NANCYANNE55   100,033
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Top 12 Things I Wish I Could Say To People In the Gym

Monday, January 31, 2011

1. ASK ME FOR HELP! I'm not going to bite, and I'd be honored!

2. YOU AREN'T LIFTING ENOUGH! If you are still leg pressing the same weight you were pressing six months ago (or one year or five years ago), you aren't challenging your muscles and aren't going to see growth. Women especially are guilty of this. They seem to think "Eight pounds is what I curl", instead of "How much more can I curl?"

3. YOU'RE LIFTING TOO MUCH! If you are losing your form (arching your back, using momentum to get the weight up, or otherwise employing bad technique), for Pete's sake, lower the weight and do it correctly! Not only will you dramatically reduce your risk of hurting yourself and gain better muscle, but you also won't look like an idiot to everyone else in the gym.

4. YOU AREN'T GOING LOW ENOUGH ON SQUATS! Check my blog "Squatting Re-learned" to see what I'm talking about.

5. YOUR BACK ISN'T STRAIT ENOUGH! Hunching when you do ANY exercise is bad form. You're back should feel so strait that it feels like you're butt is protruding. I see a hunched back most often on Dumbbell Bent Rows and Tricep Kick Backs. Look in the mirror and check your form! You should be able to put a 3/4 full cup of coffee on your back and not have it spill.

6. LET GO! When you set the treadmill to an incline and then hold onto the handles and lean backwards while walking, you are no longer at an incline! Let go and do an incline that you can manage withOUT hanging on!

7. GET OFF THE CARDIO MACHINE! As I've said in the past, lifting weights does more for fat loss and body shaping than cardio ever could. Cut your elliptical time in half and come lift weights! We really aren't scary people at the lifting end of the gym.... really! (Please refer to #1)

8. UNRACK YOUR WEIGHTS! Okay, all of you lugheads... Not everyone can take that 45 or 100-pound plate down from a bar that's 5-feet off the ground. And it's just a hassle to have to put someone else's weights away. Practice good gym etiquette and put ALL your weights away after you are done using them. Even if you started with weights that were already racked.

9. READ A BOOK! Or a magazine...... Pick up some literature on correct lifting technique and setting up a program. You'll be safer and see results quicker this way.

10. TRY SOMETHING NEW! Ever seen the big guys that are in their 50's and played football in College and are STILL lifting the exact same way because "I've always done it like this!"?. Notice that they don't look like college football players anymore? This is because they are missing one very key component: Football! Look, when you're out there doing the stuff that a sport, particularly football, requires, you don't have to be as comprehensive in the gym because the sport itself is most of your workout. But when you take the sport out of the equation, you need to change your gym routine to reflect that! (And they wonder why their bodies never change.)...... This rule also applies to anyone who is not getting results in the gym- You can't do the same routine forever expecting to get the same results, because muscles adapt so quickly. Keep 'em guessing and try new moves frequently!

11. ASK ME TO SPOT YOU! I may be a female, but my partner is the most muscular fella in the gym. If I can spot him, I'm pretty sure that between me and you we can get that heavy weight off of you before it falls on your head and knocks you cold or crushes your sternum. I'd rather spot you than perform CPR.

12. SHUT UP! Just stop talking and exercise, already!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 3/23/2011 9:50PM

    Good points all! But I'd like to state one item on squats... lower is better, yes, but we each have our own limit of how far we _should_ go. I, for one, can't squat (safely) very deep for two reasons: (1) because my heels start to lift (partly a form issue and partly an ankle flexibility issue) and more importantly (2) because my lower back rounds out. I think this is due to my limited fore-aft hip mobility (short hamstrings) which I intend to improve if possible (but I have tried before and it's very difficult to do so). So while deep squats are "better", safe squats are best. And for people with limited flexibility in some areas, that may mean limiting squat depth - certainly when they begin training, and possibly forever.

Here's a set of gym rules I like too (I hardcore want to get the tee):

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LORENVER 3/21/2011 4:47PM

    I love this post!


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BETTER_THAN_AVG 2/14/2011 9:04PM

    I never realized this.

7. GET OFF THE CARDIO MACHINE! As I've said in the past, lifting weights does more for fat loss and body shaping than cardio ever could. Cut your elliptical time in half and come lift weights! We really aren't scary people at the lifting end of the gym.... really! (Please refer to #1)

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LAURIE-RN 2/10/2011 7:37PM

    Love this. Thanks for your input.


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GYMRAT_AT44 2/10/2011 5:32PM

    Oh Nancy, I so love this blog! It is like you climbed in my head and started typing! Hello, it was awesome. You missed one. If you are going to use the elliptical with the handles that move, then use the handles! We only have 3 ellips at the gym - 2 are just legs and 1 has the moving arms... don't understand why someone will get on the one that has the arms too, when all 3 are open and won't use the arms! Agh!

You are too funny!

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TB_KITTYKAT 2/9/2011 12:43PM

    Love the squat tips....I was sure I was doing something wrong cause my shoulders come out sore afterwards too...thanks for the link to your site =)

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COOKANDRUN 2/9/2011 11:00AM

    LOVE THIS!!!

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YOGINI18 2/8/2011 10:59PM

    Terrific post!

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HEARTANDMUSIC 2/8/2011 10:58PM

    I love it!! Great blog!

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KASSAY25 2/8/2011 7:49PM

    i love this! I wrote a similar blog several weeks ago. I really can relate to this, although i am not a personal trainer.

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MOMONTHERUN1 2/8/2011 6:59PM

    Love it!! I need to take your advice and get off the elliptical after 30 minutes and do some ST for the other 30 minutes.

Great blog!

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    Excellent post

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MINENA1 2/8/2011 5:08PM

    Excellent!! emoticon

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MEGSFITNESS 2/8/2011 5:04PM

    I love these!! I'd say the same things :D One way I thought of squats and making sure that I'm getting paralell is to remind myself that it's the TOP of my thigh or the bone that should be parallell--not the fat on the bottom!

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DARACOX 2/8/2011 4:58PM

    OMG so true. I'm a trainer and I've worked in gyms for a while. This cracked me up.

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DRLCORNETT 2/8/2011 4:53PM

    Sweet. I like

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KEEPGOING87 2/8/2011 4:45PM


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FLY0NTHEWAL1 2/8/2011 4:45PM

    Haha! This is so spot-on. Definitely good tips, not enough people seem to realize that they have to build a routine and then routinely CHANGE their routine.
Awesome post.

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SKYWATCHERRS 2/8/2011 4:29PM

    HA! The last one killed me!

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STARFISH619 2/8/2011 4:20PM

    Great blog! Great reminders!

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    I like #7 - I'm definitely ready to start adding ST to my routine emoticon

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    great blog. loved the eye kisses in the mirror comment. so true.

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AMBERNICHOLE3 2/8/2011 3:41PM

    I love this!

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ANNE7X7 2/8/2011 3:39PM

    Awesome blog! I especially agree with #6. It drives me crazy. I just want to go karate chop their hands off the darn bar!

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    If only more people thought this way!

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ELFITZPA 2/8/2011 3:24PM

    Love it!! You've pointed out so many of my pet peeves at the gym.

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ABETTERBECKY 2/8/2011 3:10PM

    Love this blog - I agree 100% with everything (and so does my husband!). My pet peeve is guys in muscle shirts who think they are bigger than they are chatting away, hogging equipment, giving themselves eye kisses in the mirror and then NOT putting their stuff away. Oh and 'squatting' ridiculous heavy weight with the worst form possible. You hit a nerve Nancy :)

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LDY_ALI_79 2/8/2011 10:29AM

    Nice, you sound like my old personal trainer. While we would train with her she would have us scope out other people in the gym & ask us about their form. It it wasn't she would tell us what they are supposed to do! She couldn't express the importance of #2, 3 & 5!

Take care~

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FELLE442 2/5/2011 8:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

Really great blog...thanks for all the reminders!


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MELROCKZ 2/4/2011 1:53PM

    I love this!!!

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AMC120 2/3/2011 1:09PM

    Great blog NancyAnne, as always! So, quick question for you! I really need to focus on my lower body..... I haven't been doing the stiff legged dead lifts as often as I should be, but I did start back this week... How many reps should I be doing of this exercise and how often?

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AMERAG 2/3/2011 9:25AM

    I wish you worked at at MY gym! ((sigh))
great Blog, now let me go and read the squating one :)

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LOVE_2_RUN 2/1/2011 10:24PM

    Thanks so much for this blog! Especially the link to your blog about squats, very helpful.

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CHANGING_LIFE 2/1/2011 10:11PM

    Great advice!
What bothers me is seeing people wear jeans in the gym...I'm always afraid they are going to rip!

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JENNFIT24 2/1/2011 8:44PM

    Your advice about squats is spot on. My trainer at crossfit is a power lifter and he makes us go all the way down and will sometimes have the other trainer tell us when we have depth before coming up. When the weight is heavy he also tells us to "knees out" which helps get super heavy weight up. When I workout at the gym at my school I want to scream when I see guys squating 300 lbs but only bending their knees and not going down.

Do you do a lot of power lifting?

Such a good blog again:)

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BELIEVER104 2/1/2011 5:42PM

    Love this!! emoticon

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THEHONESTME 2/1/2011 4:09PM

    I read yesterday's blog and appreciate the new #6. I'd like to print this out and post it at the gym!!

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    GREAT blog! Love it.

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PINKBEANBOO 2/1/2011 2:56PM

    Yes! These are emoticon

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FATHINSN 1/31/2011 11:41PM

    I've been to gym only once and that was when my big brother wanted to try the sauna room in the hotel we stay with our family and I finally have someone with me to the gym (the hotel gym was scary with no one else around and I'm just a little female, haha). Must be nice to have someone helpful like you when either I'm too afraid of the trainer or simply no one looks friendlier!

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ALESHABEE 1/31/2011 8:25PM

    Nice...I love this, lol. esp #8 and 12

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THEHONESTME 1/31/2011 7:51PM

    LOL! I love this blog!! Another good one, NancyAnne!

DH and I were just talking on Sunday about the guy at the gym doing his bench presses. He had so much weight on that when he tried to get it up, he was lifting his butt and back (everything but his shoulders) off the bench. What really bugs me was that the trainer wasn't anywhere to be found. No one was there telling the guy he might hurt himself and correcting his form! OHHHH, and even better than that -- when we went into the gym on Saturday, I heard a groan -- looked over and there was a guy STUCK! He couldn't get the bar back up -- he was trapped there. I ran over and helped get it off him. He said he felt 'stupid' asking for help and thought he could get it, but hadn't been able to. YEAH, well you look real smart now, don't you buddy?!

Anyway, thanks for the blog -- it was a great one!

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ADESSO1234 1/31/2011 7:38PM

  I LOVE this blog post!!! Especially the part about lifting too much omg I see lots of guys like that at my gym-LOL!!

And the Shut up and exercise- I love the people who are sitting on the machine you are waiting to use talking on their cell phones- like the piece of equipment is a chair-lol!


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NWHURLEYGIRL 1/31/2011 7:35PM

    Amen to all of the above, especially #3 - it kills me to see people trying to "impress" by awkwardly hoisting up a weight that is clearly too much for them.

I personally would add to the list "Hanging off the treadmill/stairstepper display panel like your life depended on it". If you have to lean your entire upper body onto the machine to keep up - guess what - you're NOT keeping up!

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LMWST36 1/31/2011 7:09PM

    i wish you were a member at my gym! i would totally hit you up for advice.


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CICI510 1/31/2011 7:04PM

    emoticon emoticon

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THROOPER62 1/31/2011 6:59PM

    emoticon emoticonfor the information

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Another Product Recommendation: PACE Weights

Monday, January 24, 2011

I have mentioned these several times in my status updates here on Spark, but I feel they are a valuable enough tool in my strength and muscle gaining arsenal that they're worth a blog: PACE Weights:

These were first mentioned to me by Ross, a trainer I worked with a year ago. He told me about little 1/2 pound magnetic weights that attach to other types of metal weights(to include plates on cable machines) and make it possible to go up in poundage. I Googled them, bookmarked the site, then asked for them for Christmas this year.

I'm sure you have experienced times when you can't go up to the next 5 or 10 pound weight, but the current weight is just a little too light for the number of reps you had in mind. It's frustrating! BUT, if you can go up 1/2 pound at a time, you can inch closer to that next weight mark. Ross said "Can you imagine how fast you can gain strength if you can go up just a pound at a time?" He was right- since getting my PACE Weights as a Christmas gift my strength has increased MUCH faster than it did without them.

IMHO they're kinda expensive- the full set is $89 and with shipping it comes out to $103. This is for 18 PACE Weights (9lbs). You can also get a smaller set of 9 PACE Weights (4 1/2 pounds), for $57. But unless you strictly work out with one Dumbbell at a time, I'd recommend the larger set. I've had occasion to use more than 9 of them at once already. And get the case! It makes them portable and more accessible with a place to store them. I take mine to the gym and use them 5 days a week.

My friend Tammie (MajorMom on Spark) saw mine, got PACE Weight envy, and purchased a set for herself. I got a text this morning telling me how much she likes them. This is one really great product!

And no, I'm not on commission! emoticon I just believe in recommending a great product when I find it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 3/24/2011 1:23AM

    Wow, micro-micro-loading. Pretty cool. I use PlateMates but they are basically only useful for 2.5-lb increments. Also these may have a shot at fitting onto the dumbbells at the gym, on which PlateMates don't really work. It also looks like something that could be DIY'd. Also, I probably only need the dumbbell set since my gym has microloading plates for the selectorized machines... at least for some. Thanks for writing about them.

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AMARILYNH 1/30/2011 12:34PM

    I came to check out your sparkpage after seeing your profile pic when you made a comment on another blog. Holy cow - you are amazing!!! I wanna be you when I grow up (opp - forgot - I'm old enough to be your mom but that's ok LOL!) Subscribing to your blog - I need to learn what you've learned!!

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TWALKER0475 1/27/2011 6:59PM

    Thanks for the tip! There have been MANY times when I cannot go up 5 lbs in dumbbells but the current weight does not seem challenging enough. I will definitely have to add these to my wish list!

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HEALTHYME47 1/25/2011 2:23PM

    That sounds like a great product, and the concept totally makes sense to me. Thanks for telling us about them!

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CICI510 1/25/2011 12:52PM

    Those sound cool! emoticon

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PAULAMARIEF 1/25/2011 8:51AM

    Sounds like a great product. I know many times I couldn't increase to the next weight up by 5 lbs so this makes great sense. Thanks for sharing.

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SARAHNICOLE__17 1/24/2011 10:57PM

    These are totally cool! I'm having that problem upping my weights on the pec fly machine.

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THEHONESTME 1/24/2011 10:27PM

    Hey, they have these at the fitness center -- I never thought about using them though -- now I can see their value. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll start putting them to use!!
And, btw, you're not bossing me around -- you're educating me, and I like that! We're never too old to learn emoticon

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MCMOM11 1/24/2011 9:33PM

    emoticonI told my dh about them the first time I saw you post something about them and he said we may need to look into them;) Your page is my regular emoticon Thanks again;)

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Moving Past a Weight Loss Plateau

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I've helped so many people move off of weight loss plateaus over the last year or so that I thought a blog about it might be prudent. These are also excellent techniques to apply even if you aren't plateaued- This information is good for everyone to know. I'm a firm believer that knowledge is power!

Having said that, there is a lot of information in the blog below. I have been accused lately of being intense. I prefer to think I'm informed. At any rate, you have the potential to be more inFORMED after you read this, too.

The very first thing you want to do is be honest with yourself about what you are eating. Are you slipping extra food in there you don't acknowledge? Pretending that cookies are 25 calories a piece? Drinking sugary drinks with the theory that since they slide down so quick the calories don't count? If this is the case get real with yourself, then read.

The next thing you want to do is determine your BMR. I used to do this by an actual mathematical formula, but then I found this web site (there are other BMR calculators online, but this one is my fav because it has other numbers you need on there, too):
Simply enter in your information and then select "Basal Metabolic Rate" (that's what BMR stands for, by the way) in the drop-down menu. BMR is approximately the number of calories that you would burn if you were to just lie around all day. This is a number you do NOT want to go under very often.

Next, choose the drop-down option in the box that has the amount of days/intensity you exercise. The numbers that come up below will give you maintenance, weight loss, and extreme weight loss. Here's one place where I have a beef with this site: The "extreme weight loss" number is almost always less than your BMR. Forget that! For max weight loss, simply bring your caloric intake down to your BMR number. The biggest..... no.... scratch that.... The SOLE cause I've seen of stalled weight loss in a reduced-calorie diet is people eating less than their BMR. When you eat too little, your body slows down it's metabolism in an act of self-preservation in case you should suddenly become comatose. If you raise it to just above your BMR you will actually burn more calories than the added number you are consuming. People have a hard time believing me on this one, until they actually start DOING it. Then they are simply amazed!

The next thing you want to do to maximize your weight loss AND preserve muscle is be careful to get enough protein. I've found a fairly safe and effective ratio for someone is a split of about 40% of calories from each protein and carbs and 20% from fats, most of which you want to be healthy fats. This is pretty easy to figure out if you remember the following things:

- Both Protein and Carbs have 4 calories per gram
- Fat has 9 calories per gram.
(By the way, I cover this information in my blog "Carbs, Fat, Protein" here:

So, let's say your BMR is 1450 calories and you decide that, to be safe, you want to come in at around 1500 calories a day. (Trust me, the extra 50 calories won't matter to a hill of beans in the big picture of weight loss, and since everyone is an individual and the BMR calculator is approximate I always advise to raise the amount slightly just to make sure you are getting enough.)

All you have to do is multiply 1500 by .4 to know how much 40% is of your calories- in this case it is 600. Divide this by 4 (the amount of calories in a gram of both carbs and protein), and you come up with 150. So on a 1500 calorie diet, you want to get about 150 grams of each carbs and protein.

The remaining calories, then, will of course come from fat. (Or you can multiply 1500 by .2 for 20%, but I find it's easier to just work with the remaining calories.) At any rate, by either method the answer for a 1500 calorie diet is 300 calories from fat. Simply divide 300 by 9 (the amount of calories in a gram of fat), and you get the grams of fat you want to shoot for in a day. In this case, it's 33.33. For simplicity's sake, lets round this up to 35. (Yeah, I know that's about 15 more calories a day, but it's no big deal!)

So we have determined that someone on a 1500 calorie diet is going to aim to get in a day:
- 150g protein
- 150g carbs
- 35g fat

Try as much as possible to get an even amount of carbs and protein within each meal, and try to make as much of your fats as possible from healthy/natural sources (the fats in your meats, olive & canola oils, avocados, nuts, etc.). This will, of course, require tracking your foods. The tracker here on Spark does a pretty good job of breaking down macro nutrients (protein, carbs, fat).

It's an interesting way to eat that requires some adjustment. You will find that things like french fries will very quickly throw your numbers way out of whack. You will start to determine if eating something like chocolate cake is worth it to you to feel bloated and see a rise on the scale the next day (it's the carbs, and they'll burn off quick enough once you go back to your exercise and the 40/40/20 way of eating- I cover this in my blog here:
). You won't look at food the same after eating like this for a while, and in my opinion that's a good thing.

I'll be honest: Most people have an easier time raising their calories than they do raising their protein and lowering their fat. Why? Because it requires truly changing the way they eat, and folks love their carbs. But if you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep looking like you've been looking.

It's your body. It's your choice. But now at least you have the tools to make a difference.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCYANNE55 2/22/2014 4:40PM

    For anyone who read Strong_Sarah's comment below, I responded to her on her page. This was the crux of it:

"I didn't say people who eat below their BMR won't lose weight. I said people on a reduced calorie diet (for weight-loss purposes) can lower their metabolisms just enough to stop the weight loss process. There is a difference.

For sure, if someone starves themselves their bodies will have no choice but to go into fat stores, muscle stores, and whatever else it needs to survive. I was talking about people who are unwittingly eating just below their BMR. It's a lot more energy-saving for the body to simply lower the metabolism than to use stored fat for energy. The body does this with anorexics, too. That's why they don't move very fast. But it can't compensate enough to make up the difference, so they get thinner. "

Comment edited on: 2/22/2014 4:41:08 PM

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STRONG_SARAH 1/31/2014 8:49AM

    So people who eat less than their BMR won't lose weight? This doesn't make any sense. If this was true people wouldn't starve to death. And what about all those runway models who eat lettuce and pieces of tissue to stay skinny? And actresses who eat oatmeal squares to lose weight for a role? And anorexics?
Let me be clear I'm not saying the above examples are healthy, but quite obviously people who eat below their BMR can and do lose weight.
I've heard this argument before, but it doesn't make any sense. Look around you to see it's not true.

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LOGOULD 9/24/2012 9:11PM

    Very helpful....carbs have been the hardest for me to limit. Protein was hard for me at first (gettng enough lean protein), but I seem to have that more in control, and fats are not too hard, but OH, THOSE CARBS - they are a killer!

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    emoticon emoticon

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JENNIEBEAN 9/28/2011 10:59AM

    LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Thank you. I have been hearing "eat more" for a while and after several months, and meeting with a nutritionist/trainer, and visiting sites like the one you linked to in here, it's finally sinking in. Thank you again!!

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*ERICA* 6/16/2011 2:16PM

    Great info! thank you!

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CONTUSIONS2012 6/9/2011 11:15AM

    Thank you for this! When I follow Sparkís weight loss plan of 1200-1550 calories/day, I am starving. Now I know it because my BMR is 2000 calories per day and the amount they recommend for fat loss is still above my spark range. I get to eat more food! Thatís the best news Iíve heard all day!!


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LOVE_2_RUN 5/31/2011 11:01PM

    Thanks for the great info! I do tend to be on the high side with carbs since I eat a mostly vegan diet with occasional seafood. I also try to limit the amount of soy I consume each day so most of my protein (beans) also includes carbs.

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NETWORKMOM 5/24/2011 9:38AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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PATTYFMFL 5/21/2011 11:36PM

    Awesome info! Love this!

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SHAYGETSFIT 5/17/2011 8:19PM

    Needed this! Thanks!

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LAMOURA 5/17/2011 8:06PM

    Lol I was doing this program before the coconut oil came along I even have that calorie site on my favorites and I have shared it with a lot of people here on sparks I got it from an sp friend when I first came to sparks and it looks like you might have been the one to introduce it to her emoticon but it looks to me like I need to lower my fats and my carbs some what emoticonthanks! But hey if I follow the zig zag plan how many carbs should I reach for on a high calorie day? If you don't mind answering that for me.

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PAGATANS 3/14/2011 10:45PM

    Okay, I want to make sure I get this correct. My BMR is 1379 Calories/day. So, if I shot for 1400 and follow this breakdown:
Carbs: 560 cals = 140 grams
Protein: 560 cals = 140 grams
Fat: 280 cals = 31 grams
I should have better results?

Comment edited on: 3/14/2011 10:50:55 PM

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NEWSTART15 2/28/2011 9:59AM

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I hit a plateau this week and don't want it to last very long. I am going to try this. Thank you so much for sharing this information! emoticon

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ANNEMARGAR 2/19/2011 7:55AM

    Your post was not too intense - it was right on! Thanks for sharing this information.

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HLIBBY1982 2/8/2011 8:33PM

    I just found you through one of my other SP many informative blogs especially this one. I've recently hit a plateau and I'm at the very bottom of my calorie range. I figured I needed to switch up my workouts but am always so afraid to increase my calories, but since you and my trainer agree maybe it's time to listen!

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    I love this! I especially love the formula for calculating BMR. I posted something like this on my own however it seemed really skewed because it showed that my BMR was more in the 2500 range. Weird.

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SMARTQT05 2/2/2011 3:23PM

    makes sense to me! the past two weeks when my weight began stalling i was in the lower range of my calories and the higher range of working out. im going to try eating a little more and seeing if that jump starts it!

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SLIMKIM80 2/1/2011 9:59PM

    You are totally awesome!

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SLIMKIM80 2/1/2011 9:57PM

    This was an excellent blog post. I don't usually track my food but this blog illustrates how imperative it is. Thanks for sharing!

Comment edited on: 2/1/2011 9:59:16 PM

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TINA5318 1/23/2011 10:21AM

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!!

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 1/20/2011 2:41AM

    Thanks for a great blog. I loved the link. It was really helpful, especially since there is a section for nursing mothers (which is what I am). It's helpful to know exactly how many calories I can eat while still maintaining my supply.

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HEALTHYME47 1/19/2011 4:36PM

    Thanks Nancy, the link to the site about BMR was very helpful. I wish that SP would let us enter our own BMR in the site instead of calculating it for us.

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MCMOM11 1/18/2011 10:29AM

    Thanks Nancyanne, I needed this information;) Definitely informed!!! emoticon

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SUNSHINE667 1/17/2011 4:30PM

    Thank you for always posting great information. This helps so much! I enjoy your blogs and look forward to them. School has me super busy right now, I still log on to see what I can learn from you.

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KIMMIE7890 1/17/2011 3:00PM

    Nancy I recently did a metabolism test, where I had to breathe in this machine for 10 minutes. My age, weight and height were entered in the system. It calculated that my metabolism is slow and that I should eat between 1200 and 1400 calories in order to lose 1 to 2 lbs per week. This seems correct because I don't lose at all unless I really cut back. However, on the freedieting website my BMR is1534. Should I follow the test guidelines or the BMR to avoid plateuing? I have been consistently weight lifting the past 3 months so I believe my metabolism is increasing because I am a lot more hungrier than usual.

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CICI510 1/17/2011 1:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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FELLE442 1/17/2011 3:42AM

    NancyAnne...whenever I see there's a new blog from you...I know that I'm going to learn some valuable information.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely...and please don't stop being as intense/informed as you are.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/17/2011 3:43:00 AM

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BANKER-CHUCK 1/17/2011 12:44AM

    I am one of those people who have bee on a 3+ month plateau. Thanks Nancy for all your information. I have actually been using the calculator for some time for my BMR. I also use the on on Spark BMR calorie calculation 101. Takes a long time and the FreeDieting come about as close and much quicker. I am driving myself bonkers with calculators trying to figure out my problem. Your information about eating at or just above BMR is good information and I will try it. I have also been thinking about a Zig-Zag diet.
As usual your information is well appreciated.

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ALESHABEE 1/16/2011 10:33PM

    Thanks Nancyanne,
I remember when you shared this information with me!! It has definitely paid off and now I'm on my way training for my first figure competition. You're awesome woman!!

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THEHONESTME 1/16/2011 10:04PM

    Excellent information, NancyAnne -- well written, precise and to the point. Very easy to understand. I will certainly try to take this into account when menu planning (and plateau'ing). THANKS again for the education!
And, thanks for your comments on my blog -- that meant a lot to me! I was hoping you would respond. I love the new workout and now I have the nutritional info I need -- I have the tools, I just have to continue to apply them and I WILL get to my goal!

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PINKHOPE 1/16/2011 9:46PM

    Excellent blog. Does this apply to people with a lot to lose?Just curious!


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News Story On My 12-week Challenge

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today I did an interview with a local news station about the 12-week challenge I have entered. Here is the link, in case you'd like to see.

[Warning: I am NOT all dolled up! I'm ready to work out! (And yes, those are my hands. emoticon)]

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALESHABEE 1/13/2011 7:41PM


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BELLA044 1/13/2011 5:45PM

  Good luck in the challenge Nancy Anne, you are a SUPERSTAR!!!

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TURBOTIF 1/13/2011 2:21PM

    awesome Nancy!!! :)

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HEALTHYME47 1/12/2011 3:24PM

    What a great story! And your arms look absolutely amazing in the video. Can't wait to see the follow up video!

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FELLE442 1/12/2011 2:46PM

    Wow...this is so awesome!!!! You are a winner already......can't wait to celebrate with you in 11 weeks!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 1/12/2011 12:25PM

    Just saw the clip. How exciting! And they're coming back in 11 weeks too so the pressure is on. Can't wait for the next clip!

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LOVE_2_RUN 1/11/2011 10:58PM

    Just watched the clip. You are such an inspiration to so many!!

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BECKY_ROWE1984 1/11/2011 6:10PM

    Awesome video and great advice! Hope you will post the coverage in 11 weeks.

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GYMRAT_AT44 1/11/2011 2:41PM

    How about this! I SAW IT - LIVE!!! Sort of... saw it when the news was playing. HA HA HA... I was like, is that, Nancy Anne from SP?, I think so, hmmmm... almost fell off the treadmill concentrating on the TV. Glad you posted the note on your feed because I wanted to ask you. Now I know. Cool.

Congrats Wonder Woman!

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ONEAGLESWINGS 1/11/2011 2:40PM

    Tremendous! Great example of going for it!

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TRAINER_T 1/11/2011 2:38PM

    Im totally bummed its blocked at my office!
Please send me the link in a Spark mail....would love to watch it.


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NEWNARAYAN 1/11/2011 1:10PM

    woohoo!!! awesome!!!

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ALYFITN 1/11/2011 12:52PM

    NancyAnne--This is awesome! You look great!! emoticon

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JOYINRUNNING08 1/11/2011 11:07AM

    Ohhhh, you're famous! XD

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    Boo I can't get it to play either.

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AMC120 1/11/2011 10:21AM

    Awwww... I couldn't get the link to play! emoticon

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PAULAMARIEF 1/11/2011 8:59AM

    How great is that! Looking awesome as always.

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ANGEISBACK 1/11/2011 7:42AM

    your such an inspiration! way to go ! you rock and im going to add you right now! keep it up

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WE_PA_FIT 1/11/2011 7:37AM

    you are a spark STAR!!! THey will be in for a surprise ocme March cause you are no JOKE!!! Congrats!! An dwhy haven't I added you before? Helloo????

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MISSYGEEN 1/11/2011 4:20AM

    Good Luck! It's funny that your background is Wonder Woman because your really are my Shero! Can't wait to see how you do.

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CCSDESTINY 1/10/2011 11:45PM

    Wow, they are going to check back up with you at the end - no pressure or anything! :D

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MCMOM11 1/10/2011 11:44PM

    emoticonThat is toooo cool!!! Can I get your autograph also emoticon What an inspiration!!!

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BANKER-CHUCK 1/10/2011 10:51PM

    Great new spot and they plan to do a follow-up in March! No pressure...right? And this is following your Blog about being a workout loner. Now see what you have done? You now have an audience. emoticon Keep up your hard work because I know you can do it.

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GODZDESIGN95 1/10/2011 10:32PM

    Could not get it! But I know you will show up and show out!!!

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THEHONESTME 1/10/2011 8:52PM

    COOL! Can I get your autograph? HAHA
Seriously, good luck with the 12-week transformation. I'm anxious to watch your progress!

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Are You a Lone Wolf, or a Pack Animal?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

What works best for you? Going it alone, or being part of a team? There is nothing wrong with either style, but for your best success you really need to figure out which you are and be true to yourself.

I've tried to lose weight as part of a partnership before. I failed miserably. Why? Probably for the same exact reason I am not fond of team sports: I'm afraid of screwing up the team. And, worse yet, when one of my partners falls down I feel like the team is down, so therefore I am down. I stop trying.

Also, when I am in a state of focus on self-improvement, I've found I'm kinda wobbly- I'm focused like a laser beam in an attempt to get solid footing on a new venture. Consequently, I'm easy to tip over! While a lot would look at a partner as a source of support, I look at another person as someone who threatens my balance.

On the other hand, I can be great in a workout partnership, but it takes a particular kind of person for this to work for me: He has to be male (women don't tend to push me hard enough), knowlegable about lifting so that I don't have to be a trainer while I'm trying to get a good workout, pretty danged muscular (if I'm going to be lifting heavy with you, I need to be able to relax enough to know you can keep the 150 pound weight from crushing me), very dependable, and ON TIME! I'm prompt- A lifting partner who is not also prompt tends to cause me a great amount of stress. It's very hard to find all of these things in one person, BTW.

On the pack animal side, there are three guys in my gym who work out together cross-fit style with amazing regularity. I think the camaraderie is what keeps them coming back and pushing themselves harder. They continue to do what works for them, day after day after day. Working out as a group works for them.

I also know ladies who would rather go to their weight loss meetings in packs. They cheer one aother, encouraging each other to make smart choices. In some ways I very much envy them and the compatibility. As a naturally social person I very want to be a part of the group!

I remember one particular instance about 6 months ago when I was sitting in a restaurant after my Weight Watchers meeting. At a table nearby there was a group of gals who not only went to the same meeting, but also had gone to my former church with me. One of them spoke kindly to me when she passed by to use the restroom, but I was not invited to join them. Did I feel a little self-conscience sitting there eating alone while they laughed and had a good time together nearby? Yes, I did. But eventually one of them stopped going to the meeting and then the rest quit in quick succession (this further proves to me that my "If one falls, the rest aren't far behind" theory). So maybe I dodged a bullet, because since then I have reached my goal weight and am STILL going- alone- to the meetings to help maintain my weight loss.

This isn't to say I don't believe in supporting others: I do! I sincerely desire to support and encourage others to lay claim to their own health and be the very best that they can be: I'm a big encourager at my Weight Watchers meetings, I'll spot anyone who asks me in the gym, and on-line I try to help as many people as possible. Sometimes I will also seek out support and encouragement for myself. These things energize me! But for the actual work of getting the job done, I'm best off thinking of myself as a one-woman team.

I know I'm not making a very good case here for the pack-animal mindset, but the point is that I thought it through, found my reasons for choosing to go about my weight loss the way I did, and then DID it. I'm hoping that by relaying my personal experiences you will start to think about what will work best for you.

You also need to be very honest with yourself about not only what style works best for you, but also your circumstances: You can be thoroughly convinced that you'd do better with buddies, but if you live on an isolated island and want to be healthy, you'd better accept the fact that if it's going to happen you're going to have to develop the determination to do it by yourself.

Lone Wolf or Pack Animal? Which are you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TANYAP71 8/9/2011 4:08PM

    I wanted to be a pack animal. I've tried 3 times. Failed 3x. When my partner(s) got/get too out of synch with me I got frustrated. I think the feeling is mutual as 2 friends are obviously avoiding the subject of my recent succcess and a 3rd friend is happily succeeding at her gym while I'm at mine. So I'm a lone wolf who LOVES to support my friends online or in person.... just not in the gym.

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FATHINSN 2/1/2011 12:02AM

    I much prefer to workout alone as with other people, I tend to talk more - the curse/gift of being a talkative. One time I was jogging with my friend and I think I got tired easily coz I kept chattering away with my friend. Less boredom, yes, but I want to feel tired because of the whole body, not because of my mouth, haha.

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MRSAWILEY 1/16/2011 2:43AM

    I work-out with my husband, but if I can't have him, I'll go it alone. I have a lot of women at work who notice how active I am and how healthy I eat and offer themselves as my gym partner, but I'm reluctant to accept. Women hold me back. Too many of them are afraid of the weights. My husband is the perfect work-out partner. He pushes me to do those last two reps when I don't have any faith in myself.

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FELLE442 1/14/2011 10:19AM

    Definitely a lone wolf....although in the past I've had great success with Weight Watchers...and found much support and encouragement in that group. I guess that's one of those things that make you go....hmmmmmmm :)


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VEGGIE-FITNESS 1/13/2011 7:51PM

    I love your blog! Definitely thought-provoking. I prefer to be a Lone Wolf, unless my husband is my partner (which is very rare). He is also a Lone Wolf and often comments that he could probably lift a lot heavier if he had a compatible lifting partner, but doesn't want one. (He already goes really heavy, so I can't imagine that its really a problem.) I've always been better at individual sports because I have it in my head that the only person I will fail is me. I guess thats part of the Lone Wolf mentality? Great blog and great responses!

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ALESHABEE 1/13/2011 7:38PM

    Lone Wolf in the gym, HATE when people try to talk to me...for sure!!

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ALYFITN 1/11/2011 1:00PM

    I'm a Lone Wolf. I get weight-lifting support from other Lone Wolves online. I frequently go to classes for cardio (like spinning), and enjoy one hour of time surrounded by the Pack. But I honestly enjoy my peaceful weight lifting time alone. I never have difficulties finding a momentary spotter among other lone wolves.

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MISSYGEEN 1/11/2011 4:27AM

    Sorry I had to write two responses and let you know that you are not as alone as you think. Sometimes I really have to push myself to go into the weight room and do strength, and on days when I just want to give up I think of you and it helps me to fight through it.

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MISSYGEEN 1/11/2011 4:13AM

    A lone wolf. I can do many things alone including going to the movies and dining out. Which is an odd dichotomy because I am a very social person. I know many of the people at the gym and many of the trainers know my name. I invite others to go to the gym with me not because I need a buddy but because I want to encourage others to workout. I am not a prompt person and don't want the pressure or the guilt of being on time. I don't want to interfere with someone else's progress. I guess that's why I like spark. I can go at it alone and have support at the same time.

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GYMRAT_AT44 1/10/2011 5:24PM

    Love team sports - participated all my life through college in basketball or volleyball. Individual part was with track or training for sports, i.e. weight lifting... so I tend to swing between the "Group" thing and lone wolf. I agree with Nancy, it is important to know what type of personality you are and what works best for you. Due to my goals this year, I need a lifting partner (mostly for spots on certain lifts) and it is usually my husband, if not - a few other guys help out. I am with Nancy on this one, just because none of the other women lift heavy plates, I need to be sure if I am weak that day, or something slips, my spotter has that heavy weight!

Love both aspects of teaming and loner - 100% prefer to cardio alone. It is my personal thought time...

Great blog miss Nancy, as usual!

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ARMSPORTS 1/10/2011 5:23PM

    Lone Wolf. No question about it.

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HEALTHYME47 1/10/2011 4:40PM

    Great blog, very informative. I love having the social support of SparkPeople. Even though I go to the gym alone and work out alone, it really does motivate me to have some virtual workout buddies. I do pay a personal trainer for a once a week session, which is a little bit like having a buddy to motivate and push me.

I've often felt jealous of those male workout partners at the gym who are spotting each other on bench press and whatnot. Actually I do see a few female body builders doing the same thing, and I think how great it is that they are consistent and push each other.

But like you, I have always found that when I buddy up, I'm the more motivated buddy.

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CCSDESTINY 1/10/2011 10:11AM

    I'm both. I find that I have a certain level that I will function at alone on a consistent basis. Sometimes I will find a partner that will really amp it up and I will give 110 because I am a natural pleaser and I would never be the one to hold THEM back. However, if I have a partner who is a slacker, I will also slack and fall off, but get back up by myself and do that mediocre alone thing that works for me on a regular basis.

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IRISHDAD68 1/10/2011 9:31AM

    I am a lone wolf but have never really thought about it until I read your blog.

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FITPRIS 1/10/2011 8:42AM

    I'm both!

I instruct group fitness and really love the energy I give and receive!

On the other hand, when I run or lift wts, I'm strictly by myself for training. I haven't found anyone with the same drive.

When I dance...I have to have a partner, but he has hard core work ethics, so it's a good match!

Great blog!! Have a great week!

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BANKER-CHUCK 1/10/2011 2:05AM

    I am a loner when I work out but enjoy being involved with a team striving for the same goals. I have tried working out with a partner but we could not seem to focus on the same goals. I workout at my own pace but do love the challenges here on Spark. It gives me something to shoot for. I like winning and competition sports. I have played sports in high school, handball in college, raced dirt bikes...etc.

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GODZDESIGN95 1/10/2011 1:27AM

    I love virtual team with challenges. But my personal life I'd rather go in alone. I've tried a workout partner and they quit. I got so used to workout with them when they stopped it almost made me stop too. Never again! I workout alone from now on.

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BEACHGIRL76 1/9/2011 11:31PM

    I love this blog! I have tried so many times to be in a "pack" per say but it never worked out. I always felt like the one doing all the motivating, getting excited, and planning. When I did find someone to work out with (we just ran), she wanted to run and talk but she was more in shape than I was so it was too hard for me to keep up with her. I could have went a little slower and ran the whole time but she would never pace herself, then run too fast, get winded and then stop. I also like to listen to my music and get in the zone. It's hard to do that when you have someone that isn't as focused as you are and all they want to do is just talk. I've tried to find work out buddies and accountability partners and they all fall through. It's good and bad to go it alone too because if you aren't the best with sticking to your goals, and no one checks on you, it's easy to get off track. I guess in the end you have to be dedicated your work out time to yourself and no one else. If they want to come along, great! If not, you know you have to do what it takes to get where you want to go. We can't let anything hold us back. We are the only ones that will make it one else.

Comment edited on: 1/9/2011 11:35:25 PM

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DREMARGRL 1/9/2011 8:36PM

    When I was a young woman 16 to about 30 (the age of the leotards, headbands and legwarmers), I loved going to advanced aerobic classes and felt very confident and, I admit, competitive. As I progressed with having a strong, fit body in my 30's and 40's I enjoyed owning and operating my own 2000 square foot fitness studio. In my 50's and 60's and after I retired thirteen years ago, I have loved working out in my own home and have become quite the lone wolf. My own competition is myself and I love it. I've done it all and I have loved it all......and am still looking forward to working out into my seventies and beyond....adapting and changing with my own body. Body awareness is so very important. It will tell you what makes you the most comfortable. Do what makes you happy and fit. Live Strong, my sparkies. Thanks NancyAnne for the blog. Good job, as usual. Happy New Year, sweetie. Oh.....and being prompt is a must in my book, too. XO MaryAnn emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/9/2011 8:38:11 PM

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BMRBUDDY 1/9/2011 8:18PM

    I am very much a lone wolf. My hubby (Ken) and I both go together but we both do our own thing. Also, through the many years of working out, I tried meeting different people at the gym to work out with and it never did happen. I'm also always on time and dependable. the others were not so much. It's much easier to depend on yourself, then there is no disappointment. Also, for me, I think it is a way of building more selfconfidence. I think what my problem is, is that I am so much of a lone wolf, I do the same routine all the time. I have just recently made a few changes but still it is basically the same as always. I guess I'm a lone wolf and always in my own comfort zone. I know from time to time, I need to shake things up but I always go back to the same old routine.

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THEHONESTME 1/9/2011 7:42PM

    I'm a lone wolf. While my husband enjoys working out, too, and we go to the fitness center together - he does his thing and I do mine. There are people there that like to talk and I find this rather annoying most of the time. Hey, I'm there to work out and to focus on my workout, I'm not there to "visit". How am I going to workout to my maximum potential if I'm distracted. But, that's just me!

Side note: I stopped by your page to let you know that my workout is going great. I love it! Today was upper body day and my arms were limp when I was done -- love it, love it, love it! Thanks again for your help!

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DTEEL2010 1/9/2011 7:30PM

    emoticon I agree totally with your concept!

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