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How to Lose Weight without Exercise

Posted by mylife | Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness | Posted on 16-08-2011

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Losing weight without exercise can be done.  Most of the time exercise will help and is often absolutely necessary.  By the same token there are a few approaches that can be followed in order to achieve amazing weight loss or body transformations with little to no exercise. With a few of these strategies exercise can even be counterproductive – especially for certain periods of time.

Exercise is to weight loss what milk is to cereal.  Not that I eat much cereal or anything but I think the analogy is pretty damn accurate.  Cereal, of course, can be eaten without milk.  Sometimes it works.  But it’s just not the same in it’s non dairy-infused form.  The relationship between exercise and weight loss is similar.  You can have one without the other, but the results will not always be optimal.

With that said, there are times where not exercising is ok if you’re trying to lose weight, burn fat, build muscle or just “tone” up your body.  In fact, there are actually a few situations where not exercising (but focusing solely on other methods) is not only unnecessary but also undesirable.

Now, many people think this is great news.  NO exercise?  Really? Well, it’s not quite that simple.  Let me explain.

Most people fall into one of two categories.  They either want to get great results from not working out and will do almost anything to get there if it means they don’t have to exercise OR they want to get great results and are willing to work out a little if it means they can get their body into awesome shape.

And of course there are people who fall somewhere in the middle and just want to have balance and are willing to make sacrifices to reach their goals.

Another factor that comes into play is how fit someone is to begin with and how far away they are from their ultimate goals.  But really, this whole not exercising business can apply to anyone.  That’s the point I would like to make here.  It works for most and actually is especially effective if you are just starting off and trying to “get the ball rolling” OR are already well on your way and just need to shave off those last few inches of body fat.  So, ultimately, regardless of where someone is in relation to their long term goal, not exercising to lose weight, burn fat, build muscle or just look plain sexy can be an awesome strategy.

But we’re not really just talking about one strategy here.  Sure, like I said, it’s a great – albeit contrarian – approach.  The real question is what does it entail?  There are a few different options that you can use to reach your goals without exercise and they all have different benefits and different applications.

The one common thread?  They all involve modifying what you eat or how you eat…


Dieting Strategies for your BEST Body

As I alluded to above, there are many different solid approaches that you can use to change your body without exercise.  I like using about four or five main strategies in sequence, one after the other regardless of the client’s starting point.  They all involve slowly changing what you eat and how you eat and the idea is that they aren’t designed to be a quick fix.  While they can elicit some pretty quick, pretty incredible changes, they aren’t supposed to be a magic pill for a sloppy physique.  They are designed to help shift your appearance relatively quickly – but only slightly.  This helps with initial motivation and adherence to the new eating styles; more improvements are eventually seen but they take a little longer and build upon one another.  The ultimate goal with using the eating strategies that I’m going to outline below is to help people get into awesome shape and stay there. If the new dieting habits become just that – habits – then people tend to maintain or even improve their bodies as time goes on, especially if they introduce exercise and progress accordingly.

 

 

Change What you Eat and How you Eat It

There are four different eating styles that work together when used in sequence to elicit solid results over the long term.  They can work when used independently but I find the progression from one to the next seems to favor long term progress.  Here they are, in the most effective order.

 

1. High Protein, Low Carb, Moderate Fat Diet –

This is one of the simplest ways to lose weight.  Not only is it effective but it’s very easy to follow.  The idea behind eating mostly protein is that stored body fat becomes the go-to energy source for the body – instead of dietary carbs.  The great thing about this tactic is that it’s very hard to overeat protein.  Said another way, it’s difficult to eat so much excess protein that it gets stored as body fat.  So when people cut down their carb intake to almost zero – even if they drastically increase protein – they’ll still probably lose weight.  Not only does the protein rarely get stored as body fat (most of it will go towards muscle building or energy) but it also helps with satiety so people are less likely to have the same appetite for carbs that they normally would.  Protein also speeds up your metabolism because it is more metabolically active than carbohydrate and, when consumed with fat, is healthier for the body.  When people consume more protein, their rate of protein synthesis is increased and their blood sugar and lipid profiles are often improved as well.

 

How to Do It: I recommend trying a high protein low carb approach for approximately two weeks.  Often I have clients who already are exercising cut down on their activity levels to try this two week diet blitz.  This is because it can be difficult to drastically increase your protein intake while working out (since muscle cell turnover is so great).  Whether you are or aren’t exercising, focusing on only low intensity activities during this period is the way to go.  Since you will not be taking in (hardly) any carbohydrate, your muscle glycogen stores will be low and you don’t want the exercise to tap into your protein sources for energy.  The key is to really cut down your carbohydrate intake drastically.  Most people will see results from cutting down to 50g of carbohydrate per day, although some may even benefit from as little as 20-30g of carbs. People (myself included) have been known to lose five to ten pounds during this period – much of it body fat.

 

Problems with this Approach:

The problem typically comes in when people try to do this for extended periods or time or while also exercising.  Eventually the body resists the low carb state and the dieter will binge on carb heavy foods only to gain the weight back.  Another problem is seen when people try to exercise too much while cutting back on carbs.  Their energy levels typically plummet (as can one’s mood) and binging or giving up to some degree becomes more likely.

 

*This is meant to be a short term tactic that sharpens your appearance and gives your motivation a jump start so that you can move on to other, longer term approaches. It’s also great for people who are in decent shape and want to look good for an upcoming event, and only have one to two weeks to do so.

 

2. Intermittent Fasting

This is another great nutritional strategy that normally elicits some pretty incredible results.  It’s not as stringent in terms of specific rules and it can be pretty easy to follow over the long haul.  It’s nice in that most people can adhere to it regardless of their lifestyle, training history, or goals and it gets most people results in even the trickiest of cases.  So how do you do it?  The idea is simple, only eat during specific times of the day and fast during the other periods.  The easiest (and most effective) way to do this is to fast for sixteen hours and eat for eight.  For instance you would start eating at ten in the morning and then stop eating at 6 in the evening.  For a lot of people eating four times per day is optimal but you can eat as often or as infrequently as desired.  The key is to have longer periods of the day during which you don’t eat, than you do now.  This will help lower insulin, raise glucagon, increase growth hormone, and stabilize blood sugar – all of which help with both fat burning and general health.

How To Do it: Intermittent fasting is pretty easy to follow.  You can refer to my other intermittent fasting article here for more info but overall the main point to remember is this: fast for sixteen hours of the day and eight for eight.  Because you are fasting, you don’t have to be as strict about your food choices, but the cleaner you can eat (especially if you’re not working out) the better. You will lose weight fast if you do this correctly – most of it will be fat – and you’ll keep it off.

 

Problems with this Approach:

Typically the only problem with intermittent fasting for weight loss is that people can’t get used to actually fasting. Most people are so used to eating six times per day that they can’t fathom the thought of going without food.  What they don’t realize is eating too often is actually bad for fat loss and muscle building because it forces insulin levels to stay chronically elevated, which sets off a whole host of problems within your body.  Don’t listen to the supplement companies who tell you to eat ten times per day because they are WRONG.  (refer to my some of my other articles that cite new research supporting this fact).  In any case, if you can adopt intermittent fasting it’s a great strategy that you can use indefinitely.  It is really a great way to lose weight and you can lose weight fast if you actually apply it consistently.

 

3. Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is another great tactic that people who systematically plan their diets around workouts or athletic competitions often use.  It’s also great for people who are not very active at all.  The whole idea behind carb cycling is to rotate or “cycle” your carbohydrate intake each day according to your activity levels.  Essentially with carb cycling you want to allow yourself to take in high amounts of carbs on your more active days where you are burning more calories and can use the extra calories towards physical endeavors.  Alternatively, on days where you aren’t very active you want to decrease the amount of carbs you consume because the idea is that your body doesn’t really need them and is more likely to store them as body fat.

 

*One other benefit of carb cycling for people who workout is that it does (yes it’s a cliché) keep your metabolism “guessing” because you are taking in varying levels of total calories from day to day.

 

***The important thing for everyone but especially those people who aren’t working out to realize (this does apply to everyone) is that cycling your carbs is great regardless of whether or not you are working out at all.  Here’s why: there’s a hormone called leptin in your body which controls how efficiently your body burns body fat.  The thing about leptin though is that it decreases when you decrease your calorie intake.  So, yes, the whole idea of your metabolism slowing when your decrease your caloric intake does have a lot of truth to it.  With that being the case, the they key then would be to try to keep leptin levels up – even while keeping calories lower than normal, right?  That’s it.  And that’s one more benefit of carb cycling, it will help with your leptin levels (which will help you burn more fat than if you kept your calories low all the time).

 

How to Do it: As I alluded to above, it’s all about cycling.  If you aren’t working out, you don’t need many carbs period, but you can still benefit from this approach.  Simply increase your carbs on days where you feel you are more active (ideally 2-3 days per week) and keep them lower on your “off” days.  If you aren’t working out your probably don’t need more than 100g to 200g on your “active” days and can subsist on 50g or less on your “off” days.  Some experimentation might be needed but these numbers are good estimates.  Either way, the increase in carbs – even for those who aren’t active – will help keep that metabolic fire burning. 

Problems with this Approach:

The only problem with this approach is being consistent over the long term.  A lot of people can go low carb for a short amount of time and then “fall off the wagon” and stop trying.  The good thing about carb cycling is that it doesn’t require you to cut out carbs completely (like the short term high protein approach at #1) so most people can stick to it over the long haul.  It also helps people to know that they can crank up their carb intake a little bit more if they add in exercise.  Good for motivation and positive reinforcement.

*For people who hate carbs and wonder if you can you eat carbs and still lose weight, check out more info here. The answer (if you haven’t realized yet) is yes.

**Macro cycling is another nutritional strategy that is similar to carb cycling but basically just goes into more depth.  It is also very effective.

 

4. Indefinite Paleo

I call this “indefinite” paleo and it refers to just that: being able to practice a paleolithic or “paleo” approach over the long haul, without much variation.  It may sound a little bit extreme, but this dieting approach, by all accounts, seems very healthy and – until proved otherwise – is a very wise approach. For those who don’t know much about the Paleo diet, it’s a pretty simple, straightforward approach that doesn’t overload users with too many restrictions.  It’s basically all about eating whole, natural foods that researchers theorize would be similar to those eaten by our ancestors some thousands of years ago.  Although there is some disagreement about when agriculture came about, (and, in a sense, how natural it is) the consensus is that eating anything that we could have hunted, gathered or grown, while avoiding anything man-made and processed is considered to be a Paleolithic eating style.  Researchers as well as trainers, nutritionists, and some (non-ignorant) medical doctors realize that the paleo diet carries with it a host of benefits from better hormone and blood lipid profiles (including better blood glucose readings and cholesterol levels) to reduced body fat and improved immune function.  The idea is that the main contributes of these health improvements are both the lack of processed ingredients (hormones, synthetic fats, and carcinogens) as well as the presence of natural ingredients that the body craves.

 

*One interesting point to note is that the paleo diet does not limit meat consumption.  Although lean meats are recommended, it encourages the consumption of animal proteins.  It is good for people to realize this because it illustrates a larger dynamic that people should be aware of.  Essentially, in many cases – especially with dieting strategies – people confuse absence with presence.  In this case the health benefits of the paleo diet do not arise from the absence of meat (because meat eating is encouraged) but from the presence of other natural healthy foods.  A good point for the vegans out there but I’ll save that discourse for another time.

 

How to Do it: Pretty simple here: if it comes in a box, don’t buy it!  If it contains ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it!  (well, admittedly, that’s not always true, but you get the idea). This diet requires you to exclude most wheat and starchy carb sources from your diet, so cut out the bread. Focus on consuming 20-30 percent of your calories from lean meat sources.  The bulk of your diet (unless your have a high protein requirement, then ignore some of this) should come from vegetable, fruit and healthy fat sources, with more coming from the vegetable side.  Limiting fruit intake can be helpful, especially if you are trying to get ultra lean and are in good shape or have a very substantial weight loss goal and are very de-conditioned.

 

Problems with this Approach:

There isn’t much that can faulted with the Paleo diet.  The biggest issue for people is giving up all the processed goodies (crackers, cookies, dairy products) and basic wheat products.  For some people, such as athletes, they might find it difficult to get enough carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits but in most cases it just means they’re not trying hard enough.  The fact that calorie counting and other irritating practices are thrown out the window makes it pretty sustainable and effective overall.  It’s also healthy.

 

 

How to Use these Strategies to Lose Weight Without Exercise

The truth of the matter is that any of these strategies will help just about anyone to lose weight, regardless of their starting point – or which one they choose.  Ideally though, applying some degree of order to things, makes sense.  As I mentioned above, starting with approach number one and going down the list is a pretty smart way to go for most people.  To review, starting with the high protein diet allows you to jumpstart the weight loss/fat burning process and gain motivation by achieving quick, visible results.  Intermittent fasting can be used after this and, really, indefinitely if it works for you.  Carb cycling can be used next as the third strategy and it also can be used over the long term but ( and this was not mentioned above) it can actually be combined with intermittent fasting for people who want to see greater gains or accelerate the rate of lipolysis (fat burning).  Transitioning from this to the Paleo diet and sticking with a paleo approach or modified paleo is often very effective for most people.  Paleo is probably the easiest of the group in terms of long term compliance but I often encourage clients to alternate from one style to the next because increasing the variety helps with adherence as well as long term progress.

Try them out and see how they work for you!

- Andrew

*You can email Andrew at info@mylifemybody for more specific nutrition questions or concerns.

 

 

What is the best time to eat?

Posted by mylife | Posted in Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 16-07-2011

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Most of us eat all the time without giving it a second thought.  We snack on this or that and typically just eat when we’re hungry instead of at specific selected times.  So much of our energy goes into figuring out what to eat that we often totally forget that when we eat can have just as much significance on getting the body you want.  Don’t get me wrong, food choice is very important.  I’m not about to tell you that you can get away with eating junk as long as you are strategic about your timing.  Sorry to rain on your parade.

What I am saying though is that controlling when you eat done in conjunction with controlling what you eat will have a greater impact on your weight loss, fat burning, or muscle building efforts than focusing on either independently.  The real juice here – which I’ll get into more below – is that even the folks who are very meticulous about meal timing do not see the results they could because they may be eating at the wrong times, especially if they’re just listening to what’s “trendy” in health and fitness.

With that said, I don’t think that there is actually one best time to eat period.  If that were the case I’d be recommending eating one time per day, which would be pretty ludicrous for most people (although it certainly works for this guy).  What I am suggesting is that there are better times during the day to eat than others.  I’m not going to get nit picky about the best time to eat dinner or even the best time to eat carbs.  Nor will I go into the best foods to eat after a workout or the best foods to eat to lose weight – in this post (but check the site later for those articles).  Although these little tidbits are important, they don’t matter as much in the beginning when you’re just trying to lay down a basic template.  Simply eating generally healthy foods at the right time is usually much more effective for people who are trying to see results than trying to eat like a monk from the get go.  In the long run, dietary adherence is often more important than the type of diet itself.

Eat Earlier in the Day or Later?

Like I mentioned above, this is all about the general timing of meals as opposed to the idea that eating at one specific time each day is better than others; the main idea I want to let loose here is that eating later in the day may have some benefits over eating earlier.  Specifically, eating more of your calories in the latter half of the day is better for maintaining lean tissue and burning fat. Of course, the earlier eating wasn’t a horrible approach either since – in the same study – it was shown that this more typical strategy results in more general weight loss. Since the effectiveness of later eating is contrary in some ways to popular belief, this is where letting go of that trendy mainstream fitness speak is helpful, as is switching your mindset so that you’re open to testing assumptions.

The idea behind the effectiveness of this strategy here is twofold: that eating at certain times is more beneficial in terms of long term adherence to that particular approach, (i.e. eating at night is easier to stick to then eating earlier in the day, thus the entire diet would be easier to stick to) and that eating at later times also produces more beneficial modulations in hormone levels which play a key role in lipolysis (fat burning).

The studies above as well as this study here demonstrate that eating later in the day has a positive impact on several hormones including insulin, leptin, and adiponectin which, again, have a big influence on both satiety (feeling full so you don’t wreck your diet) and your body’s overall fat burning ability.  According to the research it may also lower certain inflammatory markers meaning it could be healthier overall.

Carbs don’t Sprout Horns and Grow a Tail After Six PM

It may or may not have started in ancient lore, but for as long as I can remember, a lot of the mainstream fitness advice tossed my way for a long time included in it the idea that carbs were very bad for you if consumed later in the evening.  And if you think about it, it makes sense.  Why?  Because you’ve been horse fed this crap forever, that’s why!

Just kidding…kind of… I’ll concede that it wouldn’t have been that hard to believe.  Logically it was realistic to think that eating carbs later in the day was bad when people tell you that you don’t need them since you’re less active and probably lounging on your couch.  To some extent it makes sense – and still makes sense, but here’s the thing:

it’s not the eating of carbs later in the day that is bad, if they are truly “back loaded” (eaten mostly later).  It’s the behaviors that most people associate with eating carbs – and food in general – later in the day that are bad.  What are these “behaviors”?  Easy: eating a LOT of food the rest of the day as well, among other things.  Most people that binge later in the day (as opposed to those who specifically plan to eat later) have other bad habits, i.e. sedentarism, alcoholism, high caloric intake, poor food choice, high stress levels, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think carbs can be bad if consumed in excess instead of strategically at certain times to maximize fat burning or muscle building.  It’s just that, as long as you are consuming less earlier in the day (of any type of calorie) there is often room for – and benefit to – consuming more later, especially if you are working out regularly.

What about Breakfast?

I thought I’d throw this little bitty in at the end here just to shell out a little more info that supports the idea of eating later in the day.  To answer the above question would be to go against everything I said this post was about since I noted that I wouldn’t be talking about what you should eat, only when. But I realized that the title is perfectly fine because it forces me to reveal the fact that I rarely eat breakfast. Yep, you heard right.  I don’t obsess over “breaking my fast”.  If anything I fast longer and don’t eat until a few hours after waking up.  And you know what?  My already low body fat has gotten lower and I’ve maintained my muscle mass with this approach.  My results attest to the power of intermittent fasting and how you can skip a few meals to burn fat or build muscle.

But the really cool thing is the convenience factor.  If you’re like a lot of people and you’re super busy in the morning but like to eat big dinners with friends without caring about counting calories, then intermittent fasting is the way to go.  The studies above, as well as tons of anecdotal experience show that it’s great for burning fat and building muscle and probably just as beneficial to your health.

So let go of some of those past assumptions. Think about your health and fitness instead of just blindly following the crowd.

For extra info on intermittent fasting you can check out fellow trainer Martin Berkhan’s site leangains.com.  It’s packed with tons of info and a lot of success stories.

How to Feel Good

Posted by mylife | Posted in Growth & Productivity, Health & Wellness | Posted on 29-06-2011

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Feeling good most of the time is very possible.  While a lot of people will say that “life is tough” or “we’re not supposed to always be happy” I’m here to argue that feeling good consistently can be done.  It just takes a little effort, specifically, shifting your awareness and adding a pinch of introspection to your daily cognitive diet.

Let’s start with a little scenario…

Think about the last time you got cut off in traffic.

How did you react?

Did you become enraged, flipping the person the bird? Did you yell and scream?

Or did you do nothing at all?   Perhaps smile and wave…

Regardless of how you may have reacted in that particular situation the point I want to make is that how we respond to an unpleasant situation while driving – or while doing anything – is all a matter of how we interpret the given situation.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s true that we can all interpret the same thing differently.  In dealing with the same circumstance people have wide interpretive latitude, and this is ok.  The thing to keep in mind is that our perception of things has a big impact on how good we feel.  If you’ve ever really thought about the phrase “perception is reality” then you catch my drift.

Now, sure, there are a lot of factors that come into play when we’re talking about your ability to control your perceptions and feel good.  Your genes may play a role, creating for you a certain happiness “set point” around which you typically sit.  There are also lifestyle components that can influence whether or not you feel good about yourself and enjoy each moment in life.

And things that make you feel good aren’t all good themselves, especially the things that give you a temporary sense of satisfaction like drugs or unhealthy foods, which can sometimes have negative consequences and provide only a temporary high.  On the other hand having a healthy diet and exercising regularly are “natural drugs” that help you feel good in the short term and also increase your chances of being happy and healthy over the long haul.  Of course at the end of the day there is another tool that we all have at our disposal, and that is conscious choice.

To some extent, you could argue that we can simply choose to feel good.  That we can choose to be happy.

In that vein I think that attitude is important and it can be a very powerful element of feeling great.  For example saying something as simple as “I don’t feel good” when you are sick has been shown to raise your chances of staying sick.  In a similar way, people who are struggling with cancer and other chronic, debilitating diseases have been shown to improve their chances of recovering by simply having a more positive outlook.

But we can’t always totally control what we think even if we have a lot of control over the interpretation of our thoughts.  With that being said, there are a few tips that will help you to be aware of how you think and how you act in order to ultimately feel great – or at least better – than you do now.

 

Tip # 1: Celebrate good times like it’s going out of style

This isn’t just a tip that I made up to give people an excuse to party.  Nope, it’s actually backed up by real evidence.  The truth is the studies have shown that when you focus on the positive and are really expressive about doing so, you feel better and that great feeling lasts longer.

If you get a good grade on your college exam and then you go out and have a couple of beers to celebrate and really enjoy the accomplishment, your brain and body will bask in that positivity longer and it will likely become overpowering (in a good way).

You’ll enjoy yourself more in the moment and that feeling will last.

Another reason that really being exuberant and getting excited about positive events is good is that it causes your brain to let go of a lot of your negative emotions because the positive thoughts become so powerful.  Your brain can only process so much – especially when it comes to emotions – and when you’re spilling over with happiness, there isn’t a whole lot of room for sadness.

Another thing to realize is that celebrating with others has a much more substantial impact on how happy you will feel.

And last but not least, don’t engage in analytical thinking unless you have to.  While it’s ok and sometimes useful to do so to think your way out of a funk, it can also be bad.  Particularly it’s no good if it prevents you from enjoying a positive moment that you should be celebrating because it can dampen your mood by causing you to doubt your happiness.

 

Tip # 2: But Don’t Force Yourself to Be All Sunshine and Rainbows

Yep, this tip is exactly what it sounds like.  I know it sounds like I’m contradicting Tip # 1, but believe it or not I’m suggesting that positive thinking can be bad.

Why the long face?

Well, first of all, let me clarify.  I’m not saying that positive thinking is bad per say, I’m just saying that you need to do it the right way.

Here’s the deal.

There are some hazards to positive thinking.

I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Let me elaborate.

Social psychologist Norbert Schwartz from the University of Michigan has done research on the way we think positively and he’s come to the conclusion that positive thinking has to be done correctly.

For instance, when he asked students to remember 12 positive life events from their past, many of them had an easy time recalling two or three and could get to six or seven if they tried, but ultimately had a lot of trouble getting to 12.

The problem with this was that when people start to think that they can’t remember enough positive memories then they run the risk of thinking that there were not enough positive events to remember in the first place, and they get depressed.

Pretty crazy, right?

The moral here is that counting your blessings isn’t always a good thing.

Now, there’s more though.  The flip side is true as well.  When the same exercise was used and people were asked to remember negative events from their past they had an equal amount of difficulty.  It turns out in this case thinking bad thoughts was actually helpful because the peoples’ perception that there must not have been a lot of negative thoughts in the first place made them happy.

It’s all about interpretation.

The advice here is that when trying to feel good, focus on a few positive things but don’t try to think of a bunch.  And when trying to think about all the crappy events from your past and you find you have trouble, be content with the thought that there weren’t many.

 

Tip # 3: Get Rid of “Before and After” Thinking

Another study by the above-mentioned Schwartz was done where he asked a group of college students to think about a positive event that happened in the past, before they came to college.  He then asked a second group to think about a negative event that happened before they went to university.

The results were counterintuitive but they illustrate that positive thinking can be hazardous if done incorrectly.

Here’s what happened:

The students who thought of the positive events were actually less happy than the students who thought of negative events because they became nostalgic about the past and began to not appreciate – or even resent – their present situation.  On the contrary the students who thought about the negative events were happy because the perceived those events to be part of their past life and they made their current present situation seem that much more desirable.

It’s not that thinking about positive events from your past is bad and negative events are good.  It’s more about the fact that people identified the events as having happened in the past.  They broke up their life into two discrete phases, a sort of “that was then, this is now” type of view.

Thinking about positive events as part of your current life or self can really help you to feel good and limit your chances of getting down.  On the opposite hand, thinking about negative events that happened in the past as happening in the past is actually useful because it allows you to disconnect from those events and not carry them around as part of your current self if you so choose.

Finally, another way to feel good that avoids “before and after” thinking is to focus on good things happening in your current life that hadn’t happened in a previous stage of your life.

 

To Summarize:

Feeling good is all about interpretation.  Think about how you think about things.  Don’t believe that you should be thinking this or that or that your life isn’t good enough.  Focus on the positive but don’t forget the negative.  Don’t dwell on the past unless it’s to briefly recall all of the negative crap you’ve left behind.  Think about the positive things in your life now and realize that the positive things from your past are still a part of your being today.  And above all, celebrate the good times!

Chris Hemsworth Workout

Posted by mylife | Posted in Celebrities, Fitness | Posted on 20-06-2011

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In nabbing the lead role playing the God of Thunder in the summer blockbuster Thor, Chris Hemsworth had some pretty big shoes to fill. The actor had the challenging task of packing on over twenty pounds of muscle to model his physique after a giant muscular god. Not an easy task.

Before starring in Thor, the Australian born actor had minor roles in films and tv programs but wasn’t known for his physique. His pre-Thor pics show a lean, fit guy who had slightly above average sized muscles.  It was a far cry from the large, muscled being he plays in the latest action hit.  But Chris tackled the challenge head on, working out with intensity and consistency and including the proper diet to build the new and improved Chris Hemsworth Thor body.  And he didn’t just reach his goal.  The leading man actually put on too much muscle and overshot the mark.  He actually had to slim down just prior to filming because he no longer fit into his custom tailored Chris Hemsworth Thor costume.

Check out the Chris Hemsworth Thor Arm Workout here.  

As you can see from the photos, he was able to add slabs of muscle to his frame, while still staying ultra lean.  A big part of this may have been his special Thor workout, which was designed to help him add considerable lean muscle mass.  At the same time, however, you have to consider that the Chris Hemsworth diet was spot on as well.  Another thing to realize is that the actor’s body shape prior to bulking up for Thor may have actually helped him get as big as he did.  This is because when you’re thin and ultra lean, your body is in prime condition to build new muscle without adding much fat if you follow the right type of workout routine and eat the right types of foods.

So, for most people reading this (at least the fellas) the question is how can I get a body like Chris Hemsworth?

What did he do specifically to transform his body and how can I do the same?

I’ll get to that in a second.  But first lemme explain a few of the principles behind the workout – a few things you need to keep in mind.  (As I noted in the Cristiano Ronaldo Workout, when you’re trying to mold your body to look a certain way, you have to pay special attention and only focus on doing the things that help you achieve that look.  You have to let go of anything that doesn’t help the process along and especially forget all of the stuff that could get in the way, i.e. playing sports to exhaustion, not eating right, not sleeping enough, etc.).

First and foremost to build a bodybuilder esque physique like the one Chris Hemsworth did for Thor you have recognize the goal.  It’s to build muscle. (and stay lean doing it).  That’s it and that’s all.

What this means is that if there is an activity that you enjoy doing that doesn’t contribute to building muscle then don’t do it.  Again, I alluded to this in the Cristiano Ronaldo Workout.  I said that just because Ronaldo plays a lot of soccer doesn’t necessarily mean you have to play a lot of soccer if you simply want to look like him.

So, the point here is that the main goal is to train your muscles.  Since Chris Hemsworth isn’t an athlete, we don’t really need to train specific movement patterns or anything like that.  No one reading this is likely going out to play tight end for the New York Giants.  You just want to look like you do.

Now, keep in mind that Chris Hemsworth never touched a weight before filming Thor.  That’s right, he never lifted weights!  This is actually great news for most people because what it tells us is that (unless the actor was simply a genetic freak) if you’re pretty lean and thin to begin with, eating right and throwing weight lifting into your routine (done right) could, quite possibly, turn you into a superhero.  It’s worth a shot, right?

Looking for more Celebrity Workouts? Check out the Hugh Jackman Workout here.

With that being said best type of exercise routine for most people, whether they’ve been lifting weights for very long or not would probably be a body part split routine.  It worked for this star so it will likely work for you as well.  This is a routine where you typically lift weights between 4 and 6 times per week, exercising a different muscle group each time.  The idea is that because you are essentially isolating each muscle region each time you hit the weights, you are able to stress each individual muscle group more (while also giving it more time to recover between sessions) so you will grow bigger and stronger – with good overall development and proportions.

Left: Chris before ever lifting weights – Right: Chris after a few months of lifting for Thor

 

So I’ll get to the workout (and some diet guidelines) in a second but before doing so let me just lay out some of the logic behind the workout approach and explain some of the principles that make it a fail proof way to achieve a big ripped physique!

Most of the workouts in this routine will either include strength or cardiovascular training.  Here are the reasons behind each type of training:

*Body Part Split Weight Training:

- Builds muscle

- Improves myogenic tone (muscle tone)

- Increases EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption)

- Creates a favorable hormonal environment (HGH, Insulin-like Growth Factor, and Testosterone levels are optimized )

- Focuses on a variety of different types of exercises to maximize balanced, aesthetic muscle development (aka having a nice body)


*Cardiovascular Training:

- Burn extra calories

- Increase metabolic rate

- Improve strength training performance via VO2Max improvements as well as other adaptations


** Both of these types of training also improve insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to build muscle and burn fat more efficiently.


There are some general rules that this particular routine follows.  Some of these rules tend to hold true in the majority of other programs as well.  A few of the general guidelines used to create these workouts are the following:

1. Bigger muscle groups get worked in the beginning of the workout.


2. Compound movements (multi-joint movements) are most effective for adding muscle mass, burning fat, and improving athleticism.  They make up the brunt of the exercises in this routine.  They should be done before isolation movements.  For example, rows would be performed before bicep curls.


3. Dynamic or power movements should be placed in the beginning of the workout.  As a general rule, the exercises that involve more central nervous system energy come first in workouts. There aren’t many of these movements in this workout, but the rule still applies when necessary.


4. Strength and Hypertrophy exercises should be placed in the beginning to middle of the workout.


5. Endurance, stamina and fat loss exercises/activites should be placed in the middle to end of the workout.


6. Close-Chain movements are opted for over open-chain movements.  (Close-Chain movements are exercises in which the end segment of the exercise limb is fixed, or the end is supporting the weight.  Most compound exercises are closed chain movements) Close-Chain movements are move advantageous because they provide more core and synergist/ancillary muscle activation.


7. Training opposing muscle groups back to allows the body to increase the amount of work done in the same amount of time (density, intensity) by limited localized muscle fatigue.  For instance, training the chest muscles directly before the upper back muscles improves can improve strength in each area, thus allowing you to work harder. This is actually an old technique that Arnold Schwarzenegger and other classic bodybuilders used to develop their perfect physiques.


 

A few notes:

* This routine includes 6 resistance style workouts per week that allow you to work each muscle group on two separate workouts each week.  If you are a beginner, then this level of frequency and training volume can help you grow.  At the same time, more advanced trainees trying this workout may find that (if it’s more than they’re used to) this style of training will shock your body into growing and developing further (as long as you allow for recovery between sessions)

* If six days per week begins to get too tough, try eliminating one arm day from the schedule before eliminating other days.  This routine is meant to last 12 weeks so if your lifestyle is not too demanding, you may be able to continue with six days on most weeks as long as you get enough rest.

* This workout is designed primarily for those who want to add muscle mass and body weight.  If you do not want to add body weight in the range of 15-30 pounds then simply watch your overall calorie consumption, and be particularly aware of carbohydrate intake.  If you are more concerned with adding some lean mass but not “bulking up” or adding any additional fat, try consuming carbs only doing breakfast and before and after your workouts.  The workout below only includes two cardio days per week, but that can be increased to 3 or 4 if you feel as though you need another strategy to ward off fat gain.

Looking for more celebrity workouts?  Check out the Brad Pitt workout here

Now that you understand some of the basic rules used to create the workout as well as why you need to do each type of training (cardiovascular and strength training) to get a Hemsworth-esque physique, without further a dieu, here is the routine, seperated into daily workouts:

*Peform the following exercises in order, sticking to the prescribed reps, rest, and weight:  3 sets of each exercise doing 4-6 reps on the first 2 sets and 12 reps on the 3rd and final set. Take 1-2 minutes rest between sets.


Chris Hemsworth Workout Day 1

Body Part Split Routine: Chest & Back

(perform a thorough total-body warmup prior to any of the following exercises)

1. Barbell Bent Over Row

2. Incline Bench Press

3. Pull Ups (with extra weight if possible)

4. Flat Bench Press

5. Prone Double Arm Dumbbell Row

6. Dumbbell Chest Fly

Cardiovascular Training: None on this day

* Eat and Rest

Chris Hemsworth Workout Day 2

Body Part Split: Arms & Delts

1. Barbell Shoulder Press

2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

3. Barbell Bicep Curls

4. Skullcrushers (aka lying tricep extensions)

5. Incline Bicep Curls

6. Seated One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

7. Standard Dumbbell Bicep Curls

8. Standing Overhead Cable Tricep Extensions

Cardiovascular Training

Steady state (moderate pace) cardio performed for 30-40 minutes doing an activity of your choice (treadmill, bike, ellyptical, swimming, hiking, jogging)

 

Looking for the full workout?

Find the full workout plan, including how to eat to look like Thor in the exclusive book below!

Check out this exclusive offer from MyLifeMyBody, the first site to offer the breakthrough new book The Celebrity Workout Book for Men

For the entire Chris Hemsworth’s workout, diet and background check out the ground breaking just released book The Celebrity Workout Book for Men. In it you’ll find in-depth info on how to train and eat like Chris Hemsworth and almost 20 other stars to get a specific physique based on the celebrity of your choice. Packed with over 400 pages of exclusive content about how to change your body forever!!

Grab it now!

The next question in your mind though is probably what did he eat? and, what should my diet look like if I want to look like Chris Hemsworth? Let’s break it down…

The Chris Hemsworth Diet

So, the working out is the tough part, but eating right is still very important if you want to become a mountain of muscle.  A lot of people think that if they’re lifting heavy and trying to “bulk up” that they can cheat on their diet and eat whatever they want since more calories mean more size.  While this is true to some extent, you still want to watch what you eat because even though you are eating more total calories, the cleaner those calories are, the more total muscle you’ll end up putting on.  This translates to a better looking body.  You’ll look bigger, be bigger, and be healthier to boot.

So what should you do?

I’ll give you the skinny on what the actor did diet wise and how you can do the same.  To keep it simple though, I’ll just lay out some guidelines that you can use to get there.  I find these are typically better than specific recommendations since everyone is different and using more general strategies (that you can tweak as needed) works for most people.  (for private nutrition/workout coaching where I give you specific formulas based on your body type and goals you can email me at info@mylifemybody.com)

So without further delay, here’s the lowdown:

1. The actor ate a lot of food, probably 500-1500 more calories than he was used to.  Increasing your overall calorie intake is one of the first things most people have to do.

2. He also ate a lot more protein.  Protein is the primary building block of muscle tissue.  So yea, it’s important.  Shoot for one gram per pound of body weight per day.  Try to get it from lean healthy meats, legumes, or protein powders.

3. Getting most of your carbs from fruits and vegetables will allow your body to have more energy with minimal fat gain while adding muscle.  This is what Chris did, using a modified Paleo diet approach.

4. Focus on taking in your carbs at breakfast and before and after your workouts with minimal amounts of carbs consumed later in the day.  If you are extra skinny or have trouble gaining weight you may benefit from eating more carbs and consuming them throughout the day.  Also focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, peanut butter, and almond butter especially if you’re a hard gainer.

5. Drink a lot of water and get plenty of rest.  This is when your body recovers and your muscles grow!

* For some individuals certain dietary supplements may be helpful.  Explore our site for articles on muscle building nutritional supplements and always check back for new articles on nutrition, supplementation, and training!

There you have it, the Chris Hemsworth Workout! Stick with this routine for 12 weeks to and follow a sensible diet in order to achieve maximum results.  Also keep in mind that recovery is just as important as nutrition and training.

For some more in depth info on this workout check out my youtube video series on the chris hemsworth workout below.

Chris Hemsworth Workout Part 1 (of 4)


Want more info?

Do you want the an exclusive guide to follow that will show you EXACTLY what to do to get a body like Chris Hemsworth?

Check out this exclusive offer from MyLifeMyBody, the first site to offer the breakthrough new book The Celebrity Workout Book for Men

For more in depth info on Chris Hemsworth’s workout, diet and background check out the ground breaking just released book The Celebrity Workout Book for Men. In it you’ll find in-depth info on how to train and eat like Chris Hemsworth and almost 20 other stars to get a specific physique based on the celebrity of your choice.  This exclusive manual is jam packed with over 400 pages that will show you how to get ripped body that women love – and stay in incredible shape for years to come!!

Grab a copy now before the price goes up!






Ab Workout Routine

Posted by mylife | Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness | Posted on 09-06-2011

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I’ve got a couple of tips to tell you today that will help you get your abs looking amazing.  But before I get to them, there’s something else I need to mention…

If you’re trying to lose body fat for the summer, then you may be in luck.  That’s because there’s a new discovery out there that is pretty incredible.  It sounds bad, but it may actually be one of the best things you’ve heard in a while in regard to losing body fat and getting an incredible looking midsection.

Here’s what it is:

You may have been told a lie about how to lose body fat.

“Wait a minute…did you say lie”?

Yea, I know.  I would be mad too…but before you shift all of your focus towards the bad news, take a step back.  There’s a silver lining here…

First of all, let’s take a look at this “lie” that I just mentioned.  What is it exactly?  And who was spurting out the untruths?

The “lie” was actually told by almost everybody, and (this’ll make you rest easier) it wasn’t done maliciously.  It was repeated time and again because it was what everyone thought was true based on hard evidence.  It was that you can’t “spot reduce” body fat, and – this is the exciting part – it’s not true.  There’s some new evidence that shows we may have been wrong all along…

So how does this apply to you and your ab workout routine?

It’s important to you if you’re looking to get ripped abs, tone up your abs, or just lose a few inches around your waist because it means that you may not have been training optimally UP TO THIS POINT.  You may have been sticking with your workout, eating right, and trying to trim up those love handles – and you may have found some success – but based on the new findings, there may be new tricks you can employ to make your ab workout routine TEN TIMES better than it’s ever been.

So…what exactly did the old lie tell us?  As I mentioned above it said that you can’t “spot reduce” body fat.  This means that you can’t target a specific area on your body that you want to lose body fat from and, well, LOSE IT.  Instead, this advice (the approach that everyone was toting around) was that you can only lose body fat where your body wants to lose it and that your fat loss pattern could be different from that of other people.  People said that if you wanted toned arms or abs you would have to tighten up your diet and workout routine to get your body to shed excess fat and pounds and hope that you would lose the weight from those areas…

And a lot of that makes sense.  And still does.

But not all of it.

You see, working out and eating right will always be crucial parts of getting and staying in shape.  Most people get this.  But the part that is a little more tricky – losing body fat and gaining muscle in a specific part of the body while you’re burning fat overall – is a little bit harder.  It’s not impossible (like the lie told us), but it just takes a few little tricks.  Add these little tricks to your current ab workout routine and you’ll be on your way to better abs than you’ve ever had!

So what are the tricks then? (I’m referring to the “tips” that I mentioned at the beginning of the post) How do you get those coveted abs to “pop”?

Here they are.  Follow the tips below as part of your ab workout routine and you’ll be on your way in no time:

1. Start sprinting. If you’re new to the idea of running flat out then you obviously have to build up to running this way, but sprinting can be a great way to burn extra calories, increase your metabolic rate, improve your cardiovascular conditioning and even improve strength.  It’s a great style of training to add to your ab workout routine because it forces the core muscles to contract to support the body’s dynamic movement, stabilize the limbs and continually produce force, i.e. to keep moving.  Some studies have even shown that when you add sprinting to your current ab routine – without changing anything else that you’re already doing – you’ll decrease your skinfold measurements around you midsection.  For the folks who don’t know, this translates to a reduction in body fat in your midsection with this type of workout.

2.  Work your abs while you do your cardio. Whether you do your cardio in doors on a machine, outside, or even in the pool, adding targeted muscle contractions can help give your abs a huge boost.  The idea behind tacking on sit ups and other exercises that directly target your abdominal and lower back muscles is that when you contract muscles in a certain area, new evidence shows that blood flow to that area increases and fat in that area becomes more “mobile”.  In other words, the fat is broken down a little bit more directly from that specific area. The best way to use this strategy is to alternate between doing five to ten minutes of low intensity cardio and doing five minutes of light resistance, high repetition abdominal exercises.

The other benefit of contracting the muscles in your midsection through doing resistance exercise is that you’ll improve definition and muscle tone which will help make your abs look even sharper when you trim off that last bit of fat.

Take action and make it happen!

Stay tuned for more info, tips, and tricks on how to get and stay in shape this summer!

Volume Control (for your Workouts)

Posted by mylife | Posted in Fitness | Posted on 18-05-2011

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0

“I’ve recently started working out more…”

Although that sounds like something confessed in embarrassment by some overweight dude whose reached elite status in the World Lounging Federation, it’s not. It was uttered, or written, rather by someone who works out quite a bit.

Someone who wouldn’t be mistaken for a “doesn’t really workout” kinda guy.

A person who probably wouldn’t ever be categorized as a “half-ass it” type of individual.

But self flattery doesn’t get you very far.  At least not these days.

So lemme come clean.  I say stuff like that occasionally.

Yea, that was me.  It happens.

But many of you who know me think that although there may be some facade, for the most part I’m a pretty big stickler when it comes to health and fitness.

Some folks may even believe the following:

I’m a trainer, which means I have an ridiculous amount of physical energy and an insatiable need to get up and move my body…right?

I wouldn’t be caught dead eating a donut, croissant, potato chips, ice cream or fast food.  And I certainly don’t drink alcohol, because that makes you fat…doesn’t it?  And I’m smarter than that, aren’t I?

And (since I’m such a health conscious guy) I must think it’s a mortal sin to be lazy and not hit the weights, track, trail, or pool four, five, six, or even seven times per week, right??

You must have me mistaken for someone else.

Are you guys even on the right website?

How the hell do I make a Tequila Sunrise?  This is the Cocktails for Dummies forum, yes?

Check, please.

 

The Pendulum Will Swing, but it’s all about Balance


Ok, ok.  I like to pretend I’m a comedian sometimes.    If I threw you, then good – that’s what I was shooting for.  And you know me too well.  But that means you also know exactly where I’m coming from.  I was trying to emphasize the fact that whatever idea you have in your head about how someone is supposed to be is likely screwy.  No one is perfect.  Not even Mr. Trainer Man.

And for the record, I have started working out more. Keyword there is “more”, people.  I haven’t been in a semi-vegetative state since Christmas.  I’ve been doing stuff.  Like real, you know, real physical training.  As for my dog, that’s a different story…

I’m just gonna bump it up a lil’.  You know, push the ‘ol body a bit…

All kidding aside, here’s what I gotta say.  We all wax and wane when it comes to our effort, both in the gym and outside of it.  Consistency is great, and so is a regular schedule, but that’s not always the way it goes down.  For me, there is always some method to the madness as far as my consistency in the gym – or my lack thereof.  In this case, I’m increasing my workout frequency from, let’s say, 3 days per week, to, let’s say 7 days per week.  It wasn’t that in working out three days per week I was being lazy or apathetic, or – dare I say it – hypocritical.  There was a method there, folks.  My goals and my recovery ability dictated that working out about 3 times per week was ideal.  That’s where the needle pointed when the wheel stopped spinning.

But now the needle is pointing in a different direction.  My goals have changed and so has my ability to modify external stuff (work, sleep, stress) in a way so that I can (and need to) adapt to a different amount of training.

So now I’m going to work out more.  Nothing too mind blowing, really.

 

Turn Up – or Down – the Volume

 

Volume is important.  And I’m not talking about your woofers here, fellas (and ladies).

It’s about how much you’re doing (or not doing) fitness wise.

And it’s this little element that can make or break your weight loss, body sculpting, or general fitness goals.

The news for ya is this: most people screw up in the gym.

But it’s ok…

That’s because a lot of those screw ups are minor, and they’re quick fixes…

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to working out is…

(drum roll please)

They do too much OR too little. This might mean they work out too much, too often, or too intensely.  On the other hand, they could be in a situation where they’re not doing enough.

The majority of inexperienced lifters I know as well as regular guys and gals concerned with weight loss currently fall into one of the above two camps.  They’re either doing too much or not enough.

Which group are you a member of?  Are you an overachiever and think that more is always better?  Maybe you’re naturally lazier and prefer to do less?  Either way, you’re likely selling yourself short if you haven’t found that perfect balance.

So, then you ask, how do you know how much is right?

The answer is simple really.

If you’re tired, lacking motivation, or just plain burnt out then you’re probably doing too much. You need to back off.  Get more rest. Take days off and maybe even reduce the duration and intensity of your workouts.

If, on the other side of the coin, your progress has stalled, you’re not getting the results that you want and you’re finding that your energy or stress levels are fine, then you’re probably not doing enough. You need to kick it up a notch.  Add one or more workout days and maybe even increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.

The bottom line is that working out harder and more frequently is always better and will always yield better results as long as you don’t exceed your ability to recover.  Period.

Just keep in mind that recovery is relative.  If you workout more, you need more recovery time.  Obvious, right?

Yep…

But here’s the juice:

Workouts are not the only thing your body has to recover from.  Your body needs to rest from life and everything else that comes with it too. This means not only other forms of physical stress but also mental and emotional stress.  Having a tough week at work?  Just get in a fight with your significant other?  These things take a toll and eat into your ability to recover from your workouts.  So, yea that pendulum will swing, but striking that balance is what’s most important.

Everyone is different and you kinda have to figure it out as you go along.  Having someone there with you to guide you along the way whether it be a trainer or simply a workout partner can help.  If those aren’t your thing, then take some time and feel things out.  Track your progress.  Organize your efforts and make a plan.  Stick with it but don’t be too hard nosed with your efforts.  Sometimes less is more.  Don’t be apathetic or lazy either, cuz sometimes more is actually more.

Find that sweet spot.

Now back to lounging…

 

 

 

 

Drink and Lose Weight – Part 3: How to Do It

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 05-05-2011

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(If you missed it, click HERE for Drink and Lose Weight – Part 2: Alcohol, Training, Metabolism, and Health)

How to Drink and Lose Weight (or Build and Maintain Muscle, Burn Fat, Etc.)

Now hopefully you have a better idea of how your body really deals with alcohol and what the net impact of consuming it is. Boozing and getting in shape is very doable and so is enjoying alcohol and staying in shape once you get there.  It really is possible to burn fat, build muscle or totally slim down while drinking.  At the same time, once you get the body you want, you can continue enjoying alcohol and not fall off the wagon. And it doesn’t require counting calories or even limiting how much you drink, either.  You can, in fact, have your cake and eat it too.

The key when it comes to enjoying alcohol while getting or staying in shape is to simply use a little common sense and strategy.  With both myself and my clients I have found that following several important rules is crucial when trying to live it up and look good doing it.  These rules are not just an important part of the process but they actually serve as the backbone of the whole thing!  In other words, if you don’t follow them, there is little chance that you will be able to enjoy alcohol and have a great looking, healthy body.  These recommendations are very specific and they work, but if ignore them and just think that you can blindly go about your life and booze it up without any sort of plan or guidelines then you will be in trouble.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, here are the rules:

1. On any day that you will be drinking heavily, limit your carb intake to 1.5g/kg of bodyweight.  So, for instance, if you are a 200lb male, you would limit your carb intake to about 135g (there are 2.2kg in a pound).  If you are a 140lb female, you would limit your carb intake to about 94g using the same conversion.  Also it is very important to try to get all of your carbs from vegetables and whatever smaller carb amounts that come with food sources that are primarily protein.  Another thing to be aware of is the type of alcohol you’re drinking as some is worse for you than others.  For instance, beer and fruit juice-based cocktails or other drinks have pretty high carb amounts (compared to other options at least) at 12-15g.

 

For reference:  1kg = 2.2 pounds, 1lb  = .45 kg

 

So what alcohol is the best as far as being lower calorie/carb?

 

All of your standard hard liquors (spirits) are very low carbs.  This includes gin, rum, vodka, tequila, cognac, and whiskey.  Drinking these either straight or with a no-calorie/diet soda (if you’re springing for a cocktail) is the way to go.  Another option that is very good is dry wines.  They are also very low in carbs at about 1g per glass.  Sweet wines contain slightly more carbs per glass (4-6g) but are still a decent option.

 

2. The second rule that absolutely has to be followed is to limit your intake of fat.  Fat is an extremely dense macronutrient (at 9 calories per gram) and will only increase your body’s chances of storing those extra calories on the days when you consume alcohol.  Remember that alcohol suppresses fat burning so the simple solution here is to just avoid consuming it.  So, if you were thinking about going all out with fatty foods like pizza, deserts, and giant carb/fat rich breakfasts on the days you’re drinking, think again.  So how much fat can you consume?  The limit is .3g/kg of body weight.  This comes out to about 27g of fat for a 200lb male or about 19g for a 140lb female.  If you’re slightly higher or lower than the .3 figure it’s probably not going to spell disaster but try to come close.  Remember, it’s all about planning.

 

3. The next “rule” is that you can eat as much protein as you want.  In fact, the more the better.  Why?  Here’s the deal: because you’re not eating much in the way of carbs or fat (and actually IN ORDER to eat less carbs and fat as well) you want to eat a lot of protein.  The only limitation is to make sure your protein comes from lean sources (because you’re going easy on the fat).  Good choices include: tuna, chicken, turkey, egg whites, protein powder and lean pork and beef.

 

4. Finally, the last guideline is that you can’t get drunk every night.  More specifically, the rule here is that if you drink excessively, only do it one (or at most two) times per week.  Again, the idea here is simple: your body can’t handle frequent excessive alcohol consumption.  Infrequent binges or regular consumption of small amounts of alcohol is ok though.  If you’re a lush, before you get worked up about this guideline just realize that you’ll enjoy drinking a whole lot more if you plan it out and abstain every now and then (this plan won’t work if you don’t – plus you’ll be healthier and look better).

 

So that pretty much sums it up.  As long as you follow the guidelines above you will be able to drink and lose weight, drink and maintain your muscle, or even drink and gain muscle – whatever your goal may be.  Go back and review how alcohol affects your body if that will help you to both understand why I employ this strategy and also give you more motivation to do it yourself.

 

The point here is that regardless of where you are trying to take your body, using this strategy when drinking will allow you to keep fat gain to an absolute minimum.  Since fat gain is something everyone wants to avoid, then we should all be happy.

 

One more reason to drink and be merry!

 

 


 

 

Drink and Lose Weight – Part 2: Alcohol, Training, Metabolism, and Health

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 04-05-2011

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122

(If you haven’t already read it, click HERE for Drink and Lose Weight – Part 1: Alcohol, Weight Gain, and your Hormones)

Alcohol: Training, Metabolism and Health

Alcohol and Training

I think it goes without saying that alcohol and working out don’t mix.  Anyone whose made it past the first grade knows that drinking and working out – or doing any physical activity for that matter – just doesn’t jive.  So with that being said I’m not going to go into detail about some far fetched idea that you should be innebriated all the time and that you can maintain total control of your physical functioning while drinking gallons of hard liquor.  I’m not crazy.

What I will mention though are a couple of studies that show what type of effect alcohol has on your body when it is consumed post workout during the recovery period (you know, the time where your muscle actually get bigger and stronger so that you can look better in that tight shirt or dress and get picked up at the local watering hole).

First up is a research study that demonstrated that moderate alcohol intake of 60-90g does not increase exercise-induced muscle damage or affect muscle strength.

That’s not the only study out there though.

There are two other studies that I’ve found that tell a slightly different story.  One study involved intense weight training followed by relatively high alcohol intakes and the other involved athletes who had just completed a very long and intense endurance training workout.  The endurance athletes then consumed a very substantial amount of alcohol (120g).  While both of these studies participants showed impaired recovery and lowered testosterone levels, the thing to keep in mind is that the training was particularly difficult and their booze intake was high.

Again, we are not talking about your average workout or your average drinker.  We are talking about people who worked out very hard and then drank like a fish.  This was set up deliberately by the researchers most likely to see if they could show that alcohol would elicit any negative impact on the body.  And yes, it did.  But just ask yourself one question.  How many alcoholic bodybuilders or triathletes do you know?  Do you get drunk every night after you hit the weights?

Exactly.

Too much of a good thing is, well, exactly that.  And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about drinking or working out.  But small amounts or the occasional binge?  Probably not as bad as some think.

Alcohol, Metabolism, and Health

When it comes to your metabolism – whether we’re talking about protein synthesis, insulin sensitivity, or fat burning – alcohol just doesn’t have a very detrimental impact.  Again, keep in mind I’m talking about frequent consumption of small amounts of booze or infrequent consumption of large amounts.  I am not talking about getting drunk every day here people.

Ok, so let’s start by looking at protein synthesis.  For the folks who don’t know, let’s just keep it simple and say that protein synthesis is the way your body digests and uses protein.  Protein synthesis is a big part of the recovery process and it’s crucial for building muscle and looking good, among other things.

There’s not a whole lot of research out there showing what type of effect alcohol has on protein synthesis other than a few studies that show the adverse effects from chronic alcohol abuse.  Basically, the studies followed alcoholics and determined that they had reduced levels of protein synthesis.  In addition they had chronic alcoholic myopathy which causes muscle loss.  Bad stuff but pretty obvious when you think about the subjects’ lifestyles.

At the same time, another study showed that chronic alcohol abusers without myopathy had both a lower body fat percentage and the same amount of muscle mass as non-drinkers.

Maybe alcohol (even in high amounts) doesn’t make your muscles waste away?  It’s not only possible, but probable.

Ok, ok so then maybe alcohol doesn’t make you lose muscle, but certainly it does make you fat…somehow…right?

Wrong.

It must have a negative effect on your metabolism…or maybe the way insulin works?

Nope.

Actually, according to a few studies, alcohol may actually be good for your body’s endocrine system – specifically the way your body metabolizes nutrients with insulin.

The studies show that moderate alcohol intake improves insulin sensitivity and can even have a favorable effect on triglyceride concentrations and blood sugar.  This has been shown to be true with healthy people and also Type 2 diabetics.  Scientists aren’t sure how alcohol does this exactly but it may be reasonable to assume that moderate alcohol consumption is not only  not bad for you, but healthy over the long haul.

Of course, if you’re still not convinced there is proof that alcohol consumption leads to a lowered risk of arthritis, sinusitis, metabolic syndrome, alzheimer’s disease, depression, certain cancers, and has even been shown to be a factor in the longer lifespans of regular alcohol drinkers.

Another point to make while we’re on the subject is that alcohol may actually cause people to decrease their calorie intake over time.  While the short term, acute “cravings” that you get when you’re drunk (that cause you to house an entire pizza) don’t help you with short term weight loss efforts, over the long term drinkers may eat less than non-drinkers (this may be another contributing factor to alcohol’s effect on longevity).

It has actually gotten to the point (and if you follow the news enough you see this) that many experts suggest that moderate alcohol consumption is healthier than abstaining from alcohol entirely.  People are wising up to the fact that alcohol may not be as bad as people used to think.

The Bottom Line

Alcohol isn’t as bad for you as was once thought and it may even be beneficial to your health.  Here are the key points to remember:

- Moderate alcohol consumption carries with it quite a few health benefits.  Over the long term, alcohol may be helpful for body weight and health through its effects on insulin, its ability to decrease appetite, or both.

- Alcohol’s calories are broken down quickly in the body, but alcohol itself is not very filling so if you drink to satisfy your appetite you may consume too much.  Alcohol also turns off the part of your brain that tells you that you are full so eating extra junk while you drink can be a big problem.

- When you do eat junk while drinking, that food is digested more slowly because your body attempts to break down all of the alcohol before it metabolizes the food calories. This makes eating while you drink more dangerous than eating when you’re boozing.

- How much alcohol effects muscle protein synthesis is not entirely clear.  There may be a negative effect, but it’s probably not as significant as you have been led to believe.

- Alcohol does not negatively affect testosterone levels as significantly as you think.  Unless you are putting yourself through a very long or very intense training session while drinking large amounts of alcohol afterwards, the effect will be minimal and probably not effect long term muscle gain or weight loss efforts.

Click here for Part 3 of (how to) Drink and Lose Weight. In part 3 we review the principles of the first two posts and I show you how to drink and lose weight or build and maintain muscle mass.


Drink and Lose Weight – Part 1: Alcohol, Weight Gain, and Your Hormones

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 29-04-2011

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6

One thing that I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that changing your body – whether it be losing weight, burning fat or building muscle – doesn’t always need to involve super crazy deprivation.  There are many, far better approaches out there that are a whole hell of a lot more effective.  In fact, when it comes client compliance, convincing people to make small (but noticeable) changes to their diet and lifestyle is a whole lot more effective than trying to do a complete food and drink overhaul right from the get go.

I’ve also experienced this myself: I don’t get super lean by holing myself in the basement, working out 24/7, and making it a point to buy donuts just so I can tease myself and then throw them in the garbage (think Ben Stiller’s character from the movie Dodgeball).  Ok, ok, I’m lying…I’m just like that guy – only minus the seventies handlebar mustache and the tight spandex pants. They’re lycra, people!

All joking aside, it’s true that people can get a little obsessed.  And sure, being ultra strict can work.  I’m just not crazy about using that approach for myself or with my clients.  Yes, certain people like it.  And it works for them.

At the same time, others can get even better results by doing what they enjoy doing (eating and drinking) but maintaining balance and incorporating a little discipline into their lifestyle (hitting the gym a few times per week, etc.).

So what does this all have to do with drinking, or specifically, drinking and losing weight?  It has quite a lot, actually.  But we’ll get to that in a second…

First though I want you to think about all the alcohol that you enjoy.  I’m going to assume if you’re reading this post that you consume alcoholic beverages at least occasionally.  Do you drink a few beers a week, maybe 1 or 2 per day?  Maybe you grab a cocktail after work a couple times a week?  Or, perhaps you’re in college and you get downright hammered a few nights a week on variety of different types of hard stuff – but still want to look good.  It doesn’t matter what your habits are when it comes to drinking, the point is that if you drink – and you do it regularly – you probably do it for a reason.  Like, hmmm, let’s see, you enjoy it?

I guess we have more in common than I thought…

Ok, yeah I’ll admit it, I don’t mind a few drinks every now and then.  As much as I can abstain from booze indefinitely when I want to (yeah I’m sure of this). I don’t really prefer to.  I’d rather have the freedom of enjoying a beer or two when I’m out with a buddy without having to wonder if it’s going to detrimentally affect my health or my physique.  And here’s the thing: you can drink and still be healthy and even make changes to your body, like losing weight.  (yeah, I’m sure of this too).  It just takes a little know-how and a little planning.  You’re in luck though, cuz today, I’ve got you covered on both ends.

Booze Ain’t So Bad (well, not really)

So, why did I ask you above to think about all the alcohol you consume?  It wasn’t really because I wanted to see if you use your fingers to count (although I’m sure some resort to it when drunk).  And it wasn’t because I want you to get thirsty visualizing a cold frothy beer and run off to the fridge.  Whoops, too late…

In all seriousness, it was simply because you do need to have an idea of how much you drink, and what types of alcohol you drink. When it comes to trying to drink and still lose weight (or otherwise shape your body) these little details are crucial.  So yeah, it might take a little ‘rithmetic, but I’m telling you that you can drink right?? Let me just clarify something though: I never said this was going to be about drinking to lose weight. If you’re looking for some fad alcohol-only diet where you only down beers and bellinis exclusively, you won’t find it here.  Obviously drinking copious amounts of booze all the time is bad for you.  I’m not a big fan of chain smoking for heart health either, if you were wondering.   Yeah, the whole “have your cake and eat it too” deal doesn’t really apply to smokers.  Only the alcoholics get a free pass at the moment.  Sorry to disappoint.

All joking aside, this post is about learning how to maintain or even improve your body all while still kicking back and sipping the stuff you love (or fist pumping in the club – I don’t discriminate).  While this is obviously a very relevant topic for a lot of people – and I am being pretty light hearted – I am not advocating getting drunk all the time.  Obviously drinking large amounts of alcohol is bad for you in a LOT of ways.  That’s not what this is about.  Instead, my objective here is to impart to you fine readers a little know how (or perhaps “drop some knowledge” -we’ll have to wait and see) about how to get great results without kicking the hootch, if it happens to be something that you enjoy.

Want to learn the real secrets that celebs, fitness models and regular “ripped” people alike use to get in amazing shape (even while drinking alcohol and “living it up”) ?…

Grab my breakthrough 400+ page book, The Celebrity Workout Book for Men which reveals the real workout and nutrition info you need to know now to get the body you’ve always wanted!!

 

It’s incredibly hard for people who want to make big changes with their body to just drop all of their “bad” habits on command and eat like a monk (or drink like a monk, in this case).  Making huge drastic changes to your lifestyle regarding your eating and drinking isn’t always the most efficient route to that goal of a sexy body (even though it may seem like it).  This method can work for some folks but very often I find that people respond better when they’re given more freedom and flexibility in regard to their choices.  That’s why if you can do something and get away with it (even if it doesn’t help you directly), it might just be worth it.  Peace of mind, and enjoyment of life are pretty damn important and can mean the difference between stellar results and stagnation in the long run.  And to be totally honest with you, booze just really ain’t that bad for you health (in moderation, of course).  In fact, a lot of studies show more benefits than drawbacks to moderate alcohol consumption.  Surprising to some, but true…

Let me give you the lowdown on alcohol and how it affects your body.

Alcohol, Weight Gain, and Hormones

Alcohol and Weight Gain

First off, let me just start this section off by saying alcohol does not contribute to fat storage by itself to any great degree.  In other words, alcohol does not make you fat.

What?!?!

Yep.  You heard right.

I know, I know, this is the opposite of everything you’ve ever heard, or at least everything you’ve always thought.  Let me hit you with a little review about how nutrients are burned (or stored) after an average meal.  This will help my whole “alcohol not being the devil” stance make more sense.

Here’s how it works:

1. You eat carbs and protein.  These foods don’t really contribute to fat storage to a great degree by themselves.  Instead, they slow down fat BURNING because insulin is elevated after their consumption.

2. Now that fat burning (aka fat oxidation) is suppressed, dietary fat is stored in fat cells.  This can come from consuming fat by itself, but also from consuming excess carbs that ultimately get stored (as fat).  Protein is less likely to ever be stored as fat.

3. After the meal, typically a few hours pass until you eat again.  During this interim, insulin drops and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream (often the fat that was stored from your last meal).  This process normally repeats itself continually throughout the day as you eat.  Whether you lose weight is, generally speaking, a matter of energy balance – i.e. are you consuming more total calories than you burn, less, or are you in caloric “equilibrium”?

Ok, so not that difficult right?  Now, things can change a bit when you throw alcohol into the mix.  (remember that alcohol does not cause measurably fat gain by itself, but you’ll get that in a second)

Using the above info as the template, when you consume alcohol, it gets metabolized immediately.  This means that it slows down fat burning as well as carbohydrate and protein burning (or synthesis).  So, basically, everything else is slowed down temporarily while alcohol is burned.

Add in here extra calories from alcohol as well as the fact that it causes other stuff to be slowed down****

Probably the main reason that alcohol is burned first when you consume a variety of different foods is that the by-product of alcohol is acetate, which is toxic.  Basically, the body wants to get rid of it fast.

Nothing too mind bending here, right?

Well here’s where it gets interesting. This by product of alcohol, acetate, is a lousy instigator of fat storage.  Metabolically speaking, there is no easy way for the body to make fat out of alcohol (acetate).  In other words, alcohol does not cause any significant fat storage BY ITSELF.  Do I hear an echo?

One way to think about alcohol that may make sense to a lot of people is this: alcohol is very similar to carbs in that it slows down fat burning which ALLOWS the fats that you eat to be stored as, yep – you guessed it – FAT.  One little known fact though is that while carbs can be converted to fat relatively easily once glycogen stores are satisfied, alcohol is rarely converted to fat in the same way.

Alcohol and your Hormones

Many guys and girls who work out have probably heard that alcohol supposedly screws up your hormones.  The general consensus among these people is that alcohol negatively effects testosterone levels in men (and women) via it’s estrogen-elevating properties. While this might seem like a male-only problem the truth is that anytime male or female sex hormones are disturbed, negative results are seen whether you are a man or a woman.  Note: in the case of alcohol consumption the concern for women in regard to elevated estrogen levels is just as significant as it would be in men even though women are supposed to have a lot of estrogen.  As always, enough is great, but too much is still bad.

But everything I just said in the paragraph above is irrelevant.

Why?

Because alcohol doesn’t screw up your hormones! Well, at least not to the degree that people think…

Heres’ the deal:

Alcohol intake does lower testosterone.  Yep, some of what you hear is partially true.  What isn’t true is the degree to which people say testosterone is lowered from alcohol consumption.  Most people think even drinking a little bit causes your testosterone to plummet and your estrogen to rise, making you fat and weak whether you are a man or a woman.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is that alcohol causes very slight decreases in testosterone and other sex hormones in both genders.  One of the best studies on this showed that when people consumed three beers a day for three weeks their testosterone decreased by a measly 6.8% for the men and o% (yes that’s a zero) for the women.  Again this is not a small amount of alcohol we’re talking about and the study was completed over the course of three weeks.

So do you really think that a few drinks a couple times a week is actually going to hurt you??

If so, then think again.

For alcohol to lower testosterone significantly, you’d need to drink like a fish.  According to one study, downing ten beers will lower testosterone by 23% for almost a day following your debauchery.  Again, this is a very large amount.  We’re talking about drinking enough beer to potentially put you in the hospital.  So yeah, that would lower your test levels.  Of course, so would a knockout by Mike Tyson.  Kind of the same thing, folks.

What about when you drink alcohol?  Does that change the impact that it has on your testosterone levels?

Not really.  In fact, some times may be better than others and you may experience almost no decrease in your levels.  For instance, one study showed that consuming 70-80g of alcohol (equivalent to 6-7 beers) right after a workout had no effect on testosterone levels whatsoever.  Simultaneously, the “stress” hormone cortisol increased only slightly from this post-workout lush session.

So basically, the evidence is slightly mixed with some studies showing a measurable decrease in testosterone levels from drinking copious amounts of booze and some showing almost no effect from “downing mad shots” (or whatever you like to call it).

What has most likely occurred over the past few years is that the fitness industry has specifically picked the studies that show alcohol as a culprit in hormone destruction and used them to demonize booze.  The  mainstream public has simply swallowed without question these beliefs.  Feeling nauseous, anyone?

This is the end of Part 1 of the Drink and Lose Weight series. Click HERE for Drink and Lose Weight – Part 2: Alcohol, Training, Metabolism, and Health. Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll show you how to drink and still look great — whether that means losing weight, burning fat, or building muscle!


Get Things Done Fast: 7 Tips

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Growth & Productivity | Posted on 24-02-2011

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52

What do you like to do more than anything else?

What do you absolutely hate doing?

How would your life be different if you could do whatever you wanted all of the time and never have to worry about doing the things you loathe?

Probably pretty good, right?  Yes…and…no.

Come on.  Let’s think about it for a second.  If life was all butterflies and rainbows – and you never had any responsibilities – it’d probably get a little dull.  You might not believe me at first but it’s true.  There’s really no doubt it when you stop and ponder it for a second.

At the same time though, avoiding extra stress and getting things done quickly and easily (especially the less-than-enjoyable stuff) is never a bad thing.  Not only does it leave more room for you to do exactly whatever it is that you actually enjoy doing, but it also keeps your more relaxed – which ultimately leads to greater happiness.  This is a big thing to remember when it comes to staying motivated at being productive and getting stuff done: the better you are at doing what you hate, the more often you can do what you love. That’s why this stuff is so important.  It’s a big reminder I use when my productivity starts lagging.

But work sucks though, right?

Sure.  It can.

Whether it’s the “necessary evil” stuff involved in going to work, maintaining a business, or staying in shape – or the “part of life” stuff like trying to maintain relationships or work on extra projects, work – and life - can get dreadful when you get bogged down.

So don’t get bogged down then, right?  Right.

And don’t ever bust your ass, just try to avoid work, and attempt to be lazy as often as possible then, right?

Not quite…

Not that sipping mojitos on the beach for the rest of your days is bad if that’s your thing.  It’s just this: you have to realize that doing what you want to do – whether it’s a whole lot of nothing, a bunch of hustle and bustle, or whatever, is always going to be a byproduct of getting stuff done that you have to do fast and efficiently.  Side note here: I’m going to assume that regardless of what your version of work is, it’s something that you don’t want to do.  In fact, there’s a very good chance that you hate it.  I’m not saying that you must loathe all work, but since what most people do in their free time is the opposite of what they have to do, there’s a good chance (unless they’re lucky) that hating or at least not optimally enjoying those responsibilities is probably the norm.  But the key – again, this has to be emphasized – is that doing what you hate (or simply may not like, i.e. responsbilities) is going to potentiate your ability to do whatever the hell it is you would do if nothing stood in your way.

So if being lazy and vegging out is your thing, then have at it.  Just realize that the fact is simply that intermittent effort will help you get done what needs to be done and allow you to have more time that can be spent doing what you love.

So, in an effort to free up more time to do the things you prefer to do, let’s get to work.  Detailed below are 7 tips for getting things done fast. Here’s to productivity.


1. Figure out what’s most important in your life - this is the most important step when it comes to getting things done because every single other step that follows is contingent upon this.  You have to determine what’s most important and where your priorities lie (and if they’re in the wrong place, straighten things out).  Assuming you know what is most substantial, you can then create a hierarchy of tasks based on their significance.  The easiest way to do this is to figure out which tasks are just plain important as well as which ones are prerequisites for other to do’s.  Then, simply tackle the tasks that matter the most as well as those that need to get done before anything else can be completed.


2. Batch your Tasks - once you have created a hierarchy to help with task importance, the next step is to look at what things can (or need to) be done together.  This is related to both which things can be done together because you have the time, or freedom during a particular period, but also, which things should be done together purely out of convenience.  Whenever I’m trying to get stuff done, batching is very significant for me because it greatly improves efficiency and time organization in general.  For instance, I consider Sundays to be a “catch up” day.  This means that I tend to pile a bunch of my to dos together and tackle them all on this day.  Since there typically isn’t a whole lot of hustle and bustle on this day (and I chill at home for the most part) I try to get “domestic” chores done all together.  This includes laundry, cleaning, sleeping in, and more cleaning.  And it makes perfect sense.  Although I totally loathe laundry and should outsource it, throwing threads in the washer and taking them out in a timely fashion is entirely dependent on staying at the house.  So this is exactly what I do – and during the few hours that it takes to get a few loads of laundry done I stick around the pad and clean.  I take care of stuff that has to be done while I’m at home because, well, I have to stick around.


3. Use the Pareto Principle - the pareto principle is relevant in many realms of life, but it’s super important when it comes to productivity.  If you’re not aware of the pareto principle (or even if you are and could maybe use a reminder) here’s the deal.  It’s the same thing as the 80/20 principle and it means (for our purposes) that 20 percent of your effort will produce 80 percent of your results.  You could also say that the most important portion of your to do’s comes from 20 percent of your total efforts.  Think about it this way:  most of your results comes from few of your efforts.  If you can get most of your stuff done, getting the rest finished is normally a breeze.


4. Use Parkinson’s Law - this one is huge.  Parkinson’s law is the idea that work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion.  This might at first sound a little esoteric or even supernatural, but it’s rock solid truth.  I’m not saying that work is mercurial and grows and shrinks entirely on it’s own.  What I am saying is that you are the master of your fate, whether we’re talking about your life’s mission or simply what you want to accomplish on a particular day.  So really, the work doesn’t expand to fill time on it’s own. You make the work expand when you forget to set deadlines. Get it now?  And, honestly, how true is this?  When you fail to set a deadline for the thing you are trying to get done, your pace is slower, your focus is less honed, and your motivation ebbs and flows like the tide.  Let’s make one thing clear:  you don’t want your motivation to be here one minute and gone the next! While some drops in drive are natural (and unavoidable), you want to have clear focused ambition and energy when you need it.  The beautiful thing about using Parkinson’s Law is that by design, it allows you to maximize productivity because you set the proper work pace.  Setting your deadlines too soon?  You’ll get the work done (or not) but the quality will suffer.  Setting your deadlines too far out?  You’ll labor over the smallest details and lose sight of your end goal; or you’ll get lazy and never complete the things you need done at all.  That’s why you have to tinker with the deadlines a bit, but as long as you set a target date or time that gives you just enough time to get your stuff done, you’ll be good to go.  You’ll get more done in less time whereas without Parkinson’s Law you’d get less (or nothing) done and time spent would actually be irrelevant.


5. Trivialize the Unimportant - at first this might sound like a misnomer, but here’s the juice: trivializing the unimportant sounds obvious and can be easy to understand logically, but you have to. actually. DO IT!

Getting rid of all of the crap in your life, closing your ears to all of the noise, and narrowing your focus to lie on the few significant things in your life is incredibly powerful.  Most people even understand why it makes perfect sense.  The problem is that most individuals are too unorganized or undisciplined to do it.  Here’s the really cool part though: you don’t have to be ultra organized and ultra disciplined to just make that first leap of discovery about what matters.  Sure, I like to be organized and being disciplined is good too, but if you lack both of these traits from the get go, the idea isn’t to try to change your whole persona overnight.  The simplest way to get started with trivializing the unimportant is to figure out what really matters.  Once you’ve got this figured out you have to categorize all of these items as your 5%.  Then ask yourself do these things really comprise the top five percent of important stuff in my life? If they do, great.  If, on the other hand, you placed some things in that category that don’t matter, then get rid of them.  By the same token, if there are some important things that you left out then add them in. The objective is to narrow your focus down to the most important stuff in your life.  The rest (yes, the remaining 95%) is not that important and was probably taking up valuable emotional and physical space in your life.  The key is to focus on the significant 5% and forget the trivial 95% because most things in life are just that – trivial.


6.  Visualize achievement – this is an incredibly powerful strategy for getting things done and it’s one that is often overlooked.  Most people have heard of visualization but they either don’t believe it will work for them or they simply fail to commit to giving it a shot.  There are a ton of studies out there indicating that visualization can be used effectively for everything from combating illness to improving outlook and productivity.  The problem with people and their lack of results is that they rarely are consistent with this practice – if they try it at all.  Here’s the thing though – visualizing doesn’t have to take a lot of concentration and it doesn’t have to take a ton of time.  It doesn’t really need to involve much work at all.  In fact, when it comes to visualizing for getting things done, you dont’ have to do much at all.  The easiest strategy I’ve found is to visualize the goal or task as already completed. That’s right, meditate on the idea that whatever you are trying to get done is already done. Sounds simple, but it’s amazingly effective.  Here’s why: most people who have something to do that they are really anxious about don’t even like to think about the process of doing it.  (sidenote: you need to make sure your aversion to doing something isn’t a result of it being incongruent with your long term goals or moral code) Assuming you simply resent the mere idea of doing something simply because you think it will be hard or time consuming, this type of visualization is for you and you should get fired up about it.  Once you’ve held the idea of  the thing being done in your mind – and you’ve viewed the task or goal as already completed – you will be much more likely to actually get it done in reality.  The reason is two fold:  first off, you’ll be more motivated and less apprehensive about all of the sequential steps involved in getting it done.  Secondly, you will have almost made yourself believed that the thing was already done.  This means that unless you want to experience a lot of internal conflict or frustration, you’ll just do it.


7. Do a little bit each day – this is another little tip that might seem obvious but it’s extremely effective and easy to follow.  Whether we’re talking about tidying up your work space, doing chores, or getting stuff done on the job, the fact is that pacing yourself is important.  Too often we get  caught up in the idea that something needs to be done immediately.  We get stressed because whatever it is that we’re tying to accomplish isn’t done (and we wanted it done yesterday).  This is where letting go of the white-knuckle grip you have on your to do list is crucial.  Realize that while having a deadline is good, you have have to set a realistic time frame for getting your stuff done.  Then break up your task into smaller pieces and, well, simply do a little bit each day.  Give yourself enough time and keep in mind that giving yourself a little longer to get something done is probably better than rushing if it means that quality is compromised.


Getting things done doesn’t have to be hard, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish.  If you set your expectations from the start, pace yourself, hone efficiency, and avoid distractions you’ll be on the right rack.  Decide what you want the next five, ten and even twenty years to look like for you and break that vision down into it’s component parts.  Figure out what steps you need to follow to get there, turn off the noise in your life, and get started.


Sugar: 20 Places it Hides

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 11-02-2011

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10

Where does sugar hide?

We all like a little sugar.

Most of us consume it pretty regularly and some of us even have cravings for it.

Whether we really even know what it is or not, the truth is that a lot of foods contain sugar.  The real question is what are those foods?

Let’s just clarify something real quick.  For those who don’t know, sugar is a form of carbohydrate.  Most sugars are considered “simple carbs” which means that they’re broken down by your body very quickly.  This can be good when your body needs a quick energy source.  It can be bad though when your body doesn’t need extra calories  (especially in the form of sugar) or when your body isn’t efficient at digesting these types of carbohydrates.  While sugar can be pretty tricky to avoid, the truth is that you probably don’t need to bypass it all of the time in order to get and stay in shape or just be healthy.

There are some pretty bad foods out there that contain some pretty nasty sugars in high amounts – and you’ll want to steer clear of them – but for the most part making healthy food choices is easy.  You just have to follow a few tips, tricks, and rules.  An easy way to avoid the worst (and sometimes not so obvious) sugars is to…

…just keep reading.  Listed below are 20 places that sugar hides that most people have no idea of or just never stop to think about.  Just check out the list below of other names that goes by and you’ll be on your way to eating better and looking better by using one of the simplest strategies out there: controlling excess sugar consumption!

20 Places Sugar Hides

1. Corn syrup

2. Dextrose

3. Brown rice syrup

4. Barley malt

5. Evaporated cane juice invert syrup

6. Galactose

7. Glucose

8. Fruit juice

9. Fructose

10. Granular fruit grape juice concentrate

11. Lactose

12. High-fructose corn syrup

13. Honey

14. Maltodextrin

15. Organic cane juice

16. Molasses

17. Maple syrup

18. Turbinado

19. Sorghum

20. Sucrose

There you have it! Twenty places sugar hides that you may have known about (and forgotten) or never even realized.  Watch out for these aliases that sugar sometimes goes by and you’ll be one step closer to eating right, looking sexy, and feeling bulletproof!


Weight Tips: 20 Easy Tips to Help you Control your Weight

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness, Nutrition | Posted on 31-01-2011

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Are you tired of not having control over your weight?  Would you like to try to diet or exercise but just can’t commit to anything too serious at the moment?  It’s ok.  It happens.  The thing to realize is that it’s a lot easier to make small changes to your lifestyle or add in little habits here and there that, when combined with others, over time will have a huge impact on how your body looks and feels. Weight tips are important and can help you get there.  The key is to start with one or two and add in more over time.

If you’re a guy who wants to keep some muscle mass and just lean out or a girl who just wants to lose weight and get “toned” – or anyone else in between, the tips listed below will help you get there.  Not all of the tips will apply to every specific individual out there, but for the most part, they’ll be helpful no matter what your weight or fitness goals.  What’s more, these strategies are not only effective on their own, but even more powerful when combined.  So if you can control your carb intake but also add in exercise for instance (even if you don’t want to) the two habits will work in harmony to get you to your weight goal faster.  When it comes to controlling your weight, these weight tips can be a big help.  The idea with these weight loss strategies is to make the whole process as easy as possible, so that you can stick with it, be consistent, and see results.

The key is to keep it simple, keep it easy, but just do it.

20 Easy Tips to Help you Control your Weight

1. Take a pre/pro biotic supplement. Not sure what these are?  That’s ok.  Probiotics aid the gut by adding more helpful bacteria, inhibiting harmful bacteria, and strengthening the body’s immune system.  Alternatively, prebiotics can be thought of as the “food” that the probiotics eat.  And probiotics are like people – once they eat, they’re happy and are more efficient at their job.  Prebiotics also help with the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium that aid in strengthening our bones.  If your diet is balanced and eat a variety of healthy foods, you probably don’t need to take a supplement.  Foods that contain high levels of pre and probiotics are yogurt, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  The most important thing to remember is to just get them.  They help your metabolism work more efficiently, and have been found to be deficient in people who are overweight or obese.  The bottom line: more pre and probiotics means less fat.

2. If it comes in a box, think twice before eating it. This is a pretty easy weight tip but it can get a little tricky sometimes.  For the most part, a lot of the foods that are packaged in boxes these days are pretty bad for you.  Think about anything processed: cereals, cookies, crackers, candy, and pre made frozen meals – all of these come in boxes.  And “healthy” foods?  Think about it, most of them come in jars or bags or containers.  Almond butter, certain whole grain breads, and greek yogurt, respectively are perfect examples.  On the other hand, there are foods packaged in boxes that are – generally speaking – healthy for you.  Brown rice is a perfect example.  Quinoa and other nutritious foods are also sometimes found in boxes, so use your best judgement.

3. Watch out for sugar. This is a weight tip that you’ve probably heard before, and for good reason.  When it comes to avoiding excess body weight and body fat, sugar is not your friend.  It gets digested quickly and is more likely to be stored as fat, especially if you are eating more calories than you should be overall.  There are a lot of places that sugar hides but the easiest way to catch it is to read labels.  Another, more obvious strategy is to just look at the food.  If it’s very high in carbohydrate or is something that you would generally think of as “bad for me” it’s probably too high in sugar to be enjoyed at leisure.  Eating it occasionally is probably ok, but all the time is just asking for trouble – around the midsection that is.

4. Use the Hunger Scale. The Hunger Scale is an imaginary scale used to determine why you’re eating.  Here’s how to use this weight tip: picture a scale from one to five with one being full and five being absolutely starving.  When you hit three, it’s time to eat.  At that point your stomach is probably grumbling and your body is telling your to replenish it’s energy stores.  The idea behind this tip is that if you let yourself eat when you feel like you’re at a lower point on the scale – like 1 or 2 – you’re probably eating to satisfy an emotional need, not a physical one.

5. Stop eating way before bedtime. This is a weight tip that is sometimes hard to stick with, but if you follow it, it can have a big impact on your weight.  Not eating before bedtime helps in a few different ways.  First of all, it means you eat less calories overall. Secondly, you eat less calories at a time when you’re more likely to store them as body fat (at night or while you sleep).  Another added benefit is that taking at least two hours of not eating before bed and as much as four or five cranks up your fat burning hormones since your body goes into a semi-fasted state.

6. Use cinnamon at select times. When it comes to controlling your weight this little tip won’t save you but it can definitely help.  Research has shown that consuming 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of cinnamon per day can help control insulin and (likely) blood sugar levels.  Less insulin being released at the wrong times along with lower blood sugar generally equates to less excess fat gain overall.  Try this tip: throw a little cinnamon and natural sweetener like stevia or xylitol on your oatmeal or cereal in the morning or even add it to your coffee.  No matter how you use it, just think cinnamon.  It will help.

7. Don’t substitute pie for the Pie Chart. Here’s how this weight tip works: draw a circle and divide it into wedges like a pie.  Next label each wedge according to an aspect of your life – your finances, your kids, your other relationships.  Then, use a plus or minus sign to indicate whether things are going well or not so well in each area.  And last, but not least, if there’s an area that needs work, then work on and fix it, instead of trying to mask the problem with food.

8. Stop falling for the latest fad. Most people want quick results.  That’s not really news.  What is news for some people though is that there aren’t many quick fixes or miracle pills out there.  If you hear someone peddling a supplement or diet plan that is supposed to get you to lose weight “faster than you ever thought possible”, be weary.  By the same token fad diets that tell you to just eat one food all day – and nothing else – well, sorry…they just don’t work.

9. Don’t underestimate the power of 80%. People rarely stop to realize that getting a goal accomplished is as much about getting started as it is about keeping going.  One problem with people and their weight loss goals tends to be that they tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to health and fitness goals.  It shouldn’t be this way, especially if you end up putting too much pressure on yourself.  Stressing yourself out or beating yourself up means that you’ll likely burn out and get nowhere.  Instead, focus on being on the ball 80 percent of the time.  The end result is that you’ll still reach your weight goals – just with a whole lot less headache.

10. Regardless of your goals just walk. Whether your fat burning plan involves exercise or not, it should.  If you don’t like to lift weights or do any exercise really at all though, that’s ok, just walk.  This weight tip may be the one of the easiest and most effective out of the entire group as long as you actually do it. Looking for some motivation to get going?  Chew on this:  walking helps control your weight by both burning calories and controlling your appetite.  The other benefit?  It ups your metabolism so the calories you do take in are more likely to be used for energy or building muscle instead of getting stored as fat.  Want to make this weight tip even more effective?  Walk in the morning fasted, before eating breakfast.  Your body will turn to stored body fat for energy and you’ll burn fat like a furnace.

11. Don’t eat before the gym. Here’s the deal: for the most part, people don’t need to eat before they workout.  Unless you’ve gone hours without eating, if your goal is fat loss, working out on an empty stomach is ideal.  This weight tip is super easy and super effective.  Think about it:  if you hit the gym on an empty stomach (but not starving) you’ll still have enough energy to workout, but your body will be more likely to break down stored fatty acids for energy.  If, on the other hand, you go into the gym after eating a meal you will have more energy, but you’ll be burning the calories that you’ve taken in with your meal instead of stored body fat.  The key is this:  if you’re looking to burn fat, try working out in a semi-fasted state.

12. Or just eat a little protein before you train. This is a weight tip that works for just about anyone, whether you’re trying to burn fat and lose weight or burn fat while keeping some solid muscle mass.  If you take in a little bit of protein (say up to 30 grams of protein) especially in the form of a protein shake, the amino acids in the shake will help buffer against muscle protein wasting.  What does this mean?  Basically, you’ll still burn all the fat that you originally would, but you’ll be providing extra protection for your muscles so as to prevent them from getting too broken down as a result of them lending some of their amino acids to your body for energy (since you’re not eating much before the workout).  Again, with this tip, 30 grams of protein is the amount to shoot for as that will give you about 10 grams of BCAAs (branch chain amino acids), the perfect amount for preventing muscle breakdown.

13. If you’re gonna eat garbage, do it earlier in the day. This is another weight loss tip that is pretty easy to stick to and also really effective.  When you eat junk, regardless of whether it is high carb foods, high fat foods, or foods that contain both, there is a pretty good chance that your hips, gut, or legs will pay.  If you don’t workout or do other things to combat this habit (or even sometimes if you do) taking in extra calories, especially bad ones, is a recipe for disaster.  One little tip you can follow to avoid some of that damage?  Eat the junk earlier in the day.  The reason behind this is simple: if you consume the calories earlier in the day, they will be more likely to be used for energy and burned before your start to slow down later in the day.

14. Eat multiple meals throughout the day. Instead of eating one or two big meals, trying eating a bunch of smaller meals.  This doesn’t mean that you want to you eat more calories overall, instead just split up the calories among more meals (4-7 spread throughout the day).  Here’s the deal with this weight tip: some people lately have said that the whole multiple small meals per day approach is hogwash.  Apparently there are some new studies that say blood sugar levels are not benefited from this approach.  While this may be true, the fact is that if you’re eating throughout the day, one big benefit is that you don’t let yourself get very hungry.  And yes, it’s true, if you let yourself start “starving”, you’ll be more likely to binge and screw up your diet.

15. Cut down on your portion sizes. This is a weight tip that you’ve probably heard before, but for good reason.  It works!  It’s also another reason that eating multiple meals per day can be helpful.  This is because when you’re first trying to cut down on portion sizes, eating more frequently is helpful so that you don’t feel like your starving or really depriving yourself of calories.  Here’s the way to go:  start with your normal daily calorie intake but just divide it up into six meals or so (if you’re not already do so).  Then, over time, decrease the size of each of those portions.  It might be tough at first, but you’ll be happy you’ve got a bunch of meals per day that, despite being small, keep you feeling full.

16. Try some CLA. This weight loss tip is one of the easiest on the list because all it involves is swallowing a simple pill.  And no, I’m not referring to some strange, fat burning supplement that will make your nervous or give you heart palpitations.  On the contrary, Conjugated linulaic acid or “CLA” is a super powerful supplement with a ton of benefits.  One of the most incredible of those is it’s ability to help the body metabolize fat more efficiently, AKA burning fat. Recent research studies show that when taken over several months CLA can have a profound impact on fat loss.  People using CLA steadily for up to one year have been able to decrease body fat by as much as 5-10%.  What’s even more impressive about CLA’s fat burning effect?  It has an uncanny ability to target abdominal fat in both genders and most likely has a positive impact on hip and thigh fat in women as well.

17. Get protein with every meal. This is a pretty easy weight tip.  When you think about it, how hard is it really to get a little protein with every meal?  The key is remembering to do it and then doing it. Keep in mind that aside from making your metabolism rev higher, eating protein with every meal will help keep blood sugar levels stable which can be good when it comes to controlling appetite and keeping your diet on track.

18. Use your network to help with motivation. This strategy for controlling your weight can be really powerful – but in an indirect way.  Relationships are can be either very helpful or very hurtful when it comes to reaching your goals.  The key is to surround yourself with positive people who have your best interests in mind.  When you have a strong social network you’re less inclined to give up when the going gets tough and more likely to stick with your positive habits and get to where you’re trying to go.

19. Don’t undertrain. Think about under training for our purposes as simply not working out hard enough.  As much as a lot of people would love to under train, or to put it simply, make their workouts easy, it just doesn’t work that way.  Working out simply to burn calories or to feel like you’re doing something is great, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you’re after.  The body has to experience a certain level of stress for it to adapt, by losing weight, building muscle, or both.

20. Don’t overtrain. Just as it’s important not to under train, over training – or working out too hard can be just as bad.  The worst case scenario when you hit it to hard is you injury yourself.  The best case is that your results stall or you stagnate, meaning you don’t reach your weight goals as quickly as you want – or at all.

and one more bonus tip…

*21. Focus on the big picture and the long term. This may be the most important weight tip out there.  Look at any of your fitness or weight loss goals.  You might have one or two short term goals that you’re working on, but don’t forget about the big picture.  What are your long term goals and how do your short term goals fit into the big picture?  Your goal should ultimately be to live a healthy lifestyle so that when you reach your short term goals you move right onto bigger and better things.

Timberland Men’s Torrance Boots

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 27-01-2011

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Timberland’s Men’s Torrance Boots are designed with rich, waterproof leathers, suede, and their Smart Comfort® system technology which gives you extra comfort and support over other shoes.  Not only do you get a waterproof, durable boot, but you end up with a comfortable and stylish shoe that will look as good in the country as it does during a night on the town. Grab ‘em here.

Christian Louboutin Bridget Back Ankle Boots

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 24-01-2011

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The Christian Louboutin Bridget Back Ankle Boot is a shoe that puts all other women’s shoes to shame.  It made a hit in the fall/winter of 2010 and was notably worn (among others) by Olivia Wilde recently at the Golden Globes.  Add the 25 (at least) other  celeb vixens who’ve been spotted donning these avant-garde pricey heels and you’ve got a really expensive, really hot party.  Grab ‘em here.

Best Ab Exercises for Fat Loss

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Fitness, Health & Wellness | Posted on 23-01-2011

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Everyone wants a nice mid section.  Whether you want a flat stomach, or a ripped six pack, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether you need to lose a lot of weight to get your abs looking nice, or just shed a few pounds and add some muscle tone, your end goal is probably the same: to look good without your shirt on.

Most people don’t like crunches.  I get this.  And I also have good news.  You DON’T have to do them.

Seriously.

Why do I say this?

Well, because, crunches just don’t work.

Regardless of whether or not you are trying to lose a lot of weight around your mid section (and then worry later about “toning” it up) or you’re already pretty lean and just want to add definition in that area, crunches are not the BEST strategy.

The truth is that there are a lot of ab exercises for fat loss but people just don’t know what they are, so they keep doing the wrong exercises in an attempt to lose fat and get closer to that lean, sexy stomach.  Another big mistake is that people take too much or too little rest during their workouts for their specific goals.  It’s hugely important to modify your rest intervals to burn fat or build muscle.

(But I won’t get too deep into interval training in this post.  The strategy that I’ll outline at the end for getting great abs won’t be too complicated, I promise).

But let’s continue:

Another little known fact is that there aren’t too many individual ab exercises for fat loss that actually help with fat loss!

Finally, one more reality is that getting a lean, sexy stomach, and achieving fat loss loss involve doing the same exact things, and, most of them ARE NOT AB EXERCISES.

If you use the right ab exercises for fat loss, you will not only get a nice mid section, but your mid section will look better than if you did exercises that were “just for your abs” but didn’t burn fat as well.

Why is this?

Because the simple secret to great abs involves two things: developing the muscles of the abdominals and also burning fat tissue in your abdomen that covers the abdominal muscles that make your stomach look GOOD.

Makes sense, right?

Hmmm. Ok…

So how do accomplish both of those things?  The logic is pretty simple: you use exercises that help not only with fat loss but also with building and developing the underlying ab muscles.

And, again, the exercises aren’t really ab exercises at all.  They do work the abs, but they also burn fat at the same time.  They kill two birds with one stone: they’re great at both burning extra calories and boosting your metabolic rate while also giving “tone” (myogenic tone) to the mid section muscles.

So, as I said above, the best ab exercises for fat loss are NOT crunches.  Crunches can play a part and have a small role in getting a great mid section, but their role is just that – SMALL (they only help a little bit with muscle tone of the core muscles, and they have almost no impact on fat loss).

Instead of doing crunches every day, try using barbell complexes to burn fat and build muscle, or, as I’ll illustrate below, use dumbbell complexes to get a great set of abs, burn fat, and be healthier overall.

Time out.

What’s a complex?

Basically, a complex is a group of exercises (resistance exercises) performed back to back with little rest in order to maintain or build muscle while also burning serious fat and calories in minimal time.

Ok. Time in.

The complex that I’m going to outline below is one of the best exercises (or group of exercises, really) for burning fat and getting great abs.  And the best part?

It can be done three times a week for fifteen minutes each time (45 minutes total per week!) and, well, it WORKS!

Burn fat, build muscle, and be healthier with this complex of the best exercises for fat loss:

*Perform three times per week (each session should take fifteen minutes)

*How to do it:  Perform each exercise back to back with no rest for 8-10 reps using a weight that you can handle for the “weakest” exercise.  For instance, in this routine you will be doing both bicep curls and deadlifts.  Pick a weight that you can handle for the bicep curls.  It will be easier for you to use this weight on the deadlift exercise, but that’s the idea.  You don’t want to put down the dumbbells until you are done with each of the seven exercises and are allowed one minute of rest.  Do all seven exercises 2 times with one minute rest after the first time through.

** If you don’t know how to do any of the below exercises just search for the name of the exercise at YouTube and you will find all of them.

Exercises:

1. Dumbbell Power Clean

2. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Presses

3. Bent over Dumbbell Row

4. Dumbbell Front Squat

5. Dumbbell Bicep Curls

6. Dumbbell Deadlifts

7. Dumbbell Sit Up

REST and REPEAT ONE MORE TIME.

Fifteen minutes, three times per week.  You can’t beat that, and you’d be hard pressed to find better approach to getting lean and strong fast with minimal time commitment.

Wanna kick your fat loss into high gear and make this routine even more effective?  Check out How to Lose Fat Fast: Four Easy Ways to optimize your lifestyle and get results as quickly and efficiently as possible!


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