How To Quit Junk Food

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Junk food tastes annoyingly good. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability with a specialized balance of sugar, fat and salt.

But while junk food tastes like another…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results.

Wondering what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re in good company, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices.

Here’s the rundown on what classifies as junk food:

  • Junk food has little to zero nutritional value
  • Junk food is processed and packaged
  • Junk food is high in sugar, fat and salt
  • Junk food is high in calories
  • Junk food is rarely eaten out of hunger
  • Soda pop, convenience foods, packaged snacks, frozen treats…

4 Steps to Quit Junk Food

Imagine being 100% free of junk food for the next 30 days. How would your weight improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action!

Step #1: Get Rid of It

Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that currently resides in your home, office and car. Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories.

Step #2: Stock Up on the Healthy Stuff

Don’t worry, you aren’t going to starve now that your junk food has been cleared out. Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads or burrito bowls (like the recipe below) are great items to have on hand. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate.

Step #3: HALT!

When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep.

Step #4: Stick With It

The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be even easier than the second…and so on.

The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.

Yours In Health,

Brian

3 Dinners You Can Throw Together After Work

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Having a busy day with work and errands and meetings? You aren’t alone. Most of my clients complain of simply not having enough time at the end of their day to cook a healthy dinner.

This I’m-too-busy-to-cook mentality leads to unhealthy dinner choices from restaurants and fast food chains. And like I’ve told you before, you can exercise every day but if you eat too many calories then you won’t achieve the results that you want.

Today I have 3 quick dinner solutions for you to use on those busy weeknights when you’re tempted to grab a less-than-healthy dinner from a to-go joint. These dinners are both tasty and fitness friendly, so you can stay on track with your results.

Go-To Quick Dinner #1: Honey Mustard Chicken

  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Combine the mustard, garlic, marjoram and honey together and evenly spread the mixture over each chicken thigh. Place the chicken in a glass casserole pan.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Enjoy!

Go-To Quick Dinner #2: Leftovers Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk or broth
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup chopped and cooked meat and/or veggies (use leftovers!)
  • Olive oil spray
  1. In a large bowl beat the eggs, milk, thyme, and meat and/or veggies.
  2. Place an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot and coat with the olive oil spray. Pour in the egg mixture.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are set. Place under a broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the top is golden. Cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy!

Go-To Quick Dinner #3: Pan Fried Salmon

  • 4 (6 oz) skin-on salmon fillets
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  1. Dry the salmon fillets with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium-low and press the salmon fillets in the pan, skin down. Press down firmly for 10 seconds on each fillet.
  3. Cook for about 7 minutes, until it lifts easily out of the pan without sticking. Flip and sear the other side for 20 seconds. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these quick-n-healthy dinner recipes that are designed to keep you on track and eating healthy even on the busiest of days.

Remember that exercise is vital to getting and staying in phenomenal shape – and I’m here to help you do just that. Call or email me now to get started on my best fitness plan.

Yours In Health,

Brian

5 Things to do NOW to slim down before the holidays

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We are officially on the verge of holiday season…and with it a myriad of food temptations and weight gain traps. Don’t fret, if you act now there’s still time to tighten up before putting on your holiday finest.

Do these 5 things NOW to quickly shape up…

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1. Eat more Veggies: Your mom was right, eating vegetables really is a good idea, especially when aiming to drop pounds. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, veggies are low in calories and high in fiber, which means that you’re filling up without packing on pounds. Second, the vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetables nourish your body and cut down on cravings.

2.Add five Minutes: Each week, between now New Years, I want you to add 5 minutes to your workouts. Just five more minutes. The slight increase from week to week will hardly be noticeable, but the extra fat burn will pay off nicely. Use these extra five minutes to do intense burst of exercise, such as burpees, squat to presses and walking lunges.

3. Double up on Water: Not only will staying extra hydrated help your skin to have a healthy glow, it will also speed up your fat loss efforts. Most of us are walking around in a state of chronic dehydration, which contributes to fatigue, stubborn weight gain and constipation. By drinking more water throughout the day, and by limiting your intake of caffeinated beverages, you’ll become healthier and more radiant.

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4. Eat low Carb (after 4pm): One of the easiest ways to drop a few inches around your waist before the holidays is to eat low carb after 4pm each day. This means eating dinners that are centred around salads and vegetables rather than breads and pastas. If you simply must have your oatmeal or whole grain bread each day, then eat it for breakfast or lunch and give low carb dinners a try – starting with the recipe for Greek Stew below. Don’t forget that sugar counts as carbs, so skip that sugary dessert and try a grapefruit for dessert.

5. Train with Me: If you’re not yet one of my beloved clients, then now is the time. I’d love to get you into phenomenal shape before New Years, and to give you the foundation that will keep you lean and healthy for life.

Yours In Health,

Brian

7 Secrets to Maintain Weight Loss

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If you’ve ever lost weight, you know how hard it is to keep it off.

Ever wonder why some people are able to keep weight off, while others put it right back on? Read on for the 7 Secrets to Maintain Weight Loss. (And if you still have pounds to lose, these 7 secrets will help you too.)

Image result for keep movingSecret #1: Keep on Moving
If you’re serious about keeping the weight off, you need to be serious about your workouts. Keep your activity level high, both in and out of the gym. Your workouts should consist of both cardiovascular training and strength training. While out of the gym make an effort to move as much as possible by taking the stairs, going for walks or jogs and participating in recreational activities.

Secret #2: Be a Healthy Eater
Sorry, you can’t go back to eating at the drive thru and expect to maintain your weight loss. Focus on these 3 aspects of healthy eating:

  1. Keep calories low. Gone are the days of eating mindlessly. Be aware of everything that goes into your mouth, whether by journaling or simply keeping a mental tally.
  2. Be careful. Eat small portions, avoid high-calorie foods and check nutrition labels. You don’t have to swear off chocolate forever, just eat it occasionally with portion control.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.

Secret #3: Turn off the TV
The average person watches a whopping 35 hours of television each week. People who successfully maintain weight loss, on the other hand, watch an average of 7 hours or less. TV watching encourages snacking and puts you in a sedentary position on the couch. Spend less time in front of the TV and enjoy longer lasting weight loss.

Image result for keep it simpleSecret #4: Keep it Simple
While it is important to keep a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, your diet should be fairly simple. Create a repertoire of basic whole foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, beans and nuts. When you cut down on your options it becomes easier to stick to your plan, making weight loss guaranteed.

Secret #5: Track Yourself
Your biggest fear is gaining back every solitary lost pound, but don’t be afraid of your scale. Weigh yourself at least once each week to monitor any gains. If the numbers begin to climb then reduce calories and increase your exercise.

Secret #6: Eat for the Right Reason
Emotional eating is one of the top reasons that people are overweight. It’s very important that you view food as fuel, not as an answer to deeper emotional needs. When food becomes more than just fuel, the pounds quickly add up. If you want to keep your weight under control, you’re going to have to eliminate emotional eating.

Image result for all or nothingSecret #7: Forget All-Or-Nothing
No one is perfect – not even you! There will be days when you eat more calories than you should have. There will also be days when you miss a workout. Don’t let small slipups send you into a tailspin of all-or-nothing sabotage. Simply get back to your healthy lifestyle rather than letting yourself backslide into your old habits.

Don’t be one of the many who skip these 7 secrets and instead return to life pre-weight loss. You worked hard to be where you are – you deserve to keep it.

Yours In Health,

Brian

5 Metabolism Myths-Busted!

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Sometimes, your metabolism works against you even when you think you’re doing everything right. It’s time you took a good, hard look at how your metabolism really works.

Check out the metabolism myths below and then use your new knowledge to put your metabolism to work…

Image result for 5 metabolism mythsMyth 1: Metabolism Works from 9 to 5
Difficult as it may be to believe, your body’s metabolism does not stop working when you do. In fact, your metabolism works all day, every day. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t even have the energy to get out of bed in order to read this article. (You are out of bed, aren’t you?) Also the time of day that you eat isn’t what makes you gain pounds. It’s what you eat. So if you think you can get away with eating that quarter-pounder with cheese, bacon, mayo, and bun; a large order of greasy fries; and a 32-ounce milkshake without any consequences—just because you ate it at lunch and not late at night—think again! Eat smart all day long, have a healthy snack at night if necessary, and then sleep well, knowing your metabolism is doing its thing even while you’re catching some Zzzzs.

Image result for 5 metabolism mythsMyth 2: It Can’t Be Controlled
You’ve probably met someone who seems to be able to eat anything they want without gaining weight. You may have even dreamed of having such a metabolism. Well, there’s good news. You may not have the metabolism that lets you do that just yet, but you can work toward it. Help boost your metabolism by lifting weights, getting a good night of sleep, eating enough protein to power you through the day, and drinking plenty of water. Want something more than water? Here’s another smidgen of good news: a little caffeine in your daily intake will help you get rid of calories faster than going without. Just make sure your caffeine isn’t bathed in sugar and unnecessary calories.

Image result for 5 metabolism mythsMyth 3: Skinny Folks Have Higher Metabolism
Yes, a high metabolism can help you burn more calories than a low metabolism. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the skinniest people around have the highest metabolism. Quite the contrary. If the thinnest individuals had the highest metabolism, they would likely be dangerously underweight. As it is, when you are very thin, your metabolism will likely be lower, as there’s not much of you to burn away safely.

However, you shouldn’t grab the ice cream carton in order to put on extra pounds to up your metabolism. Instead, focus on adding muscle pounds via the weight room.

Myth 4: Getting Old Makes Your Metabolism Go Bye-Bye 
There is a bit of truth to this myth. As you age, your metabolism will drop a tiny bit. Not enough to make a meaningful difference, but it does drop. Much of this decrease (again—it is almost negligible) is due to the typical muscle loss that accompanies aging.

Want to curb your body’s age-related drop in metabolism? Include resistance training in your exercise routine. As you age, keep up the weight training and you’ll keep your metabolism strong and steady throughout all the stages of life. In the event it does drop a little, you’ll be in such good shape you won’t notice.

Image result for 5 metabolism mythsMyth 5: You Can Eat Your Way to Higher Metabolism
Occasionally, the world is taken by a weight-loss idea that is so simple you’d be a moron not to give it a try. One of these recent ideas is that you can eat or drink certain things to boost your metabolism and lose weight with greater ease.

While eating peppers on a regular basis and drinking gallons of green tea each week offers some health benefits, it won’t do more than temporarily boost your metabolism. Approximately half an hour after consuming these supposed metabolism mega-boosters, the boost is over and you’re back to your normal metabolism. A normal, well-balanced diet is a much better option.

When it comes to achieving and maintaining your most effective metabolism, a consistent and challenging exercise routine is key. Call or email today and I’ll get you started on an exercise program that will take your metabolism to the next level.

Yours In Health,

Brian

Don’t Be Fooled

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Yesterday morning I was in line for coffee with a friend when I noticed the “healthy” pop tarts on display. The packaging was deceptive to give it a wholesome look that would make you believe the snack was a healthy one.

I flipped it over and read the ingredients: Refined flour. Refined sugar. Additives. Loads of simple carbs and sugars.

There was nothing remotely healthy about it!

A snack like that causes weight gain and further poor food choices…and yet people are being fooled into thinking that it’s healthy and good for them.

Looking around the coffee shop I realized that the new trend is to present processed snack foods in packaging that suggests that it’s healthy. The one or two benefits of the product are displayed prominently so that we forget to check the rest of the ingredients…

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“Gluten Free!” (but filled with other refined grains AND sugar)

“Organic!” (but filled with refined sugar)

“Vegan!” (but filled with unhealthy fats and refined sugars)

“Sugar Free!” (but filled with artificial sweeteners)

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What really upsets me about this deceptive marketing is that good people who truly want to make healthy choices are being duped. They are eating these packaged foods with the misconception that it’s healthy and beneficial, when in reality they may as well be eating the cheaper packaged snacks from a gas station. The weight gain and nutritional hazards are the same.

Big food knows that we want to eat healthier, so their marketing is getting more clever than ever to keep us coming back to purchase their packaged, processed, toxic foods. And we pay the price in pounds gained, and in health diminished.

Let’s fight back.

  • Pass by the packaged snack foods, no matter how enticing and comforting the words on it may be.
  • ALWAYS read the ingredient list of foods you purchase.
  • Stick with real, whole foods instead of processed foods.
  • Join my life-changing fitness program to bring your results to the next level.

Yours In Health,

Brian

This Is Life Changing…

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A dose of motivation will change your life overnight.

The best part of what I do is seeing clients achieve amazing results. Whether they drop a few sizes, lose the baby weight, get off their blood pressure meds, or shrink their waist, the excitement is always contagious.

There really isn’t a clear way to describe the euphoria that settles in once you’ve realized your fitness goal. You have to experience it to understand. Though each successful client is unique with different goals, one element unites them: They are all highly motivated.

I am in a unique position. I know how to get you into great shape. I can coach you through a 50-pound weight loss. I can guide you to a healthier body. I can even train you into a toned athlete.

But there is one catch…

You’ll need to be motivated.

See, saying that you want to get into great shape isn’t enough. You need motivation—and that’s just half of the equation. The other part (and the most important) is ACTION.

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Nothing happens until you take action.

You can want it, think about it, mull it over, ponder it, plan it, and then re-plan it. But nothing happens until you take action.

While I may not know your story—it’s probably safe to assume that you are dissatisfied with your body and know that you can improve your fitness level. You want to look better, to have more energy, to experience fewer aches and pains, and to enjoy sweet satisfaction as you achieve your goals once and for all.

I know that all of my successful clients were once in your shoes. They wanted to change their bodies. They felt urgency. And then they did what most fail to do. They took action and contacted me.

But there is more to it than that. They then committed to a program, put in the exercise, stuck to their diet and met their goals. There’s nothing more gratifying than getting back into those jeans that now sit in the back of your closet.

People who take massive action reap massive rewards. And those who simply talk about losing weight will continue to gain weight, pound after pound. I hate to put it that way, but it’s the truth.

So what do you want?

  • To drop 20 pounds
  • To feel younger
  • To look better in your birthday suit
  • To become healthier

How bad do you want it? How much motivation do you have? Enough to take MASSIVE ACTION?

The rewards are great IF you do.

Yours In Health,

Brian

Cut back on sugar (28 day plan)

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If you love sweets then you know how easy it is to eat more sugar than you should. You’ve probably had a doctor warn you to cut back and know that you have at least a few pounds to lose.

Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more sugar that you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth, it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!

Don’t lose heart! It is very possible to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a way that that’s painless and practical. I have a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on sugar consumption without going crazy. By reducing the refined sugar in your diet you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Let’s do this!

Image result for count sugarCut Back Sugar: Week One

In this first week your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much sugar you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording down everything you consume.

This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally sugar grams at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the sugar content of everything you consume and record it.

By the end of this week you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Two

In this second week your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of sugar in beverages, often without even noticing. You know which beverages in your diet contain sugar, from your reporting last week, so target and cut out these beverages.

Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages without adding sugar, it has a more pleasing flavor than powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners like splenda or aspartame as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.

In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink 8 ounces of water before, during and after every meal and snack.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Three

In this third week we are now going to focus on eliminating the food in your diet that contain refined sugars.

What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.

This week target and eliminate the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Four

You are on the home stretch! As you enter week four you should already be noticing your clothes feeling a little looser, and your energy levels should be stabilizing. During this week I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take notice of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in sugar.

This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.

The key now is to maintain your new, low-sugar, habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Going forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked back on sugar then go through this four week process again to get back on track.

Start now and you can achieve a substantial drop in body fat before summer.

Yours In Health,

Brian

11 Easy Steps For Beach Ready Abs

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Spring has arrived, bringing with it the promise of warm weather to come.

You know what happens when the weather warms up?

People put on bathing suits.

Are you ready to bare it all on the beach? If not, no worries, there is still time. Follow these 11 steps to get your abs beach ready:

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Step One: Do Some Burpees. Can burpees really help flatten your abs? You bet. Incorporate a few minutes of burpees into your workouts to burn extra calories and tighten your core.

Here’s how to do a burpee: 1) Stand with feet shoulder width apart. 2) Drop to a squat with your hands on the ground. 3) Kick feet back while lowering into a push-up. 4) Return to squat position. 5) Jump up with arms overhead.

Step Two: Reduce Sodium. Did you know that salt causes water retention? Puffy skin is not going to make your abs look great in a bathing suit!

Take the time to pay attention to the sodium content of your food. Limit salt intake by not eating packaged foods and by putting down the salt shaker. Your six pack will thank you.

Image result for medicine ballStep Three: Pick Up A Medicine Ball. Challenging the muscles of your core with resistance is a proven way to create a tighter midsection. The medicine ball is a wonderful tool to provide such resistance.

Do a sit-up holding a medicine ball at your chest then throw it to a partner as you raise your chest toward your knees; or hold a medicine ball with arms straight up in the air as you do crunches.

Step Four: Load Up On Fiber. Wonder how fiber could help you shed pounds and look great on the beach? It’s actually quite simple.

High fiber foods are nutrient dense and low in calories. This means that you’ll feel full from fewer calories, encouraging weight loss. Try these high fiber favorites: spinach, raspberries, pear (with skin), artichoke, peas, apples (with skin), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Check out the high-fiber recipe for pasta salad below.

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Step Five: Crank Out Some V-Sits. One of the most problematic areas for women, when it comes to baring it all in a bathing suit, are the sides of your waist, or obliques. This is partly because the sides of your abs are not challenged with traditional crunches and sit-ups.

Enter the oblique V-Sits. Target that problematic, muffin-top area with this effective move. 1) Lie on your side with legs straight and hands behind your head. 2) Raise your arms and legs simultaneously, while exhaling and squeezing your obliques. 3) Repeat on the other side.

Step Six: Eat Lots Of Lean Protein. Don’t be afraid to eat when you are on the get-great-abs-quickly plan. It is really important that you are nourishing your body with quality, lean protein in order to develop that six-pack.

Lean protein helps support muscle growth while controlling blood sugar – all important factors when it come to washboard abs. Good sources of protein include: chicken breast, ground turkey, egg whites, and grilled fish.

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Step Seven: Do Some Hanging Leg Raises. Now it’s time to target your lower abs, which are also a problem area for most. Traditional crunches and sit-ups neglect to strengthen and tighten the lower part of your abs, so a focused effort is required.

Hanging Leg Raises are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your abdominals. 1) Hang from pull-up bar with legs fully extended. 2) Exhale and drive your knees up toward your chest. 3) Inhale as you slowly lower your legs back down.

Step Eight: Stop Eating Sugar. If you only did this step, and skipped all the rest, your abs would look significantly flatter by summer. I can’t emphasize enough how quickly sugar will cover your hard earned stomach muscles with a soft layer of fat.

Yes, sugar tastes good, but indulging in it causes your body to store layers of fat. Enjoy fresh fruit, rather than refined sugar. Once you stop eating sugar your body will no longer crave it, so don’t give in to the initial cravings.

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Step Nine: Do Some Mountain Climbers. Here’s an exercise that is intensely cardiovascular while also working your core. Add these to your routine to really whittle down your waistline.

Here’s how to do a Mountain Climber: 1) Get into push-up position. 2) Exhale as you alternately drive your knees in toward your chest, keeping your back flat.

Step Ten: Pass On The Grains. Sure, whole grains are being touted as essential to a healthy diet, but the truth is that you’ll do just fine without them for a while. Even the heartiest wholegrain bread will encourage fat storage, so put down the breadbasket as you prepare for beach season.

Grains are full of insulin-spiking carbohydrates – the perfect combination for fattening you up. Learn to love grain-free meals that center around lean meats and vegetables.

Step Eleven: Do Some Sprints. High intensity bursts of cardio are a proven way to burn away layers of fat, so incorporate sprints into your exercise routine. If you haven’t run for a while, take it easy as you start, and gradually increase the intensity of your sprints.

Run 60-90 second sprints in between resistance training sets to really kick your fat burning mechanism into high gear.

Remember, Summer bodies are made NOW! So get to it 🙂

Yours in Health,

Brian

4 Ways To Burn More Fat

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There is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing your results fizzle out.

This is a common place to end up, usually after a few months on the same exercise routine. In the beginning your body responds to your routine with lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day all results screech to a stop.

Why does this happen? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it?

Your muscles adapt quickly to any repetitive routine. Remember that the definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts.

When your results stop, it’s time to do something new.

  • The problem: Your muscles have adapted to your routine.
  • The Solution: It’s time to apply the concept of muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion is a way to keep your body guessing by changing your routine.

I have good news – the following 4 strategies are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver better results.

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Strategy #1: Use a Drop Set

Drop sets are often used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for increasing muscle strength, endurance and for adding to the cardiovascular benefit of your workout – which results in more fat burn.

This is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.

You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set. Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.

Strategy #2: Focus on Negatives
Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are using three types of strength.

  1. Positive strength: lifting the weight.
  2. Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
  3. Negative strength: lowering the weight.

Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of each repetition is just as important as the positive portion, possibly more important.

Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.

If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.

Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.

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Strategy #3: Use Active Rest

Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods.

While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest. Do one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.

  • High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
  • Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
  • Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
  • Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right – holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
  • Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.

Strategy #4: Modify the Exercise There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym.

The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea…

While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:

  • Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
  • Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
  • Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
  • Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
  • Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.

Yours In Health,

Brian