Sunday, September 18, 2011

How To Cut Weight

This post is for weight class athletes who waited until close to the event to make weight.

Cutting weight is my least favorite method of weight loss, but it happens all the time.  Slow and steady weight loss is much healthier and allows the athlete to be as comfortable and energetic as possible at competition weight.  Weight-cuts will continue to occur, and if it must be done, here are some pointers:

1. Cut out all starch from noon until the next morning.  Have a little for breakfast and lunch (or possibly around your workout) but generally not from noon on. The portion quantity is adjustable depending on how much weight you need to cut.

At two weeks out it looks like this:
Breakfast - 1 very small (.5 - 1 cup) bowl oatmeal, 1 egg, 2 eg whites, .5 cup blueberries
Lunch - half-to-1 small sweet potato,  4 oz chicken, 1 cup broccoli
or one Pre or Post Workout - Perfect Foods Raw Protein Bar or similar
Snack - salad / small bowl of fruit & small serving of nuts (6-12)
Dinner - 4 oz lean organic meat with sauteed non-starch vegetables, seasoning

If you are one week away it looks like this:
Breakfast - Protein shake (1 scoop whey protein, 1 tbsp almond butter, 8 oz coconut milk, 1 banana)
Early Snack - Perfect Foods Raw Protein Bar or repeat protein shake from breakfast
Late Lunch - Chicken salad, unlimited fresh and steamed vegetables, small bowl of fruit
Dinner - Vegetable soup (broccoli, tomato etc) green salad, 4 oz organic lean protein, 1 tbsp olive oil based dressing is ok.

2.  Stay hydrated as you cut - dehydration should be a last-ditch (hopefully unnecessary) circumstance.  Drink coconut water with 1-2 tbsp chia seeds blended in to maintain electrolyte levels and extra energy.  This insight came from Born To Run with reference to the Tarahumara.

3.  Supplement with 1-2 servings of Amazing Grass Green SuperFood per day. This can be between meals, before workouts etc.

4.  Take Glutamine post workout and before bed.  This speeds muscle recovery and assists your immune system.

5. Bananas, Shot Blocks etc - keep these close for workout support - they will help you maintain your energy level if you are still training significantly (pre-taper).

6. Saunas, sweat suits, diuretics, laxatives - these are last ditch solutions,  ie, sit in a sauna, go for an easy jog in a sweat suit, take a very very low dose of a diuretic or laxative (check with your doctor first).  Be very careful with these,  safety first.  No competition is worth risking your long-term health.

7. Once you have reached competition weight, with any luck, you still have a day or two before weighing in.  Use this time to stabilize.  Monitor your weight through the day.  Reintroduce very small amounts of complex carbohydrate early in the day.  Keep your body relaxed, mobile and hydrated.  Rest.

This strategy is simply a general overview.  It can be modified, enhanced and specifically dialed in depending on individual needs.  Vegetarian versions are available. 

Please note - I am a trainer and a competitive athlete.  I can serve as a nutrition consultant only.  I am not a registered dietitian.  You assume full responsibility for yourself and your choices.  Please consult your physician prior to cutting weight.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coming Off The Couch

Today I listened to a podcast by Steve Pavlina.  He has a great blog.

In the podcast he discussed what would happen if a fit person's brain was suddenly transported into a body that was 100lbs overweight.  He made the point that the new brain inside the overweight body would have such an identity connection to life at ideal body weight that the weight loss transformation would come about very quickly.  This was part of a larger metaphor but it got me thinking about the weight loss equation.

A significant part of my professional work is helping previously sedentary people to reach their ideal body weight.

It can be done like this:

1. Move every single day for at least 30 minutes.  At minimum take a 30 minute walk.  After a week or two make every other day an interval day - fast for 20 seconds, easy for 20 seconds, eventually turning it into walk/jog, jog/run at 60 second intervals.

2. Keep a food journal and eat unprocessed foods in ratios like this (start with something very close to this, obviously this shifts up or down depending on build):

Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal, .5 cup blueberries, cinnamon.

Lunch: 1 palm sized serving of quinoa with 1 palm sized piece of organic chicken and unlimited non-starch* vegetables. .5 tbsp olive oil and seasoning.

Snack: 12 almonds, .5 palm size serving of organic beef jerky, 5 raw crackers.

Dinner: 1 palm sized serving of organic meat, unlimited non-starch vegetables & salad. .5 tbsp olive oil and seasoning. 1 oz organic dark chocolate.
*by non-starch vegetable I am referring to basically anything that is not a potato.

3. Drink enough room temperature water such that your pee is light in color, every 3-4 hours.

4. Incorporate resistance training 3 x wk - make sure each session involves pushing, pulling and lifting. For example push-ups, rows, & squats.  Sequences must be changed every 4-6 weeks to avoid a plateau. This would work:
10 push-ups (knees or toes)
10 rows under a railing (legs straight or bent, shoulders held back and down)
20 body-weight squats (keep knees behind and pointing in same direction as toes at bottom of squat)
Complete three to five rounds resting only to insure proper form.

5. Get a training partner.  Be accountable to each other even on days when you are not meeting to workout.

As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program and when in doubt consult a trainer for proper form and protocols.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Self-care is incredibly cool. It is a power system between you and you, and you and the world.

I have recently chosen to tackle some of the themes that I have allowed to drain my energy as part of a (halfway done) 24 month self-imposed challenge to determine whether I continue on in my current career.

Part of this process involves playing a game with my mind:

Every time there's a choice to be made with regard to food, rest, exercise, schedule, professional sevices offered, commuting, energy exchange, social time, etc, I choose the option that objectively best supports me. I take a moment to dump habit, emotional pull, sabotage patterns, faulty reasoning and old stories. Note: I only take a moment. I'm not going for perfection, I am going for improvement.

This process is cool because it is reasonably fast - almost like having a rubber band around the wrist as a reminder to reframe each decision. Big results come from small changes in choice.

Remember to be graceful in this experiment. Be calm when energy surges back from areas of pervious drain. Be gentle with self and the people who are impacted by new decisions.

Choose a designated time period to try this out, say one hour to start. See if you like it, then expand the time period.

What different decisions will you make?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Effort Less

ealThe right answer and the next step come from calm.

How much work is actually needed to get something done or to get to the next level?  Is the task itself as difficult as the emotional machinations that accompany it?

Aligning with right effort is a skill.  Wanting something intensely and over-efforting does not improve the chances of getting it.  Working effectively, objectively, and taking more definitive action-steps helps.  Discipline is required to work appropriately and then let go.  This frees up energy for other things and prevents tunnel vision.

In the gym, complete the volume of work assigned.  Outside the gym, stick with the nutrition guidelines.  Release angst relating to work volume and food. Use that extra energy for something inspiring.

What are 3 ways you can effort less?