Tips to get big for the holidays!

1. Slow and steady wins the race here. We can’t just force feed hypertrophy. Increase calories sufficiently to get the scale moving. The faster you gain, the higher percentage of that new weight will be adipose fat tissue that we’ll just have to get rid of later. 

2. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. As long as you’re able to continue progressing with core movements, It’s hard to see a legitimate reason for removing an exercise after 6-8 weeks that you’re still progressing on. If you’re getting stronger and refueling your body in the proper manner, the muscle growth will follow. 

3. This might be a more appropriate time to introduce intensity techniques into some movements – Your recovery and work capacity is increased from the extra food. Don’t be afraid to throw in drop sets, supersets, running the rack, etc.

4. Monitor your fasting or PP blood glucose levels. If they start creeping up, perhaps pull back. Insulin sensitivity is your best friend…and your insulin staying elevated over a period of time is your worst enemy. Play it smart and put your health first. You can cheaply grab your starting values for fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and HbA1c for $30-40 dollars from Life Extension or other sites. 

5. Keep up with a relatively moderate number of daily steps (or your preferred form of cardio) Somewhere in the 7-8k step range can be appropriate, although I like clients to end up around the 10k mark. This is related to the previous point regarding blood glucose. This can help extend a gaining period but more importantly help keep other health markers where they should be! 

6. Protect your gut and digestion. No, this doesn’t mean taking random probiotics and drinking kombucha. Your body can’t use what nutrients you aren’t actually properly digesting and assimilating. This total overall increase in calories means more total work for your GI. Respecting food quality thresholds is the big step one for this. Prebiotic foods, targeted probiotics, and digestive enzymes are things to look at on this front. 

7. This is the time to really enjoy food! When many people are dieting they’ll have to cut out some of their favorite foods. Maybe date nights can shift from sushi and Mediterranean to Italian, burgers, and the types of meals that are inherently higher calorically. Autoregulation is much more forgiving on goals going UP as opposed to goals going DOWN.

Need help setting up your own bulking plan? DM ME!

How Fast Should I Be Losing Weight?

I have many clients come to me and they want to lose a LOT of weight in a LITTLE amount of time. I tell these clients all the time that not only is their goal not realistic, it is downright not healthy. There are many downsides of attempting to lose weight too quickly.

  • You are likely to lose your hard-earned muscle that gives you shape.
  • You are likely to ‘burn out’ before you’re at the weight you truly want to be at, increasing the chances of impulsive eating.
  • You’re actually more likely to regain the lost weight.
  • The worst possible scenario? You psyche yourself out of the whole process and end up in a worse spot than you were in before.

The first is possibly the worst of all, many do not realize the downsides of losing their hard- earned muscle. It can:

  • Decrease your Resting Metabolic rate (now you burn even less calories)
  • Increase your likelihood of being injured
  • You’ll start to have a soft or “skinny fat” appearance.

So all of that being said… What is a good pace for weight loss?

Being patient and moving slowly on your journey is the best way that we can ensure long term success. Many of my clients (I am also guilty of this) are too focused on the FINAL outcome. Focus on what you CAN and WILL accomplish that week, and then celebrate your small victory and parlay it into bigger successes. Did you eat all the meals you were supposed to this week? Did you drink the amount of water that was asked of you? NICE!! A slower weight loss pace allows the client to be more comfortable and gives the body time to adjust and ensure that the loss is sustainable and something that will be able to be kept.

Scientific research shows that people who lose less than 1% of their current bodyweight are much more likely to keep that weight off, and isn’t that what actually matters? The numbers on the table below might surprise you, but some people like myself are visual learners and do better seeing it this way. I like to have my clients on pace to have them lose 1% of their bodyweight weekly because this allows them to have more than enough food and not get cranky!

Many circumstances might even require more patience. Any progress beats no progress. It is important to realize that even if you lose half a pound every week for a year, that is 26 pounds. Imagine what you’d look like next year if you kept 26 pounds off!

Are you ready to get in the best shape of your life? DM ME! Or email Chrismtraining@gmail.com

How to Keep It Movin’!

A lot of people have the habit of being relatively active on their “workout days” then sometimes feel lost on their off days or just shirk off their fitness on the weekends. Everyone can live an active lifestyle, whether it includes going to the gym or not! Here are some ideas for ways to be active when you aren’t in the gym.

  • Hiking: Hiking can be a great full body workout if you live in a place where this is a possibility, I’m from Louisiana and it’s not exactly the most mountainous terrain, however locally, we have Tunica Hills, which even has some small waterfalls to use as a background for your ever important Instagram post to show that you went outside.
  • Boxing/ MMA: These two can be more of a workout than actually going to a conventional gym! These activities are a great way to ensure that you get your cardio in and getting some of that pent-up aggression out!
  • Your favorite sport: I grew up playing basketball, and will still play every once in a while, there is something about being able to get back in the game of something that was part of your formative years that makes the time fly by! There are many organizations that exist to give adults a competitive outlet in volleyball, kickball, soccer, and basketball. Get some of your friends and get to it!
  • Swimming: If you have a pool near you, swimming is possibly one of the most time efficient ways of burning calories and getting a great cardiovascular workout in. You can go as slowly or work as hard as you want!
  • Walking: Take a walk with your dog, significant other, kids, or even just yourself! This is the simplest option for many people. It will also help your mental health just being outside, if you don’t want to try any of the other options yet, give this a shot!
  • Walk on the treadmill/ get on another cardio machine: Just because you aren’t lifting that day doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym! If you feel the need to stay in the routine or even if you just want to get out of the house, go spend 20-30 minutes doing some low intensity steady state cardio (LISS).  
  • Bonus Tip: You may already be doing this without realizing it. If you’re someone that likes to talk on the phone, walk around while you do it! It may only be for 20-30 minutes a day, but that amount of time walking adds up and surely beats just sitting on your couch mindlessly eating and watching TV while talking to someone.

How To Fix “I Don’t Have Time”

  “I don’t have time, I’m too busy” is something that I have heard countless times. When I hear it, it gets my attention because now I have to decide what it is that makes the client “too busy” to take care of themselves physically, which in turn also helps their mental health. It often occurs in college aged students (some of which only take 12 hours of school and that’s…it) where we’ll get in a conversation about fitness and they throw it out as a defense as to why they don’t work out, and I usually grin and say “If I can do it, then you can do it.”  In the more adult world today, it is the norm to be at the office from 8-4 or 9-5. You wake up, put your hours in, then leave…the important part is, what happens when you leave? Do you stop and get takeout on the way home, then go sit on your couch for 7 hours watching Netflix then go to bed? This is likely a scenario that many people have on a regular basis, and it’s a dangerous routine to get into. What if you changed that to making sure there are healthy, quick, cheaper options at home, and you had an at home routine to do (Correct, you wouldn’t even have to go to the gym).

  Today we’re going to have an exercise in time management skills. One of my professors my senior year at LSU had us do it, and I was relieved to see that I was doing a good job, but still there was room for me to do a GREAT job.

Here’s what I want you to do, get a piece of paper, or go into Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, etc. and start at whatever time you normally wake up. From there, I want you to write a schedule from that time, until the time you normally go to bed, and fill in each 30 minutes with the tasks that you are normally doing. I can almost guarantee you that you are not nearly as ‘busy’ as you think you are. During the time period that the professor had us plotting out our time for the week, I was taking 15 hours at LSU, training 4-5 clients a day, working out myself, studying for LSU, waiting tables on the weekends, and studying for what would end up being the most important test of my life: the LSAT. I would call that a bit of a full plate, and it IS a lot, until I wrote everything down, I found that I still had about 2 hours a day where I wasn’t doing anything special after all those tasks were done. Everyone gets used to their routine and it can be difficult to break it, but just adding in a little physical activity and healthier options into your normal life could not only make you look and feel better but make a difference in your overall health!

Do you need help with making some changes in your daily routine that will pay off in the long run? DM me! I have 30+ current clients that have been doing an incredible job making small changes that are piling up in their favor!

Effects of Alcohol and Fitness, “Do I workout with a hangover?”

We’re back with another Sunday blog post!

I’m sure 99% of the people reading this post have woken up on a Sunday morning (or a Tuesday, it happens sometimes) and had their head absolutely throbbing from all the fun they had the night before involving alcohol consumption.

The common symptoms from a hangover are fatigue, weakness, thirst, headache, muscle aches, nausea, stomach pain, sensitivity to light and sound, anxiety, irritability, sweating, and increased blood pressure.

Hangover symptoms usually peak when your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) returns to about zero. The symptoms can last for 24 hours or even longer if you really went hard the night before. Hangovers are annoying, obviously, because you don’t feel well, but a lot of people don’t realize that they can be dangerous because a person’s cognitive processing, decision- making and coordination can be impaired. Even menial tasks can seem difficult because you’re just feeling a little ‘off’.

There is no scientifically proven way to cure a hangover. There are the myths of: Coffee, shower, take a NSAID, and just get moving, among thousands of others. This is actually… really bad advice. Coffee has caffeine which although it will make you feel more alert, it is a diuretic and will only compound on your symptoms. Also, over the counter pain killers said as the NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatorys) mentioned above such as Aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, etc. will increase the amount of irritation in the stomach and liver.

Although not scientifically proven, the use of drinks enriched with electrolytes seems to be the most commonly used method to try and alleviate symptoms. Research has not been shown to support this, but it is likely not doing any harm so its one of those things that if it helps you even from a placebo effect it may be worth it!

If you have a hard night of drinking, it may be in your best interest to stay out of the gym for the next day because you may still have the effects of the alcohol in your system without really even knowing it! Make sure you eat nutrient rich foods and get back on your diet, and don’t let it become a downward spiral!

Do you need help with accountability and changing certain habits? DM me or check out the pages on my site!

Alcohol and Fitness 101

A question that I get almost daily from friends, family, clients, etc. is “So how much can I drink, will drinking hurt my diet, why can’t I drink?” or some other version of that question. Being from South Louisiana, I am well aware that great food and alcohol are two things that are staples in our culture!

Your metabolism is like the engine in your car. It describes the role that enzymes have in helping us grow, reproduce, and respond to our environments. Your metabolism turns the foods and liquids that you consume into smaller molecules that your body can then actually utilize.

Now to the part that you’re here for!

What does the body actually do with alcohol when we drink it?

Alcohol has to be broken down by two enzymes: ADH and ALDH (I’ll spare you the long scientific names). Everyone thinks that the liver is the only organ affected by alcohol, however your stomach, pancreas, and believe it or not, your brain, also play a role. First, ADH will turn alcohol into acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance known as a carcinogen, a scary word that we’ve all heard in reference to things that cause cancer. From there, ALDH takes over and turns acetaldehyde into acetate which is a combination of acetic acid and a base. From there, some more common compounds, H20 and Carbon Dioxide further break it down so we can get the nasty compound out of our body.

            Your body can only get rid of so much alcohol each hour. There are websites that you can use that will estimate your Blood Alcohol Content based on things like your height, weight, and activity level. One normalized example people have talked about Is “one unit” can be eliminated per hour, meaning 10ml of alcohol can be eliminated each hour. However, that can be completely different from person to person. Think, we all have that friend that seems to be the day drinking champion that can also go into the early hours of the night, and we have that friend that is face down in the ditch at noon on St. Patricks’ Day. If someone has a fast working ALDH, the ‘bad’ effects of drinking alcohol might not really affect them, causing/ enabling them to drink more. People with a very fast working variant of ALDH might actually be more prone to alcoholism because their body get used to being able to drink so much that it basically becomes reliant on it. These enzymes are NOT something you can change!!

            The Takeaway that I usually like to tell people when we talk about alcohol is the fact that your body cannot store it. It treats it like a poison, so it wants to get rid of it! When you drink it, it is quickly absorbed and ends up in your bloodstream. Because your body wants to quickly rid your system of it, it skips Fats, Proteins, and Carbs (even simple sugars) to get expelled. Make informed choices! It is important to enjoy yourself, just make sure you’re willing to deal with the possible consequences!

If there’s anything I can help you with, don’t hesitate to contact me!