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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.

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

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

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

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

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

music blog picture

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

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

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

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

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