Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trainers fall off the wagon too....

My topic for this blog is based on my own personal experiences. With the holidays upon us, and with the many gatherings that take place this time of year, it's very easy to fall astray with our diet and exercise goals. I'm included in that group!

Growing up, I as about a skinny as you could get. My freshman football program had me listed at 5'9 120 lbs. Talk about frail! I went through the whole self esteem deal. Picked on, made fun of etc. By my junior year of high school I was full blown into bodybuilding. How big could I get, and how fast could I make it happen where my only concerns. I would lift in my dads cellar, walk over to McDonald's, and consume a Big-Mac meal, chocolate shake, 6 piece chicken nugget, and an apple pie (I did this often), doubles at lunch, sneak snacks into class, and always ate everything on my plate! I ate many healthy foods too, but I ate EVERYTHING, and a lot of it!!

Many people don't realize that the mental issues that go with losing weight, can be very similar to those trying to gain weight. I hated being skinny, and one way or another, I wasn't going to stay skinny!

This brings me to the present. Some of the habits I developed in my teen years while trying to gain weight still exist today. I usually keep them in check, but sometimes I let them get the best of me. Most of the year I have no issues maintaining healthy eating habits, and missing my workouts is never an issue anytime of year. That being said, the lulls I experience in my eating habits really limit the benefits of my exercise program. The holidays are tough for me, as is the summer. Bills Pizza, Pier Fries, and Huots haddock sandwiches find there way into my diet all to often between June and August.

I'm writing this because I'm in one of those funks right now. Writing about it may help me do something about it. I know it won't be a long term issue, but it is negatively effecting the goals I have set for my 40th birthday in April.

I'm also writing this to convey to you, that even though I'm a personal trainer, I'm not without issues. Many trainers have had weight, health, self-esteem, and injury issues. I think that's how many of us got into this field. So, if you are having these issues......talk to us. More than likely, we will understand, and may be able to relate. Remember, falling off the wagon isn't permanent. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, leave the errors in our ways behind us, and focus on the goals that lay in front of us. You can do it!

Scott Fleurant ACE-CPT
E-mail: getfit14@live.com
Web: www.sacofitness.com/PTScottF.html
Web: http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/scottfleurant

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pro-active, or re-active. Which are you?

So, as i was driving home from work Friday afternoon, i said to myself.......why is it that so many people wait until they have to eat healthier, and have to exercise before they actually do it?

Unfortunately, that's what many of us do. We wait until we have a health condition before making an attempt to live a healthier life. Whether it's blood pressure, blood sugar, back pain, decreased mobility, or any number of other issues.......we wait. My question is.......why?

Well, i don't have the answer, but what I do know is this: being re-active to your health has a negative impact on quality of life, can be painful, and expensive. Lost wages, and medical expenses can add up. Not being able to participate in your favorite recreational activities, i.e. golf, skiing, basketball, and many others, can be very depressing. Not that many conditions can't be improved, controlled, or negated. But, why take the chance??

I often hear, "I need to get in shape BEFORE going to the gym, or hiring a trainer". WHAT? That is not rational. It just delays an effective way to improve your health, and allows more time for the conditions related to not taking care of ourselves to set in.

Listen, being pro-active with our health is a great way to improve the quality our lives. Improved health, mobility, strength, bone density, a stronger immune system, stress relief.....the list goes on. To be able to continue the activities we love at a high level for as long as possible......there is no price you can put on that!

Scott Fleurant
E-mail: getfit14@live.com
Web: http://sacofitness.com/PTScottF.html

Monday, June 29, 2009

I can't wait for my cheat day!!

This is something I hear often as a personal trainer. "I've eaten great all week, and I'm going to blow all my progress in a day or two" is another way of saying the title of this blog.

Then, come Monday there is the inevitable guilt trip, not to mention the stomach discomfort experienced during a day of two of eating anything and everything.

Why do that much damage on a weekend? You've worked to hard! Day's of work lost in a matter of 48 hours. It boggles the mind! I'm not saying not to eat foods that you like, but I think I can offer a better approach.

This is something I did when I competed in bodybuilding that worked well for me. Maybe it will work well for you. Rather than have a cheat day or weekend, why not allow for 1-3 cheat meals per week?

The benefits I found for myself were as follows:

  • By planning a few cheat meals per week I never felt deprived.
  • Having those cheat meals as part of an overall plan made it so i didn't feel guilty......it was part of my plan.
  • If it was a Tuesday, and i was craving something, but knew I was going out for a nice dinner with my family on Thursday it made it easier to not let the craving get the best of me.
  • Rewarded......yes, rewarded. By making it from Tuesday to Thursday without succumbing to my cravings (the example above) made me feel proud of myself. What better reward than that!

Now I'm not saying go crazy with these cheat meals and completely over indulge....but to eat what you like in a portion controlled manner.

If your training/dieting for a particular event....say a wedding, simply cut down on the cheat meals from 3 down to 1 or none over the last couple of weeks.

I hope this is a help to you. It certainly was for me.

Best Wishes,

Scott Fleurant ACE-CPT


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"I can only show you the door, your the one who has to walk through it"

The title of this blog is from the movie "The Matrix". At one point during the movie Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) says this to Neo (Keanu Reeves) to try to get him to realize that no matter how much he teaches him, and no matter what the Oracle (Gloria Foster) says to him, everything that he can and will accomplish will be by his own beliefs......his own efforts, and nothing more.

In the world of health & fitness......more specifically personal training, the personal trainers are playing the role of Morpheus while the clients are playing the role of Neo....so to speak. As a trainer, i can create programs, make assessments, help define goals, make dietary recommendations, send motivational text messages and e-mails etc. But ultimately, the power to change comes from within. Making changes to improve a persons health, performance, physique, and self confidence doesn't happen by accident. It's a belief in yourself that you can be motivated to put in the work and the time necessary to make the changes you are striving for. And, it doesn't happen over night. For most of the population, becoming unhealthy and unhappy with themselves occurred slowly over a period of years......sometimes many years. So, to think that an individual is going to make drastic changes over the course of a few weeks isn't very realistic.

It takes hard work.......consistent hard work, discipline, and perseverance for sustained period of time. I too often see members, who's intentions are good, just going through the motions, or disappearing from the club for a couple of weeks here, and a couple of weeks there. To make change it takes EFFORT! It's black and white.....there is no gray area.

Even with the aid of a personal trainer, it's still up to the client themselves to do the work necessary to achieve their goals. There are 168 hours in a week. Generally clients meet with their trainers one hour per week. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. but, that still leaves 167 hours that the client has to be self reliant, and self resilient. Meeting with a trainer, and then having a beer and a pizza on the way home from the gym is not the best way to get results. Or, meeting with a trainer, and not doing a bit of exercise until the next session with the trainer... which isn't until the following week isn't going to cut it either.

Once you have defined what your goals are, ask yourself this: Am i ready to open the door?

My hope is that your ready to break the door down!

Scott Fleurant

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daniel-san, first learn BALANCE, then learn punch!!

If you have ever seen "The Karate Kid" you may remember Mr. Miyagi saying the title of this blog to Daniel-san. Well, the balance I'm referring to is not the kind of balance found in martial arts, but balance in the overall development of one's physique in order to improve performance, aesthetics, and to reduce injury.

Too many times i see people exercising in a manner that's to focused on specific muscles while others are neglected. A couple of good examples of this are the guys you see with fantastic upper body development, with legs like twigs. It's to the point they have to wear long pants on a 90 degree day. Or, the person with great pec (chest) development with little in the way of any back development........only training the muscles they see.

When setting up your program, be conscious of the balance of training your body in a manner that's 'balanced" from top to bottom, front to back, and side to side.

If the pecs are over developed in relation the traps and back, there will be a tendency for the shoulders to round forward. If the abs are trained constantly, but no attention is paid the the low back.....low back pain could be in your future. Too much force generated by well developed quads without strong hamstrings to balance that force out could be a knee injury waiting to happen.

Athletically, if all training is done in a linear (straight line) manner without anything being done side to side (laterally), if nothing is done in a rotational manner, or everything is done bi-lateral (both legs at the same time) vs uni-lateral (one leg at a time) the benefits of your training program in hope of improving your performance will be reduced.

Some body parts are not always fun to train, and some exercises are not always fun to do, but if you remember to maintain "balance" in your training program it will help give your results the "punch" you're looking for.

Scott Fleurant ACE - CPT

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mom was right when she said "Eat your breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day!".

How many of you walk out the door each and every morning skipping breakfast? I would guess that a vast majority of individuals do. Personally, I can't function without it. I'm grumpy, tired, can't focus, and lack energy if I go without. It's pretty much a lock that I have my breakfast.....even if it's some sort of smoothie.

So, what are some of the benefits of breakfast that those who skip it are missing out on?

  • Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

  • Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the boardroom.

  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity.

  • Lower cholesterol levels.

How about in terms of weight control?

Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.

Why? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day.

But, will eggs increase my cholesterol levels?

"Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their … blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels," reports researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, PhD.

Well, what are some good breakfast ideas?

Even if you think you don’t have time to eat breakfast, there are grab-and-go options that fill the bill. Some quick and healthy choices include:
  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
  • Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
  • Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • Hard-boiled egg and a banana

Well, I don't like breakfast foods!

Eating breakfast doesn't mean you have to eat typical breakfast foods. The idea is eating something nutritious at the start of your day. If that means a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with a glass of milk and an apple, or chicken breast with brown rice.....perfect!

But I'm not hungry in the morning!

Breakfast doesn't need to be a full meal. Some low fat yogurt and fruit isn't a huge meal, but will provide fuel that your body and brain will appreciate at the start of your day.

Source: WebMD

Scott Fleurant



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Magic Bullet

Fat Burners, protein bars, meal replacements, creatine, protein powders.......everywhere we turn there is an advertisement for some sort of supplement. Watch an NFL game and see an ad for "Myoplex", turn the TV to a sports channel and see "Met-Rx's" Strongest man contest, walk down an aisle at your local grocery store pharmacy and see numerous vitamins, pills and powders. I think it can make a person feel like working out without a supplement is a waste of time.

As a personal trainer I'm often asked about supplements. For me to prescribe a certain supplement to achieve a certain benefit is really out of my realm as I'm not a licensed dietitian. However, if I'm familiar with the particular supplement in question, I can share my opinion on it.

Before getting into the benefit of any supplement the first thing we should examine is the actual definition of the word "supplement" Well, here it is as defined in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary: 1 a: something that completes or makes an addition. In other words, supplement are designed to be an "addition" to an already sound diet. Not to be used in lieu of whole foods. Think of it like this......supplements may be used to fill in the gaps where your diet may have deficiencies, but make every effort to have your eating habits as sound as possible. With he busyness of people's schedules, that is no easy task!

Do certain supplements play a role in improving muscle mass, strength, health, and performance? They can, but before spending lots of money on the next "Magic Bullet" make sure your eating habits are sound, and your exercise program is at a level that would warrant supplementation to your diet. If you only exercise one day a week, don't bother using creatine.....it would be a waste of money.

Also, make sure you do your homework on a supplement before purchasing it. Will the supplement interact with any physical condition that you have or any medication that you're taking? Does it match the goal your trying to achieve? Do you know of anyone who has used it that can give you feedback? Certified personal trainers, registered dietitians (RD) at your local health club, your primary care physician, as well as the Internet can be great resources in your supplement research.

Scott Fleurant
Saco Sport & Fitness
Saco, Maine 04072

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baby Steps

Initiating a change to healthier lifestyle can be overwhelming. There are those that have an all or nothing personality, and it works for them, but for most trying to do too much at one time be can be a recipe for disaster. So, why not take "Baby Steps". What are small, realistic, and manageable goals that you can achieve on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?

Maybe an individual isn't a breakfast eater. For that person to sit down to a full breakfast tomorrow morning may be a little much to ask. The time that it may take them to prepare it combined with their stomach not being used to it may cause them to say "the heck with this!" So, lets start small......maybe a yogurt, and some almonds. A slice of toast with peanut butter. As time goes by that individual can build on that. Focusing on one meal, and one snack at a time.

I think many people feel that to improve their overall health and fitness they need to be in the gym 5,6, or 7 days per week at 1 to 2 hours at a time. For someone who hasn't exercised in years to go from nothing to an exercise frequency like that would probably result in that person saying "see ya!" Maybe going from no exercise, to a little, then a little more would be more manageable. After several months the "Baby Steps" accumulate into a "Giant steps"

So, for those of you thinking about starting exercise/dietary changes in your life......ask your self, what is the one thing i can change tomorrow? In time that one change will become two, and that two will become four and so on.

Be determined, be realistic, be patient.....and most important.....have fun!


PS.....this was my first blog so be patient with me. :-)