Why am I (not) hungry?

Posted in rantings of the madman on March 29, 2017 by kirkwestwood

So I’m going to start this off with a rehashing of my credentials.  Not to brag about what they are, but more importantly to express what they aren’t.  I have three nationally recognized certifications, all of which are through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  They are; Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and Womens Excercise Specialst.  I am NOT a doctor, dietitian, or anything of particular prestige, renown or “expertise”.  Got it?  Good.

I don’t do hunger well.  Its a weakness of mine.  I can’t fast to save my life, I can’t even do low calorie very well.  I get hangry, anxious, fidgetty, and overall just pretty miserable.  So, recently back on the fitness / nutrition wagon, I tried one of the many touted “juice cleanses” to kind of jump start things (not the first I’d tried).  I knew it would suck.  I knew it would be miserable for those around me.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it more than a few days.  But I really wanted to kickstart myself metabolically/ psychologically.  So I got going.

And something really weird happened:  Nothing.  That is not to say I didn’t start losing weight pretty quickly, I did.  It’s not to say I didn’t feel the advertised effects of the cleanse, I did.  What I mean is I went over a week without eating anything solid (for the most part).  I spent a little over 8 days in massive caloric defecit, but I wasn’t hungry.  I wasn’t hangry.  I wasn’t letharigic or sluggish.  This was overall a good thing, but more than anything it spiked my curiosity.  Why?!  I’m no physiologially different than I was two weeks ago.  My determination clearly didn’t aleviate my need for sustainance, so why on earth am I able to subsist on essentially nothing.

So I started the research (for those of you who know me, this isn’t surprising)

Four things make you hungry.  Pretty much only the four.  This up front, one of them doesn’t count, and one of them doesn’t apply to you (probably) which brings us down to two.  But lets go over all four.

  1. Your Brain: This covers a lot of things.  Habit, percieved “time”, boredom, anxiety, depression, etc, etc.  This one doesn’t count.  Your brain is not within the digestive system.  It does interpret autonomic signals from the body, but it can also misfire, misinterpret, or just generally call “hunger” when it doesn’t know what else to do.  Moreover, the brain can be “trained” to feel hungry when it isn’t, and even more importantly NOT hungry when it is.  So, as real as the hunger may feel, or for the record as real as it may be, brain induced “hunger” can’t be trusted.  Once you learn to recognize it, it can be almost entirely ignored.
  2. Actual Caloric Defecit:  If you are an endurance athlete, a wilderness survival enthusiast, or have spent time in the peace corps, you probably have experience with this.  If not, its unlikely that much of your “hunger” comes from a legitimate caloric defecit.  The day after a Spartan Race/ Savage Race/ Tough Mudder I know that I am in a pretty big defecit.  But a good stack of pancakes and a glass or two of orange juice and I’m back on track.  People are capable of going days to weeks without food.  You can actually live indefinitley on around 1100 calories a day, and your body has fat stores for this purpose.  Unless you are wafishly thin, or have a grandular disorder, caloric defecit is probably a statistically irrelevant cause of your need to feed.
  3. Blood sugar:  Now, most people understand this, but I’ll say it up front.  Blood sugar is a pretty significant thing for you, even if you aren’t diabetic.  Your brain runs on glycol (sugar), lots of your bioinformatic systems are trigged by blood sugar.  Blood sugar levels actually prove to be a far more significant cause of hunger than people think, and is almost solely responsible for being “hangry” as anger comes from the brain, and as I mentioned your brain runs on sugar.  Deprive the sugar, get the rage.  The reason this is significant is that it means by choosing a different snack, or the frequency of snacks, you could much more effectively control the sensation of hunger.
  4. Stomach contraction/retraction:  This is the one that most people associate the most with hunger.  Stomach growling, pit in the stomach, grumbling, etc etc.  But here is the fun fact.  This is largely, almost entirely caused the over expansion/retraction sensation.  So, if you choose smarter, smaller meals.  Preventing the stomach from over stretching, you can fairly quickly prevent this sensation from becoming a major factor.  Additionally, things like cayenne, black pepper, ginger, grapefuit oil/extract, green tea concentrate, can naturally cause the stomach to contract greatly reducing that hunger response.

There it was.  I started breaking down what I’d been subsisting on, how I had altered the prescribed recipe to the juice, and how often/when I was drinking it and suddenly it became awesomely clear.  By increasing the frequency and decreasing the amount I had nearly entirely killed #4.  By keeping a steady frequency, and a consistent amount, I was regulating my blood sugar unintentionally/inadvertantly so there is #3.  I was certainly under a caloric defecit from my average lifestyle, but I did the math, and I certainly wasn’t under the recommended levels of the day, and was nowhere near “starvation” levels.  So that covered #2.  And I’ve been keeping pretty busy, lots going on, not much time to stew on things so #1 was a non-issue.

I knew much of this from my studying for my “Fitness Nutrition Specialist”, but I’d never applied it like this, nor even thought of it being applied like this.  It hass sort of blown my mind.

Its been nearly a week since I reintroduced “real” food.  I’ve been applying these four priciples, and let me tell you.  I can FEEL the difference.

Think about what it is you eat.  How much it is (volume, not calories).  What is the content?  Can you apply these principles to a healthier diet?

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Find your peace in the pain, and move through it.

Posted in rantings of the madman on March 23, 2017 by kirkwestwood

What seems like 15 versions of Kirk ago, I started this blog.  I found myself.  Found a place of enthusiasm.  Found something that I loved, understood, was challenged by, and could wrap my life around;  fitness/nutrition.

During those years of study, exercise, and various practices, I heard a LOT of fitness mantras.  I heard a LOT of crazy gym science.  And most of all, I heard a LOT of defeatist ethos’ being spread around.  Several stuck with me, and I’ve tried to apply them to my life.  Others I use to this day as examples of “don’t be stupid”.

One that has stuck with me was one told to me within my yoga practice.  This up front;  I really love yoga.  I love nearly everything about it, and wish that I could find an affordable/convenient way to make it more apart of my life, but I digress.  There I was floundering with a particular asana (pose) and wincing from the pain caused by the stretch.  I was fighting with myself, my tendons, my ligaments, and my will power and breathing through tightly clenched teeth.

The instructor came over, placed her hand on my back and spoke quietly in my ear:  “Breathe, its going to hurt.  Its supposed to hurt.  Your body, wasn’t necessarily made to move like this, but it can.  You get to decide what your body does/doesn’t do.  Be the master of yourself.  Don’t let the pressure, the pain stop you.  Feel the pain.  Find your peace in it, and move through it.”

At that statement, I had a crystalline moment of clarity.  That wasn’t about yoga, that was about life.  That was about adversity.  I could reasonably apply that statement to just about anything.

In everything, (but lets pretend we’re only talking about fitness/nutrition) there is bound to be adversity.  The universe provides backpressure to progress 100% of the time.  Back pressure is uncomfortable.  Closed doors are annoying.  Plateaus are disheartening.  “Failures” feel life-ending.  But we can’t let these things stop us.  We must find our peace in the pain.  Accept it.  Don’t ignore it, because its real, it has purpose, its message is valid.  But hear the message, internalize it, find your peace with it, and move through it to the other side.

When I started this quest 8 years ago, I had one young daughter and a pregnant wife.  Now, I have 5 children, 3 jobs, and a world of commitments and I let everything else matter more.  But I’ve grown unhealthy again, my back is hurting again, my nutrition isn’t great again, and I wasn’t doing much to stop it.  I kept letting the pain win.  “I can’t, it hurts.”  “I can’t, its hard.” ” I can’t others are so much better, they’ll judge me”… Then I remembered the quiet words spoken to me by a yogi over 7 years ago.

Find your peace in the pain, and move through it.  Last week I started with a fairly aggressive cleanse, and today I’m starting my own 90dayreboot again.  My life is complicated, my life is busy, my life is annoying, and this causes more pain than sometimes I feel like I can handle…. But, I’m committing (once again) to find my peace in the pain.  Accept it.  Listen to it.  Internalize it.  And move through it.

Today I weighed in at 204lbs.  I have  a PT test in one month, and am living on orders with relatively no distractions for 62 days.  I have no excuses.  I have no reason not to be healthy.  I can find my peace in the pain.  I can find myself in the inconvenience and move through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with treadmills.

Posted in rantings of the madman on December 3, 2014 by kirkwestwood

I have a PT test this weekend.  It isn’t that big of a deal, I have to re-certify once a year, that I am still fit to be in the U.S. Army.  this consists of 3 tests, back to back, with 10 min of rest in-between.  First pushups, which for my age I must complete between 39-77, then sit-ups 45-88, then a 2 mile run in 13:00-17:01.  So, in preparation for this test, I’ve been doing some pushups, sit-ups, and runs, just to make sure I have nothing to worry about.

Last night, I knew I needed to get some running in, as it had been about 2 weeks since I’d had a chance to (with Thanksgiving and all).  But last night was particularly cold, and wet, so I decided to give my old arch-nemesis the treadmill a chance to work me for 2 miles, after all… better than nothing right?

I set my speed, and started running.  I adjusted the buttons and knobs throughout, made it faster and slower as I needed and was able, and when the 2 miles was over, I had shaved a whopping 90 seconds from my most recent time (again, after 2 weeks of NO training, and EATING THANKSGIVING)… and this is the problem with treadmills.

I’m a firm believer that fitness shouldn’t be philosophical.  Sure fitness has firm foundations in the aesthetic, but never the less, fitness should be measured by your capabilities in real world application.  I run, and time myself OFTEN.  I know the window wherein my personal push can make me run.  I know my recent fastest, i know my all time fastest, I also know my slowest, and with the help of good ‘ol fashioned Mr. Treadmill, I DESTROYED those times.

*But Kirk, being ‘faster’ is a good thing, how is this bad?*  I’m so glad you asked.

Because it isn’t a real assessment of anything.  My body can’t actually run 2 miles in the time that the treadmill said I could.  The lack of changing air pressure, the ergonomically perfect running surface, the pleasantly distracting televisions surrounding you, they all serve to bolster up unrealistic understanding of your real world potential.  If I didn’t realize this, and only ran on treadmills for exercise, I’d be under the impression that I could run much better/further/faster than I actually can.  Its like people on the coast that train and train and then go for a run on vacation in the mountains, they QUICKLY find out that altitude MATTERS!  Well, so does variable air pressure, micro-fluxuations in running surface and the mental game of pushing yourself not being pushed by a maniacally moving floor.

The law of thermodynamics boils down to the colloquialism of “calories in, calories out”.  So, in this vein, treadmills burn calories.  But fitness shouldn’t be philosophical.  If you want to burn calories, do it in a way that has real world application, transferable skills, and will lead to better body mobility and functionality and not just make you sweat.

Treadmills don’t train your lungs for the real world.  Treadmills don’t train your feet, ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, or back for the real world.  Treadmills burn calories, that is all.  It is a dangerous construct to use treadmills as a guide to weightloss and fitness as they genuinely produce unrealistic expectations, and a drastically less effective training environment.  And never forget, a good treadmill is several thousand dollars, but outside, is typically free.

“Not a real mother”

Posted in rantings of the madman on August 21, 2014 by kirkwestwood

Anyone who follows Natalie or I on Facebook, or has ever had a real conversation with us about fitness, has heard our rants on FitShaming. Very few (not none) subjects will get Natalie or me more heated, more quickly, than shaming someone for being fit, or trying to be fit, or implying that them wanting to be fit is in someway ‘bad’. Truly, it gets ugly, fast.

We don’t mean for it to, but politeness goes out the window for us, or more me, when someone makes the claim that thin/athletic/healthy/seekers-of-physique are somehow “less”.

**I’m going to put this up front, so that my critics can more easily ignore it and accuse me of fat shaming later. There is ALSO nothing wrong with having other priorities. Being out of shape is not ‘disgusting’, you shouldn’t be ‘ashamed’ of your body….EVER. We are ALL a work in progress, some people decide to work on one thing, others decide to work on something else. I will fully admit, as an artist, when I get thrown into a project of my own, that my fitness/health/diet goes down a notch. There is only so much someone can keep on their plate. I am the first to offer support/advice/guidance/training to ANYONE that tells me that fitness is a goal of theirs. But Natalie and I would be the LAST to tell someone they were somehow incomplete without a 6pack, or that they aren’t good enough because of their weight. End of disclaimer.**

Natalie was talking to a person very close to her recently. Who was talking about living in a new area, in a new social circle, with new surroundings to internalize and navigate. Amongst those comments, she mentioned all the other mothers in her area weren’t “real mothers”, as they were married to wealthy doctors and the like, only had one or two children, and spent their lives in workout clothes, and made daily or semi-weekly trips to the gym. Her comments consisted of comments like “here I am, a ‘real mother’, I can’t make it to they gym.

I’m going to do my best to keep from losing my mind here, but… don’t hold your breath. WHAT IN THE SWEET HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!?

Natalie, is half-canadian, which in this particular conversation rendered her incapable of being impolite and making a comment/retort to this remark. I am 0% Canadian, and pretty much 100% ass, so allow me to make comment as publicly as I can:

Natalie is the mother of 5, three of those children are in diapers.
Natalie is a stay-at-home Mom, who is doing a better job with five kids living in a shoebox than I think anyone could ever replicate.
Natalie is NOT married to a doctor, or someone of wealth, but perhaps someone quantitatively failing in basically every category.
Natalie is a BEAST. I couldn’t keep up with her workouts on my BEST day.

See, Natalie has goals. Goals she takes seriously. Natalie navigates the world of her diet, a rigorous workout routine, clothing and feeding 5 children, a husband who is little to no help 85% of the time as he is almost never home, and allow me to verify is nearly ALWAYS in a good mood.

See shaming in general has become so prevalent, so accepted, so commonplace, that instead of accepting responsibility for yourself, it is just easier to point the blame at someone else. Not “I don’t know how those women do it”, but “they aren’t ‘Real Moms’ “. When FitMom (a professional trainer/blogger) subjected the postulate “what’s your excuse”, the world erupted with a sense of indignation and anger; HOW DARE SHE?!?. It was a question, calm down.

Natalie decided, she had no excuse. Despite the fact that 99% of Americans would give her a “pass” without argument. No money, too many kids, no gym membership, tiny house, absent husband. But, for her, none of these were valid enough, being HER version of HER best physical self needed a place in the top of HER priority list. I am frankly blown away by everything she does.

In what universe is Natalie not a real mother? But truly this actually goes deeper than that. How has it become so common in our social lexicon to shame others for your/their priorities. How is this okay? I don’t really know how productive I’m being in this particular post, so allow me to close it out with this:

Being the best version of you is beautiful, and only you get to decide what that is. If that means a poet, an artist, a painter, an architect, a police officer, soldier, then so be it. If spending time with your kids keeps you from finishing your novel, that is not the fault of all the other novelist parents. There is also no shame in either side. Being a parent, opposed to being an author… it’s about priorities, and shaming someone else’s shouldn’t be so readily acceptable.

If you can’t find it in yourself to workout because there is too much else on your plate, there is no shame in that. But there is certainly no need to put shame on other women whose priorities fall different than yours, or whose talents are different, or whose circumstance is different. The reason you don’t eat right, or workout, or do ANYTHING really, is you. You. You.

I am only as good as I am. You are only as good as you are. And contrary to popular belief, belittling others doesn’t actually make you a better you… quite the opposite.

Kicking Plateaus in the Butte

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 21, 2014 by kirkwestwood

It literally happens to everybody. No matter what your fitness goal is. No matter how diligently you work to attain it. Really, no matter what you do, or how well you do it. At some point, for some indeterminate amount of time. It is going to stop working.

It can be truly one of the most frustrating parts of weightloss and fitness. You step on the scale, you look at that measuring tape, you rack those weights, and despite your best efforts…. absolutely nothing has changed.

So what’s the deal? I’m doing my part, body! YOU DO YOURS! I’m eating right, I’m exercising, I even abstained from the double chocolate chip birthday cake and cousin Margerie’s birthday party! The least you could do in return is make me look FANTASTIC!

So, we’ve hit a plateau. After the steep climb, the painful ascent, the ‘thought you were gonna die’ effort, you have reached what seems to be a flat expanse that can’t be overcome. So what next?

Plateaus are just a part of the body physiology. The core goal of your metabolism is to find an equilibrium between input and output. So physiologically speaking, plateaus are actually quite the accomplishment. Your body has found a way to maintain structural integrity, giving all output requested on only calories provided…. its actually pretty cool… and annoying.

So lets talk about getting off the plateau and back on the steady climb upwards. This is a tough one. NOT because it isn’t possible, NOT because there aren’t LOTS of ways to do it, but because any number of things could have put you on the plateau, and until you break THAT thing, getting off of it can be difficult. But today… WE TROUBLESHOOT YOUR PLATEAU.

Muscle Confusion.

Without a doubt this is my first recommendation and in all truth and honesty, I find that this works 80% of the time.  In a remarkably flawed analogy;  after a time, your body starts working off muscle memory and NOT off of ATP-CP (the chemicals that actually fuel muscles).  Its like your car NOT needing gas to go home, because it knows the route, so fuel is unnecessary (FLAWED ANALOGY).  If you go to the gym 5 days a week, and DESTROY yourself EVERY TIME, but are doing essentially the same workouts each time… those workouts will stop working.  NOT because they aren’t good, and NOT because they aren’t effective… but simply put, because your body knows whats going to happen.  It has rigged up a way to be MORE efficient because of the repetition, so it no longer needs as much fuel to get it done.  So; plateau.

Sit down and write down your “gym routine” e.g.

  • 20 min on elliptical or treadmill
  • over to the stretching area to do my 5 favorite stretches (that I learned in 4th grade P.E.)
  • favorite weight workout 1 (arms/chest)
  • favorite weight workout 2 (Legs/Back)
  • favorite weight workout 3 (core/glutes)
  • pull-ups (because I can)
  • sit-ups (because I should)
  • pushups (because I think i look like a beast)
  • Juice bar for wheat grass and posing for the hotties that walk by.

There it is, the “daily routine”.  And for the record, to include the wheat grass hottie strut, thats not a bad set up.  But if you do that with any degree of regularity, your body will acclimate to it quickly.  So here is what you do.  Take a look at your list, identify the muscle groups you are working (done), and the next time you go to the gym, hit EVERY muscle group you usually do… WITHOUT doing ANY of the exercises on the list.  Nerry-a-one.

If you usually do bench press, do incline or decline press.  If you usually do leg/back extensions do deadlifts/squats/clean&press.  Figure out a DIFFERENT way to do what you are doing.  Your body will recognize the need for the muscles, but also be incapable of using auto-pilot through the movement.  There are some advanced/more complicated ways of doing this too… but lets start here message me if you have questions.

Time to workout.

I know a lot of stay-at-home mothers, or office-flunkies that have established “workout time”.  Its nap time for the kids, or the hour right before/right after work, or even a long lunch.  Working out is NEVER bad, and a routine and time of day isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  But, it really can contribute to, or even cause a plateau.  This one can be difficult, but do your workout, at ANY time of day you don’t normally.

Your body runs off what is called bio-informatics, I can talk more about this if you need, but simply put; your entire physiology can easily get put into a cycle and flow of a day.  If you wake up, eat, exercise, work, sleep all with fairly standard regularity, your body sees every turn and can plateau out.  So tomorrow, wakeup an extra hour early and do your workout then.  Instead of taking a long lunch, eat lunch at your desk and dip out a few minutes early to head for the gym.  OR if something like that really isn’t possible, and ‘gym time’ really is your “only” available time of day, add something else to mix something up.  I work on the 7th floor, as times get boring and repetitive, I set an alarm, in random intervals, I walk down to the lobby to get a drink from the drinking fountain and come back up.  It takes 8 minutes, but it was 14 flights of stairs.  Blood gets pumping.

What are you eating?

Within here there are 2 major points, one I won’t go into too much detail about, the other should sound familiar.

There is a chance you aren’t eating enough.  I know, crazy right?  Sit down and do some math.  If you are eating 1500 calories a day and maintaining an INSANE daily regiment, your body isn’t going to lose weight correctly, in fact, unless you get stupidly anorexic about it, your body won’t lose much weight at all.  You NEED to give your body the fuel it requires to run.  No more, but no less.  Starving your body can/will actually cause your body to retain water, store fat and burn muscle, and some other weird actions that are NOT what you were going for.

The other part is essentially the same as the other two.  Do you eat the same thing every day?  Like, literally the EXACT same thing?  Mix it up.  Stay within your general calorie band, and don’t go insane, but mix up the core nutrients, change the types of proteins or when you get what.  Stop letting your body “expect things”  (one HUGE exception, you NEED to keep eating.  Don’t stop the core 90dayReboot mantra; Never be hungry, Never be full.  Your body NEEDS to expect food, to run well, just don’t let it expect WHAT food its getting) In fact, if you aren’t doing the recommended eating every 3 hours, that too can crack the plateau as now your body will realize it doesn’t have to hoard food, more is coming.  But I’ve written extensively on that.

So, those are the three easiest things to change.  Chances are, if you change WHAT you are doing when you work out, WHEN you are working out, and HOW/WHAT you are eating, your plateau will crack.  If it doesn’t, there are more things to consider, stress, sleep, anxiety, underlying medical conditions, are all things we can talk about for you to consider.

I write this blog for you, this like nearly every other post has been by request, you have a question? Ask.

The “Problem” with “Trainers”

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 17, 2014 by kirkwestwood

Is that there isn’t just one “problem”

now kirk, aren’t you a trainer?

In fact I am, and I don’t excuse myself from these “truths”.

The word “trainer” barely means anything. Strictly speaking, everyone you know could be a “trainer” in some capacity. It doesn’t mean they are qualified, educated, or even right.

There are dozens of training certifications in the country, some costing THOUSANDS of dollars, and taking MONTHS to complete, with a moderate failure/retake rate. There are others that cost $99 and can be done in a long weekend. There is also just about EVERYTHING in between.

I hear it all the time from my friends: “but my trainer said…” “well, I was talking to my trainer…” “thats not what my trainer told me”, etc. etc. etc. So today, I’m going to give you the survival basics of “training/ exercise/ nutrition professionals”

Qualify your Professional:

Again, ask who his/her credential is through. There are right and wrong answers to this question. Not that you can’t have a REALLY smart/decent trainer that for whatever reason got their credential through whatever organization, BUT there are certain credentials that assure you that at very least, they have a solid foundation of knowledge. The TOP five on MOST lists are:

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

American Counsel on Exercise (ACE)

These five are nationally accredited, have generally good curriculums, and moderate to high standards on continuing education and recertification. If your trainer doesn’t have one of these, I would be weary of their advice. And if I was being honest, there are a few up there, that if that is all they had, I would STILL be weary of their advice. For me (personally) I REALLY trust NASM and ACSM. Every trainer I’ve ever met that I truly respected, or blog/paper/research I’ve followed that I found sound, came from someone with one of those titles in their by-line (or they were a doctor/nutritionist/ or had a DEGREE in exercise science – the other way to be certified)

Most trainers who really take themselves and their craft seriously, will have several certifications. So ask your trainer about his/her experience. Ask him/her who their credential is through. Where have they achieved their continued education? Or to be straight up blunt, say; “training is expensive, why should I pay you? what makes you so special?

Ask your trainer about you!

LOTS of bargain bin trainers (and nearly all that work at LA Fitness) will put you on a modification of a set program. They’ll make it easier/harder based on you, but the regiment itself won’t be based on you. Unless you are showing up because you like that specific regiment, this is almost NEVER as effective as having something that was built FOR YOU. If you like a protocol, go to the class. A spin class/ Zumba Class/ body pump class/ CrossFit WOD/ Bootcamp are all going to be cheaper than a personal trainer. If you are looking for a regiment modified for you, don’t pay a trainer to just count reps for you.
A common problem for trainers (or really people in most professions) is that we only know what we’ve been taught, or been told. And MOST importantly, we only know and truly believe in what worked on US. So, we are converts to a method we find particularly effective, the one that our mentor swore by, the one that showed us the results we wanted on US. Why wouldn’t we, we have personal experience. But YOU AREN”T US!

This is why I LOVE body typing, and why at all three gyms I’ve worked at, I’ve become booked out very quickly. I will happily put someone on a regiment, or plan that I would NEVER dream of doing, or I’ll build a diet that would be REALLY stupid for ME. If your prospective trainer can’t qualify themselves by explaining what they are going to do for YOU SPECIFICALLY, based on YOUR movement analysis, YOUR body compositional issues, and YOUR BODY TYPE, seriously, go to a BodyPump class, it is WAAY cheaper and will be just as effective.

Don’t buy the dream!
If your future trainer attempts to tell you how easy its going to be, or how quickly it’ll work, or tries to sell you something that just sounds SOO FANTASTIC!!! Proceed with caution. Due to restrictions and limitations in the industry, and the reason I have left ALL gyms that I have trained at, is that trainers are often REQUIRED to make a certain number of sales per cycle. It turns someone who has studied to be a fitness professional into a salesman. These are not translatable skills. I need my clients to trust me, but I also need money. So if I’m responsible for turning over clients, it becomes about telling them what they want to hear, if I’m responsible for their success, I need to tell them what they NEED to hear. Simply put, if your trainer is “selling” you, you need to be careful. My last gym REQUIRED me to sell packages to people that I didn’t feel actually were in line with their fitness goals. To do so, I had to often become slightly-moderatley misleading. I finally quit when my gym was requiring me to all out lie. Wouldn’t do it.

I’m not saying if your trainer is a good salesman, they are a bad trainer. What I am saying is, if they are the one responsible for selling you your fitness protocol, how can you actually trust you are getting what you need, and NOT what is the best sale for them. Tread cautiously.

I’m not trying to sound negative about trainers, I’m not. But the industry is rife with meat heads and pseudo-scientists. People that have been taught one way by their mentor/certification and can’t grasp those outside of that protocol. They are walking infomercials with a glimmer of before-and-after pictures in their eyes.

Trainers are one of the greatest things you can get for yourself. A good trainer will care about you. A good trainer will think about you. A GREAT trainer will work on you/for you during the dozens of hours of the week you aren’t paying them. Getting a trainer can change your life. Just qualify them, make sure they understand what makes you, you. Find out why they are putting you on the plan they are putting you on. Why this protocol? If you know who they are, why they are, what they are, trainers can be an invaluable asset. But if you just take the trainer that was assigned to you by the globogym on the corner, you very well may be just paying for someone who saw a Chuck Norris movie once and decided they wanted to be a badass.

On the 8th day he…

Posted in rantings of the madman on July 10, 2014 by kirkwestwood

So, I live in America, I have 4 jobs, 5 kids, 1 wife, and am an avid motorcyclist; time is quite literally always a factor.  I know so many of my clients talk to me about not having the “time” to work out.  I get it, I do, but I also know if that if I don’t get my personal workout on (and inversely if you don’t get yours) your goals will be nearly impossible to meet.  So what do you do when you only have a few minutes?  You have to do something, but spinning your wheels just feels like a waste of time.

Let me introduce you to a good friend of mine. Tabata.  Tabata is so good, I believe it was created on the 8th day, when the good Lord was well rested, and had a great idea…

Okay so blasphemy aside, Tabata was actually developed by a man named Izumi Tabata, and it is widely considered to be one of the most wildly effective fat-burning workouts, and supra-areobic workouts on the planet.  The best part of Tabata; it is that unlike so many other specific workouts (Spartan, Savage, P90X, Insanity, etc).  Tabata isn’t a follow along, or a set movement workout, its actually a timing protocol for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and as such can be modified to be WHATEVER you need it to be, while never losing its core affectivity.  So let me break it down barney style:

Tabata works like this, 8 rounds of 20 seconds of HIGH intensity and 10 seconds of rest (4 minutes) Then rest for 1 minute (5 minutes)… repeated 4 times.  (YAAY 20 minutes).  Its that simple.  Truly.  Don’t complicate it.

But Kirk, that doesn’t tell me what I need to do?!

You’re right.  Do anything.  As long as its HARD.  As long as it SUCKS. As long as at the end of 20 seconds you NEED the 10 seconds to make the room stop spinning… then do anything you want.

example:
00:20 – Pushups (FAST)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Mountain climbers
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Burpees
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Pull-ups (if you can do 20 seconds of pull ups)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – squats (weighted or free standing – but FAST)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – modified barbell squat thruster (personal favorite for beginners)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Supermans
00:10 – rest
00:20 – dumbell snatch
00:10 – rest.

Now, thats 4 minutes.  You COULD do the one I just laid out, but it would takes a fair amount of equipment and you’d have to hustle during your rest periods to set up the next round.  Which is great, but not for a beginner.  These are just examples of things that can be done.  But really ANYthing can be done, as long as its FAST.  HIGH INTENSITY.

Now, things to understand about the way I teach Tabata.  Tabata is about TIME not reps.  If you are doing pushups, and and 12 seconds you think you might die, or are stalling out mid rep.  It is WAAY better to drop to your knees and keep the speed and intensity up, rather than try to get one more good clean rep.  In this protocol, no one is counting reps, just that you KEPT WORKING for 20 seconds.

If you are doing kettlebell swings, or dumbbell snatches, or ANYTHING weighted, have the next weight down standing by, ready to grab if you need.  KEEP WORKING.  Make everything hurt.

So, Tabata can be SUPER simple.  Any single exercise done for all 20 minutes (or if you can’t handle that, just for 4 min, or 8).  Nothing wrong with starting at a half set if thats all you have.  Or 4 different exercises done for 4 min each.  Or, 4 min of abs, 4 min of legs, 4 min of back, 4 min of chest.  Its open format, it can work on ANYTHING you are woking on.  But the time protocol, the intensity will do things to your metabolic system that are just plain awesome.

Do a FULL 20 min Tabata 3 times a week, and you’ll be well on your way.  Or, if that is a little more intensity than you have, break it up.  Start your day off with 4 minutes, 4 more minutes at lunch, 4 more minutes before dinner.  Or something similar.

Let me help you set up a Tabata set perfect for you and your goals!