Part 2: Food Journaling Matters A LOT

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

There is that saying…how does it go?  Oh yes, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”.  Of course, there’s also that little saying “ignorance is bliss,” but I’ll argue there’s nothing “blissful” about living in an unhealthy body.

In an extensive weight loss study, conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, the single greatest factor in weight loss shown by the 1,685 overweight and obese subjects studied was the number of days they logged their food in a journal each week.  Yep, you got it – Journaling was more important than regular meetings or even how overweight a subject was to start.  Subjects that logged their food 6 days per week lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep a food journal.  Certainly we can infer many reasons for this result, but researchers have found we just don’t realize how much we are eating!  Even when asking a degreed health professional or dietician, researchers have found they too underestimate calorie values!

Let me add one more twist:  All calories were not created equal.  Sure, a calorie is a calorie in the strict sense of the energy it contains.  However, how your body processes and utilizes carbohydrates, protein and fat vary greatly.  I will not go into different ways calories were not created equal just yet (you’ll just have to wait for the next installment!), but the point I do want to make now is that journaling will help you better balance the calories you are consuming.  Your body has distinct needs for all three macronutrients based on your own personal health and activity level.  Deficiencies or over consumption of any one macronutrient in many cases can have real consequences.

So what are the keys to journaling?

Consistency – Make it a habit.  You benefit most from journaling when you do it day after day.  An easy way to make it easier on yourself – journal throughout the day!  As soon as you eat something, take note.  411Fit’s mobile site makes logging your nutrition on the fly very easy.

Understanding portion sizes – Start at home by measuring what you are eating so that you have a better understanding of what a cup etc. is.  For a running start on understanding how to identify portion sizes, we like this WebMD interactive portion size plate: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate

Don’t skip “indulgences” – Be honest with what you are eating.  If you have a “bad day” or go out to eat, do your best to write down everything you can.  The only way you learn is through awareness of your habits!

411Fit has worked very hard to create a food journal with a purpose to help with this critical component of healthy lifestyle changes.  When you go into 411Fit you have the ability to set your own personal parameters for calories (weight loss), macronutrients, hydration, exercise, health measurements and goals.  You then have your own personal grade each day that specifically matches what you are doing against what you told the system you WANT to do.  The closer to an A you are, the closer you are to the goals you set in the system.  With regards to journaling your nutrition, the grade alone is an easy way for you to see how “on track” you are.  That is YOUR grade!  Pretty cool stuff if we say so ourselves!

Whether you use a tool like 411Fit or simply a scrap of paper, start journaling what you are eating NOW!  You will be amazed at what this simple act will teach you about your health.

Read Part 1: You Have to EAT to Lose Weight by clicking here.

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Top 5 Tools Every Personal Trainer Should Have In Their Pocket

By: Briana Boehmer, 411Fit.com

Photo c/o DrJimiGlide

Providing successful fitness programming is not just a matter of dumbbells and crunches.  When we talk about providing a meaningful service to our clients that produces tangible outcomes, personal trainers know it comes down to much, much more.

With the fast paced and ever evolving world of fitness, there is a lot to wade through when it comes to finding the proper tools and resources to effectively work with your clients.  And the truth – it’s only going to get more confusing.  Technology will continue to evolve and research will continue to be done.  Yet there are still “staples” that every personal trainer should have available no matter what new fancy gadget comes to market…here we review the top 5 in no particular order:

Educational Resources

This can come in many forms but having a solid educational foundation you can tap into is extremely important.  As with any industry, you need to keep yourself on top of current research, trends and protocol.  The best way to do this is take advantage of all the continuing education and resources your certifying body provides.  You chose their organization for a reason!  Top on our list: NASM, ACSM and NSCA.


Constant Communication Systems
Now more than ever, your clients are inundated with all sorts of information pertaining to their health and fitness. The more involved you can be in their progress/goals to guide them in the right direction, the better they can navigate on their own when they really need to. Of course we like 411Fit’s Coaching Edition best to track client nutrition/exercise and receive up-to-the-minute alerts and reports on their ups and downs!


Social Support
This has many meanings all tying into the same overreaching concept: people respond to support.  Make sure you have a network of peers within the health/wellness industry that you are constantly learning from and make sure your clients have a network of peers they can relate to as well. Find blogs online that support your own (or your clients) goals such as:

Motivation

Everyone wanes from time to time on his or her motivational level. It’s important to stay upbeat and energetic for your clients. Find articles on the web like, LiveStrong’s How to Motivate Personal Training Clients. Or, hire a personal coach to help you stay motivated. Even a quick google search for motivational quotes, videos or stories can provide a quick uptick in your energy. Don’t forget to keep case studies and testimonials from personal clients to remind you why you do what you do!

Organized Client Tracking/Management

Training clients involves much more than just providing a workout.  It involves periodized, individualized and calculated training with a purpose.  The days of paper logs and spreadsheets have been replaced with robust tools that help you better track and communicate with your client so that you can help them succeed.  One of the many strengths of the 411Fit Coach Edition lies in better client tracking and management.

While the five items above are foundational to creating a meaningful client-trainer relationship and growing your reach, don’t forget the biggest asset you have – YOU.  Make sure that all of the tools above work to create a better platform for YOU to bring your value to your clients, peers and industry.

10 Reasons You Need 411Fit’s Coaching Edition

  1. Charge more for your services
    Offer your clients a high touch service 24/7 where you monitor and track their progress. 411Fit’s Coaching Edition is inexpensive and yet creates value for clients that they are willing to pay much more for.
  2. Train more clients in less time
    Using 411Fit’s innovative alert system, reporting capabilities and sharing mechanisms; you can train more clients in less time. This means more money in your pocket.
  3. 24/7 coach-client access
    On average you may only spend 1 to 3 hours a week face to face with a client. Using the Coaching Edition you can be with them for the other 165+ hours a week, monitoring their progress and providing them with immediate feedback.
  4. Build stronger relationships
    Constant interaction with your clients allows you to build stronger relationships and a more loyal customer base. Your clients will view you as a PARTNER in their fitness journey…not just another coach for hire.
  5. Make your clients more successful
    Your client’s success is not just a reflection of you and your business; it is a powerful marketing tool. 411Fit allows you to customize your coaching and provide the most powerful part of your business – your expertise 24/7.
  6. Differentiate yourself from your competition
    The capabilities of 411Fit’s Coaching Edition have been developed by experienced programmers over 8 years. When you use the Coaching Edition you are different because you are providing your expertise using a set of unique tools that far exceed other online systems today.
  7. Promote your company brand
    Your clients will have access to all the amazing tools that 411Fit provides for individuals – all branded with your logo. You look professional and project value that attracts and keeps clients.
  8. Expand your business
    411Fit is built not just to help you coach more individuals in less time; it is built to help you do the same for the coaches you employ. Manage and monitor all of your coaches no matter where they are located.
  9. Create new opportunities
    411Fit’s capabilities work not just for one-on-one relationships, but also for groups. Create more interactive programming by giving groups of individuals your enhanced attention. Just another way 411Fit helps increase the number of clients each coach can manage.
  10. Happy, cared for clients
    When your client knows you are there with them every step of the way there is no better feeling. Happier clients stay longer and refer often…making you a sought after and highly visible coach!

Start Your Free 45 Day Trial Today!

Are you ready to take your client interaction to the next level? Our tool was developed to enhance your coaching, personal training, nutrition counseling, fitness center programming and client resources. Get started now- it will take about 5 minutes to set up an account and it’s completely free for 45 days. NO credit card required! Click here to get started!

Don’t Be A Fitness Casualty

Top 5 Secrets To Start and Maintain Your 2012 Exercise Plans

By: Briana Boehmer

The first two months of the year my health club is JAM PACKED (and I mean it!) with people exercising like it’s their job.  Then March hits…and all is back to normal.  Same regulars – no hustle and bustle.  The yearly question rears it’s head – why is it so hard to stick to our well-meaning goals?

My take on this never-ending phenomenon – we set ourselves up for “failure” before we even start.  When we peek into other aspects of our lives, take finances for example, we find that proper planning and paying attention to our personal circumstances is critical.  So why, oh why, would it not be the same when it comes to health and wellness goals?

If you’re sick of starting your fitness regime over and over again, follow these 5 key tips I tell all my clients to take very seriously.  If you do, you will find it VERY hard to quit!

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Be realistic with where you are at and what you should be changing.  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when setting up a new exercise routine is trying to “do it all”.  Not only is this dangerous, it is in most cases very counterproductive in relation to your end goals.  Please heed this advice; there is value in gradual change.  True habits are formed with careful consideration and dedication.  Taking goals in incremental steps ensures you actually learn a new habit that sticks.  Little changes turn into big successes.
  2. Create accountability.  Top on my list for successful behavior change!  When you are accountable in a MEANINGFUL way to someone or something you are more likely to feel a greater sense of responsibility toward what you are doing.  Find a friend, family member, group, coach or even on-line support that will help you stick to the goals you have set.  Tell your accountability source what your goals are and give them specifics on how you need help!
  3. Journal your activity and progress.  411Fit knows that when you journal your exercise and nutrition (meaning actually WRITE IT DOWN!) you are without question more likely to lose weight, gain fitness, and make behavior changes.  Knowing what you are doing helps you clearly see where you need to go.
  4. Make it fun.  Sure, seems obvious.  We don’t stick to things in life when they aren’t fun. When you enjoy what you do, change is easy.  Given the proper oomph, you can make anything fun…see our blog about fun ways to exercise … but more importantly take a look at what you enjoy!  Then decide how you can turn what you enjoy into a healthy habit.
  5. Enlist SMART resources!  Fitness software that is easy to use and easy to find!  Tools like 411Fit help provide a huge chunk of what I have laid out here.
    – Guidance on appropriate goals that aren’t too big to chew
    – The ability to create accountability with friends, a community, and experts
    – Journaling
    – Challenges, reports, a social network…so much fun to be had!

Believe me when I say change doesn’t have to be hard…we usually just make it harder than it has to be.  Set yourself up for success and be one of those gym regulars.  Come on! Prove me wrong come March!  We would love to hear from you and what you have done to stick to YOUR goals!

Want to lose weight? Burn bad habits, not excess calories!

By Briana Boehmer

MYTH:  Burning an extra 100 calories a day, multiplied by 365 days in the year means you have an extra 36,500 calories burned if everything else you do stays the same. This means about 10.5 lbs. a year! People hear that cutting 100 calories here and there is the fastest way to lose fat. Wrong!

FACT: There are a decent number of scientific studies that suggest small caloric changes have very little long-term effect on weight. BUT there is good news! Small changes, like adding in an extra walk a day, cutting out a soda, increasing your fiber consumption, or watching less T.V. can create a snowball effect of sorts that eventually leads to long term behavior change.

What we do know is this:  whether the small extras definitively create weight loss or alter metabolism, they do have the potential to create lasting behavior change. Your extra walk turns into a run, your increased fiber consumption turns into cutting out large amounts of sugar.  The extra’s turn into a new lifestyle – and lifestyle change is what scientists and doctors (and 411Fit!) are after.

So, instead of five ways to burn 100 extra calories a day…how about 5 ways to instigate lasting behavior change for the long haul?  Give one a try and you may shed that extra 10 pounds after all!

  1. Fiber is the spice of life.  Fiber is actually a form of carbohydrate that is not absorbed by the body.  It will not just create a sensation of feeling full; it aids in digestion and has several meaningful health benefits including increased heart health.  SO, spice up your diet with a little fiber!
  2. Add power to each hour.  Get up and move on the hour, every hour, during your normal workday.  Just a few minutes will do.  Walk around and do some light active exercises like squats or push-ups.  The movement will help prevent chronic pain and open up tight muscles.
  3. Don’t starve yourself.  Numerous studies have shown us that the fewer calories you consume, the fewer calories your body burns.  Your body is wired on survival, plain and simple.  Research has suggested that eating for your metabolism at regular intervals throughout the day (5-6 small meals) can help create an uptick in your metabolism and avoid causing a slowdown.
  4. Eat REAL food.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, chances are it’s not real.  The body is wired to digest REAL FOOD. Give it what it knows!
  5. Journal!  We see it in research, and we see it on 411Fit.  When you journal your food and exercise you are more likely to lose weight!  Knowledge IS power!

411Fit Soon to Release New Coaching Technology

Making a Deeper Connection + Real time feedback = Real time progress

As a company committed to helping individuals and corporations reach their health and wellness goals, we are constantly analyzing what works and what doesn’t in personal training software, online nutrition journals and corporate wellness. It is very hard for individuals to discern what is best when it comes to better health – especially with all of the medical, fitness and diet related information in the media today. That is where the health and wellness professional comes in. Whether advice is sought from a coach, personal trainer, nurse, or doctor, people are looking for someone to decipher the code.

411Fit has found the biggest obstacles in getting the information an individual needs to make the right decisions are:

  • Proper access to health professionals.
  • Proper feedback as it relates to their own personal issues.

This is where the 411Fit coaching dashboard comes in. For the health professional, finding better ways to connect to a client is always needed.  Clients craves feedback and professionals craves meaningful health data. For the first time, 411Fit has created a platform that facilitates both needs seamlessly.

411Fit has created an innovative blend of education, tracking, accountability and reporting that allows health professionals to monitor and provide real-time feedback to  facilitate behavior change and goal progress.

For the Professional:
Using the 411Fit Coaching Dashboard as personal training software, professionals can offer 24-7 personalized service at a fraction of the cost. How do you know how well your client/patient is progressing with their goals?  It is often a combination of many factors, isn’t it? Professionals often manage exercise, diet, disease factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and weight. This new tool allows you to set guidelines, prescribe goals, and run reports to analyze how clients are doing and where they need help.

  • Minimize the number of systems you use for each client by consolidating all of your data into one, comprehensive solution.
  • Motivate anytime, anywhere – The beauty of an integrated, on-line, real time system!
  • Set alerts that fire when a client or patient falls out of acceptable ranges.
  • Have daily and weekly summary reports sent directly to your email for review.
  • Share training tips, exercise plans and nutrition advice – to just one client or to all of your clients.
  • Set goals and track measurements – Be specific about what you want  your client to work on and run reports daily and weekly to monitor their progress. 411Fit’s robust reporting features allow for quick and easy data analysis.
  • Use 411Fit’s proprietary grading system to quickly and easily see when a client or patient is doing well or poorly.
  • Communicate with your clients and share information, awards and motivational notes all with a click of a button.
  • Expand your client base by being able to reach more individuals in less time.
  • Create a library of plans that you can utilize across multiple populations.
  • Build stronger relationships by providing your clients and patients a truly personalized experience.

The concept: Prescribe in real-time and give real-time feedback – a level of interaction only surpassed by one-on-one contact. Using 411Fit’s robust nutrition and exercise tracker, individuals are able to follow guidelines set by their health professional all while their health professional monitors and tracks their progress. Clients feel a sense of confidence knowing you are on top of their health!

The 411Fit Coaching Dashboard will be released January of 2012. Questions? Contact us!

Sure, Overeat on Thanksgiving…But Learn this One Habit to Avoid

By Briana Boehmer

Sure, we all know eating too much has its implications. Let’s not dwell on the obvious. And we all know the saying “everything in moderation.” Clearly, Thanksgiving throws a big hand in the face of that one. However, have you ever taken the time to really think about what happens when you overeat? Have you ever wondered if there is more to it than meets the eye? Well let’s sit down with our nemesis overeating and see what we find when we dig into the facts…

The Good News
Your body is SMART. Oh yes, very smart. The key is to understand how the body operates, which at its purest level is survival. When researchers and scientists look at how the body reacts to various stimuli, the pattern is almost always linked to survival. Our body is wired to adapt to sudden changes in order to achieve balance or homeostasis as quickly as possible. In the face of a change in the norm, your body will do its best to counteract that change to create what it is used to. Case in point, if the only day I ever overeat is Thanksgiving, my body is going to do its best to take care of those calories and get “back to normal”.

The Rub
We never JUST overeat on Thanksgiving Day. The trend?…To overeat from Thanksgiving up to the New Year. It is this CONSISTENT overeating, albeit a short period of time, that wrecks havoc on your waistline. In a recent 2010 study out of Linkoping University in Sweden*, researchers found that short bouts of consistent overeating lead to long-term weight gain. While further research needs to be done, the study confirmed what we already know from years of looking at weight gain and loss – everything in moderation. One day of overeating a year – no big deal. One month of overeating – Houston, we have a problem.

The Take Home
Don’t beat yourself up over that piece of cherry pie or extra piece of turkey. Be more aware of what you are doing throughout the holiday season to keep your eating on track. Counter excess eating with regular exercise and see if you can aim to NOT gain weight during this most wonderful time of the year!

Ready to get fit? Visit 411Fit.com.

*Ernersson, A. Nutrition & Metabolism, Aug. 25, 2010