Ask A Fitness Expert: Fitz Koehler
TV personality, author, spokesperson, speaker and founder of the global children’s running program, The Morning Mile, Fitz Koehler shares her approach to achieving a healthy and balanced fitness and nutrition routine.
VJ: How do you determine your ideal healthy weight?
FK: Well, you could check out the healthy weight charts your doctor gives you, or learn about the BMI (Body Mass Index). However, most of us kind of know what our ideal weight is. It’s the place where we feel strong, athletic and energetic while liking what we see in the mirror. Not so complicated.
VJ: Once you’ve determined your ideal healthy weight, how do you come up with a plan to increase or decrease your weight?
FK: I recommend my Exact Formula for Weight Loss, which is based on science, math and averages. I recommend you take your goal weight number, tack a zero on the end and make that number your daily caloric budget. For example, if you are striving to weigh 167 pounds, you would set your daily caloric limit to be 1,670 calories. Sticking to this budget will almost guarantee you reach your goal weight. You can also use this same method to gain weight. The smartest way to make this budget work would be to fill your daily budget with lots of highly nutritious, lower in calorie foods. The healthier stuff gives your body what it needs to thrive and you’ll simply get a lot more of it to enjoy. 1,670 calories will not go very far on greasy bar food and cocktails. Remember – liquid calories count!
VJ: What about exercise?
FK: You can achieve your goal weight without exercise. But you cannot have a fit, strong, athletic, flexible body without exercise. So, you should definitely work out, but your consumption habits are the most vital factor when it comes to weight management.
VJ: Once ideal weight is achieved, how do you maintain?
FK: Continue the same behavior that got you to your goal weight to begin with. That’s why diets are DUMB! Diets are short-term solutions, which yield only short-term results. My Exact Formula is for life. Eat the right amounts of the right foods for the size you’d like to be. If someone ever tells you to cut out all white stuff, all sugar, all bread, all meat, all fruit, whatever … ignore them! Weight loss doesn’t require suffering or bizarre restrictions. It also doesn’t require shakes, pills, powders or those preposterous wraps. It just requires mindful management of what you put in your mouth, and regular sweat sessions … forever!
VJ: What’s the best way to track this?
FK: Download an app to your smartphone or computer. I like to use MyFitnessPal.
VJ: How do I set a realistic timeline to achieve results?
FK: If you have a large amount of weight to lose, expect weight to fall off pretty quickly at first, but then slow down as you get closer to the finish line. If you only have a few pounds to lose, it shouldn’t take long at all.
VJ: Why is losing weight so hard?
FK: Well, you had a heck of a lot of fun putting the weight on, didn’t you? Remember all those times you thought having extra this or that was no big deal? Well, undoing that requires work. Achieving and maintaining your ideal weight doesn’t require you to run a marathon, it just requires to you be moderate. It requires you to care and put forth effort. Being lean and athletic requires you to behave like an athlete. Choose who you want to be and put in the time and utilize discipline to get you there. Lots of awesome things require hard work. Why should this be any different?
VJ: What snacks do you keep on hand to avoid binge eating because you get hungry?
FK: In the evenings, my go to nighttime snack is chopped tomatoes and cucumbers with salt. When I’m traveling, I like to have whole fruits like apples and oranges, and pre-packaged items like KIND Bars and Mandi Bites with me.
VJ: What’s the most important thing I need to know about working out?
FK: Your workouts should target all four areas of fitness: strength, cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility and balance. Challenge yourself in each area to make progress. While strength training, you should grunt (and maybe even let a bad word slip too). While doing cardio, you should huff and puff. While training for flexibility, you should bend and reach until you wince a bit. While balance training, whatever you’re doing should make you wobble. If you don’t grunt, huff, puff, wince or wobble while training, you are not working hard enough and you need to up the ante. Also, exercise most days of the week, which means four to seven days.
VJ: It can be difficult to eat healthy when traveling. How do you stay on track?
FK: I’ve traveled all over the world and have discovered that produce, lean meats and water are served in every state and every country. I take my healthy eating habits with me. Gaining weight because I’m in California or Ireland isn’t an option.
VJ: How do you approach working out with a life on the go?
FK: I am what I am, and I’m willing to force in fitness wherever I am. Healthy eating is the same everywhere and so is exercise. I usually utilize my hotel gyms, but I also make great use of the free sidewalks, parks, trails, mountains and beaches surrounding me. Active adventure keeps me happy. I often check out Groupon “things to do” when I’m in a new place. I’ve gone wakeboarding, paddleboarding, horseback riding, snowboarding, cycling, roaming through orchards and have even taken fitness classes on rooftops. You must force in fitness if it is a priority for you, and make it fun whenever possible.
VJ: What advice do you have for someone who wants to make a change, but is lacking motivation to get started?
FK: I used to be 45 pounds heavier than I am today. Being overweight was hard. Not liking my body or my clothes and constantly trying to find a way to hide that was a nightmare. Through my education and life experiences, I’m grateful I learned many years ago that eating wisely really wasn’t as tough as the frustrations I’d had with myself and exercising really made me feel fabulous. Now, I almost never think about my weight. Instead, I have lots of time and energy to focus on my family, friends, businesses and other important things in life. I promise you that the effort you make to get fit and healthy will make everything in your life much sweeter, easier and fun. You only have one body and one life. Don’t waste one more single minute settling for a body and life you’re not in love with. Now, get to work!
For a more detailed explanation of Fitz’s Exact Formula for Weight Loss, exercise videos, recipes and more, visit Fitzness.com.