Posted by: Street | October 13, 2011

80-20

If you research the 80-20 rule extensively, you’ll find that it applies nearly everywhere. According to Wikipedia the 80-20 rule, or otherwise known as the Pareto principle,  the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Here are some interesting cases where the 80-20 rule applies:

  • In health care in the United States, it has been found that 20% of patients use 80% of health care resources.
  • Several criminology studies have found that 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals.
  • Distribution of world GDP, 1989[8]
    Quintile of population Income
    Richest 20% 82.70%
    Second 20% 11.75%
    Third 20% 2.30%
    Fourth 20% 1.85%
    Poorest 20% 1.40%

 Of course there is a health and fitness twist on the 80-20 rule, and it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention health and fitness in one of my blogs right?

With your health and fitness goals it is well-accepted by health and fitness professionals, strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and dieticians that 80% of your results comes from your nutrition habits and 20% comes from the actual exercise program you are participating in. The problem with this is, 80% of people’s efforts come in the form of exercise and they only use 20% of their effort towards their nutritional habits. It becomes quite apparent why so many people get frustrated with the lack of their results. 20% of the population understands how to do it right, while 80% keep failing.

So the answer is simple, figure out your nutrition first. Or at least spend more time nailing that component down and then focus your energy on getting in some intense exercise. Once you harness your nutrition and it becomes second nature, focusing on the exercise becomes enjoyable, because you get to see the fruits of your labor. You know, the cuts, the shape, the abs, the smaller jeans, etc…all get their chance to shine, whereas when the 80-20 rule is applied in the wrong components, the fruits of your labor show in the form of spare tires, double chins, saddle bags, and cankles (or “snowpant legs” as a friend of mine once called them).

                      

Use your time, energy, and money wisely when it comes to your health, or you will pay more in the end.

-Street

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Posted by: Street | September 27, 2011

Re-Allocate!

Listen to the health and fitness “weirdo” closest to you and he/she will say the same thing. Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is not expensive; in fact, it’s way cheaper than most people think. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle, like all things in life, is a matter of choice. The most common excuses for not pursuing a healthy lifestyle?

  1. I’m too busy to eat healthy and exercise!
  2. It’s too expensive to eat healthy!
  3. I lack the discipline to do that!

Let’s address the expense factor. I’m not going to dive into great detail here, but the average American spends between $8 – $12 per day as soon as they walk out the door spending their hard-earned money on the likes of gas station food, vending machines, going out for lunch, coffee at Starbucks and/or Caribou, happy hour, etc… What this equates to monthly is a staggering $160 – $240 per month! The previous math only applies to the work week. Many people I know are much much worse on the weekends, but let’s be conservative and just say that the same $8 – $12 occurs on the weekends as well. That means $240 – $360 per month is spent on primarily poor food and beverage choices! These are concepts that we generally know as true, but we put in the back of our minds because they aren’t flattering statistics of our choices.

Back to re-allocation, it becomes quite easy to see how simply re-allocating the money you are already spending on poor choices to simply spend that money on good choices. Your checkbook won’t even know the difference! In fact, you’ll likely have some extra money in your checking out each month due to making better daily choices with your nutrition.

Here are some simple tips to re-allocate your money towards healthy choices and ultimately a healthier looking body:

  1. Instead of eating out for lunch or eating gas station food for breakfast, add in a Meal Replacement Shake. This tactic will actually lead to savings. Plus, a  leaner body composition will occur when this tactic is used consistently. Average Savings: $2 per occurrence.
  2. Instead of stopping at StarBucks or Caribou for Coffee, add in some SPARK. Not only is this much more effective energy, long-lasting energy, and much less acidic in your body, it contains lots of vitamins and mineral and is sugar-free. Better yet, you’ll save money! Average Savings: $1.50 per occurrence.
  3. Eat your groceries and bring your lunch to work. This is so simple, but people are quite frankly too lazy to take this 5 minute step. Wake up 5 minutes early or make your lunch the night before. C’mon dude, this can seriously save you money and really have an impact on your health. Pack an apple, pack some veggies, pack a turkey wrap, and some rice cakes and peanut butter or mixed nuts. Average Savings: $3.00 per occurrence

Meal Replacement Shake                   +                 AdvoCare Spark® Energy Drink= $3.50 savings/day

These 3 tactics alone have the ability to not only transform your body, but also your checkbook ($6.50/day)! I’m not saying that these all apply to you, maybe one of these tactics apply to you , maybe all three?! Only you can take the information and choose to do what you want to do with it.

Make the right choice, which will be the unpopular one, and practice the right choice consistently. Want to know what’s even cooler than that?! People will follow you and you’ll impact someone by them observing your healthy behavior. You can change someone’s life by merely helping yourself!

Stay strong,

Coach Street

I read a very profound quote the other day, and it goes like this:

“You are who you will be 5 years from now, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

The reason why this is so profound is because it is so true, so powerful, and so simple to implement. Well…simple may be the wrong term. Let’s dive into the deeper meaning of this quote. I hate to write and speak of my own experiences, but in this case I have to share. This past year, my 28th on this planet, has been the most amazing year of my existence. I have discovered more about myself, more about my abilities, more about those around me, and more about people than I have in all the other 27 years of my life. I feel wiser, I have more direction, and I have more confidence than ever before. Before I write any further, I want you to know that I’m not looking for a pat on the back or an “atta boy.” I want you, the reader, to evaluate yourself after reading. Back to my story…the reasons why my 28th year on this planet has been so significant are answered in the quote. I have read more uplifting and inspiring books this year than all of my other years on this earth. I have listened to more uplifting and inspiring CDs in my car, which I never did before. I have surrounded myself with people that are like-minded, positive, life-giving, wise, successful, and I have studied them and learned from them. I’ll get in big trouble if I don’t mention this; I also got married to the most lovely woman on the planet (Love ya darlin!)  The result of all this “positive brain food?” Life-changing! It turned my whole world around, and my hopes are that you make some decisions starting today to do the same for yourself.

Here are some action steps to put things into motion:

1) Start reading a great book at night and turn off Jersey Shore and MTV’s Real World. It’s poor use of your time and doesn’t make you any better, probably worse. If I may, I’d recommend reading The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews first to set the table. I may be biased, but this book changed my life and it was because a dear friend and mentor of mine gave it to me as a gift.

2) Start thinking about those you hang around most. Think of the top 5. Are they the type of people that you are striving to be like? If so, you are on the right track because research shows time and time again that you are who you hang out with. Just like you are what you eat. Notice how I didn’t say judge. It’s not our job to judge anyone, but we can evaluate.

 3) Eliminate negative people from your life. This is not always possible due to family and work; however, I’ve developed a keen skill that I’d like to share with you, and most men have genetically acquired this skill. Selective hearing! When people start getting all negative, and they are whining and swearing about circumstances and this and that; I tune them out. It may look like I’m listening, but all is here is Charlie Brown’s teacher.

To wrap it up, life’s too short to live nothing less than an extraordinary existence on this planet. Don’t settle for nothing less than what you began this life dreaming of becoming. It’s still all very possible. It’s a choice; make the right one. 

Have a phenomenal Labor Day!

-Street

Posted by: Street | August 26, 2011

Big Marshmallow or Small Marshmallow

I have to give credit where credit is due, and that is to a friend of mine who used to ask the question, “are you looking to go from big marshmallow to a small marshmallow,” when dealing with people who were looking to get into great shape, lean, defined, or in other words, the best shape of their life through running and/or walking.  The reason why this statement was used is because people are still stuck in the “jogging era,” or is pronounced “yogging” with a long J?

"Apparently you just run for an extended period of time?"

A lot can be figured out through pure observation. This time of year, many people are outside trying their hand at running and walking as their solution to lose body fat. What do you usually see from these people? Big marshmallows and small marshmallows. This may sound harsh, and of course there are always outliers, but generally what I see are overweight people walking and running. Now go into a weightroom and observe those that you see strength training regularly. What do you see there? You see muscles, less body fat, and a more desirable physique. Generally you don’t see the strength training area filled with big marshmallows and small marshmallows. There are many factors that can be discussed as to why this holds true in most scenarios, but let’s just keep it simple; people who strength train look better than those who don’t. Which begs the question? Why aren’t more people engaging in it?

Truth of the matter is this, if you aren’t strength training as part of your fitness regimen, the sail of your boat will not take you to body of your dreams, nor will it take you to “I just want to be healthy” town either. If you are an endurance athlete, your performance will be less than optimal if you don’t strength train and your risk for overuse injury will be higher. Numerous studies, which I won’t cite or mention in today’s post to save some time, have shown that strength training as part of exercise regimen is far more superior in resulting in more fat loss, increased bone density, more quality muscle mass, increased metabolism, and enhanced performance.

All components should be addressed in well designed fitness program. Nutrition education, muscular endurance, cardiovasular endurance, strength training, power training,  and flexibility training are essential to overall health and fitness. The bold items are those that I believe to be the “X” factors in achieving optimal results with your physique. I think many will agree, and if you haven’t taken to this advice yet, please do yourself and your body a favor by engaging in strength training in addition to the other components of health and fitness that you may already be addressing.

Stay strong!

-Street

Posted by: Street | August 17, 2011

So You Think You are an Expert?

Many sources refer to the “10,000 hour rule,” in order for one to be considered an expert.  I think this rule puts into perspective how long it takes to master anything. I am just as guilty as the next person, but why is it that in the health and human performance field (which you might say is the same case for your line of work), the newer someone is in the field the more they think they know? One thing that I have learned from working with many trainers and fitness professionals is this, having a bachelor’s degree, and a certification means absolutely nothing. To illustrate the 10,000 hour rule, allow me to use myself as an example.  I have been a full-time personal trainer or Strength and Conditioning coach for 5 years.  So let’s do the math on my working life’s 10,000 hours:

5 years = 260 weeks –> 40 hours X 260 = 10,400 hours

Now, this is just on the clock hours; I have not trained 10,400 hours. So, let’s take this a step further. At one training position I held for 3 years, sessions ran 45 minutes long, and we tried to operate at 75% efficiency, which means 75% of a trainer’s time was committed to training clients. Again, let us do the math:

6240 hours X .75 (operating efficiency) = 4680 hours –> 4680 hours X .75 (45 minutes = ¾ hour) = 3510 of actual training hours for the 3 years of employment mentioned above.

The next position I held was as a strength and conditioning coach for a baseball team. This position was held for 6 months, or 24 weeks. While this position entailed long hours, an “off the top of my head” estimate is that half of the time was spent training the ballplayers. Again, let’s do the math:

24 weeks –> 60 hours x 24 = 1440 hours/2 = 720 hours + 3510 hours = 4230 hours of practical experience.

For the past year, I’ve been training as an independent contractor training all sorts of people, from the high school athlete, scholarship bound athlete, and the 30-60 year old population looking for vitality, fat loss, and strength. Sessions run an hour in duration and I train on the average of 12 sessions per week. Not to be redundant, but let’s do the math again:

52 weeks X 12 hours = 624 hours + 4230 (from previous 4 years of experience) = 4854 hours

I think it is important to point out that this is “in the trenches” practical experience. In order to be considered an expert in practical training, one should accumulate at least 10,000 hours in the trenches. This means at the rate I am currently training that I have roughly 5 ½ years left before I can consider myself an expert in the trenches, which would equal about 10 years.  Another theory as stated by Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer (1993) reported that expertise in all fields is the result of intense practice for a minimum of ten years (Magill, 2007). If people can believe these theories and hold themselves to the standards, continuing education will be a by-product and all services and industries will improve vastly in quality of service. I say this because the more experience one gets in any field the more he/she discovers that there is more to learn.

Apply the 10,000 hour rule to your line of work, but don’t stop there. As my high school football coach used to say, “Complacency is a sin.” Don’t ever be satisfied with where you are at and what you do. Pursue greatness in all aspects of your life. Evolve to a higher level of wisdom than those that surround you, unless you are surrounded by people more wise than yourself, which is another blog post in itself!

In conclusion, since this is a health and fitness blog, let’s tie this concept to your health and fitness. Don’t for one second think that a 3 month commitment to your health will get you what you want. Don’t think that a year commitment is gonna do it either. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a long-term commitment, which is why it’s called a lifestyle. The faster you can wrap your mind around the concepts laid out in this post, the faster you can put your mind at ease and put your body to work.

Magill, R. A. (2007). Motor Learning and Control: Concepts and Applications. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pursue Greatness!

-Street

Posted by: Street | August 9, 2011

ATTENTION WOMEN! RUN & STRENGTH TRAIN!

I know, I know….”but I don’t want to get bulky.” Do me the pleasure of studying this image below and think about what it is saying:

Allow me to focus on the left side of  the diagram above. On the left side you have pure strength training, where the intensity (i.e. amount of weight) and volume (number of sets/repetitions) are inversely related. This simply means that as one lifts heavier weights, she cannot perform as many reps. Makes sense right? Also, when training with heavier weights, it is generally advised to keep the volume low because of the amount of stress on the body.

Routinely I get asked (or told) the following by women:

1) “I want to lean out and tone up, what should I do?’ Answer: Strength Training program

2) ” My trainer says that I should focus on high reps and low weights for muscle tone.” Answer: Fire your trainer immediately

Let’s examine my prescription for strength training for a minute. If you again look up at the diagram above you’ll see that hypertrophy occurs at the mid-range of volume (8-12 reps) and the mid-range of intensity. Just to clarify, “hypertrophy” is synonymous with “bulky” in lady land. So women, don’t we want to avoid that? I can hear it already, “Well then I’ll just stick with the right side of the diagram, low weights and high reps.” This is me below:

Let me try another angle. Most women I know tend to stick with traditional cardio (i.e. running) in an attempt lose weight and body fat. Running is what you see on the right side of the diagram above. Low weight (your bodyweight) and High repetitions (180 steps/mile roughly?) is running! Most people only recruit 40-60% of their lower body muscle mass when running for distance, so why would you want to do that in the weight room? You are only spinning your tires! You must, must, must train with heavy weights to have an impact on the rest of your muscular tissue. What is the point of going to the weightroom if you are only going to recruit (work) 40-60% of your muscle tissue? Woudn’t it make sense to spend time getting most if not all of your muscle fibers doing work?

But don’t take my word for it, Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups–no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training–they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle (Campbell 2011). Take home message: LIFTING WEIGHTS IS PRETTY DARN EFFECTIVE.  Furthermore, when lifting very heavy weights, or when performing quick plyometric movements, people recruit nearly all of their muscle fibers, which serves as a training stimulus for the central nervous system. The result is that the muscles increase their rate of force development, getting stronger, quicker, and more powerful. The more effective muscle force production translates into better running economy. Very heavy weight lifting and very few reps focuses on neural adaptation rather than on muscle hypertrophy (bulkiness) because adding muscle mass will decrease running economy (Karp, 2010). DID YOU SAY BETTER RUNNING ECONOMY? You can bet your IT Band Syndrome and shin splints I did! By increasing your ability to produce force and power, you propel yourself better with less effort, which results in faster 5K and 10Ks! Yay!

In summary, lifting heavy weights will help you lose more body fat, increase your ability to run economically, reduce your risk of overuse injuries, and ultimately look sexy in the process.

Did I get through to you yet?

-Street

Posted by: Street | July 27, 2011

Back Squats: Are they worth it?

 

Another big buzz concept in the world of strength and conditioning is ditching the traditional back squats because of the prevalence of low back injuries with the exercise. I’m sure many of you heard about Michael Boyle’s “Death to the Back Squat” campaign on the internet, and it really stirred the pot in the field because so many people hold strong loyalties to the back squat. Boyle’s reasoning is quite simple and stems mainly from experiential evidence; he’s witnessed on too many occasions a low back injury resulting from back squatting. From that viewpoint, you can’t fault the guy in the slightest.

As for me, I like to play on both sides of the fence. I do think that back squats are a great exercise when technique is sound, and the exercise is appropriate for the athlete’s body type. I think most of us would agree that “perfect” squat technique is rare, and generally the first movement compensation is lumbar flexion. This lumbar flexion causes the lever arm of the resistance to put excessive strain on the low back, which in turn results in the high number of injuries with this exercise (Durall, 2005). However, I completely understand Boyle’s concept of the risk-to-benefit ratio of back squatting versus other great exercises that can accomplish the same thing, if not more.

Many professionals are becoming advocates of single leg squatting and RFESS (rear foot elevated split-squats) to improve lower body strength and mass. Because the nature of single leg work is more demanding than bilateral work, the external load needed is much less than the traditional back squat, which many believe to be much safer means of developing leg strength than back squats. The spinal loading becomes less, yet the demand on the legs becomes more, sounds like a win-win right?

Durall, C. &. (2005). Avoiding Lumbar Spine Injury During Resistance Training. National Strength and Conditioning Journal , 64-72.

 

 

 

 

 

While information regarding the benefits of resistance training and plyo-metrics are accessible to us as fitness professionals, it is not readily accepted and available to the public. It is our job as health ambassadors to educate the public. When it comes to educating the public, one has to learn to “talk-public.” What this means is that we can’t just go out there and throw statistics, anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology darts, we have to explain it to the parents in a manner that benefits their child. Common sense is always a good approach in my mind.

While our kids are in world today where obesity is the norm, what message are they receiving every single day. Obesity is ok? Eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew while playing four hours of Halo is ok? How can anyone in their right mind contest that resistance training and plyo-metrics are unsafe? Sure, one in fifteen may incur an injury as a result of participating, but how many kids will develop life debilitating diseases and habits as a result of their current extra-curricular activities? A study published in Dynamic Medicine has found that sedentary kids, compared to their active counterparts, are five times more likely to develop a metabolic syndrome in their teenage years. For kids with “low aerobic fitness,” the risk is six times as high. If the last sentence isn’t reason enough to open the eyes of the parent, we need to look at a different set of problems (Inactive Kids More Likely to Face Heart Disease, Jul/Aug 2008).

I guess my point is this. Children are developed and taught by their parents and teachers. I think the best route to a more active young population is through the parents and teachers. Not only should we be educating parents, but getting them involved as well because chances are they are at risk individuals. If the parents and teachers are involved, the child will observe that behavior and be more likely to adopt it as well. To prove this point, 2/3 of the American adult population are either overweight or obese, and it’s began to spread to the kids. 30 percent of kids are overweight or obese in 30 states; to be blunt, parents and teachers need to be more responsible and not have the “ostrich with its head in the sand” approach (Kunes, 2009).

 

Inactive Kids More Likely to Face Heart Disease. (Jul/Aug 2008). IDEA Fitness Journal , 16.

Kunes, E. (2009). Secrets to a Healthier Family. Health , 12.

Posted by: Street | July 6, 2011

Damage Control

Summer is a time of fun in the sun. I try to participate in that as much as possible, just like most of us in the Midwest; however, with our fun in the sun oftentimes comes a blatent disregard for our health and wellness. Of course some people have found a healthy balance of fun and health and fitness during the summer months, but the vast majority simply either use the summer as a way to stray even farther from their health and fitness goals or as a hiatus from the other 8-9 months of trying to get fit. The truth is that health, wellness, fitness, or whatever you want to call it is a year-round discipline.

While long overdue, this post is aimed at damage control. Yes I understand that people will consume more alcohol during the summer months, which doesn’t exactly make sense when you really think about it, and as a result are more likely to consume foods that aren’t exactly in line with most people’s health and fitness goals. The cold hard truth is that while you may want to be lean and mean, the summer activities are likely contributing to your own natural life preserver around your belly button. 

So……..let’s strategize.

Let’s do some math. Most people know that we should eat 5-6 meals per day, so that’s 35-42 meals per week. Since the weekends are generally where the mishaps occur, let’s first focus on the weekdays. What if you did your best during the week and consumed well-balanced healthy meals 90% of the time? This means about 22 meals of the 25 (being conservative with 5 meals/day during the week) are healthy meals built around veggies, fruit, lean proteins, and complex carbs. That leaves us with 10 more meals to be consumed on the weekends. Let’s also assume that most mishaps occur during the second half of most days, which means that breakfast, a snack, and lunch can still be healthy meals. This means that 6 out of 10 meals on the weekend are planned and healthy, while the others happen as they will. All in all, this strategy will lead to 28 healthy meals being consumed out of 35 during the week. This is a 80% adherence plan that will allow you to maintain progress you’ve made prior to the summer, or this may be a plan to make some tremendous progress during the summer; it all depends upon where you are at.

Another strategy that will provide some amazing “damage control” and will honestly almost give you an unfair advantage during the summer are taking a few key supplements. I like to think of it as the “Advocare Advantage.” Those who have taken these nutrition products and supplements know that they are simply the best and oftentimes leave the person scratching their heads in disbelief at how good they feel and how easy progress is maintained/enhanced despite sub-optimal efforts. I don’t want to promote sub-optimal efforts, but I do feel obligated to share an advantage. Below are some products that will give you a decided advantage:

1) Metabolic Nutrition System (3, C, or E) – I prefer Max E for maximum energy, great appetite control, and fat burning.

2) Spark – everyone loves Spark. It tastes great, provides great energy and mental focus, is sugar free, and quite nutritious.

3) Catalyst – nicknamed “butt-B-gone and gut-B-gone.” Protects your muscle and keeps your body burning body fat.

4) Meal Replacement Shakes – perfect meal balance and is convenient for the busy nature of summer. Great ice-cream substitute.

5) ThermoPlus – takes your metabolism from a walk to a jog. If your metabolism is jogs already, what if it sprinted?

Keep after it everyone. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Stay lean.

– Coach Street

Posted by: Street | April 13, 2011

Being “Realistic”

The title of this post is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. It is my opnion that this way of thinking is what is wrong with most folks today. Being a health and fitness professional, hearing this phrase reminds me of a lazy cow (literally, the animal) chewing his/her cud and laying in a field all day long. Moo, Moo, Moo. There is nothing exciting about a cow’s existence is there?

“I want to be realistic with my goals” = Moo

“I want to be realistic about what is possible with this” = Moo

“I just don’t have the time or energy to do that” = Double Moo

The Magic of Thinking BigWhatever happened to the Magic of Thinking Big? Whatever happened to shooting for the stars and in the case that you don’t reach them you at least land on the moon. Whatever happened to overachieving?

If I can wish one thing to everyone who reads this blog post is to remember what it is like to dream big. Remember when you were a kid, before the negative real world started to make you think in a realistic way, when you dreamt you’d be a fire fighter or professional dancer or professional baseball player? While the abilities to do accomplish such dreams may be out of the realm of possibility, the point here is to not lose your ability to dream. If you are stuck in a rut in a career, in an unhealthy lifestyle, in an unhealthy relationship, snap out of it. Change happens instantaneously! It’s merely the decision to change that consumes and wastes valuable time that you could have already spent changing!

Long post short, “being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” All of us have greatness inside of us that can be extracted out. Don’t be afraid to leave your “realistic” ways behind you and venture out into greatness. Otherwise you are destined for Averagetown USA or Shouldawouldacouldaville.  I will caution you however; it’s an unpopular choice. You may even lose friends in the process. But remember it is your dreams. Don’t let a bunch of moo-ers in the pasture lure you back into their realm of uncertainty because you threaten their mediocrity. You are great, don’t let anyone tell you different. If someone tells you different, simply moo at them.

I choose to dream big. I choose to be around others that do too.

Brandon

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