Telling it Like it Is
Most people treat their pets and cars better than they do themselves. while working jobs they hate because they make more money than if they worked a job they liked. making themselves completely miserable. while making everyone else around them, miserable. then drinkin and eating themselves into oblivion while watching tv. you’d think slavery was never abolished. life is good if you make it that way. you better get you some.
Telling it Like it Is
This week I have heard more excuses as to why people are not losing fat than I have ever heard in my life. I have literally heard people tell their trainers – “I am following the nutrition program exactly, but instead of an egg white omelet for breakfast, I have a muffin and a latte”. Hmmm. Not “exactly” the same is it?
So I thought this would be a good time to share some of my ‘wisdom’ for those of you still looking for the magic pill.
Having worked with hundreds of individuals over the years and as a trainer, magazine writer and lecturer to other fitness professionals I am amazed how often I am asked “What are the secrets to fat loss?”
I can vividly remember doing a photo shoot at our gym with a male client who had lost 85lbs of fat and now had a nice six-pack to show for his efforts. My own gym members came up and asked me what his “secret” was. THERE’S NO SECRET. They seemed to think I’d given him the “real” information and had withheld it from them! He’s been given the same advice as I give to everyone else – he just chose to follow it a little more closely.
Fat loss is not under the control of the magic fat loss fairies. It’s based on simple changes in behavior.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to launch into an Alwyn Cosgrove rant. Those among you who are politically correct and easily offended can stop reading now. And if any of the rest of you are offended, then I’m sure there is a new diet book that will tell you exactly what to do to achieve fat loss nirvana (hint – you have to eat less, fat boy, tends not to fill up a 300 page diet book). So put down your copy of “Eat Right for Your IQ” and listen up.
To lose fat:
Eat less calories than you burn.
Yes, there are some factors that can make this a little more difficult – metabolic type, medical disorders, food sensitivities, medications, sleep patterns, etc. But these are the minutiae – the small details. Even if you adjust or control for every single other variable in your body and your environment – if you consume more calories than you burn – you are going to gain fat.
Here are a few basic truths that no one really wants to hear:
Think about the foods you are about to consume. Are they going to bring you closer to your goal? Or will they make you feel like crap and take you farther away from what you want? Yeah I know that when you were younger, before you had kids, you could eat blah de blah de blah and not gain weight. Too bad – times have changed. And I know your friend can eat whatever he or she wants and is in great shape. Yay for them, sucks for you. But no amount of whining will change the fact that you need to work to get your butt in shape.
Stop rushing your meals – eat slowly. This will give your body a chance to actually realize that you’ve eaten, and register that you are full. It takes 20 minutes for the satiety mechanisms to kick in. Give your body a chance to tell you that it’s full before you cram another 500 calories in your pie hole.
Eat smaller portions. Unfortunately you cannot eat unlimited amounts of the food you would like and still get lean. Sorry. Second helpings? I seriously doubt it. Appetizers, main course and dessert? You’re kidding me.
Make correct meal choices that contain appropriate servings of protein, carbs and fats. I love the new “low carb diet” options at most restaurant chains now. A steak with melted cheese on the top. That’s not a diet food people. I also saw a low carb buffalo wings option. The difference? No carrots to dip in the blue cheese. Like that’s your problem – too many carrots in your diet.
A big ass bowl of pasta? That’s what marathon runners eat the night before the race. If you have a marathon planned tomorrow then go ahead. If not – you don’t need the calories.
“You are what you eat” is a true statement. And it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that some of you have eaten a fat bastard or two in your time. Are you a lean piece of meat – or a saggy nasty sausage?
If certain foods are a “trigger” for you and you cannot eat them sensibly, then you have to give them up. I have known very few people that can eat their “trigger” food and not end up blowing their diet. Once you “pop” you can’t stop right? Usually one cookie means the whole bag. So you can’t be trusted. Don’t have them in the house.
You do not need something sweet to finish your meal. This is a conditioned response from your childhood days when cleaning your plate meant ice cream. ‘Need’ something sweet? Do you realize how much you just ate? You don’t need anything. Dessert is not a psychological need for survival. It is just a bad habit. Habits can be broken. You do not need the cheesecake.
Do not buy junk food. If it is there – you will eat it. If you have a craving for candy and there’s none in the house – it’s highly unlikely you’ll get up and go to the store. You’ll just sit your ass back down and finish watching American Idol.
Oh, and buying the junk food “for the kids” is an absolute bullshit excuse. The kids do not need the cheezy poofs either. In fact, in my opinion, the childhood obesity epidemic has been caused by parents buying shit for their children. It’s essentially child abuse plain and simple. Depriving your kids of crap is a good parenting decision.
If you screw up a meal – do not, I repeat DO NOT try to adjust the next meal to “make up for it”. All you did then was screw up two meals. If you overeat at meal number one – just get back on track. Immediately. Because thinking “Well, I’ve blown it now so I might as well REALLY blow it,” is akin to getting a flat tire as you drive down the freeway and getting out and totaling your car.
Cookies, doughnuts and muffins are crap food choices. You can’t ever justify eating them on a regular basis. And low carb, fat free cookies, doughnuts and muffins are still crap – don’t kid yourself.
Yes you can eat fast food. It’s called grilled chicken sandwich or a turkey sub, Jarod. Fries? No. And you do not need to supersize for an extra 50c.
Yes it’s hard. You want to look great? Nothing tastes as good as lean and buff feels. It’s true. This week I’ve heard “It’s too hard – I want an easier diet”. What that means is “I’d rather eat crappy foods than look or feel any better. I have made a conscious decision to get fatter because my love for junk food is a more powerful love than my desire to get lean.” It’s unfortunate but you will have to work for the body you want.
Little changes add up. Switching from a glass of orange juice every morning to a cup of green tea will save you 100 calories per day (this is without including the antioxidant and thermogenic benefits of green tea). That adds up to over ten pounds of fat loss per year.
Little discrepancies add up too. A Big Mac meal is about 1500 calories. You’ll have to walk 15 miles to balance that out.
If you aren’t a fat loss expert – hire one. Or follow a plan written by one. I wrote a 16 week all inclusive fat loss program called AFTERBURN that includes diet cardio and weight training. If you don’t like that option I have an online fat loss training program. Using either of these approaches means you CANNOT fail. You just need to follow the program. I’m amazed how many people STILL ask me how they can get single-digit lean. The info is out there people.
This is by no means a complete list but I think you’re probably getting the point. There is no secret to fat loss. At any one time your body is either getting leaner or it’s getting fatter. You just need to adjust the balance. In today’s world it just takes a little effort on your part.
But if you want to eat whatever you want you have two choices:
Move a lot. A LOT.
Gain weight, get fat, accept it and stop complaining.
And if you want to look great, the keys to fat loss are (from my politically incorrect colleague Lyle McDonald):
Change your eating habits: so that you’re eating less.
Change your activity patterns: so that you’re expending more calories.
Repeat: Keep doing this over a long period of time.
Forever: Newsflash, you don’t EVER get to go back to your old eating habits unless you want to get fat again. To maintain weight loss means maintaining at least part of the changes you made to 1 and 2.
It really is that simple. If you are not losing fat it’s YOUR fault. It’s not mine, it’s not your trainer, it’s not your husband, wife, kids or your boss – it’s YOU. There are 168 hours in each week – no matter who you are. Maybe you train for three of them. That leaves 165 for you to completely blow it.
If you are not good at self discipline then hire someone who will make you accountable. Until then realize that the choices are yours. Getting really lean is not difficult in terms of knowing what to do – it’s doing it that makes the difference.
To the Management of 24HourFitness:
I write this letter with appreciation and affection and give my highest recommendation to my personal trainer, Carlton Cullins. He literally gave me my life back and for that he has my deepest gratitude. During the course of the past year that he trained me he made the training fun, informative, and inspiring. He always made me feel good about myself and set reasonable and achievable goals. He tailored his training to meet my particular needs and easily adjusted, added or stopped particular exercises to reach all of those goals. I consider him to be the best trainer 24 hour fitness has – and I have watched them all train people over the last year. Just as important I learned while he trained me that he is also a special person with great depth, compassion, and intelligence, seasoned with a terrific sense of humor. If this sounds like I like him, I do, very much.
When I started working out with Carlton I was 58, fat, weak and cranky. I felt old and I looked old. I couldn’t get out of a chair without pushing with my arms. I couldn’t get down onto the floor without holding onto something and I couldn’t get back up without help. I had to walk downstairs sideways to avoid falling because my balance was so bad. I had been falling suddenly if the slightest thing tripped me. I had hurt my knee badly on one of those falls and had a lot of knee pain. Several months before I began training I had had a herniated disc which had required a lumber injection to relieve the unremitting pain. My cholesterol was high and I had had my gall bladder out just two months before I started seeing him. My elbows hurt all the time and I couldn’t even begin some of the exercises we first tried. My ideal fat burning heart rate is 137 with 147 beats per minute being my 85th percentile rate beyond which I am not supposed to maintain. Going at the slowest speed possible on the elliptical machine my heart would begin to race above 155 within just two or three minutes requiring me to stop to let it slow back down before continuing.
Today I can maintain a medium high speed on the elliptical for 20
minutes without my heart rate going beyond 147 and do a total of 45 minutes of cardio total. I can run up and down stairs properly without getting breathless. I can lower myself to the floor without using my hands and get back up again the same way. My elbow pain is gone, as is my knee pain. I haven’t fallen in six months, although I have tripped on things. My cholesterol is lower. I can do three sets of 12 planks and hold each of them for 10 seconds, an exercise I could not do at all when I started. I lift weights and do squats easily. My legs and arms and shoulders show muscle definition! I feel good about myself, confident, and I believe in myself and my ability to be strong and fit.
As I said when I started this letter, Carlton gave me my life back. I feel 20 years younger than I did when I started. And even though I haven’t followed the nutrition recommendations as well as I should have, I look and feel much younger. I can garden again and I can play golf again. In fact, I can now hit a golf ball 20 yards further than I have ever hit it! And even better I can now lift and play with my granddaughter. Life has become very good.
Michael Case Lederer
September 28, 2006
James M 9/30/2009
this dude is the man! what carlton lacks in head hair he makes up for between the ears. and then some plus a little more.
carlton is a really generous warmhearted professional with a good thing going. check him out. tell him one-armed charlie brown sent you.
I have been working with Carlton for several years and followed him from the health club once he opened up his home gym. I am a middle aged woman who works hard to stay fit and healthy and Carlton is a big part of that for me. He is knowledgeable and very helpful, amazingly upbeat and positive even while making me work as hard as I can stand to. He continues to learn and grow, which I respect a great deal. He also knows what I need and tailors my workouts to take care of me, to maximize the experience of training. I don’t know how he does it. He can work with anyone and help them to, as he says, find “happiness thorough healthiness.” He’s great. And his rates are beyond fair. I recommend him without hesitation, most enthusiastically. Always professional, yet friendly and personable. One of the best.
I am a school teacher, and it is part of my job to be fit – not just to keep up with the kids, but also to be a good role model for them. I have been training with Carlton for a year. In that time I have really gotten the results I wanted. I have gained back the muscle I was starting to lose, as I have grown “older” and spend more time working inside and less time outdoors playing! Carlton is really laid back and he is great at switching up my workout so I never get bored. He knows so much about health, fitness and nutrition. And he is always studying and learning more – I really respect him for that. I completely trust his fitness advice and it has really paid off for me. I also really like the location – South Austin is where it’s at!
I found Carlton through Yelp. His location, reviews and the training philosophy on his personal web site sold me. (His very reasonable rates didn’t hurt either:)) I just finished my third session and, boy, are my arms tired:) He’s got raw dough on his hands, now, but when we’re done, this body’s gonna be some hot cookie. Thanks Carlton!
Carlton is a great trainer. I actually found him here on Yelp. I have never reviewed a business, but I thought I would register and write one for him. My fiance and I started going to Carlton to lose some weight for our wedding. He is a great trainer and has an amazing intuitive knowledge of how far you can push yourself. He is not the type of trainer who is going to sit there and bark orders at you like a drill sargeant. He will work with you and craft a personalized routine to help you reach your goals. I tend to avoid working out so there are times when I do not want to go, but I leave every session with a sense of accomplishment. I have noticed and had people comment that I look slimmer and more fit, and I have only been going for a couple months. Somehow, Carlton manages to combine his inherent high energy with a laid back attitude. It is obvious he loves helping people be healthier and happier. I do love not having to go to a gym. I was hesitant at first about going to a gym in someone’s home, but he has always been professional, and it works out great because a lot of the workouts can transfer to your living room. I would highly recommend Carlton to anyone looking for a trainer.
I worked for the YMCA for 22 years, and worked out with several different trainers. Carlton is light years ahead of everyone else. He is knowledgeable, and supportive. I have never asked a question that he couldn’t answer with clarity. An injury, several subsequent surgeries and two years in bed or a wheelchair had turned me into oatmeal from the neck down. While I was motivated and had some knowledge of training from many years experience, going to Carlton was miraculous- he encouraged me without pushing too hard, he bore with my extreme frustration, and because of his vast knowledge and experience, he kept me from injuring myself, which I would definitely have done if I had tried this alone. He has a wonderful knowledge of diet and nutrition, and has helped me a great deal in changing my eating habits. He was the best investment I have made on this long road to recovery! One of the best things he has given me is a routine that I can use at home. Simple equipment, no expensive machines, and a lot of variety lets me work out whenever I can, without having to trek to a commercial gym. My results have been everything I could have hoped for! Thanks Carlton- I love you!
If you are looking for a personal trainer in SOUTH AUSTIN I recommend you consult with Carlton. I love not having to go to a big ugly gym, he has everything you need in his home gym. The workouts are varied and he creates a program individual to you and your needs. I have trouble with my knees and was concerned about starting to exercise again– but once I started working out at Blue Sky, I have been regaining all the strength I have partied off over the years. My knees aren’t bad– my muscles were WEAK! Carlton doesn’t BS–he won’t waste your time.
Jeniffer D. 09/22/2008
I’ve been working with Carlton for over a year. I actually look forward to going to work out with him. He keeps the workouts challenging and fun. I am so much stronger and much more balanced. Carlton is lots of fun. He is super smart and intuitively knows just how far to push you. He is down to earth and very funny while remaining professional. He is creative and very supportive. I’ve continued to train with him while recovering from injuries and he comes up things I can do without involving the injured joint. The best part of training with Carlton is that I don’t have to go to a noisy gym. I get to pick the music I want to listen to and most importantly I get to work out in my bare feet!
I’ve never worked out a Blue Sky, but I know Carlton from a previous gym. He is amazing! Carlton is very knowledgeable, creative, open-minded, and encouraging. He is an over-all great person, athlete, supporter, and coach! 🙂
Carlton is fun and interesting to work with and makes your work out varied so that you would not get bored. I always get a great workout when i’m working with him.
Carlton is awesome! He is a great trainer with a private gym: very different from the average meat market gyms with hulking muscle men and skinny perfectly toned girls that make me feel even worse about myself. I also get to pick my own music, which is great because if I had to listen to anymore Lil’ Wayne, I may have given up on any chance of getting in shape.
Carlton is a wonderful trainer. He pushes you to your limit without having unrealistic expectations. I know I’m always going to get a good workout without pulling something or overexerting myself. He varies the routine enough to keep it interesting and selecting my own music is nice 🙂
A Few of My Satisfied Customers… 🙂
Here’s a fairly descent link on “Interval Training” for those interested… interval training has been proven to be more beneficial as a cardio stimulus than the typical boring, “Long Slow Cardio” seen in most Gyms. Most interval workouts can be done in 10-20 minutes. Also check out the new book Cardio Strength Training by Robert Dos Remedios!
most people treat their pets and cars better than they do themselves. while working jobs they hate because they make more money than if they worked a job they liked. making themselves completely miserable. while making everyone else around them, miserable. then drinkin and eating themselves into oblivion while watching tv. you’d think slavery was never abolished. life is good if you make it that way. you better get you some.