Monday, May 14, 2012

My feelings on the obesity epidemic

I haven't posted in a while, and I really need to work on that.  As my readers know, and new readers will soon figure out, I am a Beachbody Coach.  Why do I mention this?  I mention this because there will be times when I appear biased, and on those occasions I am fully aware of that.  The one thing you can depend on, is that if I don't like a product, or don't use it, I will tell you.  If you post a question about something, I will get you the best answer that I can.  I started the blog to share my experiences concerning my fitness journey, but have decided that there may be an occasion where I post a non-fitness related posting.  I know I am working on one concerning electric cars.

Today, I wanted to address, from purely an editorial standpoint, the obesity problem in the US.  I am not a "hate fat people" person.  I don't.  My personal belief has always been that if you are happy with yourself great.  If you are not, then do something about it.  You don't get to play on both sides of the fence.  You can't complain about being overweight, then complain that you can't get help.  It is up to you.  I don't know of anyone who gained 100 pounds overnight, and I am sure no one will ever loose 100 pounds overnight.  There is no miracle drug. I don't care what you see on TV or in the magazines.  You cannot take a pill and loose weight.  There may be some that help raise metabolism for a short time, but they are not magic.  The only way anyone will ever be successful with weight loss, or weight gain for that matter is through a lifestyle change.  That is what it took for me, and I only wanted to loose 30 pounds.  I also wanted to get fit, and tone up my muscles.  I think have have done well.  I still eat things that are not great for you.  I love pizza and cheeseburgers.  When I go to a hockey game I have two sodas and peanuts.  I know there is a lifestyle change, but I still want to live. I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions.  I know that if I gain 5 pounds over the holidays, then I have to really pay attention to my exercise routine and diet afterwards.  It is up to me.  No one can make me healthy.  Only I can do that.  I have been lucky so far.  I have found exercise programs that I like and will stick to.  I even occasionally use my elliptical and Bowflex.  I am actually looking at ways to incorporate them into my current routines.  I have been working out now for almost two full years.  There were a couple of breaks; one for 3 months and another for 2.  I have paid the price for falling off the wagon.

Ok, back to my point.  There may be many reasons that someone is obese.  There may be personality issues, self image, or just poor choices.  I am not an expert.  What I am is someone that sees more and more obese people demanding special treatment because of their choices.  And yes, I say their choices even though there may be some personality issue as an underlying cause.  Why, because they can get help for depression, self-image and other issues.  They just need to want it.  You cannot eat your problems away.  This is mainly because overeating and obesity lead to other problems.  Again, if you are happy great.  If not, then get help and realize it is a journey.

There are consequences in life.  If you take up two seats on an airplane you should have to pay for two.  Obesity is the leading cause for rising medical costs in the US.  I am not providing a reference for this, but I have read this in several places over the last two weeks.  My concern is that if we as a society do not recognize that we need to change behavior, there are those that feel they will need to make the change for us.  One of the news personalities recently said that obesity was a government problem. If I go to a buffet, I go for the selection.  I don't take, "All you can Eat" as a challenge.  On the other hand, I am not in favor of the buffet police, or some government official telling me I can't have the occasional Big Mac.

To all my friends.  I am not standing in judgement.  Like I said, if you are happy great, if not then get some help.  I will gladly stand by you in your quest.  I know from personal experience that motivation is the hardest part of making a change to get fit and healthy. I have been there and still working at it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How and How much do I eat???

Today I want to discuss something that was very confusing to me, and is the real reason that most diets fail.  Over the last 18 months, I have learned a great deal about the way to diet.  Now mind you that I am not good at it.  I have learned the right way, and the wrong way.  I have also learned that it is a good idea, at least for me, to follow a meal plan.  Since I live in a small town, I don’t have the ability to buy certain foods, so I try to watch what I eat and how much.  One of the things I learned was how you eat is important.  No, I am not talking about the old advice that you should eat slowly, but it is a good idea.  What I am talking about is the idea of eating five small meals a day.  According to Sam Ellyn, “Eating five small meals throughout the day can help you control your appetite, raise your metabolism and reduce your chances of overeating”.(2011)  I have learned that eating five meals a day keeps me from being hungry so I do not over eat at mealtime.  It is easier to push away from the table.  I have also found that this, as Ellyn says, keeps my metabolism up and therefore it is easier to lose weight and keep it off.  I like many other people, have tried to eat less and lose weight.  You do need to eat less but there is a limit to how little you should eat.  If you eat too little, your metabolism slows down and your body tries to store energy.  This can actually cause you to gain weight, and potentially cause damage to your body.

Ok, so how do you know how much you need to eat?  Your body requires a certain amount of energy to maintain itself.  This is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).   If you go below this rate, you risk the chance of causing damage to your body. You will lose weight over the short-term but could damage your body and you will eventually gain the weight back because you will not be able to maintain the low calorie intake indefinitely. 
There are several tools that can help you figure your BMR.  Beachbody has this tool, but you can find it elsewhere as well.  You can also figure it without an application. I am adding the calculations at the end of this blog so you don’t have to read through them to get the information about your diet.  My BMR is 1663 and my recommended caloric intake based on the BMR and exercise factor is about 2000.  I would divide this into my five meals so each meal should be around 400 calories.  You can adjust this to allow for family meals and make the meal plan fit your lifestyle.  You do need to watch what you eat, especially concerning fat content etc.  Here is the one mistake that dieters make.  When you lose weight, your BMR goes down, so you have to adjust your calorie intake to take into account that your body needs fewer calories and therefore if you continue to eat based don your original calculations you will plateau. 

Good luck on your weight loss goals.  Also, if you need to gain weight, you can use the same calculation, you just need to add calories to your BMR and exercise factor.  Just make sure you eat properly to build muscle and not store fat.

Bring It, but Don’t Bring it Weak


 According to Carla Diebold at you can figure it like this. 

Step 1

Determine your height in inches and weight in pounds. These two numbers are a critical part of the BMR formula and their accuracy is important. To determine your height in inches, multiply your height in feet by 12 (there are 12 inches in a foot) and add the remaining inches to that figure. For example, someone who is 5 feet, 2 inches would do the following equation: (5 x 12) + 2 = 62.

Step 2

Utilize a specific calculation for men. Multiply your weight in pounds by 6.23 and then multiply your height in inches by 12.7. Multiply your age in years by 6.8. Now, add 66 plus your factored weight and height together and subtract your factored age. This is your basal metabolic rate.

Step 3

Utilize a specific calculation for women. Multiply your weight in pounds by 4.35 and then multiply your height in inches by 4.7. Multiply your age in years by 4.7. Now, add 655 plus your factored weight and height together and subtract your factored age. This is your basal metabolic rate.

Step 4

Incorporate the Harris Benedict BMR equation to determine daily calorie requirements. The equation considers several activity levels:
1. Little or no exercise = BMR x 1.2
2. Light activity (some exercise one to three days a week) = BMR x 1.375
3. Moderately active (light to moderate exercise three to five days a week) = BMR x 1.55
4. Very active = (dedicated exercise or sports six to seven days a week) = BMR x 1.725
5. Extremely active = (strenuous exercise or sports as well as physical labor on the job or professional exercise or sports training) = BMR x 1.9
To determine an appropriate calorie intake for a typical day, multiply the calculated BMR by the appropriate activity level. (2011)

To put this into perspective, I am 56 years old, I weigh 185 pounds, and I am 61 inches tall (5”11”). So 185 x 6.23 = 1152.55.  61 x 12.7 = 774.7.  56 x 4.7 = 263.2   1152 + 774.7 – 263.2 = 1663.5.  This is my BMR.  If I add the exercise factor it will tell me what I need to maintain my weight.  I exercise five days a week, and stretch for two, so I would use the Moderately Active factor of 1.55.  1663.5 x 1.55 = 2578.43.  If I want to lose weight my calorie intake should be between 1663 and 2578.  I should stay around 2000 to keep from being tired.

Diebold, Carla (2011), How to Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, Retrieved on April, 28, 2012 from:

Ellyn, Sam (2011) How to Eat Five Small Meals a Day to Lose Weight, Retrived April 28,2013 from:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Picking the Exercise Program that is Right for You

I have taken a few days off trying to find something more substantial and interesting than my workouts.  I had this shared with me, and I wanted to repost it because it is something that I asked many times before finally purchasing Insanity.  In fact, I had looked at P90X first, but was concerned about the amount of equipment I might need.  Later, I found out that I didn't need any equipment to get started.  If you want to get the best results, you will eventually get some additional equipment.

Here is a posting by Steve Edwards concerning his view on how to pick the right Program.  This is an amazing guy, and I hope to learn a lot from him.

How To Choose The Right Exercise Program

‎Thursday, ‎April ‎19, ‎2012, ‏‎11:47:18 AM | (Steve Edwards)Go to full article

In my last chat I was asked why P90X2 wasn’t as good for weight loss as P90X. Ironically that same week Tony Horton hosted some coaches for a workout at his house where they burned over 1,200 calories in an hour doing an X2 workout. This doesn’t mean the question was dumb. It means it requires a longer answer than I could give at that time because it starts new topic; how to choose the right exercise program.

If everyone burned 1,200 calories during an X2 workout it would be amazing for weight loss. But many people do not because P90X2 is what we call at Beachbody a post-graduate program. Its predecessor, P90X, is a graduate program and the series original, Power 90, is an intro program. Trying to do P90X2 before you’re ready is like walking into French IV when you haven’t taken French 1. You’re not ready and, thus, won’t be able get the most out of it. In fact you’ll probably feel lost.

At Beachbody we’re creating fitness solutions for the entire planet, and most of this planet doesn’t play in the NBA or NFL. P90X2 was created specifically for our customers who’ve become so fit they require an elite program on the level of the professional athlete. If someone lets you borrow a surfboard are you going to paddle into Pipeline and attempt to catch your first wave? Probably not. Choosing the wrong fitness program will drown your results just as fast. A brief rundown of the Beachbody line-up will help you understand why.

"hmm, maybe i should have started on a beach break..."

P90X2 and Insanity: The Asylum are currently Beachbody’s only post-graduate programs. They were designed for our customers who’d mastered P90X and Insanity. If you can’t do those programs it doesn’t make sense to begin something harder because you won’t have the fitness base to complete the individual exercises, much less the workouts. And if you can’t do the workouts you won’t get very fit.

As an example let’s take the workout P90X Chest & Back. I’ve had people tell me they only burned 150 calories in this workout. I’ve burned over a thousand. The difference is when you can’t do push-ups and you can’t do pull-ups and don’t modify correctly so that you fail at 10 reps or more per exercise than the difference in that workout is night and day. I’m completely pumped from my very first set to the last, 45 straight minutes pushing my anaerobic threshold—it’s everything I can do to not puke! But someone who can’t do the exercises won't get pumped will likely max their caloric burn during the warm-up! This is exactly why we have you do a fit test before you begin: to see if you belong in P90X in the first place.

For X2 we expect you to be able to do P90X. If you can’t do, say, Warrior 3 in Yoga X you’re not going to be able to do Warrior 3 curls or kickbacks--just one of numerous examples. We do offer exceptional modifications in X2 but, like X, they still require you to find a point where you fail at the required number of repetitions to work their magic. As I said in another post, you can’t claim X2 workouts mastered until you can use the same amount of weight (in its difficult positions) as you can with P90X.

In Asylum, Shaun yells at his cast that “this is not Insanity, people!” as if that program is light cardio. Most of you know that Insanity is anything but so it shouldn’t surprise you that if you can’t do Insanity you might not make it through the warm-ups of Asylum.

Beachbody’s graduate programs include: 90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire, P90X+, and Debbie Siebers’ Slim Series. These programs were based off of intro programs that are similar in style but accessible to almost anyone: Power 90, Hip Hop Abs/Rockin’ Body, Slim in 6. If you’re inspired by P90X but can’t do the fit test, a round of Power 90 will give you much better results and will ultimately have you mastering X and X2 a lot quicker than beginning with the harder program.

In addition, our intro line has many other options to fit your personality. We now have what I call gentle, moderate, and hard into programs. Our goal is to have workouts for every single demographic. We want to eliminate all possible excuses for not getting healthy.

added bonus of power 90: retro chic

If you’ve never exercised or are coming off an injury that’s impaired your ability to move you might consider Tai Cheng because it will retrain your movement patterns. Love the idea of martial arts training but want something more challenging, try Rev Abs. If you hate to exercise but love to dance you might try Hip Hop Abs, Turbo Jam, Body Gospel or Yoga Booty Ballet. Conversely those who are challenged by coordinating their moves might prefer Slim in 6 or Kathy Smith’s Project You, which use simple exercises to great effect. Those who like pumping iron should consider Power 90 or Chalean Extreme. And if you’re ultra-time crunched we’ve got 10 Minute Trainer to get you in the habit of daily exercise.

As for results; all of our programs work exactly the same. Seriously, our test groups get similar results in every program we make (we don’t release them until the do). We screen the test groups to make sure the right people are doing the right program and you should too. Of course X2 graduates are ultimately fitter than Power 90 graduates but that’s because they’ve done more homework. Just like a French IV graduate is more fluent than a French 1 there is a logical progression to getting fit and it’s much easier and quicker if you’re taking the right class.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Product Review Bowflex Select Tech 910

I promised earlier in the blog that I would give a review of the Select Tech 910 dumbbells which I use for my workouts.  I did quite a bit of research and as you may guess the selection is based on personal preference.  I compared them to the Power Bloc and chose the Select Tech.  My primary reason was that the hand space was very tight in the Power Bloc.  I have talked with other people that have larger hands and they seem to get by with the Power Bloc.  It is really a trade off, and you have to decide which works better.  I mention it being a trade off because the Select Techs are very large, at least the 910s are.  The 910 are capable of providing 10 to  90 pounds each and they are a little long to provide for the extra 40 pounds over the Select Tech 510 which are only 5 to 50 pounds each.  I have been shopping for a set of dumbbells for my wife and have considered the Power Blocs for her.  Again, it will be more what she is comfortable with.

I will say that the extra length of the 910s can be problematic and something you have to allow for.  There are several exercises in P90X where the length may cause some minor form issues, or at least some positioning problems.  I don't know that this would be the same with the 510s but there are some exercises where I have exceeded the 50 pound limit of the 510s so I am glad that I purchased the larger set.  For the most part, someone may be able to get by with the 510s and supplement the lower weight with a greater number or reps in those exercises where you are able to pull more than 50 pounds.  Right now my only exercise where I pull 50 is lawnmowers, and I should be above that by the end of the month.

I guess the moral of the story here is to shop around, look at your program, and figure out which fits you the best.  If you have the cash and room, you can always go for the full set instead of the variable weight sets.  For the most part, I am very pleased with my selection.  I have been using them since last July, and I have not hand any issues with the construction.  If I had to give a numerical rating I would give them 8 out of 10.

April 16, 2012 How about a three way

Today has been a pretty good day.  Today is M2W2D1 so the workout was Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps.  This is the reason for the interesting title.  You are doing a rotation of Chest, Shoulders, Triceps.   I think this is a killer workout because you work triceps a bunch. Unless I am doing my pushups really wrong you use the triceps there as well as your chest. I have found that I cannot do as many pushups during this workout than I could when we just did chest and back. I could be wrong. I am amazed at the amount of work you get from using such small weights. WOW. Did ARX as well, and I really tried to improve over each exercise, which I was able to do. Trying to dig a little deeper each day.
This is an interesting workout because although it is a resistance workout the wieght is not very heavy.  The max I use right now is 20 lbs and I use my 10's quite a bit.  There are two exercises that I only us 5 pound dumbbells.  Trust me you still get a good burn, and can really feel it.  This is one of those workouts where you can feel that you are working hours after, even though you may not be sore or tired.

Here are today's numbers:

Time: 60 minutes
Calories: 799
MHR: 230 (not sure this is right but I did a pulse check and early in the workout, it was beating pretty quick) It did slow down as the workout progressed.
AHR: 146

Hope everyone has a great week. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why, Why, Why, Why

I said yesterday that I would have a special posting today.  We all know that to be successful with a fitness program we have to have three things.  These things are a good exercise program, a proper diet (one that feeds the body properly), and support.  All to ofter we try to loose weight or get fit while we are missing one of these three things.  Can you do it that way, Yes.  It is just harder.  There is one thing that we need even more than the other three, and without it our chance of success is lowered.  Not impossible, just harder.  What is that fourth element?  That all important element is Why!  Why are we doing what we are doing?  This is important for anything we do in life, but when it comes to fitness we don't always have it in place.  Prior to picking a program, of figuring out your diet you must figure out why are you heading down this road.  If you want to loose 10 pounds, why do you want to loose it.  The Why can be simple, but it must be something important to you.  It has to be something that inspires commitment. 

So next time you want to loose 10 pounds (or more), are looking for a new job, or just want to eat better before you start, figure out your Why.  You will be much more successful.

April 14, 2012 A Great Day to Kick It

It has been a rainy day here in Nebraska.  I did get to go for a walk with my wife and got my workout in as well.  Today's workout was Kenpo X.  It is an awesome low impact cardio workout.  It is not difficult and the only equipment you need is a towel and some water.  You should have a heart rate monitor, but you can check your heart rate the old fashioned way during the three breaks.  Today was a good day for me. I worked hard but was not totally gassed at the end.  Some would say I didn't work hard enough, but I know I did.  Tony and the gang continue moving during the water breaks and I kept moving as well.  I did stop the last 10 seconds of the 1 minute break to get my water.  I felt great today.

Today's numbers

Time:  61 min
Calories:  722
MHR:  233
AHR:  134

Remember to Bring it and Don't Bring it Weak