Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do You Need a Diet?

This should be an interesting post.... Hopefully it will make you stop and think.

Do you need a diet? Interesting question. Many people view a diet in 2 words, die + t. Death. Horrible. Terrifying. Do you cringe when you think of going on a diet? Believe it or not, I'm right there with ya! 

Here's a few issues with diets:

     1.) Your view. People view diets with a beginning and an end. Now the beginning is obviously fine, but having an end date is not. It's okay to slow down or stop losing once you've reached your goal weight, look, whatever but then you must maintain it. If you stop altogether the weight creeps back on.

     2.) Many diets are too drastic! I've heard people say time and time again, "I'm not eating bread," or "I'm only having 10 or 20 grams of carbs a day," or "I'm only eating chicken and broccoli." Seriously? You're going to eat ONLY chicken and broccoli? First, no one will want to be around you're gassy self! Second, where's room for life? Parties and get-togethers? There's no wiggle room and there are too many habits to change at once.

     3.) Which one? Many diets can be confusing and even DANGEROUS to your health! Because of the confusion you may develop beliefs that are either slightly off or completely wrong and based on little or no evidence. This can lead you down the wrong path.

So what do we do? We progressively change our eating habits, ONE habit at a time! Would you go into a fight against multiple opponents at once? Wouldn't 1-on-1 be better odds or even tip the scales with support from family and friends, a personal trainer, and this blog? 

It's up to you to find the bad habit that is draining you the most. Find the one that could cut out a few hundred calories a day and start seeing results! Or find a habit that leads to many other bad habits. Are you stressed out after a long day of work? Is the ice cream is calling your name? Instead of sitting in front of the TV and downing a pint of Haagen Dazs, go for a walk with the family or some friends, have a family game night, DO something instead of eating something. It's up to you. It's important to REPLACE the bad habit with a good one. If you are stressed, find a way to deal with the stress that is constructive and will leave you feeling good not guilty.

View this as lifestyle change. If you want to be lean(er), develop the habits of a lean(er) person. It's up to you. There are more articles on the way about habits :) Just think about yours and how you can stop the bad and replace them with the good.

What's the Key to Losing Weight?

Imagine if you will, there is a round table of weight lose "experts" and "gurus." They each are representatives of "the latest science" and they claim they have found "the true key to weight loss." There's the low carb guy, the paleo guru, the low fat dietitian who is stuck in the 80's, the personal trainer who thinks you just need to run 10 miles a day, the surgeon who keeps saying "bariatric surgery is the answer," and so on. Who's right? Who should you trust with your LIFE!? Let's clear this up!

The KEY to shedding excess weight and fat is energy balance! It doesn't matter whether your only carbs are coming from broccoli or all you eat is "fat free protein cookies" and water. If you eat more energy than you use you WILL gain weight! You don't see many obese people in the plains of Africa because they are active and don't eat too much.

Calories are simply a measure of energy. The actual name is kilocalorie (kcal). Now body fat is simply stored energy. How do we lose fat? Simple. Make your body use its stored energy. How do we do that? Again simple. Eat less calories and move more so your energy requirement rises above how many calories you get from food. This does not necessarily mean less FOOD but less CALORIES. Hamburger Helper is very energy dense. It has a lot of calories in relation to the amount of food you get. Crisp, refreshing veggies have very little energy for the amount of food you get. You can eat a lot of veggies and stay in the correct energy balance... granted you don't drown the veggies in dressing.

Say Joe's basal metabolic rate (BMR) is 2,000 kcal. His body uses 2,000 kcal of energy to function. This includes digestion, cell regeneration/maintenance, etcetera. This does not include movement. If he sits around all day and eats 2,500 kcal worth of Hamburger Helper. That gives him a 500 kcal surplus times 7 days per week equals 3,500 kcal per week which is equivalent to a GAIN of 1 pound per week. That 1 pound is a mix of fat and other tissue. The majority is probably fat but weight gain and loss is almost never 1 tissue or the other. It's a mix. 

Now let's say Joe's BMR is 2,000 kcal and his activity adds up to 500 kcal per day. That's 3,500 kcal deficit per week which is about 1 pound of weight loss. Let's say Joe sits around all day but only eats 1,500k cal per day. This is the same 3,500 kcal deficit per week. While do NO EXERCISE Joe still loses 1 pound per week. 

Here's the best scenario. Joe does 250 kcal worth of activity and eats 250 kcal less energy. That's a 500 kcal deficit per day; 3,500 kcal deficit per week. That's a very manageable 1 pound loss per week! 

Atkins. South Beach. Every diet is a strategy to get energy balance under control. They may say it's all about insulin. Insulin does play a role but it's not the end all be all. Macronutrient ratio, grams of carbs per day, healthy fat, protein, none of it matters unless you have your energy balance in order. Period. Not to say none of that is important or that it won't effect your progress but unless you've found a way to cheat physics, the calorie is king when it comes to weight management!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The #1 "Secret" to all Success

No Limits

Remember when you were a kid? When you had so many dreams and aspirations? When ANYTHING was possible! When there were no limits! Those were the good ole days. So what happened? Where are you now? Are you where you want to be? Did your dreams come true?

If your dreams came true, congratulations. I applaud you and encourage you to dream more and set new goals to achieve! If not, why not? What stopped you? Did "life" get in the way? Did you let it get in the way? What happened?

Many of us have aspirations and dreams through out life. The difference is, when we are kids we see no limits, however, we lack the knowledge and experience that comes with age. That knowledge and experience, as well as age so people take us seriously, enables us to achieve. On the flip side, as we become adults, we tend to limit ourselves. For whatever reason, we get stuck in a rut. 

I know I'm young and that may work against me, but David was a youngster when he took out Goliath (true story). So with one limit hopefully taken off me, I'm here to encourage you to take your limits off! What's your dream? Dream career? Dream body? Dream knowledge level? Dream family? Dream adventure? Whatever your dream is keep it in mind. 

Part 1

The "secret" has 2 parts. Part one, get your mindset right. Will it take work to reach your dreams? Yes. Will it come quickly? Probably not. Will there be sacrifice? Most likely. Keep in mind sacrifice is giving something up for something better or more important (check the dictionary). But will it be worth it? Absolutely!

Part of the new mindset is inspiration! As one of my favorite coaches, Todd Durkin, says, "Live Inspired!" To live inspired is to read inspiring books, watch inspiring movies, listen to mentors who will help you achieve. To live inspired is to get your blood going everyday! Whatever it is, feed your dream and keep that mindset that you CAN achieve! WRITE YOUR DREAMS DOWN and remind yourself of them EVERYDAY so you stay focused! Don't get side-tracked!

Part 2

Part two is, take ACTION! It's not enough just to dream. That's what many are already doing but it's the successful ones who had a dream and took action! You can sit in a car all you want but until you put it in drive, you don't move.

So dream, plan, take action, and stay focused! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't! Get a mentor! Whatever it takes... Dream! Do!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Introducing... FITNESS by Chris Finley

Hi all,

Welcome to the Fitness by Chris Finley blog where you can get up-to-date information about fat loss, gaining muscle, exercise, nutrition and the like.

A Little About Me:

My whole journey with fitness seems to stem from a love of overcoming obstacles. Anytime someone tells me I can't do something, I want to do it just to prove that I CAN! That may seem like a pride issue, which is probably part of the story, but even when there isn't anyone telling me I can't, I want to prove to myself that I CAN!

I remember one "obstacle" in elementary school gym class that I put on myself. It was sometime around 3rd grade. The gym teacher brought out the colorful, little, square safety scooter boards for us to ride around. It was just meant to be a fun day, nothing too structured. So, for "fun," I had everyone in the class get on a scooter and hold the handle of the scooter in front of them to make a train of colorful scooters and kids. Then I grabbed a hold of the first scooter (I think with a rope?) and pulled everyone in the class around the gym, mini "strongman" style. It's not quite a semi truck, but it's a start. That's how much of a weirdo I am... :) Now what actually went down may have been different but that's how I remember it.

This love of overcoming challenges also shows in a love for super heroes, especially Superman! The strength. The honor. The integrity!

Later, in 6th grade, I fell in love with weightlifting and exercise. Again, I'm strange. Now my love for overcoming challenges is morphing into helping others overcome their fitness and health related challenges.

It kills me to see people struggle just to walk because of hip issues, back problems, or to struggle with whatever ails them be it weight, lack of strength and/or endurance, etcetera. I want people to be fit enough to not just get through the day but have plenty of energy to PLAY, EXPLORE, LIVE! That is why I became an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer and will soon be going back to school to study physical therapy along with exercise physiology, nutrition, and whatever else I can get my hands without breaking the bank!

So Why the Blog?

I want to provide a place with FREE information and TRUTH about fitness and nutrition where people can learn the PRINCIPLES and SCIENCE behind fitness and health without confusing them with the latest grapefruit and bacon diet. This blog is here to educate, debunk myths, and hopefully be a positive force in YOUR life! I will be posting healthy, mouth watering recipes, articles about exercise and nutrition as well as random thoughts. Everything in this blog is truthful to the best of my knowledge. With that said, please take everything you read with a grain of salt. It is for educational purposes ONLY. None of the information is meant to diagnose, prognose, or replace the advice of your primary care physician.

So please, read, learn and test everything you learn, and enjoy!

God bless,

Chris Finley

ACSM-Certified Personal Trainer