It's mid February, and all the excitement of of New Year's resolutions has fizzled. A handful of my personal clients are somewhat hanging one arm off the wagon, but not exactly falling off. The newer ones are learning to find balance. It's easy to get going but the harder part is the maintenance. The consistency. The day in and day out mental battle of pushing yourself to not only work hard in the gym, but out of the gym. Meal prep becomes less exciting, and it's easy to lose steam. So how do you keep momentum to not only reach your goals, but maintain them? It's about re-programming the "software". Our brains are a powerful engine that have been told things like fiber in bread is good, sugar in fruit is bad, eat tons of meat for protein, etc, etc. I was one of those people, too. To truly make a permanent lifestyle change, you have to start over. Re-program your brain. Forget everything you were ever told growing up, or recently even. Listen to your body, feel out when you are truly hungry. Fight for that extra run on the lake or the class at the gym. It's not supposed to be easy. Take responsibility for the place you are in, currently. Why do you want a change? If you are losing motivation, I encourage you to write down why you are fighting to change your body. It's easy to forget, and old habits re-surface. This is why we must re-boot the software. A HUGE change must be made, mentally, to forge forward both in the gym and with your nutrition. A permanent change.
Austin is one of the more “fit” communities in the entire United States. People are constantly searching for that magic personal trainer, bootcamp, spin class, running group, or crossfit gym. Being a “Personal Trainer” myself, it is obviously crucial that I stay a step ahead at all times. Not only to pay my bills, but also to help people get WELL. On the flip side of Austin being very healthy, there is still a percentage of people who need more help getting there. I believe this is where a GREAT coach/personal trainer/group instructor can make either no impact or an earth moving change to this type of person’s life. When I receive email or phone call inquiries, the first question I am asked is “So…like…how do you train people?” I prefer to get you in the gym and let you find out… I am not your average “personal trainer”. I figured I would type up some insight to what you get when you sign up to work with me.
Honestly, the 3 months I took to study the NASM “BIBLE” in 2009 was well worth my time and I love what they are doing, but that is not something I stayed within the lines of for more than a few months. It all started more towards the age of 15 when I became injured from swimming. I started reading injury prevention books and psychology articles in high school between swimming doubles and going to class. I’ve been going at this for some time now. I am OBSESSED. So when someone asks me “how much experience do you have” it is a little rough around the edges to answer. I literally knew the human anatomy before I decided to help others in 2009. I am not special or the first, there are many like me, but there are a lot out there that are not too. One of the first things the UT strength staff asked me when I was interviewing for my internship was “What makes you different?” My answer? Attention to detail. I don’t miss a beat. My clients and athletes bodies are temples to me; I will not let anything happen to you.
I started competing against other tiny swimmers at the age of 7. (Well, they were tiny, I was not) I had a DREAM and a GOAL at the age of 7. Do you think you are going to be able to make excuses around me, ever? Do you think being lazy impresses me? Get out of town, and out of my gym. I don’t care if you don’t have time for your OWN body, because I sure have the time and the answers to help you. I am not nice if you do not do what I told you to. I do not understand weakness and laziness. I will break you down until you understand that . I care about you and want what is best for you, so I am going to be honest and tell you the exact formula you need to run on to get there. I am nice to you if you do what I tell you to. It is actually extremely simple. I have lost clients because I was “mean” to them. I have literally yelled at people. Hopefully I made them stronger because of it. But if you come to work and do your homework, it is an absolute blast day in and day out.
-My goal is to educate as many people as possible, both in Austin and online clients. There are no “diets”, pills, juice cleanses, fasts, or magic buttons that are going to do the work for you. Change your LIFESTYLE. This is what I TEACH. How? Through making my clients and athletes mentally tough. Truth, day in and day out. This world is not made up of candy cane houses and flying smurfs, it’s real people. I am not just your average “personal trainer”, I am a coach, motivator, health advisor, whatever you want to label it. So when someone is on the hunt for one of these “people” to help you lose 30 lbs or gain 10, this is what you’re getting with me.
Recently, more clients, friends, and family have asked what my personal regimen is...my workouts, my nutrition, etc. My body has definitely changed in the last year and my goal is always to educate anyone who would like the knowledge. Every day I am working with a client (in the gym or via online) on what to eat, when to eat, how to train (both literally how and how much), and why. So I decided to post a few different scenarios, one being my own so that I could help others realize what it takes to be lean, muscular, strong and healthy. Now everyone has a different end goal in sight, but I will begin with my PERSONAL regimen and drop down from there.
Day 1: Lift Heavy legs and abs plus 20 min HIIT cardio-75 minutes work
Day 2: Lift Chest/Back plus 45 minutes steady run pace (4-5 miles) or Spin for 45 minutes at apartment-90 minutes work
Day 3: Atomic Athlete training-depending on the cycle I would be Olympic Lifting, doing Work Capacity, or a Stamina session-60 minutes work
Day 4: Swim 2-3 miles OR Swim 1.5-2 miles and run/spin 30 min-90 minutes of work
Day 5: Atomic Athlete training-same as above plus some specific arm work (bis, tris, shoulders)-90 min of work
Day 6: HIIT Run intervals OR Spin Intervals OR one of the two cut in half with a swim.-45-60 min of work
Day 7: OFF, rest. foam roll, get a weekly massage, stretch.
Now this is a good training regimen for someone who has the goal to be very lean and muscular, take my body type as an example.
The average person (mostly females) that comes to me for advice wants to "lose fat" but not "bulk up"
1. You're never going to bulk up. You don't have enough testosterone.
2. Look above at how I train. Look at my body.
3. Best way to do that? Cut what I am doing in half, at a MINIMUM. That's on average 45 minutes a day 6 days a week. 3 days of strength training, 3 days of cardio conditioning. It is just not going to happen any other way, atleast not in the long run. Depending on how much you want to lose/muscle you want to gain, this would be a pretty standard start. Hitting every single muscle group in your body on a weekly basis and getting your heartrate above 160bpm mutliple days a week for 45 minutes. Not gonna shed fat any other way.
6 days a week I eat like this:
1. 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1 cup spinach, fruit serving (apple usually), 12 nuts
2. 3.5 oz chicken or fish, 1 full cup veggie of choice, 3-4 oz sweet potato-my post workout meal
3. 3.5 oz chicken or fish, 1 full cup veggie of choice, 1/4 avocado
4. 3 oz grass fed beef or chicken or fish, 2 cups veggie of choice
5. Protein shake with ice and almond milk and cinnamon
I have one cheat meal which is usually a Saturday night and I get down on some corn chips and guacamole with skinny margaritas
Now if you do not have the same goals that I do, then you don't have to eat like this. I would recommend again, cutting it in half to start. It depends what you want. But this is what it takes to be lean, strong, healthy, and most of all...see your abs. It is day in and day out time management, dedication, determination, and willpower. It is my priority, so I make the time to do it right because it makes me happy more than anything.
I truly hope this is helpful and applicable for anyone's physique goals, and if you need some direction I am always here to help. :)
Whether you are an international level competitive athlete or an average Joe exerciser, it is important to take time off. Every 6 months or so, I encourage my clients to take 4-5 days off of lifting (and I'm talking the heavy shit we lift). This allows not only your muscles to recover from the wear and tear we are putting on them but also your mental state of mind to reset and get excited again. It works...
I underwent pretty serious surgery 6 weeks ago and was forced to not touch anything over 10 lbs for two weeks. One week was easy, two was a nightmare for me. After two weeks I started slowly lifting, running, cycling, and swimming...my usuals. I went back to my training gym (Atomic Athlete) 2 weeks ago (4 weeks post surgery) for my main training and Olympic lifts and discovered something phenomenal had happened. I was FASTER AND STRONGER. Even after surgery, because I allowed my body to heal correctly and took two full weeks off before I progressed back into my routine. A bazaar example of how worn down I was. I literally am amazed, but reminded that's how the body works.
I knew this when I was swimming 4 hours a day for 15 years, but it is nice to be reminded and feel like a new person where it counts the most to you. :)
So work hard, eat clean, but take a week off from the heavy shit and long ass runs/bikes/swims whatever you do...your body needs it!
It's fascinating to me how life continues to get better and better each year that goes by. At 29 years old, I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life and the happiest I have EVER been. Let's take a walk down memory lane, for giggles sake...
I grew up an athlete, waking up at 4 am as a 12 year old to dive into cold water. I was also INCREDIBLY awkward looking (and talking) tripping over myself as the years rolled by into high school (who hasn't been there, though) but all of this early morning, lack of sleep, lack of boyfriends/friends, missing parties, etc paid off when I got offered a scholarship to swim for my dream school...first HUGE moment of happiness. I was still young at 17 years old but knew what I had accomplished and I was freaking HAPPY. The world was perfect. (Boys started liking me too, so that was alright.)
Then my shoulder decided to fall out, no big deal. World comes crashing down, temporarily. I am now weak, and do not feel special or important. I was never allowed to do any Olympic lifting for 4 years. I was always in rehab before practice. I wanted to GIVE UP. But I don't. I get through it. I worked my ass off every day in physical therapy and the pool kicking for 4 years. It wasn't until my senior year of college when I realized two things: I wanted to be a personal trainer and coach someday and I didn't need swimming to be happy in life. I walked away a bigger and better woman and athlete.
Now what, though? Coach a little swimming, get in a few serious relationships along the way with less than nice young men in my early 20's, float around Austin, GAIN 15 LBS, abuse 6th street (that's what it's there for)...
Then it hit me, Personal Training. I spent over 4 years from 2001-2005 learning how every muscle and ligament works together and I had gained a stupid amount of weight myself from being "normal" instead of an athlete. So I start my own business, my second full moment of pure happiness. I know how to help people lose weight, gain muscle, and feel POWERFUL. Then I get into a TERRIBLE relationship along the way...and we will fast forward to 2013....
I found ATOMIC ATHLETE, and I can Olympic lift for the first time in my life. Why? Two reasons....GREAT coaching and because I chose to keep my shoulder and back strong for LIFE from what I learned from my trainer Tina Bonci at UT. I am an athlete again. My most recent and 3rd amazing moment of HAPPINESS. The added bonus? My amazing boyfriend, and best friend who I met there. :) He is that 4th moment of pure joy and happiness.
I am the HAPPIEST I have ever been at 29 years old. Let the good times roll...
The dictionary defines the word Want as so:
1. to feel a need or a desire for; wish for: to want one's dinner; always wanting something new. 2. to wish, need, crave, demand, or desire (often followed by an infinitive): I want to see you. She wants to be notified.
I think I hear this word almost daily whether I am working with a client, having a conversation with my boyfriend/family member, watching television, or reading a health and fitness magazine. I just felt like dissecting it for a moment from my perspective as a coach, motivational leader, and personal trainer.
When someone tells me personally they "want" something, the first thing I look at is if that goal is attainable. To me that is the best first step to take. Let's look at it from a health and fitness standpoint. For example, if someone tells me they want to lose 20 lbs but they just only need to lose 10, I make sure I express my professional opinion of how that may be unhealthy. If someone tells me they feel like they need to shed 100 lbs because they are in health danger, I would feel the need to agree. Now that's the easy part for the client. The hard part(s) are to follow.
We all want things...but do we know how to achieve them? That's where my role is strongest, I am the teacher. However I am only the teacher at most 2 hours a week to the "wanter". So they have it harder outside of those 2 hours. This is where "want" either shows its bold face or completely disappears. Sometimes "want" sticks around for days or weeks, maybe months, but then goes and hides somewhere for whatever reason...I like to call it a lack of motivation and desire.
Think of how HARD you worked to get that new job, or that new car, or that apt/house, or your relationship, or your marriage, etc, etc. You have to fight for what you want. You have to physically and mentally put boxing gloves on every single day and go out and get what you want. If you WANT to lose weight and build muscle you are going to have to fight. Wanting is the easy part, agreed?
I am just as guilty at times of falling off the wagon, trust me!! But I realize my mistakes and get back in the ring...because I freakin' want it. Let's all stop saying we want something and doing nothing about it. Get the tools, learn the process, fight every day.
You have to challenge your mind and body to receive the blessing of change....you just have to WANT it BAD ENOUGH.
Family and Friends,
I have been heavily researching the topic of the TIMING of food: when should we be eating, how frequent we should be eating, and the obvious always what you should be eating. In a time where more than half of the population of our country is obese, I for one want to do something about it, whether it is change one person's outlook or change 100. This compassion that I have is the reason as you all know I am a Personal Trainer, obviously, however it is time we all truly think about what is happening to our bodies. Inside and out.
Over the past two years,as some of you may know, I have personally experimented with some fat loss experiments on my own body and yes it was fun :) Prior to recently, I also have played around with different ways of fueling my engine all the way back to the when I was an athlete. Let's take a look:
*I am a 27 yr old Female standing at 6'1". My BMR is approx btwn 1400-1600/day
1. Elite Level Athlete (Swimmer) Age 18-21: 2002-2005: Swam 6-8 miles a day, Power-lifted 3 times a week.
-Calorie Consumption: 3 to 4,000 kcal/day. Why? I was burning 3-4,000 kcal a day. Maintained competition swimming weight of 155-160 lbs.
-Ate 4-5 meals a day in order to maintain my body weight that I needed to compete.
2. 2006-2009 Age 22-25: Ran 12 miles a week, Swam 6 miles a week, Lifted weights 3 times a week:
-Calorie Consumption: approx 1500/day split up into 3 meals from 8 am to 7 pm.
-Maintained a healthy weight of 150, had a six pack.
3. 2009-early 2011 Age 25-27: Began lifting weights 4-5 times a week in different body parts for more of a Lean Muscle again. 30-90 min Cardio in any form 5 days/week.
-Calorie Consumption: Training days: 1800/day; Off days: 1400/day
-Split into 50% CHO, 30% PRO, 20% FAT
-Gained about 2 lbs/month, leaving me at 164 lbs when all was said and done. (that's 14 lbs people)
4. Mid 2011 Age 27: Enter Paleo diet: 40% CHO, 40% PRO, 20% FAT. (no bread, rice, pasta, grains PERIOD.)
-Calorie Consumption totals approx 1500-1800 depending on training vs off days. Training stayed the SAME as above.
-Meals were spread out 4-6 times a day.
-Lost 4-5 lbs total in 2 months.
5. Late 2011 Age 27: INTERMITTENT FASTING
-Same 40/40/20 split as above, but the TIMING changes a bit: 16 hour fast followed by 4-8 hour feeding period.
-*****Lost 8 lbs in 2 months. Put me at 155. *****
-Working out is the SAME: Weights 4xweek, 30-90 min Cardio 5xweek. Easy.
-No necessary Calorie Count, know when you are full and more connected with how you feel.
So what can we conclude from all of this?
1. Only elite level athletes need to eat multiple meals and snacks throughout the day with half being in form of Complex Carbohydrates in order to perform. Definition of an athlete: Training multiple hours every day to the extent that you literally need more fuel for your body to keep working.
2. If you burn more than you eat, you will lose weight. If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat the same amount of energy that you plan on burning, you will maintain your body weight. Most athletes are trying to maintain a weight, or gain mass for a particular reason. (Most)
3. Ok, so if you are NOT an athlete, then what?
We saw from my post athlete days that I tried a few different lifestyles of eating. Here is what we saw:
-I ate 1500 cals/day while burning about 1800/day from my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) being around 1500 then the exercise daily burned an extra 300, at the least.
Which is how I lost weight and got down to 150 lbs.
-This CAN work if you are wanting to workout this much. I am thinking you don't want to. And there is an EASIER way.
4. "BodyBuilding" if you will stage:
-Eat alot, gain alot. period. It works if you want to get big, and have little extra somethin somethin.
5. Intermittent Fasting: My long lost love.
-The Average Healthy Person exercises between 4-6 days a week, and by exercise I mean anything from a brisk walk to a heavy weightlifter.
-Once you know who YOU are, you may begin IF like so:
-16 hours of fasting followed by 4-8 hours of feeding.
THE REASON INTERMITTENT FASTING WORKS: Regulation of blood glucose levels. Every time you eat, your blood sugar rises then eventually goes back down until you eat again, creating another upward spike in your glucose levels. IF prevents this by limiting the amount of times this happens, especially if you are only eating one to two meals during your window. Why keep going up and down when you can REGULATE AND MAINTAIN your levels of insulin resulting in fat loss?
Right now you are probably fasting for about 8-12 hours, depending on when your last meal at night is and your first meal in the am. So then you are eating off and on for 12-16 hours. Your body is used to this, but that doesn't make it the healthiest option. It is simply a longer fast and a shorter window of opportunity to eat. Every body is different, and it WILL depend on when you workout. Some people find results best when fasting for longer and eating one main meal at night.
If you want to shed fat and KEEP your muscle, IF is for you.
Here are some websites to help explain why:
You can simply google IF or Warrior Diet and have many options. They will all show you the same results I am talking about.
In conclusion, IF endorses the Paleolithic style eating since that is what our bodies are designed for (think Caveman) but is most certainly not limited to it. For example, when I lift HEAVY leg days or do over an hour of cardio I have had G-Free- type complex carbs, gone out for Tex Mex, etc. It's all about BALANCE. No matter what, nothing will ever come easy without hard work. Most people are trying to LOSE weight and this is the best route to go for a plethora of reasons I would like you to explore.
Thanks for your time today. :)
Before I became a Personal Trainer over 2 years ago, I assumed way too much. I assumed that most kids were as active as I was. I assumed that most teenagers were as motivated by something as I was. And lastly, I assumed that most adults knew the difference between what a donut and an apple would do to your health. I QUICKLY got slapped in the face by reality. When I came to the realization that being a Personal Trainer was going to take me above and beyond teaching someone how to exercise properly, I felt, and still do to this day, all of these emotions: confused, disheartened, sad, angry, and frustrated. Here is why:
From ages 4 to 12 I was involved in all of the following: swimming, karate, dance, gymnastics, and track. At age 12, it was time for me to pick ONE, my mom told me. It was an obvious choice...I wanted to swim. So then it began. Two-a-day practices at age 12. 4:30 AM was when I woke up to go train, while my middle school friends were still drooling the night away. I was set on going to the Olympics one day, and I was going to do whatever it took to get there. Back in the pool at 4 PM after school all day, and that's what the next 6 years would look like.
For cross-training purposes, I continued to run cross-country for my high school track team. I don't know how still to this day, but it was the funniest thing...I was standing at 5' 10" at the age of 14, never truly "trained" for a meet, and managed to blow everyone off the 2 mile course. Must have been the 5 hours of swimming per day that kept me the opposite of tired while running. Still makes me laugh. So I sprain my ankle a few times during these high school cross country meets, setting my training in the pool back multiple times for weeks at a time. I didn't care, nothing was stopping me. I am now training in the pool to qualify for Junior Nationals...and am well on my way, ankle sprains and all. At the same time frame, 14 yrs old, I was diagnosed with a rare parasite called Giardia. To make a long, long story short: Over a 3 month time span it took 4 doctors to figure out what was wrong before I had lost 25 lbs. Picture this: 5' 10" and about 110 lbs. SICK. So you can bet I was out of the pool that ENTIRE time. 3 months. In the swimming world, that's too long. A huge setback, but when you fall you get right back up. So I did. I won the state meet and qualified for JO's in 3 events 6 months later. Time to get even better.
So here I am: 16 years old, swimming 4-5 hours/day, weight lifting 3 hours/week, running when I can, keeping up with my high school homework, and trying to get more than 6-7 hours of sleep a night. I don't see my friends. I can't go out on the weeknights. I want to WIN more than that. I am on the verge of qualifying for Nationals (Swimming) and my right shoulder begins to ache like someone is stabbing a kitchen knife deep into my rotator cuff (which, at the time, no I did not know what the hell my rotator cuff was.) No big deal, ice and advil will fix this right up!
A year passes, I am 17. I just qualified for Nationals in the 100 butterfly. All of the SACRIFICES I have endured just paid off. I get offered my athletic scholarship to UT. At this point, I am a grown woman, and I realize the Olympics are not happening. But I just got offered to swim at one of the top power-houses in the nation for athletics. And I EARNED it. Enter: shoulder subluxation....
Yes, that right shoulder I ignored was arguing with me. 6 months until UT career, what was I to do. Guess I would bust my ass in rehab and see what I could pull off. At this point I am told all of these things: "Erin, your shoulder slipped out because you have a strong muscular imbalance due to scoliosis from growing so fast and being your height in general as a female. So it is not just your actual rotator cuff that needs strengthening...it is your entire back, and core as well. Are you prepared to commit the rest of your swimming career to daily rehab?" After an unthinkable amount of crying, mixed with anger, of course I was going to do WHATEVER IT TOOK.
And that attitude followed me all the way to the end of my collegiate career at UT until I was done swimming. I spent 1 hour/5 days a week in the training room to keep my body "in tact". It was annoying. I didn't want to do it anymore. But that did not matter. I NEEDED to do it for myself, because I COMMITTED to myself that I would. And it paid off, once again. I was swimming faster in my events than I did before I got hurt. I was not setting the pool on fire or anything, but it was good enough for me, and I was proud to know that I worked for it. I have always given my all, and always do because I know you can't get what you want out of life unless you're willing to work for it. I NEVER, EVER GAVE UP. I didn't then, and I don't now. It's about LIFE. And that is something no one can take away from you.
I wanted to share this with everyone in my life, but specifically for my clients, and future clients. Now you know what I have been through, and why I have the mentality that I do as your Personal Trainer. It is THE reason I do not take well to excuses. There are none in my book... Now the last thing I want is for this to come across as if I do not have empathy for others. I do, a whole lot of it. But not sympathy. Sympathy and empathy are different to me. If I did not have empathy for my clients, well, I would not still be in this business. And the reason that I so is directly because of what I have been through, all of the sweat, blood, and tears I gave trying to get to my goals....I get how HARD it is to get what you want. For some people, it is not only what you want, but more so what you NEED.
I do not, however, have SYMPATHY for those who refuse to listen. It is one thing when you are never taught how to eat healthy, and exercise properly. BUT When I take the extra time to break down why processed foods are killing you, and you choose to continue to eat them, I am going to be angry. When I ask you if you are exercising on a consistent basis outside of our time together and you say " I didn't have time", I am going to be angry. But I am angry because I BELIEVE everyone can go get what they want. Especially when you have a support system aka ME :) It is my passion to help improve the lives of other people, all I need is the fair chance to do it. So as I stated starting off, I used to assume too much. Now I know that not everyone has the same mentality that I do. And that's fine. If we can all just be the best we can be, I know great things will happen.
Being lazy in life will get you nowhere. Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be!!!!