Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What are you missing?

     Often, when it comes to workouts and performance, people flock to the supplements and protein powders as the best way to increase their performance.  If they look to nutrition the main focus is what types of food to eat and when.  One of the most overlooked and undervalued things you should be considering is much simpler than any of the above.

I'm talking about Water!

     The planet that we live on is made up of 70% water.  The human body is about 70% water.  This being said, water should be a big focus for anyone who is trying to change their body composition.

     Your body is a machine.  In order to work properly your body needs to be sufficiently hydrated.  Every day as you live you are losing water very quickly.  You lose water through breathing, perspiration, and elimination.  That water needs to be replaced.

                       Interesting Experiment:  To see how much water you lose through perspiration tie a plastic bag around your 
                                                               hand (don't go too tight here, we are not trying to cut off your hand, lol!)  Leave it on
                                                               there and in a matter of minutes you'll see the moisture begin to bead up on the bag. 
                                                               This is just a really interesting thing to try! 

     When your body loses water, it cannot perform bodily functions correctly.  This includes the regeneration of muscle fiber.  Adequate water will allow the proper elimination of toxins and promote healing, you MUST be completely hydrated.

     Years ago a theory was developed that when you feel thirsty, you need water.  The truth is that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.  If you rely on the thirst feeling you will alway be in need of water.  Believe it or not, as we age, our body gets worse at telling us we need water!

     In order to keep adequately hydrated you must force yourself to regularly drink water.  The easiest way is to make sure you always have a bottle on you that can be refilled.  In particular I like the Brita Bottle with a filter.  This way you can fill it when you need to and always have good water.

     Drinking water can go a long way, but another way to make sure you are hydrated is to incorporate foods that are mostly water into your diet.  In particular, fruits and vegetables.   These things are a great source of natural waters that will help to keep you properly hydrated.  The easiest thing you can do is add a salad to your lunches and dinners.

     If you want more information on how important water is check out F. Batmanghelidj's book Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You're not sick, you're thirsty!  It is an interesting book that really highlights the benefits of keeping yourself hydrated.  I think some of the ideas are a stretch, but the value of the overall information is worth it. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Are You Listening To Your Body?

Especially if you are new to working out, it's important to make sure you are listening to your body.  At first there are so many changes going on in your system, you won't notice anything about the body's signals.  However, after you perform consistently for a period of time, you will begin to notice things. This is where your power of observation will be sharpened.

People who have spent the majority of their life overweight are not in the habit of listening to their body.  Over time many different signals have combined.  For the most part people who are habitually overweight have confused what these signals mean.  As you begin to exercise on a regular basis you will notice that the signals are not what you thought.

This is where you need to re-learn your body.  Take the time to experiment and begin to see how your body responds so that you can better work to increase your health.

For example, after working out for a while, you will likely experience the feelings of fatigue and tiredness.  Unfortunately, many people will stop working out and when they begin to feel better, they will stop working out because they like how they feel now.  This is a mis-reading of your body's signals!  What's happening is that your body is finally beginning to process everything as it should.  Because of this, your body is increasing the signals for what it needs.  You are just used to reading hunger, tiredness, and fatigue.  Your natural inclination would be to say, I'm tired so I'll sleep.

I suggest you begin to experiment with different things to figure out what your body is needing.  In our fatigue and tiredness example the body could be asking for several things.  First, it could need more water.  In order for the body's processes to work correctly and efficiently, you need to have a lot of water in your system.  If you get dehydrated, your body may signal that you need to slow down because the processes are getting slowed down and it responds as if you are over doing it.  Make sure you are drinking adequate water and avoiding excess salt and drinks that act as a diuretic.  If you are staying adequately hydrated and you are still experiencing the fatigue and tiredness, then you should look to your nutrition.  Are you eating right.  What is "right" anyway?  This is a very good question, and really beyond the scope of this blog, but in general make sure you are eating whole foods that are not just meat.  When in doubt, vegetables and fruits are a good place to be.  Concentrated foods like processed foods, meat, cheese, etc. are a drag on your system and can cause tiredness and fatigue as well.

Lastly, if these first two things are in place and you still are fatigued and tired, consider that you may actually need more sleep, or you may need to take a break.  It's perfectly normal for the body to need time to rest.  About every two months or so you should take a break for a few days, maybe a week.  If you haven't worked out a lot in the past you may need a break at the end of one month.  Try taking a day off of your normal schedule and then go back to your normal schedule.  If you are eating well and staying hydrated, you should have energy to spare.  If you are still dragging, your body is trying to tell you something.  Make sure to pay attention and make small adjustments that don't involve quitting exercising forever!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Results are everything!

There is nothing more frustrating that moving yourself out of the habit of being lazy and sitting on the couch, only to get no results.  This is what began happening after I first started going to the gym a few months ago.  Three times a week for almost two months and nothing to show for it.  I didn't look any different.  I didn't feel good.  In fact I felt worse than before I got off the couch.  The burst of energy never really came.

Then I decided that I would research the body and look more into what I needed.

I went to blogs, websites, books. You name it, I looked into it.  The downside is that you looking into information on health is a deep dark hole of confusion that will suck your soul away if you let it.

I had to determine my goal.  For me, weight loss is the key.  I can't ever remember being below 20% body fat and can only remember one time that I got below 25% years ago.  My personal goal has become to get myself below 20% body fat by September 2014.

This is similar to my goal I started with in August, but much more specific.  In August, I simply said I wanted to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year.

The research also led me to realize that walking and cardio will not get me where I want to go.  Being a tad on the lazy side, I had a deep desire to find the most efficient and best way to accomplish what my goal.  I began to see that lifting weights was going to be required.  I had lifted weights when I played football in high school and although I build some muscle, it never led to me seriously bulking.  The way we lifted back then was not optimal.

The bulk of lifting programs have you working like crazy and working into a pain situation.  The one thing I've always known about myself is "if it hurts, I won't do it long."  So, with that in mind I felt like I had to ease into working out.  The problem with easing into weights is that you don't really accomplish anything by lifting super light.

I ended up finding a book that I mentioned a couple blogs ago, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.  I have since been working this program and I am currently in my third week.

So what are my result?

Amazing!  By my standards at least.

I can see actual muscle growth already.  My arms and chest are the most noticeable changes.  I still have a lot of fat, and a lot of weight to lose, but the fact that I can actually feel myself getting stronger helps keep me going.  The muscles have toned so that I can feel them underneath my layer of fat in my stomach.  My legs are feeling great.  My energy is beginning to work its way up, although I have had a hard time with the diet portion of the program.  I still eat too much sugar and my wife and I are a bad influence on each other.  The, "I'm tired, want to order pizza" thing comes up too often.  But, even with that, I'm still getting results and seeing progress!

This is increasing my motivation to reign in the diet and to keep lifting!

The results are everything, because they become your motivation to continue!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Greatest Benefit To Lifting Weights For The Perpetually Overweight

So, for the last two weeks I've been following the weight routine I told you about in my last post.  The number one benefit that I have noticed is that I can already see results.

I'm not talking about lower weight on the scale.  But, I can already see my shape slightly changing.  It's not that I've made a 100% improvement or anything, but it's noticeable.  Which is much more than I can say for what I did with the running stuff.

In addition to the visual, I am getting to the point where I really like going to the gym.  The back area with the free weights was always a quasi-mystical area where the serious people went, now I'm very comfortable back there for the exercises I need to do there.

Overall this has been a great experience and I will continue to work on this and keep filing you all in!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weightlifting, the key to weight loss?

Lifting weights is essential.  If you are overweight and want to really begin to lose weight, you need to lift weights.  It's not about getting bulked up like a professional weightlifter.  There are more weight loss benefits to lifting weights than running.

Weight lifting helps you build muscle.   This extra muscle uses calories and helps you burn more fat.  This is the way you increase your basal metabolic rate.  Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body burns just for you to stay alive.  Regardless of whether you sit on the couch, or if you are sleeping, you burn calories.  The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

Lifting also gives you a metabolic boost for a longer period.  After you workout, your body will burn an increased number of calories for up to 48 hours afterword.  This will also allow you to lose weight.

A great book to begin with is Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.  This book goes into nutrition and weightlifting.  This will give you everything you need to do to begin lifting weights.  If you prefer the here is the kindle version.  This book is really written for men.  The author does have a version for women called Thinner, Leaner, Stronger (Kindle).

The other place that helps is  This is a great place with lots of free information.  The ONLY downside is that if you are not familiar with working out, the amount information can be a little overwhelming.  This is why I recommend you start with the books above and then incorporate other workouts as you go.

Do yourself a favor and begin a weight routine today!

Friday, October 11, 2013