Being a mom is tough stuff, and I have tremendous respect for all that you ladies do to raise your children. In between all of the school, sports practices, play dates with friends, dentists appointments, supervision of chores, playing “bad cop”, etc., it is easy to see why so many of you struggle to lose baby weight, or why so many of you are probably not in the kind of shape you would like to be in when your kids are in elementary, middle, and high school…you have put your children before you so much, that somewhere in there you forgot to take care of yourself.
Perhaps you are intimidated by undertaking a daunting fitness routine? Perhaps you are tired, and it is easier to make hot dogs with mac and cheese than a more nutritious option? Perhaps you are so far from where you want to be with your body and fitness level, that it is easier to ignore the problem and continue with your day to day life. I know that sounds harsh, but the road to getting into the best shape of your life starts with a cold splash of water to the face to “wake you up” so you can listen to what I have to say, and let me point you in the right direction. Here are several tips to help you get the body back that you used to have before your kids were born, the confidence that came with it, and more energy than even those kids of yours can handle:
1.) Cut the crap. Well, at least don’t keep it in your house. We are supposed to be teaching our kids healthy habits, so ditch the pastries, fruit snacks, bags of chips, sugared cereals, and replace them with English muffins, fruit, pretzels, and low sugar cereals. If it is in the house, you are almost guaranteed to eat it, or pick at it during the day. If “junk food” is out of the house, it can’t be eaten! We need to educate our children about healthy, moderate calorie food choices, and you need to “lead from the front.” Reward a solid day of nutrition for your children with 3 small cookies after dinner…and a protein shake for yourself made from the video below:
Preventing Ice Cream Raids!
2.) No more excuses. Don’t say you don’t “have time” to workout. Make time! After all, what could possibly be more important than your health? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to hit the gym for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week to see great results. 3-4 sessions of 45 minute Metabolic workouts (click here to read more about them), combined with a caloric deficit will always yield fantastic results! Our Metabolic Meltdown program is an excellent workout that has helped countless moms get into better shape, gain strength, and lose inches, all within the time constraint of 45 minutes. We have a bunch of women who “make time” at 6:00AM while their kids are still sleeping, you should too!
3.) It doesn’t matter. Working out is an individual process…this is why it makes no sense to me that people want to “get into shape” to go to a gym. This implies that you care far, far too much about what other people think! Let it go, and be there for yourself, for your own improvement. When you workout, go at YOUR own pace, use weights that YOU can handle, and don’t concern yourself with how you MAY appear to others. At the end of the day, it is just another great workout, and another step closer to achieving your fitness goals. People who concern themselves with what other people may think, or procrastinate starting to workout will never be in the kind of shape you want to be in; don’t lump yourself in this group.
4.) Join a group training program, and keep showing up. While I am partial to our Metabolic Meltdown program, find a group of like minded individuals, and a trainer that can motivate you, and you are well on your way to success. All you have to do is continue to show up, and the energy derived from the trainer and your new group of fitness friends will help push you to achieve your goals, and create an environment condusive to success.
Find a group to train with, and make friends in the process!
5.) Grocery shop, and plan ahead. Breakfast and lunch are fairly easy meals to prepare and “wing it” when it comes to creating meals that support the goal of losing body fat. With dinner, however, hunger kicks in, rationale goes out the window, and that McDonald’s drive through looks pretty good when you have a carful of hungry kids. Prevent this ugly scenario from happening and plan ahead! Choose easy to cook lean proteins like sautéed chicken (with Pam or 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil), 93% burgers on the grill, fish, chicken sausage, etc. and accompany them with AMPLE portions of green vegetables like stir fry(again with Pam or 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil) or an extra large garden salad . For your kids, a carb source like instant rice, hamburger buns, etc is fine, you should keep those dinners “lean and green”! Check out the Metabolic Meltdown page on Facebook for some interesting dinner ideas.
Remember, as a mom, you have given birth to human life, the hardest thing anyone can ever do. A few lunges, pushups, and jumping jacks should be a walk in the park! Have fun, prepare, work hard, and good luck in your quest to get back into shape!
As I stood there, blood pumping, heart pounding, sweat pouring down my face, my first thought was “I really, really hate mountain climbers.” Without much time to think about my hatred for this exercise, the bell rang, signifying the start of my second round of :20 of mountain climbers, and my thoughts shifted to “there is no freakin’ way that was 10 seconds already!”Metabolic circuits are workouts that tax the heart, lungs, skeletal muscular system, and perhaps most importantly, the mind. Exercises can include standard strength training movements like dumbbell presses, squats, and rows, or calisthenics like jumping jacks, pushups, and core work. Often the best circuits contain elements of both. You can do rounds of 10 seconds, or rounds of 1 minute. You can have circuits of 5 exercises, or circuits of 12 exercises. You can go through the circuits 2 times, or 6 times. One of the beauties of metabolic training is that program design does not matter NEARLY as much as the effort one puts into it. Nobody said Metabolic Training was easy, but man, the rewards are great for those who put in the work. New to Metabolic Training? Never tried it? Read on for your top 5 reasons to include Metabolic Training is your workout routine!
1.) Enhanced Fat Loss. The old adage “You can’t out train a bad diet” is true, without a doubt. I can ingest 500 calories in 60 seconds, while it may take upwards of 60 minutes to burn the same amount of calories. I know, not fair! However, combined with a sound meal plan that is moderate in calories and not too high in processed food, Metabolic Training burns a ton of calories both during AND for a long period of time after the completion of exercise, making it a very sensible companion to melting off that stubborn body fat. It is the unique combination of muscle burning strength training with lung burning cardio vascular training that elevate your heart rate, and burn through calories at an astonishing rate. Consider Metabolic Training the “jelly” to Proper Nutrition’s “peanut butter”. Either “ingredient” on its own is just not as effective.
2.) Improved Strength and Conditioning. While most clients who do Metabolic Training have the primary goal of burning fat and feeling better, an almost unavoidable side effect of this training style in an improvement in muscular strength, and an improvement in aerobic fitness. Many of my clients drastically reduce the amount of running volume and roadwork in favor of more joint friendly Metabolic Training workouts, only to report an IMPROVEMENT in running performance. I have to think that this improvement in performance is due to increased strength, and the unbelievable level of conditioning that these workouts get your body in.These same people often report improved strength in simple activities like picking up suitcases, competing in athletics, or playing with the kids.
Increase in Strength& Conditioning=Increase in quality of life
3.) Increased Mobility. Metabolic training will have you standing up, sitting down, and moving your body in a myriad of ways that are unique to the exercises that are prevalent in these workouts. Due to a healthy dose on mountain climbers, thrusters, sitouts, jumping jacks, lunges, etc., you can expect to restore or improve mobility in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulder girdle. More mobility means happier, healthier joints, allowing you to lead an active, pain free life. As much as those mountain climbers might burn, it seems like a no brainer to trade this temporary discomfort for an increase in hip mobility that will leave you feeling younger, fitter, and stronger.
4.) Stress Relief. Had a bad day at work? Mad at your boyfriend or girlfriend? Hit a Metabolic workout, and it is a guarantee that you will feel WAY better than you did before. One of my clients calls these workouts “nature’s elixir,” and while this description makes me chuckle, in many ways he is right: there really is nothing like a great workout to release those endorphins that help improve our mood, regain focus, decompress, and regain perspective.
5.) Workout Efficiency. You flip open the latest copy of Men’s Health or Shape magazine, and they lay out a simple approach to getting ripped, all you have to do is strength train 4-5 days a week, along with 5-6 cardio sessions of 30-60 minutes. No problem, right? Um, well, except for Tommy needs to be picked up right after school, and brought to hockey practice. Oh yeah, and your boss at the firm just called a last minute conference call to discuss a merger. And your teenage son wants you to take him to the DMV to get his learner’s permit….but only after you have made sure that you picked up that last second birthday present for your significant other.
You get the point, life gets crazy, things come up, so you need a workout routine that is efficient, flexible, and to the point. While Metabolic Training can also serve as a great supplementary program to those already doing a structured strength training routine, it can also serve as the primary program to those of you looking to achieve maximal fitness, in the least amount of time. In as little as 3-5 weekly workouts of 45 minutes, Metabolic Training can make a huge difference in your busy life.
Mt. Climbers...sworn enemy to body fat!
If you haven’t had a chance to try Metabolic Training, check out and “like” our Facebook page for the Metabolic Meltdown, an extremely effective Metabolic Training program that has improved the quality of life for hundreds of men and women of all different ages, fitness levels, and athletic back grounds. This style of training is NOT just for women, nor is it ONLY for people who are tremendous shape to begin with! Remember, training is an INDIVIDUAL PROCESS, and an improvement in your current fitness level is all that should concern you. It is never too late to embark on the journey to getting into the best shape of your life, and if I were you, I would use Metabolic Training as your vehicle of choice.
I have been where you are. You have dieted well all day. You have had a great workout. But its cold, its late, and you are hungry. You open your cabinet to grab a “quick bite” and 10 minutes later you snap out of your food frenzy to see a half eaten bag of chips, an empty sleeve of Oreos, and a once occupied plastic bag that served as the proud home of those delectable Swedish Fish. “Screw it”, you say, and your proceed to pour yourself a 10 oz glass of wine, order Chinese food, and watch the best that E News has to offer (well, for me it would be ESPN, but I am trying to relate to you ladies out there). The next day at the gym, you mutter in disgust to your training partner “I just can’t seem to lose these last 5 lbs, I don’t know what it is, I am eating 1200 calories a day! I do everything right…maybe I should get my thyroid checked.” Deep down inside, you KNOW why you can’t lose those last 5 lbs. You KNOW what the problem is. You KNOW when the problem occurs. And only YOU can stop it. Here are a few helpful tips to help prevent binges from occurring, except on one weekend day, when I encourage everyone to act as though it is Super Bowl Sunday:
Read on to prevent this from happening when you get home!
1.) Have a protein shake the minute you get home from work. Blend 4-5 oz water, 4-5 ice cubes, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 1 teaspoon of Natural Cocoa Powder, 1-2 packets of Stevia/Splenda/Whatever calorie free sweetener you prefer and have this before dinner. This shake takes 5-10 minutes to drink due to the cold temperature, and will actually have you full enough to prevent your Zombie like attack on the cabinet.
2.) Perform a high intensity activity at night. Although I always recommend the Metabolic Meltdown at Phelps Gym, other examples include treadmill sprints, jump rope, sprints outside, basketball, martial arts, racquetball, nightclub dancing, or whatever else suits your fancy. By getting your heart rate up and a light sweat going you will curb your appetite, earn more calories to eat afterwards, and feel leaner. When you feel leaner, you want to eat cleaner.
3.) Brush your teeth when you crave those chocolate chip cookies. Tried and true, this old stand by rarely fails.
4.) If you are male, sit down at the kitchen table with your shirt off before digging into that bowl of ice cream. If you are female, well, PRETEND that you are doing the same…I am assuming there may be kids around so perhaps it is best not to literally do this. That layer of fat coming over your sweatpants may be just the ticket to preventing you from devouring the Ben and Jerry’s tempting you in the freezer.
5.) Similar to rule #1, make a shake for “dessert” after dinner. Another delicious shake recipe with a little fruity twist: . Blend 4-5 oz water, 4-5 ice cubes, 1 scoop vanilla or strawberry whey protein powder, 1 teaspoon Smuckers Sugar free Strawberry Jelly, 6-10 frozen strawberries, 1-2 packets of Stevia/Splenda/Whatever calorie free sweetener you prefer. Admittedly, this is no Frosty, but it is pretty damn close!
6.) Have one day a week, or one 24 hour “free period” when you eat whatever you feel like, you do not count calories, and you enjoy the finer things is life. For me, this is Labatt Blue Light, DeFazio’s Pizza (the BEST pizza in the Capital District, hands down), and chocolate chip ice cream. As long as your are ON POIN with your calories, exercising, and using My Fitness Pal during the other 144 hours, I see nothing wrong with doing this. I have successfully gotten leaner following this method, and so can you. After all, last time I check, 85% was pretty damn good.
Another new year has come and gone, and for some of you, weight loss and improved fitness were your resolutions. On January 2, you hit the gym harder than Rocky Balboa getting ready for Drago in Rocky IV, you ate clean, everything was in check. Now, 2 weeks in, while you might be down a couple of lbs, you are getting frustrated that you aren’t where you want to be. Guess what? It takes MONTHS of hard work (both in the gym and in the kitchen), to get in shape. You need to be completely dedicated to the cause, and while everyone needs to enjoy life now and then, you need to be compliant from a nutritional and exercise stand point AT LEAST 85% of the time to get where you want to be.
Here are some 2 quick tips to help you get into the best shape of your life:
1.) Consistency is king. KEEP SHOWING UP TO THE GYM EVERY DAY! Even on days you don’t feel like it, and trust me, I have been there, drag yourself there. On days when I don’t feel like training, I am always glad that I went and did it. You should break a sweat while working out 5-6 days a week. If you think you are going to get in great shape from only 1-2 workouts a week, you are sadly mistaken. Of course not all of these sessions need to involve weights. Sprint in the park. Hike a mountain with your dogs. Go skiing. It doesn’t matter what you do, but DO SOMETHING!
2.) Track your caloric intake. In this day in age of technology, you have NO excuse not to track your calories. We have had GREAT success with the app My Fitness Pal, available on all smart phones, or even on a computer. It is incredibly easy to use, it holds you accountable, and it is effective.
If you start saying inane things like “that doesn’t work for me” or “I don’t have time” I am literally going to start bashing my forehead into this keyboard, so please forgive me ahead of time if you see the “F11” key impressed into my skull later. When you start making excuses for not counting calories, just stop. Stop. You are being lazy. That is all there is to it. Saying that counting calories does “not work for me” is no different than saying “oxygen intake doesn’t keep me alive.” Folks, the law of thermodynamics is science. You cannot refute it. You cannot say it doesn’t work. Whether you do the “Paleo” diet, Atkins, South Beach, or whatever other fad diet you probably won’t stick to, the bottom line is ALL of these nutritional models force you into a caloric deficit. I prefer using the My Fitness Pal app because it allows you to enjoy LIFE, and eat real world foods in moderation. It is also highly educational, as you will quickly learn how to get the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to intaking calories. The app also rewards you for physical activity, making it the perfect complement to our Metabolic Meltdown program in order to shed that body fat. Follow the app strictly 6/7 days a week, and you WILL lose weight and get into great shape.
If you workout 6/7 days a week, and follow My Fitness Pal 6/7 days a week, don’t thank me when you reach your fitness goal, give yourself a pat on the back for having the discipline, dedication, and desire that so few possess, and so many want. BE STRONG!
As a society, a bunch of motivational slogans are repeatedly slammed into our heads, time and time again regarding “failure.” Just hop on Facebook and I am sure you will see a Meme of somebody performing an impressive physical feat with accompanying text that reads: “failure is not an option” or “don’t ever give up.” While I greatly admire this bravado when it comes to strength training, the reality is that there will ALWAYS be a load that you cannot lift, or a repetition you WILL FAIL on. In fact, I strongly believe that is in the reps that we fail on that lead to our greatest strength gains. Our bodies are forced to adapt to an imposed stimulus, and provided with adequate rest and recovery, grow stronger. All too often people have a tendency to want to “complete” reps, regardless of form, in order to have that feeling of success in the gym. (You know, that guy that twists his back and shoulders in order to complete a set of curls). While I must admit, it feels great to “own” a set, or complete a set and slam the bar back into the rack, this mindset is all wrong.
Unless you are Chuck Norris, and have a silky smooth voice under pressure, then failure in the gym IS an option!
When I strength train, it is not me against the weights. It is my brain and the weights against my muscles. The weights are there to HELP me fatigue my muscles, in order to help me reach my goals. My brain is there to keep my form tight, and to push through that last rep that I really don’t want to do. If you can get on the same “team” as the resistance you are using, your form will be much better, and so will your results. Accept failure as a part of the training process, and embrace it. If all you want to do is write down on your workout card or training log “225 x 10 reps” then the sad reality is, you are probably compromising many training integrities in order to have that feeling of success. Conversely, if it you do get 225 x 10 reps, and you use strict form on each rep, with the intention to train close to or at muscular fatigue, your strength gains will be genuine, and you will be closer to attaining the results you seek.
The next time you hit the gym, tighten your form up, and experiment with ending the set when you reach failure in the middle of a rep, as opposed to simply locking out the rep at the conclusion of the set every time. For safety purposes, do not do this on squats or bench presses (unless you have a trust worthy spotter), but rather curls, tricep extensions, dips, glute ham raises, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg extensions, etc. Use common sense, and always train safely, but remember, there is NO need to twist and squirm a weight to the top to simply chase a number. Lift to failure with good form, and refuse to let your form breakdown. This way when you do add reps, or increase weight, you know for sure that you are getting stronger!