Monday, July 21, 2014

Best Kept Secret to Fat Loss!

The Best Kept Secret to Fat Loss is here at your fingertips. Learn why cardio alone could be stalling all of your fat loss goals.

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In wellness, strength and fat loss,


Friday, July 18, 2014

Is Your Workout Alone Enough to Change Your Body?

I am often asked the question, "Is strength training enough to change your body?" That is actually not a dumb question. It is probably the most overlooked factor that I see when it comes to wanting to see results. You could work out with kettlebells, dumbbells, do Crossfit, or P90X. The truth of the matter is without changing your diet, you will not get real, noticeable results. Sure, you will get stronger. Sure, you might be able to go longer with endurance. However, to put on muscle and lean out, you need to pay a lot of attention to what goes into your mouth, and when.

Most women think you have to eat less to see results. Wrong. Most men think that you just have to eat more to put on muscle... again, wrong. Actually cutting calories at the wrong time, or adding in too many are exactly what will sabotage our goals in the gym. 

I train a lot of women that think since they are finally working out in a gym, with a trainer, that the weight will just "fall" off! Nope. I consult men in our gym as well that don't understand why they can't put on muscle, or drop any fat. Here are a few factors that will tell you exactly why strength training alone is not enough to change your body.

Most fitness coaches, trainers and gym owners know that the equation is about 75% diet, 25% hard work. Some even say 80/20. Of course, genes, age, sex, intensity, frequency, load, and overall dedication play big roles in what our body looks and feels like. Don't ever be fooled by anything other than one fact. What you eat like is the single most defining factor in what you look like, and how you train.

Food is fuel. Food is where energy is found, muscle is built, and cells repaired. Besides hydration, without the proper fuel, our body will wither away and never get close to building bigger muscles or tight curves. Our dietary plan will either tire us out, or energize us. It can help us put on mass, or burn through our precious muscle tissue if we don't feed it enough protein.

Phytochemicals are found in greens and  keep our immune systems functioning like a machine during cold and flu season. Protein is what rebuilds and repairs our muscles that we have torn down in the gym. Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of energy, a greatly needed source of fuel for the power lifter, the Olympic lifter, and the Kettlebell Sport enthusiast. Healthy fats are necessary for hormone production, lubrication, body temperature regulation and energy in endurance type sports as Crossfit and obstacle course style races. All food groups are needed. All have their respective roles in building our bodies before and after we tear them down in the gym.

The bottom line is this. Strength training is NOT enough to change your body. What will change your body, your energy levels and your physical outcome is your nutrition plan. I use the word "plan" very seriously. Plan on what to eat and when. Make sure you are getting enough calories from the right sources to fuel your body in the gym. Besides rest, your eating plan is probably more important than the actual workout when it comes to gaining muscle, and/or losing fat.

Eat for what you will be doing next. If you have a big workout planned, eat for that. Sitting on the couch watching TV? Eat for that. Most people in the fitness industry pack lunches, and have a fridge stocked with foods geared towards keeping the body strong and energized. Keep food that will nourish your body and mind on hand at all times, and junk foods far from reach. Eat often, and don't skip meals. These few tips will make those workouts in the gym start to show results.

After all, isn't that why we work out?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

To Carb or Not to Carb. That is the Question.

To Carb or Not to Carb. That is the question. So, what is the answer? Well, it's complicated.
I am a firm believer (with tons of research behind my beliefs) that you should always eat for what you will be doing next. With that being said, since carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy in activities like sprinting, kettlebell workouts, and anything that involves quick bursts of power...carbs are needed. 
Here is where it gets more confusing. There is more than one kind of carb. There are simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are the ones that spike insulin as in most pastries and cookies, juices, table sugar, candy, pasta and white rice. Complex carbs are the slow digesting ones that keep blood sugar stable, like oats, vegetables, sweet potatoes and brown rice. 
I know that sounds still a bit confusing, so let me clear it up.

When you are going to work out, you need slow digesting carbs about an hour before a workout. Something like a sweet potato, some brown rice, some whole grain cereal, etc...that is IF you are doing an intense workout as listed above. Not a long, dragged out boring run. That is NOT when you need carbs. (That is also another e-mail.) 

After you are done with this intense workout, within 30 minutes of finishing the workout, you need to ingest a fast digesting carbohydrate. That is provided the workout was intense. This will put your muscles into an immediate state of recovery and replenish your used up glucose (the place you get stored energy from). This should also be combined with some protein. I prefer to drink a bit of gatorade (not G2) with a 1/2 scoop of protein powder in it on the way home from the gym.  Have you seen the ads for chocolate milk and athletes? Wow, what great advertising on the American Dairy Farmers part! Chocolate syrup is a simple digesting carb, and protein is needed for recovery and muscle growth. Simple, effective, and everyone likes chocolate milk! 

Takeaway? The carbs you want BEFORE a workout are complex, and the carbs you want AFTER a workout are simple, (mixed with about 15-25 gms of protein)

Here is just a tidbit on carbs during other parts of the day. 

1. Start the morning with a full meal. Protein, Carbohydrates, and healthy fat. Break the fast and get the body and brain in gear.

2. Eat a bit of complex carbs with most meals during the day...more before and immediately after the workout as stated above.

3. Eat carbs with protein, they like one another. Carbs with fat = fat storage. Carbs with protein facilitates stronger muscles and a leaner body.

4. If you are trying to lose weight. Or as I like to say, lose fat? Cut down on as the day goes on, and cut out any source of carbs except for vegetables in your last 2 meals or snacks of the day. That is also providing you are eating 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. 

Remember. A food is either a carbohydrate, a protein or a fat. 

Ever wonder why people are overweight? (maybe you?)The American diet usually is skip breakfast or, eat a simple carb (donut)and grab a starving for hours after (blood sugar is raised) then grab lunch that is loaded with more are now craving. Go a couple of hours (3:00 starvation time) go to a vending machine, or break room and grab another carb...get through the day. Go home, tired, crabby, starving..and eat more carbs in front of the T.V. exhausted. Sound familiar?
Carbs are meant to be used for brain power, energy, and to facilitate the absorption of protein. Eat them together, with protein in the forefront. Use carbohydrates as an energy source before and after workouts, UNLESS they are vegetables. And for God's sake, eat vegetables all day long. Oh, by the way, did you know that all vegetables are carbohydrates? 
Hope fully this alleviates some of the confusion, and now you know when to eat carbohydrates and what ones will benefit your workouts.

So in answer to your question...To carb or not to carb? I hope you know the answer now.

In strength and wellness,


Friday, July 11, 2014

Is Your Workout Exciting?

Is your workout exciting? Or, is it something that you dread doing, and even worse, when you are doing it you are bored? Do you sometimes say "this is worthless, I don't even know why I'm here?". Not only do we work out for results, we work out for an outlet. We not only work out to feel and look better, but we work out to burn off steam. So, if you go to the gym and are bored to death, isn't that telling you that your workout isn't exciting? That's what it tells me.

I like to not only work out, I like to plan my workout. I get excited planning whether I want to go in for the maximum circuit and calorie burn, or if I want to slow it down a bit and lift heavy. You see, I not only want results, I want excitement.

If you are bored with something, chances are you will not stick with it. Why? Because you would rather be doing something else! Now on the other hand, if something is exciting, gets your blood pumping, your heart racing AND gives you results, do you think you'll keep doing it? Of course you would. If you didn't keep doing something that made you experience all of those feelings, you would probably feel even worse if you didn't. Right? Yeah, I think your catching my drift.

Make your next workout one that leaves you breathless. Plan ahead what type of workout you will be doing, and do it. Download a new list of songs that get you pumped, pick out what you'll wear whether it be for comfort or for looks, grab your water bottle and maybe even a check list, and get excited!

When your workouts keep you excited, you will keep doing them. When you change it up once in a while to not only keep your body guessing, but to keep your mind stimulated, you will get results.

Find a gym that is exciting! At Michigan Kettlebells Strength & Training Center, we keep it exciting!

So I ask you, "Is your workout exciting?". If not, come check us out. I guarantee, you won't ever be bored.

In strength and wellness,