I hear this a lot talking to our new clients and thought it would be a great article to write about in our blog. A lot of people have this common misconception: they think, “if I start exercising, I will lose the weight I have gained over the last 20 years.”
I can see why people have this misconception as everywhere we look in advertising shows slim people with small waists. We believe these slim people got that way just through exercise. Hence people start to think, “if they are working out to look like this, well then so should I.”
Through the years as a personal trainer, what I have found is that most men are really bothered by the belly they have accumulated. With women, most are concerned with their butts and thighs. Not all men and women I have coached over the years are concerned exactly the same, but these common themes do come up.
Let’s clear up the fog. Yes, you need to exercise in all forms: weight training, cardio, and flexibility as they help you burn calories. Your body works quite simply, burn more calories than you consume. For example, if your body needs 2,000 calories to keep your current weight, eating 1,900 calories will help you slowly but surely drop weight. This is known as being in a “calorie deficit”.
What I find with most clients is they think all they need to do is exercise and the weight will come off. Ohhh … if it was that easy. Here’s the shocker: weight loss is about what you consume. Your goal is to lower the number of calories you consume in a day. More importantly, you start feeding your body with good nutrition, protein and fats while lowering your carb intake. (Now we are getting into the macronutrient discussion. I will leave that for future article.)
Here’s what you need to know to get healthier and fitter for whatever activity or health reasons you are doing it for. It all comes down to this, HABITS. Start breaking bad old habits with new healthy lifestyle habits that you can stick to. There’s the magic answer you were never told.
Then all of a sudden exercising is a daily habit, understanding what you are eating to fuel your body with the right nutrients becomes a passion all of a sudden. While remembering past experiences with all the bad habits you had that made you feel sluggish, tired, and anxious while making sleeping at night difficult. Trading the bad habits for good habits will make you feel so much better and give your body the energy it needs to exercise.
I'm itching to get out on my dirt bike, especially since I had the top end done and tuned up a bit by my motor guy a month ago. However, I must be patient. So, what can I work on while I patiently sit in the sun by the pool drinking some cocktails? Core strength.
When I started dirt biking, I mistakenly thought it was all about the upper body and quad strength. As I improve and spend more time training off the bike, I have realized core strength and stability is a huge part of riding and it takes a lot of work to strengthen your core and train for balance.
A lot of people think your core are your 'abs'. While partially correct, the abdominal muscles we see are just one piece of the puzzle. While properly trained abdominal muscles such as the muscles commonly referred to as the 'abs' will help to strengthen and support the low back, the deeper muscles need attention as well (rectus abdominis, internal oblique, transversus abdominis, external oblique, etc.). These stabilizer muscles help you balance and give you that strong twisting action. Those muscles also help you from slipping on ice in the winter or falling on your face if you trip on a crack in the sidewalk (unless you have had one too many tequilas while sitting by the pool).
Spending time developing your balance will greatly enhance your riding abilities, give you the balance to stop before a tricky log to eye up the situation without dabbing a foot down. For me, my core strength gives me the ability to lift my bike after crashing using my legs and core, not my back.
FitRiders will be able to help with all these areas. As an added bonus, you may find you develop a nice-looking midsection (nutrition information in future blogs). Check out our programs and if you have any questions, absolutely drop me a line I would love to hear from you.
Motivation. I'm here in Florida for a couple of weeks and the dirty biking here is nothing to write home about - but the weather is. It's hot and 100% humidity and sunny.
My question today is how do I stay motivated to do a daily workout? I think about all the hard work I have put in over the years to get into shape and the ice cream offers I have turned down as well. It was such a lot of work to get to where I am and I'm not getting any younger. To be honest I love being in shape. Being fit makes life easier and keeps me out of the doctor's office and I feel great, if it weren't for playing roller derby I wouldn't have many aches and pains. My current lifestyle allows me to be very active and able to eat properly every meal, but I do have those days where I feel lazy and unmotivated; today I scarfed down a pint of salted caramel gelato and a beer for lunch. However, one day out of seven won't put the weight back on.
So, what was my motivation today? A successful game of roller derby last night and the feeling of ease I have playing derby because of my fitness level. Every day I like to find a reason to go to the gym - a bad day at work, some eye candy at the gym, a new bikini I bought? What's your motivation? That pint of ice cream, I don't work out to punish myself for it. I wanted ice cream. It's that simple, no need to punish myself with a gruelling workout. A workout is not punishment, a workout should be your enjoyable playtime.
One of the things I have discovered about myself the past week is I enjoy working out at the end of the day, before dinner time. That's when I feel a bit sleepy and instead of going in for a coffee or two, I hit the pool or the TRX for 40-45 minutes. It gives me a bit more energy to finish off my day with a bang. Everyone is different, if you're a morning person, my hats off to you. Find that time and motivation for you. We are all different and happy work out.
When it comes to preparing your body for a big adventure ride, is it really any different from preparing your body for a roller derby tournament? After all, many would consider either of these disciplines to be “extreme sports.” While getting prepped for your adventure ride also involves some time prepping the bike (to be discussed in a separate blog), getting ready for a big ride is like getting ready for a big tournament.
I started pondering this question as I am getting ready to leave in a few short hours for a roller derby tournament in Ohio! Exciting stuff! Three hard hitting games over two days is a big deal in our sport, and it something that requires preparation. Likewise, getting your body ready to endure the rigors of a big adventure ride also requires a lot of preparation. Below are my tips for getting ready for your next adventure ride (or tournament)
Get Plenty of Rest
In roller derby circles, we sometimes call this our “battle sleep” and it is important. If you are not well rested, you will not be at your best mentally or physically to perform. Being too tired can cause you to make many mental mistakes which could lead to an accident. Tired muscles could also end up feeling weaker than normal, making you less able to handle your bike like you normally would.
Just like your bike needs the right fuel to keep going, our bodies also need to be fueled up before we go on our adventure ride. The same is true for any athlete. Eat a mix of healthy vegetables, lean meats and whole grains will help fuel your body for the ride. Cut out the alcohol and drink plenty of water. On the day of your ride, or tournament day, have a healthy breakfast. A combo of quick burning carbs and lean protein will give you the energy you need and keep you satisfied until the “lunch stop.” Of course, sometimes there is no lunch stop on an adventure ride. Or maybe there is nothing but chip stands along the way. In that case, always ensure you pack snacks with you for your ride, like trail mix, fruit and granola bars. And lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Our muscles need to be ready to go when it’s game time. Or adventure ride time. My FitRider coach Karl warned me about going “too hard” the week prior to the tournament. Yes, still go to the gym, but keep your workouts light. Light weights that work the whole body are best to prevent injury and minimize recovery time. As always, ensure you stretch your muscle to keep everything loose. Pre-game, or pre-ride, make sure you do a light warm up and stretch so you are ready to go! Interesting story, at a tournament last year, fellow FitRider blogger Jen and I went to the hotel gym a few hours before our game and did a quick cardio and light weight workout. The great thing is, players for the other team were staying at the same hotel and watched us workout. The other team went out and partied the night before, and they were feeling hung over. They felt even worse when they saw us working out. We managed to intimidate the other team before we even got to the rink! We already won the game before it started. Which reinforces my point about “getting your battle sleep” and brings me to my next point about mental preparation.
The mental game is just as important as the physical game. It’s true for any sport, including adventure bike riding. If you already are doubting your abilities, you might as well stay home. In adventure riding, if you feel like you’re going to crash, you probably will. Your mind needs to be focused and alert. In your mind, you have to have a plan for dealing with upcoming obstacles: will you avoid them or tackle them. It’s not enough to be physically fit; you need to believe it as well. When your mind is clear, you will be able to overcome just about all obstacles. Those include logs, rocks and really large roller derby players who want to crush you!
You’ve been eating healthy and working out, but the scale refuses to budge. As far as you can tell, you’re doing everything right, but you’re just not getting the results you want.
If this frustrating scenario sounds familiar, weight loss mistakes might be getting in the way of your success. These can happen to anyone, especially because these problems aren’t obvious unless you know what to look out for.
Here are four common weight loss mistakes along with science-based tips to help you get past them.
1. Forbidding Your Favorite Foods
It makes sense that the types of indulgent foods that we crave most — think of decadent desserts or savory snacks — should be removed from our diet when our goal is weight loss. Eating too much of these foods will work against your weight loss efforts, but you should not completely cut out your favorite foods.
Research suggests that eliminating favorite foods during weight loss can make food cravings harder to resist and may lead to unintended overeating (1). Other research has found that when commonly craved foods like sugar are restricted, it makes eating them significantly more rewarding than eating these foods under other circumstances (2).
The solution: Make sensible, portion-controlled treats a regular part of your weight loss plan.
2. Skimping on Sleep
Many of us fail to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, but mounting evidence shows that inadequate sleep can make it difficult to reach or maintain a healthy weight (3). Too little sleep has been shown to cause changes in hormone balance, metabolism, and appetite regulation that tend to promote weight gain (4, 5).
The solution: Make sleep a priority. Aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
3. Getting Stuck in an Exercise Rut
Whether it’s cardio or weights, if you tend to stick to one type of workout, you are likely not getting the most out of the time you spend at the gym. For the greatest weight loss benefit, research suggests that you need a mix of both strength training and cardiovascular conditioning.
Researchers combined the results of 15 exercise trials involving over 740 participants and compared the type of exercise —cardio, strength training, or a combination of both — to the participants’ weight loss results (6). Study participants who did both types of exercise lost significantly more weight on average than those who focused on either type alone.
The solution: Mix in strength training and cardiovascular conditioning during your workout routine.
4. Missing Out on Protein When You Need It Most
Managing calories is an essential part of any weight loss strategy but limiting what you eat can also mean that you fall short on the nutrients your body needs. Protein is among the most important nutrients for helping to support your weight loss success, but it can be a challenge to get the extra protein you need while controlling calories.
Higher amounts of dietary protein help manage appetite during weight loss and can help support greater weight loss overall (7, 8). Getting more protein helps offset the muscle loss that usually accompanies weight loss, which is important for helping you maintain your results (9, 10).
The solution: Include plenty of high-quality protein in your weight loss plan. Aim to get 20-40 grams of protein at each meal or snack four to six times per day. You might need a little more or less protein each day depending on your goals, body size, and other factors like physical activity.
Now that you know solutions to common weight loss mistakes, you can focus more on achieving your goals!
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.