Continuing to Lose Weight While Injured… Is it Possible?

You’ve started down a path pursuing a weight loss goal and suddenly… Something goes horribly wrong…

You injure your knee.
You pull a muscle.
You tear something in your shoulder.
You sprain your ankle.

Game over? Does that mean you have to completely put your goals on hold for the time being? What if you didn’t? Here are a few tips to continue to lose weight while injured.

Step One… Don’t be an idiot. 😉

Understand that your injury is real, and don’t merely try to “train past the pain”. If it’s an injury that requires that muscle to rest, you need to let it rest at risk of aggravating it further. Trying to rock out heavy squats with an injured knee isn’t proving how hard you work or how dedicated you are, it’s only proving your own irresponsibility and that your brain is taking a rest day. Be smart about it.

Step two… Figure out how to safely train around your injury.

If it’s a lower body injury, continue to train upper body. If it’s an upper body injury, lower body can still be trained. Obviously when it comes to fat loss, being able to continue to train lower body shouldn’t really put much of a halt into your progress. Only being able to train upper body might make your progress slow slightly, but it’s still doable. Incorporate some upper body cardio intervals into your program like battling ropes or a machine rope trainer to aid in the process. Often if it’s a minor lower body injury there are still lower body exercises you can do. Sprained ankle? Stick with open chain movements like leg extensions and leg curls. Knee injury? Try out stiff legged or Romanian deadlifts that don’t incorporate any knee flexion and see how they feel. Be safe, and listen to your body.

Step three… Use this time to really get your nutrition on track.

If you can’t train hard in the gym, train hard in the kitchen. Use this time off to really work on how compliant you’re being to your plan, and use that increased compliancy to kick start that weight loss. I’m not telling you to diet harder or completely drop your caloric intake… Just be smart and mindful about what’s going into your mouth and use this time to get better at eating healthy.

So is it possible to continue to lose weight throughout an injury? 100%. Will the process be slower? Very likely. Is it easy to get discouraged and want to quit? You bet. But once the injury heals, you don’t want to have to get started back at square one. Remember, starting is the hardest part, and if you are sick of getting started you need to stop quitting or taking breaks. Alter your program but actively continue to progress toward your goals and remember that slow progress is better than no progress at all.

You got this. Chin up, buttercup, oh… And you should probably go lift something. 😉

Stop Stepping on The Scale Everyday.

A lot of people know this feeling all too well…

Wake up in the morning. Roll yourself out of bed. Head to the bathroom. Step on the scale.

Face drops… Heart sinks. No movement… weight hasn’t dropped… heaven forbid maybe it’s even gone up. Take a deep breath in… exhale slowly and drag your feet back to your bedroom to get dressed and start your day.

How motivating eh? Starting your day off with that sinking feeling that everything you’re doing is for nothing. All that hard work, all that deprivation, all that sweat… for what? For nothing? For weight gain? Are you kidding me?!?!

Sound familiar? It happens to a ridiculous amount of people and it’s not doing anything to bring you any closer to your goals.

Let me first stress that I do believe the scale is a very important part of the assessment process. But when it comes to reassessing how you’re doing as far as a weight loss goal is concerned there is more than one assessment tool to give you the bigger picture.

Scale.
Inches.
Body fat percentage.

The trifecta of reassessment tools. The scale has no idea what’s happening inside your body. It doesn’t know if you’re losing fat, if you’re putting on muscle, if you’re currently holding on to more water. Inches measurements or how my clothes were currently fitting was always my main reassessment tool when I got started. If the scale isn’t moving as quickly as you want it to but your pants are falling off why are you so discouraged? Your body is changing! Embrace it! Body fat is a great judge, especially if you can get your body fat measured with skinfold calipers. That’s a very accurate judge of what’s happening in your body, a biological impedance scale or tanita scale can give you a general idea but isn’t exactly accurate.

Don’t pull yourself into a tunnel of self sabotage by letting the scale discourage you. Countless times I’ve heard of people stepping on the scale, being unhappy with the results, and then making poor food choices because they aren’t seeing results anyway and don’t see the point. Remember… weight loss is a process and that process isn’t always linear. Trust the process, understand that the weight didn’t go on overnight and it isn’t going to come off overnight either. Try to limit yourself to stepping on the scale weekly, even biweekly.

Focus. Work hard. Be compliant to your nutrition. Reassess all aspects of your weight loss, and then enjoy the results in time. You’ve got this, don’t stall your own progress by demotivating yourself.

Oh… and you should probably go lift something! 😉

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My Constant Struggle… Even Though I Make It Look Easy.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a long time, but it’s come up so many times over the past few weeks that I couldn’t put it off any longer. Time and time again I’ll hear from friends, family, clients, or even members of the gym that they’re envious of how easy it is for me now. Now that I’ve lost the majority of the weight, now that I’ve been on this journey for over 3 years, everything comes so easy for me. Eating healthy, exercising hard, getting my cardio in. I’m getting a little tired of it… you know why?

Because it isn’t easy. It’s actually really, really hard. Constantly.

First off I don’t want to come off as discouraging. It can be a little terrifying to hear if you’re just starting off on your fitness journey that 3 years in it isn’t getting easy easier to stay on track. That isn’t entirely true, it is way easier than it was when I started. Forming habits definitely helps with long term commitment, and I don’t want to discredit that. But part of being a trainer and someone who has lost a significant amount of weight is putting on a brave face that it does get easier with time. Unfortunately the truth is that it might not ever really be truly easy for you. When it comes to overcoming an addiction to bad food, like any addiction, there are always going to be temptations. Do you get better at resisting them? Of course. Do you get to a point where it’s easier to get your workouts in because it’s become a habit? 100% yes. But you need to understand that there are going to be days where you want chocolate bad enough to want to physically harm someone. There are going to be days where you’d rather stay on the couch and watch 12 episodes of Criminal Minds instead of going to the gym. Those distractions and temptations don’t go away, you just get a little bit better at overcoming them.

So does it get easier? Slightly. But more than that, you just get stronger and more capable of being bigger than your limitations.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get better. So the next time you think someone has it easy, think again. The struggle may be something they deal with on a daily basis. Admire that brave front, and understand what’s ya beneath it.

We’re in this together folks… We’ve got this. Now we’d better go lift something. 😉

Turn “I Can’t Eat That” into “I’m Choosing Not To”.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. You’ve decided that an important part of that journey is going to be getting your eating on track. I’ve always said that I don’t believe diets work, and not to sound like a broken record but have been caught saying over and over that I don’t diet, I just eat according to my goals. When it comes to long term weight loss and being able to maintain that, you need to make eating habit lifestyle changes that are going to be permanent and long term.

With any changes, you’re going to have people in your life that either don’t agree with the changes your making, or just plain don’t understand. First off, that’s ok! They don’t need to get it, it’s not their journey to understand, it’s yours. But if you’re going to make changes to your eating, and you’re going to be strict and compliant to those changes, you have to have one thing straight…

Who’s in charge?

When it comes to helping my personal training clients set food commitments, I always have them make the commitment. I can tell you how I think you should eat to get you to your goals in the most efficient way, but if you don’t commit to making those changes it isn’t going to work. Who’s in charge? Is it you? Is it your trainer? Is it someone who wrote some book or article you read? Who’s life are you leading? You need to be in control and in charge of your decisions. Yes it is helpful to have direction from someone, but you need to be holding on to the steering wheel and need to be the one leading the way.

If you’re restricting yourself in any way when it comes to food, I can almost 100% guarantee you someone will at some point offer you some food that isn’t a part of your plan. If you’re feeling strong and committed, you might choose not to have that food. Good for you for keeping on track! But this is how the conversation usually goes…

“Hey, I’m ordering pizza do you want some?” “No it’s ok, I can’t eat that it isn’t on plan.”

“I brought homemade cookies, want one?” “I can’t have cookies, sorry.”

Which usually leads to friends or family catching on and asking you questions like this…

“We want you to come for dinner friday and are planning what to eat, what can you have?”

“I’m bringing chips and salsa tonight, can you eat that?”

When someone asks me a question like this, I’ll explain that I can eat that, but I’m currently choosing not to. It isn’t that I am unable to eat bad food, but I don’t want it as it doesn’t fit in according to my goals. I’m in charge. I can eat whatever I darn well please. And right now it’s more important for me to get to my goals than it is for me to eat pizza, or chocolate. Does that mean I can’t eat them? Of course not. I’m very capable of eating pizza and chocolate, I’m just making a different choice. When I’m with a friend and they offer me a treat I’ll respond, “Yes I’d love one… but I’m choosing not to.”

Don’t let someone make decisions for you, or make you feel like you’re not in charge of your actions. If you don’t want a doughnut, don’t eat one! Don’t let someone make you feel bad for wanting to stay on plan. Be proud of your strength and commitment, and then bask in the rewards of results. You’ve got this, just stay strong.

Oh… and you should probably go lift something. 😉

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A “Fun” Wednesday Morning Conditioning Workout…

Alright, so first and foremost, I want to remind you that I’m putting the word fun in quotations. Disclaimer here being that my definition of fun and your definition of fun may have two very different meanings. I’ll often ask clients if a weight is “better” once I’ve increased it, actually wondering if it’s more challenging. (If anyone has seen The Princess Bride, one client always quoted it saying “You keep using that word… I don’t think it means what you think it means. ;))

In my current programming, I’m mixing up the style of workouts I’m doing throughout the week to try something new. Getting the layout idea from a very smart man named Christian Thibaudeau, I’m currently doing two days a week of heavy lifting (one lower body and one upper body) and two conditioning style full body workouts. Those workouts change from week to week to ensure I don’t get bored, and the main goal in them is to keep the intensity up, build up lots of lactic acid, and get super sweaty.

For today’s workout, I’m taking a page from a man named Istvan Javorek’s book. Javorek is a sports conditioning coach from Romanian who developed something called a Javorek Complex, using either dumbbells or a barbell. Javorek felt that the main purpose of these exercises was to figure out an easier way to do an exercise complex, which could then change the monotony of a workout, and he hoped at the same time have a greater influence on the neuro-muscular and osteo-muscular system. Basically the layout of it is that you pick either dumbbells or a barbell, choose a certain weight, and then do a few different exercises in a circuit without putting the weights down.

He has a whole variety of different complexes, so I’ve put together my own version inspired by him of a full body exercise complex. This is what it looks like:

1. Barbell Back Squat, 5-10 reps

2. Barbell Bentover Row, 5-10 reps

3. Barbell Romanian Deadlift, 5-10 reps

4. Barbell Push Press, 5-10 reps

5. Barbell Step Back Lunges, 5-10 reps each leg

Then rest for 2-3 minutes depending on your recovery. Repeat 2-4 times.

When it comes to choosing a weight, you need to pick the heaviest you can go for your weakest movements. For me, that’s my push press. Try as I might I can’t push press more than 60lbs for 10 reps in a fatigued state. So yes, I can squat, RDL, row, and lunge more than that, but in this complex you can only go as heavy as your weakest lift, so each exercise is done with 60lbs.

How to progress it? Start with a weight that you can only do 5 reps of, and then the next time you run through this workout, try for more reps. Once you get to 10 reps of every single exercise in the complex, increase the weight by 10%. Easy peasy. If you’re not sweaty at the end of the complex, you’re not going hard enough. It isn’t about how fast you get through the complex, you want your reps to be controlled in good form, but don’t take any rest time in between exercises and really push yourself to see what you’re capable of.

Not super comfortable with a barbell? Switch it out easily with dumbbells.

1. DB Squat, 5-10 reps

2. DB Bentover Row, 5-10 reps

3. DB Romanian Deadlift, 5-10 reps

4. DB Push Press or DB Thrusters, 5-10 reps

5. DB Step Back Lunges, 5-10 reps each leg

Do this complex 3-5 times and if you’re not feeling gassed by the end you can definitely push yourself harder. This is an easy way to get a quick, high intensity, fat burning workout in that’s also going to help maintain muscle mass.

Still have some gas left in the tank when your done your sets? Finish off with this cardio finisher to really end off on a high note.

40 skips, 30 mountain climbers, 20 jump squats, 100m row, 5 burpees. Rest 90 seconds and repeat 2 times. Then lay on the ground massaging the lactic acid out of your quads. 😉

High intensity workouts, conditioning workouts, fat loss workouts, burn workouts, whatever you want to call them don’t have to just be running on the treadmill. Work harder and increase the intensity and you can do more work in a shorter period of time and get a better result. I always tell my clients, I’m about efficiency. If I can do a shorter amount of work and get a better result I’m obviously on board. Bang for your buck baby, that’s what it’s all about.

Hope everyone’s having a great week! Make good choices now, and get sweaty. Oh… and make sure you go lift something. 😉

 

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Feel free to check out more info on a couple of my faves,

http://www.istvanjavorek.com/

http://www.christianthibaudeau.com/

From Doughnuts to Dumbbells… From Guelph to Mississauga!

Hey friends and followers, From Doughnuts to Dumbbells is moving! After being at Goodlife Guelph Pergola Commons for 2 years it’s time for a fresh start, and I’m picking up and moving to Goodlife Meadowvale Town Centre in Mississauga, October 1st!

I’ve had an amazing couple of years with an amazing team, but it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter. I’m going to greatly miss my coworkers, my clients, and all the members at GPC, but I’m stoked for the challenge!

Do you live or work out in the GTA? Message me for a free consultation at jessica.gormley@goodlifefitness.com and stay tuned for a contest to win some free training in the coming months!

Oh… and go lift something! 😉

Looking for new workout wear? Check out Kyodan!

If you’re anything like me… Nothing gets you more stoked for a workout than an awesome new outfit to lift in. Ok… Maybe it’s a girl thing so to my man followers… either sit this one out or listen in for some gift ideas for the ladies who lift in your life.

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As much as I love buying new fitness attire… I don’t always love the price tag. For some reason so many athletic companies have decided to charge an exorbitant amount for it’s clothing… and the crazy thing is that people will actually pay the money for it! I can understand investing in a piece you love, but after I buy all my groceries, supplements, and any gym related fees… the budget doesn’t often allow me to blow $100 on a pair of workout capris. On top of maybe being on a weight loss journey making your clothes temporary anyway. Looking for some middle ground? Meet Kyodan.

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I first discovered Kyodan clothing at Winners. Now, as someone who used to work in the retail industry… I’ll never pay full price for anything. So Winners is my go to, and it’s hit or miss for work out stuff. But when I started seeing more and more Kyodan stuff, with tops and bottoms retailing for under $30… I got hooked. Not only did it fit into my budget, but it was super cute, good quality, and most importantly… Practical! I need my workout pants to stay up when I’m doing mountain climbers or sprints, need my top to stay down when I’m doing burpees, I don’t want to have to worry about it.

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Kyodan’s website explains their clothing as “built for endurance, performance & comfort; we are known for our versatility, functionality & leading aesthetics. Kyodan’s design philosophy is to integrate fashion into the active wear world allowing its clothing to be worn for yoga, working out, but also for your everyday life.”

Some people are totally cool to work out in sweats and their baggiest tee… but for me I like to feel good when I’m working out and that includes liking my outfit. Don’t freak out… I’m not one of those girls who does her hair and makeup before going to the gym, I still believe if you look cute at the end of your workout you didn’t train hard enough. But it’s no coincidence that when I roll into the gym in a new outfit I feel great in, I’ll have a killer workout and maybe even hit a PR.

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Lift heavy, work hard, give it your all in the gym, and why not look great while doing it without breaking the bank? Head over to Winners to check out Kyodan’s stuff, they don’t sell it online yet but are starting next year where you can ship directly to your place. If you’re one of my American followers you can also find their stuff at Tjmaxxx or Marshall’s!

Check out Kyodan’s website to see more styles, and follow them on Facebook here!

Oh… And go lift something! 😉