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!

Dec 032012
 

Does coffee help burn fat? Can skipping meals be the end of my diet? How come I have no abs? and How much water do I need? Another round of Ask Joe!

I read in a magazine that drinking coffee will help me lose weight. Is this true?

Coffee can certainly help you workout harder and give you more stamina at the gym. There is some evidence that the caffeine in coffee can help you burn fat but the research isn’t solid. Keep in mind, drinking sugary coffee drinks will not help you at all.

So drinking coffee before you workouts can help you workout harder and longer, but there is nothing the coffee does not directly help you lose weight.

Does skipping meals really slow down your metabolism?

No. Skipping meals will not slow down your metabolism at all. You could go days (even weeks) on a minimal amount of calories and your metabolism wouldn’t “slow down” one bit. So it’s not the end of the world if you miss a meal.

Now, skipping a meal or two might result in you feeling sluggish, but the sluggishness you feel isn’t your metabolism slowing down. This sluggishness can effect your mood and gym performance as well as make you more likely to binge on food.

I do ab exercises all the time at the gym, but I never see any definition. What am I doing wrong?

Your abs are there! Even a six pack, but your abs have both fat above them and below them, and unfortunately fat can accumulate in both areas. This can make the definition in your abs disappear.

The solution to your definition problem is mostly a disciplined diet, however, exercise does play a role. Now you can do all the ab exercises you want, your six pack will not magically appear. You should be doing intense full body workouts to get those abs to really show!

How much water should I be drinking everyday?

Your body is mostly water, and it is essential to get plenty of it! Everything from your joints, skin, digestion, to muscles, water is essential for a healthy body. For girls, 90 ounces and guys about 125 ounces of water per day is recommended.

It’s easy to drink more water when the temperature is warm or when your working out, but you’d be surprised how easily you can become dehydrated during the winter. The cold dry air makes it easy to forget to drink water. Also, if you are sick or running a fever, drinking more water is important. So drink up and keep hydrated and healthy!

Do you have an Ask Joe question?

Ask me over on our Facebook page!

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 212012
 

I am most thankful for all my clients and readers! Seriously, thank you all for reading and sharing my posts, you really make this blog awesome!

Chances are there will be some left-over turkey tomorrow. I’m no foodie, so instead of me telling you what to do with that wonderful low-fat meat, I’ll let the food experts tell you. Here are three links for over 40 awesome and healthy left-over turkey recipes!

Health.com has 9 healthy recipes – The turkey broccoli bake looks pretty amazing!

CookingLight.com has 20 recipes that caught my eye – The first on list is turkey quesadilla using jack cheese, yum!

EatingWell.com has 18 fantastic recipes – Check out the Warm Winter Salad!

Short and sweet today, if you find a recipe you love or if you have one you would like to share, tell me in the comments below!

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Need a workout this weekend and won’t be around the gym? Check out these two Turkey Day Workouts I put together for my clients!

Nov 192012
 

Here is another rapid fire edition of Ask Joe!

How often should I be strength training?
Only 2-3 days a week is just fine. Now that doesn’t mean you should only be exercising 2-3 per week. You should be exercising at least 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym everyday for 30 minutes, it just means you need to move for 30 minutes.

Do I need protein shakes after my workouts even if I’m trying to lose weight?
Sure, if you don’t mind them. Immediately after your workout your body goes into recovery mode. This is a great time to supply your body with some high quality protein to help those beat up muscles recover quicker. Quicker recovery equals faster muscle repair, which results in more fat burning muscle in your body. Most of these protein shakes contain a protein called whey (pronounced ‘way’). Whey protein is a very fast metabolizing protein. Your body is able to absorb and utilize this protein quicker than many other types of protein. This is great right after a workout!

Now if you don’t like the taste of these protein shakes, a simple higher protein meal will suffice. By the way, chocolate milk is a great recovery drink. It’s got the right combination of carbs and protein you need to recover.

What is the deal with intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a technique used to get you those last 10 – 15 pounds off. It’s a bit aggressive, but works quite well. I’m still experimenting with it myself, but so far I like the results!

It works like this: once or twice a week you fast (don’t eat) for a set period of time. For example, on Wednesday’s and Friday’s you would fast for 16 hours. I would have you stop eating at 4pm and resume at 8am the next day. During this fasting period, you can still drink water or tea.

I find intermittent fasting does a few things. First, it makes me much more carb sensitive, so it takes a lot less carbs for my body to feel energized. Second, it makes hunger pangs less annoying, so if I feel hungry when I shouldn’t be, it makes it easier to fight through. Third, it helps my self-control, if I can go 16 hours without food, it makes it easier to skip the junk food at other times.

Do you have an Ask Joe question? Let me know! You can email me joe [at] joefitness.com, leave a comment below, or post it to our Facebook wall!

Nov 162012
 

Here are few fat loss studies I found interesting this week. Check it out!

Want To Lose Weight? Sleep More!
When it comes to losing weight the two methods that come to mind are diet and exercise. Well there may be a third. More evidence is pointing to sleep deprivation as a supporting cause of obesity.

A recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal pointed out the link between sleep deprivation and obesity because simply if you are awake more hours you tend to eat more. Sleep or lack of sleep effects the release of appetite regulation hormones. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out that 35 percent of the American population is obese and more than 28 percent of them sleep less than 6 hours per night.

So if you want to lose more weight, make sure you are getting more quality sleep!

Late Night Eating = Weight Gain
Eat more at night? You might be storing it as fat. An article in the journal Nature Medicine indicated a study involving removing the gene in mice that controls the regulation the metabolic timing. By removing this gene, it disrupted the rhythm in which the mice ate. The mice ate outside of their normal eating time. The mice that had the gene removed became obese compared to the control group.

What does this mean? This may indicate that eating outside of your metabolic rhythm (at night) could result in weight gain. Late night eating has been linked to weight gain in several other studies, but the reason why hasn’t been firmly established. This study introduces the idea that weight gain from late night eating could be the body’s way of storing the excess calories when energy isn’t in high demand.

We’ve talked about before how I want my clients to stop eating after 6:30pm, this study just reinforces why.

There you have it! It might seem like these studies point out anything new about weight loss, but they do reinforce the healthy habits that are required to lose fat and keep it off! So go get some sleep!

Nov 152012
 

One of the most common questions I get is “What do I think about (insert brand) supplement?” From protein shakes to fat loss pills, there are a ton of supplements. So what is good and what isn’t? Let’s back-up a bit and talk about the core of the question.

No Oversight
One thing to remember with supplements is that there is very little oversight on the industry. It’s so big and massive that the FDA could never keep up with the never ending line of supplements. So the FDA uses a knee-jerk reaction method to control this massive industry. If they receive a complaint about a particular supplement, they will investigate it. This process can take months, if not years. To make it worse, there is a lot of politics behind this process.

There is a list of ingredients that are and are not allowed in supplements, as well as production standards that they are held to. These standards are very lose. As I said before this industry is MASSIVE. There is no way to control it head on. Quality has always been an issue with supplements.

Cost Benefit
Sure there are supplements that might actually do what they advertise, but at what cost. The one unforeseen cost is how long do you have to take a supplement to get and keep the desired result. I put fat burning pills in this category. So let’s say you take a fat loss supplement for three months that costs you $100 per month. What happens when you go off the pills, do you gain the weight back? Can you justify taking the pills for the rest of your life? A whole year? Probably not.

Fat Loss Pills
Most fat loss pills on the market are stimulants. They contain caffeine that is the equivalent of a couple cups of coffee. There is a lot of evidence that supports caffeine as thermogenic. Thermogenic is something that increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn more calories. This effect isn’t very efficient. Your body adapts to the caffeine and it requires more to get the same result. Taking more caffeine is not better. Nor is is good for you.

Don’t waist your money of fat loss pills. Drink a cup of coffee and you’ll get same result. Spend the money on something long term, like learning how to cook and exercise for a healthy lifestyle.

Muscle Gainers
Dudes get sucked into supplements just as bad as woman do. There are a lot of products out there that claim if you take them they will increase your testosterone, give you rock hard muscle, or make you look ripped. Don’t listen to the noise. I’m here to tell you the only way to do all that is eat a lot, eat clean, and work out hard. You aren’t going to get “ripped” without working your butt off in the gym.

The Marketing Monsters
The supplement industry is huge. I mean HUGE! Billions of dollars are spent every year. And the unbelievable thing is it’s growing. It’s growth and size makes it unbelievably competitive. Why does this matter to you? Well these supplement companies pay big, big money to make their product look like the best one ever.

“Contact your certified nutrition specialist to adjust your dose if you lose more than 10 pounds in two weeks!”

Sound familiar? You might of heard it on a radio ad. It’s brilliant and incredibly misleading. It gives you the idea that the supplement is so good that you might lose too much weight! Ridiculous. Like I said before the supplement industry will spend a lot of money of marketing their products. Flip through a fitness magazine, how many ads are for supplements? Probably most of them! How many of those ads have a model or person that makes you want to look like them? Probably quite a few. Supplement companies are excellent marketers because they have to be. The name of the game with supplements is those who market the best make the most money. Supplements marketers would make brilliant politicians. They know how to spin and make themselves look like the best option ever.

The Mark-up
One of the reasons why the supplement industry is so popular is because of the massive amount of money that can be made. Producing supplements costs very little. These same supplements are sold for much, much more than it cost to make them. Retailers are able to mark-up these supplements greatly and profit enormously.

You can’t out supplement bad diet and exercise habits

What are the good supplements?
What is good and what isn’t? I tell my clients that there are three supplements that I agree with: multi-vitamins, omega-3/6s, and protein supplements. That’s it. The rest of the products are just a waste of time and money. You can’t “out supplement” bad diet and exercise habits. Supplements are just that, a supplement, an additive to your diet to fill in the gaps. Where are the diet gaps? The diet gaps are in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.

At the end of the day, I can preach to you all I want to try to convince you that there is a lot of junk supplements out there. The problem is in just short period of time a supplement ad will probably make you think otherwise. I want you to be aware of this. Just remember the only way to get results is to eat right and do the hard work!

Nov 142012
 

When it comes to workouts, I find many just over think it. There are thousands of variations of workouts and exercises that will work for anyone looking to just get in shape. Here are some tips to picking the right workout routine for you.

Keep it simple
First off, keep things simple. You don’t need a dozen different exercises jammed into a day’s workout routine. You can easily get a great workout with just a handful of exercises.

Keep It Short
Your workouts don’t need to be hours long. You can easily get a good workout in 30 minutes. I find those that workout for an hour or longer aren’t being very efficient with their time.

No Need To Get Specific
Unless you are training for a sport or you’re doing post-rehab work, the exercises you use do don’t need to be very specific. If you think you are going to go workout like a pre-season olympic diver, think again.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat
There is nothing wrong with doing the same workout routine over and over. Sometimes all you need to do to refresh a workout is just increase the resistance or swap out one of the exercises. Don’t scrap a workout just because you’ve done it a few times, just change it a bit and repeat.

Keep it fun
I hate workouts that don’t seem fun to me. Now I use the term “fun” lightly when it comes to exercise, but your workout routines shouldn’t bore you. Don’t be afraid to throw some “fun” exercises into your routine, even if they’re easy.

Location Doesn’t Matter
Gyms are great because they have everything you need to get in a great workout. However, gyms aren’t required. You can easily workout at home, in the garage, outside, at the running track, on the dike, or the basketball court. Location doesn’t matter.

No Equipment Needed
As I was saying above, gyms are great because they have all you need. But all the equipment isn’t needed. You already have everything you need, your body. Bodyweight workouts can be great and challenging!

Challenge Yourself
Workouts should be challenging. If you’re not struggling at least a little bit, your workout might be too easy. If your workouts aren’t challenging enough, they will not produce the results you are going after.

Magazine Workouts
Fitness magazines are notorious for publishing overly complicated workouts. Why? Because it sells. Fitness magazines sell on the idea that people want to do the latest workout from your favorite MMA fighter or actress that was that summer blockbuster. Most of these workouts I find are just too complicated or not very reasonable. Skip the magazine workouts and look elsewhere.

Get Help
Now if this is all still confusing, this is where personal trainers shine. Exercise selection can be intimidating and personal trainers are great at writing awesome workouts. Not only that, the can provide you with an accountability factor that you don’t have when you are working out on your own. So don’t be afraid to get some help!

Just Do It
You can spend a lot of time thinking about what you are going to do and trying the find a great workout, but the most important thing is just get moving! Experiment with different exercises. Don’t sweat the details and just try different workouts. I found this great quote yesterday:

“It’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”

Need some workout ideas? Check out my post from the other day!
11 Fat Burning Equipment Free Workouts

Nov 132012
 

I get a TON of requests for workout ideas. So I am going to start a theme of posts that include workouts for you! Today’s theme is short equipment free workouts. These are great when you are busy and can’t make it to the gym. Here are eleven 15 – 20 minute equipment-free workouts you can do at home.

Timed Set – Do as many reps of each exercise in the amount of time given. A timer app on your phone makes these easy to do!

Workout #1
Jog-in Place 1:30 Minute
Jump Squats 1:30 Minute
Push-ups 1:30 Minute
Sit-ups 1:30 Minute
Rest 1:30 Minute
Repeat each one doing 1 minute of each
Repeat each one doing 45 seconds of each
Repeat each one doing 30 seconds of each

Workout #2
Jumping Jacks 1:30 Minute
Alternating Side Lunges 1:30 Minute
V-Ups 1:30 Minute
Plank 1:30 Minute
Rest 1:30 Minute
Repeat each one doing 1 minute of each
Repeat each one doing 45 seconds of each
Repeat each one doing 30 seconds of each

Workout #3
Air Squats 1:30 Minute
Alternating Single Leg Deadlifts 1:30 Minute
Mountain Climbers 1:30 Minute
Russian Twists 1:30 Minute
Rest 1:30 Minute
Repeat each one doing 1 minute of each
Repeat each one doing 45 seconds of each
Repeat each one doing 30 seconds of each

Workout #4
Burpees 1:30 Minute
Sumo Jump Squats 1:30 Minute
Torso Twists 1:30 Minute
Bicycle Crunches 1:30 Minute
Rest 1:30 Minute
Repeat each one doing 1 minute of each
Repeat each one doing 45 seconds of each
Repeat each one doing 30 seconds of each

Set Rep Workouts – Complete the given amount of reps of each exercise.

Workout #5
Lunges x10 (each leg)
Reverse Crunches x20
Air Squat x30
Mountain Climbers x40
Jumping Jacks x50
Complete 5 Sets

Workout #6
Push-ups x10
Side Lunges x10 (each leg)
Single Leg Deadlifts x15 (each leg)
High Knees x40
Wall Jumps x50
Complete 5 Sets

Workout #7
Burpees x10
Torso Twists x20
V-Ups x30
Mountain Climbers x40
Russian Twists x50
Complete 5 Sets

AMRAP Workouts – For these workouts you give yourself a set amount of time and your job is to complete As Many Reps As Possible in the given time! These are great challenge that can leave you lots of room to improve!

Workout #8
High Knees x30
Push-ups x10
Air Squats x30
Burpees x10
Complete two 6 Minute sets with a 3 minute rest between the set.

Workout #9
Wall Jumps x40
Reverse Crunches x20
Jumping Jacks x40
V-Ups x20
Complete two 7 Minute Sets with 4 Minutes rest between each set.

Workout #10
Mountain Climbers x50
Push-ups x15
Full Sit-ups x20
Air Squats x50
Complete two 6 minute sets with 2 minutes rest between each set.

Workout #11 This is a harder one.
Explosive Push-ups x20 (Get both hands off the ground)
Jump Squats x20
Jumping Lunges x20
Butterfly Sit-ups x20
Complete one 12 minute set, two if you are brave.

Keep in mind these are workout ideas, so there is lots of room to experiment! I kept these workouts somewhat easy so you might need to modify to fit your level. You can swap exercises, increase and decrease the repetitions, or add and subtract the timed sets. Give it a try!