You Don’t Get A Gold Star For Starvation

When I sit down with a potential weight loss client, there is a lot of discussion about health history, current life/life stressors, goals, and nutrition.

When we talk about nutrition it’s with the understanding that every individual has their maintenance intake. In other words, eat “this much” and your body will essentially not change in weight.

So, we create a deficit.

For most of my clients, it’s somewhere between 15-20% of their maintenance intake with a conservative outline for additional cardio expenditure and the very marginal expenditure created from strength training.

Sometimes when a client can get acclimated to their deficit amount they get..ambitious.

In other words, if eating “X” amount of calories can get me to my goal, maybe I can just eat significantly less and get there faster!

And in theory, this is exactly how it works.

Except when it doesn’t.

One of the problems with aggressive diets is you can lose a disproportionate amount of muscle mass as well as fat mass. And I will say to you, the same way I say to a potential client: NEVER in the history of this business have I ever had someone tell me: “What I really want to do is lose muscle.”

It’s always fat loss that these clients want.

Now, do you have to keep every single pound of muscle mass that you started with?

Not necessarily.

In fact, many clients of mine might invariably lose 5% of their starting muscle mass. I give them the tools to combat that loss but for some people they just don’t want to micromanage every single aspect of their intake.

The biggest issue with that disproportionate amount of loss between muscle and fat is that not only does a smaller body require fewer calories but the less muscle you have the fewer calories you burn at rest.

Let’s face it, you probably don’t have the luxury of training for hours on end so your body does need to rest. Wouldn’t you want to stack the deck in your favor?

So, I tend to find it puzzling when so many people are willing to dial down their calories below a professionally suggested deficit.

Working the numbers you may get to your goal faster but your sleep quality will suffer, your workouts will suffer, your recovery will suffer and your mood will suffer.

These aren’t really concerns of IF they happen, rather WHEN will they happen?

I have clients who have come in almost elated with the fact that they cut their calories down drastically from where I would have wanted them.

They want that gold star.

They want that affirmation of: I did good, right? Look how little I ate! It’s going to be a great weigh-in today!

But that’s not really the point.

Yes, your goal might be to lose weight and yes, I have a vested interest in getting you there.

But I want you there at your healthiest, your strongest, your most confident.

Not beaten, sunken, withered and tired crawling across the finish line.

While I am immensely happy when my clients see weight loss success, there is a method to the madness, one that has been tried over years and years of client interaction.

It’s not a cookie cutter method. Everyone has slight deviations of how to get there.

And I don’t reward starvation.

I want my clients to eat as much as they can of the foods they enjoy and can control to get to their goals.

I don’t encourage white-knuckling and I don’t encourage trends even though I know that both can and will occur.

What I do reward is the person who continues to polish their skills. The person who will tinker with little variables: more sleep, fewer treats, less alcohol, appropriate portion sizes, more candid food tracking, etc.

I’ll give a gold star for progress no matter how seemingly minuscule.

But a gold star for starving yourself? That I can’t give.

(Below is Pete. Down 34 lbs pounds using that terribly unglamourous method of weight loss: consistent (not flawless) caloric deficit, steady state cardio and strength training. In this picture he’s a handful of pounds away from what he weighed when he got married  over 30 years ago. Not bad for a fella who recently retired.)

“We Make Great People Greater.”

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Revolutionary You! #202-BONUS-Dr. Jose Greenspon: Introducing Teen LIFT

On the heels of my most recent episode with Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, I connected with Dr. Jose Greenspon, a Missouri-based pediatric surgeon who also follows Dr. Yoni’s work. He has been collaborating on a program to help combat obesity in teens by creating a platform that encourages healthier eating, more activity and a positive support environment for adolescents (and their family members) to benefit from. Tune in to this week’s bonus episode to hear about the great work that Dr. Greenspon and his team have been doing. To learn more about this program, please visit http://www.teen-lift.com To learn more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Revolutionary You! #201-Pam Holtz: Head Up, Eyes Forward

It was time to put the spotlight back on one of our RevFit rockstars and this week I get to introduce you to Pam Holtz. Pam has not only seen great weight loss results but has seen a complete transformation in self-confidence and self-image. Tune in to see how she manages this as well as balancing a successful marriage, parenthood and a job that keeps her plate full. To learn more about your host, check out www.jasonleenaarts.com and www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Still Winning, Still Failing

I’ve had some time to reflect on my recent conversation with fellow trainer/coach Leigh Peele which was released as the 200th episode of the podcast.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of this business that while I catch certain successes, I tend to miss others. Sometimes I can sense a point of failure coming before it happens and sometimes it catches me by surprise. As the adage might go: “the joys of owning a business.”

It can be that outsider’s perspective too, that shines a light on things that I may have previously missed or discounted. When someone tells you you’re successful, maybe you just don’t really feel like it because all you see are the things that are going wrong.

By and large, what we’re doing at RevFit is a resounding success. We beat the industry norm, we beat the small business norm, we beat my expectations, that’s for sure.

And it stands to reason, human nature being what it is, that no matter how good it gets I’m always failing at something.

Maybe I put too much on my schedule where I shouldn’t, or maybe my wife, Marissa, asks me to do something for her and I forget, or I lost a client because they didn’t get the experience they had hoped for with us.

What I experience with this business is not unlike what my clients go through with their own self improvement.

Think of it like this: if I only used my gross revenue as an indication of success, how truly successful am I?

Within the scope of monetary success, I have to question: How happy are my clients? Shouldn’t that be an indicator of success? It stands to reason that I could make a lot of money just by bringing in more people to train but what are the long-term results and overall satisfaction levels of those clients?

Shouldn’t that satisfaction be what trumps everything else?

If a client only uses the scale as the indicator of success, what details are they missing?

And this is what I wanted to write you about.

It’s easy(ish) to diet for a goal.

It’s also easy to remove whole food groups, demonize certain macronutrients and double-down to force ourselves in a deficit just to get closer to that goal.

But what problem are you actually solving? Is this a “weight loss” problem or is this a “I want to be healthier” problem? They are not always synonymous.

As a business owner, I could be purely motivated by gross revenue (think “scale weight”.) Or, I could be motivated by customer experience, customer retention, and customer satisfaction, allowing those factors to determine our gross revenue (not the other way around.)

Those factors would lead me to ask you if you’re focusing on quality sleep, quality movement and quality food intake. You know: the things that undoubtedly get you to your goal but we tend to forget about because the allure of a diet trend makes us lose focus.

Much like I’ve admitted with my misgivings as a business owner, I want you to consider similar questions for yourself.

If you’re not seeing results as you want, I’d like you to look at other variables like how many hours you sleep, how many servings of fruits/vegetables you eat in a day, how much water you’re drinking, how consistent you are with caloric intake or your exercise plan, how happy you feel on a given day and how you might be monitoring the relative chaos in your life.

You see, all of those things above can affect your scale weight but if all you ever look at is the scale, how do you know the bigger picture of your success?

And, as I’ve done professionally, it’s easy to discount our success when I tend to nit-pick what we’re not doing right (or what I feel can be improved upon.)

Your circumstances are not unlike this business. The successes ebb and flow, the failures tend to be magnified as we find ways to figuratively self-flagellate.

And it might be helpful to treat your body somewhat like a business. Keep it profitable and move it forward. “Trim the fat”, if you will, to keep expenses minimal but necessary. Get outside opinion to see and hear things you may not have your eyes open to (this is where coaching tends to be beneficial.)

Most of all, realize that while you’re on this spectrum, there will be heavy doses of success and failure. All of which is normal, all of which is needed, all of it is valuable feedback.

There is no one success that catapults you to your goals. It is normally a series of minor successes that compound over time. Conversely, there is no one failure that completely erases your progress thus far (although having a tendency to catastrophize those failures can set off an unfortunate chain of less than ideal behaviors.)

It’s my kind encouragement to you to celebrate your successes and find ways to replicate them as frequently as possible; to fail consciously and to course-correct as swiftly as possible in efforts to minimize damage (emotionally and in defense of your goals.) Both sides of this coin have to be embraced.

Because to get to your goal, you’re going to experience a lot of success that may not always be noticeable and you’re going to experience a lot of failure that has to be accepted as part of the plan.

There is really no other way.

“We Make Great People Greater.”

(Below is our very own, Starr, taking over Top 5 in deadlift last week with 265×1.)

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Revolutionary You! #200-Leigh Peele Turns The Tables On Jason Leenaarts

Inspired by a suggestion from one of our listeners, I asked Leigh Peele to join me for this milestone episode. For the first time officially in the history of this show, I get the tables turned on me to be interviewed. It’s lengthier than we normally go and Leigh and I cover a great deal of topics together: my background into the industry, my own personal history of mental health and wellness, the origins and philosophies of both Revolution Fitness and Therapy and this podcast and a lot more. I hope you enjoy this very different approach to our episodes and I want to again thank Leigh Peele for making this episode happen. To learn more about Leigh’s work, please visit http://www.leighpeele.com To learn more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.  Also, special thanks to Wes McCraw of http://www.creeksideaudio.us for our new intro.

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Me, Myself And This Ungodly Life Of Stress

My life is kind of stressful.

I own a thriving business. I am a husband, a father of two boys, and a son. I provide the primary income that my family lives on. I host a podcast, write this blog, release content to social media at a mind-spinning rate, I am a voracious reader, I play guitar, I have plates spinning in so many directions sometimes I forget which one needs attention before it falls.

And I love it all.

You see, most of my life’s stress is what I would call “positive stress.” It keeps me focused, it keeps me accountable to myself, it keeps me polishing skills that I want to keep sharp.

One could argue that I have too much happening but I love doing it all and, with my primary goal of just wanting to improve the lives of others, I’d say it all counts.

Sometimes, not often, this stress keeps me from sleeping well. My mind can get so amped up on the next thing I need/want to do that I have trouble staying asleep at night. And, with my schedule as it is at work, a night of poor sleep can make for a very rough next day training clients.

And one thing I do have working in my favor is that my body, by and large, is at an ideal place for me.

That is not necessarily the case for over 70% of my clients.

There is a question I ask when I consult with a potential client and the question goes something like this:

On a scale of zero to ten, zero being not noticeable and ten being intolerable, whereabouts is stress in your life?

And the answer I get with most frequency is something well above the midway point.

So, I ask further: Is that a normal level of stress for you?

To which these individuals will say something along the lines of: Yes, my life/work/relationship are stressful but I’m used to it.

And since the bulk of my clientele is with me for weight loss, most of the clients I have who answer this question in this way are overweight to some degree.

Which means we have a starting point with a person who is overweight (which is emotionally and physically stressful for those going through it) and living a fairly high stress lifestyle due to work obligations, relationship stress, etc.

Then to get them to improve that situation, I ask them to eat at a deficit (which is stressful) and to add some degree of strength training and endurance work into their week (yes, also stressful.)

And my clients, hellbent on reaching their goals try to overhaul their lives to meet the demands of these new requirements: get sleep, eat right, train right, macro this, meal prep that, oh wait…what about my anxiety medications?

I don’t know about you but it’s starting to stress me out just writing this.

And this is why it pains me that so few people in the health and wellness community are talking about stress.

Stress for me, can keep me awake at night. Historically, stress has made me physically ill.

It’s a REALLY big issue.

I’m not the type of trainer who wants to insert a boogeyman into the weight loss journey but if you have been spinning your wheels trying to make progress, I would say the stress boogeyman might be worth paying attention to.

Dieting is a stressor.

Intense exercise is a stressor.

Being medicated for a clinical neurological condition is a stressor (especially if you have not found the right medication or dosage of your medication.)

I haven’t even mentioned the stress of menopause have I?

And I hope you can see where this is leading.

When I talk about my “stressful” life it’s not with a badge of honor. Many of the things I do, I do them because they provide something of an outlet for me. I write to calm my mind down. I do the podcast to learn and educate. I read to be a better writer and trainer. I play guitar and sing to inspire, entertain and keep a hobby. These are all good, admirable things that help me minimize stress in my life.

For you, realize that stress cannot be completely eliminated. We need some of the good and we need some of the not-so-good.

It’s for these very stressed people that I offer some words of encouragement.

You are not the ideal person (right now) for white-knuckling your way to success. Your life, at this moment, is stressful enough.

Aggressive dieting, extreme training, and sleep deprivation are not keys to success.

They will stand in your way. They will keep the scale in a constant cycle of betrayal.

Because your body will find one way or another to tell you “I’m not going to let you win today.”

Step back for a moment.

Take a deep breath.

And look at where and how you can pull back stress in your life.

Not eliminate, but reduce.

Eat better foods, foods that make you feel nourished, not shameful.

Drink more water, so you’re less sluggish and lethargic throughout your day.

Temporarily remove trigger foods from your home and place of work. Temptation is not something you need to toy with right now.

Sleep restfully to recover from your training and not derail with cravings throughout the next day.

Have an outlet for your stress: write, sing, dance, have sex (preferably good sex), go for a walk, pet your dog, read a book, turn off the television (Netflix isn’t going anywhere.)

The clients of mine who are struggling the most to lose weight seem to have the most stress right now. That stress manifests into poor eating choices and poor sleep habits.

Those poor food choices and poor sleep habits keep you from reaching your goal.

And not reaching your goal…well, you probably guessed it, that’s f*cking stressful.

What stress will you reduce in your life?

“We Make Great People Greater”

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Revolutionary You! #199-Alex Pearson: The Black Hole Of Human Behavior

I welcome Lift The Bar’s Alex Pearson this week to discuss what he calls “The Black Hole of Human Behavior.” Alex contributes a significant amount of education to personal trainers in efforts to help them explain why clients succeed, why they fail and some of the psychological realities in play when life gets in the way of our goals. If you’re a personal trainer, I highly recommend checking out the educational resources through Lift The Bar at http://www.liftthebar.com If you are a fitness enthusiast and trying to improve your health, please check out Alex’s direct website at http://www.alexpearson.net To learn more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Someday You’ll Love Me…and I Will Be Whole

Up until my marriage to Marissa, I had always struggled with relationships.

It would be some combination of the wrong fit, the wrong time, the wrong expectations, everything would just be wrong.

Some relationships would end prematurely. Almost as if they should have lasted longer (in my mind) and didn’t. Others probably lasted too long and too much damage was done.

As a result, most of my unhappiness with myself came from how these relationships went. It didn’t matter whether or not something was inherently my fault, it mattered that I put too much weight on the other person to keep me fulfilled… because I couldn’t give that to myself.

And, in complete transparency, when I look back on almost everything that’s gone wrong in my life, it was in some way, shape or form, connected to the relationships I was in (or losing.)

It would take me decades of self-realization to come to the conclusion that the only person who could make me happy was me.

Marissa and I, at one point early in our relationship, actually had an argument about that. I was in a rut over something and she asked: “What good am I as your girlfriend if I can’t make you happy?”

I replied: “I can’t put that much pressure on our relationship. I have to make me happy. I have to be happy with myself.”

It’s where you hear that familiar line: You have to love yourself before you’re truly capable of loving others.

This was a pivotal shift for me.

It’s why we see people in relationships: abusive, unloving, neglectful relationships that they don’t know how to leave. They’re putting all of their value in the other person and believing that happiness cannot be obtained elsewhere.

I bring this up, not to talk as much about your intimate relationships per se.

I bring it up because I want to talk about your relationship with yourself.

I have clients in very abusive relationships…with themselves.

It is, on many levels, what I find manifests into not only weight gain but a perpetual cycle of dieting, weight loss, weight gain, repeat cycle.

They’re searching for that soulmate of a diet. The one that says: I will be the one that gives you the happiness and self-worth you’re looking for.

But that’s not the way diets are designed. Diets aren’t designed for happiness. They’re designed for weight loss.

And I don’t give a damn how much weight you lose. If you hate yourself at this moment, you will hate yourself then, too.

No number on the scale, no amount of body leanness, no ovations from those around you can change this.

When I referenced my own past with relationships, it was clear to me that looking to someone else to determine my ability to self-love was misguided. It is okay for me to love myself so I can fully love my wife, my boys, my life.

Waiting for the love of others to dictate love of yourself is, at best, foolish.

Your diet, your exercise program, your social circle are integral parts of a puzzle that can give you an outcome. A diet can lead to weight loss, an exercise program can lead to a healthier/stronger body, and your social circle can fulfill your need for personal contact, interaction, laughter and a sense of community.

Giving any one of those areas the power over you to determine your happiness with yourself will lead to constant, agonizing disappointment.

I’m reminded of the infamous line from Jerry Maguire: “You complete me.”

In the framework of a romantic comedy, it’s a beautiful line.

In the framework of real life, I like it modified: “I am complete.”

Beyond that statement, your relationships with others (intimate or otherwise) become complements to your life. In other words, my life is better because my wife is a part of it. My life is better because of my two sons. My life BECAME better when I made this shift in my thinking.

With regard to weight loss, I encourage you to start from a place of feeling complete AT THIS MOMENT. You can have ten pounds to lose or two hundred and ten pounds. It makes no difference.

Having been on one end of the leanness spectrum for the majority of my life, I can promise you: Lean does not equal happy. Lean is not synonymous with self-care.

I am encouraging you (damn near begging you), to make the mental leap.

To no longer be the person who is co-dependent on these other things: the diet, the exercise regimen, or the health/wellness methodology to be the key that unlocks your ability to finally give a shit about yourself.

I’m not saying it will be easy. Nothing, in my opinion, when it comes to sustainable changes in our health (mental or physical) is easy.

I am saying, it’s worth it. You are worth it.

And when I finally came around to telling myself that in as many words, life “magically” got better.

Someday, you’ll love yourself…and you will be whole.

“We Make Great People Greater”

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Revolutionary You! #198-BONUS-Meghan Callaway: The Ultimate Landmine Program

Joining me for the fifth time (check out episodes 62, 89, 118, and 128) on the show, Meghan Callaway returns and she has a brand-spanking-new program coming out tomorrow called The Ultimate Landmine Program. Following up on the tremendous success of The Ultimate Pull-Up Program, Meghan talks about why she went this direction with her choice of exercise (and its respective variations) to release to the masses. Having seen the program myself, I believe she has another winner on her hands. Tune in to this one to hear more about it. You can purchase your copy of the program at www.ultimatelandmineprogram.com To learn more about Meghan’s work, please visit www.meghancallawayfitness.com where you can also link up with her on her preferred social media channels. To learn more about your host, check out www.jasonleenaarts.com and www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Revolutionary You! #197-Sarah Moorman: Stepping Off The Pseudoscience Train

I’m honored to have Sarah Moorman with me this week for her debut on the show. Not only is Sarah a competitive powerlifter and figure competitor but she brings her pedigree of a B.S. in Toxicology to the table for our conversation today. We talk about her background and passion for lifting and things you should be aware of within the realm of pseudoscience trends in the health and wellness conversation. To learn more about Sarah’s work, visit http://www.strengthinscience.com and to get more information on the seminar she references at the end of the show, please check out http://www.strongertogetherfitcon.com To learn more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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