If losing weight,be sure to lose body fat "ONLY"!

I’ve recently had friends here on bb.com asking me why they are losing weight and not losing body fat. That always concerns me because when one declares they are losing weight they want to mean they are losing body fat. Because of this concern, I decided to blog my thoughts.

The human body is catabolic and if not properly fed or rested, will decimate itself through loss of muscle tissue. Here’s why we want to ensure when we lose weight we are losing body fat percentage only. Body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. What people often don’t realize is that mass includes bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else but fat. Here’s a good example equation to help understand fat% that I grabbed from Livestrong.com.

If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass.

Before continuing everyone should know a certain amount of fat is vital for bodily functions. Some fat in the body is a god given good thing. Fat regulates body temperature, it provides a cushion and insulates the bodies organs and soft tissue. Most importantly for those of us into exercise, it's the main form of the body's energy storage.

When I work with a client who wants to lose weight, I want to know if their weight loss goals are realistic. Determining their weight and body fat% and calculating in their weight goal will give me that conclusion.

I took this example from Livestrong.com as well to give an idea of what could be considered non realistic weight loss goal.

Let's say I have a 130 lb. female with a 23% body fat measurement. You’ve come to me with a goal to lose 20 pounds. Here’s how I would figure if your goal is realistic.

Initial body fat: 130 lb. x 0.23 fat = 30 lb. of body fat in the body

Lean body mass: 130 lb. total - 30 lb. fat = 100 lb. lean body mass. (remember includes muscle organ and soft tissue and blood).

Goal: 130 lb. - 20 lb. = 110 pounds

I would determine this goal is not realistic nor over time is it a healthy number for this client. The reason is at 110 pounds, this client is carrying 100lbs. of lean body mass. but would only be carrying 10 lbs. of body fat. That’s only 9%. If my client is wanting to be involved in competition, this is a seasonal goal to target for the final weeks of prep before going to stage. However, even for the conditioned athlete, we don’t want to continue this statistic for long periods of time. There are charts found on the internet that provide safe body fat levels for healthy living standards.

For this female client, I would probably suggest she consider a goal that keeps body fat % in the normal level’s as recommended. Again, if she were an athlete looking to compete as a stage competitor we would redirect goals and exercise periods to meet a different set of criteria. However, let’s stay focused on the healthy individual trying to keep exercise in her lifestyle. Let‘s consider taking her bf% to 18% verses try to lose 20lbs. In this case:

130lb x 0.18% = 23 lb. body fat

100lb. lean body mass (from above) + 23lb body fat = 123lb. goal weight

Losing 7 lbs for this client would let me know there is not a loss of muscle tissue in the process of helping her meet a quality weight. Losing more than 7 pounds would mean losing lean body mass unless we make a serious effort to gain muscle tissue first. Doing that method would mean upping the body weight which would also push up the body fat percentage. Once there we’d have to begin dropping her back down by leaning out her diet and increasing her exercise plan. This known as the bulking process and puts the client in the category of athlete placing her in a seasonal training lifestyle. Since most individuals using aerobic and anaerobic training are not in the competitive athlete mode, we’ll not discuss the bulking method any further.

Before you decide you need to lose weight try to remember to consider weight consists of lean body mass and body fat. Keep your lifestyle and performance goals in mind as you determine realistic weight loss goals for yourself. The most important footnote here is to keep the calorie burning muscle in place and lose only the fat.

Proprietary Blend: To Be Or Not To Be

I just recently completed CEU's for recertifying my CPT. Being a baby boomer and having grown up in a even more conservative part of the conservative Midwest, it is difficult for me to stray far from what I have found to be "the good stuff".  I chose supplementation as a topic to research a bit about and write a review for part of my credits to see what new things I could learn to offer my clients as well as myself.

Pretty much creatine, l-glutamine, whey, and BCAA's have been my staple with l-arginine finding it's way into my diet in the off season periods when I am pre-  training. All the pretty packaging really didn't attract me, but this past year after a couple of health set backs, I'd been considering something to help kick start the metabolism and bust out a few more reps in the gym. I do buy most of my products here on bb.com just because it's so simple but, whew, when I began looking for a that magic potion, I was dumbfounded in all the offerings there were. Thus my study in the supplementation world.

Nothing I found changed my mind in straying from the tried and true, but I did come across some information that I'd been blind too until recently. Proprietary Blend data found just below the nutrient statistics of the label on a product was to me, always nice little additives that might offer something more in that product. Out of curiosity and some ignorance I looked up what proprietary blend means. There were too many "scientific formulated" and "clinically proven"laims to make me comfortable. The conservative nature in mean had me itching a bit.

Proprietary blends are not necessarily negative but certainly can be confusing, enough so that the Food and Drug Administration has recently required the supplement industry to list volume numbers (how much) of proprietary blend substances are in a product. There seemed to be too much fluff written into the data in those blends for government comfort.

Here's what proprietary blend really means:  It was used to prevent the competition from knowing exactly what ratios and amounts of each ingredient were present in the product. As mentioned, the FDA has nixed that concept but still it prevents the competition from copying the formula in exactness. It's like a copywrite law. But in too many cases, the Proprietary Blend list's have been found to hide the fact the formula contains very little of the active ingredients actually listed on the package. 

One product (been on the market for perhaps the past 5 years) I was able to trail six of the eight blends of substabces to basic sugars. It included the same glutamine and creatine I was taking already and offered Branch Chains as a plus. Cost was about 20% more than the individual items I've been using for over a decade. But wow, I was getting a lot of extra sugar so it was supposed to be worth it!

Bottom line, I'm not writing this to shoot down labeling. It will take awhile but the FDA is doing that now where determined necessary. I am suggesting to be careful in what you read into the product you are buying. It may not be all it is portrayed to be.

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Ask your Doctor about Lipitor

Several months ago I was in the final weeks of prep for an INBA comp in San Antonio. Was looking forward to the experience. My wife had won the masters and novice events in the same events in 2007. I figured it would be a good intro into masters competition for me as I was turning 60 just prior. Long story short I had a minor collapse of the left ventricle in my heart causing a scare and many months of bouncing from one specialist to another trying to figure out what caused the ailment. Turned out to be a rare hereditary disease causing LDL levels to stay elevated while HDL (the good stuff) measured low. My defining Dr. who nailed the problem says maybe 1 in 5000 Americans have this problem. He put me on Lipitor to attempt to bring the total cholesterol count down. Within a few weeks I began to notice my waist line was increasing and my abdominal bf% was slowly rising. As I began to ask questions, not from my Dr., and did a little research on my own, I discovered that Lipitor can cause weight gain and does increase body fat around the mid section/abdominal region. A suggestion was to try Green Tea Extract and an herbal spice Tumeric as a substitute. With my Dr. on a two week vacation, I thought what the heck - I'd been through enough calamity in the past year. Why not stop the prescription drug and try natural. My wife is an NSCA trainer and licensed nutritionist. She monitors bf% of clients and makes recommendations. She was thrilled in my decision to go natural. In the past three weeks, I've watched my bf% drop significantly and best my weight has leveled. My abdominal body fat has lowered from almost 15% in mid June to 13.6% this past weekend. My diet has stayed pretty much the same. I do a f/up blood test to determine LDL levels in two weeks. It will be interesting to see my numbers and to share my results with my Dr. Will post again when results are know. In the mean time lesson learned for me is to ask my Dr. about side effects about prescription drugs before entrusting their instructions for taking the drug.

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Todays Workout

Intention was to work with wife Barb and complete a 1 hr. quad/glute emphasis workout. Barb strained her neck so completed following workout in shorted time-frame:

IT stretch

Leg Press with lo foot placement on plate

Leg Press with high pronated foot placement for hamstring emphasis (did pressing in super set) 10&10

Hack Squats using Smith Machine - 4 sets of ten progressive 10 lb increments 10 reps per set

Machine Hamstring Curl 8% progressive 12 reps per set

Leg Extension Machine

Calve press Machine 20 reps 4 sets

Abdominal and Core - Leg Cross Over with Bosu

                                 Short Crunch

                                 Single Leg Extension with oblique twist

                                 Weight Bar 20lb. reverse bent oblique twist

No Cardio - completed workout in 50 minutes.

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Good to be back!

A year ago August I was in the process of prepping for competition, my first post age 60 event as a grand master with the INBA organization. The plan seemed to be working well. My wife Barb, a two time event champion from past years was my trainer, chief nutritionist and biggest fan. August 17, 8 weeks out, looking pretty good and on target with weight and body part stats I was in the first set of a back workout. The previous week I had surpassed a lift goal doing dead-lifts and foolish as I was I set the bar with a 10% increase. First set good! And then I felt it! That slight pinch followed by a mild burning sensation. Those who have had an inguinal hernia will know the feeling. By evening I knew what I had done and by mid morning the next day I scheduled an appointment with Andy my doctor and close friend. He did the finger test, somewhat embarrassing and sent me to a surgeon. By weeks end the mesh patch was sewn in my left groin region and my hard work and hopes for the past 6 months were over in a prideful mistake of trying to do more than what should have been considered safe for a man my age.

The plans changed and I figured we'd learned a valuable lesson, one that we knew better but screwed up anyway. The idea was to safely heal then begin a new regimen and looking forward to winter and starting again.  November came and Barb and I decided to sell TogetherInFitness (our fitness studio) and finally settle into retirement with us both looking for a husband/wife competition to enter. One morning I woke and had to struggle to get out of bed. There was a severe dizziness with an imbalance to the left side, bad enough to spend the day either sitting or lying down. Next day the same, as was the next several 2 out of 3 days. Andy sent me to an ENT who in turn referred me on to a neurologist. No one could put their finger on the cause for the imbalance. We thought vertigo then perhaps meniere's. A specialist in Sarasota, Florida was suggested and having lived in the area several years ago, Barb and I took a shot with them and found ourselves several months moving to be closer to the Dr. who made the diagnosis. I had a slight collapse of the left ventricle of the heart. Probably caused by a genetic defect found in maybe 1 of every 500 Americans.

I suppose I am writing this more for myself to give definition to starting a lifting and exercise program again. It does feel good to walk through gym doors once more. But for anyone that might gain from reading this, my discovery has been nothing new to anyone. Set backs will and do occur. How one responds is within the mindset of what one wishes to or not to accomplish. I'm fortunate I have a wife who is a cancer survivor transformed into a natural bodybuilding champion. She's been there and knows the effort it takes to overcome adversity.  She's been my steady hand and together with a strong faith in god we live by the rule all things are possible. Today was my third week back into an exercise and nutrition routine. I will do things differently, for sure leave the gym heroics to those much younger and less inclined to age limitations in lifting. Now, for me. it is a quiet prayer of thanks for the strength to begin a new day of exercise and repeating that prayer as I finish. I look forward to using BB.com as my home base for record this being my first blog in over a year! It's good to be back.

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May You Have Enough

May you have enough… Enough happiness to keep you sweet, Enough trials to keep you strong, Enough sorrow to keep you human, Enough failure to keep you humble, Enough success to keep you eager, Enough friends to give you comfort, Enough wealth to meet your needs, Enough enthusiasm to look forward, Enough faith to banish depression, Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday. May you have enough. Happy Holidays! God's Blessings and Strength   

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Another Day Off

I intended to do a push routine this afternoon with some focus on inner pectorals and traps, and all that good stuff. Perhaps I should say I had hoped to. Yesterday was used as a day off to allow some re-coup time which was much needed. But today I still felt a degree of lethargy and some aching in joints. Nothing specifically concerning but enough to have the inner ???'s telling me maybe another day in rest might not be a bad thing.

There's always a degree of guilt and anxiousness that occurs when you feel you should do something but something says maybe you shouldn't. Nice thing about the blog's is it gives a place to write out the frsutration, the guilt, the gee whiz's and whatever comes out when you didn't do something you really wanted to.

I have a few die hard's coming to the gym tomorrow that will keep me focused on being active, will pick up my son at the airport later in the a.m., then beg him to lift with me in the afternoon.  Tomorrow - will be a better day. In the meantime, darned if Barb isn't baking cookies for our son. Why is it fortitude is always weakest when we haven't been in the gym for awhile. I'm afraid in necessity tomorrow will have to be a better day!




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Ability, Motivation, Attitude

I do quite a bit of public speaking in the Houston Metro area. A topic I am often asked to speak on is one of Success. In brief this is how I explain to my listeners what I believe determines the element of a successful entity. 

First, we have to admit there must be an accomplishment of some kind in order to determine the degree of success that may take place.

For me, I believe there are three simple principles to accomplishment.  

Ability:     is what we are capable of doing! Some are over achievers, some do less than what they should, some don't take the time to exert enough effort to know one way or the other what their possibilities are. Nevertheless, if we are to accomplish anything, there has to be some degree of ability involved.

Motivation:  determines what we do! It does takes some intellectual thought processing to act, but once we do, it is motivation that sees that thought turn to action. If we are going to accomplish, we must be motivated enough to take action.

Attitude:  determines how well we do whatever it is we do. Little needs to be said here, attitude comes in all degrees and sizes. However, I believe of the three principles, attitude has the most effect on what amount of succes can be found in what is accomplished.

In our studio we have a large poster on the wall, "The Quality of Life Depends on the Amount of Willingness Put Forth in the Effort". And right below it we place in bold letters:

                                                   HOW WILL YOUR ATTITUDE AFFECT YOUR WILLINGNESS TODAY!

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I Schedule "Me First"!

No one has to tell anyone about how difficult it is to schedule all the events taking place this time of the year. There is Christmas shopping, Holiday parties, family gatherings, kids school events , and on and on! For Barb and I in our business, amazingly we become quite busy within our clients demands. Outside of at home mom's canceling training sessions to attend Christmas parties during the day, our demand for time in the gym can actually increase. Business people get time off, some begin to think about New Year's resolutions early, many kids home from school are looking for a way to exercise.  For me, I find it very hard to schedule the 'my time' during the day to 'do for me' during this time of year. I have Christmas Shopping (thank goodness for the internet), my family will all be in Houston this year, Barb is working through her post surgery needs (though she is doing amazingly well), and my continuation in training a demanding client base. And, I still have my own endeavors for 2011 requiring a challenging training regimen. Priorty now takes on an even more important role in my daily schedule. With Barb's support and mindfulness, I always make my time first on the calendar when marking in and filling time slots. It's hard to do, and in my Christian faith, I try to follow what is to me, an incredibly important bible verse to remember. Each time I begin to feel pressure in my day and consider eliminating my own time in the gym, I recite to myself:  "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Yep, it is busy, it is hectic, and the calendar gets filled, but I believe when all settles down after the holidays, for me at least, I will feel much better about myself having given in to "me" in and among all the other demands that are occuring.  Happy Holidays to all my friends and clients tracking my bodyspace. You are in the image of god during this the special delivery time of the year. God bless!

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Cortisol Theory f/up!

Since my last blog and my bf% reading on Sun. Dec 12, I followed up with another reading (post Barb's surgery and catching back up on sleep) on Wednesday Dec 15. The result was a drop of 1.9%. Here are results and summary:  My reading at the beginning of the month, Dec. 1     10.4% Reading on Dec. 12                                               14.3% Reading on Dec. 15                                               12.4% I will record again this Sunday morning which is my usual scheduled time to take body composition measurement for consistency. I anticipate another drop. We know through research study that too much cortisol in the blood can cause an increase in stress related contraindications, one such causing fat to hold from release for energy. During the past couple of weeks, I went through an anxious time wiith my wife Barb and a complicated partial abdominal surgery for her, worked with the rescheduling of her clients into my calendar doubling my training hours with clients, and prepping the home for family coming in for the holidays with Barb down. BF% readings during this time period showed a significant jump in my numbers, a higher bf% than in past six months. It tells me research on the effects of stress potentially did take a small toll on my physio response.  I will post one more time on Sunday and next reading with curiosity as to where that reading may be. Keep in mind that many factors inter-relate to body composition measurement. This becomes only a theory but one to think about when considering weight management and fat composite control.    

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Canned Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. Cortisol affects most organs in the body and, to fitness enthusiasts, is important for breaking down glycogen and fat for energy, managing stress, and maintaining healthy blood pressure. It's important to know that although Cortisol helps manage stress levels, as stress levels rise, so does the production of cortisol. That's when too much of a good thing can be not such a good thing afterall. Sort of like canned goods! A little can be helpful, makes eating a little easier to manage. Too much emphasis on prepackaged foods can prevent the natural goodness of whole foods to provide optimal nutrition.  I'll call my experience this morning the affects of Canned Cortisol. Tracking my bf% the past several weeks would find a gradual drop of near 5% from 15.2 to 10.4 in a little over 3 months. That's a statistic I would tell any one of my clients, they would need to be statisfied with. However, in discussing and monitoring body fat with clients who either have weight management issues or athletic goals requiring cutting bf per centages, we will also discuss the positives and negatives of cortisol. Most people are not aware of what cortisol does. I'll limit the details in this blog to just one factor about cortisol, though I encourage anyone reading this and who has interest, do their own research. It was a thesis study of mine in grad school and is really quite interesting. One of the facts of cortisol is that high levels that show up in the bloodstream, like those levels associated with heavy stress, can have direct negative effects on abdominal fat storage. That particular negative effect showed up in my most recent bf% table recording. It's been two weeks since my last reading. This past Friday, my wife Barb had a two part surgery. One, her choice and I respected and supported her decision to proceed, the other a necessity to prevent phyical complications at a later stage in life. The latter was to correct scar tissue from rupturing; the scarring from a radical Cervical surgery of 20 yers ago. In addition, we run a private fitness studio with some 40+ clients visiting us through the week. Barb will be out of commission in the gym and I will pick up a number of her clients in her absence as well as working my own base. With the onset of Christmas and family coming into Houston, stress levels began to rise undoubtedly, even though most who know me would define a "laid back hard to throttle emotions type of guy". Yet, proof is in the "can" as my bf count increased in my reading.  A lesson I am familiar with is that stress management is a very real element in lowering cortisol levels. Thus the bf recording is capable of quickly deducting itself as long as my diet remains correct and my exercise regimen remains consistent. Identifying and putting into practice a constant that can embrace stress and use it positively is a must for us all. My particular's include reading, walking, and listening to Christian music, not in any particular order.  Blogs are written to tract thoughts and encourage feedback. Here I write to provide a little info but mostly remind myself, that even the smallest of stressful situations becoming out of control have have a fairly rapid impact. As my wife alwasy says in reminder, "Kum bah ya" with the canned cortisol, let's keep it under control.  

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A ReEducation of The Routine

Just wrapped up a "fairly" intense core and cardio routine. However, "fairly" is not a good word in my exercise vocabulary. I thoroughly enjoy resistance work, and attack each and every workout with a passion. When it comes to core and cardio, I have relied on my wife Barb to help push me through the designed routines we've created. When it comes to intensity, when working out together, she turns the gas on full throttle which puts me into a competitiveness that sees me push through the proverbial wall of fatigue . I've blog'd on this before. Barb goes in for surgery Friday; today she ran errands in preparation for being out of commission in the gym for the next month. Without her, as that wall creeped up on me today, I realized the push I had relied upon was not there. I do use a series of playlists of my favorite Christian rock that did see me through the workout, but I didn't pay attention much to time and pace. I knew I was not pushing record time, the Grand Prix had become more like a go cart track. Lesson today was that my mental framework will need to go through a re-education in approach. New motivations will need to be enlisted and a change in how I prep my mental attitude prior to each workout will need to be established. I've had some good advice come from friends here on bb.com. I know these friends will be great support. It's one of the benefits that I have found exceptional about this web site. Everyday is a good day, some better than others. This day was one of the better in the perspective it provided.

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Losing to Gain

My wife Barb and I own and operate a Health Wellness studio called TogetherInFitness. It is where we train, counsel, and minister to the fitness and nutritional needs of clients. Since beginning five years ago, we have worked 24/7 together to make this business successful.  Typically when I use the phrase Lose to Gain, my reference is in relation to weight management criteria in losing weight to gain health benefits, confidence, and overall physical wellbeing. In writing this blog, my meaning of that phrase takes on a different perspective. This next Friday, Barb will have surgery to repair scar tissue from a cervical complication of 20 years past. Barb is a cervical cancer survior and underwent radical surgery in 1990 to safe her life. In 2008 Barb worked her tail off to become an ABA Masters Gulf States BodyBuilding Champion. Though the results were exciting and amazing for a 52 year old woman, the magnitude of the effort took its toll of the abdominal scaring beneath the surface of the skin. On Friday, she will have the scar tissue removed and her abdominal panel repaired to strengthen what has become a weakened lining of the abdominal rectus. Though the procedure is not dangerous it is a must for her to continue using exercise as a means for keeping her  body healthy. I will temporarily lose my business companion, my training partner, my coach, my motivationalist, my most avid supporter in the gym. Though for a few weeks I will miss our companionship in the studio, in the long run I gain a stronger wife as we continue both our business venture and our partnership lifestyle in the health and fitness arena.

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Practice What You Preach

Today was a bit of a reality check in reviewing body stats. After 6 months of health set backs, this past week I took an exciting step back onto a path I had begun before the disappointments forced a temporary timeout. As previously blogged, I want to compete in a 60+ amateur competition with the goal date being Oct 2011 in San Antonio. After 20 years of training and mentoring others in accomplishing physical and lifestyle goals, now with the blessing of my athletes, my wife and through the strength of god, I've decided to pursue this passion. I have a pat line I tell all my prosepctive athletes before contracting them as clients then hammer them constantly with, "Each day you give Great Effort is a day closer to Great Success. But success is like climbing a mountain, it takes steps to reach the peak AND you have to realize steps can be taken forward, backward, and sideways. In your heart, mind, and soul, you must decide the direction you wish to take." It's time in my life to practice what I preach.    

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Climbing the Straight Rope of Life

When I was a kid in middle school, we had two hanging ropes in the gym.  One included several knots about every three feet apart that allowed for hand and foot grips making it easier to climb and touch the ceiling of the gym. The other had no grips and for those of us that were maturing late, either thin in muscle and strength, or overweight and soft in muscle tissue, the straight rope was a challenge. We would try, fail and be sent to the knotted rope only to try again with the straight one again another day. Our gym coach was a great motivator. Each day of great effort, he would tell us, gets you a day closer to great success and touching that ceiling. For me it took two years with gradual progression to touch the ceiling above the straight rope. A great day of reckoning in the life of a young boy learning a little about persistence and maturity. Today hasn't changed that much. I have had a long standing goal of completing a bb competition on my 60th birthday. In 11 months, this will be the year of reckoning. The past 6 months has been a calamity of physical challenges presenting the straight rope once again in my life. A severe sinus infection followed by minor but necessary surgery, only to have a reaction to the anesthetic, followed then by a bout with bronchitis have presented some set backs. As I begin today on the eleven month journey of preparation to obtain that goal, I reflect back on that straight rope and the lesson learned. Each day of great effort is a day succeeding in lifes goals!    

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