Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rob's Success- not a fluke

It has been an honor and a privilege to stand by Rob's side during his weight loss. To be honest, before his transformation, I was a little concerned for his health. Rob is an amazing person and there are many reasons why he is such a success, none of them being luck, fate, genetics, or a mistake.
Rob's first step toward his goal was understanding that he had to lose weight. He knew that it wasn't going to happen over night or even within a month. As soon as he decided to commit his energy to the long haul, he was ready to rock. Rob's decision to use Weight Watchers as a tool for guidance was very wise.
The "points" system of calorie counting is brilliant and still remains simple. However, rather than abusing the points system and just eating a big slice of chocolate cake for his entire daily caloric intake, Rob ate healthy! Every morning, he ate an egg white sandwich on whole wheat bread with buffalo!
His restaurant of choice is The Pump, a local health food restaurant chain that remains calorically conscious. Rob also did a wonderful job of eating frequent small meals which always contained protein and complex carbohydrates. This correct ratio of healthy nutrients allowed him to build healthy lean body mass. More lean body mass results in a faster metabolism. When he went out to dinner for a bigger meal, he ate a little less during the day. When it was a holiday, he would cut the points down gradually during the preceding days. He also just didn't eat a lot of unhealthy food when presented in front of him (trust me, there were some dinners we had where I walked out more proud of his eating than him!).
Now that he had a nutritionally strong foundation for weight loss, he was ready to build his routine for working out. Rob works a lot, he has a wonderful girlfriend, great friends (if I don't say so myself!), and a close family... Even with his busy life, he still made the time to go to the gym (even it requires waking up at 4:45 am to go to the gym before work!!). His consistent workout sessions frequenting around 3-4 times per week were plenty.
Rob says "In terms of my workouts, they consist of a great balance of aerobic and anaerobic activity. Some days I lift, others are focused around
plyometrics, but the thing that stays consistent is the level of activity. During my workouts I dont rest very much. My heart rate stays consistent at a fat burning rate throughout my workouts (aside from when I run to the gym and when I am jumping rope) and I think that has been a real key in my workouts.
I mentioned the jumprope earlier, and that has been my crutch for working out since last March. I look forward to jumping everytime I work out, and
at this point, according to my trainer, I am the best in the gym. It is fun, a great workout, and you can say the sky is the limit in terms of how good I
can be."
Rob's "Jump Rope" can be your "Jumping Jack" or "Push Up". Working out can be really enjoyable when you find an exercise to look forward to. There's
nothing wrong with a little competition to maintain motivation. I even loved mountain climbers for a while!
The last link to Rob's puzzle was, and still is, the most important. It represents Rob as a person and as a role model. Rob has surrounded himself with people who love and support him. It's a true test of character to look at the people who play key factors in your life. It's vital to incorporate the people that care about you into your life and what ever goals or challenges that may consist of it. Rob has an extremely supportive girlfriend- What's up Alissa!, a magnificent mother, excelent father, and really cool sisters! He even had a couple of good buddies that he reported his progress to (the updates rocked!)....Not every week was perfect though. There were some weeks where Rob even gained weight... But he never gave up.
If you are in the same situation as Rob was, or feel like you're in a rut, now may be a good time to not only analyze your workouts, but how you have been incorporating fitness into your life. Are you eating right? working out correctly? Do you have the right support? Are you willing to accept other people's support? Enough of this "I'm on the road solo" stuff. Find a system that works for you, and then allow the people who support you to stand by your side.
Rob back then Rob now!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Starts With You

Guest blog by Rob Longert

--(Rob Longert is a great friend of mine and a fantastic supporter of Priority Fitness. We are truly proud to introduce him as the first person to write a guest blog. He has achieved so many amazing goals in his life. One of the achievements that stands out in my head is about his health. Here is his story about what he has done and what has helped him get there. Stay tuned for a follow up blog of other reasons why he was so successful!)

What happens when we take shortcuts in life? Chances are that whatever we skipped and got around will come back to haunt us at some point.

There are weight loss pills, drinks, diets and even some types of food that claim to make us skinny in a hurry to look like the people on the cover of a magazine… Are we that foolish as a society to believe them?

Living a healthy lifestyle comes down to two basic principals in my mind. Brace yourselves… diet and exercise. Complicated, right? WRONG!

A year and a half ago, I decided I had to change my lifestyle. To put it plainly, I gained a few pounds when I went to college. And by a few, I mean between 40 and 50. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked, my energy level was nowhere near what I knew I was capable of, and I reached a point in my life where being healthy was important to me.

On January 14, 2008, I went into the Weight Watchers by my office and joined as the first step to the new me. 15 months later, I am proud to say that I am 62 pounds lighter and in the best shape of my life.

Is the Weight Watchers program great? Yes. I recommend it to everyone who wants to reach “their healthy weight,” but it is really just an amazing starting point to living a healthy lifestyle. It helped me to become aware of what I was putting into my body, and from there, I started moving more.

It started with walks and jogs, and evolved into a training regimen of working out in some capacity, 3-4 times per week. It varied from working with a trainer, going to a variety of classes, running, and now that the weather is turning nice, working-out outside.

There is the ability in all of us to reach the goals we want to accomplish. When we reach those goals, it gives us the positive reinforcement we need to go ahead and reach other goals, but we need help. Help from the people around us and help from ourselves.

We work hard at our jobs and make sacrifices for our close friends and family, but we cannot forget our minds and bodies. We need the will do something for ourselves too.

It was that realization that helped me achieve a healthy lifestyle and feel in shape. Not any pills or drinks or crazy diets. I worked hard at diet and exercise and didn’t take any shortcuts. Now I am in a position, psychologically and physically, to reach the next level… constant maintenance.

Want to know the best part after all this time? Achieving a healthy lifestyle can be a metaphor for the way we live our lives. Work hard and good things will come to you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Limiting Factor

Why is it that sometimes we settle for less? Why do we view others as “lucky” or just “born that way”? When it comes to our bodies, our lifestyles, motivation, or just fitness in general, why do we allow ourselves to settle for the bottom of the barrel? Well, it doesn't have to be that way.
If you Google 20 minute workouts, you will see a never ending list of routines that swear you will lose all the fat and gain all the muscle you want if done four times a week (despite the infamous “**results may vary**” small text). Do the same Google search for 10 minute workouts… then for 5 minute workouts. Same thing!! What does this message send to us? Is it really OK to rely on just 20 minutes (let alone 10 or 5 minutes) of activity a few times a week for our total health and well being?
It isn’t a coincidence that the Fitness Industry brings in billions of dollars every year, yet America is still obese!! We shouldn’t be allowing industries that profit on people being overweight to set our standards. Is 20 minutes of physical activity, a few times a week acceptable, especially if you have significant goals to reach? NO! It is not. Fad-diets count toe-tapping as activity! Working out for 20 minutes isn’t nearly enough time for our bodies to warm up, train, cool down, and stretch - which are all vital complements to a complete training routine. A complete resistance training session should last as long as your glycogen storage, which is typically 45- 60 minutes. Cardio sessions don't even put you into a fat burning zone until after the first 10 -15 minutes.
Our bodies were meant to move. Studies have shown that we live longer, sleep better, reduce stress, and even release endorphins! There is a reason why our bodies only respond positively to exercise… We were meant to do it, and the more frequent, the better. It should be a number one priority in our lives. Not because we are selfish- More importantly, how can we help or better others around us, if we can’t even take care of ourselves?
This doesn’t mean that we should all look like supermodels and workout like super athletes. I believe it’s very important to stay clear of outside pressures (magazines, celebrities, etc.) to get in shape and feel good. I also feel it’s imperative to be secure with your body and yourself. However, I don’t think it’s ok to be secure with being clinically overweight or obese. It’s unhealthy and sets a scary standard of living for children (Type 2 Diabetes is no longer called Adult-onset Diabetes!)
I’ve been fortunate to be the co-owner of a wonderful personal training studio. Not because of myself or my partner. It’s because of our clients, friends and community supporting it. They are amazing, inspiring, and humbling. The first thing we tell a new client is that “this isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be tough, and sometimes even grueling. But you’ll do it. And when you’ve reached your goal, you will have the privilege of looking back at all of your accomplishments and know that you earned each and everyone of them”. A good friend of mine (Rob Longert, who just lost 60 lbs and will be guest blogging shortly!!) loves to use this quote from our high school lacrosse coach. “Bricks are a dime a dozen, but pillars stand few and far between… Which one are you?”
So stay away from the media, fad-diets, and corny workout schemes… Be that pillar you deserve to be and stand tall.