new years

New Year, New Me?

Welcome to Day 2 of the next trip around the sun. 2016 is behind us and tis the season of resolutions, gym memberships and a new you. 

Honestly, I can't say I have any resolutions this year. Maybe some goals, better time management, financial sense, etc. but no real habits to break/start. I am going to be shifting towards a new phase for my own training and nutrition and am honestly looking forward to it!

Since my two bodybuilding shows in April, I have been "Reverse Dieting" -- slowly adding in calories and decreasing cardio to rebuild my metabolism and maintain a lower body fat -- versus just going back to normal eating patterns immediately post show. When we diet down, our metabolism adapts to the new body fat levels and slows, so if we immediately add in an influx of calories, our bodies will store body fat rather quickly (i.e. why low carb diets typically fail). For about 8 weeks I was able to stay within 5 lbs of my stage weight, but life happens and vacations happen and I did gain a little more than I intended. I honestly cannot remember a time before this past year that I purposely ate more and was okay with gaining weight and I'm mentally stronger for it. It's amazing how content you can be when you don't focus so much on your outward appearance! However, I can definitely tell my body composition has changed for the better and I'm excited to uncover what all this heavy lifting has done for me. I now eat close to 2,500 calories a day, 300 grams of carbs and do zero cardio. That's right - zilch. The point of this is so that my body can get back to a level of homeostasis before we begin to cut body fat so hopefully it will respond better.

So with that, I will be shifting to a fat loss phase in the coming weeks and I plan to document that as much as I can via this blog including my starting stats with regular updates. After pretty much period of very inconsistent tracking and eating since Thanksgiving, my goal for this week is to track consistently every day and see where my weight is at the end of the week (I honestly haven't stepped on a scale since Thanksgiving either...yikes!). I'll check-in with my coach after that and we will make the initial calorie cuts and any added cardio if needed to get things moving. 

I don't really have any deadlines for my cut so the goal is to lose the weight slowly and maintain as much strength as possible. Once I get to a comfortable body fat percentage, we will begin reversing again. I will most likely compete in a powerlifting meet in the Spring, so I'll have to keep in mind making weight for that, but we will worry about that when the time comes. For now, I'm just focused on being healthy and being strong! 

What are your New Year's Resolutions? 

What is Online Coaching?

We live in a world where we can do almost everything electronically. We have access to people and information all across the world at the click of a button. While people have mixed feelings about the infiltration of the digital world, the amount of resources available to us is quite remarkable. 

As a result, many services once performed face-to-face can now be conducted online. Personal Training or "coaching" is one such service. In the past, when one wanted help in the gym or with body composition goals, they went to their local gym, found a personal trainer or sought out the most fit person in the building (Don't lie -- we've all done it!). With the help of social media, many trainers have taken their business online where they create training programs, nutrition counseling and other fitness related services that they can then send to their clients digitally and then the client proceeds to execute it. 

Essentially with online training, I will get basic information from you like weight, age, lifestyle, food preferences, etc. and will create a training plan and nutrition plan customized to you based off of this information. I will send it to you and you will execute it on your own, checking in with me once a week or so with measurements and pictures. If progress stalls, we will adjust a variable of your program to help get things moving again. I'll also be available via e-mail or text whenever you have a question, a concern or just need a little motivation or accountability. 

When I first became interested in fitness, Instagram was a relatively new thing and Facebook had not reached the level of popularity it has now, but both were thriving. As I began to consider competing in a bodybuilding show, I used social media to find a coach. I had a basic knowledge of fitness and nutrition, but I knew in order to succeed I would need the accountability and guidance of a coach. Someone else can hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself to (i.e. - keep you from quitting!). I emailed several people that I had found online, some of which were in completely different states. However, I knew with this being my first go-round, I wanted someone fairly close by that could see me in-person if needed. I hired a coach about an hour away, she sent me my plans via e-mail but met me in person as needed. 

Since this initial experience, I've worked with two other coaches via online training. One in Idaho and one in Florida. I think the best part about online training is that if you're serious about whatever sport you're training for, you have access to the best coaches in the world. I currently work with Paul Revelia of Team Pro Physique in Tampa, Florida and he has helped me drop body fat several times successfully, prepped me through two bodybuilding shows and coached me to my first Powerlifting meet. I've since been able to meet him in-person, but I never felt that I lacked anything by using online coaching versus in-person. 

As a trainer myself, I value the one-on-one interactions I have with my clients on a daily basis. I love learning about them, hearing about their day and having some really great conversation. However, with training being my second job, I do not have the availability to meet everyone that wants to work with me in-person for an hour once or twice a week. As a solution, I am going to offer online services where I can still create a plan that will help you be successful, hold you accountable and answer questions/concerns as needed. 

In order for online training to be successful, there a few things that need to be considered:

1. Can you commit to going to the gym/working out at home on your own as many times as prescribed by your plan? 

2. Can you be honest with yourself and with me about your adherence, scale weight, etc.? (it's very easy to fudge a number when sending a check-in, but fudging makes it difficult to adjust your plan)

3. Are you willing to research and learn as needed to understand and complete your plan? (I think one of the big things that made me successful using online training was that I wanted to learn WHY I was doing things. I did research on my own, watched videos of exercises I was struggling with and asked for help when needed.)

Adherence and consistency will be the biggest contributors to success with any program whether in-person or online. In-person training is great for the training portion, but those clients are still responsible for sticking to their diet the other 23 hours/day they are not in the gym. Also, it's important to remember that sustainable results is slow results. You didn't gain the weight overnight and you won't lose it overnight, so it's important that you be realistic and be patient. The picture for this post is a span of 13 weeks. And sometimes it can take even longer than that. So keep going, don't let a small setback derail your entire program.

The check-in process is meant to serve as a tool for me, as well as keep you accountable. If we haven't seen much progress in two weeks, it lets me know it's time to switch something up. Also, if you know you have to check-in with me on Monday morning, it might make you more mindful of what you spend your weekend doing. My coaches have always asked for pictures with my check-ins (front and back in a bikini or shorts and a sports bra) so they have a visual tool to gauge progress. Sometimes the scale doesn't move but pictures show visible progress. Pictures will not be shared with anyone besides me without your consent and they're not mean to be glamour shots. I've rolled out of bed and taken many pictures with bed head and swollen eyes! If an online client is local, I will meet in-person as needed. 

It's also important to remember that I'm always an e-mail or a text away. There have been several times I've been in a slump and have had to touch base with my coach for help or a swift kick in the butt as needed. 

YOU will be the biggest obstacle or ally to your success. Don't stand in your own way and definitely don't let others stand in your way. You can do anything you set your mind to if you make a plan and stick to it!

19 Days and Counting...

There are 19 days left in 2016. It feels like 2015 was only 19 days ago. Funny when you look back how fast time flies. But it's also funny how a 12 week fat loss phase feels like it lasts 12 years. But when you take a second and think about how fast this year has gone by, think about how much closer (or even past) your goals you could be if you had started January 1, 2016. 

January marks a new year and for most people, the quest to be a new you. Whether you want to be stronger, be skinnier, be smarter, be more successful, etc. etc., chances are you're thinking about what you'll start on January 1. The biggest problem I see with New Year's Resolutions is the lack of a plan. People say "Oh, I'll start in the New Year" and before you know it (here's that time thing again), it's New Year's and you have no idea how to even start. And before you know it, you've given up and are going to wait until next week, next month, or even next year. 

Don't let this be another year of failed resolutions. Regardless of what your goal is, start making a plan NOW. You don't have to start today, but if you have a plan in place when you do start, your chances of success will be much greater. It doesn't have to be a plan that I gave you, the internet gave you, or your friend gave you. Figure out what YOUR plan should be, what YOU can stick with and execute it to the best of your ability.

Be flexible. No plan ever goes off without a hitch. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. One slip-up isn't going to derail your progress. Take each one as a learning experience, re-group, adjust your plan, and move forward. If you realize you don't like something, don't do it. Make it fun, enjoy the process and reward yourself for the small victories. 

And be patient. Just because you don't see results in a week, doesn't mean you won't see them the next week. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your goal. Have you ever gotten a PHD in a week? Didn't think so. Small successes add up to big victories and you will be amazed what you an accomplish in just a few weeks if you don't quit. 

I want success for every person that asks me for help. And unfortunately I can usually tell within a few conversations whether they will be successful or not. I will help someone as much as I possibly can within my scope of practice, but there's got to be some initiative. You've got to want it and have the desire to reach your goals. There's a difference in wanting it and wanting it enough. That difference will be what wakes you up early each morning. It will be what gets you through long days. It will be what helps you plan ahead. It's not going to be easy. But I can promise you it will be worth it. 

So start working on your plan. 19 days and counting to make your plan. Heck, start early if you want! But don't do it alone and don't do it unprepared. Find someone that can help you and trust them. Find someone that can hold you accountable and confide in them. And find someone that can push you and let them motivate you. 

Over the next 19 days I want to share strategies and tips that have helped me set goals and reach them. I'm not perfect and there are many goals I haven't reached yet. There are many goals I've worked for and failed. If there wasn't, I wouldn't be human. Share your goals for the New Year with me in the comments below or email me. I want to be excited for you and hold you accountable. Let's do this 2017 thing together!