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When to start using a lifting belt

When to start using a lifting belt

Photo Credit: Moffitt Photography

“At what point am I lifting heavy enough to use a belt?”

This is a question we get a lot from new clients who are just starting to learn about powerlifting. Nearly all powerlifters utilize a lifting belt during meets and during most of their training. It’s a very rare occasion that you see an experienced powerlifter who does not use a belt during competition simply because it can help you move more weight. Period.

When people ask about this, I find that they think you have to reach a certain level of expertise, or certain amount of weight lifted before you can even put on a belt. They have this understanding that a belt is like the holy grail, or something that you need to earn and be gifted with upon reaching elite-level status. That couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Using a belt can be a great tool for beginners to powerlifting or just lifting heavier in general. When you’re lifting heavy, you need to properly brace your core. What does that mean exactly? Basically, you want to stabilize your entire core area by breathing into your stomach. This will help make your trunk stable enough to support moving heavy weight. This can be confusing to most people simply because they don’t have a good understanding of what the core consists of. If you think your core is just your abs, we hate to break it to you but you’re wrong.

Here’s a great graphic showcasing all of the muscles of the core:

Credit: https://www.acefitness.org/blog/3562/muscles-of-the-core

 

As you can see, the core is made up of a series of muscles not only on the anterior side of the body, but also on the lateral and posterior sides. Establishing a strong core goes a lot further than doing some crunches or sit-ups. In fact, your core is utilized in almost every exercise or movement that you do.

Training without a belt is obviously going to help you increase your core strength and stability. Training “beltless” is something you can use as a training tool when in the off-season to do just that. However, we like to suggest our beginners try out a belt when learning how to brace and breath for the main lifts.

Why is that?

When you breath into your stomach, your stomach is going to expand. The expansion of your stomach is what is going to give you that stability while going through a loaded movement. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. Learning to breathe into your stomach properly is the first step. A lot of people naturally want to suck IN their stomach when learning how to breathe and this is incorrect. When you suck in, that means the air isn’t in the right spot, therefore you’re not going to be stable. The goal here is to honestly look as fat as possible by sticking that stomach out.  A belt comes in handy here because you can cue the individual (or yourself) to think about filling out their belt or pushing their belly into the belt. Here, the belt becomes the teacher to ensure the athlete is properly breathing therefore bracing before attempting to load the movement.

Here’s a great video we recommend on learning how to breathe properly: Breathing + Bracing Technique

Now comes the ever so popular question of,

What belt is the best?

Our friends over at BarBend.com put together a great article discussing different types of belts and what would be best for you here: Best Lifting Belts.

Hopefully this cleared up any confusion you had about using a belt or how to properly brace for the main lifts. We are always available for questions and further discussion at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. Now go put these brain gains to use!

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.

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

We’ve all been there. There was a time in our training where the progress just seemed to stop. It became the un-bustable plateau. Maybe it’s getting stuck at a 225 pound bench press for 10 reps. Maybe it’s getting stuck at 150 pounds. Somewhere along the line that “beginner magic”, where the results came almost easy, just wore off. Now it’s been two years and you’ve gone to the gym consistently busting your ass but you haven’t made any noticeable progress from where you were. Why? How can all this work count for nothing? We’ll, I’m going to tell you.

 

Let’s keep it really simple.. I’ll start with a question. How do we progress? We make small progressions over time, right? We can’t expect to PR every workout over the lifetime of our fitness careers, but we can put a plan in place that lets us PR every time we plan to test our maxes. But what do we consider small progressions over time? If you’ve been stuck at 225 pounds for 10 reps on the bench press and you’re waiting to feel like you’ve progressed enough to add more weight, when is it time to do so? Well the problem that most of us have is that we spend more time waiting than necessary. Maybe it’s waiting for a day we have a workout partner who pumps us up and we add an extra 10 or 15 pounds. But how often does that happen?

 

The truth is that we all progress differently. But in order to adapt, we need to progress. So our plan of action needs to ensure that it does happen. Some people (especially if you’re new to working out) seem to progress every single week. They might add 5 pounds per week to their 8 rep max. Every single week they can do the same workouts and they just keep throwing weight on the bar. That’s progression.

 

But what if you can’t do that? We don’t want to go to failure every single set, and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice form to get more reps up because we had to add weight. So how do you progress from there? Maybe you couldn’t add 5 or 10 pounds this week, but could you do an extra set? Could you bump up your 3 sets of flat bench to 4 sets? Again, this depends. If you’ve been recovering well recently, you can probably add a set. That’s progression.

 

If you feel like you’ve been beaten to a pulp and there’s no way you can add a single set to your workout, you’ve got a couple things to consider. 1- When was the last time you de-loaded? Your cumulative fatigue may be at a point where you are best suited to take a de-load week to reduce it. And 2- Is your workout routine designed optimally?

 

There is a magical line that we should all recognize in the pursuit of our goals. It’s the line that tells us we’re working too hard or not hard enough. We want to work right up that that line to optimize our results as efficiently as possible. Going over that line is called overreaching, which is ok as long as it’s planned and usually followed up with a de-load. Staying well under that line means we are just spinning our tires and not doing enough work to progress and force adaptations within our body. Does this line have a name? Yep.. It’s your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV). And unfortunately, this line is not universal. It depends on a long list of factors (like training experience) and is different for everybody. But it’s name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the most amount of work that we can do that allows us to recover and not interfere with our next workout.

 

It’s not that hard to figure out your own MRV. It just takes some time to test it. Let’s say you use 100 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 on flat bench. Next week do 4 sets. Then try 5 the following week. If during that week, your reps looked like this: 10, 10, 10, 10, 7- your MRV for that exercise at that weight was the 4th set. You failed on the 5th, so that was a little bit past your MRV.

 

Do we want to train to our MRV every workout? We suggest working up to your MRV over the course of three weeks, then overreaching on your fourth week, and then you would follow that up with a de-load on your fifth week. (FYI: when I say de-load, that doesn’t mean a week off. It’s a week at a calculated lesser volume). Then you could start the cycle over.

 

So that should help us in deciding how to maximize the efficiency of our workouts, but how do we parlay that back into progressions? Well, that will help us calculate what the overview of our program should look like. But in the day to day of each of our individual workouts, ON AVERAGE, each workout should have increased volume from the last. That doesn’t mean every single workout, but on average that should be the rule… Increased volume=progression.

 

This part can get pretty technical when it comes to designing your program. But for those of you who aren’t sure exactly what volume is: weight x sets x reps = volume. If you bench 100 pounds for 4 sets of 10, your volume is 4000 lbs. So whether you add 5 pounds next week, or increase that same load for an additional set, your volume is increased. The extra set increases volume a lot more than the 5 pound increase at the same number of sets. So both should be incorporated at different times in the program to ensure you are progressing, but not overreaching too often.

 

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Train insane or remain the same,” right? There’s a little more to it than that, but it’s true. If you train the same, you remain the same. You need an overload to progress. You need to progress to force adaptations. We need adaptations to go to the beach every summer or to leave a competition with something shiny. You have to train harder AND smarter.. We can help with that! Join the Evolution and find the success that so many of our members have already!

 

http://www.sd-evolution.com/services.html

Client Spotlight: Liana Ross

Client Spotlight: Liana Ross

This week’s client feature goes to Liana Ross. Liana has been working with us since May and has been such a positive addition to the team. Initially we started with fat loss and then progressed her through a reverse diet which she is now maintaining.

1) Hey Liana! Tell us about your dieting history and journey with not only flexible dieting but with food in general. 

Throughout my child hood i was not the most healthiest eater.  This caught up with me by the time i reached high school and therefore ONLY focused on wanting to lose weight.  So during this time i thought the only way to lose weight was to restrict my eating.  I would eat sparingly throughout the day which resulted in binge eating at night due to the restriction, paired with long extensive time on the cardio machines.  This continued until college.  During college i became involved in a lot of partying and with partying comes poor diets.  I had gained 25 pounds while at college and knew when i came home this needed to change.  During my third year of college i became introduced to the idea of counting my calories and incorporating the 40/40/20 rule.  This is when my cooking began due to wanting to fuel my body with healthy meals.  Even though i was not restricting food as bad as i had in the past, i was still afraid of eating more..but i knew i NEEDED to in order to lose weight.  I trusted the process and immediately saw results.  This peaked my interest about nutrition which resulted in my own research of how to lose weight, workout, and basic nutrition principles.  Yes, i became knowledgable, but i became obsessive about “clean eating.”  Many people do not see this type of eating as restrictive due to eating the necessary amount of food for my body, but it was restricting any food that was made out of processed ingredients.  Yes this produced results, but i quickly plateaued and i did not know why.  About 2 years ago throughout more of my research, I came across Layne Norton who was the first person who had introduced the idea of IIFYM or flexible dieting.  I knew i did not want to be a “clean eater” any more and wanted to enjoy the foods i loved.  I knew I HAD  to once again trust the process.  I experimented with configuring my own macros through certain websites which increased my experience with IIFYM and flexible dieting. I had the freedom i wanted, while also getting the results i wanted. I believe both of these aspects combined is what helped motivate me and grow my passion for lifting and fueling my body today.

2) What has been your favorite part about learning to incorporate flexible dieting? 
My favorite part about incorporating flexible dieting is being able to have freedom.  Freedom from feeling guilty over eating certain foods, and freedom to eat a variety of foods, from oatmeal and egg whites to Reese’s puffs cereal and double stuffed oreos.  I am able to attend social events, restaurants, and vacations without feeling the need to turn it into a constant “cheat day.”  Flexible dieting has also allowed me to learn so much about my body, nutrition, and fueling my workouts which has given me relief after being obsessed with the idea of “clean eating.”  Lastly, one of my main passions include cooking which flexible dieting has allowed me to experiment with a variety of recipes.  Restriction does not need to be a part of my story anymore.

3)How has incorporating an untracked day of eating helped you along this journey? 

Incorporating an untracked day has helped me mentally and physically.  At first, I knew i wanted to do it once the idea was brought to my attention, but i was nervous and hesitant.  In the past, having an untracked meal meant saying “fuck it” or turning it into a cheat day, as a result of my history of binge eating.  This time i knew it was going to be different.  It has allowed me to recognize the knowledge and experience i had gained through flexible dieting while also allowing me to recognize my true hunger cues.  Often times, we can turn to flexible dieting and macro counting for all the right reasons, but it is very easy for it to act as a crutch rather than a tool.  This was the situation for me and i did not recognize this until recently.  This is something i am still consistently working on as it is not an over night switch, yet incorporating the untracked day is helping improve my mind set and confidence.

4) What do you eat in a typical day?

Breakfast: Egg white scramble with veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and peppers, topped with some salsa, with a side of a carb choice (either oatmeal, frozen hash browns, toast, or fruit are my favorites)

Mid morning: Chobani flavored or plain greek yogurt mixed with almonds and french toast crunch cereal

Pre workout: Sweet potato, broccoli, lean protein (chicken, turkey meatballs, salmon are my favorites)

Post workout: 3 slices of Cinnamon raisin ezekiel french toast topped with banana and sugar free pancake syrup

Dinner: Baked spaghetti squash chicken parmesan boats

Evening snack: One serving of Edy’s slow churned cookie dough ice cream topped with sprinkles, and cookie dough peanut butter, with a side of strawberries

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

Thinking Emoji

 

We’ve all been there.. We’re motivated, we’re ready to go, we’re really going to change this time. Time to get back that body you had in high school, or college, or whenever it was that you peaked. And when are we going to start? On Monday.. It’s always Monday. Your friends came over for a barbecue on Sunday, and Saturday you were recovering from Friday night so you couldn’t start then. So Monday it is.

 

Even if you’re already in a regimen we have moments, or ruts, in our training where we seem to just be going through the motions and not making any progress. A lot of times the reason isn’t that we aren’t putting in the work, but that we overreact to small speed bumps. You were counting macros at the barbeque on Sunday but then dessert came out, your eyes lit up, and that’s the last thing you remember. So after that, you just stopped counting. You decided to pick things back up on Monday.

 

What if I told you that you could have your Aunt’s famous dessert at your family cookout and not have to feel bad about it? I’m not talking about “if it fits your macros”. I’m not talking about macros at all. I’m talking about setting up the goals that are right for you.

 

So let’s get into it… First and foremost, what are your goals? Are you a weekend warrior who puts in 60 hours a week at a job and then crushes it on the weekends to stay healthy? Or are you an aspiring fitness athlete who is looking to compete? As you can imagine, these two scenarios are gong to play out with two very different goals. These are two people at opposite ends of the spectrum just to make my point, but there are stages in the middle where most people find themselves. We’ll go step by step and you can decide what category you fall into, and how you can decide how to follow a program from there.

 

Category 1: I just want to be healthy

 

A significant portion of the population will fall into this category. These are the people who have full time jobs on top of full time jobs. They might be married with kids, or travel for work 90% of the time. Or they just might not care a lick about the idea of “fitness” and just want their doctor to give them good news every year. It’s ok to be in this group! It’s not always about aesthetics! SD Evolution preaches healthy LIFESTYLES. Not all of our clients are training for a competition. A lot of them just want to be healthy. And we love that. We are building a fitness COMMUNITY and that covers all goals being HEALTHY and in any way that any of our individual clients views that.

 

SO, what does this mean? What do you have to do? What don’t you have to do? Well, this might come as a shock to hear me say this, but you DON’T have to count your macros. You don’t even need to follow a fitness regimen. The guideline here is just making healthy choices. Here is where I would recommend using the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% “hey shit happens”. You ate healthy all week, cooked healthy dinners for your family, and then the cookout came up on Sunday and you had an entire plate of dessert. I’m ok with it.. If you had McDonalds all week and ate nothing but Hot Tomales (my favorite candy by the way) while you watched Shark Week every night, then no, I would tell someone to slap that plate out of your hand you shouldn’t eat all that dessert! The world we live in sees most people getting the 80/20 backwards. That’s a whole other topic and I won’t get off on a tangent, but you get the idea. As far as training, a workout program would be helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Maybe you like finding new hikes. You just got a pool and you love swimming. You just joined a basketball league at work. Those are all forms of exercise; they just happen to be so fun that you forget you are working out. With enough frequency and balance, those are more than enough.

 

Why would I say all this when I run a fitness business? Well for starters, because I’m honest. But even still, we offer programs that consist of lifestyle coaching. So someone in this category would still benefit from an online coach, we just wouldn’t be giving them workouts and meal plans. They would be getting outlines of how to make their current lifestyle healthier, and we would teach them how to incorporate those things step by step, as well as keep them accountable.

 

Category 2: I don’t want to compete, but I do want to change my body

 

This category is where the majority fall into. Not everyone wants to go stand on stage and lift heavy weights, or put their sculpted physiques on display. Some people just want to feel more confident. I want to look good naked, I believe is what a lot of people talk about from this stand point. They might have accumulated a few pounds over the years, or they never really did have a great body but they decided they wanted to set their sights on having the mirror make them smile. Either way, they are at a point in their lives where they want to make a visible change to the way that they look.

 

These guys have to go a little farther than the 80/20 rule. To change your body, the numbers have to add up. We have this down to a science where “if you do this, then this will happen”. There are a lot of calculations that go into this, but the most basic form is a topic called caloric balance. If you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. If you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. There are a lot of other things that go into this, and some of those things actually make my previous statement false, but I won’t bore you with the details. For the vast majority, caloric balance holds true. From there, it is also very important WHERE your calories come from. We’re not just talking about the specific foods, but the macronutrient breakdown of those foods.

 

That is why this group needs to track what they are eating. The simplest way to do so… Counting your macros. More advanced people in this group may not need to do so because they already have their meals planned out and prepped the same way they have been doing it for a long time. But most of us will have to do this on a day to day basis because we will not want to eat the same exact things on a day to day basis. Counting our macros allows us the flexibility to eat with diversity, but also gives us the structure to not overdue it on any one part. You can do this manually, or most phones will let you download an app where you can just punch in the food and the amount you had and BOOM, macros tracked.. **cough cough** “MyMacros+” **cough**

 

Your workouts should also be programmed in this category. You will need to track volume to ensure progress. You don’t have to go overboard, but knowing what you did last week, and how to increase it this week is pretty important. And again, this stuff doesn’t have to be all in the gym. A lot of the peeps in here like to do other activities in place of the gym. But making sure you reach a certain intensity for a certain amount of time during you basketball game should be tracked in order to make sure you are getting to the level you need to, to achieve your goals.

 

Category 3: I want to be the best

 

You want to be the best? You better work harder and smarter than the best. This category is where very few people will take it. Not a lot of people want to compete. The biggest, most shredded dude in your gym might not want to step on stage. He’s just there to be big and shredded, and that’s ok. But some people strive to be the best in everything they do, and they want something measurable to tell them that. That measurement would be which flavor medal you bring home from a competition. Anyway, this category is the easiest to talk about, and the hardest to achieve.

 

Are you tracking your macros? Yes… Unless you’re on a meal plan eating the same thing every day. In which case you or your coach determined your macros on day one and that is set until it is adjusted moving forward.

 

Are your workouts programmed? You better believe it.. One of the easiest ways to determine if your weight gain is lean mass or fat is to look at your lifts. Are they the same weight that you started with when you were 200 and you are now 210? That was mostly, if not all, fat buddy.. Sorry. How do you program for improvements? Very simply put, make sure you do more than you did last time. It could be an extra set, or it could be an extra 5 or 10 pounds on your lift. Your volume must grow for you to grow.

 

What category do you fall in? Are you doing the things you need to in order to reach your goals? Do you now know what your goals are? If you need help, you know where to find us…

http://www.sd-evolution.com/contact.html

Until next time,

Josh

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING INSTEAD OF SCROLLING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING INSTEAD OF SCROLLING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

blog 1In 2015 I spent a lot of time reading. I found that in college, when I was “forced” to read for class, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time with my nose buried in a book. So when I graduated and finally had the chance to actually read books and articles that truly interested me, that’s what I did. Ironically in 2015 I seemed to acquire a wealth of information that was useful to me as well as my family and clients. I was constantly trying to converse with as many people as I could because I was so excited to just talk about all of the new information flooding my brain.

Something I also noticed just recently was how much of my time I was spending scrolling mindlessly through social media. Half the time I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was looking at, simply just scrolling for no apparent reason at all. With social media and apps like Instagram greatly impacting our daily life, I realized how easy it is to not live in the present moment. It was at that moment I decided I needed to stop the insta-madness.

While social media is a huge asset to our business, I find that my productivity increases drastically on days that I incorporate self-education, organization/planning as well as 10 minutes of meditation. These activities are something I have adapted just recently but even after the first week of consecutively performing these tasks, I feel happier, more productive and less “clutter-brained”. Last week, Josh also announced our 10 Minute Challenge that you can watch HERE—> 10 MINUTE CHALLENGE. This basically challenges you to pick a task or goal that you have been wanting to achieve, and dedicate 10 days to this task for 21 consecutive days. Which I think quite frankly goes along with this topic wonderfully.

I also have a list here for you of 10 things that you should be doing instead of scrolling through social media. These are things that I find to help me be a better version of myself of the daily. You can choose to try one, or all 10, but I promise incorporating the smallest amount of this change will have you feeling on top of the world.

  1. Teach yourself something new. For me, this “something new” was photography. I got a really nice camera from Josh for Christmas and I have vowed to learn how to properly use it. With so many resources available on the internet and YouTube especially, I have already taught myself so much even sometimes just watching a 5 minute video per day.
  2. Read a new book. 2015 was obviously mentioned as my “year of reading”, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t extend into 2016. I have already read 3 books so far this year, most having to do with business, self-discovery and obviously fitness.
  3. Start a journal. Journaling is also something that has really helped me collect my thoughts, feelings and leave each day with a reflection. Whether you journal at night to reflect, or in the morning for gratitude, jotting your thoughts down is a really great way to appreciate what goes on in your day.
  4. Coloring! Coloring for adults is a method for stress relief that has really taken off in the past year. Not only does it bring you back to your childhood, but it is so soothing while allowing for creativity at the same time.
  5. Practice meditation. I recently downloaded the app called “Headspace” which is a guided meditation that lasts no longer than 10 minutes per session. Side note: try not to do this in bed at night because it WILL knock you into a DEEP sleep as I experienced my first time.
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