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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cowboy up!

It seems that quite often my husband and I will have conversations about people that just can't seem to 'Cowboy up'.  You know, just gut it out.  Be hard core.  Suck it up.  Focus and 'just do it' as Nike says.  It doesn't matter what the situation is. It could be at home, at work, at the gym.  Dealing with health, finances, whatever, it applies to all situations.  Why is this? Why are some people able to Cowboy up and others are not? How do you change this?

Every time we talk about this, it seems as if we come back to the discussion about sports.  Almost any sport, but most definitely bodybuilding. Some would argue that bodybuilding isn't a sport, but bear with me here. Most sports require a certain level of dedication to training.  That training at times may be intense.  It may require you to push yourself to the limit.  To the limit you have in your head..and then push a little bit further.  You see, the limit is the exact place that you think you need to stop.  Where you THINK you cannot take another step, push any more weight, run any faster or jump any higher.  But you CAN.  You just proved you could.  You dug deeper. When you faced the challenge you didn't give up, you pushed further.  You conquered the challenge. You didn't stop and cower or run away.  You did it.  That is what I mean by 'Cowboy up'.  Sports teach us how to do that.

What happens if you didn't play sports and you didn't ever face that challenge? Maybe you faced the challenge but just tucked tail and ran?  Chances are you probably fold in the face of adversity.  Let the challenge run you into the ground.  Give up.  Roll over and die.

My history in the bodybuilding world is no secret.  I competed for 15 years in fitness and figure competitions as an amateur and a professional.  My husband competed for years in bodybuilding competitions.  For those of you that have never done this or for those of you that have..but only gave half-hearted attempts, you have no idea what you missed.  This is a sport like no other.  It requires a selfishness of sorts, because YOU are the only one that can do it.  No one can help you.  Sure people can tell you what to do- what to eat how to train, how to pose, but YOU are the only one that can do it.  YOU have to do all of the training. YOU have to do all of the dieting. YOU have to do all of the posing.  You have to do it every day.  This isn't like golf or football or any other sport where you practice a few hours a day and then go drink beer, eat burgers and sleep until noon the next day. This is 100% dedication, 24 hours a day.  No matter what.  You have to do it when you are tired, hungry and cranky. You have to do it during the week while you are at work and on the weekends when you are not.  You do it while you are on vacation, on your birthday and Christmas and New Year's too.  There is no rest, there is no off day.  There are no excuses. You Cowboy up.

So for anyone trying to figure out how to take that next step, to figure out how to Cowboy up. How to dedicate yourself fully to something. How to just suck it up and do whatever it takes to reach your goal, I suggest doing a bodybuilding show.  Heck do a few.  I promise you that you will learn more than you ever thought you could..about yourself, about nutrition, about training, about commitment .  You will redefine what you thought was possible.  You will effect changes in yourself, both physically and mentally that no other process can match. It isn't all glamourous, it isn't easy and a lot of times it isn't even fun.  But it IS worth it.  I have learned things over the years that I otherwise never would have learned. The commitment and dedication necessary to survive in the bodybuilding world carries over into all aspects of life. Healthy eating, proper training, but most of all how to Cowboy up.


Calories in...calories out..or not


Calories in calories out.  Is that kind of like in one ear and out the other? You ate something, but you exercised so those calories are gone as if you had never ingested them? Some one told you something but you didn't really listen and now those words are gone as if they were never spoken? Hmmm, pretty sure it doesn't work that way.  Whether you heard those words or not, they were spoken.  If you took those calories in then you took them in- regardless of your exercise state. 

If calories in calories out were true then a calorie must equal a calorie.. Twinkie or chicken breast, it wouldn’t matter. All calories must be the same; trust me on this, they are not.  More on that later.  For now let's just think about this: for calories in calories out to hold true, those calories must exist in a vacuum.  They cannot affect or be affected by any system in the body.  If they are affected or do affect one (or more systems) body then we must look at the result of those effects and factor those results in to the equation as well.  Just to draw a picture of this, let's look at calories as a liquid. For calories in, calories out to hold true that liquid would need to be something like water. We pour 8 ounces of water into a Styrofoam cup and then pour 8 ounces out. The cup is empty. Calories are NOT like water they affect the system into which they are introduced.  Pour 8 ounces of sulfuric acid in a Styrofoam cup...and you have no more cup.  The acid has an effect on the things it comes in contact with, just like calories do. 

Maybe a bank account is a better example. You put money in and either earn interest or suffer fees and penalties. The money you put in doesn’t just sit there.  The same thing happens when we eat.  We take food in.  It affects our body and is affected by our body.  A cascade of events takes place causing you to earn interest (gain weight) or suffer a loss (lose weight).  Money, just like calories, does not exist in a vacuum.

If calories in calories out DID work, then 1 out of 5 children and 2 out of 3 adults in this country would not be obese. If it were as simple as burn more, eat less, or both then it would be that simple.  But it isn’t.  If calories in calories out DID work then there wouldn’t be a billion dollar weight loss industry.  But there is.  If calories in calories out DID work then all of the people working their butts off on the cardio equipment at the gym would be lean. But they aren’t. If calories in calories out DID work then you wouldn’t be reading this.  But you are.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lies about weight loss and the truth no one wants you to know

Ok, I have had enough.  Yes, I am at the end of my rope yet again. Probably for the same reasons I am every time.  Lies about weight loss (read:fat loss) and nutrition with respect to health.  I say fat loss because honestly, if you just wanted to lose weight you could cut your arm off and accomplish that, but I really don't think that is what you are aiming for.

We are inundated with lie after lie about why we are overweight, how fat loss works, the best way to lose fat (which is basically the same as keeping yourself from getting fat), who to seek for help, how long it will take and it is driving me NUTS!!! Why, why, why the lies?? Isn't it just easier to give people the right information..the TRUTH about how all of this works and let them decide if they want to reach their goals? Giving people misinformation that they will then follow to the letter (and fail with regard to fat loss) will only result in the eventual resignation of their attempts.  "I am destined to be fat" they think.  Trust me, I know how this works, and so do my clients.  One of my most successful clients who spent a good portion of her adulthood 90 pounds heavier than she is now is just as frustrated as I am. She spent years trying this and that and every diet around. Each and every 'plan' was failing. She wound up more frustrated than ever feeling that "maybe there was something genetically wrong with me."  She sees the plight of the overweight and pleads with them.."just try it THIS way.  This is how it REALLY works.  Trust me, I've been there and I have done it all."

"I have tried everything" is one common line I hear from people..and my answer is this..no you have not.  If you had indeed tried everything you would have learned the TRUTH about how this whole things works.  Let's stop the lies.  Here are some of the major offenders:

1. Calories in, Calories out -
2. To lose weight simply cut calories
3. Cut calories and exercise more
4. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie
5. High carbohydrate diet is the way to go
6. Too much protein will cause kidney damage
7. All carbohydrates are the same
8. All proteins are the same- and you don't need much anyway
9. Avoid fat at all cost
10. This pill/micronutrient will make you lose weight
11. Don't eat after 6 pm

I'm sure you have heard at least a few of these..heck, maybe some of you still think they are true.  I am here to let you know, unequivocally, they are NOT.  Want to know the real story?
Stick around, it is about to get interesting...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why are there cookies at my gym?

You probably read the title of this post and figured it was just some cute line written to get your attention and that I would then be discussing some other fun topic.  I am saddened to tell you that that could not be further from the truth.  I really want to know why there were cookies at my gym.  Chocolate chip cookies. In the break room. Right in the middle of the table.  REALLY??? I resisted the urge to toss them in the trash, although to this moment I am not really sure why.

Let's back up just a little.  What is a gym and why do people go there? Searching for the definition of 'gym' you find this: noun, 1. gymnasium, 2. a membership organization that provides a range of facilities designed to improve and maintain physical fitness and health. But nothing about cookies.  In fact, I would dare go as fas as to say that by its definition cookies do not belong in a gym. Well, unless they are designed to improve or maintain one's health. I don't care WHAT kind of cookie you find, it will not do that.  I don't care if it is all natural, 100% organic, gluten free or vegan.  It is a cookie and it will not improve your health.  Therefore it does NOT belong in my gym.

Imagine yourself as a member of the gym.  You walk in all fired up for your training session, having been focused on it and your healthy eating plan for some time now, and in walks a gym employee with cookies or pizza..or better yet, what if it was a delivery man?   What  goes through your mind?  "What the..??!!"
EXAAACCCCTLY!  That is the same thing I say when I see the evidence of such goings-on.  C'mon people, you are here to help people become healthier. Leave the crap at home.  Having cookies at the gym is like leaving a brochure for shoddy hedge-fund investing in the break room of a bank.  You are going to tell people to exercise and eat healthy, then come to the break room and eat your pizza and cookies and drink your soda.  Does that make you feel good about what you are doing? Do you even think about it?
....maybe you should.