Weight Loss

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The following article was written by Kevin Kearns .

My name is Coach Kevin Kearns. I’ve been a personal trainer and strength coach since 1987.

I have worked with over 15 UFC fighters and created my own MMA Fitness Training certification system, which is now global, as well as produced over 15 workout videos and written over 300 fitness-related articles. I have presented for Idea Fitness, ECA, SCW and Can Fit Pro, and my sponsors include JumpSport Fitness Trampolines, WearTrueForm, Purmotion, TITIN, Bosu, Rev Gear and Hedstrom Fitness.

Kevin Kearns Personal Trainer

Moreover, I still train clients on a daily basis , which is why I was asked to write this article.
Choosing a personal trainer is no easy task in today’s market, and the internet hasn’t made it much better. A trainer’s website can look outstanding at first glance, but the initial training session can leave you wondering if you called the right number.

It can also be a setback if you choose your trainer based on their muscular physique. You might think to yourself, “Wow, I want to look like that guy or girl” , then while training with them, quickly realize that they are spending more time checking out their pecs in the mirror than making sure you bench press correctly.
In short, the best personal trainers are hard to come by; so here are 11 simple ways to help you find and choose the best trainer for you.

Word of Mouth

This is an age old tool that has been around since man started selling services. When in doubt, ask a friend or family member if they know of a good trainer.

References

If you are considering a particular trainer, ask for references of current clients and clients they have worked with in the past.

Credentials

If a trainer does not have at least one certification, chances are good that they are not the best trainer. Also, if they do have credentials, make sure to find out who certified them. For example, you might want to steer clear if they took an online test in one day. I have a tendency to lean towards trainers that have an actual degree in a fitness related field, but you should also take this with a grain of salt. I’ve worked with plenty of trainers with master’s degrees who didn’t know the right side of a kettlebell.

Reputation

Street cred, or more importantly gym or fitness cred, is significant too. What are other trainers and clients saying about this person? What have they been doing in their career? Better yet, is it a career or they just looking to make a few bucks on the side? You want a serious trainer that commits to their work full-time. Personal training isn’t a “jump in and out” job. It’s a calling.

Style of Training

Not only are there good trainers and bad trainers, there are different trainers for different needs. To make sure you find the perfect trainer, be clear and specific about what kind of training you are looking for. If you want to look like a bodybuilder or are concerned with how much you can dead lift, choosing a trainer that only teaches pilates will not end well for either of you.

Your Needs and Goals

A good trainer will focus on your needs and goals—not theirs. I have a client with a delicate heart condition that has been with me for 2 years. One trainer he saw before me was so resolved on getting him to bench press a lot of weight that my client had to fire him.

Pills, Powders and Potions

Okay, this is a real red flag. Quick weight loss schemes never work. This is why we have an obesity pandemic. If they actually worked, we would all be at our ideal weight . If a trainer is trying to sell you some powder or pill, walk away. I never recommend that a client take anything I would not put into my own body.

Personal Depth

This is a big one that was conveyed to me by my mentor Douglas Brooks. If the trainer has no personality or enthusiasm, how are they going to motivate you at 5 in the morning? Do they have an integrity model that they stick with?

Business Should Be Business

I have seen many trainers that have crossed this line too many times. If you “hear it through the grapevine” that this particular trainer dates his or her customers, it’s another red flag. It is unprofessional and could potentially cause a lot of unwanted drama.

Right Client, Right Trainer

While training style is extremely important, personal compatibility is too. You need to ask yourself if you could have a good conversation with your trainer outside of business. Most people (clients and trainers) can generally tell if someone is the right fit. Don’t worry if you’re not best friends, though. No one is perfect.

Communication

Once you’ve settled on a trainer, you should continue your evaluation. Ask yourself questions like: How well does this person communicate? How do they respond to my strengths and weaknesses? How do they follow up on questions I’ve asked? All trainers should be clear and concise and follow up as quickly as possible. You are their clients and income—if they snooze, they lose!

A Paleo Love Story by Karaokegal

Paleo Love Story My relationship with Paleo started with a casual suggestion and ended up changing (and maybe saving) my life.

It started, as so many things do, at the Mint Karaoke Bar in San Francisco. I was sitting with my friend Jim, sipping club soda, and bitching about my weight, especially my elusive “goal.”

At that point, I’d lost over fifty pounds through white-knuckle, calories in-calories out, low-fat, chronic cardio, and lot of fake food like Laughing Cow “cheese.”  Instead of being happy with the transformation I’d achieved, I was miserable, or at least cranky. I could hit my self-imposed trophy number and as a result I felt like a failure.  Each encounter with the Evil Scale God would propel toward a 24-48 hour sugar/starch/fat binge that me full of self-hatred and that much further from elusive goal that was supposed to bring happiness.

There I was banging on about my weight and body issues, and it was exactly the same way I used to talk about my love life.  “Where are all the good men,” had become, “why can’t I lose more weight?”

“Why don’t you try the Paleo diet,” he replied, possibly just to get me to shut up, or maybe the way he might suggest I call the friend of a friend who he thought might be perfect for me.

At that point, I was prepared to tune out because after a life-time on the merry-go-round, I assume I knew all there was to know about diet and weight-loss, which you won’t be surprised to hear consisted of calories in-calories out and fear of fat cells.

However, I was depressed and desperate, so I started a little flirtation on the internet.  That’s when I found out that Jim, who claimed he was doing the Paleo diet, knew a lot less about the “great guy” than he should have.

No legumes? WTF? The only thing keeping from late-night fruit binges was a (carefully measured) tablespoon of peanut butter before bed. I’d crunched my way through what felt like tons of sugar snap peas. And wasn’t tofu the perfect low-fat diet food?

What kind of psycho douche-bro was Jim trying to set me up with anyway…even if he was cute?

Well, ok, cute…as in me desperate enough to reach for a new life-line.  So I tried it.

Kind of.

No dairy? I couldn’t just throw away all that Laughing Cow, especially when two pieces were only 70 calories and easy to carry to work. Beside it was hardly real cheese anyway.  I was also using non-fat milk to get down the Ibuprofen I needed to drag myself to the gym (or out for ten miles on the bicycle) every day.  Then I heard Loren Cordain in a video say, “nonfat milk is just sugar water” on a video and something hit me in the heart.  I tried flax-milk per Jim’s suggestion, but HAD to sweeten it with honey.  What could be wrong with honey? It was natural right? Better than refined sugar, anyway. Of course god forbid I get through a day without my sugarless gum and diet soda.  (Eye-roll at myself for what I was literally poisoning my body with.)

In this half-assed way, I “did Paleo” for about three weeks.  Call it the “casual dating” phase or maybe closer to “friends with benefits” because let’s face I was basically screwing around with it.

I did start getting more attached by listening to podcasts ( The Paleo View, Primal Blueprint, Paleo Hacks , etc) and subscribing to blogs, such as Mark’s Daily Apple, PaleOMG, and Rubies and Radishes.) Even though I don’t have any autoimmune diseases or foot sensitivities, aside from my extremely complicated relationship with sugar, I could tell that I felt better and weight was coming off…I got back into the size 8 Dockers that were one of my metrics.  Clearly even with such self-deception as believing that a plate of Quinoa/Honey/Yogurt/Nuts/Fruit was an appropriate brunch entrée, something was working.  Maybe this guy was right for me after all.

Commitment panic set in and my anxieties sprang up to sabotage my new-found relationship and I cheated, thinking I could get out and forget I’d ever met Paleo.

I went on a massive binge.

Every bit of sugar/gluten/dairy and all the other Paleo no-no’s I could get my grubby paws on.  (Why are yogurt raisins so insidious?) So much so that I got busted by my significant other when he found pieces of cookie in the bed. I was in sugar high heaven until my gut turned on me with a vengeance and let me know exactly what gluten and sugar could do to my digestive system.  Maybe the minimal elimination of gluten that I had done made me more vulnerable. The sourness coming out of my body at both ends was disgusting and painful.

I felt gross, bloated, sweaty, short of breath and completely full of self-hatred.  I knew I needed to go back and beg forgiveness. Some lessons need to be learned the hard and nauseated way.

Paleo means never having to say you’re sorry.

I started a as hard core as I could.

No honey.

No cheese-fake or otherwise.

No butter or margarine.

No legumes-hello cashew butter.

Green smoothies—(thank you, James Swanwick ).

Grass fed liver—(thank you, Real Food Liz )

Intermittent Fasting with a 9PM cut-off.

I tweeted every day to make sure my commitment was on the record.

And I swore off any contact with the Evil Scale God until the Whole30 was done. ( for the reference.)

In 30 days, I went from 141 (admittedly RIGHT after the binge) to 134.  I felt a zillion times better and got through some major cortisol-producing work crazy, including a major job interview with something resembling grace and dignity. I also got the job!

To quote the Monkees, or at least – I’m a believer.

Paleo is my life-partner, even if status is “complicated.” I may slip, stumble and fall, but I’ll always go back, and I know this is a relationship where I can be forgiven and start over, which is a blessing. I won’t lie, I went seriously off the rails on a recent vacation, but Paleo was waiting patiently for me at home.

Nothing else works.

I’ve been following a paleo lifestyle for a few years. I was overweight most of that time too. Heck I’m still overweight but not by much. If I was following a strict paleo diet why was I still fat? What was the huge secret I was missing? There were many reasons for my failure. Many misunderstandings I had about things. I had to dial in and find what worked best for me. Mostly though I had to “get out of the cave” and become active and social. Paleo and exercise go hand in hand. Today I’ll be talking about why you can’t skip the workouts.

Overeating

Eating a paleo diet is more nutrient dense. To anyone following the diet you know this. Even knowing this you might still be making mistakes.  Grains for all their celebrated greatness are lacking in nutrients. On a paleo diet you learned to not weigh and measure your food.

Eat until satiated is the prescribed wisdom. While that is great some will overeat on that. Your either used to eating a larger amount or are not sure what satiety feels like. Many have been programed to eat on a clock. Must eat at this time or that time. Must eat this many or that many meals. Trying to eat 6 nutrient dense meals in a day is not good. Do not eat because the clock says so. Eat when you are actually hungry. Eat until you are not hungry nor full.

Excess Energy

I started crossfit in December 2013. One of the first things my coach said to me was I had the diet under control now needed to use that energy. Eating strict high fat paleo gave me tons of energy. Which I did nothing with. The 24 hour globo gym bored me. I would go whole months without going. I didn’t know a single other person in there. My workouts, when I did them, were boring. I tended to use my excess energy by watching Youtube videos on the couch. Even good healthy calories end up as fat when you do nothing.  While I still enjoy some Youtube it’s no longer marathons.

Paleo and Exercise

One Solution is never as good as a ton. To burn this excess energy I tried to find as many active things as possible to do. First was I joined a crossfit gym. For me the high intensity varied workouts were perfect. I show up say Hi and get to do something new everyday . I’ve seen more results from this randomized training than anything else I’ve done . My fitness level has sky rocketed since joining. Everyday I do things I could not before.

Get Active

The other big two things I do are hiking and throwing the Frisbee. I love hiking and I’m surrounded by beautiful Tennessee trails. I try to go do a day hike at least once a week now. Man has evolved to walk and run through trails. I find the time spent in nature is meditative. After a hike I always feel more calm. I keep a frisbee in my car now. I will play with it every chance I get. Stuck waiting for seats at a restaurant? Get out your disc and play a little. Play is a very important part of life that is gone in most adults. Playing is next to sleep in stress reduction . Find something you like to do and do it. Weight comes off and life quality goes way up.

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Diet and exercise always go hand in hand. Working out everyday won’t make much of a dent in a person’s weight loss plan if their food intake remains the same. The same goes for dieting. No matter how strictly a person follows a particular meal plan, without exercise, the results won’t be as great as it could be. Of course, certain diets blend well with certain workout routines—and in the case of the Paleo diet and CrossFit, it’s a match made in heaven.

When one starts CrossFit training , there is one diet that comes highly recommended by gyms and practitioners of the exercise program. This is called the Paleo diet, which gets its name from the Paleolithic period when cavemen roamed the earth. The idea behind it is to eat just like the cavemen did thousands of years ago. It’s a high-protein, low-carb dietary plan that has been making waves in the fitness world. Since it consists of foods that can be hunted and gathered, this means no grains, no dairy, and no processed foods or sugars.

Why is this diet paired up with CrossFit? Because, if the Paleo diet represents how our caveman ancestors ate, this workout represents how our caveman ancestors exercised. The workout utilizes movements that our ancestors did daily, movements that are still very natural to our bodies. These movements include jumps, lifts, pull ups, and dips just to name a few.

In short, CrossFit is a high-intensity strength and conditioning program that utilizes varied, functional movements to improve many aspects of a person’s health, including respiratory and cardiovascular endurance, agility, speed, balance, and stamina. Below are 5 reasons why these two make such a perfect fitness killer combo.

1. Both Are a Way of Life

Generally speaking, the Paleo diet is not something that you do for six months before quitting. The energy you gain, the weight you lose and the way you feel will keep you wanting more. CrossFit garners the same results. It’s a long-term fitness solution that you won’t want to stop. Mixing diet with exercise is not a quick fix to weight loss issues, though.

It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to get this combo right. The combination of the two allows the body to lose weight, build muscle and build up one’s physical strength and overall wellbeing slowly but surely. The high levels of protein a person on the Paleo diet consumes helps in building muscles which is a key component to weight loss. The more muscle mass a person has, the more calories they burn whenever they perform even the simplest physical activities. This was a way of life for our ancestors, and it should be for you too.

2. Both Complement Each Other

The idea behind the nutrition program is to eat just like the cavemen did back in the Paleolithic period. On the other hand, the movements performed by individuals doing CrossFit mimics the movements and physical activities performed by the Paleolithic man as they tried their best to survive the big bad world. Naturally, these two go together. Considering that the cavemen were healthy, lean, strong and agile individuals, it’s no surprise that these fitness tools complement each other really well.

3. Both Are Energy-Based

There’s no abstaining from eating while on the Paleo diet. Instead, it calls for as much fuel as possible by focusing on foods that are considered anti-inflammatory and are easily absorbed by the body. Encouraging the consumption of healthy fats , the Paleo diet increases a person’s energy level and performance during hard training. It also balances one’s hormone and insulin levels, which in turn helps enhance athletic performance naturally.

Going Paleo gives people the energy boost they need in order to go faster, lift heavier weights, and push themselves to their limits without any worries. This means that the body can direct its attention to burning fat stored as fuel during CrossFit’s intense workout sessions. Like the diet’s solely energy-based foods, the workout focuses on functional, energetic movements. CrossFit calls for varied, high intensity movements for short bursts that last anywhere between two and 30 minutes.

4. Both Are Innate

After a short period of adaption, people start to realize that, together, the diet and the workout feel natural. Eventually, CrossFit doesn’t feel like strenuous torture, and Paleo doesn’t feel like a diet. When a person is hungry, it’s difficult to perform even the easiest physical activity. And the last thing someone needs is to count calories and limit their food intake when exercising like a caveman.

When a person feels like he or she isn’t getting enough food, it’s hard to stay motivated and keep energy levels up when performing strenuous exercises. Paleo is the perfect partner for this rigorous and high intensity exercise routine simply because people on this meal plan can eat as much as they want—which is exactly the way our bodies are supposed to work.

5. Both Create a Sense of Community

The two fitness tools are not just passing fads. For many people, it is already considered a lifestyle that they continuously and consciously choose to live on a daily basis. Maintaining this kind of lifestyle can be quite difficult without the support of other people who want to achieve the same thing—a healthier and more energetic body.

People who are committed to doing the training and going under the dietary program become part of a large community of people who care about their overall health and wellbeing. This community is comprised of different types of people from hardcore athletes to people who just want to stay fit and live a healthy and energetic lifestyle. As a community, these individuals help and support each other by sharing what they know and giving each other helpful advice in order to lose weight quickly and improve one’s performance.

As far as nutrition and exercise combinations go, the diet and CrossFit seem to be the only two fitness tools that completely complement each other. Before starting on the training regimen, consider going Paleo as well and vice versa. The combination of these two can lead not only to a slimmer and leaner body, but to a healthier and happier life.

Photography credits go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/alifench/

The Paleo Diet is attractive in a lot of ways. It’s healthy, unique, energizing, strengthening, and reasonable down to the genetic level. However, if there is one thing that turns away potential dieters, it’s the price tag. Nearly every Paleo Diet “pros and cons” list on the internet explains that living the Paleo lifestyle can run up a stunning grocery bill. This can be alienating, because, when they say they want to lose weight, most people aren’t talking about their wallets.

If you are one of the people who would like to start the Paleo diet, but don’t have the money to spend on choice cuts, fresh fish or organic vegetables, don’t worry. Obviously, the cavemen weren’t rolling in riches, and you shouldn’t have to be either. You just have to be smart about what you buy and how you buy it. Here are five comprehensive tips for eating Paleo on a budget.

1. Prioritizing

Glancing over your finances is key when implementing any kind of budgeting. Don’t hold back. Find out how much you spend on everything so that you can pick out the unnecessary items that you can do without. Once you have a good idea of how much money you have set aside for food, go shopping to get a general idea of the playing field. After buying your Paleo foods, revise your plan and re-budget. Chances are good that you spent more than you normally would. Still, you might find it necessary to remove luxurious purchases from your financial plan (dining out, alcohol, entertainment) and put that money towards your Paleo diet.

2. Meat

First off, buying from local ranchers is a great way to get cheap grass-fed and pasture-raised meat. Check out EatWild.com for ranchers in your area (also a good source for local eggs).

Secondly, buy less expensive cuts and, if they turn out to be too tough for your liking, make them more tender in your crock pot.

Thirdly, buy the whole bird. If you buy fowl in pieces, that’s money wasted. Chop it up yourself and stretch it over several meals throughout the week by making broth soups and stews.

Fourthly, find out when the store marks down the meat and buy it before it is due to come off the shelves. You’ll save a lot more money this way—just make sure to cook or freeze it the day that you purchase it.

Use every piece of the meat that you can. If you buy meat with bones—whether it’s fowl or beast—save them in the freezer until you have enough to simmer in a crock pot of water. After straining and adding other ingredients of your choice, this will make delicious stock to be eaten “as is,” or used as the basis for soup, gravy or sauces.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Buying fruits and vegetables is trickier than buying meat because there is much more variety. Even so, that means there are more tricks to saving money. Do some research before going to the store and find out which fruits and vegetables are in season, and familiarize yourself with the year’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists.

For instance, in December, the cheapest fruits and veggies tend to be broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale , leeks, grapefruit, mushrooms (some people classify them as vegetables), oranges, papayas, parsnips, pears, pomegranates, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, tangelos, tangerines, and turnips. Buying out of season will not only be less healthy (the longer it’s been frozen, the more nutrients are missing), but it will be harder on your wallet. Also, being familiar with the year’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists can save you from wasting money on organic food. These lists show which fruits and veggies have the highest levels of pesticide residue, so you know which cheaper, non-organic products are okay to buy.

If this isn’t enough, keep it simple by sticking with cheaper fruit and vegetable varieties like apples, bananas, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, etc.

Like meat, buying locally is also much less expensive. Check out LocalHarvest.com to find good rates from nearby farmers.

4. Planning Meals

Since you will be avoiding restaurants, fast food and quick purchases, planning what you are going to eat is extremely importan t when dining on a budget. While you are cooking your food, plan every supper to have enough leftovers to make tomorrow’s lunch, know how much fruit you can snack on every day, and save eggs for breakfast. If you do not schedule your meals at least one or two weeks in advance, it is likely that you will waste both food and money.

5. Shopping Smart

Along with buying from local farmers, there are many store and purchasing tricks to make the Paleo diet affordable. First, make a grocery list before leaving for the store (since aimless wandering generally turns into picking up useless items). This will keep you on track and organized.

Second, if you can, buy in bulk. This will be cheaper for you in the long run. Ferment, freeze and dry the excess food so it will last for months.

Third, keep an eye out for daily and weekly specials. Fourth, take up couponing. Fifth, take advantage of stores with price compare. And finally, don’t be afraid to shop online. Depending on where you look and where you live, there are some great deals to be found.

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy all the healthy benefits of that the Paleo Diet has to offer. Much like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, you just have to play it smart, stay alert, and keep an ear to the ground.

One of the core techniques in lowering your blood pressure reading is diet program modification. In this article, you will discover some of the foods that lower blood pressure . By knowing these particular food items, you can rest assured that you can manage your blood pressure adequately. If you want to boost the effects of these food items, you should couple your diet with exercise as well.

Banana

Banana is considered as one of the foods that lower blood pressure because of its abundant potassium content (450 milligrams per serving). Aside from that, this is rich in fiber that can help you manage your weight better, thus normalizing your blood pressure reading further.

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy vegetable known for its low calorie content. This is also abundant in other nutrients such as magnesium, folate, potassium, and fiber. These nutrients are instrumental in maintaining and lowering your blood pressure readings. You may incorporate this to your dishes and your sandwiches.

Avocado

Contrary to popular belief, avocado can do wonders in lowering your blood pressure level. Because this contains around 975 milligrams of potassium, you can rest assured that this wonder fruit will immediately set to work as soon as you consume those avocado slices. Aside from this, avocados are famous for their abundance in the following nutrients: monounsaturated fat, phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.

White Potates

Potates are a great source of minerals, especially magnesium and potassium. Both Magnesium and Potassium are vital for heart health. One of the main tasks of potassium is to control sodium levels. Increased levels of sodium result in raised blood pressure. Therefore, potassium is indirectly responsible for healthy blood pressure.  On the other hand, magnesium is an important mineral required for proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Apart from that, it widens blood vessels, thus improving blood flow.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is one of the famous food items that can significantly decrease blood pressure levels because it is rich in calcium. program studies have shown that adults who have increased calcium intake can significantly reduce their risks of developing hypertension. An average calcium intake of 1000 to 1500 milligrams in a day can help make a huge difference for most of the adults who have the condition.

Almond Milk

Almond milk can supply you with vitamin D and calcium . These are nutrients that can help reduce your blood pressure by around three to ten percent. On a larger scale, this can help you prevent having cardiovascular disorders by at least 15 percent.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains polyphenols that can help protect you against the ill effects of blood vessel and heart problems. This chocolate variety is abundant in flavonoids. If you want to get as much benefits from this food item as possible, you should go for a chocolate containing at least 70% of Cocoa. is my top choice.

Sunflower Seeds

If you are looking for a simple but somehow filling snack, you may try out unsalted sunflower seeds for your next stint. These are considered as nice sources of magnesium. Around ¼ cup of sunflower seeds is enough for a light and healthy snack. It should be unsalted because you have to cut down on sodium intake. Sodium is notorious for increasing your blood pressure levels.

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