6 Fitness Stats You Need to Keep To Avoid EPIC FAIL!

In my last post, I  wrote about how to “check yourself” to make sure you’re actually ready to succeed at getting in shape – regardless of your individual fitness goal. I’m going to say again that the amount of thought and certainty you put into answering those self-questions is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to the amount of success you’ll have at making this work. So please, if you haven’t done so please go back and read that post.

Now that you know you’re really ready, it’s time to collect the data that will be essential in order to put together the right training program and diet plan, and also to have the ability to measure if your plan is working or not.

If you are training for a specific sport or competition, then there are many other statistics you will need to keep about yourself to get to the level you want.  If you need help getting in optimal shape to perform at your sport then HIRE ME!

But for this article, we’ll focus on the fitness outcomes that 99% of people are shooting for: to gain muscle, lose fat, get stronger, have more stamina etc.  Basically — to look and feel better!  Isn’t that what it boils down to for most of us?

There are literally hundreds of good articles around the internet and at your local library that can show you how to go about taking these measurements.  I’m not gonna touch on that as much as I’m going to tell you what the most important stats are and why.

Here are the # most important stats to know about yourself.

1) Weight

UH-DUHHHH!!!  No kidding.  Yes weigh yourself.  Make sure your scale is correctly calibrated.  Make sure you always use the same scale in the same spot on the same surface.  Make sure you always weigh yourself under the same physical conditions.  Optimally you should weigh yourself in the morning before you eat or exercise and after you hit the bathroom.  You don’t want what’s in your belly, bowels and bladder screwing up your measurement here.  Weight is not only important in and of itself, but that number gets plugged into almost all of the formulas used to come up with the other stats you need to find out about.

2) bodyfat percentage

Bodyfat percentage is clearly the statistic that should mean the most to you if your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or both.  Bodyfat percentage indicates how much of your body’s mass is made up of fat.  The following chart can help you determine a healthy bodyfat number to aspire to.  Most people should be shooting for “healthy” range, while certain athletes, fitness competitors, or models will want to be in the “underfat” range.

Average Body Fat Ranges for Males and Females
Gender Male Female Male Female Male Female
Age 18 – 39 40 – 59 60 – 79
Essential Fat 2% to 4% 10% to 13% 2% to 4% 10% to 13% 2% to 4% 10% to 13%
Underfat 5% to 7% 14% to 20% 5% to 10% 14% to 22% 5% to 12% 14% to 23%
Healthy 8% to 19% 21% to 32% 11% to 21% 23% to 33% 13% to 24% 24% to 35%
Obese 20% + 33% + 22% + 34% + 25% + 36% +

Personally, I use  a handheld Omron bodyfat analyzer to test myself and all my personal training clients.  This tool uses Bioelectric Impedence to determine bodyfat.   It’s fast, reasonably accurate, easy to use, and inexpensive.  As a trainer, I find it less intrusive and uncomfortable to my clients than some of the other methods out there. Whatever method you use to measure your bodyfat %, please remember that the same rules I gave you above about weighing yourself also apply to taking your bodyfat measurements.  The test should always be performed with the same tool, under the same physical conditions.

3) body “girth” measurements

If you’ve done a good job at determining your outcome, you’ll probably be shooting for some specific things that make body measurements essential.  For instance, you might want to have… broader shoulders, a smaller waistline, bigger biceps, slimmer thighs, a change in waist-to-hip ratio, or less chicken-like calves.  You really won’t know if your plan is working if you don’t take these measurements before you start out.  Here’s a pretty good guide to doing it right.

4) current avg calorie intake

Write down every single thing you eat for a week AND it’s nutritional info.  Be as measured and specific as you possibly can.   There are so many websites, books, computer programs and phone apps out there to help you with this that there’s really no valid excuse not to do it.  You NEED to see how many calories you currently eat in an average day and week.  You may very well find that your calories are consistently too high or too low to maintain a healthy metabolism.  It really helps you figure out what you need to work on when you put together your nutrition strategy.

In my professional experience … 1) nobody wants to do this step and … 2) the people that do it right end up light years ahead of the rest in terms of how fast they get results (especially the ones that continue to journal their food intake to insure they are following their new nutrition plan correctly).

I use a little app called “TapNTrack” on my ipod.  But I think “MyFitnessPal” and “LiveStrong” are pretty good apps as well.  “DailyBurn” is supposedly good, but I think you have to pay for that one.

5) TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

This is important in determining your current metabolism.  It answers the question “How many calories does my body burn in an average day?”  This is super important because it will let you determine how many calories you will need to eat to either lose weight or gain weight safely.

A while back, I wrote a decent overview about how you can plug some stats about yourself into a formula to get your TDEE number. Click here for that.

But a really personalized way of doing this is to get yourself one of those Polar heart rate monitoring devices — one that can determine calories burned.  Then wear it for 24 or 48 hours straight while its running in “exercise” mode.  You’ll have to “lock” the buttons to make sure you don’t accidentally stop it running.  At the end of the 24 or 48 hours, stop the exercise mode and it should give you the summary of your “exercise” session, including calories burned.  Great way to get a really accurate measurement.

6) daily & weekly calorie goal

Once you have determined your TDEE in step 5, it’s really easy to come up with the amount of calories you should consume daily.  To gain weight, add 10-20% to your TDEE and to lose weight subtract 10-20%.  For your weekly allowance multiply your daily number by seven.  If you go above or below your daily number by a couple hundred calories now and then its not a big deal  — as long as you end up very close to your weekly calorie goal at the end of the week.

It’s important to know that as your body changes, so will your calorie requirements.  So re-do step 5 and 6 every 1-3 weeks, especially if you’ve been gaining or losing pounds quickly.

These are by no means the ONLY stats that can help you succeed in your fitness quest, but in my opinion they are the most essential.

If you like this article, don’t forget to “plus” it and share on the Facebook!

Jason Glassbrook is a Long Island personal trainer and fitness enthusiast who loves the holy heck out of his clients and gets them pretty awesome results.
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What You Should Know About Yourself Before You Try to “Get In Shape”

Ice Cube is definitely my all-time favorite gangster rapper, slash film director, slash passable actor. Remember this 1993 hit?

♪ You need ta check yo self before you wreck yo self,
Chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self,
Yeah, come on and check yo self before you wreck yo self,
Cuz not being clear about your goals and collecting data before you pliggety-plan your fitness plan is bad for your heath! ♫

The Cube biceps curls massive amounts of his autographed swag.

You see, everybody who really wants results when they set out to get in shape needs to heed those (official and unadulterated) lyrics of Master Cube.


Check #1 – Know Your Outcome

This is massively important.  What the heck do you want to have happen?  And you need to be specific here.  “Get in shape” is not good enough.  “Get ripped” or “get jacked”  are not any better.  Even “lose weight” won’t really work.  Here are some good examples:

“Lose 5-7 pounds of body fat in three weeks”

“Add 2 inches to my arms and drop 3 inches on my waist by Memorial Day 2012”

“Increase my mile time from 13 minutes to 10 minutes before the date of [race x]”

“Max bench press: add 75lbs in four months”

In my case, it’s “Gain 3-5 pounds of overall muscle mass in 30 days while eating a vegan diet”.

There’s something that all these goal statements have in common — a specific and measurable outcome PLUS a physical deadline.

YOU HAVE TO WRITE THIS DOWN!!  And you should put it somewhere so that you read it every day and night.  When you were a kid you probably knew exactly what you wanted for Christmas right?  And what did you do to make sure you got it?  You wrote that sucker down!!  And then you probably thought about that thing you wanted every day until Dec 25th came.  If you didn’t write it down, then your parents Santa probably got you some totally lame bullsh!t toys.  Even if you told them what you wanted but didn’t write it down, you were much more likely to get some “close but not quite what I wanted” crap.

Kid should've at least wrote down **NOT BOOKS!**

Doing check #1 makes the whole process much less stressful, less confusing, and increases your odds of success, probably like, a million percent. Not exaggerating. Look it up.

Check #2 – Your schedule and your life

Okay, next you need to check your life.  Write down all these questions and the answers to them:

Schedule based checks:  Where in your schedule will you fit time for exercise and/or food preparation?  How much time can you realistically commit to your goal?  What exact days and times?  Is it enough time to achieve your outcome?

“Am I really Serious” checks:  What are you willing to give up?  What supposedly “important” stuff will you be willing to “demote” in order to make this work?  If you don’t achieve your outcome what will be the consequences and how would it really make you feel about yourself? (Probably sad and pathetic)

Social checks:  Who can I turn to to keep me on track?  To workout or eat healthy with me?  How do I make sure my family, friends, and co-workers don’t accidentally (or purposely) sabotage my efforts?

The social checks are more important then you realize, so don’t skip em just because I listed them last.  In fact, studies have shown that if a person becomes clinically obese, their friends are 57% more likely also to become obese– and a friend of a friend of that obese person is about 20% more likely to become fat — even if the weight of the linking friend remained unaltered. What?!  Really?!

Do friends make you fat?

Friends with benefits? Mmmmmmaybe not.

I’m certainly not saying that you should go out and dump your overweight friends or all your friends who hate exercise, but I am saying you should be aware and communicate what you are trying to achieve to your social network.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to get in shape and also help get your pal in shape, instead of making late night trips to dunkin’ donuts with said friend.  AGAIN?!?!?

Check #3 – Commit to “behavior” goals

Okay, from now on your “goals” are not to lose weight, gain muscle, get strong etc.  Your goals will be things that you can know at the end of the day GOT DONE.

So the goals you focus on daily should always be related to your behaviors or actions.  Here are some good goals to reach for in order to get to your outcome:

“I will eat a minimum of 5 cups of raw vegetables every day”

“I will wake up 20 min early and do 15 min of interval cardio every morning ”

“I will limit ice cream intake to only one scoop per week – Fri or Sat with lunch”

“I will make sure to consume x grams of protein and x total calories per day and log my intake to be certain”

“I will weight train for four hours per week — on x days at x times”

These are all things that you can definitely know whether or not you’re actually DOING it! Right?  And as long as these goals are all in line with your outcome, you’ll have success!

Goin' Downtown ta Clown Town!

You got the most important checks down now.  But there’s still more to come.  You gotta take down all the right physical data, so you can actually plan the correct workout and diet, and measure if it’s working along the way.

I’ll have that for you in my next update.

If you like this article, don’t forget to “plus” it and share on the Facebook!

Jason Glassbrook is a Long Island personal trainer and fitness enthusiast who loves the holy heck out of his clients and gets them pretty awesome results.
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Adventures in Vegan Bodybuilding

It’s Black Friday.  The day my whey protein and salmon fillets went away.

In the name of fitness training science, and in part to support a great personal training client of mine who recently adopted the whole veganism thing (is “veganism” an official word?), I’ve decided to try the vegan diet on for size.  Literally, for size!

For thirty days, starting today, I’m going to attempt to put on as much muscle as I can while eating “vegan”.

The Vegetarian Resource Group defines a vegan as follows:

“Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.  Also they wear sweet lettuce bikinis, and have totally animal friendly boob implants”

You should see their Zucchini Bikinis - Oh yes I did just rhyme that shit!

Okay, I made up that last part, but the rest is real.  But the fact is, that for a lifelong milk, eggs, tuna, chicken, steak, and pizza lover, this whole idea basically sucks.

Oh well, I made a commitment, so I’m gonna follow through.  And along the way I’m gonna record everything — what and when I eat, every rep of every workout, how much sleep I get, and every supplement I take.  Anybody got any vegan steroids? — Okay I kid, I kid!  Everybody knows that spinach is the vegan steroids — just look what it did for Popeye.

Strong to the Finach, Bitches!!!

I’ll also share any exceptional vegan recipes I come across, and review any of the vegan-approved supplements I take.

So how much muscle will I be able to pack on in a month without my meat and dairy?  Will I even last the thirty days before plowing through half a pepperoni pie?  Will eating too much soy make me grow man boobies?  Will I learn how to crawl on balls like THIS SHOWOFF:

Youtube Video: Old Vegan Dude Crawling On Balls and Doing Other Showoff Stunts

All this and more will be answered by Dec 25th.  Mark your calenders – I’m sure you’ll have nothing else going on that day, right?  Will my sexy new vegan muscles be waiting for my wife under the Christmas tree?  Or will I have to hide my pale, skinny, weak, veggie body under my official Jersey Shore Snuggie?

Snookie Wants Num Nums. Vegan Num Nums!

Okay so in my next update, I’m gonna teach you all how to “collect data” in order to plan the right exercise and diet routine for whatever your goal is.  I’m gonna do this by sharing all the data collecting I do in order to (fingers crossed) make my vegan bodybuilding experiment a rousing success!!

PS – Today may be Black Friday, but tomorrow is Small Business Saturday.  Show some support here on Long Island by buying some personal training for somebody you love, will ya?  (You do love yourself right?)  The number to call  is 516-216-WORKOUT (9675)

If you like this article, don’t forget to “plus” it and share on the Facebook!

Jason Glassbrook is a Long Island personal trainer and fitness enthusiast who loves the holy heck out of his clients and gets them pretty awesome results.
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We’re Now On Facebook

Hi Everyone!

Jason here — and I’m happy to announce that Positive Charge Fitness is now on Facebook!

The coolest thing about “liking” Positive Charge on Facebook or clicking “like” on any one of our stories here is that you get an automatic entry into special contests for our Facebook followers only. You might even get selected for an entire month of complimentary personal training!

You’ll also get in the loop with spontaneous event announcements (like free workout days), and limited time deals. But also you’ll be able to get exclusive fitness information and reviews that may not be available on this blog.


***if the like button here doesn’t work just go to our facebook page and click the like button at the top! — http://facebook.com/longislandpersonltrainer ***

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