Food making you fat?

In this video I talk about how most people that believe their eating is their biggest issue holding them back from losing weight don’t realize that their eating habits are usually in direct correlation with their focus. Since most people on a diet or eating plan are doing so to change the body they don’t like they are focused more dominantly on where they are (and with a lot of emotion) than where they want to go. Focusing on the fat you want to get rid of causes your brain and body to crave things to support being fat. On top of that, the foods that most people are taught are bad for them is not coming from their own experience. When you pay attention to how you feel after you eat foods you will know more than anyone else can tell you (that is, if you can not feel bad or guilty about what you have eaten). Your body is giving you feedback all the time–use it!!

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It’s your CHOICE to stay lose weight or stay where you are

In this video I talk about how if you are like most people you are constantly looking at where your body is (or isn’t). Even if you know where you want to go you are more than likely comparing any weight loss results to your current condition. The problem is, if you continue to give attention (especially with emotion) to where you are, you will continue to put that into your creative process. When you want to change your body because you don’t want to be where you are you are deciding between where you are and somewhere else (in the hopes that the “something else” will be better), which means you will always be comparing where you want to go with where you are. When you do that, you haven’t let go of where you are, which means you don’t own it and you can’t get rid of something you don’t own (or accept as part of you or your experience). When you choose (accept) your current body condition you are, in essence, owning it, thus it is your to leave behind. Choosing where you are gives you power to let it go and move freely toward what you desire (which was born out of the original observation of body you dind’t approve of). Accept where you are, know what you want and don’t look back at where you are coming from.

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What’s the payoff for you NOT losing weight?

In this video I talk about how sometimes the benefits for staying where we are outweigh the benefits of achieving our goal, which is one big reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. But when you take a closer look at the true payoff of staying where you are (looking at the actions or benefits you think you would be giving up by going to your goal) you might see the deep emotional payoffs are the same as the benefits/payoffs of your goal. Acknowleding these similarities will help you move toward your goal without the feeling of giving up anything. In fact, given two options that are similar, your brain will always gravitate toward the better option.

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What are the upsides and downsides of ‘losing weight’?

In this video I talk about how sometimes we have a hidden agenda that keeps us from making the changes we desire–like ‘losing weight’ (or, as I prefer to say ‘getting lean’). And that could be that it is safer or better for us to stay where we are because the upsides of staying where we are outweigh the upsides of accomplishing our goal. The same goes for the downsides of accomplishing our goal outweighing the downsides of staying where you are. If you are stuck then there is a good chance you are getting more from being where you are than getting to your goal would provide.

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What’s the payoff for changing your body (video)?

In this video, I talk about how knowing what you want is one thing but knowing WHY you want it (why you really want it) helps you to connect your desire to a deep emotional payoff, which is often a core value. I also share my personal story of how, using this process, I transformed my body to where it is now (and has been easily maintained for the past 3 years).

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How you feel about your body might be symbolism about something else in your life

In this video I talk about how our body is sometimes a reflection of something else going on in another part of our life. How you feel about your body may be a reflection (or symbolism) of how you feel about something else in your life and the fact you haven’t dealt with that other thing has caused the emotional equivalent to show up in your body to get your attention.

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Where’s your focus?

In this video I, once again, talk about how your focus and your actions must match in order for you to see optimal results from your exercise program. Focusing on your fat (problem) is a conflict of programming with exercise and diet. In order to ‘lose weight’ one must see where it is they are going so the actions match the focus of being lean and healthy.

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How do you measure ‘weight loss’ success?

As I’ve talked about in recent posts, it is hugely important to know where it is you are going in order for you to get anywhere—at least, get anywhere in a reasonable fashion and be able to maintain the results. Wanting to ‘lose weight’ is not a positive-oriented goal. I say this for three reasons. 1. How many things in your life do you associate a positive perspective with when losing something (I guarantee the negative association way more outweighs any positive ones)? 2. Focusing on the thing you don’t want (the weight, body fat, love handles, pain, tightness, etc.) only causes your brain to look for more of it as your brain tries to find matches to what it is you are focused upon. 3. If you don’t know where you are going how are you going to measure success?

This last one is a big one. I ask this of all my clients when they come to see me—whether that is for changing their body or working on an ache or pain (MAT). I ask my clients how they will know if what we are doing is successful (how will they measure this?) and almost every single client tells me that the problem will no longer be there. The pain will be gone, they won’t have a flabby belly, etc. They have no clue what would be in its place. They don’t know where they would end up if they weren’t where they currently are any longer. This is a huge problem.

This is a huge problem because in order to look to see if your problem is going away you have to associate with the problem (don’t think about the color blue), which only draws your focus once more on the problem, thus causing you to be oriented to the problem. I ask if the problem was no longer there what would be in its place and the answer is usually “nothing” or some form of the disclusion of the problem. I guess most people start with the idea that they just want the problem to be gone (good place to start). This comes from the thought that the problem is what is causing them to feel bad. If they remove the problem then they won’t feel bad anymore.

But the real reason they feel bad is for two reasons. 1. They have identified a problem, which means there has to a solution (just like you can’t have a left without a right or an up without a down). This is a good thing as this helps to determine personal preference and it helps us to grow by virtue of moving into a new solution allows us to become more than we were (all problems cause us to expand). In fact, think about most of the physical things you enjoy in your life. They were more than likely solutions to previous problems. 2. They continue to keep their focus on the problem and not the solution (the desire) that was born from the problem. This causes a sense of separation between two points of relativity—the problem and the solution (and when I say solution, it is to reference the desire born from the problem, not the solution of action to change the problem). The only reason you know this is a problem is because on some level (subconscious, unconscious level) the other side of this (the solution) exists. Because this exists, part of you has to be naturally moving toward this just as it is in our DNA to survive and move toward safety. It is in our DNA to move toward evolution and progression of our lives.

If you don’t know where you are going you won’t know what to look for while you are on your way. The more you look back to see if the problem is going away you continue to orientate yourself back to the problem. One example I usually give my clients to help illustrate this idea is thinking of driving from Chicago to Miami. If we left Chicago and at some point we noticed we were in Kentucky you would know you are on your way. You wouldn’t freak out that you are not in Miami yet as you would recognize that you are on the right path. Rather than only being 300 miles from Chicago you would see that you are only 700 miles from Miami. However, if your only barometer for success was knowing you were away from Chicago you would never really know if you were heading in the right place. Any destination would do. If you knew you were 100 miles out of Chicago you could very well be in Michigan, which was the wrong way. And when you get lost you always end up going back to the place you are most familiar.

Thinking about trying to get rid of your problem only is like putting Chicago as your destination in your GPS. You would drive around but continually end up where (or near where) you started. With that said, once you can start to identify where you would be if you eliminated the problems then you have something positive to focus upon. If had a roll on your belly and wanted to get rid of that what would the elimination of that look like? What would be in its place? A lean stomach? Flat belly? Firm abs? When you know what your final destination is you will then have things to look for. Like looking for your abs to become more firm. If you can spend more time every day looking for evidence of where you are going than focusing on where you are coming from then you will cause your brain to shift into solution mode. This mode will help you resonate with the success, which will help to inspire your actions like exercise, foods choices and things that consistent with someone who is successful. In this case, you will be training your brain to think like someone who is successful, rather than identifying the things that are unsuccessful.


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You often get exactly what you expect from exercise

The other day I was working with one of my Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) clients and we got to talking about her exercise routine with the intention of making sure she was progressing her exercise within the tolerability of her newly restored muscle function. Within that conversation she mentioned she was recently just doing resistance training with the hopes of building muscle and refrained from cardio activity because she didn’t want to affect her muscle gains. She then informed me that she just started doing cardio intervals to get leaner now that she has shifted her focus from building muscle to getting lean. I asked her what she thought she would be getting from cardio as opposed from resistance training (which she told me she was doing a circuit-type resistance routine that elevated her heart rate quite a bit—where it required frequent recovery breaks) and, like so many people, looked at resistance training solely as a tool to build up her muscle (thus metabolism) and cardio was only to reduce body fat (and, in her mind, potentially lose some of the muscle she had gained recently but was willing to sacrifice the muscle for getting leaner).

Well, the reason I tell this story is because this conversation is pretty common. Most people think that cardio and resistance training are two entirely different animals with two totally different effects on the body. In some cases—depending on what you do—this could be true but I informed her it is important to not think of these two things as separate but just different ends of the same spectrum (I also brought this up briefly in a previous post). I told her to think about the two extremes of this spectrum—on one end you have long, slow, consistent-paced cardio (like jogging in your fat-burning zone) and on the other end you have heavy resistance training that most body builders use to build bulk (often doing one heavy set, taking a rest and then doing another set when the muscle has recovered). I shared with her that the long, slow cardio is still like resistance training in that it is lighter, faster resistance training. However, done at this end of the spectrum it can reduce lean muscle tissue as the body will learn how to adapt for efficiency. In this case, reducing muscle mass is an advantage to going long periods of time with this type of activity (just look at moth marathon runners—lean but no muscle mass)—less muscle, less energy expenditure = more efficiency.

I then talked about the two types of activities she was involved in—circuit training with resistance and interval cardio training. I explained that those two activities are closer together on the spectrum and have carry-over results. Resistance training in a circuit (the way she is doing it and so many exercisers do) elevates the heart rate enough to not only make this similar to an interval workout but it also stimulates the same survival mechanisms that cause your body to want to be lean and strong (the brain doesn’t distinguish between exercise stress like that and real-life stresses that cause your body to think it would be a better survivor if it was leaner and stronger). In this case, her resistance training is just slower cardio interval training. On the other hand, her cardio interval training (pushing herself for about 90 seconds and then recovering between workloads) required her muscles to work in a way that could make them gain muscle size (think of a soccer player who does sprints all game—most of their legs are very well formed), which would be one thing that would prevent her from losing any muscle mass and this activity would be considered faster, lighter resistance training (consider that in order to cause the body to “fail” at a desired time like 90 seconds the resistance would have to be high enough to cause fatigue).

The point here is that she wasn’t getting any leaner from her resistance training because she didn’t believe she would. She had the firm belief that she had to do this thing that she thought was totally different in order to earn those specific results. It’s not to say that by adding more work (intervals) she wouldn’t hit the fast-forward button on her results but she should have had some results from her activity levels in the gym. I then shared with her a study that was done by a Harvard researcher who took 84 hotel maids who considered themselves to be out of shape and believed they did not do anything during their daily activity that would be considered aiding in their health. She broke the maids up into two groups and took basic measurements of everyone (heart rate, blood pressure, circumference, body fat, etc.). One group she simply sent on their way (the control group—40 maids) and with the other group (44 maids), she informed each how much activity they did on a daily basis (doing maid duties like vacuuming, changing sheets and laundry) and how that affected their calorie expenditure and health (like exercise does). Armed with only that knowledge, they were sent back to work and monitored to make sure they did no additional activities. Four weeks later both groups were brought back in and measured again. The group that was told nothing had no real change but the group that was educated about their daily activities, which actually exceeded the surgeon general’s recommendation for a healthy lifestyle, all showed massive changes in their body weight, body fat and the other health benefits like reduction in blood pressure and resting heart rate. The only difference here, which was the point I was conveying to my client, was their belief about the benefits of their activities. Once they believed they would get results from something they were already doing, they got those results. My client was getting exactly what she thought she should be getting (or not getting) from her resistance activity.

The more you are educated with up-to-date information about your brain, neuro-chemistry, emotions, exercise, and how your body functions in general, the greater chance you can be more efficient with your activities to help you get to your desired body and health goals.

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How to create your own cardio interval program

In my last post I talked about the advantages of doing more interval-type of training when it comes to cardiovascular activity, as opposed to traditional “fat burning” cardio. Now I will help you understand the basic ranges for an interval cardio routine. You will first need to know what your resting heart rate (RHR) is. To do this, lay down comfortably without much movement for about ten minutes. After ten minutes have passed you can check your pulse by either using a heart rate monitor or measuring your pulse manually. To do this manually simply use the pads on your index and middle fingers to locate your pulse either on the inside of your wrist (radial pulse—about an inch down from your wrist near the thumb-side edge) or on your neck (carotid pulse—in the hollow between the windpipe and the large muscle in your neck). Make sure to keep the pressure light. Once you find a pulse, using a second hand on a watch or clock, count how many beats you have in 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4. (You can also do this for 10 seconds and multiply by 6.)

Once you have your RHR, you will plug this into the Karvonen heart rate formula to figure out what your base ranges are (these may change depending on your level of conditioning). The Karvonen formula is ([220 – age – RHR] × 60–90% + RHR]). Simply plug your age and your RHR into this formula along with the intended working effort (the percentage of workload). If you are de-conditioned (not having worked out in over six months or have any health concerns) I would suggest figuring out your ranges for a percentage between 65% and 75% (note: for someone who is not acclimated to exercise induced stress this level of work may push the body so it’s more work than if you were conditioned and working in this range, which is more of the fat burning zone). If you consider yourself to be in good condition (you work out with some regularity and are fairly healthy) I would suggest working in the range of 75–85%. And if you are in excellent condition (work out rigorously already and are healthy) I would suggest working in the 85–90% range.

Note: It is recommended that you visit your physician for a checkup before starting any cardiovascular program (or any exercise program for that matter). Even if you have been doing cardiovascular activity already, it is recommended to visit your doctor before starting higher intensity workouts.

Once you have determined your working range, find a cardiovascular activity (treadmill, bike, elliptical, running/jogging outside, etc.) to test your working range against your base range. This activity we will call “effort.” The range you came up with using the formula is simply to give you some basic guidelines and to know what to shoot for. I always recommend starting any activity with about two or three minutes at a very light pace to warm up. Once you are warmed up, start to increase the workload/effort (on a bike or elliptical you would increase the resistance, the treadmill or outside jogging would require you to increase your speed) about 25 percent from your warm-up speed or go up one or two levels. (In many cases you might just have to increase one level at a time as going from level one to level two might be the only jump you can make.) Do this for about a minute and evaluate how you feel. Pay close attention to your breathing as well as other things like whether you feel nauseous or dizzy. Your goal with this is to work toward the top end of your predetermined working heart rate range and hold that for one minute. However, the most important factor here is not your heart rate but your ability to breathe. Once you get to a point where you are becoming winded, you are nearing your high end, and once at this point you should try to hold that for a minute.

If increasing your effort did not get your heart rate and breathing rate up after one minute, then increase the effort another 25 percent (or another level). Do this for another minute and see if you start to become winded. Continue raising the effort every minute until you start to become winded. Once you are winded, continue this pace for one additional minute. Check your pulse at the beginning and end of the final minute. After the minute of work at this highest level is complete, start your cool-down. Bring the effort down to the lowest level you can work at and feel comfortable (walking at one mile an hour on the treadmill might be too slow). Notice how fast your heart rate starts to come down. Within the first minute your heart rate should drop about thirty beats—fifty if you are in good condition. If your heart doesn’t come down thirty beats in the first minute, don’t fret—you just have some work to do. Continue cooling down for two minutes, then get off the machine or stop your activity altogether. Sit down comfortably for one minute, and then check your pulse again. Your goal is to be at about 100 beats per minute. If you are not there after the one minute of rest, continue sitting and checking your heart rate every minute until it recovers.

If you are fairly de-conditioned it might take you a long time to recover. If it takes you longer than five minutes to recover (to get to 100 bpm) then you may want to consider that the effort you did was too high for the time being and you should set your working range to a lower level. If you recovered inside five minutes, then your effort is appropriate. If you recovered before your initial two minutes of cool-down were up, then you may want to consider working at a slightly higher range.

Once you have determined your working range, you can create your workout. Always start with a light two- or three-minute warm-up. After you complete your warm-up, go to or near the high end of your working level of effort. Your goal is to do this level for two minutes and to be close to having to stop because of oxygen debt (meaning you are running out of breath) by the end of your two minutes. You should want to stop because you no longer have the ability to continue, not just because you have reached the two minute mark. Once you are done with your two minutes, bring your effort down as low as possible and cool down until your heart rate recovers to about 100 bpm. My simple rule is, if my heart rate does not recover inside five minutes (either because I was already stressed from the day or a workout or some other factor) then I have stressed my body enough to send the appropriate signals to activate the “lean signal.” Once you recover, you can repeat this process until you have worked for about twenty minutes. I often include my warm-up and final cool-down in this twenty minutes and usually get about four sets (a set is one working range and one cool-down) in. Some days I get more, and there are days I only do one or two sets. I always listen to what my body will allow. More is not better if my body is not recovering well.

Note: If you had a hard time recovering after your first working range, then you may want to start your workout very lightly by doing intervals at a medium pace (maybe about 60 percent effort) for two minutes, never really getting out of breath, and cool down for two minutes, going back and forth (two minutes on, two minutes off) for the twenty minutes. Once you are better conditioned, you can try to challenge yourself a bit more during your workout and see how you recover. This level of interval training will do wonders if you are de-conditioned.

Remember, always listen to your body. It is always trying to communicate with you. If something doesn’t feel right, then seek professional assistance immediately. It’s better to be safe and smart than sorry.

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