Sunday, October 21, 2012

Focusing on What is Important

When it comes to diet and fitness, i.e. getting the body of your dreams, there is an enormous amount of conflicting opinions and advice. To get to your goal, you need to separate what is important and focus your energy there. So what are the most important things to focus on to get you to your goal?

1. Calories in
If you are not seeing results by now (we are 4 weeks into phase 1, a third of the way done!), I can assure you 100% that you are not creating a big enough deficit in your weekly calories. The diet is the #1 item on the list because you have to cut the fat on your body to even be able to see your shape and musclature that lies beneath.  Cutting fat by reducing calories will also give you the quickest bang for your buck in regard to a total body transformation.

I like to look at cutting calories (aka "cutting") as ripping off a band-aid. I know it sucks, and you are hungry; but the faster we get if off means less time that we have to be uncomfortable. Why do you think very few people transform their bodies? It is NOT easy. It is not a comfortable place. You are going to be hungry. That is your body's signal of "hey, I am burning body fat" so transform the feeling of hunger in your mind to just that. Instead of thinking "I am miserable and my stomach is growling" you should say to yourself "burn, fat, burn"... it works LOL

The bottom line is that at somepoint you overate, consuming more calories than your body needed. You body stored those calories as fat. You now need to eat less calories than your body needs so that it is forced to use the fat it stored. Think of it like a bank account- your body has a calorie budget, at somepoint you spent more calories than your budget allows, creating a fat debt. Now you need to watch your calories until your fat debt is paid off. Just like you have to constantly watch your money, you will always need to be mindful of your calories, even once you get to goal. But you do get better at it, and it will get to be an automatic thing- a lifestyle.

2. Getting in your workouts
Yep, number 2 on the list. Calories are more important than working out when it comes to creating the body of your dreams. Lifting weights shapes and tones your body. We are lifting in a set routine to build up our shoulders and glutes but to decrease waist circumference. (Venus Index)  A couple of things happen when you miss workouts. The main one for me is the thought of "well, I missed my workout, the whole day is shot. I might as well go have pizza and ice cream." Looking at it written out, it seems like a ridiculous thought, but I know there are more people than just me who do this. Calories are king- even if you miss a workout, stay on track with your diet. I know that when I am consistent with my workouts, I am more consistent with my eating. The second thing that happens, is you get out of the routine.  It takes up to 21 days to create a habit. You need to create a habit of working out. When you miss a workout, it is easier to say no the next time. It should drive you crazy to miss a workout, because it messed up your routine!

Going to the gym should be a positive, self-care item on your to-do list. As a mother and wife, I know your family has a million wants and needs. It is easy to get more stuff done when you skip your hour at the gym. Make it non-negotiable. What else do you do all day that is just for you? I thought so.

One final thought, some people think that you can out-train a bad diet. I can assure you that this is not the case. Let me give you a common cardio scenario that I have seen and partially done myself. If I get on a treadmill for 30 minutes, I may burn 300 calories (and I am being generous there)... I can stand beside that same treadmill and eat pizza for 30 minutes afterwards because "I was being good and did my workout." If I finish off a medium pepperoni pizza, I have just consumed appoimately 2500 calories. That nets me a surplus of 2200 calories in my body's "fat account". FAIL.

Here is a video to illustrate this for you:

Not on the list
That is it, 2 things. Focus all of your fitness/diet attention on calories and getting in your weight training sessions. Notice that I did not talk at ALL about: macros (protein, carbs, sugar), supplements, optimum workout times, eating 6 times a day, meal timing, water intake, or cardio. Because those things are noise compared to our 2 focus items. They do not produce results (or enough of one) to even be considered when your workouts and calories are not on point.

My word-poet friend Brad Howard says all this better than me, as he was my inspiration in writing this post. He called these two focuses primary drivers. Read his article, it is greatness.

Weekly Inpiration Story

My friend Naomi Sandoval won the first ever Venus Index Open Contest. She struggled with getting into amazing shape from her 20's on then maintaining that condition afterward. It was a vicous cycle. Then she had her two kids, and it was hard to get to the gym. She ate healthy, but really did not count calories. She tried to burn 4000 calories a week without watching her calories. Over 2 years, she lost a whole 10 pounds with that mentality. (Kudos for her to sticking to that BTW!) She tried turbulence training, then she found VI. You can download her podcast here: She says she looks and feels better than she ever has now. She authors a blog to help other women and talks about her own maintance wins and struggles, you can check it out here:

I really love this article she wrote called "It's Never too Late to Get in Shape, I'm 47!"