Track Progress to Make Progress

 

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

 

When it comes to reaching goals, whether they are life goals, fitness goals or simple daily goals, one of the most important components is actually tracking your progress. Tracking your progress by writing down the details of the journey towards the goal, provides you with a few key benefits that will help keep you focused on the task at hand, and inevitably allow you to be successful in reaching your goals!

Due to the fact that tracking progress (and the details that accompany it) has proven to be so powerful when it comes to reaching goals, Prezo Grille and Bar and Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training have again teamed up to provide you with an easy way to track progress and help you more easily reach your health, fitness and performance goals.

But before we discuss what Prezo’s and Momentum have been working on for YOU, let’s quickly see why tracking progress is critical to your success. Then read on to find out the special you have in we came up with for you!!

 

 

Accountability: If you consistently track what it is that you are doing, you are less likely to fall off the path to success. For example, you will be less likely to indulge in a chocolate smothered, fat laden, sugar infused “super desert” if you are trying to lose some body fat…You know you have to write it down (and you don’t want that staring back in your face!). You can also ask a friend, family member, co-worker, etc. to review your progress as having a support system tends to lead to greater adherence.

Easy Modification: When you track progress you can see what has worked for you, as well as what hasn’t worked. Did you lose 1% body fat one week and gained 2% the next? What did you do differently? By tracking you know exactly what you did (or didn’t do) and you can more easily adjust your approach. The world’s most successful individuals have tracked their progress, adjusted their approaches and expanded upon what has worked (just Google self-help books, success programs, etc. and you will see what I am talking about). If it has worked for multi-millionaires I would bet my left kidney that it will work for you as well.

 

Remembering how you did it is just as important as doing it!

 

 

Mental Progress: In the journey to reaching any goal, there will inevitably be bumps along the way. When you don’t track progress, these bumps can be detrimental to your success. We tend to dwell on the most recent “measurements” rather than looking at the overall picture. For example, many times individuals will lose an appreciable amount of fat mass when they first adhere to both the principles of healthy nutrition  and a proper training / exercise program only to have a week down the road where progress seems to stall. If these individuals haven’t tracked all of the progress along the way (and how they got there), they may fall victim to that one insignificant week…and we all have them, especially during the summer!…They may then become discouraged and give up on the process all together. Instead, if these individuals were to have tracked progress, they would realize that they have made significant gains and just need to modify or get back to what was working.

AND NOW…

You should have a greater appreciation of the benefits of tracking progress and I am sure you are wondering just what Prezo Grille and Bar and Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training have come up with to help you along your journey to enhanced health, fitness and performance…Well…

 

Prezo’s and Momentum are here to help!!

 

Not only has Prezo’s been providing you with healthy specials/options, but now with my help, Prezo’s will be providing a healthy special with the exact nutrient breakdown! This information will allow you to track the amount calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein that make up the mouthwatering masterpiece.

As a health and fitness professional, I have observed that when individuals track these details for 1-3 weeks, they better understand just how many calories as well as grams of fat, carbs and protein are the ideal amounts for THEM!! In most cases, with 3 weeks  of such precise tracking (you can do this on your smart phone for more convenience…surprise, surprise) individuals become proficient with their major food choices.

 

They don’t call them smartphones for nothing…try the myfitnesspal app (or similar app) to conveniently track progress

Then it becomes more about tracking overall amounts and portion sizes (I like to use the rule of fist for ease, which explains how many fists of protein, carbs and fats you should take in for your goals…for more detail check out my book  or contact me at kyle@momentumpt.com).

So not only can you still indulge in an outstanding option at Prezo’s, you will now have the ability to understand the nutrient breakdown and better track your nutrition, and therefore, overall progress! Ya, that sounds like a winning combination to me.

And like nutrition having a training goal, a plan (program), and a way to track your progress is critical.

When you don’t have a training goal, a specific program, or a way to track progress you are merely “exercise free styling.” Many times this leads you to hitting plateaus and becoming discouraged.

The first step to any efficient program is determining your goal, taking baseline measurements (these may vary depending on your goals but should always include a movement evaluation to ensure optimal gains and injury prevention). Only then can you develop a program designed for your specific goals and needs (or even better, a qualified and reputable coach / facility). Once the program is designed, all you need to do is have a way to track progress, analyze the progress and make any necessary modifications to ensure continued improvement.

At Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training we have every athlete and client complete a health history and goal questionnaire, take them through a specialized movement screen and develop an individualized program where the athlete can track their progress (click HERE to see the layout example individualized program). We coach them through every session (and make modifications on the spot to ensure that they get the most of every session) and update the program according to how the individual athlete / client is progressing.

If the program was not printed out, our athletes / clients would not be able to easily observe their progress. Also, advancement of the program would not be as efficient as we would not have something tangible to build upon.

I like to explain to our athletes / clients that if you don’t know where you are coming from, it much harder to get to where you are going!

In Conclusion

You should have goals in life, which should include a specific goal of health, fitness and performance. By tracking the progress towards your goal, you are more likely to achieve that goal in a much quicker and easier fashion (who doesn’t want that?!)

With Prezo Grille and Bar and Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training you can now have healthy nutrition and proper training (specialized exercise), as well as an easy way to track your progress and ensure success.

Set your goals, seek help, develop a specific plan / program, TRACK your progress, and enjoy the journey.

 

If you found this helpful please share it with your family, friends and everyone else. And if you have any questions please contact me at kyle@momentumpt.com.

How Many Meals Should You Eat Daily?

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

My athletes are consistently asking how many meals they should be eating daily in order to maximize performance, shed fat, build massive amounts of quality muscle and pretty much dominate the athletic world…and turn a few heads as they strut down the beach.

With all of the information you hear about making sure blood sugar doesn’t spike and drop, how your body will go into starvation mode if you don’t eat every 2 hours, or how you should only be eating 1 meal per day as our body was built to survive during long periods without food (intermittent fasting), it is no wonder that my athletes are a bit confused as to which is best.

Well, to tell you the truth, it really doesn’t matter all that much!

Whichever number of meals that allows you to adhere to healthy eating principles, is easiest with your schedule and provides a sense of physiological (satiety) and mental (you should enjoy your food) satisfaction, well, that is the number of meals you should be eating daily.

But there are a few considerations when it comes to figuring out the ideal number of meals…

1-2 Meals Per Day:

You may have heard of intermittent fasting. This is when individuals will go long periods of time (14-48 hours) without eating and then consume large meals over a short feeding window (6-8 hours).

Positives: By eating only one to two meals daily, there is not much preparation or planning that has to be done. And, if you are planning on a large cheat meal (family party, night out on the town, etc), consuming one small meal and then your cheat meal allows you to not over consume too many calories during the day. Also, some research shows that the body reacts positively to this type of meal frequency (optimizing hormonal levels that promote fat loss and “cleanse” the body).

Negatives: By consuming only one to two meals it is likely that you will be “starving” (at least mentally) by the time your feeding window comes around. Many times this will result in indulging in less healthy choices. Also, some experience blood sugar fluctuations that result in subpar energy, performance, etc. Although you will only be eating one to two meals, you are more likely to over consume calories (again, many times calories of a lesser quality) as you know you won’t be eating for a long period of time. And for those looking to maximize muscle, you may experience an unwanted loss of muscle mass. Lastly, if you have any counterintuitive medical conditions or injuries, this meal frequency may leave you lacking necessary nutrients if you are not an experienced “faster.”

Conclusion: This meal frequency is best suited to those who exhibit a great deal of self-control and experience with nutritional regimen, are more geared towards fat loss and do not have counterintuitive medical conditions or injuries.

Now that is self control…is this you?!

3-4 Meals

Your classic “3 square meals” with an optional snack (I consider the snack a small meal).

Positives: This is the middle road of meal frequency. Not too much planning but enough that you will most likely need to prepare and pack at least one meal (lunch), unless you plan on eating out…make sure this is PLANNED and you stick to the healthy principles. By distributing your feedings over 3-4 meals throughout the day, you are likely eating every 4-6 hours which still prevents blood sugar spikes and drops (as long as you are consuming the right food options) and also allows you to sense hunger and eat a bit larger meal when compared to more frequent feedings (this provides more mental satisfaction).

Negatives:  Again, if you lack self-control you may be more likely to over eat during your meals. By only eating every 4-6 hours you leave yourself a large enough period of time to “sneak” snacks or give in to your sense of hunger and opt for less healthy, or too large of portions when it comes to feeding time.

The middle of the road when it comes to meal frequency

Conclusion: This is where I personally have landed when it comes to meal frequency. For years I was consuming 6-7 meals with great results, as it allowed me to more easily solidify self-control and healthy nutritional principles along with great physical results! But, I have found I am able to achieve the same physical results with 3-4 meals and also enjoy my food more. Plus, I do not have to pack as many meals! But again, I have been successful with 3-4 meals because I have learned to control myself, and PLAN, accordingly. Not only does 3-4 feedings allow for large enough meals to be satisfied both physically and mentally, but it also allows the readiness to eat again in a few hours.

5-7 Meals

Positives: You may have heard that consuming many small meals throughout the day keeps the metabolism up by providing “fuel for the fire.” It is true that there is a thermic effect of food when you feed (the body burns calories to convert and store calories) but the amount is not overly significant. The greatest benefits of eating so frequently are that you will always have a form of immediate energy and if you find yourself always ready to eat, well, you know that in 2-3 hours you will be eating again. This prevents overeating…and if your goal is to gain weight, you will actually be able to consume more calories throughout the day a bit easier.

Negatives: With so many meals throughout the day you will find yourself packing a lot of food. If you don’t mind spending a few minutes during the morning to pack your food for the day this may not be a big deal. And the other negative really comes down to satisfaction. When consuming this many meals, you typically never find yourself hungry or completely satisfied. Food is purely fuel (which is not a bad thing especially if you need to establish healthy eating principles).

Establish habits with more frequent meals and then decide which frequency is best for you!

Conclusion: This meal frequency is great for those who have the time to prep numerous meals, who knowingly lack self-control, are trying to shed fat, who are trying to gain weight but find it hard to consume enough calorie over less frequent feedings and who do not require a sense of satisfaction when it comes to food. This meal frequency allows for the easiest adherence to healthy principles and is a great place for most individuals to start before they transition to 3-4 (sometimes 3-5) meals per day.

So How Many Meals Should You Eat?

When it comes to fat loss, muscle gain, energy and overall health and performance, the number of meals you consume really comes down to what best suits your lifestyle. When it comes down to it, every approach will work, but only if you plan your meals, adhere to the principles of healthy eating and consume the appropriate amount of energy (calories) and nutrients to achieve and support your fitness goals.

I would like to hear which approach has or sounds like it will work for you. Post your comments below and share this article  with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and email.

5 Ways Blueberry Picking Will Help Enhance Your Training Program

 

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

This past Saturday I spent the entire morning on a mountain picking blueberries, and I’ll tell you, if you tend to complain about how much they cost, try picking your own and see what you think!

It was hot and humid and the blueberries were scarce. Not only were they scarce but they were some of the smallest blueberries I had ever seen.

Although this may all sound negative, I was able to get out for a day filled with physical activity and I was in the best of company…my Aunt Sue, Uncle Dan and their family are the best!!

And wouldn’t you know, the whole time I was up on that mountain I couldn’t help but think about the amazing correlation between my blueberry picking escapade and training.

 

I bet she is not thinking about training…

Sorry, but it’s just the way my mind is programmed…family and friends first, work second (my athletes, training, nutrition, performance, etc) and then everything else!

So let’s just see what was running through my head for the 6 hours I was trying to top off my berry bucket (which didn’t even come close to happening by the way!) and how it can help you maximize your training program.

 

What Blueberry Picking Teaches You About Your Training Program

1)      Do your research

Before you go out blueberry picking make sure that the picking is good. We were about a week or two late which left us searching for berries that weren’t there!

Before you start a training program, do your research and find the best program for you (one that involves an in depth evaluation and individualized program is best). Make sure the program and/or coach and facility has a great reputation (checking testimonials is always encouraged) and that the program will allow you to maximize your performance potential.

2)      Know that it is going to be hard work

Blueberry picking is no easy task. After you make your way up the mountain you must roam through the brush, which will most likely contain a few pricker bushes along the way. Once you find a respectable blueberry bush you have to pick the berries, sometimes only a couple at a time. It may sound like too much, but if you put in the work necessary the result is well worth it (there is nothing better than wild blueberries for a dollar per quart).

When it comes to your training program and the results you want, after you find the right program for you, know that it is going to take hard work, dedication and consistent effort on your part. But putting in the work will always pay off, even if it is challenging along the way.

3)       There are no short cuts

Blueberry picking takes patience. You may clean pick (berry only, no stems or leaves which takes more time) for an hour or two  only to find that you have gathered far less than anticipated (especially if you don’t do your research…point 1). But don’t turn into a dirty picker (just running your hand down the branch and colleting loads of stems, leaves and rotten/green berries along with the blueberries). You will find yourself spending more time on the back end picking out the undesirables from your harvest. If you just stay patient and continue to pick clean you will actually save yourself more time.

 

 

When it comes to training, stay patient and do it right the first time. Don’t grow impatient and try to force the results by going more intense than you can handle or are prepared for. Refrain from training excessively day after day without adequate rest, going on a crash diet, consuming loads of unregulated supplements, etc, etc. If you don’t, you will find yourself set back by unnecessary injury, illness or some sort of genetic mutation (no one really knows what goes into half of the “latest and greatest super supps”). Stick to the plan, put in the work required and reap the benefits of consistent, quality training.

4)      Something is better than nothing…most of the time

It is simple…If you don’t stop and actually pick blueberries you will go home empty handed. Although you should spend some time finding a quality blueberry bush in order to maximize efficiency, you will have to start somewhere or you will never even begin to fill your bucket. You also have to take note of whether or not you are getting complacent and slowing down, especially when it is hot and humid. Take a break, eat some lunch, hydrate and get back at the picking hard.

 

 

Training is the same way. If you spend all of your time planning on starting tomorrow, or maybe Monday after the weekend, or the 1st of the year, etc. you will never achieve the health, looks and performance you desire. And like blueberry picking, you have to pay attention to your performance during the program. If you start to notice decreased performance / results, you may need a “backoff or deload” week (lighter volume / intensity depending on the individual) to allow the body to recover and then hit it hard again the next week. In both cases, something is better than nothing, even if it seems like small gains (some blueberries or a less achy body).

5)      It’s more about the journey as there is no end destination

From a blueberry picking standpoint, I am confident that I will have a much larger harvest next year for I learned a lot along the journey this year (all the points above). Revisiting and learning from the mistakes I made this year will allow me to modify my approach and make a killing next year, and even better into the years after that (blueberry bushes beware!).  And sometime during the year I will inevitably run out of berries (especially this year!) and will need to go on another trip. It will be a continuous, life long process…get berries, eat berries, pick more berries!

And the same goes for training. You train, learn from your mistakes and modify your program in order to make it more efficient and continue progress and results (or at least your coach/trainer should be able to and if not it is time to find another coach/program!). No matter what you may have heard, a four or six week athletic enhancement program, a 90 day body sculpting bootcamp or DVD and 4 months of Zumba class just won’t cut it as health, fitness and performance are achieved and continued throughout life. Learn along the way and plan to be in it for the long run.

 

 

Plan for the long haul…life is all about the journey!

As you can see, when you are passionate about something you can pretty much draw a parallel between your passion and anything else in life…if you are truly passionate! Although I wish I would have harvested a few more berries, well actually A LOT more, I would do it all over again as I learned a lot along the way, was able to spend some quality time with people I love, and was able to help give you some insight as to what it takes to be more successful with your health, fitness and performance (as well as a few tips about berry picking!).

There is obviously a lot that goes into a training program but it ultimately comes down to getting started. Take the key points from above, seek out some quality help and begin your journey…and one thing I forgot to mention, if you do go berry picking make sure to wear long pants…the pricker bushes can be pretty unforgiving!

It’s That Time of Year Again

 

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

It’s that time of year again!

 

We are in the last month of summer (I know, I know….BOOOOO!!!) and the kids are gearing up and getting ready to go back to school. Along with the school year kicking off, the fall sports season is about to begin.

 

Anytime a new season is just around the corner I always have one great fear.

 

The fear that many of the athletes (and their parents) who have put in the time and the dedication to an off-season training program are going to discontinue training because they feel that during the in-season they don’t have time to train, and heck, all the hard work was put in during the off-season to get ready for the actual season, right?

 

WRONG, DEAD WRONG!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to maintain (and in some cases continue to enhance performance), lower the risk of unnecessary injury and allow athletes to have the most successful season possible, it is not only a good idea to train in-season, it is an  absolute MUST.

 

To find out more about what an in-season program must address and how this will provide athletes with the greatest chance for a successful season, click HERE to read an article I wrote a few months back…it is a good one, I promise. And even if you are not a competitive athlete or parent, the principles of an in-season training program apply to the programs of busy individuals as well.

 

Read, enjoy and ask any questions.

 

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