5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working Out

Remember how excited you were on New Year’s Day? You’re mantra was ‘New  Year, New You!” And you hit the groud running; you promptly completed meal prep, packed your workout clothes and placed your gym bag by the front door.  So,  let’s come back to the future. Almost eight weeks have passed and if all is going according to plan, you should have begun to see significant changes in your body by now. But what if that’s not the case? Studies suggest that by February, 14 percent of new gym goers quit and by summer, 80 percent of new gym goers tend will follow suit.

I know you have an awesome excuse. If you’re on the East Coast or Midwest, go with ‘Snowpacalyse 2015!’ If you’re on the West Coast, let’s go ahead and blame the monsoons. The truth is,  most people stop going to the gym for one of  three reasons:

  1. You’re not seeing (or satisfied) with your results;
  2. You’ve hit a plateau;
  3. You’re bored (PS. If you go the gym and feel ‘bored,’ Expect reasons #1, #2 to impact you soon).


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Resist the urge to re-kindle your love affair with the couch. Incorporate these 5 things into your workout instead!

1) Intensity

Let me be frank; if you come to the gym to be cute and end your workout without breaking a sweat, you’re probably not doing it right. Everyone seems to be concerned with overtraining, when in fact, they are likely doing the opposite and that impacts success.

It’s not enough to just do some cardio or to sit on a weight lifting machine and do what feels comfortable. Short term comfort is often the opposite of long-term success, which is the ultimate comfort. Not to get all existensial on you, but to be comfortable you have to get uncomfortable. Within the context of the gym that means your exercise program should challenge you. So let’s step up the intensity of the workout!

Tips:

Intensity can be achieved by lifting more weights, lifting the same weight for more sets or reps (called “volume”), decreasing rest periods, and even lifting a weight faster (only appropriate for certain exercises).

2) Nutrition

Eating is half the battle…actually, it’s 80 percent of the battle. No matter how many times you go to the gym or how intense your workout, if you don’t closely manage both the quality and quantity your caloric intake, you’re walking in quicksand. Your body needs the right amount and kind of protein, carbs, good fats and without the right combination, in the right order and times, you will not see results.

Tips:

Try eating more protein, vegetables, fruits and good fats. Change out the pasta for quinoa. Choose the salmon instead of the T-bone steak. Making decisions like these will send you on your way to better results. Contrary to popular belief, the more you eat the more you benefit. Begin eating 5-6 meals a day: breakfast- snack- lunch – snack – dinner (and possible snack later depending on the time you started your day). The first meal should be within the first hour of waking up and commit to eating something sensible every 3 or so hours.

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3) No Plan , No Purpose

Getting gym clothes and a membership is just a small piece of the process. Once you finally get to the gym, what do you while you’re there? Often times, the common gym goer focuses on one body part a day or just hops from machine to machine. This will not get you to where you want to be. We must assess the goal, time frame and create a level of expectation.

 Tips:

Focus on total body workouts that allow you to target all your muscle groups every time you workout. Also, step away from weight machines until you get into the toning/ leaning phase of the program and focus on more functional movements like squats, push ups , jumping jacks , and mountain climbers. Here’s a quick set up I learned when I first started training and with progress you can grow out of this template :

  •  Cardio exercise (burpees, jumping jacks etc)
  • Upper body (push ups , hand walks, etc)
  • Lower body ( squats , lunges , etc)
  • Core ( crunches , planks etc)

And repeat for 4-6 sets

 

4) Weight training

Whether you endeavor to gain or lose weight, every workout program must incorporate some form of weight training.

There’s a common misconception that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights…ignore that! If the weights you’re lifting aren’t making you work hard then they aren’t doing anything. If you choose not to lift heavy weights for fear of getting “too big”, please understand that lifting heavy weights will increase the strength of your muscles, so unless you have an abnormally large amount of testosterone (or steroids) in your body, it won’t increase the size of them by a large amount.

Tips:

If you lift heavy weights and follow a clean, healthy diet, then your muscles will become stronger and denser, and you will burn fat resulting in the toned appearance many men and women crave.

 5) Scheduling around Life

Seeing measurable change in your body is a lifestyle change; weekend warriors need not apply. So, going to the gym on weekends or a couple times a week won’t cut it. One pound of body fat= 3500 calories. The average gym goer burns about 450 calories for every hour they workout. Once you factor in food, it becomes pretty clear that it’ll take more than 2-3 lackluster trips to the gym and a few salads to reach your goal. At this point, we are 8 weeks in, no more excuses! The gym has to become a part of your lifestyle!

 Tips:

Structure your day to get at least 45-55 minutes to workout. Workout first thing in the morning, on lunch break or even late at night( proven to be the best time to workout) and schedule 4/5 days a week to start while keeping a controllable nutritional program that has a caloric deficit of at least 800-1000 calories off of what you would normally intake.

Don’t worry! It’s only February and we have plenty of time to reset and get it right. See you guys at the pool parties and remember … NO T- SHIRTS IN THE POOL!

 

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!

For Love of the Game or For Love of Fame?

I grew up taking last second shots on makeshift backyard rims and playing tackle football in between passing cars on concrete streets and I loved every minute of it. We didn’t have much, but our creativity and love for sports kept us going. I look back at our deflated footballs, and box crate rims and realized it was about the loving the game and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Or would I?

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In 2011, I got a pro contract offer to play for the arena team Harrisburg Stampede. I was overjoyed and consider that one of the greatest moments of my life. But I also remember sitting in my condo thinking about how suddenly, football wasn’t just a sport for me; it became a business and it’s not possible to love the game the same way with sponsors, interviews, and dollar signs being put on my head and helmet. I quickly got over that and enjoyed every minute of two-a-days and late night partying. Fast forward to 2015; I’m still an avid fan of the game but now, I realize that loving the game isn’t what makes young people want to play anymore. Where did the relationship between the pureness of sport and the inherently dirt of money start to merge? Simple; the minute a dollar got introduced to young athletes.

Often, kids decide choose their favorite player because they too, want to run fast, jump high, do incredible things in the air and smile all the while. Athletes are modern day superheroes to most kids (and frankly, some adults too). So emulating them makes perfect sense. In the current culture, everyone is looking for the next big thing and that includes companies, schools, and websites; that’s where the game goes south. By the age 10, kids are being ranked amongst other kids across the nation, thrown into three to four travel team tournaments over the summer, and enduring countless hours of practice and gym time. While I’m not in position to say whether that’s appropriate or not I will say at this point, the game is no longer about fun. Some might call it child exploitation but we can also call it the ultimate “come up”. From numerous business cards slipped into mom’s hand as they leave the game to free clothes and sneakers that get delivered to the house monthly, kids are not blind. They can see that if they keep playing, everybody wins… right?

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This summer I watched the greatest example of this but the plot twist is… It came from the pro ranks. Over the summer we eagerly watched and waited as Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks was in position to join just about any team he wanted and further his legacy. His leading options were to:

  1. Earn 80 to 87 million dollars over four years to play for the Chicago Bulls who are a championship caliber team, hosting two of the most dominant players in the game today, in a major market city. Essentially, the only thing on the to-do list was for Anthony to win a championship.

Or:

  1. Earn 124 million dollars over 5 years with the New York Knicks who are coming off of an abysmal 37-45 record, did not qualify for the playoffs , and are not considered a championship caliber team.

Which did Anthony pick?

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Borrowed with sincere amusement from the New York Post

 

The money, of course! For a while I was confused by the decision and didn’t understand why playing for the Knicks made any sense but the truth is, just like those those 9 and 10 year olds being wooed, Anthony has been groomed to make such a decision his whole career . Championship wins are nice. But I have yet to see someone accept an O’Brien trophy as a mortgage payment. It does not compare to financial benefit. Most professional athletes don’t play for the love of the game anymore and I’m not sure I blame them. From the moment I saw Lebron James ride around in a Hummer, and sport $300.00 throwback jerseys in as a high school senior while his mother lived in ” the hood” I realized that going the extra mile and sacrificing everything to succeed is byproduct of getting that 124 million dollar deal.

Now, I love sports more than I love just about anything else in this world but I’m not blind to the motive of what keeps players going. So these ideas of why they play don’t ruin the sport for me and I hope it doesn’t for you.

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!

#QLFWorkoutWednesday (Vol. 1, Issue 2)

This week we are bringing you workouts dedicated to getting the lower body in shape!

Here are 3 workouts that you can do to target the quadriceps,  hamstrings, and calves!

Workout Breakdown

63988-musclenames

Quadriceps , Hamstring, Core, Glutes and the Adductors

Directional lunge w/ Jump Squat in a suitcase Squat

4 sets of 12

Shoulders, Arms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core

Single Arm KettleBell swing with side lunge

4 sets of 12 on each side

Arms, Core,Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves , Glutes

Single Arm Dumbell Step-Ups

4 sets of 12 reps each side

Try it out today and post a video; thanks for watching!

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!

CrutchFit; The Problem with the CrossFit Craze

Like everything in life, fitness comes in fads.  The steroid of the 70s, took us to the “Let’s Get Physical” Olivia Newton John era of the 80’s, which ushered us into the Taebo Fitness era of the 90’s. ‘Lethal sport as fun fitness activity’ naturally gave birth to the current  “But Did You Die?” era of the 21st century, which is front lined by CrossFit sports, created in 2000 by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. In short, it promotes the idea of dressing “weird, and feeling better than anyone who isn’t part of the movement.”

crossfit pushing

I can’t think of better calling card for our ‘Look at me; I’m better than you in a way you can’t possibility attain’ moment in history.

Thing is, everything that glitters isn’t gold.  * puts on shades because CrossFit is kind of shiny*

Let me start by saying this; in no way is this post intended to sweep you into my massive 21-inch arms and compel you to training with me. Plus, I am madly in love with Julie Foucher who is an avid CrossFitter. Nevertheless, I’m here to report the facts.  CrossFit follows a pretty simple logic; it’s an intense exercise program that pairs dynamic workouts with Olympic level feats of strength. But, it is worth it? In CrossFit, there’s one goal;  you go hard or go home…but sometimes, you go so hard, you can end up going home in an ambulance. The competition is extremely high and it creates a culture of cutting corners which undoubtedly will lead to a higher rate of injuries.

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In a recent study in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 73.5% of CrossFit participants have been injured severely enough to have to stop working or training. But, the average American goes to the gym to be healthy and to look good; they aren’t really trying to come anywhere near the bounds of the question ‘but did you die?’ for their workout experience.   Interestingly, a 73.3 percent rate of injury is on par with the average rate at which people get hurt in general fitness workouts but therein lies the issue; as we compare it to general fitness–which ranges from the inexperienced, part-time gym goer to the avid “gym rat” who potentially becomes a victim to over training to the point of injury–CrossFit is supervised. The fact that so many people can get injured while a trained professional is literally looking at them speaks volumes about how the trainers (and CrossFit culture overall) values form, technique, and proper body recovery implementation.

crossfit handstand

Truth be told, I enjoy watching CrossFit on ESPN.  I’m kind of a kinesthesiology nerd. I’m fascinated with the body and CrossFit pushes the limits of what we think is possible. Frankly, that idea is the foundation of my training philosophy and I use similar methods . But, before I am a mad scientist in the gym, I’m a teacher. So, I suggest that we use fitness methods that are challenging and innovative but don’t require folks risk so much. We are constantly in the market for the new-new and lose sight of the definition of fitness. CrossFit isn’t the worst program out (Home workout DVDs are) but clearly not the safest. So, if you’re tired of people dancing all in your videos, flashing their “uniqueness” fitness in your face! Come to Death Row Records… I mean functional training.

* watches guy in the gym do one hundred burpees till he passes out as I functionally train total body while doing my #QLFWRKOUTLIVE tweets*

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!

Paving Your Road to Fitness

Editor’s Note: Since starting Quantum Leap Fitness I’ve been able to write my thoughts, help with nutrition ideas and even challenge the way people see working out. But while doing so I realized that Quantum Leap Fitness is bigger than me and it’s only right that it reflects that by lending more perspectives on fitness from other passionate trainers and workout enthusiasts. So today I welcome Jason Hunte, personal trainer and nurse technician to give us some insight health and fitness through his eyes! Follow him at @ChasingJason!

Beginners (or re-starters),  I’m here for you!  As a personal trainer, I’ve always enjoyed working with beginners. People struggle with getting into shape, especially  with weight loss, I know how annoying, and disheartening it can be when you have the will to try but don’t know where to start. In my experience as a trainer and working in the nursing field, my goal is always to get people to  reach their goal safely and with the least amount of mental and physical stress. So below,  check out my 3 quick steps to go from couch potato to gym rat.

  1. Start slow You’re a beginner, you’re body isn’t use to high intensity exercises, so don’t jump into it thinking that’s the best route, don’t overwhelm yourself physically and mentally because it’ll lead to emotional stress and you’ll most likely quit. The hardest part is getting started and I understand that so start off by doing three to four days a week to build consistency in this new found arena.

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Here’s a great place to start:   30-45 minutes of basic cardio (brisk walk, elliptical machine, or any other cardio machine) for a few weeks to help get your body out of that sedentary state. After your 30-45 minutes cardio sessions, do some body weight exercises like squats, jumping jacks, push-ups and other functional movements. Most folks feel and see results within the first three weeks. What do I mean by ‘results?’  After a few weeks, you’ll notice that your skill set will has increased and everyday normal tasks are becoming easier. For example, you’re not as winded walking up those stairs, you sleep better and have more energy. You might even notice small changes in the way your body looks. You’ll realize that you’re getting narrow–I like to use that word “narrow” because that’s exactly what you’ll see. You’ll notice it in your shoulders and your waist line mostly. Sometimes,  just those small changes give people the motivation needed to continue. Like I mentioned before, you’ll feel that increase in endurance and strength and THATS when you should start increasing your intensity because your body will demand that you do more. In oppose to starting off too strong and forcing your body to do more.

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  1.  Don’t cut out poor food choices completely, start by cutting back slowly. Your body is use to the nonsense you’re eating so any little change in your eating habits, you’ll notice it quickly. As you get more comfortable in your new health regimen, you’ll want to remove more and more of the negative eating habits to accommodate the nutritional needs of your body.

food choices

  1. Follow a program that fits YOU. Working with a trainer is always ideal, but if you choose not to, do some online research and find exercises that target your goals specifically. Don’t waste your time freestyling in the gym. Don’t be ‘that guy’ that does 40 exercises which do very little towards  meeting your goal,  when 4-5 optimum exercises could have had the same effect. Forget what everyone else is doing, get in YOUR zone and stay there.

Exercising is not easy, especially at the beginning, that’s why it’s key to start slow and build.

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!