Weight Loss

Body Composition, NOT Weight Loss

Changing the Conversation:

Body Composition, NOT Weight Loss

Personal Training Director, Jay McWilliams

What is body composition, and why is it one of the 6-focal points of 50/50’s balance approach to health and wellness?

Over the years, I and many of my training clients and members of our gym have discussed dreading stepping onto the bathroom scale.  Most of us can relate as it is very frustrating to exercise and eat a healthy diet only to see the number on the scale stay the same.  However, just because your bodyweight on the scale isn’t changing doesn’t mean that your hard work isn’t paying off. If you are exercising, most likely your body composition may be improving.

So, what is body composition?  Body composition refers to everything in your body, generally split up into: fat mass and fat-free mass.  Fat mass refers to all the fat tissue in your body. Fat-free mass is everything else, including muscle, organs, bone and fluid.  If both change at once, you might not see any changes in bodyweight on the scale.  For example, one of my training clients started exercising to lose weight, he may have gained two pounds of muscle in the first month. At the same time, he may have lost two pounds of fat, due to burning more calories through exercise, and changing his diet.  In those first few weeks, he began to get discouraged because his bathroom scale showed that he was not losing weight.  I had to change his way of thinking by educating him about the importance of body composition over bodyweight on the scale. I reminded him that his fat-free mass may have increased by the same amount as his fat mass decreased, making his “scale body weight” unchanged. With some doubt, he asked me: “How do you know?”

One technique 50/50 utilizes is tracking the circumference of different body parts (Shoulders, chest, waist, belly, hips, buttocks, thigh, and biceps). We make these measurements using a flexible tape measure. Along with body circumference measurements, we also use fat caliper readings. We measure the skinfold of seven sites on the body that gives us an average body fat percentage, and then calculates the total fat mass and fat-free mass in pounds.  Taking progress pictures of your body every few weeks or months can be another way to assess how your body is changing.  While none of these tools give us exact information, these do give us some general idea of the changes taking place.

So, why is body composition one of the 6-focal points of 50/50’s balance approach to health and wellness?  If you have too much fat, especially at your waist, you’re at higher risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. That increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Obesity is now recognized as a major, independent risk factor for heart disease. If you’re overweight or obese, or simply have an excess of fat mass, you can reduce your risk for disease and increase longevity by starting a 50/50 Training Program.

The personal trainers here at 50/50 understand that stepping on the scale will only tell you how much you weigh. You can get a more accurate picture by considering your body composition (percentage of fat mass vs. percentage of fat-free mass). Your body composition is affected by your nutritional habits, exercise, sleep and other factors. For this reason, improving it can sometimes feel complicated and unrealistic.  That is why 50/50 offers a body composition service, where we can measure your body circumference, conduct a fat caliper reading, and take pictures if you so wish.  For ONLY $15!  This service is included free for those participating in our Training Programs.

More on Outdoor Fit Camp

Director of Strength & Conditioning, Jay McWilliams

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We are so excited about the new facility, we have developed a whole new program to fit the space! Outdoor Fit Camp incorporates the best of Metabolic Bootcamp, and builds on it with a focus on strength and an all-inclusive design for all fitness levels. We have a huge new space, and we plan to make the most of it! I have already designed and built some permanent fitness stations so we can all develop our skills on push-ups, pull-ups, and triceps dips. The new stations allow progression for all levels, so even if you are far away from doing an unassisted pull-up or a full push-up we can get you there safely!
Outdoor Fit Camp differentiates itself from Spin and Strength, Tabata, and Cardio-Sport by being more focused on strength training, while still reaping metabolic benefits from interval training, agility drills, sled pulls, and our new favorite, medicine ball wall-slams! These are incorporated with dumbbell and body-weight moves to create a full body work-out that is guaranteed to engage your muscles. The great part about this kind of training is you also benefit from a killer after-burn effect, and your metabolic rate stays amped for the next 24 hours. Outdoor Fit Camp is a great way to begin to incorporate strength training into your workout routine in a fun group exercise environment!
For our members who are looking for a highly effective, structured program to safely build strength and improve lean muscle mass, Targeted Strength and Conditioning is a great fit! In this small group format you will work your way through structured strength progressions. There is a greater emphasis on form and more individualized coaching that allows you to progress to much heavier weights for greater benefit. Some of our female members are regularly deadlifting over 150 pounds now! Also, many of our Targeted participants can now complete unassisted chin-ups. The progress made in this program is so much fun to watch and be a part of! If you can commit to two sessions a week, you will get stronger and fitter!

70 Classes?!

With 70 group exercise classes on the schedule, and 9 amazing health and fitness specialists, we have everything you need to reach your true potential. Need some added attention, accountability, and a structured plan inside the gym and out? Give personal training or small group training a try! With so many options, so many avenues, and decisions to make each and every day – why not set up a complimentary consultation? Katie, Jay, Jamie, and Justin are available to meet and mentor you on all of those little decisions you’re forced to come by. They do matter and we’re here to help!

So take advantage and sign-up for your consultation today!

Click to schedule

Quick Guide to the Nutrition Label

1) Serving Size: Start from the top! Serving size is where the main deception lies. Something may appear to be worthwhile when in reality, you are eating multiple servings. Always multiply all nutrient values by the total number of servings you are consuming. A serving is typically much less than you’d think!

2) Calories: Total calories are important. If something is excessive, you’ll know it right away. Your body can only handle and break down so much at once. An overload could lead to fat storage. Keep meals small and often, not large and sparse.

3) Fat: There are good types of fat (essential fats) and bad types of fats. Saturated fats and trans fats can lead to weight gain, clogged arteries and, increased LDL (poor cholesterol). At a whopping 9 calories per gram, it’s important to limit excess consumption. As a general rule, we rarely recommend more than 15 grams for a meal and 5-7 for a snack.

4) Fiber: Fiber is one of the most important nutrients. Fiber helps to eliminate toxins, increase digestibility, and keep you full longer. Aim high. >25 grams for women, >35 grams for men.

5) Sugar: Here’s a task. See how many foods you can find that are higher in fiber than they are in sugar. Not many. Nowadays, almost everything is full of high fructose corn syrup. It’s in our breads, our cereals, our meats, everything. Be careful! There is no use or need for excess sugar.

6) Sodium: Sodium is packed into sauces, canned goods, deli meats, and snacks. It’s everywhere. More often than not, it’s used as a food additive to aid in preservation. You’ll find that your sodium levels will drop off if you start eating natural foods. Low sodium reduces your chances for high blood pressure.

7) Vitamins and Minerals: Always try and get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from food sources. Fruits and veges are your best bet!

8) Chemicals: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If a simple product is loaded with ingredients, why take the risk? Processed foods are mechanically or chemically altered. Enriched, fortified, hydrogenated, bleached, and bromated all mean that the original source was tampered with.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

If you’re like most people, the holidays are a time of mixed emotions. You’re excited and anxious to spend time with family, and you’re dreading the extra weight that you know you’re bound to gain. Are these holiday pounds inevitable?

Lean in close to catch these seven secret ways to help you fend off extra weight through the holidays. And once you’re done, don’t keep it a secret. Go tell somebody!

Holiday Secret #1: Listen to Your Body

It may not speak quickly enough all the time, but you know your body is constantly telling you things. Sometimes it tells you to stop a certain activity before you get hurt. During the holiday season, it tells you to put the brakes on your eating before you go beyond the point of no return. When your body tells you it’s full, listen up! A single bite after you’re full will lead to extra calories and eventually, extra pounds.

Holiday Secret #2: Confine the Holidays

For some, holidays become weeks and even months of poor eating. Be careful to avoid this pitfall by digging into your holiday foods only on the actual holiday. Treat the other days like normal days—even if you’re off of work. And when the holiday is over, let someone else take the leftovers home and go to your own house without any pudding or gravy in tow.

Holiday Secret #3: Eat First, Party Second

You read right—it’s good to eat before heading out the door. Have a healthy, well-rounded meal at home with fruits, vegetables, and your protein source of choice. And drink a tall glass of water. Why? So when you get to that holiday party that is overflowing with cookies, cakes, candies, and calories, you’re not hungry for it. Your stomach is full of healthy goodness and has no room for the fattening stuff.

Holiday Secret #4: Plan Your Escape

Getting away from food isn’t easy. If you expect to be able to walk away from delicious thigh- and gut-growing foods without any forethought, think again. Before walking into a potentially fattening situation, plan out what you’re going to eat and take your own dish to share if necessary. Any time there is a particularly difficult eating situation, make plans an hour or so after the dangerous-to-your-diet event begins and excuse yourself.

Holiday Secret #5: Exercise Everywhere

One of the best excuses to gain weight is that you have to travel to visit family and don’t have access to your personal trainer. Well, guess what? Just because your trainer isn’t staying in the hotel with you doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable! Scope out the area where you’ll be traveling and take advantage of whatever exercise opportunities are available. There may be a gym or pool at your hotel, a pay-as-you-go gym, or a nice park nearby where you can walk or run with or without family members.

Holiday Secret #6: Pay Attention to People

Holidays are about family and friends…right? Then stop focusing on food! When you go to a party, there is no need to hang out by the food table when there are people all around you! Ignore the grub and go for the meaningful stuff that you’ll remember and cherish. Besides, it’s much easier to talk without munching and you even listen better when you’re not stuck thinking about how good the next bite is going to be.

Holiday Secret #7: Drink Instead

No, this isn’t a license to drink as much alcohol as you can find. Doing that will add lots of useless calories to your waistline. Instead, do your best to make friends with a glass of water everywhere you go. As you mingle with your water glass, you’ll find it challenging to grab more than a couple of finger foods here and there, and the fact that it is water will help you remember to watch what else goes in your mouth!

Wouldn’t you love to make 2016 the year that you transform your body?

Wouldn’t it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?

It’s all more possible than you think.

But you’ll need to take massive action.

REGISTER FOR THE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU CHALLENGE

Go on, do it now and secure your spot before the New Year’s rush.

What Makes the Weight Loss Challenge So Great?

Katie’s Corner

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the holidays are here, but it’s also time for our favorite program of the entire year: the New Year’s Weight Loss Challenge! This is our third year to hold the challenge, and in my opinion, it brings out the essence of the Energia – 50/50 Fitness community in the most definitive way possible. On paper, it’s a weight loss challenge, but it is authentically about leading your best life possible by learning about what your body and your spirit need independently and synergistically. So many great relationships have been formed and connections made among participants, trainers, area organizations and small businesses because of this effort. It’s incredible to watch the challenge’s effect take place from year to year, during the 8 weeks of the competition and well after. Many participants are still carrying through those lessons learned during the first two years, realizing goals and setting new ones as they continue their journeys. And I sit in awe of their resolve and dedication that was once a mere ambition of theirs. We are excited to kick off the New Year’s Weight Loss Challenge in anticipation of all the greatness we know will materialize.

Your challenge this week is to determine whether the Weight Loss Challenge is right for you. Do you want to lose weight? Do you need help in figuring out how to eat and what you should do for exercise? Do you want to be a part of a community of trainers and co-participants who want to help you along the way? And probably the biggest question of all: do you want to gain tools you need to set and reach long-term goals for yourself in the future? Even people who don’t have 8% to lose have utilized the resources offered as a way to hold themselves accountable as they head into the new year. There won’t be any repercussions for choosing not to sign up (I promise!), but if you are thinking about it, talk to one of us and we can help you figure out what’s best for you. I can honestly say that with all the perks and benefits, no one has ever said to me that they regret signing up. I have had people say to me though, “I should have done the challenge.” Don’t be one of those people! Let us help you actualize those dreams you’ve had for yourself for so long for no other reason than the fact that you’re worth it.

What’s Better for Weight Loss: Diet or Exercise?

You want what millions of other people do—to better yourself, one way or another. Whether you want to trim off extra pounds so you’ll feel better, look better, or be better prepared to tackle whatever demands come your way, you probably want to find the most efficient way to do it.

So where should you spend the bulk of your time and effort?

In the Left Corner: Diet

While fad diets have tried their darndest to malign the fine name of dieting, proper diet continues to be a vital way to effectively lose weight. In fact, research has shown that if you’re only going to do one thing, long-term dieting is the way to go.

What does dieting mean exactly? The connotation is pretty terrible. When in fact, it simply means taking very careful note of every bite you put in your mouth. Shouldn’t we be doing this anyways? After all, it is going INTO our bodies. But you can’t stop there. Because paying attention to what you eat isn’t going to make you lose an ounce of weight. You’ve got to take note of it and act on what you see. What are the patterns, the trends that become apparent? If you want to lose even more faster, you’ll even want to make sure your calories are predominately good calories. You’ll want to stick with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and lots and lots of water.

Consistency and portion control are the two other clear pathways to success. So now, what about exercise?

In the Right Corner: Exercise

Like diet, there have been all sorts of fad exercise programs that have spanned from dangerous to ridiculously funny. But exercise hasn’t lost its place in the race for weight loss. Why? Because savvy people realize you’ve got to hit the gym if you’re going to maximize your weight loss potential. It is the single best way to ensure your weight you drop is fat and not muscle. Also, when you exercise, your muscles tone up and grow stronger. With more muscle, your body’s ability to shave off calories increases, making it easier to burn calories even when you’re doing nothing at all. Diet can’t do that!

Who Wins the Battle?

More than likely, you read this hoping that exercise alone would help you lose weight because you hate the idea of watching what you eat. Or maybe you’re just the opposite, and you prefer to watch your diet but absolutely loathe exercise. Well, there’s bad news for you either way. This battle that has been waging on for decades (okay, make that centuries) is ultimately a draw.

If you’re not willing to eat right and exercise, the success you see today will be gone tomorrow. Try as you might, one of these ingredients alone is not enough to help you lose weight, keep it off, and have an overall healthy lifestyle. In fact, you will find that once you become serious about losing weight, you will be careful about what you eat because you don’t want to put all that exercise to waste. At the same time, you’ll push yourself harder in the gym because you realize you could burn even more calories and get closer to your weight goal today.

So stop pitting diet against exercise and do both. Your good health and thinner self await!

15 Quick Tips to Streamline your Results…

If you’re on a mission to tone up and stay strong through the Holiday season, then it’s really important to try and hone your fat loss and minimize potential fat storage. And we all know, there’s a whole lot of “potential” lurking around us. Losing pounds feels good, but if those pounds are precious muscle, then you’re actually hurting your overall ability to achieve your desired results. In order to maximize healthy weight loss, let’s try and manage our calories more effectively, to avoid those massive ebbs and flows that inevitably come around this time of year.

Weight Management Tip #1: Keep Track

Your willingness to track your food intake is equal to your desire to lose weight. Being serious about losing weight means taking note of every meal you consume, making sure these calories contain enough protein, and stopping when you meet your daily allowance.

Weight Management Tip #2: Always Eat Breakfast

Possibly the most fundamental eating tip of all time, a healthy breakfast with a good protein source will help your body utilize good calories throughout the a.m. hours, letting you get to lunch without being tempted by that mid-morning office treat.

Weight Management Tip #3: Avoid Getting Too Hungry

Dieters often fast until they can’t take it any longer. Unfortunately, many poor choices are made in the heat of the hunger moment. Keep healthy (high protein and low carb) snacks nearby to stave off hunger and drink plenty of water to avoid eating when you should be drinking.

Weight Management Tip #4: Underestimate Your Routine

Yes, you just worked your butt off in the gym for an hour… But you probably didn’t burn as many calories as you think. To keep from overeating immediately after a workout, grab a bite within 30 minutes, but make it a small bite. And drink plenty of water. Then wait. Your brain needs time to tell your body it’s full.

Weight Management Tip #5: Stay Home

Your favorite restaurant may be calling your name, but don’t listen! By cooking your own dinner at home, you’ll sidestep a variety of pitfalls that occur while eating out.

Weight Management Tip #6: Reduce Alcohol Intake

It helps you relax and—if you drink red wine—can offer health benefits. But alcohol also comes with a lot of useless calories. To avoid having more calories to burn than necessary, skip the bar and grab another glass of water. You can notice the theme here! Most people do not drink nearly enough water this time of year, because it’s not hot. Our bodies still need that consistent intake, regardless.

Weight Management Tip #7: Redirect

Sticking with any sort of plan gets hard, even one as simple as this. The next time it gets unbearable, grab your phone and walk out of the danger zone (your kitchen) and call a friend or loved one. Ask how life is going or plan a movie night—just talk about whatever will take your mind off that temptation that will ultimately ruin your efforts.

Weight Management Tip #8: Hit the Hay

Remember when your parents gave you a curfew because “Nothing good happens after midnight”? Well, it still applies. Get to bed to avoid late-night snacking and help your body function its best!

Weight Management Tip #9: Go Green (First)

There are lots of good foods out there that you need—lean meats, dairy, etc. But don’t let these be the bulk of your diet. Start your meals with something healthy and green to keep your carb count low, and belly full.

Weight Management Tip #10: Weigh Yourself

You might not like the idea of jumping on the scale, but if you don’t weigh yourself, you may not recognize your progress. Just as you should keep an eye on your calories, you should also count your pounds and make adjustments to your eating and exercise routines as needed, based on how your body responds. Listen to it!

Weight Management Tip #11: Disconnect Diet from Life

Life, in general, comes with those ups and downs. Your diet should not. When stressed, don’t go to the vending machine. Put on your walking shoes and get going.

Weight Management Tip #12: Keep the Burn Going

Working out is not supposed to be a walk in the park. To push your body to its true potential and to burn more calories, don’t take long breaks between lower weight and body weight exercises. Rest no more than 30 seconds after each exercise to keep your heart rate up.

Weight Management Tip #13: Goodbye Sugary Sweet

Everyone needs a quick sweet on occasion. Make sure yours is natural, whole fruit rather than regular old sugar. Every day, it seems more research is showing that refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup increase your likelihood of weight gain more than anything else.

Weight Management Tip #14: Move Now!

Maintaining a consistent, challenging exercise program is essential for your overall health and well-being, but don’t let that be your only exercise. Build 15-minute windows throughout your day during which you can take a brisk walk, stretch, or just generally move around a bit. You’ll be more alert at work, energetic, and motivated.

Weight Management Tip #15: Don’t Give Up

You may think it’s too easy a tip to list, but very few people have the will power necessary to keep with a program long enough to see the desired results. Commit yourself today to being one of those few. If you’re not yet a personal training client, it may be the perfect time to really experience the difference when you decide to finally put yourself first.

Let’s simplify your weight loss

The main reason that you’re not happy with your weight is because of what you eat.  It’s hardly your fault. Have you ever stopped to notice how many times you’re bombarded by food marketing each day? Ads come at you from magazine pages, T.V. commercials, on websites and billboards, each boasting of cheap, convenient and tasty ways to cure your hunger. The question “What’s for dinner?” has never been more complex than now. Extensive menu options and large entrees have distorted your concept of a proper meal, and before you know it you’ve fallen into the trap of the chain restaurant, the drive thru, and the take-out line. But wait – truly healthy eating is simple. First you need to block out the blizzard of food marketing around you.

Remember that advertisers want your money, and they don’t stop to consider if the food they promote will expand your waist – that’s your job. It’s safe to say that, with few exceptions, any food that you see marketed should be avoided. When was the last time you saw an ad for grilled white fish, steamed broccoli and a side of brown rice? So what does truly healthy eating look like?

A healthy meal contains lean protein, fresh vegetables and a modest serving of whole grains.

Just as importantly, a healthy meal does NOT contain:

  • Refined sugar / corn syrup
  • Fried / fatty food
  • Full fat dairy food
  • Processed food with chemical additives

Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you decide to eat when you first wake up will set the tone for the rest of your meals that day. Try these healthy options:

  • Scrambled egg whites, sliced tomato and whole grain toast
  • Whole grain oatmeal, sliced fruit and a protein shake
  • Homemade breakfast sandwich: Multi-grain English muffin with lean turkey slices and egg

Healthy Lunch

It is important to plan your lunch ahead of time in order to avoid turning to a fast food joint or vending machine. Pack your lunch the night before and carry it with you. Try these healthy options:

  • Dark baby greens topped with chopped chicken breast and diced tomatoes
  • Albacore tuna (packed in water), mixed with finely chopped cucumber over brown rice
  • Homemade sandwich: Sprouted grain bread with lean turkey slices, lettuce, tomato and mustard

Healthy Dinner

Dinner is the meal where most people splurge and eat far more calories than they should. Eating at home is the first step in reducing your dinnertime calories. Try these healthy options:

  • Grilled white fish, sautéed spinach and whole wheat couscous
  • Baked chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice
  • Try the recipe for Rosemary Lamb Chops below

While healthy eating is a huge factor in achieving your ideal weight, exercise is the other half of the equation.  Your exercise routine should be challenging and should be done on a regular basis.

I know that you have more than enough in your life to think about without having to plan your own exercise routine. Leave that job to us—call or email today to get started on a personalized fitness program that will leave your body no choice but to shed those unwanted pounds, in spite of the holidays!

It’s really simple, but works like magic

This post is for those who are completely fed up with trying to hit a goal that seems unreachable…

You’re probably thinking: What’s the deal? Why won’t the weight come off? Or why can’t I seem to get stronger and more fit when I am putting in all of this effort? You are doing everything you can think of to make it happen…

There’s one simple thing standing between you and all that you strive for. One. Simple. Thing.

And here it is…You eat too many calories. OR, you don’t eat them at the right time, in the right proportion, based on your activity level.

That’s it.

Wait, don’t give me the excuse that, “I only eat healthy calories.” That’s great, but even healthy calories add up to extra pounds when we let them go unchecked. And all of us have our own ideas about what it means to eat healthfully.

Back to Basics: Why Calorie Counting Works

You may have heard about the professor from Kansas State University, Mark Haub, who performed a famous junk food diet. Professor Haub proved a powerful lesson for anyone who still has weight to lose, so let’s listen up.

In a demonstrative experiment for his nutrition class, Professor Haub ate a diet of pure junk food for 2 months. I’m talking candy bars and packaged snacks – the kinds of things you find in a snack machine.

You’d expect him to gain weight, right? Well, there was one catch. He was only allowed to eat 1800 calories each day. Yes, those calories were pure junk, but the limit was firmly put at 1800 calories.

Before the experiment, Professor Haub’s typical calorie intake was closer to 2600 calories. So his junk food diet put him at an 800 calorie per day deficit.

Boy did that calorie deficit pay off. Within 2 months he had dropped 30 pounds, bringing his BMI from overweight down to normal.

No, we’re NOT recommending a junk food diet as your answer for everything. What we are pointing out is how powerful a reduction in calories is when it comes to redefining old patterns.

Do you know how many calories you eat each day? And how much each seemingly small slip up can put you out?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You’re about to learn the one tool that will change everything! First we need to get to the bottom of how many calories you’re eating each day.

Yes, even those healthy calories.

Before you start whining, let me explain. Food journaling doesn’t involved lugging around a journal, writing down each food item throughout the day then looking everything up at the end of the day to manually tally calories like it used to.

These days food journaling has gone digital, and tracking your calories only takes seconds of your time.

Here’s what I need you to do:

#1: Download a food journal application to your smart phone. At the touch of your fingers you’ll be able to look up food items and instantly see your running calorie tally. Many of these programs also sync with your activity trackers as well, and automatically adjust according to how much exercise you do on a daily basis.

Our Recommendation: MyFitnessPal
If you’re interested in getting started, follow this prompt, and one of our Health & Fitness Specialists can work to educate you on what sort of things to look for, how to use the app to it’s full capacity, and how to make meaningful changes, over time.

#2: Meet with your doctor to make sure all of your levels are in check (or just to establish a baseline), and to ensure that you’re ready to initiate a change. Eat healthy, fresh foods and when you decide to indulge, make sure to do so within your target calorie and nutrient ranges.

#3: Meet with us for a consistent and challenging exercise routine that’s in sync with your new eating plan.

These three, simple steps will give you structure and clarity that you need when it comes to making food choices and will quickly result in pounds lost and fitness goals achieved.

Once your goal weight is met and your activity level is where it should be, your target calorie range will be adjusted for maintenance. Sounds good, right?

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