What’s needed and what’s helpful for a workout.

What things do you absolutely need for a workout?

  1. Your body.

What things make a workout better and/or more effective?

  1. Supportive clothing.

  2. A gym, if you like that kind of thing.

  3. A sand bag if you like being outside.

  4. A good pair of running shoes for harder surfaces.

  5. Progression. It’s no good endlessly doing the same thing.

  6. Progression. You have to add challenge as you improve.

  7. A plan. Randomly throwing stuff at the wall gets inconsistent results.

  8. A goal. 

  9. A community of people that supports you.

  10. A coach to help guide the way.


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What's Needed and What’s Helpful for Weight Loss

What things do you absolutely need to be successful with weight loss?

  1. To eat fewer calories than you burn.

  2. The ability to stick with No. 1 consistently for a while.

  3. A bit of toughness to get through the times that are hard.

Thats about it. But there are also some things that make weight loss (and fat loss specifically) better.

  1. Enough protein to build and hold muscle.

  2. Resistance Training, to build and hold muscle.

  3. Metabolic/Cardio, for a number of health benefits.

  4. A meal plan to help guide you when you feel lost.

  5. A community that supports you.

  6. Eating vegetables to help with hunger and for health.

  7. Lots of activity, as outlined in a previous post.

  8. Coffee, to stave off hunger and be a better person

  9. A “why”. The better your “why” the better your effort.

  10. A coach to help guide the way with all of this… 


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Hydration

One of the fastest ways to negatively impact your workout performance is to let dehydration creep in.

Ideally you would have around 20 ounces of water a couple hours prior to your workout, then sip on water as desired throughout the workout. If you have done these things you shouldn’t be parched after the workout, but probably shoot for 20 ounces within an hour or two after the workout ends. Remember, you’re shooting for roughly half your body weight in ounces of water per day, so this protocol puts a pretty good dent in that number.

If you workout first thing in the morning it’s super important to hydrate as soon as you wake up. Sleeping 7-9 hours (you are, right?) will dehydrate you to some extent. Breathing and sweat over that length of time can mean a fairly significant amount of water loss. Even if you don’t “feel” dehydrated, you most likely are. Drink the water anyway. 

If your workout or event lasts ~80 minutes or more or you are someone that sweats A LOT some sort of electrolyte drink might be warranted. Gatorade makes a lower sugar version these days thats pretty good. They taste good and have the electrolytes to help, plus a bit of carbs to help fuel your crazy workout.

There’s also no need to OVER-hydrate. Drinking excessive amounts of water won’t enhance performance, and will likely make performance worse. Stick to realistic amounts.

This is pretty low hanging fruit for workout performance. Don’t let something so easy to address stand in your way.

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Diet and Exercise Complement Each Other

One of the reasons combining a good diet and a good training program is effective is because those two things end up working synergistically. Studies have shown many times that combining a good diet with exercise produces better results than either of them alone. 

But the physiological response is not what I’m talking about. 

When getting going on and dedicating yourself to a workout plan it’s often much easier to stick with a diet plan. And it’s the same the other way around. 

It makes logical sense too. Sticking to a diet usually makes people feel pretty good. You’re getting away from over eating and focusing on lighter fare. That means fewer food comas and less lethargy. That makes it a whole lot easier to feel like doing a workout. 

Doing a good workout makes you feel like you are working to accomplish something (and you are). And working hard gives you a sense of pride. That helps you want to support your hard work with a good diet. 

It’s all a positive feedback loop. And it feels really good to make good progress. 

Of course there needs to be a wary eye for things that might interfere. But a single missed workout or off plan meal won’t disrupt real progress. If something trips you up, shrug it off, get back to the plan and keep that momentum going.


4 Tips To Keep Progressing

  1. Scratch, fight, and claw to add a few more reps or a couple more pounds to your sets this week. Gotta put the effort in to make progress.

  1. Drink half your body weight, in ounces, of water each day. Ex., 150lbs person is shooting for 75 ounces of water. Tea counts, but that’s it besides water. 

  2. Relieve your brain before sleep. I’ve talked to a bunch of people this past week that have a lot on their mind and its getting in the way of sleep. Try journaling before bed to help release that stress.

  3. Be consistent. Remember what your goals are and work towards them each day. Don’t let distractions or the lure of some fancy new thing distract you from those goals.


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Stay Active For Fat Loss

One of the most important factors involved with this whole weight loss thing is your over all activity levels. 

And it’s not only for losing the weight, but keeping it off long term.

It makes sense, right? People who are more active have lower body fat levels than sedentary people. 

“Activity” can means a lot of different things but the easiest to measure is walking. Adding a daily walk of 30-60 minutes can do wonders for your weight loss efforts. Shoot for a total daily step count of 10,000-12,000. That might seem like a lot if you don’t walk much now but once you get into the groove it gets easier. 

A recent study showed that people who lost a substantial amount of weight (almost 60 pounds) and kept if off for 9-10 years averaged a little over 12,000 steps per day. It was the strongest correlation to their continued success. 

It’s pretty easy to count your steps today too. Your phone will either automatically count them when you carry it around, or you can get an app like MyFitnessPal. If you’re just starting off start with shooting for 8,000 steps per day and see if you an increase that to 12,000 over the course of a couple months.

The calories burned by this amount of activity far outpaces the numbers burned from workouts too. In a typical weight lifting workout you’ll burn 400-500 calories where this amount of walking can be 800+ per day. A proper workout is still good for many things but people usually overestimate the calorie impact. 

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8 best Sandbag Exercises for beginners

Here are 8 of the best exercises for people new to sand bag training

  1. Squats - Specifically front squats. Yes, they are harder than having the bag on your back but they are better for teaching good mechanics and have better carry over to back squats. Learn how to do front squats well from the beginning and you will be set when it comes to doing any other variation.

  2. Split squats - Body weight only split squats are the introduction to lunges and the many variations. Split squats give you a pretty stable base since both feet are always touching the ground. And they start to focus on single leg strength. Master these before moving on to harder variations. 

  3. RDLs - Learning the RDL is the key to learning good hip hinging. It’s one of the vital movement patterns we have as humans. The RDL emphasizes the hamstrings and glutes. It also lays the groundwork pattern for more complex exercises that can be added later.

  4. Bent Over Row - THE best upper back strength exercise we have with a sand bag. Master that hinge position and get those shoulder blades moving to build muscle and strength in the incredibly important upper back.

  5. Overhead Press - The main overhead pressing movement. Builds strength in the shoulders and triceps while providing a great challenge to the core. 

  6. Push Ups - In case you don’t know what a push up is… It’s basically a plank that’s great for the core that also builds muscle and strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Make sure you use full range of motion.

  7. Planks - For your abs to work their best they need to be able to PREVENT movement, not create it. Planks are the first step in learning how to stabilize the hips and spine by preventing unwanted movement. Make sure you give a concerted effort to squeeze the abs hard.

  8. Loaded Carries - Loaded carries of all kinds are crazy good for people just starting out. They build strength and muscle, challenge all of the core muscles, and are a great conditioning tool. Here I’m demonstrating a Bear Hug Carry but just about all versions of carries are great.

Bonus - Not only are these exercises great for people just starting out, they should still be the bread and butter (or meat and potatoes) of the advanced person. You won’t outgrow these so you may as well get really really good at them.


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Losing fat is simple, but it's not easy.

Losing fat is simple, but it’s not easy.

Have you ever heard that saying? It’s pretty accurate. To lose weight, or specifically fat, you simply have to eat fewer calories than you expend. That’s really all there is to it. 

But it’s not easy because there are tons of things that stand in your way. Psychology, physiology, habits, emotions, too much information, too little information, best workouts, etc, etc…

If you are new to this whole thing know this, the most important factor of all these things is to find something that you can stick with for a long time. Bouncing around from diet to diet and workout plan to workout plan will leave you treading water. 

Keep in mind there is no universal BEST diet or workout. But there is a best thing for you, at this time in your life. And you have to know how to get there. 

For your diet you need to have: a calorie deficit, sufficient protein, enough low calorie volume foods to minimize hunger, and for it to be enjoyable enough for you to stick with it.

For your workout: it needs to support your goals, scale with your abilities, lead to better fitness with minimal risk of injury, and be be enjoyable enough to stick with it.

If you can figure out a way to eat and workout like this you’ll be successful. 

If you enjoy working out outdoors and want to burn some fat for the summer I have a program that is absolutely killer.


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