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Choosing the Best Type of Training

Choosing the Best Type of Training

“This type of training will help you develop the physique of a Greek God!”

As soon as you go online or open a magazine, you’ll probably see an article titled, “6 Moves You MUST Do For Six Pack Abs!” You’ll see this for  training chest, arms, and your booty too. But if there really were 6 magical moves that will completely transform your body, it wouldn’t be news would it? Wouldn’t we all know about them already?

The truth is, a lot of different types of training can get different people the same results. Crossfitters and bodybuilders can both have phenomenal physiques.. However, the training couldn’t be any more different. How can that be?

Well, arguably the most important aspect of any training regimen is progression. For Crossfit, that might mean more reps, or a common workout completed in a shorter amount of time. Their bodies progress by being able to do more, more efficiently.

For a bodybuilder, that progression comes from an increase in volume, via added sets, reps, or weight. Adding an extra set, or increasing the weight, increases the volume. So does being able to do more reps with the same amount of sets and weight.

Choosing the Right Fit

So we’ve established that you don’t need to do one certain type of workout to achieve your goals. Moving forward, how do we choose what method will work best for us? That’s easy! The type of programming that will work best for you is the type of training that you will adhere to on a consistent basis. It’s the type of workout that fits into your schedule and the kind that you won’t skip on a regular basis. Therefore, it should be FUN and something you look forward to!

Popular Training Methods

Bodybuilding

ZEE PUMP! As made famous by the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding is the art of building your body. It’s less about performance and lifting the heaviest weights and more about focusing on growing each individual body part. These plans are developed to increase volume and maximize the pump to create an optimum level of hypertrophy (muscle growth). The workout is typically split into one or two body parts per day. You typically perform this type of training 5 days per week.

Powerlifting

Powerlifting is for those of us who enjoy lifting crazy amounts of weight. It is centered around the big three lifts: Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift. These movements are performed twice each per week in most programs. The rest of the programming is built around specific accessory movements that will directly help you with one of the lifts. You typically perform this type of training 4-5 days per week.

Crossfit

You may have seen the Crossfit Games on television. It’s like the gym version of an obstacle course. You race through a certain number of reps for certain movements. This is probably the most diverse form of training, with variations in exercises from olympic lifts all the way to body weight movements and running. These are shorter workouts performed at an extremely high intensity. You typically perform this type of training 6 days per week.

Making Your Decision

These are just a few of the many different types of programs you can choose from. The most important concept is to make sure you are active and healthy. You can do that in a variety of ways. So the next time you see an article that starts with “YOU MUST”, just laugh and keep scrolling by. Find something you love, break a sweat, and do it on a regular basis!

 

As always, if you need help, we provide online health coaching! This consists of custom training and personalized macronutrient programming! When you sign up for a membership, you aren’t just paying for coaches, you’re becoming a member of our team! Join the Evolution!

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

The Top 5 Reasons You Aren’t Achieving Your Goals

The Top 5 Reasons You Aren’t Achieving Your Goals

How many goals have you accomplished this year? We are seven months into 2017.. Have you checked any boxes off  of your New Year’s Resolutions? Goals are easy to set, but very rarely do we see them all the way through. The problem is that we get excited and we set certain goals, but once that excitement wears off and we’re left with just the working stages to get to those goals, it doesn’t seem as fun as when we thought them up.

So what do we do? Stop setting goals? That’s kind of depressing. Here are the top 5 reasons that you aren’t achieving your goals, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes!

5. A Lack of Interest

It seemed like a great idea when you thought of it. It sounded fun and you were excited to take on the new challenge. But after the sparkle wears off that fun new thought, you don’t really feel like doing it anymore. When you set goals, it is crucial to make sure they are actually important to you. That’s why setting goals with friends can be dangerous. You all want to do something together, but it just doesn’t seem that special to one or more of you. People start bailing and the whole thing falls apart.

Certain goals can be set together as a team. But individual goals should really be decided on your own, with no outside influences. Only you know what you want. So decide what’s most important to you and start from there.

4. You’re Scared

You set a goal. It’s big.. Really BIG! You’re pumped, you’re motivated, and nothing is going to stop you! Then you wake up in the morning and it almost feels like a hangover. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t do that! It’s impossible!

That’s the though process when you set a goal and immediately become discouraged by it. You think it’s unrealistic and a waste of time even attempting it. The bottom line is that unrealistic goals are often much more achievable than you think. The safe plans are usually the ones that never happen because there is so much competition for those spots. The unrealistic goals are often the ones you chase on your own because no one else thinks they can do them!

Think of it in terms of a job interview. Entry-level positions are going to have 100 applicants for 5 spots. But the upper-level management only has 9 applicants for 3 positions. So the safe bet has you at 20-1 odds for entry-level, while the risky one has odds set at 3-1.

Nothing is impossible, and the only limiting factor is you!

3. It Isn’t a Priority

This tends to be a problem in many facets of life. We run through what can be compared to a juggling act of life, and certain things get put on the back-burner. And as we grow up and start families, we have other people to worry about too. But there comes a time when we need to spend a little worry on ourselves.

Prioritization is a majorly overlooked resource. In order to prioritize, we need to take a look at the bigger picture. You start with the necessities, the things critical to staying alive and well. Those get done first. From there we have to place a high standard on our goals. This is where we need to get just a little bit selfish. If something was important enough for us to set as a goal, we need to maintain that emphasis of importance until we complete it.

2. Lack of Support

This is a big one. We rely on support throughout our lives. With it, we often find success. Without it, we often don’t. Support doesn’t have to just be emotional. The best kind of support is where you have people battling in the trenches with you. In the gym, that can be a training partner, or a group of people in a boot camp class.

The key here is to surround yourself with others who share your passion. They say you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So surround yourself with people who have already been successful with what you’re trying to accomplish!

1. You Don’t Have a Plan

The number one reason you haven’t achieved your goals is that you don’t have a plan! You can’t say you want to do something and have no steps to follow to do it. If your goal is to make ten million dollars, you can’t sit around and wait for it. You have to go out and do things to make that money!

The goal is accomplished by setting smaller goals along the way. Each mini goal you accomplish gets you closer to that big goal.

Your list of goals also shouldn’t be five pages long. Stick to one goal until you accomplish it, then you can move on to the next one.

You also want to stay regimented. It’s easy to follow a regular routine. It’s much harder to fit something in once in a while. Manage your time. Plan ahead for when you’re going to do it. Then get it done!

 

As always, if you need help, we provide online health coaching! This consists of custom training and personalized macronutrient programming! When you sign up for a membership you aren’t just paying for coaches, you’re becoming a member of our team! Join the Evolution!

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

You’ve seen a budget before. You have probably come up with one to make sure you can pay your bills every month. But budgets aren’t always financial. The term “budgeting” is extremely relevant when it comes to your fitness goals and in ultimately determining your level of success. We’re going to talk about the standard “you get out what you put in”, and exactly what that means! But first, let’s start with some TOUGH LOVE!

“You get out what you put in.”

TOUGH LOVE

As coaches, we hear it all the time.. “I had a bad weekend. A bad meal turned into a bad day. I went out drinking. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t feel like working out this week, so I didn’t.” And there is plenty more where that came from. And do you know what our answer is? “That’s ok.” Because it is! We preach balance. Our clients know that we harp on it, but it’s true.

If you are prepping for a contest, or are another type of competitive athlete and you are getting ready for your event, there is less room for error in these instances. But for the typical person who is just looking for a healthier lifestyle, this is nothing more than a minor speed bump. BUT, there can’t be any confusion as to why the scale hasn’t moved or clothes aren’t fitting better. A bad day here or there won’t kill your efforts, but it can be enough to stall them. Even if it’s only one bad day per week and you’re cutting, it could be enough to take you out of that deficit or drastically decrease it. So instead of a little over a pound of weight loss, you could be looking at the same number or maybe down a quarter of a pound.

On the other end of it, let’s say you’re bulking- you drank a little too much on Friday night and you used the weekend to sleep it off. Well it’s a little harder to get to your total daily caloric intake with half the number of meals that you usually eat. So that’s two days at significantly lower numbers, which is probably enough to inhibit an increase in weight.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll have to curb your expectations as far as progress is concerned. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you do something once in a while, you can expect results once in a while.” I love it. Most people don’t understand the amount of dedication it takes to achieve something that they aren’t used to doing. Furthermore, the more you progress and get closer to an elite level, the more dedication it is going to take to continue to progress.

You can’t bust your ass in the gym and then have a free for all in the kitchen and you can’t spend your life meal prepping then half-ass it in the gym and expect to get great results. It doesn’t work like that. Results are HARD to get. They may come easier to some people, but those people may just be programmed already on how to get this stuff done- making it less effort for them specifically.

Setting Your Budget

Again, we’re not talking about money here. This article isn’t about setting money aside for groceries and your gym membership. We’re talking about time and effort. How much time can you budget to your goals. How many things are you willing to give up in order to achieve them. The higher the number, the better the results. You don’t have to want to be elite. You just have to decide how much you want out of this. And that’s exactly what we’re going to breakdown here.

“Do I really need to bring a scale with me everywhere I go?”

Honestly? Yeah, you do. At least until you’ve memorized what an accurate serving size looks like for all the things you eat regularly. And even after that, if you are really hard-core about this stuff, you will have to continue to weigh your meals out because there’s no way you know what 130g of oats looks like vs 115g. Eyeball it after you learn what it looks like: Good Results. You weight it out at every meal: Great Results.

“I don’t have a set program in the gym, but I know what my body likes.”

Cool, do you remember what you did for every set of every exercise the last week? How about the last month? I can probably stop asking there but I’ll move forward anyway.. How about the last 3-6 months? Do you know exactly how much you’ve progressed in every single lift over this time frame? If you aren’t progressing, you aren’t growing and you’re likely not achieving the adaptations that you’re looking for. If you are, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could be for the amount of time that you’re in the gym.. Or you’ve just started working out and you get to enjoy the amazing responses that your body is going to give you for the first few months! But for most of us, we have to make sure we get everything we work for, so tracking your workouts is a huge tool.

If you go through the motions in the gym (busting your ass, but still untracked), you will get good results. If you track your workouts and plan them out, ensuring your volume has increased and you have progressed, you will get great results.

“I didn’t drink that much, but we got back at like 3 o’clock this morning. I’m pretty beat but I’ll still meet you at the gym at 7.”

I’ll be honest, this was my downfall for a while (college). But I probably wasn’t saying I didn’t drink that much… For whatever reason, I still felt good when I hopped out of bed after a few hours of sleep. Fitness was my religion and I wasn’t going to miss a meal or a workout. Especially not with spring break on the horizon.

But I overlooked how critical sleep was to everything else I was so dedicated to. You don’t grow while you’re lifting. You grow while you’re resting and recovering. Where does most of that take place? Sleep… And the deeper sleep the better. Can you progress off of a limited sleep schedule? Yup.. Results: Good. But get into that sweet spot of 7-9 hours of sleep.. Results: Great.

“I had a family barbecue this weekend.”

This one is easily the most common. Family/friend cookouts/get togethers. It happens all the time. You don’t have to be a party animal for this to be a common occurrence in your life. And this is really what we’re talking about with balancing your lifestyle with fun and fitness. If you aren’t competing and you just love being in shape, isn’t it ok to enjoy the quality time? That’s up for each individual person to debate. But we say yes. Absolutely enjoy it. Life is too short. BUT, if you have a show or competition coming up in two weeks and you’re already cutting it close.. Pack your own damn meals! Haha you can still enjoy the company of others while eating your prep food. Too many people shut themselves out from the world when it comes to crunch time. That’s not very enjoyable. You just need a little self-discipline and to remind yourself of why you started. You are doing something that’s very important to you. That should outweigh the big ass brownie you’re staring at.

Even if you aren’t competing, if you’ve just gotten into a rhythm in your weight loss after a long rut, stick to it! Make some tasty meals to bring with you to keep your progress rolling. We’ve done it.. Your family and friends might throw some playful jabs at you, but you’ll survive, and you’ll have abs to show them at the next one.

Mindful/intuitive eating: Good results. Meal prep: Great results.

Conclusion

So, do you have to be on top of your game all the time? That just depends on where you’re going with this. There are two extremes to every spectrum. The majority of people will find themselves somewhere in between. If you want to be elite, you do need to be at the high-end of the spectrum, on your game all the time. If you are perfectly happy being good, then make good choices most of the time. That’s your balance. That’s your budget. At the end of the day, if you are happy then you already won.

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Paleo… You can probably Google 25 more that will express how THIS diet will change your life. Which diet truly creates the best transformations? Let’s go through a few of the most popular and identify the winner.

The Keto Diet

The low-carb diet. The principle behind the Ketone Diet is getting your body into a state of Ketosis. This is where your body transfers from using carbohydrates as fuel to becoming extremely efficient in using fat for fuel. So how do you get there? The general rule of thumb is keeping your carbohydrates between 30-50 grams.

Basically, when planning your diet, you consume a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and the remainder of your calories are going to come from fat. You don’t plan out your carbohydrates (you’re trying to eat as few as possible) but you the little bit you take in is coming from your protein or fat source that may have a few grams of carbs in them.

The Paleo Diet

This is sometimes called the new, old diet. It’s a bit of a caveman reference. The idea is that you only consume foods that you could hunt or gather.. These foods include fruits, veggies, meat, seeds, and nuts. The bigger list is of things it doesn’t include. You can’t eat any refined sugars, or anything that has been processed. If we couldn’t eat it 500 years ago, you can’t eat it today. That’s the concept.

The Atkins Diet

This one took the country by storm. I feel like half the books in the nutrition section of Barnes and Noble are all about the Atkins Diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, it is extremely similar to the Keto Diet in that the number of carbohydrates you consume are drastically reduced. The biggest difference is that the Atkins Diet calculates “net carbs”, or total carbs minus fiber. His idea on that is the foods high in fiber have less of an impact on blood glucose and can be considered “good carbs”.

Do Any of These Offer A Real Advantage?

The short answer? No. Weight loss and weight gain is extremely simple.. Calories in vs Calories out. The math is extremely straight forward. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, then you will lose weight. If your diet is 5 bags of M&Ms and a Snickers Bar per day, but you’re a competitive distance runner, you’re likely to lose weight. You’re also likely to be extremely malnourished and unhealthy, but you’ll lose weight.

“But (insert diet here) worked for me. I lost 40 pounds on it.”

The only advantage a diet offers is if it is easier for you to follow. Can you live on 30g of carbs per day for the rest of your life? Can you avoid bagels or cereal forever? I can’t speak for you. Maybe you can. But I can’t. And I don’t think most of the rest of us can either. But if you can, then yes, one of these diets does carry and advantage… For YOU.

Understanding Your Lifestyle

The only way you can be successful in a transformation is understanding your own lifestyle. Consistency is key to success. If you can’t maintain something, that success will not last. And if it isn’t maintainable, why are you doing it? How fulfilling is it to hold a trophy for a month and then have it taken back? You need to choose a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain. For most people, that just means eating a healthy balance.

I love the 80/20 rule. It’s a pretty good starting point. If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, the 20% of fun foods isn’t going to crush your goals. It’s actually going to help you maintain them because your aren’t restricting yourself. And when you don’t restrict yourself, you tend to have fewer cravings. The bottom line is that if you are eating foods with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, you can have that bowl of ice cream if it stays within your caloric allowance. If your goal is weight loss and you have 2000 calories for the day and you’ve eaten all your fruits and veggies already but still have 400 calories left over, a few Oreos won’t keep you from losing weight. You’re still in a deficit so you’re still losing weight.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no miracle diet. The only miracle is finding something that you enjoy and are able to sustain. There is no magical food, no magical process, and no overnight transformation. Caloric balance is the determining factor in whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. If you can plan out your goals and be consistent, you will have success. We can help with that 🙂

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Do You Really Know Why You Workout? Probably Not…

Do You Really Know Why You Workout? Probably Not…

I workout because

I wanted to do a different type of blog today. I still wanted it to be fitness oriented but from a different perspective. I didn’t want to do this one on a new trend or on tips to grow your arms or shrink your waste. I wanted to go deep. So I started with myself. What would I want to know? What haven’t I really heard or learned about in a while? What topic would really benefit our clients the most? Then it hit me…

Why the hell are we doing what we’re doing?? This may seem like a pretty dumb question. But here are the top answers to the question, why do you workout?

  1. I want to be healthier.
  2. I want more energy throughout the day.
  3. I want to look good naked!

Do these sound familiar? Another common one would be, because my doctor said I should. But for the purpose of this article, I want to focus on personal reasons, not outside sources.

So let’s dive in… You want to be healthier- Ok, why? Are you sick? Overweight? Do you have a genetic predisposition to something happening down the road? You want more energy throughout the day- Go to bed earlier. I can probably guarantee you don’t get 8 hours of sleep every night. If you think I’m wrong, write everything down for 7 days in a row. What do you end up at? 42 hours maybe? You want to look good naked- Well I have no response to that one. Ask your mirror, or your significant other (go easy on them if you don’t like the answer).

Where did those answers get us? Not very far right… Those answers were all pretty shallow, as were the top three responses to the original question, why do you workout? To truly dedicate yourself to a program, you have to truly know what you are working out for. How do we do that? I’m going to show you! It’s called “Root-Cause Analysis”. This is actually one of the cooler things I learned about when I entered the fitness industry. Unless you’ve done this before, or are a fitness competitor of some sort, you honestly probably don’t know why you’re working out. You might think you do, but it’s much broader than the actual reason. It isn’t hard to get lost. I sometimes find myself spinning in circles trying to hit 15 different goals at the same time. So this was fun for me to go through and refocus! The concept of root-cause analysis is very simple: keep asking “why” until you get to the real reason (root cause). This isn’t even limited to fitness, you can apply it to anything you are struggling to understand about yourself in your life.. Your psychiatrist was on to something…

So here we go! It might sound a little weird having a conversation with myself, but bare with me. You’ll get the jist of it.

 

Josh: Why do you workout?

Josh: So I can get stronger.

Josh: Why?

Josh: So I can use that strength to add more size.

Why do you want more size?

So I can look more filled out on my large frame. I’m 6’2 so I need more mass to show muscularity.

Why do you want more muscularity?

Because I feel like I’m smaller than most fitness athletes my height.

Why do you care if you’re smaller than most fitness athletes your height?

Because I want to be the best at what I do, and my body is my trademark. If other athletes have a better physique than I do, they will seem more credible than I am. A picture is worth a thousand words and, in the fitness industry especially, a lot of times a picture is your best marketing tool. I want people to see me as an inspiration. I want to be viewed as a goal for someone else to strive for. I don’t want to bust my ass day in and day out to be viewed as an average joe who goes to the gym after work just because it’s something to do before bed. I want to be the best and I want to look the best. I want the physique of a greek god. Large, lean, and proportionate. That’s what I want.

 

And that, my friends, is Root-Cause Analysis. We’re all going to come up with different answers, and that’s the point. Your answer might be, “I workout so I can keep up with my kids.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how this was going to turn out as I wrote it. I literally asked myself these questions as I typed this article. Notice how my answers get a little longer after each “why”. It forces you to think. More thinking creates more elaboration. More elaboration requires you to dig deeper and ultimately reveals WHAT YOU WANT. This shit is therapeutic. Excuse my language but that felt good. There’s nothing more frustrating that not knowing what you want. I’ve been in this rut for a little while. I couldn’t choose between training for strength or size or athleticism or a blend of everything-which would limit my growth in all of them as a compromise to get better at all of them at the same time. When we do this to ourselves, we ultimately find ourselves in a rut because we are spread too thin trying to do too much.

Throughout this little experiment I went a little bit deeper, off the record. It got me thinking about competing again. I’ve been competitive my whole life. I always had something to train for- basketball, baseball, football, track, even MMA for a little while. So I didn’t have to think about it. That’s why I trained. So because of my root-cause analysis, I discovered I might want to do a physique competition. How else am I supposed to judge if I have the best physique? So there we go. That’s why I train. That’s why I workout. Will I enter a competition? Maybe.. But I now have a focused view of what I want to train for, and when I’m ready, I’ll make that decision.

As we get older, most of us are no longer competing in any athletic leagues. Life takes over. We work. We get married. We have kids. But be a little selfish and do something for you.

Continuing on the therapeutic trend this has put me on, I went one more level and asked myself why this has become so important to me, a perfect physique. The answer to that one? I’m inspired each and every day by this amazing girl I get to call mine. My girlfriend, my best friend, my partner in crime. She inspires me because she inspires literally thousands of people every single day. The girl is 122 pounds and is breaking records for lifting more weight than the kids I used to play football with. Her physique is also phenomenal. And her heart is second to none. The passion she shows with our clients overshadows everything she has done on a personal level. She has changed so many lives (and bodies) and is a role model to an incredible female base. They look up to her as a role model and reach out to her on a daily basis for help and advice. She is my inspiration to get to an elite level. And I won’t stop grinding because she’ll be right there with me. I’m a lucky guy to be on this team.

So why do you train?

 

Until next time,

Josh

What you need to know about rest day

What you need to know about rest day

rest day

We’ve all seen the funny pictures on Instagram. Rest day… Who needs it? This is becoming a more widely asked, and speculated, question around the fitness community. Routines are being taken to new extremes each day. And this is good, because it means we are pushing our limits to new heights. You can’t discover how far your body can actually go until you push past every threshold. And here comes the but… BUT there are limitations on how long you can push your body that hard.

People have started questioning whether there was any truth to the concept of “overtraining”. That is where these pictures, articles, and discussions gained momentum. A main argument was that if you feel good and you aren’t sore, your recovery time has reduced and you can now workout more frequently on less rest (if any). But there are some other factors being overlooked that don’t have to do with how your muscles are feeling today. Your body is a very, very complicated thing. So I’ll get into what those other factors are in a second but first I want to ask you if you’ve felt any of these lately, or if you remember having any of these after a week where you tried pushing yourself to a new extreme..

Your outsides:

Persistent muscle soreness (not your regular “that was one hell of a workout” soreness but the kind that lasts longer than it was supposed to), elevated resting heart rate, past injuries begin hurting again or you are recognizing new pain, not getting as good of a pump or not feeling as refreshed after a workout (you don’t get that “ahh” moment when you’re done), weight loss, stuck in a plateau (working hard but haven’t made any progress)

Your insides:

Irritability, depression, loss of appetite, loss of motivation, fatigue throughout the day, not mentally sharp- can’t focus and can’t concentrate well, insomnia (this is a big one.. trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.. very restless), lack of interest, getting sick (cold/flu)

These are all signs that you aren’t getting enough rest AKA overtraining! But your body was feeling so good and you thought that removing that rest day was the only way to capitalize on it. Well your body was feeling good because you had a great balance of exercise and rest. Now it’s all exercise and there is no balance.  Your body is constantly being broken down when you workout, but without rest, it doesn’t get to rebuild itself. So let’s breakdown this process. Here is the point of working out in a nutshell. Workout- breakdown body. Rest- recovery and growth. Workout- breakdown body. Rest- recovery and growth. RESULT- a stronger, healthier body. Now here is overtraining in a nutshell. Workout- breakdown body. Workout- breakdown body. Workout- breakdown body. Do you get the picture? There is no rebuild. You are breaking down what is still broken down and actually making yourself WEAKER! Now if that counter-productivity isn’t frustrating, I don’t know what is.

Earlier I mentioned that there was more to this concept that your muscles and your body feeling good. Working out places a HUGE stress on your central nervous system, or CNS. The CNS is responsible for controlling muscular contractions. When this becomes fatigued, it creates a reduction in the output of the motor control regions in the brain. This, in essence, causes a decrease in performance. Every time you move, your brain has nerve impulses generated by chemical activity. After intense training, that neural drive is reduced. So even if your muscles feel great, that workout also took a toll on your CNS.

So all of those “outside” effects may have made sense to you as general side effects of working out, but those “inside” effects may have seemed a little outside the box. Well that’s all tied into everything else that overtraining affects that often gets overlooked. Even something like getting sick seems silly, but when you place that added stress on your body with no recovery, everything starts to breakdown and your immune system gets much weaker, because yet again, YOUR BODY CANT RECOVER WHEN YOU ARE CONSTANTLY BREAKING IT DOWN.

I won’t pretend I’ve never pushed my boundaries and tried to go without rest days. I did. I love pushing my body to new levels. It’s an addiction. I want to see how far I can go in everything I do. And in our minds, taking a day off seems like a wasted day. But we have to remind ourselves, rest is just as important as the workout because the workout is where we break ourselves down, and the rest day is where our bodies recover and get STRONGER. Yep, that lazy day you take every week… That’s the day you are getting better at everything you worked so hard at. That doesn’t mean lay in bed 6 days a week… Balance…

Push your body to it’s limit and find YOUR perfect balance. For myself, and many others, a 3 days on 1 day off schedule is extremely effective. You are still working out 6 days a week, but never more than 3 days in a row. For others, a 2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off schedule works better. As with everything else, we are all created differently with different needs. Play around with it. If you feel great, it’s working.

Until next time,

~Josh

The difference one year can make

The difference one year can make

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    A year does not seem like a long time, in fact with how fast these weeks have been flying by, a year is not very long at all. One year ago to this month I started a huge lifestyle change. Last October I was newly single, finishing my last year at CCSU, and battling 3 jobs. I was an avid marathon runner, INSANITY instructor and definitely not eating enough. Last Halloween I was the skinniest I have ever been. I was running anywhere from 6-10 miles per day and for a span of a few weeks I was eating only 1,000 calories at the max. Between the stress of school, work and my break-up I turned to running as my escape and did not properly fuel my body despite the high amounts of stress I was putting on it.

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    I would call last Halloween my breaking point. I went out with my girlfriends, drank way too much and all I can remember is waking up the next morning feeling the WORST I had felt in a long time. It was that day that I decided to make a change in my life. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself, and get my act together to be the strong, confident woman I knew was somewhere inside.

Training for my first NPC Bikini Competition was one of the best decisions I made. Now, I did not jump right into it. I took November and December to jump on the clean eating train. I experimented with fun recipes and really focused on myself. I didn’t go out much, if at all but that was exactly what I needed to refresh my body and get my mind right. I still kept up with my running (as I had The NYC Half-Marathon planned for March) but I began to really fuel my body with the right foods and WOW what a difference that made! It truly is amazing what can happen once you learn to let go of the things that no longer serve you, allow you to grow, or make you happy.

The day after Christmas (come on did you really expect me to skip out on being able to eat my Mom’s delicious cookies?!) I started prep for my competition. I hadn’t picked out what show I wanted to do, nor did I know very much at all about the whole process, but I made this my goal and I was sticking to it. I spent countless hours researching and talking to people about doing shows and as I got more excited about it I realized this is exactly what I needed.

Beginning to strength train again was an amazing feeling. Making up my own workouts and seeing how much stronger I was becoming each week built my confidence and made me feel whole again. I absolutely LOVE running, however I absolutely LOVE lifting heavy weights too- and despite what everyone told me (that doing both was impossible) I continued to run and lift weights. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. I was happy with my body, I was happy with my life, I was surrounded by my amazing family and friends who supported me through 12 weeks of eating clean, mood swings and food prep and most importantly I was happy being on my own. Those 12 weeks from January to April, I spent more time getting to know myself and what worked for my body than ever before. Looking back I am so thankful for that break-up and thankful for that time period where I felt so awful because it made me the strong, confident person I am today.

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Today, I am grateful for my relationship with fitness and health because it has led me to find myself and most importantly find myself in a supportive, amazing relationship with my best friend and now business partner. Without that downfall, SD Evolution would not exist and I cannot wait to see what happens in another year from now. With that, I leave you to think about what you want to accomplish in one year. Is it weightloss? Is it a bikini competition? Is it incorporating a healthier lifestyle? Let me help you get started. Don’t wait another day to become the happiest, healthiest YOU that you can be.

 

Email me at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com for questions, comments or to learn how I can help you!

Why it’s ok to love your body while working towards your goals

Why it’s ok to love your body while working towards your goals

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Today it is so easy to want what you don’t have. Social media is full of other people’s best photos, top moments or “highlight reel” as I like to call it. Way too often are we comparing ourselves with others whether it be a model in a magazine or your favorite Instagram fitness account when we should be focusing on how amazing our own bodies are.

 

I know I sure have dreamed about having the body of some of the top female fitness competitors I follow via Instagram (Follow me—> @fitgirlmoves) and there was a point during my prep that I had one of them set as my background for motivation. Now nothing is wrong with a little motivation however I became obsessed with not having the awesome abs like she did. This person(who I didn’t even know!) was impacting my life in an unhealthy way, and when I realized this I began to laugh. I had been so focused on this other girl’s body that I was missing out on the transformation of my own. I was about 3 months into my competition prep and probably in the best shape of my life. Once I realized this, not only did I start to love my own body, but I was so proud of how far I had already come which pushed me even further to work hard towards my own goals.

The truth is you will never look exactly like that model, fitness competitor or actress and that should be a GREAT thing. Why would you want to look exactly like someone else anyway?  The media is so pressuring on us to look a certain way when we should be embracing ourselves every single day.

So what can you do to stay motivated and love your body?

  • Write down your goals. Whether they are fitness goals or not- write them down and keep that list visible. It forces you to be accountable.
  • Pick a favorite body part. This is a question I always ask my clients: “What is your favorite body part?” and I am usually given “I don’t have one” as an answer! THAT is just so silly to me! Our bodies are amazing in so many ways so if one doesn’t pop into your head immediately think about something you like to do (ex. running) most runners need your legs to perform- therefore your legs should be high up on that list of yours!
  • Take a selfie! Take photos during your fitness journey to keep track of weightloss or muscle gain. You will be amazed when you compare those photos months down the road.
  • Eat healthy. Focus on incorporating more whole foods into your diet: lean meats, veggies, fruit, nuts & seeds while limiting processed foods to feel your best.
  • Sweat daily. Even if its only 15 minutes or physical activity- 15 is better than 0. Go for a walk, jump on the treadmill or lift some weights. Earn your shower!
  • Each night look at yourself in the mirror and realize how lucky you are to have a functioning, powerful mind and body.

If you perform each of those steps daily, I promise that your focus will shift from feeling bad about your own body to absolutely loving it.

 

As always email me with personal questions, information about my meal and training plans or just to say hello!

Happy Monday all!

~Alessandra

 

Where do you want to be 5 years from today?

Where do you want to be 5 years from today?

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I spent an hour this morning reading a book titled, “FIVE” by Dan Zadra. This motivational short novel provided guidance to the question,“Where will you be in five years from today?” which really made me consider and think about where I wanted to be. With graduating college under my belt along with a huge life-changing move across the country, it is safe to say I have been in the post-graduation/pre-get my life started stage. Every day I am constantly trying to make ends meet out here in San Diego, while continuing my healthy lifestyle and positive outlook and let’s face it-it’s not always easy. One of the things I say to myself every morning when I wake up is that today is another day to be grateful, I am alive, more than well, and following my dreams. Taking one day at a time is how I stay stress-free. I constantly blog about following your dreams and creating balance in your life. Not only does this apply to health and fitness, but should apply to numerous aspects of your life including family. romance, career, education, financial and adventure. Below I included an excerpt from the book that illustrates the different “spokes” of your life in which you should create balance and have goals for each. This wheel of life made me realize that I am giving certain areas more focus than others so it was a good way to balance out everything in my life right now!

With these areas of life in mind can you set goals for each one that are achievable in 5 years time? Where do you want to be in your:

  • Career
  • Health
  • Adventure
  • Travel
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Charitable
  • Romance

For each of these write down where you want to be. How can you make your life turn into one of your dreams?

 

 

 

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Finding balance: in all aspects of your life

Finding balance: in all aspects of your life

It has been a full six months since I have cleaned up my diet to where I wanted it to be. Eating healthy has been important to me the last year or so however when I began running intensely last summer I also thought I could “carb load” and eat whatever I wanted (including buckets…yes buckets of chocolate chip cookies). Around winter time when I decided to clean up my diet prior to starting prep for my bikini competition, I noticed such a big change not only in my physical appearance but in my energy levels, focus as well as my stamina during exercise. Eating whole, unprocessed foods had changed my life and although at times it was (and still is) a struggle, it was a goal that I set for myself and was able to achieve. That goal started half a year ago in December, now we are almost through with June and I still eat clean 90% of the time. To me, that is the key to my success. I don’t limit myself from anything. If I want an ice cream cone on the weekend, I will have and enjoy that ice cream cone. The important factor here is to realize you can still enjoy and indulge in your treats on occasion as long as you are continuing your healthy habits 90% of the time. When I first started eating clean, I was definitely way too hard on myself. If I did have a treat meal or indulged a little bit too much at a family party, I would immediately feel guilty, and really break myself down over it…especially during my fitness competition prep. I have realized through the ups and downs that creating that guilt inside was only adding more stress to my life and ultimately making me unhappy- it was not worth it! Now, I realize that eating clean 100% of the time is not realistic or healthy for me and having a well-deserved treat every now and then should be something that is enjoyable and normal. A great trick to creating a successful goal is to incorporate SMART goal setting.

  • Specific- Try not to be too general when deciding what you want your goal to be. For example: “To not eat junk food” would be too broad of a statement. Instead try “To eat more vegetables with every meal.”
  • Measurable- Make your goal something that can be measured. For instance, if weight loss is your goal, don’t just think “I want to lose weight.”, try instead, “I want to lose 2 inches around my waist.”
  • Achievable- An achievable goal will lead to creating more successfully met goals. Don’t specifically set a goal that you will not be able to reach.
  • Realistic- The worst thing you can do is set an unrealistic goal. You want to be able to succeed and the way to do so is to set the bar just high enough for you to reach it.
  • Timely- Set a time limit for yourself. This goal should not be dragging on month after month leading up to year after year. Short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals and can even help you achieve that bigger goal you have in mind.

Balancing clean eating is just one example of creating balance in your life. A successfully balanced life requires a nutrient dense diet, plentiful sleep, a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day for at least 5 days out of the week, adequate hydration, time with your loved ones and most importantly time with yourself. Set aside at least 10 minutes per day where you can be alone and have a “break” from life’s stressors. Exercising, and eating right should not be something that you are punishing your body with. If you are not enjoying the experience, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself “why“. There are an unlimited ways to create happiness all while building a strong body and mind from the inside out.

One thing I have taught myself is that strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you could not do, but at the same time you have to know when you are being too hard on yourself. Finding and creating that balance is not an easy task to achieve, however once you find what works for you, you will reach the ultimate happiness.

~A