Tag Archive for: Weight Loss

Train Hard and Nourish vs. Diet and Exercise

We have long been conditioned to the phrase that if you need to get in shape, lose weight, or get advice from your doctor it will sound like this: “I suggest diet and exercise”. It may not sound so inspiring, it sounds somewhat like a chore to me… 

Two ways to look at it and two different approaches:

One is restrictive while the other is more motivational and performance driven. Think about it like this… if you set forth on a new “diet and exercise” program, your thought process will usually begin like this..

  1. I need to cut out this, cut back on that and eat only those.
  2. I can’t be around this, and I need to stay away from that.
  3. I will have to exercise for this long every day.
  4. I have to lift weights and do cardio X days per week.

Now let’s look at the approach of  “train hard and nourish”. You probably will approach the mission with this kind of thinking…

  1. I need to find food that will best nourish and support my performance, make me feel good, and help me burn fat.
  2. I am going to look for this, I am going to surround myself with an environment that will inspire me.
  3. I will train with intensity and variety that will make me feel good, show me the best results and keep me motivated.
  4. I will train all energy systems (anaerobic and aerobic), I will explore my body’s capability and aim to improve overall performance (strength, power, mobility and endurance) since it will relate to a better lifestyle.

Aesthetic vs Functional driven.

One of the major differences of the diet and exercise approach vs. the train and nourish approach is that the first is aesthetic driven and the second is functional driven.

When aiming for aesthetic first you are more likely to find yourself doing it all for the six pack or “great ass”. This is all fine and motivating until you have set yourself up for something unsustainable or unattainable. Just think of starving yourself for six weeks while doing monotonous cardio and taking fat burners. It sounds like living on the edge of insanity while anxious and drained — all in the quest of that six pack.

By letting function drive you it is more than likely that you will be seeking training methods that will improve on the performance that will translate to your favorite sports or activities. I like to call this a “Train for Life” approach.

Conditioned thought of “Diet” vs “Nourishment”

Diet – Through life many of us have been conditioned to attach the idea of  “diet” as restrictive, depleted, demotivating and somewhat rewardless. Humans naturally seek out reward somewhere in the process of making a change. If the reward is losing weight and/or looking better than it can be motivating and rewarding (if you get there). The question is, what if you never get there? I mean, what if you go through a period of time of restriction and depletion and your do not arrive at results you anticipated, chanced are that you will probably begin to think, “I am not enjoying this”, “this is not living”, or “I was happier before dieting”. Most likely you will then ditch the whole dieting thing altogether.

Nourishment – A completely different approach would be to seek out flavorful foods that give me more energy, more mental clarity, perform better and lose unwanted (bad weight) all at the same time. With this approach you can begin to look at food and eating much different. Grass fed butter  is ok and gives me energy? I can nuts and fruit and because I will get digestive enzymes and healthy anti-inflammatory benefits? Awesome! Let me find what I can eat that will allow me train like a beast later.

Let’s Exercise vs Let’s Train – The idea of exercising is often understood as getting off the couch and moving. Yes – of course its better than staying on the couch and playing Xbox, but it dose not always guarantee that you are hitting the intensity necessary to elevate your level of fitness. I personally don’t find the term exercise very motivating. If you where to say, “let’s go get some exercise”, I’m not very fired up from that. Now, if you where to say “let’s get out and train” I really want to get after it with intension to rise to my ultimate potential. I am fired up and thinking of all the possibilities that may translate to other areas of my life.

Feel good first – One of the most important messages that I try to extend to instructors and clients is  get addicted to feeling good from training. If you are training all in the quest of getting that 31″ waist or the perfect arms and six-pack you may fall short of your goal. Falling short of your goal may derail you from your journey. We have become very conditioned from all the marketing an infomercials that say “you can get a six-pack in 90 days simply following this routine”. Yes, these images do sell us on the ideal of looking good and feeling good after. True, you will feel better when you look better… how about feeling good first and getting hooked on it. If you are hooked on training because you feel so good and looking good becomes the byproduct of all that training you have just set yourself up for a fit feeling good lifestyle. I’m sold on that! Sometimes we can just change our phycology on our own and not wait for the marketing geniuses to brainwash us.

My 5 Reasons You Should Bodyweight Train

Bodyweight training has been a key foundation in my own personal fitness for years. Since I like to practice what I preach, all of my fitness clients have experienced many progressions of bodyweight exercises. Although there are so many amazing forms and benefits in bodyweight training I decided to share with you my top 5 reasons for bodyweight training.

1. Help Build and Maintain Lean Muscle Mass
As you may have heard, building strength is the key for maintaining a strong metabolism especially as you age, since it increases lean muscle mass that naturally declines as the years go by. Muscle mass plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight and general metabolic functions — for example, helping with insulin sensitivity, thyroid function and hormonal balance. Basically, the more lean muscle you hold on your frame, the higher your basal metabolic rate is, which means you need more calories just to maintain your weight on any given day.

2. It’s always a challenge
Bodyweight exercises are great because they’re easily modified to challenge anyone. You can add extra reps, change pace of the exercises, minimizing rest, or adding a ballistic movement (like a squat thrust or burpee in-between reps) are just a few ways to make the simplest workout tougher. Every time you add a modification, you can chart your progress.

3. Balance
When it comes to bodyweight training, sometimes increasing resistance means increasing balance, too. For example, a normal squat can be ramped up by swapping in a single-leg squat (a.k.a. a pistol squat). Functional movements like that one can improve balance through increased body awareness and control.

4 Flexibility 

Bodyweight training can go hand-in-hand with building strength and flexibility. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion ensures your joints are moving freely. Plus, it can lead to improved posture and might reduce the chance of exercise-related injury. Yoga, the fave no-equipment workout for many, is another great way to to improve flexibility while also significantly improving strength.

5. Improve Your Mood and fights Depression
Some people consider to exercise as the body’s natural anti-depressant, since it biologically reduces stress and is tied to improvements in self-esteem, confidence, the ability to problem solve, better sleep and emotional health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, chemicals that give you a natural high and lift your mood, helping naturally remedy depression and improve low energy levels.

Additional benefits of bodyweight training

• More lean muscle mass
• Healthier blood cholesterol levels
• Healthier blood pressure levels
• Lower stress levels
• Better sleep
• More energy
• Increased oxygen use by muscles
• Reduced joint and bone pain
• Removal of metabolic waste from muscles during resting periods
• Increased insulin sensitivity
• Increased resting metabolic rate

Christopher Vlaun ©2016

20 Minute Cardio – Power – Strength Interval.

Eliminate Boredom. People tend to start with all intensions to completely go full steam with a new fitness approach only to grow bored with the redundant nature of cardiovascular workouts and have difficulty fitting them into their schedule. Interval training is a great way to accomplish more in less time by combining short bursts of intense activity into your regular workout. By keeping the “slow” intervals at an even higher pace, it turns into high-intensity interval training, and may help you burn more calories in less time.

Here is a suggestion;

20 minute circuit with 4 consecutive exercises for one minute per exercise.

Begin with a bodyweight exercise like a push-up. Next try an intense power cardio exercise like a jack-squat or an Atomic mountain climber. Next a suspension resistance exercise like a TRX squat-row combo. Lastly a 20 yard shuttle run.

The benefits of interval training are only enhanced by boosting the intensity. You burn more calories because your heart rate climbs higher as you perform your circuit, and alternating intensity from all-out blast to a moderate pace helps the body exceed its anerobic threshold. Alternating power and endurance intervals allows your body to adapt faster to new circumstances, which may increase overall performance. Overall high-intensity interval training helps increase the amount of oxygen your body can process, allowing you to breathe harder and get more oxygen to your muscles without feeling out of breath. All of these benefits help you raise your overall level of performance which will only help you achieve your weight loss goals.