Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Talk- Interview with a Personal Trainer

God morning!  I hope you like the new look here, it just felt like time for a change. I am very excited about today's blog because it is an interview and I LOVE interviews! Gaining knowledge is something I love because it makes me a better person and helps me to become the best possible person that I can be.  

Today I have decided to interview my father.  There are a lot of things I could interview him about because his life experience is vast, but I chose to hone in on a topic that seems to be of some interest to you all, and that is fitness.  My dad is more than qualified to discuss this topic, both because of his personal fitness level, and also because of his background in fitness and human anatomy.  I was very lucky to grow up learning from him- I always had the know-how when it came to physical fitness, and I realize that for those who do not have this knowledge, it makes the journey to fitness much more difficult.  So I am willing to share my dad with you, so that you can hopefully gain some understanding that will help you reach your goals!

My father's name is Sonny DeLeo, and I now proudly turn this interview over to him. Enjoy!

About me: First off this is what I’m not: I’m not a doctor, a theorist, an author, a scientist, a nutritionist, a celebrity spokesperson, a physiologist or host of my own reality weight loss program. I am however relaying to you over 30 years of in the field testing, training and actually working with people learning what works and what doesn’t. I spent 9 years in the US Navy, 5 of them as a navy diver where fitness meant the difference of life or death. It was not optional it was part of your duty to get and stay in top shape. I was a licensed massage therapist and personal trainer with certifications with: YMCA, ACSM, IDEA and a certified Nautilus fitness trainer expert. I trained housewives to pro athletes, military personnel to high school drop outs. Currently I am lic NY State Physical Therapist Assistant working in a nursing home helping seniors with a whole host of medical conditions and complications regain their strength and physical fitness within reason. I gave motivational and fitness lectures throughout S. Florida to audiences of hundreds. I speak simple, direct and straight forward. I personally have been on a roller coaster of weight ups and downs my whole life and understand every temptation and weakness. I tried almost every popular diet there is so I know what works and what doesn’t. I am a user of fitness supplements and although I believe in them and use them they aren’t necessary to achieve success, just one more tool to be managed if wanted. I am 54 years old so I understand aging and it’s affects on your body and ability to achieve your goals. I am a food addict so I understand the difficulty of eating clean which I still struggle with. I am Christian man and know the power of faith and prayer, both essential in my life if I’m to succeed in anything I set out to accomplish. I think I understand the new person’s struggles setting out to ‘get in shape’. But no matter what I say, do or teach it always comes down to personal responsibility, discipline, consistency and what motivates you. And that’s where the battle is won or lost: inside yourself. My sincere prayer is that you get something to inspire you and that helps you meet your goals from my Q and A here. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and knowledge with you all. God bless and may God give you the strength to succeed in all you set out to do that is righteous and of His will.

1. What can I do to get rid of my stomach area.

I will try and answer concisely, without technical buzz words and as honestly as I can. So here we go. You cannot spot reduce. Sorry. You can spot build, but cannot spot reduce, period. The rule of weight gain or loss which says "first on last off" is pretty darn true. You have to understand your body to understand how to make it work for you. The body is a survivalist. Body fat is survival food. Your body will store this survival food in its most secure areas first, but use it last. This placement of stored body fat hierarchy can vary from person to person. Your body will dictate where the body fat comes off and when. We all know what areas we tend to put weight on quickest and yet take forever to lose. Bottom line and no one wants to hear this is you have to keep working on losing body fat until you have reached your body fat % goal or desired weight. (Which are 2 different goals and not achieved in the same ways, but that’s another topic)One more thing about body fat cells, they don’t go away they only swell or shrink and they cannot turn into muscle or visa versa. How do we achieve fitness? This should actually be your goal and is a better question. You can achieve your goals of being healthier and fitter by having a ‘clean diet’, regular intervals of cardio exercises and strength training. Let’s use a triangle for illustration purposes. The triangle is one of the strongest geometrical shapes you can build upon, but take just one side away and it collapses. On our ‘fitness triangle we’ll break it down like this: the bottom (foundation) is your diet (what you eat on a regular basis). Then one side is cardio training the other side is strength training. Remove one of the 3 sides and ‘poof’ your fitness goals will crash. To take this one step further if you fill the space of the triangle you exponentially increase its strength. So what motivates you, what ever is the reason to get healthier needs to be what fills your ‘fitness triangle’. If your reason is vanity or doing it for someone else you will, statistically and by my experience, fail. If anything, you have weakened your ‘fitness triangle’. Fill it with solid reasons, have reasonable expectationsexpand your knowledge and be motivated by pure, good incentives and your chances of success also exponentially increases. In other words define why you want this. This is critical because it can’t be just be a goal you want to attain, but rather it should become a lifestyle you maintain and for that you need to know why you are doing all this.
The rest of the story you need to know is: your body takes a long time to respond to a change in diet, fitness and new activity. You need to remain determined, consistent, regular (dedicated) and willing to do the work. If it were easy we would all be fit, but it’s not and there are no short cuts, believe me I’ve tried almost every one! Too many people ‘give up’ who were probably within days of seeing a noticeable change in their body. Don’t give up! Giving up is why most attempts at changing your body for the better always seem to fail, people become impatient. They erroneously feel the sacrifices and hard work aren’t paying off quickly enough and they stop. Remember this: anything worth achieving is worth working hard for. A fit body is worth every drop of sweat and sacrifice needed. Pain is temporary regret is forever, just go for it! This time next year you’ll regret not starting now.

2. What is the best way to lose weight fast and healthily?

Short answer: exercise and reduce your carbohydrate (complex and simple sugars) sodium and sugar intake. Look at the nutritional content of almost everything you buy and eat most are loaded with carbs, sugars and sodium. Now there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Most people don’t like or eat enough of where the good carbs come from (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans) but love everything that the bad carbs are filled of (the list is endless). Learn to cut out the bad carbs and eat moderate to low amounts of the good carbsBut most carbs we all too quickly consume are diet killers.  Another thing- starving yourself, trying to eat little or nothing will not work, will sabotage your efforts and you will not be able to accomplish your goals for any meaningful time length. And it’s just plain unhealthy, wrong and counterproductive. Learn what to eat and break down your meals into 4-5 throughout the day. Diet and nutrition is a science and I’m no expert I just know you need to make good, healthy, reasonable changes if you are going to make lasting changes in your health and fitness as well as change your body appearance for the better. Reduce carbs, sugars and sodium in your diet. Research good carbs vs bad carbs and experiment until you come up with a eating plan that works for you.


3.  Should I lift weights? What will happen if I do (will I get bulky)?

I’ve heard this from 98% of every woman I ever trained (the other 2 % wanted to get that muscular) so this is as common a concern from woman as it gets. read my answer to the next question and you should have the answer to this worry.  

4. What is the best thing to do to tone my body up?

My answer is very simplistic and cliché,’ but you need to strength train, have a clean diet and moderate cardiovascular training. That’s right, break out the weights and lift them; over and over and over. Go heavier and heavier and heavier. Be consistent, be determined and be prepared to invest in some sweat equity to get back some amazing returns for your efforts. Now I hear the eyes rolling and I hear the ever present objection (from females I hope) and I trained a lot of woman and almost heard this protest from everyone of them: "But I don’t want to bulk up!" I’m trying not to smirk, but if it were that easy to bulk up then every woman pushing tons of weight in gyms across the world would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and guess what? They don’t. I always suggest this approach: try, train hard to get muscular and let’s see what happens along the way. I promise you you will not wake up one day uttering the words “I’ll be back” wrapped in a masculine, muscular frame that ‘The Rock’ would be envious of; but I do promise a lot of amazing, sexy, toning, tightening, reshaping will go on along the way.
For the over achievers or the all or nothing types (like myself) there are fitness programs popping up all over the world known such as: HITT (high intensity training), kick boxing, Boot Camp, and Cross- Fit Training which will burn more calories while strength training then any other conditioning classes out there. They combine cardio (aerobics) with strength training using weights, obstacles and body weight movements all while keeping your heart rate up/up/up! But they are not for the timid or half hearted and they’re expensive, but you’ll get your monies worth, again, if you do the work and show up for classes. Many have seen or heard of home exercise videos such as: Insanity, P90X or TapOut XT. All are excellent if you’re willing to do the work and are self-motivated (I am not). One more note almost every single workout tape or piece of fitness equipment sold preface their guaranteed results with this in small print: will produce result if used regularly combined with a healthy clean diet. DUH, anything fitness equipment will work if used regularly and with healthy positive changes in your diet!

5. What can I do if I hit a plateau?

Plateaus are times to shake things up! Change everything, mix it up. Try new fitness techniques. The idea is to out smart your survivalist body. Most successful training programs call this “muscle confusion”. Change the order of things, the amount of time on each part, add new moves and subtract some old moves. Shake things up! Learn to train outside your comfort zone and do what your body isn’t use to. That will break up most plateaus. Your workout should never be routine week after week after weekIf your not sweating, aching a little, sore, out of breath and tired you’re cheating yourself. (I never promised this was easy, but I do promise it’s worth it). There are literally dozens of different ways to exercise almost every part of the body effectively. Don’t get stale!  If nothing else works maybe it’s time to take a break. Take a week off, but not much longer and when you come back have a different routine ready to go. But don’t break your diet, have a reasonable eating cheat night once a week, but don’t go off your clean eating this is crucial. Your body is more forgiving laying off the exercising for a short time, but not so forgiving for going back to bad eating habits. So continue to eat clean, but take a short break from the exercising if all else fails.

6. I don't have a lot of time to exercise, how much/long do I really need to do?

This is tough because a lot of fitness guru’s, authors of fitness books, and companies selling fitness tapes want you to believe you can exercise in just 5 minutes a day. I strongly agree and then disagree. You can workout 5 minutes a day just don’t expect results. You can however try breaking up your exercising into 2 shorter sessions each around 30 minutes. Maybe try cardio in the morning and strength training in the afternoon? Why? because if take approx 20 minutes for your body to breakdown and burn up the simplecarbs (sugars) in your body. After approx 20 minutes your body runs out of simple, ready to burn, sugars and starts breaking down body fat for energy.  And if you only do cardio you are also breaking down muscle tissues (proteins) for energy which is not good. Here’s where I recommend a protein shake. I suggest you buy a low carb, low sugar, low calorie protein powder and drink that right after each work out. You’ll preserve muscle tissue while your body metabolism that you fired up from your workout burns up fat tissue. Protein shakes also fill you up and feed your muscles.
I believe if you start doing something anything can happen. If you do this in the right spirit, learn all you can without being bogged down on too many details, think of it as a life style, challenge yourself, get excited about the fact you took a step toward feeling and looking better is an amazing uplifting experience than you will probably, on your own, expand your workouts, eat cleaner and see yourself becoming more confident, toner, sexier and motivated. Most fail because they give up. You will regret 6 months from now not starting today. Do it for yourself, do it for the love of your family, do it because God wants us to be at our best physically, spiritually and mentally. PRAY AND THEN JUST DO IT. See what happens.

I hope you enjoyed these tried and true words from my dad.  It is vital that you truly understand what is going on inside your body where diet and fitness is concerned, because that is how you will be able to make the proper changes needed to meet your fitness goals.  Thank you very much dad for doing this interview, and also or everything you have taught me growing up.  I love you!  

Stay tuned for more interviews from people of all different walks of life in my upcoming blogs.  Hope you have a great week, and I will see you Friday!

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