Top 4 Reasons You’re Not Losing Body Fat (And Keeping It Off For Good)

The vast majority of people who come to me for help are in the business of trying to optimize fat loss. They have tried “everything” but just can’t seem to figure it out…

Read More

Why Training Is More Than Just A Positive Physically (The Mental Health Benefits of Training)

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably dealt with anxiety and overwhelm. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States – 40 million adults each year to be exact…

Read More

How Halloween Can Add Two Pounds of Fat to The Average Person (How to Avoid Fat Gain on Halloween)

Orange plastic halloween bucket filled and overflowing with candy

Halloween is here! Time to dress up, eat some candy, have some drinks with your friends and PARTY! Here’s the only issue: a lot of us have fitness goals we’re trying to reach or we’re trying to maintain the progress we have already began to make. Halloween is the first on the list of holidays that can creep up on us and lead to unwanted fat gain. How? Well, if you’re having drinks and eating candy (or high calorie processed food in general) that alcohol temporarily shuts down food metabolism because your body views it as a foreign invader. When this happens, the food you’re eating isn’t metabolized, and is stored as body fat. This can lead to gaining fat (2-5 lbs. in some cases) in a relatively short amount of time. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, if you don’t have an awareness of the amount of candy you’re consuming on Halloween (and the days before and after) you could be setting yourself up for unwanted fat gain. So, what strategies can you take to avoid unwanted fat gain on Halloween?

  1. HAVE A TOUGH WORKOUT

As you all know, I am not a proponent of “beast mode” “no days off” training all of the time. BUT in order to see results from your training, you definitely have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. And if you want to avoid fat gain, there is no better time to have a challenging training session than on Halloween! Training “hard” means that we will be training in the “glycolytic” pathway… meaning, I’m using all the carbohydrates that are already in my body as fuel. How do you do that? Train with very challenging loads on big movements like squats, deadlifts, presses and rows. You also do some higher repetition work as well. The perfect workout for Halloween would be Day 1 of Strength Basics, my 12-week training eBook.

  1. FIT IN THE CANDY (IN MODERATION)

If you have followed me for a while, read my blogs and listened to Ranges of Motion, you know that I am big on building awareness around nutrition. We do this by tracking our food intake (calories). More specifically, tracking macronutrients to ensure that we are hitting our protein, carbohydrate and fat intake daily. The two most important things to pay attention to on Halloween and the days before and after are going to be total calories, protein and fiber intake. If you want to stay on track for your fat loss goals, eating enough protein and fiber is going to be essential. These will help you to stay fuller longer and will help you recover from the hard training session you’re doing. From there, it’s all about fitting the candy into your remaining calorie intake (fat and carbs) and not going overboard. This is why I’m a big proponent of flexibility with nutrition and being able to have the freedom to plug and pull things that you enjoy into your diet in moderation.

  1. NO TRACKING, NO PROBLEM

If you’re someone who has never tracked macronutrients, or you’re not sure where to start, you can still make it through Halloween without gaining fat. There are a couple simple strategies you can implement from a nutritional perspective. Instead of eating throughout the day, take this simple approach: DON’T. Fast throughout the day, have a pre-workout meal that consists of protein/veggies and then have some candy as your post workout carb source. Really, it’s this simple. Throughout the day don’t eat tons of carbs/fat (if any at all), because you’re going to be eating a sufficient amount in just a little bit of candy. Remember, these are very calorically dense palatable foods. It is still a good idea to eat these in moderation for overall health. This is a sufficient plan for ONE HOLIDAY! This does not give you the green light to eat like this on a daily basis. Eating like this consistently can lead to a whole host of issues including food relationship issues, hormonal disfunction, poor gut health and much more. The quality of carbs and fats found in candy are sub-par. Should you never eat candy? No. Should you stress about not being able to be social on Halloween? Absolutely not. But you should build awareness around your nutrition in some way shape or form that fits your lifestyle. If you want to learn more about how I can help you do that, click here. This is key for eliminating poor food relationship, anxiousness around food and crazy cravings.

Let this Halloween be FUN and filled with laughs, candy and drinks! Don’t let your “diet” ruin your social life! If you struggle with dieting, want to learn more about nutrition for your goals and figure out how to create a plan to fit your lifestyle, click here or shoot me an email or DM on Instagramor Facebook! I’d love to help!

Read More

The Ultimate Lean Body Blueprint: Part I

Being a big dude (chubby for most of my life) my whole life, I know how challenging it can be at times when you’re trying to get lean. With the amount of information out there, it can seem overwhelming and damn near impossible to get the lean body you desire. The issue is, most people are going about getting lean the wrong way. They try to throw themselves into a strict nutritional protocol that is super restrictive and purchase the latest and greatest workout plan that guarantees they’ll shed fat in 30 days. This workout plan is just as intense as the nutritional protocol and guess what starts to happen? You lose weight… at first. See what happens is your body adapts… it adapts to the new calorie set point and it adapts (very easily) to the intense workout plan. Then when progress comes to a screeching halt and you have stressed your system to a point where you can’t sleep, have no energy and want to have wings and beer so bad you’re dreaming about them, you fall off the wagon. You go into “fuck it” mode and binge eat and say to yourself, “I just don’t have the genetics” or “I wasn’t disciplined enough”. I’m going to get real with you: this IS NOTthe best approach to getting the lean body you want and IS NOT sustainable. I’m going to take you step by step (in a two-part blog series) on how to get lean if you’re on the “chubby” side and want to be more fit!  BUT all of the things I’m going to mention are what I generally see. EVERYONE is different. Individualized coaching is the key because although I can lay out the steps you need to take in this article, accountability to truly do it is a game changer.

Getting Started – Lifestyle Evaluation

So, you want to begin your journey to becoming a more fit and healthy you… GREAT! This is the start of you truly becoming your best self. Your health is everything… it determines your sleep, your performance at work, your energy, your mood, your sex drive, how you look physically, your confidence… I could keep going but I think you get it. But where do you start? First, we have to take a look at your lifestyle. What is your occupation? Does it require a lot of physical activity, or little to none at all? Is it stressful physically, mentally or both? Stress management is so damn important when it comes to getting leaner. If you’re constantly in a negative state of mind, your hormones will follow suit. When cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) is chronically elevated, it makes it damn near impossible to get lean. Depending on how these questions are answered, will then dictate training schedule, nutritional intake, cardio, mindset practices etc. When we have a general idea of your occupational stressors, we have to next look at your personal life. Are you surrounding yourself with people who are supporting you with the goals you have? This means the people you spend time with in person BUT ALSO the media (social media, podcasts, TV, books etc.) you consume. Sometimes you have to have a reality check. If you’re constantly being drug down by people and media about reaching your fitness goals, you might have to have crucial conversations with people or cut out the certain media that makes you feel like your goals aren’t important. This can be tough, but it’s necessary to evolve and maximize your potential as a human being. Period. If people truly want what is best for you, they will understand that your health goals are important and will support you along the way. Once we’ve addressed these things, it’s time to get our mind right.

5A0BAB81-D703-4EAF-87BA-FB8B239F1B10

Mindset Is Everything

 There must be a shift in mindset when you set out to go from chubby to lean and fit. The mindset can’t be “get the weight off as fast as possible”. You will fail and fail hard. The mindset has to be “I’m going to start practicing better habits because I want to look better, feel better, perform better and BE HEALTHIER”. Consistency is the big key here. When you can make the shift in mindset to making your physical fitness a part of your everyday lifestyle versus a set amount of time to lose weight, you gain true power over your life. Your mindset is so damn important. You have to believe that you can reach your goals… when you practice positive self-talk (journaling and tracking progress is a major key), your actions tend to follow. You have to realize that if nothing changes, nothing changes. So, challenge yourself first to change your mindset and how you think about health and fitness. You have to want to do it for you, not to impress others. Not to just look good on the beach. But to truly be a better version of you. When I set out for my fitness journey, I did it for one reason: I hated myself. What I looked like. What I felt like… it was all coming from a place of hatred. As time went on, I started realizing some things about my “why”. I had a shift in mindset. That shift went from HATE to LOVE. I realized that I was living a healthy lifestyle because I loved myself enough to do so. What’s cool is that I can share that message with the people reading this. Even if you look at yourself in the mirror and don’t like what you see (like I did for years) know that you have the power to change your body composition and do it because you LOVE yourself enough to look better and most importantly feel better. Now that we have our mind right, it’s time to figure out what our training should look like.

Training (What It Should Look Like)

So now that we have our mindset shifted to consistency, positive self-talk and changing because you love yourself enough to do so, we have to find the right training program for you! The big key is that when our goal is changing body composition (getting leaner) the focus MUST be on strength training. People always get this twisted. “I want to get lean, so I need to just do cardio to tone my muscles.” *Insert facepalm emoji* You can’t tone a muscle. You can either gain lean tissue, lose lean tissue or maintain lean tissue. In our case, we want to increase protein synthesis and speed the metabolism… aka BUILD MUSCLE! Here’s the deal: if you’re a chubby guy and you’re not doing a lot (if any at all) of activity and begin doing any form of exercise, you’ll see fat loss benefits. What’s cool about resistance training is that while you’re still burning calories acutely (in the short term) during your training sessions, you’re also building muscle. When you build muscle, you burn more calories at rest. It becomes much easier to get lean and STAY LEAN for life when we take this approach versus the “beast mode” cardio or circuit training approach. These do burn more calories in the short term, but we want to be lean and healthy for life. Too much cardio-based exercise can actually have the opposite effect on your metabolism and can negatively impact your nervous system, which negatively impacts hormones making it next to impossible to get lean. Check out the blog I wrote about strength training for fat loss HERE. So, should I just skip out on cardio all together? NO!Cardio is very important for overall health and when it is programmed properly, can be a great addition to a strength training program. I’m actually in the works of creating my first training e-book that I’ll sell on my website that breaks down how cardio should be programmed in a 3-day per week strength training program. Until then I’ll make some general suggestions. Your lifestyle will typically dictate the type of program you’re doing. How many days you’re in the gym strength training and how many days you’re doing specific cardio exercise. One of the things I like to tell my clients that are starting out and want to get lean is the 15-minute rule. Dedicate 15 minutes of your day to movement. Make it non-negotiable. Five minutes of mobility practice, and ten minutes of walking every day. This is a great place to start. But what about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? Again, HIIT is awesome and burns a lot of calories. It’s also great for your metabolism (if it’s don’t properly) because it is short and sweet. We just don’t want to overload your system with a lot of HIIT because it is what it says: HIGH INTENSITY! Too much high intensity exercise is taxing on the nervous system… which when overloaded will result in poor hormonal regulation (I’m saying this again because I’m trying to get my point across). There’re a couple ways that I like to use HIIT:

  1. HIIT Finishers: 5-8 minutes at the end of each workout during the week. Sled pushes all out, assault bike all out, KB swings all out for 20-30 seconds and followed up by a minute and thirty second to two-minute rest. I love this personally because its quick and not too taxing on the nervous system.
  2. One Single HIIT Day: This is where you’re doing HIIT on its own day for 15-20 minutes. How I’d program this is anywhere between 4-10 rounds of 10-25 seconds of all-out effort, every 2-4 minutes. Again, this can be assault bike, sled pushes, KB swings, sprints etc.

The biggest thing we need to realize is that cardio comes AFTER our strength training! Get strong on the big compound movement patterns and build some muscle to set yourself up to be lean for life. There will come a point in time when you don’t have to do much HIIT at all to stay lean and healthy because you’ve built muscle and your metabolism is running like a well-oiled machine! This concludes part one of “The Ultimate Lean Body Blueprint”! Stay tuned next week for part two where we’ll talk about nutritional strategies, building awareness through tracking, supplements the importance of sleep and recovery and MORE!

Read More

The Importance of Shoulder Health & Better Posture (How To Improve BOTH)

Postural issues have run amuck in today’s society. And it’s not really a big surprise how this has happened. For years now, people have been stuck in the seated position. With the evolution of technology – television to computers, computers to laptops, laptops to cell-phones we are stuck in these positions…

Read More

Strength Training for Fat Loss

The school of thought for fat loss is exercise more, eat less. This “exercise” that most talk about is all cardiovascular based…

Read More

The Importance of Recovery (5 Steps to Assure You’re Recovering)

There are tons of information out there about recovery. From flopping around on foam rollers to light therapy, it seems like there is always a “new & shiny” way of recovering. What most people forget about are the “big rocks” of recovery…

Read More

5 Ways to Help Friends & Family Members Live a Healthier Lifestyle

The more time you spend dedicating to your health, the more productive and happier you are. There are endless amounts of research that proves this…

Read More

What Is Flexible Dieting? (Making It Work For You)

Dieting culture is something that is very confusing for most people. The amount of information is so damn overwhelming and most of the information put out by the mainstream media is just the latest and greatest fad…

Read More

Tracking Macros vs. Intuitive Eating

Tracking macros vs. intuitive eating… the great debate. Or is it?

Read More
RSS Ranges of Motion Podcast
  • Ep. 60 Jessica Rothenberg
    Today you'll get to hear my interview with Jessica Rothenberg. Jessica has a really cool story about her own personal health and fitness journey and I'm pumped she got to share that today on the podcast. You can find Jessica on her Instagram and you can check out her website. Jessica also has two incredible […]
  • Ep. 59 Theo Bowie
    Today I interviewed strength coach Theo Bowie. Theo is INCREDIBLE at the mastery of human movement and mobility. Check him out on his Instagram.    "Strength Basics" - My First Downloadable 12-Week Training eBook - Check It Out HERE   To apply for coaching with Ben Racke Fitness, visit https://benrackefitness.wufoo.com/forms/r1dvzpxw1jfz1g8/   To get 15% off […]
  • Ep. 58 Q&A w/ Danny Matranga
    Today we answered: Thoughts on BFR (Blood Flow Restriction) training? Should you do ankle mobility drills with or without shoes? BCAA's for vegans? Proper reverse dieting protocol? Should I be using a weight belt?   "Strength Basics" - My First Downloadable 12-Week Training eBook - Check It Out HERE   To apply for coaching with […]
  • Ep. 57 Paul Clingan
    Paul is a personal trainer, yoga instructor and lululemon ambassador. Growing up an athlete, he always felt like he was healthy. He worked out, played sports, and thought that was it. The more he learned about health and fitness, the more he learned that true health is of the mind and the body. The body […]
  • Ep. 56 Q&A - Hot Yoga, Are Abs Made in the Kitchen, Tracking Applications & MORE!
    Today I answered: Thoughts on hot yoga? Have you tried it? Do you agree that abs are made in the kitchen? When working out, should I do cardio, then weights, or weights, then cardio? How do you fit in your own workouts when you're busy with clients? Do you recommend any apps for tracking food, […]