Exercise Tip: Use Banjos to Pick on Somebody Younger than you.
Probably everyone who gets the RP Monthly newsletter understands that the entire secret to the multi-billion dollar fitness industry can be quite economically achieved and, in fact, economically described in three words,” exercise and diet.” Like most of us I have been keenly aware of this principle forever but something over the decades was lost in the translation. I did, however, master the art of making motion look like progress.
Enter PWC. Last year I decided to get in gear a bit and Matt reiterated the basics: Coupled with maintaining, over the long haul, a sensible calorie intake vs. calorie burned ratio that Nicki explains in easy to understand but more importantly an easy to act on way, with twice a week, science-based, Personal Training in the chamber plus throw in one of Amanda’s 30 minute Heat Class each week and one can’t help but achieve any personal fitness goal. All for less than then cost of a daily pizza or very dry martini.
Matt and team will design the program to the client’s needs…not theirs. That’s why it is called Personal Training. It is all about you and your goals. Here is a bit about my regiment, known as BANJOS-6 month Holiday fitness program.
Last July I asked Matt if it were remotely possible for a 180 something lb., twenty something percent body fat, 58 year old to get abs in time for a New Year’s week family Caribbean vacation. He said, “You already have abs but you just can’t see them and yes we can do that.”
The BANJOS system: Brandon, Amanda, Nikki, Jeanne, Omnipotent-Matt and Sean are the orchestra that got me ready for winter vacation. Amanda’s Saturday morning Heat class puts the finishing aerobic touch on a typical week that includes 2 PT sessions with Sean and Jeanne coupled with a sensible eating regiment designed by Nicki. Brandon happens to be my daughter’s 20 year old athletic boyfriend who was captain of his soccer team, on the swim team and an all-around jock, blah, blah blah. Last spring he trained for and participated in a Tough Mudder competition that resulted in him getting more abs than you could count.
It actually was quite irritating. Wanting him to know that anything he could do I could do and in a moment of weakness I challenged him to a fitness contest. At my executive physical I told my doc about this and he thought that anything we aging Baby Boomers could do to put these Gen Y people in their place was a good idea and that Matt’s recommended program was very sound. He also told me to call him along the way in case I needed something. I asked, “like an NSAID for the pain.” and he said “no, just an anti-delusional drug for the temporary leave of my senses.”
Undaunted, Sean put me through the twice a week strength PT drill. Strict form, focus and consistency is the key to progress. This rotates Six different routines (two per week), each focusing on a targeted body area (General, Chest, Shoulders, Arms, Back and Legs ) consisting of seven exercises working in strict form to failure which occurs in about 4-8 reps in about 2minutes. This rotation keeps your muscles sufficiently confused (we can get used to anything and plateau quickly) but more importantly provides plenty of time for muscle group recovery. Matt gave me Dr. Doug McDuff’s book outlining his theory on fitness being about economics not physiology. Why waste an hour plus what can be successfully achieved in 7 exercises of 2 minutes each? Add in a drink of water and the time it takes to walk to the next machine and you stretch to get to 20 minutes for a total body workout. That is what the Personal Training room is all about. Focus, form and intensity (at the individual level). Try the general routine of only 4 exercises and in 10 minutes without injury you will achieve an aerobic state that takes 45 minutes to achieve on the elliptical cruise control setting and and anaerobic pump that is second to none. Plan on taking the elevator down that day.
On Saturday’s I round out the week with Amanda’s 30 minute Heat Fit class focusing on high-aerobic activity which melts fat faster than you can burn off a rib-eye on a weber grill. It also improves coordination and endurance. I could feel the difference on a recent ski trip to New Hampshire where I barely stopped for a break. Helped by the fact that I couldn’t stop since it was so icy anyway.
Now the real truth: Diet and nutrition trumps exercise as the “first among equals.” Understanding the hidden calories ingested in a day as taught by Nicki saves thousands of calories per week that really are not missed…..except by your mid-section. Brandon did give me his one diet secret which was to avoid processed foods with a vengeance. If you don’t “catch it “(Fish, poultry, animal protein),” pick it” (off a vine and not the bakery case like fresh fruits/nuts) or “dig it” (veggies’ especially sweet potatoes) than don’t eat much of it. I made an exception for high protein Greek yogurt with some mix-ins like fresh blueberries and a sprinkle of granola.
Here’s an example of a no guilt dessert. An average piece of key-lime pie has about 450 calories with 13 grams of fat, 52 processed carbs and 6 protein. Alternatively, take a Yoplait light, non-fat, Key-lime pie Greek yogurt, crush a graham cracker or crunchy granola or wheatgerm, add a dollop of cool whip and a scoop of strawberries, cherries or blueberries and you have a 200 calorie key-lime “pie” dessert with 3 grams of fat, 25 gram of mostly unprocessed carbs, and a potent 15 grams protein. Go ahead and eat two, if you can. I did log my daily food/beverage intake and aimed for a 35-45-20 percent mix of protein, carb and fat. Pre-work out carbs like oatmeal with fruit provides energy for a better workout and a post workout smoothie is mandatory for recovery. Front desk Dave, RP’s Ambassador and Smoothie Creator Extraordinaire makes a special BodyBuilder coffee-mocha version that tastes like Kaluha. Holds you for hours packing about 35 grams of protein. Should be patented and include some real Kaluha.
By the way, while all elements are needed, I think diet is the single most important part of any fitness routine, which if you think about it makes sense since exercise is 1 hour a day…diet is the other 23 hours. Something I pretty much blew off in the past by liberally defining a “Serving Size” as the whole 2 pound bag of M&Ms or totally .ignoring hidden calories like liquids including martinis. They all count and I still have them. Now I just log them in the total calorie intake. After two weeks the diet log becomes second nature and almost an obsession. You do trade-offs. Measure all foods in terms of your favorite treat, say, cocktails. Eat an open-faced sandwich rather than one with two slices of bread and you earn a light beer. Starvation never works, it promotes late day binging (the body efficiently handles no more than 800 calories in one sitting) and makes you moody from glucose swings. A little something every two hours is a treat and kept me satisfied.
Simple math….a Pound is 3300 calories. A 20 percent calorie reduction is easy. Refer to my key lime pie example. For a typical 2500 calorie diet that’s 500 fewer per day times 7 is a pound a week. Step-up the exercise by visiting Sean, Jeanne or Amanda a couple times per week and that for sure is another pound burned. We all know weight isn’t important it’s how our clothes fit. My doc said the single most important guide of cardiac health is the measure of length to circumference….height to waist. Keep it at 2:1 or less. So guys if you are under six feet you best be wearing less than 36″ pants!
As for me, I lost about a stone, 14 lbs in UK speak, but I think more than that moved around thanks to team BANJOS. I mistakenly grabbed my son’s 30″ waist skinny jeans and they didn’t explode. I did give them back. No one over 50 should ever wear less than 32’s.
As for the Fit Contest where the stakes were high…loser bought all the drinks on the vacation. I came in second. We started with a workout routine. He pretty much was in command throughout although Sean swore I took chest press and that my form on all the exercise equipment was superior to Brandon’s. Thank you, Sean, even if it wasn’t altogether true. Brandon also won arm wrestling although I had an arm workout that day and he didn’t so I am demanding a rematch in April. Then the moment of truth, Nikki did the unbiased body fat checks which never lie. I went first and after 6 months of work I came in at a respectable 17percent, most importantly, a personal low. Brandon’s turn. He took off his shirt and Nicki glanced at me effectively saying with a woeful expression in her eyes,” Do you really want me to do this? You obviously should have got the script for the delusion meds.”
He was 12%. Higher than he hoped, but he had pizza and pasta the night before.
We did agree on an age adjusted basis, I won.
In did beat him at Black Jack in St. Maarten. He split 10’s. Good thing I won there as the bar bill was remarkable and you can see in the picture that he took full advantage of the prize. Although I was horrified that anyone would put blue stuff into and ruining a perfectly good gales of Grey Goose. The photo is appropriately coined, hit on 12 and Stand on 17.
PS: The drinking age in St. Maarten is 18 and everyone seemed to take full advantage of that.
Sorry if I pontificated but I have been hanging around Omnipotent Matt for two years and it tends to rub off. Corny as it is, anyone can do this and remarkably it doesn’t take that long. It is a life style…not an event. Thanks Team RP and Brandon I am always watching you.
Yours in good health,