Mar 302013
 

Despite the cold spring weather, summer is coming and with summer comes summer clothes. Are you ready for them? Here are a few ideas how to get your body ready for the summer wear!

SpringClean Up Your Menu
Challenge yourself to eat 5 different vegetables a day. Have fruit for breakfast instead of that bagel. Switch to black coffee instead of the sugary stuff you’re having now. Eat nuts for sustaining energy in the afternoon instead of that energy drink. You’d be surprised how making just a few minor changes can make you feel great and make a big change on the scale.

Get Moving
This is the obvious one, but you need to start exercising. It doesn’t need to be the endless intense session at the gym 7 days a week. Thirty minutes a day of activity is a great start. Walking, jogging, strength training, group exercise classes, swimming, it doesn’t matter just start doing something!

Track your progress
Need some motivation? Try on those summer clothes and track how they fit week by week. Hang that swimsuit on the mirror so you get reminded everyday of your summer goals. Each week write down how the clothes fit. Are they super tight? Can you zip up the zippers? Do you feel confident in them? Keeping a log can really help motivate you to make the change!

Challenge Yourself
Summer brings a number of exercise events around the area and now is a great time to start training for them! Make a goal to run a few 5Ks this summer or maybe run that first obstacle race. Whatever it is, challenge yourself to move!

Let’s make this summer the summer you feel confident in those summer clothes! Now get moving!

Dec 042012
 

There is one thing that isn’t mentioned often when changing your diet. Your focus, your attitude, the commitment to your goals. It’s often overlooked, misunderstood, and underestimated. Anyone that has cheated on their diet knows what I am talking about. That moment when your will power withers and you give into a not so diet friendly treat. Or that moment you decide to go home when you know you should be at the gym. It happens. Here are some tips to keep you focused and keep you from bombing your fat loss plan.

Write.
Write down exactly what you want to accomplish. Do this often. There is special connection to writing down your goals and keeping them. Your thoughts are easy to ignore, but there is something unbreakable about putting the ink to the paper. It’s like a personal contract with yourself. Write your goals down. Be specific and review them often.

Meditate.
Take a moment and focus on your goals. No you don’t need to light a bunch of candles and listen to zen music. Just take a moment and focus on your thoughts, focus on what you want to accomplish, visualize obstacles you are going to face and how you will over come them. Just don’t think about it once, do it over and over. If you repeat these scenarios in your thoughts you will be more equipped to take them on later.

Simplify.
Every single client I take on has a mile long laundry list of things they want to change about themselves. It goes on and on, but there’s little focus. The first thing we work on is finding focus, singularity, and clarity on their goals. We find that one thing we need to focus on first. You need to simplify and focus on one task at a time. You’ll find you will be much more successful and much less frustrated when you can master this.

Reflect.
You’re stuck. You’ve lost ten pounds, a few pant sizes, co-workers are complimenting you, but your stuck. Your stuck on those next ten pounds. It’s incredibly frustrating and very disruptive to accomplishing your goals. At these moments it’s easy to lose focus. This is when you need to reflect. You need to reflect on your journey so far. Sure the next ten pounds might not be as easy as the first, but it’s important to remind yourself that you have lost ten pounds!

Reward.
Finally, you need to celebrate your accomplishments. You should mark your milestones with rewards. Whether it’s buying yourself some new skinny jeans or going for a whole new haircut, do something to mark this new moment in life.

Find your fat loss attitude and you might find yourself on the path to success!

Nov 262012
 

Today starts the holiday crunch! It’s the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m going to challenge you during this next month to lose 5 to 10 pounds before Christmas so you can look awesome in those holiday pictures! You can do it, here’s how!

I know for a lot of you the next few weeks will be extremely busy. Holiday parties, family get-togethers, school concerts and plays… life gets very busy. I’m here to tell you that know matter how busy you are, you can still drop pounds! It’ll take a little focus on yourself, but you can do it! You only need to exercise 30 minutes per day and make sure you’re making healthy decisions at the plate. Don’t worry there will be plenty of time for all the holiday goodies and drinks!

I put together an action grid for you to use over the next four weeks! I want you to print this action grid off and cross off each task as you complete them. At the end of the week add up your score (each day is one point) and try to get at least a 85%! For fun and accountability: I want you to take a picture of your action grid and email it to me!

Here’s our strategy for those 10 pounds:
-Eat a good breakfast every morning
-Drink lots of water
-Keep most meals Low Carb
-Wednesday and Sundays eat more carbs from fruit
-Eat seeds and nuts for more sustained energy
-You can have a cheat meal on the Saturday
-Relieve your stress by doing strength training 3x per week
-Exercise at Least 30 minutes everyday

Avoid these:
-Sugary drinks
-More caffeine than you need
-Binging on food because you are tired or stressed
-Late night snacking

Don’t forget to send a picture of your completed action grid to me! I know you can do this!

If you are stuck or in a rut with exercise, your diet, or just getting going, yell at me on my Facebook page! I would love to help you out! Now let’s move and drop those pounds!

Nov 122012
 

Here we are almost in the middle of November already! A few weeks ago we talked about keeping you working on the rocking body before the holidays. As busy as the holidays are it’s important to have a plan and stick to it!

Well, how’s it going? Are you hitting your workout goals? If not, it’s not to late to get started. Look you can easily get distracted with all the holiday hustle and bustle, but that’s no excuse to no get your workout in!

Let’s talk about your exercise during the holidays. I know it might be your instinct that if you can’t do an hour or two of exercise it might not seem like it’s worth it. Well that’s just not the case. Just few minutes of exercise can make an impact on your goals.

It works like this. I always like to think exercise is a catalyst of healthy behavior. If you exercise, then exercise will lead to eating healthy, and so on. There is a caveat to this theory. Some lean on exercise as a crutch for unhealthy behaviors. They use exercise as an excuse for the unhealthy stuff they have done. Don’t be that person. Make exercise the excuse to eat healthy, not that other way around.

The problem with exercise is we often percieve exercise being a more is better thing. That’s just not the case. In fitness we have a minimum effective dose. The least amount of exercise that produces the most results. For most people I find the minimum effective dose for exercise is a lot less than they think it actually is. Producing solid weight loss results can be done easily with just 20 – 30 minutes of daily exercise. Seriously. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated either. If you are finding it hard to make it to the gym, just workout in your living room. You don’t need any equipment, just some space and your body weight will do. By the way, if you do workout at home, turn the TV off, silent the phone, and turn the music on. The world will survive without you for 20 minutes.

Here is a simple 15-20 minute equipment free routine you can do at home:
-Jog in place for 1 minute
-Jumping Jacks for 1 minute
-Plank for 1 minute
-Push-ups x10
-Squats x20
-Crunches x20
Repeat 3 times, repeat 4 times if you’re feeling ambitious.

I know you can do this! Keeping up with your workout routine will keep you stress free, healthy, and looking great! Just remember a little bit of something can add up to a lot over time. So just keep moving!

Check out the rest of my Holiday Action Plan Series here:
Holiday Action Plan – Pep Talk
Holiday Action Plan – Diet Guide
Holiday Action Plan – Fat Loss Action Grid

Nov 012012
 

Here we are! Day one of November! Can you believe it? The past two days we’ve been talking about how we are going to rock these next two month and keep you looking and feeling awesome! If you haven’t had a chance to go back and read those, you should!

Busy schedules make it really easy to get lost in the holiday madness. You can easily lose track of those hard earned results you’ve been working for. To make things easy, I put together this handy Action Grid for you. It’s really simple to use, when you complete a task (i.e. drink water) cross it out on the corresponding day. At the end of the week add up all the items you crossed out and give yourself a score. For each task you should shoot for at least an 85%.

Easy peasy, right?! Look, eating healthy is hard enough with a busy schedule. With this easy little chart, all you have to do is cross off your goal for the day and move on. No journaling. No entering calories into an app. Just one simple little mark on a piece of paper. The best part, I know you are well on your way to master a new healthy habit when you can score at least a 85% on a goal for three weeks in a row.

A couple things to remember is that it’s our goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Exercising can be anything that get’s you moving and active. So if you don’t have time to get to the gym, but you have time to go for a 30 minute walk, go for it! The one thing I do want to see is at least three times a week you do strength training. This can be a workout at the gym, a group exercise class, a workout DVD at home, or 3o minutes of bodyweight exercises in the office.

Here’s the download link so you can print off your own and start tracking your goals! Download here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/joefitnessbonus/Actions_Grid.pdf

If you keep up these simple goals over the next two months, you are going to look amazing in those holiday pictures! So get tracking, take action, and get results!

Oct 302012
 

Here we are again. November and December. Over the next two months you have family events, holiday parties, Christmas shopping, turkey cooking, present wrapping, light hanging, and carol singing. You will be busy. Without a doubt, you will get easily distracted from your goals.

We need to talk about what we need to do to make sure that you are that you keep your body in the shape that you have worked so hard all year for.

You are FOCUSED.

Everyday you will move for at least 30 minutes. By move I mean exercise. It doesn’t have to be at the gym but it needs to be focused exercise. It can be a walk outside. It can be a quick walk around the mall during your lunch hour. Just move. At least three times a week you need spend on strength training. Working those muscles will relieve all that stress that builds up. You will exercise. No matter how busy you are, you will take time to exercise.

Your days are going to be long and stressful and when you go home at night despite all the craze you will not get sucked into the temptation of eating a quick unhealthy meal. Every day you will eat your greens from the salads you have prepared ahead of time. You will feel amazing from the energy you get from eating healthy and clean.

Once a week you will take time to focus on you. This is the moment where you can regain your composure, adjust your calendar, prepare your healthy meals for the week. It sounds silly, but for ten minutes you will sit in silence and meditate. It might be in your car, at home in the morning before the kids wake up, or at the office with the door closed. Meditate and regain your focus. Trust me on this one. It helps.

Your confidence will be glowing because you know you can handle anything that the hectic holidays will throw at you. Not to mention, you will look amazing at all the holiday parties because you have been focused on yourself over the past few months. When January comes around and everyone else is starting on their fitness goals, you will be way ahead of them because you never quit. You didn’t let anything get in your way.

You are relentless. You are driven. You are focused. The next 60 days are yours to handle with ease.

Oct 292012
 

If there is one staple of a rocking fat loss diet it’s the salad. Salads are an awesome way to inject some solid nutrition into your diet without all those unwanted calories.

However, I know the daily salad routine can get pretty blah if you are eating the same salad over and over. So I decided to put this post together to help you spark a few ideas on how to spice up your daily greens.

I usually put my salads together in three parts, green leafys, proteins, and the extras. I love my spinach so I usually use spinach for my green leafy but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use just good old iceberg lettuce or romaine. For my protein I tend to lean towards tuna because it’s cheap and easy. You can also use chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, and if I’m feeling extra special I will throw in salmon. The extras is my favorite part. I love broccoli. Yes you heard me, I love broccoli, and I will jam my salad full of those wonderful mini green trees. Now if you aren’t a broccoli lover, you can still put plenty of other extras like cucumbers or tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the extras I usually pack my salad full of extras!

Here’s an idea of what you can put in your salads:

Green Leafys
Spinach
Kale
Lettuce
Proteins
Tuna
Chicken breast
Salmon
Eggs

Extras
Cucumbers
Black Beans
Tomatoes
Broccoli
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Cheese
Strawberries
Raspberries
Vinaigrette

Joe’s Ultimate Salad

Side note: Black beans are one of those things I was sure I didn’t like until I actually tried them. They are great in salads. So just because you think you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to throw it in your salad. You might be surprised what you like.

Now this is just an idea of what you can put in your salads but certainly isn’t everything. One tip to keep your salads under control is to make them in a tupperware container that you can easily throw into your lunch cooler. The size of the container will make your salads the perfect size for lunch and keep you from going overboard on the greens.

I’ve said before with salad dressings is to avoid the cream based dressings and go for the oil based ones. They may be a bit higher in calories, but the healthy oils contain good fat that helps your body absorb the nutrients in your bowl of green goodness.

On a final note, preparing these salads can take a little time, but you can easily make a few days worth of servings at once. At our house we make up several days worth of salads in tupperware containers. This makes eating healthy on busy days much easier because we can just grab our lunch and go.

Do you have a salad that you love? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Oct 252012
 

The days are shorter, the temperature is cooler, it’s Fall. This time of year can make it very difficult with sticking to your workout routine. October, November, and December I like to call the fitness “off-season”. Now this is no excuse to relax on your goals, just time shift your focus. Instead of slipping out of your hard earned workout habits, here are a few ideas to keep it fresh and keep moving forward.

Change Focus
This is an excellent time of year shift your focus to work more on your weaknesses. Maybe you haven’t been able to get that last rep on that chest press, or maybe you have nagging injury that needs to be fixed. Maybe you need to work on mastering your Turkish get-ups, an excellent exercise by the way. Use these few drowsy months to shift your focus and work on your weaknesses.

Let’s add some muscle
This is a great time of year to work on your strength and add some fat burning muscle. Now ladies, I’m not saying you need to pack on the pounds so you look like a bulked up NFL lineman. Just adding a pound or two of muscle will make a huge difference when you get back into the weight loss routine. So pick some heavier dumbbells, move the pin down the stack, and pump out that extra rep, because it’s time to turn up your metabolic furnace with some hard earned muscle.

Don’t stress out over your diet
Over the next two months we go through a few holidays, events, and get-togethers that tend to be gathered around food. That’s okay. Enjoy these moments. If the numbers on the scale go up a few pounds, you will be okay. Remember that you are in control and you can bounce back to the salads on Monday with no problem.

Keep workouts short
If you are finding it hard to get your workouts in maybe you should think about shortening your workouts so that they don’t such an impact on your day. Keep your workouts under 30 minutes and most of all have a plan before you go to the gym. You can waste a lot of time trying to ad lib a workout, so make sure that you have a solid plan before you even start to sweat. Most of all, try not to fall into the chit chat trap at the gym.

Try something new
You might be a little less critical about yourself this time of year, so maybe this is a great time to experiment with a new diet or workout. One diet method that I’ve been working with in the past few months is intermittent fasting. Essentially you fast (no food) for a set period of time a few times a week. It’s a controlled way to get your body into a state of fat burning while maintaining a solid a diet. So what if trying something new doesn’t work, or maybe you discover that you love a new diet, what ever you do, you will learn something.

Maybe this time of year makes you want to hibernate, but that is no reason to let you slip out of some hard earned habits. January is just around the corner and your fitness attitude will change. So with a few habit tweaks over these few grey months you can keep your momentum moving forward like a loaded freight train.

Apr 052012
 

Yesterday I posted an article on how to use a carb cycling diet to get amazing results. I received a few emails asking me to elaborate a little more on what a Normal Carb Day would be versus a Low Carb Day.

Here is an example of a 1500 calorie menu for a low carb day and a normal carb day.

Normal Carb Day – 1590 Calories (147 Carbs)
Breakfast – 385 Calories (61 Carbs)
Plain Greek Yogurt – 10oz
Strawberries – 1 Cup
Orange Juice – 12oz

Lunch – 449 Calories (36 Carbs)
Turkey Sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread – 2 Slices
Turkey Breast – 6oz
Tomato – 1oz
Romaine Lettuce – 6oz

Snack – 196 Calories (44 Carbs)
Fruit Salad
Orange – 1 Medium
Strawberries – 1 Medium
Grapes – 2 oz

Dinner – 560 Calories (6 Carbs)
Spinach Salad /w Chicken Breast
Spinach – 6oz
Chicken Breast – 6oz
vinaigrette – 3oz

Low Carb Day – 1513 Calories (18 Carbs)
Breakfast – 499 Calories (2 carbs)
Scrambled Eggs – 3 Eggs
Shredded Cheese – 1 oz
Bacon – 2 Slices

Lunch – 599 Calories (6 carbs)
Spinach – 6oz
Steak (cubed) – 6oz
Vinaigrette – 3oz

Snack – 169 Calories (3 Carbs)
Almonds – 1 oz

Dinner – 246 Calories (7 Carbs)
Chicken Breast – 4oz
Steamed Broccoli – 6oz

What about the High Carb Day?
The only difference from a normal carb day vs a high carb day is you get a cheat meal at the end of your high carb day. You can eat whatever meal you’ve been craving all week! (within reason of course)

As always, if you have any questions email me, post below, or find me on Facebook!

Apr 042012
 

Low carb diets might of been really popular a few years ago, but the sluggishness and mood swings that they created left people feeling a bit less optimistic about the new wonder diet. However low carb diets really did work! So how do you take the advantages of the effective low carb diet? Enter carb cycling.

Carb Cycling
The concept of carb cycling is pretty simple. You eat a low carb diet for a few days followed by a normal carb diet for a few more days. Throw in a high carb day once a week (a cheat day) and you got carb cycling.

Typical Carb Cycle
A common cycle will include two low carb days, followed by a normal day and then repeat. Once a week we will throw in a high carb day which is our “cheat day”. The amount of carbs you eat will vary from person to person. For an average person low days will usually be less than 100 carbs where a normal day would be around 250 carbs.

When to use Carb Cycling
My experience with carb cycling is only use it when you are dropping those last 20 – 15 pounds. I use it at the joefitness gym as a diet plateau buster! One thing to remember is if you have more then 30 pounds to lose, simply eating a healthier diet will help you more then anything.

Low carb diets are certainly effective. With carb cycling you can take advantage of awesome low carb diet results without feeling sluggish!

Have a question about carb cycling? Post a comment below!