There Is No Exchange

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One of the biggest questions that fitness professionals get is, “why am I still fat?” This question is often followed by, “I’ve done this, this, and this, but I’m still fat.”  The thing about fat is that it’s not easily fooled.  It knows you and has been with you your entire life. You’re not going to be able to trick it into going away.  Fat loss takes time and consistency—weeks and months strung together in order to get results.  What I want to talk to you about today specifically in regards to fat loss is “the exchange.”  This is the “if I do this during my workout, then I can treat myself to this after my workout.”

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but there is no exchange.

Let’s say that you do cardio for forty-five minutes and burn 400 calories, but afterwards, you go and have your favorite number-two at a fast food restaurant.  That’s 680 calories that you’re putting in, for a net gain of 280 calories.  This is why the exchange doesn’t work.

So often I hear people say “that’s why I do this—so that I can have this.”  Unfortunately, what you do in the gym will have little to no effect on your ability to cheat with your food.  However, a good diet will have a profound effect on your training, your recover from workouts, and the amount of energy that you have. You can’t out-train a bad diet.

Let’s just look at a couple of things:  Many people amp up their cardio workouts when they are trying to lose weight. Cardio workouts were never intended to make you lose weight. The goal of these workouts is to make your heart and lungs stronger.  Because of what these workouts do to your metabolism, there is a calorie burning effect. However, this doesn’t mean that you can go out and eat and drink whatever you want. The calorie burning effect that you get from a cardio workout is not enough for significant fat loss or body composition change.  And for this reason, you can’t use a cardio workout to make up for bad food choices. You just have to work on having better habits.  The habits that got you where you are will not get you where you want to go. Just doing cardio or running won’t fix it, especially as we get older.  

We need to replace the bad habits with good habits that will allow us to reach our goals.


The next thing I want to look at is weight workouts. It doesn’t matter if they are done slow and methodically, or as a metabolic workout with little to no rest. At the end of the day, the goal of weight workouts is to build muscle and gain strength. A byproduct of these workouts is that it takes more calories to maintain and move muscle around. By the same token, muscle is dense, so it takes up less space on your body. You will look smaller compared to someone who weighs the same but has less muscle than you and more fat. So while weight workouts will change the way you look, you can’t expect these workouts to counteract bad food choices. 

The big point to all of this is that change is difficult and it takes work. Fitness is no different. I’m not saying that you can’t drink, but a glass or two of wine every night probably won’t help you out if you really want to get lean. Going out to restaurants is nice, but going multiple times a day and letting someone else have control of your calories is probably not a recipe for success. In order to achieve the goal of losing weight or getting leaner, and staying that way, you need to have that moment where you say “I’m not going to live like this anymore.” That’s when you will start to make lasting change. Commit to making a change and making new habits, instead of sticking with “the exchange,” which leads nowhere. 

Are You Training Enough?

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Most people join the gym to change the way they look and feel.  It’s exciting for the first couple of workouts, but then it becomes work. Making time, changing habits, and not being able to eat whatever you want take all the fun out of the thought that you were going to lose 20-lbs in just a couple of workouts.  You start to realize that this is what your life looks like going forward, if you continue to go down this path. 

This is the moment when you have to start making decisions with your end-result in mind. 

I begin to think of what the average person goes through at the gym. They have goals, but no real idea of what it’s going to take to fulfill them. Most people work really hard the first couple of weeks—maybe even a month—thinking that they can get in shape without help. After this point, they have either gotten discouraged because of the lack of progress, or they have gotten hurt, or both. There are some basic rules you can follow that will allow you to make progress. The most important thing to do is to get an exercise plan so you can achieve maximum benefit.

So often, I see people that only workout once a week and wonder why they haven’t made the progress that they have envisioned. The average person needs to do something at least 5 out of 7 days. The older we get, the more we need to do. Now that doesn’t mean you have to lift weights every day, or do cardio every day, but you have to do something. Most people benefit from having weight workouts one day and cardio the next. 

There are many ways to get to your end result without getting bored.

One example of a good workout week would be: Day one: total body weights, Day two: interval weights (which would be considered a metabolic workout), Day three: core strength, stretching, and balance work, Day four: cardio intervals, and Day five: back to a metabolic workout. Now you have a week with all the components you need for multiple areas in your life. This is just an example of a week that you could make real progress with body composition change.  You would lose weight, improve flexibility, get stronger, and have better endurance. These are all things that most people want to do, but they rarely have any guidance or ever achieve real results. Most clubs give you lots of options, but no real plan. 

I’ve been working out for 34 years, so I’ve pretty much seen it all. There was a time when we thought that if you did hours of slow cardio, you could achieve significant weight-loss. This proved to be false. Research now tells us that even if you were only going to work out three days a week, you would do a total body weight, a metabolic (interval with weights), and a cardio interval workout (about a 20 to 40 min workout). We now know that load and intensity are the most important things—they allow us to get the most bang for our buck.

The bottom line is that if you want to reach your fitness goals you have to do something multiple time a week.

Don’t be fooled by schedules with lots of options that you’re not quite sure what they are for. Instead, map out your week using a simple plan that will help you reach your goal. All you need is an investment of five hours a week, or less. We watch more than five hours of TV most nights. Most of us have the time; we just need help understanding what we need to do to get maximum results.

If you would like help achieving your goals, click the "Learn More" button below, and let us help you map out your plan to reach your goals.
 

It's All About Staying Strong

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Over the last couple of days, I have had several conversations about why it’s important to keep your butt strong. These talks have taken me back to why I opened this place—one of my big goals is to keep people independent and active as long as possible. I have several friends that work in old folks homes as therapists. I visit these places often, and what I’ve seen is frightening. I’m not saying that all these places are the same, but to see so many people in various states of disrepair is very disturbing. The people I saw in those homes didn’t just wake up one morning unable to get off the commode without help. It took time to get to that point. And more than likely, during that time, they made excuses for what was happening like, “I’m just getting old,” or “I have a bad knee, hip, or back.” Ultimately, they just didn’t do anything to fix it, and eventually, they could no longer function on their own. 

It’s important to remember that the stronger that you are now, the stronger you will be later in life.

Starting to build strength now means a better quality of life now and down the road; it’s not necessarily for today or tomorrow, but for five, ten, or fifteen years from now. People are living longer and are planning financially to live longer, but most are not preparing physically to live longer with a quality of life that they may want. We spend way too much time chalking things up to old age and very little to poor maintenance. Investing some time to make sure that your body continues to work the way it was meant to will yield big dividends later in life.

So often, people will say that training is “too expensive,” and when we end up at the doctor with lifestyle-related illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, we also complain about the cost of medication or the visits the doctor themselves. What many don’t understand is that most, if not all of these illnesses can be avoided with a good exercise routine and with good eating habits. Though in the beginning, training may seem costly, but our poor lifestyle choices will end up costing us way more than training ever will. And it’s the quality of life that we sacrifice that’s even more important (and costly).  

As you go through your day to day activities, I want you to think: “What things do I enjoy doing? Do I want to be able to do this forever? And if so, what do I have to do now to make it happen?” Giving up the things that you enjoy should not be an option; it’s not a normal part of growing older. I believe that we should be able to live life at its fullest until the day we die.  

We shouldn’t put ourselves in a position of merely existing, or in a position where we can no longer contribute, we can only take.

I hope that going forward, you start to look at working out with the bigger picture in mind—it’s a vehicle to a better life. It’s a vehicle that you can ride till the end.

- Bill Burnett

If you have questions about your current workout or certain exercises, feel free to contact me. I can be reached at bill@successstudiopt.com.