As Pre-Workout supplements have developed in the past few decades (first coming into existence in 1982), they’ve complexified and branched out into numerous varieties with their own respective focal points, such as energy, focus, or promoting glorious transient hypertrophy, a.k.a. “Da Pump”. Due to this expansion though, they’ve reached a certain degree of separation, especially in the most recent decade, that now poses a more specific question for those looking to bring their workouts to the next level:
Which Pre-workout Is the Best for Me? “Normal”? Or Non-Stim?
Discovering which pre-workout suits you best without an overwhelming amount of money spent + trial & error can be difficult. Questions arise, ranging from “What exactly am I even looking for?” to “Is the dosing of L-Citrulline in this one efficacious, or would I be pointlessly oversaturating myself?”, and often times we worry if we’ll even know what questions we should be asking to begin with, let alone actually knowing the answers to them.
Thankfully, though, you’ve found your way to the right place; over the course of this article, we’re going to break down the benefits and detriments of both sides of the dichotomy before us i.e. which option is going to get you bigger, stronger, and provide a sicker pump, as well as the information you need to know so you can take in to account your own personal nuances and how each blend may affect you come time to try it yourself. After this, we’ll compare the two, and see what your best course of action will be once you’re prompted to make a decision.
With all that said, let’s dive into the first step of the process:
Non-Stim Pre-Workouts: Pros and Cons
When considering the option of “Non-Stim” i.e. the pre-workout equivalent of decaf coffee, it’s necessary to highlight what they DO provide in the absence of the energy boost. The main benefits boasted often include:
Greater Blood Flow (i.e. dat pump, son)
Improved Recovery and Endurance
These options work great for those that seek the concentration and performance benefits that pre-workouts boast, while also wanting to avoid the energy boost that for them may be entirely unnecessary, be it due to anxiety, caffeine-specific related issues, or because they simply need no help in that field to begin with.
The lack of any energy-related assistance, however, proves detrimental to some (dare I say most, even). The majority of those seeking out pre-workout supplements deem them almost synonymous with some sort of power “boost”, which these, as the name implies, lack completely. There are also the secondary effects of the stimulant to consider, such as the mood shift and overall euphoric feel that caffeine provides, which happens to be what a lot of people are actually looking for, rather than the energy itself, and just have the two strongly associated.
For some, the absence of caffeine is exactly what they’re looking for, and for others, it renders the product borderline pointless. For the latter, we take a look at the classics.
Traditional Pre-Workouts: Pros and Cons
Classic Pre-Workouts, on the other hand, are all about that rush, that boost, that surge of energy. The other benefits are worthwhile, but still more so revolve around the core aspect which is to get you fired up. Despite that being the main goal, though, there’s obviously still a key difference between, say, coffee, and a solid pre-workout. They don’t only offer energy, it’s simply the main selling point. Overall, the benefits include:
Acute Energy Surge
Temporary Strength Increase
Interim Cognition Boost
All in all, a pretty strong sell also. Not only can we rely on it to pick us up when we’re sluggish, dragging our feet, but it also provides mental clarity, and most importantly temporarily boosts performance, which on a long-term basis, means a greater cumulative volume and therefore substantially more gains made down the line. All of this without even mentioning the simple enjoyment that comes alongside the effects of caffeine; the mood boost is not to be underestimated.
So, now having an accurate idea of what each product actually provides and how they contrast with one another, we find ourselves faced with the next question: which do I need the most?
Pump Focus? Energy Focus? What Do I Need Most?
Before we can make a choice, however, we need to fully understand the benefits that either option provides, not only in a general sense, but specifically how they apply to you.
There are some questions that you should ask yourself to gain a better understanding of your own needs, such as:
1. What holds you back in the gym?
Do you find yourself dragging your feet, unable to push sets to proper failure because you just can’t seem to find that “oomph” needed to get through the toughest part? Or more so easily distracted, unable to really concentrate on the workout itself, be it because you daydream, aren’t fully engaged, or simply don’t enjoy it enough to be entirely present throughout?
2. What would motivate you to push harder?
When you think of a workout and all it entails, what addition would make it that much more exciting, that much more conducive to a true effort? Do you have a generally poor mood when it comes to training, which could be relieved by the euphoric effects of caffeine? Or would you be more enticed by the satisfaction of a stronger pump, giving a more tangible, invigorating feeling throughout the workout itself, prompting you to push further and go harder in order to maximize that short-term benefit (which in turn also contributes towards the long-term reward)?
3. Am I cutting my workouts short?
Endurance being a factor in either option, but stronger in one than the other, it’s important to note whether you’re actually bringing your sessions to their programmed conclusion, or if corners are being cut in order to finish sooner, let alone skipping chunks altogether.
4. Have I made myself aware of all my options?
Seems like an odd one at first, but it refers to the specifics at play and how we can often write something off without first insuring that we’ve exhausted our options. What do I mean? Some dismiss the idea of traditional pre-workouts due to an aversion to caffeine specifically rather than stimulants in general, which can be circumvented by choosing an ephedrine-based supplement instead. Or those who dismiss pre-workouts entirely because they “make them feel weird”, without ever coming to understand that the problem lies in the nootropics within most pre-workout supplements, and that were they to choose from the wide variety of nootropic-free options, they could enjoy the benefits they’d otherwise be missing out on.
These are a few key questions that’ll help steer you in the right direction, but it’s important that you, obviously knowing yourself better than I do, stop and contemplate the nitty gritty details of your own needs to ensure that you’re not just blindly following a recommendation without knowing what’s best for you first.
Weighing the Differences and Choosing Which Option Is Best for You
With all that said, now comes the moment of truth; which option do you choose? Do you lean towards a pre-workout that brings out the animal in you and has you ready to go toe-to-toe with a silverback, or the one that’ll give you laser-sharp focus and a pump that’ll have your skin stretching? For some, it’s a no-brainer, while for others it’s a question that’ll have them on the fence, unable to commit to one side or the other lest the choice not made seem that much more appealing after locking the other in. For those in the latter group, let’s break down the factors at play:
When framed like this, it becomes clear that the main difference is the exchange of the energy boost for an intensification of focus and pump, as well as allowing one to avoid the crash for those who deem it too undesirable to be worth it.
The problem, though, is that for most, both options are viable, making the question more a matter of which benefits we prioritize most, and which we’re willing to sacrifice. Worse still, some may be unwilling to sacrifice either and are therefore forced to forgo benefits that they want and subsequently leave gains on the table. I personally have found myself frustrated with this for long enough, and have taken it into my own hands to concoct a solution.
Or, Then Again, Why Choose? The Best of Both Worlds
Having to miss out on the benefits of one for the sake of enjoying the other was a nuisance at first, and an actual hindrance later on; when you’ve gotten to the point that every little factor counts, not having that extra kick that should otherwise be at your disposal can be the issue forcing you to fall short of where you should be. And I’d had enough.
Initially, something I’d put together with myself in mind, but now turned proprietary product, my new Pre-Workout, The Razors Edge combines the best of both, using both stimulants and the same pump promoters and focus enhancers of non-stim pre-workouts, simply stacking the benefits rather than using one to compensate for the other. You’d think it’d be available, but to my surprise, it was not, and rather than mope at that fact, I set out to fix it.
You can now enjoy the same benefits I have, the best of both, fire and ice fused together to provide you with the perfect weapon to assault each workout. Click here to get your own tub, and come to your training sessions harder than ever.
Yes! As surprising as that may be for many to read, consistent sports massages will in fact lead – albeit with the odd degree of separation – to greater muscle growth in the mid to long term. The mechanisms through which these results are achieved is often unexpected, but the literature leaves no room for interpretation; if incorporated correctly, massage work will further boost your calf development.
So how do you start using this new information to grow your calves?
Now, I can imagine this is exciting news; if you’ve struggled with calf growth even half as much as I have, this could seem like the light at the end of the tunnel. As ridiculously stubborn as calves can be, anything promising to actually make them pack some tissue on can not only be exciting but also seem too good to be true, especially given how simple this solution presents itself to be.
I assure you though, as suspiciously clear-cut as this may seem at a glance, once we dive into the details, the pieces will begin to fall into place, and paint a picture that’ll make you wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.
Let’s dive into the specifics and flesh out just how it is that they help, and more importantly, how you can make the most of them in order to really boost that lower leg hypertrophy.
How Exactly Do They Help With Growth?
As I mentioned above, there’s a degree of separation at play here: while supplementing a proper training regime with consistent sports massaging will in most cases result in an improvement muscle-growth-wise, it’s not the massage itself that directly incites increased tissue production.
The many benefits that the massages do bring, however, such as myofascial release, improved blood flow, and acutely heightened flexibility – with some studies (D’Andrea, 2016; Sağiroğlu, 2017; Stroiney et al., 2020) even finding improvements in muscle power, strength and agility -, all contribute significantly to an improvement in recovery and greater performance in concurrent sessions, leading to a higher intensity and total overall volume, which, you guessed it, means better results in the long run.
This isn’t going to be some saving grace, however, on which you can rely in order to lessen your efforts. You can consider more so to be the cherry on top of an already solid routine, helping squeeze out those few extra drops of calf growth from all your hard work.
When Should I Get These Massages Done?
Now, this is all good and dandy, another weapon in our arsenal for the battle against stubborn lower legs, but when is the time to unsheath this metaphorical sword and get to slashing and hacking? How do I fit these massages into the routine to yield maximum results? Two options lay before us, both of arguably similar efficacy:
The day before a heavy session: As listed above, there are two main benefits to this method: the boost in recovery, and the priming effect for the next session, the latter of which we’d be looking to maximize with this approach. By timing the massage ~24h before your session, you’d both reap the greatest benefit in terms of performance increase, while giving your calves time to recover from the massage itself, lest power output is diminished when it comes time to actually train.
ASAP post-session: On the other hand, should we choose to maximize the former benefits, ideally we’d get these massages done as soon as possible post-session, to ensure that the gains are capitalized on to their fullest throughout the entire recovery process.
Now to some, this may seem like a trivial difference, but anecdotally, it has proven to have a significant effect on the results athletes have obtained, and while we may not fully understand the mechanics at play, what one cannot argue with is a consistent trend of positive results. Something is at work here, and work well it does.
What About Frequency? How Often is Best?
This factor ties in more to the frequency of your calf training itself, which, contrary to popular belief stating that most if not all muscle groups have a similar enough fiber composition to make bi-weekly training sufficient, in reality evidence suggests up to ~4 sessions a week, typically on a day-on, day-off approach. This is due to the fact that the average gastrocnemius is composed of over 50% slow twitch muscle fibers, which, in summary, means that it isn’t nearly as responsive to the same kind of stimuli that, say, your pectoralis major will be.
Slow twitch muscle fibers tend to be pretty resistant to hypertrophy, period, but some growth can still be incited through lower intensity, higher volume work, i.e., 4 or even 5 sessions a week. This is, however, not the only approach to be taken, as we can’t forget that a 50% composition shouldn’t dictate the entirety of our training approach. Higher intensity methods can and should be applied, but variety will be key for ideal results.
Increase in Results over previous step
So, circling back to the matter at hand: ideal training frequency comes down to 4-5 times a week, and if that doesn’t seem realistic within your routine, you can simply train them as many days as feasible to you, which would then triangulate into receiving just as many massages (for optimal results).
What Else Can I Do To Grow My Calves?
With the momentum built up from what we’ve just finished reading, I can imagine this question easily popping into your mind; what can I do to push growth further still?
Well, there’s a borderline bottomless depth of knowledge to delve into when it comes to tackling this very question, whether it’s unorthodox training methods, alternative forms of manual stimuli, enhanced recovery techniques, or other novel tackles, there are simply too many options for one to find themselves giving up on this pursuit, e.g.:
Weighted Hiking/Uphill Walking
And these are just some prominent examples, the list could go on. All this to say that while sometimes a lack of progress is frustrating, we can’t let ourselves fall into the comfortable pit of victimization; “Oh, I’m doing everything I’m supposed to and it’s still not working, it’s not my fault”. It’s a very easy thing to sink into. And while it may arguably not be your fault, it is indubitably your responsibility. Anything you want, training or otherwise, is in your hands to achieve. Whether you do the legwork yourself, seek help, or outright outsource it, it’s always going to be you that must take the initial step; now, speaking of that latter option…
What to Do When It Seems Like Nothing Else Is Working
As mentioned, sometimes, and especially when one simply has a plate too full for any other demanding responsibilities, the solution lies in accepting how others can help you, and outsourcing as much as one can elsewhere. This benefits not only your time management, but also brings to the table much that would otherwise be absent, such as a higher education in the subject matter at hand, years of expertise that have been curated through painstaking trial and error, making mistakes, and learning from them so that you don’t have to.
The advantages you gain from delegating the logistics of your fitness journey to an expert are undeniable, boosting you ahead of where you would have otherwise been, not to mention helping you stay consistent but helping you through the roadblocks that are inevitably faced, and allowing you to avoid the unnecessary ones entirely!
If you’re still on the fence regarding whether or not you need a personal trainer, perhaps sit for a second and evaluate what it means to “need” something to begin with; is it paramount to your survival? No, the only things you really need are food, water, and sleep. Is it going to boost you into a lifestyle that you’ve practically written off as a pipe dream, granting you levels of physical and mental confidence that are quite literally unachievable through other means? You’re damn right it will.
What you have in front of you is a ticket to the body, the physique, the lifestyle that you know you want, not because I’ll pick you up and drop you at your destination, no, but because I’ll help unlock the door, clear the path, and be your guide down the road that you’ll traverse on your own, growing physically (and mentally) along the way.
You train. You eat. You stay consistent. That last step, however, is the exact issue. Staying consistent when your environment is not isn’t exactly smooth sailing, and for many is past the threshold of what they can realistically sustain, especially when looking to make a positive change rather than simply maintaining something pre-existing.
So where do you start?
Where anyone else would with these same goals; you just have to be ready for the extra degree of difficulty, the extra helping of obstacles, and the extra layer of complexity that this situation is going to throw your way.
It’s important that you remind yourself that you’re not going to be on some laidback spa vacation, at very least not in a physical sense. It’s not only easy to fall into a state of lackadaisicalness in circumstances like these, but almost inevitable for many (to some extent). Keeping your game face on and reminding yourself that you have work to get done will be essential to ensuring that you achieve the goals you set out for yourself.
Now, let’s get to the first, and arguably most important step, as it lays the foundation for the rest to follow.
Understanding What Getting In Shape While Traveling Entails
This may seem a tad on the nose, but you’d be surprised just how much can be avoided by taking a moment to actually go over and fully comprehend the scope of what you’re setting out to achieve. For this very reason, approximately 61% of people find themselves falling further out of shape while traveling. I myself have spent a substantial amount of time in SE Asia, and it’s not hard to see why; there’s a lot that caught me by surprise, simply because, as ready as you may be to answer certain questions, you need to ask them first. What do I mean by this? Well, for example:
What will your training focus be? Gyms won’t be a guarantee, nor will their quality.
What’s your diet going to look like? Access to kitchens or even solid food choices of any kind will also be pretty limited depending on your itinerary
How will you balance fitness amongst your other pursuits? If you can’t achieve harmony, something, most likely fitness, will begin to slip
What contingencies will you have? When traveling, unplanned scenarios are practically a guarantee, and you need to be ready to adapt accordingly
The list can go on, but the gist is pretty clear: getting in shape is already a difficult endeavor in and of itself, but to do so while traveling? That bumps up the difficulty considerably. If you want to do this, you’re going to have to come to terms with just how much of an effort it’s going to be, pull your socks up, and give it the work it requires, starting with our next segment.
Defining Clear & Concise Goals for Yourself
Again, seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? I’ve thought so in the past too, but akin to the last point, if left unattended, it can be the flaw that brings the whole house of cards tumbling down. When we hear “goals”, we think of our objectives, what we want to achieve, but it’s important to actually voice these, put them into words, give them structure, and build a concrete plan that you can use to not only steer yourself precisely in the right direction, but also track your progress, and maintain a sense of progression which is paramount to staying consistent with pursuits such as these.
So what would that look like? Well, it can manifest in a number of different ways, but it’s going to hinge quite heavily on one of the previous points: What will your training focus be?
Objectives to work towards
Bodyweight, body composition, overall physique development
Skills, specific movements/holds, AMRAP maxes
Overall strength, SBD development, one-rep maxes
Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Clean & Press development
There should be weekly milestones, seasonal ones, and long-term goals that you work towards, that keep you motivated and give you a tool to track your progress; in a 2016 study, it was observed that even the mildest structure contributed to a substantial increase in both improvements upon athletic performance and overall body composition compared to the unstructured control group. Incorporating these principles will allow you to not only push yourself harder, but accurately determine if you’re continuing to move in the right direction, and ensure you continue to do so.
Setting Rules and Actually Abiding by Them
We’re three for three on seemingly obvious principles that are often underestimated in their importance. The milestones I mentioned in the prior segment tie into this same rule, as they essentially are a rule in and of themselves stating “I must achieve this”. These rules can be more specific, such as a minimum weekly training quota of “x” amount of sessions, “y” amount of weekly cheat meals, or a minimum “z” amount of sessions within a gym rather than outdoor training.
These examples are one’s that I would recommend, but the rules that you end up following should simply be those that you believe will be the most conducive to helping you achieve the results you’re chasing. The important part, however, is being realistic, because you can give yourself no leeway when it comes to following them.
Don’t jump the gun and make claims such as “I’m gonna train EVERY DAY”, or “I’m never going to enjoy something I crave; always strict, all the time” because that’s just not sustainable, and deep down you know it, which means that you’re setting these rules up in a way that’s destined for failure.
Start slow, start simple, start savvy and most importantly, just start. Set up rules that you think will be almost too easy to achieve at first, leave yourself hungry to work harder, and then slowly ramp up the intensity so you have time to adjust, and can actually respect those rules as inviolable, because that will lead to actual consistency, and consistency is what will bring results.
Not Letting Yourself Be Overwhelmed by the Temptations of SE Asia
Now we all know the infamy that certain places in SE Asia hold (particularly one rhyming with Wangclock), and how they cater to the hedonistic indulgences of those that come seeking them. Few places in the world are going to match the temptation you’ll face here, often in unexpected places. Many things won’t even seem like “temptations” per se, but they will be in the sense that they interrupt your regime and cause you to become undisciplined, which, long term, will show in your results.
Let’s skip over the obvious, such as cheap, abundant unhealthy foods or heavy substance use; maybe a weekend of diving turns into a week enjoying Koh Tao, or a two-day trip to Penang on the Malaysian border gets extended after you run into visa issues, leading to logistical issues that’ll take who knows how long to sort; these things will cut into your progress, and hey, for many they’re arguably more important, which isn’t a bad thing, but that will still lead to one suffering because of the other, and while one may be the most important of the two, both are in an absolute sense, and balance should still be aimed for one way or another.
So how do we handle these difficult situations as they arise? Because unless you’re hunkered down in a hut, doing nothing but eat, train and sleep, they inevitably will. You can either juggle them on your own and struggle to keep your gains through these predicaments best you can, oooooooooooorrrrrr…
What to Do When You’re Struggling to Stay Afloat
The situations above are just examples of the many occasions in which you’ll find your progress throttled, and hurdles thrust in front of you that may often be too tall to leap, considering the weight you’ll already be carrying by virtue of just how much difficult your scenario and overall goals are to begin with. So what can you do to streamline this process? You can outsource the heavy lifting, that’s what. The metaphorical lifting, at least; the literal lifting is still very much on you.
I’ve coached hundreds if not thousands of clients over the years, many in situations akin to this one and with goals just as ambitious. The logistics that go into this, the details often overlooked, the mistakes made by first-timers hurling themselves into this chasm not knowing just how deep it goes, they lead to many lessons learned, yes, but at the cost of progress one could have made if you had simply had someone with the experience already under their belt to show the way. And that, of course, is what I’m here for.
Sign up now and enlist me, Fred Chevry, to help you overcome said hurdles, avoid said mistakes and achieve said progress by learning from the mistakes of others, and the decades of expertise accumulated in the process, so you don’t have to pay the price for those mistakes yourself.
In a single word: No. There isn’t a person on this planet for whom weight loss is impossible. For some, fat loss is particularly tough due to digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, or any number of other factors, but even if you’ve been dealt a shoddy hand, don’t lose hope. You can lose weight.
So what can I do to actually lose weight?
Losing weight for those to whom it doesn’t come naturally is hard. Everybody has struggles, be it losing (or sometimes gaining weight), academic issues, or even financial issues. What comes easily for some, feels unachievable to others, and we can’t condescend to those having a hard time where we don’t.
In this article, we’re going to work our way through every step regarding weight loss: understanding the mechanics at play, what to avoid, where to focus your efforts, and how to both guarantee results and (most importantly) ensure their permanence; what’s the point of digging yourself out of the hole, just to fall right back in?
Accepting Responsibility, and Taking Control
The first thing that you’ll need to do is, as the heading says, accept responsibility, which in turn, gives you control. You can lose weight. Whatever it is that has you convinced otherwise, can and must be dealt with. You won’t make progress until you acknowledge the fact that it’s within your power to do so, which it 100% is.
This means that your body, which requires energy to function, will need to pull said energy from somewhere to keep you alive, to keep you moving. If over the course of a day, you consume 1200kcal, yet burn 1300kcal, then your body needs to find those extra 100kcal elsewhere. In all except medically extraordinary cases, this “somewhere” will be your fat reserves. It’s as simple as that, despite how tired I assume you are of hearing it. If you enter a caloric deficit, which you are entirely capable of doing, you will lose weight. I do understand that it can be infuriating when you’re adamant that you are in fact doing everything correctly, but I assure you, there is a mistake being made, and whatever it is that’s preventing you from losing weight, can be identified and corrected.
Think of it this way, what’s more likely: defying the very laws of physics by creating energy and thus allowing your body to consume more calories than ingested without burning fat/losing weight, or, miscalculating your calorie intake & output and accidentally eating more, or burning less, than you thought you were?
Identifying the Problem Impeding Your Weight Loss
Once you’ve accepted responsibility and assumed control, you can start directing that newfound control towards pinpointing what it is exactly that’s hampering your progress. It could be any number of things, which will mostly fall into one or both of two categories:
Miscalculating your calorie intake:
Are you sure you’re eating as many calories as your diet demands? Between sauces, drinks, cooking oil, etc, it’s insanely easy to overshoot if even the smallest thing gets shrugged off. That extra splash of oil when cooking can mean a 200-400 calorie difference per day depending on the number of meals cooked this way, which is all it takes to completely halt weight loss for many, if not actually bring on weight gain instead.
Insufficient caloric output:
In that same vein, are you burning as many calories as you think you are? I’ve had clients often greatly overestimate their caloric output since they’ll assume that the intensity of the exertion will match the calories burnt in a somewhat intuitive way, which is actually rarely the case. Those extra splashes of oil I just mentioned? They’d take a 135lb person approximately 30 minutes of continuous, moderate-intensity running to burn off. That’s right; what is for some their entire days’ worth of exercise, can be negated with an extra tablespoon or two of oil per meal.
These mistakes can stem from many things, be it a failure to account for variables that are deemed negligible, as many people believe that “it’s just a rounding error”, or “this doesn’t really count” (which it does, because the body doesn’t work that way), as well as frequent misunderstandings regarding the mechanics at play here; for example, a belief that anything “healthy” can be consumed guiltlessly (also entirely untrue: weight loss is about quantity, not quality).
All these things can be prevented by finding a reliable plan to stick to, and accepting that, as it is not one’s field of expertise, it’s not wise to decide what can and can’t be overlooked. Consistency, diligence, and discipline when it comes to these things are what make the difference between spinning your wheels, and a successful transformation.
Formulating an Actual Attack Plan to Tackle the Issue
Now, with those previous steps covered, you are both in control and have a clear target to direct this newfound power towards. It may seem like this step is somewhat trivial, a matter of “just doing it”, but it’s that very lackadaisical approach that leads to this entire problem in the first place. With all that said, let’s dive into an example.
Sticking to the previous one given, say that after analyzing you’re routine you find that you’ve in fact been overshooting the oil used to cook each meal by ~10g (less than a tablespoon). That means 90kcal per meal, 270kcal extra a day, and that’s conservative. You now go from, say, a 200kcal deficit, to a 70kcal surplus, the complete opposite of what we’re aiming for, which can actually add up weight gain-wise quicker than you’d think, as illustrated in this table*:
*Based off the approximate 7000kcal = 2lb weekly ratio
This applies to everything, as simple as it may seem. Using too much sauce? Switch to zero-calorie alternatives, or get rid of them altogether. Not burning as much as you thought? Train for longer, or eat less. LocaSo rather than losing 0.4lbs a week, you’d gain between 0.1 – 0.2. How do we tackle this? More accurate measurements. Use a scale, or a measuring cup, even for the smallest amounts, since the pennies will eventually add up to a pound if left unattended.
te a problem, identify and implement a solution. Again, all seemingly obvious, but it’s far too easy to just write things off when we feel like they’re small enough to be inconsequential; unfortunately though, in this case, we can take no such liberty.
Every little thing matters. One small slip can really be all it takes to deviate from the direction you need to be moving in, and thus you’ll need to be firm and unforgiving in your approach. Once you’ve fallen into this groove, the next step comes into play.
Losing Weight, and Making Sure the Weight Loss Is Sustainable
Congratulations! If the prior steps have been followed to the letter, you will have begun to consistently lose weight. But don’t get comfortable just yet, weight loss is a symptom of an overall lifestyle change and one that will only persist as long as you do. There is no “30-day challenge” or “90-day intensive regime” that’ll provide long-term results, because your body is a real-time reflection of your way of life, and therefore requires maintenance.
Say you aim for a pound a week, and after 12 weeks, 12lbs lost, you feel you can finally relax, ease off the throttle and enjoy all those things you miss so much. Well, without diving into the concept of homeostasis or the many other lesser physiological phenomena at play here, the simple reality that old habits bring back old problems should alone be enough to illustrate why such a relapse isn’t on the table. If you slowly inch back into old ways, the reflection of those habits will come racing back.
For this very reason, the slow and steady approach is what anyone worth their salt would recommend; you’re not focusing on burning the fat, for the same reason you don’t just trim weeds, because they need to be ripped out from the root. Your lifestyle needs to change, and that’s no small feat, which means giving it the respect and time required for such a shift.
Accept what it is that such a goal actually means, and what it’ll take to truly get there, and you’ll see how different things will be, for the better.
Adapting to Scenarios in Which Your Progress Is Threatened
Next comes what I’d say is the most daunting part: in the beginning, whilst one is still finding their footing, weight loss is a fragile thing, as is any major change from one’s previous baseline.
Everybody, including myself and some past clients, has had major trouble avoiding the temptation of going back to certain habits in times of stress and struggle before you’ve been able to fully shake them. These times are the trendsetters, the times that will determine if you’ve what it takes to push through, or if the slightest test will knock you off course.
When these times come, say, a business trip, during which you’ll be away from your kitchen and thus unable to fully control your food, or an injury, completely throwing off your training regime, forcing you into inactivity until you heal, what then? How do you ensure that these don’t spell the end of your progress? Well, I’ve got an answer for that too.
What Can I Do to Make Sure I Keep Moving in the Right Direction?
As that previous section illustrated, there’s a reason so many stumble and fall on their journey towards achieving the body they want for themselves, because, as stated at the very beginning of the article, it’s simply no easy feat. Even amongst those who achieve it, as sobering and bleak as this stat may be, 90% find themselves gaining all the weight back. Why?
Because while everyone has a body, and everyone eats, moves, and aspires for improvement in one way or another, that doesn’t mean that everybody is qualified or equipped to embark on this journey on their own. Most often even, a guiding hand is needed, a hand which will save you both time and perhaps counterintuitively, money, by providing you with decades of expertise with which to traverse this metaphorical path and find your way to where you want and need to be, avoiding every trip and detour, every mistake and mishap that is inevitably made when heading down this road for the first time, and most importantly, help you retain your progress once you get there.
Sign up now and enlist me, Fred Chevry, to help pave said road so that your journey can be that much smoother, and so together we can get you there and beyond in the most efficient way possible.
Short answer: it depends. A virtual fitness training app will help fill in many of the gaps which may be the hole in your sinking ship, allowing you to no longer take on water and continue sailing smoothly towards your objectives. Within these are a variety of options, however, some are more all-encompassing than others.
So what exactly should I look for in an app?
In this article, I’ll break down exactly that:
The benefits to be had
The types to be found, and how they compare to one another
What they offer that simply can’t be achieved on one’s own
After which we’ll take a bit of a deeper dive into the reality of what it takes to maximize one’s potential, as well as a conclusion that’ll help get you started.
Now, with all that said, let us step into the first entry on that very list:
Benefits of a Virtual Fitness Training App
When it comes to evaluating an app and what it can do for you, you have to remember: what is this app? It’s a compilation of code, running on your phone, that manages information for you. You’re the one that needs to go to the gym, you’re the one that needs to eat the right food, and you’re the one that needs to get ample rest; the app cannot do that for you. But what can it do for you?
A Fitness Mobile App Can Do The Following:
Coordinate and structure your workouts, often providing access to a variety of premade (and subsequently cookie-cutter)
Keep a log of your dietary habits so that you can track and properly visualize your nutrition intake, accounting for extremely important variables (calories, macros, etc.) otherwise unfeasible for most gym-goers
Help ensure you’re getting adequate rest by advising the ideal hours you’d need to sleep, both in terms of quantity and time of day, to ensure optimum recovery.
An app provides guidance, information management, and peace of mind that all the data you need to worry about when it comes to training. This includes your weight progression on your lifts, your bodyweight progression, your PR times for your cardiovascular endeavors, your meal plans/dietary guidelines, and so on, which are all neatly and conveniently stored in an easily accessible place, allowing you to optimize this entire process and delegate it to a third party.
Now, Virtual Fitness Apps are not a “one size fits all” product. There are many kinds, for a wide variety of potential users, with an even wider array of goals., I’m going to share my opinion on the two of the most prominent and worthwhile options, comparing how they stack against each other.
Fitness Trackers vs Personalized Coaching Apps
The two most widely used forms of fitness-focused apps, given that most of the demographic in question is either an athlete with a hyper-specific need or an individual looking more so for a tool or method, to help them improve their general fitness, are:
Fitness Trackers: Such as MyFitnessPal, HeavySet, WorkIt, FitBod, and the like. These help monitor your progress, keep tabs on your workouts, diet, rest (although typically only one of these), and so on. Sometimes they’ll even have templates you can select from within those same categories. But you have to remember, these templates weren’t built & tailored to you; they were put together for [insertAppHere]’s userbase, in an attempt to offer a greater service to their customers.
Personalized Coaching Apps: As mentioned in the last few sentences above, some trackers offer templates for your efforts in each branch of fitness. With Personalized Coaching Apps (which themselves are more so a service rather than a tool) you are provided with programs that are not simply templates, but are as the name suggests, personalized for you by your Coach. They are specifically what you need to reach your goals in the smoothest, most seamless timeline possible. All the aforementioned aspects are also included (tracking your food, training, and rest), although these are taken care of for you rather than simply providing the means for you to track them yourself.
Tailored to the individual
Allows for delegation
Now, the choice between the two may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, assuming both are equally available to you, but there are still some nuances to take into account, such as:
What Do I Get Out of an Online Coach That I Can’t Get On My Own?
A question I often hear asked by those contemplating such a leap, which I’ve heard time and time again: why should I enlist such a service? What do you bring to the table to make this commitment worth it? Well, I’ll tell you.
The changes you seek to make, and the goals that you’re looking to reach, they’re no small feat. If you were just looking to drop a few pounds or to feel a little more in shape, you wouldn’t be here. But you want more than that. The inclusion of “Gain Muscle” in the very name of the article illustrates that.
Your physique is a reflection of your lifestyle, a result of the way you carry yourself in your day to day, and the fruits of your labor, both for better and for worse. Changing one’s lifestyle is no small feat, and many underestimate what it takes to truly steer yourself in an entirely different direction. It means eating differently than you currently do, sleeping differently than you currently do, and living differently than you currently do. Such a change is no small feat, and for many, ends up being too tall a mountain to climb, not because they’re incapable, but rather because they didn’t have the right plan to traverse those metaphorical heights.
A coach is your tour guide lest you get lost in the woods, the chef that knows exactly what to do with the ingredients he’s given, the plumber who can get your system back to tip-top; and sure, you can google your way through it, and bang on the pipes yourself, but we all know how that tends to go. Knowledge, and experience; that is what a coach brings.
How an Online Coach Can Help You Finally Break That Plateau and Get You Progressing Again
Now, as nicely put as that all may have been, what are some examples of this expertise? You now know why a coach makes all the difference, but how do they do it?
Well, let’s quantify it. Put it into (somewhat arbitrary, as this is an analogy,) numbers for the sake of a more vivid description.
Let’s say that you, given that you have a job to give most of your time to, social obligations to fulfill, and hobbies/interests to partake in, as well as however many other obligations you may currently have on your plate, you may found yourself rather spread thin.
To add on top of that, not only the immediate time of training but the time investment required to inform yourself on the topic, so that you can make the right choices when it comes to exercise selection, training frequency, rest allocation, dietary management, etc.
We all have unforeseen circumstances should something arise that requires you to restructure, like a late day causing you to miss a session, hazardous weather, or any other issues, personal or otherwise, that may get in the way. One missed session, on, say, a Friday, can be a slippery slope into comfort over consistency. But not with an online coach.
A coach introduces consistency through accountability. With their expertise, a missed session can be compensated for in the next, a missed meal factored into the next day, or improvised elsewhere. It’s someone to confide in and resort to when things veer off the path. Someone whose expertise will help you avoid mistakes that, tallied up, could save you months that would’ve otherwise been squandered.
A coach is a mentor that not only ensures you’ll be doing things in the best way possible for you, but takes the load off your plate as well, making it that much easier to maintain the balance in your life while working towards being the best version of yourself.
The Raw Truth Behind Motivation, Consistency, and Accountability
This next part comes as a bit more of a hard hitter, but it’s a reality that eludes many, myself included for a time. But one that anybody looking to improve themselves needs to come to terms with.
Consistency in a field that doesn’t come to you naturally is hard.
If this were something you could just wake up one day, decided to do, and subsequently accomplish, then we wouldn’t be here, would we? For many, it’s effortless, but that’s because everyone has their strengths: some breeze through academia while struggling to make friends, while others are the prom king or queen with hardly an effort, but sweat at the thought of a test.
For the latter, improving their social skills will be as difficult as studying will be for the former.
Turning a weakness into a strength is a daunting task, and that aforementioned consistency requires motivation that does not come easy when plateaus are inevitably hit. This leads to down periods, the likes of which are not easily bounced back from without the proper accountability, which for most, especially in matters like these, is even more of a challenge without a third party to assist them.
This is the other side of what a coach brings to the table. Not just logistical guidance, but a helping hand to the end of the tunnel, from someone who’s already walked it before.
Getting Started With an Online Fitness Coach
All this can seem like an overwhelming realization and subsequent need, I know it was for me at least. Knowing just how much you’ll be missing out on without a coach compared to simply “winging it”, can make the pressure to find the right one a little much, to make sure that if you’re going to commit to this, it needs to be done correctly. Conveniently, though, you needn’t look far.
I’ve been in this business for over a decade, and have coached people from all walks of life, from athletes looking for an edge to absolute beginners still finding their footing, and I’ve got the track record of clientele to show just what kind of work we’ve accomplished together.
If you’re hesitant about taking the leap, it’s understandable; big choices like this will incite those feelings. Let me get you through them, though, and show you that, with myself as your guide, your goals will be within reach in a way they’ve never been before, ready for you to seize them. Click here to get yourself started, and we can get you hurtling towards your goals faster than ever.