I will never forget the day Tony came up and asked me if I was a personal trainer (it's kind of a running joke that they still, to this day, don't have my photo up on the wall of personal trainers at FAC) and if I had the time to take on any new clients. Having only recently started my practice at FAC, I had him in for a consult and training session the next day, and began to get a little backstory on him. He was a talented songwriter and musician that had come to Nashville to produce an EP, and came to me needing a hot body to go with his sizzling stage shows, along with a specific look for upcoming photo shoots that would accompany the album release. Needless to say, I was very excited to work with someone so driven and goal oriented from day one, and his performance with the weights that day showed me a lot of potential.
Tony did have past history of working with personal trainers and training with weights, so he was not a novice by any means, but we did have some pretty significant imbalances in the hips and scapula that Tony was receiving regular treatment for when he presented to me, and he was having very significant shoulder and rotator-cuff pain from a very pronounced winged scap bilaterally. So, we had some work to do. Tony became very familiar with face pulls, scap pushups, and band pull-aparts, as we changed his pressing form and stretched and strengthened the rotators. We had a photo shoot date of July 28th for material for the CD release, so we began training five days a week to make some major transformation.
Tony was also very open to major changes in his diet, and was even willing to try a form of elimination diet, at my suggestion, due to some food allergies and sensitivities that I believed were causing him some intestinal and mucous problems. We found that he was mildly allergic to both gluten and lactose, and he really stuck to his guns when it came to eliminating them from his diet. But he felt the power of removing them and then he began to see the difference in his body.
And now I present Tony's before shot from a trip to the beach prior to moving to Nashville.
And the after taken July 28th. We started training end of March. Ridiculous Tony!
Besides looking incredible, Tony also sounds fantastic on his gritty new album, which can be purchased through the ITunes store! He just released it last Monday, so please let's go and support him! You can also check him out at his own website, McKeeMuzic.com. For all of my existing clients, if you purchase his album off ITunes and bring me your receipt I will give you a 10 percent credit towards that day's training session. And for any of you considering a lifestyle change, I'll credit a free session with your consultation if you bring me a receipt when you meet with me!
Tony is a talented musician and an animal in the gym. And he has become a great friend as we've logged many hours out at the park playing disc golf all summer for cardio. Keep on rockin' brother! I'm proud to call you my friend!
I have had the pleasure of working with a group of three very special women that came to me seeking to make a change back in February of this year. We began working just once a week, and then a couple months in we switched to twice a week. They were in their 40's and only one of the three had any kind of formal past exercise history, but they all had a strong desire to feel better, and they had each other for support.
Well, we have certainly come a long way since our first meeting, when one of the three bowed out a little early from the workout. I wasn't sure what to think, and was a bit concerned she would not come back, but did she ever... She is now in there deadlifting 155 pounds, squatting 75 pounds, and bench pressing 100 pounds! You would never guess she's had back surgery. And she has a tenacity and determination that is second to none, and she continues to shrink out of her clothes because of it!
Every night we meet I can guarantee that at least one, if not all three, will come fired up, and we sure do have a lot of fun in there for all of the serious work these girls are putting in! So, the lessons we can learn from this is that training together not only cuts the cost down for their personal training fees, but also brings accountability, support, the spirit of competition, and others to share your goals and successes! I'm sure they have all become much stronger friends in the process, and I know I have made three strong friends too! And I mean strong! Just check out one of them in action.
As you can see, these girls have made amazing progress, and they sure have turned a lot of heads with their feats of strength, work ethic, and nice form. They make me proud every single night we meet!
We have had an incredibly exciting summer over here in Franklin Tennessee - getting healthier, stronger, faster and leaner! I can hardly sleep each night after coming home every day to success story after success story with my clients. Their feats of strength, changes in body composition, lab results from the docs - every single day at least one of my clients seems to have a breakthrough or success in the gym! The clients I've had the pleasure of working with over the past few months have made incredible strength and lean body mass gains, while reducing bodyfat and becoming more conditioned, which has really driven me to push myself even harder - they are very inspirational! And one trend we've taken note of here at Stigletics this summer is the 2 or 3 inches that comes off the belly measurement in the first 6 weeks - it's almost a guarantee no matter how big or small you come to us... But I'm going to let the pics and video speak for itself!
And then, on a personal level, I competed in my first NPC bodybuilding event, the TN State Bodybuilding Show, which was held on August 13th. Working with my largest client load ever while trying to train and diet for the show was definitely an experience I'll never forget, and taught me more about my own body than anything I'd ever done previously. But more about this later. I'll post some photos from the competition and share some insights from that journey!
I hope everyone else has had a great summer! I'll have pics and video up soon!
I'm really excited to present the following interview with a client who is excited to share his impressions regarding his first month with stigletics! Paul is an amazing guy, with an amazing wife, and they have both been a pleasure to get to know over the past month. But besides having a lot of fun in our 3 training sessions each week, we are making some major lifestyle changes, and paul is already seeing the benefits in a month! So, instead of me telling you, here it is straight from Paul!
JOSH: Paul, you have started off your journey to the “new Paul” with 15 pounds of weight loss and major changes in inches occurring in just the first month. What about the program do you like the most?
PAUL: I have two answers. My food intake hasn’t really been restricted. Yes, my diet has changed dramatically, but eating wholesome foods is great…you get to eat until you’re full without feeling guilty. I haven’t gone hungry at all. Secondly, I love the resistance training because it makes me feel strong—like I’m really doing something!
JOSH: What do you think is the biggest factor in your success so far?
PAUL: Making the “New Paul” a priority. I have to plan ahead in a couple of ways: eating (snacks/meals) and allotting time for working out. That’s the main thing.
JOSH: Now, what about the program do you like the least so far?
PAUL: Sweating….I really hate sweating! Seriously, the toughest thing is setting aside time to get my cardio in. I find that is more boring than the other stuff. When the weather’s warm, though, it is much more fun to walk outside.
JOSH: What lead you to the decision to hire a personal trainer and wellness coach?
PAUL: I knew I didn’t have the skills or the willpower to do this on my own. I’ve tried to lose weight in the past, and was unsuccessful, so I knew I needed some guidance.
JOSH: Did you experience some anxiety about exercising since you had never participated in athletic training before?
PAUL: Yes. But only before the first workout. Josh made me feel comfortable right away, even though I didn’t even know how to use one single machine properly. Oh, I was a little anxious when Abbi and I walked into FAC for the first time…it was a little intimidating for the first few minutes, but now I couldn’t imagine working out anywhere else.
JOSH: How do you feel about your exercise routine now?
PAUL: Great. The resistance training has been going really well. I have seen significant improvements concerning my strength. And, as a bonus, there’s even a little but of definition in my arms and legs!
JOSH: At any time, have you felt like I have pushed you too far past your limits, or made you do anything you weren’t capable of, other than the day we tried the uphill sprints?
PAUL: No. Although that day on the hill wasn’t my finest moment. There have been times when I thought you were going to push me too far, but I’ve always been able to do it easier than I was expecting. Which, by the way, is one great reason to have a trainer…I certainly wouldn’t be pushing myself to this level without you.
JOSH: When you told me the uphill sprints were too much for you at the time, what reaction did I have, and how did I make you feel about it?
PAUL: First of all, I think you were able to tell I wasn’t just making excuses. The first time up the hill was very difficult, but I did it. Once we got up there for the second time, I knew I had pushed it a little too far. You didn’t put me down at all and congratulated me for making it up there twice in a row. You had me sit down while you ran down the hill to get my water bottle. You said not to worry…we would try again once I had more cardio training under my belt.
JOSH: What’s been your favorite part of “getting moving,” and how has the exercise made you feel physically and emotionally?
PAUL: I feel so much better overall. I have had more energy to do stuff around the house (which my wife loves!) and I don’t fall asleep on the couch as much. Emotionally, I have a better self-image and I feel productive…which in turn helps me to feel happier and more fulfilled.
JOSH: What has been the most difficult part of the new exercise routine?
PAUL: Like I briefly mentioned earlier, getting my cardio in is tough. Sometimes I have to talk myself into getting out and doing it. That is still something I’m working toward.
JOSH: How do feel about the rapid increases in dexterity, coordination, and strength?
PAUL: Awesome! I love it. I’m actually shocked that I’ve had such amazing success so quickly in these areas. That productivity carries over into every area of life—I’ll notice things throughout the day that are easier to do than they used to be. I could barely do one lunge the first day—mostly due to my lack of balance—and just the other day I did 20 walking lunges in the hallway at FAC with no balance issues whatsoever.
JOSH: How do you feel about the smaller stomach and hips and the new muscles that are starting to emerge?
PAUL: Couldn’t be happier. My pants are fitting great (and some pairs are even getting too loose!). My wife has really noticed my stomach getting smaller. I have, too, especially when I put on a dress shirt. Those poor buttons were being overly stressed two months ago J. The muscles are great, too. I can really tell my strength has increased.
JOSH: How else has the program affected your daily routine? Have you noticed any new trends in your daily living?
PAUL: I get more done throughout the day. When I come home I feel energized and want to get some work done (whether it be house work, school work, or job stuff). We spend as much time watching TV. Weight training is a priority, so I make certain not to schedule anything that would conflict with those sessions.
JOSH: Now, we have also modified your dietary considerations. What are your thoughts on what you have been eating and the portions?
PAUL: The diet has been great. I had a lot of trouble the first week, though. I was addicted to food—especially fast food, soda, sugary snacks, and salty carbs. I’m still dealing with cravings and temptations, but those are steadily decreasing. My new diet is satisfying and filling.
JOSH: How does this nutrition programming differ from things you have tried in the past?
PAUL: I’ve done other programs that require counting and keeping track of everything you eat…every day, forever. One of the problems with that was my mind. I wasn’t willing to give up all of the terrible food I was enjoying daily, so I would try to force my old diet into the new diet. But this time around I realized that my life needed to change in a big way to get things under control. I was relieved to realize I could still eat really good tasting food every day, even with pretty sizeable portions.
JOSH: Do you feel that the modifications that we’ve made so far are things that you will be able to adopt for the rest of your life?
PAUL: Absolutely. I don’t have to spend much time in the gym, and the diet is very doable, even when eating out.
JOSH: What would you say to someone that’s contemplating making a change like you have?
PAUL: You have to get your mind on board with a total life-change such as this. Find ways to keep yourself accountable. A trainer is a great way to keep you accountable. I also have a blog, which helps, too (even though I’d be surprised if more than five people read it J) And tell people about it—people who see you often, in real life. They will also be more likely to praise you when the pounds melt away, which does wonders for the motivation level.
JOSH: Do you feel like the changes you have made are worth the rewards that we’ve seen so far?
PAUL: Yes. No question. The time and effort to make these changes is worth not getting out of breath as often throughout the day, having clothes that fit and are comfortable, looking in the mirror and seeing a smaller stomach and face (I bet there’s even a jaw line hiding in there somewhere!), and I could go on and on….
JOSH: Do you feel you could have made these changes and all of this progress without a little help from a professional?
PAUL: No. I really needed help to motivate myself to not only get off the couch, but also to stick with a plan even when temptation hits or when things get difficult.
josh: Well, paul, you are doing a marvelous job, and serve as an inspiration to me and my readers! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this for me and my readers! Keep up the great work, and I'll see you in the gym later!
And if anyone wants to follow paul's journey or check in on him, he's been keeping a great little blog all about his journey, and has been kind enough to share it in a public forum!
Here I am at 17 years old, headed down the path of obesity. Although the style for jeans was rather saggy and baggy, I was wearing a 36 waist size and a XL or 2XL shirt. The reason I am posting this is because most look at me and think I have been svelte and athletic my entire life, but this is not the case. I was overweight and had no confidence in my body throughout my entire childhood; I was so embarrassed through junior high and high school that I didn't even take my shirt off at a pool party. Everything I have achieved has been "against the odds," so to speak, which lets me understand where my clients are coming from. And that's why you can be assured that I implicitly practice what it is I'm preaching.
As you can see, some smart nutrition and exercise has reshaped my body and my life. And it can do the same for you!
Sorry I have not been as active with my blog over the last two weeks, but I have picked up several new clients and have been busy working up my wellness-seminar materials for this Thursday night! I will resume with my posting on nutrition habits later this evening, I hope.
I would like to say that I have had two clients with breakthrough months over the course of February, losing over 10 pounds. In one month! 4-7 pounds would be a more typical loss pattern, but these guys have really worked hard; they really want to make some changes, and when you have a level of great desire and are armed with the tools and knowledge on how to make those changes (Stigletics!), I promise it can happen to you, too.
Now I imagine you are wondering how they survived such starvation and deprivation, and the ridiculous number of hours they must have put into training this month... But you don't have to wonder, because I can tell you it was full of great foods and only 3 hour-long weight-training sessions a week, with some extra walking thrown in there.
One of my clients that has made phenomenal progress over the last month has also been blogging about his journey, and it's very inspiring; I'm hoping he'll let me interview him tomorrow and then share his answers on this site for you!
Habit 4 - Consume at least 5 servings of non-starch vegetables and 1 serving of fruit a day! And by non-starch, I mean fibrous vegetables loaded with fiber, minerals and vitamins, and that have a minimal impact on blood sugar. Not only will these serve to improve mood, body composition, labs at your next physical, and energy, this is also the big trick to eating a higher volume of food every day while your waistline plummets. As far as the fruits, they are important for the same reason, but, again, they are not all considered equal when speaking body composition.
Some examples of vegetables that you simply cannot get enough of: Any and all green leafy vegetables, including lettuce varieties, chives, spinach, kale, bok choy, etc; Broccoli; Cauliflower; Mushrooms; Onions; Peppers; Zucchini; Squash; tomatoes; eggplant; green beans; Eggplant; Carrots; Cucumber; Celery; radishes and parsnips. You could gorge yourself on these foods all day and still couldn't eat enough of them to increase bodyfat, as your stomach would fill up long before - the foods simply have too high a fiber/calorie ratio to be able to consume enough calories, and that's why they are a dieter's best friend. I enjoy these foods raw when I'm on the go or haven't planned properly, steamed or stir-fried when I'm at home and can cook, and I eat massive quantities of all.
Now for some veggies that contain more starch and should be treated as such if body composition is a main goal: Most pea varieties, corn, and potatoes. I typically eat sparingly from this group unless my energy demands are high enough to justify, like after my workout.
Fruits with lower sugar/more fiber if body composition is a primary goal: Apples, citrus fruits, any berries, pomegranates, pears and peaches. Apples, Pears, and grapefruit are my personal staples when I'm in a fat-loss stage.
Examples of fruits that are a bit more sugary would be grapes, bananas, watermelon, pineapple, papaya, etc. I eat these fruits at will when I'm in a maintenance or muscle-gain stage, but limit these when trying to lose bodyfat.
As far as body composition, broccoli and cauliflower can be your best friend, along with apples and grapefruit - these are my four powerhouse food sources when I'm trimming bodyfat for modeling gigs where being ultra-lean is critical.
Some delicious ways to up your veggie intake and replace some common starch pitfalls:
Veggie stir fries with coconut oil, spices, and garlic; fresh salsas; organic tomato sauces; lettuce wraps with fresh veggies and meat inside, whether it be a lunch sandwich, or a lean cheeseburger; omelettes; lean chinese and mongolian stir-fries without the rice (they always bring me an extra side of steamed broccoli to replace the rice); naked fajitas and burritos (without the tortilla); salads with no dressing or very little dressing; raw veggies for snacks.
You cannot successfully implement lean eating or be successful at these nutrition habits if you do not increase your fibrous vegetable content; I can promise you that you will be hungry if you do find some options that fall under the veggies you just can't eat too much of.
You will also not receive the wellness benefits of the nutrition strategies without working these in to your daily routine, as you will be lacking vitamins and minerals and lots of soluble and insoluble fiber.
So, study this post and get in your veggies! The more you consume, the leaner and healthier you will be at your next doctor physical!
Habit 3 - Limit starches to breakfast and/or immediately post workout. This habit is more geared toward a leaner body composition or maintenance phase; if you are trying to gain weight, or you have a very active job or physically demanding daily activities, then more carbohydrates are necessary... The main point I want you to take with you on this is: carbohydrates are simply an very rapid fuel source for the body, and if you don't need that instant fuel replenishment, or if you aren't actively working immediately after ingestion, I can guarantee you that your blood sugar will shoot up, facilitating an insulin response that will drive any remaining sugars that cannot be utilized right then and there by the body, straight into your fat cells for use at a later time. So, Habit 3 is really geared more towards eating based on your daily energy expenditure. Considering the vast majority of jobs in the market are classified as "sedentary," I have geared Habit 3 to this population that sits at a desk for most of the day.
We'll tackle morning starches first. Since you have been asleep, and sugars have been depleted early in the sleep cycle, you can safely ingest some starchy carbs without much fear that any will be stored as bodyfat. Morning carbs are more likely to be shuttled by insulin into the muscle cells of the body, and/or the liver. For maximum fat loss during the course of the day, I suggest minimizing morning starches, and obtaining your sugar sources from non-gluten sources that are rich in fiber and will disperse more slowly into your blood stream. I really like beans as a morning carbohydrate source, as beans typically have around 15 g of fiber in a serving, some additional proteins, and break down more slowly in the stomach and facilitate slower absorption. Fruit is another great fibrous carb source for breakfast, and contains more good stuff than, say, some wheat toast or other gluten containing breakfast fare that will just leave you hungry again in a few hours. I will go further to say that even on my very active days, I rarely consume any starches in the morning; I opt for some healthy fat choices to beef up my caloric intake, as this is a much better way to keep blood sugar stable and under control, which is listed in more detail under Habit 2.
That improved insulin sensitivity upon waking is like a window of opportunity to ingest carbohydrates, and once that window closes, it should be protein, fibrous veggies, and healthy fat sources primarily throughout the remainder of the day, unless some bout of intense energy expenditure is commenced. Which brings us to, hopefully, our workout on the way home from work. If you are trying to lose bodyfat, I recommend some protein before workouts, but really no carbs to speak of; any carbs that are ingested immediately prior to the workout will simply be utilized as fuel for the workout, and it will increases the time before your body starts breaking down it's own fat stores for energy. I mean, why go through the trouble of oxidizing fat for energy when there's plenty of sugars floating around in the bloodstream? Your body is always trying to do things along the path of least resistance. So, ingesting some protein will boost your blood amino acid levels and can deter the body from breaking down muscle tissue for energy. If you are an athlete trying to maximize performance, then starches would be great prior to training, but if you are trying to shed fat and maximum performance is not your primary goal, ditch the preworkout carbs.
So, this brings us to the other time when carbs are indicated: post workout, or after any other bout of moderate to high-intensity exercise lasting more than 30 minutes in duration. After periods of activity, the glycogen or sugars that are stored in muscle tissue will become depleted, and you will have another window of opportunity to ingest starchy carbs. Since you have depleted the muscle tissue of energy, that same insulin response that stores bodyfat most of the other times in the day will be more likely to actually drive the sugar molecules into the muscle cells instead of the existing fat cells. This is going to be true any time of the day that there has been a significant energy expenditure. When society was farming, walking everywhere, building their own homes, taking care of livestock, etc., that would facilitate a great caloric expenditure, necessitating more foods like potatoes, Rices, Breads; since the most work we do is walking from our car to our office, we simply don't need all of that instant fuel source, and that is why it all just gets stored away as bodyfat for later use. And this is why nutrient timing, especially with carbohydrates, is imperative to lean body composition. With most clients, limiting the starches to these two times of day produces rapid and consistent bodyfat loss, since we are eating the carbs when needed and only when needed, thereby stoking the metabolic furnace, managing blood sugar, and creating an environment that is still conducive to gaining lean body mass, if that is your goal (should be everyone's!)...
As far as carbs, I have my weight-loss clients count the starchy ones, and try to keep the number under 100 grams on workout days, and under 50 grams on non-workout days. The extra 50 grams on workout days should all come immediately post workout. If you are trying to pack on some lean muscle too much additional bodyfat gain, you can employ these strategies with a little tweak: Drink a sugar-containing supplement drink during your bout of exercise, and then follow that up with post workout carbs in the 50-100 gram range. This strategy helps me achieve maximum performance during the workout, and achieve muscle gain with minimal fat gain.
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