Fit For Life: Is Your Fitness Program Making You Unfit?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


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You may believe that your choices are lining up with better fitness, but they may be undermining your best intentions.

A healthy body won't get fat - and a poorly nourished body won't get healthy.

Stop doing something over and over and not seeing results. Losing body fat and gaining muscle while becoming leaner and stronger should be the goal. If you are working out and this isn't happening, it's time to make a change. Time is too valuable to waste and exercise is too difficult to be doing for no results, or not the intended results. If this sounds like where you are in your fitness routine, here are a couple of alternatives to what you are doing which should put you on the road to success.


You put too much of a strangle hold on your nutrition, and pay too much attention to calorie counting. My first and most important advice goes to food quality. Get rid of processed cheap food, and eat quality whole, organic foods. 

Because if you focus on counting calories, you end up eating low quality, heavily processed fat free products, like fat free mayo, fat free yogurt and other processed fat free dairy products, use low fat butter and oil substitutes, and packaged meats, and reduced calorie beverages. You also sacrifice healthy fats by eating egg whites and low fat peanut butter.

Instead, purchase quality organic whole foods, eat yolks and full fat butter and dairy products (if you need to eat dairy). This type of food is absorbed nutritionally by the body and gets properly utilized and digested, and you will feel more satisfied when you eat less. Remember your body needs fat and nutrients to function effectively and efficiently, build muscle, and fight disease and sickness, so don't deprive yourself of nutrients.

Once you master the role of quality eating, now you can eliminate certain things and portion your foods accordingly. Usually by this time you will already have lost some weight and will look and feel better.


Overtraining, in general, results in a negative outcome in several ways. I see a lot of people spending hours a day exercising on elliptical machines and recumbent bikes and they do not get the results they are looking for. On the contrary, these people usually get flabbier, due to the fact they are burning muscle - not building it. Training for longer amounts of time with little intensity nets you poor results. My suggestion would be to cut down on the cardio time and up the intensity level. Hit it harder and shorter. I would rather see someone doing intervals on the treadmill, taking a spin class, or doing a step mill for 30minutes over walking for an hour on the phone, or watching TV on a stationary bike any day.

The myth about lifting

Many women worry about getting too big from lifting weights. This is the main reason they neglect strength training. I feel the number one most important part of any exercise program is strength work. For those who work with me, after going through body weight movements, and a client is stable and moves well, everyone I train from 15 to 87 year olds, does strength training. Not only does this make you look better and move more effectively, it also revs up your metabolism to make your body burn more calories at rest. The higher your muscle to fat ratio is, the more efficient you become at torching that unwanted body fat. It has also been shown that after a bout of resistance training, you burn calories longer than if you did a session of cardio.

A prescription for success

In this day and age, especially where there is big money to be made selling fitness tapes, equipment, and expensive memberships and classes, things are getting blown out of proportion as to what it takes to get in shape. Much of what is new is over done and quite extreme. “Insanity”-type programs, px90, crossfits, and beat down workouts, are in my opinion a little too much for most people that are lured into what sounds like a quick fix. Everything is extreme to a point that if you don't vomit or get sore for days you are not successful. I believe exercise should be looked at like medication: too much = overdose. Too little = ineffective. Prescribe just the right dose and you will get the results you need. 

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Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.


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