It’s All About Balance

Ok, time for some Hector-isms regarding weight-loss, exercise, and the such. These are just some simple fitness and battle of the bulge tips to keep in mind. My clients hear the following from me over, and over, and over again.

1. Women, mujeres, muchachas, you cannot eat like a man unless you want to weigh what a man weighs. Why can’t you eat like a man ladies? Because on average, men are bigger/taller than women, and men carry more muscle mass than women. Being taller and carrying more muscle mass allows for more calorie consumption. So ladies, every time you sit down to eat with a man who is bigger than you, make sure your plate’s amount doesn’t match his.

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2. Women, you cannot drink  as many adult drinks as a man does for the same reasons I just stated above. If your male friend has 10 beers over the weekend, and you do to, you will pay the price more than he will, in the form of fat accumulation.

3. Women, lifting weights will not make you buff or bulky. To be buff or bulky you would have to be really, really strong. Like WAAAAYYYYYY stronger than you probably are right now. Very few women have the genetic predisposition to get bulky/buff. If it was that easy to be buff, you would see buff men everywhere, and that is simply not the case. Ladies, don’t be afraid of getting strong.

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And now for my compadres, the men.

4. Vigorous exercise helps circulation/blood flow to all parts of the human body. Good blood flow helps your friend downstairs stand at attention. Get it!!!

5. Men, if you’re not sure if you have gained weight in the form of eff-aye-tee in the last 10 years, there is a simple way to find out. Go find a pair of pants and a shirt that fit you well ten years ago and try them on. If they are super tight or don’t even fit, you have gained weight. The four things that don’t lie about weight gain are clothing, the mirror, the scale, and children. If a child says “you’ve gained weight”, you probably have. I once was told by a kid that I have big ears, and guess what, I have big ears. But that’s ok because guess what they say about men with big ears? They say we hear well. (Get your brain out the gutter).

6. Men, do you like how women look who workout? You like a nice firm and toned body?  Well guess what? Women like how men look who workout too. You don’t believe me, just ask a few of your female amigas.

7. Men, take advantage of the testosterone you produce naturally and do resistance training. Your body will thank you for it, and you might build some muscle too.

Now some Hector-isms for everyone.

8. Just because you can stomach it, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Think junk food.

9. Your stomach is not a garbage can.

10. Do you have a car? Do you take your car in for its maintenance and scheduled tune ups? Well, guess que? Your body is a much more complicated piece of machinery than a car, so give it its tune-ups too, in the form of exercise, and provide it with clean fuel/food while you’re at it. You can always replace a car, but the last time I checked, you get one body. Yep, just one. True Dat!!!

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11. You don’t run on batteries. If you’re constantly tired and addicted to caffeine, check your food quality and sleep amounts.

Sleep is the best meditation Dalai Lama quotes

12. And finally, I believe life is about balance. Go ahead, have fun, eat some pizza, drink some beer, stay up late, but make sure you balance it out by eating clean, drinking water, exercising, and getting your sleep.

taichi

 

 

Group Exercise

Happy New Year!! I know, I know, it’s already the 5th of January, but better late than never, right?

Guess how I’ve been bringing in the New Year? I will give you some hints: a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, headache, body ache, and just feeling overall crappy. Yep, you guessed it. Healthy Homeboy is not so healthy today. I have the flu. For you edge-a-macated folks, I have influenza. Yuck!!! My symptoms began on January 2nd, in the evening.

I scoured my thesaurus and dictionary for the perfect word to describe influenza, found it!! Sucks. Yes, the flu sucks. But I will keep this post positive, like all my posts, and talk about positive experiences I had with my personal training business last year. (One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stay away from negativity and be as positive as possible).

By far, without a doubt, the best experience I had last year with my personal training business was, and continues to be, group training.

It all started in the spring with a group a women who wanted to exercise together and needed a trainer to monitor and push them. I obliged. We agreed to train outdoors at 6am twice per week. Before I knew it, they were doing weighted sled pulls, running and sprinting, push-ups, lunges, and everything else I asked of them. workout-collage

The group stayed together through spring, summer, fall, and now winter. We are no longer outdoors though. It’s muy frio. So we have taken the bootcamp indoors. Guess what some of my neighborhood bootcamp crew asked me to do for them on January 1, 2015? They asked me to run a bootcamp for them. What!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Even some of the husbands showed up. To top it off, the bootcamp we did was outdoors, because our indoor facility was closed on January 1st. Through a camera lens the day was beautiful, but physically, it was a bit cold. Here are some action shots.

Flutter kicks for abs. This was after jogging, sprinting, sled pulls, lunges, squat and press, and whatever else I had my motivated New Year’s day bootcamp crew do. (If any of you are observant enough to notice that one of the participants is wearing flip-flops, good job. No, she did not do the bootcamp in flip-flops. Exercising on a muddy field in flip-flops is a safety hazard).

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Push-ups to focus on triceps. (Elbows close to body).

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And after the torture, I mean bootcamp, they all had protein shakes that I made for them. Trust me, they were protein shakes, despite what the red cups might allude to.

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Even my sisters, Norma and Vicky, who were visiting from Florida and Cali, showed up for the bootcamp. Everyone said the protein shakes hit the spot.

Thank you, Stonegate bootcamp particpants. You all gave me and continue to give me OJT, on the job training, when it comes to group training, and I love it. Keep up the great work. And remember ladies, strong is the new skinny. (I challenge any man over 40 to do as many push-ups as the lady on the right can. How many can she do? It’s more than 40). strong-beautiful-women

And to my UCG workout crew, your story will be next.

Popular Fitness Questions Answered, Again

What’s the best exercise you can do to lose weight? How about “whatever activity you enjoy doing is best”. What good would it do if I said “sprinting up a 100 yard hill ten times, while wearing a weighted vest, will help you burn calories, build muscle, and tone your whole body” if you hate sprinting? Find a physical activity you enjoy and do it, over, and over, and over, again. And then do it one more time. Worst case scenario, walk a mile a day, and in a year you will have walked 365 miles and burned off 45,000 calories, minimum.

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What’s the best food to consume to help you lose weight? How about, don’t consume too much food. Sounds like a bit of a rude answer, but it’s kind of true. If I say that brown rice, oatmeal, seafood, and fruits are healthy, but you eat too much of these foods, then you might gain weight. Monitor your calories and the quality of them, to lose weight.

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What does toning mean? In the workout world toning means that you lose enough fat to see your muscles. That’s it! That is the only way to tone. We all have muscles. The main difference between us all, when talking about being tone, is the percentage of body fat around those muscles. Low body fat levels = tone body, for men and women alike.

What can you do to elongate your muscles? Technically, nothing. Sorry about that my yoga participants. You only elongate your muscles as you grow taller. Once you’re done growing, your muscles will not elongate anymore. They can be stretched and strengthened, but that is as far as the elongation of muscles goes.

Will lifting weights make you bulky? This is a popular question I get from women. For starters, gaining muscle is very, very, difficult. Ladies, just think of how many buff and tone men you know? Not many. Time to brag. I can dead-lift 315 pounds 3 times, and 225 pounds ten times, and I have never been described as bulky. Simply put ladies, you won’t get bulky lifting weight unless you train with that intent. I have never met a woman who trains that way. The main way we all can get bulky is by eating bulks of food.

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Or…

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Here’s another popular complaint I get. “I hate exercise! What can I do to like it”? This is the bad news of the day. Your body’s demand and requirement, to move, to help it stay strong and function optimally, will never go away. Humans were made to move. Why do you think you have so many muscles? To reach for the remote control, or just walk to the fridge? Nope, your designed for movement. There’s even a scientific field for this called bio-mechanics. I was going to go into that field, but then I decided I better focus on helping people eat less and move more instead, and there’s no degree for that. Just kidding.

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And the last time I checked, you only get one body. I am not asking you to be a workout nut like myself. Or as my wife said Monday, when I told her I did dead-lifts at the gym and then went for an hour bike ride in the heat, “You’re a weirdo”. I am not asking you to be a weirdo. I know you have a life. But just like you get tune-ups for your car, go ahead and give your body a tune-up by walking or jogging, lifting some weights, and eating clean and in the right amounts. Trust me, your body will thank you for it. Your constipation might even go away. Yes, exercise helps constipation.

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Real Life Weight Loss

Hello everyone. When it comes to weight loss, I usually give advice along the lines of moving more, eating less, and drinking water, simple formula right? Well today, I will introduce you to a real life person, who attained real life weight loss results. Her name is Farah, and she is my wife’s cousin.

Farah came to visit us a few weeks ago. When I first saw her I thought “I didn’t know Farah had a twin sister. This girl looks just like Farah, except her face, and the rest of her body is thinner”.  Nope, Farah does not have a twin sister. Farah looked different because she had lost weight. Good job girl!!!!

For starters, Farah is a mother, and works full-time. So she does have a life other than working out and watching what she eats. This is her when she was about to burst and become a mommy a few years ago.

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Below, that is Farah before she began her weight loss journey.

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And below is the “Look at me, I look great, I am 36 years young, I have busted my butt working out, have been strict with my food intake, and I have lost 27 pounds! and counting” selfie. Look how much thinner her face looks, and look how much flatter her tummy is. Great job!!! To tell you the truth, in person, the results are that much more  impressive ad evident than these pictures illustrate.

after(1)Because Farah did not use my services to lose weight and tone up, I decided to interview her, so I could learn a thing or two and share her weight loss wisdom with my readers.

Interview:

1. What is the biggest change you made to help you lose weight? “My eating habits”. (She didn’t hesitate with this answer). She reduced her portion sizes, cut out processed sugar considerably, and “almost completely eliminated fast food”. And yes, although you can make healthy food choices at Subway, it is still considered fast food.

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2. When did you begin your weight loss? “After I had my baby, I did Weight Watchers for  3 months. I lost about 8-9 pounds”. She also said that Weight Watchers taught her about portion control, and she now uses saucers instead of plates, whenever possible, when she eats. (And when she gets angry, the saucers become flying saucers, just kidding. Farah is always happy just like my wife, her cousin. Maybe happiness runs in families like diabetes does. It’s just a thought).

3. Do you drink alcohol? “I drink less overall now. I really don’t drink beer, and just stick to mixed drinks. I sometimes have a glass of wine with dinner”.

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4. When did you begin exercising, and what do you do for exercise? “I began exercising last March, 2013. I go to the gym three times per week. I workout for 45 minutes to an hour and do weights and cardio. I also walk my baby in the stroller, for up to 2 hours sometimes”. The walking of the stroller outside is a seasonal thing because Farah resides in Canada. I believe she works out 4 to 5 hours per week. You go girl!!

5. I know you’re already busy as a mother, do you work too? “Yes, I have a full-time job”. This is very important because it means that she makes time for her workouts, despite her busy schedule. Technically, she has two full-time jobs because being a parent is a full-time job too. I speak from observation and not from experience.

6. Ok Farah, this is the million dollar question. Everyone who embarks on a weight loss journey needs a strong reason to do so. I always tell my clients that if their reason for weight loss is strong enough, it will fuel their weight-loss efforts. So, what was your main reason for wanting to lose weight? “I didn’t like how I looked in my clothes”. This answer was quick and serious, so I knew it was the truth. She said she also did it for health reasons, but it was mostly vanity. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t like to look the best they can look? Even back in the day folks were vain. The painting below is from the 1800’s.

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7. What has been the most challenging aspect of your weight-loss and fitness plan? “Creating a workout routine and sticking to it has been the toughest. The food changes have not been that tough”. This answer surprised me because most of my clients struggle more with food change/reduction than with exercise adherence.

8. What is your favorite form of exercise? “I like doing the elliptical machine and lifting weights”. Translation: She likes most forms of exercise except, in her words, “I do not like to run”. Amen.

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9. I have plenty of female clients, and many of them are working mothers just like you. What advice would you give to them if they are trying to lose weight and get fit? “Just stay active and eat clean”. I swear that this was her answer. It is great advice in just six words.

There you have it ladies, an interview with a young woman who took it upon herself to lose weight and tone her cuerpo. After our interview, I did give Farah some fitness advice and wrote her a workout routine in exchange for her allowing me to post her pictures and our conversation on my blog. Thanks again Farah, and I know you will inspire some women out there with your great results and sincere advice.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With a Loser, of 50 Pounds!

It is uncommon for me as a trainer to have a client that does almost everything I ask or recommend of her/him, in order to lose weight. Wendi is one such client. From the beginning, Wendi has done EVERYTHING I have asked of her in her weight loss endeavour. She has exceeded all my expectations, and I am happy to say that Wendi is also my friend.

Wendi dismisses some of the common excuses I get from folks in their battle of the bulge. Here are some of those excuses: “I’m too old. And when you’re older, it’s impossible to lose weight”. Wendi is 50, yes 50. And by the way, 50 is not old. “I have a full-time job. It’s hard to workout after you work” Wendi has a full-time job too. And at one point during our training she was going to school to get her masters, AND training with me, And exercising on her own to lose weight. “It’s harder for woman to lose weight”. This last reason does have some validity to it, but it can still be done. Just look at Wendi.

Before

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After

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What a body transformation, right? When I saw her this past Saturday for my “Walkers for Weight Loss” group that she participates in religiously, I couldn’t believe how great she looked. The irony of the “before” picture above is that they were celebrating her Big 50, as in turning 50, but now she can celebrate her other big 50. Wendi has lost 50 pounds in one year! She has also lost 7 inches around her waist, no lie. That’s right, for all you 50 and above, full-time working women who want to lose weight, Wendi did it, and you can do it too.

Because humans have a tendency to resist change, even if it is for our own good, I have always been intrigued and impressed by people who make changes in the name of mental or physical improvement. I have been lucky enough to witness positive change in friends, family, and clients. I have several clients who used to be tobacco smokers, and they quit completely. Wow! I have a friend who quit drinking sodas and lost about 40 lbs in a year. Wow! And I have one super good and close friend that if I told you the inspirational story of his struggles and change, first, you wouldn’t believe me, and second, you would probably say “You should write a book about that.” Hmm, now there’s a thought. Now back to Wendi and her change.

I interviewed Wendi so I could get a better idea of how and why she changed her body. Even if your are not trying to lose weight, her story may be inspirational for other areas of your life that may need some improvement/change. I think we can all agree that we can all use a little change for the better. During our interview, we went over plenty. So in the name of brevity, I picked 5 questions and answers that I thought were importante.

1. Why did you decide to lose weight? “After my spinal fusion last year, I was sent to an independent medical examiner to certify the status of my recovery. This doctor advised my employer that due to the fact that I was ‘obese‘ and the extent of my surgery, I was ‘100% disabled‘. This was my turning point”.

dont do it!

STOP THE PRESSES! I always harp on the importance of having that one reason that will override all possible excuses for not losing weight. We talked about the above answer for about 20 minutes. Wendi couldn’t believe she had been labeled “obese and 100% disabled” by a doctor, even if it was true at the time. Not wanting to be obese and disabled drove her day in and day out to lose weight. It was her purpose and driving force, and it obviously worked. In laymen terms, the doctor’s words lit a fire under Wendi’s nalgas and in her soul.

2. What is the biggest change you made to help you lose the weight? “My biggest lifestyle change is my dedication to exercising along with my food intake adjustments”. (No further comment on this one) Actually, I just lied. I am going to comment. If you are trying to lose weight, print several copies of question and answer #2. Tape one to your refrigerator, you car dashboard, your bathroom mirror, and anywhere else you will see it. That means taping it to the back of your smart phone too. The answer to question #2 works better than weight loss apps. Seriously!

3. What is the toughest change you made? “Cutting back on cheese and chocolate/dessert.” Notice she didn’t say “not eating cheese anymore”, or “not eating chocolate or dessert anymore.” She just cut back on those unnecessary calories.

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4. What was the easiest change? “I really don’t know of an ‘easy’ change.” I 100% agree with her answer. It took me many years to understand why people, including myself, don’t just change our bad habits. It’s just not easy, but it can be done.

5. What excuses did you used to make to not exercise? “Not having the ‘spare’ time. was my most prominent reason not to exercise. Now I find myself putting other activities aside so I can work out.”

Well, there you have it. Those were some very honest answers about her weight loss journey.

My observation is that Wendi doesn’t make excuses for herself. I know for a fact that she sometimes doesn’t feel 100% for her workouts. On occasion, she has aches and pains, and long days at work, but she always shows up for her workouts. Sometimes she may have a great Friday night with friends, adult drinks and not so good food included. But come Saturday morning, there she is at the park, ready to do the weight loss walk at 9am sharp. And occasionally, after the walk, she tells me what a great time she had the night before and how tired she is. I then ask her if she is going to do the boot-camp after the walk? She almost always says yes. You go Wendi.

you go girl

Sugar Drinks and Weight Loss Part 2

Hello everyone. September was a very busy month for me with family and work so I didn’t have time to blog much. But I’m back, energized, and ready to help the brave and committed in their “battle of the bulge”. I know some of you who are trying to lose weight would rather watch a video than read, so I made a short video for you. It has great information regarding weight-loss and sugar drinks. Enjoy. Oh before I forget, I do not keep the sugar drinks you see in the video in my home, because I practice what I preach. I bought the sugar drinks this morning.

Low Carb Dieting

Do low carbohydrate diets work? First, let us look at different types of carb containing foods and drinks. We have flour products.

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We have potato products.

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And America’s favorite potato product…

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All of the above are mostly high carbohydrate foods because few people eat low carb bread, and only 2 pieces of it when they do, and even fewer people eat only 10 fries when they eat those perfectly salted, golden, and crisp diet killers. We love carbs.

Next we have juices and sodas.

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Most of the drinks above are nothing but carbs, unless they say zero carbs on the label of course.

Next we have beer, alcohol, and wine. Most adult drinks are loaded with carbs and make your insulin levels sky-rocket. That is why you get so hungry when you drink alcohol. Insulin goes up, then it plummets hard, and then your body craves food, mostly in the form of carbs to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Drinking alcohol, eating carbs, drinking alcohol, eating carbs, drinking alcohol, and eating carbs is a common weekend and evening practice for many adults, and it is one of the main feel good activities that stops weight loss in its tracks.

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Fruits have carbs too, but I will go out on a limb and say that America’s obesity epidemic is not fruit related. In my over 10 years of personal training, I have yet to meet a person who is overweight because they eat too much fruit. Orange juice, grape juice, apple juice, and other juices do not count. I am talking about actually eating real fruits.

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Vegetables also have carbs, but mostly in small quantities. And I will go out on another limb and say that weight loss struggles in America are not a result of consuming too many vegetables.

So if someone is truly going to implement a low carbohydrate diet, they would eliminate pizza, pancakes, syrup, donuts, cookies, muffins, scones (what the hell is a scone?), pizza pockets, bagels, sweet bread, sour dough bread, heck, all bread then, pasta, all types of noodles (are noodles pasta?), rice (which is very high carb, but I did not cover), corn and flour tortillas, regular juice, beer, wine, liquor, ice cream, shakes, cake (I love cheesecake), those big ass coffee drinks from Starbucks which are loaded with sugar and calories, french fries, potato chips, funnel cakes, curly fries, boardwalk fries, and any other fries I have yet to learn about.

Ay caramba! What the hell is there left to eat if you truly go low carb? What is left is mostly what our ancestors ate. Well I don’t know that for sure, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

Here is some of what is left on a low carb diet. Fruits, vegetables, red meat, see food, poultry, dairy products, eggs, various nuts, various beans, and water. I am sure I missed some foods that our ancestors consumed, but you get the idea.

If you’re a vegetarian, make sure you do proper food combinations to get complete proteins. If you’re a vegan, HOW THE HECK DO YOU DO IT? I would weigh like 120 pounds if I went vegan, and I am 5’11’, but more power to you. By the way, if I go under 180 pounds my grandmother says I am flaco, no not the quarterback, that’s Flacco. I am talking flaco in Spanish, as in skinny. My grandmother doesn’t think defined muscles on a thin man necessarily means healthy. She says that the human body needs fat on it. Sometimes I think she’s right. More on that on a later date.

On another side note, I was recently at a social gathering and they had an awesome selection of foods. They had these little notes on the wall, right above the containers of different foods to let attendees know the foods that were available. I arrived at one post-it-note that said “BOCA Burgers”. I thought “That’s strange, why would they call a burger a ‘mouth burger’ since boca means mouth in Spanish”. My wife saw me staring at the “Mouth Burgers” for a few seconds and she asked me what was wrong. I said “Nothing babe, but what the hell is a BOCA burger?” She laughed, she always laughs at me and the world, but more at me, and said “Those are soy burgers”. “No thanks” I thought. I like regular hamburgers. And the only soy product I like is the liquid one I splash on my sushi. (I know, I know, sushi has rice, but I never claimed I eat low carb. I eat moderate carb.)

I don’t know if our ancestors compressed soy into various types of substitute meat products for food, but if they did, have at it. I think soy is low carb too.

So unless you over do the red meat, which is calorie dense, and don’t over do some dairy products like cheese, sour cream, and butter, which are fine to eat but can also be calorie dense, a low carb diet will help you lose weight. You will lose weight for two reasons. One, you will obviously be eating less. And two, your insulin levels will be much more under control leading to less food cravings. 

You also have to be careful with various nuts, they are also calorie dense because of their fat content.

If you’re a low carb skeptic, and you are trying to lose weight, try the following. Weigh yourself today, and for the next 100 days do not eat any flour products. We will call it the “100 Day Challenge”. I bet that after 100 days of zero flour consumption, you will be lighter, guaranteed. Or if that is too difficult, for the next 100 days eliminate drinking calories, especially from juice and adult drinks. That means you will mostly drink water, even with dinner. I bet you lose weight. How much you wanna bet? One dollar, ok, perfect.

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