I’m a Registered Dietitian…and I Don’t Love Vegetables

I Don’t Love Vegetables. 

True statement.

Sort of.

If you offered me a choice between what I would rather have:

  • Meat or Vegetables
  • Starchy carbs or vegetables
  • Fruit or vegetables
  • Dessert or vegetables

I would choose option A every time.

But – I eat them – and most of the time I do enjoy them, but not more than the other parts of the meal.

When most people, myself included, think of vegetables, we think of boring, plain, raw, steamed, or boiled vegetables. Not very enticing – but still getting them in.

But, when prepared in a slightly different way, or with some extra seasonings or flavors added – they aren’t that bad, and actually enjoyable.

Roasting, air frying, or grilling are my go-to options. Add in some fresh garlic, lemon juice, or a little seasoning blend and they can be game-changing.

The texture is an often forgotten component of food. It can make food much more enjoyable when there are contrasting textures within a meal. Instead of having mushy steamed vegetables, try a roasting method to make them crisp!

We KNOW what we need to do…

When it comes to nutrition, fitness, and health – we KNOW what we need to be doing, eating, not eating, and not doing to optimize our health. The disconnect comes from actually taking action and doing it, especially if it isn’t the most enjoyable.

Take traditional cardio for example.

I know that having cardiovascular health is important. I know that cardio is great for heart health, conditioning, and even muscle recovery.

But there are endless things I would rather do than jog on a treadmill, sit on a stationary bike, or plant my butt on a rowing machine.

So I make it more enjoyable and incorporate different forms of cardio in my training or add something that I want to do to my cardio (what I need to do).

If I am going to listen to a podcast or a new album release, I will do it during one of my recovery walks. 30 or 45 minutes of walking go by extra fast when listening to something enjoyable AND if done outside in nature.

If I don’t have a podcast to listen to, I will do more of a conditioning circuit workout for 20-30 minutes. Pick a couple of exercises that get the heart rate going, and repeat for a metabolic circuit. These can be things like dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell complexes.

Or I will do strongman type workouts that involve pushing sleds, pulling sleds, carrying heavy things, and slamming ropes, medballs, or sledgehammers.

This is what we all must learn to do. It’s easy to sit around and tell people what they should be doing in the short term, to gain benefits in the long term…but many people still don’t actually do it!

Instead, we need to find strategic ways to take what we KNOW we should be doing, find a way to spice it up, and DO IT.

The human body is meant to thrive off of whole, nutritious foods.

The human body is meant to be active and strong.

We all only get one body – so you better find a way to make the most of it.

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!

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You Don’t Lose Fat in the Gym

Yep. Here is a trainer, someone who puts food on the table by helping people work out at the gym. Have I lost my mind?

What’s more important for fat loss?

Nutrition. 100% of the time. It’s not that exercise doesn’t matter at all, but exercise is the simple part. Nutrition is 100% responsible for making and maintaining results.

What Is the Gym For?

Will you burn some calories at the gym? Of course! You are burning calories right now. But here’s the deal, in a 1 hour super intense workout session, you are maybe burning 300-500 calories MAX. I don’t care what your watch says – it’s built on lies.

So can we please stop focussing on the calorie burn at the gym?

Or stop caring only about how sore, tired, or sweaty we are after a workout?

The truth is, you aren’t actually losing any fat during a workout. All losses during a training session are glycogen and water. Step on the scale after a workout and who knows if your weight will be up (water intake, cellular swelling) or down (water losses). So why care?

And this is just fine because we shouldn’t be focused on our workouts as fat-burning sessions anyway – it’s everything OUTSIDE of the workout that causes the magic to happen.

Focus on having fun, challenging yourself (wisely), and building strength, physical and mental health, mobility, and all that other awesome stuff that makes you harder to kill.

Bodyfat – what is it?

From Wikipedia:

Body fat or adipose tissue’s main role is to store energy in the form of lipids, although it also cushions and insulates the body. Far from being hormonally inert, adipose tissue has, in recent years, been recognized as a major endocrine organ, as it produces hormones such as leptin, estrogen, resistin, and the cytokine TNFα. 

When it comes to burning away fat, we are concerned about the lipids, or the actual fat cells which we want to “burn away.”

First, let’s look at the hormones that our fat cells produce, and why it makes carrying extra body fat even more harmful and stressful on our body.

Fat’s Hormone Production

Leptin tells us that we are full – so the more fat we have, the more leptin we are producing to TELL our brain that we are full. Obviously, we choose to ignore these signals.

Estrogen, the female sex hormone, is found in higher levels in more obese people, men and women alike. Not good for our manly men…

Resistin increases the amount of LDL, thus increasing the risk for heart disease and heart attack by accelerating the LDL accumulation in our arteries.

Lastly, Cytokine TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is a pro-inflammatory that helps prevent tumor growth (good!) but does it by increasing fever, inflammation, and overall body stress (not good).

All around, the more of these hormones we have in our body, the worse off we are.

Back to Lipids

Lipids are made up of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen.

When our fat is oxidized (burned) – how do we actually lose it??

These compounds are broken down in our cells and turned into CO2 and H2O.

We breathe out CO2 and we pee out H2O – and this is how we actually lose fat.

But what really causes this fat oxidation? If not working out, then what is it?

How to burn fat.

Training stimulates muscle damage and uses up glycogen during training.

When we finish training, our muscles are damaged and our body begins the repair process. Cell signaling happens, and our body increases responses to repair the muscle thus increasing metabolism, and yes, drawing on fat cells for SOME energy. BUT – even this isn’t that much!

The largest chunk of fat burning is happening right now. As you read this your metabolism is working. Always doing things inside your body, you are burning calories right now, and 24/7.

Fatty acid oxidation is an important process of our metabolism, and it is slightly increased after training, and especially when we sleep (why sleep is so important) – as this is when our bodies are trying to repair and rebuild everything that we broke down at the gym.

Our basal metabolic rate is the largest contributor to our calorie burn, and it always will be. 

Stop focussing on the calorie burn of workouts, start focussing on the quality of your workouts – did you improve? Did you get faster? Stronger? (or was it a recovery workout?) – this is what training is for.

When you start focussing on “gaining” in the gym, you will start losing outside of the gym.

Nothing fancy – crush weights in the gym, find a caloric deficit through diet, listen to the hormones that tell you that you are full, and go to bed a little hungry every night, have some patience and I promise you will start losing some fat. It’s not easy, but it’s actually quite simple.

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!

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All You Need to Know About Protein

Protein – it’s what every gym rat likes to talk about.

The truth is, protein is very important for everyone looking to maximize their health. To keep it simple, protein is made up of the building blocks of tissue – amino acids. In addition to muscle, protein also makes up hair, skin, nails, hormones, and enzymes.

Besides being important for rebuilding muscle, protein has a few other pretty important attributes;

  • Protein helps with satiety, or fullness, and will help control overall intake and hunger pangs (especially late at night!)

 

  • 20-35% of calories from protein are burned through digestion or the Thermic Effect Of Food (vs. 5-15% from carbs, and 0-5% from fat) – so eating a higher protein diet keeps your metabolism revved up. Have you ever gotten the meat sweats after eating a ton of meat? It’s a real thing.

Where Do I Get Protein?

High protein foods are pretty much anything that comes from the flesh of animals, or anything produced by an animal that is edible (milk, eggs, and dairy-based protein powders).

High protein, non-animal sources include tofu and beans – which also are a moderate protein source at best and also a significant carbohydrate source.

What About Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are technically supplements – but, they are whole food supplements. They are made from whole foods like milk, eggs, meats, or plants. They are a GREAT option to help fill in some gaps in your nutrition and are NOT just for gym bros.

Protein powders have come a very long way, and most are actually quite tasty. I recommend building a custom blend based on your needs over at TrueNutrition.com – and use coupon code “MGFITLIFE” to save some $$$

Protein is the most under-consumed macronutrient in the average American diet. For a healthy, lean, and active individual looking to maximize performance (performance not necessarily meaning athletic performance, but overall performance throughout the day to day tasks), health, and overall strength, I always recommend eating 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

(200 lb. healthy male = 200g of protein per day, 150 lb healthy female = 150g protein).

The current US RDA for protein is a sad recommendation of 46 grams per day for females and 56 grams per day for males. These are the level you need to be at to prevent muscle wasting. Not optimal health, but the bare-bones minimum to make sure you don’t get too fit and healthy. Just another reason to trust the government…

Where this recommendation changes a bit is in overweight or obese individuals.

If looking to lose body fat, a caloric deficit is still crucial, and if somebody is 300 pounds, eating 300 grams of protein per day might not be possible or necessary.

In these cases, I like to use 1.25 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass.

Let’s say that someone is 260 pounds, and 40% body fat. 260 x .4 = 104 pounds of body fat. Taking the total weight (260) minus the body fat (104) gives us 156 pounds of lean body mass x 1.25 = 195 grams of protein.

If you are serious about your training (or health for that matter), you need to be serious about your protein intake.

Training is catabolic – meaning it breaks down muscle tissue. Sufficient protein is key for proper recovery and boosting performance. Yes, you actually BREAK DOWN muscle in the gym and build it outside of the gym!

If you are more sedentary, maybe it’s time to consider getting some weight training in – but that’s for another time. Our bodies eventually get to a point in our 30s and 40s where we start losing muscle mass – aka sarcopenia.

It’s been proven that this process can be slowed or even reversed by following even a basic full-body strength program and eating enough protein to facilitate recovery and maintain muscle mass.

How Do I Start Getting More?

Take a good look at how much protein you currently eat, and most likely you will be looking to increase your intake. If you are currently eating 100 grams, and your goal is 200 grams, I don’t recommend trying to make that jump overnight.

First, try to find what your consistent daily average is. For this example, we are going with 100 grams.

Then, try increasing by 10 grams per day for the whole week (110 grams per day). Keep increasing by 5-10 grams per day every week until you get close to your goal intake.

When people focus on increasing their protein intake, they start cutting out less nutritious foods, especially foods that are loaded with junk carbs and greasy fats – because most processed junk is high in carbs and fats, but not protein.

By simply starting slow, and slowly increasing until you get to your desired goal intake, you will be one step ahead of everyone else who is still trying to jump from fad diet to fad diet.

Now go get that protein!

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.

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!

 

 

What You Really Need to Succeed

What do you need to succeed – at anything?

Motivation?

The right environment?

Discipline?

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

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Permission to Reduce Your Stress – 10 Ways How

By now things have had time to simmer. To sink in. Realities. Potentials. What ifs and If only’s.

People are mad, scared, tired, frustrated, and are feeling forgotten – and that’s okay to feel that way.

However, like any other time we need to remember to stick to the one main principle that we always know to be true – we are in control of our thoughts and actions. 

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The Not So Motivational Talk You Need

Whether or not you are a fan of Nike, we all need to heed their slogan a little bit more.

Just. Do. It.

What is this? Drill Sergeant Mike coming on strong now? No more empathy, compassion, and love? Not so fast…this is where many go wrong.

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Throw Away Your Scale?!

We have all heard this before. Heck, I’ve probably said it before. “Don’t worry about your scale!” “throw the scale away!” “The scale is a source of pain and anguish”…

But is it really time to completely throw away the scale? Or time to create a new relationship with the scale, and also add more tools to our toolbox of progress?

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5 Common Sense (But Often Ignored) Ways to Reduce Your Calories

Before you seek out the latest fad diet, supplement, or 21-Day-Cleanse program (for the 5th time this year), consider that the answers that might be right in front of you. The solution to your problem may not be “try something new” – it might be “pay attention to your current self”.

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3 Reasons Why Your 1200 Calories is Really 2400

“I’m trying to eat 1200 calories a day, and I still can’t lose weight!” Raise your hand if you have heard this, said this, or read this before. We all have. Somewhere, someone came up with 1200 as the magic number to lose weight – especially for women!

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