<![CDATA[Train Hard, Train Smart, but most importantly....TRAIN - Blog]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 17:36:25 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Getting Started 2: What Training Program Should I Use?]]>Fri, 30 Jun 2017 15:00:38 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/06/getting-started-2-what-training-program-should-i-use.htmlPicture
You’ve probably read different, very strong opinions, from various people about what you should do when you get to the gym. Oftentimes, they’re telling you there is only ONE way to workout to really get the “results” you want.

That’s simply false.

Truth is, there are many different programs that will help to get you to your goals, regardless of what those goals are, however there are some things that any truly successful programs will have in common: they preach consistency, they’re planned out in phases, and the workouts match the results they promise.

For any program to be successful it’s going to require some consistency on your part, and it should start by telling you that. I’m sure you know this, but there is no magic workout that will miraculously melt away body fat or instantly put 50lbs on to your bench press after just one or two visits to the gym.

I’m confident you understand that, but there are lots of people that fall for the same old 8-min abs, belly blaster machine, saran wrap contraption that promises results just after your very first use. I can confidently promise you those are complete BS.

The truth is it’s going to take time, patience, and serious consistency to achieve any real results, but that consistency is what’s going to make you into a machine, and the more consistent you are the harder it becomes for you to lose the progress you’ve made.

Think of it like building a suit of armor, where every workout you do adds one more chain in said suit of armor you’re building.

Consistency is the most important factor when it comes to getting the results you’re after regardless of whether you want to build muscle, get stronger, or burn body fat, but it’s not the only factor.

Eventually, and this is important, your body will adapt to the workouts. It won’t happen after just one workout, or even just a couple of weeks, but it will happen if you’re doing the same thing day in and day out.

Your body is going to need different stimuluses as you progress, whether it’s changes in exercises, intensity (via weight increases or tempo), or rep and set schemes. This is where any program worth a damn has different phases and training blocks.

Generally, these changes in program happen in 4-6 week intervals, but I’ve seen some successful programs (generally geared towards beginners) have training phases as long as 8 weeks. 

The idea is the phases should change right about when your progress begins to stall, not just as you’re beginning to get good at the exercises prescribed.

The last point I’ll mention, but one that is still very important none the less is that the results the program is promising should actually match the program itself.

For example, if you’re looking to start an exercise program to build a stronger bench press, but the program you’re about to start using doesn’t have you bench pressing and instead has you doing lots of fast paced bodyweight and plyometric workouts at a fast pace, chances are your bench isn’t going to make a ton of progress.

Likewise, if you’re looking to lose weight, but are using a program that has you only doing a couple of exercises at very heavy weights for very few reps and sets, you probably aren’t going to be able to keep your heart rate in the right zone to really maximize the number of calories you’re burning.

I should mention here that the most important factor in fat loss is going to be maintaining a calorie deficit, so if you’re eating less calories than you burn daily, you can still lose weight. That being said, if you’re a beginner and your goal is weight loss, you probably want to make sure maximizing what you do in the gym, so you can afford to eat a decent amount (even while dieting).

There is no one program that is going to get you all the results you want, while putting in hardly any work, that has no adaptations or progressions built in. Keep these things in mind when searching for the right program for your goals and you’ll be on the right track.

To help you out a little, below is a free link to my 8 Week Summer Strength Training for Fatloss program I utilize with a lot of clients who are looking to burn fat, but still enjoy lifting weights. You can download it for free below.

File Size: 25 kb
File Type: xlsx
Download File

<![CDATA[Getting Started Pt. 1: Overcoming Shame of not being "In Shape"]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:42:54 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/06/getting-started-pt-1-overcoming-shame-of-not-being-in-shape.htmlPicture
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time at all, you’ve probably noticed I talk about feelings a lot. To quote my colleague, friend, and one time contributor to this blog, Patrick Umphrey, “Feelings matter”.

To let your feelings interfere with whether you work out on a given day or eat healthy would be a mistake, but equally as bad is not having an awareness of how your emotions can dictate your success.

I want you to be brutally honest for a second here, and ask yourself what feelings you feel, or felt, that kept you from starting to exercise and eat healthy.

Most of the clients I work with probably experienced the same feelings you are now when they first started, shame and vulnerability. Shame of not already being in shape, and feeling vulnerable setting foot in the gym for the first time worrying that you’ll stand out like a sore thumb.

It’s extremely common, though I wish it wasn’t.

Coming to grips with this is an important step, because once you recognized how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, you can start to address it and make real progress in the gym.

Truth is there are probably many reasons why you may be experiencing these feelings, and answering why is not in my wheelhouse, but what I do feel confident in doing is helping you find the right way(s) to overcome this.

First ask yourself, is this shame strictly pertaining to wanting to get in shape or have you battled with feeling not good enough, and ashamed of yourself for whatever reason most of your life.

If you find the second half of that question being the answer, please ask for help from a professional. Getting the help you need takes courage and is nothing to be ashamed of, but left unchecked it can wreak havoc not only on your progress in the gym, but other aspects of your life as well. Take it from someone who’s battled this first hand.

Remember you’re in the majority in this country when it comes to not being “in shape”, but you’re taking the first and most important step in the process in deciding to start working out and eating better.

Take pride in that.

Secondly, focus on what you can do today as opposed to what you wish you could do eventually, and be sure to celebrate the small victories you have.

This cannot be overstated.

By simply shifting your mentality here, you create a positive mindset that helps you build momentum and empower you, leaving you feeling like there is nothing you can’t accomplish without executing the plan you lay out for yourself.

Eat all your veggies today? Sweet! Give yourself a big high-five.

Increase the intensity of your workout today in some way? That’s baller, give yourself a pat on the back, and if you can try to up the stakes again either next workout or next week.

Going hand in hand with celebrating those small victories is actually tracking what you did to earn that small victory, and even tracking where you may have stumbled and hit roadblocks so you don’t make the same mistakes again. That is a huge piece of the puzzle.

A strategy that has really helped me be successful is being “on” 80% of the time with regards to eating healthy and sticking to a hard training schedule (when I’m getting ready for a meet, it’s a little more like 90%).

When I say that, I don’t mean that the other 20% of the time I fuck around, it’s more that I allow myself to enjoy foods I may not always eat, or do some exercises that might be more for fun than they are for function with regards to my program (biceps curls come to mind).

Lastly, be willing to forgive yourself when you get slightly derailed, forgive yourself for not getting started sooner, and forgive yourself for taking breaks at times when you need them (remember exercise is meant to ENHANCE your life, not become your life).

Basically, don’t be an asshole to yourself, since there will be plenty of people over your life time that will fill that position gladly for you.

Remember you’re doing the right thing by starting/coming back from a hiatus. You can’t fuck up, the worst you can do is fall off the horse, and I know you’ll get back up.

<![CDATA[Tricks of the Trade: Nutrition]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 15:59:30 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/06/tricks-of-the-trade-nutrition.htmlPicture
Today’s guest post comes from Casey Lee, the program director of the Parisi Speed School @ The Edge gym in Williston, VT. Casey is an incredibly talented young coach, who has also become a close personal friend and colleague of mine. He’s worked alongside some of the brightest minds in the fitness industry. Bottom line: Dude is a Stud!

Batman had the joker.

Luke Skywalker battled the Empire.

Every day I battle spoons, forks, and knives.

Nutrition has never exactly been my strong point. However, I absolutely believe that having strong nutritional principles is crucial for achieving 90% of our fitness, strength, and physique goals.

Want to get stronger? Cook up some quality protein sources.

Looking to shred some fat for the summer? Familiarize yourself with the term “caloric deficit”.

Just to set the table (pun intended, I think?), I’m not here to talk about macro-nutrients or nutrient timing. 

I coach people on how how to get strong, not on how many grams of carbohydrates they need after squatting. If that’s what you are looking for, open up google and type in “Registered Dietitian” and your zip code.

Now that we have that out of the way, What I am here to do is offer up a few lifestyle hacks regarding nutrition, meal prepping, and keeping nutrition on the easier side of things.

  • Identify your ‘struggle times’ 

I actually put this on my intake form for prospective clients. This where I like to start offering suggestions on attacking nutrition. Ask yourself “When do I feel I struggle with my nutrition the most”?

Notice the question has NOTHING to do with WHAT you eat, but rather WHEN you feel that you struggle the most. The answers are endless.

Maybe you don’t eat breakfast? Maybe you stop at McDonalds and get a few McGriddles to go? Maybe for dinner you eat a tub of yogurt because that’s what is in your fridge?

For me personally, If I don’t have lunch prepared I will almost always go to a grocery store and over spend on food and it typically isn’t always the healthiest alternative.

Once you’ve identified your ‘struggle time’, now we can talk about what makes it a struggle.

Is it what you eat? Maybe you don’t eat? Maybe it’s a good food, but you’re missing out on other nutrients?

Again, there are endless answers, but working to find healthier alternatives or actionable strategies to improve on your current situation is the end-goal.

Identify the weak point in your day to day, create an actionable improvement for that time of day, work to implement that action item going forward. When that weak point becomes a strength, move on to the next one.

  • Package your leftovers before you eat dinner 

This suggestion has been a huge help for a lot of my clients that struggle with overeating at meal time. It sounds overly simple, and it is. That’s part of the reason I like it.

If you’re like me, you cook a bunch of extra food at dinner time with the intention of eating the leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s all fine and dandy until you start helping yourself to seconds and thirds at dinner time. Uh oh. Now there’s no lunch for the next day.

What I always suggest is to make your dinner plate, then get your tupperware out and put the food away. This will help ensure you don’t overeat at dinner, and also make sure you have healthy food for lunch the next day.

  • Outsource your meals

Whenever I suggest this eight out of ten people tell me it’s too expensive. The other two out of ten just laugh at me. People always assume it is too expensive without looking at where they currently spend their money.

When I start talking nutrition with prospective and current clients, I always like to ask how many meals they eat at a restaurant or order take out. When that number is three times a week or more, I make the suggestion that those funds could be reallocated towards a pre-made meal service.

Now that doesn’t mean go by a bunch of frozen lean cuisines, but rather something like MetabolicMeals.com, or a different local service.

I actually emailed a local chef and asked if he would cook three different meals for me portioned out into five servings per day. Boom 15 precooked and packaged meals that instantly took care of lunches for me and my wife each week.

As I mentioned above, this was my ‘struggle time’. The cost was actually cheaper than the take-out sandwiches and salad bar I would routinely get three or four times per week. Plus it reallocated part of my grocery shopping budget and saved me a lot of TIME on Sunday afternoons.

Nutrition doesn’t have to be a hard fought battle. Like most things, if you can implement some simple strategies that target your weak spots, eventually those weaknesses dissipate and could even become foundational blocks to your overall health.

Give these three a try. If you ever have any questions, or need more help, you can check out my website at www.CoachCaseyLee.com
<![CDATA[How to Overcome your Barriers like a Ninja and Embrace Your Inner Bad-Ass]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 22:07:30 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/05/how-to-overcome-your-barriers-like-a-ninja-and-embrace-your-inner-bad-ass.htmlPicture
I posed two questions to my FB friends and fans of my FB page about a week ago.

What motivates you to be active and eat healthy?


What has been holding you back from exercising and eating healthy meals?

An interesting thing happened.

Most people who answered the first question above about what motivates them, talked about external reasons, rather than internal ones.

Things like, I want to look like I used to when I was younger, I want to look better in my clothes, even I want to be able to eat lots of pizza. All things that come from outside influences that make them want to do better.

When people answered the second question about what holds them back, people seemed to internalize their answers a little bit more initially before I dug a little deeper with their responses.

Most would start off with the generic answers of I don’t have enough time or something along those lines, but they immediately followed up in the same comment with something along the lines of “but I know that’s a bullshit answer and really I need to stop being lazy.”

Ok, first things first, not having a lot of free time to get in a workout is a very real problem for a large part of the population.

Could we all be a little more active throughout our daily routines?

Of course, we can.

Is it realistic to ask a parent who is already working upwards of 50 hours a week, to manage to get in an hour at the gym 4x/week?

If you’re a parent (which I’m not yet) you probably know it’s really hard to be consistent with this. Your schedule is probably packed so full, that any tiny hiccup would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and the first thing to go is the gym.

I get that.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t make time for yourself or make your health a priority, but I am getting a little sick of the bullshit getting perpetuated within my industry of the “Don’t tell me you don’t have enough time to workout, anyone can make time,” kind.

That leaves no room for where most people live which is the middle ground.

More importantly, it often ties an element of self-worth to it, or lack thereof, where you start to think you’re lazy, even when you legit didn’t have any real time to dedicate to the gym today.

This is bull-fucking-shit!

Lazy people don’t work 50 hours or more per week in addition to being a parent.

Here’s the thing about the trend that I noticed that really becomes scary though.

Everyone seemed to be internalizing all the negative shit and attaching it (even if their comments came off as lighthearted) to their own self-worth, whereas when they talked about what motivates them, it often came from a place that didn’t have the same effect.

It was rare that someone answered that question with a comment about how they feel great about themselves now, or anything that would attach itself to a positive aspect of their self-worth.

The few people who did not do this, they also happen to be some of the healthiest, happiest, and fittest people I know…..hmmmm……. wonder why?

The truth is you need to find ways to stop internalizing the negative shit. That stuff that tells you, “I’m not good enough,” or “I’ll never look as good as…”.

Kill that noise.

Instead start focusing on things you do well, and then start to build some momentum.

I know you understand that consistency is the key to reaching our fitness goals, and staying healthy long term, but the first step is breaking the inertia.

You can’t be consistent if you never start.

Once you start, celebrate the little victories. Seriously,

You made it to the gym twice this week? Awesome, give yourself a pat on the back, and try to replicate that again next week. Fuck it, give yourself some sort of small reward even (one that doesn’t reverse the effects of exercises preferably, like eating a large pizza by yourself).

When you can, add in an extra day. Once you do, celebrate that shit too. Once you’ve got a little momentum going, it’s a lot easier to stay consistent.

Maybe getting to the gym isn’t in the cards for you right now, that’s fine. You can still start eating some healthy meals.

Try starting with something small like drinking 6-8 glasses of water, eating vegetables with every meal, or something along those lines that is totally manageable, and then add healthy eating habits to this every few weeks.

The key here with all of this, whether it’s going to the gym or eating more nutritious foods, is starting with something manageable, committing to that goal, and then kicking your goal right in the nut sack like you were David Beckham.

You can do this, because you’re a Rockstar.

The sooner you believe this fact, and start to let go of the reasons you don’t think you’re good enough, the sooner you’ll really start kicking ass and start making this whole healthy lifestyle thing a heck of a lot easier.
<![CDATA[Eating like a Moron; First Hand Experience]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 19:14:14 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/05/eating-like-a-moron-first-hand-experience.htmlPicture
I’ve been hesitant to write this blog for a long time. Partly out of a misguided sense of fear and shame. 

Time to buck up and get over that shit though, and hopefully in the process help some of you if you’re in the same place I was.

One of the things I talk about the most on both my blog and FB page is the importance of healthy eating. 

Admittedly, I’m not perfect with that even to this day.

Truth be told, I was forced to learn over and over again what eating healthy meals looks like, and for that matter what healthy eating habits look like, and trust me I still indulge (at times more than I should).

About 8 years ago I was diagnosed with a condition called Diverticulosis. 

For those of you familiar with what that is, you also know that it is generally something that older people and people who are very overweight get.

And me.

Diverticulosis is a condition where the walls of your colon become weakened and little pouches called diverticula form. These pockets in turn can get waste (poop) stuck in them and create inflammation, infections and abscesses which can cause sepsis if untreated.

No Bueno.

When I was a kid, my parents were excellent about feeding both my sister and I healthy meals. They were great about making sure we were active, participating in tons of different sports, forcing us to go outside and play, etc.

I want to very clear here, my diverticulosis, and the subsequent infections I've suffered are through absolutely no fault of theirs as you'll see when you read on.

Somewhere around 7th grade, I started doing things like babysitting, shoveling snow in the winter, etc. to make some spending money. Here’s the catch, I almost exclusively spent my money on junk food.

Talk about wasting money.

I had a big appetite too! Hell, I still do, but I'm much smarter about controlling it now.

I used to walk into my local pizza place, Marco’s, just blocks away from my house, and order a small pepperoni pizza and a coke, sit down and a table there, and eat the whole F’ing thing myself.

I was twelve.



I was beginning to develop weird food habits like that, where I would just binge on crap food, then eat some healthy stuff, then back to eating massive amounts of junk again.

High school wasn’t much different. The only thing that ever kept me from becoming a freaking whale was that I was always active and athletic, and though there were many times I was “Chubby” or “Husky” (that term still makes me cringe) I was never what one might consider fat, so I could easily convince myself I wasn’t that unhealthy.

College came around and it was more of the same, except booze entered the equation as well. The combo of a 24hr Taco Bell right around the corner from campus and my love of drinking certainly was a terrible equation.

Alcohol, being in a fraternity, was always something I had access to in abundance, and my abuse of it started to really take hold.

Funny part is if you asked any of my Fraternity brothers or college friends they probably wouldn’t have told you I was that bad, but as an alcoholic (sober 11years, more on that in a separate blog post one day), one of the things you do is surround yourself with other heavy drinkers so you blend in. 

This way if someone ever confronts you on your problem you always have someone else you can point to and say, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as that guy!”

Some folks get the munchies from smoking pot, I never smoked, but I did drink my face off, and I can tell you first hand booze munchies are just as real.

I was also studying exercise science in college and working as a trainer at the school’s gym, so I had to look the part. I managed to do that by adopting some really weird dietary habits, like hardly ever eating carbs, binging and then fasting, and at times drinking nothing but protein shakes.

I left school, and got sober, but my eating wasn’t much better.

There was something major lacking in my diet: Dietary Fiber.

I honestly don’t remember any vegetables that I really ate besides things used to be flavor enhancers like garlic and onions.

Then at 26yrs old the levies burst.

I woke up in the morning, feeling a little under the weather like I was coming down with the flu or something. That general achy feeling one gets with the flu or a mild fever. The only difference was that I also felt like I had some gas pains. I thought nothing of it.

As the day went on both the flu like symptoms and the abdominal pain started feeling worse. I didn’t think the two were connected though.

I left work about an hour before the end of the day, told my boss I was gonna need a sick day tomorrow (which he said was a good idea and that I looked like shit) and walked home. Every step I took, the belly pain got worse. 

If you’re a male reading this, it felt similar to the same lower abdominal pain you get when you get hit in the family jewels.

I got home, and decided I didn’t’ want to cook, so what did I do?

Damned right I ordered a pizza (because something like soup would make too much sense).

As the night went on, it got worse and worse (duh, you just ate a fucking pizza moron).

Later that night my dad called me just to check in and see how I was doing. I told him I was doing well, but felt like I may be coming down with the flu or something because I def had a fever, and also that I was having some really bad gas pains but didn’t think the two were connected.

Thank god for him. He could very well have saved my life by giving me a verbal smack upside the head over the telephone. He made me go to the doctor first thing in the morning.

My doctor, who also happened to be my father’s PCP and close friend, was nervous to say the least.

The abdominal pain I was having was in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen, but I was too young and healthy looking to be having a bout of diverticulitis, and also knowing my father, he knew that my dad had had appendicitis and when the opened him up to remove his appendix found it in a different place than expected.

He sent me to the hospital to get a CT scan and some Antibiotics. The CT scan confirmed that it was not my appendix, but that I had a bout of diverticulitis.

How the hell does someone my age get Diverticulosis?

After much discussion with my doctors; in my case the conclusion we came to was most likely this:

By eating like a complete asshole at different points in my life.

Fast forward 8 years to today. I’ve have nearly 10 incidents of this, and am currently meeting with a surgeon discussing a bowel resection surgery and partial or full removal of my sigmoid colon where these multiple diverticula are located.

As many of you know, I have broken my nose multiple times, had surgery on my shoulder, herniated discs in my lower back, and I can handle the pain that comes with all of those injuries pretty easily.

These infections stop me dead in my tracks. They are quite literally the most painful things that I’ve ever dealt with.

Thankfully I’ve learned the importance of getting in good amounts of dietary fiber through vegetables and whole grains since my first flare up, and this is probably the biggest reason I preach eating veggies so often.

This deep dive into the crap I’m going through is meant to sway anyone who is currently eating like crap to change their ways and start incorporating things like green leafy vegetables, high fiber fruits, and whole grains into their normal meals so they can avoid going through the shit I am.

If you need help with eating healthy, delicious, and nutritious foods reach out, and if I can’t help you I know LOTS of people who can.

This shit sucks and you don't want to deal with it when it may very well have been prevented with decent eating and exercise habits.
Getting stronger and losing weight can be challenging. Nobody sees this clearer than I do being on the front lines as a coach for the last 14 years. Let me help you wade through the crap scams out there that promise unrealistic weight-loss and strength gains and lets get you the one on one attention you deserve with a training program designed specially for you.
Get Me Fit
<![CDATA[Shit Your Mama Always Told You to Do; How to Be a Kick Ass Human Being]]>Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:40:40 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/02/shit-your-mama-always-told-you-to-do-how-to-be-a-kick-ass-human-being.htmlPicture
If your mama (or whomever was responsible for raising you) was anything like mine was, she was a smart lady. She most likely bestowed the real keys to being a success at a very early age, problem is, at least for me, I was too young to understand the knowledge bombs she was dropping.

Though this is a fitness and nutrition blog, much of what you’re going to read here should be applied to your everyday life if you don’t want to suck at being a human. 

So, let’s go ahead and revisit some of the things she's told you that will make you a total bad ass.             

  1. Eat Your Veggies Dammit

I’m surprised I must repeat this all the time to people, but this one is important. It's also part of being a grown up.

Besides making sure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to keep it functioning at its best, veggies also have the added benefit of helping you to feel fuller for longer when combined with other healthy items on your plate like lean proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

Best part, they’re typically very low in calories, so you can eat a ton of them without worrying if you’re going to over shoot your daily calorie allowance if you’re trying to lose weight.

Bottom line, eating lots of vegetables will make you sexy AF. Bet your mama never said that to you.

  1. Go to Bed on Time

General guidelines suggest that the average person requires 7-8hrs of sleep per night to ensure proper energy levels, mental focus, lower stress levels, and all around bad assery (that last one is scientific fact).

In addition to the above, getting enough sleep for men can increase the amounts of testosterone the body produces which will allow for greater recovery from workouts, a higher capacity to build new muscle tissue, and an increased libido (hooray for sexy time).

The issue that most people run into with sleep is getting inconsistent amounts of sleep each day, mainly because they are going to bed and waking up at different points in time each day.

One night they might be going to bed at 10pm and the next night it’s 1am.

Instead, try having a set bedtime and sticking to it, just like mama told you to do.

Likewise, when that alarm goes off, pull the sheets back, sit up, and put your feet on the cold floor, as opposed to hitting that ever so tempting snooze button.

If you have trouble sleeping, it might be worth seeing your doctor about, or trying some over the counter supplements such as melatonin or valerian root (assuming you don’t have any issues with either), as they may help you fall asleep faster and maintain REM sleep.

Don’t stay up past your bedtime!

  1. Drink Water

Making sure you hydrate properly throughout the day, and especially around your workouts, will greatly improve your performance in the gym, as well as aid in recovery from past workouts.

If you are smart about re-hydrating with H2O after a workout, it will be much easier for the essential nutrients your body needs to aid in recovery to reach those areas of need.

Drinking water can also, often help aid in weight loss, as it will help you feel fuller faster during meal time. In my own personal experience with nutrition clients, I’ve noticed many of them almost confusing the sensations of thirst and hunger.

Oftentimes they may feel hungry just an hour after eating, but when they reach for a glass of water instead of the vending machine snack, they find that sensation subsides.

Bottom line, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Kiss keeps it simple.... So should you.
  1. KISS Principle

You’re probably familiar with the KISS Principle, unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life. Just in case let’s go over it very quickly, KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid.

With regards to exercise and nutrition, the basics are key to getting you the results you want. If working off of different training and nutrition plans help you follow these basic guidelines awesome, if they don’t, time to ditch it and find a new program.

Here are the basic things you need to do with regards to training:

o   Make sure your plan fits your goals

o   Make sure you can recover properly from each workout

o   Ensure you are doing some form of upper body pressing, upper body pulling, hip hinging, squatting, and unilateral exercises at a minimum each week (if not each day)

Here are the basics for your nutrition:

o   Take in your calories from real whole foods, not processed crap

o   Eat veggies at every meal (we covered this one already)

o   Eat some Lean Protein at every meal

o   Eat some healthy fats at each meal

o   Eat Carbohydrates at every meal

Don’t over complicate this and you’ll be doing just fine. Use the common sense your mama bestowed upon you.

  1. Think Positive

I once heard my mom tell me that there are two types of people in the world, problem spotters and problem solvers.

That always stuck with me, and the more I think about that statement, the more I realize the big thing that separates these two types of people is their mentality.

I know it sounds cheesy but the truth is when a person with a positive mentality and real drive encounters a problem, they don’t see a setback but rather an opportunity. A chance to improve on something that clearly has a weak link.

With every hurdle you overcome, you build a little bit more self-confidence, and as result become an unstoppable force. Think that metaphor about the tiny snowball that starts rolling down the mountain and eventually turns into an avalanche. That’s you!

When it comes to the gym, I want you to have a such a positive mindset that rays of sunshine are shooting out of your ass!

Your workouts, and your gym environment should provide you with a feeling of empowerment, and have you brimming with confidence. It should NOT be a place where you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, and your workouts should not leave you negative at all.

If that’s the case, you either need:

a.) A new gym

b.) A new training program

c.) All of the above

  1. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say; Shut the Hell Up!

Ok, admittedly my mother wouldn’t have said the above like that. She’d have been a little nicer about it, but I wanted to really hammer the point home.

This, like all the other points above can and should be applied to your life in general, but since I’m a meathead trainer, I’ll speak specifically about the gym.

As I was just saying previously, the gym should be a positive and empowering place. It’s difficult for that to be the case if you’re snickering with a gym buddy about another member who looks lost, isn’t doing an exercise correctly, or isn’t wearing the coolest outfit.

It’s also not your place to start offering unsolicited advice (whether you’re a trainer or not) unless someone looks like they are seriously going to injure themselves or someone else.

I’m going to say that one more time for the trainers/coaches reading this.

Do not go around offering unsolicited advice unless it’s a safety concern.

People feel vulnerable enough when they’re in the gym. They don’t need you being a giant turd and telling them how incorrect they are doing something, when they’re trying their best.

I will say, if you notice someone looking sort of lost with a machine or exercise, and think they want your help, you can ask if they’d like some pointers, but don’t start walking around correcting people left and right, you don’t look smart that way, you just look like a jerk.

Your mama is/was a pretty kick ass woman, and I know you couldn’t possibly remember all the awesome things she’s told you over the years, so I hope this has been a brief refresher for you.

Being awesome in and out of the gym really comes down to just a couple things as you can see, so follow these brief guidelines and be Rockstar of a human being and not a total jerk.

Lastly, it doesn’t have to be Mother’s day for you to tell her you love her and that she’s a total bad ass!

I love you mom.

Special shout out to my Mother-In-Law who is also a total Rockstar!

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<![CDATA[Simple No Cook Healthy Breakfast]]>Sun, 12 Feb 2017 19:03:54 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2017/02/simple-no-cook-healthy-breakfast.htmlPicture
Your mom always told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day.

What she didn’t tell you was that it was gonna be hard AF to eat something healthy in the morning with the fast-paced world we live in nowadays, or that it would require you not hitting the snooze button on your alarm multiple times when it first goes off in the morning.

I know, the idea of not sleeping in to the last possible minute sucks. I struggle with that A LOT myself.

So, I want to share with you something that my wife Liz does, which makes it so much easier for us both to have a very tasty and healthy breakfast that sustains us for hours. Best part about it, there is no cooking involved and it’s super easy to make.

It’s called overnight oats, you may have heard of them before. 

The basic gist of it is you’re going to add all the ingredients that you would use to make a killer oatmeal the night before and then just store it in the fridge overnight. We like to use some added protein powder to not only increase the amount of protein contained in it, but also sweeten it up a bit.

Here’s what we use for ours:


Chia Seeds

PB2 regular or chocolate (this is super low in fat which is AWESOME)

Skim or Almond Milk

Whey Protein Powder

Fruit and/or Nuts of your choice (I really like Apples in mine, it gives a nice crunch to it)

You can thank me later for this awesome creation.

  • Step 1:

Add ½ cup of oats to whatever container you plan to use. As you can see, Liz likes to use Mason jars for this because she’s stylish and classy as hell (as you may have guessed, she’s way out of my league, haha)

  • Step 2:

Add 1 scoop of Whey Protein Powder, 1 Tbsp. of PB2, and 1 Tbsp. of Chia seeds

  • Step 3:

Add any Fruit or Nuts you’d like to the mixture.

  • Step 4:

Add ½ cup of Skim or Almond milk

  • Step 5:

Put dat shit in da fridge and leave it overnight yo!

  • Step 6:

Grab it on your way out the door in the morning and eat the shit out of it*

*Remember to grab a spoon too. I always forget that part, haha.

<![CDATA[Logging Calories]]>Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:31:02 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2016/08/logging-calories.htmlPicture
Today I have a real treat for everyone.

My good friend, and fellow mentally juvenile Strength Coach Patrick Umphrey honored me by writing up a killer guest blog for my site today.

Patrick is an incredibly talented coach who has managed to really help transform many people's physiques and more importantly their lives through his combination of experience, empathy, and grounded scientific knowledge.

Dude is an All-Star and I'm so pumped he chose to contribute to my site. 

Also, he likes to make the occasional poop joke..... Ok, maybe more than occasional, but who doesn't like a good poop joke.

Hahahahahaha........ I said log.


There seems to be a popular opinion that tracking calories is the ultimate method for battling obesity. 

We know that calories in/calories out is true, so if all we need to do is to eat fewer calories than we burn, we MUST keep track of every calorie in order for that to occur, right?!

Well, not necessarily.

I have an opinion about the pros and cons of tracking and who might be a good candidate for it, and who might not.  I will also share my personal opinion and my experiences with tracking and not tracking.

Right now, I can’t stand tracking calories.   It has nothing to do with “how dedicated I am”, it has to do with me recognizing that it’s a really bad idea for me for how it negatively effects my thoughts about food and my choices about food, and I’m HAPPIER IN MY LIFE when I don’t track.   And being A HAPPY PERSON ranks higher on my list than any minor benefit (slightly faster progress) I may get from it.

Some things to consider that may be relevant:

·         I do not compete in any physique sports.

·          I compete recreationally (read: I kinda suck at it, lmao) in powerlifting and I’m able to make desired weight classes without logging.

·         I’m able to lose and gain weight at reasonable rates without logging, although during weight gain phases I would conceded that logging would be of slight benefit – I do tend to gain just a bit fast when I do it using non logging methods.

·         I do make certain to consume enough protein even though I don’t track it.  I will mentally track it and get within a reasonable range.

·         However, I do not mentally tally calories or any other macronutrients.  I rely on habits.

So lets take a look at WHY someone would track their intake.

·         Tracking calories will generally give you a reasonable estimate on your calorie intake.  Many people eat more than they think [1,2] and this is definitely an ESTIMATE [3], but it’s still going to provide you with a reasonable general idea of your energy intake.

·         Tracking calories can build awareness of your energy NEEDS by showing you what your body-weight does at various calorie intake amounts.

·         Tracking calories can build awareness of your food intake habits.

·         Tracking calories can build awareness of your portion sizes on a per meal basis.

·         Tracking calories can allow you a method of making rather small changes to your energy intake to try and produce a desired result.

Now lets take a look at why someone would NOT track their intake.  (Aside from people who generally DGAF, LOL)

·         People who tend to get obsessed or fixated with numbers.

·         People who hate tracking but have other methods of accomplishing the desired outcome.

·         MY PERSONAL OPINION:  People with an ED (Eating disorders, not erectile dysfunction)   probably shouldn’t track.  However, if this is you, please speak with a professional who specializes in eating disorders on this topic. 

·         People who do not have convenient access to technology or just don’t use it (they won’t be reading this but trust me, they exist).

·         People who aren’t ready to commit to logging.  Perhaps they view this as a huge inconvenience that they aren’t ready to take on yet. 

I have a client named Greg.   He didn’t like the idea of logging when we started out, and that’s totally fine. 

Had I forced Greg to log because “everyone has to log” according to some people on the internet, I suspect Greg wouldn’t have adhered.  His progress so far has been EXCELLENT with a simple habit based approach where we discuss food and activity habits and set single, habit based objectives.

Greg has gone from 297 to 271 in about 9-10 weeks. 

Once Greg has been able to stick to a given habit for a reasonable amount of time, and provided he feels good and feels READY to take on another habit, we add one to the list.  

NOW, would I take this approach with someone who wants to get from 15% body-fat to 8% body-fat?  Probably not, at least not near the end-stages of the diet where most likely, calorie and macronutrient accuracy becomes of higher relative importance.

I present this as one real world example of a good candidate for “not logging”.

How about people who probably SHOULD track intake?

·         People who are looking for the benefits of tightly controlled food intake who are also not opposed to it.  If they’re neutral on the idea, I’d say go for it.  It’s a damn good method.

·         People who have goals such that those goals are dependent on rather precise measurements of calories and macronutrients.  (Physique athletes, weight class restricted athletes).

·         People who need to build some of the awareness factors described in the previous list and who are also willing to log without much opposition to it.

·         People who enjoy looking at data and utilizing it.  Clients who are engineers (just one example) tend to fit this category but that doesn’t necessarily exclude them from the previous list.

I will say this – I tend to have MOST people track intake for at least some period of time.  I also tend to have MOST of those people continue to track intake as long as they are not opposed to doing so.

For people who can stick to it, it’s a great method.    Once someone reaches their goal weight, if they want to experiment with maintenance in a non-tracking system, we try it.   And if they enjoy tracking (these people do exist!) then of course we just leave it in place.

Finally, I should note that tracking and habit building are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, one mistake I think many people make is to ignore habit development because they are tracking.   The thought process that seems to take place is something like this:  “I’m logging my food therefore I just stop eating when I reach this set of numbers”. 

 Taking a multi-faceted approach to diet tends to produce better results.   And the truth is MOST people aren’t going to be tracking food forever.  Sorry Ethel, but when you’re 93 years old sitting in your rocking chair while your dentures soak, you’re probably not going to slap that Jell-O on a food scale and log it into MyFitnessPal Ver 3.0B+

And so working on some habit development while you are tracking will likely be one of the things that ALLOWS you to prevent weight regain when you do decide to stop logging.

In the fitness community, the IIFYM trend has become synonymous with flexible dieting.  In order for a diet to truly be flexible, my belief is that the diet should get the individual to his or her goal, AND it should do so in a manner that is least restrictive.

Your diet is not only the sum of the foods you eat, but it’s also the methods and ideologies you apply to that diet.  Those things matter a great deal.

Tracking is a tool.  It can build awareness, it can provide people with a reasonable method of estimating AND MANIPULATING energy intake to produce a result.  

It is NOT the only method, it is NOT a great fit for EVERYONE, and contrary to popular belief there are people who can reach their goals without it.

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12396160

2. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199212313272701

3. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/101.9
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3605747/#R19

Coach Patrick

Patrick is an online coach and personal trainer.  He specializes in trolling people on facebook.  Oh and he also coaches people to make them a bit more awesome.  You can find him here



<![CDATA[Hierarchy of Nutritional Advice]]>Mon, 08 Aug 2016 16:41:09 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2016/08/hierarchy-of-nutritional-advice.html You've been asking a lot of questions lately about how you can get lean, and stay that way.

I want you to know that I heard you, and to help you out, I put together this video that details how I approach nutrition with my clients, to ensure that they lose weight and most importantly keep it off and stay lean all the time. 


(Be sure to look out for an excellent guest post from my friend Patrick Umphrey coming later this week on calorie counting)
<![CDATA[5 Tips for the Busy Professional to Help You Get in Shape and Stay That Way]]>Wed, 03 Aug 2016 14:54:43 GMThttp://robthetrainer.com/8/post/2016/08/5-tips-for-the-busy-professional-to-help-you-get-in-shape-and-stay-that-way.htmlPicture
I know you’re slammed. Work and life are jam packed with things you’ve got to get done. Meetings, family events, and the general daily “adulting” chores make getting a consistent workout schedule/regimen feel impossible. 

The second you think you’ve got free time to get in your workout, something else pops up, and you immediately feel like you’ve got to get that done too, so the workout gets put on the back burner, and when everything is finally all set the idea of lounging on the couch watching mindless TV in your PJs (if you even have time for that) feels way more appealing than exercising.

I’ve been there myself too many times, and I’m also really good at convincing myself I deserve/earned that TV break too.

I’m going to say something that sounds really mean and messed up. It might even piss you off a bit, but please stay with me for another two sentences afterwards and I promise you won’t hate me as much.

Here it is: If you’re goal is to get in shape but you can’t find time to exercise, you suck at planning and scheduling.

Stick with me for just a second here, (I understand, if someone said that to me, I’d want to punch their teeth in too).

This is not your fault because the truth is most of us have always looked at exercise as something we do with our free time.

The majority of people I’ve trained all started working out in high school or college, when you actually had bigger chunks of free time. 

I know you were probably hitting the books plenty (that’s why you’re so good at what you do now professionally), but let’s not kid ourselves we definitely had breaks of 2+hrs multiple times during the day where we could go to the rec center and get out workouts in. 

This gives us the mentality that getting in a workout is not a priority.

Here’s the problem, now 5-10yrs later (or more), we don’t have that kind of “free time” any more, but we still keep the mentality that exercise shouldn’t be a priority over things like work, family stuff, etc. 

Your health is SUPER important, but it’s hard to think of a single workout itself being more important than getting a super important work task done, eating dinner with your family, etc. Of course, one workout turns into 2 workouts, which turns into 5.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you to skip dinner with your family because you should be on the elliptical machine, or something like that. Instead, I’m going to give you some tips to help you make sure you get the workout in, and still can get everything else done. 

It starts with actually looking at your schedule, figuring out what time of the day things are most likely to get chaotic, and then being REALISTIC about how frequently you can exercise and for how long. 

Be conservative with this, if you end up being able to do more that’s fine, but make sure you set yourself up for success. If you think you can get a workout in 4x a week, but you KNOW you can workout 3x a week, plan for 3 and if you get a 4th in awesome!

  • Audit Your Schedule Every Week

Now that you’ve figured out how frequently you can exercise and how long each workout will take, look at your schedule every week and audit it. Are there breaks of time that you can get your workouts in?

There are? Perfect, write down your workout times into the schedule, and DO NOT move them around. This needs to be treated like any other meeting or thing scheduled you have during the week.

There aren’t? Maybe we overshot how frequently your schedule allows you to workout at this moment. Scale back and figure out how many times you can workout this week, and insert those workouts.

As I said before though, DO NOT move these workouts around. Your workouts need to be treated as importantly as everything else in your schedule. Remember, you’re breaking that habit of exercise as being something you do in your “free time”.

  • Do Not Plan to Workout During Times of the Day When Work “Emergencies” Are Most Like to Pop Up

This has derailed so many of my client’s progress, and I don’t want you to be one of them. I see this mostly with folks who plan to exercise during their lunch breaks at work, and occasionally with clients who exercise in the evening.

Worst of all, is often these work “emergencies” are things that probably could have waited the 30min-60min for you to finish your workout, but in the moment they all feel like they need to get done ASAP. 

If you’re more likely to run into one of these work “emergencies” during the middle of the work day, or often find yourself staying late at work because that’s when they pop up for you, then it’s probably best to try and exercise at a different time of the day.

This sort of goes back to the first point of auditing your schedule, find other breaks in your week where you can workout. 

One of the biggest reasons many of my online clients who exercise in the early morning are more successful is simply because there are less distractions and “emergencies” then. Does getting up early to workout suck? If you’re anything like me, you’ll answer with a resounding “yes!”

Not working out sucks way more though.

  • Utilize Your Weekends or Days Off

I know that everybody’s ideal training schedule would be training during the week, and then having their weekends off, or whatever days off from work you do have.

Cold hard fact, if you’re reading this article geared to the person whose schedule is insanely busy, you aren’t a 9-5er, probably never will be, and that’s ok. Hell, that’s one of the things that makes you so successful, so let’s embrace that, and start thinking outside the lines when it comes to getting in your workouts.

I understand it can be hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym on your days off instead of hanging out around the house or grabbing brunch with friends etc. It might mean that you need an extra level of commitment/motivation to get you going on your days off, I know it does for a lot of my other clients. 

Try doing something like signing up for an 8-Week fitness class/small group training. Hell if you like Crossfit, do a Crossfit class or two on your days off. You’ll know you worked out, the workout will be over in 60min and you’ll have the rest of the weekend to do whatever you want.

Utilize your weekends/days off and give 60min on your days off to your workouts and you’ll be thankful.

  • Time Your Workouts

Time is precious in your world, I get that, and if you lose focus in the gym on what you need to get done, it’s really easy to lose track of time and then realize, “Holy shit, I’ve done like 2 exercises in the last hour, and I need to get out of here.”

Set a timer on your watch for however long you have to exercise, and get in what you can during that time. Just by simply putting a time limit on your workout, you’re more likely to get more done, because you’ll feel the pressure to accomplish everything you can in that designated amount of time you left yourself.

You can also try something similar, a form of density, where you allot a specific amount of time for each exercise you’ll do that day, and perform as many sets or reps as possible within the given amount of time. 

Just don’t let your form go to shit or skimp on the resistance because you want to get more reps in, remember the purpose of this is more efficient time management of your training, not just move as fast as possible with no purpose. 

  • Leave Your Phone Somewhere Completely Out of Sight

This probably sounds hypocritical coming from a guy whose hand and phone have practically melded into one extremity at this point in life. Again though, if you’re reading this looking for suggestions, you’re probably just like me.

Having your phone with you while working out is a HUGE distraction. You inevitably will check your email, work texts, or get one of those work “emergency” calls we discussed earlier. No phone, no distraction.

I know, all your music is on your phone, and you need it to listen to your tunes while you train, otherwise you’re stuck with that god awful stuff they play at the gym.

I get that as well.

There’s not much worse than getting yourself ready to crush a heavy set of deadlifts or something, and Donna Summer comes on the loudspeakers singing “Hot Stuff”. 

My suggestions here is get yourself an old school iPod nano or some other MP3 player and use that instead. You can still listen to better music than at the gym, and won’t have the emergency call/email/texts coming at you fast and furious. 

The gym should be your time. It’s your one point of the day where you can and should be selfish as shit, and make it all about you and your goals. 

Unless you’re some type of essential personnel, nobody will die during the 60min you’re at the gym.

I get that being a very busy professional can make it difficult to exercise with the same frequency you wish you could, but let's focus on what you can fit into your schedule and make the most of the time you have for exercise by utilizing these 5 tips.

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