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Category: weight loss

There are Miracles Created by Power-Lifting! But Weight Loss?

There are Miracles Created by Power-Lifting! But Weight Loss?

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When we think of power-lifting, we often think of giant men lifting enormous amounts of weight. So naturally, we correlate heavy weights with big muscles. This is where the “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to get big” myth came into place… We’ve already touched on this topic plenty and we will save more of these arguments for another day. But today’s topic is power-lifting for weight loss.

To put it simply, the more weight you move, the more calories you burn. Why? Because it requires more work to move more weight. Calories are our bodies’ energy source and those are what we burn to get our bodies to work. You can do dumbbell bench presses with 5 pounders all day, but the results will be limited if you are even lucky enough to see any. Same thing with body-weight squats. They can only get you so far. But load up that bar with 100, 200, even 300 pounds and see what your body can do! This is where the magic happens!

On top of that, a well-designed power-lifting program should be well-rounded. You are hitting your entire body in many fewer exercises, and getting better results from it. Nothing beats a quality, compound movement. Isolation movements have their place, but that place isn’t in an efficient weight-loss program. The truth is that if you have a lot of weight to lose, cable triceps press downs do not belong in your routine. Ab machine crunches don’t either. You should get most of your core work from your basic lifts. I’m not saying you should never do a plank or any core-specific work, but isolation movements (like the machine crunch) should be saved for your fine-tuning phase when you are much closer to your goal.

Let me explain the difference between a compound movement compared to an isolation movement. This should show you why it is so much more effective to incorporate compound movements. For legs: Compound movement-Barbell Squat vs. Isolation movement- Leg Extension. The leg extension is an exercise that is focusing specifically on the quads (the top side of your leg). This movement is performed in complete isolation, meaning no other muscles are required to do any work. The barbell squat is a compound movement that not only incorporates many more muscles in your legs, it actually includes about 75% of the muscles in your body to do some sort of work. Some of the muscles are the prime movers (glutes), others are assisting muscles, and many are stabilizing muscles that engage your core and keep proper movement patterns in tact. Now why would you choose the exercise that only uses one muscle? You would have to do a lot more exercises to engage all the muscles that you would in the squat. So why would you choose the isolation exercise? For one reason and one reason only- because it’s easier! Challenge yourself with the heavier, compound movements and your body will thank you!

To give you an idea of some quality, basic compound lifts, here is what I’m talking about:

Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Bent-Over Row, and Military Press are a great place to start. These are your power-lifting movements at your most basic form. There are plenty of alterations to that, of course. One of my favorites is a clean to press, or for beginners- a regression to (squat to reverse curl to press). This is building strength, requires a lot of work, and is a very efficient total-body movement that will burn a lot of calories.

The biggest component in this program being utilized for weight loss is your nutrition. If you are following the right meal plan and properly designed power-lifting program, you can get absolutely shredded! This stuff works so don’t be afraid to step out of what you think you know, and try something new. Start the new year off right and take some chances! If you train the same, you will remain the same. Nothing is more frustrating than busting your butt and not seeing a difference. So get to it! Check out our site at www.sd-evolution.com or our instagram @sd_evolution for some amazing transformations, and transformations in the process! If you are interested in personal training or your own personalized workout program and meal plan, those are on the site as well! Good luck guys!

 

Until next time,

Josh

 

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

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It happens to all of us. Ok, if you really want to argue, it happens to 99% of us. The holiday season begins and things get crazy. Our workouts get rescheduled (or maybe one or two are even missed) and our diets become a little more lax… We’re running around getting presents and getting ready for parties and seeing family, and fitness takes a back seat for longer than we planned. We get a little softer. We start watching our results disappear day by day. But there is a light at the end of that tunnel! If you can sneak through that process relatively unscathed, you’re already in good shape. So here we are. We have officially made it past Christmas and we are all staring in the mirror. Now what? Now we get started…

The first thing you need to do is put your workout plan back in focus. Plan out your entire week of workouts and meals. DO NOT WING IT. You will have a very frustrating time getting back into a rhythm if you walk into the gym and plan your workout on the fly. You will walk right back out feeling like you accomplished little to nothing and that is not a positive note to start your system reboot on. Go in with a force. Throw your headphones on and get the job done. You are not there to socialize. You are not there to talk about what you got for Christmas. You are there to get your body back.

You must start by choosing what type of program you are going with. Are you continuing a weight-loss/cutting phase? Are you looking to put some more muscle on? Or do you want to continue a strength training routine? Chances are, regardless of what you are getting back into, you are going to be set back a little bit from where you left off. That’s ok, just record it and use that as a starting point. This is Day 1! Next, you get into the nitty gritty. Sit down and plan each day of your workouts for the entire week and STICK TO IT. If you don’t feel qualified to do so, get some help. The trainer at your gym probably won’t write you a program without you signing up for a personal training package. But if that isn’t in the budget, you have plenty of online options. Here at SD Evolution, we run a New Year’s Special on a very affordable 8 week program, and always offer our regular 12-week Online Trainer and Meal Plan.

Next, get your meals back in check. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. I’m sure you have plenty of left overs from the holiday parties… Give them away! Get back to what you know works. Go shopping for the healthy goodies and spend a day preparing it so you can take it to go as you get back to work. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. There is nothing that sets you back quite as bad as a bad day of eating. Nutrition is 60% to our workouts’ 40%. You can’t out-workout a bad diet, and a couple missed or poor-quality meals creates a bad diet.

Once you have all of this down, you need to remind yourself that this is a process. You will not be at your end-goal next week. So find a plan that you are comfortable with, and complete it. Don’t get through, one, two, three weeks and then quit. That will start a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s important to believe in the program you are about to start. If you trust it, stick with it. If you don’t trust it, don’t start it and find a new one that you do and that you will stick with.

Finally, track your progress. Complete measurements and weigh-ins along the way. You can even take weekly pictures. You may not be able to see the transformation on a day-by-day basis, but the numbers won’t lie.

The most important thing you can do.. Get started and stay dedicated! You are starting for a reason. You have a goal in mind. Get to that goal. It’ll take hard work, but you can achieve anything. I’ve seen incredible transformations throughout my career. Yours can be next!

 

Until next time,

Josh

How Important is your Music to your Workout? You May be Surprised by the Answer.

How Important is your Music to your Workout? You May be Surprised by the Answer.

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How many times have you pulled up to the gym, reached to your passenger seat, and realized that your headphones weren’t there. They are still sitting at home on your night stand. Do you turn around and get them? I won’t lie, I’ve gone back for them. It’s not that I hate working out and I need a distraction, but I knew that they helped me take my workouts to the next level. Even while I did this, I didn’t realize the science behind it that actually made my case even stronger.

There are many benefits to listening to music while you workout. For starters, and to cover the most obvious first, music is a distraction to the work you are doing. It produces a lower perceived effort for the workout you are putting yourself through. The music drowns out that little voice in the back of your head telling you to stop and telling you it’s too hard. As we get more tired, we turn the volume up because that voice gets louder. But it doesn’t stop there. University conducted research concluded that music boosts your endurance by 15%. 15%!!! It does this by improving your “feeling states” while working out. It helps us derive more pleasure from what we are doing. By doing this, it creates an atmosphere for us that allows us to workout to near exhaustion VOLUNTARILY!

The man conducting this research, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, had this to say: “The synchronous application of music resulted in much higher endurance while the motivational qualities of the music impacted significantly on the interpretation of fatigue symptoms right up to the point of voluntary exhaustion.” Meaning- music has a “magical” effect on us as we exercise and lets us go much farther than we could if we did not use it.

However, all music is not created equal. The research further shows that the optimum music for working out is between 120 and 140 beats per minute. This is faster paced, but not too fast. It’s a pace-setter for us as we go. It’s what keeps us moving. We synchronize our bodies to the music to create the ultimate workout experience.

Not buying it? Put it to the test. Workout with and without your headphones. Which workout went better? How hard did you push yourself in each? Give us a shout and let us know!

 

Top 5 Mistakes Made in Workout Programs- Make Sure this isn’t You!

Top 5 Mistakes Made in Workout Programs- Make Sure this isn’t You!

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I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made a couple of these myself, so don’t take this personal. We’re here to keep you honest and help get the most out of your routine! Some of these hold more weight than others, but the bottom line is that fixing all of these issues will help you get the most out of each and every workout. So here we go!

MISTAKE #1: NO WARMUP

Not going through a warm-up prior to resistance training. Now I don’t mean a set of 20 pushups or 20 reps with 135lbs before chest day. Yes, that’s important too, but most of us are already on top of that part. I mean a cardio warmup. This should be no more than 5 minutes, and personally, I go in the 3-5 minute range. Keep it short and sweet. This is meant to begin raising your heart rate and increase blood flow. It shouldn’t be a sprint, a power walk will do just fine. The purpose isn’t to become tired, it is simply to get your body prepared for exercise. There are also plenty of direct benefits that will make you feel less like this is a waste of time. For example, during this warmup, your blood vessels begin to dilate. This allows increased blood flow which leads to that awesome pump we all crave each workout. A warmup also increases the secretion of hormones. The additional hormones are automatically secreted to provide your body with energy for the work it realizes it is about to perform. More hormones pumping=more productive workout!

MISTAKE #2: TOO MUCH CARDIO BEFORE WEIGHTS

Some of you may already be used to doing cardio before your workout, but perhaps a little too much. I’ve heard the logic time and time again.. “I do cardio before weights because I know I won’t do it after. I’ll end up just going home.” This is actually extremely common and I’ve had countless clients who I’ve had to correct this strategy for. As I said before, keep this cardio down to five minutes or less. Any more than that and you could be negatively affecting your workout. For starters, doing cardio first requires work. Work requires energy. By using this energy before you weight train, you are decreasing your strength and affecting the amount of force you can produce while resistance training. This leads to overall lower intensity and much slower results. Next, by doing cardio first, you are tiring your core. A tired core is a weak core. Our base starts with our core, and if it is weakened, it makes us more susceptible to injury.

As an added bonus of doing cardio after your workout as opposed to before, you will actually burn more fat. To cut down fat, we need to burn our fat stores. But to do this, we must first burn off our glycogen stores to get to the fat. Weight training typically uses glycogen stores for energy, which means that we will have much less glycogen to burn off during our cardio before we get to that golden spot in fat storage. So- there’s a little bit of the science behind program design strategy to burn more fat!

MISTAKE #3: TOO MANY MACHINES

Every gym has a giant section of shiny new machines. This section is pretty appealing to the new guys at the gym. They look cool, they are easy to use, and they make working out more comfortable. You even get to sit down while you go through the exercise! Well that’s the first issue.. You want to engage your core in as many exercises as possible during your workout. Doing any exercise in a seated or supported environment removes that element immediately. Not to mention, machines don’t place as much stress on your muscles as free weights do. Free weights allow for proper movement patterns during compound exercises. It is near impossible for me to call any machine exercise a compound exercise. Some arguments can be made but the bottom line is that they just aren’t as effective. I’m not saying machines don’t have any place in your routine. I love finishing some workouts on machines. They can be great for isolation movements, so I like to use them to get a killer finishing pump. The point- build your routine around free weights, not machines.

MISTAKE #4: DOING THE SAME WORKOUT

If I had a dollar for every person I’ve seen doing the same workout at the same time on the same days, I’d be a rich man. Half the time, I don’t even need to see their workout to know it hasn’t changed. Do you know why? Because they look the same. Don’t fall into the trap of making your routine, ROUTINE. A workout can be great the first time, second time, maybe even a third time if you’re lucky. But your body is smart. It gets used to doing the same thing. It adapts to the workout. Why do we get stuck in this common error? There are plenty of reasons- It may have worked for you in the past, so you turn to it again. You may have seen someone else doing it who is in incredible shape. And here is what may be the most common answer- you don’t know what else to do! You may have had a free training session with a trainer and then decided to just repeat that workout. I know plenty of instances where this was the case. There are plenty of places to turn if you need help designing your routine. Personal training may be one way to go. Online training is another, more cost-effective option. (We happen to offer both of these at www.sd-evolution.com) 😉 If not those, you can find broader, more general workouts that may not be designed specifically for your body, but are still different and could be worth a shot.

MISTAKE #5: YOU CAN’T OUT-WOROUT A BAD DIET

This mistake isn’t a part of your workout program, but is still a major part of your fitness journey. I’m going to include it because your workout program will be useless if you aren’t controlling what you eat. I’ve had many clients come to me with minimal results initially because they thought that just by increasing their workouts, they could continue eating the way they had been. But working out alone isn’t enough. I argue that your diet is more important than your workout. Don’t get me wrong, they are both vital to good health and seeing results, but your diet will control exactly how your body changes. Whether you are going for weight loss or muscle gain, your nutrition needs to be on point to achieve your goals.

The Ultimate Guide to Chia & Flax Seed

The Ultimate Guide to Chia & Flax Seed

Yesterday was a total recovery day for me. I spent the evening re-aligning my goals, planning my weekly meals, & of course grocery shopping! I decided to look back on my logs in MyFitnessPal (I have been faithfully keeping track of my workouts and nutrition for a year now!) to see how much my goals have changed. I definitely am fully adapted and happy with clean eating while enjoying my weekly treats. My body has never felt better however I noticed two items that since moving to San Diego I have somehow forgotten about: Chia & Flax Seed.

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My Mom is a personal trainer back in CT so at home I had all of these healthy items readily available without really thinking about it. I used to consume both of these superfoods daily and to be honest, I was only NOW realizing how much of a difference they made in my life. I’m sure you’ve heard of both of these power foods before, but do you really know what they are? Do you know how they can benefit you? Most importantly, do you know how to incorporate them into your daily routine?

Lucky for you I am bringing you the ultimate guide to Chia Seeds & Flax Seed!

Before I tell you what to do with them, it’s SO important to know what exactly each of these dietary staples are.

The Chia Seed is actually a flowering plant from the mint family. (Fun fact: remember the Chia Pet?? Yup that grows from a Chia seed!) Chia means “strength” and contains healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrate & protein. They are an unprocessed whole-grain that the body is able to absorb.

The Flaxseed on the other hand cannot be digested by the human body in its full form so it much be purchased “ground” or done at home before consuming. Also rich in Omega-3’s, both seeds are great sources of fiber.

How can you benefit from taking Chia & Flax daily?

  • Feel fuller longer. Due to the fiber content (both soluble and insoluble), consuming these with a meal will help keep you feeling full and decrease blood sugar spikes.
  • Healthy skin & hair- thanks to the Omega-3’s!
  • Antioxidants- both are full of antioxidants while Flaxseed has more than any other whole food including blueberries!

Although these seeds are tiny, there is no doubt they are a superfood and can be added into the diet in so many ways! Here are my favorite ways to incorporate them:

  • Sprinkle on your  oats, cereal, yogurt or vegetables.
  • Blend in a protein shake or dissolve in a glass of water.
  • Bake in absolutely ANY treat for added nutritional value.

The options are endless when looking for ways to add Chia & Flax into your diet. One serving of each per day is recommended to benefit from these two power foods. I challenge you to pick some up from your local grocery store this week as one easy step to living a healthy lifestyle!

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step in your life.”

 

Happy hump day everyone! Only two more days to a well-deserved weekend 🙂

 

~Alessandra

 

Craving Pizza? Try this easy, mouth-watering replacement!

Craving Pizza? Try this easy, mouth-watering replacement!

I am officially on day 6 of my 10 day low-carb/Ketogenic refresh to prep by body for carb-cycling that will commence next week. I always try to be as creative as possible with my recipes (especially when I am dieting) so discovering this mouth-watering pizza replacement was almost as exciting as Christmas morning.

So what is it? ZUCCHINI Pizza Crust. Some of you may be skeptical at first but as my Dad would say, “Don’t knock it til you try it!”. I have experimented before with Cauliflower Pizza Crust which was also delicious but something about the flavor of Zucchini makes this recipe even better. My  Pinterest is full of amazing healthy (and Indulgent!) recipes yet this one really stuck out to me the other day. Why? Well because it was EASY.

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I got the original recipe from a blog called Kaylyn’s Kitchen however I decided to make it my own. SO in those moments where you are craving a delicious, cheesy pizza….fear no more! You can satisfy that craving while topping this delicious gluten-free, grain-free crust with whatever crazy toppings you can think of!

 

ZUCCHINI PIZZA CRUST

Step 1: Wash & prepare the Zucchini my slicing off the top part then slicing into 2-3 inch pieces.

Step 2: Blend Zucchini until fine and “grain-like”. I used my Ninja blender and it worked perfectly!

Step 3: Microwave blended Zucchini mix for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Using a cheesecloth ( I used a couple paper towels) try to extract as much of the water as possible to dry out the zucchini. Sidenote: allow it to cool off first!

Step 5: In a bowl, mix Zucchini, 1 egg, garlic powder, parmesean cheese, oregano and a dash of salt.

Step 6: “Dough” should make two large balls. Flatten and spread on a lined baking sheet to desired thickness/size.

Step 7: Bake at 450 for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

 

You can top your pizza with anything you desire however I melted some shredded mozzarella cheese and fresh cut tomatoes! Now you can officially use the words “pizza” and “healthy” in the same sentence! Enjoy 🙂

 

Alessandra

 

Alcohol- How Much is it Actually Hurting Your Goals?

Alcohol- How Much is it Actually Hurting Your Goals?

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This is one of our most asked questions by our clients. Does alcohol really slow my goals? How many drinks is ok? What if I only drink on the weekends? So if you are often wondering these questions as well, you are far from alone. In 2012, 88% of adults ages 18 and up reported that they have consumed alcohol. So this is a topic that affects almost 9 out of 10 adults. So what does it really do to our bodies?

Well calories in alcohol are “empty”, meaning they have no nutritional value. Because of this, your body has no use for it and can’t store it, so it metabolizes it immediately. It become the sole focus of your metabolism to get rid of it. While this is going on, your body also loses its ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients from the foods you eat.

Alcohol also has serious effects on your blood sugar levels. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the first parts of the metabolism that stops working while your body instead tries to eliminate toxins from the alcohol as fast as possible. Over time this can cause glucose intolerance, and even lead to diabetes. Even if you only drink occasionally, it can lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar levels.

These are all bad side effects of drinking that cause weight gain, among other serious problems. But to answer those previous questions, lets look at what happens immediately that causes us to gain weight while drinking… To reiterate, alcohol can’t be stored by your body so it must be metabolized immediately. This starts from the first sip of the night. Once this process starts, your body won’t metabolize fats and sugars. Think about all those sugary mixed drinks! Those are all immediately stored as fat! On top of that, alcohol slows your metabolism. So even after you stop drinking, your body is still being affected and the weight gain continues.

That’s just the metabolic breakdown of the the effects of alcohol. We haven’t even talked about the plain-view breakdown of the calories your taking in with each drink. Let’s say you come home at the end of the day and have a few beers to relax. 3 beers equates to right around 450 calories! That’s a significant portion of your workout if you are absolutely busting your ass! If you went through a lackluster workout that day, forget about it! And that’s if you stopped at 3 beers… The brutal truth is that one night of heavy drinking can destroy an entire week of hard work. Before you know it, you could be at upwards of 1500-2000 calories. It can be a lot higher than that. Think about a night you really went all out. Maybe your buddies got a keg. Maybe you were in a case race. About 4500 calories are in a 30 pack of beer. On your best night how many of those did you handle?

So let’s get back to the question: Does alcohol really slow my goals? The answer: No. It brings them to a SCREAMING HALT! We talk about plateau busters all the time and how we can bust through them but we never talk about how to cause them. Drinking is the ultimate plateau creator. That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re a casual gym-goer, alcohol will put you backwards in a hurry. Who enjoys busting their but every workout and seeing no progress or even regressions? Nobody. But who is willing to cut out the main cause of that? It’s up to you. These are your priorities. Can you learn to have a good time sober? If you are looking to transform your body then you are going to have to. There’s no way around it. You can’t do enough to counter drinking.

There’s the brutally honest truth.

 

Until next time,

Josh