90 Fitness Answers 09 – How Do I Stick To My Fitness Goal?

Relentless Family member Chuck kept the goal in mind for six weeks… and saw the results!

Ok, setting clear fitness goals is great, but what really matters is figuring out how to stick to your fitness goal. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what kind of awesome goal you set if you’re not going to follow through with the plan.

In my last post I talked about setting different levels and types of goals, but how do you stick with it when the going gets tough?

1. Clearly figure out your reason “why”. Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 08 – “How Do I Set and Achieve My Fitness Goals?”

If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else
-Yogi Berra

Now, Yogi is famous for his quotes, which are often quirky, but there’s a lot of wisdom there, too.

One of the most important things in this whole fitness journey is to set a goal that you’re shooting for. If you don’t, then chances are it won’t be long before you wane from the path. New habits are hard. Adults don’t tend to create them easily and if it’s something that’s going to be a departure from your current life, as adopting a healthier, more fit lifestyle probably is, then it’s not always going to be easy.

So, the first thing we’d want to accomplish is figuring out basically where you want to go and WHY you want to do it. That why is up to you, of course, but if you don’t have a clear sense of that then it is going to be hard to be consistent once the new excitement wears off.

Step 1: Figure out a sense of where you want to go and really zero in on the WHY.

Now, once you’ve got those two basic points down, I like to firm up goals with clients with something called “backwards chaining”, which is a fancy way to say we start at the end and work our way back. Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 07 – What Is “Trans Fat”?

90 fitness answers 07 - what is trans fat?Yesterday we talked about whether dietary fat is good for you or not, whether it’s been improperly vilified or glorified by public opinion, and the other ins and outs of the story.

Today, we’re going to talk about a specific type of fat that’s popular in the media, but most people don’t really have a handle on what it is: Trans Fat.

For the purpose of our discussion, a trans fat is basically a “manufactured” or industrially-altered fat. Basically, Hydrogen is added to some of the bonds and this “hydrogenation” helps the fats last longer before going rancid, be solid at room temperatures, but also melt easier under other conditions. Trans fats DO occur in nature, but only in small amounts. For example, CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a fat that occurs naturally in dairy in small amounts, and can be healthy. By and large, though, trans fats are considered to be tremendously unhealthy and it’s recommended that they make up less that 1% of a person’s diet by the World Health Organization. Trans fats are associated with a large variety of health issues (heart/cardiovascular system, digestion, obesity, depression, fertility issues in women, diabetes).

Ok, so they’re not great for you. Where are they? Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 06 – Is Fat Bad?

90 fitness answers 06 - is fat bad?Is Fat bad for you?  Diet and nutrition trends tend to wax and wane, come and go as the years go on. A common source of contention is whether a certain macronutrient (fat, protein, or carbohydrate) is “good” or “bad” for you. Fat, in particular, is frequently an arguing point for many people.

On one side of the equation, you’ve got a whole crowd of people that blame fat consumption for everything from clogged arteries to massive weight gain. On the other, you’ve got a crowd that tries to get 70-90% of their energy from fat and praise it as the fountain of youth.

As usual, the answer tends to be somewhere in the middle. Here’s how:

What is fat? Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 05 – What Does It Mean To Be Fit?

dad fitness get in shape bangor maine

Relentless athlete Travis is getting some serious interval work done on the Prowler!

What Is Being “Fit”?

While it’s great to go talk the nuts and bolts of fitness, sets, reps, grams of protein, and the like… I think it’s important to take a step back and think about something even more fundamental:

Answering the question of “what is being fit?“.

There’s lots of different answers out there, depending on your school of thought or guru that you follow. If you ask the endurance community, they’ll say that fitness is having a great VO2 Max and being able to go for miles and miles. Throw it out to the powerlifters and they’ll say that the only thing that matters is your squat, bench press, and deadlift. Ask a gymnast the question and they’ll have their answer, just like a football player, rugger, or Water Polo player would.

Broaden it out even more, and you’ll find that the 83 year-old who still lives on their own and does all of their own yard work has an answer… and it might be different than the 37 year-old mom of three and probably a bit different than the 32 year-old guy who works in an accounting firm but likes to run obstacle course races on the weekends.

The point I’m trying to make is: Being “fit” isn’t an arbitrary number or ability. It’s the ability to perform your desired tasks. For MOST people, it’ll be something to the effect of: Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 04 – How Do I Raise My Metabolism?

90 fitness answers 04 - how do i raise my metabolismYou know those people that it seems like they can eat anything (and everything) and they don’t put on an ounce of fat?  Then there are those people who look at a bowl of pasta or a birthday cake and it’s like ten pounds magically appears.  If you’ve ever asked “How do I raise my metabolism?” then chances are you’re in the second group.

Let’s start by just defining what we actually mean by “metabolism”, to get on the same page.  Basically, the metabolism is all of your body’s processes.  Everything from powering your cells to repairing damage, replacing old cells, creating new ones, and so on all fall into this lump category of “metabolism”.  All of these things require energy, in the form of calories, to take place.  That energy can come from the food you’re eating now or it can come from fat or muscle stored on your body, which is past overeating that you did.  Of course, when people are asking this question they’re generally looking for ways to expend more energy and ideally have the excess come from the stored fat.

For the first group, there’s a handful of reasons as to why they may be able to just burn through food, not all of which are related to the metabolism, but for the sake of this post we’ll stick with those.  For the rest of us, here’s how to get that metabolism cranking and the fat dropping: Continue reading

90 Fitness Answers 03 – Should I Do Cardio Before or After Strength Training

90 fitness answers 03 - should i do cardio or strength training first

Long-time Relentless athlete Tara was a great example of building both strength AND endurance!

Let’s get into the training side of our 90 Days of Fitness Questions.  This is another one I get a lot:

Should I do my cardio before or after my strength training?

Well, let’s start by defining what we’re talking about.  Usually when I get this question people are defining “cardio” as long-duration, slow-to-moderate speed endurance work:  Going for a run, bike, etc.  They’re defining their “strength training” as a more traditional weight training session:  Squatting, benching, etc.

For the record, those are not totally opposing activities.  There are ways to develop strength WHILE improving one’s cardiovascular ability, which we do at Relentless, but for the sake of this discussion I’ll keep to those definitions to not muddy the waters too much.

When it comes to combining cardiovascular/endurance training with strength training, the common thought is often that if you do too much cardio you’ll lose all of your strength and muscle.  We’ll actually get deeper into this in a later question, but the answer there is yes and no.

Continue reading