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Three Steps To Reaching Your Goals

Roughly 20% of the U.S. population has a gym membership.  Based on my 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, I would estimate that of that 20%, only one half to three quarters actually regularly and consistently use that membership. I find that the majority of people who struggle with consistency do so because they either lack focus and goals or because they fail to reach those goals.  At Fenton Fitness & Athletic Center, we have found there to be three key components to reaching any goal in the fitness and nutrition realm.

Setting the Goal

First and foremost, we must name our goal.  I suggest writing this goal down and possibly sharing this goal with somebody you trust and who supports you.  When choosing your goal, you want it to be specific, something that can be measured, something realistic/attainable, and you want to give yourself a time frame to accomplish the goal.  Think about why you want to reach that goal.  It can be helpful to place the written goal somewhere visible that you will see on a regular basis.  If we can’t make a given goal happen, we can alter our actions to bring us closer to that goal.

Behaviors/Skills

Once our goal is set, we want to write out the behaviors and skills needed to reach that goal.  For example, if your goal is to drop 20lbs, two key behaviors would be eating less calories and being more active.  In the case of somebody who wants to be able to Bench Press their body weight, their skills might be bench pressing progressively heavier weights 2-3 times each week and eating sufficient protein.

Habits/Practices

After setting our behaviors that are needed to achieve our goal, we must then set up our daily habits or practices that will lead to successful execution of our behaviors, which in turn will lead to achieving our goals.  Our habits for our sample goals might look like this:

            20 pounds weight loss (less calories, more activity)

            -Pack gym bag before going to bed and put in car, including a protein shake in bag

-Go to bed 7-8 hours before alarm is going to go off

-Wake up 15 minutes earlier to eat breakfast at home instead of fast food

-Workout at lunch hour instead of going out to eat with coworkers, drink shake instead of eating lunch.

            Bench Press Body weight (2-3 progressively heavier bench press workouts and more protein)

            -Go to bed 7-8 hours before alarm is going to go off

-Set alarm 1 hour early Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for early morning workout

-Prepare/plan breakfast the before going to bed and pack lunch for next day targeting 0.15-0.25g of protein/pound of body weight.

-Buy quality protein shake, protein bars, and/or Jerky to help supplement protein needs at snacks.  Keep them at home, in the car, and at work.

 

From start to finish it can be helpful to set up a chart that looks something like this.

It should be noted that it is best to only introduce one major goal at a time into your life.  I recommend picking just one goal and working on that for 3-12 months before adding or changing goals.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

 

That pain in your arm or hand could be coming from somewhere else.  Read Mike O’Hara’s article, Changing Locations to find out more.  Jeff Tirrell gives nutrition tips and Mike discusses the benefits of using an agility ladder.

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Stay independent longer by increasing your stair climbing capacity.  Mike O’Hara shows you how in his article, “Keep Climbing”.  Mike also discusses standing desks and the many benefits of standing while working.  Jeff Tirrell explains the effect of exercise on appetite.

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Our June issue brings information on preventing neck pain by strengthening your neck.  Mike O’Hara describes and demonstrates in a video exercises that will help strengthen the muscles of your neck.  In another article, Mike tells how grip strength can be a predictor of early death in some patients.  Be sure to read Jeff Tirrell’s article on performance based training.

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Practical Protein

During the last five years, I’ve probably written about protein more than any other topic.  That’s largely due to the fact that along with energy intake, water intake, and a solid progressive full body strength program, very little else will have such a dramatic impact on your progress, recovery, and body composition.  Most people who read fitness articles and are regular readers of our blog understand that they need to eat protein.  My experience in nutrition coaching however, shows that many people are clueless as to how to go about this.

For starters, we need to understand what our protein intake should look like.  Many studies look at minimum requirements.  This outlook is simply looking at what is needed to avoid sickness and disease.  What we want to look at is optimal intakes to improve recovery and accumulate or retain muscle mass, as these are the metrics which will vastly improve our quality of life.  Most research in this field gives protein requirements in grams per kilogram of bodyweight.  The latest and most comprehensive Meta-analysis recommends an intake of 0.73g/lb of bodyweight.  Dr. Eric Helms presents various good points in this article which shows intakes may be able to go as low as 0.63g/lb of bodyweight and some may benefit from as high as 1.3g/lb of bodyweight.  Since most people that I talk to about protein intake are struggling to get enough, I recommend 0.6-1g/lb of bodyweight.  Leaner individuals likely need to be on the higher end, while obese and overweight individuals will probably fair just fine on the lower end.  Once you know your intake goals, you simply need to divide that amount among the number of meals you eat per day.  Here is a practical guide, with simple options if you are still under on your protein intake.  These meals can be scaled up or down based on your protein needs and will also fulfill fruit and veggie requirements for the day.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Snack Option #1

2 oz beef/turkey/venison jerky (20-25g protein, 140-180 calories)

Snack Option #2

1 scoop Whey OR Egg OR Pea protein shake (20-25g protein, 120-140 calories)

Snack Option #3

3 string cheese OR 3 hard boiled Eggs (18g protein, 150-210 calories)

Daily Totals: 108-250g protein (1140-2631 calories)

 

Practical Protein

During the last five years, I’ve probably written about protein more than any other topic.  That’s largely due to the fact that along with energy intake, water intake, and a solid progressive full body strength program, very little else will have such a dramatic impact on your progress, recovery, and body composition.  Most people who read fitness articles and are regular readers of our blog understand that they need to eat protein.  My experience in nutrition coaching however, shows that many people are clueless as to how to go about this.

For starters, we need to understand what our protein intake should look like.  Many studies look at minimum requirements.  This outlook is simply looking at what is needed to avoid sickness and disease.  What we want to look at is optimal intakes to improve recovery and accumulate or retain muscle mass, as these are the metrics which will vastly improve our quality of life.  Most research in this field gives protein requirements in grams per kilogram of bodyweight.  The latest and most comprehensive Meta-analysis recommends an intake of 0.73g/lb of bodyweight.  Dr. Eric Helms presents various good points in this article which shows intakes may be able to go as low as 0.63g/lb of bodyweight and some may benefit from as high as 1.3g/lb of bodyweight.  Since most people that I talk to about protein intake are struggling to get enough, I recommend 0.6-1g/lb of bodyweight.  Leaner individuals likely need to be on the higher end, while obese and overweight individuals will probably fair just fine on the lower end.  Once you know your intake goals, you simply need to divide that amount among the number of meals you eat per day.  Here is a practical guide, with simple options if you are still under on your protein intake.  These meals can be scaled up or down based on your protein needs and will also fulfill fruit and veggie requirements for the day.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Dinner Option #1

2-3 cups of spinach AND/OR Kale (2-4g protein, good for you)

4-6 ounces chicken breast OR Tuna (25-44g protein)

1 ounce shredded cheese (5-8g protein, calcium)

½-1 cup other veggies: broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, pepper, onion (1-2g protein, good for you)

2 tbsp oil/vinegar based dressing (no protein)

Optional:          Glass of 2% or Whole milk (8g protein)

glass of red wine

bread or potato

Total: 33-68g protein (450-700 calories)

 

Dinner Option #2

4-8oz baked Chicken breast, Salmon, Steak (25-65g protein)

1 medium baked potato OR 1 cup quinoa OR 1 cup rice (2-6g protein)

2 cups  green beans, asparagus, brussel sprouts (4-6g protein, good for you)

Optional:          Glass of 2% or Whole milk (8g protein)

glass of red wine

Total: 31-84g protein (360-860 calories)

 

In our May issue, Mike O’Hara discusses the importance of walking.  If you have pain or difficulty with walking, there are things that help.  Mike demonstrates some exercises to get you ready.  Be sure to read Jeff Tirrell’s article on squatting, and read about Afterburn–a new class at Fenton Fitness that uses heart rate monitors while training.

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World’s Best Diet Part 9–Fasting

If you google the word diet, you will come up with over 200,000 results.  Every week, month, year, and decade a new study or article comes out claiming certain foods are killing us, or that some other food or nutritional approach will lead us to the promised land.  Unfortunately, articles are written to create traffic, so scientific research is often misreported or spun to sell magazines or generate website traffic.  The truth is, there are many ways to skin a cat.  All of the evidence on nutrition (in regards to weight loss) points to two undeniable truths.  First, that dietary adherence is king.  It doesn’t matter how perfect or evidence based a nutrition plan is, if you can’t follow it, it doesn’t matter.  Before starting any eating plan, you must ask yourself how easy it will be to maintain long term.  Second, you must achieve an energy deficit to lose weight (eat less energy than you expend each day).  Though “calories in, calories out” may be slightly over simplified, it is still the underlying rule to any weight loss success.   For any weight loss plan to work, you must consistently follow the pla, and you must be in a caloric deficit.  This series will highlight the nine most popular current nutrition approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Fasting

Claims: There are a ton of different approaches to fasting.  The most common are ADF (alternate day fasting) and IF (intermittent fasting).  ADF simply means that one day you eat nothing, followed by a day of standard eating.  IF is a restricted eating format where you don’t eat for a given period of time (16 hours being the most popular) followed by a feeding window where you eat regularly (8 hours in the 16 hour example above).  Every person fasts when they sleep by default, the various fasting protocols simply extend this fast one way or the other.  Purported benefits include improved insulin sensitivity, improved heart health, weight loss, better brain function, and some eve claim better performance.

Reality:  There is nothing magical about fasting.  When calories are controlled for fasting protocols seem to offer many of the health benefits that other diets show (improved heart health, improved insulin sensitivity, weight loss, etc.).  One unique potential benefit is that of life extension.  Several animal studies have shown this to be the case, but more research is needed.

Pros:No off limit foods.  Even without tracking food directly many people will eat less food by reducing the window of time in which they eat food.  This is probably one of the simplest plans to follow in concept.  If you can tell the time you can follow this plan.

Cons: No emphasis on food quality, or protein intake.  May not get enough vitamins and minerals in if you aren’t sure to emphasize getting a large amount of whole and unprocessed foods since you aren’t eating on a daily basis.  May be harder to maintain muscle mass (though research hasn’t shown this yet).  Could lead to binge eating behaviors during the feeding window in some individuals.  If this is you, this plan is not right for you.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CFSC, Pn1

World’s Best Diet Part 8–The Mediterranean Diet

If you google the word diet, you will come up with over 200,000 results.  Every week, month, year, and decade a new study or article comes out claiming certain foods are killing us, or that some other food or nutritional approach will lead us to the promised land.  Unfortunately, articles are written to create traffic, so scientific research is often misreported or spun to sell magazines or generate website traffic.  The truth is, there are many ways to skin a cat.  All of the evidence on nutrition (in regards to weight loss) points to two undeniable truths.  First, that dietary adherence is king.  It doesn’t matter how perfect or evidence based a nutrition plan is, if you can’t follow it, it doesn’t matter.  Before starting any eating plan, you must ask yourself how easy it will be to maintain long term.  Second, you must achieve an energy deficit to lose weight (eat less energy than you expend each day).  Though “calories in, calories out” may be slightly over simplified, it is still the underlying rule to any weight loss success.   For any weight loss plan to work, you must consistently follow the pla, and you must be in a caloric deficit.  This series will highlight the nine most popular current nutrition approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Mediterranean

 

Claims: This diet emphasizes plant based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.  You are encouraged to use oils instead of butter, spices/herbs instead of salt, limiting red meat to 2x/month, and moderate to low red wine consumption.  The claims are that you will see reduced mortality rates, lower many cancer risks, and improved heart health.

Reality: This is another sensible eating plan that has been around for a long time.  Emphasizing whole foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts,  and beans should be a no brainer.  There is a body of literature (albeit correlative in nature) that shows majority of health markers improve on this style of eating plan.

Pros: Fiber rich diet focusing on veggies, fruits, grains, olive oil, nuts/seeds, and legumes.  Encourages the social aspect of eating, and doesn’t directly forbid any food.

Cons: de-emphasizes lean protein consumption  by recommending fish/poultry only be eaten 2x/week, and read meat less than 2x/month.  Following this approach could lead to inadequate protein intakes.  No emphasis on food quantities, which may lead to some people over eating these “healthy” foods.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CFSC, Pn1

World’s Best Diet Part 7–Paleo

If you google the word diet, you will come up with over 200,000 results.  Every week, month, year, and decade a new study or article comes out claiming certain foods are killing us, or that some other food or nutritional approach will lead us to the promised land.  Unfortunately, articles are written to create traffic, so scientific research is often misreported or spun to sell magazines or generate website traffic.  The truth is, there are many ways to skin a cat.  All of the evidence on nutrition (in regards to weight loss) points to two undeniable truths.  First, that dietary adherence is king.  It doesn’t matter how perfect or evidence based a nutrition plan is, if you can’t follow it, it doesn’t matter.  Before starting any eating plan, you must ask yourself how easy it will be to maintain long term.  Second, you must achieve an energy deficit to lose weight (eat less energy than you expend each day).  Though “calories in, calories out” may be slightly over simplified, it is still the underlying rule to any weight loss success.   For any weight loss plan to work, you must consistently follow the pla, and you must be in a caloric deficit.  This series will highlight the nine most popular current nutrition approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Paleo

Claims: This approach purports to mimic the way of eating during the paleolithic era.  Also known as the caveman diet, the claim is that with the agricultural revolution over the last 2000 years, our diets have outpaced our evolution.  Proponents claim that that many of our health ills today are due to the fact that we have rapidly introduced too many new foods to the homosapien diet such as grains.  The benefits claimed range from reduced disease, weight loss, more/better muscle, improved performance, no need to track intake, and pretty much everything else under the sun.

Reality: Like everything else that over promises, this meal plan falls short.  Though there is nothing inherently bad or wrong with this diet plan, there is also nothing magical.  The whole premise of the meal plan according to Christina Warinner, who is an expert on ancient diets, is false as seen in this Ted Talk.

Pros: Increases protein intake in many individuals, encourages fruit and vegetable intake.  Often time leads to weight loss due to the fact that it eliminates many foods and thus calories from the diet.

 Cons: Needlessly eliminates grains, dairy, and many starches from one’s diet. This can lead to compliance issues long term and may lead to some nutrient deficiencies.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CFSC, Pn1

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