Desert Island Listens

Ask any music fan the albums they can’t live without and you’ll find where their passions and sentiments (and a story) lie.

For me, my desert island listens aren’t necessarily by my favorite bands/artists. Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you I have a favorite band, the list is too long.

While my Top 10 is mostly consistent on any given year (give or take one or two which may rotate out of favor), my Top 3 remain unchanged and that’s only because I know that without them, I likely wouldn’t be alive to write this.

Music has always been profoundly important to me. I grew up with parents who, by their own right were both musical and music fans. My father was in bands in high school and college and would still tinker on guitar well into my adolescence and my mother was a singer. I grew up in a rock and roll household, so everything from Top 40 radio to folk and stadium rock would fill our house.

By time I was in the 6th grade, I had an allowance and enough of an opinion of what I liked to start purchasing cassettes or records with my own money and due to my obsessive leanings towards collecting things, I’ve always had a music collection (whether physical or digital) of note.

However, this article is just about those Top 3: the albums I wouldn’t be able to live without and why.

In the mid-90’s I was going through what would prove to be the most difficult years of my life. It started in college, circa 1996 and would reach something of a conclusion by the spring of 1998. This was when I was hospitalized 5 times for either suicide threats or suicide attempts.

Music was always there for me.

If a relationship went bad, I had music.

If I was struggling in school, there was music.

As I was writing and performing in bands, it was music that was in my eardrums inspiring me to keep writing, keep playing and to just stay alive.

In no particular order, if I were stranded on a desert island, I would need these three albums to get me through:

Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s Shocking

Few bands, certainly of this era, successfully managed to combine rock, metal, funk and even jazz into something cohesive. While I do like all of the music the band has put out, I’m not sure that Jane’s would even make my Top 20 in terms of favorite bands. However, there’s just something about this album that has always blown my mind.

Like a lot of albums that came out in the 80’s, the mastering on it is quieter than I’d like, and I’d love a more dynamic version to come out that still keeps some integrity to the original quality of the music.

If you’re not familiar with the band, you may have heard either of the two “hits” from this album: Mountain Song and Jane Says.

Mountain Song, if memory serves, was my introduction to the band. I would have been about 13 years old when it came out. I’m 45 now which means this album has been a part of my life for over 3 decades (more so than the other two albums I’ll mention).

Perhaps because there are so many different styles of music on this album and it gives me at least a small taste of nearly every genre I already like, it’s nearly perfect in that regard.

Personally, Ocean Size and Summertime Rolls are the standout tracks for me.

The Smiths-The Queen Is Dead

Somehow, when The Smiths were still a functioning unit, I never paid attention to their music. While the original album, The Queen Is Dead, actually came out before the previously mentioned Jane’s Addiction album, it didn’t become a part of my life until 1992.

I remember walking into a music store around that time which carried new and used CDs (RIP Manhattan Music) and while I was perusing the recently acquired used section, there was a huge selection of Depeche Mode, The Cure and The Smiths CDs which had just been brought in.

I asked the associate why someone would want to get rid of all of those discs. He told me that the guy who traded them in had just gotten out of the psych ward for attempting suicide and he said that those albums completely depressed him so he wanted to sell them off.

“Hmm, his loss…my gain.” I remember thinking to myself.

While I can see that music like what those three bands were putting out was anything other than happy music, there was something about The Smiths that struck a different chord with me.

It was once I got to college, that I actually dived into the album, The Queen Is Dead, and more importantly, the song “I Know It’s Over.”

I know a lot of people who just can’t handle the singing or the writing of The Smiths former frontman, Morrissey. For me, I don’t know what I would have done without him. Yes, he’s dramatic. Yes, he’s mopey. And yes, for me, I needed to hear the words of someone who I felt was at a lower point than I was to help me see a light to get out.

And it was in that song, I Know It’s Over, where I heard the line: Oh, Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.

Jesus, I thought. There’s a guy who’s clearly more miserable than me. Surely I can see my way out of my own mess so I don’t end up writing lyrics like that to my own music!

It was music like this, that somehow gave me hope. Hope that I could pull through and the feeling that I knew I wasn’t alone with all those muddled emotions. Someone else understood…

I think the entire album is awesome. Even today when I listen to it, I’m able to step outside of how it affected me some 25+ years ago. There’s the person who needed to hear those words back then and the person who has somehow evolved in appreciation for it now. Now, when I listen to The Queen Is Dead, it’s just great music.

Jeff Buckley-Grace

Coincidentally, it’s the last artist/album I mention who will have something of a link to The Smiths. Jeff Buckley released the album Grace in 1994. I was just about to start college then.

Like me, Jeff was also a Smiths fan and he’s got more than one cover version of the aforementioned song, I Know It’s Over, to his credit as well.

I have arguably turned more people on to Jeff Buckley than any other artist I can think of. Sadly, he accidentally drowned in the Mississippi River less than 3 years after the release of Grace.

The first song I ever heard from Grace was his single “Last Goodbye” and while I did like the song at the time, it didn’t exactly reach out and grab me.

What I did notice was that there were several critics talking about how much they loved the album, so I bought a copy for myself in 1995.

I remember being in my college dormitory working on homework one evening with Grace playing in the background. At first, I just let it be background music…and then Hallelujah came on.

I stopped what I was doing and just listened.

It was, without question, one of those unforgettable music moments for me. I played it back again and again and again.

Jeff, as many may know, covered Leonard Cohen’s original song but he was performing a John Cale version which had additional lyrics to it. Since then, it’s only increased in popularity, most notably by Rufus Wainwright’s version from the movie Shrek.

Once Hallelujah took a hold of me, I couldn’t be separated from my Jeff Buckley disc for anything in this world. I think every song on there has been a favorite of mine at some point.

Like the other two albums mentioned, I’ve probably listened to Grace hundreds of times and every time, I can find something “new” that I love about it.

With Jane’s Addiction and the remaining members of The Smiths (Morrissey and Johnny Marr, specifically) there is so much more music to dive into beyond what albums I referenced. Jeff only had one studio album that he was alive to see come to fruition. He died before his second album could be completed although a posthumous release still came out as well as many other live and assorted compilations have come out since.

While the album itself is basically flawless, Jeff was ridiculously good live (often better) than he was in the studio.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of these albums, I invite you to listen to them. You don’t have to like them. They obviously mean something different to me because of the period of life I survived while they were a part of me.

These albums, at my weakest points in life, were the reminders: You’ll get through, you’ll be ok, everything will be ok…

Music may have a different place in your life. Maybe you’re connected to what you were listening to when you got married, or you partied to in high school or what you open your children’s ears up to.

The music that shapes my life stretches far beyond these three albums. I like many things faster or heavier or more dance-oriented or catchier. I love music designed for subwoofers and music that makes you want to smash weights in the gym.

I love music that makes me think, makes me cry, makes me dance with my wife at night, makes my kids jump up and down, and reminds me why I exist in this world and what I lived through to tell the tale.

Music is peace.

Music is salvation.

Music is love.

Music is something I hope you’ll think about as you read this.

And if you have a moment, send me your Top 3. I’d love to hear how and why those albums matter to you even if they don’t mean the same thing to me.

Until then, I’ll be spreading the message to my boys, just like Sebastian gets to be a part of as you see below.

Revolutionary You! #281-Chris And Eric Martinez: What Is The End Goal?

This week, I welcome Chris and Eric Martinez to the show. We cover  how trauma in their lives influenced their path into the fitness industry. We also talk about how there are lessons to be learned in 2020 whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a fellow coach who is trying to navigate this year and still be successful in reaching your goals. 

You can find out more about the work Chris and Eric are doing at: 

www.instagram.com/chrisandericmartinez

And by searching your podcast app of choice for: 

The Dynamic Lifestyle Podcast

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR iHeartRadio OR Amazon Podcasts

Gratitude, Sacrifice, Compromise

What has this year taught you?

For me, it’s been a stark reminder that nothing in this world is guaranteed, things that you’ve worked very hard for can be taken away from you by forces out of your control, and that no matter what you think you’re owed by your efforts, the work is never “done”.

Gratitude

Over the years, I’ve worked hard to be more grateful for what I have: my family, my business, my friends and my health. However, just being grateful isn’t always enough. There’s still work to do. I have to work to maintain balance in those relationships: with my wife, my sons, my clients, my body and my mind. They all work together, they all stand to benefit by my attention to them.

I am grateful that I have the gift of waking up each day with a breath of life to start fresh and refocus my attention on those things.

It’s never perfect.

I am never perfect.

But each day, I’ll try again.

Just get better…a little bit better.

The first question I want you to answer for yourself is:

What are you grateful for?

Sacrifice

I’ve learned that the things I want in life, whether they be within those relationships or with my health, require sacrifice. I must be willing to give something up in order to have something else that I feel is more beneficial.

As an addict in recovery, I’ve sacrificed a lot of myself to a master that could never properly serve me. It affected my mind, it affected my body. Learning how to change my body through strength training and consistency with exercise was a way to rebuild what drugs took away from me. Learning how to eat in a way that complemented what I needed exercise to do for me was the other piece to that puzzle.

Sacrifice, in this sense, meant I had to give up vices that took my eyes off the prize. The goal was better health. I’m closer to that goal now than I was 14 years ago when I got clean. That journey never ends.

When you consider what you may need to give up (permanently or temporarily) in your life, ask yourself:

What is a sacrifice worth making?

Compromise

Lastly, there’s compromise. My wife and I have been learning a lot about that this year. Things that used to really get to me in our relationship tend to bother me less now. There are certain battles not worth having and many things I could justify getting upset over just don’t seem worth it anymore or can easily be fixed by myself.

As a result, she and I treat each other differently now. We listen to each other differently and we respond to each other differently. It’s less about one person feeling like they won and more about both of us feeling like we’re winning (even in less than ideal situations).

As you can probably imagine, our marriage has improved significantly as a result. We’re still working out some of the hiccups but when you start from a place of respect, you end up with a much better result. (Hint: It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of misfires to get here).

Compromise, for me, also meant going back to therapy. There was a part of me, mentally, that felt as if going back to therapy was a regression in my life.

Why go back to something I haven’t needed in twenty years?

I felt I had conquered enough of my demons (trauma, addiction, and grief) that going back to therapy would have only felt like backsliding.

I was wrong.

I needed therapy over this past year more than I have arguably ever needed it. There were days where I hated the thought of unloading on my therapist more than anything. And yet, I could still walk out of my sessions feeling like I got something of value from it.

This past year has shown me that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and work on the things that simmer beneath the surface before they boil over and burn those around you.

The question became: Do I stay the same and let the world accept me as I am or do I compromise my position and make changes I can feel better about when I look in the mirror?

It was a compromise worth making and a price worth paying: work on your mind to work on your life.

When you consider the areas in your life where you’ve been inflexible to change in the past, ask this:

What compromises can be made for the betterment of yourself and those around you?

I’m keeping this week’s post intentionally shorter in efforts to ask you to think about these things for yourself and to look at the year 2020 through a different lens:

What have you learned this year? Anything of value?

If so, make a list.

The answers matter.

You matter.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #280-Georgeann Jones And Alec Pinter: My Son Is My Inspiration

This week, I’m doing another client spotlight with the debut of Georgeann Jones and her son, Alec Pinter. Georgeann started with me nearly two years ago and one of our common bonds is having sons with autism. Her son, Alec, recently started training with us as well and this episode is about their experiences and successes as clients of RevFit. We talk about the community here, why it works for both Georgeann and Alec and how the inclusivity and atmosphere has been beneficial not just for the neurotypical but for those with special needs as well. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR iHeartRadio OR Amazon Podcasts

Greetings From The Land Of Perfect People (Wish You Were Here)

I woke up this past weekend after a perfect night’s sleep next to my perfect wife in our immaculate bedroom with our perfect Boxer. Shortly thereafter, our perfect toddler with his perfect hair and angel-sweet disposition joined us. We enjoyed a perfect cup of coffee, had a perfectly cooked breakfast and our entire day could not have gone better. It was…perfect.

When my week began, I started my day at my perfectly run business joined by my perfect staff and my perfect clients with their perfect lives and perfect diets and I thought to myself “My God, my life couldn’t be more pristine. I couldn’t find a flaw around me if my life depended on it.”

Except, none of this is true.

My life is as chaotic, unpredictable, amazing, scary, shocking, and incredible as I can possibly imagine. There are things that have been going unbelievably well and things that I think are going to fall apart any moment.

I know, I know…it’s 2020. We’re all experiencing something like this.

The thing is…we’re still striving for perfection.

We’re waiting for the perfect time to reign the diet in.

We’re waiting for the perfect time to change jobs.

We’re waiting for the perfect partner to settle down with.

We’re waiting for the perfect solution to this Godforsaken virus.

We’re waiting for the perfect moment in time for someone to hand us the magic pill so we can accomplish more…by doing less…

Personally, I’m in a boat with 2020 where it honestly hasn’t been ALL bad.

Don’t get me wrong, some really terrible things have happened this year.

Professionally, the first series of lockdowns in our state was kind of scary. We may face yet another shut down soon if the spikes don’t get under control.

My wife and I have had the toughest year in the nearly 11 we’ve been together.

Therapy has been more grueling than I ever imagined due to events in my childhood that occurred almost four decades ago and every negative reaction I’ve had to them since.

I lost my client and friend, Terry, to a sudden heart attack two weeks ago.

And yet…

And yet…

RevFit is still having a stellar year.

Many of our clients are seeing fantastic results in spite of the virus.

I’ve had several breakthrough moments with therapy.

Marissa and I turned a corner in our marriage and are doing better now than we ever have.

And still…nothing in life is perfect.

Not in mine.

Not in my wife’s and not for any of my clients regardless of how successful they are with their goals.

Perfect has virtually no place in my vocabulary.

What I find I’m grasping onto with both hands and working with is incremental steps, better habits, more realistic goals and even as little as 10% more progress in any area of my life than I had a year ago.

No one knew what 2020 would bring. As we near the end of it, we have no idea how or if 2021 will be better.

So, where does that leave us?

Where does it leave you and your goals and your dreams and your frustrations?

Hopefully, in a place where perfect doesn’t exist.

Because no one will hand you that. Not in this year and not in the next one.

So, if you’re waiting for ideal environments and perfect opportunities that you can guarantee 90-days of planning over…good luck.

It won’t ever come.

This year had all potential to be completely and utterly devastating and we have no guarantee of how or when it will end.

So, if you’re here and you’re reading this and you’re waiting for a sign to change…

This is the sign.

Start now.

Signing off from the Land of (Im)Perfect People

…wish you were here.

“We Make Great People Greater”

#279-Marissa Leenaarts: You Have To Compete With Yourself

My better half joins me on the show for the first time to talk about her own journey with strength and improving her health. We talk about her background on the stage as a lifelong performer and how motherhood has since transformed her. We discuss support systems, trigger foods, the importance of health in our family and the influence of our environment and upbringing and how it shapes our relationship with ourselves. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR iHeartRadio OR Amazon Podcasts

I Remember…(This One’s For Terry)

I remember Sunday night, Nov 1, when I got the call. Our mutual friend, Rachel, called me after dinner and said “I wanted you to hear this from me and not just see it on Facebook. I have some bad news to share. Terry Waye passed away today. He was with his son at the Browns game.”

I remember, in that moment, the shock.

I remember that kneejerk feeling: Terry, my friend, I completely failed you. I am so sorry I failed you.

I remember being able to keep my composure for the remainder of that phone call and talking to my wife about what happened. At a certain point, I just couldn’t keep my composure anymore.

I remember talking about your passing with clients the next morning, clients who sadly never met you.

I remember posting a video to my clients about losing one of our own, the tragic way that you left this world, and a very frustrating, emotional plea to my clients: please take a look at your health…

I remember, once I posted that video, I couldn’t stop crying: “What do you mean I don’t ever get to see you again?”

I remember the first time we met, nine years ago. I was still relatively new with my business. As memory serves, you were referred to me from another client I had at the time. You were 44 years old then, your mother had just passed away from a heart attack two years prior.

I remember you telling me that at that point, you had lost and regained over 100 pounds twice. That it was time to get focused and get the weight off again so that life didn’t go for you as it did for your mother. I could tell how devastated you were to have lost her.

I remember marveling all those years ago about how much love you had for all those around you: your wife, your boys, your friends, your siblings. I could tell that behind that teddy bear exterior, was a man who loved life as it came to him and just wanted to be healthy enough to enjoy it all.

I remember that even then, nine years ago, we were still trying to pinpoint the motivation to succeed. We were both loving fathers and hard workers, we both cried that day during your initial consultation. I knew then, that more than anything in this world, I wanted to help you. I wanted to be the coach that helped you win.

I remember you first becoming a client, then very quickly a friend.

I remember that, as it happens in my line of work, you got very busy and had to stop training with me for a while. We stayed in touch, as you got to see my business grow by leaps and bounds, we would have periodic conversations and you’d tell me: I need to get back in with you, I just have a lot going on right now…

I remember that, true to your word, you did come back to work with me again. That was after we expanded the business and moved from location one to location two. It seemed you were reinvigorated and motivated again to start the weight loss journey once more.

I remember you were in more pain then, more physical pain. Your joints were starting to ache more, you had more muscular pains, all things you were attributing to being sedentary and not being focused on your weight loss.

I remember, again, we were trying to peel back the layers of: What will keep you motivated to succeed this time? We would get close. We’d share lots of conversations about life, work, priorities, food, wine, family, and you and I had a deep love of music. I loved talking about music with you.

I remember thinking (and telling you): Terry, I think I want you to be more successful than even you want to be. You laughed and said: Yeah, I know. You might be right…

I remember your life getting busy again and you had to drop off the roster. I know work and some personal things in life were tying up a lot of your attention. You promised you’d get started with me again in the future and you kept that promise.

I remember expanding from location two to location three and you and I were still in touch. You would read my blogs, you would engage in my posts on Facebook and you kept telling me: “I’ll be back.”

I remember getting that email from you. The one where you said you wanted to take a different approach this time. You knew how busy we were getting at the studio and so you made a special request. You asked if we could meet once a week so you could have some accountability with your goals. You were going to focus on food and exercise on your own, but you needed a sounding board to talk through the thoughts in your head and get a new game plan. By this point, you had lost both of your parents and you had experienced a health scare of your own.

I remember thinking: This is it. Terry’s ready. We’re going to see him succeed once and for all this time.

I remember you saying: “I need you to be blunt with me, Jason. Call me out. Don’t sugarcoat things. I know I need to get out of my head with some of my behaviors. I just feel like we’re together for a reason and that’s why I keep coming back to you.” I agreed. There was a reason you and I worked so well together. I loved you, I respected you, and I wanted so badly for you to get the weight off that you desired to so you could live the longest, healthiest life you could.

I remember us being more successful this go-round. More successful than we had been at any other point. I remember us talking about this in our meetings and in our emails.

I remember you starting to get side-tracked again with life. Historically, there was always a “distraction”. That could have been the stress with work, a personal issue to solve unrelated to health, or a project you were excited to be working. I called you out at one point and suggested: Terry, YOU are the project. Work on you. That’s a good project. “Yeah, I know.” you said. And I could tell, that at least momentarily, you were letting your gears spin on that one.

I remember that your love for your friends and your time of relaxation at your lake house was something to be admired and respected. You loved doing for others (almost to a fault). In our conversations, it was a case of “When I get finished with XYZ event/circumstance/holiday, I can get focused on myself again.” I pushed back at you again and I said “Terry, you know what they say on airplanes during the safety precautions? That in the event of emergency, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you take care of others. I need you to put your mask on.” That might have been one of the most impactful things I ever said to you. That one, in particular, stopped you in your tracks.

I remember you coming in for one of your consultations, and unbeknownst to me, but much to my happiness, you brought your wife, Debbie and your youngest son, Ethan, with you. I thought “Ok, he’s getting really serious now. He’s brought almost all of his family with him to see more about the work we’re doing together.”

I remember COVID hitting this year. You were the first of my clients to be diagnosed with it. I remember how ill you were and how much it threw you for a loop. I remember you talking about how some of the lingering effects of it was how it was affecting your memory. So much so, that you completely forgot about a couple of our sessions. That wasn’t like you but I understood you were in uncharted territories with that virus.

I remember you losing a good chunk of weight during that illness and we made a joke that perhaps that was the silver lining to kickstart the weight loss again.

I remember that as you got to feeling better, you got busier again: more work, more stress, more projects and our communication, while still intact was getting interrupted with a bit more frequency.

I remember reaching out to you, just a couple of weeks ago to see how you were doing. I missed seeing your face, the emails only accomplish so much. You were still active as client, just not as active with our consults. You said: “You’ve been on my mind a lot. I know I need to get in to see you.” That session never got booked.

I remember that Sunday night, November 1…that phone call.

Terry, a world without you is not a better world. It’s an emptier world. A world without your smile, your laugh, your conversations and the love for every soul around you, is not a better world. I hope you come across my Dad up there. I hope you tell some good jokes together. He may not be the Browns fan that you were but I’m sure you could share some great stories about the impact you had on the lives of everyone who met you.

I fucking hate that you’re gone. I hate that you won’t ever come through these doors again. That I won’t get to hug you again, tell you how proud I am of you again or that we won’t get to see that next milestone of weight loss.

I know that losing weight is not a cure-all for everything but damn if I don’t think that it could have kept you in this world days, weeks, years longer.

I write this, with the blessing of your wife, who I asked if I could commit something like this to the world. If I can’t be who I so desperately wanted to be in your life, the coach who helped crack the code for you, perhaps I can fulfill that role to your family. We can laugh about you, we can cry about you, we can all take care of ourselves in better ways in tribute to you.

I know I’m not alone with this empty feeling of a world without Terry Waye. I know I was privy to sides of you no one else could see because weight loss was a very personal, private thing. Thank you for at least letting me help to some extent.

I love you, Terry. Your friendship and support will never, ever be forgotten. I’m really going to miss you, brother.

How To Track Alcohol For Fat Loss

With the exception of trying to make the food we eat at restaurants/take-out fit into a fat loss plan, alcohol is one of the more difficult areas to navigate.

As it relates to food, what we purchase from most Mom & Pop restaurant establishments does not attach a caloric value to what you’re eating. Which means, you’re left to guess at how much you’re consuming whether you order an omelet and hash browns or a cheeseburger and fries. If you’re trying to track that food via your app of choice (MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, Lose It, etc.), you’re at the mercy of what other options have been submitted to the app which can have wildly varying totals.

Alcohol is a somewhat different monster altogether.

For one, it takes a certain person/personality who can stop at “just one drink”. That one drink can be sufficient and can fit into most anyone’s diet plan. For another person, one becomes two, becomes three, and so on.

In addition, there is the increase of food consumption that occurs when alcohol intake shifts up. We gravitate towards more snacking, second helpings of a meal, etc. to help absorb some of the alcohol. In the case of wine and some liquors, there is the concept of pairing certain foods to pull the notes out of a given drink. With wine, that can be high fat foods like cheese and cured meats and with liquor it might be chocolate and nuts. Not to mention, once this cycle occurs, any notion of tracking it all goes straight out the window. Most people just won’t go through the trouble.

For those who want to imbibe and can moderate (keyword) the intake, here’s a cheat sheet to help you fit in some degree of social drinking and not completely thwart your fat loss plans.

Please bear in mind that, above and beyond anything else, you must be in a caloric/energy deficit for this to work.

We’ll start with beer.

Traditional beer is sold in 12 oz containers (bottle or can). Depending on if you’re specifically going for a light beer (like Michelob Ultra) or something heavier like a lager (Guinesss), calories can range from approximately 100-200 calories. Due to the rise in craft beers (beers that have upwards of 10% alcohol), you can count on higher caloric intake for the same size, 200-300 calories per 12 oz. Hard ciders and seltzers would fall in a similar place. Lower alcohol content will generally be lower in calories (approximately 100 calories per serving) and higher content/higher sugar will push the calories up (closer to 200 calories per serving).

Assuming you can stick with just the 12 oz is a starting place. However, if you’re ordering from a bar, a pint of beer is 16 oz. With a 25% uptick in glass size, you’ve now raised your calories respectively across the board from 125 (Michelob Ultra) to nearly 400 calories (craft IPA).

What about wine?

The standard serving size of wine is 5 oz. Roughly 25 calories are in each ounce (125 calories per 5 oz). White wines typically have lower alcohol (not by much) and might be slightly lower in calories while certain reds (pinot noir and syrah) will be on the higher end.

One of the biggest challenges with wine is the fact that once you open a bottle, you’re more inclined to finish it in one to two evenings. An average bottle of wine could have well over 600 calories.

Last but not least, let’s cover liquor/spirits.

The standard serving size for hard liquor is approximately 1.5 ounces. Many jiggers will give you the options for a 1 or a 2 oz pour, although many will be marked for smaller measurements if you’re mixing or doing flight tastings.

When looking at many options in gin, tequila, vodka, scotch and Irish whisky, the proof is around 80. At the 1.5 oz measurement, you’re at approximately 100 calories. When you shift the proof up to say, 94, the calories shift up to approximately 120 per 1.5 oz.

My wife and I favor bourbon, ryes and whisky blends and when we venture into the barrel proof/cask strength options (114-130 proof), the calories jump to nearly 170 on the high end for 1.5 oz.

What about mixed drinks?

Cocktails can take on all sorts of variations (far too many to list) but when you consider that any of the liquor options mentioned above would be a starting place with somewhere between 1.5-2 oz for your liquor base, anything else you add will likely raise sugar and alcohol content and can easily double the amount you’re consuming. While you certainly could have mixed drinks fit into a fat loss plan, you could also be consuming a small meal’s worth of calories in just one drink not including anything else you might be eating in addition to the drink.

When I recently wrote about my wife’s weight loss progress, switching from wine and beer to bourbon was a gamechanger for her progress. She consumed less by default. While it’s not impossible to over do it with hard liquor, having the higher alcohol content seemed to reduce overall consumption and calories for her.

Final thoughts:

-If you can’t moderate your alcohol intake, you may need to consider some degree of abstinence while on a fat loss plan.

-Just like desserts or other hyper-palatable foods, alcohol can fit into the diet assuming that you have accounted appropriately for it and any food that may be used to complement the drink of choice.

-Many people use alcohol to “take the edge off”, cope with stress and to help them fall asleep at night. While it may assist in any of those things, it may be preventing you from having quality, restful sleep. That same lack of sleep can lead to poor eating choices the following day. If you’re having difficulty adhering to healthier eating patterns, try focusing on better sleep hygiene to see how it affects your fat loss results.

-If you’re not comfortable tracking alcohol intake on your own, a designated driver or comparably more sober friend/family member may be able to help. If you’re someone who can’t stop at just one, it can be enlightening to have someone else point out (lovingly) that in addition to the nachos you ate during the football game (let’s not go into how many calories were there) you also consumed 600-800 calories of craft IPA. The numbers alone may spark a slightly different approach to alcohol in the future.

-Do I think it’s easy to include alcohol in fat loss plan? No. Do I think it’s possible? 100%. Much of your success will come from adherence, accountability and honesty with what you’re actually consuming versus what you think you’re consuming.

-And of course, if you feel like you have an addiction which needs to be addressed, please consider a support group or counseling professional to give further guidance and assistance. We encourage responsible drinking.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #277-Rog Law: Be Really Kind To Yourself

Rog Law makes his triumphant return to the show for his third appearance this week (see Episodes #21 and #47). We catch up on what his life has been like in the nearly four years since he was last on the show. He’s a married guy now and he’s been working for Mark Fisher Fitness since we last spoke so we touch on that and how 2020 has been affecting his life. We dive into the mindfulness skills and strategies that have been working for both he and his clients. We also chat about some tips heading into the holidays based on the year we’ve all been experiencing. 

To learn more about Rog’s work: 

www.roglawfitness.com

www.facebook.com/roglaw

www.instagram.com/roglawfitness

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR iHeartRadio OR Amazon Podcasts

Cardio For People Who Hate Cardio

As the weather starts to change this time of year, it will become more and more difficult for people, not just my clients, to keep up any degree of moderate activity.

Around our area (northeast Ohio), there are hiking and biking trails galore and, pandemic notwithstanding, the opportunity for 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons for well over half the year.

I, myself, average over 15,000 steps a day during a normal workday at RevFit. While I have the build of a runner, I do not run. I hate running. And, to be quite fair, one thing I don’t really need to do is cardio for fat loss.

However, I am not the norm. Most of my clients don’t get 15,000 steps a day and, again due to that damn virus, many people have almost been forced to be more sedentary than normal.

Because I train a wide range of clientele (ages, genders, goals, and preferences), I know that some people not only love their cardio work, they never have an issue getting their mileage or time in.

This article is for the people who, at least in terms of preference, are like me: they don’t like cardio one bit. I’ll say that these strategies might not help you find a love for cardio, but…maybe you’ll hate it marginally less.

Let me get one major thing out of the way first: You do NOT need to do cardiovascular activity for fat loss. Can it help? Yes. Is it the most effective and efficient way to lose weight? No. That will come from your dietary intake.

That being said, if you are already not working with a large amount of calories for weight loss purposes (Hi, ladies, I’m talking to you) then you may need to have some more cardio in the mix to help.

Please don’t read what I’m not writing. We live in a nation that has little to no concept of moderation. Some cardio, good. Hours and hours of self-flagellation on a treadmill or HIIT class, not so good.

What I’ve found over the years is that many clients love to watch a good TV show. Now, with more options available than ever on regular television or your streaming platform of choice, you can kill two birds with one stone, in a sense.

I’ll use some of these examples, fresh from a conversation with one of my online clients, Tammy B.

Tammy records “General Hospital” and likes to watch the episode(s) when she has time around her work schedule. She has an exercise bike that affords her the convenience of equipment she can utilize in the comforts of her own home. Since the bike is somewhat portable, she can move it in the room where she watches her show of choice.

In Tammy’s case, the first obstacle has just been to actually get the time in. I gave her these three options to start and progress with.

Ride the bike during the commercial breaks. This gives her just a couple of minutes of riding time and then she gets to sit down and recover during the actual showtime. If the show is an hour long, let’s assume she gets approximately 15 minutes of riding time in an hour span with approximately 45 minutes of recovery. We’re not aiming for speed, necessarily, we’re aiming for consistency.

Ride the bike during showtime. This option is a progression once she feels she can tackle the commercial times and wants to ramp it up. Now, she can flip the cardio option around and only ride the bike while the show is on, using the commercial time as recovery. She may not be able to complete all of these intervals initially, but even if she gets halfway through, she’s already put in more time than she would have if she had stuck to the commercial breaks.

Ride with 1:1 ratios. Tammy gets to be creative with this one. One way to do it, is to shoot for 10 minutes of riding time with 10 minutes of recovery time. If the show is an hour long, that’s 30 minutes of time with ample recovery in between. This can be a good variation to work with if she isn’t quite ready to be riding with the aforementioned intervals of showtime (which would put her at roughly 45 minutes of riding time). Using the same pattern, she could do 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as well. Or, another option would be 5 minutes on and 5 minutes off.

In your case, if your conditioning isn’t a concern and you don’t find yourself challenged with the three options above, you can always just aim for a straight session of work equal to the length of the episode.

While I certainly don’t discourage anyone from watching a show they enjoy, it’s easy to get lost in 2-3 hours of sitting time and not find the motivation to start some activity. This way, you reward your cardio efforts with some entertainment and can still get the steps/strides in.

A caveat for the folks who aren’t training for a specific event is two-fold: it is painfully difficult to get an accurate amount of calories burned for your activity. While something is better than nothing, even the trackers available on the market can have wild variations of showing expenditure. In addition, many people find that an increase in cardiovascular work also significantly increases their hunger. This can be a real bear to deal with when you’re dieting for fat loss.

However, traditional cardio (elliptical, treadmill, rower, bike) is not the only option available to you. Prior to COVID, we would sometimes train clients with density workouts. These are strength based routines set to time. We would set a timer for 20 minutes and aim for as many rounds as possible within the time frame.

A sample workout might look something like this:

Bodyweight or Goblet Squats (10 reps)

Hip Thrusts (15 reps)

Push-Ups (10 reps)

Lateral Lunges (8 reps each side)

Dumbbell Push Press (10 reps)

Plank (30s)

Work the routine from top to bottom and then repeat. If you’re using weights, start light. It’s not uncommon to get through as many as 6-8 rounds within 20 minutes. That’s a considerable amount of volume.

These options are by no means exhaustive. You can find ways to spice up your routine with jumping jacks, kettlebell swings, high knees, battle ropes, etc. assuming that you have access to the equipment you might need.

The goal, as always, is just to get more exercise in than you might normally and to do it in as sane a way as possible. Intensity can only take you so far and none of us are getting younger (I’m certainly not), which can be that irritating reminder that our joints don’t necessarily like all the jumping and pounding we do on them.

As you’ll see below, even Coach Sebastian finds a way to get some extra steps in.

“We Make Great People Greater”