comment Add Comment

9 Nutrition Mistakes that are Keeping You Fat!

Let me guess, you’ve been training pretty hard and consistently for the last few months.  You’re hitting all your lifts and your strength is starting to improving quite nicely.

You’re even packing on a bit of muscle and your buddies are starting to notice.  Hell, you’re probably getting a few double takes from the ladies over on the elliptical machines!

You’ve even gone as far as sprinkling in a cardio session or two from time to time to burn a few extra calories and not be a complete meathead.

But, to your utter disappointment, all that work and hard earned muscle is completely buried under a layer of fat that you just can’t seem to get rid of.

This is a classic case, my friend.  A classic case of “I lift big and heavy weights so I can eat whatever want!” This is totally fine if you’re going for that Pilsbury doughboy or The Rock in 1987 look.

therock80s

All kidding aside, you’ve made some common, yet critical, nutrition mistakes.  Don’t worry though, with a few small adjustments, this can all be fixed.  I’m going to help you get back on track and you’ll be leaner than ever in no time.

Continue reading “9 Nutrition Mistakes that are Keeping You Fat!”

comment Add Comment

11 Things to Keep in Mind When Trying to Lose Fat

Losing fat has got to be one the most frustrating pursuits in all of fitness.  With so much temptation from all of our favorite foods it’s amazing that only half of the western world is overweight!

Despite its’ challenges, losing fat isn’t impossible.  It’s actually a pretty simple concept.  All that’s needed is a little bit of time and discipline.

Easier said than done I suppose.

Continue reading “11 Things to Keep in Mind When Trying to Lose Fat”

comment Add Comment

10 Nutrition Commandments

When it comes to nutrition, you don’t need to make it complicated.  In fact, regardless of whether you’re trying to cut body fat or pack on lean muscle, there are a few principles that will always apply.

Continue reading “10 Nutrition Commandments”

comment Add Comment

7 Benefits of Flexible Dieting (IIFYM)

I’ll be the first to admit that I find diets to be utterly frustrating and confusing. We’re all human beings yet there are so many different approaches to eating.

Are we all that different in how we process food?

I know there’s food allergies that may cause some deviations but how can there be so many COMPLETELY DIFFERENT trains of thought?

Continue reading “7 Benefits of Flexible Dieting (IIFYM)”

comment Add Comment

The Busy Person’s Guide to Healthy Eating…

I’m not sure if we’re actually busier or just more distracted, but it seems like people are finding it more and more difficult to find time to eat sensibly nowadays.

I mean, between working long hours, spending time with loved ones, raising a family, social media and reality television, who has time to prepare a healthy meal?

Well, fortunately for you, your dietary habits don’t have to go completely down the drain just because you have a busy schedule.  You can still maintain a lean, healthy physique simply by adopting a few tried and true habits that will keep you on the right path.

Continue reading “The Busy Person’s Guide to Healthy Eating…”

comment 1 Comment

How to Burn Fat – The Definitive Guide…

Training in essence is quite simple – training objectives that is.  Let’s be honest, most people fall into one of two major training categories – fat loss and muscle building.  Of course, there are other goals such as strength, work capacity, endurance and things like that, but most of us are either trying to achieve some combination of fat loss and increased muscle mass.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at fat loss and the most effective ways to shed those dreaded jiggly bits.  Notice how I used the term fat loss and not weight loss?  The problem isn’t weight, it’s fat!  Just because you lose weight doesn’t mean you’re any better off than you were before.  The idea is to improve your overall body composition to become healthier, stronger, and fitter overall.  Achieving this takes a little more than simply going on a cabbage soup diet and riding the elliptical for 2 hours a day.

What it comes down to is being smart and strategic with both your training and nutrition. If you’ve been training for any length of time whatsoever then you’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way including:

  • long, monotonous cardio sessions at the gym
  • crash dieting only to gain back the weight you lost and then some
  • switching from weight training to cardio exclusively
  • using light weights and high reps to try and get ripped
  • drastically cutting your calories
  • endless ab workouts that still leave you with a flabby belly
  • training 7 days/week

It’s all good though, making mistakes is part of the training process.  Learning from them is what’s going to take you to the next level.  Now let’s get down to business.

There are many ways to achieve great results but I’m going to outline some of the most effective methods that will burn fat AND preserve muscle mass.  That’s right, you have to be able to keep your hard earned muscle in the process otherwise what’s the point? Unless you just want to be skinny fat and have the strength of a 10 year old boy then you better listen up.

Here are some proven methods to burn fat in a SENSIBLE and SUSTAINABLE fashion:

1. Lift – Most people that want to lose fat will usually decide to take up jogging or some other cardio activity first.  Not the best move. The first step to burning fat is to actually build muscle and the only way to do that is to lift.  Studies have shown that people who weight train exclusively lose more fat than people that do aerobic exercise exclusively. Muscle is the engine that burns all fuel, the more you have the easier it is to burn fat.

2. Use big lifts – Once you’ve decided to start jacking weights, you’ve got to make sure you’re using the most effective exercises and those are the big compound lifts.  Exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, and chinups use lots of muscle groups and elicit the greatest metabolic response compared to isolation exercises.

46-arnold-schwarzenegger-leg-squat

lift big to get lean

3. Interval train – There are numerous studies that point to the effectiveness of interval training.  Methods such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and tabata are prime examples of how better results can be achieved in a fraction of the time.  As opposed to steady state cardio, interval training forces you to work at higher intensity causing you to burn more fat while preserving lean muscle tissue.  Greater improvements in aerobic conditioning have also been shown with interval training versus traditional cardio.  If you’re pressed for time and want a killer workout, give some of these firebreathers a try:

  • treadmill – 1min on/1min off x 8 @ 15% incline
  • sled pushes – 40 meters x 10 (60-90sec rest between rounds)
  • burpees – 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x 8

froningsled

sled pushes = intensity!

4.  Do steady state cardio after interval training – Now I know I just said that steady state cardio is inferior to interval training but all forms of exercise have value depending on how and when they’re used.  Studies have shown that interval training helps to effectively release fat cells into the bloodstream to be used for energy.  However, sometimes not all of those fat cells get used.  Something as simple as 10-15 minutes of steady state cardio after a hard session of intervals can be an effective way to pick up the leftovers and burn even more fat.  Think of this as the icing on the cake.

5. Fasted cardio – The idea here is to perform your cardio sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  This is also when your growth hormone levels are highest and insulin levels are lowest.  At this time, your body will efficiently use fat for energy.  Both steady state cardio and interval training will be effective at this time.  If you’re not a morning person or accustomed to training on an empty stomach then you may find it hard to workout at your normal intensity levels.  If the quality of your workouts are suffering too much then you may be better off training at other times during the day when your output is higher.  However, this is definitely a great option for those of you who like to get your workouts over and done with first thing in the morning.

6.  Complexes – This is disputably one of the most effective fat burning methods.  Complexes are when you perform a series of compound movements in succession with little to no rest in between each movement.  These complexes can be done with barbells, dumbells, or kettlebells as long as there is sufficient overload.  The overload allows you to burn more calories and maintain strength and muscle mass while you melt the fat off your body.  Here some complexes that never disappoint:

  • barbell complex – 10 hang cleans/10 thrusters, 9 hang cleans/9 thrusters etc… 1 hang clean/1 thruster (rest 60-90 sec between sets)
  • dumbell complex – 10 db squats/8 db bent over rows/6 db push presses x 5 (rest 60-90sec between sets)

When performing complexes, use the same weight for all the movements and keep strict rest periods to keep the intensity high.  The combinations are endless, they key is to go hard to get the best results.

Check out the video below of Rob Orlando crushing the “bear” complex.

[youtube id=”8IQftORtxqk”]

7. Crossfit – Yes, believe it or not, Crossfit is a fantastic way to rev your metabolism and shed some serious fat.  Much like complexes, Crossfit uses a wide variety of functional movements and when performed at high intensity you get one hell of a metabolic stimulus!  The intensity (doing more work in less time) is what makes Crossfit so effective (and controversial).  The proof is in the pudding, all you have to do is look at the physiques of some of the top competitors.  Of course, Crossfit isn’t for everybody but it’s hard to argue some of the tremendous results it delivers.  If you’re looking to spice up your workouts and shock your body, give Crossfit a try.

8.  Train 4-5x per week – Workout frequency is just as important as workout intensity.  To ensure you are getting enough metabolic output, you should be training  4-5 days/week.  This will keep your metabolism elevated and enhance your fat burning efforts.

9.  Keep your workouts under an hour – If burning fat is your number one priority, then your workouts should be shorter and more intense.  No more long, arduous sessions at the gym.  Focus on quality exercises and being efficient with your time.  Full body strength complexes or 15-20mins of strength work followed by 15-20mins of interval training is the way to get things done.

10.  Train explosively – Not enough good things can be said about the benefits of developing power.  Using explosive exercises like sprinting, plyometrics, and Olympic weightlifting are phenomenal for fast twitch muscle fiber development and smoldering fat cells.  To learn more about training for power click here.

powerclean

in the land of strength, power is king..

11. Get plenty of sleep – During sleep, the body has an opportunity to repair itself and set the stage for optimal fat metabolism.  Growth hormone and testosterone levels increase during sleep and are vital to burning fat.  Keep your hormones and metabolism in check by getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

12.  Eat only when you’re hungry – Sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how quickly we turn to food to be social or to kill time.  If you listen to your body more and only eat when absolutely necessary, you’d be surprised how much less you’d consume.  I’m not suggesting you starve yourself just simply be more conscious of your intake.

13.  Eat plenty of protein – Adequate protein intake is necessary to preserve lean muscle and will keep you full longer.  This reduces the urge to snack on refined sugars and processed foods. Aim for at least .75-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

14. Eat healthy fats – That’s right, eating fat will help you to lose fat.  Healthy fats found in foods like fish, avacado, nuts, and eggs don’t spike insulin levels the way refined sugars do.  This means that your body will better use these foods for energy rather than storing them as fat.  Also, these foods contain more vitamins and minerals making them a better food choice overall.

nutsssssss

15. Take caffeine before training – Caffeine has been shown to stimulate the release of fat cells into the bloodstream to be used for energy.  A cup of coffee 30-40 minutes before a workout can be enough to jumpstart your metabolism not to mention provide a nice energy boost before your workout.  If you’re sensitive to caffeine then less potent options like green tea may be more suitable.

16. Keep most of your carb intake around training – It’s important to maintain a reasonable carb intake even when trying to lose fat.  To help fuel your workouts consume some carbs 30-60 minutes before training.  Nothing too heavy, something that digests relatively quick like fruit is a good option.  To maximize recovery, consume fast acting carbs within 30-60 minutes post workout.  Your carb intake can be higher at this time since you are less likely to store excess carbs as fat.  Listen to your body and consume enough carbs to give you the energy you need to train without feeling sluggish or depleted but not so much that you are gaining weight.

17.  Cut calories effectively – If you’re the type of person that likes to count calories then you need to make sure you reduce them in a rational manner.  What I mean is that you don’t want to cut your calories too drastically.  If you do, you run the risk of 3 major pitfalls:

  1. slower metabolism  – the body is now burning less fat at any given time.
  2. reduction in lean muscle – the body is now burning muscle instead of fat for energy.
  3. increase in fat – restricted calories can lead to cravings for unhealthy, calorie dense foods that promote an increase in fat.

Don’t cut calories by more than 500 per day to ensure normal metabolic function.  It’s also important to note what calories you are cutting.  For example, you don’t want to reduce your calories from protein too much as they are needed to preserve lean tissue.  Manipulating fat and carb intake may be your best bet depending on what your consumption levels are at currently.

Sensible and sustainable are the key words to take home.  You can definitely use more extreme methods to cut fat but life will be miserable and you’ll most likely gain every single pound back and more.  Training should be enjoyable and rewarding and these methods will ensure it stays that way.

Don’t forget to subscribe below to get more great articles sent directly to you. Plus, you’ll get a FREE copy of the Pure Payne Method and Special Nutrition Report!

 

 

 

 

 

40 Nutrition Tips for Optimal Health and Performance..

Training to become the best possible version of yourself requires time, dedication, persistence, and just plain hard work.  To get the most out of your training, regardless of your goals, you need to get a stronghold on your nutrition.  That doesn’t mean you need to be a Nazi and never indulge in anything outside of mineral water and steamed broccoli,  but you certainly have to demonstrate some discipline and recognize the red flags when they’re placed right in front of you at the dinner table.

Nutrition can sometimes be like a chess game with its complexity, numerous choices, and the need to constantly adjust according to your current situation.  However, with experience comes wisdom.  Just like a savvy chess player, you learn what moves set you up for the greatest chances of success, you make fewer mistakes, and you start to win most of your battles.

To simplify the nutrition game, make more sensible choices, and get better results out of your training, I’ve laid out some tips that I apply to my daily routine as well as others that I’ve learned through years of research.

Let’s take a look at nutrition tips for optimal health and performance:

1.”When it comes to fat loss,  genetics may somewhat ‘load the gun’ but you don’t have to pull the trigger and reload it twice.” I love this quote.  Don’t use bad genetics as an excuse to eat poorly and not make an honest effort to get in shape.  The power to transform your body is in your hands, the question is how bad do you want it?

2. Never be hungry, never be full – Somewhere in the middle is just right.  When your body is in a comfortably fed state, your blood sugar levels don’t spike causing you to store excess fat nor do they plummet causing you too burn valuable muscle for energy.  Think of it this way, when you’re stuffed after a big meal how do you feel? When you’re starving because you haven’t eaten in over 6 hours how do you feel? Neither is a good feeling.  Aim to feel good all the time.

3. If it’s comes in a box or a can it’s not worth eating – Man has created many marvelous things to improve our lives, unfortunately food is not one of them.  Most foods that come in a box or can are highly processed and contain very little real food.  Stick to fresh, whole foods as much as you can. This gives a whole new meaning to “keeping it real.”

4.  “All You Can Eat” is a bad idea – Buffets provide great value but you are pretty much guaranteed to go overboard on your portions.  Especially for those trying to lose fat, this is the last place you want to be.  “All You Can Eat” might be light on the wallet but heavy on the waistline.

5.  Don’t fear fat – There’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding fat in the diet.  Your body needs both saturated and unsaturated fats to function optimally.  Healthy sources include eggs, fish, avacados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and lean meats.   The key is to keep your fat intake in the right proportions relative to your protein and carbs.  Depending on your goals, fat should be make up 25-30% of your total intake.

6. Replace your starches with more colorful veggies – With the exception of sweet potatoes and yams, you want to moderate your consumption of starchy carbs especially if you are trying to lose fat.  Colorful vegetables are more nutrient dense and cause less inflammation and bloating than refined starches like bread, pastas, and other grains. As long as you consume adequate protein, you can still build and preserve muscle without a lot of starch.

7.  Don’t drink your calories – It’s pretty easy to start the day with a latte with whip cream followed by a soda or fruit juice to go with your afternoon snack.  These empty calories add up quick and before you know it, you’ve consumed an extra 750-1000 calories and you’ve got nothing to show for it except 2 extra inches around your waist.  Stick to water, dilute your fruit juices if you drink them, and remove all pop including the diet stuff (which is probably more poisonous).

SFS-007-WPS-PST-00862-26-0starbucks

the calories add up faster than you think!

8. Cut out sugar – There’s not a whole lot more to say about this other than sugar is public enemy #1.  With the exception of fresh fruit, you want to avoid processed and refined sugar as much as you can.

9.  Avoid gluten if it affects you – There’s a lot of buzz surrounding gluten these days but it only needs to be avoided if you have an intolerance to it.  For the rest of you, consume moderately and get on with your life.

10. Gluten Free isn’t always healthier – To further elaborate on #9, unless it never had gluten to begin with, like meat and vegetables, then that food is most likely processed and contains minimal nutritional value anyway.

11.  Keep your carb intake highest around training – The body best utilizes carbohydrates during intense workouts and post workout.  This means it’s OK to consume carbs prior to training to make sure you’re fueled properly and fast acting carbs should be consumed post workout to replenish glycogen stores and maximize recovery.

12. Drink more water – Most of us are far too dehydrated which impairs our ability to function and perform in the gym. Start the day by drinking 300-500ml of water.  Depending on your activity level, muscle mass, and water content of the foods you eat will determine how much water you need each day.

13.  Learn how to cook – Eating meals prepared at home will be far healthier than eating out at restaurants.  There are lots of quick and simple recipes that you can use to make healthy meals that actually taste good! For quick and easy recipes click here.

article_bio-robert-irvine_al

Robert Irvine knows his way around the kitchen and the gym!

14. Shop the perimeter – It’s safe to say that 75-80% of the foods in the grocery store aren’t designed for human consumption.  Sure they taste great but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re highly processed and put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and any other diseases that haven’t been named yet.  The perimeter of the grocery store is where all of the fresh produce and lean meats are found and this should be where you spend most of your time.

15. Prepare meals in advance – “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Having your meals prepared at least a couple days in advance is the best way to avoid impulse eating.  If you work long hours, having  dinners prepared in advance saves time and reduces the likelihood of ordering greasy takeout.  Packing healthy lunches will save you a few trips to the drive thru as well.

16. Eat enough protein to support muscle mass – There will always be a debate about low carb and low fat diets but no one ever got great results on a low protein diet. Whether you’re training to get leaner or to build muscle, you need to keep your protein intake in check to support the cause.  At least 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight will be sufficient.

arnoldschwarzenegger2

Arnold definitely ate enough protein

17.  Take a greens supplement – Although I’m not a huge advocate of supplements without a balanced diet first, a greens supplement can provide a lot of nutrients to improve energy and gut health.  Start the day with a tall glass of water with some greens.  Who knows, before you know it, you’ll be a morning person.

18.  Supplement only what you can’t get from real food – As mentioned in #16, supplements should be taken when the rest of the diet is in order.  There’s no point in drinking 3 protein shakes a day if you’re pounding potato chips and Pepsi between meals.  Having said that, it can be tough sometimes to always get in enough nutrients from food so supplementing can help to make up the difference.  Don’t get too caught up in buying the “latest and greatest” products, you can’t lose with real food.

19.  Eat Breakfast – There is some debate nowadays about the importance of breakfast but I can say confidently that it has been the most important meal of the day for me.  A high protein breakfast with healthy fats provides you with loads of nutrients to start the day plus you are more likely to eat healthy throughout the day if your first meal is healthy.  Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions and a side of sliced bell peppers is how I like to get things started.

20. Eat the whole egg but skip the toast – The nutrients the egg yolk provides far outweighs anything you get from 2 pieces of refined toast.  Try a side of avocado or raw veggies instead.

21.  Never leave home without a healthy snack – Like your wallet or cell phone, you should always carry a healthy snack with you.  A piece of fruit or some mixed nuts are easy ways to tie you over until your next meal.  The last thing you want to do is starve then binge on comfort foods.

22.  Avoid dairy – What I like to refer to as “the unnecessary evil.”  Don’t be fooled, there’s nothing in a glass of milk you can’t get from less inflammatory foods.  Again, if you’re trying to lose fat, this is a high calorie food group you can do without.

gotmilk

so right yet so wrong all at the same time..

23. Avoid grains – Speaking of inflammation, grains are a primary culprit.  Bloating, allergies, and lethargy are just a few things to look forward to.  With the exception of steel cut oats and wild rice, there isn’t a lot of value in these foods.

24.  Avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols – Found in a lot of “diet” foods and drinks, these are deceptive chemicals that the body doesn’t really like.  Try to get most of your sugar from fresh fruit. If you want to sweeten things up try stevia.

25.  Breakfast cereal is fast food – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day when it’s not a bowl of Count Chocula.

chocula

I guess I can thank my mom for never letting me have this as a kid

26.  Everything in moderation – If 90% of your eating habits are favorable then you can afford to indulge from time to time in the things you enjoy.  The further away your are from your goals the more strict you have to be.  Don’t always use junk food as way to reward yourself.  Looking better, feeling better, and performing better are the rewards.

27. Eat more raw veggies – Cooking food kills a lot of the nutrients so try to get a good dose of raw veggies on a regular basis.

28.  Eat more locally grown foods – The next best thing to growing it yourself is to eat from a local farm.  The fresher and less preserved the better.

29. Paleo isn’t perfect but it’s a great start – There is no perfect diet for everyone but the Paleo diet sends people in the right direction.  Less processed foods, more lean meats and vegetables and no sugar.  For the majority of the general public, I’d say that’s a great start.

30.  Use more spices and herbs instead of sauces – Cooking with herbs and spices like pepper, basil, garlic and tumeric provide lots of flavor without the preservatives and empty calories of bbq, teriyaki, and soy sauces.

31.  Black coffee and green tea are great engine starters – Jumpstart your metabolism, burn more fat, and have more energy for your workouts with coffee or green tea.  Nix the cream and sugar though.

32.  Avoid seed and vegetable oils – Seed and vegetable oils are highly processed and are high in omega 6 fatty acids which can lead to a number of health issues.  Stick to olive, coconut, and palm oils for cooking and dressing foods.

33. Avoid trans fats – Another highly processed fat that will do nothing for you except increase your risk of cancer.  Instead of margarine, use grass fed butter or ghee.

34.  Bulletproof your coffee only if your diet is bulletproof – Bulletproof coffee is as trendy as a foot long hipster beard.  That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing (the beard or the coffee).  You have to keep in mind that bulletproof coffee is high in calories (400-450cals) and provides very little nutrients other than fat.  It may keep you full longer but unless you are eating a lot of high quality foods the rest of the day you may be sabotaging your gains.  The safer route would be black coffee and a protein rich breakfast.

bulletproof-butter-coffee

cover-sparta

it’s debatable which is trendier..

35.  Bacon is Paleo but that doesn’t mean it should go on everything – Bacon gets a lot of love since it qualifies as Paleo.  This is another example of how the majority of food you eat must be high quality if bacon is going to make the cut.  High fat, high sodium, and filled with nitrates, bacon should be consumed sparingly.  You don’t need to have it with your eggs, on your burger, in your cookies, AND in your salad.

bacon-wrapped-turkey

HONESTLY??!!

36.  Focus on food quality rather than counting calories – Not all calories are created equal.  Just like not all exercise is created equal, the type of calories you consume are just as important as how many calories you consume.  100 calories from a bag of potato chips will be metabolized far differently than 100 calories from a sweet potato.  Learn and understand the types of foods that give you the best bang for your nutrient buck. Eat more of those foods and less shitty foods and you’ll never have to count calories again.  Does a stalk of broccoli have a food label on it? How about a bunch of bananas?  There’s a reason why whole foods require less scrutiny than fruit juices, low fat granola bars, and frozen yogurt.

37.  “Diet” and “Low Fat” aren’t healthier – When a food has been modified to reduce calories or fat it generally means that it has been replaced with artificial sweeteners or refined sugar to make up the difference.  You’re better off eating a smaller portion of the real stuff since it will wreak less havoc on your metabolism.

38. Speed and nutritional value are inversely related – With the exception of raw fruits and veggies, the faster it can be prepared the less nutritional value it has.  What takes longer, baking a piece of cod in the oven or deep frying it? Making a bowl of Wheaties or scrambled eggs with a side of spinach salad? The “slow food” industry is a niche market reserved for the patient and disciplined.  Another example of the tortoise and the hare perhaps?

Michael-Jordan-Wheaties-Box

Sorry Mike, I DID NOT have my Wheaties this morning!

39. Avoid high fructose corn syrup – High fructose corn syrup is like the Justin Bieber of food. It’s toxic, annoying as hell and it’s everywhere!

MV5BMTgzMDI2MTYxOV5BMl5Bbieber

Be careful, be very careful…

40.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – Don’t get too caught up in trends and fads if you are getting the results you want with your current eating habits.  Some of you might be eating more carbs than fats and vice versa and that’s totally fine IF IT’S WORKING!  Having said that, if you aren’t getting stronger, building muscle, getting leaner, or even feeling better then to put it mildly “your shit is broken!”  Take a step back and make small tweaks until you are headed in the right direction.

Hopefully these words of wisdom will help you take one step closer to reaching your goals.

If you haven’t already, subscribe below to download a copy of The Special Nutrition Report. It’s FREE so why not!

 

comment 15 Comments

21 Warning Signs that Your Workout Routine ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!

The health and fitness industry generates over $75 billion annually worldwide.  That’s a lot of gym memberships.  What’s even more staggering is that approximately 67% of that revenue is wasted due to under utilization.  Basically, that means 2 out of every 3 people that have a gym membership don’t even use it.  That’s over 50 billion dollars flushed down the toilet!  Now, these stats are primarily a reflection of big box gyms that provide very little service or value and don’t include fitness studios, Crossfit gyms, and other strength and conditioning facilities.  Even when you add these training facilities to the equation though, you’re still looking at least $45 billion wasted on an annual basis!

These stats tell me 2 things:

1. There is an extremely high demand for services that will help people look, feel and perform better.

2.  There are very few people that ACTUALLY look, feel, and perform better.

For the 33% that actually show up, only a small percentage of them make any progress whatsoever.  The abundance of choice inside fitness facilities combined with a lack of knowledge by most gym goers is a perfect recipe for failure.  The key is to avoid the pitfalls that the majority of people make.  Some warning signs that your workout routine could be lackluster include:

1.  You do too much isolation work – Too many people spend way too much time working the smallest muscles in their body (i.e. biceps, triceps, calves)  only to achieve equally small results.  To get the best bang for your buck, don’t waste your time with isolation exercises that do very little for your overall strength and muscle building pursuits.  Use more compound movements like the squats, bench presses, and deadlifts to make real gains.

2. You do too much upper body work – You know what they say, “friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” It’s quite tragic that guys will neglect the largest muscles in their body and deprive themselves of optimal testosterone production.  Don’t be a pussy, train your legs to get big and strong everywhere else!

legday

3. You do too much long, slow cardio – If you’re still sitting on the elliptical or stationary bike for an hour trying to burn more fat then you got a long road ahead of you.  They key to fat burning is intensity and anabolic (muscle building) activity.  Long slow, cardio is both catabolic (muscle wasting) and time wasting.  Start lifting more weights and doing intervals to get more results in less time.

4. You jump from program to program – Consistency is one the keys to success in the gym.  If you are constantly jumping from one program to the next you’ll never get a chance to make any real progress.  Give yourself at least 6-8 weeks before switching your training split or exercises.

5. You don’t sweat – As silly as this sounds, there a lots of people who exercise (or do what they think is exercise) and never sweat.  If you’re not breaking a sweat, you’re not giving your body a reason to get better.

6. You still do crunches – Honestly.  If you want to build a strong core use plank variations, FULL situps, russian twists, hanging leg raises , ab wheel rollouts, or anything other than a futile little crunch.  If you want to see those beautiful abs, remember six packs are made in the kitchen not in the gym.

7. You don’t do burpees – You can hate them all you want but that doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best bodyweight exercises you could ever do. Improve your conditioning, burn more fat and get more out of your workouts with the dreaded “B” word.

30924807

8. You measure your fitness by how much you can bench – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some bench press but it’s hardly a measure of my overall fitness level.  A little less bench and a little more #2 and #3 and you’ll be onto something.

tumblr_mlg79i1euy1rpd4v9o1_500

9. You only do exercises you are good at – This compliments #8 as a lot of people will only do the exercises they enjoy or what they think matters.  This is a surefire way to develop muscular imbalances, chronic injuries, and an undesirable physique.  Try to train at least one weakness every time you’re in the gym. Something as simple as a 1 arm dumbell row to offset all that benching will go a long way.

10. You’ve been doing the same routine for ages – I mentioned that consistency is important to success but variety is equally important if you want to break through plateaus and continue to make gains.  If you’ve been doing the same exercises in the same order with the same weight for the same reps since Maury Povich was a hit show then it’s time to switch it up.  Without variety, your body has no reason to improve.

f52

11. You think you can out-exercise a bad diet – Just because you workout 2 hours a day, 5 days a week doesn’t mean you can eat pizza and drink pop on a regular basis without any consequence.  Consuming excess calories and empty calories will still cause you store fat no matter how much you exercise.  Stop fooling yourself and clean up your diet if you really want that beach body.

12. You’re not getting stronger – One of the marks of a good training program is strength.  If you are hitting the gym on a regular basis and seeing no improvement in your strength then something is missing in your program.  I’m not saying you should be setting PRs every week but there should be a slow and steady increase in most of the exercises you are doing. If you’re not getting stronger, you’re getting weaker and that’s a low down dirty shame.

13. You’re not getting leaner – If you’re goal is weight loss or to reduce body fat then you better be watching your diet, interval training, and lifting heavy.  0 for 3? Time to go back to the drawing board.

14. You don’t work on mobility – If you’ve been training for any length of time then you’ve probably had your fair share of little tweaks along the way and if you haven’t consider yourself lucky.  Taking the time to focus on mobility and soft tissue work (i.e foam rolling, lacrosse ball, massage, chiropractic, general stretching) can go a long way in the prevention of soft tissue injuries as well improve movement efficiency.

15. You train like a body builder but you look like a sumo wrestler – I still can’t believe how many people still train with body part splits even though they lack the genetics, discipline, and intensity to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Full body workouts mixed with high intensity conditioning will get you to where you want to go a lot faster.

16. You think more exercise is better – Some people just don’t know when enough is enough.  Working out 3 hours a day isn’t necessarily better than 2 hours a day and 6 days a week isn’t necessarily better than 5.  More exercise means a greater rise in cortisol (the muscle wasting and fat storing hormone) which will only make you feel like crap and make you weaker in the long run. The body needs time to recover and rebuild and it can only do so when rest is in proportion to training volume and intensity.  Aim for more QUALITY workouts and less quantity.

10289874_304839099672451_1727251067134837030_n

17. You think you can’t build muscle AND burn fat at the same time – You don’t have to go through the long, drawn out process of “bulking” and then “shredding” to get the body you want. With an effective training program, you can increase strength, muscle mass, and reduce body fat simultaneously.

18. You follow too many fad diets – Building a lean, athletic physique takes discipline, sacrifice, and time – more time than most people want to put in.  Looking for a quick fix by jumping on some celebrity diet may meet your short term needs but it won’t be the answer to long term, sustainable gains.  Like Jason Ferruggia says “the secret to being an overnight success is 10 years of hard work.”

19. You are overly concerned about supplements – The highest quality protein powder isn’t going to do jack for you if your training is all over the map.  Don’t worry about protein powder, BCAA’s, creatine, pre-workouts, or any other distractions on the market until you practice sound nutritional habits and consistent training.

20. You ALWAYS lift heavy – Now I know I’ve said that lifting heavy is vital to a good training program but if you’re always lifting at 90% or higher it’s gonna take a huge toll on your joints and nervous system.  Not even world class powerlifters and olympic weightlifters train heavy all year round and they’re the strongest lifters in the world so why should you?  Dial back your training loads and allow some time to recovery to make more long term gains.

21. You’re not using the Pure Payne Method – Yeah I said it. Now sign up for it, it’s FREE!

Take heed of these warning signs and adjust your training accordingly.  Don’t be another statistic, instead be one of the few that ACTUALLY looks, feels, and performs better.

What can you do right away to improve your training routine? Drop a comment below!

 

 

comment 75 Comments

The Secrets to Eating Healthier, Building Muscle, and Becoming Insanely Fit!

Getting to the gym consistently and putting in quality workouts can be challenging enough for most people.  Couple that with the necessity to eat a clean diet can make getting in shape a daunting task.  With the abundance of information available to us, it’s hard to decipher what is accurate and what is complete rhetoric – especially when it comes to nutrition.

Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, vegan, low fat, high fat, the list goes on and on.  At the end of the day, our bodies are all different and respond differently to a variety of foods.  So what is the right way to eat for optimal health and performance?? The answer is a resounding – IT DEPENDS.

Depending on your goals, body type, metabolism and a plethora of other factors, your nutritional intake is going to vary.  However, I’m a firm believer in principles and general rules of thumb.  This means that there are definitely certain types of foods we ALL should be eating more of and others that shouldn’t be within 50ft of us.

I recently stumbled across a great resource that eloquently lays out how to approach our dietary habits.  It’s quite informative and entertaining at the same time (which is why I was able to read the entire thing without falling asleep).  Some of the most popular questions are answered in this resource:

  • Do I need to take vitamins and other supplements?
  • How important is it to eat organic?
  • Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
  • How much should you eat in one sitting?
  • How many times/day should you be eating?
  • When and where should you be eating?
  • When is the best time of day to eat?
  • What are the most dangerous foods you should avoid?
  • What’s the easiest way to tell if the food you’re eating is good for you or not?
  • Should you keep a food diary?
  • How many calories should you eat per day?

All these questions and more are answered in this special report!  Find out how to get a kung fu grip on your dietary habits by subscribing below to get this SPECIAL REPORT FREE!  Plus, you will also receive the Pure Payne Method, a 6 week training program aimed at building a STRONGER, LEANER, and more CONDITIONED  you!!  Trust me, it’ll be well worth your time!!

 

 

 

comment Add Comment

DECK THE HALLS! – 9 Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays…

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is officially upon us – LET THE GLUTTONY BEGIN!  Chocolate, egg nog, cake, cookies, gravy, mashed potatoes, wine, beer, you name it – BRING. IT. ON.   Studies have shown that the average person gains 5-10lbs over the the Christmas holiday season.  This would be a pretty impressive stat if they were talking about muscle.  With busy schedules filled with corporate parties, and dinners with family and friends combined with little to no physical activity makes the body a prime fat storing facility.

The good news is the holidays don’t have to derail your training or destroy your physique.  With a few simple tips and a little bit of discipline you can avoid the holiday bulge and actually make some gains during this festive time.  What better gift could you give yourself than a stronger and leaner physique?? I can’t think of one.  Enough semantics, let’s get down to business and take this holiday season by storm. Here are 9 tips to stay fit during the holidays.

1. Keep working out – If you already go to the gym, now is definitely not the time to take a break and if you don’t there’s no better time to start. Maintaining a regular training regimen is key to keeping your metabolism revved up and maintaining that precious muscle tissue.  Programs like the Pure Payne Method can definitely help you stay on track.  Things can get hectic during the holidays but staying consistent with your training will save you a lot of headache come January.

2. Lift heavy – There’s no better way to build and preserve strength and muscle mass than to simply lift heavy shit.  Further, this will make you more efficient at burning fat and fending off all those empty holiday calories.  You can’t go wrong with the bench press, squat, and deadlift to keep your body in check.

3. Use intervals – Keep your training intensity high with intervals so you can burn more fat in less time.  This is a great way to train if pressed for time and want to get more bang for your buck.  EMOMS are an effective way to get full body workouts in 15 minutes or less!

4. Eat a healthy meal before you go out – One of the worst things you can do is show up to your company Christmas party absolutely starving.  You don’t want to be that guy with his head buried in his plate shoveling food in his face like it’s the Last Supper.  This will certainly guarantee that you will over indulge pushing you over your caloric limit.  Having a small, healthy meal before hitting the town will allow you to eat more sensibly when you arrive and curb any temptations.  Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.

5. Don’t have seconds – If you’ve followed #4 then this will be less of a problem.  Food quality is important but is meaningless without proper food QUANTITY.  9 times out of 10 having a second helping is never in your best interest.  Avoid the food coma and have ONE well balanced serving of food. That’s all your body really needs anyway.

Giampietrino-Last-Supper-ca-1520

Even at the Last Supper there was portion control

6. Replace starches with colorful vegetables – An easy way to increase the nutrient density of your meals is to replace your starchy carbs with more colorful veggies. For example, replace mashed potatoes and gravy with a garden salad with a vinaigrette dressing on the side or replace pasta with steamed broccoli and bell peppers.  More nutrients, less bloating. Everybody wins.

7. Mix alcohol with soda or water – If you’re gonna drink, which you probably will, then reduce the damage by mixing your drinks with soda or water. This reduces your sugar intake which reduces the consumption of empty calories and the severity of hangovers.  Having less drinks overall will probably help the cause too.

8. Have only one dessert – If there was ever a time to demonstrate some self control, it would be at the dessert table.  Pick your favorite one, have a small piece and step away from the table. FOREVER.  Like I mentioned in #7, sugar will sabotage all of your hard work and effort in the gym.

9. Stay hydrated – an easy way to curb your appetite and suppress cravings is to simply stay hydrated.  Staying hydrated will help you to snack less and regulate your blood sugar levels. Keep a water bottle with you and sip periodically throughout the day.

A little common sense, discipline, and moderation will get you through the holidays unscathed.  This year is your chance to be in the small percentage of people that actually get FITTER in the month of December.  Make every meal and workout count this month and you’ll be laughing in New Year.

What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to nutrition? Drop a comment below! Don’t forget to subscribe below to get The Pure Payne Method and other great articles FREE!