The Hibernation Effect

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but let me tell you why. When you wake up in the morning, your body has been in a starvation state for probably 10-12 hours. Hypothetically, you probably eat dinner at 7, go to bed at 10, and wake up at 7 the next morning. This is a good solid 12 hours without food, and at this point, your body is in a catabolic state, and you are not fully awake because the major organs located in your digestive system, are not going to start fully functioning until you put some food into your system. People don’t realize that when they sleep, their blood sugar levels drop because they haven’t eaten. Eating a good breakfast with a good carbohydrate and a good protein is going to raise your blood sugar and give you good energy to get your day started on the right foot.

However, most of us in the morning are rushing around trying to get ready for work, get the kids off to school, and get out the door. We end up grabbing a cup of Joe and running out the door without even thinking of grabbing something to eat in all the mayhem. Some people intentionally skip breakfast because they believe by skipping a meal they will take in less calories, and, in turn, lose weight. This actually does the opposite of what they want it to do. Our bodies still function as if we lived in the dark ages of hunting and gathering, when our next meal could be several days away, at best. Because of this, when the body realizes it is not getting nutrients on a regular basis, it starts holding on to fat. There are 9 calories per gram of fat, and only 4 per gram of protein and carb, so the body is capable of living longer off of fat than it is off of proteins and carbs. So, when the body goes extended periods of time without nutrients, it automatically starts storing a large portion of the next food as fat because it is a survival instinct.

Basically, this is your hibernation response. Think of a bear. They sleep for months at a time by storing up food before the winter season hits. However, it is not muscle that they are storing up to live off of for months and months; it is fat. Our bodies see these long periods of time without food as mini-hibernations. Our bodies need to eat roughly every 3-4 hours beginning with breakfast. Depending on your body type, you may need a protein or a carb, or both at these intervals, but the goal is to keep your blood sugar levels consistent. By eating small, frequent meals, you are taking your body out of fat storing mode, and putting it into muscle building, fat burning mode.

The Journey of Deli Meat: This Should Really Disgust You

I often have clients come to me and ask me what the best deli meat is for them to purchase. I always tell them that I don’t eat deli meat. With a look of confusion, they ask me why, because, fat free deli meat is good for you, right? I then take them on a journey of that deli meat. The turkey that you see in the display case has not been alive for some time. So, 4-5 months ago, they found Mr. Turkey and decided to kill him. They then put him in a big vat of brine for about a month to cure him. After that, he goes to the smokehouse where he stays for another month before he is wrapped up and sent to storage. He stays in storage for about a 1-2 months until he is put in that display case and sliced up for you. Usually, at this point, people’s eyes start to bug out, and they are about ready to swear off deli meat for the rest of their lives.  And don’t even get me started on hot dogs!

Honestly, folks, meat should not be kept for that long. The smoky flavor, and all the preservatives that go along with it, are just not good for you, no matter how much the packaging touts that it is 99% fat free. I know another preservative that is commonly used.  It’s called formaldehyde and you sure wouldn’t give that to your children. You put all these preservatives in your body and then wonder why it’s not functioning properly. You need to be aware of what you are giving your body.  Look at your packages in the grocery store, and don’t just check the fat and calorie content. Look at the sodium levels, check to see if the package contains mixed meat, which not only skyrockets your sodium levels to about 300 mg, but will also contribute to a higher fat content.

Knowing the difference between dark and white meat will also help you understand what you are putting in your body. The white part is the desirable part. It is very low in fat and preservatives. That is why it is so juicy and tender. The brown meat, on the other hand, is a part of the animal like the legs. It has been overworked and it is brown because of all the fat mixed in. Even after you cook the meat, the fat is still going to be in the muscle, and your body is going to absorb that. You aren’t giving your body the best whole food when you feed it the fatty muscles, and your body is not capable of assimilating it into its system in the same way it can white meat.

My advice to clients is to buy a turkey breast to cook at home. Slice it up and use that as lunch meat instead of the alternatives. Overall, this is a much better, healthier option, and will help you stay on track with your weight loss and nutrition goals.

Is Your Best Truly Your Best?

In my line of work, I consistently come across people who say they want to lose, let’s say, 60 pounds. They’ve got the motivation; they just need the guidance, direction, and support. They start out great, and lose 30 pounds in 8 weeks. At this point, I am pumped for them, and see that they are really making progress, and we are half of the way to the goal we have set for them. However, it always seems that right around this time, some kind of apathy and disconnect set in. They are really happy with the 30 pounds they have lost, but don’t want to go that last stretch to the final goal. Or, they start self-destructive behaviors, which lead them away from their original goals. At this point, they believe what they perceive to be their “best” as their limit because they never thought they would be able to lose that first 30 pounds. But, I know that this is not truly their best. I know that this is the crucial moment that we need to really kick them into high gear and get them across the threshold to their final goal. I know that this is the time when I need to be the coach, the one who tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!

I had a classic case where I had this guy come to me, and it was apparent that he needed to lose over 150 pounds. However, he thought that if he could just lose 40-60 lbs, that he would be happy. To him, losing that weight could just make it easier for him to get up off the couch without assistance, play with his kids, and move around more freely. Just those little things would dramatically change his quality of life, but I could see that he could do so much more. If you need to lose well over 100 pounds, is losing 60 really where you want to stop? Is that truly the best you can do, or are you afraid to hope for more?

It’s my job to help you realize that the first bit of weight is just a stepping off point. I will test your limits and push you to truly explore what your potential is. Forget the fact that you’ve lost 40 pounds and are now a smaller size. Focus on the losing that last 20, and go run a 5k or half marathon. Set new challenges for yourself. Let’s keep you growing and hungry for success in your life. Together, let’s do the things that are so far beyond what you ever thought you could be. Is your best truly your best right now? And if not, why in the world are you settling for anything less?

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Like just about anything in life, there are two sides to fat.  There is good fat and bad fat, but it’s very easy for good fat to become bad.  One example I have for this is olive oil.  People hear that olive oil is a good fat, so when they make a weight loss goal, they start cooking all their food in olive oil.  Olive oil is indeed a good fat.  It has many great properties, since it is rich in omega fatty acids, which means that it is not going to cause extra cholesterol in your body.  It also has positive health implications, from supporting cell re-growth to aiding in raising your HDL levels.

However, just like anything else, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.  If you work for 10 hours a week and play for 40 hours, you probably aren’t going to be able to hold down a job for very long.  The same principle applies to fat.  Right now, even though that olive oil is considered a good fat, when you are 100 lbs overweight, your body only recognizes it as extra calories.  In order to stop using this good fat source in a bad way, you will have to rewire your body.  You don’t start supplementing a bad program with good things.  You don’t cook chicken in olive oil at home and still eat a quarter pounder for lunch.  If your body is not a clean and efficient machine, taking in calories and expelling them as energy, your body will take a lot of good things and store them in a very bad way.

Only by changing your program, will the good fats work the way they are supposed to.  We need to reduce fat intake, taking in only what is necessary, reduce body fat to where it needs to be, and then start incorporating olive oil and other good fat sources, such as omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, flax seed oil, and safflower oil as good fat supplements to your diet.

What Kind of Weight Are you Really Losing?

One of my pet peeves is when people come to me and say that they are going to lose weight simply by cutting their caloric intake.  They are right.  If you are eating 2000 calories a day and cut it down to 1700, you will lose weight.  Yes, I said it, cutting calories will help you lose weight, folks.  But my question is: what kind of weight are you losing?  If you do nothing but cut calories, you are going to lose minimal amounts of fat and are mostly going to lose your muscle mass.

By not taking in the proper amount of calories to keep your body running the way it should, you will not be able to sustain your muscles, and you are going to lose them.  Think about this for a second.  It really is common sense.  As mentioned in the above example, if your body needs 2000 calories a day and you cut down to 1700, there is a 300 calorie deficit.  Now, where is the body going to get the extra 300 calories necessary?  It only has two choices, body fat or muscle.  Now muscle is made up of good proteins and carbs, the body’s preferred fuel source.  Body fat is quite simply waste material.  So, what will the body burn more efficiently for the extra 300 calories?  That’s right!  Muscle!

Basically this means, although you will be losing weight, your body fat will increase while your muscle mass decreases.  You will then become what I like to refer to as “skinny fat”—where you are very little, but you are still flabby and have little to no tone or definition.  The best example I can give of this is when women’s arms get about 7 inches in diameter, but even after they are done waving at someone, you can still see the arm jiggling a little bit.

By just cutting calories and not taking into account the balance of nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly, you will cause your body to reset at a lower metabolic body level.  When you finally get tired of dieting and go back to your normal eating habits — which, face it, is going to happen — you will have a lower metabolism.  This means that weight will come on faster, and will be much harder to lose the second time around.  You end up with more body fat, which contributes to a whole host of diseases and problems (but that’s a whole other issue), and less muscle mass to work out with and help burn off the fat.

This is the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting.  As humans, we are behavior driven.  It’s why programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig make millions of dollars.  They know you are going to fail.  They set you up to fail.  So, when you stop using their programs, gain 20 pounds, and then want to lose it again, you think back to what worked before and immediately start counting your points all over again.  This isn’t the way to do it, folks.  If you want to see some real lasting change, you’ve got to start going about in a different way—the right way.  Stop calling it a diet.  Start changing your life.

Protein Shakes: Why They’re Not as Effective as You Think!

I have a lot of clients who ask me why I am not a fan of protein powders, and I have a very simple answer for them.  Protein powders, shakes, and bars are all supplements, and supplements are items that should be added to an already established, well-rounded program.  You don’t supplement a bad program, folks.  You don’t drink a protein shake with a Big Mac.  Simply put, if your program already sucks, we are not going to supplement it with anything.  First things first, we need to change your program, and that starts with knowing actually what your body needs and wants.

Now let me say this. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  I have athletes who are body builders and marathon runners that I give gel packs, advanced mineral supplements, and other supplements to.  But for 99% of the population, that is not necessary.

You need to have good, complete proteins in your diet.  Complete animal proteins have the essential amino acids that your body needs in order to build muscle.  As I tell my clients:  “If you want muscle, you have to eat muscle.”  Sounds kind of barbaric, but it is so very true.  That turkey, cow, chicken, or fish that you are eating was once alive, and had everything necessary it needed to live.  When you eat it, you, in turn, get everything you need to live and build muscle from it.

I have this problem with vegetarians, too, because plant proteins are incomplete proteins and have to be paired with another food source in order to get all the amino acids that are found in complete animal proteins.  Just because the cow lived off plants, doesn’t mean you can.  We can’t live off grass.  We need complete proteins.  Our Creator didn’t make us to live like cows; otherwise, we would be cows.

Lastly, one more note about shakes.  Most shakes are mixed with water.  Which means they pass very quickly thru the stomach and intestines.  Most people do not realize if a shake boasts “50 grams of protein,” many times you are not getting all that protein because it moves so fast thru your body.  You may only be absorbing 50% of it.  Also, do not look at a shake to keep you full and satisfied.  Ultimately, this means your blood sugar drops, prompting you to overeat and crave food.

I have trained thousands of clients on whole foods, with irrefutable results.  So, next time you go to dinner and pull out a shake to mix with water (yum!) make sure to look over to your right—I will be the one enjoying the big, juicy steak!

Leverage Yourself for Ultimate, Lasting Change

In my business of life coaching and peak performance, I have had many different people use my services. People from every walk of life, with almost any type of experiences you can imagine. I have clients who have just flown in on their personal jet to see me to the opposite extreme, people who took a cab or the bus to come see me. But no matter what walk of life they are from or what their prior experiences, in my field of expertise there are some general principles that apply to EVERYONE! I say it again….EVERYONE!

Leverage is one of those principles. In my seminars, one of the central themes I always come back to is that for a individual to change, that is for a shift or change to take place, the individual must associate more PAIN with staying in the “current state” then in changing. So, it must be more unbearable to remain where they are at, then to change. Let’s face it folks, people HATE change! Why? Because it is uncomfortable. That’s why.

Let me give an example. I was speaking with a new client the other day. Let’s call her Jane. Jane was telling me about her family health history. About the diabetes, high blood pressure problems, etc. Basically, Jane had some serious health concerns and she could see based on her family history that it wasn’t going to get any better. All of this being said, Jane was still overweight, smoked, and didn’t make any time for herself to practice healthy habits, such as exercise.

I asked Jane one simple question: “Where do you see yourself 3-4-5 years from now if you don’t make any changes in your lifestyle”? She looked me in the eye and said, ” In a bad place, physically, emotionally and mentally.” We proceeded to talk about her family, her kids, her husband…all of the things she held most dear in her life.

Bottom line is this, I helped Jane create Leverage…I helped Jane draw an invisible line “in the sand” if you will and say “No More”! No more would she let environmental decisions and unhealthy behaviors literally rob her of the life she was meant to have and deserved! No more would she submit to a medical diagnosis. Jane created personal leverage. I helped Jane see that something MUST change; that she MUST do the changing; and finally, that she COULD change it RIGHT NOW!

To end the story, Jane ultimately re-wired her thoughts about food and exercise. She appreciated her self more and understood that she was worthy of investing in. Jane is now exercising 3-4 days a week; she has lost 25 lbs. in the last 6 weeks and is actively what I like to call re-writing her “family tree”. Meaning that Jane is now exercising her new personal POWER to stop the mentality that was affecting and condemning her to a life that was less than she deserved. Because of this new change, this LEVERAGE….her life and her relationships will never be the same! WOW, now that’s powerful!

Ask yourself this question right now: “What in my life right now is holding me back from living the physical life that I am meant to live”? Is it overeating? A medical diagnosis? Time management issues?

Remember my friends, apply your own personal “leverage” to that obstacle that is holding you back…say “Something must change; I must change it and I can change it.”

Now Go Live With PASSION!

Knowledge is “Potential” Power

My friends, all of us have heard the saying ” Knowledge is Power!”….but after studying people, heck, studying myself, I have learned this is NOT true!

Let me explain. We all know someone, maybe intimately(you reading this now, lol), who knows that they need to change their life. This person desires change, knows how to do it, but…nothing ever happens. They gather all the information possible, they consult resources and experts, piling up documentation and supporting evidence…but they miss one crucial step. ACTION!!!

Most people life a live below what they deserve because they never take action. They plan and compile information, they gather knowledge…but they never take that first step. Or, if they do, they do it hesitantly, like dipping their toe in the pool to see if its too cold. They leave the room, the option, to pull back if the action is too risky, too uncomfortable…if there is room for failure.

They get caught up in the mindset “What if I fail?”…not realizing that failure never happens UNLESS you stop trying. Let me tell you one way I can guarantee you failure…by never getting started!

In wellness and fitness, I have counseled thousands of people from every walk of life, every age, and socioeconomic status. When we sit down, my biggest job is not really “giving” them the answers. My job is to help the client investigate the “why” of their current physical state. Why are they living a quality of life less than they deserve? Why can they not keep the weight off? Why do they constantly sell themselves short? Why do they listen to information that is not relevant or pertinent to their physical well being?

Yes, I am the “why guy”. Because it is only when my cleint understands the “why” of the current physical situation(obesity, diabetes, joint problems, etc), can a realistic and attainable NEW outcome and direction be set and then achieved.

Folks, just understand that “knowing” is not enough. All that potential energy, that potential knowledge is stored between your ears, but your life will not change, your situation will not change until you manifest that knowledge into real and decisive ACTION.

The Art of Staying Uncomfortable & Hungry

My friends, do you want the secret to success? Stay uncomfortable, stay HUNGRY! By definition, these two words are the exact opposite of what most people crave and work towards in their lives. Our natural tendency is to reach a point of homeostasis, a point of balance and of easiness. We work towards this goal our entire lives. To me, this is ludicrous and sad.

I have spent my whole life staying uncomfortable..hungry. When I was young, it was out of necessity. I remember vividly riding my bike, with flashlights taped to the handlebars, home after a hard days work at the local magistrate’s horse farm. Why was I riding my bike home? Why was I 10 yrs old at the time working 35 hrs a week? Because I wanted nice things, things my parents couldn’t afford to provide. Why was I riding my bike? Because in this world nothing is free and Dad charged me $2.00 to take me to work and back. He taught me that lesson real quick.

I got my first job at 10 yrs old shoveling horse manure and saw dusting stalls. Wasn’t glamourous, but it was honest and paid well. At 12 yrs old, I was working 40 hrs a week for a local farmer, brush-hogging fields and such. By the way, I was also attending school full-time. The pattern continues throughout my life. End result? I know what it is like to take the road less traveled..the road full of sacrifices and at times bitterness. But it is also the road to maturity, unparalled success, opportunity, and fulfillment.

I have built a career and a business on the foundational principle that keeping the body “uncomfortable” yields amazing results. You have to confuse the body, to shock it, to make it “hunger” for something else.

Whenever I reach a point in my life where things seem pretty good, I know I risk the danger of capping my life off right there. I risk becoming complacent…in my business, in my marriage, in my relationships, in my life. Remember, my friends, “Good” is the direct assassin of “Great.”

The way I look at it is that we only get one go around. Why not make the best of it? Why not discover your purpose and live out your destiny? Make an impact! Make a difference! Leave your footprint. ”Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.” People tell me all the time that I have lived a full life already…that at 30 yrs old I have accomplished a lot, failed a lot and consequently succeeded a lot. I smile and shake my head and answer back “Just wait!”

Is your life full? What is your impact? Do look at every morning as an unprecedented opportunity with limitless options? Why not? What sets you apart from every body else in this world? How are you unique? Answer that and you just found your purpose! What do you love to do and would do for free?
Now, what are you going to do with it?

As for me, I will continue to push the envelope. I will struggle, persist, strive, achieve, fall, get back up, and continue all in the name of PROGRESS!

I will stay hungry and uncomfortable… Will you join me?

Strength Training for Kids

The young athlete in your family is disciplined and devoted, squeezing in practice whenever he or she can. Now your child wants to start strength training. You’ve heard coaches and other parents talk about strength training, but you wonder… Is strength training really good for a child?

The answer is yes, weight Training is beneficial for kids when done correctly.

Strength training exercises that are supervised, safe and age-appropriate offer many bonuses to young athletes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association all support strength training for kids…if it’s done properly. Today’s children are increasingly overweight and out of shape. Strength training combined with good nutrition can help put them on the lifetime path to better health and fitness.

Strength training…not weightlifting as a sport or competition.

Strength training for kids…not to be confused with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting – is a carefully designed program of exercises to increase muscle strength and endurance. Weightlifting, bodybuilding and powerlifting are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates, especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.

Strength training for kids, however, isn’t about lifting the heaviest weight possible. Instead, the focus is on lighter weights and controlled movements, with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety.

Your child can build muscle strength using:

* Free weights
* Weight machines
* Resistance bands
* His or her own body weight