So you have some goals to better your health and fitness do ya?
Great! It is good to set goals and know what you are striving for when embarking on a fitness and health journey.
I see so many people in general not having a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. It shows when they are at the gym aimlessly picking weight machines to use or are spending their entire time on the cardio equipment.
I see a lot of my female clients make these mistakes when they first start an exercise program with me.
When girls come to me for help I ask them some questions to try to dig deeper into the underlying issues they are having. Once they give me a clear view on their goals and tell me what they are currently doing, often times I see a lot of the same mistakes being made over and over again.
As a guy, my focus is to get bigger, get my veins to pop because I think it looks sweet, and grow as much muscle as I can by remaining as lean as possible. I like the bodybuilding style of training… bottom line I’m trying to get HUGE.
And I understand most of you girls don’t want to get HUGE and look jacked but for one thing, you don’t have nearly the amount of testosterone that guys have and it’s not as easy for you to grow big muscles; so kick that fear out of the door.
But I hear the same concerns on repeat…
“I don’t want to lift heavy weights because I don’t want big muscles.”
“I don’t want to look like a man!”
“I don’t think I should be drinking protein shakes because I don’t have the same goals as guys have.”
And my favorite…
“I don’t want to build muscle, I just want to ‘tone’.”
Even if your main goal is to lose fat, building muscle will help you to accomplish this; muscle is very efficient for your body.
I’ve talked about this before but an increase in muscle mass is linked to:
- An increase in strength
- A faster metabolism
- A more efficient metabolization of fat for fuel
- An increase in stamina
- Stronger joints
- Improved immune system
I want to show you, from my perspective as a guy, some common things I see girls doing wrong in the gym.
So, with that being said, here are 5 Common Mistakes Women Make in the Gym:
1. Not lifting heavy enough or not lifting weights often enough.
Whether your main objective is to burn off fat or build muscle, you should be lifting weights THAT CHALLENGE you in the gym.
What burns calories?
A muscular contraction occurs when tension is created within a muscle fiber.
Your muscles create a greater contraction and thus more tension when under tension of a heavy load.
Let’s look at a squat exercise compared to running.
Essentially, your muscles have to work harder to lift a heavy barbell on your back during a squat than it does when jogging down the street. Even if you are jogging for 2 hours, a few sets of heavy squats is more physically demanding for your body and will cause more muscular damage (we want this in order to get stronger) than the jog will.
When we are exercising we want to choose a weight that is challenging for us and causes us to fatigue close to the end of each set.
So if you are able to perform an exercise while holding a conversation and you are getting 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 reps then you decide to stop at 15 because that’s what you heard was the “magic number” to shoot for but you could have easily done another 5 without feeling fatigued, then the weight is too light.
Building muscle and losing weight are both extremes for the body. If the body is not challenged it will not get stronger nor will it be efficient at burning off fat.
In the real world, our bodies are designed to be as efficient as possible for completing a task. If you are trying to lift a heavy object off of the ground your body will recruit as many muscles as possible to spread the load out to make it as easy for your body as possible to lift the weight. For survival, we don’t want our muscles breaking down when they are challenged, we want them to work efficiently to complete the task at hand.
This is not how we want our bodies working when exercising.
When exercising, you should make the exercise as hard as possible to complete and inefficient as possible for your body while remaining safe. We DO want our muscles to get broken down so we can build them up stronger so next time we have to lift that heavy object in the future it will be easier for our bodies.
The point I’m trying to get at is this:
Our bodies need to be challenged and they need to be challenged with weights often (4-6 days a week) if we want them to be stronger.
2. Not eating enough
It isn’t all about calories in vs. calories out but that certainly does play a role.
Some people will disagree with this but it IS possible to eat in a caloric deficit (consuming fewer calories than you burn off) and still not lose weight.
I have seen this happen with not only women but people in general so let me explain…
Your body works off of 3 energy sources: protein, carbs, and fats.
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source and fat burning kicks in in extreme situations once the carbs are used up. Protein is a reparative nutrient that is required by your body at least every few hours to repair and regrow skin, muscle, and bone tissue, along with other functions. This is your body’s least preferred energy source but in the situation of an inadequate energy supply (not enough calories to repair and function normally for the task at hand) your body will do what it has to to survive. If there is an inadequate supply of amino acids available (what protein breaks down into) then the body is forced to source them on its own.
Want to know where that comes from?
Your muscle tissue.
Along with other areas where protein can be stored in the body.
This is the LAST thing we want when we are trying to build muscle and or lose fat.
So, let’s say your maintenance calorie intake (the number of calories you need to consume to maintain your weight) is 1,500 calories.
*You can find your maintenance by clicking here: http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
And you are only consuming 1,000 calories; theoretically, you should be losing weight. But for one thing that is a dangerously low caloric consumption for any adult.
Secondly, if you’re not giving your body the appropriate amount of protein it needs to repair and function then your body is going to hoard fat and strip off your muscle to be burned for energy and to be used to repair.
Recommendations for protein intake can be anywhere from 0.8-2g of protein per pound of lean body mass but I would play it safe and get at least 1g per lean weight and work your way up to 1.5 if you are not recovering well. To find your lean body weight subtract your body fat from your total bodyweight. You can estimate your body fat percentage by using the photo below.
3. Not eating the right foods.
Some people like to follow the IIFYM (if it fits your macros) diet lifestyle. Which means you can consume any food you like as long as it fits into your calorie and macronutrient split protocol.
So whether it’s pizza, cookies, or chicken and rice, if the numbers add up, then have at it.
Again this is looking only at the calorie in vs. calorie out argument which we already busted above.
But let’s look into this closer…
A common and effective macronutrient split is 40/40/20. Which means that 40% of your calories should come from protein, 40% from carbs, and 20% from fats on a hard lifting day.
So for somebody wanting to consume, let’s say 2,000 calories a day with this split, then that would mean that 800 calories should come from protein, 800 from carbs, and 400 from fats. And since protein and carbs both yield 4 calories per gram, 800 divided by 4 is 200, then 200g of protein and 200g of carbs is the goal for the day. Since fats yield 9 calories per gram it comes out to about 44g to be consumed from fats each day.
So with IIFYM it is possible to get results while following a macro split similar to this or other splits, especially when you are first starting the diet; and a lot of people have. But if you care about long-term fat loss and care about your internal health then you should consider actually eating quality organic whole foods and not just be filling yourself up with crap.
Processed junk food can cause inflammation in your body, spike your insulin if carb heavy, and can weaken your immune system, all things that could carry over to the production or expansion of fat cells.
It takes digestive enzymes and healthy functioning organs to break food down. When you eat something such as a Mcdonald’s hamburger it actually forces your body to break itself down in order to digest it since it provides no nutrient value whatsoever. It’s like trying to eat plastic and hoping your body will digest it and break it down; it’s not real food so it lacks the appropriate enzymes attached to it to break it down. Real whole foods provide nutrients that can be broken down to be used for energy (carbs, fats, and protein), vitamins, and minerals; processed foods lack these key nutrients.
I think it’s only obvious that 2,000 calories worth of pizza, donuts, and pasta is not equal to 2,000 calories worth of chicken breast, brown rice, and asparagus.
If you would like to see an entire list of healthy choices of protein, carbs, and fats click on the “contact me” button below I’d be happy to send you that information.
4. Paying too much attention to the scale.
A lot of women like to hop on the scale far too often in hopes of watching it go down day after day, week after week. This just simply is unrealistic. I have had to force myself out of the habit of checking my weight daily to see if I have gained weight and built muscle.
For one thing, when you do weigh yourself it should be first thing in the morning, naked, and after you have dropped the kids off at swim practice… that’s referring to taking a shit if you didn’t know….
Our most accurate weight is first thing in the morning and be happy because you will be the lightest at this time. Throughout the day we eat food, drink water, and expend energy which all has a big impact on our weight. Personally, my weight can shift more than 5 pounds in a day.
Another thing to consider for you ladies is weight fluctuation around your menstrual cycle. It’s a good idea to avoid the scale around this time of the month because it won’t be accurate to your true weight.
If you were to look at a pound of body fat and a pound of pure muscle up close, their sizes would differ. Muscle is more dense and compacted while fat is like a free flowing agent that can squeeze itself almost anywhere in your body.
For my female clients that have their main goal as losing weight, I try to get them to focus their goals on fat loss not simply weight loss. I try to get their focus off of the scale and onto the way they feel (referring to energy and mood levels) and the way they feel about their body (body image).
I start first with getting them stronger and having good control over their body as far as stability and core control. Along with this, we work on building muscle.
Because building muscle will make you stronger and allow you to handle harder and longer workouts. The more muscle you have the more fat your body can use for energy thus the more fat you will be able to lose.
Along with this, it is very common for my female clients after the first month not to see the scale go down BUT they look and feel better and their measurements indicate that they have lost size in their waist and or hips.
How does this happen?
They have built muscle and burned off some fat so the scale evens out and from the looks of the scale, there has been no progress, but the tape measure, pictures, and how they see themselves tells a different story 🙂
5. Too much cardio.
Yes this is a real thing if you haven’t heard about it already.
Why can this be a bad thing?
Bottom line, too much cardio can lead to muscle deterioration aka catabolization, aka muscle burning, aka NOT SOMETHING WE WANT IF OUR GOAL IS TO LOSE FAT.
Cardio is catabolic which means it breaks your body down.
Your body needs fuel (food/calories) to perform and when they are not present it can burn off stored muscle even when there is stored fat wanting to be used. Along with mistake #2: not eating enough food, while on a low-calorie diet mixed with high amounts of cardio, you are basically offering your muscle up to be sacrificed.
Cardio in long durations can be treacherous to the body and can actually make you weaker.
Cardio itself is not bad, the right form of cardio in the right duration with the proper fuel can be beneficial.
Let me explain…
If your goal is to be an endurance athlete, then, by all means, do your long distance steady state cardio but make sure you have adequate amounts of protein, carbs and/or fats available for your body to use (carbs or fat for fuel and protein to spare your muscle).
But if your goal is fat loss then consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It has been proven to be superior for long-term fat loss over steady state cardio.
How HIIT works is you push your body near maximal heart rate capacity for a short period of time, maybe 20-30 seconds, then you allow it to rest or change activities for at least double the amount of time. You can do this on a bike, treadmill, or with different full body exercises.
You can get more done in less time with HIIT then with steady state cardio. There is no need to be on the treadmill for hours a week. You can get an effective HIIT sessions in 3 days a week for around 20 minutes and get good results.
If you are eating below your maintenance calorie consumption and are doing hours of cardio you are wasting your time and you will feel like shit.
So how many of these common mistakes are YOU making lady lifter?
Realize that changing one of these common mistakes may not catapult you into success but the combination of avoiding these mistakes along with consistency and planning head will move you in the direction you want to go.
Need clarification on any of these and how they relate to you?
Are there aspects of your training and/or nutrition that you are unsure about?
Go ahead and hit the “contact me” button below and ask me about what you are struggling with and I will respond to you personally.
To your best health,
So you want to build some muscle aye?
It’s a common goal for a lot of lifters out there.
Whether you’ve been hitting the weights for 5, 10, or many more years, or you are just starting out, packing on some size can be as desirable as a glass of cold water in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
But what should your approach be? You can…
A) Follow the buff dude at the gym
B) Try and figure it out on your own
C) Follow a plan based on SCIENCE and RESEARCH
The first one might sound good at first but consider these things…
- The buff dude at the gym has probably been working out a lot longer than you have and has progressed his workload; what he’s doing now is not what he was doing in the beginning.
- He probably has a lot better genetics than you do and his body is able to go through protein synthesis more often and more efficiently.
- He probably has a much better mind-to-muscle connection than you do and is able to contract his entire leg complex when standing up from the toilet.
- And he could be using anabolic assistance so don’t get unrealistic expectations and expect yourself to look like he does if you are planning on staying natural.
The second option, trying to figure it out on your own, can be good for a little while but eventually, you may find yourself wore out, plateaued, and maybe even injured.
For myself, I always found it useful to admit that I DONT know everything and I can always learn from others who are smarter than me and who have researched and tested their claims backed up by science.
Upon writing this blog I read Brad Schoenfeld’s, The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy & Their Application to Resistance Training peer-reviewed research paper.
All of my facts come from that document and I’m not in school anymore so I don’t have to cite shit! Just search on Google if you want to find the paper. Or wait one sec… just… click… HERE!
Shoenfeld put together this famous and comprehensive research paper to:
(a) extensively review the literature as to the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to exercise training and (b) draw conclusions from the research as to the optimal protocol for maximizing muscle growth. -His words
And in my words… The research was done because… We want to know how to get HUGE!
Mechanical tension is considered essential to muscular growth.
Tension does not necessarily mean weight; you can still create a ton of tension within a muscle even without weight.
The guy at the gym using his hips and shoulders to swing up a 70lb dumbbell to curl may be using a lot of weight for the exercise but isn’t really creating a lot of tension.
Tension is created in the muscle through force and eccentric stretching of the muscle.
If you are benching and stopping at the top to lock out your elbows, your joints are stacked and you are no longer creating a lot of tension. If you want the tension to continue during this exercise then start lowering the bar before reaching the lockout point at the top.
You may be squatting 500lbs but instead of lowering the weight under control you decide to bring it down as fast as you can, bounce right back up and rest at the top.
In this case, you would be better off taking some weight off so you can control the eccentric; (the negative/lowering portion of the lift) contract your glutes, quads, and hamstrings while explosively pushing the ground away from you as you stand up to complete each rep.
This will allow you to keep tension in the muscles you want to work.
Tension should be kept in the working muscle until the end of the set.
Muscular damage occurs as a muscle is broken down and exhausted during exercise.
The muscle can become inflamed and damage is done to its connective tissue.
This is a normal response to exercise.
During an eccentric stretch of an exercise, the muscle is under a lot of force generated stress and the muscle begins to break down.
Think of finishing an incline dumbbell bicep curl by lowering the weight to the bottom again. Your arms are fully extended at the bottom of the lift, triceps contracted, biceps lengthened, and with the dumbbells still in hand… try holding that for 30 seconds after a set.
This creates a ton of tension and eccentric stretching of the biceps and is likely to cause some temporary muscular damage.
Blood is rushed to the muscle, trauma is created in the muscle, and after the workout, the body begins to heal itself.
Damaged muscles could stimulate satellite cell activity, leading to muscular hypertrophy aka growth.
Metabolic stress results from exercise that relies on anaerobic glycolysis for ATP production.
Think of “The Pump” developed from high rep sets.
Muscle ischemia (inadequate blood supply to a muscle) can result in metabolic stress and can lead to muscular hypertrophy.
When a muscle is under tension during a long exercise set metabolites such as lactic acid and creatine phosphate build up in the muscle causing metabolic stress.
Metabolic stress is not considered essential to growth but can be a complementing factor.
Other Factors Relating to Muscular Growth
Insulin-like growth factor is considered to be the most important mammalian anabolic hormone and can be found in satellite cells in the body.
It promotes anabolism and increases the rate of protein synthesis thus leading to growth.
Testosterone is a hormone derived from cholesterol and has an anabolic effect on muscle tissue.
The effects of testosterone are magnified in the presence of mechanical loading. This increases the rate of protein synthesis and decreases muscle atrophy (breakdown of muscle).
It can also stimulate the release of growth hormones and satellite cells which are linked to muscular growth.
Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and can have anabolic and catabolic effects while inducing the metabolization of fat.
The greatest amounts of growth hormone are released after intense exercise and during sleep while the body is recovering.
Growth hormone released in a result from exercise is highly correlated with the hypertrophy of type I and type II muscle fibers.
Cell swelling (cellular hydration) results from increased pressure against the cell membrane that leads to the body reinforcing its infrastructure.
It is most present during exercises that result in a large build up of lactic acid.
Since cell swelling increases protein synthesis and decreases proteolysis (the breakdown of protein into amino acids by enzymes) it has an anabolic effect on the muscles involved.
Hypoxia is the deficiency in the amount of oxygen present in a muscle.
Occlusion training is the blockage or closing of blood vessels used by a muscle. One way to do this is wrapping a tight band around the top of the bicep just below the deltoid while doing curls… this results in hypoxia.
Hypoxia can lead to muscle gains.
Muscular growth doesn’t come from any one thing in particular but from the accumulation of many different variables.
Mechanical tension, muscular damage, and metabolic stress work synergistically to maximize muscular hypertrophy.
The body doesn’t understand weight, it understands tension.
Tension needs to be created within a muscle in order for it to grow and get stronger.
Think about pushing the ground away from you as you stand during a squat, pull from your elbows during a row, and contract your biceps before initiating a curl; all of these will help to create tension.
The muscle needs to be broken down in order to be built back up.
Spend time in the lengthened (eccentric) portion of exercises to maximize muscle stretching and muscle breakdown.
Chase the pump during exercise; allow your muscles to go through longer sets to build up lactic acid.
When your muscles start to burn during a set, try to extend the set as long as possible to maximize metabolic stress.
Training within all of these variables will help to maximize muscular growth which is what we are all after after all right?
Get out there and GROW!
I recently finished a 12-week cut diet. I designed a program for myself that normally somebody would implement in preparation for a physique competition. Unfortunately for me, there was not a competition lined up at the end of my 12 weeks. There are a few reasons why I decided to go on this nutrition and training protocol:
-I had 2 photo shoots at the end of the 12 weeks so I wanted to look my best and cut off as much fat as I could to look as lean and muscular as possible.
-I’ve never done a cut for myself before, it’s always just been bulk bulk bulk and get as big as possible. I wanted to take a step back and shift my focus temporarily so when it was time to bulk again I could surpass my plateau and make some positive gains.
-I wanted to practice what a 12-week cut would be like so next time there was a physique competition I would be better prepared having had the practice and experience with my own body to see how it reacts to changes in food type, calories, training variance, and so on.
-I always enjoyed learning more about health and fitness so I knew that if I practiced a fat loss diet on myself I would be better able to help out my clients with similar goals.
-I wanted to start modeling so I needed some good quality professional photos taken so I could set up a comp card (my first photoshoot).
-I wanted to get shredded up and have a nice set of abs for my fitness photo shoot (my second photoshoot).
-I wanted some good pictures for my website coachkylefitness.com and for my Instagram. I also used one of my pictures for the cover of my free eBook, “7 Steps to a Healthy & Fit New Year.”
So with having said all of the reasons WHY I dieted for 12 weeks… Here is what I learned from it all…
I learned a lot from having had this experience; information that I can take with me and apply when helping and coaching others. Before implementing this diet I was already familiar with a lot of the things that I knew I would be doing while following this plan such as:
- Meal Prep
- Calorie and macronutrient tracking
- Weight training
- High-intensity interval training
And I was already eating clean foods about 80% of the time.
Some things I was not use to and had to acclimate myself to:
- More frequent cardio
- Fasted cardio
- Water depletion during the last days of the photoshoots
- Carb cycling
- 100% clean eating minus a few cheat meals/refeeds
With this diet came a lot of changes and challenges but that was expected going into this. Here are some things I learned while on this journey:
Self-Discipline and Making Sacrifices
Self-discipline is one thing you must have in order to succeed and stick with any nutrition or training program.
If you don’t have the willpower to say no when your friends ask you to come have a drink or skip on the cheesecake, then you are going to have a hard time with sticking to a diet.
I kept having to tell myself that this is only temporary and it will all be worth it in the end.
You have to be able to be hard on yourself, make sacrifices, and not give into temptations.
This is the same in anything you want in life.
If you want to be an investor, you have to be smart with your money and save when it is appropriate and invest in the right things and the right amounts when you come across something worthwhile to you.
If you want to be a skilled painter you must practice daily and make that a priority over other things in your life.
The truth is, self-discipline takes sacrifices and it is about following through on what you told yourself you were going to do.
I had to constantly plan ahead in order to get all of my meals and workouts in.
I was already use to meal prepping but I had to kick it up a notch.
I was carb cycling with high and low carb days and all my high carb days were the same and all of my low carb days were the same. I was eating all of the same foods but I would reduce calories every other week.
So every day I knew what and how much I needed to eat, it was just a matter of preparing food ahead of time.
I needed to make sure every day that I had chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, cod, eggs, etc… and if I didn’t, I would need to shop and cook up food ahead of time so when it was time to eat I had food prepared or I had enough time to prepare it fresh.
Too many times before I was dieting I would glare into my fridge with hunger hoping that a prepared food would be there staring back at me ready to be eaten.
And before my organized planning, I would have to come up with something to eat last minute and this is where bad food choices would arise.
If you fail to plan and prepare meals ahead of time it makes it a lot easier to make bad nutritional choices.
I was already use to scheduling my workouts in each day and going in there with a plan knowing exactly what I was doing, but some days I had to force myself to get up in the morning and do my fasted cardio… for those of you that don’t know, this is going to the gym first thing in the morning before eating and doing 20-30 minutes of high-intensity interval training.
You know how it goes…
If you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.
The hardest part of consistency for me has always been the eating; I rarely have an issue going to the gym, a lot of times it’s the highlight of my day, but it’s harder for me to stay on track with eating what I’m supposed to be eating.
I’ll be honest if someone is offering me pizza or a sugary treat it is hard for me to say no.
One slice of pizza here and there or one small piece of cake every once in awhile isn’t the worst thing in the world, but if you want to see real progress in your physique and health then think long term and remember that everything adds up.
You need to be eating good consistently in order to make progress and to deserve a cheat meal every few weeks or so.
A story on consistency…
The Chinese bamboo tree is a unique and beautiful plant. It takes 5 years to fully grow and mature.
In the process of its growth, it requires water, soil, and sunlight CONSISTENTLY EVERY SINGLE DAY.
For the first 4 years of its life, it does not even break the surface of the ground. In perspective, it looks like there has been no growth at all.
Then on the 5th year, it grows 80 feet tall in 6 weeks.
The question is… Did it grow 80 feet in 6 weeks or in 5 years?
For the bamboo tree to grow it takes 5 years of CONSISTENT effort and if on any single day it did not receive its water, soil, and sunlight, it would be unable to grow.
Relate this to your health and fitness journey, how can you be more consistent?
Stop stopping and starting over and stay the course.
You do not have to be perfect, but you must be CONSISTENT. More on this in my eBook.
We Are All Stronger Than We Think
I wanted to put my body to the test and see what it could handle.
While on this diet I never had to starve myself, do hours of cardio a day, and I still got to eat foods I liked.
While in the process of loosing weight I lost some strength and stamina, but that was expected going in.
I was surprised at what my body could handle while in a depleted state.
You see, while on a fat loss diet you should be in a caloric deficit, burning off more than you are taking in.
Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, your body needs to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. If you want to lose 5 pounds you need to burn off 17,500 calories.
So assuming you want to lose 5 pounds of fat and you are use to consuming 2,000 calories a day, you can take in 500 calories less of food a day or burn off an additional 500 calories.
Since food consumption is easier to measure lets say you will start eating 1,500 calories a day then it will take you 35 days to burn of 5 pounds of fat.
It is not always this cut and dry but this is the science. There is always some variance either way.
You could lose much more than 5 pounds in 35 days doing this but along with fat may come water and muscle.
And while being in a caloric deficit is how your body will burn off excess calories, it is not healthy to be in this state all of the time.
While on this diet every few weeks I would give myself a refeed meal. This gives your body a chance to restabilize and get an excess of calories to make sure you are not burning off too much muscle.
Being in a depleted state may make you feel weaker and more tired but your body is programmed to handle this and your mental strength can trump over this.
Sometimes when we are challenged and feel our weakest, we can see how strong we really are.
The truth is, whatever you want to accomplish takes sacrifices and hard work, we all know that.
This 12-week diet wasn’t easy and I had to be self-disciplined, make sacrifices, plan ahead, be consistent, and I found out I was much stronger than I thought.
But I had a clear goal of what I wanted to accomplish, I didn’t hold back, and I FREAKIN’ DID IT!
Your body can change dramatically in 12 weeks if you want it bad enough and are committed to the protocol.
Yes there were times that I didn’t want to eat my chicken and veggies, there were times where I didn’t want to go to the gym, there were times when I wanted to curl up in a blanket and watch movies and eat pizza and donuts all day…
but I didn’t let any of these temptations derail me from my success.
If you are just starting to work on your health and fitness goals you absolutely don’t need to be as extreme as I was; I wanted to reach a specific goal at a specific time so that’s what I did.
Whether you want to lose a few pounds, lose 100 pounds, cut down for a photo shoot like I did, or anything in between, you are going to need to implement these principles.
I am happy with the progress I have made and I love helping others do the same.
If you would like a personalized nutrition and exercise plan built just for you that you can complete on your own time and from anywhere in the world, then consider applying for my online coaching.
To your best health,
In my 25 years short years that I have been present here on Planet Earth, I have learned some valuable lessons. I am still young and have a lot to learn but one simple lesson that has been sticking out to me lately is to always remember what is REALLY important.
And what I mean by that is, if you had to dig down deep what is honestly and truly the most important things in your life?
I have a small whiteboard in my room that reads, “Don’t waste time, remember what is important.”
It is pretty much wallpaper to me now but I wrote it in a sense that I would see it as I awoke in the morning being eager to jump out of bed to start working on my goals.
When you ask yourself the question, “What are the most important things in my life?” What do you think of?
Most of us would say, my family, my faith, my health, and my own happiness.
But are we REALLY living this way?
Think about that one for a minute…
I can bet that your family is very important to you and spending quality time with them is meaningful.
But how many times have you had to work late causing you to miss your kid’s or another family member’s sporting event?
How many holiday dinner parties were missed due to work obligations?
Have you ever felt so busy that you went several months or so without seeing and spending time with family?
Be grateful if these don’t pertain to you.
Personally, I don’t have any kids and I have never let a job or other obligations get in the way of holiday dinner parties with family.
No job or amount of money has my priority over spending holidays with family.
Plus who could pass out on the great Thanksgiving dinner! Currently, Thanksgiving is one week away and my 12 weeks of dieting will be ending a few days before! I am so ready to smash some good food!
We say family is extremely important to us but do we ever let other things get in the way?
I’ll leave you guys alone for a little bit and pick on myself for now.
Q) My Christian faith is very important to me, but am I a sinner?
Q) I say my faith is very important to me and I want to live out God’s plan for me and live selflessly for him but is that always the case?
A) Have I given into Satan’s deceptive temptations?
Q) But that’s our human nature, right?
Q) Does that excuse sinful acts?
Q) Sound familiar to you?
Q) And whatever faith means to you… are you REALLY living up to it?
Most of us would say that our health is important to us. Why would you be reading a blog from a fitness and health professional if it wasn’t?
But how many times have we had to stop for fast food or other convenient unhealthy processed food choices because we “had to” or we were “in a pinch”?
Easier said then done but get into the habit of preparing food ahead of time. It might look a little silly that I’m always caring around a small cooler of food and eating cold chicken in a waiting room or any other public place I may be at… but do I care?
I do what I have to do to get my meals in.
How many times have we justified another slice of pizza or cake because we really wanted it?
Guys, I’m all for enjoying a good dinner for holidays and going out for cheats every once in awhile… Still can’t stop thinking about that Thanksgiving dinner next week!
Wow, that’s fancy… well if you’re reading this shortly after I wrote it you can be excited for Thanksgiving too… if not, then you’ll just have to suffer through this mouth watering picture. 🙂
We say health is important to us but are we REALLY making it a priority?
Most of us would say that our own happiness is important to us but how many times have we done something we really didn’t want to do without any real benefit?
How many of us have looked at our bank account unhappy thinking that more money will solve all of our problems and allow us to relax?
How many of us ever felt like alcohol, drugs, sex, or buying a new wardrobe or piece of entertainment would bring us happiness?
Sometimes I feel like once I get my new car, or my new phone, or a new pair of workout shoes that it’ll make me happier.
I got all of those things and they bring temporary joy.
How many times have you taken your own happiness out of consideration?
If we are unhappy then it is much harder for us to adhere to our family, making them happy and providing for them… another thing that we said is important to all of us.
You are probably thinking, “My career is important to me!”
And I would agree with that.
But too often I see people, myself included, giving their priority to their job over family and other things that are much more important.
Too many times I have locked myself in my office working away while my family is enjoying a movie together, decorating for the holidays, or just simply enjoying time together.
I find myself overworked, frustrated, and neglect what is REALLY important; one thing specifically for me that I lack attention to… family.
So in writing this blog my intentions aren’t to tell you to skip work and prep food every day for every meal.
It is to remind you to always remember what is REALLY important.
Think about this as you go about each day and ask yourself, “Am I getting a good balance of family, faith, health, and my own happiness? Are what I say are my priorities REALLY my priorities?”
And constantly and honestly ask yourself,
“What is REALLY important?”
So if we had to be honest with ourselves most of us would say that we want to be “healthier”, but what does this really mean?
Being healthy can mean many different things.
Some may say that the absence of disease or illness deems them to be “healthy”.
I don’t believe that just because you go to the doctor and they can’t find anything wrong with you means that you are “healthy”.
Often times living an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a lack of energy, a lack of focus, and can lead to becoming sick. This issue should be addressed BEFORE it arises.
Maybe being healthy to you means making sure that you brush your teeth, shower, eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and get 8 hours of sleep each day.
It may mean to someone else that you regularly get check-ups at the doctor, get your flu shot, and stay away from people who are sick.
It could mean eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein and exercising at least 3 days a week.
To me, there’s not one definite definition to being “healthy.”
I believe that you should choose to live a healthy lifestyle and consider your health and well-being in the everyday choices that we make.
So allow me to illustrate something for you…
Let’s say it’s your 16th birthday and your parents told you,
“Happy birthday! It’s your big day and we want to celebrate by giving you a special gift.
We want to give you your first car!!!
You can pick out any car that you want, price does not matter.”
Sounds pretty good so far, doesn’t it?
“Pick out any car that you want but…
This is the only car you are going to have for the rest of your life, so take good care of it.”
So if this was the case you would take care of your car like it was your own baby.
You would make sure the oil was changed on time, the tires were inflated properly, you put the best premium fuel in it, always kept it clean, and so on.
You have one physical body that God has given us to live in until the day we die.
Why not treat your body like a temple and take care of it the best you can?
So yes, eat whole foods provided by nature and avoid the processed ones.
Eat plenty of vegetables and lean protein.
Exercise your body consistently at least a few times a week.
Not only do you want to live a healthy lifestyle physically by eating good food and exercising but you also want to live healthily emotionally, financially, spiritually, and socially.
Have a drive or a main focus on where you want to go in life.
You should live with purpose, determination, and a well thought out plan on how to get there.
A lot of people have goals and dreams of things that they want to do, but many of us do not write them down or are not actively pursuing them. I am highly encouraging you to do this because it will help you get to where you want to go.
Your occupation should be in harmony with these things and should take you closer to where you want to go in life.
The old saying that says,”If you love what you do you will never have to work a day in your life” can be misleading.
Love what you do, correct, but WORK for what you love with PASSION and ENJOY the process. You may enjoy it so much that the hard work you put in doesn’t even feel like work.
Whether you have faith in God or not, have faith in something that you can believe in.
Something that brings you joy and a sense of purpose. Something that makes you love yourself and love others.
Have a healthy social life with friends and family that you love and love being around. Find things that bring you joy and do them as often as possible.
Living a healthy lifestyle is all about encompassing every aspect of health into your life.
It’s about taking care of yourself and considering your health in the day to day choices and challenges we face.
No one particular thing will make you “healthy” but the combination of all of the little things added up will make a difference.
Of course you’re never going to be perfect at this; life gets in the way, we are all human.
The thing to remember when living a healthy lifestyle is to live happily as well as healthily.
If you are doing something that is quote “healthy” but it seems to be dragging you down and not benefiting your life then reconsider if it is necessary for you.
Address your habits and ask yourself, “Is this something that is making me healthier, happier, and bringing me closer to my desired goal in life or is it doing the opposite? Is it worth partaking in every day, once in awhile, or would I be better off without it completely?”
Ask this question to yourself when faced with a challenge and remember,
If it is not making you healthier, happier, or bringing you closer to where you long to be, is it worth keeping in your life?
To your best health,
Growing up I was involved in every and any sport you could think of. I played soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey… literally any mainstream sport that offered an organized team or a coaching staff, I was a part of.
I tried and played on all of these sports teams as a kid but never really found one that I excelled in or cared enough about to stick with for more than a few seasons.
When high school came around I wasn’t consistently playing any sports so it was time to try a new one.
My mom thought I would like diving.
I did gymnastics when I was very young and she knew that I liked the water and doing flips off of diving boards.
I thought, “Diving? I don’t want to swim laps and shave my legs.” But I didn’t have to because upon joining the swim and dive team I decided that I would only dive and not swim.
I fell in LOVE.
I had friends on the football team and they would tell me about their grueling, man making workouts. For some reason, these torturous workouts enticed me and I wanted to lift with the big dogs; we only did bodyweight exercises with the swim and dive team.
They got me in and I started learning some traditional lifts such as the bench press, squat, and deadlift… I was hooked.
The workouts would leave me sore for days but I think it was the discipline of getting through the workouts that I enjoyed. I liked the challenge and I enjoyed learning more.
I wanted to start working out on my own so my family got a membership to Lifetime Fitness and I enrolled in the weight lifting class at school… twice. Yes, I took it twice and loved it both times.
I met with a trainer at Lifetime for one assessment and he taught me some basics… do chest and triceps on Monday, back and biceps on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday and rest on the weekend. He may have thrown in another lifting day but I remember learning those splits. Three sets of 10 on everything.
So I started reading the instructions on every machine, adjusting the seat and everything as it said, and slowly started learning.
Back to my diving story… so junior year I broke the school’s record! And I was ready to beat my score senior year then this happened…
A snowboarding accident caused me to break my femur. They say that it is the hardest bone in your body to break… and I managed to do it.
But! No worries because this was a monumental moment in my life.
I had to go through physical therapy to recover and this got me very interested in learning more about the human body, I didn’t even know what a femur was when I broke it.
After I had recovered I searched for a gym where I could start working out at again.
I started going to Fitness 19 with some buddies and made some friends at the gym as well. EVERY night we would get there at 9:30 PM, right after Omar got off of work and we would work out until they closed at 11.
This became a regular routine for me and my friends.
During this time I started doing my own research on fitness and bodybuilding. I searched online for some info and came across my mentor in my early days of lifting, Vince Delmonte: The Skinny Guy Savior.
I started watching all of his videos and reading all of the content he put out. He was a natural bodybuilder and helped guys pack on some foundational muscle.
I learned a lot of the basics from him and I went from about 140lbs. to over 170lbs! I was so happy with my results.
Following Vince lead me to my next mentor, IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski. He was a friend of Vince’s and often was featured in his videos. I figured if this guy is my mentor’s mentor, I need to follow him too.
I learned a lot more advanced bodybuilding concepts from Ben and respect him a lot for his expertise.
So college was approaching soon and I was desperately trying to figure out a career path.
I struggled with this for awhile.
I figured since I was always in the gym working out or spending my time online looking at different workout plans and learning about nutrition from my mentors, I would pursue a career in health and fitness.
Going through physical therapy got me interested in potentially studying the field in college, but the idea of medical school and trying to get in with my average grades wasn’t appealing to me. Plus I thought I would like working with athletes and able bodies better.
So I started taking an anatomy and physiology class at my local community college and began to learn the human body inside and out. That class was loaded with a lot of information and a lot of memorizing, but I enjoyed it.
After doing this I purchased my self-study kit to become a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Shortly after this, I started in the Exercise Science program at Eastern Michigan University.
While I was in the program I was told about a new program they were starting, “Sports Performance and Fitness Entrepreneurship.”
Since I was not planning on going to med school and I wanted a more entrepreneurial career and liked the idea of getting a business minor, I made the switch to the new program and graduated with that.
I really enjoyed all of my hands-on fitness classes I had at school. I liked stepping away from the desk to learn Olympic Lifts, run fitness tests and assessments, and always being active.
I learn best by doing.
Now I am about a year and a half out of graduation and I have been working as a certified personal trainer ever since.
I love spending my time training my clients in person and helping them achieve their goals. It feels good knowing that I can make a positive impact in someone’s life from coaching through health and fitness.
But lately, I’ve been wanting more.
I want to help more people through my coaching and make an impact in more people’s lives.
I’ve been growing my Fitstagram (fitness Instagram account 😉 @kylescott_james) to share my expertise and passion with others. I knew I could grow something out of this.
I didn’t want to just be your average personal trainer, I wanted to be something more… a body transformation coach.
CoachKyleFitness.com was born.
Now, I am still coaching my clients in person in Michigan, but now I am able to offer online coaching.
Online coaching allows me to reach people that are outside of my local area and it is a more cost-effective system.
I have an initial Skype consultation call with the client to get to know them, their goals, past experiences, and what’s holding them back from reaching their goals.
I then devise and build a training and nutrition plan specifically for them and they complete their workouts on their own time.
This is meant for people who are coachable and willing to follow the plan I have built for them. It will only work for those that are willing to stay committed to the program and who can be self-disciplined; the same goes for anything that you want to succeed or excel in.
If you aren’t willing to put in the work, then don’t bother.
I love studying health and fitness and learning how I can help people better. I believe you should never stop learning and when you think you know it all then you really know nothing.
Fitness is my passion and it is so rewarding being able to say that I get to help people get in the best shape of their lives and feel good about themselves, that is why I do what I do. #FitnessFanatic
You can search the web for fat loss tips all day and you will find all different things:
“Never eat carbs for the rest of your life!”
“Fat is bad and will make you fat!”
“You can eat Mcdonald’s as long as you don’t eat the bread!”
Everyone’s body works differently and one diet or food plan may work well for one person and not so well for others.
It also depends a lot on things like age, gender, current weight, goal weight, and of course, your main objective.
Someone who is already 100 pounds overweight and is trying to lose weight is going to be eating a different diet, and especially different amounts of food, then somebody who is trying to lose an extra 5 pounds to expose their abs more fully.
There is no one diet or plan that works for everybody and there is not necessarily a wrong or right approach to reaching your fat loss goals.
All that matters is that you find what works for you and stick to it consistently.
If you are not consistent with it, you will not know what works and what doesn’t work…
With all of that being said here are 15 simple tips for fat loss, tips that are not specific to any diet, and tips that could work for anybody trying to burn off some stored fat.
1. Eat mostly whole foods.
Whole foods are foods that are as close to nature as possible without the addition of artificial additives and are unprocessed and unrefined or as much as possible.
These are foods you could find in nature; whether being grown in the ground or living on the ground. They also expire sooner than processed foods.
Typically whole foods are unpackaged and are a stand alone food.
2. Eat vegetables every day and eat a variety of colors.
Vegetables all carry different nutrients within them and eating a variety helps you get a complete diet. For example:
- Spinach is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, and antioxidant benefits
- Kale helps to detox and cleanse the liver
- Carrots provide a good source of beta-carotene and fiber.
Eating vegetables that go with the season is important because:
I. Some vegetables are only available at a certain time of the year and getting them outside their natural grow season means they have to be coming from somewhere very far away so they are most likely processed to keep them fresh.
*Or they are grown in an unnatural setting, like an artificial climate control room.
II. They are not coming from a local farmer so they are not going to be very fresh and will start losing their nutritional value.
III. Foods in season are often cheaper because they are shipped in larger quantities due to popular demand.
IV. And who wants to eat pumpkin in August anyway?
3. Eat fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fruits often provide antioxidant and detox benefits while providing nutrients such as Vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid.
Lemons are the king of detox and many different berries provide antioxidant benefits. Grab a piece of fruit instead of candy next time you have a sweet tooth, natural sugar is better than artificial sugar anyway.
Limit yourself here if fat loss is your main goal, too much natural sugar can get stored as fat also.
4. Stay mostly along the outside perimeter of the grocery store.
The freshest, least processed, and least refined foods, are found along the walls of the grocery store.
Whole food sources like meat and produce are in this area.
Foods that have been altered and packaged are within the aisles of the store and are usually not healthy whole food sources.
Think about it….. What is found along the walls of the grocery store?
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh meat
- The bakery….. BUT SKIP THAT!!
And what is found within the aisles?
- PACKAGED JUNK FOOD!
- Artificial treats
- Snacks for kids that hold no nutritional value and are filled with garbage
- Ready to eat snacks filled with chemicals and an appealing label
- Not whole foods
Now don’t get me wrong… there are some good foods within the aisles; just use this as a general, “Rule of thumb” when trying to eat healthy.
Some foods that CAN be ok choices (depending on your goal and meal timing) that I get within the aisles are:
- Natural peanut butter
- Some protein bars
- Ketchup (without high-fructose corn syrup)
- Certain organic low sugar cereals
- Toilet paper (definitely important)
- And I’ll probably think of 10 more things as soon as I leave my computer…
*Side note: I try to buy as many things organic as I can… especially meats and produce.
*Another side note: Currently, I am on a 12-week cut for a photo shoot so a lot of these aisle foods I have omitted from my diet like ketchup, cereal, protein bars, and anything with added sugar… Your diet becomes very specific when trying to get as lean as possible.
You should also consider spending less time in the aisles and take out added sugar from your diet when trying to burn off fat.
5. The fewer ingredients the better!
Think about how Mother Nature provides food; there are no added ingredients like preservatives or other chemicals.
You have to be careful when in the aisles of a grocery store…. just like we talked about, as these foods often have the most ingredients.
The ingredients in peanut butter should be basically just peanuts; oftentimes things like hydrogenated oils are added to increase their shelf life, which is not natural and can be harmful to the body.
The ingredients in ketchup should be from a tomato source and some spices but that’s about it. Tomatoes are naturally sweet and should not have things like high-fructose corn syrup added to them.
Pick up a fresh pound of chicken and what are the ingredients? It should just be chicken.
Pick up a pack of frozen chicken fingers and besides the chicken, you will probably see things like added flavorings, preservatives, colors, thickeners, and even other meats.
This is unhealthy because of the added ingredients and it is not fresh and has to be packaged.
Example of a good ingredient label
*Notice there is only 1 ingredient.
Example of a bad ingredient label
*Notice all of the many harmful ingredients here
6. Ingredients on a label are listed by the most abundant to least abundant.
If what should be the main ingredient is not listed first, put it back on the shelf.
If you are looking at a chicken meal and the first ingredient is not chicken or the other abundant food item with it like rice or noodles, then throw it,
Yes actually throw it
on the ground and run away screaming.
If you are looking for a chicken meal then the majority of what should be in the box should be chicken, it just doesn’t make sense for it to be anything other than that. No need for artificial additives to be more abundant than the food you are shopping for.
Potato chips’ first ingredient should be potatoes,
lemonade’s first ingredient should be lemons,
and honey’s first ingredient should be bees… just kidding, it should only list honey 😉
7. Avoid these food additives at all cost!:
- Artificial sweeteners (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, aspartame, etc.)
*Stevia is a great alternative
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Partially or fully hydrogenated oils (which are both trans fats, worst kind of fat for you)
- Monosodium glutamates
- Sodium nitrate
- Sodium nitrite
- Potassium bromate
- Artificial colors (e.g., red#5, red#40, yellow#5, etc.)
None of these are naturally found in whole foods and all have been shown to have a negative effect on your body. From storing fat in your body to cancer, these additives can be very dangerous to the body long term.
Check your labels before you buy something at the grocery store and if it has any of these items listed on it, put it back!
… or throw it down and run away screaming again.
Unfortunately, many restaurants will carry these ingredients in their foods and sometimes it can be hard to know everything that is in your food from a restaurant… everything in moderation.
8. Never have a full cheat day
Only have cheat meals and snacks when you feel you deserve them; eating clean consistently for 2 weeks in a row could be a good time.
And just like I said above: everything in moderation.
It’s ok to go out to eat every once in awhile, it’s fun and I always enjoy somebody else cooking and cleaning for a change.
But when you are trying to follow a specific diet or just trying to lose some weight in general, you really want to limit your cheat meals.
Ideally sticking to your diet and eating clean 80-90% of the time.
For me, and the fact that I am cutting right now… sticking to my diet 100% for 2 weeks seems to be enough time to reward myself with a little cheat meal, and then 2 more weeks of perfect eating again.
But, the better you stick to your plan the better your results.
If you aren’t following a specific diet then stick to an 80/20 or 90/10 rule: eating clean 80-90% of the time and save that extra 10-20% for when you go out to eat with friends or family every once in awhile.
…Or you’ll end up like these guys…
9. Think about your goal and what you want to accomplish before putting something into your mouth.
If it is going to bring you closer to your goal then eat up.
If it is going to pull you further away then close your mouth, lock it up, and throw away the key.
You can’t teach self-discipline, you just have to be strong enough in the moment to make a choice based on what will better you in the future, not right now.
10. Plan meals ahead of time.
This is a life saver!
Too many times I have scavenged my kitchen for food only to find nothing prepared to eat so I end up spending more time trying to put something together last minute.
Having meals prepared ahead of time makes it easier to make healthier food choices and not stop for a quick fix like fast food when you are in a pinch.
This also goes along with self-discipline and time management… 2 things that I am admittedly bad at.
When you notice that you only have another day or two’s worth of chicken left, add it to your grocery list and get it before you run out.
Guys, I go to the grocery store every few days/at least once a week.
I run out of food very quickly because I eat the same things every day. This makes it easy to know what I will need and buying more often keeps the foods fresher and stops me from buying things that I do not need.
11. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.
Water makes up about 60% of our bodies and is needed often and for many different functions in the body.
Having a water bottle around makes it easier to stay on top of hydration and keeping your body working optimally.
I carry a water bottle with me wherever I go and drink from it with every meal.
12. Low or no fat does not necessarily mean that it is healthier.
Oftentimes artificial additives have to be added to these foods to reduce the natural fat of the food.
Although leaner meats are better quality and generally better for you compared to fattier meats, if your goal is to burn fat then you want to primarily use fat as a fuel source (higher fat diet) and limit your intake of carbohydrates and save them for when your body really needs them, like before or after a hard workout.
When a high fat/high carb meal is eaten (e.g., burgers, pizza, sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, etc.) it is essentially a shit show on your body and your body wants to store it as fat, making it harder to be burned off as fuel.
13. Alcohol inhibits fat burning.
When there is alcohol present in your body your body recognizes it as a toxin and wants to get rid of it first, virtually halting all fat burning capabilities.
Besides that alcohol can also:
- Damage the liver
- Create digestive problems
- Lead to heart disease
- Lead to cancer
- Lead to liver disease
- Create a stroke
- Inhibit your memory
- Influence you into making bad choices like thinking you can win a bar fight with a champion boxer or that you’ll get away with dropping your pants and peeing on the bar top… those may be a little extreme but I’m sure it’s happened.
14. Protein should be the most abundant macronutrient in your diet.
Protein is utilized in your body constantly and is used for many different things besides muscular repair and growth.
Protein is also needed
- To synthesize hormones and enzymes
- For the brain and nervous system to function
- To be used for energy when the amount of carbs, fats, and calories consumed are too low.
When protein is needed in your body and it is not available it will burn off stored protein (muscle) to be used for fuel or other functions.
SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR HARD EARNED GAINS!!!!!!
And even if your goal is not to build muscle, know that the more muscle you have the more fat you can burn off for fuel, even at rest. When you burn off muscle it makes you weaker, more tired, and slows your metabolism.
Some great protein sources are:
- Lean beef
- Lean turkey
- Egg whites
- Whey protein isolate
- Cottage cheese
- Black beans
- Greek yogurt
15. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.
A famous quote by a smart man named Zig Ziglar.
You could be saying to yourself, “I’m too busy right now; I’ll start working out in the new year.”
“I need to finish reading my nutrition and diet book before I start my diet.”
“I don’t have fitness clothes yet so I’ll wait to start once I get some.”…
“I can’t work out I need a sitter for my kids.”…
“I don’t know what I’m doing or know where to start, so I’ll stay at home.”…
“I don’t know the best gym to go to”…
The solution to all of these issues is to just simply start; start somewhere, seek some guidance, and learn as you go.
Guys this is something that I have struggled with. I like to know everything I can and get everything perfectly organized and ready before starting something.
But the reality of that is, you waste more time procrastinating when you can just simply START and figure it out as you go.
The first step is always the hardest part. It may be hard to have the courage to start working out again or start eating healthy, but don’t wait until you are all “ready” to go.
You are never going to be completely ready to start. Cut the excuses, cut the bs, and take the leap of faith to go out of your comfort zone to work towards something that your future self will thank you for.