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10 Things That Slow Your Gainz

Progress is a powerful motivator in anyone’s journey. With fitness there are so many ways to track your progression. Some people track there weight lost, do progress photos or measure themselves. Regardless of the way you do it you get some type of gratification from your results. That is, until you plateau or regress.

Normally you can tweak a few things and get the ball back rolling. That is if you can figure out why you hit the brick wall in the first place.

There are 10 reasons that I’ve learned that might hurt your progression:

1. Diet

Fad diets normally can not be sustained. You can’t live off a juice diet and changing up what you eat just for the purpose of losing weight rapidly won’t give you life long results. You have to make a conscious decision to change your eating for LIFE. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good time out or dessert ever again, it just means that now you will control when you over indulge on them. Meaning reducing how many times you eat out or enjoying a dessert one or two days out of the week verse everyday. Another thing you can do is find substitutions for ingredients that are not filled with fat and carbs. Eighty percent of your success with your health and fitness goals rely on you committing to your diet.

2. Lack of Sleep

You Need at least 8 hours of sleep

Sleep is a powerful thing. Eight hours of sleep is the recommendation. Why is it important for your Heath and fitness? Because lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during stress. This hormone decreases metabolism and leads to increased fat. So, not only is lack of sleep not good for your mental health but it is bad on your physical health as well.

3. Inconsistency

You can not, I repeat, can not expect to see results when you are not consistent with your diet and workout regimen. Notice that it takes you months to get really good weight loss going, but only about a couple of days to ruin it. Every time you take an extended break off your regimen you set yourself back a few weeks. So, be consistent about starting a workout and maintaining the workout. That means for life! What you do to lose the weight, you must continue to do to keep the weight off.

4. Repetitive Workouts

The body is smarter than you give it credit for. When we first start a workout it is hard, you barely make it through it, and you hurt like heck days after it. The next time you do the workout it’s a little easier and the body hurts less. Eventually, you can do the workout with ease and have no sore days. This means your body has adapted to the workout. This workout is no longer working towards getting you those maximal gains, because your smart bod has figured out a way to repair and prepare. Your body is now stronger than the workout, which means it’s time for you to select a new regimen.

5. No Strength Training

Most of us know how to run and do a variety of cardio oriented activities but we forget about building muscle. Muscle is what you really want to have to maximize calorie burn. While doing cardio you only burn calories during the act. When strength training you burn calories for days which means more calories burnt. Not only that, but strength training helps you build muscle which then leads to an increase in metabolism.

6. Slacking on Your Workout

I was so guilty of this at the beginning of my health and fitness journey. Then one day I realized that if I slacked on my training the only person I am hurting is myself. You can have a personal trainer or a group of motivated friends, but if you don’t have self motivation then you will not reach your goals.

7. Living Sedentary

You Need at least 8 hours of sleep-2

If you’re sitting long periods of time or laying around all day your body sees no need to burn calories. Standing instead of sitting burns more calories. You can always get up and just walk around you house or job. You can also take the time to do a little light walking for lunch or use  the “smoke” breaks as a way to get up and get moving.

 

 

8. Not Eating Enough

Calories are the first thing to go when wanting to lose weight. It is not recommended to eat under 1000 calories a day. What you will do is put your body in starvation mode and shut down your metabolism. Plus, when you drop macros into the poverty levels you don’t have the fuel you need to effectively complete your workouts. Your body will then store fat instead of burn it.

9. Cheating On Yourself

So maybe you have a diet and workout plan, but you pick at everyone else’s food around you. In your mind you are just eating little bites here and there, but if you add those bites up at the end of the day you will notice that it actually adds onto your calories or has dramatically increased your fat macros.

10. EXCUSES!

You-Need-at-least-8-hours-of-sleep-3This is by far the biggest reason why people don’t reach their fitness goal. It is the reason why many don’t reach goals period. I have heard the “I don’t have time” excuse, the “I just can’t eat right” excuse, or the “I’m always tired” excuse. In order to achieve any goal you have to get rid of excuses. You have to decide that success is worth more than television, sitting around surfing the web or sleeping excessively.  Sometimes making this choice leads to either life or death in some cases. So, choose life. Get out there and make things happen, because If I can you Can.

Stay Driven

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Keeping Them Active

Kids today are less active than they were when I was growing up. I remember being outside all day and not even interested in sitting in front of a television. Video games were pretty popular back then, but parents still got their kids outdoors.

With the new games and interest in technology it is so important to take the time getting active with your children. Parents work hard on their day job and get home just in time to say “how was your day”, make dinner, do homework and get ready for the next day. We send them to school with the hopes that teachers will teach them how to be good productive members of society, but that is not the teachers job. We, the parents, are responsible for that lesson. That means you only have Saturday and Sunday to really incorporate family time.

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I normally hear a lot of families doing movie night, game night or eating out. Some families just sit at home and everyone does their own thing. Well, how about establishing a family workout night or day! There are a ton of sports and activities you can do as a family.

The Weeples and I like to do a track day. We go to the track and do circuits, or I do while they play, or I teach them running form, baton hand offs, proper stretching and how to warm up. As a parent we have to remember we are the first exposure of the world to our children and a lot of what they will carry with them through life is what we teach them.

If you teach your Weeples a sedentary lifestyle then more than likely that is what they will mimic until they get the knowledge and drive to want to change. If you spend the time at home exposing them to a variety of foods, teaching them to eat healthy, to be active, positive and take care of their mental and physical wellbeing they will definitely be ready for life’s challenges. Set your Weeples up for success and not failure. Remember, they are watching you.

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At Home Circuits

Career, relationships, kids or just life in general can make getting to the gym difficult. I started my journey in the gym and felt I had to go there to accomplish my workout goals. Well, not really.Party Faces

You can do your workouts at home! “Starting an at home gym is so expensive” is what a co-worker said to me. Yes! gym equipment can be pricey, but if you buy items as you need them one at a time you will have a little gym in no time. Does it have to be a nice garage gym with a treadmill or bike? No, you can use your driveway, neighborhood or local track to get a quick cardio session in. If you don’t have time to do those then circuit training is the way to go.
With circuit training you can structure your workout to keep the heart elevated while doing strength training in just a matter of 30-45 min. I literally get up in the morning and do my circuits while preparing the kids clothes for school. If you’re a night owl you can fit in a circuit after putting the kid to bed. Either way quick circuit training keeps you moving towards your goals.

Over the last year I had been buying a kettlebell here and dumbbell there. I even bought a barbell just to make it easier to workout at home. Last week I realized I had just enough equipment to not depend on the gym to get in a decent workout.

So, I tell you this, when you look at how much you have to buy to set up a at home gym it can be discouraging. Instead think about what you can get right now. Set short goals, for example, commit to buying one pair of dumbbells every pay period or every other pay period. Before you know it, you too will have a nice little home gym.

Remember, If I can, you can!
Stay Driven `

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Life Happens

First of all this post is long over due and an update is needed. So, June 9th I graduated with my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. Finishing school is a great accomplishment no matter who you are, but I didn’t get the chance to enjoy it like I should have. Two weeks prior I walked the stage in my first and last body building competition of the year.

You caught that right? First and last?  This year was my first year stepping on a NPC stage since 2015 and in all honesty, I wasn’t read. It wasn’t so much physically, but mentally. I was exhausted from training, studying, taking test and preparing my self to move from one coast to another. I was determined to see this commitment through and felt as if I would be a failure for backing out. I forced my self through prep and onto the stage to place eighth out of about sixteen women. I left feeling like I had the worse show of my life and soon realized due to my PCS (Permanent Change of Station) I wouldn’t have time to redeem my self.

What I didn’t realize is that this was just the beginning. After graduating I had to quickly hit the road for a twenty four plus hour drive to Maryland. Once I arrived the house and school hunting began. Let me tell you… Finding a home and decent school for your family under pressure is not a joke. I lived in a hotel for about a month and just when I felt like I was being sucked down a black hole things started to change, starting with passing the PANCE test for my Physician Assistant certification.

Soon after getting the results for my cert I got notified my kids were accepted to my first choice for school, I moved in to a  spacious home, my leadership allowed me to in-process with my children since I didn’t have child care and I re-estalished my workout routine after gaining a nice fourteen pounds. The stress started to slowly diminish and I found my self thankful.

I was thankful for the peace of mind I had, my children’s health and my tenacity to overcome all these lemons thrown my way. I made pink lemonade! I also had time to think back on my show and realized that at my age with children it is such an accomplishment to even stand on stage next to young childless women and place even eighth. Not to mention I looked pretty darn good.

Sometimes when you feel like life is happening and not happening in a good way just hang in there. Everyday is a new day, with a new day comes change and things fall apart so that better things can come together.

Stay Driven 💋

 

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Bricks

Very few people like obstacles, especially if they hinder progression. They get you frustrated, lengthen your timeline and change your goals up a bit. It’s all in the way you embrace the obstacles.

Do you remember the saying “glass half full”? Well I do. I used to be a glass half empty person that was driven by my vision and could see nothing beyond it. You know where a mindset like that gets you? It makes you stressed and frustrated.  Yes things can get done that way, but it’s so much harder on the mind.

Life isn’t about planning to precision and hitting every target on the mark. Sometimes you have to focus on the 25 meter target and let all others sit for a while. The beauty about life is you have options, can organize priorities and things are forever changing.

What if we had to make a decision about our future without the choice to make things right and had to just take what ever happened? What if that first choice caused stress, was wrong or lead to some bad outcomes. Yeah no, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in that life either. The beauty of struggle is being able to choose a different route.

When you hit the brick wall ask your self is there  a way around, through or over. Then think back about how you got to the brick wall and understand why so that you can prevent it from happening again. Then develop your plan.

Nothing gets better or progresses without a solid plan of action. No soldier goes into battle randomly without a strategy, because that is a sure way to fail. Always take the time to know what you’re up against, what you’re fight for and the value of it all. Without knowing these things you loose your way.

Stay Driven 💋

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Fear Of Self

Many times we find ourselves being our own worst enemy. What does that mean? Well, have you ever started something or thought of something and decided not to see it through because you FEARED or DOUBTED it would be successful?

Of course, we all have. You are not alone. Everyday tons of people hinder their own success or progress. You fear the unknown and start to doubt your self then before you know it you flake out of goals.

What makes your flaking out easier are excuses. I don’t have time… It’s just too hard… I don’t know how? These type of questions are self doubt. What most fail to realize is it is ok to doubt and have fear. It’s a natural feeling when embarking on a big journey, but what you must never do is surrender to the action of giving up. What’s worse than giving up is not evening trying because you have already blindly decided you will fail. It’s all in your head. Failure is allowing fear to hinder you from trying. You have to have a little faith in your self.

At the end of the day if you can’t be your biggest supporter, if you can’t be dedicated to you, if you can’t take your hand and stand with you through your fears and self doubt how can you ask someone else to? You can’t! So, it’s time to fight fears and self doubt. Your own attitude will determine your altitude.

Stay Driven 💋

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Food For Thought

Truth be told, the majority of people eat for satisfaction and entertainment not for survival. In all honesty, more than half of us consume portion sizes that are way too large for us. After eating a large satisfying meal we then stretch out to let it “digest” and few soon after fall asleep. Well, guess what, your body just breaks that large meal down and stores it. That in it’s self is another topic. The biggest question is why do we feel the need to intake more than needed?

Well it’s a learned behavior. Many families will sit around and enjoy large portions of food together. I grew up in a family with the saying of, “you can’t leave the table until your plate is cleaned.” Bingo! The learned behavior… As a parent have you ever thought about what the accurate portion size for a child is? I didn’t until I started to break the learned behavior in regards to my own diet.

We pass down this bad habit of over eating and therefore pass down diseases that are related to poor diet habits. Even if you have a hard time breaking those bad habits with your own diet you can start to teach your kids how to eat the right portion size for them. Decondition your self from thinking they have to clean their plates and teach them how to stop overindulging past the warning sign your body gives when you are full.

Everyone has a required daily caloric intake and I urge you to speak to your health care provider about yours and your children’s. One happy meal is more than half of some kids daily requirement. For young kids this means obesity and early cardiovascular disease. We usually associate heart disease with being older or obese, but children as young as 10 years old are showing plaque build up in their arteries. What does that mean… We are feeding our young nation to death.

Time to feed them to life!

Stay Driven

 

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Macro Breakdown

Men and women both approach me and ask what they can do to reach their desired weight. I’ll usually ask them what type of exercise they’re doing and it ranges from some to none. At times, I even have very active individuals approach, but their problem is definition. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t out train a bad diet?”

Diet combined with strength training gets you that tone look. The majority will be inspired by the muscular bodies in a magazine or at the gym and want that look, but they don’t want to spend money on a trainer. The truth is you don’t have to spend money on a trainer or dietitian. What you do have to be is active in your search for knowledge. How do you get that tight ripped body?

The journey to lean is different for each individual. You can go and research the latest diets and choose one that fits your liking, but at the end of the day you need balance. When individuals seek me out the first thing I ask is, “What is your diet like?” Most have no clue and have just been eating whatever quick meal they can get without any thought as to what they are actually feeding their bodies. After a few minutes of conversation they realize that not only have they been eating way too many calories, but they have no idea what they’ve been eating. Macros are a good way to monitor that.

A lot of people feel like it is just too hard to take the time to calculate your macros when in reality it is very simple. All it takes is a little extra time in the beginning to get comfortable doing it and then boom! You get results. Go figure right…

We all know that in order to gain 1 pound of fat you have to consume 3500 calories. By cutting 500 calories from your diet each day you should lose 1 pound per week. The key is knowing how many calories you should be eating a day. There are a ton of calorie counters you can google to find this out, but if you have been living off a very high calorie diet or even not eating enough then a gradual change is what you need. Just don’t jump into it cold turkey; Give your body time to adjust. First start out with tracking your meals and calculate your current macros. Once you know how many calories you’ve been taking in and what your macros are you can start adjust those fats and carbs.

Carbohydrates should make up 50% of your diet, protein 10-35%, and Fats 20-35%. Now, if you are bodybuilding, your protein will more than likely be high and fats lower, but if you are at this point you should know how to adjust macros or have a coach/dietitian/trainer. I’m a fan of the IIFYM diet and I will often share this method. Everyone I have shared it with sees results, plus you get to eat what you want. So, don’t be intimidated by macro calculating; it’s simple and tasty too.

 

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Wanna Get Big… Eat Carbs

Yes! I want to get big you say, but carbs will make me fat! Well not necessarily. When my trainer told me that my carbs were going to increase by 100g I said the same thing. I was totally scared and afraid of what would happen to my body. Well, guess what, the only thing that happened is happiness. Carbs make me smile and my muscles love them. “Well don’t they turn into fat”? that’s what you’re thinking right? The function of carbohydrates are to increase insulin and the increase in insulin leads to fat storage, but wait, insulin is not the exact reason why you store. It is the imbalance of energy vs. fuel that does.

So yes, if you sit around and eat a excess amount of carbs then your body is going to store them nicely in your fat cells. Per uptodate.com, a medical site commonly used by doctors, your carbs should be approximately 50% of your caloric intake. Strange right, yea I thought so too after being mentally conditioned by previous trainers to keep them below 100g instead of the 180g I’m currently on. Another great thing is carbs increase your GAINZ.

The increase in insulin actually drives amino acids into your muscles which leads to muscle growth via protein synthesis. Awesome right! I know. Let’s not forget energy. Carbs equal glucose, glucose equals fuel, which means you have more energy to optimize physical performance. Thus meaning a productive day in the gym. No carbs, no glucose, decrease performance means that you’re not getting BIG.

When it comes to competition prep, off season is the best time to get big. Slowly increase your carbs to aid in muscle growth. It is not until active prep that you need to worry about carb depletion as a tool to shred down and if you’ve managed your macros properly in off season you won’t need to deplete as much. Even while on prep my carb intake is higher than most. Good off season leads to a good prep. As you can now see carbs are your friend, so eat them.

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Don’t Just Prep for 10 seconds Pre For life

You might read the title and think hmmm… What does she mean by that. Well, I have been competing for 3 years now and have changed trainers a few times. What I have noticed is that everyone has the same goal, but different ways of achieving it. If you are interested in competing you have to ask your self, “How do I want to prep and what type of health do I want after prep”.

Now that you have decided that you want a healthy prep that ensures a healthy life after the competition (Yes… you do want a healthy life after competition) it’s time to think about diet.  This is where things get a little interesting. Many people use the “Bro” method of dieting, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), and even some competitors are vegan. Yes vegan, and I’ve seen some killer vegan competitors. The biggest mistake about the whole meal prep is choosing unqualifed individuals to write meal plans for you. You can eat fruits and a variety of vegetables while on prep. Don’t let anyone say you can’t.

When you go long periods without certain fruits and veggies guess what??? You can end up malnourished and who want dull teeth or no teeth. Eat your fruits and veggies please. Not to mention your body will be craving all the vitamins and minerals you are lacking and drive you to bing.  Again, killing all your hard work in the gym.

Moral of the story… diet is the key to getting that win. You can train all you want, but you can’t get that winning physique unless you are on a diet that is right for you. Make sure your trainer is also certified to provide you with a balance diet and most of all you need to take ownership of your health. A few seconds of stage time is not worth years of trying to fix your organs and metabolism.

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In My Boots

It’s one thing to have a family member be a military member and even more stressful to be married to a military member. But, what if you are that military member. Too much to wrap your head around. Serving your country during the time of conflict is challenging in it’s self. What’s even more challenging is being a woman serving your country. We all know that it is definitely a male dominated career and at times women have to be very type A to survive the cut. At times you feel like you lose your self in it all.

That was my challenge for a while. Like many I joined so young that I had no idea who I was or where life was going for me. I did know that what ever it was I was going to do had to be medical. Which I was pretty lucky to get. If you come in open general your pretty much get the job the service you joins needs at the time. Let me tell you too, you hit the ground running. At least I did… Everything is a blur and yes deployments and moving all the time sucks, but you get the opportunity to learn other cultures.

In the mean time you grow your immediate family and you wake up one day a wife, mom, and military member. Everyone needs something and of course you know your career won’t wait. So, things get crazy and you feel like a side act in a circus, but you keep going. You are what we call in the Air Force “Resilient”. All that organization and training from basic kicks in and now folding, as we did in my time, and tweezing shirts all makes since. They were teaching you structure, organization, dedication, and attention to detail. The survival tools… All these tools I apply in my personal life as well. It’s how I keep the side show under control and if I can, you can.