Posts Tagged ‘energy’

#TrainInsane #LeaveHumanityBehind #TeamMutant

#TrainInsane
#LeaveHumanityBehind
#TeamMutant

Well it’s time to share my journey and life transformation through fitness. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to share my story for the first time and it really changed a lot of things in my life for the better. The overwhelming positive response that I received added to my already burning desire to be the best that I could possibly be!

It all started in 2011, I weighed 267 lbs. and had lost all respect for myself. One photograph that I received from my parents changed everything. I saw how awful and out of shape I looked and knew right there it was time for a change. Through a clean diet and some exercise I managed to lose 90 lbs. in 95 days.  Everything in my life beyond just my health and specific level of fitness was amazing from the beginning of my journey up until today.

Last year when I shared the second year of my journey I had already taken on more of a bodybuilding workout regimen and had just invested in my first gym membership a few months prior. I fell in love with the atmosphere at the gym. Everybody was so positive and willing to share so many great tips. For all of last year and even today I generally train 6 days a week.

Since the last story I have really taken my workouts extremely seriously. Endless hours have been spent in the gym training as hard and heavy as possible in an effort to gain size. Bodybuilding is such an amazing art and being able to watch the way you are physically able to manipulate your body is incredible. I’ve spent the last 12 months focusing on adding as much muscle mass as possible to my frame. When I had initially lost all of my weight, I had dropped to 178 lbs. and I felt too small. I currently weigh 218 lbs. and I am finished with my bulk. I am focusing on cutting down and walking around with a body fat percentage of around 12%. My ideal weight will likely fall between 200lbs.–205lbs. and I’m excited to see results from my years of hard work.

Last June I was fortunate enough to become an ambassador for Mutant Nutrition. This is a major supplement company based out of Vancouver. The products are located in 76 countries worldwide. I had been using their supplements for around a year so I was definitely excited to have a chance to work with this great brand if even in just a small capacity. As an ambassador I promote the products mostly through social media.  Forums like Instagram and Twitter as well as Facebook make it extremely easy to connect with people and answer questions regarding the Mutant Nutrition. I hand out samples at gyms in my area and the response is overwhelming. People love the supplements and the sponsored athletes, so it really makes my job very easy. I’m promoting something that I love and that I truly believe in. I will also work a few of the Mutant booths at bodybuilding expos which is really going to be great! I look forward to interacting with the fans first hand and hearing their feedback about the products.

Mutant products have been around for a while but in the past year the brand has really blown up. The products are processed in British Columbia and are always guaranteed results if used properly combined with proper diet and training. There’s everything from pre workout powders to post workout as well as everything in between. I stand behind the products and can tell you I would never go back to using anything else. If you’re interested in seeing the entire line of supplements, clothing and training videos go to iammutant.com.

This year my main goal is to lean out and see how I look. I’ve added cardio back into my regimen so it won’t be long until I see the results from my year of training hard. I’m really expecting great things for this year! To be a bodybuilder is an incredible obsession. But in the end every ounce of sweat that you sacrifice in order to reach your goal is worth it. By the end of this year I would like to be 220 lbs. with 12% body fat. It won’t be easy to reach this, but then again I never enjoyed anything that came too easy.

My workouts always vary but for the most part I generally train one muscle group per session. Often times I will throw in some calves or abs at the end of a workout. I train calves and abs 4-5 times per week and everything else just once. My sessions are usually around 90 minutes long and often include upwards of 50 sets and 500-600 reps. I love the burn and I crave the pump when I’m training. I like to hit things from multiple angles and different rep counts. I include giant sets, drop sets and super sets in my workouts. It’s great to constantly change things up so you can create a bit of muscle confusion. My current split is back, chest, arms, shoulders, legs and then day 6 I start all over again or just have a rear delt and trap day.

My normal diet consists of 6 meals. Basically the only foods I eat are rice, sweet potatoes, veggies, chicken and ground beef or turkey, eggs, egg whites and oats. I also have 2 or 3 whey protein shakes a day. Normally I consume 3500-4000 calories a day. 300 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbs and 100 grams of fat is the norm. Now that I’ve begun cutting those numbers will change. Eating cold meals out of Tupperware has become my life. I much prefer this lifestyle over my past where fast foods were a staple. My cheat meals are generally massive and sloppy. Lately my go to has been a meal consisting of lasagna, veal parm, meatballs, sausage, garlic bread or piles of chicken wings and a lot of pizza. I usually have one cheat day a week and without counting I’m sure I’ve had some days well over 7000 calories. Cheat days are great to control cravings throughout the week and give you something to look forward to. However mine get a little out of control and I’ve cut them completely for the next 3 months while I cut.

I feel it’s important that everyone knows that anyone can do this. When I started I was a 30 something year old obese lazy slob. Once it’s in your mind to be great, nothing can stop you. The mind is your most powerful weapon. It can literally either make or break you. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, only you have the ability to make the change. Start with just some light exercise, go for walks, eat more fruit and limit your sugars. It’s very easy to get started but once you do, be prepared to work your ass off and continue to do so for the rest of your life. Fitness isn’t a part time job. It’s every day, every meal and every rep at the gym. It is the healthiest addiction you can have!

I just would like to say in closing, thank you to each and every person who ever called me fat or told me I couldn’t do this. Your words have been on my mind for the past 3 years and it has been the motivation I needed to reach my goals. I’ve set my goals so high that I will have to keep working for the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Train hard and live the fit life!

Follow me on Twitter @MUTANT_FREAK_
Instagram @mutant_freak_
Or Facebook Michael Gainz Green

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Daryl Malden (Left 2013 Right 2014)

Daryl Malden (Left 2013 / Right 2014)

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley

My name is Daryl Malden and I am currently a Digital Marketer.  My other interests include cooking, health, fitness and most importantly family.  Growing up in Trinidad, I had an amazing childhood.  I enjoyed many outdoor activities and healthy eating was simply a way of life. That being said, I was always considered to be a chubby guy (not fat).  As I got older and headed into my teen years I became more self-conscious about how I looked; I never actually thought about how I felt physically or mentally. I always looked at “other guys” and wanted to be just like them. So I watched what I ate, exercised and did my best to look like them – the perceived healthier, happier guys. This would go back and forth for many years; my weight up, sometimes down. Finally mid 40’s I decided I wanted to be me.  Whatever that was; so I started a journey of self-discovery. I wrote down what I wanted to change in my life to become closer to my authentic self and here is what worked for me:

#1 (This is the most IMPORTANT)

I changed my mindset (focus) from where I was in life to where I wanted to be in life.

#2

I started reading books that interested me about wellness, self empowerment, meditation, religion etc.

#3

I made a promise  (to myself) that I was going to find that place within where I was most at peace in a happier, healthier, drug/alcohol free body.

The turning point in my life came when I hit 245lbs; I was taking all kinds of meds for health related issues that stemmed from being overweight and not exercising. As I started to read and research more about the food that I ate I began to realize that the processed food and even the stuff that I thought was actually healthy, really wasn’t all that good for me. Initially I stopped eating meat. I also stopped smoking and having the occasional drink.  I also started to exercise. Then I decided to try a juice cleanse. This is where the magic happened.

For me juicing organic vegetables and fruits of all kinds work best for me. I have never felt so energized about life as I do right now. I am now at 5’9’ 170 lbs and loving it. This has become my new lifestyle. At 54 I am proud to say that I am off my meds and heading upward in all aspects of my life. I wake up every morning at 4:30am, make a cup of green tea,  wash up and head to my quiet space where I meditate and give gratitude for all that I have and what’s coming. When I am finished I head into the kitchen to start breakfast for my family. Breakfast consists of protein and fruit or 32oz of green juice and it’s freaking amazing. Then I head to the gym or stay at home and work out for about 45 minutes. After my work out I have another green juice and then I head to my home office for a 3-4 hour work day. I keep hydrated with lots of green tea and fill up on hearty salads as often as I can.  I throw in some almonds and dried fruit (with no sugar added) at different times of the day.  In the evening I head to my quiet space to meditate and give thanks for the day. It’s the most amazing feeling any human being can imagine.

In order to stay focused I’ve surrounded myself with positive people and positive thoughts. Every breath that I take; everything that I see, touch, smell or taste I am thankful. For my strong arms, legs, heart, lungs, kidney and brain, I am thankful.  For my ability to walk, talk, breathe and experience life on a daily basis I am thankful. For the family, friends and mentors that have stood by me throughout this process, I am eternally grateful.

Sometimes as you try to find your way you lose friends and family members and that’s ok. You have to change for you and no one else. If you are in a relationship let your partner know what your intentions are and where you’re headed; if they love you they’ll be supportive, they may even join you and the journey becomes more fulfilling.

Find your motivation and above all else, stay true to self.

Daryl

Namaste

 

Are They Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

It has been some time since I have put my thoughts into writing but today I saw something that inspired me to write this short article about the things you should be looking for in a personal trainer. 

For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work with, manage and teach many aspiring health and fitness professionals. In this time, I have also been a witness to many practices that I will never understand and today was one of them. When I exercise I tend to keep to myself and observe everyone else. I do this for a couple of reasons; one of them being that I am a lifelong student and I am always watching people to learn from them and their successes and mistakes. The other is that I have had the pleasure of observing some of the best and some of the worst fitness professionals in the industry.  

Today, I witnessed something that I still cannot wrap my head around. When I am teaching aspiring fitness professionals the one thing I spend a fair bit of time on is safety. Today I witnessed a complete disregard for safety by a certified personal trainer. While working with his client and spotting her on a dumbbell flat chest press, he spotted from the elbows (which is the first mistake). When spotting his client, she failed and the dumbbell fell on her face. The part that I am still struggling with is that within a minute, he attempted to spot her again from the elbows, and again, the weight fell on her face. First things first, when spotting any dumbbell press, you should always spot from the wrists or hands so that when your client does fatigue, you do not push the weight into their body or face like I witnessed today. This is one of the most commonly made mistakes in a fitness facility but any educated fitness professional should know this. Secondly, he did it twice!  

There are an increasingly large number of people seeking personal trainers in North America. With this demand, the industry has been exploding with new theories of training, new certifications, new styles of training, new corporate fitness facilities and more and more boutique style training facilities. Before you sign up and purchase personal training, there are some things you might want to consider.  

  1. Age, Maturity, Engagement, Body Language, Appearance and Attire 

Something that is not always easy to determine prior to purchasing personal training is the age and maturity level of the fitness professional. But if you have the opportunity, it is always a good idea to observe the personal trainers while they are exercising in the facility and while they are engaged with a client. This will reveal very important information regarding the personal trainer’s perspective on exercise and their approach to personal training. Look for things like whether the personal trainer has their shoes tied up, are they leaning on equipment or sitting down when their client is exercising, are they observing their client’s performance from all angles and viewpoints, are they smiling and making eye contact with their client, are they carrying a coffee while they are training their client, do they look like they just rolled out of bed and were late getting to the client’s session, are they carrying their client’s file and are they writing down information, are they actually watching their client’s technique or are they looking at other gym-goers, are they motivating and talking with their client? In between sets are they being personable or are they staring off into the distance, are they offering feedback to their client? Does the client look like they are enjoying themselves? Are they working hard or hardly working?  

The answers to these questions will tell you the quality of the personal trainer you are going to get. The personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for! 

  1. Education/Certifications 

Aside from the personal side of personal training, you want a personal trainer who knows what they are doing. In the industry today there are more certifications than we know what to do with. There are certifications that you can achieve by attending a weekend course, certifications that require a minimum of two years of post secondary education before you can achieve them, certifications that you can achieve online, certifications that are one day workshops and certifications that specific to a type of equipment. What you want to look for in a personal trainer are certifications that are theory based because the theory-based certifications typically require formal education prior to attempting the certification. Some of the more common theory based certifications are CSEP – CPT, NSCA – CPT, NSCA – CSCS and the YMCA Fitness Education certification. These are certifications that require education and mentorship hours to achieve. This means that they have formal education in health and fitness in addition to their personal training certification. Keep in mind that just because someone is wearing a shirt that says “Personal Trainer” does not mean they are certified. I was a “Personal Trainer” for a year at a well renowned fitness facility without any certifications 

Most fitness facilities will post their personal trainer’s credentials for you to see. Google what the certifications are or the requirements to obtain them to see just how qualified your personal trainer is! 

Ideally, your personal trainer should have formal education (post secondary) in health and fitness as well as a theory-based certification. I am not saying that any personal trainer who does not have this is not high quality (I currently do not have a theory based certification but I do have 10 years of post secondary education in exercise science and 16 years of work experience in the field) but it is something to consider!  

  1. Walking the Walk 

Another questions to ask is, does your personal trainer practice what they preach? Are they coaching you to do something that they cannot do themselves? If this is the case they might not be best suited for you. Think about your stockbroker. If they were encouraging you to purchase a specific stock, but they would not purchase it themselves, would you buy it? If your doctor prescribed a medication for you but they would never take it themselves, would you be confident in taking it? Find out what your personal trainer does in their spare time, their hobbies and interests. This will tell you a lot about whether they will be able to inspire you and motivate you to health and wellness.

In closing, a real fitness professional will be professional. They will treat their job as a profession. They will design workouts and programs specific to your needs and your abilities. They will contact you on your off days and see how you are feeling. They will ask you questions about you and listen to your answers and offer advice when needed. They will be YOUR personal trainer and make you feel that way. They will inspire you to be better, to do more, to achieve goals that you have never thought possible. They will educate you and teach you why you are doing what they are telling you to do. And lastly, they will encourage you and guide you to the results you want to see while making sure you are getting there safely. 

If you have any questions or comments I would be happy to hear from you. Check out my website at www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion, follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corfusion1, add me to facebook or email me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca. I would be happy to hear from you! 

Madison

I was born, raised, and still live in southern US and I love it! But being from the south, food has always been a big presence in my life, and not necessarily healthy food. Not to be stereotypical, but we like to fry everything we can get our hands on and then we might cover it in ranch dressing or gravy or even sugar depending on what it is. I never really remember learning healthy eating habits as a child and I have been overweight pretty much my entire life. I started to gain even more weight when I graduated from high school and went off to college; but then the problem wasn’t just food. I drank with my friends in high school as a lot of teens do, but once I was out of my parents’ house it became a daily thing. I failed every single class I was enrolled in the second semester of college because instead of going to class I woke up and started drinking. I moved home and got it somewhat under control for a brief time but went right back to my old ways, failing out of yet another university. I gave up on trying to get an education at that point, got married, and began working random minimum wage jobs that were miserable and only contributed to my eating/drinking problem.

During these years I did the yo-yo dieting thing, losing 50-60 pounds then gaining back 70-80 each time. I was only trying to lose weight to look good at that point. I didn’t care about my health really; I just wanted to be thin and pretty! I was approaching 25 and I kept hearing things about a woman’s metabolism slowing down considerably after that age. It was almost like it was directed towards me as much as I kept hearing this. So February of 2011, 3 months before my 25th birthday, I stepped on the scale and saw the number 254. I nearly choked as it had been a while since I weighed myself, and I was convinced I hadn’t gotten _that_ big since my last diet! I had always told myself I would never let myself get past 250lbs as I was afraid that was my point of no return. I decided then that it would be the last time I would ever see that number, and I was going to be thin while I was still young if it killed me. Even then I didn’t much care about my actual health, just what I looked like. However, I did great for a while. I ate enough and ate healthy, I lifted weights and did cardio religiously, and I had amazing results losing about 80 pounds in probably 6 months. Then my body got used to what I was doing and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see. I thought, “Ok, well I guess I need to start eating less and doing more cardio because weights aren’t doing anything for me.” I should mention now that I was still drinking pretty heavily at this point. I cut my calories even more and now I was only eating 800-1000 calories a day while doing literally hours of cardio. I got down to 150lbs which was my goal weight at the time and I should have been happy; but since I lost the weight so quickly and not healthily I was left with this deflated, flabby body that I hated. I began to starve myself even more, I weighed myself constantly, and my drinking became absolutely out of control. I would drink to stave off the hunger and the thoughts that I would never have the “perfect body” that I was striving for. My husband and I fought constantly, I called in to work because I would be so sick from drinking/not eating, I was miserable. Here I was 2 years away from my starting point, and I was no happier than when I was overweight, if anything I was more _un_happy. There were many times that I “quit” drinking during that 2 years but I never _really_ found the motivation to make it stick. In February of this year, my body had finally reached its breaking point. After months of starving myself and poisoning my brain by consuming so much alcohol, I literally lost it. My husband was able to reach my parents and the three of them were able to get me calmed down and talk some sense into me. I realized that looking good was not worth what I was doing to myself and I had to get it together. My main focus at this point was to be sober and healthy and I was in search of a way to do that. I had heard people talk about eating “clean” and I had no idea what that meant, so I did some research. I started cutting out as many “unclean” things from my diet as possible and I was seeing some changes again. This time, though, I was noticing things like my hair being stronger and more shiny and the wrinkles that had formed on my face looking less noticeable; I started to realize how old and unhealthy I looked before even though I thought all I wanted to be was “skinny”. I’d say about another month later, I found the “fitfam” community on twitter. They all talked about eating clean and *gasp* LIFTING?! I thought, “But doesn’t that really make you bigger?” That’s false, of course, and luckily I decided to try it anyway because I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I have now been sober for 7 1/2 months, October 18th will be my 8 month mark. I would have to say that my problem with drinking was the hardest obstacle I had to overcome in order to get to this point. I think it was the root of all of my other problems. I have also been eating clean and training my body in a healthy way during that time. I don’t even weigh myself anymore as the changes to my body speak for themselves and are not reflected by a number on a scale. I feel as though I look and feel younger than I have in years; I was aging myself with my unhealthy lifestyle. I don’t get sick, I have a more positive outlook, and I’m actually living my life; I’m just _finally happy_ and that is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. This feeling of peace and joy are my motivation to keep going because it just keeps getting better. Every day that passes I am able to do things I couldn’t imagine being able to do before. Most importantly my husband and I have started to become involved in church again. I have probably neglected my spiritual health even more than my physical health throughout this journey, and getting back to that has been a blessing. Make no mistake, I have worked very hard to get myself on the right track to being fit, but I can’t take all the credit. The Lord has given me the strength to pick myself up when I get knocked down, and I thank Him for that daily. Without His presence in my life, I know I would have been lost. My husband has been a great support through all of this as well. He has stood by my side no matter how crazy things have gotten. My parents tell me how proud of me they are almost daily. It’s a great feeling.

The person I am today is nothing like the person I was 2+ years ago. I seem to be always on the go instead of always on the couch these days! I work in a small (but extremely busy) restaurant owned by my parents that is a pretty popular spot for the local college kids and Downtown employees. Recently I have started attending cosmetology school, which was always a dream of mine, so after work I drive about 40 minutes to school and am there from 5pm-10pm Monday through Thursday. I have about a year of cosmetology school left, after which my ultimate goal is to become a certified personal trainer as well so I can help people like me take control of their lives, feel great about themselves, and finally start really living.

I don’t necessarily have a set “routine” that I follow anymore as far as my workouts are concerned.  Since I am so busy Monday through Thursday I just make sure to commit myself to at least 3 days of cardio a week, where I will do some kind of HIIT program on the elliptical for anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and lifting at least 5 days a week. My lifting schedule varies as I get bored easily, so I focus on the different muscle groups (i.e. core/abs, arms, legs, back, etc.) and just switch it up however I feel! I make sure to train all groups at least once every week. I find different exercises by searching online, from people on twitter, from various fitness apps on my phone, just doing my homework! I do all my workouts at home as my guest room doubles as my weight room, and I have my elliptical set up right in my den. I’d say I follow an “If It Fits Your Macros” style diet, with my macros varying based on what activities I have planned for the day. For example, I may lower my carb intake on a day when I know I’m just going to be sitting in class and not moving around much, or up my protein intake on a day when I’ve done some intense lifting. My fat intake doesn’t really vary, I just make sure I am getting enough to fuel my body. I try to avoid any processed foods like the plague and stick to fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. I do have the occasional protein bar that might not be “all natural”. I keep my whey protein powder stocked as I use it in oats, smoothies, etc. for the extra protein, but I don’t take any other supplements. I used to take a pre-workout but I find that they just make me jittery and coffee works just as well if I need a little boost. I always have coffee in the mornings as well, and I do add a little Truvia. I make sure I’m drinking at _least_ a gallon of water a day and I drink a glass of green tea as soon as I wake up, after every meal, and after my workouts. I try to never have a “cheat meal” but I LOVE sweets so if I’m feeling the need for a treat I’ll have some natural peanut butter. I am obsessed with any of the flavors by Peanut Butter and Co., especially White Chocolate Wonderful.

My goals right now as far as fitness goes are to keep losing fat and building muscle as much as I can while not having as much time to train, and of course to maintain a healthy diet. Once I graduate from cosmetology school and become licensed in that, I want to become a certified personal trainer as I mentioned before, and I have played around with the idea of competing when I have more time to train my body. Really, my ultimate goal is to help others. I want everyone who is currently stuck in the life that I was living before to be able to be happy and healthy and to wake up every day feeling great and loving themselves. To those of you reading this who ARE me before, I want you to know that you CAN do this and when you do you will never regret it. I’m not here to tell you that it’s easy — it’s not easy at all. It’s hard to train yourself out of bad habits but it can be done, and it is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself.

I’d like to thank Shay for asking me to share my story, it’s so flattering and kind of overwhelming at the same time! I’d also like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my story and I hope it can serve as some kind of inspiration or motivation for you. If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can follow me on twitter @Fit_Love_Beauty and I’ll try to get with you as quickly as my schedule allows! Again, thanks for reading. 

“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

The Way of Kaizen

Kaizen

The Japanese culture is based on respect, honor, and innovation. They focus on being better and getting better all of the time. You may have seen the Japanese word “Kaizen” frequently used in the business world.

According to Wikipedia, Kaizen is:

“Japanese for ‘improvement’, or ‘change for the better’ refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.”

Notice the word ‘improvement’ … it describes my journey to become Strong By Choice.

The Beginning

Growing up in Ohio, I certainly wasn’t the biggest or strongest kid. My body type is an ectomorph. Small wrists. Broad shoulders. Lanky legs. I remember how I used to look at those who played sports at our high school particularly one named “Larry” who was built like WWE Ryback at the young age of 16!

I knew that I wanted to look the same so I begged the football coach to train me to look like Larry. He chuckled and brushed me off. His dismissal hurt and only fueled my fire more. So I did what any skinny boy in America would do, I asked my parents for a weight set! After enough pleading with my parents, they finally decided to give in and shell out money for me to buy a Sears weight-lifting set complete with grey plastic sand weights and black steel bar. I would now show the coach and Larry what’s up!

Wrong.

After a few months, the weights became home to spider webs and boredom. Larry went on to muscle bound glory I’m sure while I stayed trapped in my thin frame.

Fast forward to my time in the military in the 1990’s through 2000’s. If one is not able to get in shape in the military, then there is no hope for them! Totally by God’s grace, I passed boot camp and military school to be assigned at a horrible place of blue waters, good weather, and clean air: Hawaii.

Since I would go on deployments, we have nothing better to do than to get in shape. So we would work out in scouring hot weather using the facility’s rusted equipment while downing the latest supplements in hopes of creating the Atlas physique. In fact, I think I could have been a shareholder for GNC’s supplement store because of all the money I was spending on potions, powders and promises (e.g. Bill Phillips & Body For Life, EAS supplements, Cybergenics).

During my time with the military, I was able to make some gains by ballooning to 170 lbs of muscle  and fat by eating Burger King and McDonald’s to put on size. My dress uniform pants for the military would scream every time I plunged my girth into them. Eventually I got out of the military and went into the Reserves. My access to the gym now meant I had to buy my membership and so I did. My wife and I joined the local gym in the neighborhood where some of the customers would walk barefooted while lifting heavy weights (no joke). That’s not all. The facility didn’t have a sanitation bottle to spray the benches. After a few weeks, we decided to cancel our membership and my training fizzled to nothing. We moved to Ohio and later moved to Kentucky. After years of inactivity, there was a spark that started an inferno of activity. The spark was a co-worker of mine named Jeremy Corder.

The Spark

In 2011, Jeremy had various health problems including Fibromyalgia. I recall one time when Jeremy showed me how many bottles of mediation he had to take for his ailments. I remember clearly that he pulled out so many bottles of meds that he shook his head in disbelief.

Over the months following, I was able to work from home for the company that we worked for. Since I was in Kentucky, I could instant message those at work to keep in touch. One day I was chatting with Jeremy and he shared with me how he had changed his life. He stated that he was off his meds, found natural solutions and was getting in shape! He shared with me that he was even starting to get buff. I could hardly believe what I was reading. To be frank, I was jealous because he took control of his life while I was stuck in my own mediocrity.

So one day, I was looking in the mirror and I knew that I had to change. Then a spark of inspiration touched me. I could see…wait a minute…I could see small definitions in my abs. I had eaten traditional foods and organic foods for a while and there must have been some fat burning on some level. I was determined to find the workout program that would work for me. The spark had been lit. I knew I had to change.

The Inferno

With new determination, I went to the local library. There had to be some program I could do that was time friendly since my #1 excuse was the #1 excuse of everyone else – Lack of time.

Enter Sean Foy – the author of the book “The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough.”

In the book, Sean proposes an exercise program that can be done in 10 minutes yet offer the same benefits of a traditional 1-2 hour program.

Skeptical yet? Good.

Why?

Because I don’t want you to believe what I say yet to encourage you to check out the book yourself.

I can say that with this program, I had successfully worked out consistently. Every time I try to weasel out of doing the workouts, I reminded myself, “It’s only 10 minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes.”

I do the workout and boom. . .done.

Through eating real food and working out for 10 minutes (M,W,F), I began to slowly see changes in my body. Yes, the spark had ignited into a flame.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have -  @strongbychoice

Find what works for you and stick to it ~ @strongbychoice

The Future

From that point I had moved from body-weight exercises to being able to afford a gym membership and getting in the best shape of my life in 2011-2012. I started the Twitter handle @StrongByChoice because being strong is always a choice.

In early 2013, I dead-lifted 205 lbs and 210 lbs at 165 lbs which you can view here: bit.ly/19wh055 it’s my personal best to date.

My twitter account remains active and my core supporters are a group of committed individuals called #TheStrongNation. For the time being I’ve cancelled my gym membership in order to save money and focus on new ventures. My training is at a stand still however I realize that fitness is a journey and the choice to be strong is indeed a daily choice. Eventually, I’ll get back on track. My training is all about Kaizen.

Besides, 10 minutes is a good place to start again, right?

Christian, husband, daddy and the assassin of average. Creator of ™  @StrongByChoice

15 health benefits of eating apples

Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack.

apples1

What makes apples so great?

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples—Red Delicious and Granny Smith—ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetyl choline and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

3. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

4. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

6. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

7. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

8. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

11. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

12. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

13. Detoxify your liver

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

14. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

15. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

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http://www.besthealthmag.ca