Musings on a Fitness Convention

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I attended over 15 sessions and learned a ton of excellent programming, nutrition and motivational hacks at last weekend’s SCW Florida Mania Convention.   I’m always humbled and inspired by the speakers at these conventions.  They are top-notch fitness professional who have a deep understanding of exercise physiology, nutrition, business and psychology.  Many people assume fitness professionals get into the business so they can work out all the time.  The truth is we get into this business because we have a passion for helping people.  Compassion is in every successful trainers tool box.

Though many of the sessions were Group Ex and choreography based, I did take a few exercise science, nutrition and mindfulness classes and I wanted to share my top favorite take-aways  with you.  Please enjoy the read my friends.

Keynote Address

Irene Lewis-MCCormick Key Note Speaker

Irene Lewis-MCCormick
Key Note Speaker

The Keynote speaker was Irene Lewis-McCormick, a fitness veteran with an impressive resume:  author, educator, Master Trainer, etc.  Her keynote was on promoting “The Attitude of Gratitude”.  Though she directed the address to fitness professionals, her overall message is applicable to everyone:  Attitude and Gratitude go hand-in-hand.   Here are the highlights of her message:

  • Smile, It increases your face value
  • Interrupt anxiety with gratitude. Even if you are having a really rough day, find one thing to be thankful for, e.g. at least the weather is nice today.
  • Learn people’s names and use them. It’s a skill and can be learned.  She didn’t go into detail, but I always try to repeat the name of the person I’m introduced to, use it at least once, e.g. “What a lovely sweater, Julia”, and try to associate her name with something, e.g., Julia has red hair, just like my neighbor, whose also called Julia.
  • Engage with people. Say “hello”, hold a door open, help someone with their packages etc. Also, don’t fake caring. Be interested when someone talks about their weekend.
  • Journaling has been scientifically proven to create positive feelings, help you sleep better, improve health and lengthen life.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, just write down what you did that day or your thoughts and feelings.  Entries can be long or short.  The reflection forces you to pay attention to good things in your life.

Joint Friendly Strength Training

This session was presented by Nick Tumminello,

Nick Tumminello

Nick Tumminello
Performance University

owner of Performance University, author and fitness expert.  The jest of the message is that people often go to trainers because they want to improve their fitness and look better.  Unfortunately, if they have pain they are often unable to do standard exercises.  Today’s trainers are well versed in postural assessments and often focus on trying to fix their clients pain and create more efficient movement patterns rather than provide clients with effective workouts to meet their fitness goals.  Though the trainers are well-intentioned, this “corrective exercise trap” leads to frustrated clients who aren’t meeting their fitness goals  Mr. Tumminello said, “Studies do not support the claim that posture relates to pain patterns”.  Furthermore, people who are in pain, generally improve regardless of the exercise format they start.  (I mentioned something similar to this in my blog https://bewellwithmel.com/whats-the-perfect-exercise/).    Mr. Tumminello wrote an article called the “Corrective Exercise Trap” for Personal Training Quarterly.    Article appears on page 6 of this PDF:

https://www.nsca.com/uploadedFiles/NSCA/Resources/PDF/Publications/PTQ/PTQ%204.1.pdf

This session hit home with me as  I do FMS (Functional Movement Screening, reference link if you are unfamiliary with this assessement https://www.functionalmovement.com/Store/11/functional_movement_screen_fms_test_kit)

with my clients and it made me wonder if I was getting into  “paralysis by analysis” when I spend so much time trying to correct imbalances that I lose sight of increasing their fitness.  It comes from a caring place, but sometimes “you just need to move”.  Since my clientele consists primarily of woman from 30 to 60, there are often issues with knees, back and shoulders. Mr. Tumminello gave some excellent takeaway exercise alterations for some common gym movements:

  • Lunges: Either reverse lunges (one of my favorite lunge modifcations) or a modifield forward lunge with a small step to the front and a forward lean to activate more posterior muscles and fewer quad (pic 1).

    Modified Lunge

    Pic 1 Modified Forward Lunge

  • Squats: If you have a bad back, single legged squats allow you to increase the load on the legs without increasing load on spine.  For example, if you squat holding two 25 pound DB’s, the load on each leg is 25’s and 50’s for the back.  If you go to one leg, the load on the leg is 50 pounds, and the load on the back stayed at 50 pounds.    Another hack is to do a single leg half squat/half deadlift.   (Pic’s 2 & 3). Avoid forward leans, like you would do to alleviate knee pain.

    Pic 2 Single Leg Deadlift

    Pic 3 Single Leg Squat

  • Presses: For people with shoulder pain, tubing chest presses usually work well and don’t produce pain. (Pic 4)

    Pic 4 Tubing Presses

  • Other: Mr. Tumminello is a huge fan of Sled Pushes (Pic 5). It’s an effective strength and conditioning exercise for anyone who has knee, back or shoulder pain.

    Pic 5 Sled Push

  • He also likes doing HIIT (Hi-intensity interval training) on a bike to build leg strength.  In my experience the best bike HIIT protocol is 80 to 100 RPM at a very high resistance for twenty to thirty seconds, with recovery of 10 to 30 seconds, repeated for up to ten minutes.

Graceful Strength and Dancer Body Sculpting

This was a Barre class presented by Kelli Roberts,

Keli Roberts

who like Ms. McCromick, is an industry icon with multiple Master trainer credentials and a deep knowledge of Group Exercise programming.  I teach Barre, so I took the class to learn some new moves, I could take back to my students.  I was not disappointed and if you take my Barre class, you are in for some fun, new programming.  Ms. Roberts, also clarified a few points about strength training, especially as it applies to females:

  • A strong muscle is a toned muscle.
  • Muscle length is genetic. You can’t sculpt long muscles.
  • Muscle tissue is lean, so when you build muscle, you become leaner.

She also discussed mobility and stability.  Uncontrolled mobility is a liability.  You need to balance stability and mobility.  From the foot to the head, you have joints that need to be stable and joints that need to be mobile.  This is the pattern:

  • Foot: Stable
  • Ankle: Mobile
  • Knee: Stable
  • Hip: Mobile
  • Lumbar: Stable
  • Thoracic: Mobile
  • Scapular: Stable
  • Glenohumeral: Mobile

Make sure your exercise programming promotes mobility in the mobile joints and stability in the stable joints.  For example, if you are doing an overhead press, you want the the Glenohumeral (shoulder joint) to be initiate the move, but you want the scapular to stay hugging the ribs.

Random Quotes

Elain Haan talking about Taichi:

Not meditation in motion, but medication in motion.”

Melanie Yoshida (me):

Subjects to controversial to talk about in casual conversation: politics, religion and anterior vs posterior pelvic tilts in Pilates style exercise protocols.

Nick Tumminello:  

“Fit exercises to individuals not individuals to exercises.”

Conclusion

Next month I’m going back to Orlando for an International Beauty Conference called “Premiere” as I’m currently in school to become a licensed Esthetician and Massage Therapist.  This will  be my first time at a Cosmotology Conference.  I’ll be avoiding the hair and nail seminars (sorry beauty aficionados), but I’m looking forward to learning more about esthetics, wellness, anti-again and massage therapy.

Stay hungry for knowledge my friends.

 

 

 

 

What’s the Perfect Exercise?

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Few things get me more riled up than advertisements for an exercise program or piece of workout equipment with the verbiage: Best, Only, Complete, etc.

Another pet peeve is studies, usually done by the manufacturers or developers of a program, touting amazing benefits on unconditioned people.  ANY moderate exercise will benefit a deconditioned person.  The only risk would be too high-intensity of a training.

Want the truth: The best exercise for you is the one you are currently NOT doing.

Components of Fitness

There are three basic components of fitness:

  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility (or Mobility)

The goal is to be efficient at all of these.  If you only run, your cardiovascular fitness will be excellent, but the other elements will be lacking.  If you are passionate about lifting heavy weights, you’ll have a hard time hiking up a hill. Both of these modalities will result in a lack of flexibility.  However, if you’re only doing Yoga or Pilates, you might be missing muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.

Role of Exercise

If you go back 100-125 years, the idea that we would be going to a gym to exercise would be ludicrous.  The vast majority of the populous engaged in physical labor.  Even if you were wealthy, activities of daily living were much more strenuous than they are today.  You don’t even have to go back that far.  Look at life in the1960’s:

  • There was one phone in the house; often downstairs.
  • Most typewriters were manual.
  • Most cars were stick shift.
  • You had to get out of the car to open the garage door.
  • And yes, kids played outside.

Today we go to the gym to exercise because our lives have become too sedentary.  As a species, humans are meant to engage in moderate physical activity (movement) during most of their waking hours with brief bouts of aerobic (running) or anaerobic (heavy lifting) thrown in.  Unfortunately, in today’s advanced societies, we lead very sedentary lives and some of us try to make up for that by “hitting the gym” most days of the week.   Often we then do exercises that are virtually contra-indicated for us.  One of the most glaring, in my opinion, is cycle classes.  Though I’m a lifetime certified Mad Dogg Spin Instructor, and regularly sub spin classes, the format bothers me for the following reasons:  People are coming to the class after sitting on their butt’s for eight plus hours.  Their hip flexors are tight and their shoulders are rounded forward, now they get on a bike to exercise and those same movement patterns are exacerbated.  I do think the classes have a purpose;  they are great for cardiovascular work and nowadays many cycle classes incorporate some upper body strength with light weights, but for most  “desk jockeys”, doing a cycle class twice a week is plenty.

Exercise Today

The best exercise program involves movement throughout the day, so here’s what you do:

  • Stand up and walk around every 30 minutes.
  • Go for a walk before work, at lunch and after work.
  • Be the office geek who volunteers to replace the water cooler tank.
  • Clean your own house.
  • Mow your own grass.
  • Hit the gym most days of the week and MIX. THINGS. UP.

This will hold true even if you are competing FOR FUN in an obstacle course race, triathlon, road or trail race, etc.  If you are a serious competitor, you are probably not reading this blog. If so, get of the internet and get a sports specific coach.

My Training Philosophy

None of my clients are professional athletes.  Though some regularly place in amateur 5K, triathlon or obstacle racing, the majority are professionals who are trying to keep their quality of life high, reduce illness and keep the pounds off.   This is my focus for these folks:

  1. Multi-joint exercises with weights that are heavy, for key moves such as Squats, Deadlift, Overhead Lifts and Pull-Ups.   All of these movements are performed with the utmost integrity. Weight is only added after the movement patterns are properly performed.
  2. There are components of Yoga and/or Pilates with each workout, but  I also encourage my clients to take these classes apart from our training sessions.
  3.  HITT sessions (Hi Intensity Interval Training). The modality can be rowing, running (treadmill), biking (stationary), etc.  If they’re training for a specific event, e.g. a half-marathon, I would obviously encourage running.  Format can be Tabata (20 seconds all-out and 10 seconds recovery for four minutes) or something like a quarter mile run as fast as possible.
  4.  I arrange for my clients to compete in road races as they are so accessible to everyone.  I can get 15 clients out for a 5K and everyone can enjoy it.  Some will win their age groups and others will walk the route.  Everyone gets a beer and food at the end.

There’s No Best Exercise, But There Are Ways to Make Your Exercise Better

Two things that will help you get more from your exercise program are getting out of your comfort zone and using your brain while exercising.

Don’t Do What You Like

People are often told to find an exercise that they like and focus on that as they are more likely to do it.  I agree with that up to a point, but I also think we should do things that we don’t like. Our continued efforts to stay comfortable all the time do not serve us well.  Our ancestors crossed continents by walking and we are upset when our plane is delayed in an airport with conveniences our forefathers could only dream of.  Fortitude with physical discomfort carries over to fortitude in activities of daily living. Instead of doing all your exercise in a climate controlled gym, break out of the comfort zone:  swim in cold water; run or bike in the heat (bring water) and lift a little heavier (with good form) than you normally do.

 

Brain and Body Connection

Learning new things that involve both mind and body helps keep your brain young via a mechanism called neuroplasticity.  Forget about electronic games to increase brain function, they don’t work:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/03/496120962/brain-game-claims-fail-a-big-scientific-test. 

What does work is combining movement with memory.  I heard that Spartan races used to have you memorize a number at an obstacle and you had to repeat it a few obstacles later.  If you forget, burpees or some other punishment was assigned.  If a Spartan race is too intimidating, try Zumba or Ballroom Dancing. Learning the intricate moves will help neuroplasticity.

If you have physical limitations, try to memorize a phone number, address or poem while doing bicep curls.  These types of activity increase neuroplasticity and keep your brain and body young.

In Conclusion

We have gone from having to “exercise” as a daily part of our life to “fitting it in”.   Ask anyone if exercise is important, and they will say “yes”.  So keep moving my friend. But don’t just rely on that gym visit and when you do hit the gym, be mindful of your workout and make sure you are addressing the following:

  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Strength Training
  • Mobility
  • Cognitive Function

Stay well my friends!

 

Healthy Aging As We Age

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How do you “age well”?  You eat right, exercise, keep the mind active, have a purpose and a great social network.  As someone in my 50’s, I strive to do all these things.  However, what could I have done throughout my life, or what can you do for your kids or grandkids to help them live a healthy life?

Conception

Dear Want-to-Be Moms and Dads, please start eating healthy before you get pregnant.  There’s a great book called Deep Nutrition, by Dr. Catherine Shanhan,  that outlines how an ancestral diet can help your child start life with an edge on health and wellness.  I read this book a few years ago and it forms the basis of my diet.  Here are the basic guidelines and an Amazon link for more information about the book.

  • Quality sourced meat on the bone (e.g., grass fed ribeye or   wild fish with bones)
  • Organ meats (started eating liver and headcheese)
  • Fermented foods (Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Kimchee, etc.)
  • Lots of high quality, fresh produce

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Nutrition-Your-Genes-Traditional/dp/0615228380

Birth

Cesarean vs Vaginal

According to Science Magazine, “Babies born vaginally are thought to have an edge over those born via cesarean section. They pick up bacteria from their mother’s birth canal, which scientists believe helps protect them from asthma, obesity, and other health issues as they grow older.”

There has been some effort to help babies born via cesarean by wiping gauze, that had been placed in the mother’s vagina, over the new born baby’s face.  Dr. Clemente, one of the doctors involved in initial trails states, “We know that this is an approximation; we cannot reproduce all the factors that are involved in labor,” Clemente noted that his own daughter was in the birth canal “for hours.”  Newborns wiped with gauze, typically get a minute’s rub-down with the bacteria from their mother’s vagina.

 

Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking involves collecting blood left in a newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta and storing it for future medical use. Cord blood contains potentially lifesaving cells called stem cells, which can be used to treat diseases that harm the blood and immune system, such as leukemia and certain cancers, sickle-cell anemia, and some metabolic disorders. Cost is about $1200 to $2500 with an annual storage fee of approximately $125.  As more people so this, the costs should come down. Of course, there is a chance it won’t be needed (most cord blood is discarded), but I guess that is the deal of most insurance policies:   you really hope you don’t need them.

Adulthood

Genetic Testing

I recommend everyone get their DNA tested.  23andMe is popular and though the company limits the genetic markers they test for, once you have your DNA you can go to other sites to get additional information.  From there you can use epigenetics, i.e. lifestyle factors, to turn off undesirable genes and switch on desirable ones.  Exercise, food, stress all effect your genes. Here are some websites to get more information on gene testing and epigenetics:

23andMe https://www.23andme.com/

Since 23andMe is no longer supplying as much genetic health information as they once did, I recommend this site for a deeper look.   As of this writing, they were only charging $5 to upload your 23andMe DNA report and getting a report that you can share with your doctor or genetic couselor. https://promethease.com/ondemand

Lifestyle Factors Beyond Exercise and Eating Well

Learn to Cook

Cooking involves all the senses: taste, touch, feel, sound, sight. Learning to cook will save you money and help you to eat healthy. Your focus should be on tasty ways to add variety to your diet and to boost intake of veggies and fruits and other nutrient-rich ingredients. As you experiment with herbs and spices and new cooking techniques, you will find that you can cut down on unhealthy fats, sugar and salt, as well as the excess calories found in many prepared convenience foods. Your goal should be to develop a nutritious and enjoyable eating pattern that is sustainable and that will help you not only to be well, but also to manage your weight.

Find a Purpose

There is a great book by Steven Kotler called, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance.  It talks about living life to the fullest by getting into a “flow state”.  If your work isn’t providing you with enough stimulation get a hobby, volunteer, become passionate about something.  Check out his book at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Superman-Decoding-Ultimate-Performance/dp/1477800832

Supplements

If you’re not eating right, exercising and enjoying life, supplements won’t help.  However, there are some supplements that are on the cutting edge of anti-aging and one of the most interesting is NAD or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, which may possibly reverse mitochondrial decay.  Mitochondria are our cells energy powerhouses and they get shabby as we age. NAD is a precursor for mitochondria production. Though there are many NAD supplements on the market, the one I find most interesting is one made by a company called Elysium Health which has been clinically proven to increase NAD levels.   The one caveat is that it hasn’t been proven that your cells can make use of all that additional NAD.  Here’s the link to the Elysium Health website if you want to learn more: https://www.elysiumhealth.com/

Conclusion

No one gets out of here alive.  The biggest factors for a healthy life are exercise, healthy diet, stress management and a purpose.  Live, Love and Laugh and Give  my friends.

 

Psychology of Getting out of Your Comfort Zone

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For some people fitting in exercise is more about building a habit and making time.  However, for others the barriers are more psychological.  Whether they had bad experiences in gym class or always felt bad when sweating, they truly dread physical activity.

There is a psychology to doing things outside of what makes you feel comfortable.  Your comfort zone is a state where you feel at ease, in-control and experience low anxiety.  Behaviors are set and there is no sense of risk.  Leaving your comfort zone can produce panic and angst, but it is the only way to change a constant, e.g. your waistline.

Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

The Learning Zone

When I meet clients for the first time, many are very nervous about working out.   It takes them out of their Comfort Zone and, unfortunately, many jump straight into the Panic Zone. My job is to get them into the Learning Zone, where growth occurs. I love fitness, but I’m sympathetic to the fact that being in a gym, running, biking or other strenuous activities is scary to some folks.  I can totally empathize with this as I feel the same way about arts and crafts.  I am the least crafty person you will ever meet and the thought of game of Pictionary sends chills down my spine.   I remember offering to help cut out snowflakes with some other Moms when my children were little.  My snowflakes were super lame and looked like a 5 yr old did them.  The other ladies had beautiful and intricate designs.  The good news for me is that science has not linked longevity to crafting ability, unfortunately for my clients; there is a direct correlation between fitness and longevity.  Though I can dodge my “fear” of crafts and it won’t affect my physical and mental well-being, it is pretty much a unanimous consensus that physical activity is a requirement for a long and healthy life. However, if I embrace my fear of crafts I will probably add value to my cognitive function, which I will discuss later.

Why Are People Uncomfortable Exercising

Fear of Looking Ridiculous

If you, or someone you know, is afraid of looking ridiculous, but Plankingseriously wants to start an exercise regime that requires skill, e.g.: weight lifting, Yoga, Pilates, etc., the best bet is to go to a private studio and hire a trainer for some one-on-one sessions.  Once you have the basics, you can try small group settings or larger group exercise classes.

Anxiety About Perspiring and Redness

I have no problem becoming a sweaty, red-faced mess, but this look can be embarrassing for some people.  Try to focus on what your body can do: run faster, lift more, etc., and less about how it looks.

Woman Exercising

Bring it On!

There are also ladies who pay lots of money for weaves, blow-outs, peels, etc. and they don’t want to ruin them.  If you get a weekly blow-out, save your sweatiest workout for the day before.  If you have peels, just avoid heavy workouts right after, then return to normal. Wearing your hair up and with a hairband around your hairline will wick a lot of sweat.  Dry shampoo is a savior.

Intensity Anxiety

Many new exercises believe that exercise intensity has to be EXTREME.  This is total nonsense and a great way to break down your body.

Intense Exercise

Beast Mode

Around 150 years ago, people would have been astounded that their ancestors would be hitting a gym to exercise.  They got plenty of movement throughout the day. Ideally we should strive to move at relative low intensities throughout the day, with brief bouts of intense activity. For example, walk kids to school, do your own house-cleaning, yard-work, etc.   Hit the cycle class a few times a week.  If someone does like to exercise daily (and I most certainly do), make sure to add easy Flow Yoga or meditative Tai Chi classes into the mix.

Learning Zone Benefits

Researchers believe the secret to active aging is to challenge your mind and body.  Having a positive attitude, a strong social network and a purpose are keys.  I suggest you visit the Learning Zone often and continue to grow your mind, body and spirit as you age.  Personally, I’ve discovered the joys of “Adult Coloring Books”.

Stay vital my friends!

 

So You Want To Lose Weight

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The other day I had my first session with a lady who said she desperately wanted to lose weight.  She had tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc., but nothing had worked.  On a scale of 1-10, she said her desire to lose weight was a nine.  When I asked her if she would be willing to track her food intake, she responded, “Oh I don’t know.  That’s such a pain.”  At which point I told her that maybe she was really more of a three of four.  This dichotomy is very common. How many of you are guilty of wanting to lose weight, but not be willing to do the work.

How We Approach Behavioral Change

I’ve taken several behavior modification courses and they all referenced this model :

Behavioral Change Cycle

The transtheoretical model of behavior change

You enter the “wheel” at PRE-CONTEMPLATION and make your way around and exit at MAINTENANCE when the behavior has become ingrained.

By the time clients have made their first appointment with me, they  are at the ACTION stage:  they have initiated a change by asking for my help. My job is to help them make the transition to MAINTENANCE and if they do relapse, get them back to ACTION as soon as possible.

One of the major reasons people don’t progress through this model properly is a lack of confidence or comfort in their ability to live a healthy life:  Gym’s scare them, eating healthy is difficult; their genetics pre-disposes them to being overweight, etc.  These are all valid issues and my job is to help clients address them and move on to a healthier lifestyle. Here’s cliche tip number 1: DON’T GIVE UP.

Why is Healthy Living Easier for Some?

At the beginning of a wellness journey, the motiviation is invariably extrinsic: I want to look or feel better and I need to eat healthier and move more to get there.  Eventually, these activities become intrinsic: I can now run several miles without stopping and cook a healthy meal with ease. I’m feeling accomplished.  When things become easier and we become good at them, we enjoy them more. I’m not saying exercise will be your favorite thing ever, but at least you won’t dread it so much.

Int-Ext Motivation

Extrensic vs Intrinsic Motivation

Tip number 2:  Losing weight is a skill.  If you wanted to learn piano, you wouldn’t expect to sit down and master it in a few weeks.  Learn how to make movement a part of your daily routine,  practice making healthy dinners.  These are skills!  It is a journey to master them. Enjoy it!

False Hope Syndrome

The False Hope Syndrome was coined by University of Toronto professors Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman in 2000.  Their research showed that people often underestimated the amount of work required to meet a goal.  In 2016, Mark Zuckerburg announced on FB he would run 365 miles in 2016.  This is either almost 15 marathons or one mile a day.  One mile a day seems much more doable than 15 marathons.  Tip #3:  Keep weight loss goals, manageable and realistic.  Vow to lose 10 pounds in a year.

The other key point of False Hope Syndrome is that the more weight you have to lose, the easier it is AT THE BEGINNING.  The closer you get to your goal weight, the harder it becomes to lose the weight.  Below I’ve outlined differences in some key strategies for losing weight that depend on how much you have to lose.  As you get closer to your target weight, the recommendations become much more granular.

Weight Loss Strategies: Losing 100 Pounds

Given how detrimental  carrying this much extra weight is to your health,  the focus has to be on losing pounds versus optimizing nutrition.  Even with horrible food choices, if you cut the amount you are eating and move more,  weight will come off.  At this stage it is an easy thermodynamic equation: burn more calories than you consume

  • Track calories with an app like “MyFitnessPal”. Stay  in a deficit.  Do not use these apps for calculating the energy expended during exercise as they are not very accurate.
  • Wear a pedometer and calculate how many steps you are taking on an average day. If you normally get in 2,500, aim to increase to 3,000 the next week.  Keep this going until you average 10,000 steps a day.

Weight Loss Strategies: Losing 50 Pounds

The above strategies will still work, but you also need to start focusing on some other factors, including:

  • Get enough sleep: Aim for eight hours. Avoid computers, phones, etc. an hour or two before bed.  Use blue light blockers, dim lights or even use some candles.
  • Check medication, some medication will cause you to keep on weight.  Ask your doctor if alternatives are available.
  • Avoid processed foods, added sugars and vegetable oil. READ LABELS.  Start to focus on making your calories nutrient dense vs just counting calories.
  • Allow yourself to be hungry, especially if eating healthy is inconvenient. For example, you’re attending a child’s sport awards ceremony and the offerings are frozen pizza and dino nuggets.  Don’t. Eat.  Wait until you can get some decent food.
  • Sign-up for a physical event that will challenge, but not overwhelm you. For example:  5k run/walk; a multi-day hike on some beginner trails;  leisurely  touring bike ride, etc.
  • Genetic testing can help determine what exercise and macro nutrients are most likely to work for you. Some folks do better with endurance activities and others with power/strength workouts.  I’ve affiliated myself with a company called Genetic Direction that provides with you with a weight management program tailored to your genotype.  Find more information at geneticdirection.com.  Use discount code “BEWELLWITHMEL” for $10 off at checkout.
  • If you suspect you might have some autoimmune issues, I recommend testing thru Cyrex Labs. The company provides multi-tissue antibody testing for the early detection and monitoring of today’s complex autoimmune conditions. You’ll need to work with a trusted healthcare professional as Cyrex labs does not do direct to consumer testing. cyrexlabs.com

Weight Loss Strategies: Losing 25 Pounds

We have to get much more granular to keep the weight loss progress going.  Keep the above strategies, but add:

  • If you are exercising less than one hour a day, keep your carb intake to around 100 grams.
  • Use a heart rate monitor to make sure you are exercising at the proper intensity. Focus on upping intensity vs duration.
  • Proper exercise programming is critical. Make sure to mix things up to avoid injury and have a progression plan in place.
  • You don’t have to eat four to six meals a day to “keep your metabolism burning”. Three meals a day is fine and you don’t have to eat breakfast right when you wake up if you’re not hungry.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Fruit is a dessert.
  • Reduce stress through exercise or meditation (can be moving), not food.
  • No such thing as eating highly processed foods in moderation. Food manufacturers design snack cakes, chips, etc. to be highly addictive.  Don’t. Eat. Them.
  • Try intermittent fasting, eat all your food within an 8 hour period or eat extremely low calorie (e.g. around 500) for one or two days a week.

Weight Loss Strategies: Losing the Last 10 Pounds

At this point, you really need to ask yourself if the lifestyle changes necessary to lose this weight is worth it.  Here are some final small hacks that will help:

  • Focus on how you feel, less than how you look.
  • Practice gratitude, journal what you are thankful for.
  • If you think you “have a bad relationship” with food, drill down into the cause. There is a huge psychology to weight loss. Why is food your source of comfort?
  • If you like a glass of wine, view it as a reward at the end of the day. Drink one glass on an empty stomach before eating dinner.
  • Here are three, not necessarily healthy hacks, to drop 10 pounds fast, even if you’re close to your idea weight:
    • Go extremely low carb. Less than 30 grams a day.
    • Fast for 24 hrs or do a “cleanse”
    • Try an enema
    • The stomach flu

Final Thoughts on Weight Loss

Remember, you don’t have to go through this process alone.  Hire someone to help you.  People will often got out and drop $100+ on a dinner every week (sometimes more than once)  but then balk at the thought of giving that money to a fitness professional.   You only have one life and you can only live it to the fullest if you are healthy and energetic.