How to Lose 40 lbs in 8 weeks: Celebrating Orangetheory Fitness Seattle Weight Loss Challenge Winners 2017

How committed are you to lifestyle change?

While weight loss is the goal for many people, I truly like to emphasize the many reasons and benefits for lifestyle change in itself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when people lose a ton of weight, the valuable part isn’t the fact that they lost weight — instead the most valuable part is that these individuals were able to change their habits and challenge their discipline day in and day out.

OrangetheoryFitnessSeattle2017weightlosschall

Orangetheory Fitness Seattle, Lower Queen Anne’s Winter 2017 Weight Loss Challenge Winners and some of our coaches

 

 

 

Every Body is capable of healthy changes, both inside and out.

Even though the human body can be seemingly complex at times, the formula is simple.

Step 1: Eat Nutrient Dense Foods

Step 2: Get 8 hours of sleep

Step 3: Have an active lifestyle and cultivate an athletic mindset no matter what level coordination you have.

The most challenging aspect of lifestyle change are the thoughts that go on inside your head. That’s why I believe it is fundamental to surround yourself with encouraging, positive, and motivating people who share some layer of goals with you.

You can definitely lose 30-40 lbs in eight weeks by exercising and working out with me.

On the flip side, you could also work out all of the time and still not lose any weight if the nutritional habits are poor. It’s just a fact of the matter that you cannot out-train a bad diet. Workouts are challenging and often give immediate gratification and sense of accomplishment once the workout is complete, yet your nutritional habits are responsible for the vast majority of your results.

Nutrition is responsible for all human biological function and linked strongly to gene expression as well as the state of your human ecosystem (read: trillions of bacteria cells that live in and on us).

As I mentioned earlier in this post, every body is capable of fat loss. There are genes that regulate how much fat you can lose and how fast you can burn that fat so yes every body is different in that regard. However, we are learning more and more that certain foods (nutrient dense foods) are actually able to increase the gene expression of genes which are responsible for fat loss. You are not limited by your genetics as much as you are limited by your mind. You must challenge your limiting beliefs about food so that you can cultivate a lifestyle which supports healthy nutritional habits as part of your core values.

Moreover, for your biological processes to be in a healthy, functioning state, you must digest healthful, nutrient-dense foods on a regular basis. Food contains lots of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, amino acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other currently undiscovered components which likely support human health. I know this, because I know that which I do not know. The wisdom of nature must be valued, so let thy food be thy medicine. Hundreds of thousands of years of human knowledge should be honored. Millions of years of evolution suggests that plants are good for us and chemicals (aka processed foods) are not. I’m sure there are parts of an apple that are good for us that science will never discover, and that’s okay. Don’t overthink it.

Of course you need to decrease your calories in order to achieve weight loss.

That doesn’t mean that you should allow yourself to fall into a dangerous mindset of restriction. I 100% believe that healthy nutritional habits are far more realistic to sustain when you are able to have an abundance mentality. You literally have an abundance of healthy food options if you are willing to be creative and seek knowledge. Never settle.

In our modern era, we have access to more nutrients than even our paleo ancestors. The difference between paleo ancestors and ourselves is that we seem to have become burdened by choice. Even worse, there are multi-billion dollar corporations which prefer to mislead us through advertising and through government lobbying and these groups certainly do not have our best interests in mind.

Here is your challenge: Get the MOST amount of nutrients with the fewest calories.

If you eat the most nutrient dense foods, then you will always have an abundance of food that fills you up, energizes you, and gets you ready for a successful tomorrow.

Nutrient density = the highest amount of overall nutrient value for the lowest amount of caloric value.

When I think of nutrients I think of:

  • Fiber (Try to get at least 30 grams per day which is the government recommendation to reduce risk of colon cancer. Fiber also helps to maintain healthy blood sugar / diabetes management, also insulin senstivity and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut… of course all of these things are related to fat loss and health).
  • Protein
  • Saturated fats like Medium Chain Triglycerides (coconut oil source)
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Omega-9 fatty acid, some Omega-6 fatty acid
  • Water
  • Major minerals (like calcium/magnesium)
  • Trace Minerals (browse Amazon, best minerals product)
  • Antioxidants (red, yellow, purple, blue, green, orange)
  • Phytonutrients (natural components that support healthy hormones, we are learning how broccoli/b-sprouts/cabbage/cauliflower helps fight cancer)
    • Sidenote: If you can support a healthy immune system and gut function, you’ll likely be able to burn more fat and be able to train harder, thereby making even more fitness gains
  • Anti-inflammatory compounds (often these are antioxidants, such as those found in tart cherries, leafy green vegetables, herbs like ginger/turmeric/garlic).
  • Probiotic potential or live probiotics (pre-biotic foods like foods high in fiber that feed healthy gut bacteria or actual live probiotics found in raw sauerkraut and real kefir)
  • Various types of acids that are health promoting like Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Cardiovascular supporting compounds (I love beets because they are packed with nutrients despite containing natural sugars. Beets are a nutrient powerhouse that act as a methyl donor to support the remethylation of homocysteine, something that most people will never learn about — but basically is crucial for healthy cardio and managing risk of ever having a heart attack or stroke.)
  • Enzymes — even though our bodies can create enzymes, our ability to do so decreases as we age. A prominent doctor in Japan argues for a sort of mythical “source enzyme” that once is depleted, then we die. So you must eat foods that support healthy enzyme production (such as the foods listed above). Additionally, you can also eat foods that contain active enzymes which are raw foods and raw probiotic foods. Cooking and the heating process tends to kill enzymes (even though cooking does release/enhance other nutrients), so you still want to get some raw food and raw probiotic food in your diet. Related: Top Probiotic Food / supplements
  • I’m sure there are other nutrients to consider, these are just the considerations that come to the top of my head when I’m choosing foods to eat mindfully.

The key is to educate yourself because you’ll find yourself making better choices simply by having a better foundation of knowledge.

Knowledge truly is power. I encourage you to read about the benefits of real, natural foods and I also encourage you to read about the harmful effects of processed, junk, sweets, etc even if it is uncomfortable to read about. Take time in your day to follow my blog, and/or follow other trustworthy sources online or otherwise.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Growing up, my father would always say, “everything in moderation.” I believed in that phrase for a while, but now I realize that there are some things that you should simply never do or never have. And that’s okay. Some things are just. not. worth it.

The important point is that you are caring about yourself in your lifestyle. If you have to be 100% on and then when you fall off you go food binge and drink, then that says that maybe you’re an on again off again type person who isn’t willing to be committed to themselves. Let yourself have a lifestyle that allows for mistakes, forgiveness, and moving forward.

If you think that you have to be on a restrictive diet to be successful, then why aren’t you successful yet? If it has worked for you in the past, but only temporarily, then did it really work for you? I want you to engage in thought processes that allow for long term success.

Sometimes your thoughts will come crashing inside like waves in a storm and that’s when you just need to hunker down and care for yourself, otherwise you’re going to drown. Those are the hard times.

Other times, your thoughts will be like an oasis in the desert where you think everything is just perfection, but maybe it is just a mirage? Those are even harder times because it forces you to face the truth: Sometimes you have to stay hungry. And that’s okay too. But if you’re planning your meals properly, then you’ll have nutrient dense food waiting for you around the next corner.

How much do you really care about yourself?

We all have struggles. I just need you to take a moment to think about all of the actions that you take on a daily basis that demonstrate self-care. When you are mindful, when you plan for success, and when you surrender your entitlement, then you will find yourself in a whole new reality of empowerment.

Love is action. Good luck, my people! Stay tuned for more, subscribe to my brand new YouTube channel and click that Follow Blog button on the top left (show sidebar for mobile users).

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Is it okay or good to work out in the morning on an empty stomach?

During my 4:45 AM warmup, I asked my participants to raise their hand if they were on an empty stomach and the results may or may not surprise you.

Continue reading

Insider’s Guide to Orangetheory and Responses to OTF News and Article Commenters

What are your expectations of an Orangetheory class?

Some of you have followed my blog for months or years, while others have stumbled upon it in a search for Orangetheory Fitness Seattle or other popular terms that Google directs here. I like to stay abreast of the news surrounding Orangetheory all around the country as people everywhere are getting a chance to be part of this rapidly growing fitness trend.

As an Orangetheory trainer, I have coached over fifteen hundred classes in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods.

Based on repeat attendance, this equals to more than 30,000 workout sessions delivered. Yes, being a group personal trainer is highly rewarding and it’s inspiring to think about my reach in the community. Whether you are reading this article because you are considering your first Orangetheory class or because you’re just interested in fitness, you may gain something so continue reading on.

Here's a quick snap at the end of one of my HIIT classes at the Orangetheory Fitness in Seattle, WA... the Capitol Hill studio location.

Here’s a quick snap at the end of one of my HIIT classes at the Orangetheory Fitness in Seattle, WA… the Capitol Hill studio location.

Below are three recent articles, information, and responses about Orangetheory from an insider perspective.

5 Things to Know Before your First Orangetheory Class

This Health.com article provides a great template for setting up healthy expectations of a first OTF class.

Coaches do want to personalize your workout

Coaches do want to personalize your workout

Here are the bullet points:

  • “It’s a perfect option for gym-goers who hate group exercise classes.”
    • While you follow the templates, there is way much individualization available and the trainers make an effort for you
    • Trainers do their best to remember your name, just keep in mind they might be coaching 100 different people throughout the day so reach out as needed.
    • If it’s your first class, you should get extra attention for sure.
  • “You need to get there (really) early.”
    • We ask that people arrive 30 minutes before class because it will make your workout experience so much smoother.
    • Arriving early will answer many of the questions that you would otherwise have during class.
    • Don’t forget, this is still HIIT so the pace of the class is quite upbeat no matter your fitness level.
    • Arriving early allows trainers to understand your needs and values, and to cater your first experience to that.
  • “You may develop a love-hate relationship with the heart-rate monitor.”
    • Everybody responds differently to the heart rate system as we all are built in different shapes, sizes with different heart beats as well. It may be very challenging to get even 10 minutes in the Orange zone, or you may be in the red zone half the class.
    • For the most part, the heart rates are a fantastic guide to being successful in the workout.
    • Just know that there may be some fluctuations that occur, in part due to the bouncing up and down and potentially aggressive nature of HIIT workouts.
  • “Don’t expect to do the same workout in your next class.”
    • Every workout is different, yet every workout provides you the opportunity to be better than your previous self.
    • You will get the benefits of HIIT every. single. time. by reaching the target heart rate zones.
    • Furthermore, you can continue busting through fat loss and fitness plateaus by focusing more intensity on a particular area (such as running faster at an incline on the treadmill).

Overall, I’d recommend coming with an open mind and communicating your reasons to the instructor. Why are you here, really? We want to know this information so we can individualize certain aspects of your Orangetheory workout and give you a great experience that leaves you feeling great and burning calories for hours upon hours following it.

NY Times: At the Gym, Abs and Stats

In this NY Times article, the author gives a brief overview of previous trends throughout the decades and then settles in on a discussion about the OTF experience and how the business fits into the overall context of group workouts.

Image of the heart rate system OTBeat

Image of the heart rate system OTBeat

They definitely don’t hesitate to talk about their own experience, feeling that for the author personally it was a competitive experience due to the stats on the board. Even so, I never base my workout on how many calories I burned versus somebody else because that is not the most ideal indicator of success.

What’s most interesting are the reader comments to the article.

Wabi-Sabi wrote: How different you city people are!
$32/class? Do you have so much money to waste? I run 7 miles with my dog
every day. She counts on me and I count on her.

Fortunately, Seattle prices are half of that or less. And secondly, I bet OTF runners are fitter, faster, and may actually enjoy the experience of group coaching motivational styles. If you consider a Personal Trainer in NYC is $80 or more, a Personal Trainer in Seattle is $60 or more, it’s certainly no waste of money for an investment in health and fitness.

D Jacob wrote: It should be clarified that there is no ranking on the orangetheory board so deciding who is in “last place” is determined only in your own mind. The numbers are specific to your weight, age, and effort, so comparing to other people’s numbers is not the point and not the right way to do it. You’re reading your own level of exertion, seeing how your recovery from exertion improves over time, and keeping your heart rate in specific zones.

A 250 pound, 45 year old guy is going to do that a lot differently than a 90 pound, 25 year old woman and how a vastly different calorie burn. I find this article misleading in the implication that it’s competitive. If you’re a competitive person, then you’ll be competitive here. If, like me, you are not, then you may like having data that really shows what you’re doing. There’s no terror unless you create it for yourself.

Good point and well said. Spoken like someone who truly experiences the benefits of heart rate led group interval training.

Andrew Hendricks wrote: Regardless of the comments below- I’ll keep my thoughts to myself on the inaccurate statements, narcissistic rants, and complete fitness bullying I am reading in the comments portion and say- what is wrong with each his own. I have been an OTF member for over 8 months- been to more than 20 studios but regular at Chelsea and Massapequa, and I mean religiously 5 times a week. All it’s done for me- was change my life- down 70 pounds, off all meds, in better shape than I’ve been in since my 20’s, complete confidence in life and have made the best friends anyone can have- Perhaps I should go back to smoking, over eating and sitting on the couch..

Wow, beautiful. This is the reason I love what I do. No matter the stress of an irregular schedule or the challenges of being a full time coach… stuff like this is what makes it all worth it. I guarantee every studio in the entire country has stories like this. Changing lives not only changes others, it changes us to. So thank you to all of the Andrew Hendrick’s of the fitness world!!

ringO wrote: They’re going to spend their $$$ on something.
Might as well be fitness.
I’m all for it.
It is always better to buy experiences than material goods.

And I’ll just leave it at that. I know people in Seattle are doing alright financially and even people who are on a modest income still realize that they are going to get way more benefit out of Orangetheory classes than the latest designer clothing. Btw, your ass will look way better in those designer jeans anyway.

And finally, one more article response and this article definitely does not hold back on the criticism…

This Gym Chain NEEDS to Address This Important Issue

Miss Kelsey Miller over at Refinery29.com unfortunately did not have the best experience on her first class. As an online content writer, was her intent to scrutinize the experience from the beginning or was she actually looking for a workout routine for herself?

Refinery29 Author

Refinery29 Author

Full disclosure: I went into Orangetheory’s Brentwood location with my usual skepticism of any flashy new workout trend.

There’s our answer.

At the end of my first and only session at Orangetheory Fitness, I stood sweating amid a group of 20-odd students while our trainer, Lal, pointed at my name on the screen.

“You only had seven minutes in the Orange Zone.” He had that I’m-not-mad-I’m-disappointed kind of tone. “You need to push yourself — get uncomfortable.”

As coaches, we’re usually aiming to encourage people by saying, “For those of you who didn’t hit it, one day, you’ll reach 12 minute in the Orange Zone.” That being said, she makes it sound like he called her out in front of the entire group, but I’m inclined to believe he was off the microphone chatting with her one-on-one.

Filling out the pre-workout paperwork, I noted a lingering knee problem of mine that often acts up during certain exercises. After a brief warm-up, my group was sent to the weight-training floor for a timed interval of bench step movements and squats. Lal shouted instructions and then pointed to a screen with written steps as well as an animated little person demo-ing the moves. That’s when I first felt my knee begin to twang and paused to consider a modification. By now, Lal was on the other side of the studio, shouting instructions to the treadmill group, so I turned to the virtual trainer, who told me in no uncertain terms to just keep going.

Gosh, I can completely understand this scenario. I always ask a new person about injuries and do not rely on the client intake form — I want to hear it from your mouth. Admittedly, something I could do better is ask all my current members if they have any injuries acting up lately, since sometimes we’re at 100% and other times not so much. So it’s clear that our hero, Lal, missed a step by not going back to Kelsey after delivering the treadmill instructions and asking for a status update on her knee.

Then again, personal responsibility also plays a role. In group workouts, your trainer needs to be there for you, and you also need to be there for yourself. I always recommend not working through the pain unless you are prescribed by a rehabilitation specialist (or you simply know your body better than anybody else). So, she could have made eye contact with Lal and waved him down and I’m sure he would be willing to come right on over to deliver the options. Right, Lal?

Thankfully, my knee pain eased up when I got to the rowing and treadmill portion of the class, but even though I pushed myself hard enough to thoroughly drench my T-shirt, I wasn’t as concerned with hitting the anaerobic Orange Zone as I was with getting through the workout without hurting myself. So, when Lal pointed at the screen, gently scolding me for staying mostly in the aerobic Green Zone, I wasn’t all that bothered.

“Yeah, I’m fine with that.”

Definitely something missing in the communication channel between these two individuals. Now I know that some individuals simply need more attention to have a great experience, while others need only a few moments of encouragement to perform at their best.

If I was the trainer in this situation, I would again ask Kelsey about the status of her knee. Then, seeing that she is not reaching the Orange zone during a push pace, I would use the simple RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion) by asking Kelsey how she feels about her intensity on a scale of 1-10. Where 1 is completely resting and 10 is the most intense all out effort of her life. If she is somewhere around 7-9 perceived intensity and still in the green zone, then I would be fine with that… encouraging her to continue working and that it’s totally fine especially on her first workout.

Over time you learn to read people. As a coach, I recall a time when I received negative feedback for not pushing a person hard enough, she said something like, “I felt there were opportunities my trainer could have pushed me harder.” And when I look back at that specific moment, I realize that yet again it was a simple lapse in the communication channel between myself and this person.

But at Orangetheory, there’s little talk of the long-term. Consistency takes a backseat to instantaneous results.

Excuse my language but what in the HECK does that mean? The REALITY of the situation — and again this is coming from a coach who has been immersed in OTF for years — If you CONSISTENTLY show up to an Orangetheory workout 3-4 times per week, I guarantee you will get results. Guaranteed. Seriously. That’s consistency and if something hurts your knees, I also guarantee there are ways around it.

Truth be told, the people who get the fastest results are also the ones who allow themselves to be coached. As an employee of OTF, I know that my work will be superior by allowing myself to be coached by the leadership around me (and perhaps even my peers). Likewise, getting results at OTF is purely about attitude.

The only reason that OTF is so popular is because it works. It works to get you healthy, it works to get you fit, it works to burn the fat, and it works for those who want to be part of a community. Hey, Seattle transplants, I’m talking to you. Come make some friends.

I’m alarmed that, of all fitness trends, this one appears to be growing so fast. But I’ll admit that Orangetheory is popular for a reason: Many clients gush with real sincerity about how it has changed their lives. In fitness, I’ve learned that the only thing that matters is finding something that works for you, and if somebody raises an eyebrow, who cares? But I’ve also learned there’s nothing wrong with being the one who raises an eyebrow.

I do think she makes some interesting points about the “Biggest Loser Mentality” at OTF, but I’d say that only accounts for a fraction of the reasons people actually go. Consider that out of over a thousand members at Seattle’s Capitol Hill location, only about sixty of them are participating in the 6 week weight loss challenge where the grand prize is $2,500 and a free year membership. Yes, we have helped people lose 60+ pounds over the course of several months. In reality though, the average person is just looking for a workout that makes them feel great and allows them to continually improve their fitness levels.

And our author, Kelsey, finally concedes that if it works for you, then that’s what matters.

Also, Kelsey, if you are ever in Seattle, give me a chance. 9 times out of 10, I’ll change your perception of Orangetheory and maybe we’ll really be able to connect on a coaching level. By the way, just as you criticize OTF, I hope you can appreciate the validity of my points as well.

It’s been a journey for me as a coach, learning how to look deep inside myself and be able to authentically care about all different types of people who in most cases are very much unlike myself. I’ve also had struggles with people who tried my class for the first time and it frustrates me, I literally lose sleep when I realize that I gave somebody a less than ideal experience. It forces me to come back stronger the next day. It forces me to engage in an encouraging, positive and open minded communication channel with individuals and groups on a daily basis.

For those of you who take my class for the first time in Seattle, know that my intention is to give you a great experience and that your participation and attention is a requirement for this to happen. I’ll meet you where you’re at with your fitness, and you meet me with your needs — we’ll go places you never dreamed of.

Thank you all and stay tuned for future content.

My goal for this year is to be more consistent myself with blogging. I realize that I have soooo many followers in Seattle that scheduling one-on-one time with each of you is nearly impossible. However, know that if you want to schedule that time, I can make myself available.

And if it’s just my knowledge that you need, then keep coming back and please leave a comment if this interests you.