Tracking Progress in the Weight Room

Just sharing an excel file I created for our Off Season Lifting.

I use this template to give the players the lifts, sets, and reps for each day.  The players use this to enter the weight they lift in each set.  I was able to get 1 month worth of lifts on 1 sheet, and have a spot at the end to record any max testing results.

lifting template pic

Each month I will go in, and make any changes to the lifts or set/rep scheme i deem necessary.

I print these up on heavy card stock so they have held up well so far.

We have a leadership council of 10 players.  Our entire program is divided out so everyone is part of each of the 10 leaders “mini team”.

I hung folders on the wall, and each player stores their workout card in their Leader’s folder.  This has been a great way for us to keep it organized, let kids find their workout card quickly, and track progress.

Here is the link to the file form my dropbox.

Lifting Template

The Lunge Clock- new favorite auxiliary lift

I am a big believer in squatting heavy 2x a week. For us our lower body days are Mondays and Thursdays.  I like to have some variation in our auxiliary lifts between these two days. We have done a lot of lunges and Bulgarian split squats (1 leg split squat). I was watching an old video of a D1 strength coach and he began talking about what he called “the lunge clock”. We often train in a very linear, straight ahead fashion but football is anything but that.

The lunge clock is easy to understand but works the players’ hips and groin in ways they’re not used to in the weight room.

The athlete starts with bar on back (or with Dumbbells)

imagine standing in the middle of a clock. They are going to step to every position on the clock.

We go right foot first, 12 o clock

1 o clock, 2,3,4,5,6

then the left leg will work around the clock the other direction

12 o clock, 11,10,9,8,7,6

 

in total it is 7 reps on each leg, but they are working at all the different angles going around the clock. We typically do 4 rounds of this as an auxiliary to our squat one day per week.

The day after our first use my kids loved it, they were sore in places (side of their glutes and groin) they didn’t know they had. I don’t make my kids do anything I don’t do personally, so I have been using it and I love it.  It doesn’t take a ton of weight to feel a great deal of stress and you can also feel your core working to stabilize you as you step around the clock.

here is a video clip of one of my QB’s doing the Lunge Clock yesterday

Get Big

Putting size on to players is a difficult but crucial part of off season development as well as in season maintenance.  I have coached at 2 schools are the lowest end of the socioeconomic spectrum.  Most of the kids struggle to get enough calories in their bodies to just maintain while working out, let alone add on size.

I have always heard stories of teams giving protein supplements to their players but legally this is a huge NO NO, and i highly advise against that.  I want to share some perfectly legal things I have done, to help my players eat more calories throughout the day, to help them put on some size and strength.

After School Program
We have a pretty robust After School Program here with a number of academic and enrichment activities.  Our off season weight lifting operates along with the “FIT Club”.  Any student who participates is given a free snack, and a free dinner.  This is a great resource to have and I know we are lucky to have it.  This is the easiest one for me, because it is completely free to our students and myself.  I just have to take attendance everyday, and the students who come and stay for the duration of our workouts get a snack from me on their way out the door, and can go to the cafeteria for a dinner after that.

Financing Your Food

  • The rest of the ideas all come with a cost.  Someone has to pay for more food beyond the after school program. Some options include
  • A booster Club/touchdown club fundraising
  • Parents donating groceries
  • Seeking player/parent donations to purchase food
  • Food donations
  • Coach(es) buying the food

I personally buy all of the extra food out of my own pocket.  I keep my receipts, and document the cost of my donations on an excel sheet.
The ideas I am going to share below are calorie dense, and relatively cheap.  Teacher’s obviously don’t make a whole lot so I try to get the most bang for my buck in terms of calories per dollar.  I also take what they like and some variety in to account.  The kids have to WANT to eat in order to get big.  Every kid says “I eat a lot”… no they do not, otherwise they would have no problem putting on weight.

There are plenty of apps that can calculate basal caloric needs (at least ballpark range) based on age, height, weight, and activity level.
You need to add 500 calories to that amount, every single day just to gain weight at a rate of 1lb per week.  If a kid is really active, add more.

Before I share the foods I buy weekly, please keep the hippie comments to yourself.  I do not want to hear about “junk food”, at the end of the day I personally believe they need more calories overall.  I try to pick out foods that are also high in protein, since i can’t give them protein supplements. So if you have something negative to say, drive your Prius to your local CrossFit gym and leave me alone 🙂

PB&J
 IMG_2730 IMG_2729
I have a large table in the back of my classroom.  I keep it stocked with Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Bread.  PB and Jelly I have found is usually cheapest in double packs at Costco or Sam’s Club.  I usually get the bread from a local discount grocery store, they are under $1 a loaf.  This is a really easy way to add calories, kids can come in any time, make a sandwich or two in about 30 seconds and head to their next class.  I have a big group of kids who come in and make one every day before school otherwise they would never eat breakfast.  I keep plates, napkins, wipes, and plastic ware all on the back table so they can clean up and make their sandwiches without having to bug me.  Probably the best bang for my buck and can feed a lot of kids for cheap.
Frozen Dinners
IMG_2728 IMG_2727 IMG_2726

 

These are great.  I use these for a few specific kids I am really trying to bulk up with extra calories.  Each of these 3 items cost less than $1, and the kids love them.  Yes there is a lot of carbs and fat, but there is also a good amount of protein.  They just need calories.  The cheesburger Mac is every kid’s favorite, they absolutely love it.  The Totino’s pizza is a great value, only a dollar, and it is 680 calories if a kid eats the whole thing.
I have a full size fridge/freezer next to the PB&J station and I keep the freezer stocked up with these items.
Pop-Tarts
pop tarts
Pop Tarts are great.  They are cheap and pretty calorie dense.  The 2 pastries that come in each foil pack are usually at least 400 calories total.  I can get 4 packs for under $2.  That is less than 50 cents for 400 calories.  It is pretty much all Carbs but I have found them to be really convenient when a kid doesn’t have time to make a sandwich, or I want to give him something he can put in his backpack, and eat later in the day for a snack.

 

Tracking Off-Season Attendance

3 years ago I started an “off-season points program” for our kids.  Players are expected to earn a minimum number of points either by playing other sports or lifting with me after school.
There are a lot of kids, and since our off season program runs from January – May, a lot of days to take attendance.

This isn’t rocket science but below I share how I take roll every day, and am able to track every member of our football program, using excel.

 

Meal Prep For Coaches

Recently I have really gotten in to fitness and nutrition.  I don’t plan on being a body builder or anything, but I value looking and feeling good.  I have done any polling or research into our profession, but just from staring at teams’ sidelines… there is a large percentage of football coaches who are overweight.

When I was 21 I made some big changes in my life and I dropped a total of 90 lbs from my biggest down to my smallest.  I wrote about that here.  I no longer care about the number on the scale, I only care about how I look from working out.

I want to share some pieces of advice, simple things that you can do to help yourself lose weight.  We are still in January, the month where everyone vows to drop those extra pounds.  However most people that start a new years weight loss plan, give up within a month or two.

I won’t get into working out… do something you like… do it often.  Burn Calories.  For me, I enjoy lifting.  I hate cardio.  If I want cardio, I will lift weights faster.  But that is just me, do whatever makes you happy.

I wont to focus on what I feel is the most important part of losing weight…

Meal Prep

We spend hours of time every week breaking down film, preparing for opponents, and organizing our team.  We can spare an hour per week for meal prep.

I typically do all of my cooking for the week on Sunday night.  I am an extremely picky eater but when I find something I like, I am able to eat it on a daily basis.  I do not want to get too much into the actual foods because everyone has different tastes and favorites.  But if you are curious here are some things I eat almost every day…
A lot of chicken (I genuinely like chicken more than beef and it has less fat/calories)
Tuna fish (I prefer pouch over can because I hate draining and I don’t need to bring can opener with me)
Ground turkey (I sub this in for any recipe with ground beef)
Eggs/Egg whites with turkey sausage
Whole grain Pasta (With a little low calorie alfredo sauce)
White Rice (most will tell you to use Brown Rice… I just think white rice tastes much better)
I have a whey protein shake every day post workout as well.

I have other snacks at times, or I will switch a meal up… but these foods are fairly constant in my day to day eating.

The are multiple benefits in mass preparing all your foods.
-Saves time.  It is actually quicker to do all of your cooking at once for the week than making each meal
-Less prone to cheating and over eating.  The meals are already done
-Convenient, quick, Can eat on the run
-save you money, avoid eating out and fast food

What you will need

A digital food scale.  I picked one up a couple years ago.  You can get them for $20 or less on amazon, walmart, or target.

A Calorie counting App – The best in my opinion is “My Fitness Pal”.  I have tried others, but this one is the best.  You just type in the food and it has everything you can think of in it.  You just adjust the serving size to enter how much you ate.  It even has a scanner function.  You just hold it up to the bar code of any food and it will automatically input the food’s data.  I’ve seen it work on dollar store brand items.  it has everything programmed in there.  Using the app is where the food scale comes in handy.  It allows you to measure what you are eating so you can enter the data into your phone.  You can’t expect to get solid weight loss results until you begin tracking your calories (and macronutrients).  What some people might think is a serving of a particular food might actually be 2-3 servings.  The app is awesome because you can enter in some info about yourself and it tells you how many calories to consume in order to reach your goal.  When I want to lose fat I choose the 1 lb per week goal, which will give a 500 calorie deficit per day.

TupperWare to store your food in.  I bought most of mine from the dollar store.  I have no idea what size they are but they are big enough to fit each meal, stackable, easy to clean and reuse, and they were cheap.  Buy a decent amount of them, since you will be prepping probably 3-4 meals per day for 5-6 days at a time.

Cooking Tips

Multitask!
I am able to get my cooking done quickly because I do it all at once.  A typical Sunday evening looks like this.  BBQ or oven cooking chicken, boiling pasta on stove, while cooking eggs/turkey sausage on another burner, while my rice cooker is doing its thing making rice for the week.

Once all of the food is cooked I use the scale and Tupperware to divide the food out evenly into packaged meals and stack the meals up by which day I will eat them.

Add Flavor without adding Calories/Sodium
I try to add as much flavor to my food without adding extra calories, recently I have shifted away from eating anything with sodium in it as well.  A lot of what I eat is high in sodium so it is important for me to not add any.

Since you other coaches are like family to me I will let you in on my secret recipes.

I add spices to almost everything… they are zero calorie, and have zero sodium… literally if you look at the nutrition facts they all say 0 for every category.

These are my go to seasonings. I got all of these at Sam’s Club (just like Costco for anyone who isn’t familiar with the warehouse store). I love the taste of pepper.  I love anything spicy and feel the crushed red pepper helps to give otherwise bland egg whites some needed flavor.  My mom used garlic salt on everything growing up so garlic powder is my no calorie/sodium way of replicating that taste in my food.  If I could only pick one seasoning it would be Mrs. Dash.  Mrs. Dash has a wide range of flavors and the good thing is that now ALL of their products are salt free.  I recently purchased the chipotle version and I like that as well.  It tastes good on everything.

PAM
I can’t imagine cooking without PAM.  Makes clean up much easier because food doesn’t stick.  No need to cook food in oil or butter when you can use PAM and add ZERO calories to your meals.

Zero Calorie Foods
Hippies will tell you they are bad for you and aren’t natural.  However there a number of zero calorie foods you can experiment with.

Walden Farms produces nothing but zero calorie foods.

One that I have not tried but have heard is amazing is “I can’t believe it’s not butter” Spray

ZERO (that’s 0) calories and I have heard it tastes just like butter.  Ideal for putting on potatoes/toast/ anything else you might like without adding all of the fat and calories of butter or margarine.

Closing
Give it a shot.  You do not have to eat any of the foods I mentioned above.  However I promise you, give meal prep a try for a month and you will see results.  It seems like a lot of work to do up front but I assure you it saves time compared to cooking food each day of the week.

If you get bored with food easily pick out a few breakfast meals, a few lunches, a few snacks, a few dinners and this way you can change it up.
Monday: breakfast A, lunch A, dinner A
Tuesday: breakfast B, lunch B, dinner B
Wednesday: breakfast c lunch c dinner c
Thursday: start the pattern over

Give this a shot.  We all want kids that are in shape and take care of their bodies… don’t they deserve a coach who does the same?

Improving effort and tempo in the weight room

Improving our participation was the biggest priority of this past off season.  I wrote a prior article about Creating Off Season Competition.  The numbers went up, and this trickled through to our spring ball and now into our summer practices.
We essentially were able to weed out the non committed kids and our attendance is better than it has ever been in my 4 years here.  We finally had kids showing up every single day but then came the next hurdle.

I looked at what our kids were doing in the weight room and I wasn’t happy with all of them.  They were there in the weight room but some left not sweating and I saw them milling around far too much.  I knew I needed to make a change to make sure each kid was WORKING during hour lifting sessions.

I then recalled a phone conversation/interview I had with CAL S&C coach Mike Blasquez.  Since CAL has no made the change to no huddle spread, I asked how it has impact his weight room philosophy, especially in regard to their tempo and rest in the weight room.  He said they had to change how they rested and now all of their rest times are sped up.  They try to mirror the frantic pace of a Tony Franklin style practice within their weight room.

I decided with our equipment limitations I wouldn’t be able to go quite as fast as what a D-1 college might do in their weight room, but I knew that the days of just writing the workout on a whiteboard and letting the kids free lift were OVER for our program.

I decided that from now on, EVERYTHING is going to be timed.  We use a segment timer in practice every day, why not in the weight room as well.

First I analyzed our weight room, the equipment we had, and the number of players we had at each level.
we typically have in the low 40s per level.  For some reason everything in our weight room comes in 3s… 3 squat racks, 3 bench presses, 3 adjustable benches.

Using that information I came up with the following guidelines for our weight room.

  • We will always workout in groups of 3, no groups of 4 are allowed because it will destroy our tempo
  • We will have 5 lifts/exercises per day
  • Each of the selected lifts has 3 locations (rack, bench, pull up bar, location outside)
  • Each “station” will have 9 minutes, then we rotate
  • This totals out to 45 minutes to complete our workout
We typically do between 3-4 sets of each lift… 9 minutes doesn’t give the kids much time to screw around.  To complete their lifts they basically have to do their set, rack it up, change weights, and the next person is lifting right away.  Kids can’t hide out like they used to, I know where I started each of them so I know what lift they are supposed to be doing at a given time.
To keep the kids on schedule I use a timer app on my phone.  Since the rotations happen every 9 minutes, I just keep restarting the 9 minute timer after we rotate from each station.
I see our working harder and getting more done than ever before.
Our school is months away from an entire reconstruction, which includes a new weight room.  This process will be even easier when we have a more state of the art weight room that has nothing but racks in it.
If you have a set up with many racks and free weight your players never have to move… each rotation simply means changing to a new lift.  This way is even better because you can better control the lift order of each student for maximal gains.
The next step I am going to make is to create a CD with music that has the 9 minute intervals built in to it.
I got this software for doing so and it is my new weekend project.

 

Creating Off Season Competition

Our Off Seasons flat out SUCK.

Since I have been at my current school (3 years) our off season’s have never been what I have wanted them to be.  Every year I feel I get more organized and improve my knowledge in S&C yet none of it matters if I can’t get the kids to buy in to it.

Every game we lost this past season I 100% contribute to our lack of dedication to the weight room.

I tried to get the kids here, tried to beg them here, but so many were content with just starting that it didn’t matter.  Couldn’t really hold a kid out for not showing up because his back up didn’t show up either.  Through January we were having the same terrible results for our off season workouts… 10-12 kids a day after school is not getting it cut when you have a school of 2,000 and you know you will end up with at least 30 kids on both varsity and JV when the season starts.  What the heck are those other 50-60 kids doing who aren’t showing up??!!!

I got tired of it, I was fed up, frustrated, and ready to just give up.

I finally did something I should have done long ago.  I held a meeting, advertised it to the kids for over a week, told them it was mandatory and the most important meeting in school history.

I laid out a point/reward system for them and told them what was required to play football for me in 2013.

First I laid out the fact that attendance was taken daily and I would post it at the end of each week.  To play football, at any level in 2013 a player would have to attend 75% of workouts between now and spring ball.
Each player would be given 1 point a day for showing up to our workouts.  Any one involved in a spring sport would get 1 point per day as long as they were in that sport.  I stay in the weight room until 6:00 every night.  So if a baseball or volleyball player gets out at 5:30, they can run down to the weight room and get at least their core lifts in with me.  If they do this they get 2 points for the day.

I also declared that every football player who wasn’t doing a spring sport was now on the track team.  No negotiations, no excuses if you want to play football you are on the track team.

I sat down with the track coach to coordinate our practice structure but basically every OL/DL was now a thrower, every skill player now a runner.

Runners would do track then lift after with me.  Throwers would life with me first then go throw or run.  He handles all the speed work, I handle all the lifting.  You can do all the SAQ work you want, I have never seen kids improve their raw speed and conditioning more than after a full season of running track.

Now that we had a point system, and a minimum percentage of points needed we just needed to really add a level of competition to it.

Our current Junior (going to be senior) class is in my mind selfish and lazy.  There has been a lack of leadership in their grade level.  To help I picked 6 of these future seniors to be “Captains” of mini teams, and I divided every kid interested in football in to one of these 6 teams.  I’m hoping that be forcing these kids into a leadership role they will start to become the leaders we need them to be for the 2013 season.  Each of them started a year ago, and talent wise should be our best guys in 2013 they just need the right discipline.

Intrinsic motivation or doing the right thing are not good enough motivators for today’s kids, and the kids on my football team.  I needed a carrot to dangle to spark their interest in this new football program I am trying to establish so along with the points and small teams I came up with an award system

For the team with the most combined points:  Captain gets their home jersey, any cleats they can dream up, spirit pack.  The entire team will get a special t shirt that no other person can buy or win.

The captains have a lot of incentive to push their team members to be at practice so they can win their prizes.

I also want the other players to have something to shoot for (other than hitting 75% so they can make the team) so I am buying cleats for the top 2 point scorers in our program.

Our attendance has blossomed, we now have over 60 kids a day at track and workouts, as well as another 5-10 per day who come lift after baseball or volleyball.  We are 2 full weeks in to the program right now and the kids have really bought in.  The captains are on their teammates for missing (because they want to win) and players really want to show up and earn their points.  I have kids asking me 3x a day if they made sure I checked them off for lifting that day because they want to get every point.

Each week I have posted the individual and team point results in our weight room and on my classroom door and they have really gotten in to the competition aspect of it.

I have made it a big point to not only not record excuses of any kind, I do not even listen to them.  A few players have given me this excuse or that excuse and I say you gotta do what you gotta do, if you don’t hit 75% you are not playing football.  Our biggest Rival is Pittsburg HS.  So when a kid gives any excuse  for something whether at school or at practice I pull my cell phone out, pretend to dial up Pittsburg HS… and repeat the excuse… so I might say something like…
“Hey pitt, Johnny wants to see his GF after school today… can you take it easy on him in November? Please? oh wait… you don’t care??? You’re still gonna tee off on him? Ok I’ll let him know”  The no excuses attitude is a major point of emphasis I am trying to push across.

The only thing I am not sure on is when I am going to have the “cut off date” or deadline for when players have to reach a certain point total.

I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, and trust me I never really bought in to a point system.  I thought it was something for the rich schools and that our kids would go on the same as before but I can’t express how big our turn around has been and I feel good about our future as long as we can keep this up.

Changing the way I run my weight room

This is my first “mobile” post… Hoping this app works alright which will allow me to do some blogging from school.

We began our off season program when we got back from the holidays… I’ve run a weight program every year I’ve coached but felt it was an area I needed to improve on. The lifts and progression were fine it was just the overall way I did things I needed to improve on.

In the past I was too loose, almost begging kids to lift, letting things slide like showing up late, wearing jeans or slippers, sitting down etc. I decided that if I was essentially going to donate 2 hours of my life 3 days a week from now through June then I was going to do things on my terms.

We had some success this past season, but we are still in what I would consider to be a rebuilding phase, I don’t want to settle for making the playoffs once, I want to turn this place into a REAL PROGRAM.

So now if a kid isn’t there when we start our warm up at 3:30 they get sent home. The first few days if a kid sat down I ripped them as loud as I could in front of the whole team… No one has sat down the entire week.

I remember something I heard 1000x in my teacher credential program… “Students will rise to the standards you set”

I have raised the level of expectations and accountability and they have responded well. I am especially happy with our freshman class , we have 20+ freshman per day which for our school is a HUGE deal.

I have adopted a MWF lifting split, total body each day. I looked ahead and saw we have a ton of holidays… So to maximize our workout days I made a calendar of every day from now through the end of school… I put our workout phases on the calendar and adjust the length of each phase to try to get our testing/Deload weeks on the weeks with a Monday off. If we are going to have to lose a day I want it to be when we are testing. I can still get all of our testing done in the other 2 days of that week.

I believe the biggest difference maker is now I time everything we do.
In the past I would list the lifts, and say go ahead… I was too trusting the kids would actually get everything done. I did this because it was all I knew, my HS coaches did it with me… And I always did all my lifts. However most kids are different, many try to hide or skip out on doing things, or they lift without going as heavy as they should.

Now I put the students I to groups of 3 or 4. We have 6 lifts per day. In our weight room I am able to get two locations to do each lift.

So we can easily handle 6 lifts x 2 groups x 4 kids per group = 48 lifters. We’ve never had more than 40… If/when we get over 48 I’ll have to adjust somewhat but this system works well now.

I assign groups and starting positions. Up to 2 groups go to each lifting station to begin.

I give each group 10-11 minutes to finish that lift… No time for BS… They lift, rack it, switch weights, and next lifter in order to finish on time. I walk around weight room coaching technique and giving time shout outs so they know if they need to pick up their pace at all. Once time is up we all rotate to the next lift and the process begins again.

We can get 6 lifts done in about an hour this way and I’m still able to get the kids out by about 4:45 if we aren’t doing any speed work prior to lifting.

95% of Coaches should read this!!! – Weight Loss

I want to help coaches in an area more important than Xs and Os, or some drill , I want to help everyone who reads this ADD YEARS ON TO THEIR LIFE.

Everyone makes the new year’s resolution to cut back, exercise more, and lose weight but most fail to make the lifestyle changes necessary to reach any long term goals.  Sure you might lose 5 or 10 lbs but then you gain it right back.  I know what it takes to lose a massive amount, the healthy safe way, and I want to share that with YOU.

Football Coaches have to be some of the most unhealthy people around, we preach being in top shape to our players, but the average coach I have met in my life is a good deal over weight.  Even the more “in shape” coaches have at least a pot belly.  We work long hours, either teaching or with an off campus job, we spend a ton of time at practice late or breaking down film and sometimes all we have time for is fast food.   Most of you reading this are married, and have kids, or at least plan on doing so soon.  Now is the right time to start taking your health and weight seriously, so that you can be around to see your grandchildren.

Meet my ex self, FAT BRETT

First let me tell you about myself, and my life.
I am a shorter guy, I am every bit of 5’8″.  My senior year in high school I weighed (give or take a couple pounds) 185lbs during football season.  Once football ended, and baseball season came around i put on some more weight, I was now about 200 lbs when I graduated HS in June 2006.
First year of college+coaching came around, and i put on the freshman 15 +5 more.  After 1 year of college and coaching I was 220.  I stayed around 220-225 for another year before ballooning up to 245 in April of 2009.  I had completely stopped exercising in every way whatsoever.  I was bigger than I had ever been, I felt like crap, no energy, no confidence, nothing.  245 might not seem like a HUGE number, but at only 5’8″ and with very little muscle mass, trust me that is HUGE.

The sad thing is that I didn’t even know how big I had gotten, I’ve never been one to take pictures, so I never really SAW how big I had gotten.  Then one day it hit me.  At the school I was coaching at the HC had taken a bunch of pictures during the previous season and displayed them in a glass case in the GYM hallway.  I was looking through the pictures one day and saw a few of myself… and I didn’t recognize myself.  I honestly didn’t realize how big I had gotten until that moment when I saw those pictures, that changed my life.  Later that month in April it was my 21st birthday and I told myself my birthday present to myself was to change my life.  I have to add that everyone on my mom’s side of he family has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, so I knew the heavier I got only increased my chance of having Diabetes one day.  So that is the moment when I got the ball rolling to change everything…

Now for the PROOF

This first picture is me mid summer of 2009, at roughly 220 lbs, so this is AFTER I had already lost about 20 lbs or so…

The New Brett
Flash forward to today… I am 165 lbs, and I have been holding there (+/- 3 lbs) for the last 6 months.  That’s 80 lbs total that I lost in about 14-15 months.  I am stronger than I was back then, in much better shape, I have Ridiculous amounts of energy now.  I don’t get tired like I used to.  I feel healthy and fit.  I honestly think I am a better coach for it because I have so much energy at practice I can keep everything and everyone up beat.  It’s like I don’t have an off switch, I am just jacked all day once I eat breakfast in the morning.
And maybe most importantly, I am getting more attention from the ladies than I ever thought I would.  I wouldn’t say I’m Pimpin or anything, but I am pretty happy.  I literally feel like I am a better person in ever regard now, compared to the fat Brett.

Me now…

Sorry I don’t ever happen to take full body pics so you cant see the drastic change in my body.  I am trying to locate  a shirtless pic of me from my fat does to juxtapose with a shirtless one from myself now.

So How Did I do it?

Now I will break down everything I did, and most importantly WHY it works.

I didn’t starve myself, I eat a TON, I love food.  I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, Food has always been my opiate.  So I still enjoy a good meal, and even fast food, but it is how I do it that saved my life.

1. Don’t cut out certain things… Just LIMIT wherever possible.
I absolutely love Taco Bell.  There is one 1/2 mile from my house, with a drive through open til 1AM.  I could eat it just about everyday .  I used to go there and I would order 5 different items. I would mix it up between different tacos, burritos, chalupas, or whatever but I would always order 5 things.  I was stuffing myself just for the sake of stuffing myself, I went beyond full.  I notice a lot of overweight guys doing this.
So I set myself a rule that I follow to this day.  I will NEVER order more than 3 items.  I sometimes keep it to 2, but if I am very hungry I allow myself a total of 3 things only.  So I still get to enjoy the taste, flavor, and guilty pleasure of Taco Bell.  but going from 5 items down to 3, saved me 500+ calories easily.
I do this with every fast food, I limit what I am going to order.  I don’t need supper XXXLLL fries.  Small fries are ok.  Do I need 5 mcChickens? or is 2 ok.
When I make a sandwich or cheeseburger at home, I don’t put a gallon of Mayo on it anymore.  I still use some, but less than I used to.  I used to put 2 slices of cheese on every sandwich.burger I ate.  But going with just 1 instead of 2 saves 100 calories.

These are simple changes you can make and cut hundreds of calories a day.

I urge all of you, think about your own diet, what you ate yesterday, or today… What could you have done to limit the calories some?

2.  Do not Drink Calories (Or at least cut down)
I must admit this was an easier change for me.  I have always loved water and never been a HUGE fan of Soda.  The next thing I did was decide that I wouldn’t drink calories.
You would be amazed to see how many calories are in the things you drink.  And most people who do read the labels for calories in their beverages fail to realize how many servings are in the container.  It might say 120 calories, but its 2 or 3 servings and you drink it all.  That’s 300+ calories that you could have cut out.
I try to only drink water, I cheat occasionally, I will have a milkshake every now and then, or a caramel frapp from Starbucks, maybe a raspberry tea every month or two.
Look at what you drink, you will be amazed at how many empty calories you drink everyday.  If you are one of those people that HAS to have their coffee in the morning, cut back some.  Limit it to only 1 or 2 cups.  Use low fat/cal cream.
Every now and then treat yourself but try to limit wherever possible.

Now for the drinkers…  I do not drink Alcohol at all.  But if you like beer (as most coaches do) then switch to light or the low calorie options.  Do you need to down a 12 pack? no, you can still enjoy 1 or 2 and save yourself all of those calories.

3.  Now to Working out
Cutting those calories will help you immensely, but we must have some form of exercise in order to really get the results we want.  I have to admit I hate running.cardio… even now at this size.  It just seems like punishment, so I still very rarely run, just for running sake.
My biggest key to my success has been LIFTING!!!
I am not a body builder, I am not very strong.  BUT when I started all of this I began working out with weight again.  I wasn’t doing Power cleans or anything, simple stuff.
A lot of upper body stuff… Bench, curls, back, tris, shrugs, more chest stuff.  I began doing Upper body lifts MWF, and leg stuff TuTH (Leg presses, leg extensions, hammy curls, calf raises, mostly machine stuff, occasionally some DL or Squats)

I just used a basic linear program, started off with a lot of 3×10 stuff, build some endurance up.  Then Every 4-5 weeks I reduced the number of reps and increased the weight.  I have to tell you this is my big secret.
When I see people, they always ask What did you do to lose all the weight??? They ask if I got surgery, if I did drugs, If i was taking some crazy weight loss supplements, If I ran mile after mile… etc.

But lifting weights is the best way to burn fat because

  • You increase your metabolism for the next several hours after a workout
  • You burn calories while your lifting
  • As your muscle mass increases, your metabolic rate increases!

This last point is the most important.  The more muscle I got, the more fat I lost simply because my Metabolism increased.
Quick science lesson
Your metabolism, or metabolic rate is how many calories you burn per day just to keep yourself in your regular lifestyle alive and moving.  So while you sleep, walking around, sitting, on the computer, watching tv, in class, standing at practice.. all of that.  It is how many calories you are burning just to keep yourself alive.  Now if that metabolic rate is increased due to increased muscle mass, you are now burning more calories per day, literally while you are doing nothing.

I have completely changed my metabolism, I burn so many more calories per day than I used to it is unreal.

Once we begin a lifting program, fit in some sort of cardio wherever possible, but make sure it is something you enjoy!!! or you wont do it
For me that is basketball, I LOVE playing.  So i make sure I take basketball class at my school every quarter.  I play for an hour a day, 2 days per week.  Not a ton, but for those 2 hours a week I am running fairly hard and getting good Cardio, but because I am so competitive and love to play I don’t realize how tired I am.

This fits for me, but YOU need to find what best fits you.  Maybe it is going for a 30 min walk with your spouse, walking your dog.  Playing around with your child.  Pick up game with buddies at the park… it doesn’t matter, just as long as it is something you will enjoy.  We all have some sort of activity we like to do that we can use for some extra calorie burn.

Interesting fact I learned in School

Walking a Mile = Running a mile = 100 calories
Doesn’t matter if you walk, run , or sprint a mile, you will burn roughly 100 calories per mile you move your body.  Meaning it is ok to go for a walk if you are not up for a jog.

4. Understand this is a slow process
I think the hardest thing for people to understand is just how much it takes to lose 1lb of fat.  People work out for 5 minutes and expect to see results, it is important to understand what it takes.

1 lb. of fat = 3500 Calories

Calories in – Calories Used= Calorie Score

It is only safe to lose 1-2 lbs per week.
Anything more than that (unless the person is VERY obese) is generally unhealthy, and requires such starvation that you can risk hurting yourself, or just flat out crashing and binging.

So some simple math shows us that
3500/7 (days per week) = 500

Meaning that we need that calorie score to be at -500 per day in order to lose 1 lb per week.

for 2 lbs per week it would be -1000 calories per day.

So think about all of the food you eat and drink and how you can easily cut out a few hundred calories here and there.  It is a difficult process but it is worth it.

I urge people do not jump on the scale every day.  You will just mess with yourself.  Daily weights fluctuate so much , depending on your hydration at that given time, what you ate last, if you took a big dump or something.

Instead I say to check your weight once a week.  Pick to do it on the same day, and same time each week so you are consistent.  Set a goal for yourself each week.

Goal setting was HUGE for me.  When I first began, I wanted to be at 200 lbs by our first game (so from April 2009 to September 4th 2009).  I pushed myself hard down the home stretch to meet my goal.  I was ecstatic but I wanted more.  So then I told myself i wanted to be 185 by the end of our football season… And I did that.

I stayed at 185 for a few months, then dropped the last 20 lbs or so last spring through the beginning of the summer.

Losing weight is possible, if you are willing to follow what I have outlined here.  it will require some hard work, dedication and most importantly will power.
What I like about my plan is you do not have to give up anything in your life, merely to limit it wherever possible.  You do not have to run miles at a time, you get to pick an activity you enjoy.

I honestly hope that this article hit home with some of you and that my words might change your life.

I swear by the things I outlined here… it is exactly what I have done and continue to do to maintain my weight.  No supplements, pills, nothing.
Just 100% dedication to that ideal that I wanted to better myself.

Strength & Conditioning Part 3: New Ideas on S&C

So since writing my posts on S&C I have come up with some thoughts I want to share regarding how I can incorporate adding OLY lifts in to my program at my current HS.
First I want to state that technically Push press is viewed as an OLY/explosive movement and we do it, that is because I feel it is the easiest to learn and we can do it in our squat racks that we have in our weight room.

Secondly, I want to note that I will not use the other Oly lifts right away in my program, we need to improve our strength first.  Asking a weak kid to lift weight explosively is pointless.  Explosive lifts are built to train power, Power is defined by the amount of time needed to do work.  Oly lifts are Power lifts in which bar speed and the speed of the lift is the most important.  I need a couple months to build a foundation of strength in the kids I have.  Once they have built some strength, then we can begin to work on them learning how to transfer strength into power by getting faster at the muscular contractions used to execute a clean, snatch, or jerk.  if a kid has no strength, they have nothing from which to explode.

Now, in my earlier post I said Olys were impossible at this school because of resources, but after some thought (not sure how it slipped my mind originally) I have realized how my kids can do explosive Oly movements…

DUMBBELLS!!!

I have done some training with only dumbbells myself in the past.  I have a ton of them at my school, and we have a lot of room outside of our weight room on the blacktop we can use.  With dumbbells we wont need Rubber flooring because we wont be bouncing anything or dropping anything.  Everything will be done 1 Arm at a time, which ties into the unilateral training (1 arm at a time) I discussed in a previous post.  The 1 arm clean and snatch movements, I feel, are easier to perform and teach and can only be done by moving explosively.

So when we get to Spring I will incorporate 1 Oly lift per day to my menu using  dumbbells.  There are some videos on youtube you can watch people doing cleans, snatch, jerk, and push press using kettlebells…
Well Dumbbells are the poor man’s kettlebell

1 Arm DB Snatch

1 Arm DB Clean

I need to start incorporating these lifts into my personal workouts very soon.
Maybe the explosive movements will attract some lovely ladies at the gym 😉

Especially if i wear my usual workout gear…