. More often than not you are already saying aloud, “Ugh, I wish I would just/just stop doing _________”

Right?

So again, you already have the answers. Maybe you’re just not listening to yourself and those around you that love you for real where they want you to realize all the joy life has to offer.

Step 3) The Needle in the Haystack

Our lives are so detail orientated. We are so proud to put “Great multi-tasker!” on our resumes. We can watch TV, play Angry Birds on our cell phone and carry on a conversation with the person on the couch beside ALL at the same time. Just endlessly absorbing and consuming information and signals…

So when something is awry, we go hunting down that smallest of reasons as to the root cause of it all. And when I find it, then I’ll change it, get rid of it, reverse it, flush it down the toilet. All will then be right in the world! Right?

How old are you? Do you have the life you dream of? If not, I’m here to tell you the needle in the haystack isn’t the problem.

The giant fcukin haystack sitting in the middle of your living room is the problem! And you aren’t solving that equation. I will be as bold as to state: this is the reason you do not have what you want of your life.

5 Things, But Only 1 Matters

Anyone I’ve had this conversation with over the last couple years I’ve been able to get them to tell me 5 big things they feel they would need to do or would need to have happen so they could achieve the life they desire.

Each time, of those 5, there are 4 they will get energetic, emotionally charged (positive or negative) and start rambling on about why those things are the big ones.

But there is one, or perhaps the root cause of that one, that is where I’m trying to direct your attention to.

What if I told you that 80% of the reason you don’t have the life of your dreams was due to one basic, simple thing? 80% is a pretty big number, I know. Everyone’s THING is different.

 

What if you didn’t procrastinate all the time? What if you had the fitness level you desire and along with that came a positive body image? What if you could just stop slandering yourself all the time, putting yourself down endlessly? What if you could drop the fear in saying what you really thought in your mind to those that supposedly love you and support you? What if you got rid of all the toxic people in your life? What if you spent your money better? What would happen if I wasn’t capable of complaining ever again? What if you stopped sleeping in all the time or going to bed so darn late? What if you never drank or did drugs again; you can party and enjoy yourself without that stuff, can’t you? At least sometimes? What if you could treat her the way she deserves? And not forget about our partner as we venture along our own journey? What if you could risk, without worrying and doubting yourself, spinning your wheels over every, “but what if…”? What if I stopped relying on people and instead became self-sufficient? What if instead of worrying about your heart being slaughtered to bits like the last time(s) you gave loving another human another go around? What would happen if you put your television in a closet for a year and forced yourself to unplug from every other electronic for at least 2 hours every day (no, it doesn’t count when you’re sleeping)? What if you always ate food that was good for you and made you feel good?

 Food vs Fat

Those are the big ones I see most of the time. It is by all means not a complete list. If you’re completely lost as to what your THING is, ask 10 people around you for the brutal truth in regarding your “faults that hold me back from achieving what I say I want of my life.” Just don’t be offended by what they say. Brutal truth only.

 

Here’s What I’m Trying To Tell You

There’s one thing standing in your way from the life you dream of. Only one thing. I promise you, once you begin that battle with yourself over it, start making improvements and realizing what I’m saying (again, this is simply a personal belief system) you find so much incredible energy and joy and the frustrations, angst and stresses of your life will turn down in volume to a nice little hum in the background. Of course, there’s going to then become a completely different challenge in front of you. But worry about that later. Or better yet, forget I just told you that.

75-90% of the people I’ve met in my life are unhappy with how their life is currently or the fullness, richness and joy it contains. The 10% I’ve met, known or read of, they faced that one thing and generally speaking they did it alone. They conquered that demon for themselves. We all have small joys, successes, things that make our lives happy. But I mean those people who absolutely, completely and wholly ADORE their lives. How many of those people have you known throughout your life?

 

Work Ethic

What About 35 Year Old Me?

Man, if I went and listed all of my problems, stresses, challenges, desires, wants…

That’s exhausting just to think about get started on that. Why don’t I have a Lamborghini? (I don’t actually care about that) Why do I have financial stress? Why do I have discord with anyone around me? Why, despite, truly loving the character I’ve built myself to be in my life, am I still writing this for you and me?

What’s my THING you might ask?

Sleep.

The mismanagement, lack of, disorganization, poor quality at times, inconsistency and any other eight syllable word you can think of pertaining to: SLEEP.

Night Owl

Every reason I can think of as to why I don’t have ___ that I want in or of my life is because of this or that, but I can pretty much trace it all back to sleep.

So why can’t I simply go to bed on time, wake at the same time, improve the quality of my sleep, be more consistent? Any time I have worked to do so the quality and joy in my life profoundly improved in a blink of an eye.

IF Stardust

I couldn’t wake today, I was exhausted, had a really crappy sleep. It led to me cancelling a session on a new client which is a shitty way to start a professional relationship. It also runs down my system. I had a brutal workout that I simply couldn’t seem to wake up (despite 300mg+ of stimulants). I’m very fortunate though, I have some amazing clients that bring me joy in the interactions we have the fun I get to make of them as they whine about how gorgeous we’re making their body. I was done work 10 hours later, as a business owner I had about 3 hours of work to complete after that (cleaning, texting, scheduling, writing programs). I have to be back at work in less than 7 hours from right now (it’s midnight and I’m nowhere near tired) and here I am blathering on about some esoteric nonsense.

But am I happy with the bulk of my life? Will I rest my head on my pillow tonight and should I never wake again, will I regret anything?

I like where I am right now. I am fond of writing “I am blessed in this life, no question.” It’s always true.

But the life I dream of would mean conquering (not destroying) this insane night owl, working with my >8pm bipolar introvert frequent coup-de-tat to not steal or trade this moment for the future promise of better tomorrows.

When I am ready, when you are ready to conquer and work for that life you dream of, you will. But when you are ready, just know, there’s only ONE THING standing in your way, and focusing on any other detail will lead to utter failure. It always has.

IF Dream Large

{Adrian now steps off his soapbox and hopefully heads to bed shortly}

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 4/4

For those of you who’ve made it this far down the rabbit hole, I applaud you. While it may have only been an hour of your time to read all four parts of this series, it’s taken me about 20 hours to write, edit, jazz-it-up. That same amount of time would be required of you to heed my advice, be that investigating the hyperlinks or doing some of the tasks suggested thus far.

 

If you haven’t done all that reading and work yet, get to it because this won’t make much sense without it:

Part 1 – Introduction to “The Formula”, NEPA/NEAT and the importance of moving!

Part 2 – Muscle Training, Cardio Training Part 1/2

Part 3 – Cardio Training Part 2/2, De-stressing & Sleep

 

Let’s check in on that formula again:

(Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

 

So far I’ve also been preaching this:

High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training

Basically what I’m saying above is in your quest for lower body fat levels, your NEPA (non-exercise physical activity/how much you move in a day) is more important than how much weight lifting/resistance training you do and both of those are far more important than how much time you spend running while staring at a wall in front of you; I don’t care how fancy the machine is at your gym, the human body is a better machine, so freaking move it around more!

BUT…

I now need to make an adjustment for the final detail:

Adequate/Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition = High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training

Get Fit In The Gym Lose Weight In the Kitchen

If there is a holy gospel to fat loss, the above pic is it!

Detail #4Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition

I’ve been at my career for over 7 years now. There’s one thing I see time and time again: change. Here’s the thing, I can always tell when a client has done something positive in their nutrition habits. The effect is pretty much immediate: less inflammation in the gut so the pooch belly is less, they have more energy, they go harder in the gym and their brain is very clear and articulate.

The inverse of that is a bloaty, unhappy body and bowel system, b*%&chy mood, whiny temperament, low energy and a slooooow mind. And how likely will a body and mind forced into that position on the regular, be motivated and active in producing change?

I’ll go so far as to say that the quality of food we eat along with the kilocalories, macro and micro nutrients that it provides, finds a magical way of providing motivation or demotivation for the change we seek in all avenues of our lives. Doubt me? Go eat McDonald’s every single day 3 meals a day for a week and tell me about all the factors above. Then go back to your normal diet (which hopefully is not the same thing as McSh%ts) and see if your mood, energy and motivation changes.

McShits VS Cardio

How’s the saying go? You cannot out-train a bad diet!

But, what’s the best way to eat for fat loss?

I don’t have a perfect answer for you. And any person claiming to have THE answer is full of themselves. There are a good 1000 different diets and meal plans that can all work the same. I’ve already deeply delved into the nutrition topic in a blog post entitled: Don’t Hire a Personal Trainer for Fat Loss:

 

Here: https://adriancrowe.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/dont-hire-a-personal-trainer-for-fat-loss-part1/

And Here: https://adriancrowe.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/dont-hire-a-personal-trainer-for-fat-loss-part2/

*I would really suggest that if food is the detail in the formula you’re not understanding or messing up the most that you read that blog series. I wrote it with the intention of never having to cover the food topic again despite me touching on it here.

 

I’ve said this 100 times: if Person A lost 50lbs of fat on the Jenny Craig system; Person B lost 50lbs of fat on the Dr. Bernstein starving yourself but it’s okay because we inject you with B vitamins and make sure you don’t exercise system, or Person C lost 50lbs of fat using a personalized meal plan from my preferred nutrition dudes: Wet Wolf or Scott Abel…guess what…

 

They lost 50lbs of fat and that’s what matters!

 

I don’t care what system you choose so long as it works for you. I may have an opinion but that’s going to be clouded by bias based on my experience.

 

The Caveat:

Now, the likelihood of someone maintaining that fat loss is inversely related to how insane and “stupid” most fitness and health professionals feel the process was. Meaning, the more you had to suffer and starve yourself into the fat loss, good luck at maintaining it.

 

There are DIEts and then there are lifestyles. Bernstein is not a lifestyle unless you’re really into rollercoasters, yo-yos and possibly metabolic damage!

 

Let’s do this instead:

Top 5 Smart Moves for Your Nutrition:

  • Eat enough food – seriously, most women mess this up. Some dudes do too (like me). If you’re concerned about a banana, yam or plain oatmeal making you fat…you have lost control of the concept of food being healing and working for your metabolism. That’s right, you have become incapable of feeding yourself without emotion and in that case I HIGHLY suggest you work with one of the coaches I talked about earlier. How many bananas would a person have to eat to gain 10lbs of fat?? Look into the link above regarding metabolic damage.
  • Eat real food – I haven’t had a dishwashing machine in about 4 years, well that’s not true, I do have my girlfriend (sorry babe!) but I will say this about doing the dishes: how effective your fat loss is going is directly related to how many forks you have to wash. You don’t need a fork to eat cereal for breakfast. You don’t need a fork to eat a sandwich for lunch and you don’t need a fork to eat pizza for dinner. I know that sounds crazy but seriously, be on a mission to dirty as many forks as possible each week and you’ll lose weight! Paleo style eating has one thing going for it: if it was once living, had eyes or grows in the ground or on a vine/tree/bush – it’s probably real food. There are no spaghetti trees, there are no Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal plants, nor are there any tofu(ngus) vines. EAT LIKE AN ADULT IF YOU WANT FAT LOSS.
  • The more processed the further you should back away. If you are going to buy something out of a box, bag or package I have two rules: 1) you have to be able to pronounce and know what all the ingredients actually are 2) it should have less than 8 real ingredients. Take an Elevate Me protein bar (my preferred bar) for example:

Elevate Me Protein Bar Label

So it has: whey protein isolate (arguably not real food but I’ll compromise there), raisins, dates, almonds, apples, bananas, and…that’s all. Yep, check, I know what all those are.

Do you know what’s in your Quest bar? Apparently not what’s on the label.

 

When I was really young I distinctly remember asking my mom while she was making ‘dinner,’ “No, mom, I don’t want to eat a puppy, why are we having hot dogs!?!” Man, was I smart back then, even then I knew something was fishy; or should I say full of beef (and you do know byproducts means anus, organs, and whatever parts of the ‘ALL beef’ they want to feed you)

  • Get enough protein but not too much: If most gals stuck with 3oz (about 20g of protein) of meat and most guys stuck with 5-6oz (30-40g) every meal for 3-4 meals a day they’d be golden. Too little protein you don’t have enough satiation, struggle to grow muscle mass and are no fun at a BBQ. Too much and you risk THIS. Special circumstances (heavy training, strict dieting for a contest/fight, etc.) may warrant a change to the above but for the most part, it’s a good rule of thumb. Something to consider and try and I ask most of my clients to try it for a week is this: http://www.strengthsensei.com/the-meat-and-nut-breakfast/ If after a week on that for breaky you don’t feel better, more alert and start seeing some of the bloat in your gut go down then you’re probably eating close to this last detail:
  • Figure Out What Foods Work For You! If you’re what I call a category 2 eater (go to Part 2 of the Don’t Hire a Personal Trainer for Fat Loss to see which category you’re in), meaning you’re not ready to have someone tell you to eat 3.7oz of salmon, 2 whole brown eggs, 8 spears of asparagus and 1 teaspoon of flax oil for breakfast, then 3 hours later have 4oz of dark chicken meat with 2.4 cups of salad mix with some fancy oil for a dressing followed 3 hours later by… you get the point…

 

Then I ask you to draw up a big 3 column chart

The first column of the list are foods that agree with your body. Meaning when or as you eat them you are proud to be eating them, they sit well in your tummy, they don’t bloat you, and they give you energy hours later, not leaving you starving an hour later or crashing. Obviously those foods should be whole and real food.

The second column you list foods that are “neutral” to you, they don’t make you feel like a gym star, they don’t boost your energy too much nor make you crash, they don’t bloat you and they may be slightly processed or real food. Basically it’s like the meal just happened but still tides you over till your next meal or snack.

The last column are foods that just don’t agree with you, meaning they leave you bloated, gassy, low energy, craving more food less than an hour later, and set off your cravings later in your day. Now you might ask, “Why bother making a list of foods that aren’t good for you?” Because you know damn well you’re eating that stuff so make a list of ALL the stuff you have eaten in the last 6 months and sort them into the 3 columns. It’s an eye opener when you do this which I did for myself recently.

 

Such a list might look like this:
Good Bad Ugly Food List
It takes a bit of experimentation to get this list perfected and sometimes your tastes and gut will change depending on stress or your physical shape as well as what fruits/veggies are in season. Keep this list (along with your spouse’s list) on the fridge. When you don’t know what to make for dinner or lunches, it’s pretty simple: at least 70% of the time, eat foods that are in the first column which are foods that make you feel good and honestly feel help you lose body fat and support muscle growth. Try to keep the foods in the third column, the ones that make you look, feel and become fatter to less than 10% of your total incoming food.

 

A great resource for something like this is a book I suggest everyone read at least twice: How to Eat, Live and Be Healthy by Paul Chek Big eye opener this book was and whenever I feel lost with my food I go back to it.

 

The Top 5 Dumb-Dumb Moves Unless You Want Fat Gain

 

  • Starting your day with processed foods. Most processed foods are high sodium, high sugar, low fiber and low protein. So basically you’re gonna be dehydrated, bloated, energized for about 13.8minutes, crash 15 minutes later and be hungry despite plugging 400 calories into you and you’re setting off a chain of processes that will lead to bad food choices later. The other day I was in a rush, and toasted 2 Pop Tarts for breakfast as I sped out the door (I know, you’re freaking out about that right now, right! I have my own hankerings too; good thing it wasn’t a Costco sized box). It was the absolute WORST day ever, despite eating well the rest of the day. Ugh. Energy was just garbage, my brain was foggy all day, I felt gross and didn’t have a bowel movement that day (I know, TMI), my mood went south to the point where people were asking “are you, like, uh, okay dude?” come 5pm, and when I got home I was too tired and cranky to eat anything (I think I had an apple pear for dinner) which was then followed by a garbage sleep. All because I decided those tasty blueberry Pop Tarts just had to be had for breakfast. Seriously people STOP EATING SHIT FOR BREAKFAST if you really want fat loss! If it comes out of a package (unless we’re talking eggs) or a bag it doesn’t belong in your belly for breakfast.
  • Grocery shopping when you’re hungry (or should I say hangry). We should really avoid the middle isles of a grocery store to begin with but even worse if you do so when you’re hungry. I’ve said it before: BUY YOUR INTENTIONS. I’m a closet grocery cart snooper. I judge you buy what’s in your cart and it usually shows clearly in your body composition. So, make a list of groceries that you need for your intended meals or meal plan and preferably go grocery shopping right after you just ate a big, healthy meal.
  • Going far too long between meals. What’s far too long? Most of the fitness industry regurgitates “you have to eat every 3-4 hours or your muscles will disintegrate and you’ll wake up with an extra love handle.” Um, no. Again, it’s highly individualized. Some people are grazers, some prefer big meals. If I go longer than 6 hours without a meal it’s all downhill from there. What’s your time limit? Just make sure you don’t cross it.
  • Eating out at a restaurant more than once a week (this includes the lunch you didn’t pack for yourself). Meals prepped by others are based on two major things: taste and profit. Not your body composition goals and unfortunately not what’s the absolute highest quality food and source. I dare you to get the nutritional facts of your favorite dish at each restaurant you eat at. I’ve seen salads with 1400 calories!! I do have a rule though, if you’re gonna eat at a restaurant, just do it for real. Eat what you want and your next meals make sure it’s back on the bandwagon. I don’t care if you slip and fall; I care if you get back up. Stop whining to me your guilt over the Krispy Kreme you shoved down your muzzle and just get back to your meal plan.
  • Not trying the elimination diet idea. For the love of 6 packs, do yourself a big favor: try going without. Without what you might ask? I don’t care, just make it up. Challenge yourself. What do you start your day with? Take that out for a day. Put something else in there. I dare you to try going just 1 single day without any sugar (check every ingredient label). Try just 1 day without your triple-triple coffee (do plain tea instead). Go one day without meat, there are lots of non-animal protein sources. Try one day without dairy. Or wheat. Or whatever. And then try one week of that. You are hopefully going to have a long life, you’ve got some time to experiment and figure out what works best for you! You’d be surprised what a little sacrifice and abstaining could do for you and your little belly.

So, that’s it. I’m not going to be a food Nazi, I’m not going to tell you exactly what to eat (if you need that go here: Wet Wolf or Scott Abel) and stop eating like a teenager who’s been left at home for the long weekend by yourself with $100 to eat whatever you want.

Work for your fat loss. I’m sorry to disappoint but there is no other way.

 

The Crescendo, The Wrap Up, The Summary…whatever you wish to call it…

Way over 10,000 words later here I am, and hopefully you’ve made it all the way through all of that, the tasks to complete, the couple dozen hyperlinks, the videos to watch…the point is I’m never going to answer the question: “Adrian, how do I best lose fat?” again. That was the point of this blog.
For the attention deficit readers, here’s the gist of it:

 

  • Get 10,000 steps or more a day
  • Muscle training is more important than cardio but do both. Ideally 2-3 times per week with multi-joint, big strength movements along with copious unilateral work. Perform intense cardio 2-3 time per week, no more except for two x 4 week periods a year when you really need to trim down.
  • Try my “Elimination Circuit” style training for 4-6 weeks exclusively.
  • Learn about sleep, experiment with your own, improve your sleeping quarters
  • UNPLUG FROM YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES! Try 3-5 hours a couple times a week where no TV, no phone, no iPad, nothing that requires a power cord or battery is occupying your attention. And no, sleeping doesn’t count.
  • Try an isolation/floatation tank, just once. It may just drastically change your life.
  • Write out your life’s “small joys” and don’t stray too far, nor too long away from them
  • Treat your body better than you do your car, it too could use regular maintenance (chiropractor, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc; whatever your fancy)
  • Eat more real, unprocessed foods that agree with your body (make a list of the ones that do and don’t) and be on a mission to dirty as many forks as possible.
  • Obey the top 5 smart moves for fat loss above and make sure you’re not slipping into the top 5 dumb-dumb moves that are piling the pounds on. If you are still lost, hire a professional which I’ve provided links to.

You’ll never perfect the details of the formula. Like so many other things in life the journey is as worthwhile as the destination. And for the love of everyone else’s ear drums, when you figure out what works best for you, don’t go preaching it as holy gospel. It works for you, let others figure what works for them. Shoot them to this blog if they lack the outline for self-discovery.

 

Now, get working on your near perfect version of the details within the be-all, end-all formula to your fat loss goals:

(Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

If I can help further, just holla: adrian@adriancrowe.com

Adrian Crowe Athletic Training - New Card Front (JPG) - Large

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 3 of 4

If somehow you’ve found us just now, this won’t make much sense without having already invested your time into reading or perhaps even re-reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

 

During the last installment I covered the first half of Detail 3: Cardiovascular Training in relation to fat loss. I left you hanging with the promise of a program style that works incredibly effective for fat loss.

It’s often said in the training world that the best program is the one you’re currently not doing. Simply because the body adapts over time and it’s wise to switch it up every 4-12 weeks (depending on your goals and level of experience).

 

I will place one big caveat on the following: just like every other training style, Elimination Circuits can run their course. Using them for 3-5 week periods seems best, beyond that I tell people go back to trying to grow muscle like a crazy person. If you didn’t achieve significant enough fat loss during the time you used the Elimination Circuit, yet again, the details of your formula haven’t been sorted out (likely food).

 

Detail #3(Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) Cardiovascular Training – Part 2 of 2 – Elimination Circuit Training

Adrian - Cardio Elimination Circuit

This was my last “cardio” workout. It was horrible. I hated my life come the end of it. Yep, I do cartwheels (blame Dan John for telling me to get over my suckiness of them). The Crowe Flow: Squat is one of my favored mobility drills for opening up where I tend to be tight. And yes, I think the gym ring idiot is purely in there to be “fun.” Angled Barbell exercises such as THIS are killer for elimination circuits!

Look, if your heart rate is jumping back and forth between 120-180 beats per minute for 60 minutes straight…is that cardio? Regardless of what you’re doing to get there??

Exactly! So make it fun. I make it up as I go.

The rules of the Elimination Circuit are this:

  1. Choose 7-9 exercises
  2. If the goal is cardio I suggest making most of them heart rate based, the rest aesthetic or physio/corrective drills. You can’t just go balls-to-the-wall for 60 mins straight.
  3. Choose exercises you know you should be doing, some stuff you like doing, and throw in stuff you absolutely suck at for the sake of getting better at it.
  4. How to calculate reps: take the exercise of your choice, what rep range would you normally perform it in? Let’s say for DB lateral raises you normally do 15 reps. Now take those reps and multiply by 4 or 5 rounds (you’ll have to experiment there). That’s how many you’ll do in total over the whole workout. The goal is to mostly have all exercises completed by the 4-6 round mark. If you finish them in 3 the weight/intensity was too easy or reps too low. If it takes you 8 rounds, the weight/intensity was too high
  5. Simply perform as a traditional circuit, do the traditional amount of reps you can do with good form for exercise 1. Write down those reps. Move to exercise 2, perform and write down the reps. Continue until you’ve completed 1 round of each exercise. Then start back over. You’ll find on the first set of the circuit you’ll get a few more reps than normal, just like towards the end of the workout you’ll end up getting less than normal. It all works itself out if you’re ending exercises between 4-6 rounds. If finishing an exercise in 3 or less then it simply wasn’t hard enough, not enough load or not enough reps. If you’re not finishing until 6-10 sets, then it was too hard, too much load, or too many reps.
  6. There are no rules except you have to finish all the reps. Feeling too beat to do the next exercise but you could do the next on the list instead, go for it! Just don’t jump around too much or you’ll get loopy and behind on reps. Once all the reps are complete, that’s it; workout over. Ideally the workout doesn’t last longer than 60 minutes, in fact, 45 minutes is probably the ideal.

This style will allow for the least amount of rest and such an INSANE volume/training density during a workout without blowing the body into nervous system oblivion.

Group Class Cardio Elimination Circuit

Here’s an example of using and Elimination Circuit on a small group training setting (5 people). Same rules apply. Pick 7-9 movements, figure out the “typical” rep range you’d use on that movement, multiply by 4-5 rounds and then multiply by how many people are working together to accomplish those reps. In this style what you get is absolutely outstanding teamwork. Some people are better than others at exercise 3, where some are better at exercise 6; it allows each to work as a team on their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone hates the Crowe Plank so make them do it! The only goal: GET ‘ER DONE!

I prefer Elimination Circuits best for cardio but try them using strength movements too. A chest/back day could be done the same bouncing back and forth between 4 types of chest exercises and 4 back exercises. The only rule for a strength circuit there is that you do need to take enough rest (45-90 seconds if you feel the performance of a heavy set will suffer). If your form is going to be crap, take 15-30 seconds longer to sip some water then jump back in.

I want to revisit a piece from Part 1 of this series:

Of the 168 hours we are all allotted in a given week, I want every minute, every hour and every workout to count for something. Who wants to workout 4 hours a week, week in-week out, to look and feel exactly the same next year?”

So when you design or choose your workout programs, it’s about time. Spending more than 4 hours a week exercising can be a waste of time when it comes to fat loss. So telling someone that an hour on the treadmill 3x/week plus 4x/week doing 90 minute resistance training sessions just cost you over 6 hours of your life. I’d venture to say if you’re close to that and not seeing results it’s because, yet again, cardio is rarely the answer. It’s one of the details.

Implant this in your brain forever if fat loss is your goal:

High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training

Focusing on the above equation backwards (cardio, a little weights and the rest of your day spent sitting on your still overweight booty) is NOT EVER going to work. Especially if you can’t get the next two details sorted out.

Detail #4De-stressing Your Life + Adequate Quality Sleep

I was going to delve into research as to what the magical number of hours the human body requires to function (is it 6, or 7 or 8.258 to the third power) but here’s the thing: YOU’RE AN ADULT, figure it out. Most adults know that number for themselves. And good luck changing their mind.

The answer is probably 1 more hour than you’re currently getting if you’re tired all the time.

Most of the stuff I’ve read on sleep talks is not so much about how long one should be in bed sleeping but rather what is the quality of sleep you’re achieving (light vs. deep vs. REM sleep cycles)? What time of night are you going to bed (before midnight or after)? Are you a night owl or an early bird? Introvert or extrovert? What are the activities you are performing before sleep? What’s the quality of your place of sleep (meaning mattress, pillow, bedding, temperature of room, noise levels, electromagnetic fields from electronic devices, and how dark is your room)?

There is far more to experiment with the above parameters before one can so easily adjust the amount of time you’re sleeping.

If you really want to investigate something interesting about sleep look into polyphasic vs. monophasic sleep patterns. For a great many thousands of years (prior to the invention of electricity) humans may have slept differently to how they do today. My goal over the next couple years is to be able to schedule my day to allow biphasic sleeping patterns.

Here is my top 5 list of sleep fails guaranteed to throw a wrench into your fat loss plans:

  1. Sleeping schedules all over the map. Shift workers find it much more difficult to maintain lower body fat levels than people with a 9-5 job. It’s better you go to bed and rise at roughly the same times every night, including weekends. Perhaps moreso because sleep schedules all over the map means meal timing and food prep that likely looks the same.
  2. Too much TV or Candy Crush before bed. Let’s see, you want to go to sleep which requires darkness for your melatonin (the hormone that makes you drowsy so you can sleep) to fire properly and you’ve instead decided to blast your eyeballs with flashing, bright lights. Good one. A book would probably improve the quality of your life far more. But whatever your medium of choice to end your evening it’s probably wise it’s not too exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I do like my TV shows before bed too but never put a TV in the bedroom (pretty much asking for less sex aren’t you?) and watch some dry stuff last. I love me some Mysteries at the Museum before bed!
  3. Eating too heavy a meal before sleep. Starving before bed is not wise either but you should experiment to figure out what foods digest best in the last meals/snacks before bed. It should be obvious sugar of any sort is the worst choice because we are talking about fat loss after all. Almost as bad for ruining sleep quality before bed would be alcohol.
  4. When I was a teen 12 hours of sleep was “necessary” for me to function. No it’s not, you’re just bored with your life and haven’t set some goals that require you to get outta freaking bed and do something with your life. There are times my body tells me to F off for not sleeping enough the past nights of the week and I’ll let it sleep 10 hours but more than that is a waste of life and you’re more likely to be inactive after sleeping that long.
  5. Your bedroom atmosphere sucks. Too much noise. Too much crap on the floor for you to even get to your bed. Too many plugs and electronics next to your head. Poor quality mattress. You don’t know the thread count of your sheets cuz you bought cheap sh*t. Your pillows are 2 years old. And there’s too much street light coming in from your windows. May as well scatter some thumb tacks randomly throughout your bed sheets to make it even more interesting. Fix the problem: Google this: “make bedroom conducive sleep”

Enough of that rant. Let’s move on.

Let me ask you something…could you right now, take a pen and paper and write 15 small little joys in your life. Not people (though quality time with people can be part of it). Not your job. Not your beloved iPhone. 15 things you can do right now that would bring a smile to your face. What recharges you? What makes the daily routine and grind worth repeating endlessly? Seriously, take a pen and paper and write 15 things down that you love doing.

Now ask yourself: how often are you doing them? How’s that saying go? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I’m a workaholic for sure (routinely pulling off 60-80 hour weeks) but the first thing I do when work is done as much as can be for the day is get right to my little joys. When I skip that too often I’m a miserable SOB. And most likely so are you. If you’re tired, miserable, hate your daily grind, can’t stand everyone around you because they’re irritating you more than usual; while a 3 week vacation to Bora Bora sounds awesome right now, perhaps we don’t need such an extreme. A happy body is one that loses weight more easily. If not simply because of the causal effect on motivation and ability to stick to the hard game plan (read: nutrition) that’s going to help you achieve those fat loss goals. Wanna know how simple this is to achieve? Take a timer, 15 minutes. No one, nothing, no phone texts or calls, nothing is allowed to disturb you for 15 minutes every single day and you do one or more of those things on the list you created. If you couldn’t even be bothered to create the list, therein lies the problem. You want without the will to work for it.

What I’m getting at with all of this is that if you want to expend energy, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental energy, it is impossible to the degree that makes a real change in your life unless you recharge the battery often. Do you really think the human body is drastically different in energy needs to your cell phone? How often do you plug that battery in to recharge??

Two more things.

I kick myself in the proverbial pants on the regular for not having taken advantage of the years in my life where I was covered under an extended health care plan through my work place. My previous job I had hundreds of dollars in chiropractor, massage therapy, acupuncture and a whack of other services that were essentially free to me if I could have been bothered enough to take advantage of that. I’m going to kick your ass if you’re not taking advantage of that situation if you’re fortunate enough to have it. MAX that plan out!

For those of us not under such magical coverage, please treat yourself every 4-8 weeks. You take your car in for regular tune ups, correct? Because you know it helps it last longer and perform better. But not the same for your body?

 

Lastly, what if I said there was a very unique, personal way to achieve a deep state of relaxation, one that in my opinion cannot be beat for recharging the mind, body and spirit. What would that look like? First I ask you to invest 5 minutes of your life to explore these brilliant thoughts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeqmKwsvM58 (language warning)

Get Your Float On

I suspect the floatation/isolation/sensory deprivation tank will be one of the greatest things I invest my time into during the course of my life.

Just try it once! Trust me on that. (Locally in the Greater Vancouver area, look up Cloud 9 Float Spas in Coquitlam. The couple’s tank was brilliant quality couple time). Otherwise try finding a floatation tank near you: http://floatationlocations.com/map/ or www.floatation.biz/floatfinder/

 

But what does this all have to do with fat loss?

I’m sure you’ve seen someone who’s lost quite an impressive amount of fat and simply looked ragged and aged from the process. How often do those people keep the weight off? Rarely.

Those who are in great shape, have the vitality we all desire and maintain healthy body weights tend to look vibrant, healthy, happy, and have found a balance between how much they put out and how well they recharge.

 

Okay, we’ve got just one more installment left next week. I’m going to attempt to cover the final detail: {Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition} as well as neatly wrap this whole series up for you all.

Please understand that my goal here is not to portray myself as the be all, end all guru of anything but rather to give you avenues and ideas to explore to help you find the best way to manage and adjust the details within your fat loss formula.

The Formula: (Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs. Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 2 of 4

Alright, let’s jump to it, shall we. In Part 1 I made it clear: MOVE, a lot; walk, pick stuff up, clean your car, get outta your chair, take the stairs, get your step count up to 10,000 per day. The more you move the less space you’ll take up on the planet.

Let’s go back to “the formula”:

(Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

Detail #2: (Adequate + Appropriate) Muscle Training

I’d like to tell you this is not going to be a complicated subject to cover. Here’s the thing: there are at least 100 different muscle training (including resistance and calisthenics) methods that can all produce the same results.

So which one is best for fat loss?

Well, the simple answer is: the one that you do consistently and is progressive (in factors such as intensity, density, strength increases and ability to recover) over time.

It would be bloody amazing to see Christian Thibaudeau, Scott Abel, Charles Poliquin, Craig Ballentyne, Hits Richards, Alwyn Cosgrove, Nick Tumminello, Dan John, Pauline Nordin, and Ben Pakulski in a 12’ x 12’ room and have them battle it out over what they believe to be the greatest fat loss training method.

I mean, seriously, if we could make this happen pay-per-view style half the industry would watch it go down!

You know what would happen…they’d agree to disagree and then they’d come up with a list of common principles across all the various methods that will work when applied with serious grit.

  1. Workout intensity: if 10 is running from a bear who has just finished eating your best friend and you’re next, anywhere less than a 6 is useless. Get off the friggin bench press and do more than a set every 3 minutes.
  2. The more muscles recruited during an exercise, the better for fat loss. Arguing that barbell cleans is not better than barbell biceps curls for fat loss would be a fool’s errand. This also doesn’t mean barbells rule. Unilateral, dumbbell and contra/ipsilateral exercises can be incredibly demanding. While I’m no Crossfit dude, look at their exercise selections: pretty much all compound (multi-joint) all the time!
  3. Workout density beats workout frequency any day! Should we workout every day? Maybe. But for fat loss, more often than not I’d say NO! Every second day is more than enough. What I mean by density is the amount of work you get done in the time you allot into your training. Spending 1 hour in a gym completing only 8 sets of 10 reps of squats will likely not produce the fat loss effect you desire. At least superset them with another exercise such as stability ball hamstring curls.
  4. Working the same muscle groups more than once a week is paramount. Dump the body part splits. The fact that Monday is still international chest day in most gyms is proof we’re not making progress in teaching people how best to lose fat. My first move with new clients is to get them off body part splits and into either upper/lower splits or at least upper push/upper pull/lower body splits or full body workouts.
  5. Scott Abel said it best:
    1. Form first, speed and/or range of motion usually second, load third (or sometimes second), complexity (and all of its factors) added when looking to increase/decrease intensity. Meaning, when performing the squat maybe load isn’t always the best option for increasing the intensity. Would squatting lower make it more difficult? Of course! Would slowing the eccentric and blasting up from the hole increase the intensity? Of course! Would narrowing the stance or changing parameters such as high bar vs low bar when you’re used to the opposite make a difference in difficulty? Most likely! So is progression of exercise all that difficult to always attain?  {{Don’t get me wrong, load is still important but there is no straight line from newb to a 500lb squat. Learn to play with the various factors of intensity and determine which is appropriate for that exercise, that moment, of that day.}}Form Is ShitEXACTLY! If 10 more pounds on the bar makes your form collapse, puts you at greater risk of injury and serves little purpose other than stroking your ego…you’re doing it wrong.
  6. Leaving wiggle room for the ability to recover seems to be the greatest mistake people first make when using muscle training as a method of fat loss. If you go into the gym, do a circuit of reverse lunges, push ups, pull ups, burpees, dumbbell clean and press, kettlebell swings and bike sprints and the next day you wake up so stiff you can’t put your shoes on; day 2 you’re walking like an elephant had its way with you and on day 3 you are calling your boss claiming you’re is such dire straights that getting outta bed is impossible and therefore you won’t be at work until next Tuesday – YOU WENT TOO HARD! Give yourself time to get up to gym-superstar status. The best workouts are the ones that at the moment you could hear yourself breathing aloud most of the time (oxygen debt) and that you find takes the muscles to significant in-set fatigue (not failure or form degradation) (force decrement). Those two factors along with progression in exercise (utilizing the factors played on in #5 above) are the keys I look for in session to know my clients are going to have a fat loss effect from their workout. But they should be recovered by day 3 so we can get back in the lab and cook up the next batch of sweaty t-shirts.

Lastly, you have to understand I am not poo-poo’ing strength training. I love picking stuff up and putting it down as much as the next guy. But I have to ask: if I could snap my fingers and give you 15lbs of fat loss or wiggle my nose and give you 10lbs of fresh new muscle, which would you take first? If you answered fat loss: go back and read points 1-6 and create a game plan for yourself.

One important factor to consider: Should you aim to Annihilate or Stimulate the muscles during training? I tend to fit my clients into one of two categories based on how their body responds to training. Me, I’m stimulation all the way.

If I get in the gym and tear it up, perform 3 dozen sets of 12-15 reps with very little rest by the 4th day I just hate my life. By the 3rd week my immune system is so destroyed I’m walking around with a Hazmat suit and still catching every virus floating around. AND if done for more than 5-6 weeks I start losing muscle and getting softer. But my buddy, he does this same workout routine: jacked, ripped, has insane energy and his ego at least doubles.

BUT, the inverse, say I do stimulation training such as Thibaudeau’s HP Mass (my favorite program) where it calls for you to train nearly every day, less than 45 minute workouts hitting ~8 sets x 3 reps overhead press, bench and dips 3 x/week, doing ~10 sets x 3 reps squats & deadlifts 3x/week and a bunch of accessory work (I opted for stupid things like parking lot lunges) well, I end up super lean but the scale keeps going up, my energy is unbearably high, and I can’t wait to get back in the gym. On top of that, I’m rarely sore but I’ve set all my personal records during this programming. Same buddy tries to keep up and he’s texting me choice 4 letter words daily and by the end of week one he’s skipping every second workout and by week 3 has completely given up.

Here’s the sort of results I see in 3-4 week periods with my clients, who like myself are stimulation-centric:

HP Mass Results - 3 weeks

It’s a lengthy process to figure out which of the two: Annihilation or Stimulation based training methods works best for YOUR body but when you do stick with it 80% of your year. Personally, I try to take 2 x 6 week periods in my year and try and brutalize myself with annihilation style training. It’s always worth it but I’m happy when it’s over. Most new clients I start them with more stimulation based training (less sets, lower reps, low rest period, groups of no more than 3 exercises) and slowly move them towards annihilation training (more sets, more reps, slower eccentric phases, sometimes taking the muscles to failure, nervous system challenges) and when they start calling to miss sessions or start looking ragged then I scale back towards stimulation. Somewhere in that scale is your happy place for both fat loss and muscle gain.

Detail #3(Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) Cardiovascular Training – Part 1 of 2

Okay, this one is far more simple and I’ll get it over with quickly like most cardio should be – over with quickly. I’m not gonna lie. I HATE cardio. So I tend to get creative with ways of doing it. Look, if you like running, run. If you love watching tv while blasting away on the elliptical for 3 hours thinking it’ll make you skinny, I guess, sure, have fun.

But is it effective?

On the short term, small increases in cardio can have major effects on your body composition. Take a meathead and put him 3x/week on a stair climber for 30 mins for 4 weeks and he’ll drop serious fat. Make him do that forever and he’s not going to like what happens to his body.

The body adapts to everything. So, in my opinion use high volumes of cardio sparingly so they are effective when you do them. Anyone know of someone who runs/jogs >40 miles/week? I train quite a few of them. Are they ripped to the bone? Have they ever been? Not once. Not ever. In fact I can tell inside of one week when they’ve dropped their running volume as the body responds so poorly and starts packing on body fat. Another common theme: they rarely have significant muscle mass. Might be fit as hell but it’s like the façade of the muscle magazines, the cover models of runner’s magazines…no one really looks like that except a small handful of the “sport.”

It’s a terrible cycle to get into. I am dead set against running as a form of fat loss. It can work for some, if you love running. It won’t for most. In fact, it may backfire.

Should we be doing cardio? Do I even have to ask that? Your heart is a pretty important muscle, yes? Your lungs are pretty important too? Are both of those more important than the size of your delts? Yea, I think so. No one dies of tricep attacks. But nearly half of all men die of heart attacks.

So what’s effective for fat loss: the cardio you’re willing to do that gives a nice little bump in your heart rate for a relatively short period of time and that you don’t let your body adapt to overly well over time.

I laid out 15 examples here: https://adriancrowe.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/15-different-cardio-styles/

Pick 1 from each category and perform a total of 2-3 cardio sessions/week. But don’t overdo it. Save the 4-6 week cardio volume increases for the two times a year it counts. Summer and well, post-December holidays.

Should you do cardio before or after weights? Ideally, they’d be 6-8 hours apart. But the debate lives on, I believe with most of the evidence pointing to doing cardio after when you’re looking for fat loss. Suppversity has covered this subject best HERE, HERE and HERE.

In my opinion the most effective forms of cardio are: Max-OT style HIIT (check the blog link of 15 different cardio styles, this one is #2), Hill Sprints or Sled Training (so basically I’m always favoring High Intensity Interval Training if you haven’t noticed):

Sorinex Root Hog Sled

I think Rob King has done the best job of advocating the benefits of sled training recently HERE and HERE. If your gym doesn’t have a sled, Rob has some great suggestions HERE or you can pick up a Spud Carpet Sled (works on rubber too) and be the envy of you gym. Personally, I feel the Sorinex Root Hog sled is top in market. Works excellent for muscle building! I may marry mine.

Now, aside from performing relatively short bursts (15-30 mins) of cardio a few times a week, is it possible to program your weight training to be highly effective for fat loss? Could I take the 6 principles in the muscle training category and apply them into one neat little package?

The answer is yes, and it has been my most effective fat loss training template ever! I’ve tested it over literally hundreds of trainees, used on myself countless time, used as a template for our conditioning style classes and works tremendously well for training partners & spouses even if you are good at different stuff (eg. She loves lunges, hates push ups; you love push ups but hate lunges).

 

I call it the Elimination Circuit. But let me save that for Cardio – Part 2 in the next installment of this series. Any further questions on the details above or if you have training related questions in terms of fat loss feel free to post a comment below.

 

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 1/4

You Are Not Fat, You Have Fat

Stop! Read the picture’s words again, and then a few more times.

Let it sink in. It covers everything!

The Formula: (Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

Pretty simple, right?

I’m a big “break it down to the basics” sorta dude. We could talk about how your lower cross syndrome is affecting your quadratus lumborum on the left side and how it’s hyperactive in relation to your hip flexor strength on the right side and therefore you’ll need to purchase at least a 50 session package of personal training sessions up front so I can “fix” you and hopefully one day you’ll be able to reach your fat loss goals….

OR we could chat as friends and I can give you some info to chew (and hopefully act) on. The truth, my friend, is that it’s all about the details!

This 4-part blog series is aimed at two people:

First) The fitness nut, possible personal trainer extraordinaire who already knows where I’m going and what I’m going to say and mostly this is a pow-wow for us to know others in the world go through the same cyclic conversations we do. Easy: share the article if you feel the advice is worthy.

Second) The general population who for a lack of better words quite simply does not get it! (I could cite here: women can’t get manly huge muscles by lifting weights {I mean seriously, can you even do a push up? So how likely are you to get all she-hulk picking up non-pink dumbbells?}, you can’t spot reduce, you can’t flex fat you have to burn it, you can’t starve yourself into a 6 pack, a thirty-day squat challenge is barely going to a damn thing for your derriere, running for fat loss sucks but it’s most guys starting point…)

But I’m not here to pick on you, hell most of the fitness nuts don’t get it either! I will say this: it IS your fault for some reasons and NOT your fault for others when it comes to your body composition (fat vs lean mass) and your physical fitness. For many it’s a lack of knowledge. For others it’s just the lazy gene expressing itself!

Look, I chose this profession. Mostly it evolved out of a passion for the information and the art in applying it. Add that to decent communication skills and a superstar typing speed and here I am 7 years and 7000+ personal training sessions later. You could do that too! You could read every book, every internet article, test every theory on yourself and then on your friends and family, you could take some post-secondary education, you could fall asleep at your desk getting lost in the YouTube world, you could buy every great coach’s DVD or e-book product I own and digest that information OR you could pay us professionals to give you the abridged need-to-know details on how to win the fat loss battle of the bulge.

Most people who walk in my gym’s door blatantly admit they simply don’t do enough activity, eat well enough, work their muscles or their heart enough, nor take some time to de-stress, let alone get a decent night’s sleep. But some do. Some put in hours upon hours in the kitchen, being “healthy and active” and exercising regularly at the gym…but don’t get the results they’re seeking. So why?

Go back to the picture at the top, reread it a couple more times and understand:

If you’re not losing fat at the pace you desire (and feel you’re working for) then the balance of the details in the equation is simply incorrect for you.

Detail #1 (Perhaps the most important of all): NEPA & NEAT

 

Non-Exercise Physical Activity (NEPA) and its accompanying Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) are likely the single greatest factors as to the size you take up on the planet. The more you move, the less you’ll likely weigh. You sit a lot and oh boy are you quickly heading the other way.

 

Let’s take Jane, she’s a senior executive for a busy accounting company. She gets up in the morning, eats a small breakfast, hops in her car and commutes for 45 minutes to work where she’s at her desk answering 50 phone calls, at least 100 emails and having her co-workers interrupt her busy day quite frequently. She is so busy she rarely gets to enjoy lunch, instead she slams it at her desk. When her day is done 9 hours later she quickly hops in her car, heads home, helps cook dinner and then exhausted plops on her couch to watch her favorite TV shows, woken up by her hubby telling her it’s time to crawl into bed. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

Let’s look at Sarah, a stay at home mom with a 3-year-old boy, Bobby and a 1-year-old girl, Victoria. She’s up at the crack of whatever unholy hour Victoria wakes her, usually too early in her opinion. She’s rushing up and down the stairs to make breakfast, help hubby get out the door to work, then driving the little Bobby to day care to finally come home clean up the toys scattered everywhere, wash a few loads of laundry, talk to her crazy mother in-law on the phone for an hour as she’s got poor Victoria bouncing away and glued in her other arm. Before you know it, it’s time to pick up Bobby from day care but not before a quick stop to the grocery store where she has to lug the baby carry around, come home feed Bobby a snack, put the rest of the groceries away, get dinner ready for the evening, do some more laundry, and if she’s lucky she’ll get a 45 minute break from the kids once they go to bed, which was an ordeal itself. But don’t worry, it’s looking like a good night where she’ll get about 5 hours sleep!! Whoohoo!!

 

Tell me what these two women have in common? They’re both busy, they could both be any age (20-45), they both don’t get enough sleep, they both have a lot of stress, they both most likely do not have time for prepping high quality and frequent meals, they both have very little time for themselves and are probably both so bloody exhausted come that time that the idea of exercise would send them onto the floor laughing at your suggestion.

 

But…

                 which one is likely thinner?

 

Jane wakes up and is in short order sitting 45 mins in her car where she ends up sitting at a desk all day, then back to sitting in her car 45 mins to get back home, does maybe an hour of shuffling about the house before sitting on the couch and finally sleeping in her bed. This gal doesn’t move. It’s sit, sit and sit. And yet she’s exhausted all the time.

 

Now Sarah, holy S*&%balls, does she ever get to sit? Even when she does she’s likely fidgeting with something or holding a baby. She’s got a reason to be exhausted. Hell, it was exhausting typing up her day (so I have big time respect for the stay at home moms)!

 

The truth is that the above question shouldn’t have to be answered. Sarah wins hands downs and should be thinner because of the insane amount of moving she does. And 8/10 times this will be the case when comparing apples to apples.

 

The other 20% of the time the variance will be because of other details (workouts, food, stress and sleep levels).

 

Since you’re going to watch a TV show at some point anyway, I’ll be so bold as to say take an hour of your life and watch this one with your spouse (and later make everyone you know watch it).  This fantastic documentary drastically changed how I approach helping my clients achieve their goals and has drastically reduced my exercise (in a gym) prescriptions.

 

BBC’s The Truth About Exercise: http://vimeo.com/51836895

(35:00 mark of video they talk about how high NEPA/NEAT makes a difference but seriously do yourself a huge favor and watch the whole thing, even if you know it all)

 

So when someone asks me if they should go from 2 exercise sessions a week to 4, while I encourage your efforts and will never tell you that’s not a great idea, I will always first enquire…but how many steps do you take in a day? Don’t know? It’s time to find out!

 

Buy a pedometer (they’re $10 for a cheap and good one) and wear it for 2 work days and 1 off day. Take the total and divide by three (days). That’s your average. If it’s below 7500 steps GET MOVING!! If the average is over 10,000 then likely NEPA is not the problem, one of the other details of the formula is.

22k Pedometer Step Count

 

This is one of my high work days (low is ~12K, best ever was 28K)

 

In terms of activity’s effectiveness on fat loss it’s best to look at this:

High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training.

 

Quite plainly, cardio sucks and should never be your first go to if you really want to have your time and effort equate to results.

 

What can you do to boost your pedometer count, get your NEPA way up and get NEAT working for you?? Anything. Park at the back of the grocery store’s parking lot. And carry baskets instead of using a cart. Forget how to operate an elevator for a week.  Clean the garage you said you were going to last fall. Paint the bedroom, that color is sooo 1990’s. Get out of your chair every two hours if you sit for a living. I mean really, if you can sit for longer than two hours you’re not drinking enough liquids to force you to the bathroom which is likely another problem to solve. And while you’re up, stretch your hamstrings, for they’re likely tight and a possible culprit to your low back pain and on your way back take a second to fix your posture! Limit your TV time to <90 mins a day (here are some scary stats for you: http://www.statisticbrain.com/television-watching-statistics). Remember: sexercise is exercise! Pretty please read this blog and really take it on for it may be the best advice you ever receive!

One last question: when was the last time you remember gazing upon the Big Dipper? Might wanna go check if it’s still up there!

 

The point is: Get off your ass! Often! For longer periods of time! Repeat! Period!

 

In the next installment I’ll explain muscle training (stimulation vs annihilation, free weights vs machines, how to program a great workout, etc) versus cardiovascular training (different types, which is “best” and when too much can back fire your results). I’ll help you figure out how both are important details within the formula and how best to make them work for the time you’re willing to commit to them. Because that is the point, no?

 

Of the 168 hours we are all allotted in a given week, I want every minute, every hour and every workout to count for something. Who wants to workout 4 hours a week, week in-week out, to look and feel exactly the same next year?

 

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

 

You Gave Me The Power

He-Man I Have The Power
I have the power
I can destroy you
I can make you hurt
I can make you scream
I can break you
Mentally and physically
I have all the power
You do what I say
I can injure you
I can harm your athletic performance
I can neglect you
I can disrespect you
I can service you poorly
I can waste your time
I can waste your money
You could be my guinea pig, testing the weekend seminar tricks I just picked up on you next Monday (instead of mastering them myself first; the nuances are what matter)

But then again, I could also
Teach you
About you, about exercise, about this beautiful machine you own called
Your body
I can educate myself to further educate you
I can prep the best workout
For your day, your mood, your energy right now, in this instant, this rep.

I may tweak the plan for the day but there
was a plan!
And I can ask that you trust me when I say
This is good for you (because it actually is, not because I think it’s cool that my puppet client can do what I think is beastmode; see, see, see, look at me making my client do this useless exercise with poor form and too much weight, yay Facebook!)
I can make this about you (that is what you’re paying for, correct?)
I can do my job
Which quite simply is not simply provide
A great workout or training session for today
Above all else my job is to ensure
Via exercise, stretching, a little grunting and a laugh or two (okay, maybe at your expense you big wussy)
That however you walked in my door
I had and used the power to better your day, help you better yourself and have you walk out my door feeling much better than when you arrived.
It’s all trust. You never asked me about the magical pieces of paper that one would think could be the source of the strange, albeit life altering tidbits of wisdom I spew on the regular. I mean face it, you even tie your shoes differently now! The truth is I would never get those jems from any source other than experience.

And experience came from trusting I made the right choice with all this “power” I supposedly have

Not bias, not outdated information, not ego

I am not married to any specific exercise, but rather I subscribe that

the human body was designed to move, a great many ways

and it’s this I shall endeavor to help you master

Pick your personal FITNESS trainer wisely my friends, pick them wisely!

He-Man & She-Ra