The Only Time I Gained Some Weight Back.

The Only Time I Gained Some Weight Back.

Some time ago I made a conscious effort to eliminate all processed sugars from my everyday diet. When I say “diet,” it is not in the commercial sense of the word; I mean it to be defined as my way of eating on a regular basis. I also decided to stave off large quantities of bread, pasta and those types of carbs in general. I have enough “stored energy” in my body and that is what those foods represent and function as – energy.

Sounds like a no carb diet, doesn’t it? The exact thing I have been preaching against and wrote about in my book, “Starving to be Fat.”  Years ago, I took a 16 week “transformation” type challenge on for a few reasons:

1) I wanted to see if I had the discipline to do it. 

2) As a trainer, I had clients who were trying it.

3) As a fitness consultant I met with many who had tried that lifestyle and failed. So, over the course of this challenge, I ate nothing but chicken, some red meat and fish, only greens, no fruit, no bread, potatoes or any carbs of that sort. No fat to speak of, other than some portioned cashews 3 times per week, maybe some flaxseed oil and enough eggs and egg whites to support a small supermarket.

I trained in the gym 4-5 days a week and wound up doing upwards of 1 hour and 20 minutes of steady state cardio. Fun, huh?

I dropped weight alright and loved the results. So, why did I gain some weight back after I came off that challenge? Now that I have dealt with refined sugar in my life, I have my answer. I never kicked my system’s addiction to refined sugar and that is why programs and diets like that only work short term and they can be harmful as well.

STILL EATING SUGAR

If you read my article “How Marco Continues to Reshape…” (if not, please click here to read it) you will have a general idea of how I eat now. You will also read there that I eat a lot of sugar and fat and that I am dropping weight steadily. So what is the difference between how I live now and that 16-week program? There are a few differences; the sugar and fat are natural, not refined or artificial. Since I dealt with the refined sugar addiction and replaced the refined sugars with natural ones, in a sense I detoxed (big fad word there) my body’s dependency on sugar. Think my diet is boring? If you tried the raw desserts Susan has been creating, you would be astounded. They all taste better than their refined impostors and though they are calorically dense, they carry massive nutritional density. Because they are natural, the body responds differently and you become satiated with less. The urge to gorge is gone, as a result! Everything in moderation, of course. If you eat 3 cups of nuts, organic or not and you are not training to support that kind of eating, you are going to gain weight.

CLICK HERE for one of our raw treat recipes.

CARBS GALORE

Among other significant damage the diet industry has inflicted is its insistence on pointing primarily to pasta, potatoes, breads and the like, as carbs. However, all vegetables and fruits are carbs as well. So you could say I am eating more carbs now than I ever have.

SUGAR ADDICTION

This sugar addiction is passive. One may not go around “jonesing” for a hit of sugar; it works in the background and hooks you slowly. I can tell you this 100% though; until you wean your body off refined sugar, you will probable never have long term success in your weight loss goals. In my next article, I will talk about the major differences I have noticed, even in relation to training as a result of eliminating refined sugar from my diet.

Confession: Last night Susan and I had a lovely dinner outdoors and had tiramisu, a decadent Italian desert. Sugar indeed! Once in a while, but not a lifestyle… and that makes all the difference in the world.

 

How Marco Continues to Lose Weight and Reshape His Body at 49 Years of Age.

How Marco Continues to Lose Weight and Reshape His Body at 49 Years of Age. (over 25 Lb. dropped in the past 6 months)

Throughout my weight loss journey, I have learned, researched and also tried many concepts for losing weight and I continue to evolve and learn what works best and what is rubbish! This health and fitness journey is not a sprint and for me, it is a way of life. It’s about feeling great, being healthy, energetic and strong, looking better, getting results that last, and equally important; making it doable for my lifestyle. 

Here’s the gist of it all:

I do not eat or drink refined sugar.

No sodas, diet or otherwise. Get your head out of the “zero calorie” trap, you are being poisoned, period.

No simple carbs, baked goods, bread, etc…

Nothing man made as far as “food products.” E.g. low fat, low carb, sugar free… it is all marketing and a scam. If I look at anything in a box, a bottle or a bag, I read every label and ingredient and if it is foreign, artificial and unrecognizable, I won’t buy it!

No fast food… ever. 

Nothing fried. Okay, last week at a movie I had 3 sweet potato fries,

I stopped eating meat, fish and poultry some time ago. I am not saying this is necessary for weight loss, it is just a choice I made for other reasons, namely that there is no way I trust the food providers and the raising and preparation of the animals. Far too many recalls and ties to illnesses associated with livestock.

I rarely cook food anymore, unless it heightens the nutritional profile and release of certain properties of foods that are beneficial. 

I have all kinds of fats; olive oil, avocados, omegas in natural foods.

I have all kinds of sugar, the kind found in fruits, dates, etc…

Once a week I might have real Italian style pizza or an organic prosciutto sandwich.

My protein comes from plants, spirulina powder (a fresh water green microalgae that contains a host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and 2 g protein in 1 tsp.), nuts and seeds. I do not eat any soy based products.

I do not trust any whey protein powder manufacturers. Pretty much, all dairy based whey protein powder comes from cows that are fed grains and are bombarded with antibiotics. As far as any protein supplements, I use plant based hemp protein powder.

I do not use any type of weight training supplement and I am in better health with more energy now at 49 than I was 10 years ago.

I am an avid juicer. Cold pressed, organic produce. It is time consuming, but I don’t care. I view it is an investment in my health. I would rather spend 1.5 hours juicing and prepping food than wasting it sitting on my arse watching soap operas or some unreal reality show.

Cheese? If I am in the mood; once in a while. 

Popcorn? Yes, but just popcorn made at home or one I am familiar with as far as ingredients. I steer clear of GMO foods and all corn is pretty much GMO unless otherwise indicated.

Chips? Once in a while, yes. The chips have 2-3 ingredients maximum. -Potatoes, salt and some sort of healthy oil.

I tell you this; “desserts” that are uncooked, using coconut fat/oil, cocoa, real chocolate and the like are absolutely delicious! It is pretty much impossible to overindulge on these because what they are made of is “real” and the sugar is natural. When it hits your brain, it does not cause responses that fake or refined sugars do.

My coffee is black. I used to be triple cream and sugar.

Is it easy? It is a lifestyle choice. It is just my new reality and it is what works for me. 

During my last business trip to South America, glorious food was everywhere and you have to be committed to take the lifestyle with you. If you are on a diet, you are doomed! I plan ahead when traveling. Susan piles me up with healthy snacks to take on the plane. When I fly, I have already decided to not eat the food they serve (the equivalent to disgusting and unhealthy hospital food). I research food markets and restaurants in the area where I will be staying before I travel. My first trip is to the local grocery store to pick up fruits and veg. These go back to the hotel room with me and are ready anytime and affordable both financially and calorically.

EXERCISE 

I train 3 times per week for 45 minutes. Travel and a few other items as of late have made that more of a challenge than usual, but I do not gain weight, even during a layoff.

My training sessions consist of full body, superset weight and resistance training). I do not do a lot of cardio, but if I do, it is a form of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training. One example is a heavy bag, boxing workout. 20-30 seconds of full out combinations, followed by 30 seconds of lower intensity for a half an hour total time. Believe me, you can forget the treadmill.

THE TAKEAWAY:

Stop eating refined sugar.

The right choices 90% of the time and by this I mean REAL WHOLE UNPROCESSED food is a “cannot fail” weight maintenance lifestyle. You just have to want it bad enough. You can whine, you can be a slave to the cake you “just cannot pass up,” or you can go through discipline and some discomfort now, to continue to progress towards the body and health profile you want.

 Marco's book, 'Starving To Be Fat' takes you through his up close and personal weight loss journey of losing 150 Lb.  -  To order your copy, please email us @ marco@getfitfaster.ca 
Marco’s book, ‘Starving To Be Fat’ takes you through his up close and personal weight loss journey of losing 150 Lb.  –  To order your copy, please email us @ marco@getfitfaster.ca 

Elite Water Training

Water workouts are a great way to incorporate high intensity without the high impact wear and tear on bones and joints! I believe water training is the most overlooked and underutilized environment that can offer challenge and change to your workout regime. The liquid gym benefits are two-fold; natural resistance of the water provides a muscle toning effect while minimizing the impact in the high intensity (especially in plyometrics) cardiovascular work, thanks to the buoyancy factor. Plus, water is refreshing, especially in the warmer summer months.  Another bonus; if you’re really not a fan of heavy sweating, it’s ideal for you!  Although you still do sweat during the strenuous workouts, it’s simply not noticeable and felt in the same way. While on the topic of sweating, many people forget the importance of hydration while exercising in the water.  Just because you’re immersed in it, doesn’t change the fact that you need to replenish lost fluids during exercise and that means, “don’t forget your water bottle,” as it’s equally important as in land training.
The water training pay-off is grand:

TOTAL BODY STRENGTH
You’ll see a boost in muscle power and strength. It also helps increase flexibility and range of motion, muscle tone, coordination, circulation, renews energy levels, and can enhance your sleeping patterns.

TIGHT & TONED
The hydrostatic pressure of the water provides 12% more resistance than similar movements on land, resulting in higher workout intensities, yet lower heart rates (by about 10 beats per minute) while improving muscle tone.

SYMMETRY AND MUSCLE BALANCE
Training in the water forces you to work opposing muscles concentrically and eccentrically, creating a balance in strength, flexibility and muscle symmetry.

CORE AND ABS
Training in the water provides a safe environment to challenge and improve your balance which simultaneously challenges and strengthens your core. Maintaining upright vertical alignment and good exercise posture requires a consistent abdominal challenge throughout the entire training session.

INJURY PROTECTION 
The buoyancy of the water provides protection for your joints and spine from the impact and trauma typically associated with high impact land exercise. With the buoyancy and protective properties of the water, you’ll feel more confident about taking it up a notch and increasing your intensity. For those who have sustained an injury but don’t want to give up their training, water workouts provide the perfect exercise option, especially since swimming is not a requirement, therefore eliminating this as a prerequisite skill. The only thing required for water training is your swimsuit (no goggles) and plenty of energy and enthusiasm!

When You Don’t “Feel” Like Training – Susan Arruda

Training doesn’t always come easy, but one thing’s for sure; feelings have no place in your exercise regime!

 Susan Arruda is in her mid 40's and is a mother of 2. She has been training naturally for over 30 years.
Susan Arruda is in her mid 40’s and is a mother of 2. She has been training naturally for over 30 years.

Feelings are unreliable! They are fickle and can fluctuate dramatically from one day to the next, and even one moment to the next. 

Your feelings should have absolutely no place in your exercise program! When we determine whether we train (or do most things, for that matter) based on whether we feel like it, the likelihood of you actually doing it and following through is slim, to none. Consistency, which is a huge component of success, will plummet drastically if we leave it up to our feelings.  Ask anyone who wakes up before the crack of dawn if they “feel” like training.  Most would preferably choose their warm bed to fighting fatigue and getting up earlier than the rest of the world to exercise. The difference is they have made the decision and commitment to a healthier, active lifestyle, which for many, entails getting their training in prior to their workday.  

Most, myself included, would definitely agree that the wonderful feeling and positive outcome that comes from getting it done and feeling better overall, is the primary motivating factor. You feel better, stronger, it helps you manage and control your weight, it enhances your mood; just to name a few of the many motivating, positive benefits. 

Deciding ahead of time, creating a plan of action and following through is vital for success in this healthy lifestyle journey. It doesn’t always have to be a long workout. Even 15 minutes done on a daily basis goes a long way to feeling and looking better and establishing healthy lifelong habits. 

A shift in thinking is required for those who “dread” their training. Perhaps you need to change your activity of choice. Be aware that dread is discouraging and it drains your energy and negatively affects your spirit.  

Change your thinking from, “I have to train,” to “I get to train.” Think of the many people confined to wheelchairs or who are sick in hospitals who cannot train because they do not have the choice or ability to do what you may be dreading. Resist discouragement and consider what you can do versus what you cannot do. Change your scene, change your activity, adjust your goals perhaps, but make the decision to enjoy the gift of movement and then, JUST DO IT!

The Importance of Stretching

The flexibility component of your workout is important in preparing your muscles for the greater workload to come when done near the beginning of your workout, and for optimizing recovery and increasing flexibility after your training when your muscles are increasingly warm.  Never stretch cold muscles; it can be the equivalent of stretching a rubber band just out of the freezer -POP! Ouch! Capitalize on stretch training when your muscles are warm and pliable, making them more conducive to increasing your range of motion (ROM). 

There are so many benefits of flexibility training so it’s important not to neglect it. It’s critical for maintaining muscle balance. Other benefits of improved flexibility include: Flexible muscles reduce the risk of injury during exercise and daily activity, reduces stress and tension in the muscles you just trained, helps to dissipate lactic acid, minimizes the occurrence of muscle cramping, reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities, enhances performance in exercise and sport as well as in everyday activities of life, promotes mobility, and flexible muscles assist in good posture which minimizes stress and maximizes the strength of all joint movements. 

Flexibility techniques can provide two functions: relaxation and flexibility. There are many types of alternative methods used to promote relaxation such as: yoga, Pilates, meditation, tai chi, visualization exercises and breathing exercises. Some of the different types of flexibility techniques for stretching include:

STATIC STRETCHING, the most known and common of all techniques. The muscle and connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) are gradually lengthened and a position is held for 10-30 seconds and repeated 2-3 times.  This promotes a relaxation response, increased blood flow to the muscle and facilitates elongation of the muscle. The goal is to encourage the muscle to move to a state of increased flexibility beyond its original normal position.

DYNAMIC RANGE OF MOTION: These exercises involve dynamic movement of the muscles at each major joint. A slow and controlled active range of motion (ROM) is performed starting from a large range of motion and moving to a smaller range. This type of stretching is useful to prepare the muscles for static stretches that are more intensely targeted. This method of stretching should be performed when muscles are warm and pliable. 

PROPRIOCEPTIVE NEUROMUSCULAR FACILITATION (PNF) technique involves an initial isometric contraction of a muscle group followed by a static, lengthening stretch.  This is a more advanced technique that can help in areas that are resistant to improved flexibility.  For best results when stretching, be sure you have warm muscles and work within your personal limits and understand how to alter the difficulty of a stretch.

http://www.getfitfaster.ca/lower-body-stretch-runner-focus/?rq=stretch

Posture – long-term consequences of not have great posture

The very definition of posture means to put or place. Optimal posture requires learning to position the body in which the least amount of stress and strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during sitting, standing, moving, lying and weight bearing exercise. Alignment refers to the relationship between the different body parts. Think about dropping an imaginary plumb line from your earlobes, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Ideally, you want these cue points to line up.

Bad posture is a lot worse for you than you may realize. Studies have revealed an association with bad posture to breathing problems, falls, depression, joint and disc degeneration, nerve compression and a decreased quality of life! Those are serious health complications that can be avoided. 

Common contributors of poor posture include: weak muscles, tight muscles, prolonged static positions, high-heeled shoes (greater than 2″), having flat feet, internal or external rotation (pigeon toed or duck walk) of the feet, excess bodyweight, carrying a heavy bag repeatedly over one shoulder, falling asleep in wrong or funny positions, etc.

Do your best to avoid prolonged static positions and do a self-analysis check regularly throughout your day. Good posture can enhance your health and provide you with increased energy and stamina, improved circulation, better breathing, a taller and slimmer looking you, and assist in having greater confidence. Don’t underestimate the seemingly small things of our everyday lives like posture, as they really do amount to a lot over the long run. Be sure to read our article written by Susan entitled, ‘The Everyday Overlooked Abdominal Workout,’ which illustrates the importance of posture as it pertains to abdominal training.

The Diet You Should Be On

The “Diet” You Should Be On

by Marco G.

The word “diet” itself has been twisted to mean so many different things. Instead of it describing one’s eating habits, it has become a term that breeds fear and deprivation. We decide to “go on a diet,” gives rise to many of the same feelings some have when they “go on” lent, or “go on” a low carb, high protein diet. It is like we are strapping on some kind of fat body armour and going to war against our impulses. No wonder the moment your mind gets a hint that deprivation is coming, it signals the rest of your body to get ready for a famine, to defend and hold on to everything it has. The result? Your cravings automatically go up and your body begins resisting weight loss/healthy choices because it is in fear of a famine. Wow, what a backfire for those who thought “diet” was their weight loss solution. It reminds me of the old adage: “tell someone they can’t have something and soon that is all they will crave.”

HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The choices overweight people have made have been wrong from the get-go. I know, I was one. Here is the big reveal; what the nations (USA and Canada) eat, in fact the western-food industrialized world eats, started us all off on the wrong foot. Most of our readers here at GetFitFaster.ca are enlightened about the awful effects os fast/processed foods, so I am not going to spend a lot of time educating you on this, since I would be “preaching to the choir,” so to speak; but I do hope to encourage you on a couple of points that have been very important in my own journey. We got “here,” borderline epidemic obesity, diabetes, heart disease… you name it, because our “sugar daddies” hooked us on crappy food as “good for us,” and made us believe that foods like veg, fruits, seeds etc. represent a “DIET.” Our parents, look, I adore mine, led us, rather, FED us to believe that good behaviour = sugar! My near silver hair bears witness to this as I can recall the lollipop my barber gave me in Italy, after not crying during the cut. By the way, that guy snipped my ear once! There was blood, then there was another lollipop… all better. It is no different than the practice of hooking someone on a drug, a little at a time.

WE HAVE IT BACKWARDS 
The following may revolutionize the way you think about what “a diet” actually is.  To our bodies and the way they are naturally designed, NOT eating fast food, junk food and boatloads of refined sugar is NORMAL! Yes, you read that correctly; it is the NORMAL way our bodies were designed by nature – to NOT want to eat that stuff. What IS NORMAL, is eating unprocessed, unrefined foods; veg, fruit, greens, seeds etc… what is naturally ABNORMAL to our bodies is to not eat that way. However, we have taught them differently.

What is ABNORMAL is to buy diet/health related products to try and counteract the awful choices we are making. What is ABNORMAL is getting so hooked on sweets, sugars, unhealthy fats that “eating clean/right” is now considered, yup, here is that word again: ABNORMAL! Do you see how backwards we have this? Going on “a diet” now means “eating healthy!” The power of natural food is reversing disease across the planet everyday, but you won’t hear about that much because there is no  money in “health,” but there are billions of dollars to be made in despair and sickness. See just one example of how natural food eradicated disease, from Dr. Mercola here: http://goo.gl/mvHvxJ

NO, THAT IS NOT “FOOD” YOU ARE GIVING UP
If your initial thoughts run along the lines of “Marco, what are you saying? That I have to give up the foods I love?” My immediate answer is this; if what you mean by “foods you love” is Fried Chicken, Fries, Poutine, Sodas, Donuts, Chocolate Cake, fattening cookies, diet products including sodas, certain protein bars, low carb this, low fat that, fast food, most pre packaged frozen items, things in plastic wrap or shiny foil packaging, processed snacks and so on…” YOU ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT “FOOD,” you are talking about products manufactured in a lab, or that are cooked in such an unhealthy way that they defy the very meaning of the word “food” itself. If instead your thinking is “I could never give those things up,” then, as unpopular as this might make me, you have a different challenge before you, and it is that of mindset and self-imposed limitations. 

HOW I DID IT – HOW I AM STILL AT IT
I made a conscious decision that being healthy and liking the way I look, is more important to me than any momentary satisfaction junk food can offer. Was it easy? Ask me that after I tell you that I also quit 20 years plus of smoking 1+ packs of cigarettes a day. NO. IT WAS NOT EASY. But trying to go up one flight of stairs at 25 years of age and clutching my chest in pain was not easy either. When I really cleaned up my eating, I went through sugar withdrawals and headaches, but they are gone. Now I get these if I ever overload on sugar. You can train your body to do just about anything, including going through some discomfort in order to get a desired result. Nothing you eat that is “dead,” as in processed, made in a lab, or has no nutritional value has any place in your body if your goal is quality of life, or weight management. 

WHO WILL GET THE FINAL WORD?
Excuses like “I can’t, I don’t have the willpower, the discipline…” you can say all of that for a while, a long while in fact, because our bodies are capable of withstanding massive amounts of abuse. But at some point these statements will stare you dead in the face and scream at you when the doctor says “you have diabetes, your kidneys are shutting down, your blood pressure is through the roof, your pancreas is malfunctioning, you will need medication for the rest of your life” and worse. 

Don’t give your lack of willpower or your addiction to bad food the chance to say “GOTCHA,” at some point later in your life. Go through a little discomfort now to lessen the chances of massive pain and suffering later. I challenge you do rethink what “diet” means to you.

I tackled some of this in a podcast earlier this year. You can download it here for free.