Monthly Archives: January 2017

Running to Lose Weight

I’m going to run because I want to lose weight. I am going to do a triathlon so I can shed some pounds. Oh you are a triathlete, you must be able to eat WHATEVER you want!

These are all statements I have heard on a regular basis. Yes running would aide in weight loss, doing a triathlon would help you be in a calorie deficit, but no triathletes cannot eat whatever they want. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Let’s break this down a little further.

Yes I have lost and successfully kept off a lot of weight and yes I am also a triathlete. However those two things do not necessarily go hand in hand. For me, I lost a majority of my weight through resistance training. Participating in endurance sports has only aided in keeping the weight off.

When you’re beginning a life changing journey, such as losing weight, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Let’s dive into them.

  1. Pick activities that you enjoy- Maybe you don’t like running endless miles, maybe you are intimidated by the free weights, maybe you don’t like traditional cardio. Whatever the case may be, there are 1,000 of ways to get your heart rate up and get your sweat on. Even if you don’t like anything, there are some things you dislike less than others, do them. This doesn’t have to suck, you can get enjoyment out of working out and it can actually be FUN. Some other easy and fun ways to get moving would be to get up and walk around your office 1 every hour. You can use your lunch break to go out for a nice walk instead of sitting at your desk. Even simple things like taking the stairs over the elevator can add up over time! If you enjoy running or cycling or swimming, by all means, incorporate those activities into your plan. Just know that in order to get the results that you are most likely interested in, it would take hours on end of these activities in order to achieve the goal of fat loss.
  2. Don’t pick activities based on calories they “burn”- Odds are, even if you wear a heart rate monitor, the calories burned are slightly off. Wearable devices can be up to 50% off when it comes to calories burned. There is no way to get a 100% accurate account for calories burned outside of a lab and having lots of testing done. Pick
    activities based on number one, not based on the perceived calories you could burn. If you pick an activity you even somewhat enjoy you are much more likely to continue.
  3. Weight loss or fat loss come down to 3 things- intake, expenditure, and progress. It is much easier to measure intake and progress. Intake is counting your calories or your macros. “Macros” short for macronutrients are the three large categories foods can be broken into. Carbohydrates, Protein and fats. You can choose to measure by the number of macros(in grams) you are eating or the amount of calories. The decision is really up to you, there are arguments for each and it really depends on YOUR preferences, I can’t tell you which one I think is better. What I can tell you is that proper nutrition (i.e. lots of good veggies, fruits and lean meats) will keep nutrient intake up and assist in keeping calories low. Expenditure is the amount of calories you burn (again very hard to accurately track). Lastly is progress, this can be measure a number of ways, either on the scale, through body fat tracking or through measurements. I just want to forewarn you that measuring too often can cause a feeling of standing still. You do not need to measure everyday if you don’t want to and for most I would suggest not. Doing measurements once a week or maybe even once every two weeks may be better as this will yield changes and decrease chances of dropout. You can use calipers and a friend to measure you body fat loss or you can use a measuring tape that a tailor would use. Some of the common areas to measure would be around the upper arms, thighs, neck, waist, and midsection.

Here are a few more things to consider when you are starting your journey for fat loss. Most people are actually more interested in losing body fat, not body weight. Therefore, burning calories does not equal fat loss. You can shed some pounds by merely by burning more calories than what you are eating. It’s probably safe to say that you would also like to burn fat more than just losing weight. So becoming aware of what you are consuming would be very beneficial to your goals. If you monitor two of the three things listed in number three above, you will be well on your way to your goals! PS if you are interested in reading a short post about setting goals check out this post from last week! I will write a more detailed post on setting goals next week!

When developing a plan or working with a trainer, you should be performing a mix of cardiovascular activity and resistance training. This plan paired with monitoring your consumption will enable you to track 2 of the 3 keys for fat loss! Just as an FYI if you have hired a trainer and they are handling your workouts for you, follow what they say. Every trainer has a different process and a different approach. Many even vary their approach from client to client, so don’t compare your workout to anyone else’s. They are the professional, just trust them!

Lastly but possibly one of the most important things to note! As previously mentioned, calculating the number of calories you are burning during exercise is complicated. Never, ever, EVER attempt to loosely estimate the number of calories burned OR the number of calories you are consuming. People have historically and wildly over estimated how many calories they burned. On the flip side of that you will underestimate the number of calories you are consuming. You do not need to be 100% accurate and weigh everything down to the gram when tracking, however, use a tracker. There are many options out there, if you prefer counting calories try the MyFitnessPal app. If you find yourself more interested in counting macros check out this app by Mike Vacanti.

I want to wrap up by giving you a few example workouts you can do for cardio that will help during your fat loss journey.

  1. If you are doing cardio in the traditional sense you can do steady state or interval training. For steady state cardio you want to go for a set amount of time, at the same effort. This effort should be somewhat easy. Say if you are walking or jogging on a treadmill next to someone you should still be able to have a conversation with them. You words should not be broken but you should still be breaking a sweat. If you are doing some form of interval training it can be broken down in many ways. 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy is a great way to get started. Your work intervals should be hard, you should be counting down the seconds until you get to stop!
  2. When you are first becoming aware of your nutrition there are a few key things to key in mind. Processed foods are one thing that should be avoided. Now is it ok to have ice cream and pop tarts here and there, yes absolutely! You want to abide by the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the food you are eating should be clean. Lots of fresh vegetables are good, along with fruits and lean protein such as chicken, lean cuts of beef and turkey breast! Being prepared with these foods or even snacks in the fridge at work or in your desk will help keep you from getting into a situation where you are trapped with poor choices. Nuts and seeds also make for a great snack to keep in your desk or car. Just remember that nuts have a high fat content (although they are good fats) you still want to limit them.

When approaching this journey you need to keep one thing in mind, its about consistency not perfection. You don’t have to weigh food, you can estimate, you can measure progress and you can play the long game. If you are someone who is over weight, you did not get that way in a month, 6 months, a year, maybe even 2 years. This is not going to change over night. Consistency is the game here my friends.

As alway if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me ian@thedoitforyourself.com.

Until next time!

Thanks for reading, it would mean a lot if share with a friend!

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

New Years Resolutions and Adrenal Fatigue

So here we are 8 days into the new year as I write this and I am doing well with my 1-2X posting per week on the blog.

If you haven’t checked it out already please read my last post on how to do a triathlon on a budget. I know that many people consider this as a goal for New Years resolutions but are nervous about the cost of participating in such an event.

As for me things have been going well so far, it’s early yet though. I am still fasting most days during the week. This has helped me immensely when it comes to staying in a calorie deficit. I did have one day over the holidays that kind of scared me a bit. Normally I work on Saturdays during the fall winter and spring. Recently I have had no trouble completing my training sessions in the afternoon after work. On this Saturday however I woke up and I was completely drained. My body felt weak, my legs felt heavy and all of this was more than usual. The only thing that was different would be the stress and strain I placed on my body through the holidays. There were a lot of late nights, a few drinks (some nights maybe more than a few haha) and holiday parties. I think my body had just had enough and it was time to just relax. So I did not train that Saturday or that Sunday. I actually got over 12 hours of sleep the one night and it felt great! Sparked by the scare though I have been attempting to cut back on caffeine consumption at least 1 day per week and I have started taking an adrenal gland support supplement. It is common to have some form of adrenal fatigue syndrome when training for long periods of time so I thought it would be an good idea to give this a try. From my general understanding adrenal fatigue syndrome is when you feel fatigue even after a good nights sleep. You have difficulty getting up early in the morning, cravings for salty foods and you may abuse caffeine and sugar. You are basically feeling way more tired that you should be even with a good nights sleep. I will let you know how I feel in the coming weeks!

The next thing I wanted to touch on is New Years resolutions and the inherent negativity that surrounds them. This time of year, whether you are a regular member of a gym or not, you have probably gotten some sort of marketing email about how there are no joining fees, special rates, and even deals on personal training sessions. You have probably also heard the “facts and figures” of how many people make resolutions and don’t keep them, join gyms and never go back, etc. When it comes to resolutions, I am a fan of the idea. I love someone wanting to make a change, especially for the better. I also can see how January first is an appealing time of year to do this. It’s not only a fresh start to the month, but you get to hit reset on another year. I made a resolutions myself, I just chose to do it at the start of the “school” year instead of the calendar year. Deep down I believe that resolutions are amazing no matter when you decide to start.

There are a few things that I do not like about New Years resolutions however. The negativity that surrounds them drives me insane. I can’t stand how people view resolutions and basically chalk it up to something 99% of people won’t complete. The other thing that annoys me is the “regulars” bitching about the influx of members in the gym. Yeah things are a little busy, yeah there are sometimes not enough treadmills for everyone at the gym at that time, but we all started somewhere and you were that first timer once too.

If you are reading this and you were considering a resolution, are working on a resolution, or just looking to get better, here are some tips I have to help you.

  1. Have a plan- most people create resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better”. These are great goals, but they are not measurable or specific enough. When you do not see the results you are looking for, thats when you will quit. Instead, create a goal for yourself that is specific such as I will go to the gym 5X per week or I will perform cardio 3X per week.
  2. Write your goals down! On January 1st I hung a whiteboard. I have my goals for the month and week written on there and I mark down each time I do that. I look forward to putting a tick everyday for the things I have completed and this builds momentum. Momentum is key! You do not need to use a white board, you can use a notebook or even just a piece of scratch paper. Just write it down! And keep it some
  3. You do not need to be 100% perfect all the time. Especially when it comes to counting calories or macros, whatever your preference is. If counting calories is helping you reach your goals and what you want when you look in the mirror then count calories. Which ever you decide, you do not need to be 100% perfect. This is about the long game, patience and persistence, not being perfect. To build off of that, start small. You do not need to cut everything “bad” out of your diet starting day one. Start small, but not too small. What do I mean by this? Start off drinking more water than sugary empty calories. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables and then build from there. After you have built momentum there, then you can start cutting processed foods out and going with more whole food. When I first started counting calories, thats all I did was count calories. After that stopped working, I began to figure out how my food could help me with my goals. It’s a learning process but you need to be willing to put in the work.
  4. Last and most important, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Utilize the people around you. There are way more people than you think out there who were once in the position that you may find yourself in. Utilize those people for their knowledge.

As for the first two ish weeks of January that’s it for me. If you are looking for a place to go for some support and motivation, come join me in the Facebook group I have created. There are no sells, its not MLM, I am not pushing products on anyone. This is just real, down to the grit motivation. If you are interested please join us!

I hope that you have set goals for yourself for the coming year, I know I have some big ones for myself and for Do It For Yourself. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and I thank you as always for reading!

All for now.
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

Barrier to Entry

With 2017 right around the corner I got to thinking about people who may be interested in doing something they have always dreamt of but were hesitant for whatever reason.

When people learn that my passion is triathlon they almost immediately follow that up with something to the effect of “how can you afford that?!” Or “how much did you bike cost?”

*humble brag, yes I have a very nice bike*

However, this bike for one would not have been possible without some amazing people helping me when I was in to this sport and just coming out of college and two you do not NEED a bike that costs thousands in order to participate in a triathlon.

In this posts I will break down some of the most common misconceptions about the barrier to entry for this sport and some “hacks” on how you can start, train and finish a race on a budget!

Gear:

First things first, lets cut to the chase, you will need some gear, without question. In the very least you will need the follow:

Swim

  1. Swim suit- you can find these pretty inexpensive on swimoutlet.com or at a local shop. Most times you will have better luck with cheaper prices on line but in the off season check out local or big sporting goods stores. You should be able to pick one of these up for somewhere around $20.
  2. Goggles- There are hundreds upon hundreds of varieties here. You can get them for as cheap as $5 and as expensive as $30. This really just depends on what you prefer. I really like a few different types. The cheap ones are “swedes” you can get them pretty cheap, they are very minimalist but they get the job done. Middle of the road, a little step up would be something along the lines of the Speedo Vanquisher. These provide a little more cushion, the are great but still under 20 bucks. The top end would be something along the lines of the TYR Special Opps. I have the transition lens model in these and I really like them a lot for triathlon swimming and open water swimming. They provide a great field of view and are very comfortable. Again these are over $20, could be upwards of $30 depending on what you choose, but these are the “top of the line” so to speak.
  3. Swim cap, do not buy one of these, ask a friend, ask the pool where you are going to swim or send me an email (ian@thedoitforyourself.com) and I will send you 3 swim caps. There is no point in paying for one of these because everyone has at least 5 they aren’t using.

In all honesty that is it for the swim. You really don’t need much to get started. Most pools have the gear that you need for the swim (fins, kickboard, bouy, etc.). Remember you are just starting out, lets get a feel for things before we start getting too involved with gadgets and tools.

Next is the bike, possibly the most expensive.

  1. First and foremost you will obviously need a bike. You do not need a $10,000 bike. Allow me to repeat myself. YOU DO NOT NEED A $10,000 BIKE. When I first started I was put in contact with someone who was in a bike group/club. Turns out another member was selling an older bike and I could pick it up, upgrade a few things and be on the road for around $500 bucks. Granted I ended up very lucky in this, but my point is, shop around, look at models from last year, used models and talk with people who are in the sport. You do not need something brand new (unless you can great a great deal!) and you do not need something top of the line for your first bike. I have seen people race on mountain bikes, beach cruisers, hybrids, just about anything with 2 wheels.
  2. Helmet. You are riding a bike on the road, you need a helmet. You can also get deals on these. Rudy Project has a ton of ambassadors out there and they have discount codes on their helmets. I have had 2 of these helmets and I have loved them so far, check them out. You other option is going to a shop or somewhere that sells helmets. My only piece of advice here is to make sure that whoever you’re getting it from, knows how to fit a helmet!
  3. Water bottles, cages, etc. When you first jump in to the sport you do not need the pedals with the clips and the Garmin and every other bell and whistle for your bike. Just grab the basics! Two bottle cages on the bike(the thing that holds your water bottle) and two bottles. 9 times out of 10 if you buy your bike from a bike shop they will cut you a deal on cages and probably throw in bottles with their logo. Platform pedals will do the trick for you just fine and I bet you dimes to donuts you’ll be quicker in transition.
  4. Bike clothes. At a minimum (depending on your budget, preference and your distance) I would suggest getting yourself a pair of cycling shorts or bibs. The difference between the two really comes down to preference. The “bib” style has suspenders that come over your shoulders whereas the shorts don’t.

The run.

  1. At a minimum you will obviously need a pair of running shoes. My best advice for anyone who is starting out is the same advice I got when I first started. Go to a running store, have them look at your gait (the way you run) and they will put you in shoes that are right for you. Over color, over look, over how cool you think they are, the fit matters most. In order to stay injury free and avoid further problems down the road, please take this advice.
  2. Other than shoes, running is also relatively inexpensive. Of course you might want a pair of shades, a hat or visor but again these are all based on preference. You can usually pick these things up on amazon or in the clearance bin at a local store. Don’t be ashamed to shop the clearance bins!!

If your goal is to do a triathlon or any race for that matter, the best thing to do, is just sign up. Don’t wait until you think you are ready or for your friend to sign up with you or anything of that nature. Sign up, especially now when race fees are still cheap. If you need to find a race in your area, google “Tri Find” or just google triathlons in “insert your city/town”. You will find loads of races near you!

If you have any questions, please send me an email ian@thedoitforyourself.com. I am happy to talk through things with you and answer any questions you may have. Remember anyone who is in triathlon or anything for that matter, started in the same position you are in!

Thanks for reading!
It would mean the world to me if you shared this with someone who is considering a triathlon this year!

All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!