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

 

Your Delusions of Grandeur – 5 Reasons You Don’t Look & Feel The Way You Want!

Delusions of Grandeur

This time of year, perhaps moreseo than all others, marks a time of change. After the holidays, copious intake of sweets and cookies and all the celebrations and time spent with people it’s pretty natural to want to take a moment for yourself. And in doing so that probably includes a long stare in the mirror both for the reflection as much as to hear what is being said behind those eyes of yours. I have a sneaking suspicion the voice starts talking about change, both of your body and of your life going forward. I’m going to see if I can help you with both.

First, let’s get to your delusions of grandeur regarding fitness, aesthetic goals, reduction of physical pain as well as weight optimization.

I Beat Anorexia

Well, yes sir, you did. But perhaps you “succeeded” all too well!

Delusion #1

If there’s any one thing people just NEVER seem to understand well enough it’s this: 90% of the fat loss equation happens in the kitchen. And over the next few weeks the proof of this will come as I’m about to receive dozens of emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and text messages all asking for one thing: “Adrian, help me dude, I packed on the holiday pounds and I need to get back in the gym to lose it.” Listen, closely:

I’m not the answer. I’m not the solution.

This is:

Prepped Meals

Well, minus the plastic containers as only a fool would ask for good meals like this alongside a fair dose of xenoestrogens. If you don’t know what a xenoestrogen is you should: READ, READ, READ, READ and go learn about these suckers that are in everything from your shampoo to your antiperspirants (oh and xenoestrogens absorb 10fold through the skin!)

Back on track. If your major goal is fat loss: DO NOT call me for assistance in fat loss before you first contact this guy (my first choice) or this guy (my secondary choice). I’ve already told you why when I wrote THIS.

Delusion #2

For years upon years I’ve been doing my best to dispel the myth that spot reduction is possible. There may be an ever so slight chance of it, but likely it’s all hogwash. And whatever amount it may possibly happen is quite simply not worth focusing on. You have to understand one simple FACT: YOU CANNOT FLEX FAT. Despite the minute scale in which spot reduction is possible you can’t turn fat into muscle. You can’t flex your bingo wing. You can’t flex your love handle. You can’t flex your saddlebags. And despite Dean Somerset‘s epic picture, you cannot adduct your inner thighs into the greatness you so desire.

Dean Somerset

Body fat is nothing more than excess fuel storage. While hormonal patterns may partly determine where you may store this excess fat don’t take that to the extreme and go buy the latest fad supplement that supposedly targets cortisol sites therefore it will magically erase your kangaroo pouch. There’s far more evidence suggesting biotyping is a myth as well. IT JUST AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

Look, does your car burn fuel right at the site of the gas tank??? NO!

It burns it in the engine’s process. So what is the engine of the body?? The answer is your muscles.

Light Bulb

DING!

Again, you can’t flex fat. You have to burn it off. Your muscles burn this fuel. So work them, hard and often! And know that targeting fat is a bloody waste of time. Make the whole machine work harder and you’ll be on the right track. Which leads me to the next…

Delusion #3

What’s the biggest muscle in your body? Hint: it’s not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your glutes!

Glute Anatomy

What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: it’s still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your back!

Rhomboids

Oh, those painful knots in your back are the highlighted muscle (the rhomboids) and the main reason they hurt so much is your shitty posture is overstretching them as you slouch all the time. So say it with me now: “I _____ (insert your name) shall always prioritize back training over chest training!”

What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: Nope, still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your legs!!

Leg Anatomy

Should I even continue? The next would arguably be your core/midsection musculature followed by your upper arms/shoulder combination. AND THEN finally, last and least: your chest and biceps (and well, calves but let’s not go there).

What’s my point?? Look, I’m all about looking pretty in the mirror, I like pumping my chestceps and biceptorals into oblivion like the next guy BUT if your main goal is fat loss, which means you’re gonna attempt to burn off the excess fuel hanging around the various sites of your body (pinchable body fat) that means a smart person would have already deduced the best chance of that happening in the gym (refer back to Delusion #1) is to work those muscles in that order. Glutes, Back, Legs, Core/Midsection, Shoulders/Arms, Chest and if you insist, biceps. Doing this backwards is the complete idiots guide to failure! But, Adrian, you ask: “What about cardio? Should I perform fasted cardio 3hours every morning 8 days a week?” Look, do proper cardio if you want but muscle training always matter more! The bigger the engine (meaning the more muscle you build) the more fuel that sucker is gonna burn off. A 550 horsepower V10 engine is going to burn WAY more fuel than a 250 horsepower 4 banger, even when sitting idle in the driveway (your periods of inactivity).

So ladies, when you ask me why I keep making you do so many squats, drag and push the sled up and down the gym and why I’m training your glutes so aggressively understand the above and know it’s not because I have a gluteal fetish. Oh, wait, I do but that’s besides the point. I don’t care about your tricep area fat. We’re gonna burn that better by moving your biggest body parts – all the time!

And gents, if I see you walk into the gym again wondering what you’re going to train (you’re supposed to be following a training program anyway) and you decide on chest and biceps instead of legs, glutes and/or your back I will kick your ass with a barbell and then make you squat with it! If you still insist at least do something like a push up plank as a work-rest between sets. That would at least make some minutia of sense. Or just throw a push up streak into your weekly/monthly/yearly training programs.

And if you still don’t understand how strength training can equate to fantastical fat loss well, Nick Tumminello’s book is set to arrive soon enough!

Brain Power Increase

Delusion #4

You can work smart, not hard. Nope! Lies. I cannot even begin to go off about the hundreds of stories about folks in the gym busting their ass ALL WRONG. I mean, there’s even an epic Facebook page dedicated to this. But oftentimes, moreso than I’d care to admit to my clients: those working the hardest in the gym are the ones usually seeing the best results.

Exercise technique is of paramount importance, do not get me wrong there. And I am in no way advocating horrid exercise as being okay because you’re “working hard.” Trust me, an injury will slow your roll in the near future! But if you haven’t grunted, if the color of your shirt has not visibly darkened in the time you have been in the gym (for the love of the petri dish that gyms already are bring a damn towel with you!), if you haven’t gone through 1L of fluid during your workout or haven’t sworn to either me or yourself a good half-dozen times: YOU ARE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.

Work hard first. Then seek the expertise to help you learn how to work smart and hard! There is always a better way but it never means you’ll be working any less hard. In fact there is a nice little slogan I see floating the interwebs often:

It Never Gets Easier, You Just Get Better

Delusion #5

It IS your fault. Period. You look and feel the way you do because of no one but you!

You Are Not Fat, You Have Fat

There is a reason why I wrote this on my gym walls forcing you to read and reread it every time you walk in!

Not a single soul is going to get you where you want to go except for you! Sure, there is assistance out there but you have to move, you have to workout, you have to prep your meals, you have to eat them, you have to go to bed on time, you have to de-stress.

I will endeavor to get to the details of the formula as I have written on the walls (the above pic) to help you understand where you need some changes. But basically the formula is: NEPA (non-exercise physical activity) levels. You’re probably not moving about enough in your day. And I hope for your sake you’re not sitting too long. Nutrition: are you eating enough (so many overweight people simply starve themselves yet oddly enough get confused as to how they aren’t eating enough)? Are you eating the food types and in the amounts that match your goals? Again I’ll refer you here for more info on that and eventually tell you to contact this guy (again, refer to Delusion #1). Does your exercise frequency and type fit your goals. It’s quite likely despite me telling you prior that you need to work harder that right now you might be working out too often! Are you getting enough rest (sleep included), downtime and finding ways to lessen the stress you face in your life? I definitely do not. And a friend recommended I order this book which I did today so I may work on this aspect. Are you doing the small things daily that recharge you so you may be the better version of yourself? I also neglect this so I went out and finally bought a sweet set of headphones to drown myself in the music that rejuvenates me.

Again, I’ll get into that formula in a near-future blog but know that if you feel lost there are always professionals out there that can help. You don’t cut your own hair (well some of you do but usually that means you don’t have any). You shouldn’t do your own taxes. You don’t fix your own furnace when it blows up. And I doubt you change your own car transmission. There are experts in every field and you may need their assistance. And while this journey and its successes are 100% dependant on whether you get it done, part of that means being smart enough to recruit, hire and ask those around you to assist.

Conclusion: No More Delusions

I will leave you with this final question and the wonderful source I found it (trust me, spend the 35 minutes of your life to watch this video uninterrupted and in one go!!!):

What seperates the successful from the unsuccessful?

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWFXQAWkqX4]

For 2014, I will implore you this: work more on debunking your delusions than you do talking about all the things you’re going to achieve this year. Via that you shall certainly see your goals come to life! As my buddy Rob King always says: “Go F*^king Get It!”

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

Streaking: And How Every Step Counts

If one were to ask me: “Adrian, what’s the absolute fastest way to get to my weight/fitness/health _______ (loss, gain, size, shape, etc) goal via exercise, what would that be?”

Without a doubt: STREAKING!

Streaking

Well, perhaps not this sort of streaking

But let’s think about that picture for a moment. Every step this brave soul took the entire crowd was anticipating (either to see how far he’d make it or when it would finally be over). Every single step counted. It mattered. If it was ended 3 seconds in, it went down as a flop, waste of effort and was worthless. Instead this dude made it far enough to get himself plastered all over the internet for people like myself to use in a blog. Great job sir! I hope your phone call went through in time.

It all started with Martin Rooney

I first heard about the idea of streaking via a coach I have looked up to for years. He was working on a 10,000 push ups in a year “streak” he called it. At first I thought, wow, that’s a lot of push ups. But then I’ve done 500 in a workout (took me 40 minutes) before so really 200 days like that and you’d be done.

Martin Rooney - 10000 Push Up Streak

But surely it would not be that easy. Work, life, family and other usage of our time could really get in the way of a goal such as this. Or….not. I mean I could hop off the computer right now and bust out as many push ups as possible …

…Okay, just did that. Got 32 reps. Damn that hurts after yesterday’s chest and back day.

Now if I just did that 3 times a day, 5 days a week for a year I would attain 24,960 push ups within a year. It took me 48 seconds to do those 32 reps. So about 25,000 push ups would cost me a total of 1,872 minutes of the 525,600 minutes I get every year (or 0.35%).

But let me ask you this: would 25,000 push ups in the next year make a VERY significant difference to my physical appearance?? Probably one very much in line with my goals?

Why You Should Streak

Given the right selection of exercise(s) to utilize in a streak you are going to save yourself one giant hassle: setting aside the time required to get your exercise in. Let’s face it, driving to the gym, getting changed, making sure you remembered your water bottle and towel, making your iPod playlist, dealing with the meatheads grunting on the bench press station every 8 minutes when they do a set, driving home, changing, doing the laundry of those smelly clothes…

Working out at a gym takes time, energy and don’t even get me started when having to work with a really busy personal trainer who’s schedule is absurd and hard to book appointments with (I apologize for that). With an appropriately chosen streak there’s none of that. You can climb out of your cubicle right this second, perform 15 body weight squats and 15 wall slides and sit right back down. Your boss won’t even know. Hell, you’ll probably even boost your energy and lessen your pain this way. So the question I really have for you is: why haven’t you been doing this all along?

How You Should Streak

I’m of the opinion first and foremost streaks should be body weight only first. Sure you could do a 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge using 12kg. BUT are you really going to pack around a 12kg kettlebell with you to work?? or carry it to the bedroom and bust out 50 reps before bed. Unlikely. So don’t set yourself up for failure when it comes to your first time streaking. Make it foolproof and then the only thing you have to worry about is excuse-proofing your damn self!

What exercises should one choose? Here are some criteria I suggest you consider:

1) it should be a movement you’re quite capable of performing pain-free and comes with a fairly low chance of joint stress on the long run (see warning later about that)

2) it should be a movement you can do anywhere (home, work, gym, on the train ride to work if you’re an attention seeker…)

3) it should be a movement based on your A) aesthetic goals  B) posture correction, mobility or flexibility improvement or pain reduction goals C) performance of a lift goals (eg. 10,000 body weight heart beat squats would probably improve your barbell back squat)

The Details

No one said this had to be rep based.

It can be time based: maybe you want to spend 25 total hours in hamstring stretches because you haven’t been able to touch your toes since the 80’s.

It can be program based: maybe you were lucky enough to read this article: http://bretcontreras.com/5-things-you-should-do-everyday/ and decided that within the next 60 days you were going to achieve this brilliant advice 45 of the 60 days! That would do absolute wonders for you and your health and pain reduction.

And who even said this had to be exercise related? Maybe your goal is to finish 3 jugs of Superfood within 3 months.

Don’t make it complicated is my point. Just whatever numbers, time, goals, etc come to mind as a challenge but achievable and within a decent amount of time…just do it!!! It doesn’t have to be every day. Maybe you’re too sore; fine, skip a day or two. BUT don’t go too many days without doing your streaks or you’ll simply fall off the wagon permanently.

Exercise Ideas

So, you’re willing to give it a go eh? Good on ya. Let’s help you set up a few streaks. That’s right, a few. You’ve come this far, why bother with just one. If this is your first time, pick 2-3. If you’re really gung-ho and really can’t afford to get to the gym more than 1-2x/week than hell, go for 10 streaks at a time. Some you’ll finish well before others.

Want a better butt? Try a streak of this sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSUFWViGZ54 Maybe you do it 250 times

Want better chest development? Pretty tough to be a push up. Try some of my favorite variations here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eQopawA3vM

Your shoulders creaking and achy all the time, well perhaps you might want to give these a whirl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMOQNsBMSl0

Want to increase your overall toughness, fitness level and “core” power? Pretty impossible to beat isometric holds in this category: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIJDhKbVp94

Want to perfect your kettlebell swing technique because it may just be the single best exercise on the planet? My gal did just this and it took her quite some time and instruction to get her to not feel it in her back. Here she nails the form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raLZ9bRFu_o (and oh boy so her booty look primo for doing so!)

Stronger “core”: Try these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdRFsf1A0Uw

Better abs: Look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzte9pmOZOM

Harder, more shapely thighs: Here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baokarot4Ss

Wanna bring up that glute-ham tie it (I get giddy for GHTI): Alright: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO0ad0h-qE

Want bigger shoulders: Try this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGHKp1Wc8I , this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aIdaOI7E7A or this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVWelgUaIx4

Point is: any PAIN FREE, well performed exercise done in a streaking manner will equate to absolutely astounding results in a very short period of time. IF you don’t give up and you actually set your mind up to getting it completed!

MY ONLY WARNING

I akin the goal of a thousand repetitions of an exercise to the display at every IKEA store that shows their cupboard drawers being pulled in and our mechanically thousands upon thousands of repetitions. You can’t do hundreds and thousands of reps of anything and not expect a few negative situations to occur such as muscle soreness (perhaps a lot of it), tendon wear and tear, fascial tissue trigger points, inflexibility of the muscle being worked (10,000 push ups doesn’t sound like a good postural idea for the average gym monkey), and possible injury risk (such is the case with chin up streaks http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/13064_pullups_in_5_months which led to my first purchase of gymnastic rings).

I will say this: if you choose to slaughter your glutes via 50,000 glute bridges you had better be smart enough to do some very serious self myofascial release on them routinely!

Wanna do a push up streak? Best be hitting some chest self myofascial release there too and copious amounts of chest stretching such as Dan John’s amazing “Stoney Stretch”

Stoney Stretch

Trust me on this: you will never see faster change in performance, posture, strength, muscular endurance, muscle shaping/size/hardening and mental toughness than utilizing properly selected “Streaks” into your overall health and fitness programming.

If you’d like some help in selecting streaks based on your goals just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

We're Going Streaking

The Consultation: Perhaps the Single Best Client-Trainer Relationship Builder

Was reading on Facebook the other day a quote by another trainer which said something to the tune of:

“In the training world, when it rains, it pours…”

She was speaking of how one referral tends to lead to a dozen within just a few weeks. I’ve witnessed it myself. One minute you think you can take on more clients, the next day you have more phone calls, consults and assessments to work through than you can possibly handle.

That’s why some of us must utilize a wait list.

I think a lot of the time the general public truly doesn’t understand what they’re implying and saying when they convince themselves “I’m going to hire a personal trainer!” Even if they’ve met the one they have in mind, or have seen his/her videos or read their blog it doesn’t mean they know how the breakdown from the first phone call to the first training session is going to go down.

Because there is stuff in the middle, all sorts of communication. I will be so bold as to say that if you call up a trainer one day and they book your first workout after a 10 minute conversation be warned that this is not a good trainer.

A good trainer collects a HUGE amount of information in a small amount of time (about 45-90mins). Before I take on a new client I need to know their entire training history, injury/health stuff, they need to know my policies, pricing, we need to work out our schedules and discuss important topics like physical, emotional, habitual, and sometimes even spousal barriers we are going to run into.

The point is you don’t just simply call up a personal trainer (a good one anyway) one day and start working out tomorrow.

It’s the equivalent of finding out there’s a job available (your goal and your commitment to it now) and you’ve literally just handed the employer (trainer) your resume (your goals) and after just a quick 10 minute conversation, with zero reference check, well, you have the job and you start tomorrow, end of phone call.

Tell me you aren’t left with a dozen questions you should have asked before accepting the job. What’s the pay? What are the hours? What’s the benefit plan like? Must I travel? Who do I report to?

You are hiring a trainer and a trainer is investing their time in a business relationship with you so….

Before you accept this journey you think you are ready to jump into I ask you to take my advice (both potential clients and trainers alike): get to know just whom you’ll be working with as much as possible before you hire them/take them on.

This is where, I believe, the consultation process is hands down the single greatest client-trainer relationship building block that leads to long-term clients who achieve fantastic results and eventually refer all their friends and relatives.

What is a consultation? What should the format look like? Should I have to pay for it (potential client)? Should I charge for it (trainer)? In all reality it’s 100% up to the trainer how much they want to invest upfront with their potential client.

At the level I’m at in this industry, I personally choose to keep this a free service (whoopee, it’s an hour of my time to change someone’s life) but I will also say (trainers pay attention): this is also why I have a 90% sell ratio out of this process.

Pay It Forward

When people call, email, or hunt you down for the trainer experience it’s up to you (the trainer) to do three things:

1) Sound or better yet, actually, care about their goals and helping that person reach them. I’ve venture so far as to say that us trainers need to admit when a clients goals are not our style, that we won’t be the best option out there for their needs and have a list of other trainers you trust and can recommend. Potential clients: I don’t care how much your cousin RAVES about this trainer you’re in front of, if you feel like they are not going to care about you reaching your goals, walk away! If the consultation sounds like all they care about is you purchasing their 50 pack of sessions…WALK AWAY!

2) Sound like you know what the hell you’re talking about. Potential client: Does this trainer sound like they have experience helping others achieve goals similar to yours? Do they have testimonials, before/after pics or anything that “proves” they are capable of the job. Ask the trainer if they have a back up (should they get sick, be on vacation at an inconvenient time for you, etc)? Do they have referrals to physical therapists, chiro, massage, naturalpath MDs for any other needs that you may have or run into in the future? If they don’t sound confident, don’t sound like they’ve built a system of any sorts I’d be leery. The reason I say sound is because there is much debate in the industry as to whether education, certifications, etc really “proves” that this person is qualified to handle you and your goals (I thank the super coach, Dave Parise, for really pointing this out). A trainer may sound super confident, book-wormy, and even look uber buff yet still be a complete twit when it comes to teaching the principles of training. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SHOP AROUND! You would if you were buying a car…this is your body we’re talking about here, it should be more important.

3) Have time for you. I struggle with this myself as I’m just in the position where 50-60% of the business being sent to me I quite simply do not have the schedule for. I know you’d love to workout at 5:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but those spots weren’t available 3 years ago and probably never will be. I’m at the point in my career where it’s time to build a team of other qualified trainers that can help me help others. If a trainer flips through his schedule book and pauses for 3 minutes and comes back with a “Well, I think I have every third Tuesday of every 2nd month” ask for a referral to a less busy trainer. When I had 5 clients and only 5 clients I absolutely must admit I spent more time and energy on those 5 clients. I’d go WAY out of my way and beyond my pay grade to make them happy. These days I do my best to be the best trainer I know in the area, provide service still beyond my pay grade and ask that if for any reason you feel lacking/wanting in the client-trainer relationship you simply dictate to me what your needs further require. Don’t be offended however, that I may simply not have the time and we need to recognize that you may be better off working with a less busy trainer at this point in time. Food for thought.

So…now that’s out-of-the-way, let’s talk about what actually goes down in a consultation or rather, what information I (the trainer) needs to collect from you (the potential client).

1) Your history. Exercise, health, sport and any other information that may hinder or speed up the results you may have. It’s not a surprise when a 30 something year old guy freely admits he’s on a cycle or has done as cycle of vitamin GH and vitamin T. I don’t judge, but it is very helpful to know. FYI, in my opinion it’s your friggin body, put in it what you wish but be smart enough to advise your trainer when you’re “on” something.

2) Your injury history. Do you have any nagging injuries that we need to be mindful of, refer out (physio, chiro, massage, etc) to, or concerns you have such as you think you have a weak lower back and your job requires you to use it quite a bit so you want to be careful there.

3) Your availability. Pretty simple. Optimally, a newb needs to train 2-4 times a week. There is some stat out there that people achieve 50% more results when they switch from training 3x/week to 4x/week. Maybe that means I see you twice a week and the other two you’re simply following a program I’ve laid out for you to complete on your own.

4) Your goals, deadlines, timeframes, etc. Always work backwards for everything you want in your life. The “one day I wanna have a six-pack” is about as specific as “one day I’d really like to be a millionaire.” If you have a goal to lose 50lbs in 6 months, math would tell me you need to lose ~12lbs a month which is about 3.75lbs/week which any good trainer will tell you that’s not the normal rate of change (unless you’re quite overweight). Maybe you need to adjust your goals vs timeframes.

5) Map out a strategy. I’m a big “mind stew” person. I like to have a conversation (even if it seems I wasn’t fully paying attention to you; trust me I heard you and it’s my way of processing) then let both myself and the potential client sit on it for a couple of days. The sheer amount of realism that gets presented and brought to your goals via the consultation can really smack a client right between the eyes. Wow, I’m really doing this. Or wow, I didn’t think so much went into it. Or wow, I’m maybe not ready for this level of commitment yet. There are lots of things that happen after conversations such as these. Give it time before making a decision. I rarely book a client or sell them sessions immediately after the consultation (unless they just look so damned excited they wanna hug me till I pop like a balloon). I like them to go home and get back to me when they’ve had a chance to mind-stew over it. If I don’t hear back from them in two days then I follow-up and ask if there’s anything I can do to help get them going on their goals.

Some trainers I know prefer to have a client fill out a 20 question document, some have a process that’s definitively laid out from first call to consult to assessment (if any) to first training session. Personally speaking, I prefer the in-person sit down, 45-90 minute conversation in front of my white board, at the gym (the exact space you’ll be training in so you get a feel for it and me) because it’s worked for ME so well  and I get a lot of feedback on it being incredibly helpful to that person, even if it doesn’t lead to the sale and beginning of a client-trainer relationship.

Are you still feeling lost as to what a consultation means, well, today I decided to film a unique one where I will be teaming up with Will Turner over at NoPainNoGain.ca for a “quarter life crisis” project he’s titled: The Good to Great Project. Essentially he turns 30 in 6 months, gets married in 7 and wants to be in the best shape he’s ever been in but is also in it for the experience and will be blogging (and writing in his associated newspaper: F.I.L.E.S. each month) for all to benefit from.

I apologize up front for the crappy sound of this 45 minute video, both Will and I are soft-spoken and the gym was somewhat busy and noisy around us. With the volume up a bit I’m hoping you’ll take away what my consultations look like (how casual yet informative they can be) and learn how to map out your goals in greater detail.

There is a TON of great info we talk about in this consultation and lots of take away tips.  View that video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpFU-rGJxA

Again, go check out Will Turner’s: The Good to Great Project over at NoPainNoGain.ca and watch for more information here as well.

Any questions…feel free to post in comments below