Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

Couples Therapy.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Paul and Renae are clients of ours here at CoachMeFit in East Grand Rapids, and as often as possible, they train together. They also run and bike several times a week, together. Paul and Renae view this recreation together as an important aspect of what makes their marriage and relationship work.

Paul and Renae are also a terrific example of what it means for your health to have an accountability partner. When thier workouts are hard and exhausting, they are yelling and encouraging one another. When they complete difficult exercises, they give each other high fives. I truly believe that together, they are are achieving greater success than they would individually.

Can you relate to Paul and Renae? Have you found that on your own there are way to many excuses to not work out or to not really push yourself? When you have no one to hold you accountable to workout times and to push you to a new level of intensity, are you more likely to not show up or to slack off?

I would encourage everyone to set up your own system of accountability. Do you need a personal trainer to guide you, encourage you, and push you? Call a CoachMeFit trainer! Do you have friends that workout? Plan ahead and set up a schedule and hold each other to it. Maybe you and your spouse need to completely change your lifestyle and start working out and eating better. Set goals, encourage each other, and make it happen.

Whatever accountability means to you, I encourage you to set your goals, and find someone who will challenge you to meet them. You will find greater motivation and drive, and you will undoubtedly have a greater chance at success.

Have a healthy and successful day!

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Burn Baby Burn

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Quick Notes on Energy Expenditure and What it Means for Weight Loss

By Catherine Munaco

Owner, CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

As a trainer, I have one basic rule for clients aiming to lose significant amounts of weight: You must know roughly how many calories you consume relative to how many calories your body is burning on a daily basis. Surprisingly, very few people have looked into their energy consumption and expenditure, and instead take what we call “uneducated guesses”. As humans, we tend to underestimate the calories in our food and overestimate the energy we use during our daily routines and workouts. Clients are often reluctant to spend time tediously logging entries into a food diary, and even nutritionists will say that calculating calories in food is a time consuming process. I simply don’t care. I’ve logged my food consumption, its annoying—yes—but vital, read: VITAL, to progress with weight loss. Luckily, online food journals make tracking easier and less time consuming than it used to be (try fitday.com for a free online food journal). If tracking food every day isn’t something you’re likely to stick with, then track for three days (making sure one of those days is on the weekend). Because we tend to be creatures of habit, you’ll get a general idea of how many calories you eat in a typical day. Most likely you’ll be shocked with the amount of calories you’re consuming. If you eat out, be sure to look up calories on the restaurants website, which can also be shocking. I’ll never forget when I learned that my “healthy” Panera salad contained over 30 grams of fat. Simply substituting the dressing would have saved me over 200 calories.

The other half of the equation, of course, is calories expended. Here, we also see inaccurate guesses. Clients will often tell me they went for a long walk, but when I put them on the treadmill they realize how slow they were really moving. For a more accurate calorie count, I usually suggest a heart rate monitor. Cardio machines typically have a spot for calories burned in a workout session, but even they can overestimate. One time, the treadmill said I burned 800 calories in a 40 minute run; my heart rate monitor said 425. (I would have loved to believe the treadmill, of course, but a female my size would have to run faster than 6 minute miles to expend that much energy in 40 minutes, and I don’t think I’ve ever run a 5:50 minute mile, let alone 8 of them.)

Additionally, my clients usually have no idea how many calories they use at rest. The most simplistic estimation of this value is what exercise physiologists refer to as resting metabolic rate, or RMR. RMR accounts for the energy required by cells to maintain normal bodily functions and homeostasis at rest. Similar to RMR, basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the minimum energy needed to sustain vital life functions. In laboratory conditions, BMR is typically only slightly less than RMR, so the two tend to be considered interchangeable. Regardless, knowing your daily BMR or RMR is crucial to weight loss. Again, people are often shocked to learn how little they burn at rest. Equally frustrating—BMR is lower in females (a result of lower muscle masses as compared to males) and decreases with age. To calculate your age, gender, and weight adjusted BMR, go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

Aside from physical activity and exercise, BMR ends up being the most important form of calorie expenditure simply because we spend most of our day at rest. Having a basic understanding of our daily energy needs allows us to regulate and change the foods we eat to better accommodate energy expenditure. In the long run, we want eating HABITS that fit our energy needs. Knowing BMR also highlights the importance of physical activity. On days that we put in a significant workout, our caloric expenditure is as much as 25% greater than our resting levels. That means we can eat more! Exercise increases weight loss when calories are carefully monitored and helps to buffer “bad eating” days (you know you’ve had ‘em).

Research has also shown that exercise can have a counter effect on the natural decrease in BMR with age. Age-related decreases in BMR are typically explained by loss of muscle tissue and increase in fat tissue. Some changes in metabolic activity for muscle also exist as we age, but for the most part we lose active muscle tissue, and therefore burn less calories at rest. However, weight training can help maintain muscle mass that we would otherwise lose, thus keeping basal metabolic rates from plummeting. Some research has even suggested that regular aerobic training in older individuals causes increases in BMR with no increase in muscle mass.

BMR often decreases with age

BMR often decreases with age

So what does this mean for the average person? It means that you need to keep moving and you need to know what you’re consuming relative to what you’re eating. Weight loss only occurs when energy out is greater than energy in, but if we don’t at least have some general idea of what our individual caloric consumption and usage is, we can’t begin to know what to change to see results. Is it a pain in the butt? For some of us, yes. Is it necessary? YES. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix. Knowing what your body is doing is the first step to changing habits and creating new patterns for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. Smaller pant sizes are the satisfying bonus.

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The Biggest Loser: Season 7

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Meet Joelle: The Inside Scoop

This is the first of weekly updates on CoachMeFit’s celebrity client, Biggest Loser contestant Joelle Gwynn. Joelle has been training at CoachMeFit West Bloomfield with owner/trainer Catherine Munaco since early January. At stake is a $250,000 prize for losing the most weight by the season finale on May 12, 2009. The Biggest Loser airs every Tuesday at 8pm on NBC.  Catherine will be blogging weekly first-hand updates from Joelle’s training

I met Joelle for the first time on Thursday and was immediately impressed with her work ethic and excitement. What I noticed first, though, was how much she needed a personal trainer from CoachMeFit. She was strictly following the nutritional program given to her by the show’s nutritionists, but she wasn’t exercising nearly as often or as intense and she needed to be. She told me accountability was key for her—when she goes to the gym, she works extremely hard, but waking up and getting to the gym was the difficult part (sound familiar?) I assured her that we had enough time to reach her goals by the finale on May 12, but we needed to—literally– get moving.

It didn’t take long for Joelle to show me how hard of a worker she was during her workouts. My favorite quote from her was “I can talk and work!” She didn’t want to take breaks. She didn’t want to go half speed. She wanted to do every exercise correctly and to its full capacity. It’s a personal trainer’s dream to have such a motivated client! (Of course, a live finale on national TV doesn’t hurt either.)

Joelle also told me she is extremely anxious about Week Two’s episode, set to air Tuesday January 13 at 8 pm. Apparently, she is yelled at by Bob and is portrayed as wimpy and lazy. It’s ironic, actually, because she’s probably the least lazy client I have ever had. But we understand the show needs to pick villains for dramatic flare, and I guess Joelle got picked to be one. There are multiple cameras running 24 hours a day, so in a week they get hundreds of hours of footage and have to cut it down to 2 for the show. Its unfortunate, but a part of being on the show Joelle will have to deal with.

I was also surprised with how little contact the show keeps with the contestants once they are at home. Keep in mind, week eleven was taped over a month ago—so ALL contestants are home now, whether they’ve been eliminated or not. Joelle had a comprehensive nutritional plan and access to workout clothes (hard to find for extremely plus sizes!) and caloric expenditure monitors. A trainer from the show had come to her gym in Michigan and showed her some workouts to do on her own, but after that there was little to no feedback. Joelle said she really missed the immediate feedback and accountability that she had while she was at the ranch, and that training with me at CoachMeFit made her accountable to working out even when she didn’t want to. As well, I could give her feedback on the types of workouts she was doing and how to improve them to burn even more calories. We forget that contestant have a maximum of eleven weeks on the ranch to learn about nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. I spent four years studying the same things at the University of Michigan. It’s unrealistic to think contestants return home as exercise gurus, and Joelle needed the guidance, accountability, and expertise that CoachMeFit personal trainers provide.

All in all, I can tell Joelle will be successful at her weight loss this time. Stay tuned…

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Clients Reach Goals Through Accountability

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Amy and Shellay from NBC’s “Biggest Loser” were interviewed by WDIV this week along with their personal trainer, CoachMeFit Owner Derek DiGiovanni. 

Their weight loss since being eliminated from the show has been truly remarkable and they attribute much of this accomplishment to Derek’s help.  Watch the clip above to hear them talk about just how far they’ve come.

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The Biggest Loser

Monday, September 29th, 2008

This is the first of weekly updates on CoachMeFit’s celebrity clients, Biggest Loser contestants Shellay and Amy Cremen. The mother-daughter duo has been training at CoachMeFit Birmingham with owner/trainer Derek DiGiovanni since the summer. At stake is a $250,000 prize for losing the most weight by the season finale in mid December. The Biggest Loser airs every Tuesday at 8pm on NBC.The Biggest Loser at CoachMeFit

“I can feel my ribs!” exclaimed Shellay, noting one of the many ways her body is changing as she sheds more pounds each week. Shellay admits that until entering this competition she wasn’t able to maintain a diet or exercise program. She explained, “Not being able to keep commitments to ourselves and lack of self-discipline run in my family. But, I’m very good at keeping commitments to others.” Shellay thinks that’s a big reason why she can stick with her demanding, life-changing workout schedule. She’s made commitments to her teammate, her daughter Amy; to her husband who walks miles with her every night; and to Derek, her CoachMeFit trainer. Scheduling appointments 3 times a week are like making promises. Being accountable for her progress means working hard during each session.

Derek developed a fitness plan to meet Shellay’s goals. Her sessions are a combination of cardio and weight training. “When I have been able to diet and lose some weight, I just looked thinner. Now I can see how toning improves my shape.” In between CoachMeFit training, she works out on her own and adds a long walk every night.

“I haven’t been discouraged because I’ve continue to lose weight and see results,” says Shellay. “My whole mental attitude is different. I’ve stopped sabotaging myself and am convinced that I can do this. The benefits so outweigh the effort.”

For more about the competition read Birmingham’s CoachMeFit trains ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants.

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