Proven, Effective Fitness and Nutrition Advice Without All of the Hype and Pseudo-Science

This website is about one thing... giving people access to the proper fitness and nutrition habits that lead to living a fit and healthy lifestyle. You'll find articles on dieting myths, proper training techniques, developing a successful mindset, custom workouts, and even video how-tos and tips from yours truly and other experts in the industry.

If you're frustrated with the lack of progress you've been making towards your fitness goals, whether it's because of a lack of direction or a lack of motivation, then look around this site, come back often and apply the fitness and nutrition concepts you discover in your own efforts.

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss, Pt. 2

Now that we’ve identified that metabolism is the key to true fat loss (rather than simple “calories in vs. calories out”) the question becomes how to properly raise metabolism to most effectively support optimal fat loss while simultaneously reducing potential muscle loss.

As previously discussed, your metabolism is the amount of energy (in the form of calories) that your body uses on a daily basis. Other terms for this include “basal metabolic rate (BMR),” “resting metabolic rate (RMR),” and, when combined with the additional energy you use during your daily activities, “total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).”

Your TDEE is the most relevant value to focus on, because in order to raise your metabolism as high as possible, it is important to address both sides of the equation: your energy expenditure while “at rest,” and the activities you perform specifically to burn extra calories on a daily basis, such as cardio, athletics and resistance training. Continue Reading Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss, Pt. 2 »

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss, Pt. 1

Scales are often considered our worst enemies, due to the tendency for us to focus on our weight as a benchmark of our current health and fitness level. However, this view is somewhat misguided, because weight is really just an arbitrary number. What really matters is what you look like and how you feel. Would you rather weigh 105 lbs and be weak and “skinny fat,” or weigh 130 lbs and be lean, toned and healthy?

Consequently, it is important to understand the difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss.” Your goal in a weight-loss effort should always be to lose fat, not just to lose overall weight. Your body is made up of a mixture of fat and lean body mass (your muscles, bones, connective tissues, organs, etc). Thus, you are either going to lose weight from your fat stores, your lean body mass or some combination of both. Continue Reading Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss, Pt. 1 »

Essentials of Nutrition Series: Fats

In continuing our discussion of the three macronutrients contained in food (protein, carbohydrates and fat), let’s discuss the third and final macronutrient, fat. Dietary fat, like carbohydrates, is often misunderstood because people associate it with body fat and weight gain, but the truth is that in moderation (10-30% of our daily intake), fat is an essential part of our diet and is even required to live! Body fat is the physical result of our bodies storing excess calories for future energy needs, regardless of where those calories come from. Thus, one can just as easily gain body fat from the overconsumption of carbs, protein or fat, if the total calories consumed is higher than the daily expenditure.

In nature, fats come in three varieties: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Continue Reading Essentials of Nutrition Series: Fats »

The Mind-Muscle Connection

Do you ever see people in the gym that just look like they’re going through the motions, and their body composition never seems to change even after months and months of training? This is because they are not dialed in to the task at hand, or even in tune with the muscles involved in moving the resistance placed in front of them. They have a lack of focus and likely aren’t aware of a concept called the “mind-muscle connection.”

Your mind is a strong catalyst for building your dream body. That mental projection of what you want your body to look like should activate your muscles as if your mind was stretching and squeezing them—which really isn’t that far from the truth. Every movement you make involves one or more of your muscles performing flexion (muscle shortening), while the opposing muscle(s) are performing extension (muscle lengthening), so by using your mind to “stretch” (extend) or “squeeze” (flex) the muscle you can manipulate your body to push and pull its way to success. Continue Reading The Mind-Muscle Connection »

Essentials of Nutrition Series: Carbohydrates

In continuing our discussion of the three macronutrients contained in food (protein, carbohydrates and fat), we’ll now move on to carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the preferred form of macronutrients for conversion to glucose and glycogen, the two forms of sugar that our bodies use for immediate energy and stored energy, respectively. Since all carbohydrates are made up of one or more units of sugar, it makes sense that they would be the most efficient macronutrient to be used for this purpose.

Carbohydrates are probably the most-misunderstood macronutrient out of the three, in part because they have been unfairly demonized by “low carb” fad diets such as the Atkins, Zone and Go Lower diets. Proponents of these diets tend to ignore the benefits of carbohydrates and instead focus on the fact that eliminating carbohydrates from ones diet will often cause rapid weight loss. Continue Reading Essentials of Nutrition Series: Carbohydrates »

Essentials of Nutrition Series: Protein

In this day and age, you can pretty much throw a rock in any direction and hit a person who’s following some sort of fad diet—whether it’s a low-carbohydrate variation like the Atkins Diet, a low-fat variation like the Scarsdale Medical Diet, a low calorie variation like the CRON-diet or anything in between. Many of these diets are marketed as being “scientifically-formulated,” however it’s important to understand the fundamentals of nutrition before undertaking any of these potentially-dangerous dieting styles. Failing to educate yourself properly can lead you down the path of energy-loss, lackluster results and consequently evaporating motivation. Continue Reading Essentials of Nutrition Series: Protein »

Welcome to the Ballinger Athletic Performance Website!

I am excited to bring you Ballinger Athletic Performance, where I’ll be posting regular articles on everything from fitness and nutrition tips and videos, to news about upcoming events, to tasty recipes and everything in between! If you want to have each new article emailed to you when it’s published, be sure to sign up for subscription by email here.

Please let me know what you think of the website. I welcome all of my readers to participate in the discussion of any of our articles. To do so, simply fill out the comment form at the bottom of the article with your name/nickname, email, website (optional) and your comment. Continue Reading Welcome to the Ballinger Athletic Performance Website! »

7 Characteristics of an Ideal Orland Park Personal Training Client

Let’s face it, Chicagoland is the center of the fitness world in the midwest, without a doubt! There are more personal trainers and personal training clients in this area than the entire rest of middle America combined! While it’s critical for you as a client to find the trainer that is right for you, it’s equally as important to ensure that you have what it takes to be a great personal training client.

The “ideal Orland Park personal training client” is not a list of requirements that need to be met in order to see results with personal training, but is more of a set of measurable benchmarks that clients should strive to meet and improve upon as they learn and grow with their trainer. The truth is, the more in-line with each of these traits a personal training client is, the better results they will see, in less time and with more consistency. Continue Reading 7 Characteristics of an Ideal Orland Park Personal Training Client »