10 “Healthy” But HIGH Calorie Foods

“I’m eating super clean/healthy but not losing weight!”

“I’m trying to eat super clean/healthy, but can’t put on weight!”

In either case, calories still and always will matter. Whether you are trying to cut a little body fat or pack on some pounds, your caloric intake being in a deficit or surplus is key.

In most instances I observe, it is the former issue of eating “clean” but not losing fat. I’m all for eating as much unprocessed crap as possible, don’t get it twisted, BUT even the “cleanest” of the clean foods can still be calorie-dense.

Here are the Top 10 “Healthy” Foods that STILL pack a ton of calories:

1. Nuts

Almonds and walnuts are super heart-healthy – but they are also still fats, making them more calorically dense.

A golf ball size portion of nuts packs right around 150 calories.

2. Avocado 

Just like nuts, avocados are packed with heart healthy fats and fiber – but also calories.

An average size avocado has about 250 calories.

3. Olive Oil

Again, very heart-healthy – but still fat, and thus higher in calories.

1 Tablespoon of olive oil (or any oil) has 120 calories

Protip – this is why I recommend using cooking sprays, as the calories from pouring oil in a pan can add up QUICK!

4. Red Meat

Red meat gets a bad rep, but that’s because most studies lump all “meats” in with red meat – even hot dogs, brats, and crappy processed sausages. A good steak or ground beef can be part of any healthy diet – but watch out for the fattier cuts!

  • 3 oz of 80/20 beef = 230 calories
  • 3 oz of 90/10 beef = 185 calories
  • 3 oz of 95/5 beef = 146 calories

Fattier cuts of steak like ribeyes and T-Bones also add up quickly, so if your goal is fat loss, opt for leaner cuts like sirloin or top round.

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5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes by themselves are amazing sources of carbs, but they are also pretty dense – and if you add butter and other caloric toppings, they can add up quickly.

A small sweet potato (2″ diameter, 5″ long) has 140 calories by itself.

6. Dried Fruit

Because it is dehydrated, dried fruit usually still packs some good fiber and vitamin content, but is also MUCH more calorie-dense than fruit.

A half-cup of raisins or other dried fruit comes in around 200-250 calories.

7. “Healthy Cereals” 

Most people know that Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles aren’t usually classified as “healthy” (they can BE part of a solid diet though if we measure and manage!) – but what about cereals marketed for health-conscious people?

A cup of Raisin Bran has 185 calories – and most people I know don’t eat just a cup of any cereal – and milk is usually added.

8. Cheese

Many people consider cheese to be healthy – but it’s usually higher in saturated fat, and not the best source of protein.

One slice of sandwich cheddar or a quarter cup comes in at about 130 calories.

9. Wine

Red wine is good for my heart! But it still adds calories 🙂

Most wines are loaded with about 120-140 calories – and that’s for a standard 5 oz. pour, and let’s be honest…who actually does that?

10. Smoothies

Smoothies can be packed with anything. Protein, fruits, fats, etc. Some are better than others, but I’ve seen smoothies that are loaded with more than 1000 calories. It all comes down to WHAT is in them.

This list is not meant to scare you away from any of these foods, or demonize them – but rather, bring awareness to intakes of calories, and where more calories could be “sneaking” in your diet and preventing you from losing fat.

OR – if you are trying to gain weight for health, or sport – this is a great list to focus on adding more of to your diet!

If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.

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Weight Loss =/= Fat Loss

“Lose 10 pounds in one week!” – any magazine on any shelf at any time.

Do you want to do this? Here’s how:

  • Don’t eat any carbs for a few days
  • Drink a ton of water so you are peeing all the time.
  • Walk around in a sweatsuit or plastic bags.
  • Then stop drinking water.

10-pound weight loss – EASY! But far from healthy, safe, or purposeful.

How does this work? Water follows carbs – in the storage form of glycogen in your liver and muscles. When you stop eating carbs, your body will have to pull 100% from glycogen stores, so you will burn more glycogen. Because you are drinking a TON of water, but not eating carbs, there will be less glycogen for the water to bind to, so it will flush out as much water as possible.

Add in a bunch of dehydrating sweating (more water losses), and then once glycogen is depleted, STOP drinking water but keep sweating it out to REALLY lose more water… and BOOM!

MAGIC!…and you feel like trash. Then, as soon as you eat a piece of bread and drink a glass of water you explode into a giant puffball of water retention because your body is craving it!

Sounds super healthy, doesn’t it?

If you haven’t sensed the sarcasm yet, please re-read this – and realize all we have talked about so far is how to lose a bunch of water weight. BUT THE SCALE SAYS…stop it.

Losing fat on the other hand is challenging.

Now, numbers and math don’t perfectly apply to the human body as simply as textbooks might tell you, but for a ROUGH estimate, to burn a pound of fat, yes 1 pound, you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit over the course of a week.

This doesn’t take into account many individual factors, but it’s close enough.

Thats a 500 calorie deficit per day for a whole week.

“Aw man, only 1 pound?!” 

Yes, if it’s all from body fat, that’s amazing! You see, to burn your bodies stored fat – which is stored energy – your body needs a reason to tap into those fat stores. If you are eating too much food, your body doesn’t need to tap into your stores, and if you are eating way too much, your body will store even more for later!

Using this very simplified number, to lose 2 pounds of fat per week would require a 1000 calorie deficit per day! I don’t know about you, but I like food way too much to even think about a 1000 calorie deficit.

To put this into perspective – again, calculations aren’t perfect – this means I would have to eat 2000 calories per day. That may seem like a lot to you, but realize that as of writing this I’m on maintenance at about 3050 calories. 2000 would be damn hard.

So when it comes to just looking to lose weight, remember, it’s not about just losing pounds as fast as possible, but losing BODYFAT as healthily as possible, while maintaining as much muscle as possible.

But I swear I’m eating -500 calories per day, but not losing 1 pound per week!

There can be many reasons why this is happening, but in my experience, these are the biggest reasons why you aren’t seeing the number go down…

You aren’t actually in a deficit.

Yes, you might think you are, but you’re not. Many people aren’t aware of how much they actually eat. Bites, nibbles, snackcidents (you forgot about those late-night munchies, didn’t you) all add up. Even condiments can add a couple of hundred calories a day. Enough to throw you out of a deficit.

ALL Calories matter. Period.

You are in a deficit sometimes.

5 days of strict eating followed by 2 days of “cheat meals” can put you in a weekly surplus. Whether or not you do this on purpose, many people like to let loose on the weekends, rightfully so. But calories dense delicious food can mix well with high-calorie alcoholic beverages and lead to a net surplus when the week is over.

Imagine you eat -500 for 5 days, so a net -2500…but then you spend two days eating and drinking +1250 (which isn’t hard to do) and you are at a net-zero.

You ARE losing fat, but holding water.

This can happen for many reasons – as seen here. 

And this is why we can’t always rely on the scale, and patience is a virtue.

This is also why I’m such a huge fan of tracking averages. If you want an app that does this, try Happy Scale (iOS) or Libra (Android).

In the end, we need to take a deep breath, assess that we are doing everything right, and have some patience. AND realize that the body will fight back against fat loss, and if you have been constantly trying to lose weight for an extended period of time, maybe what you actually need is to chill in maintenance for a while, push hard at the gym and focus on BUILDING your body – as this is often the MOST overlooked aspect of improving health in the general public.

If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.

For more information, click HERE!

Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!

Time to End the Passive Acceptance of Declining Health

Getting old, weak, and frail.

Getting weak and fat.

Getting sick more constantly.

Getting older and sleeping less.

Feeling like trash after eating a huge meal.

These seem to be accepted as the “norm” by many, but why?

While we cannot stop the clock from aging us in years, we can slow down and even reverse everything that comes with it.

As we age, we get busier. We have jobs, kids, more responsibilities, etc. I get it.

But why does this all of a sudden give rise to the idea that gaining weight, getting weak, and having a lower quality of life is part of the path we are meant to walk?

I work with and have worked with, many clients in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s who have improved their overall health by leaps and bounds.

A passive life is a life doomed for suboptimal health and the only person you can truly blame for this decline is yourself. This is the first step to righting the ship. This is not meant to shame you, this is meant to motivate you. You are to accept responsibility for getting yourself to where you are now, and thus you can get yourself out!\

Change is now, and change is good.

1) Accept that your current state, if you don’t like it, is from years of passiveness.

Maybe you got caught up in a job, raising a family, etc. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it is just what probably happened. You let yourself go. The first step is realizing it, and deciding that today is the day to make a change.

It’s like that co-worker down the hall who has seemed to always have that persistent cough and sniffle. They have accepted that this is what they will have on a day to day basis, and maybe it doesn’t bug them anymore. Meanwhile, you just want to march down there with a box of tissues and cold medicine because they clearly aren’t doing anything to fix it.

Look at yourself from the perspective of others. What do they see?

Audit your lifestyle. Are you happy with your health? Your life? How do you feel when you get out of bed?

You don’t need a fancy gym, tons of super expensive food, or magic powders and pills to change it either – you just need to put your foot down and make a commitment – NOW.

2) Get Active

Start with walking. If you can’t walk because of injuries – get on a bike. Most people know I am a strength training junkie, but if ALL you can do is walk to start, that’s awesome. Begin strength training as soon as possible. Walking is important, sure, but strength training is the literal fountain of youth. All you need to start is your body weight. More on that in a second…

Work on increasing your cardiovascular endurance by walking even 5 minutes a day. Start SOMEWHERE. By just moving a little more each day, you will start seeing the benefits, and start the ball rolling towards reversing your self-neglect from years of no work.

Get an inexpensive pedometer like this one -> http://amzn.to/2hNpsK9 and track your steps. Aim to increase your daily average by 10% until you consistently hit 10,000+ steps per day.

To be honest, exercise and movement don’t matter as much as diet. It’s the truth that no one wants to hear.

However, it is usually the easier of the two to adopt and can lead to a snowball effect of health, eventually triggering changes in diet. So start moving more, and start thinking about some little changes you could make down the road…

3) Get Strong

Weight training is not just for people in their 20s and 30s. Like I stated earlier, I have helped many people, 50+ years old, get stronger and thus improve their quality of life and increase chances for longer independence well into their 80’s and 90’s.

Image result for summary of adaptations to aging and resistance training

Start with bodyweight work, and machines. Track your reps and weights, and try to improve in some way each week. Even one more rep, or 2 more pounds, over time can make a huge difference.

What’s the number one reason people need to move into an assisted living home or lose their independence?

Because they cannot stand up on their own. Strengthen your legs, your core, your grip, your arms, and you will be on the path to longevity instantly.

If you are totally new to strength training, have no fear – READ HERE

Once you get the movement patterns down, you need to actually challenge yourself enough and you can develop muscular strength at any age. Again, see the table above as to why this is important! Studies have shown that older adults need to lift in 70-85% of their 1RM range for strength. What does this mean?

Let’s say the MOST weight you can lift off the floor – the deadlift – is 100 pounds for 1 rep. This is you 1 rep max, or 1RM.

In order to build strength, you will need to train with at least 70 pounds on your deadlift for multiple repetitions. This should be a somewhat challenging weight, that only allows you to get 3-5 reps per set, the golden standard range for strength training.

*Depending on age, mobility, and skills, there are MANY ways to train the deadlift movement pattern, so don’t think that you HAVE to be able to pull a barbell from the floor – find yourself a great coach that will work with you!

This isn’t the ONLY weight range you should and can lift in, as science has shown that even at 50% of 1RM the body will experience changes in muscle function – aka – good things happen.

The key is that you are lifting a weight that challenges you for the appropriate amount of repetitions.

3) Eat “like a grown up”.

This is preached by world-renowned strength coach, Dan John. Eat like a grown up.

Lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, high fiber carbs, and healthy fats – these should be the staples of your diet.

Drink mostly water only.

Cut the fast-food, skip the sugary foods, and lay off the booze a little – and you will instantly find your health, immune function, sleep cycle, and life improving.

Start with one meal at a time or even one side dish at a time. Swap out french fries for veggies, or pop tarts for eggs. Small changes make for big results.

We really don’t need to overcomplicate nutrition and what to eat and what not to eat – I think most people know this. The more important thing to focus on is WHY we eat it. It’s easy, cheap, fast, and pleasurable – sounds like the world’s oldest profession – not something most people want to associate with.

Create your environment to support your goals. Don’t bring crap food into the house, and crap food will less likely be consumed. Mind-blowing stuff! Look at what your current portion size of foods is as well. If you need to lose weight, the most simple place to start is literally just to eat 10% less at each meal. Don’t change another thing.

Just plate your food as you normally would, and then remove 10% of it. Seriously. Try it.

We need to stop living passively in our lives. We are where we are right now because of ourselves, no one else.

And in the end – it’s not even always about us. To be there, actively,  for our spouses, kids, grandkids, but most importantly – ourselves – is the best investment one can make for the future.

If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.

For more information, click HERE!

Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!



5 Proven Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

As new parents, there are many challenges that come with raising kids that unfortunately there is no user manual for, and it seems like endless ideas via the interwebs – millennial problems. Getting your children to eat healthy foods is one of those challenges.

Now, I’ve only been a parent for 2.5 years, so I’m not claiming to be a practicing expert in this topic, but we have used a few techniques with our daughter that I have learned through my years of formal education and continuing education that seem to have worked pretty well so far.

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How Do You Deal With Stress Through Fitness?

Stress is a normal part of being human. Sometimes we have little, sometimes we have more than any person should ever have to go through. Sometimes it can feel as if the world is coming to an end. Stress is here, stress will always be here. Many things that stress us out are out of our control. What we can control is how we respond to stress.

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Training is More Than Soreness and Sweat

Your alarm sounds. Already? Maybe just one snooze…

No, what must be done, will be done. You roll out of bed, the sun just barely rising up. The birds are chirping in the backyard, but besides them, not many others are up at this time.

So why are you?

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In A War That is Stacked Against Us, America Fights Uphill

No, I’m not talking about infectious viruses or actual wars. There is a much bigger problem in America, and it IS the underlying cause of many dangers, many pre-existing conditions, many hospital visits, high healthcare costs, and overall quality of life.

Our nutrition sucks. 

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How To Transition Out of Lockdown With Your New Habits

As things continue to ever change with lockdowns and stay at home orders, one thing is for certain – this will eventually end, you and I will eventually return to work, and our previous schedules will slowly become the norm once again.

How quickly, or to what extent, is the big question. As I stated in my newsletter this week, many of my clients have improved their health during this time.

Why and how? Well in an article from two weeks ago I covered the reasons why, and maybe some of these apply to you.

As we shift back into a new, new normal, how will you take what you have learned from this time and continue to apply it if you found it especially helpful?

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6 Reasons Why You Gained or Lost the “Quarantine 15”

Well, we are about 40 or so days into this whole stay at home deal. How are things going for you health-wise? Run through a quick systems check for me:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Spiritual Health
  • Social Health
  • Financial Health

All of these can be intertwined, and affect one another, but for the sake of this post, I want to look at physical health. Now, more than ever, we are seeing that our physical health is literally a determining factor between life or death.

For the sake of right now, let’s dive into what has happened with your health lately over the past 40 or so days.

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What You Really Need to Succeed

What do you need to succeed – at anything?


The right environment?


I argue it is all of the above, in a cyclical fashion rather than linear.

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