Devil In The Details

*The title of this post was taken from the Placebo song of the same name*

At least a couple of times a year, I go back to counting my calorie intake.

For as many conversations as I have with clients about being mindful of portion sizes, I always find it fascinating (and frustrating) how easily my own portion sizes can get out of hand.

And I am always open to experimenting with different ways of eating that might work better for me.

Over the last several months, I gravitated towards a lot of grazing. Being always within a few steps of a refrigerator, I have easy access to fruit, yogurt, protein shakes, peanut butter, bread, cereal, etc.

Because I was grazing, it was easy to eat 200 calories here, 300 there. And like anything else, it adds up.

Since I’ve started tracking again, I’m trying to settle on 3 meals a day, each approximately the same size.

One of the reasons I like it is because when I get hungry, I reach for water instead of food. As a result, I’ve increased my water intake by about 20% which has been more of an asset than a hindrance. Not having the reaction of letting perceived hunger guide me back to the fridge, keeping water intake higher has been getting me through from meal to meal.

I’ve also found that when I go to restaurants where I can track calories per meal, I end up making better decisions. Rather than going for whatever I want, I invariably pick a better (lower calorie) option.

While it wasn’t necessarily a goal, I’ve had some fat loss with the tracking too. Being mindful of where calories are (and aren’t) plus the increase in water intake has made me feel less bloated and helped me sleep better.

Recently, one of my clients found a tactic that has worked well for her. When asked what she’s been doing differently to help her with weight loss, she said “I take whatever I would have normally had before and I cut the portion in half. Even with something like pizza, if I used to have three slices now it’s just one.” (Thanks, Amy) 🙂

And calorie counting is not a perfect measurement. Some people vastly underestimate what they take in. I recently heard a tip where it was offered that if you think you’re counting calories right but you’re not losing weight, try eating pre-portioned meals for a while (think Lean Cuisine, Smart Choice, etc.) and buy enough to meet your daily calorie goal. (Thanks to Eric Helms and Alan Aragon for that one.) Try it for a week and see if you drop weight. While it may not be the long-term plan that works for you, it can spark the weight loss you’re looking for and remove the guesswork for a while.

My buddy, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, made this handy infographic if you’re looking for other ways to accomplish the same goal. You can see it here

There are a lot of ways to tackle weight loss. I will always lean to the belief that if you’re guessing that you’re right but you aren’t seeing results, then guessing may not be working for you. Some of these tips might get you closer to where you want to be.

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Neat Neat Neat

*The title of this post was taken from the Damned song of the same name*

I fidget. A LOT.

If you were to watch me at a restaurant, I could be doing several things simultaneously while waiting for food:

-Playing with the adhesive wrap that holds silverware together inside the napkin

-Tapping my feet (quietly)

-Playing with the paper that comes around the straw and twisting it into a thousand combinations until it’s shredded up

-Tapping the table with my fingers (quietly)

Does it burn a lot of calories? I have no idea.

But it does burn calories.

And they add up.

In comparison, I watch others who…just…sit…

They may be in conversation, but they don’t have their appendages doing all the things mine seem to do.

And there’s a convenient name for my fidgeting if you’d like to hear it:

Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

The great thing about it is that increasing your NEAT doesn’t require things like running, hopping on the elliptical, cycling or high intensity interval training.

But it does require you doing more than what you are currently.

So, you could simply:

-Stand more than you sit.

-Fidget more when you stand.

-Walk your dog more briskly (or for a greater distance.)

-Dance to your favorite song.

-Take the steps instead of the elevator/escalator.

-Park further away from your place of employment (or where you shop) so you’re forced to walk a greater distance.

And over time, these things will help with caloric expenditure.

Is it flashy? God no.

Is it the headline that will sell magazines off the stands? Not likely.

But it works.

Not only that, but it requires little to no recovery because it isn’t physically taxing.

My buddy, James Krieger, over at http://www.weightology.net has done extensive research on NEAT and this is a pretty eye-opening comparison of different things that can cause calorie expenditure. (Special thanks to James for giving the thumbs up on this post before I published it.)

NEAT-chart

Which leads to one of the conundrums in the fitness industry:

You hear that cardio and high intensity interval training can do wonders for calorie burning. That’s true.

But what you don’t typically hear is that those training methods can be difficult to recover from (especially if you are starting from square one with your exercise regimen.)

Which is another reason why so many people hear a goal of 10,000 steps a day. It’s realistic, attainable and has little risk of injury. However, it would be good to know approximately how many steps you’re currently getting.

So, if your fitness tracker or pedometer says you’re averaging 2,000 steps a day, try adding another 1,000 tomorrow. Then build from there.

But if your current workouts are leaving you so exhausted that all you want to do is lounge around afterwards, you may not be burning quite as many calories as you’d like.

It stands to reason that a more sane approach would be to find ways to increase your NEAT, eat food in line with your goal, get stronger by lifting weights and, if you can tolerate it, find ways to sprinkle in some high intensity work so you can work on improving your conditioning.

But if you think the only way you can lose weight is to punish yourself mercilessly through chronic bouts of cardio, NEAT may be the missing piece in your weight loss puzzle.

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Someone Has To Say It #52-Sans Social Media

Blake did the unthinkable and has (mostly) stepped away from social media. We chat about why he did it, what’s changed and what the future holds for his virtual and social relationships. To learn more about your hosts, check out http://www.blakebabcock.com and http://www.jasonleenaarts.com Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Revolutionary You! #74-Coaching Strategies With Andy Morgan

I have the great pleasure of talking to Andy Morgan of RippedBody.com Andy is one of my favorite people to keep up with in this industry. We get a chance to talk about his procedures for taking on online clients and how he has evolved his coaching business. If you’re in the fitness industry and currently training clients online, Andy has so much great information and tactics that have made him successful. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, there are many things Andy tackles that can make you a better client and ultimately, achieve better results. Andy references a tracking link in this conversation which can be found at http://www.rippedbody.com/diet-progress-tracking To learn more about Andy, please visit his excellent site http://www.rippedbody.com To find out more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and 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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The Calling

*The title of this post was taken from the Santana song of the same name*

My sophomore year in college (circa 1995) I had nine different jobs.

I remember my parents freaking out when I turned all of my tax forms over to my Dad for filing. Unlike my parents, who were always fiercely loyal to their employers, I couldn’t find anything I really liked.

I tried it all: retail, manual labor, food/beverage, office work, you name it.

There were some jobs I went to for only one day and decided, “Nope, not for me.”

Needless to say, my parents weren’t happy with me.

In fact, I think if I were to count all of the jobs I’ve had in my life, it’s between 20-30.

That’s embarrassing to admit.

For most of my life, I was convinced I’d make it big as a musician. It was only after I came to terms with the fact that a musician’s salary was far below my lifestyle tastes, I knew I had to do something else.

When I started RevFit in 2009, I was at a strange point in my life. My son’s mother and I were dissolving our marriage and I had moved back to Ohio from South Carolina (where my son was born.) The financial risk I was taking by opening a business after the economy took a dive was severe enough that I was encouraged by my parents to move in with them until the business took off.

Safe to say, I had no idea what the future would hold for me.

What I did know was that I had to throw myself into my business if I had any hope of it surviving. You sure learn a lot about yourself when you don’t have much of a safety net beneath you.

In 2010, I attended a nutrition seminar that opened my eyes up to some possibilities for my clients. I had a client (Mike) at the time who was pre-diabetic and I asked if he was willing to try some of the diet protocols I had learned at the seminar. Not being a dietitian, I can’t legally prescribe diets but Mike understood anything we discussed were merely suggestions and there was no promise we could do anything to change his diagnosis.

Lo and behold, Mike dropped the weight he had desired to lose and he was able to reverse his symptoms.

I remember coming home to tell my parents what happened and my father listened carefully to all of the details of Mike’s journey. He offered his kind smile and said, “Jason, you have found your calling.”

I think about the clients who come through my door who, like I once was with my job struggles, have hopped from one diet plan to the other, or one exercise program to another, only to be disappointed by not permanently finding their solution.

And after doing this training/coaching thing for a while, I think I’m in a good place to offer some solutions if your health journey looks a lot like what my job journey did.

Know Your Purpose. Helping people transform their outlook as well as their physiques has been simple in concept but not always easy in execution. Reminding myself of WHY this is important and not trying to force my goals on my clients has been a key point for us here.

Wanting to lose “X” amount of weight is admirable. Hunkering down to give your all to the process is where the challenges start to flesh themselves out. Reminding yourself of what your real motivations are can be helpful if you find yourself getting distracted and away from your goals.

Commit To The Long Haul. I knew with this business that if I gave myself an out, RevFit would fail. Now that we have outlasted the length of time that most small businesses go under, I know it was the right perspective.

Even if you reach your goal in a short time frame, we’re all planning on being around for a long time. Think about a diet plan and exercise program that you envision yourself embarking on for longer than just a few weeks.

Expect Deviations. Not one of my initial marketing avenues for RevFit succeeded. This was after spending thirteen years managing other people’s businesses and majoring in business management. It took a long time of networking, getting good results, building the right base of clients and having great trainers help me before I could consider the business successful.

Even the best laid plans will be colored with detours. Expect them. Prepare for them. And then forgive yourself if it doesn’t all work out perfectly. This is real life. Fairy tales exist in books (and sometimes social media.) There will be hiccups and they are 100% normal.

Document Your Victories. Tracking the progress of our clients via weigh-ins, pictures of PR’s (personal records) and gauging the amount of referrals we receive is a sign of what’s working. Learning new tips and tricks to help our clients succeed along the way (via continuing education) has been huge as well.

Often it will be the small bits of progress that add up to your greatest achievements. Make sure you have a way to track the meals you get right, the extra reps you got in on an exercise that you were previously not as capable of, or even the fact that you only ate three bites of dessert instead of the whole slice. Those things can make a huge difference. If you don’t have a way of looking back to reminding yourself of them, it will be easy to forget when you’re trying to slump. 

Get Support. I have been fortunate to have my wife and my mother in my corner since my father passed away. They have watched me through nearly every peak and valley with RevFit. Knowing that I had them on my side along the way made every step count.

It doesn’t matter if that includes a trainer, a spouse, a colleague from work, or your child. Get the people together who know how to lift you up and support you. We all have saboteurs who can stand in our way (they’re typically the easiest ones to find.) You’ll want to set your sights on the people who keep you honest and know how to motivate you to greater heights. 

It’s been 7 years since my Dad said the words to me:

“Jason, you have found your calling.”

And I’ll pose the question to you: What will be your “call” to finally change?

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Someone Has To Say It #51-The Year 2033

Following our episode on things that might not be around in the near future, we set our sights further down the road and look at what life could be like in the year 2033. Science fiction? You’ll have to tune in to find out. To learn more about your hosts, check out http://www.blakebabcock.com and http://www.jasonleenaarts.com Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Revolutionary You! #73-How To Train Through The Menstrual Cycle With Jonathon Mummert

Jonathon Mummert joins me this week bringing to light the research and best practices of training through the menstrual cycle. In this episode, we talk about when a woman might consider ramping up or dialing down her training depending on which phase of the cycle she is in. Jonathon also covers some tips for how diet might be affected during the cycle as well. As expected, each individual may differ and one size never fits all! To learn more about Jonathon, check out his articles on this subject at http://www.girlsgonestrong.com and connect with him at http://www.facebook.com/jonathon.mummert To learn more about your host, visit http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and 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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We Are Family (Letter To Brandon)

*The title of this post was taken from the Sister Sledge song of the same name*

Brandon,

We have been at this training thing for nearly 7 years. That means you have been a client of mine almost as long as I’ve had this business. Over that time, you’ve lost a fantastic amount of weight (30lbs) and I’ve continued to watch you get stronger, more agile and more confident in what your body is capable of.

Not only that, but I have gained a great friend, avid supporter and someone I consider my little brother (which is funny seeing as how you stand nearly 6 inches taller than me!)

I have tried to write this tribute to you a couple of different times and nothing felt quite right. A few weeks ago, I wrote a tribute to our mutual friend, Mike, and I do believe I got that one out the way I wanted it to be. You and Mike have been with me nearly as long.

However, this message to you needed to be different because our relationship, both personal and professional, has been different.

Like Mike, you have seen me through some pivotal moments: the loss of my father, the marriage to Marissa (which you so gratefully donated your time to in being an usher at) and certainly the constant evolution of this monster we know as RevFit.

This leads me to the really amazing thing about our working relationship together.
You have been the gateway to a community that has continued to thrive here at RevFit: our LGBTQ community.

Through you, I’ve met, worked with and/or continue to do work with: Christa, Matt, Brandon, Chris, John, Matt, Rick, and Stephannie (in no particular order.) What these individuals have contributed to the culture, the positive morale, the love and mutual support of others here at the studio is beyond my comprehension of the English language to describe.

They are, like you, people I consider family.

Rumor is, even more of the “family” may be starting here soon. Talk about the power of networks and circles of influence. Wow!

Not only that, but to watch what our friends have been capable of accomplishing with their physiques and their respective goals here has been awe-inspiring. You have surrounded yourself with some of the greatest people I’ve had the opportunity to meet, and in one way or another, you led them all here. I should be mindful of the fact that there was strength in numbers and as more came, more were willing to come.

And I have seen you through challenges as well. When you started here, you were in a relationship with Matt (one of the aforementioned two) who was also kind enough to usher at our wedding with you. Relationships can be challenging, as you both know, and it was extremely tough when I heard that the two of you would be splitting up. I had only ever known the two of you as a couple, so to see each of you as anything but was not easy. However, it’s not my place to say what should or shouldn’t be. Only to respect the space you have given one another and watch where those paths lead.

And of course, I saw (all of) you through the loss of Christa who left this world far too soon…

This all makes the component of exercise a very small piece of a larger puzzle. Over the course of seven years, we learn things about one another that go far beyond a diet or an exercise program. Friendships and brotherhoods are formed that become unbreakable. It essentially defines the “personal” in personal training.

You have helped me build my business and foster an environment and community which allows me to support my family. I have, in turn, helped you build your business as well! For those of you in small business reading this who are not using Brandon’s services for your credit card processing needs, you really need to reach out to him (*plug plug*)

And as any friend would do, I have to say: I love you, brother. You are a great friend and I will always be in your debt for your kindness to me and my family. I can think of no better way to end this than with your words:

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Someone Has To Say It #50-Soon To Be Extinct

Recently, Blake came across an article detailing several items and services that may no longer be around and available to the public. We dive in to discuss our feelings on if these are good or bad things to say goodbye to. To learn more about your hosts, check out http://www.blakebabcock.com and http://www.jasonleenaarts.com Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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