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How to get into shape at home on a budget, part one.

A few people have asked me for an "at home" training program, because they don't want to go to the gym or just aren't able to for some other reason. A good gym routine is always my preferred option but there's no reason you can't get great results through any number off different approaches.

In or out of the gym, you do still need to be training effectively and if your nutrition is appropriate you'll see great results.

Resistance tubes like you can see in my video below are one of... perhaps the best option on a tight budget to use at home. Even for those who do have some weights or a home gym, I often suggest resistance tubes as a nice and inexpensive way to add more options and variety to your training routine. We can replicate a lot of free weight, cable and leverage machine exercises with these... it's not quite the same thing, but for the price it is pretty good.

I'm also using my TRX here which if you shop around you can get at an affordable price too.

This video is just the highlight real, you can see the full thing with extra commentary over on my wordpress site filed under At Home Training Program Video.

I wanted to show you as many different options as I could think of, so here's what I came up with.

  • Warm Up: TRX Reverse Fly & Vertical Front Raise
  • TRX Hanging Row
  • TRX Face Pulls
  • Resistance Band One Arm Reverse Fly
  • Resistance Band Upright Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Resistance Band Reverse Fly (again)
  • Resistance Band Bicep Curls
This makes for one day in an effective home training split routine. We'll also need a pushing routine, and of course we need to train our legs as well.

Weight Loss Before and After Videos

I thought I'd do a little before and after... well, really more like an "a while back and more recently" comparison of my own weight loss journey. I won't bullshit you like everyone else with some sob story about how I got too busy and started to neglect my own health or whatever nonsense people usually come out with. I was trying to gain weight, because my long term goal is to be bigger than I am now.

So in winter... well, you mostly want to just gain muscle but I often get to a point where I just think "I'm not gaining fast enough" and don't care too much if I put on a heap of fat so long as there's a bit of muscle in there somewhere.

Here's a video of me from March... I happened to look at it the other day and I thought "bloody hell, I was big!" March actually being quite early in the season, so I definitely would have been bigger (and fatter) by the end of winter.

Actually here's another video from a few months later, a few months bigger.

Now here's a video from this week. 6 or 7kg down from my highest weight in the winter, and stronger than I was in the first video. I had to get a couple new sets of holes in my belt, and it's getting a little loose again already.

So how did I do it?

Some new dieting protocol, or supplement, or a new training system?

Nope. I just stopped overeating and dialled in a plan I expected to maintain... actually I dropped a couple of kilos more than I expected. Within that plan I'm still smashing a huge pizza once a week, still including oven fry potato wedges at dinner if I feel like, still eating a heap of fruits, some bread, cereals... basically all the stuff I like, to an amount suitable to maintain a lean goal weight.

Simple innit?

Nothing special.

This was a little rant I posted on Facebook yesterday, a little similar to my post here about modern weight problems:
so apparently a colleague is shopping around around for a publisher for his book, and the feedback he got from one publishing house was that his work was “sane, levelheaded, with proven advice” and as such they weren't interested as they didn't think it was saleable.

Meanwhile I just found out that "paleo water" is a thing. You can buy some sort of filtration device that makes your tap water more closely resemble water our primal ancestors would have drunk. I dunno man maybe they get a guy 200 metres up stream to take a shit in it or something. Sounds WONDERFUL.

All these stupid fkn gimmicks people make a buck with. The next one (I swear to god I am not making this up) is going to be this DNA test where now thanks to the miracle of science your trainer can get a report back from the lab that let's them build an exercise program that will work.

It blows my mind. All this stuff works on the principle that you can only be in shape and healthy under very specific circumstances. You need this very specific diet, very specific exercise program, if you get the wrong one... it might work for someone else but not for you depending on your DNA. 

It is actually ridiculous. Being OUT of shape is what requires a special and unusual set of circumstances. People have been in shape and healthy for aeons without doing anything special about it. The more complicated you make something, the more can go wrong. Why would we even need a complicated approach to produce a result that is our default condition anyway?

Nothing special or complicated is required. So many of my people will tell you how much better results they got, and how it "felt like it just happened by accident" when they stopped trying to follow all of these complicated and restrictive approaches.

Stonehenge, Eastern Mysticism, and Modern Weight Problems

Every once in a while I suddenly have some sort of a philosophical epiphany that relates to training or dieting, but once I start organising my thoughts so that I can type it up, I realise it's actually something I've written about extensively in the past.

Whatever though.

Last night I was watching a documentary about Stonehenge, and then after that there was one about The Beatles and I didn't see all of it but the part that I caught was focussing on their spiritual leanings under the guidance of the Maharishi. Seemingly unrelated topics.

Now in the Stonehenge documentary they were discussing how it might have been built, and they had this new theory about how the giant stones might have been moved across the country. As it turned out, they tried this idea out and it worked nicely. It would have been quite possible for ancient peoples to have used this method... however, they decided it probably wasn't how they had done it, as it was quite complicated and probably unnecessary so. The quote that stuck out to me was "the more complex you make something, the more there is that can go wrong". And so they figured a simpler method had probably been used.

This struck me as similar to a lot of what I talk about related to weight loss in particular. People are often impressed by complicated approaches that have a lot of rules about what foods you can eat, what foods you can eat at the same time as other foods, what times of the day and so on. Especially when there is an explanation for why all of this is important with some scientific sounding words thrown in, you get the impression that "wow, this guy (or girl) really knows what s/he's talking about!"

Really though... having such a complicated approach just means it is a lot harder to get right and stick to consistently. If there is a simpler approach available that will be just as effective, and a lot easier to put into action... why wouldn't you take it?

Now... the next show. I feel like I don't want to accidental misquote anyone here but there was a lot of talk about the positive effects of meditation and the Maharishi's teachings on people, and a few references to the Tao Te Ching which is something I often refer to as well... and the part that stuck out to me was something to the effect of "I haven't done anything special to you at all, this is what you are like naturally".

Again this is a lot like how I feel about weight loss programs. I always feel my greatest successes as a Weight Loss Coach are when my clients say things like "I feel like I have just lost the weight by accident" as they have stopped trying to force the weight off with difficult, restrictive programs. Doing "nothing special" is what seems to produce consistent, easy results. Why would anything special be required? Our goal is nothing out of the ordinary.

Naturally, people are not obese. Whether for marketing reasons, through a lack of understanding, or perhaps through trying to be kind, we often act like it is actually being "in shape" which is the unlikely, out of the ordinary condition that is only attainable to a select few people either through sheer good fortune or strict and obsessive adherence to some difficult and unpleasant diet and exercise regime. In the industry, you'll often see diet and exercise programs marketed on this basis; that the program creates the unique set of circumstances that can result in being in healthy shape at a normal size and body weight.

In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth and this is the opposite of how things really work. People can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of diets, or not following a particular diet at all. They can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of exercise programs, not following a particular program at all. It is NOT being normal sized and healthy that requires a specific set of circumstances.


Best Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating, part two

Hopefully you've read yesterday's entry first, which is the set up for this post all about Preventing Emotional Binge Eating. Click the link if you need to back and read that first.

Now, we continue.

At the risk of over simplifying things, I'm going to come out with two causes of binge eating. The first is as a result of over restriction of calories and / or food choices. After a while, your body is literally starving, and starts sending messages to your conscious mind along the lines of "eat all the foods". That is a survival mechanism and in my opinion, it is an almost inevitable consequence of any restrictive, low calorie diet. Having a plan based on appropriate fuelling to meet your requirements as we talked about above will take care of this problem easily enough for the most part. However, we're still left with the other cause which is more to do with emotional triggers. "Had a bad day? Fuck it, eat all the foods". That sort of thing.

Now... as far as your progress in weight loss or training for body composition goes... what would it mean if you were to give in to this urge? Well, actually very little when you look at the long term, big picture - as we've talked about at length already. The only issue then is what people have decided (or been taught) it would mean about them as a person, if they were give in to temptation.

Think of the terms we associate with the idea of sticking with a plan and achieving results. Discipline, self control, will power... the list goes on. All positive, virtuous attributes we would admire in other people. It seems to me that on a bad day, we're more likely to want to cheer ourselves up with more indulgent food choices; but the idea makes us feel like we're the opposite of all those positive virtues we just listed off. It would mean we are undisciplined, lack self control, have no will power, don't want it (results from training) bad enough and aren't good enough.

If any of what I just said cuts a little close to the bone for you, I have good news because it is all fucking bullshit. We already established that in terms of your results, it makes no difference. Now self control and all those other virtues are very good things when it is in terms of me having enough self control not to he-bitch-man-slap the living piss out of some of the irresponsible scumbags out there that are responsible for putting these ideas into your head in the first place... but in terms of you having to be self controlled and stick to some impossible standard of "clean eating" or whatever you want to call it... no. Screw that.

As my coach taught me; "what you resist, persists". Most people can probably relate this is in terms of emotional eating. Had a bad day, feel like eating some comfort food. But no, gotta resist and be disciplined and stick to my diet like a good person. The urge only gets stronger, and eventually you do give into it, eat even more of the "bad" stuff than you would have in the first place, and then you have all those negative feelings of guilt, failure, lack of control and so on.

(Here comes the subtle genius part)

Why wouldn't you just go and get pizza instead?

Think about it. Resisting the urge to stray from your plan, ending up straying from it anyway, feeling like you're out of control, not even enjoying what you're eating anyway because you feel like you're letting yourself down... all bad things. But making a conscious decision to get up, drive to the pizza place, order a medium size and enjoy every mouthful, with the knowledge that you're doing absolutely no harm to your progress at training in mind all the while... now THAT's going to cheer you up.

Obviously you need a balance. I'm not saying you can't bring yourself undone as you take this advice to mean you can do this four nights a week every week any time you can find an excuse. But once in a while when you really need it... listen to the signals your body is giving you, and make an empowered decision.

Your priority in life is to make yourself happy. Getting into amazing shape and being proud of your efforts will go a long way towards that goal... it would be most ironic to adopt such an extreme, restrictive and destructive approach to that end that would leave you never feeling like you were doing good enough.

Do your best, but relax a bit and enjoy life. Remember this is about you, and do it on your own terms. Not anyone else's.

If you liked this post you should definitely check out this one about Flexible Dieting For Weight Loss And Recovery over on my official business site.

Best Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating, part one.

You know... sometimes I suspect my subtle style of genius is a bit toooo subtle for people and goes unnoticed. Also my modest humility, perhaps.

I think most things are pretty simple, but we have a tendency to over complicate them. We have a tendency to place too much importance on things that really don't matter all that much. Things that might fall into the "probably a good idea" or "probably not helpful" categories we treat as if they are "make or break, all or nothing". I think in the biz there's a bit of wanting to impress each other with advanced technical knowledge of nutrition, biochemistry and so on... and for the general public (as well as industry people), there's a definite, almost universal proclivity to insist "it can be done this way, therefore it can't be done any other way" and if one thing is good, anything else is bad and must never be done, ever.

Maybe it is human nature. I don't get it but that's my observation.

What does this have to do with emotional eating and binge eating? Cool your jets, hot shot. I'm getting to that.

So my thing is that every now and then there's an oh so serious discussion going on, and I'll throw in some little one liner... almost as if I'm being flippant. It goes over most people's heads, but the ones who know me and know my style usually will realise there is some subtle fkn genius at work here.

For example... oh I don't know. How about "my client has a problem cutting out the chocolate. She's making great progress at training and the rest of her diet is not too bad but how do I convince her to give up the chocolate?". 20 odd people weigh in (no pun) with some sports psychology, motivational life coach type stuff... and me? "That's fine, chocolate is good for you".

"[whatever] is good for you" is one of my favourite catch phrases.

Here's how I look at it. Whether you have a significant amount of weight to lose, just a little bit of weight to lose, or your weight is already about right but you don't feel you're in the best shape you could be... whatever. At the risk of repeating literally every other post I ever wrote, again, here's what you need.

  • A strategic training program. This means your body has a reason to actually use the fuel you put into it, to get healthier and stronger. 
  • An appropriate daily calorie target, suitable to maintaining your goal weight range. It will be above BMR, but below the amount required to maintain current weight.
  • A suitable balance of macro nutrients.
  • A little flexibility to include the foods you enjoy, that keep you happy.
So assuming you have that plan in place, and you're sticking to it with reasonable consistency... most of what everyone else is arguing about doesn't really make that much of a difference. Sure, you're going to want to base your plan on the most sensible, wholesome choices of foods that you enjoy, but if you can find room in the plan for that aforementioned chocolate, or ice cream, or whatever else... where's the harm? Especially in a weight loss plan, you're still only consuming a total amount suitable to maintaining a lower body weight. In other words, it is ALL energy that is going to be utilised. If squeezing that little treat in is the difference between finding it easy to stick to the plan, and being stressed out trying to force yourself to be strict and disciplined... then yes; chocolate [or whatever it is] is good for you.

Now, right now I'm kicking off a 12 Week Flexible Dieting Challenge and there's not much to it other than me putting together a plan like the one described above, and people have to stick reasonably close to it more often than not for 12 weeks. Now, what I'm really trying to promote here is that if you're "reasonably close more often than not" for 12 weeks, you're going to get results. Given that all we're asking of ourselves is "more often than not", let's add one more point to our plan.
  •  The freedom to blow the whole plan off once in a while and eat as much as you want as whatever the hell you feel like.
Pretty much the opposite of any other diet or similar challenge where you're supposed to have willpower, discipline, and whatever else it takes to strictly adhere to the rules. Right? Really though, even if you do have a day here and there where you go way, WAY off the plan... on the whole over the course of 12 weeks you're still going to be getting it about right.

That's the set up done! Check tomorrow's entry for our Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating. That's the link!

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