When I was traveling recently on my holiday break, when people asked me what I do, I told them that I make people’s lives happier by helping them lose weight and be healthier.
Most people with whom I talked had a point of view about weight loss, and some others wanted advice. Some told me that Zumba, running, shakes, or diets are effective for weight loss. But what really got my attention was that these people were overweight and out of shape. If all those great ideas really worked, why weren’t these people really doing them? Go figure.
A paradigm is a belief about what the world is like. You can tell what people believe by watching what they do, because they always behave consistently with their deeply held belief. It is not necessarily what they say they believe, but what they really believe that counts.
While is true that many of the methods people mentioned work, what is important is to take into consideration that people need to be consistent and do them regularly.
“Weight loss can be simple,” I explained to some of my fellow travelers. “But I don’t recommend focusing merely on weight loss. My clients and I get healthy results and toned bodies using varied routines and techniques. None of the methods people list works alone. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that people don’t want to lose weight just for the sake of losing weight since they often end up with a sloppy body when they are only focused on the scale. The reality is that they want to look their best and hopefully amazing. They want legs and arms toned, flat abs, a nice straight back, and overall an attractive body. This is where my being an expert comes in. I give my clients all the techniques, routines, motivation, and encouragement they need to get the results that they are looking for.
No one I had a conversation with on my trip mentioned weight lifting as being important for weight loss, but a large part of my fitness plan is weight lifting for people of all ages and body types. It surprises me that many people are not aware of the importance of weight lifting. Let me enumerate a few of the benefits. It lifts the gluts, tones arms and legs, makes flat abs, and makes the waist look smaller and over all shapes the body and increase the metabolic rate among other benefits. It also prevents bone loss in older men and women, which helps them stay agile and fit.
So I recommend getting a weight lifting plan incorporated into your weight loss program. You will notice the difference after two weeks. But don’t forget to be consistent. Persistence pays off.
Lately I have been asked by many of my clients how many calories they should eat. This is the reason why I am writing this article. It is true that the amount of calories is an important consideration in weight loss, but it isn’t more important than the type of calories eaten. So my answer is, “The best thing you can do is eat a healthy diet high in organic vegetables, fruits and whole grains and low in meat, eat on schedule and drink only water. Once you are eating healthily, worry about the calories. I bet when you are there, calories won’t matter to you anymore.”
Sometimes people try to lose weight without knowing what they really want. For many weight loss is not what they are really looking for. They usually want to get a toned body, to avoid diseases, to have an attractive body, to feel better, fit in their old cloth and so on.
When people focus only on losing weight many times they opt for poor approaches, such as dieting, pills and surgeries. This may lead to weight loss but not to the real results that the client is looking for, such as an attractive body or avoiding diseases.
When people determine what they really want, they can find the right process to get there. For example, if people are looking for a toned body, dieting or eating healthily alone will not get them to their goal, although they might lose weight. Or if they really want to avoid disease, maybe exercising alone is not what they need. They need to improve their eating habits as well.
Anyway, cutting calories is not the right path to achieve your desires. Cutting calories may not tone the body, may not get rid of fat, may not avoid disease and may not help to achieve an attractive body.
The biggest reason we eat is because we need nutrients in our body. Real foods have calories, but they also have nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and protein. Some products have calories but no nutrients, hence the term “empty calories.” Therefore, it’s not the same eating or drinking 1,000 calories from foods rich in nutrients than from foods deficient in nutrients.
Can you get the same benefit by replacing 500 calories of vegetables with 300 calories of alcohol? Is your body getting the nutrients it needs to avoid disease, tone your body or make your metabolism more efficient?
How about if you replace 500 calories of organic, homemade food with 300 calories of ultra processed foods that have all nutrients removed and chemicals added so they last longer? Will you be healthy? Will you have more energy? Will your organs work properly? Are you going to lose fat?
There is a research done in Brazil were people ate the same amount of calories. A group of people ate ultra processed foods and the other group whole foods. Interesting enough, people who ate the processed food became obese. While the other group kept the same wait. You may read my article about the research here:
Focusing on your real goal instead of losing weight for the sake of losing weight will help you find the path to get there.
To answer the question mentioned in the first paragraph, the calories that a person needs depends on the level of activity, body type, weight, height, lifestyle and metabolic rate. It can vary from 1,500 to 2,500 daily, according to many sources.
People cope with depression in different ways — with psychotropic drugs, alcohol, shopping or food.
I know how hard depression can be. I have been there. Therefore, I can empathize with people who have been or are in depression. It took me three years before I could regain my confidence.
Depression is a state of mind. It happens to everyone, especially when we suffer a loss, such as the death of a close loved one, a divorce, the foreclosure of a house in which we’ve invested part of our life or the loss of a body part such as our legs, eyes, arms, etc. It is common sense that we are going to get depressed when losing something that used to be part of our life and added value in some way.
I have a client who was overweight by about 25 pounds. After the death of her mother, she gained 45 more pounds. She weighed 185 pounds and was 5 feet tall. She was sedentary and overeating because she did not care about life. I called this autodestructive habit. She was living a depressing life for two years until she understood that her mother wanted her to be happy and let her rest.
My client changed her psychological outlook and started to walk, hike and eat healthily. She lost 15 pounds on her own. Then she got stuck, and even though she tried, she could not continue losing weight. She thought it was impossible to lose more weight, until she came to see me.
This is when I met her. She told me her story and how she had lost the 15 pounds. She thought she was eating healthily. I bet she was eating healthier than before, but she needed some improvements in her eating habits. The walking and hiking was not enough for her anymore. So she signed up with our weight-loss program. My client now has lost an additional 20 pounds and weighs 150 pounds. She is losing an average of 5 pounds per month. She has being with us for 4 months now.
After my client figured out her problem, she took imperfect action, and when she got stuck she asked for a professional. She decided to continue her journey and not give up and regain the weight she lost. My client is very happy with her results and is motivated to continue losing the extra pounds.
Maybe you can relate to her story and you need some motivation or a model to follow that shows you that the extra weight you have can be shed. She told me that it’s never too late to try something new.
“If it’s revenge that you seek, you’d better dig two graves.” This is a Chinese proverb that makes a lot of sense in two ways, in my opinion:
In the first place, I come from a very poor area of Mexico. Dangerous gangs fight each other for territory and respect. When I was younger I used to hang out with a very mean guy named Beto. One day I saw him beating up a guy and stepping on his head because he was messing with his girlfriend. We all knew in the neighborhood that Beto was one of the most dangerous guys on our streets. He not only beat up guys, he would get angry enough to kill.
I am about to publish my book that talks about some dangerous situations I got into from hanging out with people like Beto. As for Beto himself, he lost many of his family members because he got into gang wars. He almost got killed many times, and I have no idea if he is still alive. The last time I heard from him, he was in jail.
The truth is that many people are full of anger and can’t forgive a slight. This is how the chain of revenge starts. For example, Beto lost family members because he was always seeking revenge, and one day it might be his turn to go.
The second example of how the proverb makes sense to me deals with a friend whose boyfriend left her for another woman. When I spoke to her, it was very obvious she was hurting from the decisions her ex made. She wanted the guy to feel the same pain she was feeling and make him feel destroyed and humiliated like she did. She had a lot of anger. She struggled to understand that her anger would do nothing to make this guy feel like she feels, and if she had the opportunity to make this guy feel like her, she would be spending a lot of her energy on revenge that would worsen the circumstances not only for him but for her when she could be focusing on her happiness. If she remains angry for life or until she achieves her revenge, she might die bitter and without happiness. In other words, she might be dying alive.
I made many mistakes and hurt many people, and because I am a human being and I understand how everyone else feels, I always ask for forgiveness from the person and compensate for the mistake. We are only human beings, and we are going to continue making mistakes. That does not mean that we should just make decisions without thinking and not take the consequences into consideration. It means a mistake is something that we took for granted because we unconsciously failed to consider the consequences. In other cases, we just become blind to reality.
Beto and I were not good friends. I just knew him from the street, but we never really got close. One day, he got very mad at me and beat me up; a couple of face punches and I was on the floor. Luckily that was enough for him to release his anger and leave me alone. I think I never sought revenge because I knew what could have happened.
I got unjustly arrested by a Glenwood police officer who treated me like a delinquent. I got angry at the time and was thinking about using all my resources to sue him, but I would have spent all my energy on something that does not really matter. I lost 10 hours of my life and a couple of hundred dollars and a gained a headache to reinstate my driver’s license. My only hope is that he is happy thinking he brought a very dangerous person to justice.
I have been left for another guy; I spent a lot of money on two surgeries that were not the right ones and had to be redone, costing more money; I have had money stolen violently … you get the point. However, I don’t live with anger or feelings of revenge. Of course, this is nothing compared to what has happened to other people. I have heard the worst stories. Nevertheless I have reasons to be angry and bitter, but I choose to be happy and forgive and understand everyone who has done wrong to me because I have done wrong as well.
Can you imagine if I would have gotten mean and fought Beto later on? Or if I would have gotten into a conflict with the police officer? Or lived my life with anger? I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I could be dead, exhausted, or not moving forward with the goals that really count. Or I could be dying alive.
I also keep in mind that the best revenge I can have is my own success, to show those who treated me unfairly that I am better than they think and that their aggression won’t stop me.
When we have anger and hunger for revenge in a negative way, we end up in wars, or become bitter from the anger, which in turn makes us self-destructive by overeating, doing drugs, drinking and so on.
So when the smart Chinese person wrote the proverb, “If it’s revenge that you seek, you’d better dig two graves,” I think he was giving us advice about how to live a better life.
I think life is very simple. We get what we work for. However, many people work hard and still don’t get what they want. Why is that?
I’ll tell you why. I have a close friend who works very hard to bring food to his table, and he has always worked hard. However, he is still as poor as ever, living day to day. He is overweight, he has some health issues, and he is not very happy with his life. He wonders why.
I have given my friend advice, but it seems that he does not believe that what I tell him is applicable to his life. There are always excuses: “You’ve got it easy,” “You’re smart,” “You have a business,” “You were born an athlete” … you name it.
I have determined that we humans are lazy in two areas of our lives, physically and mentally. My friend loves to do physical work, but mentally he is lazy. This makes me think about something I read years ago in a book by Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sánchez. He said that hard work is not everything; if it were, ants would be the owners of this world.
What am I trying to tell you here? It’s simple. We need to use our brain to succeed in any area, including weight loss.
Well, I can tell you one small secret that I apply in my life and that I teach my clients how to apply in their weight loss program. I have achieved all the goals I have set up, and my clients do the same when they apply this secret.
Last week I got hired by a wonderful guy. He requested private training. He is very smart, very successful, with business all over the country and the world. I noticed that we have something in common, something that other successful people have, and this is my secret.
Goal setting: Set up your long-term goal, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. This is only the beginning. It is important that you program your brain to obtain these specific goals. And the only way to do so is by looking at and reading your goals every day. It is not enough to put your goals on the refrigerator. Put them on your phone, in your wallet, on your computer, on your dashboard, on the wall of your bedroom and anywhere else you can think of. Look at them, read them. Soon, you won’t have to force yourself to do things to achieve your goals; your brain automatically will do it for you, because you are programming your brain to get what you want.
See, if you work without a compass, you will go in circles, and soon you will get tired. If you have a destination, you will get there. Set up your map and read it to be on track every day. Your brain needs to be guided.
When you work hard with your brain and your body, you can get what you once thought was impossible.
One of the questions I ask when people call for information about the Custom Body Fitness program is, “Why do you want to exercise?” The reason I ask is because it is very important to know exactly why our new prospect wants to exercise.
There are people who really just want an exercise that makes them feel like they’re doing something. Others are just looking to have fun, and for many others the doctor told them to exercise and they don’t know where to start. My job is not to persuade them to sign up for our program but to help them understand what they are looking for. Sometimes when I find out what they want, I refer them to a local gym or to the training center around the corner.
But I do have callers who want real results. These prospects are not looking for just any exercise program; they are looking for an exercise program that delivers the results they want, such as losing 30 pounds, toning their body, controlling diabetes or fitting in a two-piece.
The reality is that not all exercise programs yield the same results. Honestly, those people who are planning to get results have an idea that they need to sign up for a program that will not be easy to stick to. Nevertheless, they hope they can stick to it. Here is where a professional exercise program is different from a just “hardcore exercise program.”
If you are one of those people who are looking to get results and want to sign up for a professional exercise program, here is what I recommend you look for:
Motivation: Make sure that the personal trainer is motivational enough to help you get to your goal. You need to be motivated, and you can only get that from people who are motivational by nature.
Buddy: Research shows that people are more successful when they exercise with other people. Find a friend to sign in with or sign up for a group training program to find accountability from other people who have the same goals as you. Make sure these people are supportive, which brings me to my next point.
Family environment: You need people who are looking forward to exercise with you, not against you. It’s okay to be competitive, but the competition should be against oneself, not against your partner. When people are competitive with themselves it inspires other people. On the other hand, when people are competitive with others, the atmosphere can turn heavy and not fun.
Follow ups: You need to know where you start and how far you have gotten. This will help you to stay on track and understand that you are not wasting your time, giving you the motivation to continue on your fitness journey.
Feedback: To stick to your program, you need to understand the things you’re doing right and the things that can be improved so you can polish your exercises and get closer to your goal. Therefore, someone who can continuously give you feedback is important.
Commitment: Your program (or your personal trainer) should have the same level of commitment as you (or even more) to help you reach your goal. Trusting that he will be available and on time as you and he agreed in the beginning will instill in you a sense of responsibility, and the chances of sticking to your program are higher.
Humanistic approach: Many professionals have a high level of expertise and may express their knowledge with technical words. As humans we like to be fancy or technical to show how smart we are. However, sometimes when we try to impress our clients, our humanistic approach disappears. Make sure your team of professionals gives you a humanistic approach, talks from the heart and also has the knowledge to help you.
To get the results you want, you need to find a program that gets you out of your comfort zone. When the program is only “hardcore,” it can be easy to drop because of the level of difficulty. Yet when the program facilitators also get out of their comfort zone by walking the mile extra to help you achieve your goals and this makes you feel that the program is “easy,” your percentage of adherence is higher and your success is guaranteed.
While back when I started exercising, many people would asked me if I was a personal trainer which back then I was only a guy with a dream to improve his appearance. My only goal was to get in shape. On the other hand, I had other “friends” who wanted to discourage me to stop exercising. They would say something like, “When you get older and turned 30 years of age, your body will start getting loser and you will start getting fat.”
Many people start gaining weight after their puberty stage. And the reason it could be because of the habits they have developed. I started lifting weights since I was 19 years of age. I never stopped since then, so I don’t really know what is to be out of shape and I’m very happy with the results weight lifting have brought to my life.
Maybe my friends who thought I would be a fat person passing my 30s believed that I would give up my habits and focus my life in drinking and seating in the couch watching TV like they do.
I don’t think is nothing wrong with their lifestyle if it’s what they want. However, many people want to improve their self esteem, health, appearance and over all their quality of life. And I don’t think practicing negative habits will help them do that.
Here is my little secret I’m reveling to you. Honestly, it is not a secret. If you take some time to think about it, you will notice that it just make sense:
Every single thing you do in your life has consequences. So if your goal is to be healthy, lose weight, be in shape, improve your appearance, run your first marathon or wherever it is, you should start working on it every day. You either work towards or against it.
After hurting my back, completely dislocating my knee, lost a loved one, being in debt, be punished by USA migration and sent back home for months, I continued practicing my good habits and guess what? The prophecy my friends proclaimed did not become true. I’m over 30 years of age (I know I look like I’m 26, but it is just my habits that keep me young) and I continue lifting weights and eating healthy with no pains, healthy, disease free and very happy.
I keep in mind one of the laws I read in my personal development- We create our destiny, nobody else has control of it.
So just practice your good habits every day and they will pay off in the future. Great investment!
It’s interesting that even though many of us know what to eat and all about the benefits of exercise—that it slows downs aging, prevents diseases, strengthen our bones, improves our appearance, and facilitates weight loss– it’s difficult for us to practice those healthy habits.
Lately I have being paying more attention to how the cells function. Cells are the building blocks of life—teeming with many organelles with unique functions, a microcosm of the unique organs inside the larger human body.
One specific organelle in cells, the mitochondria are often called our power plant and are responsible for the production of energy in cells.
The human body functions due to thousands of different cells, all doing their jobs: creating tissues that in turn make up organs, organs make organ systems that enable our whole organism to work. But fundamentally, it all comes down to cell and their health. Cells need energy to function and they get the energy from the mitochondria. Biologists and physiologists explain that the more cells we have the more the mitochondria we have, and the more the mitochondria there is, the more energy is needed. This leads to an increase of metabolism. When we develop more muscle in our bodies, we are actually creating more muscle cells, which need more energy, thus increasing our resting or basal metabolic rate. To say it in a different way, the more muscles the human body has, the more calories it will burn. For every three pounds of muscle we add to the body, we burn around 120 calories more.
Another reason to exercise is that weight lifting helps prevent osteoporosis. When we lift weights, the bone goes into a process that is called remodeling; it adapts to the stress to which it is put. The skeleton replaces itself bit by bit every day like this, and takes seven years to replace all the old bones. So if there is no stress in the human body, the bones remodels itself weaker, and the skeleton weakens accordingly. On the other hand, if the bones are stressed regularly, they develop a stronger skeleton.
A study several decades ago in Brookline, Mass. showed that even the elderly can gain bone strength after a few months of moderate weight training. The study had people over 80 and even over 90 engage in weight training a few times a week, and to the researchers’ surprise, the seniors’ bones got stronger. Great information, right? But what good this information do if we don’t practice it?
Action is what really matters. And action requires will. Albert Einstein once said, “There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy: the will.”
Many people need to boost their grit and their will. If they did, they would use the information they have to achieve their goals.
There are two types of energy: potential and kinetic. Potential energy is like water in a dam. The energy is there, but it’s not moving. Kinetic energy is like a river; it’s moving. Our brain works the same way; we can either keep the information static in our head or put it into action.
Exercising and healthy eating are two good habits that will add value to your life. Such changes will result in losing weight, increasing your energy levels, and avoiding some diseases, such as osteoporosis.
Many people neglect their responsibilities, including looking after their health, until the proverbial “tomorrow.” Unfortunately, “tomorrow” often becomes “never.”
My dream is to help everyone reach their potential and be genuinely happy. Our body is a machine that requires maintenance. Exercising and eating healthy will not only help you look good or lose weight. They are needed for a happier life. Put this into practice and you will see how much value you can add to your life. Make sure you do it now, however, since “tomorrow” may never come.
My dad came to the U.S. recently for the first time. He was overweight thanks to his lifestyle. In Mexico he sits in a taxi almost all day long and doesn’t eat very well. He didn’t think he could lose the weight. When we went shopping I suggested he buy smaller pants, but he didn’t want to. But after some time here he understands why I made that suggestion.
My father joined our fitness program. He is now in his 60s, and he has never been more fit. He lost 45 pounds in six months, gained a lot of strength, improved his posture, is now at 12 percent body fat and loves to run or walk every day, when before those activities were difficult.
He had never lifted a weight before or exercised in a gym. It’s never too late to start, even at 60 year of age. However, proper form and a good program is important to stay safe and healthy.
During training we focus on working most big muscle groups in the body including the pectorals (chest), latissimus dorsi (back), biceps, triceps, deltoids (shoulders), abs, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus (butt). By knowing which muscles we are working on when we exercise, we can target them, avoiding doing movements that are not necessary and which may cause injury. We make sure we have an exercise for each muscle group and do three to four series of each exercise with 10 to 15 repetitions at least three times a day. Overloading the muscle correctly helped my dad improve his strength and avoid injury. If the muscle is not overloaded, there is no progress. However, if the overload is too much, injury may happen.
For many older adults, we stay away from high impact exercises to avoid any injuries. We isolate each muscle group, and we often work on balance with some equipment. Form is very important with each exercise to avoid overloading other muscles due to compensation.
A weight-lifting program not only helps people lose weight, it also helps build the muscles that we lose due to aging. As you probably know, we lose muscle as we get older. I know that many people want to stay young, and the only way to stay young and healthy is by exercising and weight lifting properly. Using periodization helps slow down the effects of aging.
Walking, running, hiking, biking and swimming are also beneficial in a different way. Weight lifting helps the heart become more efficient, but these exercises are more effective at that by targeting the heart and making it work to meet demand. The heart is a muscle that needs to be challenged just like the rest of the musculoskeletal system. When the heart is more efficient it sends more blood to the body, delivering more oxygen and nutrients and removing waste from the body. The heart does this when we are young, and we can continue that process as we age.
Proper stretching is important with any high impact exercise such as running to avoid scar tissue buildup and injuries. As we age we lose flexibility as well, and stretching helps to maintain a healthy range of motion to prevent injury. Many people can’t see the connection between tightness and injuries. Usually they blame weight lifting, running or any other activity they were doing. While is true that the activity may contribute to the injury, often the biggest factor is the tightness of the muscles.
It is essential to exercise properly to keep it as safe as possible and continue delivering results. My father has being exercising with me for nine months achieving great results, and he’s enjoying his life more with fewer limitations. He is improving his health and avoiding injury. Exercise properly at a later age is a need to stay independent and continue doing physically activities that we love to do.
Before I started exercising, I weighed 130 – 135 pounds. I loved my body back then. I did not compare my body with someone else. I didn’t even know there was a difference between my body and others. It could be because the society where I grew up did not put attention in insignificant details.
One day I was working with a body builder. I noticed his body was different than mine. We worked together doing an extremely physical job. I remember asking him how he got his body. I asked if he did it by doing the physical work of our job. He answered, “No, I wished. I exercise.”
I remember being in harmony with my body. I didn’t dislike my body. I never thought about my long neck, skinny legs, skinny arms, small belly and flat chest. I only set up a goal and I worked towards it. Setting my goals was important, but it was not enough. It was my actions: what I was doing to increase my muscle mass. I started going to the gym every day. I stopped drinking. I was tired from work, but I still went to the gym and gave my best. I started eating in a different way than I was eating before.
Finally, I started to see results after three months. I was not, however, where I wanted to be. So I continued. Three years after, I reached my first plateau. Still, I saw other guys more muscular than me. They were in the gym, magazines, movies, music videos… I wanted to be like them. I tried harder but my body was not built to be bigger. Sometimes, “friends” would come and tell me if I stopped lifting weights because I was smaller. They knew that phrase would bother me.
After taking my time meditating and studying my past, I understood that I was happy with my body, no matter what others said. And one of the reasons why I didn’t care was because the environment never put ideas about a perfect body in me. I started caring when others contributed to my thoughts.
I kept studying my journey. I noticed that I replaced many bad habits by good habits. As an example, I replaced drinking by exercising. My body shape changed; I’m stronger; I have more energy, my clothing fits me better and I hardly get sick. My happiness was not the “new body,” but the good habits I acquired. So I continue practicing all the new habits.
Later in the future, I understood that many guys in magazines take drugs and other guys have a different type of body than I do. Drugs or supplements? No, I care much about my health to take a risk. There are three types of bodies for men and women. The three types are endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph. I’m classified as an ectomorph. The mesomorph tends to be more muscular than my body build. It is impossible for me to be as muscular as the weight lifter mesomorph. This did not mean that I can work around my body type and make it healthy and attractive.
I noticed that it doesn’t matter what type of frame some people have, they usually are not happy with it. They want to have someone else’s frame. People skinny girsl want bigger hips and many girls who have bigger hips want no hips.
I started to accept my body again. And the perception of the “perfect body” went away. I achieved a perfect body. It was healthy, stronger, more energetic, had good posture and more muscle development.
The reality is that we can have an attractive body, be physical and mentally healthy not taking into account the type of frame we have.
To clarify, accept yourself, love your body the way it is, care for it, exercise it, nourish it healthy food. Don’t get persuaded by others. See your clear, realistic goal and start working toward it. What’s most important, what are you going to do every day to get there? Stop drinking? Eat organic? Get rid of junk food? Exercise? Make your new lifestyle a habit.
Find your body type, work it and, please, for the love of God, don’t compare yourself with someone else. You are unique the way you are. You are beautiful! You may improve your physical appearance by losing weight, toning your body, increasing your posture, but only compare yourself with your old you… That is when you start seeing results. Everything begins with the mind and becomes physical when you work for it!