Mistakes at the gym

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2) Cutting Out Carbs with no strategy in place.

The low carb diet craze has been in effect for over decade. Some of the more popular diets like Atkins and South Beach were two of the better known diets where you eliminate the majority of starchy carbohydrates in your diet and some things like fruit as well. This is a major mistake as an effective solution to long term fat loss. Why are carbs so important?

Carbohydrates are your bodies preferred source of energy. Meaning for you to have steady energy and blood sugar throughout the day you need to have carbohydrates in our diet. Why have the low carb diets worked so well for people to lose weight in the short term?

When you eat carbohydrates your body will use them for immediate energy/fuel and also store them as glycogen in your muscle in your liver for reserved energy. Most people are not aware that glycogen holds and attracts water. For every gram of glycogen your muscle holds it attracts 2.4 grams of water.

So when you eat carbohydrates your body will instantly hold more water. When you suddenly just stop eating carbs your body will hold less water. Make sense? So people who weigh themselves daily after cutting out carbs will see a 5-10 pound weight loss in just a few days. So in your mind Carbs =make you fat. However, you’re not losing fat your losing water. Water is temporary and meaningless in regards to weight loss. Your goal is to lose that ugly fat around your waist and behind and not just weight correct? Then you need to stop just cutting out carbs and have a real strategy to lose fat and keep it off.

The first strategy of carbs is to make sure you are getting the right ones. There are some carbs that are very healthy for you and needed and some that are very bad for you. You want to get all natural non processed carbs which are high in fiber and low in sugar

Good sources of carbs are foods like: sweet potatoes, apples, old fashioned steel cut oatmeal, and broccoli. (almost all fruits and veggies)

Bad sources: candy, potato chips, donuts (pretty much any food with simple sugar and white flour)

What if I told you carbs are essential for long term fat loss? There is no magic to just cutting out carbs. Just cutting out carbs with no strategy in place can really backfire.

A few things will happen on a very low carb diet:

1) Lose water weight (which is temporary and meaningless)
2) Mess up metabolism and lose lean muscle mass which will lead to more fat storage
3) Slow production of thyroid hormone

I educate my clients on how to eat the RIGHT carbs the RIGHT way to reach whatever goal they have whether it is to lose lots of fat or gain lots of muscle. Eating carbohydrates to see the best results and reach your goals requires proper knowledge and strategy. Do you know eating the right carbs at the right times during the day on a fat loss plan can accelerates fat loss by 50%? You need to learn not how to cut carbs but HOW to strategically manipulate/cycle them for the best results.

Contact me now to learn how to cycle and manipulate carbs to increase fat loss by 50%!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman

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Proper nutrition is still the missing piece for most people and why they are not seeing great results after working out consistently every week. Whether you’re looking to just firm up, lose 50 pounds of fat, or build more lean tissue having proper supportive nutrition is a MUST. Over the next six weeks I will be focusing on the top 6 nutritional mistakes people make outside the workout.

1) Mistake: Focusing only on calories and not the ingredients
Over the last 12 years I have talked to and worked with thousands of people on their nutrition and eating habits. Even after so many years of nutrition coaching I still have people coming in asking the same questions and making the same mistakes nutritionally. There seems to be a new diet book or program out every month. Yet almost all diets focus on calories first and ingredients second or not all.

This is a problem and I will explain why:

A calorie is a unit of heat or energy. Every time you move you conduct heat and energy therefore your body actually needs calories to function and yes to burn more calories. Most people when I say the word “calorie” associate this with something negative. Many are wired to believe just by watching how many calories they eat alone is a successful weight loss plan. This is flawed because one would assume and are taught a calorie is a calorie. This is not true. Maybe, a calorie is a calorie outside the body but as soon as it’s put in your mouth and swallowed/digested it changes.

For example a 270 calorie Snickers candy bar compared to a 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled skinless chicken breast are equal in calories but do you think they are digested the same? Do you think they affect your metabolism and blood sugar levels the same? NO!

A candy bar will have a big ingredient list (many unnatural) and it will most likely contain a lot of fat (some trans fat –hydrogenated oils -the number one cause for heart disease) and lots of sugar, this sugar will spike your blood sugar levels and then it will crash it leaving you feeling like you want to take a nap about 15-30 minutes after eating it. After your blood sugar crashes you will eventually crave more sugar or fat to bring blood sugar back to normal…unfortunately blood sugar will never stabilize from this food. The candy bar contains fat and sugar and comes with very little natural ingredients so this will have little or no effect on your metabolism. (0-.5% increase on metabolism during digestion)

Snickers ingredients are: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skimmed milk, butter, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose (a milk product), salt, egg whites and artificial flavor.

So let’s now take a look at that 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled chicken breast. The chicken breast will contain mostly lean protein; it has only one ingredient CHICKEN. It has little fat and contains almost all protein (the most thermic macro nutrient)so this would literally have a very positive leveling effect on your blood sugar give you stable energy and increase your metabolism by up to 20-40% during digestion. The chicken breast will also fill up you longer than any candy bar would.

Still think a calorie is just a calorie? If your goal is long term fat loss the ingredients are much more important than the just calories. Most fail to realize how many calories they actually need to burn fat it’s probably a lot more than your 800-1200 calorie diet plan, and if this all you are all eating good luck losing fat and keeping it off for the rest of your life.
If you’re buying 100 snack packs of cookies thinking this is a good way to lose fat (not just weight) and keep it off you are severely misinformed. One hundred calorie pack of cookies or a 200 calories serving of natural hummus and carrots which is better for weight loss? The hummus of course! Look at the ingredients first not just the calories!

Avoid anything with a long list of unnatural ingredients no matter what the calories are and what it says about being healthy on the front of the package. You should be looking for and eating real whole natural foods and ingredients.

Look for Mistake #2 next week!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman

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Mistake 5#- Not Using Proper Form and Resting Too Much.

One of the biggest mistakes I see and have seen in the gym is people working out and not using proper form when they lift weights. These mistakes are usually made using free weights but I see them made on cable machines, and stationary weight machines as well.

Proper exercise execution and form is crucial for not only safety but seeing the best possible results from your workout.

The biggest form mistakes I see are:

1) Swinging and using momentum during the lifting and lowering of the weight. Though this will allow you to handle more weight but this type of form will get you no where as far as the results go.

2) The tempo of the movement is too fast and momentum takes over. Lifting too fast again prevents you from focusing on the muscle and only the movement. The muscle is always more important than the movement.

3) Using your lower back and lower body to help you through the movement. When someone struggles to lift a weight or to get a few extra reps they tend to use their lower back to help them. This is a recipe for disaster. You need to drop the weight and use proper form.

4) Bouncing the weight off your chest. This is very common when I see someone doing barbell chest press. If you have to bounce the weight then you are using too much weight. Bouncing the weight prevents you from really using all the muscle fibers in your chest and allows momentum to help you.

5) Not fully extending at the top of the lift and not coming far enough down to get the most efficient range of motion. Proper range of motion allows you to work all the muscle fibers in that muscle efficiently. Partial reps are not recommended for most people.

6) Locking the joints out on every lift. Locking your legs out at the top of the squat or locking your arms out at the bottom of a bicep curl. The problem with locking the joint out is one it puts more stress on the joint and two you lose the tension on the muscle and this makes the exercise less effective.

7) Not keeping core tight and looking down while doing standing exercises. During a squat its very common for someone to use their lower back and knees by looking down and leading with their knees and shoulders. This will put stress on their back and knees. Keeping core tight, looking straight forward, and sitting away from your knees (leading with glutes) will allow you to the squat safely and effectively and put stress on the muscle and not the spine, lower back, knees and joints. (see photo above)

I always tell my clients “You need to focus on the Muscle not the motion” You should always know what muscle you’re working and focus on the muscle while lifting and lowering the weight. If you’re not feeling it in that muscle while you’re lifting and lowering the weight then you’re probably not working it very efficiently. Any one can do the motion and movement of lifting the weight but if you are not focusing on the muscle you’re really not doing much.


Resting Too Much.

Another mistake I see in the gym is people resting way too much between sets of an exercise and between exercises. If your number one goal is strength and size resting will allow you to lift more weight. However, it will also affect your endurance and you keeping your heart rate up. So if you want to increase your strength more rest is needed yet I wouldn’t recommend resting more than 90 seconds maximum. If your goal is not strength and size there is no reason to rest so much. Ninety percent of the people that come to see me want to get in better shape, improve their stamina, lose fat, or get ripped. Yet I see so many people at the gym with these goals doing a set and resting for a minute or more. I recommend making your time and workout more efficient by doing super sets, or circuits. This will allow you to go from exercise to exercise and rest a muscle group with out resting your heart. This will also allow you to get a great intense workout and not to mention you will burn more calories, challenge your heart, and get your workout in a much quicker period of time .(30 minutes or less)

This concludes “The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make In the Gym.” If you were making some of these mistakes I hope you will apply the new information you have learned and make your workout routine more efficient and effective!

Now let’s go get it!

Look for the next series “The 5 Biggest Nutrition Mistakes People Make In and Out Of the Kitchen” coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach

~David Modderman

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Mistake #4 -Doing only ab exercises and thinking the crunch machines will burn fat.

In Mistake #1 – I discussed how doing only cardio and no weight training is not an effective strategy to see results no matter your goals. Resistance training is a must. Yet, some think just doing abdominal and stomach exercises are all the resistance training they need to do. The thought process is “I want to lose my stomach so that’s all I need to work.”

It’s impossible to go to a busy gym and not see someone doing stomach exercises. When I used to work at the big box gym I was amazed by how many people I would see just doing ab exercises and cardio and then come to me because they were not seeing results. I still to this day see people using all the different ab machines and doing hundreds of crunches forward and to the side, and back and forth, twisting, and crunching. In their mind they are targeting areas and crunching that fat away.

The spot reduction method has been around for decades and will probably never die. It seems everyone wants to reduce their waistline and marketers know this is by giving us fat wraps, fat burning creams, ab belts, and hundreds of ab devices you can buy off TV. People will always ask me one burning question about all these products do they work? Do they burn fat off your stomach? “NO!” There is not a cream, ab device. or wrap that will burn fat off your stomach. So is doing hundreds of crunches a waste of time? No, because you can definitely strengthen your stomach muscles especially if you are doing the right exercises but these exercises will not burn fat. Even though we are told and people still believe I am here to tell you cannot pick the one spot you want to burn fat and do one exercise to target that area and lose fat in the area alone. Fat is burned by your muscles proportionally throughout your body. How do you lose fat off your stomach then? You can lose fat by following a structured full body (not just stomach) resistance training, moderate aerobic exercise, and solid nutrition.

So if you want to abdominal/stomach exercises to strengthen your stomach and core and not necessarily burn fat what are the best and the worst?

Let’s start with the worst. If you want to strengthen your stomach and core (your lower back, oblique’s, abs, and pelvis muscles) then get off the ab/crunch machines.

The crunch machines you see at commercial gyms are probably the most over used and most ineffective machines for strengthening your core and seeing results at your waistline. Not mention most of the time when I see people using this machine they’re using lots of weight and their momentum to propel themselves forward rather than using muscular control. Secondly, the abs hardly even contract during this exercise, and when they do it is a very brief period. The sad thing is many trainers or gym employees at the gym actually give this machine to their clients or members as an effective way to strengthen their core and burn fat off their stomach. Also, if this employee was educated they would know these machines target only the anterior (front) muscles of the abdominal wall and will do little for their client. I see a lot of people who use this machine religiously everyday and they are actually creating an imbalance because they are strengthening the front muscles and not the stabilizers, back and sides. This will create an imbalance because a crunch machine is a stable hunk of metal and it will only isolate the front muscles, the side, lower back and stomach stabilizers muscle will not be activated this will lead to a weak back and strong front.

The most effective and efficient way to work your stomach muscles and core is to do exercises that work all your stomach muscles in harmony. The best way to do this is to train your core and abs in an unstable environment by using a stability ball, bosu ball and using body weight on the floor or ab board. Doing exercises like squats, and dead lifts are great for your core as well as isolation stomach exercises like stability ball crunches, planks, and bosu ball jackknifes in an unstable environment with proper form will allow you to strengthen your entire core safely and effectively.

In summary:

1) Ab exercises are not effective for burning fat off your stomach. Focusing on eating the right foods, do full body resistance training, and moderate aerobic exercise will be much more effective.

2) If you want to train your core effectively get off the machines and focus on doing full body exercises like squats, dead lifts, and isolation exercises like stability ball crunches and planks.


Look for Mistake #5 Coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman

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Those who know me and have trained with me over the last 12 years know one thing for sure I am all about efficiency and balance with the workouts and nutrition plans I give my clients.

Clients come to me because they want to:

1) Lose Fat
2) Build or Tone (maintain) lean muscle

The exercise question I have seen debated over the years is the order you should perform your cardio/aerobic exercise and resistance training if your goal is fat loss.

I have heard the argument you should do your cardio before using the weights because it will warm up your body. I have also heard the debate that if your goal is to increase endurance and stamina you should do cardio before your weights. These are both reasonable debates.
I agree with the first debate you should warm up your body before doing weights. However, that doesn’t mean long or intense aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to warm up your body and prepare it for weight training. I do however recommend a very light 2-5 minute cardio warm-up followed by some dynamic (moving stretches) stretches before doing weight training. This will get your body’s blood flowing and muscle warmed up to prepare it for using resistance and lifting weight.

If your goal is endurance and stamina doing cardio before weights will give you more energy for that cardio session. However, doing weights after long or intense cardio is not an effective way to build strength or lose fat and in my opinion it’s counterproductive and a mistake.
If you’re running marathons or training for endurance races then weight training can help you with endurance and performance. However, I wouldn’t recommend even doing weights and cardio back to back. I would recommend either doing them on separate days or doing those 6 hours apart. This will allow you to get the full benefits of both without risking energy/strength crashes or risk of muscle loss.

Getting back to why most people are doing resistance training and cardio in the first place is to build muscle and burn fat.

If fat loss and building muscle is your goal then the order you do weight training and cardio is crucial for seeing the best and most efficient results.

Let’s look at the science of what happens and what fuels sources your body uses during weight and cardio sessions.

During aerobic exercise there is a lot of oxygen present and you can use two things as a fuel source stored sugar (glycogen) or fat.
During strength training even though oxygen is present your body doesn’t need it to perform this activity because your blood vessels are constricted and oxygen is not being used very much if at all. Therefore during strength training you can NOT use fat as a fuel source it is not an option so you can only use glycogen.

If you are doing aerobic/cardio exercise first you will burn mostly glycogen as its your body’s preferred source of fuel. Follow with weight training and there is much less glycogen to burn therefore muscle will become a source of fuel once the workout becomes intense.

However, if you flip that and you do your resistance training first you will use your stored glycogen for energy (which is your only option) follow it with cardio now your body’s only remaining option is fat.

In simple your body will use much more fat for a fuel source doing cardio after weight training than doing it before.

Does this mean people can’t lose fat or see results doing cardio before weights? No, it just means it’s not the most efficient way and your workouts have a much greater chance of being more effective and productive by doing resistance training first. I always tell my clients it’s not always about training harder or longer but training smarter. Making things more difficult when you don’t need to and doing something that can be less effective in regards to someone seeing the best results will always be a mistake in my opinion.

So I would recommend the following in regards to doing weights and cardio:

1) Do weight training and cardio on completely separate days

2) If your goal is fat loss and building/maintaining lean muscle mass and you want to do them back to back always do your resistance training
before cardio. Also, try to keep your cardio to a maximum of 30 minutes after weights.

3) Separate your weight training and cardio sessions 6 hours apart. This will allow some muscle recovering and allow you to refuel your body.

4) Have a proper supportive meal a 60-90 minutes before exercise and proper meal/recovery shake within 30 minutes after exercise. This will allow energy for your body and will assure you have plenty of fuel for your workouts and not risk using muscle for energy over time.

Look for Mistake #4 coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman

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As stated in mistake number one resistance training is crucial to your success no matter what your fitness or weight loss goal might be. Any form of resistance training like free weights, bodyweight, resistance bands, and weight machines can help you a great deal. Unfortunately, when people join a gym they are usually always set up on the weight machines. Now don’t get me wrong, someone who is just beginning resistance training using the machines might actually be good for them to get them comfortable isolating certain muscle groups and learning the movements safely and effectively to start. However, I see way too many people depending machines as their only source of resistance training for months and even years.

The benefits of weight machines are:

1) They are great for isolating muscle groups
2) They are usually safe and stable for beginners to learn the movements
3) They can help you increase strength at first


The Major disadvantages of weight machines:

1) They use the same path of motion over and over and can lead to connective tissue damage because they are putting stress on a single joint.
2) They don’t usually activate the stomach and core muscles, and stabilizer muscles you use in the real world correctly or efficiently because they are too supportive and stable.
3) Only work one muscle at a time

Even though using weight machines have their benefits and disadvantages in simple they are still not the most effective or most efficient way to see the best results. When using weight machines most seem to focus on just the movements and not the actual muscles they are working. I always find it humorous when I ask someone the routine they are doing and the can show the movement they do but cannot tell me the muscle they are working. (ie. I do this one, and this one) Ninety five percent of the clients I work I will start them out using their bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands, cables, and the stability ball.

Why do I feel it’s crucial for people to get off the machines? If you think how you move in the real world you walk, run, get out of bed, squat to pick something or a small child off the ground, push a lawn mower, pull on a car door, shovel snow, put something on a shelf over your head. Most sit in a chair or desk all day at work and never use their core muscles (your stomach, lower back, pelvis muscles). Why would you go to the gym and sit down again and train your body the same way? If you want to see the best possible results in how your body looks and feels, and performs every day then you need to get off the weight machines and challenge your body with more free motion natural movements.

The advantages of body/free weight training are the following:

1) If used properly will strengthen your entire body as a whole. Free weights and bodyweight training will strengthen your core (your body’s center of gravity) and work all the stabilizers muscles in your body because these muscles must stabilize the free motion of the weight and body. This will allow your body to move naturally through every plain of motion, like squatting, pushing, pulling, and rotating.

2) They will be easier and safer on your connective tissue and joints. While most weight machines are single joint exercises because you are using a stabilized piece of metal. Free motion exercises work multiple joints to help stabilize the weight there for will put less stress on connective tissue.

3) Will make you work harder and help you burn more calories. Studies show your body burns more calories in a standing and unstable environment.

4) Are more versatile and will allow you to have more variety because you will be able to do unlimited amounts of exercises with very little equipment.

In summary any resistance training is beneficial however if you get dependent on only using weight machines you are doing your body a disservice and you will probably never reach your full potential in regards to fat loss, strength, and positive changes in body composition.

GET OFF THE MACHINES AND TRAIN YOUR BODY THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TRAINED!

Look For Mistake #3 “Doing Resistance Training and Cardio in the Wrong Order” coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman

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As a fitness and nutrition expert for the last 12 years I have seen many people make the same fitness and nutrition mistakes over and over. Many after all these years are still not being properly educated on the things they must do to see the best results in and outside of the gym or workout. Some are receiving the education but not applying it.

Over the next week I will be sharing the “The 5 Mistakes People Make at the Gym” If you take this information and apply it and correct these mistakes you could make some serious leaps with your fitness success. On the other hand if you just read them and think “That won’t work for me” you are probably right……………..because nothing will WORK UNLESS YOU DO.


Mistake #1- Doing only cardio and no resistance training

Ninety –Five percent of the people I work with, who contact me, or I talk to at the gym usually want to do one of 3 things:

1) Lose visible fat (not just weight)
2) Build Lean Muscle (or their words tone up)
3) Look and feel better (about themselves and in the mirror)

No matter your specific goals adding resistance training to your weekly workout is crucial for long term success. A proper resistance training program should be the foundation of any individual who wants to see results and changes in the way their body looks and feels. Resistance training if done properly and is balanced with the right nutrition is great for building and maintaining your lean muscle tissue. Your lean muscle tissue is literally your fat burning engine, without muscle your body can not even burn very much fat if any during your cardio/aerobic sessions. Muscle is an active tissue that can help your body burn calories all day long even at rest.

I am amazed how many people who contact me say they want to lose fat/weight yet they are training to run some 25k race. If your goal is to run that’s great but training for a marathon and losing fat/weight are two separate goals in which you must have two separate strategies and plans in place to be successful and each. One must also realize running long distance is not effective for long term fat loss (not just weight). Studies show excessive cardio can actually breakdown muscle and cause your body to store more fat in the long run. I have never met anyone who lost excessive amounts of fat and kept if off by just doing cardio. Sure you will burn lots of calories by running for 45 minutes then taking a cardio class for another hour afterward, yet it’s a seriously flawed strategy if you’re seeking the best possible results and having a very efficient fat burning workout.

I personally recommend that cardio sessions do not exceed 30-45 minutes if your main goal is fat loss. How much weight training should one do? I personally believe most need 3-4 days of weight/resistance training per week to see the maximum benefits. These benefits include increased lean muscle tissue, increase in metabolism, increased muscle strength and endurance, and increase in bone mass. The 1-2 days of resistance training per weeks is very common and a good start (some is better than none) yet it is not enough. If you go to the gym for an hour 3 times per week then 30 minutes of resistance training and 30 minutes of cardio is using that hour much more efficiently than just do cardio for one hour alone. Lift weight, use body resistance, challenge and protect your lean muscle and your body composition will thank you for it!

MISTAKE #2 Coming Soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman