Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why am I still fat?!

“I’m still working out but I’m not seeing the same results anymore”.

Sound like you? Yeah, it happens. In the beginning everything was so new and fresh our bodies could barely keep up with the stimulus and results were happening rapidly. Then, a couple of month later those once easy to shed pounds weren’t so easy anymore. By month 5 its as though everything has halted. This is called the law of accommodation and it’s your body telling you that somethings gotta change. Lets take running for example: Lets say you’ve never ran a day in your life and this year you’ve resolved to do just that by running one mile everyday. sounds like an admirable goal. The first time out is like hell – you’re a refaced, mouth breathing knuckle dragger flaring around like a fish out of water. Not to mention the omnipresent soreness you’re experiencing for days from the waste down. By week two you’re still a little breathy but the soreness has subsided and you’re actually able to run the whole mile without rest. By week three you’re a pro. Spine is erect, heart rate is only slightly elevated and breath so steady you almost catch yourself yawning half way through. You won… kinda.

On a physical level this simply means that you’ve adapted to the demands you’re exposing yourself to and your body has therefor done its job by acclimating to its new environment. Congrats! However, After a couple shorts months of this you find that the scale stopped moving and in fact you’re gaining again! This can be very frustrating because just getting ourselves motivated to move in the first place was a struggle and now we have to rethink our approach all over again? Really, what this mean is that we need to be one step ahead of our evolutions brilliant capacity to adapt to physical stress and mix up the way in which we experience that physical stress by continually creating varied states of muscle confusion to keep our bodies guessing. Using our running analogy, say you starting incorporating sprints at certain intervals. Jog a block, sprint a block? Now we’re talkin! Back to refaced-mouth breathing all over again. Let the results pour in baby! Now lets say you sprint a block then drop down and do 20 pushups and immediately sprint another block and repeat this for a mile. Now you’re recruiting different muscle groups through different energy pathways hence muscle confusion and your body will in turn create an adequate adaptational response. See my point? Change it up.

This is the beauty and the curse of exercise. On the one hand we want to get to the point where running a mile is cake. On the other hand it carves out a deeper trench of physical potential that can only be filled by more volume and/or work capacity. Simply running a mile isn’t good enough anymore even though just a few short months ago it was more than enough.

This effort-equals-results relationship is relative and holds true for everyone at every stage of the strength and conditioning spectrum. Thats why you hear about olympic level athletes who train 8 hours a day in order to stay competitive. Partly it’s to refine and master the most nuanced of movements but it is also in large part because they’re so conditioned that it takes 10 times the volume to reap just a 1% increase in ability for someone at that level.

Now, I know we’re not all olympic athletes but we can extrapolate and scale this back to our life and our personal fitness goals. It is usually at this point of accommodation that people fall off the wagon so to speak. Throwing their hands in the air convinced that they’re cursed and will never get the results they want. Do not fret. Instead of throwing in the towel this is where you must dig deeper. Recommit and test your resolve. Meet the challenge head on and embrace the reality that no one ever accomplished anything great by repeating the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. So simple. So true. The car that got you to the rendezvous point may not be adequate to get you up the mountain. For this you need to recognize the limitations of your current mode of transportation and change vehicles.

So what now? What can one do to keep an edge and continue seeing quantifiable results? The short answer is change your routine about every 6 weeks. Does that mean stop lifting weights and go do yoga or Pilates instead? Not necessarily. More like change the way you lift weights or run. If you’ve been back squatting the same ol weight for the ol reps on the same ol days then it doesn’t take a fitness mastermind to spot a problem in your programming. One workout do 5 sets of 5 reps, the next do 10 sets of one really heavy rep, the next do 8 sets of 3 reps… You can use that same approach for any muscle group. Catch my drift? Always keep your body guessing. We’ve evolved as a specific because of our ability to adapt and conserve so as soon as we’ve released the minimum effected amount of energy (body fat) necessary to adapt to the newly heightened level of exertion we resort back to conservation mode as a survival mechanism. From an evolutionary standpoint it is inefficient for us to operate at a high metabolic rate unless we are continuing to physically adapt to increasingly greater levels of strength, speed, endurance, agility, power, flexibility etc…

To keep your metabolism going strong and your progress moving forward remember these 3 words: Variation, intensity, consistency. StrengthRx… Ok 4 words.

If you find yourself feeling comfortable in the gym then you know something is wrong.

Now go sprint or something.

Justin Schollard

Busy is the new lazy

How many times have you heard the excuse that someone is “too busy” for.. fill in the blank. I know in the past I’ve been guilty of it and always for reasons I could justify by listing off all of my responsibilities. In these situations most people will simply agree that yes, indeed you’re too busy and therefor seise to bother you with future invitations because they know you’ll likely decline.

Inevitably you’ll be watching television one day or surfing the web, probably wasting the precious time that you just told someone you didn’t really have and you’ll catch a glimpse of someone who’s “made it”. Top of their field, calling shots, and wait.. they seem to actually have a life as well? How could this be? You ask yourself. How can someone find the time to actually achieve the success they want, manage their personal lives and still enjoy the things that make them fulfilled? This is when we usually start saying things like “oh, well Im sure their assistants do everything and he just signs off”, or “she probably just inherited a bunch of money”. Maybe, but not always. The truth is its a choice! With that said, do things beyond our control happen and therefor we must take immediate action to resolve it? Absolutely, but in my experience of working with extremely high achieving people over the past 10 years as a trainer here in LA I’ve noticed a few things that separate the ones who talk about it from the ones who be about it:

If you want something you must make the decision to have it. That body ain’t gonna trim its self down. Evolutionarily speaking we’re designed to do the opposite: Pack it on while times are good! These days the good times rarely end and leave far too many of us over weight and running the risk of health complications. There is no shortage of people who want a strong healthy body but continue to find cleaver excuses for why now is not the time to start the process. No money for a gym membership, no time, recovering from an injury etc..  Yet, others continue to find time week after week to do the things they know are necessary for their health, and in my experience its these people who have the most legit excuses NOT to be in the gym. I’ve often found great inspiration from my clients who under tremendous work and/or family pressure make the choice to get in the gym and keep themselves healthy. High level executives, t.v. directors with a spouse and children, VPs at Morgan Stanley, politicians etc… The list goes on. Power houses of productivity who rise before the sun and finish their workout before most people’s alarm clock goes off because they know that whatever momentary measure of comfort they receive by convincing themselves that they’re “too busy” to be healthy will be overshadowed by the guilt of knowing they could’ve tried harder.

I’m speaking in terms of my experience in health and fitness but I believe that the way you anything is the way you do everything. You can draw a parallel with just about every aspect of life. When we really sit down and examine ourselves we find that our excuse-fantasies rarely match up to the reality of our current situation. Maybe you don’t have an hour for exercise everyday but you certainly have 20 minutes. Some of my best workouts are when I know I better make it count because I only have 20 minutes! Maybe you can’t afford a gym membership but you certainly could go on youtube and find a homework channel. Often I’ll do this with yoga because there are some great 20 minute yoga workouts on youtube and I know I’ll never go to a class.

The bottom line is that if you find yourself hiding behind the busy excuse then you’re really just dodging out of a full and engaging life experience.  Once we can truly understand that no one else is going to make this happen for us and we are exactly who we are as a result of our choices, then we can move forward with clarity toward the kind of future we want to create.

Busy seldom means productive. If you need more time then start respecting the time you do have. One way to do this that I’ve been practicing for some time now is not responding immediately to every message that lights up my phone. Rarely is anything a true emergency. Let them wait for an hour while you take care of yourself. People will then become much more respectful of your time and efficient with their messaging knowing that you refuse to engage in email ping pong. Put yourself first and watch as other adapt to your self empowering choice. This is your life and time flies so don’t hold back.

Now, I plan on seeing you all at the gym bright and early.

Justin Schollard

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