Top Level Tips

April 2008

A newsletter with your interests in mind and heart
Welcome.  I hope you find something that you can use in this newsletter, because I have written it for you.  I choose subjects that I feel are valuable to your success, as well as issues that you have specifically asked about.  You may discover answers to things that
you didn't realize you misunderstood, and wouldn't have thought to ask.  So whether this helps you to fine tune an exercise that you may have been doing incorrectly, get an important nutritional tidbit that kick starts your fat loss, a new motivational perspective, or even just a little entertainment, then I've achieved my goal of making this a worthwhile endeavor for all of us.  As always, I am open to your suggestions and questions.  I want to make each edition better than the last, so please contact me with any special requests.
Start here.
Click on the underlined number to go directly to the article:

1.)    How to Ruin Your Diet: 
        "The Dirty Dozen Diet Killers"

Exercise:  "Invest-able" . . .
        But Not "Bank-able"

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

6 Quick Tips and One BIG Tip for
        Successful Daily Eating

Featured Exercise:  The "Stick Up"

6.)   Should You Exercise With Low Back Pain?

"Movie Star Meal Secrets"
         for Super Fast Fat Loss

Coaching vs. Personal Training

9.)    "
Fat Loss Without the Cravings" 

Contact information
Read complete articles below

1.)   How to Ruin Your Diet:  "The Dirty Dozen Diet Killers"

Whether you're focused on trimming down, gaining muscle, or maintaining good health, there are pitfalls lurking around every corner which can wreck the best intended plans. Even though most of us consider ourselves well-informed and well-read individuals, there are times when we all drop the ball as far as our diets go. Here are 12 common mistakes that can affect your level of success. 

The Dirty Dozen Diet Killers:

1.    Skip breakfast 
2.    Eat refined carbs
3.    Constant caffeine and soda (these do not count as water)
4.    Don't stay hydrated  (you are not necessarily hydrated each time you quench your thirst;
       think "cellular levels")
5.    Wait over 3 ˝ hours to eat
6.    Indulge the "bad" fats
7.    Fear the good fats (EFA's ~ these are the "Essential Fatty Acids" or "good fats" that your body needs)
8.    Ignore the glycemic index  (this relative index rates how fast various foods spike your blood sugar levels)
9.    Get too little protein

10.  Don't plan your meals
11.  Skip on quality sleep

12.  Don't keep a food log

It's your choice,
so don't sabotage
yourself with
simple mistakes.

Remember that
the little things
add up*.

* Or I should
say, "subtract"
as in this case
(pun intended).

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2. Exercise:  "Invest-able" . . . But Not "Bank-able"

There is no better personal investment you can make toward your quality of life than exercise.  Just think about it; when you feel good physically,
you feel better mentally, and function better in all of your activities including: work, play, and even rest.  Do you recall a time in your life when you felt exceptionally good?  By that I mean that you felt physically strong, fluid and flexible, and had a lot of energy.  Think about this . . . when you maintain a reasonably lean fit body, it gives you a certain edge to your sense of well-being like nothing else can.

Most people have experienced the joys of fitness at least one time in their lives.  But for some unfortunately, it may have been as far back as their teenage years.   Yet others are experiencing those incredible feelings now, and have for quite some time, no matter what their current age; that is if they live the fitness lifestyle.  Those are the people who have discovered the secret.  Fitness and health is a daily investment on your part; and no matter where you where "back when", if you aren't living a healthy lifestyle now, "back then" is long gone.  You can build upon your current level of fitness, but you can't reach a high level of fitness, and then expect to "bank it" through inactivity.  It just won't work that way.  The expression, "use it or loose it" really applies here.

The message here is simple: take care of yourself every day, and exercise a lot during the week.  Your body is designed to move, so use it.   Exercise is as much normal bodily function as eating, breathing, resting, and elimination, so it's your job as the owner of your body to make sure that you keep it functioning optimally.  Invest in yourself.  You hope that you'll have this body for a long time, so don't let it hold you back from enjoying life at it's fullest.  There's a story about an old man who had this realization, and said to himself: "I hate this feeble old body . . . If I would have known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself."  

You don't have to end up just barely moving around when you hit your older years.  Remember that you are empowered to control your fate . . . if you are willing to invest now.

"Fitness is a continuum.  You can build on the your momentum, but you can't store it.  Your body reflects your lifestyle."

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3.)  All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

We've all heard it before  . . . "eliminate fats and eat whole grains" to the contradictory advice: "cut out carbs altogether."   What's a person to do? 
Soon there will be another study with new information, and we'll be confused again.  If you're a good detective, a lot of times you can follow the money trail to uncover the marketing scams behind these claims and promotions, but then, that's another topic. 

So anyway, what is the truth?  Should someone wanting to shed some fat add whole grains or eliminate all carbs?  The truth is . . . that neither way is best.  The answer lies in being able to discern the differences between types of carbs.  In a nutshell, here they are:

A.  Sugars and starches make it difficult to loose fat because they wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, and have low nutritional value with very little fiber.  Starches whether whole grain or refined, give you a long reserve of stored calories . . . great if you're mountain climbing or running a marathon (think about that one).
B.  Vegetables on the other hand, have a lot of fiber, and are loaded with nutrients.  When combined with protein at every meal (without starches that is), they will help you to loose fat.  Look for these foods on the perimeter aisle of your supermarket.  Think "produce".  If you can't get fresh, frozen is second best.   These foods are also known as the "wet carbs" because they contain very high amounts of water. They are usually not white, but are found in an array of bright colors (red, green, yellow, etc.). 

So if you don't care about getting leaner or being healthier, and need to store calories, follow "A".  On the other hand if you want to eat for maximum health, and want get lean without starving yourself, follow "B".  At every meal, just think: "P & P" (protein and produce), and you're on your way.

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4. 6 Quick Tips and One BIG Tip for Successful Daily Eating

First and foremost I want my clients to eat "real" food in as close to its natural state as possible and quit eating what I call "fake" foods, which are any foods overly processed or refined. In other words, eat grilled chicken and a salad instead of a fast food chicken sandwich or a "Lean Cuisine" chicken stir fry. I believe in eating 5-6 small meals per day and building each meal around the protein source. The majority of carbs should come from vegetables with some fruits.  On days you feel like having some "limited" starchy carbs (from grains), make sure they are whole grain, but watch for hidden sugars.  Basically what I am trying to do is control their blood sugar, thus their insulin production. Here are some good rules to live by:

• Eat 5-6 small meals per day. Usually this means three meals and 2-3 snacks.

• Always eat breakfast.

• Have some protein every time you eat: four ounces at meals (or a protein drink) and 1-2 ounces with snacks.

• Eliminate white flour, sugar, and foods made with them. Get the majority of your carbs from fibrous vegetables like broccoli and asparagus.
to the previous topic: "All Carbs Are Not Created Equal" .

• Drink plenty of water per day.  The formula is 1 quart for every 50 pound you weigh.  Soft drinks and coffee don't count, but broth-based soups do.

Eat before you're famished and stop before you're full ("portion control" and "timing")

And last but not least, the #1 way that will cause you to get off your plan, if not given priority . . . (drum roll):

"Always pre-plan your meals, organize your food, and pack it to go if you need to."

Don't leave failure to chance. 
A lot of the people I start working with know how to eat. They know they should eat more fruits and veggies. They know they need to eat lean protein with every meal. In other words, they know all the basics to get them started. The problem?  Organization!  Organization is one of the most vital components of solid dietary habits.  If you have your meals planned out, or better yet already prepared, you're much more likely to succeed.  If you get in a rush or something comes up, you already have a contingency plan.  When you aren't prepared, that's when convenience will take over.  You're starving and you know that king size "Whatchamacallit" is heart disease in a wrapper, but damnit, you're hungry!  Bottom line: The more organized you become with your eating, the more likely you are to achieve your goals

Think about it; when you have the right foods available, you will end your day successfully.  Without pre-planning, you're more like to go for the junk food and/or overeat as the impulse hits . . . especially if you are already busy.  So do this the easy way . . . plan your meals in advance, and have them available.  You usually know where you'll be and when, so there is absolutely no excuse to not be prepared . . . unless of course, you don't have REAL desire to loose your excess fat.  "Fess up"  Be true to yourself.  Prioritize.

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5.)  Featured Exercise:  The "Stick Up"

The purpose of this movement pattern is to improve shoulder mobility and scapula control.

  • Stand with your back against the wall.  Your feet should be  6" away from the wall, and your butt, upper back, and head should be in contact with the wall at all times during this exercise.

  • Stick your hands up overhead.  Try to keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists in contact with the wall at all times.

  • Slide your arms down the way, and tuck your elbows into your sides.  This should bring your shoulder blades down and together.  You should feel a strong contraction in the muscles between your shoulder blades as well as the shoulder muscles.

  • Again, try to keep everything in contact with the wall.

  • From the bottom position, try to lowly slide your arms up until they are straight and in a "stick-em-up" position.  Again, try to keep everything in contact with the wall.

  • Try to improve your range of motion in this exercise each week.

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6. Should You Exercise With Low Back Pain?

There are guidelines you can follow to determine whether your lower back pain requires a break in your exercise program:

  • If you have seen a health care practitioner for back pain in the past, it's a good idea to check with them before you engage in a new exercise program.

  • If you have experienced chronic lower back pain for more than two to four weeks, hold off on exercising and see a doctor.

  • When you are experiencing acute pain in your lower back, take a break from your workout unless otherwise directed by a healthcare practitioner.

  • If you have had back surgery or a recent back injury, follow you physician's plan for rehabilitation before embarking on an exercise program.  Following rehabilitation, physicians often recommend an ongoing exercise program.  Make sure that your exercise program incorporates recommendations from your physician.

  • If it hurts, don't do it!   If an activity causes or increases pain in your lower back, skip it.

Follow your physician's recommendations and get back into your fitness routine as soon as possible.  An episode of lower back pain should only be a small setback in your exercise program, not an excuse to give it up!

Many adults experience lower back pain sometime in their lives.  Can exercise help you to avoid back pain?   Yes.  And while you can't completely eliminate the risk of lower back pain, you can greatly reduce the risk by following a good strengthening and flexibility program.  The RIGHT exercises and a good stretching program can go a long way in minimizing your risks.  Be pro-active; preventing a back injury is much easier than repairing one.

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7. "Movie Star Meal Secrets" for Super Fast Fat Loss

Do you ever wonder how movie stars can lose weight very quickly for an upcoming special event?   And no . . . I'm not talking about using any type of starvation diet or chemical assistance.  Take someone like Demi Moore for example, who can hire the best trainer in Hollywood at any cost.  What would she do at the times she may need a quick body shaping "tune up for the red carpet", but  she wants to do it in the healthiest "no gimmick" way possible?  OK, ready . . . because I'm about to share the "Secret Super Fast Fat Loss Plan" (say that 5 times fast). 

Keep in mind that although simple, this diet requires pre-planning.  And it will not work as well as it could, nor will it give you your ultimate shape without proper progressive full-body exercise.  It should not be used long term, and typically not longer than 2 weeks.    It is only a short-term accelerated program.  Here it is:  

Your meals are primarily protein and fresh vegetables, and they are eaten 3˝ hours apart with no:dairy, fruit, sugars, refined or processed carbs, bad fats, or any canned vegetables. 

You must drink at least one quart of water per day for every 50 pounds that you weigh (juices, Diet Cokes, or coffee don't count, and would even be counter-productive).  

Results are accelerated by pre-planning with the right daily exercise strategy.  There are no "magic pills" or "miracle machines by Tony Little".

Here is a sample meal plan for 1 day
Meal 1    4 egg whites with vegetables. 1 tsp flax oil. Vitamin supplements.
Meal 2     Half can of tuna in water spread over a mixed salad.
Meal 3     1 ˝ skinless grilled chicken breast, mixed fibrous vegetables (Does "P&P" ring a familiar note?  It does it you read topic #3).
Meal 4     Protein shake (no hidden or added sugars)
Meal 5     Piece of broiled salmon steak, salad with balsamic vinegar.
Meal 6     3 egg whites with peppers, mushroom, and broccoli. 
Before bed   One more glass of water

Again, the sample meal plan represents only part of the entire plan.   Of course you already knew that, because you know that diet without the key element will give you less than optimal results.  And the key element is the right kind of muscle -activating exercise; and we're not talkin' "mindless hamster wheel cardio" here.  So if you really want the results you've got to breathe hard, sweat, and use every muscle in your body.  If you're healthy and know your own body, try it yourself for a couple weeks, and let me know how you do.

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8. Coaching vs. Personal Training

Many (but not all) personal trainers rely on their clients to not think. They are happy when their clients leave the gym and have no idea what they just did. They also count on their clients not quite achieving their goals.  It’s called job security.  They believe that if a client never achieves his/her goal, and never really knows what to do in or out of the gym for a workout, he/she will always need the trainer!   But there is even more . . . a lot of trainers don't have a workout plan for their clients, or simply use a cookie-cutter, Training 101 routine for everybody.  Most people won't know the difference, and leave the gym thinking that they had a good workout because they worked up a little sweat.  In the beginning, this type of one-size-fits-all workout may actually seem to work.  But then, almost any activity away from the remote control will work for a short time.  

My approach is different.  I try to help my clients learn all that they can.  I view my job as one to help facilitate their levels of listening, thinking, learning, being aware, and being responsible for how they use their bodies, as I steer them on a progressive course.  I strongly feel that when you work with me, you are not only hiring a trainer, but a coach and a partner who is as motivated toward your success as you are. 

Everyone is unique.  Therefore the workouts that I design for each of my clients are tailor-made to that individual.  I design programs according to  specific needs, with consideration for:  
    ~ their current fitness level,
    ~any past or current injuries or health problems,
    ~their time schedule relative to their goals,
    ~as well as their lifestyle
I constantly try to coach all of my clients to focus on a wide array of techniques and skills, including: proper movement patterns, physical awareness, the development of a healthy workout attitude (makes it a lot easier), and healthy eating habits.  Ultimately, I want you to have all the essential elements and experience to make it on your own; even through the occasional tough times when "life" may tend to throw you off balance.  I want you to be able to "tune in" to your physical self relative to your life's demands. 

It's been proven that when you identify yourself with fitness, you are more likely to integrate exercise into your lifestyle with momentum that stays with you.  That's where good coaching comes in . . . to facilitate the process.  Your "fitness identity" becomes part of who you are, which makes a huge difference  in how you experience your world.

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9."Fat Loss Without the Cravings" 

Or:   "Why it is of paramount importance to eat the right foods 5-6 times per day"

                                                                                        --------> Time  -------->                                                            

Excessive sugar is the real enemy of fat loss. This includes high-glycemic refined foods, such as pasta, white bread, and bakery items, even if labeled "low-fat". It's not that carbohydrates are bad—just the calorie-dense, low-fiber, high-glycemic carbs. They actually rob the body of nutrients and flood the body with glucose—a simple sugar. The "sugar rush" stimulates the pancreas to release an overabundance of insulin. The excess insulin pulls too much sugar from the blood and stores it as fat. But that's not all . . . it gets worse! Your blood sugar drops. Since the brain wants to normalize blood sugar, it signals powerful food cravings to eat sugary, simple carbohydrates. The cycle repeats . . . and the big question is: 

"How do you break the cycle?"   Well the best way is to not let it begin. OK, but how?   I thought you would ask, so here it is: 

  • 1. Always eat nutrient-dense foods (over calorie-dense).  

  • 2. Start your day with breakfast (it kick-starts your metabolism—you're "BREAK-ing FAST")

  • 3. Eat proper selections (a protein and a carb at each meal), and proper proportions (so that you are pleasantly hungry—not famished or full when it's time for the next meal).  

  • 4. Eat every 3-3˝ hours. A common pitfall for #'s 3,4,& 5 is waiting until you're famished).  

  • 5. Plan your meals in advance.    

  • 6. Follow a personalized exercise plan with attainable goal phases.   

  • 7. Supplement nutritionally—especially when eating a meal is inconvenient.

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10. Contact information

Bob Keyser
Tampa, Florida
Phone: (813) 229-5929
Web page:  http://www.toplevelfitness.com/

A proven, effective, "non-hype" approach to fitness and fat loss!

Based upon over 30 years of practical experience I design and implement fitness programs to help people achieve exceptional results. Specialties include: Fat Loss (the "best" way for long term results), Joint Health (get rid of pain, increase range-of-movement, and develop substantial connective tissue), Muscle Quality (strong, lean, sinewy, and balanced), Performance Enhancement (functional power improves your game and makes life's tasks easier), and Energy (for being yourself—at your best).

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Copyright © 2000-2008 Bob Keyser. All Rights Reserved.

This site designed and produced by:  
Bob Keyser - Tampa, FL
Phone: 813-229-5929 | Email: bobk@strongobjectives.com     Web: http:// www.toplevelfitness.com





































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