The “no I can’t” lifestyle

One of our beliefs at tall trainer is in a “no I can’t” approach to life.  This means believing in your self that more is possible for you.  I was put to the test recently.

I am not a super handy guy.  This is important for you to know.  I’ve never changed my own oil in my truck (198,000 miles by the way).  Now I don’t change my oil because you can pay a small amount and have someone do that for you.  I wouldn’t enjoy it and it would be a mess.  I absolutely believe I could if I wanted too.

But, this story isn’t about that.  It’s about doing something that I didn’t believe I had what it took.


Sometimes I am scared and I don’t believe in myself.  The “no I can’t” reminder is helpful for me also.  I’m not perfect in my mental battles (far from it if you ask around!)  :o)

Not doing something because you don’t desire to do it is very different than not thinking you can.

Photo Aug 10 5 07 58 PM e1345207460478 224x300 The no I cant lifestyle

My Original "Fix" of the Roof

This task was a small section of roof over our back entry way was leaking and was REALLY beat up looking.  It needed to be replaced.  This was no knob on the shower (I did replace one of those too).  It was going to take work and some skills.  There would be boards to replace and roofing to put down even though I’ve never done it!  Don’t get me wrong, as a young couple with a baby on the way I’m pretty cheap.  But, I had avoided a lot of projects on the house already and it wasn’t because I was cheap.  It was because I was scared.

Sometimes I try to pretend I’m not doing something because I don’t want to when in truth I didn’t believe I could.  My Dad has always been handy and fixed everything in our house growing up.  My father in law is probably even more handy, building a house himself for his young wife while in his 20′s!  Needless to say I feel a bunch of pressure to be that guy.  On the other side I run a personal training and boot camp business that I absolutely LOVE!  Talk about finding a calling.  There is so much to do business wise that I have had to scale back on that just to have time with my wife.  If I did all our car and home repairs I would be dropping the ball on the two most important things (after God of course) these being my wife and family and my calling to help people and change lives.

That was my defense for awhile.  The business and family time.  That’s why I don’t do ___________ repair and hire it done.  While this is fine if it were true.  It wasn’t.  The truth was I was scared I would mess it up.  I thought I wasn’t good enough.  I felt like a misfit toy.  All sorts of negative emotions about me and the quality of person (or even quality of man) I am.

I decided to face it.

Something we all need to do.

(this is where it starts to apply to you)

front view a year later 2 300x222 The no I cant lifestyle

Lori Broke through and become a skinny person...YOU CAN TOO!!

When we hear negative talk we need to face it.  If it comes from a false belief about yourself you need to confront that belief.  Maybe you think you’ll always be overweight.  That is who you are.  “I could never be one of those skinny people.”  Or even, “no matter what I eat I can’t lose weight.”  Sounds similar to my, “I could never be a handy guy.”  There is a lie and a false belief in each of these statements.

The first challenge is to recognize that it is false.  (this can take years)

The truth is…

You have all the tools you need to lose weight.  Just like I have all the tools I need to conquer a house project.  I don’t mean specific tools.  I mean general tools.  You have a mind that works well (you can read obviously), you have a body that follows the laws of physics, and….wait….that’s all you need!  You can absolutely lose weight if you wanted too.

Just like I had a mind to ask my Dad and a friend from Lowes for a jump start.  (what to buy what to do) and I could buy the specific tools like hammer, roofing, etc.  (just like you have a mind to seek out boot camp or even just this blog to get the jump start you need)

If you aren’t ready for a BIG project.  Like getting completely to your goal weight.  Try a project size that makes you nervous but you think you can do.

Maybe it’s 5 pounds this month.

Photo Aug 11 11 09 12 AM e1345208660959 224x300 The no I cant lifestyle

In Process - Rotten Boards Replaced

I didn’t go out and try to Re-roof the whole house!  That would have been overwhelming and probably resulted in a failure by calling a professional to bail me out.  Which would have resulted in confirming the false believe that I wasn’t a handy man nor could I ever be.

If you take on too much that you are guaranteed failure you will be strengthening your false beliefs.  You must start small but meaningful and fight like a wild dog to achieve it.  I’m serious!  Like a crazy wild cornered animal!

Your belief in yourself and your integrity with yourself is massively important to build.  I wanted to quit that project a few times.  It felt like a gigantic undertaking at times but I just kept moving it step by step inch by inch forward.

I have good news!

Photo Aug 12 11 50 47 AM e1345208805163 224x300 The no I cant lifestyle

Roof All Finished! It stops water so far!

I did it!

I think it looks pretty sweet!

It was a huge confidence booster.  Not that I think I’m a super handy man now.  I think I will still leave a lot of that work to the professionals (like Butch, I’ll probably call him next time)  so I have time to be with my family and help you as much as possible.  Now I can choose not to do it because I don’t want to not because I am scared or think I don’t have what it takes.

Now I know I CAN!

Photo Aug 17 8 42 55 AM The no I cant lifestyle

Jeremy Wins!!!

“I can do all things through Christ which Stengtheneth me.”  KJV Philipians 4:13

I hope this silly story about a roof gives you some inspiration to tackle your own false beliefs and to build back your belief in yourself.

What are you struggling with?  Is there a false belief?  I would love to talk to you in the comments.

Posted in Featured, Fitness, Life Without Walls by talltrainer | No Comments

And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?


Three people lost over 40 pounds in only 3 months!!!

All 5 lost 187.2 Pounds combined in 3 months!

These are regular people just like you.  They didn’t get to go to a “RANCH”.  They had to do this in the middle of real life!  They have families, and get togethers, and jobs!

Let’s check out who they are and what they achieved:

GOLD MEDAL in the Summer Challenge – (won 3 months of boot camp!!)


PICT30152 768x1024 And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Could not have happened to a nicer person.  You’ll be able to see that in the video.  She is so sweet and yet so determined.  She gave it everything she had in every workout.  She says she feels like an athlete again.  It’s so awesome that she has reconnected with that part of her during this challenge.  She is not just an athlete but an incredible athlete!  I can’t wait to do a follow up later on her!  She is going to continue to do some amazing stuff over the next few months.

Aubrey before and after And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?


Weight – 47.4 lbs lost

%Body Fat – 6.3% lost

Chest – 5.1 lost

Waist – 6.35 lost

Hips – 6.3 lost

Total Inches – 17.75 inches lost


Here’s what Aubre has to say:



marie final And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Marie has had a challenging trip this summer!  But she didn’t use any of that as an excuse.  Coming from a place of fairly inactive and joining a weight loss challenge took guts.  She showed that determination every workout.  Especially workouts with the sled!  This Grandma of 20+ grandkids is definitely got more of what it takes to keep up with those buggers.  Marie also had to have pretty extensive dental surgery and only missed a few days for it.  She has made incredible progress and we can’t wait to see more dramatic results from her.



Weight – 42 lbs lost

% Body Fat – 5.4% lost

Chest – 3.6″ lost

Waist – 7.1″ lost

Hips – 8.55″ lost!!!

Total Inches – 19.25″ lost


Here is her before and after picture!  Wow!  Only 3 months!!

Marie before and after And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Let’s find out what she has to say about her experience and results.





PICT3013 768x1024 And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Austin was Awesome!

This was a tricky start.  Austin didn’t actually apply for the summer challenge…his wife did.  We weren’t sure it would be a good idea since he didn’t know what he had been signed up for.  Margie (his wife) wrote such a heart felt letter that we had to try.  We told her she would need to tell him about it and ask him if he was game.  He was.  But he wasn’t very sure of it all yet.  Austin has always been a great guy.  The only difference now is that he thinks he’s still got something to give.  And he does!  Austin was in a tough spot thinking of just gradually getting worse into old age.  He is an incredible athlete and we just had to help him believe he still could be inspite of a laundry list of injuries.  Austin still has teenage kids and a very active wife.  It’s exciting because he is now a very active man and can be a part of all of it!  Watch his video to hear from him about this change.


austin before and after And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?


Weight – 40.6 lbs lost

% Body Fat – 6.2% lost

Chest – 5.3″ lost

Waist – 7.5″ lost!!!

Hips – 4.1″ lost

Total Inches – 16.9″ lost


Austin’s Video:





Nancy Final And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Nancy is a powerhouse and a firecracker.

She is one of two contestants this year that worked a 12 hour overnight shift and then came straight to a workout.  (sometimes getting required to stay for another shift to cover and missing sleep and her workout!)

If you know anyone who works that shift you know it’s challenging mentally and physically.  There is a high rate of depression and obesity in these shifts.  Nancy is a great example that if you make yourself and your health a priority you can lose weight even in some of the most challenging conditions.

Nancy has done amazingly well.  I’d like to see anyone go up against her results with her schedule.  30 pounds?  That’s 10 pounds a month!!


Weight – 30.2 lbs lost

% Body Fat – 5.5% lost

Chest – 2.7″ lost

Waist – 4.0″ lost

Hips – 7.7″ lost!!!

Total Inches – 14.4 inches

Nancy before and after And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Nancy’s Reaction to hear results and the program:





michelle final And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Again, one of the cutest people you will ever meet!

Michelle is our other 12-hour overnight shift warrior!

She is just a super sweet giving person.  People with such a big giving and caring heart need to be careful.  They can easily put everyone else’s needs before their own.  Doing this occasionally is ok and is called love.  Doing this all the time is called “getting the life sucked out of you”.

Michelle started making time for her and her needs and now her positive energy are a benefit to all those around her.  She wasn’t quite sure she could do this.  She absolutely proved she can!  And the great part is she’s starting to believe it.  I hope to see continued results from her and a protection of herself in the middle of everyone else’s needs.


Weight – 27 lbs lost

% Body Fat – 3.1% lost

Chest – 4.3″ lost

Waist – 4.75″ lost

Hips – 4.95″ lost

Total Inches – 14.0″ lost

michelle before and after And you thought the Olympics were Inspiring?

Michelle’s Video:



What do you think?  How did they do?  Leave some comment encouragement below!!!

How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???

woman eating How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???Sounds too good to be true?

Thankfully it isn’t!


So we all know staying alive takes energy and that energy is measured in Calories.  We use energy for new cells, body temperature regulation, Movement, Breathing and heart rate, Digestion, Etc.  What we are going to talk about is using more energy in digestion.

600 calories per day is the equivalent of running 6 miles EVERYDAY!  For many recreational runners that’s at least an hour of exercise.

We can get that same effect without the time investment.  In fact digestion burns calories all day in the background without us having to think about it.  It turns out I’ve been burning calories like this for years but I didn’t even know it!  No wonder it seems like I can eat so much and not gain weight!

Wouldn’t that be a nice situation to be in?

Ok, here is the deal…

Different foods take different amounts of energy to digest.  They have to be broken apart so that our bodies can use and absorb them.  For some foods this takes nearly zero calories to break down they almost jump into our blood supply.  For other foods this can take about 30% of the calories of the food to be able to use the other 70%.  So if we ate 2000 calories of this high energy demanding food we would only have 1400 calories for our bodies once digestion happens.

Also this high energy demanding food takes longer to digest which means we don’t get hungry as fast!  (I don’t know about you but I don’t like being hungry)

This is a pretty good deal!

I wouldn’t mind getting the benefit of a 6 mile daily run while sitting on the couch all day.

protein image 300x203 How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???veggies 300x193 How you can burn 600 Calories by EATING???So what are the foods that take so much time and energy?

  • Protein – You can lose up to 30% of the calories of protein in digestion
  • Vegetables (non-starchy carbs) – You can lose anywhere from high teens to low 20% of calories in digestion of vegetables especially the green leafy ones.

What are the foods that take near ZERO energy and time to digest?

Starchy carbohydrates

cereals, breads (even whole wheat), crackers, cookies, candy, etc.

We get every single calorie from these foods basically and that means it all can be used to make us fat and keep us fat.  Plus these foods digest so simply and easily that our stomach is empty and crying out for more almost as soon as we are done eating.  So of course we eat more.  (it’s no fun being hungry!)

(just a side note because it needs including – Fat – takes a few more calories than starches to digest.  It doesn’t take very many but it does do more.  and It does tend to help us stay fuller for longer too.  But watch out!  Calories can add up fast!  best keep track)

Let’s compare two breakfasts using rough numbers:

500 calories of eggs and veggies and 500 calories of cereal and milk.

Eggs and Veggies:  500 Calories X 25% = 150 Calories lost to digestion

Cereal and Milk:  500 Calories X 10% = 50 Calories lost to digestion (there is still some protein and fat in this meal to be digested)

100 Calories lost in the first breakfast compared to the second

Basically you ran a mile at breakfast – Nice Job!


I eat eggs every morning to help me stay full and keep good energy as I train people from 5 am – noon.

I don’t have a lot of time for snacks in that time period and I don’t think it is very professional for your trainer to be obsessing about food when he should be obsessing about your workout and results.  I also don’t want to feel crazy at noon and have to eat a truck load of carbs.

I can go to noon and beyond sometimes with just a protein bar in the middle if I’ve had my eggs.


If I skip eggs and have something more carbohydrate like?

I spend the rest of the day hungry.  Even after eating later I never seem to get satisfied.

This is the PAIN of carbohydrate for me.  Don’t get me wrong I love getting the extra calories burned in digestion but even more important than that I don’t like being hungry.  Once I am hungry I lose all will power.

I know your body works much the same.  It’s just the way we were made.

What to do with this information:

Ideally we will begin to shop to have more protein and vegetable options for meals and eat LOTS of them so that we don’t have room for the Carbohydrates that are making us fat and breaking our will power.  This will give us the equivalent of 3-6 mile runs everyday!  Which can represent 30-60 pounds lost in a year!  All without exercise!  Imagine what would happen if you added exercise to this plan?

You guessed it, you would be living in your ideal body in no time!


What do you think?  Leave your comments below.

Posted in Fat Loss Strategies, Featured by talltrainer | 3 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day From Bo (and the rest of us)

Mothers Day from Bo1 Happy Mothers Day From Bo (and the rest of us)


If you love your mother too comment below.  Or if you love being a mother.  We will select one comment at random to win a month of boot camp.  (up to $399, but the value of your mom’s health = priceless)  We will draw once we have 50 comments (all different people) so email this to friends and like it on Facebook.  (if we don’t hit 50 comments we won’t be able to draw!)

Posted in Featured, Fitness, Life Without Walls by talltrainer | 23 Comments

How to have Tight Abs Forever!!!

How to Have Tight Abs Forever!!!

six pack abs2 How to have Tight Abs Forever!!!

"Six Pack" Abs

So you’re in bootcamp working hard on your squats. The trainer notices your wince and other interesting facial expression at the bottom of the squat, so they head on over and ask what’s wrong. You tell them that you are having some back pain and you can probably guess what words the trainer is going to take out of their arsenal and hand you, “really tighten those abs.” So you do and it helps quite a bit, but why? You may also wonder how EXACTLY am I supposed to “tighten those abs”? Here we will discover who does, who should, why, and how to properly tighten our abs.


Let’s start with who already consciously tightens their abs. Pretty much all high level athletes tighten their abs at some point in their performance, especially strength athletes like strongmen and weightlifters or those who need to transfer energy from the legs up to the arms; think baseball and martial arts. So what do they know that we are missing out on? We’ll get to that soon enough.                

But first, who would benefit from consciously tightening their abs? EVERYONE! That’s right, everyone from athletes to UPS delivery workers, mom’s lifting kids, the dad sitting in the offic chair, and even couch potatoes! Anyone who wants to look and feel slimmer, be stronger, and reduce the risk of injury. Anyone who lifts anything, moves, breathes, has a pulse… you get the picture.


First, when we strengthen our abs, especially the deep abdominal muscles, they are better equipped to hold back our intestines and such. So, before even losing any weight (if that’s your goal) we can tighten our tummy and feel thinner! That’s GREAT news! Aside from aesthetic benefits, tightening our abs helps to support our back so other muscles don’t have to overcompensate and our connective tissues and discs don’t have to take too much of the load. That means less pain, more ability, and better quality of life!

 According to Dr. Stuart McGill, “repeated flexion [forward] – bending of the spine is necessary to cause herniation” (McGill 68). Bending forward and also backward too many times wears on the discs. Eventually the outside of the discs gets weaker and the synovial fluid can bulge out kind of like jelly when you squeeze one side of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, if too much movement in the spine is an issue then we need to reduce it, right? Well, tightening our abs reduces movement of the spine. From learning ONE thing we slim down and feel firm, have less pain, increase our ability, increase SAFETY, and better our quality of life! Why wouldn’t we tighten our abs!?


*Warning: scientific information, proceed with caution!*

Before we learn how, we need to go back to anatomy class. Hang with me for a second and it will make much more sense in the end! When we say “tighten those abs” we aren’t just talking about the six pack abs. We are talking about our “core” which includes our rectus abdominis (six pack), obliques (internal and external), our transverse abdominis (TVA), and even our quadratus lumborum (a deep back muscle) and lats (the big back muscles that give us the V shape). There are many more muscles but you’re probably already falling asleep so we’ll move on. The muscles listed above are pictured below (left is cross section of the torso, right is a front view of the torso):

Abs Anatomy How to have Tight Abs Forever!!!

Notice how the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques all tie the front to the back like a corset. When they flex they increase abdominal pressure by drawing everything in. This increased pressure and balanced muscular tension helps stabilize the back and the entire midsection therefore reducing the risk of injury. Also, because these muscles act as a corset, when they are more toned (active) they will help keep everything drawn in and slim.

So, how to we tense our abs? Do we just flex like we’re doing a crunch? Not exactly. In order to be most effective all the muscles of the core must be tense at the same time by bracing. Sit or stand up nice a tall, now cough. Hold your abs tight like you’re in mid cough and draw your belly button in as if you are trying to touch your belly button and spine together. DO NOT hollow the stomach by letting the belly button draw in too much. You are simple TRYING to draw the belly button in to activate the transverse abdominis. THAT is how it should feel when you flex your abs properly. This should feel similar to a sneeze! Also, pulling your shoulders down away from the ears will activate the latissimus dorsi which help straighten the spine and keep everything tight and safe. Pulling the shoulders away from the ears has other benefits like opening up and stabilizing the shoulders. **A WORD OF CAUTION: if you have high blood pressure do not hold your breath while flexing your abs this way as doing so would increase blood pressure and keep it elevated. Keep breathing.** As long as you don’t hold your breath, tensing your abs in this manner is very safe and effective.

Now we know why the trainers are always going around the room saying “abs tight,” “shoulders away from the ears.” You are armed with more knowledge to help prevent injury, tighten your abs, feel more slim and firm, and increase your ability and well being! Keep them tight and enjoy!


Disclaimer: The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care professional.

1 McGill, Stuart, PhD. Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. Fourth Edition. Waterloo: Wabuno Publishers, 2009. Print.


Posted in Fitness by Trainer Chris | No Comments

Top Accident in Health Clubs – How to avoid falling off treadmill

Falling off the treadmill.

This can be embarassing and painful.  Here is a video with some examples of falls that we can learn from so we can avoid this painful outcome.

My Top Suggestions:

girl dragged on treadmill 150x150 Top Accident in Health Clubs   How to avoid falling off treadmill1.) Keep your treadmill at least 3 feet away from the wall in back.  People try to cram their treadmill in the corner to maximize space but if you have no room behind your treadmill if you fall your skin will be dragging on the treadmill until you can figure out a way off.  OUCH!!  (you can see a young girl get caught in this situationin the video)

2.) Use the safety lanyard.  The little string that comes off the treadmill.  You can usually clip it to you.  If you fall or get too far back on the tread it will pull off the treadmill and the treadmill belt will stop.  Could prevent a fall or at least stop you from getting dragged accross the belt.

kid looking away treadmill 150x150 Top Accident in Health Clubs   How to avoid falling off treadmill3.) If you are going to watch TV, Read, or look around - I recommend holding on with one hand so you can keep track of where you are in relation to the treadmill.  People tend to drift side to side when they are distracted.  If your foot lands 1/2 way on belt and half way off you will certainly stumble and very likely will fall.

4.) Start the treadmill at the slow speed while straddling the tread and then step on THEN build up the speed gradually.  If you take the tread up to a FAST speed before you get on you have the potential to be surprised and jar your joint or get sent off the back.

5.) When stepping on or off treadmill hold on with both hands.  (put your water bottle and mp3 player on the treadmill first before you get on).  This will make sure there are no accidents.  !!!very important when you are exhausted and trying to get off quick!!!bike dude on treadmill 300x166 Top Accident in Health Clubs   How to avoid falling off treadmill

6.) Obviously don’t ride your bike on your treadmill.  :o) (I don’t need to explain why do I?)  No pogo sticks either.


That’s my tips for not ending up a nasty fall like these people.  Practice Safe Treadmilling.




Posted in Featured, Fitness, Train your Brain by talltrainer | No Comments

Powerless or Powerful?

I was reading a book on vacation and it quoted a great man and the quote really struck a cord with me.  Here is my thoughts on this.


Have you ever felt bad for doing something well?  

Like you should apologize or make excuses as to why you did well so you wouldn’t make others feel uncomfortable or bad?

gladiators 198x300 Powerless or Powerful?Have you ever worked really hard to achieve something to have someone excuse it away using phrases like:

“That’s nice but wait until you are older.  I’d like to see you try it then.”

“Wait until you are married longer and see if you still feel that way about her/him.”

“That’s easy for you because you are naturally skinny.”

“That’s great you have so much extra time to do that.”

Our Clients experience this all the time.  They have defied their social and family dynamics and decided they were done playing the role of the fat friend or the depressed underachiever.  They lost weight and gained heaps of confidence.

This messes with people around them and they begin to feel a pressure to be better or greater.  Often times the initial reaction is not what our clients expect.

Instead of a massive congratulations and an “I’m proud of you” or “You’re so inspiring”, they get put down and questioned.  “Should you really be losing weight?”  “Yeah, but you don’t get to have any fun.”

I say CELEBRATE these moments!

It is in these moments you are having an effect on them!

They are feeling pressure to be better!


And actually they are grieving.

The are grieving life as it used to be.  (maybe they were the pretty one)

They are grieving their current condition.

They are faced with a three part choice.

  1. Life with this new discontentment and be depressed and unhappy.
  2. Pull YOU back down so they can feel superior to you.
  3. Rise up and join you in this quest to be their best.

The first two options are usually reactions and they may not even consciously realize what they are doing.  The last option takes a decision a hard decision at that.  A decision they that they might make if you don’t attack back.

My Tips:

Be Loving – Being aggressive back won’t help them rise up.

Be unapologetic – do not be lowered by their reaction, do not apologize for your greatness.


I will leave you with the quote that inspired this rant:


nelson mandela 1 Powerless or Powerful?“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?”  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

- Nelsen Mandela



Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus:“So I’ve been dieting and exercising for what seems like forever…some of the weight has come off, but now I feel like I’m just stuck!”

“ I don’t seem to be budging…just bulging!”

“The scale just stays the same!! One day it’s down and the next day I’m right back where I started.”

“I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, and nothing seems to be working!!! What the heck am I doing, or not doing, to get over this hump?!??!”

    If these statements sound even remotely like how you have been feeling lately (maybe you’ve even blurted a few out), then this article is for YOU! I’m going to be covering 10 strategies you can use to really break through that PLATEAU of stubborn weight loss to achieve true victory.
    So without any delays, let’s go to strategy 1…
Strategy 1:

 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

The crazy thing about all those honesty jars you see at local Mennonite produce stands is that no-one is there standing around to make sure you’re being honest with what you put in it. You could take a whole bag of fresh peaches priced at $4.00 and leave behind a nickel. The sad thing is, that many people do just that…and I’m not just talking about produce stands. That’s right, I’m referring to our weight loss program–nutrition, exercise, and all. This may well be the most crucial step for most of us…an honest-to-goodness soul-searching reality check. Any person who only puts a nickel in the jar for a $4.00 bag of peaches is completely wrong if they honestly think they got away with something. There’s an internal compass that just won’t let them; it’s called our conscience. Every time they look at another Mennonite, they’re going to be thinking about those darn peaches.
How about you? How many “nickels” have you been putting in the “jar?” Some of us may think that $3.50 is close enough. Is it? The price is $4.00. When it comes to weight loss, the amount you put in is what you get back. How many of the following statements can you toss into the honesty jar?
1. I am honestly tracking everything that I’m consuming into Vitabot… even down to the little lifesaver I had this afternoon.

2.  I always enter accurate information and never “guesstimate” or substitute foods that are similar. 

3.  I never completely blow my diet on the  weekends and I am honestly expecting the scale to be down on Monday?

4.  I am working out consistently (@ 5 times a week), and I always  show up to class for each appointment–not just occasionally or when I feel like it.

5. Am I eating 4-5 small meals a day (including breakfast) and I never skip large chunks of time without food. I never eat greasy fast food or consume just 1 or 2 big meals a day.
Now don’t feel like this is a guilt trip. I don’t want you to think that we have to be perfect every day with diet and exercise. That would be impossible. Besides, what kind of life would that be anyways? We all need a little relaxation from time to time. No, I just want us to honestly identify the areas of our life that need the most work and then proceed to take little steps to improve them. An occasional meal or drink out with friends is fine…it may even be just what you need; it’s when it turns into a trend that it becomes a problem.  Now be honest with your evaluation of “self.” Only you know how well you have been adhering to the program. Only you know how much you put in the “Honesty Jar.” What you put in is what you get out. The fact of the matter is that good nutrition and regular vigorous exercise WORKS when it comes to losing weight. When these two elements are mastered simultaneously, you can’t help but shed pounds!
    Now with that being said, there are certain individuals who honestly feel as though they’re doing everything right and still can’t get that darn scale to move…at least not down. There are certain circumstances that occur in our lives that can make losing weight especially difficult despite our good nutrition and exercise. These include, but are not limited to: increased stress, certain medications, under active thyroid, injury, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, disabilities or illnesses, etc. In addition to unplanned circumstances, many of us experience obstacles that we feel make our exercise and good nutrition nearly impossible. These include, but are not limited to: poor time management, cravings and urges, the cost of healthy food, eating out temptations, late night snacking, inadequate knowledge or the improper application thereof, etc.
Although I cannot address every concern and obstacle to weight loss in this article, I have tried to list some of the most AWESOME and SUCCESSFUL strategies/steps I have discovered and utilized personally, as well as with the numerous clients I have trained with over the years. These strategies are not to be taken lightly! They are powerful tools you can utilize to break through those stubborn plateaus and experience victory over the pounds.
    Now I could spend a whole lot of time trying to convince you of the science and validity of each strategy/step, but I’m going to let the experts do it for me. I’m just going to give you the basics. If you really want to get more of a detailed scoop on the science and validity of what I’m about to tell you, please enjoy watching (videos) or reading (articles) the related links I have attached with each strategy/step. I am excited about those of you who are about to utilize these steps to propel your weight loss results to a whole new level!
We’ve already covered number 1– Be honest with yourself. Lets go on to step number 2…
Strategy/Step 2:

 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Yup, you heard me right–the “strategic” use of fiber. I’m sure your thinking, “What in the heck is that supposed to mean?!?” Well, let me explain: The fact of the matter folks, is that fiber is one of the most potent and affordable weight loss tools you could possibly imagine. Cultures that have the highest intakes of fiber in their diets are consistently the leanest and healthiest people on the planet. Incidentally, they have the least incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity (the four big killers in America).
The best sources of fiber will come from vegetables, fruits (whole raw fruits), seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. If these vegetables have been tampered with in any way, it’s likely that a lot of the fiber has been removed. Another source of fiber comes from supplements like psyllium husk powder (commonly found in products like Metamucil and Citracel). Supplemental forms of fiber do not carry with them the many nutrients found in whole foods, but there is a place for strategic supplementation.
    But what does the “strategic” use of fiber mean? Well, this is where it gets really interesting. Let me tell you three strategic ways you can use fiber to lose weight.
    1. Soluble Fiber consumed 20 minutes before a meal will begin to swell and expand causing the stomach to expand. This in turn sends nerve signals to the brain that cause the hypothalamus to turn off our hunger drive. Before our meal even arrives, we begin to feel full. Why is this helpful in weight loss? Because there are few to ZERO calories in fiber. This means we subsequently consume fewer calories with each meal as well as reap the additional benefits of added fiber.
    2. When soluble fiber mixes with the food contents of a fatty meal, it does an amazing thing in our small intestine (where fat from a meal normally absorbs directly into our bloodstream). I’m putting this in Caps because this next part is absolutely ASTOUNDING! IT BLOCKS FAT FROM ENTERING THE BLOOD STREAM!!! That’s right…soluble fiber prevents a large portion of the fat you just consumed from being absorbed in the body. I don’t know if you fully comprehend the the implications of this discovery!! We are talking some major fat loss here. Think about it this way. Imagine that you are just about to sit down to meal (one you probably should avoid) of pizza and chicken wings (lots of grease–uh-oh). Let’s say that you typically consume around two slices of pepperoni pizza and
average around 6-9 chicken wings.
                 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
I hate to say it, but that’s a lot of calories…and a lot of fat. 181 calories for each slice of pizza and 7 grams of fat apiece. Six to nine chicken wings comes to about 159 calories each at 10.7 grams of fat apiece. That comes out to a grand total of 1,634 calories and 99.6 grams of fat. Most of that fat will end up being pumped directly into your blood…that is if it is eaten without soluble fiber. Let’s see what happens if fiber is consumed around 20 minutes before the meal arrives: If mixed in a large glass of water, fiber begins to swell in the stomach subsequently triggering the “full feeling.” When the food finally arrives, you’re not quite so hungry as you once thought–instead of consuming 2 slices and 6-9 wings, you opt for 1 slice and 4 wings. You just dropped the total calories consumed by half!! Were not done yet…As that food mixture enters the small intestine, that sticky soluble fiber binds bile acids and prevents a large portion of the fat you consumed from being absorbed. Of the 49.8 grams of fat you consumed, your body may only be able to absorb 25. Now you just cut your fat absorption in half as well!! A meal that had the potential to be 1,634 calories and 99.6 grams of fat has just been reduced to just 817 calories. And of the 817 calories consumed, only around 592 calories are actually absorbed in the body!! WOW!!
    3. If these benefits are not enough, soluble fiber does even more! Soluble fiber not only prevents fat from entering the blood stream, it also delays emptying of the stomach contents. This turns out to be a real benefit when we consume sugary meals. Instead of getting a whopping dose of sugar flooded into our bloodstream, soluble fiber causes sugars to be released slowly into our bloodstream. This in turn leads to stabilized blood sugar levels and steady energy throughout the day. Do you want to avoid those sleepy, almost drug induced stupors you have after a starchy meal? Well make sure your meal is full of soluble fiber.
    I don’t have enough time to tell you here of all of the additional benefits of high fiber diets…I haven’t even brought up all the benefits of insoluble fiber. I will say, however, that if you’re not eating a lot of high fiber foods on a day to day basis, you are really sabotaging your potential weight loss goals…let alone your health. Now before you go out and start jamming down fiber powders and pills, be an informed consumer. Many fiber supplements contain sugar, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and drug like laxatives. Ideally, fiber should come from food, not from a powder. If you do purchase a fiber supplement, aim for natural organic plant based fibers such as psyllium or oat bran. Better yet, eat a large Salad before the main course and wait 20 minutes or so before digging in. Fiber products should not be used daily as they can cause dependence and even mineral deficiencies. Fiber is so potent at stripping out fat that excessive use can deplete the much needed fat soluble vitamins we need to obtain in our diets. If taken excessively, it can even block calcium, iron, and other minerals from being absorbed. Supplemental fiber should never be taken with medications, fish oil supplements, or vitamin and mineral supplements. It should only be used under the careful guidance of your physician or family doctor. Those who eat a high fiber diet shouldn’t need a fiber supplement except for rare occasions. Use it strategically and use it safely.The fact that fiber is found in virtually all plants, is kind of a key that we should be eating lots of plants. The more we get away from mother nature, the more we mess up our health. The best source of fiber should come from FOOD, not from a powder. It is the nutrients that come along with these foods that fuel and nourish our cells.
To learn more about the science, safety, and health effects of high fiber foods and supplements, visit the following links (these links are not meant to promote, endorse, or otherwise recommend any particular supplement and or product/plan):
Strategy/Step 3:
             Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
One of the biggest things that gets in our way when dieting is just knowing when to eat. Some times we just don’t feel like it. Other times we just can’t stop the munchies. Some days we just don’t have time to stop and prepare something. Maybe you wrestle with determining if you are really hungry or just feeling another craving.
    All of this can be resolved with a little time management, former planning and a little know-how. In addition, we can supercharge our metabolism by using a simple little device… you guessed it– the clock.
    To explain this better, I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine…okay, I’m kidding; I wish he was a friend of mine…He feels like a friend of mine. He feels like a friend because I think he is right on the money with his weight loss strategy of eating by the clock, and I’ve kept an eye on his teaching over the years. He even just released a new book that he co-authored with Dr. Oz. His name is Jorge Cruise. I first discovered Jorge several years ago while flipping through the stations on a cable channel at a friend’s home. I came to this one channel where this guy was talking about his new book called “The 3 Hour Diet”… on the Oprah Winfrey show. I was so intrigued by his presentation that I remained glued to the set. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing–this guy was a genius!! Why was he a genius? Well, because he had discovered a way to repackage an ancient and well known truth (at least in fitness circles) into an amazing and lucrative “Diet Book.” I had to give him Kudos. I wished I had thought of it. The diet plan was simple: Just have people eat every 3 hours. Each meal should be set up with just enough calories to last around 3 hours and the hunger feeling should kick in. Jorge was presenting with fireworks and glitter what many of us had been preaching for years…and he was doing it better, I might add. The concept is pretty simple to follow: Eating by the clock helps control cravings and urges because you know that you aren’t allowed to eat anything until 3 hours elapse. You also know that you aren’t allowed to skip meals. The portions are balanced and the discipline is easy to follow because we Americans are all about schedules. By eating five to six equally spaced and portioned meals a day, we essentially turn our metabolism into a fat burning machine. Blood sugar levels stay normalized and cortisol levels go down. It’s a no-brainer.
The only area of Jorge’s diet where I disagree a little is in the fact that he allows dieters to eat pretty much whatever they want as long as they eat every 3 hours, and sometimes eating the same number of calories at each meal is not in tune with energy expenditures. In his new book, however, co-authored with Dr. Oz, I see that Jorge has finally swung over to the good nutrition side. Good job, Jorge. Your getting it…slowly. You can thank me later. LOL.
    For more information regarding 3 hour eating, check out the links below. Once again, let me remind you that I am not endorsing any particular product, company, book, or diet plan…I just see no reason not to recognize other individuals who are doing it right and teaching it to others.

Strategy/Step 4:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
 For this one, you need to check out the links. It’s simple enough. Drink two glasses of water before each meal and lose weight. I know…it sounds crazy, but I’m just reporting the facts. Check out the study. Hey just imagine what would happen if you put a little fiber in that water-LOL!
Strategy/Step 5:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
We all know it folks, vegetarians are just smaller than other people. It’s hard to be a vegetarian and not get skinny! That is unless you fry all your veggies in oil and cover them with cheese. According to a massive study of 520,000 people in over ten European countries, vegetarian eaters had significantly lower BMI’s than their meat eating counterparts. One of the findings of the study attributed this to the high fiber (hint, hint) intake of vegetarian eaters( ). This makes sense when you consider the volume of plant based foods in comparison to other choices. In other words, you can eat a whole lot plants and they don’t really amount to a whole lot. For example, you would have to eat almost five large peaches to get the equivalent of just one average chocolate bar. Who can really sit down and eat that many peaches?? The chocolate bar, however, would be mowed down in moments. One hamburger patty has about 279 calories. You’d have to eat 39 cups of spinach to equal that! Who could do that?
    The leanest and longest living people in the world eat 70-80% of their food from plant sources(Check out Dr. Campbell’s book “The China Study.”) The average lifespan in China is 84.4 years old…and believe me, it’s not because of their awesome health insurance. Incidentally, the leanest and strongest animals are vegetarians (i.e. the silver back gorilla, elephants, horses, cattle, rhinos, etc.) Vegetarian animals are known for their endurance and leanness. Carnivores, on the other hand, are known for their brief bursts of speed followed by hours an hours of sleeping (think of lions). Many of us act and feel like lions–brief bursts followed by a need to snooze. If you think for one second that humans cannot be strong, flexible, and healthy on a vegetarian diet, you better watch this short clip…take a look at an entire community that eats an almost entirely plant based diet,a little dairy (usually from goats), and meat on rare occasions. Let me know of any athlete or person you know of who has more energy than this. You won’t find them ( ).
    Although humans are technically classified as omnivores (can eat both animal and plant foods), there is an overwhelming body of evidence that indicates we would all fair a lot better if our diet consisted of mostly plants. Our digestive system and internal organs are more similar to plant eating animals than most other carnivores and omnivores. Investigative journalist, Michael Pollan, in his book, “In Defense Of Food,” puts it well: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” We already discussed the importance of high fiber foods for losing weight. How much more of a hint do you need? We need fiber….fiber is only found in plants…maybe we should eat a lot of plants?? Plants contain enzymes, fiber, water, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, tocopherols, cartenoids, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Animal foods contain no fiber, little water (unless eaten raw or rare), no living enzymes (again unless raw), no Vitamin C (unless raw), and contain a lot of fat. Gee. I wonder if that’s why all other animals eat their meat raw?? Well, we can’t do that!! We’d get sick! HMMMMMM. Really? Maybe that’s another one of nature’s clues?
    When overly cooked, meat contains known cancer causing compounds ( ).
Almost every major health organization recommends vegetarian diets or their equivalent

as a means of reducing risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The National Cancer Institute insists that 1/3 of all cancers are related to diet. They call for all Americans to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables while simultaneously reducing their consumption of meat. The World Health Organization says the same thing. I could go on and on about this one, but once again I’ll defer to the scientists and professionals. Don’t get mad at the messenger. I’m still just reporting the facts and what works. Incidentally, I have followed a mostly vegetarian based diet since 1999 and I have never felt better. It was a tough transition growing up on a dairy farm and all, but now I could never go back! Please check out the links. If anything, try to eat more veggies…especially green ones.

Strategy/Step 6:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Remember that as you lose weight,  you need to readjust your calories to your new body weight. If weight goes down, calories typically go down as well. If weight goes up (especially muscle) calories typically go up. If you have lost weight but are still following the same calorie level on Vitabot that you began with, no wonder the weight is clinging! Re-evaluate.
Strategy/Step 7:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Regular cardio and good nutrition are important elements of any successful weight loss plan, but nothing beats out resistance training when it comes to fat loss. That’s what we ultimately want to lose, right?–FAT! If we lose a lot of muscle with the fat, we end up sabotaging ourselves in the end. Here’s how: Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This simply means that the more of it you have, the higher your metabolism. This works in reverse as well– The less muscle you have, the lower the metabolism. It’s simple math.
    Think of your muscle tissue as little miniature construction workers that live in your body eating and working away. With lots of construction workers living there, you need a lot of food to feed them. Every time you feed them they just work harder and harder to propel you throughout the day. Fat cells, on the other hand, are like little lazy free-loaders who hang out at your house demanding food and board without lifting a finger to earn their keep. Not only that, the more you feed them, the more of their buddies they start inviting to hang out and move in. The more construction workers you build up in your body, the more food that gets eaten up in the house. Those lazy, fat free-loaders start to take off for better pickings because the construction workers are eating everything in site. They know their time is up and they’ll get no-where picking a fight with the muscled up construction fellas. The more construction fellas’ we build up, the more fat disappears. We want to build more workers so we can be able to eat more an not have it all convert to fat. Here at Tall Trainers, you get the best of both worlds–we get your heart rate up (cardio) while simultaneously building muscle in the process-AWESOME!
Strategy/Step 8:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Okay, this next part is for all you coffee drinkers. I want to talk to you about the strategic use of caffeine. However, before I do, I want to point out a few negative things. Yeah that’s right, I’m going to do the negative first. Why? Well, because ideally I’d like people to stay away from caffeine as much as possible, but I realize that for some this is just not going to happen. Caffeine is in a lot of foods and beverages, and is not going to disappear anytime soon. I realize that many of you are not going to give up an occasional chocolate splurge and that morning cup-of-Joe. That being the case, let’s at least use caffeine safely, strategically, and intelligently.

So what are the potential negative side effects of caffeine? Let me take a big breath here and see if I can get them all out in one breath….mmmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhh…… I go: bone loss, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, high BP, irritability, nervousness, tremors, withdrawal headaches, disrupted sleep, induced irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, rapid heart beat, induced panic attacks, caffeine dependence, upset stomach/nausea, and even DEATH from overdose! WHEW! That was a mouthful.
    Caffeine’s most negative effects come from constant use, high doses, or even from withdrawal symptoms. That’s right…withdrawal. Caffeine is a drug folks. It has diuretic effects in the body and must be filtered through the kidneys. This puts more strain on an organ that already has a big job to do. If you don’t like peeing 24/7, then watch your caffeine intake.
    Now despite all the reasons I listed for avoiding caffeine, some of you still refuse to give it up. Well, in that case, at least be smart about it and use the potential benefits of caffeine to your advantage. First and foremost, limit your intake daily. Try to get caffeine from things like an antioxidant rich source of dark chocolate or black tea. Use it sparingly and only on occasion. One more indicator that caffeine is not a so healthy choice is that almost every natural source of caffeine comes from a bitter source. Cocoa and tea are usually not that palatable without some kind of sweetener and or fat added. If we wouldn’t eat it plain, that’s nature’s way of telling us to avoid it.
Here’s where we come to the strategy part of you caffeine clingers…or maybe I should call you the “Caffeine Klingons”–LOL!:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Caffeine has been shown in numerous studies to “significantly extend endurance in moderately strenuous aerobic exercise under laboratory conditions. it also improves performance in higher-intensity, shorter duration physical effort.” In addition, “Consuming caffeine before exercise increased fat catabolism and reduced carbohydrate oxidation.” Athletes statistically improve their performance while using caffeine. Certain levels are banned in many athletic competitions. In a study labeled: “From MacIntosh BR, Wright BM. Caffeine ingestion and performance of a 1,500-metre swim. Can J Appl Physiol 1995; 20: 168,” all caffeine trials showed a 24% improvement in performance.

A small healthy dose of caffeine has been proven to burn/liberate more fatty acids in exercise than without. In other words, those who consume caffeine before exercise burn more fat than those who don’t. So it would make sense that if you’re still going to have that cup-of-Joe, at least do it strategically–before meals and before exercise, sparingly and infrequently. Now Let me repeat myself: I think that you should avoid caffeine at all costs, but I understand that some are just not going to give it up. If you continue to use caffeine, at least do it intelligently. Because I want to point out the negative first (so you might give up caffeine) I’d like you to watch at least the first link I posted here: Oh and P.S., yes I do have caffeine from time to time, but I always use it sparingly and strategically. I hope you will too.
Strategy/Step 9:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Foods that include hydrogenated oils in the ingredients are bound to make weight loss near impossible. One of the biggest steps you can make in your weight loss efforts is to avoid hydrogenated oils at all cost. Look carefully at the backs of labels for words such as “partially hydrogenated” or “fully hydrogenated” or “trans fat.” If you see any of these words RUN! You even have to check the back of labels that claim to be “Trans Fat Free.” The FDA allows manufacturers to label products as “Trans Fat Free” as long as a serving size does not exceed a specified amount (less than one gram per serving). This means that a food can actually contain many grams of trans fat and still be labeled as “Trans Fat Free.” You need to read the fine print on the back. If a product says “Trans Fat Free” on the front, but includes “partially hydrogenated soybean oil” on the back, you can be sure you are being deceived…at least misinformed.
    Why are trans fats so bad? Well, I’ll let you find out from the links below. Especially watch link 1 (the first one). Eliminate trans fat and bust through that plateau!
Strategy/Step 10:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
I’m gonna let you watch the videos and read the articles on this one. Let me just say that sleep is one of the most powerful weight loss secrets that exists! No joke folks! Watch and read this stuff. You will not believe this! It’s Incredible and Awesome! Just you wait and see how SLEEP can blast through that fat loss plateau like nothing else. Unreal!
 I hope you all will find some powerful tools among this arsenal that will take you even further in your goals. I can’t “weight” for you to break through…sorry, I just had to spell it that way:)
Posted in Fat Loss Strategies by Trainer Bo | No Comments

Ask Trainers: On my high protein/low carb days what should be the ratio of protein to carbs?

On my high protein/low carb days what should be the ratio of protein to carbs? How low should my carbs be? Any suggestions to making sure I keep my fiber intake up on those days?

Posted in Fitness by talltrainer | 3 Comments

Ask Trainers: My question is how high should this calorie intake be on the “high day” so I don’t sabotage the good that this high day should do for boosting my metabolism?

I find on my “high calorie day” I tend to binge and go after all the foods that I avoid or limit on the other days of the week (candy, ice cream, chocolate, salty foods). With doing this, my caloric intake goes sky high it’s embarrassing. My question is how high should this calorie intake be on the “high day” so I don’t sabotage the good that this high day should do for boosting my metabolism? Thank you and I love boot camp!

Posted in Fitness by talltrainer | 2 Comments