What is the best plan to start working out at the gym again? To lose fat and not bulk up?

When you’ve finally reached that tipping point with your health, (you know the one, where you become super aware of your gut multiple times a day or struggle to breathe after going up a flight of stairs) where do you even begin to make a healthy change?

Should you focus on fat loss? What’s the best plan, routine, or regimen to go about it?

When you’re at that point that everything feels like a struggle and even the idea of starting is scary, the best way to start is slowly. Don’t jump into a group class or buy a membership at a gym with the “Look like Chris Hemsworth from Thor” or “Booty like J.Lo” workout plan in hand. More often than not the cycle looks like this when you do:

Step 1: Get awesome plan off the internet that is way above where you’re currently at with your fitness (also it’s not actually the workout that star has ever used or even seen. It’s some random person writing it and naming it after them).

Step 2: Get a cheap gym membership for $20-$50 that’s full of equipment, no real accountability, and you often feel completely out of place.

Step 3: Show up for the first workout. You crush it! You did every exercise and rep!

Step 4: You’re so sore you can barely move or walk for 6 days, so of course you don’t workout.

Step 5: Life events comes up that puts off you returning to the gym for another week.

Step 6: Give the workout plan one more shot, get frustrated, give up altogether and feel you’re just doomed to be overweight, unconfident, and weak.

Not sure about you, but that sounds super disappointing. The best plan is for you to find an expert (who has both real life experience coaching people and certifications to back their knowledge base). Sit down with them and discuss your goals. Explain your problem to them. Focus on what you’re wanting to accomplish and where you’ve struggled in the past. Even tell them about programs you were successful with in the past!

Then, let them do what they’re best at! If they’re worth their salt they will prescribe you a plan based upon where you’re at. They will focus on 1-on-1 training sessions so you can learn safely and progressively. They will recommend a combination of resistance training and cardio training, not one over the other.

They will be almost pushy about you changing your nutrition because if you want to change that’s the biggest factor. They will also do more listening than talking, because the reality is, this is your journey and they’re you’re guide.

It’s truly that simple. You don’t need to do the work to find the perfect plan. I mean, how can you be expected to find time to dig through all of the conflicting BS out there to build your perfect workout and have the dialed in diet when you’ve got a full time job, family, school, or all the above?

If you’re wanting a coach who will truly listen, help you by sifting through all the best research, and give you proven workouts and eating strategies that will help get you the results you want (without having to be an exercise scientist), then use the link below and let’s chat!


To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann

Hidden Gem CrossFit

Can I get lean and still drink alcohol?

Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to get rid of that big gut no matter how much you exercise or eat the right foods? The missing piece may be the beer or wine you’re drinking with dinner or more specifically the alcohol in those drinks.

Alcohol has calories in it just like the carbohydrates and fat everyone has demonized at one point or another. Each gram of alcohol has 7 calories where those carbs only have 4 calories per gram. However, unlike carbohydrates, drink manufacturers aren’t required to put the grams of alcohol on the nutrition label nor the calories of those grams. Which means those beers that are “only 70 calories!” really are about 200 calories based on the alcohol content plus the carbohydrate content.

Super deceptive if you ask me. However if it was just about calories my article would end there and I’d go back to my world of watching motivated people who want to lose weight and get strong gain the support they lack to reach their goals. Since it’s more than just the amount of calories alcohol brings, I’ll have to delve a bit deeper.

One part is the calories or energy building blocks. The second part is the preference the body gives certain source of those energy blocks. The third part is what happens due to that preference.

Why does preference matter? Well, if we aren’t eating our body is using fat primarily for fuel after our stomach contents have emptied. When you consume alcohol the body immediately shuts down fat as a fuel source and acts as if you just provided it an amazing source of energy with all of those alcohol calories!

The problem though is what happens because of that preference. The body raises insulin in response to those wonderful calories, but the alcohol pulls a Heisman on the body and bypasses the insulin! Can you believe it? It completely skips the part about being used as energy and goes straight to the liver. What does it do when it’s there? Like any new guest of the liver, it makes new fat cells.

The next part that makes this journey all the more frustrating is, because alcohol bypasses the body’s ability to use the energy, it stimulates new fat cell creation, and poisons the body while it’s doing it (yes, regardless of how much you enjoy that beer its classified as a toxin for the human body) the body goes into a survival state and secretes hormones that store this newly formed fat directly in the lower abdomen!

You’re literally drinking your gut bigger with each sip. Talk about a blow to your goals! You exercise until you collapse. You count every calorie of every ounce you eat, yet you end up staying fat or getting fatter!

What can you possibly do? Most people say drink in moderation. There’s a lot of fit people out there who enjoy a drink from time to time. There’s also a lot of fit people who do cheat days. Unfortunately to those of us in the position of needing to lose 20+, we don’t get those luxuries. Those cheat days? Utterly destructive if you’re not sub 7% body fat for males or 14% for females. Those couple of drinks? Just as disruptive towards your goals if not more so than the cheat day!

The best action is to completely quit drinking. Do you need alcohol to enjoy events with friends and family? Do you need alcohol to cope with a stressful event? If the answer is yes, then it’s best you seek professional assistance such as a therapist or counselor. If the answer is no, then it shouldn’t ruin your life to switch to another drink during social situations and keep crushing your goals (or start!).

If you’re unsure a good way to stop drinking, hit me up. I’d more than happy to refer you to a wonderful place called “A Body & Mind Health Services” (208) 683-8320. They’re a great resource to address any snags you may have.


To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann

Hidden Gem CrossFit

Why Do Men Lose Fat Easier Than Women?

Have you ever decided to lose weight with a male friend, boyfriend, or husband? Notice how they drink more water and lose 3 lbs of fat while you count calories and workout 3 days a week just to gain the 3 lbs he lost? Super frustrating, right?

Ever wonder why it is men can lose weight so much quicker than females and in the places they seem to want to lose weight? It has everything to do with their physiology. Physio-what? It’s how their body functions and why it functions the way it does.

To understand the answer to this annoying question we have to go to survival land, where we don’t have food readily available and we have predators to worry about. In this world women need extra body fat to ensure they can live and provide life to their offspring in times of food scarcity. Men need more muscle to find prey and fight off predators. Each gender’s hormones are a recipe for how their bodies will perform and by extension how they will look.

Males have more testosterone, higher growth hormones, and have a limited need of body fat for proper functioning. Females have more estrogen, more progesterone, and lower testosterone naturally. For males this means greater muscle mass, faster healing from damage to those muscles, and a greater reduction in body fat when exercise is increased, or food becomes scarce. When food is scarce females’ bodies will do everything to ensure they can survive and provide life to a new child.

A great example of this is when a women’s cycle stops due to their bodyfat becoming too low. Thing of this as natures way of making sure a female won’t become pregnant if she can’t support the new child’s life.

As you can see our bodies have a priority for fat or muscle. Do this mean you can’t lose that fat as a female and you’re doomed? Not at all. We just must be very specific in what we do to lose that fat. Most women stick to cardio due to decades old advice that doing cardio is best for fat loss and women should avoid weights to avoid becoming big and bulky.

The REAL answer is to ignore that advice completely. You can’t become big and bulky without a lot of help due to your hormones and body’s ability to produce more than a certain level, regardless of what you do. The excessive cardio tells the body you’re having a huge demand for energy and the response for a female will be to hold onto fat even harder than before (see above reason for holding onto fat).

Resistance training combined with intense bursts of cardio is the single best way for women struggling to lose fat. It takes their physiology into account and plays it against itself. It’s the single fastest way for women to become tone, but also the single thing avoided by women most.

If you’re unsure where to start, you could hire a personal trainer to build a program for you based on what I described. You can join HIIT or CrossFit style classes that combine resistance training with cardio. Or you can google some workouts and do them at home or a playground. If you feel really unsure of where to start I’d be more than happy to sit down and chat with you about your goals, do a quick fitness assessment, then give you a prescription for the best option for you to accomplish your goals.

To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann

Hidden Gem CrossFit



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