Archives for August 2013

How I Lost 12 Pounds Last Month

Last month I held a transformation challenge for my clients. It ran four-weeks and the goal was to focus on your diet and workouts so that you could achieve the biggest physical transformation you could in that time. For some people it can serve as a way to spice up their training a little, and for others it’s a great way to get started. Some of the results have been absolutely fantastic. I also decided to do the challenge to stimulate some interest and also just see what I could do in four weeks.
I started at 200 lbs. at approximately 25% bodyfat. That meant I was carrying around about 50 pounds of fat. I finished the month at about 188 pounds at about 22% bodyfat which means I’m down to about 41 pounds of fat. That means that of the 12 pounds I lost, 9-10 or so was bodyfat. The other 3 or so would mostly be a mix of water and glycogen. I would consider that a success and I’d like to talk about how my month went and the two main things I learned from it.
Below are the before and after pictures. The ones to the left were taken July 29th at 200lbs. The ones to the right were taken August 27th and 188 lbs.

1. You can do it if you want to. The month started out with my parents in town, which meant going out to eat and not being able to really prepare my food for the first 4 or so days of the challenge. As a matter of fact, the first day of the challenge we had reservations for one of our favorite restaurants, The Peasant and the Pear in Danville. Needless to say, my challenge was starting at least a day late. I did eat some outstanding food that night. What they can do with pears is something special.
The next three days, however, even though we went out to eat I stuck with salads and lean protein. No desserts and no bread. I just made up my mind that I was going to do this, no excuses.
By the way, my wife and I also went on a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo to celebrate our anniversary during the month. I planned out my diet so that I could have a bit of a cheat dinner one of the nights we were there.
So for the 28 days of the challenge we had visitors for 4 of them and we were on a trip for 2 more of them. Nearly a full quarter of the time.
2. A little hunger won’t kill you. The biggest thing I did was deciding to really pay attention to how I hungry I was. I think one of the biggest problems with our eating is that we panic any time we feel any kind of hunger or discomfort. I’ve frequently told my clients that they don’t have to eat until they feel full all the time. As an result of this alone I cut my caloric intake by probably 25% without even trying. For example, I found that my normal 4 egg mushroom, spinach and cheese omelet with 2 strips of bacon turned into a 2 egg omelet with 1 strip. At times I wouldn’t even finish it. Here are a couple of ways to help with this.
     1. Eat slower. It takes about 15 minutes or so for your stomach to let your brain know that you’re full, and just think about all the food you can eat in 15 minutes. I know we’re all in a rush and super-busy but just taking a little extra time with this will pay off with huge results.
     2. Be a little hungry. It’s fine, really, and if you want to lose fat it’s also pretty necessary. It may not feel completely comfortable all the time but you’ll get used to it, and face it, feeling comfortable all the time probably had a big hand in getting you to the point where you need to lose some weight to begin with.
     3. Don’t take as much. Take less food then you think you want. Eat it slowly and then think about if you really need more. 
     4. Are you really hungry? So much of what we feel as hunger is really boredom or habit. Take the time to really listen to what your body, not your mind, is telling you. 
I think these two things really set me up to have a pretty successful month and I’m not done yet. Once of the great things about fitness is how goals can change and lead to new discoveries and desires. It’s a all great puzzle that’s never truly solved. Kind of like us. 
If you’d like any more information about what I did over the month and what I’m doing now just drop me a line at
Have a great day!
Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach
Mitch Rothbardt Fitness at 2861 Grove Way Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
I Help People Discover Their Strength
510-754-7113 Boost Your Metabolism With My Free Report

How Power Training Can Help You. Yes, You!

When most people think of power they think of Barry Bonds crushing a ball into the seats or Mike Tyson knocking out Michael Spink in 90 seconds. Now, unless you’re a professional baseball player or fighter you might be asking yourself why you even have to bother training power.

Here’s a couple of examples. If you start to fall what is the physical quality that will allow you to react quickly to prevent injury? Power. If you find yourself crossing the street and you realize the light is about to change, what is the physical quality that will give you the burst to make it to the other side before the driver in the Astrovan who’s texting instead of paying attention runs into you? Power. Lastly, what is the physical quality that dimishes the fastest as we age? You got it, power.

Let me also say this, every single one of my clients does some sort of power training. Every one. That includes 25 year old men and 70+ year old women. It’s that important. Many people confuse power training with cardio training because many times you’ll use the same exercises for both. The differences lie in the way you use them, where you place them in the workout and the amount of time you perform the exercise.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say I have someone doing medicine ball throws for power. I’ll usually place them at the beginning of the workout, I’ll have them only doing about 5 throws a set, and the rest between the throws will be at a full 3-4 seconds. I set it up that way so that whoever is doing them will have pretty close to full recovery between each one. That way maximum power can be achieved. If they’re doing throws more for “cardio” type training I’ll have them do more, maybe 10-20 throws per set with no rest in between. Here is a short video of a great client of mine, Shannon, demonstrating some great form and pacing with her throws. Notice, in particular, how she takes that extra second to really load up each throw so she can exert maximal power behind each one.


There are lots of ways to traing power and lots of exercise you can do to develop and/or maintain it. Some of my favorites include, different kinds of jumps, sprints, throws, and punches. Not all of these exercises are appropriate for everyone, particularly jumps, but almost anyone can do some type of medicine ball slam or punch so there’s no reason to neglect it as part of your training. Unless you want to be weak, slow and unathletic.

Let me know if you have any questions about how to train and improve your power, whether it’s to live a more fulfilling and safe life or just improve your tennis game. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach
Mitch Rothbardt Fitness at 2861 Grove Way Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
I Help People Discover Their Strength
510-754-7113 Boost Your Metabolism With My Free Report

What To Do After Weight Loss

Hi. I want to talk a little today about something that really doesn’t get much attention despite it’s importance. I know it doesn’t get much attention because I talked to a very good, long-term client last week and she was more than a little distressed about it, which is something that made me feel pretty horrible for not covering. I want to talk about what to do and expect AFTER you’ve lost weight.

We so often focus on how to eat and train for weight loss that what to do and expect once you’ve achieved yout goal can get looked over. The thing though, as was pointed out to me last week, is that what happens afterward can be pretty distressing if you’re either not expecting it or if you don’t know what to do. In this article I’ll lay out a few things that you can expect and do to make sure that your hard won weight loss and improved health and well-being is maintained.

Let me get this out of the way first:

You should not be in a weight loss phase forever!

If you have been in a weight loss phase for several months with no end in sight there are only two reasons for it.

A. You had a lot of weight to lose. You are having good success but there’s still more to go.
B. What you are doing isn’t working.

There is no option C.

If your answer is option A, then you have to realize that you need to step out of eating at a caloric deficit from time to time to reset your metabolism. If your answer is option B then you need to change what you’re doing. It’s that simple. But this article isn’t about that so now that we have that out of way let’s move on.

1. The first thing to know after you’ve stopped eating for weight loss is that you cannot go back to how you ate before, unless you want to gain all that weight back and then some. This is the reason why most people who lose weight wind up putting it all back on. They think they’re done and that’s it.

You have to understand a few things. First, that the reason you had weight to lose in the first place is because of the way you ate. Second, you now have a different body that needs less calories to maintain itself. You must eat accordingly. This is why it is so important to make your diet during the weight loss phase at least resemble a sustainable nutritional plan. It might not be exactly the same, but it shouldn’t be night and day either. This is why I generally don’t recommend liquid type diets unless you plan on drinking your breakfast and lunch for the rest of your life.

2. The rebound effect. Most effective weight loss diets have some manner of controlling carbohydrates as a big part of them. I won’t go into all the reasons why this is effective, but you do need to know two of the things that happen when you reduce your carbohydrate intake.

One is that your body doesn’t hold nearly as much water. Another is that your body doesn’t hold nearly as much glycogen (this is a substance that your body uses for energy. Water and glycogen do weigh something, so when you add carbs back in to your diet at even a moderate amount, and even if the carbs you are adding back in are very healthy, you will put some weight back on.

It is very important to realize that just because you’re putting weight on that doesn’t mean you are gaining back fat. It isn’t uncommon for someone coming off a low-carb diet to gain back 4-5 pounds once they introduce a moderate amount of carbs back into their body. This is something that can definitely freak people out a little, but just as every ounce you lose isn’t fat every ounce you gain isn’t fat, either. Don’t go crazy. It’s fine.

If you know that this is going to freak you out, here are a couple of suggestions. The first is to forget the scale for a while. Scale weight is not necessarily the best indicator of how a diet is going. It means something but not everything. In some cases it literally means nothing at all. Most people gain 4-5 pounds throughout the course of each day only to lose it as they sleep. Don’t believe me? Weigh yourself just before bed and then again the next morning just after you get up. Do you relly gain 5 lbs of fat every day and lose it by sleeping? No.

The second is to come off your diet slowly. Start by introducing additional carbs only after exercise for a week or so. Then add a few things little by little. Understand that you still can’t go back to how you ate before but by adding just a little here and there you’re giving your body time to adjust without reverting. Keep in mind what I mentioned previously about having your weight loss diet resemble your maintenance diet. You shouldn’t be so far off between the two that you have a tremendous amount of things to add in. For example no diet should contain much, if any, processed foods. Most diets, both weight loss and maintenance, should be based around lean protein, good fats and fruits and vegetables.

If you keep these things in mind then coming off your phase shouldn’t be too bad. Let me know if you have any questions or need help setting up a weight loss plan or finishing one up. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach
Mitch Rothbardt Fitness at 2861 Grove Way
Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
I Help People Discover Their Strength
510-754-7113 Boost Your Metabolism With My Free Report