SMART Fitness

Coaching people to EAT SMARTER and MOVE SMARTER so they can develop the habits necessary to achieve their HEALTH and FITNESS goals and keep them for LIFE



Body Change Part 2 (Fitness)

If you haven’t read Part 1 for the backstory, go here to read that. I don’t want to bore anyone with that again.

I do want to go on record with one statement that may sting a little. In all of the research I did for this, one thing shocked me more than any other:

WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY is significantly more important to your body’s ability to LOSE FAT than any exercise program.

In other words, you could have the most cutting edge exercise technology money can buy, or the best personal trainer on the planet, but if you still put CRAP into your body, you’ll never lose the fat. PERIOD.

Let’s move on. As I mentioned in Part 1, I only had two days per week available to workout outside my home. This is a restriction I placed on myself so my family is minimally affected by my chosen exercise program. As much as I love fitness and exercise, as a husband and dad, my family is MORE important.

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Strength train TWO days per week: Monday and Friday work best for me, but you need 48-72 hours between workouts for recovery.
  • Whole body workouts each day to start. Work largest body part to smallest with some variety allowed. Legs, back or chest, shoulders, triceps or biceps, core (abs/lower back). (Note: If you think you will run out of steam before you get to your core, do that first. Core is critical!!). After about 12 weeks move to one workout per week per bodypart (split the body into two parts and do one workout on Monday and one on Friday. For example: Trunk (chest, back, shoulders, abs) — Monday; Extremities (Legs, biceps, triceps, forearms, abs)–Friday.) Notice I said abs each workout.)
  • Workout ONE: High reps/low to moderate weight.
    • Rep range: 15-20 with strict form. (If form begins to be affected, stop and reduce weight. If you get to 20 reps and little effort was required, increase the weight next set)
    • 2-3 sets per exercise. One exercise per body part. Rarely the same exact exercise two workouts in a row. Mix it up so the body never gets a chance to adapt. (Example: Incline barbell one workout, incline dumbbells with a slightly different bench angle the next one.)
    • Minimize the rest between sets. 30 secs or so. Circuit training is ideal, where you go from one exercise to another. Then go back through a second time (maybe even a third, depending on how many exercises you’ve selected.).
  • Workout TWO: Low reps/Moderate to higher weight.
    • Warm-up: it is CRITICAL that you warm up properly BEFORE you start with heavy weights. If necessary do two sets to warm-up (6-8 reps), gradually increasing the weight, before your final HEAVY set.
    • Rep range: 5-8 with strict form. (I can’t stress enough how important form is to injury prevention AND strength gains!). You want to come pretty close to failure here, so make sure to have a spotter.
    • Rep speed: lots of variation can be added here, but NEVER bounce or use momentum to THROW the weight up. That’s the quickest way to get an injury that will stop your fat loss plan in its tracks!!
      • 2 sec negative/1 sec positive
      • 4 sec negative/1-2 sec positive
      • and everything in between. Lately I’ve been trying SUPER SLOW reps (10 sec positive/10 sec negative with one set and one exercise per body part). My friend Scott Means bought me the book, Body by Science by Doug McGuff M.D. and John R. Little which describes this method in detail.
    • 2-3 sets per exercise. One exercise per body part. Rarely the same exact exercise two workouts in a row. Mix it up so the body never gets a chance to adapt.
    • Rest between sets should still be pretty short: 60-90 secs is a good range.
  • Sprints: once a week I find a place to do some sprinting. My standard sprint workout is at the local high school track. I do a warm-up of 6 x 50 meter runs (about 70% effort–more than a jog, but not an all out sprint). I walk between each until my breathing returns to normal. Then I do 6 x 50 m sprints starting at around 90% effort, gradually increasing intensity to a full out 100% on the last two sprints. I got this concept from Mark Sisson’s Primal Fitness eBook. The book is free if you subscribe to his blog, which is excellent also!!
  • Record everything. I created a workout log to record date, exercises, sets, reps, and weight. If you would like it, let me know using the comments.
  • Exercise variety: I am big on changing things up. I use free weights (both barbells and dumbbells), machines, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, and something called a TRX Suspension Trainer. This also has the added benefit of boredom prevention.
  • Accountability: If possible, get a workout partner. Just knowing my partner is waiting for me makes it virtually impossible to skip a workout. If a physical partner isn’t possible, then get a virtual one. Team up with a friend on Facebook or Twitter or wherever, and keep each other accountable for getting workouts in. Making it a little competitive might motivate you. For example, whoever gets to their goal pant size or dress size gets a steak dinner!!

I know that’s a lot to take in, but combine these guidelines with the nutrition plan explained in part 1, and you will have a working fat loss plan as well as a lifestyle for health and fitness to carry you for a very long time.

I would love to hear some feedback. If you agree or disagree with anything I’ve written here, let me know. Or, better yet, if you implement this plan, let me know what kind of results YOU achieved using it!!

Now let’s go workout!!

References not already mentioned above:

The Enthusiasm of a Child

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, our family goes to the same little place every year to get a “real, live” Christmas tree. We bring it home and decorate it that evening. Our kids are 6 and 8 this year so my wife and I are trying to make sure they understand the true meaning of Christmas. This is no easy task with the commercialism they see everywhere, especially all of the Christmas specials on TV.

I mentioned wanting to read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke to them sometime this season. The next morning Sarah, my six year old comes downstairs carrying my bible ready to read. We started in Luke chapter 1. I would read a paragraph, and then she would read one. In first grade she is learning about punctuation: periods, commas, quotation marks, and exclamation points. She is supposed to read it the way it would really sound.

She was reading when we got to verse 28:

Gabriel appeared to her [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28).

She reads this verse with so much enthusiasm it kind of takes me by surprise. She didn’t stop reading until we got to verse 56! She was so excited to hear how Mary found out she was going to be the mother of Jesus! I’ve read or heard this story so many times I had forgotten how amazing it is. Jesus tells us in Mark 10: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NLT)

I needed to be reminded that the real magic of Christmas is that God sent his son to earth through an innocent young girl to be born in a stable, live among regular people, die for our sins, and then rise again to rule the entire universe! Now that’s something to be excited about!!


The Courage of a Six year old

Recently, my six year old daughter had her tonsils removed. Before that happened though, she had a sleep study to determine how much of an effect her “enormous” tonsils were having on the quality of her sleep. It was bad enough to require a trip to the ear, nose, and throat specialist. He looked at her tonsils, and just said, “Wow”. I remember listening to the doctor describe the procedure for her tonsil surgery to us and thinking maybe she shouldn’t hear some of this because he’s scaring me, and I’m not even having the surgery!

Leading up to the surgery she asked lots of questions, got a little scared a few times, but her mommy and I were always there to assure her that everything was going to be ok. We told her the doctor had done this lots of times before, that she would sleep better and feel better afterwards, and it would all be worth it. The night before the surgery she couldn’t wait to go to bed so she could get up the next morning and go get her tonsils out. I on the other hand spent most of the night before having an almost continuous conversation with God about keeping my baby girl safe–please, oh please don’t let anything happen to her!

The morning of the surgery we were brought back to the prep area to get her ready: dressed in her hospital gown, vitals taken, and special instructions. She was so unbelievably BRAVE, and I was on the edge of tears because of worry! She’s sitting there happy as can be, without a worry in the world, coloring a picture of Ariel, the little Mermaid!

As I was sitting in the waiting room praying AGAIN, it hit me! The reason she was so brave is because she COMPLETELY TRUSTED her parents. When we told her not to be afraid, that everything would be okay, she BELIEVED us. How amazing is that! I get reminded of how important it is to trust in God by my six year old daughter!

God tells us not to be afraid 365 times in the Bible. He tells us to trust Him for ALL of our needs. I think sometimes, as an adult, we are so tainted by our so called “knowledge” of things that we forget that God can be trusted even in the smallest of things. We just need to remember….every single day! And sometimes that reminder comes from the unlikeliest of places. I love being a daddy!!!

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:30-33 NLT

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