Cutting Calories And Diminishing Returns

Waist measurementWhile calories are not the only factor in fat loss, they do play a significant role. As a result, people often go to great lengths to reduce calories consumed (diet) and/or increase calories burned (exercise). But losing weight can result in some unintended consequences that impact continued loss or maintenance. Continue reading

Mystery Gift Revealed!

imageIt's a trap bar! (Sometimes called a "hex bar" due to the hexagonal shape.)

While originally intended for shrugs (working the trapezius muscles, hence "trap" bar), it's most commonly used these days for trap bar deadlifts since it makes it easier to maintain a neutral spine and eliminates shin wear and tear.

This was my first time using one. A little weird, but a nice addition to the toolbox. Thanks for the gift, me!

Now The Planet

New visitors may wonder why there's a huge gap in posts here. Well, for years, we've been doing a newsletter instead of blog posts: The StrongFast Planet. And now, the blog is becoming The StrongFast Planet. See? Simple!

22 July 2014

In this issue...

  • What's New at StrongFast?
  • Feature Article: Tricks or Treats
  • Fitness Found Online
  • Recipe: Cantaloupe Bacon Salad

What's New at StrongFast?

Don't panic but...this is the last StrongFast Planet Newsletter.

moving-vanSay it isn't so! Fear not: The Planet will live a blog. The newsletter has proven to be too restrictive in what I can write and when, so the old blog is coming back, renamed StrongFast Planet, and all the things you're used to seeing in the newsletter will wind up there, and a lot more.

Planet posts will also be linked on our Facebook page, but some additional content will occasionally appear on Facebook that doesn't make it into The Planet. So if you're on Facebook please "like" our page so you don't miss anything.

Now, on with the last "issue" of The Planet...sure to be a collector's item!

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"The Planet."
"The Planet who?"
"The plan: it is to move the newsletter to the blog."

Feature Article: Tricks or Treats

There's an old article I've been meaning to write about for a while, and now here we go. The article is "Five Tricks I Used to Beat My Unhealthy Eating Habits". I don't know how author Mikael Cho is doing now, and I'm not going to analyze the entire article, but here are some things that jumped out at me regarding the five tricks.

sugar_pourer#1: Cut Sugar and Starch (Gradually). I don't have big problems with this one. We do tend to eat way too much sugar (since it's in almost everything) and starches can be problematic, particularly for sedentary folks. I will say that while cutting back gradually apparently worked for Mr. Cho, it's certainly not the only way to go about it. Going "cold turkey" can be very effective, once you get past the first couple of days. The desire for sugar will begin to wane pretty quickly. The gradual approach of a few days without interspersed with some days eating sugar keeps re-introducing it, which can make getting off it really hard. A better gradual approach would be to gradually reduce the sugar in the foods you eat, and do that consistently. But your mileage may vary.

#2: Removing Guilt with a "Cheat Day". The "cheat day" concept is popular, though not everyone agrees. But in any case, I'd like to replace the word "cheat" with "indulgence" because "cheat" has such negative connotations. Most people consider cheating to be wrong (because, you know, it's wrong), so rather than removing guilt, a "cheat" day can add it, whereas an "indulgence" is something we do for ourselves that we know isn't a great long-term strategy, but it's not inherently bad. One might "indulge" in a shopping spree, which would be problematic to do regularly if you're not wealthy, but it doesn't generally provoke guilt. It's just a well-deserved treat. You could think of an ice cream sundae like that: a one-time indulgence. Nothing to feel guilty about, but keeping it up will cause problems. In any case, I'd rather people limit themselves to indulgence meals (or snacks) rather than entire days. That can be a lot of indulging!

mints#3: Use a Mint to Master Portion Control. He backs up this tip by (indirectly) referencing a study in which participants sniffed mint; they didn't eat it. The problem with eating mints (or chewing gum) is that they almost all contain sugar, or a sugar substitute that can have a similar effect. That kind of contradicts #1. If it really helps, fine. Just be aware of the potential downside (making it harder to give up sugar).

#4: Replace "Crispy". This one I have no problem with. (Yay!) Lots of people like the crispy crunch of chips and other junk food; replacing them with something healthy is a good idea. Not sure his suggestions of a cucumber or bell pepper are so great, though, but hey, whatever works. You can also jazz it up by adding a healthy dip or topping, like carrots with hummus or celery with cream cheese. (Yes, I'm advocating some cheese, but only because it's a non-smelly one.)

eggs_bacon_toms#5: Never Skip Breakfast. I must admit, I used to think this, too. "Most important meal of the day," right? Turns out, not so much. Research has shown that eating breakfast doesn't have any real statistical effect on fat-loss. Some people do well eating breakfast, some people do well without it. If skipping breakfast makes you ravenous later, your diet is probably too sugary (or simple carby). Skipping a meal shouldn't be painful. And if you don't want to eat breakfast, you don't have to. But if you do eat breakfast, make sure it's something good. (Think protein.)

And why are these "tricks" anyway? They're not particularly tricky. But that's just being picky. Mints: they can be sticky. My candle has no wiki.

And with that, this article is officially over.

Be seeing you.


Fitness Found Online

ronald-laughingDid you hear the one about the nutritionists' convention that was sponsored by McDonald's? Sounds like it could be a Saturday Night Live skit. But it's just another case of big corporations trying to skew the definition of healthy food.
jogger-by-waterLots of people run to try to lose weight, and for many it can help. But not always. Here's a list of 5 reasons running may not help you lose weight.

Recipe: Cantaloupe Bacon Salad

Another blast from the past...a summery treat!

Cantaloupe bacon salad


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StrongFast Blended Fitness (Personal Training)

NOTICE: StrongFast Fitness has made some temporary changes in response to the current COVID-19 situation. Click to learn more.

Fitness isn't about living's about living better!

Life is good!

Oh sure, studies have indicated being active correlates to living longer. But being fit has many other benefits: for example, it can improve your mood, cognitive abilities, sleep, energy levels, and your ability to do things.

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  • Do you have exercise equipment at home collecting dust?
  • Do you have trouble getting the fitness results you want?
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  • Is it hard to exercise consistently?

Blended Fitness provides a combination of live personal training and personal online training and support. And we're not talking just a forum or some email support.

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"Proactive support" means you'll receive regular messages through the system to ask why you missed a workout, commend you for workouts well done, or make suggestions based on your entries. Or just to say "hey."

"In-person training sessions" are either at 7 Tigers Martial Arts on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga or, if appropriate, at your home*. These are primarily to ensure you are using optimal form to get the best results safely, but may also include baseline/progress measures or targeted workouts.

* In-person sessions at your home are only available if your home is within 10 miles of the Buffalo Zoo using the shortest route on google maps.

Blended Fitness is an ongoing program, not "Lose 20 pounds in 30 days!" (and gain it all back in 30 more). We'll take the time to build healthy habits and make steady progress built on a foundation of solid fitness and improved mobility. Our goal is always to enable you to continue making progress on your own...the knowledge and experience you'll gain will make that easy.

Getting older doesn't have to mean feeling older. Do something special for yourself...and your family. Get started today!

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As a member of StrongFast, I can say nothing but good things about the workouts! I have become stronger, more toned and most importantly a healthier person. Gary is a patient trainer with excellent insight on whole body workouts. I have never been one to look forward to working out, but he makes the workouts fun and pushes you to do your best without even realizing it. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to gain that inner strength and become a more fit person. -Michelle D.

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Any additional 1-hour in-person sessions (optional) are $50.

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Let's go!

Fast Relief

exhausted athlete A woman in a gym, apparently having just completed a workout, says, "Fast: that's just the kind of relief my muscles need." Or something like that. It was the beginning of a commercial, and don't ask me for what (other than some pain relief drug, obviously) since it was switched off after that line. Perhaps it was a good commercial, though, since it did get me thinking.

First of all, why is she sore immediately after working out? Sounds like she needs a new workout. (Or a good trainer!) Immediately after a hard workout, muscles experience fatigue, often in the extreme. As in "I can't get up" extreme. But that's different from pain, and no pain-relief product will put a stop to that. The muscular pain associated with a hard workout typically shows up 24-48 hours afterwards and is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Continue reading

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