I would not choose any other profession in the world. This is my passion! I love helping people reach their goals and attain the body they've always dreamed of. I know, firsthand, that living in a beautiful body is one of the most empowering things in the world. Everything is better and life is fuller. I train a lot of athletes and those who want to look like figure models, bodybuilders and swimsuit magazine cover boys/girls. I also train a lot of personal trainers.
But make no mistake about it, this is much more than vanity. This is MUCH MORE than just having a body that turns heads. This is about your health and the quality of your life. In this country, it's becoming a life or death situation. I'm not trying to be overly dramatic here. We have become the fattest country on the planet and now one of the unhealthiest.
The American Diabetes Association reports in one of the most recent studies that about 20 percent of Americans have prediabetes and are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.
Statistics show that if we continue at the current rate, about one in three American children born today will develop diabetes. Get this: Of the approximately 24 million Americans with diabetes, nearly 6 million have type 2 diabetes and don't know it. Wow, what a legacy to leave behind for our kids :(
Here's the good news. Christine T. Tobin, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, said the following recently in a news release, "Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight through 30 minutes of regular physical activity, five days a week and healthy eating," Tobin said. "We encourage everyone to gather their friends, family, loved ones and co-workers, and find ways to live healthier lifestyles today."
According to the ADA, one of the first steps is to find out if you or a loved one is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test. The test (available at stopdiabetes.com or 1-800-DIABETES) asks participants questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Based on their answers, participants are told whether they're at low, moderate or high risk for diabetes. Those at high risk are encouraged to talk with their doctor.
Hey, I love the Cheesecake Factory as much as the next guy or girl, but it's time to get serious and stop putting off what we know we need to do for ourselves and our loved ones.
Someone very close to me once said, "Leave me alone. I'll stop smoking when I'm dead."
He was right. He finally stopped smoking. He's dead. He died of cancer.
Your health and future is in your hands. Love your body. Love your Life!
Hey, I've got a pop quiz for you today! If I throw some fresh ice in a glass with Propylene Glycol, add a nice shot of Sodium Hypoclorite and then throw in a celery stick stirrer, would that be an all-natural drink because I threw in the celery stick?
No, I would have a glass of ice cold AntiFreeze mixed with Bleach. Chemicals are just that--chemicals! And, they're putting this stuff in everything. Go search your labels. Did you find the words High Fructose Corn Syrup anywhere? It's anything but natural. Watch these videos!
SOME FUNNY TRUTH!
It's imperative that we READ our labels and try to stay away from this stuff. Guess where I found some of it recently? I found it in a very popular protein powder! There are countless studies done regarding the negative affects of High Fructose Corn Syrup on health and weight gain. Here is one of the latest. Read more here...
It's really not just about flavor. Spicing up your clean and healthy food can be a great way to break up the boredom, but also benefit your health and BOOST your metabolism. As many of you already know, I like to spend my Sunday nights preparing my 20 lbs of chicken breasts for the coming week. How do I prepare it? Well, I grill it after I spend overnight Saturday "marinating" it. My favorite foods in the whole world are Italian (DUH!), Jamaican and Haitian. And that, my friends, is how I usually prep my chicken and fish for the week. I have a killer Jerk chicken recipe that puts my Jamaican brothers and sisters to shame--No Joke! So, what I like to do is prepare my chicken with a variety of flavors. I make some with Jerk seasonings and some with Barbecue seasonings, while I also leave others untouched.
By the way, you can use the Heinz "reduced sugar" ketchup to make a great barbecue sauce.
Moving on, a recent study revealed that there may be some incredible health benefits to marinating your food.
A new study at The University of Western Ontario finds the sauces you use when firing up the barbecue may also provide a rich source of antioxidants. The research, led by Western biology and psychology postdoctoral fellow Raymond Thomas, shows common marinades may be more than just tasty sauces - they can also provide a major source of natural antioxidants.
Foods rich in antioxidants play an essential role in preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, inflammation and problems associated with cutaneous aging.
The study went on to say that diverse processing methods during manufacture, length of marinating time and exposure to various modes of cooking can significantly alter the antioxidant status of these products and, consequently, the amount of antioxidants available to consumers. That's why, in addition to marinating, it may also be good to use the same sauce to brush and accent the food AFTER you grill it.
Remember, also, that spicy "hot" seasonings can BOOST your metabolic rate. Although it may not be a whole lot, a few more calories burned are better BURNED than on my abs :)
Okay, let's get busy and start grilling our clean chicken every Sunday night with some tasty, hot and spicy, marinades.
I know I promised to put up a post on the negative implications of alcohol on fat burning and muscle building, but I'll put that one up at another time. This seems more important right now.
This past week I had more than a few conversations with clients who told me that they were not getting enough sleep. Some of them were getting 4 hours, while others were only getting 5 hours a night. Not good. Not good at all.
Got a great question for you. How would you like to be fat and old before your time? If you're not getting enough sleep, that is exactly what you're doing. I confess, I have an ongoing line that I like to use and blurt out. When someone says to me, "Tony, you need to take it easy and get some rest. Don't push it too hard." I always love to say back, "I'm not stopping or slowing down. I'll sleep when I die." LOL :)
Well, the joke is on me if I really believe that, and worse, live it. Truth be told, without proper sleep you're only an empty shell of what you could possibly be if you were getting a good night's rest.
I want you to take that in for moment and read what I stated one more time. If you're not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night, then you are an EMPTY SHELL of what you could be. This is serious and we all need to take it that way.
Failure on your current weight loss or exercise program could be directly related to your lack of sleep. You can attribute cravings, over-eating and even weight gain to poor sleeping patterns. But wait, it gets much worse than that.
There are many studies, recent and some dating back well over a decade, which find a direct correlation between lack of sleep and the following: hypertension, metabolic disorders, diabetes and memory loss to name a few. Basically, these are all hallmarks of aging.
While I understand that some us have late nights which can seem to be out of our control, instead most of us choose to live that way. Yes, it's important to have time to unwind from your busy day. Otherwise, it sometimes seems like one day is just becoming part of another. We need time to gather our thoughts and just kick back. I get it. Truly I do. But, many of us are opting for the television or computer instead of sleep and that is a foolish decision.
If you're not getting enough sleep, serious negative implications will arise:
Increased weight gain and obesity. There are many factors that could play a role in increased fat and weight gain. Recent studies show an increased appetite for higher calories the day following sleep deprivation. Particularly, carbohydrates were the main craving. Lack of sleep can lead not only to increased calorie consumption, but most being in the form of carbs which could also impact blood sugar and fat storage.
lack of focus and mental clarity.
Sensitivity to stress leading to disorders such as depression, constipation and digestive issues.
Hormonal imbalance: Leptin & Grehlin are two hormones involved in body weight. If Lack of sleep occurs too often, levels of Grehlin rises, causing greater appetite, and levels of Leptin will then decrease. Even though an individual may be involved in exercise, it's still possible that obesity is caused, or made worse, by sleep deprivation. Other hormones negatively affected are both thyroid and cortisol. Put simply, no muscle gains will occur and fat will increase and get trapped around your waist as the outcome.
Weakened immune system
Increased risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, when those involved in the studies were able to benefit from the necessary sleep their bodies lacked (12-hours or more), all of the sleep deprivation abnormalities returned to normal. However, it's worth noting that those who only caught 8 hours of sleep still did not get themselves back to full health. All this to say, sleep is imperative to your fat burning, muscle building lifestyle.
First thing...CONGRATULATIONS to Dawn Robinson who won the first Blog Raffle and a couple of pounds of yummy protein powder!
Now, let me ask you a question: How often has your mood affected your eating and exercise decisions? If you're being totally upfront, it probably has happened more than a few times. The emotions are a powerful force to overcome.
The heart wants what the heart wants. Well, that's what they say anyway. What will you do? Will you give in to the temptations of this romance? Be careful, because this romance will leave you feeling used up and guilty. Yeah, you're going to be making love like never before. But wait...
This romance doesn't involve dancing, walks on the beach or sex. This romance involves FOOD and it gets crazy!
It can be beyond frustrating.
You're doing well with your weight loss or fitness program when all of a sudden something happens in your life that gets you all perturbed and you lose it.
So what's your next thought? What's your next move going to be? I know, stupid question. You're going to EAT and make love to your food.
...And so you do.
You get down right, dirty south, nitty gritty romantic and you begin thinking about what you're going to eat that will make you feel better. Mmmmmmm, how about some pizza or some fried chicken? No? Okay. How about some sweets? Yup, that's it. We need some ice cream baby!
For many, emotions can be what drives the poor lifestyle choices. Lots of times these emotions are open and obvious, while other times they're under the surface and not that easy to discern. People can eat to help deal with all types of feelings--anxiety, fear, guilt, and sadness or just about anything uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it's a cycle that can seem like a vacuum pulling you in and never letting you go.
Food is seen as a panacea and it becomes the comforter for all ills. How does it do that and why do so many fall prey to emotional eating? Here's why:
Food impacts us in a positive way--albeit temporarily--because we associate it with happy memories, holidays or celebrations. Therefore, it puts us in "that" good mood or place.
Eating fills our minutes and occupies our time, which in turn, keeps our minds busy with food instead of pain, anger, anxiety and so on.
Food can actually change the chemical balance in the body. The stimulation of endorphins brings feelings of contentment and even happiness.
As you can see, this is much more complex than simply just saying "hey, I'll stop eating junk food."
There are no quick tips to eradicate this type of behavior. I believe it takes intensive processing, goal setting, mind conditioning and accountability. That's why these are all the things central to our new D3 program. But here are some tangible things you can begin to implement which will help:
1. Analyze and record your daily activities and when you eat what you eat. Try to identify the triggers that lead to your unhealthy choices. Do NOT over-analyze. Just write down what you eat and when and the rest will reveal itself. Then, remove those things from your life or find healthy ways to deal with the feelings associated with the foods.
2. Listen to your body and eat slowly. Studies have revealed that chewing your food slowly may release chemicals in the brain that trigger satiety.
3. Turn off the TV! Many have a deep emotional connection with television and food. Without realizing it, there is a romance going on that is destroying your chances at attaining your dream body. Instead of watching the boob tube put on some music, write or read instead.
4. Replace unhealthy snack foods with healthy choices and beverages. Drinking tasty herbal teas can be a great way to keep the taste buds busy.
5. Drink lots of water. Quite often you're not experiencing hunger but thirst. Believe it or not your body picks up the wrong signals. Unfortunately, these signals are also being fueled by your emotions too. Next time you feel like opening the fridge, drink 2-3 glasses of cold water instead and see what happens to your hunger. It can't hurt.
6. See your body as the gift from God that it is and treat your body with a greater respect. I teach my clients to SEE and TRAIN their bodies as exceptional machines. Think like this: You're creating YOUR machine with every bite and swallow. What you put in it will determine what it becomes.
7. Cultivate habits that relate to a healthier lifestyle. From reading to writing to a long power walk after dinner. Change your habits and your heart and mind will follow.
By the way, some use alcohol the same way many use food. If this is you, think twice and do NOT miss my next blog post. Alcohol is KILLING your best efforts at getting leaner, stronger or more muscular.
Do not see food or your emotions as the enemy. In fact, see NOTHING in a negative light but rather set the positive surroundings in place to SHAPE the WAY you THINK.
It's all or nothing! I mean, listen, you only live once and you need to push the petal to the metal and give it all that you have every minute of every single day. Anything less than do or die is for losers! I'm a winner and winners push it hard enough to see blood and sweat hit the floor, right? If I die in the middle of the next set of squats or leg presses, so be it. I'm ready to die. In fact, if I die under the leg sled while pressing 1800 lbs, I wouldn't be any happier. The good Lord will welcome me into His heavenly Kingdom and I will thank Him for the new legs and spine that I crushed in the workout that killed me. Wow...would that be awesome :)
Yes, I'm being facetious. But believe me, the aforementioned words are not far from the truth of my extreme mentality--at least the OLD me. I could bore you with endless stories of my excessive determination. For instance, there was the time I did thousands of situps consecutively because I heard someone doubted my ability to do it. It took hours to complete and my abs were sore for weeks. Then there was the time I bench pressed over 500 lbs on a broken weight bench that was unable to hold the barbell and ME at the same time. I didn't care. Tony is not going to let the broken bench get in the way of his new lifting record. Heck, if I end going through the floor, so be it.
LOL...Yeah, those were good times. However, I learned early on that winners learn how to cultivate patience, temperance and balance. Without balance and self-control, you will wind up being a waste product of fallen dreams and misspent aspirations. I know it's not easy. As you can see from what I wrote already, I speak from experience.
Do you really want to make your dreams come true? Do you want to be as strong 20 years from now as you are today? Well then, it will require losing the all or nothing mentality. You might ask, should I lose it completely. The answer is no. I'm sure many so-called experts would be curious as to why I would say that. But I will save that for another post.
Have you ever given up on eating clean and healthy because you missed a workout. Or maybe you ate something off plan and then immediately determined the day was lost so you skipped the gym. Or how about this: You slip up and eat something off plan and then begin a two-hour bingefest that ends with a groggy carb coma. It's all or nothing baby! Either I do it 100% or I don't do it at all. Well then, maybe you don't do it at all. Sound familiar?
The "all or nothing" mentality will ultimately destroy your goals and dreams if you don't learn how to put it aside, control it and diffuse it. Notice I didn't say that you had to get rid of it completely? Again, I'll save that for another post. For now, let's just say it's imperative to bring it down more than a few notches if you find yourself in this excessive compulsive prison. This type of thinking and living can only lead to anxiety, disappointment, burnout and a lot of heartache. If you are an "all or nothing" person, YOU are your OWN worst enemy. And, chances are, YOU already know this.
Do you want to get it under control? Here are a few things you can do.
1. Always Keep in Mind that this is Your Triumphant Story and NOT one Moment in Time
Today's victory comes from winning MOST of your battles but maybe not all of them. If you slip up on your eating, commit to finishing the rest of the day strong. If you're too tired to exercise or you're having a weak workout, push through it and do it EVEN if you need to cut it short and take it easier. Lose the word "perfection" from your mental vocabulary and instead just give it your very best. Do this and you will find that you're getting closer to your goals with every step you take. If you knew that you had traveled 99 miles and that you only had ONE more mile to go before you reached your Utopia, would you turn around and walk back? No. In fact, you would crawl that last mile on your hands and knees if you were absolutely sure that it would bring you to your dream place. But when we abandon our healthy eating and exercise programs simply because of one little mistake, we do that very same thing. Think about it. This is YOUR Story. This is a story of victory. A story where YOU are the hero and YOU will rise above the rest. No great story comes without obstacles to overcome. That kind of story would be boring. Obstacles make you stronger and give you moments to grow and learn from. Overcome them...one at a time with a smile on your face and heart filled with passion and persistence.
2. Regain Focus as Soon as You Lose it
The very moment that you fall, get right back up and do the things that you know are going to bring you closer to where you want to be. Remember why you're doing what you're doing and how good it will feel if you finish the rest of the day strong. If you eat off plan, begin to drink your water and try to get back into the healthy mindset by reading through your goals. Go for a long walk or get in an extra cardio session. Get right back to where you need to be without wasting a second to think about it. You must immediately see the rest of the day or night as you would want it to be and then live it in victory.
3. See the Setbacks as Opportunities
Spend time considering why it is that you may have failed. If you can find the emotional or situational trigger, then make a commitment to stay clear of it in the future. But, don't over-analyze. Oh my gosh...why did I eat that burger? Was it my emotional reaction to the girl at the gym who looked at me funny and told me I was still chubby? Was it the way my boyfriend in high school always looked at the cheerleaders instead of me? is it because the guy next to me at the gym pushed up more weight than I did? Stop it! Enough with the Boo Hoos already! Maybe the food just tasted good. It's important to find the triggers if you can, but not good to get lost in it. Say to yourself, what can I do tomorrow to make up for my mistakes today. Then, move on soldier.
What's going through your mind right now? Do you struggle with this? Be strong and be encouraged because you hold the keys to turn it all around.