Posts Tagged ‘Calories’

Exercise: Insanity Max Interval Circuit Calories

Burned: 1082

Total Calories Burned for the week: 1,748

Weight Watchers Daily Points Used: 42 of 42

Weekly Points Used: 10 (29 left for the week)

Activity Points Used: 0

Activity Points Remaining: 17

Successes: I did okay. I took my son to the doctor, thankfully he just has bronchitis and an ear infection. That meant a late supper, so just grabbing something quick was my only option. I got a burger. Not the best option, but there were plenty of other options that would have been a lot worse.

Failures: Just the burger. Pretty much an okay day.

Outlook for today: I have everything planned out for the day, so I just need to stick to it. I also already got my workout in which makes my frame of mind so much better. I hope you have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true!



Getting healthy. That is the whole point of my entire blog. It’s not getting skinny. It’s not losing weight. It’s all about getting healthy. Being healthy deals with a lot more than just the number that you see on the scale. To get healthy, you have to start by liking the person you see in the mirror everyday. If you don’t have a positive body image, there are some things you can do to help with that. If you like these tips, you can thank my wife for these tips. She is the one who taught me all of these tricks!

Words of Wisdon

Words of Wisdom

Do Not Pick Yourself Apart Limb By Limb

You just stepped out of the shower. You happen to look in the mirror, and you start looking at everything you hate about your body. Next thing you know, you can’t find one thing you like about your body. The key thing to remember is that your body is not perfect and it never will be. There will always be things that you would prefer to look differently. Understand that, and only focus on those body parts when you are taking active steps to correct them. The rest of the time, focus on what you like about your body. If you continue to swear up and down that there is nothing to like about your body, at least try to find things that aren’t as bad as the other parts. Focusing on the negative all the time will make it seem like you are facing an insurmountable goal. Stay positive. It seems obvious to say that staying positive is essential to having a positive body image, but it can’t be reiterated enough.

Dress Your Body Appropriately

The biggest mistake most people make when they look at themselves in the mirror is they don’t wear clothes that make them look attractive. It is possible, regardless of what size you currently are. You may not think that is possible, but I promise you that it is. It’s all about picking out correct sizes and understanding what is going to look good on your body.

Don’t Wear Clothes That Are Too Big

A common misconception that many have who are trying to dress their body in an attractive manner is to wear clothes that are too big. I did this for years. The logic is that if I wear things that are too big, then people will think I am smaller because my clothes are so big. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. People are going to assume that there is more of your body there. On top of that, add in the fact that you look slouchy and unkempt when you wear clothes that are too big. Nothing about that is attractive

Don’t Wear Clothes That Are Too Tight

This is also true, but for the opposite reason. Clothes that are too big make people assume that there is more person under the clothes. Clothes that are too tight highlight areas that you don’t want highlighted, or they are going to squeeze parts of your body that don’t need to be squeezed. It’s not going to do anything for your self-esteem to see fat get squeezed into a ball because you wore a shirt that was one size too small. If you are trying to lose weight, I know you are probably wanting to get into smaller sizes, but getting into that smaller size too soon isn’t going to do anything to help you reach your goals. That brings me to my next point.

Don’t Be A Slave To Size

Every single clothes manufacturer makes their sizes a little differently. I like to think of sizes as more of a suggestion, not a hard fast rule. For example, I wear a size 32 for most of the pants I wear. There are a few brands where I need a larger size and some where I need a smaller size. Don’t let it get you down if you see that you lose weight and try on some brand new clothes, but your size according to the manufacturer hasn’t changed. It may just be they make their clothes smaller than most. Find something that fits, not a size you want to fit.

If you want to be successful, at some point, you are going to have to like your body. You can’t always hate it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make changes, especially if your motivation is to get healthier, but if you are ever going to have a positive body image, you have to start thinking positively starting today. Changing that thought process isn’t easy. That’s the reason we have so many health problems related to our weight today. People just don’t like what they see in the mirror.

I hope this helps you to get the positive body image you need. Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true.


Men vs. Women

Posted: February 15, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
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Why do men lose weight so much easier than women?

Why do men lose weight so much easier than women?

I think we all know that men have an easier time losing weight than women. But why? What is it about men that gives them such an advantage in losing weight? Men can lose weight much easier than women and there are tons of examples of that. When I decided six years ago to get in shape, I only made a few minor changes and watched the pounds fly off. I eventually had to make additional changes to keep it coming off, but at first, it was relatively easy to lose the weight. I think I have some ideas about why that might be the case. Understand, I am not a nutrition expert, and these are all my assumptions about the differences between men and women. I don’t have any scientific evidence that verifies anything in this post. What I do have is common sense, and I think everything in this particular post makes sense.

The Height Advantage

Men typically are taller. I found different numbers, but the consensus seems to be that the average height of a man is about 5’10” or 5’11” and the average height of a woman is about 5’4″. The taller you are, the more weight you can carry. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn in a day just simply being alive. If men on average are 6 or 7 inches taller than women, then I think it is pretty logical they are going to start off with more weight which means they will burn more calories.

Staying Motivated

If men lose weight easier, then they will see more results on the scale. If they see more results on the scale, then men will probably be more likely to stay motivated. Also, women typically lose in areas that they don’t care as much about at first (i.e. arms, legs, breasts). So when a woman loses weight initially, she may not see the results in the mirror like she might prefer. This can cause her to lose motivation pretty quickly. Men almost always gain in the belly first, and then lose in the belly first; therefore they will see results that they like which will in turn keep them motivated.

It may be easier for men to lose weight, but that doesn't make it a competition.

It may be easier for men to lose weight, but that doesn’t make it a competition.

Society Sucks

The most important reason though may be society’s influence. Society gives women and girls such a horrible standard to meet through pop culture, the media, and the fashion world in general. Men, quite frankly, aren’t held to the same standard. Women are constantly being bombarded with images from all over that they have to be skinny, skinny, skinny if they want to be attractive, and this is such a tragedy.

And I mean tragedy. It’s a strong word, but it’s true. Women and girls feel so pressured to lose weight, and possibly lose at such a rate that they put their health in danger, that they can easily suffer an eating disorder.

The fashion world is so weird in how it does things. A fashion magazine can have one article devoted to healthy weight loss, and then on the next page, have a model who has obviously been starving herself modeling clothes. Where is the consistency in that. There are also numerous stores who have been criticized for airbrushing the pictures of their already skinny models to make them look thinner. If that wasn’t bad enough, most of those stores don’t want women who go over a size 14 to wear their clothes, so they simply don’t make them. One thing I have come across when reading other blogs is that women who are just getting started on the weight loss journey will often say one of the reasons they want to lose weight is to be able to buy clothes in stores they want, not just the ones that will fit.

Another problem is how the media and pop culture portray women and what they expect. I have never heard of a single actress who didn’t say the director told them to lose ten pounds when they began filming a movie. Whenever there is a reality show that comes on that focuses on a woman or group of women, weight is almost always one of the first things discussed in the media. It’s ridiculous how obsessed the media can be with trying to see just how skinny women can be.

Another serious issue is just men in general. Men have bought into this skinny-at-all-costs look for women. It’s been a number of years since I read this, but I read that in the 1950s, men found 50% of the female population attractive. Today, men find 10% of the female population attractive. That is just plain sad. I know lots of people who have said their husbands or boyfriends hassle them about their weight on a regular basis. If that guy is willing to leave you over your weight, then he is the one with the problem, not you.

Women have to be given support about their body image because so many have such a poor perception of it. This hits me personally on two levels because I have both a wife and a daughter. I love my wife for the wonderful person that she is, and will always be. I think she is the most beautiful of all of God’s creation, and no amount of weight gain or weight loss of hers will ever change that. My daughter is only seven months old, but I don’t want her to have some of these struggles. I want my daughter to realize that she is worth more than the number on the scale. I want her to be able to look into a mirror and like what she sees no matter what society might tell her.

With society hounding women like it does, I think it is pretty easy to see why so many women get discouraged on their weight loss journey. It would be so easy to become distressed about the scale. Society should encourage women to be healthy, not skinny. If you don’t think there is a difference, trust me when I tell you there is.

When you add up these three factors, height, motivation, and society, I think it is easy to see why women have a harder time. They are put behind the eight ball so to speak when it comes to losing weight compared to their male counterparts.

I hope you have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true!


Mind Control

Posted: February 13, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement, Uncategorized
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Exercise begins with your mind

Exercise begins with your mind

It’s amazing what our brain can do for us. It is constantly working without us even having to think about it. It keeps all of our muscles and body systems working while we are completely oblivious. The human brain is truly a remarkable wonder.

As amazing as it is, it can also keep us down or hold us back from some things. This especially true of exercise. Our mind often tells us when we need to quit a workout before our body is actually ready to quit. Let’s take a look at how our brain helps and hurts us when we exercise.

It’s All in Your Head

The obvious way that the brain hurts our exercise routine is by thinking that we need to stop before we have completed a workout. If you have ever exercised, you have in all likelihood experienced this. Let’s be honest, exercise is hard and strenuous. You spend a lot of time pushing your body to its breaking point. Your mind will be telling you often that it’s time to quit, you’ve endured too much pain. I won’t lie, it’s tough to overcome. The key is to listen to your body, not your head. Your body will only do what it is capable of doing. If you’re doing push ups, your body will do as many as it physically can. When you can’t do any more, you will make it down, but you won’t make it back up. That’s how you find out when you are really done.

Getting your brain to match your body is a difficult task. Make your brain work!

Getting your brain to match your body is a difficult task. Make your brain work!

It can also be a hindrance when you think you can do more than you actually can. Last night, I exercised at night for one of the first times in a long time. It was different. I’m accustomed to being a little groggy when I start my workout because I normally do it early in the morning. Last night I was really wide awake and feeling like I could work myself harder because of it. My body disagreed. I kept going too hard, too quickly at points throughout my workout and was tiring out during some of the moves at the beginning of my workout. I eventually compensated for it and achieved a much more normal pace.

Let Your Conscience be Your Guide

Your brain, though, can be a valuable tool as well. One of the biggest problems most people have when they exercise is remembering to breathe when they are exercising. I know that sounds kind of strange, but it’s true. You can train your brain to breathe at the right time until it gets to the point where you aren’t thinking about it.

It can also help you get on a regular routine with exercise in several ways. For example, when I first started exercising as early as I do, it was tough to get myself up and awake that early in the morning. The more I have done it, the easier it has been to get out of bed and get awake enough to complete my workout.

Get your mind as strong as your body!

Get your mind as strong as your body!

It also will make you start to crave your workout. When you get consistent with exercise, you will start to feel bad if you don’t do it. The desire to do so will get stronger and stronger with each day that you complete your workout. Your mind will trigger those feelings inside you.

Your brain can definitely be a hindrance to your exercise routine. Just like your body, though, it can be trained to be a valuable tool in the process of getting your body in tip-top shape. With repetition and hard work, your brain will get in sync with your body and you will be knocking out all of your fitness goals ion no time.

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true!


Figuring out a diet plan to use can be a real head-scratcher.

Figuring out a diet plan to use can be a real head-scratcher.

If you’re reading this, you either want to stay healthy or you want to get healthy.  Part of getting healthy for many people is to lose weight. For many of these people, they will turn to different programs to help them in that goal. Because so many people are looking for help, the diet and weight loss plans have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. There are so many different programs and products, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one will work for you. I’ll also tell you if I think it is going to end up being a fad or legitimate.


Sensa is one of the newest programs out there and may make the least sense to a lot of people. Supposedly, you can just shake their product onto whatever it is you are eating and still lose weight. No calorie tracking, no giving up eating anything you like, just shake it on your food and watch the pounds fall off. But what exactly is it? I did not actually know so I did some research. Here is what had to say about it.  To sum up what they say, Sensa supposedly uses something called “tastants” to make people feel fuller. The smell of them as you eat whatever it is your eating is supposed to make you feel less hungry. There is no scientific data to back this claim up. To me this sounds kind of fishy.

What exactly is Sensa?

What exactly is Sensa?

Verdict: Sounds too good to be true, Gotta call it a FAD.

Right Size Smoothies

Much like Sensa, Right Size Smoothies claims to give maximum results with little to no change in your diet. It’s very similar to the Slim Fast shakes (do they still make those?) from years ago. You replace one or two of your meals a day with one of their shakes and you will supposedly lose weight. So how does it work?

The main ingredient in these smoothies is Appemine, which is an appetite suppressant. This appetite suppressant does work, so can we automatically assume that this product works? Not necessarily. While an appetite suppressant helps, it does not contain a fat burner which is something most people look for in a diet aid. I have no doubt that it helps keep you less hungry, it won’t actually help you shed pounds. I think it can help, but I would not use it as a primary means of weight loss.

One word of caution: When trying to find some pictures of Right Size smoothies, I came across a number of bad reviews, not for the effectiveness of the product, but for the fact that the company does not appear to be as honest in their marketing practices when they advertise their free 30 day trial. You can find some of these reviews here. I have never bought their product, and I cannot speak for the honesty in which they conduct their business, but I found a number of places with similar reviews. I would talk in detail with a sales rep about how the 30 free trial actually works if you plan to go that route.

Verdict: It has potential, and there are a number of success stories. It’s a tough call. I’ll go with LEGITIMATE, but I’m attaching lots of strings to that.


An example of a Nutrisystem meal.

An example of a Nutrisystem meal.

Nutrisystem took the diet world by storm a few years back. Main reason they have been so successful is because they sell simplicity with weight loss. You don’t count calories, you don’t have a special plan to follow, you simply eat the food they send you and lose weight.

So how does this one work? They talk about the glycemic index, and they do use it, but what it basically boils down to is calorie counts. The meals total for 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,500 for men.

There are lots of positives. The meals are balanced pretty well nutritionally, and they keep the calories low. Participants don’t have to focus on counting calories and take a lot of the thinking out of it. They do make it simple.

That is also a negative though. It’s great that they make it simple, but you aren’t LEARNING how to eat better. You don’t learn how to make smart choices off of a menu. You don’t learn how to prepare healthier meals. Critics say that people have a hard time keeping the weight off, but I can’t say that I have first hand knowledge of that happening.

Verdict: It’s definitely LEGITIMATE, but be proactive if you decide to use Nutrisystem. Make sure you are educating yourself on what constitutes healthy eating while on the plan.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig has been around a lot longer than most people think. It started in Australia in the early 80’s, and it came over here to the United States in the mid-90’s. It received lots of attention when Kirstie Alley lost lots of weight using the program. She did gain a lot back, but there have been plenty of other celebrity spokespeople for Jenny Craig that have lost weight and kept it off, like Valerie Bertinelli.

Some of the Jenny Craig Meals

Some of the Jenny Craig Meals

What makes it different from any of the other ones? It has three levels and three elements. Level one is to eat anything you want, just watch portion size. Level two is to increase your activity level. The third level teaches you how to maintain some semblance of balance so you can maintain the weight you lost.

The first element is food. They want you to learn how to control your portions, prepare healthy meals, and make smart choices while at restaurants and parties. The second element is body. They try to help people get to an activity level that will not only help them lose weight, but also to maintain a healthy body weight. The last element is mind. The Jenny Craig plan has one of the best support programs in the weight loss industry. There are local meetings you can attend with a coach, but there is also a 24/7 hotline you can call at any time to get coaching and support.

The most important part of the Jenny Craig plan is the prepackaged meals. This is where I get lost with Jenny Craig. The prepackaged meals show you what a healthy portion size looks like, but it can often be hard to make the transition from prepackaged to ones you eat on your own. Our eyes can often deceive us. This is where the counseling comes in. If you’re not sure if it’s a good portion, ask for help if you are still on the plan.

Verdict: Much like Nutrisystem, it is very LEGITIMATE. The one thing that makes this better is the support system. it should be enough to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

Weight Watchers

A day in the life of Weight Watchers

A day in the life of Weight Watchers

The Grand Poobah of diet programs would be Weight Watchers. It’s been around for a long time, and there is a reason for it. Lots of people have had positive results. If you have read anything else on this blog, you know I use it. I explained briefly why in this blog entry.

Weight Watchers now has two options for people to consider. Meetings and point tracking or online only. The meetings are an accountability and coaching element to the program. You attend a meeting once a week where you are weighed and updated on if your daily point total will go up or down. I’ve never been to one of the meetings, so I am not sure what all they talk about in the meetings.

The online only portion is less expensive, but you still get access to the points system and the tracking. The negative is you don’t get the coaching or the accountability. I have a blog where I report my weight so I use that as my accountability. I also take note of where I mess up each day in my fitness updates, so I am less concerned with the coaching.

The biggest advantage this program has over the other ones is that you are making the choices about what you eat. You are preparing the meals. You see how much of a change adding something unhealthy to your diet can be. You also see how good it can be to replace it with a healthier alternative.

The biggest drawback to Weight Watchers is figuring out how they calculate their points. It asks for four of the nutritional components of your food: fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. When you put those items in the calculator, it gives you a point value. I don’t know how much of any of them constitutes a point. They don’t figure calories into it either, but if something is high in carbs or fat, it’s probably going to be high in calories.

I use it for the tracking. There are lots of tracking programs and apps available, but if I don’t pay for it, I am much less likely to use it. It works for me, but I can only speak for myself.

Verdict: Also very LEGITIMATE, just don’t go right off the program once you hit your goal. Once you reach your goal, you will have your points adjusted to allow you to maintain your weight. Get used to eating like that before you go off.


The most important aspect with any of these programs is to follow them RIGOROUSLY. If it means eating only their food and supplementing with fruit and vegetables, you need to do that. Every time you venture outside of it, you run the risk of it not working. If it requires you to track everything you eat, you have to track EVERYTHING you eat. The less honest you are, the less likely it is to work. Do what they tell you!

Can you do all of this on your own? Absolutely. The point of these programs is to help you learn what it is like to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. They are tools. A tool can only work when it is used properly. Sometimes a tool isn’t needed to get a job done, but if you need one, use it!

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all your fitness dreams come true!


Six Simple Rules

Posted: February 5, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
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Don’t try to over complicate things. That’s the best piece of health and fitness tip anyone can give you. That being said, here are six simple rules to follow. You can’t beat ’em.

1. Eat at least 1,000 calories a day

This will keep you from going into starvation mode. Some people get so desperate to lose weight, they cut their calorie intake down to almost nothing. If your body gets less than 1,000 calories a day, it will think you’re starving and start storing all the calories and fat the next time you eat. That leads to weight gain, even though you are eating so little.

2. Push yourself

When it feels like you can’t do anymore, do it anyway. Your body won’t allow you to do any more than it can handle. Know your limits, there is a time to stop and rest, but if you are maintaining good form when exercising, you haven’t reached that point yet. Once your form goes south, that’s when you take a break.

3. Make realistic goals

If you set your sights too high, you will get disappointed. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but there is a line between ambitious and unrealistic. Know where that line is. If you set goals that you have no chance of meeting, you’re more likely to give up.

4. Be positive

When you have bad days, don’t let it get you down. Ink about the progress you have made. Just because you have an occasional hiccup now and then doesn’t mean you need to be down on yourself.

5. Don’t fad diet

I plan to write about all the different diet plans out there at some point, but if it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. Use your common sense when eating and you should be good.

6. You’re awesome

Don’t forget that. No matter what you weigh or how you feel, remember that you’re an awesome person regardless of any of that

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true.


Four Weeks of Pure Insanity

Posted: February 4, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
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How I feel after pretty much every Insanity Workout

Four weeks are in the books between me and Insanity. I have talked a little about how it has been throughout my fitness updates and weeks in review, but I wanted to break it down a little more in-depth in its own blog post.

Who It’s For

Despite what you may think, you don’t have to be prime physical shape to start doing Insanity. I have seen people who were over weight and weren’t very active successfully complete the program. It’s obviously harder the more out of shape you are when you get started, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you want to really push your body to the limits, then I suggest giving it a try. typically gives you a certain time frame to try it before being locked into it, so you can always get your money back if you decide in the first week that it isn’t for you. Or, you can borrow the videos from someone you know if they aren’t currently using them.

Who Should Avoid It

If you have serious knee, leg, or back problems, I would think twice before taking this workout program can modify things to make it work if you have some prior injuries that make some of the moves more difficult, but if it is a persistent injury that can handle little to no stress, you’re probably just wasting your time. There are other things you can do besides Insanity to get in shape.

The First Two Weeks

You get a pretty good glimpse into just how hard this sucker is going to be the very first day when you have a 25 minute fit test. I thought it would be relatively simple. I have never been more wrong in my entire life. I was gasping for air when it was over. The rest of the first two weeks was more of the same. I struggled mightily to keep up. I took a lot more breaks than the people on the video did. It was just beyond hard.

Then, towards the end of the second week, I noticed that it wasn’t as difficult to stay with the people on the video. I was still stopping and resting more than them, but not to the degree that I had been at the beginning.

The Last Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been just as intense as the first two, but I am much more capable of handling the workouts. My form has improved greatly, and I can feel the muscles that are supposed to be worked getting worked. I last longer through each exercise as well. I dreaded my workouts for the majority of the first two weeks. The last two, I woke each morning really anticipating my workout. It definitely gets better.

My Modifications

I don’t deviate from the printed schedule too much. One thing I do differently is the upper body weight training on Thursdays. That is supposed to be the recovery day, but I like to work that in twice a week and this is one of the few days I can find time to do it. I also don’t take Sundays off, and work it in on that day as well. I am also probably going to also do Max Sports Interval three days during the recovery week as well. Other than that, I follow the schedule exactly like it says.

Strengths of the Program

For the most part, it’s a full body workout. It combines cardio and strength training. You are going to really feel like you have accomplished something after each and every single workout. It is challenging, and you feel better after you complete it. Also, very few of the workouts last longer than 40 minutes. There are a few, but you aren’t spending an exorbitant amount of time doing it.

Drawbacks of the Program

The only drawback is the fact that there isn’t any built-in time to do weight lifting if you really enjoy that, and I do. That’s the reason that I have worked it in where I have. There are very few things I could say that are negatives about it.

Overall Thoughts

Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, it’s challenging. There is no reason to believe otherwise, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Cardio is not my strong suit, and it pushes me like no other workout. I still manage to get through it though.

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all your fitness dreams come true!