Weight Loss

Stay Away From Weight Regain

Losing fat is really pretty simple. You've lost weight before. Keeping it off is a totally different ball game. About 90 percent of people who lose weight gain it all back. What in the world is the 10 percent of people who lose weight doing to keep it off? Do they have a secret we don't know about? 

Stay Away From Weight Regain.png

Looking over studies and using my own personal experience through coaching and living a healthy lifestyle I have put together a short list of things you can put in your arsenal to combat weight regain. 

1. Don't be afraid to fail hard and make mistakes. People that keep weight regain at bay are not afraid to try something, fail, modify, then try again until they build their own personalized and sustainable plan. Seems obvious, but that's not how most people approach fat loss. They instead adopt specific "restrictive diet" plans, which can be a good start. But when they fall off the wagon, they don't tweak the plan. Instead, they quit trying altogether, often claiming "that diet didn't work." 

Diets work, people don't. 

Let's set something straight: all diets work if calories are low enough and/or activity is high enough. But not all diets are healthy and most aren't sustainable. They do lead to fat loss, but it's your responsibility to make the transition from "dieting or calorie restricting " to everyday healthy and enjoyable eating. Your initial diet plan can't do that for you. You need a plan to come out of that calorie restrictive place so you can maintain the weight loss. 

People who lose fat and keep it off have figured this out. They adapt, experiment, and think about how to approach the lifestyle in a way to make it more sustainable.

2. Do away with the cheat meals. Those who lose a significant amount of fat and keep it off skip the weekend and holiday splurges. Disrupting your bodies energy homeostasis is hard enough. Giving into splurges just makes losing fat and keeping it off even harder. Control the mentality behind how you approach food at all times. There is no inherently bad food. Only portions that are not beneficial to your goals. Don't eat like a jack a$$. 

After all, the recovering drug addict doesn't indulge in his favorite drug because it's his birthday, and he doesn't get wasted on the weekend as a reward for "being good" all week. Those who struggle with staying lean adopt the same mindset to keep the fat off.

3. Lack of sleep makes you can increase your chances of weight regain and can even lead to muscle loss, regardless of diet. Since when did a lack of sleep become a bragging right? "Dude, I only sleep 5 hours a night!" Congratulations. While you may be able to "function just fine" on a few hours of sleep, doing so still short changes your body composition goals.

Where do you think your recovery really comes from? Babies tend to do two things after they are born – eat and sleep a lot. Why? Because to grow, the body requires a tremendous amount of rest. So if you aren't getting an adequate amount of sleep (7-8 hours), then when are you giving your body the extra time it needs for this process to take place?

You will have to manage your behaviors for the rest of your life. Being at a healthy body weight isn't easy in the world we live in today. 

Genetics and environment load the gun for being overweight or obese, but BEHAVIOR pulls the trigger. 

Are Carbohydrates The Enemy

Carbs are bad right?

I'm sure you have been apart of a carbohydrate debate before. Avoiding carbs is the go to strategy in most of the diets that are out there today. You see all the celebrities promoting low carbohydrate diets and tons of professionals swearing that sugar makes you fat. More and more health conscious individuals are ditching carbs and opting to eat more fat.

What should you believe and what advice should you follow?

Let's get something straight first. Any macronutrient consumed in excess will result in weight gain. It could be 10,000 calories from the healthiest fat you can find or leanest protein out there. Eating above your maintenance calorie intake over time will start to add pounds to the scale.

Carbohydrates are not the enemy but they get the blame because of there inherent structure.

The conventional wisdom suggests that there shouldn’t be any difference in whether or not weight loss is achieved by cutting calories from either carbs or fat. If a calorie equals a calorie, then reduction of energy intake from either should lead to weight loss. We know that some foods react different in the body. Some foods are more nutrient dense than others. We are just talking about energy balance right now. 

Some have argued that carbs could cause more weight gain due to their effects on insulin. After all, insulin is the hormone that promotes the accumulation of storage of adipose tissue (body fat) as a result of overeating carbohydrates.

But while the carbohydrates effects on insulin propose that replacing carbs with fat should reduce insulin secretion leading to greater fat burning, this logic hasn’t quite held up to scrutiny when put into practice in scientific studies.

Does this mean carbohydrates are off the hook for weight gain? No, because it’s also well known that the majority of expendable calories do come from carbohydrate-rich and sugary foods, drinks, and desserts. You can't eat twinkies all day and not expect to pay a cost for it.

Additionally, there are some individuals who might benefit from low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. There is some merit for those that struggle with Type II diabetes or epilepsy to try a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. But this doesn't mean that everyone should be on a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. 

The research does suggest that it’s important that a balanced approach toward reducing calories is warranted for healthy weight loss. Carbs and insulin are not inherently fat producing on their own. The context in which carbs are consumed matters, in terms of energy balance.

Eliminating an entire macronutrient from the diet not only could have a person miss out on foods with important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, but also may not be any more effective for weight loss.

Are You Stuck With Your Current Body?

The human body resist weight change. Losing weight disrupts your bodies ability to maintain balance. 

As you get older your body settles into a comfortable weight. This is called your body weight set point. The body weight set point theory is simple: it hypothesizes that the body uses hormones, hunger, behavior changes, and other physiological mechanisms to “defend” a certain range of body weight (and body fat in particular). A simple way to think of this is as a “thermostat” or “cruise control” system for body weight and fat levels. Whatever numbers are set are what your body strives to maintain.

If you've ever tried to 5 pounds or 60 pounds you have experienced this resistance in some form. The further we push our weight away from our set point, the more intensely the body fights its way back. This isn't solely the reason for yo-yo dieting but it is definitely part of the conversation. 

The command center for the body's weight management system resides in the hypothalamus. The argument could be made that it wants to preserve fat, not eliminate it. Leptin is produced by the body's fat cells and signals the brain to regulate your appetite and satiety. Since leptin has that responsibility in the body we can conclude that this has a lot to do with our weight. 

If you lose body fat, leptin triggers hunger and the urge to eat; if you gain fat and increase leptin, you eat less. The more leptin your body produces, the leaner you tend to be; the less leptin you make, the higher your set point and the fatter you stay. 

The bottom line is it’s well established that our bodies do have a complex system for regulating body weight. I like to use a slightly different term than "set point" because "set point" implies that your body weight is fixed when that is not the case. A more accurate term would be "settling point." 

What are the factors to this "settling point"?

  • Yes, there are genetic variants that can predispose us to higher or lower body weight set points, but their effects are small. Research shows that certain “obesity genes” can be “turned off” through exercise alone. While genetics can predispose you to a certain amount of fatness, you can overrule them with the right behaviors.
  • If you chronically feed your body more (food) energy than it expends you will create weight management issues. Even if only by 200 calories per day which is an apple and banana. If it is more than you expend you will slowly but surely gain weight.

Lowering your body weight set point takes patience, discipline, and consistency, but it isn’t particularly hard. Just takes work!

One of the best ways to combat this settling point and change your body weight for good is to increase your muscle mass. Nothing helps maintain a low body weight set point like adding a substantial amount of muscle to your frame. Muscle is a “metabolically active” tissue, meaning it increases the basal metabolic rate. The increase may not be much, but even if it is 100 extra calories burned per week, it is worth it. At the end of the week that is an extra 700 calories burned while doing nothing. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body burns while at rest. And the more energy your body burns while at rest, the more food you get to eat every day without gaining fat. Research shows that the more muscle you have, the less fat you gain in response to overeating. This means that the more muscle you have, the less you’re “punished” for eating too much. I call it 'wiggle room". If you have a little too much at your parents house over the weekend then you might be able to get by because a large amount of muscle allows you that freedom. Simply put, the more muscle you have, the easier it is to get and stay lean.

Adding more muscle to your frame and coupling that with a nutritional program that allows you to be in a calorie deficit is your best bet. They key here is that you have to consciously manage your energy balance because your instincts are likely to lead you to overeating. Practicing and getting better at proper meal planning and discipline to avoid overeating is key. 

The longer you remain at a given body weight, the easier it becomes to stay there. The healthier your body is, the better its hormones will support your efforts to stay lean. Use your exercise and nutritional regimen to maintain health and body composition.

How To Prevent Weight Regain

Weight regain seems to be something that is more prevalent now days. If you have ever had a personal conversation with me you will know one of my sayings is, "It is relatively easy to lose weight, but the journey begins in keeping it off.

It is no secret that people have a tough time keeping it off. It has been well researched that only 17% of Americans are able to maintain a 10% weight loss after 1 year. Many people have repeatedly lost weight, only to regain it again and again. I meet people all the time who have lost the same 25-50 lbs all the time. Dieting to lose weight only to regain it is a common occurrence in America.

Change in body weight is caused by an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Your body loves to stay in balance. We also know that your body tries to resist weight change and correct this energy imbalance. For example, if you eat 2000 calories per day and suddenly decrease it to 1000, you will lose weight, but you will also get hungry in the process. This hunger drives you to eat more to bring you back into energy balance. This is one of the reasons why maintaining long-term weight loss is so difficult.

Your body has some other protective mechanisms. Your body can resist a negative energy balance by not only making you more hungry, but by decreasing the number of calories you burn. The extent to which this happens in humans is not clear but studies show that it does occur. One of the challenges of successful long-term weight loss could be partly because our bodies reduce their energy expenditure to the point that it makes it very easy to regain the weight.

When you lose weight the amount of energy you use decreases because you have less weight to move around. That is pretty easy to understand. But what if the body becomes more efficient as a whole because of weight loss. This means you could expend less calories for maintaining the proper function of your organs and you could expend less calories for the same movement(s) that helped you lose weight in the first place.

It is clear from research that metabolism (in terms of resting metabolic rate) slows with weight loss. This means if you were to sit on the couch and not move all day, you would burn less calories than when you were heavier. This decrease can even be present even when someone has maintained weight loss for more than a year. However, the slowdown of metabolic rate is not the primary culprit for why it's so easy to regain weight, but it does play a major role.

The main reason why we have the decrease in energy expenditure with weight loss is because we become less active. This doesn't mean we exercise less, either, as exercise is a conscious choice. It means we unconsciously reduce our NEAT and spontaneous activity. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, washing dishes and fidgeting.

We also become more efficient in the activity we do; we expend less calories for the same movement. In fact, 35% of the decrease in activity energy expenditure can be attributed to an increase in efficiency. Overall, we move around less, and we become more efficient at the movements we perform. This is not only why weight loss eventually plateaus, but also why weight is so easily regained.

So how do you combat this? How do you make sure that the weight you lose stays off? How do you break plateaus when weight loss stalls?

You have to remember that physical activity doesn't have to include formal exercise. NEAT makes up the majority of your activity energy expenditure, and thus has the greatest ability to impact it. In fact, walking at only 1 mile per hour will double your energy expenditure over sitting. Anything that you can do to accumulate physical activity throughout the day will dramatically improve your chances of maintaining weight loss long term. Small things add up. Here are 5 things you can put into practice today that will improve your NEAT:

1. Park further away from your destination.

2. Take the stairs rather than an elevator.

3. Work in the yard a couple times per week.

4. Take a short walk during lunch break.

5. Talk on the phone at work while moving around.

Since activity can decrease on an almost unconscious level, you need to make a deliberate conscious effort to get as much activity as possible in throughout your day, every day. Or you will notice weight regain and more weight loss plateaus.

Hunger Is Important pt. 2


Your body has an incredible ability to store fat. From a physiology stand point your body needs to store fat to survive. The issue we run into when it comes to health and fitness is storing unwanted body fat. Would you agree?

Why do you even need body fat?

Fat cells are formed in the developing fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy, and later at the onset of puberty, when the sex hormones kick in. It is during puberty that the differences in fat distribution between men and women begin to take form. Fat cells generally do not generate after puberty. Your body can store more fat but the number of actual fat cells generally stay the same. Each fat cell simply gets bigger!

Fat is a tissue that is needed by the body for a wide variety of functions such as temperature regulation, proper reproductive capabilities (particularly in women), shock absorption, the regulation of other nutrients and to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.

Why is hunger a necessary evil to lose fat?

Hunger strikes big in moments where you are going through a calorie deficit to lose body fat. The body doesn't know you are only temporarily going through a few months of cutting your calories back to lose fat or starving to death. It sends the alarm of starvation which is why that hunger signal is so loud and can be overwhelming to you.

You are purposely trying to lose tissue that your body is consciously programmed to hold on to. So if you want that fat to go, you must feel hunger. Simple as that. 

A sound way of losing body fat includes a nutrition structure that will allow you to optimally maintain muscle and strength while losing fat. If you are training with weights and include a good amount of protein in your nutrition then being a little hungry during a fat loss phase is okay. Hunger in this case means you are losing fat and keeping muscle.

So don't give into that feeling of stopping at the fast food restaurant on your way home because chicken nuggets sound good. Don't eat the rest of your kids food just because. Leave that candy bowl alone at work and don't eat the cupcakes that Jane brought for everyone because it is her birthday at the office. You are on your way to being leaner if you are experiencing little bouts of hunger.

That all being said, sometimes hunger gets a bit out of hand and you have some desperate moments. Here are some tips to combat hunger without ruining everything:

  1. Sugar Free Jell-O: You would have never thought it, right? But it is barely any calories. And it takes up some of that empty space in your belly. At the end of the day when you are starving it could save you from raiding the pantry.
  2. Caffeine: Research shows caffeine in small doses (under 400 mg a day) can have some positive benefits for suppressing appetite. Caffeine can also help you burn an extra 50-100 calories a day and fuel tough workouts when energy levels might be low. Grabbing a diet soda or having a couple cups of coffee are just fine. 
  3. Sugar Free Gum: Yes, chewing something that is like almost 10 calories can help you get through the day when your stomach is growling but it may not be time to eat. I chew a couple pieces a day and it helps me when my calories are low from a calorie cutting phase.
  4. Dill Pickles: I'm giving away all my secrets. My wife can attest to the fact that I always keep a jar of pickles around. They help me in moments where those bag of chips look so tasty and when I really want to satisfy that salty craving. Don't lose it and eat the whole jar, but a couple will help and serve as a low calorie treat.
  5. Flavored Water: I can save the debate of whether artificial sweeteners are good or bad for a later blog post. But let’s just say that there are no bad foods or ingredients, but there are portion sizes that can be detrimental to anyone. Drinking plenty of water keeps your belly full, and flavored water can give you the feeling that you are getting a treat. Not to mention that you need a good amount of daily water consumption to keep things moving properly through your body.


Why Hunger Is Important pt. 1

I had a great conversation with a friend of mine about the lost art of hard work when it comes to losing body fat. For some reason the social media era has made it seem like losing body fat is easy.

Most people understand the necessity of sacrifice for gain in other arenas of life. We understand that you have to make sacrifices and work hard to move up in your career of choice. To earn your college degree will take lots of money and a ton of late nights studying in the library. If you want to improve the way you play an instrument or perfect a craft you will have to put in countless hours of what could seem like boring practice. But that is what it takes. 

There is information floating around that makes it seem like losing weight should be a comfortable experience. If you take away anything from this post let it be this: your diet is temporary you are trying to lose body fat. Cutting your calories back to lose weight is not sustainable and it is not supposed to be. It is a state of deprivation. Expect it to be uncomfortable. Expect it to be hard work. In order for you to reach your goal it must be done. Your nutrition becomes comfortable and sustainable after you reach your goal. When you reach your goal of weight loss then you make a shift into maintenance. That is when your nutrition becomes a lifestyle and should be comfortable.

When weight loss is your goal you have to be on top of your day to day. If you plan on being away for the weekend then you have to plan out how you will stay on plan. For example, maybe you plan on having a few drinks with friends, or a date night with your significant other. How will you make the necessary accommodations to not lose track of the goal at hand?

These things can be a part of your lifestyle during the periods you are trying to lose weight but you need to have a plan of attack prior to them coming up. You can't go overboard and lose control because when Monday rolls around you will be practically starting over. And that is not a very healthy cycle to be in. Sometimes you will have to tell your friends you are only going to have one drink. And it might not be your favorite drink because your favorite might be too many calories for you. But staying the course and not throwing your results down the drain for temporary satisfaction is important during a calorie cutting phase.

The people who are most successful at losing weight and sustaining those losses are those that maintain control in different situations. They strictly stay the course of the plan, lose the intended weight and begin a maintenance phase, at which point they develop a healthy lifestyle and can relax some.

Those that try to include little cheats over there allotted calories here and there throughout the calorie cutting phase tend to lose much less. You can have your cake and eat it too. But that slice of cake has to be factored into your day. And that one slice can't turn into two, three and four slices.

Win one day at a time. A temporary state of hunger is necessary and some sacrifices will have to be made. But when you get to your goal and enter a maintenance phase you will be able to relax some and enjoy some of the treats or experiences you have been putting off.

Stay the course.

Too Much Cardio

I'm pretty sure I will write about this topic until I am blue in the face but that is okay. Everyone needs to understand this.

Traditional cardio sucks for fat loss. That's right. You doing hours and hours of cardio will not help you change and maintain the physique that you aspire to have.

All my cardio lovers probably gave me an eye roll. And that is okay. By the end of this you will have a better understanding of where I am coming from.

Elevating your resting metabolic rate is vitally important into your body transformation. Manipulating hormones that promote the release of fat is also a priority. Strength training has a much more powerful effect on these processes than aerobic training.

The wrong message is still preached. I know this because when I enter a gym I see two things. Every piece of cardio equipment taken up and only a fourth of the weight room occupied.
We were not meant for absurd amounts of aerobic cardio. All the running, elliptical machines and stair steppers for endless amounts of time is pointless. Long sessions or too frequent sessions of cardio can lead to high levels of cortisol production. Cortisol can force the body to break down its own muscle tissue. When this happens your body will break down your own muscle tissue and use it as fuel. It also leads to increased fat accumulation, especially around the midsection.

Muscle loss due to excessive aerobics cardio effects your resting metabolic rate. It also inhibits natural hormone production.

So let's say you took the basic approach of cutting your calories and increasing your activity through cardio. This sets off an alarm in the body where the body sacrifices muscle tissue to maintain balance. Your body will lessen energy demands and store or hoard body fat as a survival response. During this time you will feel tired, groggy and hungry all the time. Once you reach this physiological state it becomes almost impossible to lose any more fat. You can cut calories and add all the cardio you want and the results will be minimal, if any. What you end up with is horrible cravings, ridiculous amounts of time on cardio machines, and a distorted body image. Weight regain plus some happens when a normal healthy caloric intake and exercise regimen is resumed. This generally results in a vicious cycle of huge swings in body weight and appearance. Sometimes the damage to the metabolism and hormones becomes so great over time that it's irreversible without medical intervention.

Do you need to do cardio?

Yes, but not the kind that is being preached. There are moments where steady state low intensity cardio is beneficial. But all those moments lead to you beginning or progressing in a sound strength training program. Cardio can help you build an aerobic base so you recover from strength training and recover between sets when you are lifting weights.

You do not need all the fancy machines on the cardio side of your gym to aid in your transformation. All the aerobic activity you need is walking. Yes, I said walking. That means when time permits, walk. Whether that means walking outdoors more, window shopping at the mall or longer grocery store trips. Walking will give you all the aerobic activity you need without all the harmful side effects of too much steady state low intensity cardio.

Yoga & Pilates vs Strength Training

Yoga and Pilates are great forms of exercise that have many health benefits. I've practiced both throughout my career in health and fitness. I'm not going to attack either of those methodologies because I see value in both. But way too often I hear terrible claims and marketing ploys that mislead people. 

"Yoga gives you long lean muscles."

"Pilates will lengthen your muscles and give you that tone you want."

I feel as if people have the notion that Yoga and Pilates do something special to your muscles compared to plain old resistance training. It's as if Yoga and Pilates gives the physique of a dancer and resistance training gives the physique of a bulky bodybuilder. But the truth is these claims are false. 

In order for you to understand that those claims are false I have to explain a little anatomy and physiology. But in its simplest form because I don't want to bore you. 

Muscles have a fixed origin and insertion. In other words, they start somewhere and end somewhere else. Aside from surgery, these attachment points cannot change. 

It would seem that basic static stretching would be the best way to lengthen muscles. Yet, this is not the case. Stretching will indeed help you achieve greater joint range of motion, but it does not do so by actually lengthening the muscle. It works by decreasing the brain’s perception of a threat and “releasing the brakes,” so you can stretch a muscle further than normal. Stretching works on the nervous system to increase “stretch-tolerance.”

Common sense would say that the more intense the exercise, the greater its effect on total body fat loss. This is true. Higher intensity exercise is more effective at reducing total body fat compared to lower intensity exercise. The purpose of Yoga and Pilates is not to exert the greatest amount of effort or burn the highest number of calories possible during the session. Both combine exercises and poses with other tactics aimed at centering the body and improving mental state. Some of which include breathing, meditation, and flow. Yoga and Pilates sessions can indeed be intense. But if your approach is to exhaust yourself then you’re missing the point. When lifting weights you can crank up the intensity as high as tolerable, which lead to greater caloric expenditure and fat burning long term.

Progressive resistance training does a better job of promoting lean muscle than Yoga or Pilates. Over time this will lead to greater changes in body composition. Thus, resistance training is better suited for leaning out the body and reducing body fat stores than Yoga or Pilates.

You do not have to choose between resistance training, Yoga, or Pilates. If you enjoy all of them, you can do all three throughout the week. Yoga and Pilates are effective forms of exercise with many positive attributes with regards to health. If you desire long, lean muscles, lifting weights in the gym will get you there faster than Yoga or Pilates. Yoga and Pilates will build muscle and reduce fat, but they won’t do it as efficiently as resistance training. It’s time we put an end to misleading marketing tactics and stick to the science.

Weppler, C. H. (2010, March). Increasing Muscle Extensibility: A Matter of Increasing Length or Modifying Sensation? Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. Retrieved from http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/90/3/438.long

Eating Breakfast Doesn't Make You Slim

Did you grow up hearing the old adage, “Break your fast with a healthy breakfast?” Or what about, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” 

If you are like me then you probably asked, "Where did all this come from?" 

I never studied any of these ‘principles’ in textbooks nor have I seen them in any studies that prove that you have to eat oatmeal, eggs and toast for breakfast or some miraculous shake every day to attain a body that society deems as ‘slim’. 

The notion that breakfast is essential for good health dates back to the 1920s. During that time, Edward Bernays, a public relations consultant for a pork company, created a nationwide media campaign to encourage the comfort food first thing in the morning was a recipe for wellness. Even scientist got on board. In the following decades there were numerous observational studies that consistently found that people who ate breakfast weighed less. Studies like this got twisted, misconstrued and eventually made into principles that medical professionals, nutritionist, and fitness trainers taught to the public. 

There is an inherent problem with this. Correlation doesn’t always mean causation. These observational studies merely showed a correlation between eating breakfast and being leaner. However, the study did not show that eating breakfast caused people to be leaner. 

The big picture is often forgotten. None of the studies showed what's under the surface. 

Maybe the individuals in the study that woke up in the morning and had breakfast displayed lifestyle habits that are conducive to having a healthy body composition. They could have had habits like moving more throughout the day or exercising on a regular basis. Or they may have prepared there meals for the day and stayed away from trans fats and refined sugar. 

Recent controlled studies have randomly divided people into breakfast-eating and breakfast- skipping groups. The evidence clearly showed that eating breakfast is not the cause of staying trim. 

So much for the egg whites and oatmeal or meal replacement shake weight loss connection. Nonetheless, while it doesn't seem to be a necessity for good health, there's nothing wrong with eating a nutritious breakfast every morning. But let it be something you like to do and not because it will help you lose 5 pounds by Friday. Whether you want your coconut flour pancakes at 5am or 7pm. The result will be the same. Health is not black and white and we need to stop living in those extremes. 

So we can now put that myth to rest. 

Why You Should Be Snapping Shameless Selfies

Oh the infamous selfie. You see them everywhere: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, basically every social media outlet we can think of in today’s society.  It is insane how much the “selfie” has impacted our world.  This is not something experienced in just the U.S. but in every country. The “selfie” has globally connected us in ways I never knew to be possible.

Usually, I would go on and on about how self-centered and egotistical people are who take selfies, but I have had the opportunity to see just how much selfies can impact someone’s life.

I will use myself as an example.  

I have been working out my entire life.  First I was a gymnast, then I transitioned into resistance training. Several years have passed since I began this journey and now the way you track progress is a lot better.  I can use “selfies” to see changes in my body from week to week in order to determine how my nutrition is impacting my body as well as areas I need to develop more in the gym.  The “selfie” has forever benefited and changed my life for the better.

If we look back before camera phones were invented, then we would find other way ways of obtaining objective information to judge progress with our bodies.  These ways included: circumference measurements, waist to hip ratio, bioelectrical impedance, weight scale, BMI calculations, etc.  The progression of technology and the creation of the “selfie” has developed another way for us to track progress.  Using a “selfie” along with the other types of tracking mechanisms, can truly show how our bodies are changing as a whole. 

I encourage others to embrace in taking a “shameless selfie” for themselves in order to see physical changes in a photo and compare them from weeks and months prior to starting a weight lifting program or a nutrition plan.  The changes that you see will be more impactful and rewarding than looking at yourself in the mirror on a daily basis.  If you rely on glancing in a mirror every day, then you will be left with the subjective opinion of what you are "feeling" that day. And you know your feelings change like wind direction.  Only a “selfie” can capture your progression in the mirror.  

My clients always tell me that they regret not taking selfies while they were in the midst of their journey of losing body fat. I urge you to lose that fear of the unknown. The “selfie” can boost your confidence even when your body might not look exactly the way you want it to at that very moment.  

The shameless selfie can be considered as motivation to see how far you have come in your fitness and health journey.


Transform You | feat. Randall S.

I knew when the doctor told me he wanted to put me on a pace maker I needed to change my lifestyle. ~ Randall S.  Transformation in the dictionary is defined as an act, or process, or dramatic change in form or appearance.

Why is today's society only focused on the end result and not the process? Are you consumed with what other people are thinking about you? Are you trying to fit into a new social circle? Are you trying to impress a loved one or attempting to date again and want to feel comfortable with your self image?

I want to share the story of a friend and a client who battled through yo-yo diets, massive weight loss coupled with massive weight gain, trending exercise routines, endless gym memberships, and the psychological ups and downs he went through to lose 100lbs.


Growing up I ate a bowl of cereal in the morning, lunch was typically a sandwich with chips. Dinner was normally cooked at home but we had soda and sweet tea with every meal. I would snack on chips or ice cream at night too. ~ Randall S. 

The belief that "a calorie is a calorie" has done much to contribute to the ever worsening health of our society. It's typically even one of the first things dietitians learn in school and it is completely false.

Calories are not created equal, the source of the calories makes all the difference in the world. For example, carbohydrates and fats, or carbohydrates and fat, will cause entirely different metabolic effects. The reason for the difference in metabolic effects is  largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine how much fat your body will accumulate and hold on to.

This is why the idea that you can lose weight by counting calories simply doesn't work. Sugars and grains are among the most excessively consumed foods that promotes weight gain and chronic disease.

Another belief that simply isn't true is the idea that obesity is the end result of eating too much and exercising too little; or consuming more calories that you expending.

I got out of the marines in 2001. I slowly gained weight over the next 6 years. I got up to 270lbs in that time frame. I had a 24 hour fitness membership and went but nothing regular or routine. I later gained another 70lbs over the next 2 years and weighed my all time high at 340lbs in 2009. ~ Randall S.

While the first law of thermodynamics does apply to you, in order for you to actually gain a significant amount of weight, research shows us that two things have to take place. You would have to block your sensation of fullness, and your body's ability to burn fat by regulating enzymes responsible for metabolizing fat would have to be impaired. What this means is that in order for you to become severely overweight you must first become leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone that helps you regulate your appetite. When your leptin levels rise, it signals your body that you’re full, so you’ll stop eating. Refined sugar (in particular highly refined fructose) is exceptionally effective at causing leptin resistance in animals, and it’s also very effective at blocking the burning of fat.

I met Randall at his all time high of 340lbs. We became friends instantly and since then have had a very unique bond. I was able to watch, guide, help, support, and push Randall to regain his lean body. Seeing the ups and downs physically, the highs and the lows emotionally, and the peaks and pitfalls mentally helped shape the coach I am today. Before I met Randall I thought I had it all figured out. But he showed me how much I didn't know and since then has pushed me to new heights. He lost a 100lbs out of the deal but I gained an intense fire to learn more, read more, and write more.

HOW HAS YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AFFECTED YOU? "I never knew how much my weight was affecting me until I embarked on the journey of losing it once and for all. One thing I know for certain is my sleep patterns were about as inconsistent as the Dallas Cowboys. I snored so loud that it would wake my wife up. I remember gasping for air in the middle of the night because it was so hard to breath. This would affect me the next day because my energy levels would be terrible. The guy in the picture just survived the day. I would be so tired during the day that I would often times fall asleep at the wheel. I would catch my mind wondering during meetings as if I had transcended myself somewhere else while an important conversation was happening. I couldn't even stay focused on simple task at home. Things had gotten so bad that my endurance to even be intimate with my wife became a challenge. Nobody has time for that."


WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE WHO JUST STARTED OUT OR IS HOPING TO START POSITIVELY EFFECTING THEIR HEALTH? WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES? "A few pieces of advice that I would give someone who is starting there weight loss journey or on a quest to improve their health is one meal doesn't make you fat just like one workout doesn't make you skinny. It is a long process. Take it from a person who has gained and lost 50 pounds more than once. Make a plan and stick to it. I started off slow. I focused on my diet first. I used to drink diet soda, sweet tea, too much sugar in my coffee, boat loads of snacks, and I had episodes of stress eating all the time. I worked to eliminate those first and saw some great weight loss from it. Once I created that habit I started in the gym. It was a hard habit to create and brought on a lot of ups and downs but I learned a lot about myself during that time."


"Kelvin had me just do 15 minutes of cardio on the elliptical and some very light weights to begin with. We slowly increased what I did in the gym month by month. This was frustrating because I was a college football player and I used to be a Hoss. Now I'm lifting 10lb dumbbells and it hurts. But I had to forget about everything going on around me and in the past. I am creating a new and better me and I can not worry about the guy next to me lifting 100lbs or the lady that is out leg pressing me. They have their goals and I have mine."

"Since I know when I am going to the gym to workout I know to pack my bag the night before to eliminate any excuse I may come up with. I go to the gym 3 times per week. Kelvin plans my WebFit workouts for about an hour for each of those days and I typically go on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to avoid the huge crowds."

"I used to make myself feel guilty about going to the gym. This is something I struggle with and is a hard mind set to change. I have an amazing wife and child! I want to spend as much time with them as possible. So I like to rush home after work to see them. I used to think that taking the 1 to 2 hours it takes for me to get to the gym, workout, and drive home was a selfish act and taking away from them. This changed when the doctor told me that I was on the fast track to have a heart attack before 40 if I didn't change my lifestyle. My mindset started to shift and now I continuously tell myself how much more time and energy will I have to spend with them later if I take care of myself now. The selfish act was actually me being unhealthy. They deserve the best of me and nothing short of it. I noticed I could not give that to them if I did not take care of myself better than I had been."