Are You A Weekend Saboteur?

 

You are trying your hardest to eat healthy. You eat super clean all week. You eat a caloric deficit. You do your workouts. THEN Friday night arrives along with the weekend.

You overeat on whatever you want. You drink plenty of alcohol. You sit on your ass all weekend. When Monday comes, you are frustrated and sick of spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere.

This is okay – you aren’t the only one, far from it.

My first year of trying to lose weight was this exact scenario – after all it was college.

How does this happen?

Here is a fantastic graphic from Carter Good (Envision Being Thin – @cartergood on Instagram)

So how do we avoid this? Stop having fun? Stop being social? STOP DRINKING?

No, no, no, and no. There is no need to become a full on Buzz Killington.

1) Set Rules

Rules suck, but we listen to them. Instead of coming up with weekend goals every weekend like “I’m gonna do better this time…”, set rules like:

  • If I go out at night, I will go to the gym the morning of.
  • If I go out on a Saturday, I will have an active Sunday.
  • If I go out on a Friday, I won’t go out on a Saturday.
  • If I know I’m going to have a fun filled night with drinks and food, I will focus the rest of my day on eating lean proteins and veggies.

Set the rules, and follow them, and enjoy your weekend – guilt free.

2) Change How You Eat During the Week

Do you fixate on “clean eating” Monday through Friday? Can’t have this, can’t have that…well that may be setting you up for disaster on the weekend.

If you try so hard to “eat super healthy” all week and deprive yourself of certain foods or food groups that you might really want you are more likely to binge on them over the weekend.

Let’s find a happy medium.

If you want a sweet treat during the week – have it – but account for it appropriately:

  1. Know roughly how many calories it is.
  2. Know what swaps you could make to stay within your nutrition parameters.
  3. Plan it out in advance. If your kid has a baseball game and they always get ice cream after, you can plan your day accordingly so you can still enjoy ice cream later.
  4. Know what you REALLY want, and what you could exclude to shave off some extra cals. i.e. you really want a brownie, but could pass on the extra pecans on top (shave off 300 cals)

It doesn’t even have to be sweets either.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and bland! Experiment with recipes, spices, flavors, make it fun – make it an activity with family.

3) Shift Your Mindset

“I earned this weekend”

“Thank God the weekend is here, time to rage”

“I was good all week, time for a break”

“This is what we do on the weekends – bottomless mimosas WOOO!”

If you constantly think of the weekend as a light at the end of the tunnel, you will hype your brain and body up for letting loose and getting cray cray.

Don’t use food and drinks as a reward, or as a shoulder to cry on – it’s just food.

Find different ways to reward yourself or de-stress.

ALSO don’t use exercise as a punishment. There is a big difference between, “I had a bad night, I need to go to the gym and repent” vs. “I’m going to feel much better after I go to the gym and work on getting stronger” – exercise is ALWAYS for gaining health – not beating you up.

So find some balance 7 days per week, come up with some little rules to follow, break the mold of what most people think the weekends are, and you will find your life a much happier one, and healthier as well!

 

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How to Avoid Regression During Time Away From the Gym

 

Whether it is going on vacation or a serious injury that pops up, time away from your workouts is inevitable (and in the case of vacations, totally needed and deserved).

If you are someone who as worked your butt off for a vacation and are totally freaking out because you don’t want to lose all your progress while gorging on buffets and margaritas, you aren’t alone.

Here are a few tips that might save you some time, energy and cause less stress on vacation:

1) It’s a vacation – so enjoy it. You will be okay, I promise.

2) Enjoyment doesn’t equal gluttony. I have had many trips where I gone overboard on eating (and drinking) food that my body isn’t used to and end up feeling like crap for hours/days afterwards. If you want dessert – great have it – but maybe pass on ordering the whole dessert menu.

3) Be active. This doesn’t mean you need to spend time in a gym, but find active things to do. Hiking and biking are awesome ways to explore anywhere that you can’t see from your car or the hotel bar.

4) Enjoy some relaxation as well. This is why you go on vacation – to relax and recharge. Kick your feet up, take a mid day nap, and enjoy the nature that surrounds you.

5) Try to stick to your normal routine/habits that you have created. Eat breakfast at 8am everyday? Then do that on your trip as well. Have a high protein snack at 3pm everyday, then bring some protein bars along. Staying consistent with habits helps mostly with the RETURN from vacation and aiding you in getting right back to it.

What about missing the gym due to injury?

This one is tougher, as some serious injuries can last a while. When I had my back surgery I was out of the gym for 4 weeks, then another 2 months of no heavy lower body work. This can be brutal on the body physically and mentally.

Don’t stress, here is what you can do:

1)Figure out exactly what you CANNOT do. Then figure out what you CAN DO and keep doing it. Torn rotator cuff? Probably will need to avoid heavy pressing for a while – but leg day is still fair game, rows might be okay and cardio is legit. Talk to a professional if you have questions.

2) Use some of your gym energy to focussing on diet. I know how it is. You just want to wallow in misery and eat ice cream because you can’t go to the gym. What is this helping? Refocus your energy on cleaning up your diet, and getting proper nutrition to also facilitate optimal recovery.

3) Follow your rehab program. I cannot stress this enough. If you get a specific rehab program, DO IT, and DO IT WELL. It’s not worth the prolonged time off because you didn’t feel like doing the PT’s exercises.

4) If it’s a less serious injury, live by this rule – If it hurts, don’t do it. Pretty common sense, but many still want to avoid it. If you have a feeling of stinging, pinching, burning or sharp pain – don’t do the movement that keeps causing it. Apparently there are many ways to skin a cat, and there are also many ways to build killer arms.

So just because you won’t or can’t be at the gym for a little while, doesn’t give you a free pass to become a gluttonous sloth. Take care of your body 24/7 – it’s the only one you get.

 

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4 “Hacks” To Save Time, and Make Tracking Food Easier

Whether or not you use something to track your food, I’m sure you could use some extra time in the day – so don’t rule these tips out just yet!

The number one objection I hear to not being able to track food using an app like MyFitnessPal is “I don’t have time”.

While the smart ass in me could have a few things to say about that, I shall refrain and provide some useful tips instead.

1) Enter some or all of your food the night before.

If you know what you want for breakfast, know what you have for snacks, and know that you are going to have left overs for lunch – then take 2 minutes and enter that the night before.

This is also a great strategy to learn about how you can set up your day to fit within your macro goals.

By doing this, you are already mentally preparing yourself for what you will be eating tomorrow – and this makes your life less stressful, and honestly makes it easier to stay on plan.

2) Measure and cut portions after bulk prep

Did you grill up a bunch of chicken? Do you know that you will need 5 oz. of chicken per meal that you want to have chicken at?

Then cut up the servings into appropriate serving sizes for you.

Then when you are ready to eat them you can grab, and go – knowing that you have 5 oz. of chicken breast at that meal. No need to guess, measure, or weigh out.

3) Keep a measuring cup in any bulk prepped carbs

Similar to the above, say you make a big bowl of rice.

If you learn from tracking that 1 cup of cooked white rice is 38 grams of carbs, and you want 38 grams of carbs at a meal, then keep a 1 cup measuring cup in the big bowl of rice.

When its time to dish it up, just scoop it out, and but the bowl away.

Same thing can be done with pastas, potatoes, corn, etc.

4) Have your “go-to” meal foundations

I have been eating the “same” thing for breakfast the last 3 months (minus a few days).

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 75 grams of carbs
  • 10 grams of added fat

This is the foundation of my breakfast meals – but not the actual meal.

The eggs and whites usually stay the same. But sometimes they take the form of an omelet, a scramble, over easy eggs, or mixed into pancakes.

The carbs I like to play around with. By reading labels it is pretty easy to figure out “how much of this food equals 75 grams of carbohydrates – give or take 10 grams?”

My carbs have been cereals, oats, pancakes, fruit, bagels, toast, or a combo of a few of those. THEN I will also add some sort of veggies to breakfast, unless its pancake day, cause that’s nasty.

My 10 grams of added fats is usually just from cooking the eggs in coconut oil, or putting a little butter on toast or pancakes.

This is MY breakfast foundation, work on creating your own – then play around with how you sculpt it.

Hope these tips help you save some time and realize what a great tool tracking your food can be.

Once you get things dialed in, it can be pretty fun and freeing to see how you can play around with your diet – and still make progress.

 

 

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More Leads to Less

 

So many “diet” programs and gurus want to tell you what you CAN’T EAT, and what you MUST EAT to successfully live your life and lose your belly…

Well screw them.

We are all adults and we can choose what we want to eat, and if done responsibly as an adult, we can definitely make tons of progress and get the results we are after.

Here are the basics of eating like an adult:

  1. Add MORE vegetables and fruits

  2. Add MORE lean protein

  3. Add MORE water

Yup, I’m more about adding in foods rather than telling you what you need to take away.

Why?

Because over time when you truly focus on adding more of these options, they will naturally phase out all the junk food that you might eat at most meals – but you could still have it once in a while.

1. Add More Vegetables and Fruit

I think we can all agree that vegetables are good for you. But what about fruit? Apparently some people still think fruit makes you fat!

Fruit is great for you, and you should be eating it.

What makes you fat? Too many calories – so sure, too much fruit COULD stall your weight loss…but I’m willing to bet there are other areas in the diet we could address first.

Here are some ROUGH numbers on different portions of fruits and the calories in them:

Notice that the super healthy and trendy avocado is at the bottom. containing about 280 calories per avocado?? Avocados are super healthy, yet they DO contain a lot of calories – and calories always matter.

2. Add more lean protein

I probably write about protein whey to much, but it still needs to be preached.

If you have less than 20 pounds to lose, shoot for 1 gram/pound of body weight.

If you have more than 20 pounds to lose, shoot for .7-8grams/pound of body weight.

(these are not set in stone numbers, but just suggestions – my one on one clients get much more personal numbers)

If there is anything that you SHOULD be tracking, it’s your protein intake. Try it like this:

Using MyFitnessPal, enter only your high protein foods for the day, and see where you are at, then adjust from there if you need to. It may look like this:

So after entering this, I hit 172 grams out of my 205 gram goal. That is great, because after adding in my carb sources, and fat sources I will probably be very close to hitting 205 grams of protein.

3. Add More Water

Simple, and basic – just drink more water, and drink mostly water.

The number of calories you can consume through liquids is insane, and you might never even notice it.

Someone who drinks 2 sodas a day (lets say cans) consumes 300 calories. Cut that out and replace it with water, without changing ANYTHING else, and you will lose weight. Simple and effortless.

BONUS – Add More MOVEMENT

Just move more. Not more cardio, but just more movement.

How many steps do you get a day? Get 10,000. Seriously – just do it.

 

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What Really Happens to Your Body When You Ditch Carbs?

Today I am honored, and excited to announce that I was just a contributor to Men’s Journal for a piece on going low carb/ketogenic.

For those of you who actually read my blog and aren’t spam farm bots from Bangladesh, you know that I am a huge fan of carbs.

Does this mean that everyone should follow a high carb diet? Eatting cereal? Breads? Pasta?

No.

Remember, you are an individual, and what diet works best for you is the one that you can:

  1. Stick to
  2. Eat as much as possible and still get toward your desired goals
  3. Enjoy as much as possible

With that being said, here is a link to my latest piece:

http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/collections/what-really-happens-to-your-body-when-you-ditch-carbs-w485285

 

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Your Fad Diet is Invalid

Going on a juice cleanse to reset your metabolism?

Going on a ketogenic fast of only eggs, butter, and cheese to break through that stubborn plateau?

Ripping shots of Apple Cider Vinegar to boost your metabolism?

Here’s the thing, all of these can “work“, but not the way most people think.

An ultra low-calorie juice cleanse doesn’t reset your metabolism, it actually could to the opposite and slow it down.

(when you starve yourself of protein, and massive amounts of calories for prolonged periods of time, your metabolic rate will slow down)

You lose weight because you cut out calories from protein and fat and just drink fruits and veggies all day. Newsflash: I would lose insane amounts of weight on a 1000 calorie juice cleanse – I would also last about 8 hours on it….

You cut out carbs and went full keto and melted fat away like a champ? Did you replace all your calories that you cut from carbs? If you didn’t, your argument is invalid. Here’s what this scenario usually looks like:

Pre Diet Intake

3000 calories – 320 grams carbs – 205 grams protein – 105 grams fat

Cut Carbs Because Carbs Are the Devil

50 grams of carbs – 205 grams of protein – 105 grams of fat…. = 1965 calories!

OF COURSE YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT! But you cannot justifiably say that it was the carbs because you didn’t completely replace the calories.

Even if you DOUBLE up on fat grams (210 grams) – you are still only hitting 2910 calories, so technically a very little less – but still less cals.

Calories matter, plain and simple.

What about stuff like apple cider vinegar? Or fat melting pills?

I had a conversation with a guy at a cookout the other weekend about how his ex girlfriend “started taking apple cider vinegar shots after meals at lost 20 pounds!”

I asked him, “did she change ANYTHING else?”

“Well I think she started eating healthier and going to those bootcamp classes 4 times per week”

Needless to say, I highly doubt it was the ACV that was melting the fat away…

If calories are not controlled for, and there is ANY change in them – your argument of magic pills and elixirs is INVALID.

So what should your diet look like??

The best diet is the one that is sustainable and consistent (and moves you in the desired direction eventually). Different things work for different people – but the less “forced” it feels, the better it will be in the long run.

Here’s something to leave you with:

In 2008 I was 260 pounds. I am now comfortably 205 pounds, and have been there for about a year now. I finally feel comfortable with my nutrition, and my lifestyle, and things are on autopilot (for now) – 9 years later… not 21 days, 12 weeks…but 9 effing years.

You cannot expect to undo years and years of abuse to your body in an insanely short period of time.

Be patient, be consistent, and keep working forward – that is the best diet for you.

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Fill Up Your Diet With Filling Foods

Do you track your calories and always struggle to stay within your goals?

Find that you are hitting your max caloric intake too soon and you still feel starving?

You may need to take a look at your food QUALITY and how satiating your current diet is.

Satiation, or fullness, is an important physical factor when it comes to your diet. Two of the most important nutrients when it comes to satiety are:

  • Fiber
  • Protein

Both fiber and protein help tremendously when it comes to adding in quality, filling nutrients – without adding a lot of calories. While processed foods (usually low in fiber and protein) do the opposite.

For example, this Memorial Day, I went golfing with a friend. After the first 9 holes, we were hungry for some lunch. Unfortunately the grill girl decided she wanted to go home early, so no grilled food was available. So what was I left with?

  • 1 Snickers Bar – 4 grams protein, 1 gram fiber – 250 cals
  • 1 bag of BBQ kettle chips – 2 grams protein – 1 gram fiber – 210 cals

So I had 460 calories, with only 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Needless to say, I was starving by the time I got home.

Compare this to a leftover filled lunch I had yesterday:

  • 6 oz. Pork Tenderloin – 34 grams protein – 180 calories
  • Mixed Red Potatoes and Carrots – 7 grams of fiber – 150 calories

This meal was ONLY 330 calories, but I was easily satisfied until dinner.

***This is a pretty low cal meal for me, but I had a big breakfast and wanted ice cream after dinner – the beauty of tracking and planning****

So back to the point…

If you struggle with feeling hungry after eating a meal, look at how much protein and fiber was in that meal. If it was a highly processed or a hodge podge meal, it likely was low in both.

Great sources to consider adding, but not limited to are:

Protein

  • Chicken/Turkey
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Beef tenderloin
  • Fish/Seafood
  • Egg Whites
  • If in a pinch – protein powder
  • Beef Jerky

Fiber

  • Lentils/Beans (also a decent protein source)
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Artichokes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Avocado (higher in cals from fat – just be aware)
  • Pears
  • Barley
  • Oats

Increasing your protein and fiber intake will only have positive health benefits for you as well, so you should probably just consider doing it no matter what 🙂

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Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein – A Quick Rundown

Short Answer: If your body tolerates whey, ALWAYS choose a high quality whey protein. Like this –> Dymatize ISO-100 Whey

 

When it comes to protein powders, whey isolate or whey hydrolysate are often considered the gold standard, and for good reason.

When it comes to biological value, or…

“a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. It captures how readily the digested protein can be used in protein synthesis in the cells of the organism.” (wikipedia)

Whey scores a 104, while soy scores a 74, meaning soy is less utilized by muscles and other organs.

Same thing goes with the net utilization, or…

“The net protein utilization, or NPU, is the ratio of amino acid converted to proteins to the ratio of amino acids supplied. This figure is somewhat affected by the salvage of essential amino acids within the body, but is profoundly affected by the level of limiting amino acids within a foodstuff.” (wikipedia)

Whey scores a 92 while soy scores a 61.

Whey also has almost TWICE the amount of the amino acid Leucine, which is essential for stimulating muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth)

Lastly, there are studies linking the consumption of soy based products, which contain phytoestrogens, to lowered testosterone in men…which is never a good thing. Whey protein will not increase testosterone in women, so don’t panic ladies.

While soy protein is a complete protein (contains all essential amino acids – unlike most plant based proteins), it is inferior to whey protein as a whole.

So as long as you can tolerate whey, or are not following a vegan diet, stick with whey.

If you cannot tolerate whey protein, give egg white protein a try – as it is highly bioavailable (100) and has a great NPU (94).

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3 Lies the Fitness Industry Still Tries to Sell You

 

Either I’m already getting old and crotchety, or just getting more and more sick of seeing bull crap like this being shoved at people:

Image result for cleanse magazine

I have seen too many people be ruined, lied to, and mistreated by the industry that I could write much more than a blog post about it. SO lets dive in:

1) You DO NOT NEED TO CLEANSE/DETOX AWAY TOXINS

Stop it. Why do these cleanses work then? Because going from eating fast food and processed cardboard (trans fat, grease, HFCS, who knows what else) to more fruits and veggies is going to make anyone feel better, and look better – alas this is still not a magical cleanse of the organs.

Of course it will lead to fast weight loss too.

Cleanses are usually very low calorie, and very low carb, which leads to rapid weight loss – via water weight.

How long do most people truly stick to them? And if they do stick to them for long periods of time, they can actually be dangerous to ones metabolism.

Here’s the thing, anyone (except a 4′, 85 pound woman) will lose weight at 1000 calories from lean proteins and veggies – this is not cleansing you of toxins – your healthy liver and kidneys will do that just fine.

2) The Calorie Burn of the Workout Really Doesn’t Mean Much

“BURN 1000 CALORIES IN AN HOUR”

Sure, this sounds great and sells memberships and classes – but it really doesn’t mean much.

Most of these numbers are based off of reading from heart rate monitors which just factor calorie burn from body weight, heart rate, and gender. So they probably just get the number from the biggest, least conditioned guy, and put it on the ad.

I’ve had male clients who wear heart rate monitors “burn” 1500 calories in a hour workout. But thats not that big of a deal.

I would rather have clients focus more on calorie intake, and sleep.

Why?

Calorie burns of workouts are very, very inaccurate. You should know yourself if you are working hard or slacking of. You know if a weight is challenging you, or feels like a feather in your hands.

Because they are so inaccurate, many people tend to overeat, because they “earned” more calories for the day.

First, you don’t earn food – ever – that is for dogs.

Second, find a daily intake average and start hitting that consistently, no matter how many calories you burn in a day. Need a starting number?

Multiply your bodyweight by 10, hit that consistently, and see what happens over the course of a week.

Sleep is also more important than your calorie burn during a workout.

Most fat is lost during sleep. Yes, while you sleep you recover. Your body is repairing itself from the day, and using stored nutrients to do so since you aren’t eating in your sleep (hopefully).

These processes cause fat to eventually be broken down, and breathed out via CO2.

More sleep = more opportunity for this to happen (doesn’t mean sleep is a magical cure all for a bad diet)

3) The Workout They Sell You On Probably Isn’t As Magical As They Claim

“Do this class 5 days per week, with it’s strategically designed nutrition plan and you will lose 7 pounds in your first week”

The workout probably is nothing special, it’s all about the diet plan or meal replacement shakes they are selling you on.

Many gyms do this all the time. They tout their training programs as the best “fat loss” programs in the industry, and don’t advertise or bother to tell you that the big results are from a strict, low cal, diet (GO FIGURE?!)

If you go from eating crap and sitting on your butt 24/7 to eating 1200 calories a day, no carbs, and lots of veggies and protein you will lose weight while still sitting on your butt.

If you add in a daily 60 minute brisk walk, while sticking to that ridiculous diet plan, you will lose more weight.

BUT if you do their magical, planned out class…the results would probably be pretty negligible, and you might actually feel worse.

Many programs still unfortunately base a “good” workout off of the aforementioned calorie burn, how sweaty you get, how sore you are, or if you vomit all over the gym.

A 300 pound, unconditioned person doesn’t need to be doing burpees, box jumps, and hill sprints.

They need to work with a nutrition professional, and start walking and maybe some light strength training – avoiding injury at all costs.

 

Don’t fall victim to these snake oil tactics. They will only cause more frustration, sadness, and wrecked relationships with food in the long run.

Let me know how I can help you.

Talk soon,

Mike

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How to Enjoy Mothers Day Without Completely Ruining Your Diet

 

Here is the super secret, highly advanced, method to the madness…

Enjoy the day, the meal(s), and the time with your family. It’s one day, you won’t ruin your diet.

Then get back to normal on Monday.

The End

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