Couch Potato Warrior

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As a former fat kid and big eater, nutrition was key for my success when transitioning into a healthy lifestyle.  Even overweight, I was still an active kid who played out in the neighborhood and participated in community sports.  The calories I burned on a daily basis weren’t in question.  It was the lack of proper nutrition and overeating that left me in the body I hated so much.  When I became a personal trainer, I assumed that if you were “fat” it wasn’t because of lack of exercise but more so the excess of calories eaten.  At times, it would be difficult to believe a client, who at 300 plus pounds, claimed their eating wasn’t in question.  One client not only proved me wrong but exposed me to just how different some of our lifestyles can be.

Let’s call my past client, “Ann.”  Ann came to me, when opening my first gym as a fitness director.  Ann had her initial fitness assessment with me and it was everything I could do to make her feel comfortable in her new gym surroundings.  Ann had never been a part of a gym before nor had she ever worked out a day in her life.  Ann was approximately 350 pounds at just over 50% body fat.  When taking notes on all that Ann did within her day at work and home, my preconceived conclusion was that for her to maintain such a high bodyweight, she must be overeating her calories.  Ann signed up for one year of personal training.  We had a target goal that by this time next year, Ann would be 100 pounds lighter!

Every two weeks I test my client’s weight and body fat.  On our very first weigh in, I noticed that Ann had barely lost a pound.  I wasn’t too concerned because the possibility was high that she gained a few pounds of muscle for Ann is now doing activities she has never done before.  When testing her body fat, Ann’s body fat percentage remained the same as when she first came in.  Keep in mind that Ann is now taking part in an active resistance training program paired with cardio.  For Ann not to have changed told me that something must be wrong outside of the gym, i.e. her nutrition.  When digging deeper into Ann’s daily food intake, she was telling me everything I wanted to hear.  Ann ate a small breakfast.  She would nibble on a small snack for lunch and dinner was always a healthy meal with no late night snacks or binging.  With the amount of daily calories Ann was taking in, it was hard to believe that what she was telling me was true.  Ann’s next task was to keep a food journal for 2 weeks for me to analyze on our next weigh in.

Upon next weigh in, Ann’s numbers remained stagnant.  It seemed impossible that with her training and cardio, that her body wasn’t coming along faster.  After reading through her food journal, she was only consuming about 800 calories per day.  I softly said that it was impossible for her not to see changes by this point and that she much not be telling me the whole truth about what she was eating.  I don’t recall the exact moment in Ann’s training when we figured out her issue but it wasn’t nutrition.  Ann barely ate and it would only be assumed that with the added exercise within the gym, she would have seen much better results.  It wasn’t until we figured out the calories Ann burned on a daily basis were the culprit, not her appetite!  Ann’s job required her to sit in a cube for 8 plus hours straight and there wasn’t much movement at home either.  When tallying up her daily calories burned, Ann was only burning 600 to 800 calories, making it next to impossible for her to see results without further taking food away from her.  Ann needed to move more!  Ann needed more activity in her day!  If you’re anything like Ann, than eating healthy alone may not get you to where you want to be.  Read on below for ideas to get your engine burning a little faster during times that a gym visit may not be feasible!

Walk the dog – Not only do you get to bond with man’s best friend, you’ll burn some calories in the process!

Play with your children – Along with burning a ton of calories trying to keep up with the little ones, you’re setting the example for them to continue living an active lifestyle!

Park in the back of the parking lot – You will burn a few extra calories that add up over time and the resale value on your ride will pay off when you minimize door dings for rarely will someone park next to a car in the back of the lot!

Take the stairs – A few stories per day keep the trainer at bay!  Stair climbing is a great way to burn some calories not to mention can be challenging as a leg work out altogether!

Walk on breaks – Your co-workers leave every 30 minutes for a cigarette and it makes you sick for you don’t get paid to smoke.  Go burn some calories by walking around the office or workplace during your 15 minute breaks.

Walk!  Don’t ride – Unless you CAN NOT walk due to injury or age, then use the electric chairs you find at your local convenience store.  When you plot your butt in that auto-chair because it makes you too tired to walk the store, you’ve given up and only further hinder your ability to ever pull out of the void you’re falling into.

Be a commercial warrior – Instead of looking into the cabinets and cupboards during commercial breaks, try some basic movements like simply standing up and sitting down at your chair for the entire commercial break.  Start by going one commercial on, one commercial off.  You’ll challenge the largest muscles in the body, the legs and butt, helping to burn maximum calories while watching the boob tube.