Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Keeps You Motivated?




I had some friends ask me about getting some diet advice recently. It led me to reflect and realize that I haven’t been eating well at all lately. At first it’s just a weekend of baked goods and barbecuing. Then it’s a few days with not much protein, and then all of a sudden you’re only eating three meals a day instead of the usual five or six. At first it’s fun to eat whatever you want, but then you realize why you’re not feeling your best: improper fueling.

The three big taboos of food land (in my opinion) are:

1)Not eating enough protein. If you’re going to turn body fat into lean muscle you need adequate protein to do it, weight training alone won’t complete the job. The rule of thumb is 1 -1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I weigh 140lbs so that dictates 140-210 grams of protein daily. You should ALWAYS know what your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is. That’s how many calories you would burn in a day if you stayed in bed and didn't move an inch all day. My BMR, for example, is 1,439 calories. Add calories to your BMR to reflect your activities throughout the day. While training for The Emerald Cup my workouts burned 800-1,100 additional calories most days. If you’re looking to lose, maintain, or even gain weight you want to eat fewer, the same, or more calories than you burn. That being said, 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. So if you plan to eat 140 grams of protein in a day that will use up 560 calories of your total calorie “budget.” When I’m looking to lose I aim for 1,800 calories daily. The rest you make up with carbs and healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated).

Calculate your BMR here: http://health.discovery.com/centers/heart/basal/basal.html

2)Not eating often enough. Eating 5-6 times a day better supports your metabolism, prevents you from feeling totally ravenous when you do eat, and maintains your blood sugar at a more even level throughout the day to prevent an energy crash.

3)Justifying the crappy food splurges as ”I deserve it because...” Yes, when you’ve been getting to the gym daily and watching your diet it is easy to convince yourself that you deserve a donut, or chips, or a cheeseburger or whatever your weakness is, but how is going against your goal a reward? If you feel the need to reward yourself after behaving for a month buy yourself a cute new piece of gym gear. Alternatively, you might think “I can get away with it.” Yes, you can get away with the occasional food splurges, but mentally utter that thought pattern too often and lo and behold, you’re not getting away with it anymore, it’s getting away with your skinny jeans ;)

I’ve been committing all three food land taboos lately. To start getting back on track I went out and stocked up on some of my staple proteins: lean ground turkey, Isernio’s chicken sausage, water-packed tuna, and tilapia. For an on the go snack I like to carry raw almonds and sliced strawberries.

My favorite Tupperware packing recipe is pictured above. It’s an easy batch recipe; one package of the turkey will net you 4 meals. I like to buy the frozen microwave steamer bags of rice at Trader Joe’s. Each bag is 2 cups and thus perfect to get divided and used up in this recipe, plus, no dishes ;)

1 serving:

5 oz. Jennie-O Taco-Seasoned Lean Ground Turkey
½ cup rice
½ cup diced tomato
1 cup mixed greens
1 T salsa
1 big squeeze lime juice

Stats: 354 cals 29 g protein 12 g fat 33 g carbs


It’s a splurge, albeit a healthy fat packing one, but I added ¼ cup diced avocado this batch which adds 60 cals 1 g protein 5.5 g fat and 3 g carbs.

Dependent on if I’m on a 5 or 6 meal split I like to make each meal 250-350 cals with protein allotted evenly and carbs stacked earlier in the day.

Today was rest day aka cardio only day (60 minutes on an elliptical) so I thought I’d post yesterday’s workout. Normally, I’m my own motivator, but yesterday I wasn’t. Trying to justify not going I had told my son I wasn’t feeling that good to which he replied, “We should go to the gym.” He was right and I’m glad I listened. I was never fully in the mood, but I know I would have felt worse had I skipped it

The “I don’t wanna workout I’m grumpy, tired, and the little voice in my head saying I won’t feel better until I do workout isn’t loud enough, but my kiddo’s voice is” legs and core workout ;)

I find that when I’m headed into the gym with a bad attitude and in stressed / tired / grumpy mode the best thing to do is to hit it hard.

I’m anti-cardio lately so when feasible I try to integrate cardio into my weights so as to justify avoidance of the elliptical, stepmill, etc. Running up and down real stairs will take your breath away and make you sweat much more quickly than a stepmill will anyways.

1)Run the Stairs
20 flights up 20 flights down

2)Parallel Squat in a Rack
Set 1: 95 lbs x 8 reps
Set 2: 115 lbs x 8 reps
Set 3: 135 lbs x 8 reps
Set 4: 135 lbs x 8 reps

3)Walking Barbell Lunges (these are equal parts cardio and weight training)
Set 1: 40 lbs x 30 reps
Set 2: 40 lbs x 30 reps
Set 3: 40 lbs x 30 reps
Set 4: 40 lbs x 30 reps

4)Machine Kickbacks (I prefer the cable kickback, but there are no straps for it at Gold’s right now)
Set 1: 40 lbs x 16 reps each leg
Set 2: 40 lbs x 12 reps each leg
Set 3: 40 lbs x 12 reps each leg
Set 4: 40 lbs x 12 reps each leg

5)Decline Bench Dumbbell Crunches

5 sets x 20 reps x 10 lbs

6)Run the Stairs Again ;)
20 flights up 20 flights down

7)Abs Giant Set
Shoulder Crunches 15 reps R 15 reps L, Vertical Leg Reverse Crunches 20 reps, Mini Crunches 20 reps
Repeat Giant Set 3X with no rest in between.

8)Last Round Abs

3 Sets Medicine Ball (10 lb) Side Twists x 30 reps superset with 3 Planks (45 sec hold)

What keeps you motivated?

1 comment:

  1. The addition of one of the better ab workout machines goes from being a nice thought to a smart idea. Equipment ranges from pretty high-tech to even low-tech, simple devices, but the best abdominal exercise machines all pack a punch.

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