The TRUTH About All Those “Eat Whatever You Want and Lose Weight” People

It’s true! You CAN eat pizza and lose weight. You CAN eat Big Mac’s and lose weight!

This is something that I see ads for, marketing for, and friends sharing posts about all the time. I myself even share the occasional “I eat ____ as part of my healthy diet”.

The disconnect is this – most people who eat this way don’t show, or talk about the other 90% of their diet. Because that wouldn’t appeal to the average person that wants a quick fix, minimal effort, life-changing plan.

There are some in the industry who do this very responsibly, and are very balanced about it and are very transparent about it. These people are my friends – I don’t associate with the other type – so if you are reading this I’m probably not talking about you 🙂 

Then there are those who have an unhealthy relationship with food. They post about eating 2 pizzas and still having abs, but they then go on to skip their next 4 meals and chug away on the treadmill for 2 hours.

They preach about “eat what you love, get results” – but this isn’t true – because all YOU see is the “bad food” that they indulge in.

Be wary of these people. Be wary of someone who tells you that you can eat WHATEVER you want and still lose weight. The next question you should ask should be, “what quantity of whatever can I eat 🙂 “?

Look, it all comes down to creating a calorie deficit if the goal is to lose weight. We get it. 

I could lose weight eating nothing but Ben and Jerry’s for 2 weeks.

Americone Dream (1 pint) – 1140 cals – 64 fat, 123 carbs, 17 protein

I could lose weight eating 2.5 pints of this per day. But that’s ALL I would get to eat.

How realistic is that?

I would give myself maybe 2 days before I –

  • A) crapped my pants so bad,
  • B) went insane and/or
  • C) Ate my own arm off.

Yes, you COULD do this and lose weight. But it’s not realistic, AND you would become so deficient in many vitamins, minerals, and protein that your weight would be the least of your worries.

Again – you CAN eat whatever you want, but likely not how much you want, and still lose weight.

This is called balance, moderation, or managing – whatever adult term we want to use.

There are many ways to do this, eyeballing things and making general assumptions to literally measuring everything out and tracking macros to a T.

So how can you REALLY eat WHATEVER (not HOW MUCH) you want, and still get results and NOT end up deficient in nutrients or malnourished?

The Most Accurate Way – TRACKING LIKE A BOSS. Become “scale guy” or “scale girl”. 

This works for some people – and I am super happy for them. But I also know many people who won’t do this, even though it damn near guarantees results.

After figuring out your goal intake, if you can hit 80% of your calories from nutrient-rich, balanced foods, you would be just fine hitting the other 20% from foods that you like to indulge in…but you probably can’t indulge in them.

Let’s say your calorie goal to lose weight is 1800 calories. 20% = 360 calories from “junk”. Well, you get a little over a half cup of Ben and Jerry’s. If you are like me, a half cup of ice cream is one spoonful.

But this is how it is done.

You make “adult decisions” earlier in the day if you plan on indulging later in the day. It’s really simple. You eat lower calorie, high protein, high nutrient-rich foods, then indulge later in the day on calorie-dense goodies. But everything is measured out perfectly.

The Eyeball Method

This might be less accurate, but it also still involves making responsible adult decisions.

If you KNOW you will be eating pizza and cake later, how can you “offset” those foods earlier?

Well, pizza and cake is mostly fat (cheese, pepperoni, butter) and carbs (the crust, sugar, flour) so maybe breakfast would be egg whites and veggies (high protein, low fat, low carb), snack 1 would be a protein shake, lunch would be a big ass salad with chicken, and snack two would be a Greek Yogurt and fruit.

It’s not as perfect as measuring and weighing, but it’s still making a conscientious decision to make changes earlier in the day, to enjoy later.

But here is where that approach can backfire…

Let’s say you eat 3 pieces of Little Cesar’s Cheese Pizza and 1 slice of Oreo Ice Cream Cake (1/12th of the cake…LOL, who only eats 1/12th of a cake!)

Well that little meal was 960 calories (122 carbs, 38 fat, 38 Protein)

So unless you offset by that much earlier in the day, you could STILL be in a calorie surplus aka weight gain zone.

This just shows how calorie-dense foods like pizza and ice cream cake and add up super fast! SUPER FAST!

These are usually cases where most people THINK they are “barely eating” and not losing weight.

I’m sorry to break it to you – but if if you don’t track something in your food journal or track it accurately – your body still will.

Whether you want to learn to use a food scale or just start eyeballing things, making a change for the positive is the right way to go.

The last bit of tough love for the day is this: people who say that diets void of treats, sweets, grease, and drinks every day are deprivation diets are full of you know what. How many years, decades, and centuries did people live just fine and healthy lives without junk food?

True moderation of these foods is much less than most people think.

True moderation is once a week, once a month, or “here and there” – not once per day, or even 3-4 times per week (depending on the food/drink).

While macros and calories matter, your quality of nutrition matters as well. It goes beyond the number on the scale. It is about internal health, blood health, gut health, heart health, skin health, and the true sustainability of a diet.

So yes, you can eat a little bit of what you want, and still lose weight, and feel batter – just probably not to the extent of what you might think.

 

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, figuring out how to find true balance, or just crush some goals and get the body of your dreams?  IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Put an End to Your Food Sensitivities – FOR GOOD!

It was a Friday afternoon. I had just finished up early at the hospital and I was headed back to Madison for a weekend. I ate some leftover cheese ravioli and slammed a big glass of milk as I rushed out the door to the weekend that awaited.

I got on the road and called my mom just to chat. Then, about 30 minutes into the drive…it happened.

The panic, the cold sweat, and the flipping stomach. I HAD TO POOP!

I flew off the interstate at 90 mph, flew into a Kwik Trip parking lot, parked across 2 spots diagonally, and ran in pinching my cheeks as hard as possible.

I will spare you the details from here.

This was the last time I drank milk. Spring 2014.

Since then, I have realized a few other foods thats don’t hit me THIS hard, but lead to some unfortunate results.

How about you? Do you have issues with certain foods? Do you feel lost, frustrated and confused as to what you can eat and what you can’t? I know how you feel.

I felt this same way once – before the “incident” that “woke me up” – but what I found now is that by investing a little extra effort and time into solving this issue, I can now live mostly gut issue free!

Let’s start with the simplest tactic: awareness.

Like anything else that matters to you, you need to be aware of the fact that you are doing it or not doing it. “I have no clue why my kid resents me?” – maybe you are unaware that you never play with them… “I have no clue why I always get bloated and gassy after certain meals” – time to become aware.

Take mental, or better yet, physical notes on what’s going on! See if you can pin down the food that is causing the issue. For me – nearly crapping my pants was the final wake up call I needed to know milk probably wasn’t the best option.

Also, I noticed that every time I ate a raw fruit with a pit, my throat got scratchy. So guess what, I stopped eating them.

So many people decide to throw in the towel on their food and say “this is just how it’s going to be…”. Well, that’s not me, and that shouldn’t be you.

Once you find awareness, it is time for acceptance. 

Milk wasn’t a hard one for me to give up. But other dairy products that I love have been.

However, none of them give me as bad of a reaction as milk, so sometimes I choose to live with them…and this is part of acceptance. Either accept the fact that something makes you feel so crappy that you are okay with avoiding it, or accept the fact that you are going to live in denial and just continue feeling crappy.

For me, I have accepted my choice to avoid milk, and to limit the other stuff to special occasions – and accept that I might be a little gassy and bloated – and I’m ok with that once in a while.

What if you cannot pinpoint the culprit?

Food sensitivities can be brutal, and hard to pinpoint. Some common issues that maybe don’t seem so common are:

  • asthma and allergies
  • autoimmune disorders
  • skin conditions
  • arthritis
  • atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases
  • neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia
  • mood disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • narcolepsy
  • addiction
  • migraines
  • kidney problems

(via Precision Nutrition)

If you feel like you cannot pinpoint what is causing your issues, I suggest running an elimination diet. Yes, don’t get a test done – they are often inaccurate, and will just end up telling you to do an elimination diet anyways.

So here we go again, something that seems “hard” and most people won’t do this. But the freedom that this might bring you, and the pain and frustration it might prevent should motivate you to do this!

The Elimination Diet Protocol

First Three Weeks; follow these guidelines – via Precision Nutrition

Yes, this sounds tough, but again – worth it. Buckle down, own up, and make this happen.

After 3 weeks:

You want to pick ONE group that you eliminated and introduce it back for ONE day. Then cut it out for 2 days again – and look for any weird symptoms:

  • Gi Issues
  • Worse sleep
  • Joint pain
  • Sinus issues
  • Skin issues

Then reintroduce another food group and repeat the process with everything you cut out – one group at a time.

It might look like this:

  • Weeks 1-3 – Elimination Diet Protocol
  • Week 4- Monday – Add coffee back (yes, this would be the hardest for me too)
  • Week 4 – Tues – Wed – Cut coffee out (note any issues)
  • Week 4 – Thursday – Add citrus fruits back
  • Week 4 – Friday -Saturday – Cut out citrus (note any issues)

Repeat this with everything, and when you DO have that 2-day stretch where something seems to feel funky – you NOW have you suspect! Good work!

Final Tips

Yes, I know this doesn’t look easy. But again – are you willing to work to improve your well being and health?

Look back to the list above of what foods you can eat. Toss out anything that isn’t on the list – or the stuff that is on the elimination list. Then, use it as your shopping list. Go grocery shopping and buy only these foods, and find ways to prepare them.

It actually doesn’t look all that bad…

So much so that if this post gets 10 shares, I will run a full elimination diet and document the whole process for you! Game on!

Take your health back, invest in the process, and feel better in just about a month and a half…doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?

 

Would you like more guidance on taking back your life, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

When Diet and Exercise are NOT Enough

I exercise, and I eat well – yet I still DON’T SEE RESULTS!

First question – what results are you after?

Second: Do they align with what you are doing?

Third: Do they align with what you do 24/7/365?

These are the three biggest questions you can ask yourself right now when it comes to the overall lifestyle that you are currently choosing to live. By taking a deeper dive into these questions, you may come to some harsh realizations that you did not want to accept, or you may come out completely “woke” to a different viewpoint.

What Results Are You After?

9 out of 10 people are going to start with “weight loss” as their answer. That’s a fact.

I encourage people to dive deeper. Weight loss could be accomplished just taking a giant dump, or chopping off a limb. Yet, we still give SO MUCH power to that silly little number on the scale.

“Hi, my name is Mike, and I lost .8 pounds in a year – sign up to work with me :)”

Not the most impressive sales pitch, huh?

Good thing “weight loss” wasn’t my goal.

My goal was to add muscle mass without putting on fat while being able to cut back to 3 days of lifting per week, enjoying more time with my family, and building my business. Now that is a specific goal!

If you look closely at the weight trends you can see when I was doing a small “massing” phase, and when I was doing a small “cut” phase…but thats beside the point. The point is – what are your REAL goals, that are not confined to a number on the scale.

Sure, you may have 50 pounds of body fat to lose, but I still want you to dig deeper than “lose weight” as a goal. Figure out why that 50 pounds needs to come off, and also find some other parameters to measure, because the weight will drive you nuts.

  • Measurements
  • Body Fat %
  • Performance Numbers
  • Fit of Clothes
  • Reduction in Medications
  • Blood markers

These things can all provide MUCH more insight than a number on the scale.

Do Your Desired Results Align with Your Current Nutrition and Training?

If I wanted to get super strong in the deadlift, it wouldn’t make much sense to train like a marathon runner.

If I wanted to lose a bunch of body fat, but keep all my muscle and stay “jacked” looking, it wouldn’t make much sense to go on a starvation diet.

There is much more to “diet and exercise” than eat less – exercise more, or eat more – exercise less.

It takes TIME to build muscle, and patience (or high dose anabolic steroids). It takes time to rebuild a broken metabolism.

If you want to maximize your muscle-building potential, training once per week will not cut it.

If you want to lose maximal bodyfat, eating 1000 calories per day will not end well.

If you want to become a more confident version of yourself and create a newfound level of happiness – losing body fat and looking sexy might not cut it…

We give these misconceived images to our goals and imagine that once we are at our arbitrary goal, we will find our result (leanness, happiness, etc.) However, we often miss the mark on taking the best path to those goals AND enjoying the journey.

If you are not happy, fat loss won’t make you happy.

If you are not confident, building muscle won’t make you confident.

They may help, but to get these kinds of results you must dive deeper, seek out different avenues to work on, and stop thinking that your body determines your persona.

Do Your Desired Results Align with What You Do 24/7/365??

No, this doesn’t mean that you need to obsess over diet and exercise all day, every day. Quite the opposite.

You become a walking version and representation of what you do on average, over and over again.

Maybe you crush it in the gym 4 times per week and follow a rigid diet 4 days per week…

But Friday-Sunday you party hard, booze it up, become sleep-deprived, and eat so much hangover food that you feel like Jabba the Hutt.

You likely are not going to become a bikini model, or be mistaken for Pre-Endgame Thor any time soon.

A) Trains, Eats Well, Repeats.                           B) Parties Hard 7 Days Per Week

This even goes far beyond diet and exercise. What are you sleep habits like, stress levels like, social interactions, and aspirations to a higher purpose or meaning in life?

Yes, having your health and taking care of your body is one of the most important things you can do, because, without that, you probably won’t be able to do all the other things you enjoy. BUT it is NOT the ONLY important thing in your life – or it shouldn’t be.

Back to my goal – add muscle mass without putting on fat while being able to cut back to 3 days of lifting per week, enjoying more time with my family, and building my business.

Yes, there was still a component of my body in there – and that’s my choice, man. BUT I also didn’t want to live at the gym, or not be able to play with my daughter and wife because “daddy has to train” – and I want to give my family a great life, so continuing to grow the business was important to me without adding tremendous extra hours “at work”.

I can proudly say that I did all of the above, and looking back on the year…did it pretty damn well.

This is over the course of 8 months…not 8 weeks. Time is important my friends.

Goals and results around your body and health are often accomplished more by what you do outside of the gym than what you do in the gym. Read this again.

Even if you train hard 7 hours per week. That leaves 161 other hours for you to do things that either support your goals or go against them. 

This can include so many things outside of food and exercise – so just make sure that your lifestyle aligns overall with what you want to accomplish – and make sure you know what you really want to accomplish.

 

Would you like more guidance on taking back your life, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Is Diet Culture Dooming Us All?

As I touched on last week, I firmly believe in distancing morality from food. There are no good nor bad foods – there are just foods, and healthy and unhealthy portions, based on your current situation.

But as a dietitian, a so-called “expert” in the realm of nutrition, how can you NOT say that there are bad foods?!?

This infuriates people. The dieters. The gurus. The zealots.

There are CLEARLY BAD FOODS! Gluten, sugar, carbs, fat, dairy…

People love to give these labels and marry them to a specific ideology around food.

Here is the deal, and the shocking truth – people are different. What may be unhealthy for one person, could be okay or tolerable for another. Gluten, for example, can wreak havoc on someone with Celiac Disease, or a major intolerance… but to someone else, it may be totally fine.

Dairy – especially milk – causes me some super unpleasant side effects within minutes of consuming. While my wife can handle it.

People are different.

While there are some fairly universal truths when it comes to what we eat being a healthy option – vegetables are one – there are STILL outliers. Some people have terrible reactions to peppers, and onions. Some to broccoli (and no, that’s not a legit excuse to avoid eating broccoli if you can).

People are different.

Do you get the point yet?

What about donuts? And pie? And cookies? How can you say that those are not bad?

Again – context matters. What is bad about the dount? The donut itself isn’t bad. It’s frickin delicious. Eating 20 donuts per week…still not bad in itself, but probably not the healthiest decision. Eating a donut once in a blue moon, while being active and balancing your diet with mostly non-donuty foods? Probably 100% totally cool.

So by adhering and perpetuating the diet culture – which is only successful 5% of the time – where has it gotten us? Not very far. Yes, 5% of people who lose weight on a diet keep it off for more than 2 years.

So 95% of people who try to diet, fail?

No.

95% of diets fail people. 

Most diets out there make it so unbearable to continue forever, that after a year, maybe two – life happens and you start back to your old ways. You see, food is pleasurable. It’s not just fuel, or macros, or sustenance to get you to a weight that will make you happy. It is supposed to be enjoyed. We cannot deny that foods bring pleasure.

When these diets deprive us of entire food groups or put us on an insanely low amount of calories, then, of course, we are bound to give up. Who wouldn’t??

So how the heck are people supposed to lose fat, improve their health, or get super sexy 6 pack abs?!?!

Awareness. Acceptance. Time. Consistency. Patience. And Effort.

Awareness as to how you have gotten to your current state, and if it is a state of unhappiness, figuring out why you are unhappy. Will losing weight ACTUALLY make you happier? Solve the root of your unhappiness? If not, then don’t even think about trying to lose weight. Solve the root problem first.

Acceptance that you have gotten to your current state because of a cumulative effect of things you have an have no done over years and years. This is not meant to shame, but to just accept ownership of your decisions. You decided to stop working out for 10 years. You decided to stop cooking meals, and eat out all the time. You decide every morning to drink 800 calories from Starbucks. None of these decisions are inherently good or bad, they just are what they are – and they have lead you to your current point. Once you accept that YOU have gotten yourself here, you can also accept that YOU can get yourself out.

Time. It will take time. You didn’t get unhealthy from eating one “bad” meal. You won’t get healthy from eating one “good” meal. Go back to awareness. Why are you here? What got you to this point? Why is it important that you not be at this point? Dig deep. Find the real “why” that will pull you out of the bed each morning, and encourage you to realize that you don’t need food to cope with your stress.

Consistency. Again – one salad, one donut – won’t change much. You need to be consistent. But not OCD. If you give yourself time, you can be more lenient. Enjoy holidays. Enjoy birthdays. But maybe don’t celebrate every taco Tuesday with 4 margaritas. What you do the majority of your time, will lead you to become the person that is a direct result of your efforts.

Effort. It’s simple, but not easy. Most will give up when they don’t see 10 pounds gone in 10 days. Most will want 7 minute abs to be true. Most will want the supplement that their friend scammed sold them on to work now. Truth is, you still need to put in the effort. The effort is needed to move your body, break a little sweat, and challenge yourself occasionally. The effort is needed to not bring foods into your house that you know you struggle with. The effort is needed to not give up when you feel you are doing everything right, but the scale hasn’t moved in weeks (scale doesn’t mean everything – never forget that).

We haven’t failed at diets. Diets have failed us – because what we perceive diets to be are miserable, unsustainable and damn near laughable.

 

Would you like more guidance on taking back your life, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Let’s Stop Calling Foods “Good” and “Bad”, Shall We?

I sat down in my office to get to work on some client check in’s for my online nutrition coaching. The first one I opened, BAM! There it was… “I need to call you, I am really struggling”.

I remember my stomach dropped. What was going on? How serious was this? Am I going to need to refer out to someone more suited for this kind of talk?

We got on the phone the next day and I was met with such a sigh of relief. Well, sort of relief.

This client explained to me that she was feeling so guilty about tracking her bad foods in MyFitnessPal because I would see it and shame her. This was our first week working together…

I explained to her that I NEVER shame anyone, especially for what they eat and only maybe for the sports team they choose to support…but the bigger point I made was one that I make often.

Food Carries NO Morals. It doesn’t affect our morality. It doesn’t change who we are as a person. Food is not good, it is not bad, and it doesn’t make us good or bad based on what we eat.

Food is food.

I say that this call was the only sort of a relief because she wasn’t in danger or anything, but this is something I hear all too often – people calling foods good or bad or making them out to be these magical unicorns or evil trolls….it’s food people, that’s all.

The more “power” we give to foods by labeling them a certain way, the more they will affect us at a psychological level. Think about the forbidden fruit story from the Bible. Eat whatever you want, but you better not touch that delicious looking apple! Well…thanks a lot, Eve.

When certain diet gurus or magazines need to make money, they criminalize one food while promoting another. This is usually from some sort of bastardized study that someone in their research department read, and said, “yeah we can stretch this”.

At the same time, you better bet there is a paper trail connecting them to the food or supplement that they are touting as the miracle food of the week.

Food is Food. Nothing else. Don’t give it the power that it doesn’t have, and you will realize that you are more in control of your food “addictions” and impulses than you think!

So what do we call foods then? You can’t tell me that eating Twinkies and HoHo’s is good for you…

If this is you reading this, you are right – I’m not telling anyone to go out and crush beers and ice cream (terrible combo anyways).

We have 2 categories of foods or two ends of the spectrum so to speak.

Calorie Dense and Nutrient Dense

Calorie dense foods are probably the foods that most would label as “bad”. Pizza, cake, ice cream, alcohol, fries, greasy hamburgers, cookies, donuts, etc.

These foods pack a ton of calories, in a relatively small volume.

Think Snickers bar here. Pretty small, and packs 280 calories, and not a whole lot of quality nutrients. That is calorie-dense. Not BAD. Not GOOD. But calorie-dense.

Nutrient-Dense foods are on the opposite end of the spectrum. These are foods that are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and low in calories per gram.

Think vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains. The foods usually labeled “good”.

Think broccoli here. A full plate = 200 calories. It’s loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and other great micronutrients. Then we have 200 calories of delicious peanut butter…roughly the size of a golf ball. #Sad

But now there is a twist…foods that are both.

Of course, there is a twist…calorie dense AND nutrient-dense foods do exist.

These are your healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, nuts, coconut oil…

Via VeryWellFit – check out the awesome nutrients of almonds! Also, check out how 24 almonds (this is not that many) is 164 calories. Calorie AND Nutrient Dense.

Again, check out avocados. Awesome fiber, and heart-healthy fats…but also 227 calories (or more if you are getting steroid avocados).

These are usually the culprits when people say “I eat clean, and still can’t lose weight!”

You see, you can eat “clean” all you want, but if you are in a calorie surplus…you will still gain weight.

Awareness is the key to success. I’m not here to tell you how to eat, what to eat, or what foods are good or bad. Everyone is different, and everyone has different needs. If you take the time to learn about this stuff, become aware, and make some small changes, I promise you can start moving in the direction that you want to.

Would you like more guidance on taking back your life, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

4 Ways to Simplify Your Workouts Without Stressing Over the Small Stuff (With Videos)

When it comes to working out, there are a million different things you can do and a million different ways that people think is best.

The one common factor: hard work and challenging stimulus.

So why do we NEED to overcomplicate things? The tried and true methods still exist for a reason. The staple exercises still exist for a reason. They work.

But what about when we are low on time, energy, equipment or creativity? Can we still get in a good workout? I better bet you can. Here are a few of my favorite methods or modalities to train when there is a limiting factor.

Time

I love doing simple timed supersets or trisets. Let’s say you only have 30 minutes to be in and out of the gym. Okay, take 5 minutes to warm up and 5 minutes to cool down. That means we have 20 minutes for a workout.

Pick 2 to 3 exercises that hit different muscle groups – upper, lower and maybe abs.

Set a timer to beep every 2 minutes, then do 6-12 reps of each exercise, rest until the beep, and repeat again. Here is a simple example using just one dumbbell:

Dumbbell Offset Reverse Lunge

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

If you do this every 2 minutes, that means you are getting in 10 sets of each. Pretty darn good work.

No Equipment

Your body weight can be a great tool here.

Keep it simple, pick a set number of rounds, or like the previous example, do timed rounds.

Here we have a squat, row, single leg RDL, pushup and single leg glute bridge:

***If you don’t even have a bar to row on, just skip it, but make sure you get in some rowing movements later in the week!***

Just a Barbell

“Just” a barbell is a ridiculous statement. You can do SO MUCH with a barbell!

Here is a simple barbell complex: squat, row, RDL, and push up.

Obviously, you want to use a challenging weight, and the right number of reps based on the weight and or the rounds you choose to do. I have done this exact complex for 25 minutes straight (6-8 reps per exercise with 135 on the bar, plus 1-minute rest after each round) and it is BRUTAL!

Get Creative

Maybe you just have a foam roller? Or a log? There is literally no excuse to NOT get a workout in.

Here is a foam roller only complex, and my cabin log workout (this was more of a joke, but it IS possible!)

 

BONUS: It doesn’t always have to be crazy! 

Here was a cabin mobility/pump workout I did in the basement of my parent’s cabin. Don’t overthink these things!

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Your Diet Doesn’t Matter, and 3 Other Things That Don’t

***This was an email sent out to my insiders’ list this week. If you are NOT on the list, get on it here to receive more tactical emails like this one — CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP***

Let’s stop the talk about this and that diet being best…

Currently, America sits at a 40% obesity rate, and about a 75% overweight rate. Here are the cold hard facts from the CDC itself:

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

So what caused this?

Well depending on where you get your information, or what Netflix documentary you decide to confuse with a factual, educated report, it could be anything!

Sugar, fat, carbs, processed foods, toxins, meat, etc… have ALL been blamed!

Those documentaries always will have an agenda. The people they interview are usually trying to sell something, and they will cherry pick their studies only to support their beliefs. Just like a political debate, you are only getting one side of the story. Remember that the next time you watch a food doc, and decide you need to change your whole life based on one movie.

Here’s what some pretty smart and unbiased people have come up with:

We eat too much, and we move too little…this is it.

Yes, sugar has contributed (even though consumption is actually DOWN over the last 10 years). Yes, fat has contributed (stop putting butter in your coffee, please!) Yes, processed foods have contributed…

But it all comes down to eating too damn much, and not moving enough.

AND studies have also shown that you can lose weight while pretty much eating whatever you want AS LONG as you are eating less than you are burning aka a calorie deficit.

But what about internal health, like blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure?

These markers will ALL improve with a loss of fat. If you are currently obese and have a high marker for any of these, stop wasting time reading about the XYZ diets that are best for you, and just start focussing on losing some weight.

Internal health markers all show significant improvement with body fat loss regardless of what diet you use. Yes, even high fat keto diets improve cholesterol, and high sugar diets have improved blood sugar levels WHEN they are used in a calorie deficit eliciting a fat loss effect.

What about exercise? Don’t I need to punish myself for my gluttony?

That’s the last thing you need to do. If you are obese, and not active, doing some crazy hardcore boot camp or HIIT  training will destroy your body, joints, and soul.

It may LOOK like that is what you need based on commercials and outdated TV shows… but truthfully you need to first focus on diet, then just start walking.

Walking is free. Walking is low impact. Walking has many other great benefits:

  • Blood sugar control after a meal
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Joint mobility
  • Improved mood
  • Free dog interactions (if you like dogs)

If you are NEW to exercise or have any form of chronic pain because of your severe obesity – PLEASE DO NOT sign up for a crazy high impact Bootcamp class. Find a good personal trainer who will work with you and where you are at.

What Foods Should You Never Eat Though?

The internet and gurus love to use these lines as click bait. Truthfully, there IS NO MAGICAL FOOD that will make you fat by itself. It doesn’t work that way.

There are no good or bad foods, they have no morals. There are only good and bad portions or good or bad reasons as to WHY we are eating.

Good reason to eat: you are hungry and need nourishment.
Bad reason to eat: any other time, really…

But even this is only partially true. Think about the coffee shop. You sit down and order a large cappcifrappecoco and a scone because, duh, its a coffee shop, without even thinking.

How many people go there because they truly need a meal vs. meeting up with friends, hanging out after a kids baseball game, or magically appearing in the drive-thru because we are stressed?

So it’s not so much about WHAT we eat, but truly not knowing WHY we eat that we need to be focussed on.

What About Fancy Workout Programs to Boost Fat Loss?

Again – not that simple.

The very popular at home, the P90x program is a great example.

Independent researchers looked at three groups:

  1. People who did the program.
  2. People who did the program, and the nutrition plan that came with it.
  3. People who did the nutrition plan that came with it, and their own workouts of choice.

Guess what? Groups 2 and 3 had the same results, while group 1 had worse results.

This shows two things: nutrition matters and exercise modality kiiiiiinda doesn’t…

I say that with a grain of salt, but it’s really just like a diet – you need to find what works for YOU and what you can do safely.

Now, that being said, if you are after a certain LOOK, there are certain ways you will need to train.

You can’t train like a cross country runner and end up looking like a bodybuilder.

But you still don’t need to make training so darn complex. Find a solid program, stick to it for at least 12 weeks, and then assess if you are better off now than you were when you started.

I hope this helps clarify some things for you, and I hope that you can use this knowledge to either help yourself in the right direction or someone you know and care about – so feel free to share it along!

Until next time, stay healthy my friends,

Mike

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How to Avoid Gaining Fat on a Holiday

“What will I do this _______ (insert holiday here) – how will I stay on plan?”

I get this question a lot, and I sense the worry of many patriotic Americans this 4th of July, who know it is their civic duty to celebrate our independence by stuffing our faces full of processed meats, things we call salads that are hardly salads, and epic amounts of American beer…because that’s what freedom looks like!

Now, the cliche answer that many coaches will put out there is – one day doesn’t matter.

One day won’t ruin your month of work, your year of progress. Just like one salad doesn’t make you healthy, one binge day won’t make you fat…

yeah yeah yeah, we have heard it all.

But what if this is wrong? What if one day CAN derail you? Well, I’m here to explain that it can – and how you can minimize the damage.

Let me get this straight though – if you have been rocking your lifestyle, training, and nutrition lately, and you have one crazy day of pigging out, then get right back to your normally planned routine on July 5th, then yeah…most likely you might wake up a little puffy, water-bloated, and hungover… but it won’t undo weeks of work.

But for most people, this is not the case.

From a psychological standpoint, many people struggle with the whole “get right back to it” part. And to make matters harder, many preemtively prepare for a holiday by using the ol’ “i’ll be pigging out in 2 days anyway, so might as well start now” line.

AND to go full science nerd on you – one day of overeating CAN lead to fat gain if you push your calories into a surplus.

For example – let’s say your maintenance calorie level is 2000 calories. If you eat 2000 calories every day you stay at the exact same weight.

Now let’s say you have been losing weight by eating 1800 calories per day. Your week might look like this with a July 4th party…

  • Monday 1800
  • Tuesday 1800
  • Wednesday 1800
  • Thursday 5000
  • Friday 1800
  • Saturday 1800
  • Sunday 1800

AVERAGE: 2257 calories aka a SURPLUS

So yes, one day of super binging CAN derail you. Facts our facts. No fake news here. The key is to not let it if it happens. Yes, you will have a setback – but this is not the end of the world. It is what it is…and frankly it’s called being a human.

The mistake most make is they beat themselves up over this weight gain. They feel guilt, shame, and disappointment – and eventually, just give up. That is where the mistake lies. Not in the one-day bender for America – but giving up BECAUSE of the one-day bender.

If you put yourself in the right mental mindset, you can get over this mental hump and just keep fighting forward – great! It happened, now just move on. Don’t vent about it on social media, don’t cry about it to your spouse – just move on.

Now how can we minimize the potential for that one-day bender causing a setback?

Be Active

Get a workout in. A hard one. A heavy one. You know you will be eating like a patriot on July 5th, 1776 later today, so make room for all that fuel. I love doing heavy leg days or strongman type workouts on holidays.

I like this one for today:

  • Farmer Carry
  • Sled Push
  • Clean to Press
  • Sled Pull

I will use bodyweight for farmer carries and double bodyweight on the sled. 6 rounds sound fun.

Also – go for walks after meals. Don’t just sit around in a coma all day. Just move.

Prolong Fasting

If you know you are grilling out around noon, maybe have a light breakfast or skip it altogether ( not recommended if you are doing the above recommendation of training hard). There is nothing wrong about prolonging your fast from the night. Some might say this encourages eating disorder like behavior – which in some it might – so know your mind and body – BUT for many, this is just a biological tactic that humans have been doing unintentionally forever up until the current century.

The other tactic is prolonging the fast the day after.

If you wake up tomorrow still full from today, here’s a newsflash – you don’t need to eat. Listen to your body. Again – for some, this might trigger eating disorder like behavior, but for many, this is just called mindful or intuitive eating. Don’t eat unless you are hungry is a simple, but a very challenging thing to master.

Keep it Normal as Possible

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you NEED to pig out. I know, crazy idea!

The fact is, you can enjoy the celebrations and the company of others without pigging out. There is nothing that says you need to change a thing with your diet.

But I am also here to reinforce the bigger picture.

Yes – one day CAN derail you. But you don’t need to let it. If you want to enjoy 4 brats and 12 beers – go for it. Just own your decision and own the result, and move on. We could sit around and blame others for why we pigged out on a holiday and how we have no clue why our weight went up, but that’s lying to ourselves.

Enjoy the day how ever the heck you want to – if you choose to take a day off, sit around, and pig out – awesome! If not, awesome! Just remember it’s your decision and your decision alone.

 

Happy 4th America!

 

 

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Stop Lying to Yourself About Reaching Your Goals

You are holding yourself back. No one else, but you.

This is a very hard thing for many people to accept. If you are okay with your current life – not even talking fitness and health here – that is awesome! But if you are not happy, and you continue to not take ownership and do something about it, you are the only one to blame.

You need to take ownership of your life and your decisions, and stop blaming outside people and things as the cause for why you can’t do XY and Z.

Ask most people what a good show to watch is and they will fire off 5 shows on TV or Netflix, but then those same people will tell you how much they wish they had the time to go to the gym.

They have the time.

It’s just not a current priority of theirs – and thats okay – as long as they don’t complain about not seeing specific results that they want.

We need to get better at owning our situations and choices.

When I played football in high school, one of our rules was if you screw up on a play, you say “my fault coach” and move on, and don’t do it again. Obviously, if someone had too many “my fault coach”‘s – they would get demoted.

But taking ownership of our mistakes, and moving forward saved us a lot of time and energy that I’m sure many people would rather spend arguing about why they screwed up, or how it was so-and-so’s fault…but we had work to do, and didn’t need to waste time doing that.

This is one of the many reasons why Eden Prairie Football is a powerhouse in the state of Minnesota and we were undefeated state champs my senior year #glorydays

When it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition – these same rules apply.

You do have time to workout. You do have time to make a healthier meal. You CAN sleep more.

You just need to prioritize these things and put in the work. Like anything else worthwhile in life, the results FOLLOW the work!

Here are some of my favorite examples of how you can do all of the above:

Making protein breakfasts – okay, this one is pretty specific, but it’s one of my favorite “myths” to bust. Eggs and egg whites are a staple of many peoples healthy diets – while the standard American breakfast is full of carbs and sugar. It takes me less than 3 minutes to make eggs in the morning. You can find three minutes – I promise. No excuses here. View the Instagram video below on how to do this:

View this post on Instagram

Less than 3 minutes…it’s all you need to make eggs for breakfast and really up your protein game. . . . Eggs and egg whites are the most complete form of protein, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. . . . I hear this so often “I don’t have time to make eggs in the morning” – and then this person either skips breakfast, or eats a total carb and sugar bomb of a breakfast. . . . 3 minutes is all you need. If you cannot find 3 minutes to improve your health, you don’t want it bad enough – there is no other way to put this. . . . #eggs #healthybreakfast #breakfast #protein #nutritiontip #easybreakfast #eggwhites #rdapproved #onlinecoach #onlinedietitian #healthyfood #cookingvideo #cookingtip #timesaver #savingtime #priorities

A post shared by MG Fitlife – Mike Gorski, RD. (@mgfitlife) on

If you have a little bit more time you can throw any veggies in the pan while it heats up. One of my favorite tricks is to cut up a bunch of veggies on a weekend, throw them in a plastic bag in the freezer, and then when I need them for eggs I just grab a handful and throw them in the pan while it heats up.

Working Out – “I wish I had time to work out all day like you” – is something that is assumed because I am a trainer. Lately, I have been lifting 3 days per week for anywhere from 60-90 minutes. And that is all I do for working out. Honestly.

Strength training is what I love doing. It also happens to be one of the best things you can do as far as exercise goes. The benefits are endless and I went into more detail on it here.

You need to find something that you at least sort of enjoy, and stick to it as your exercise. You won’t stick to something that you hate. If you enjoy yoga or running – then do that!

Obviously, I am biased and will always recommend strength training in some way shape or form because it is proven to be the best form of exercise 🙂

But here is what else my day looks like:

  • On my feet all day – getting an average of about 11,000 steps per day right now
  • I track my diet and hold myself accountable to my food choices
  • Usually, get in one 2 mile walk per day with the family after dinner

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym. But you do need to get off your butt. Here is a totally free resource to get you started: Free Dumbbell Only Workouts

Getting More Sleep – again, you choose when you do this. Yes, there are some busy frickin people out there that need to work late and get up early. But start with a true assessment of your day. Are you wasting any time on mindless TV, phone use, or anything else?

Be honest with yourself.

Power down the electronics 30 minutes earlier tonight, turn the lights down and see what happens. You can’t knock it until you try it, and you won’t know how it feels to get more sleep until you do!

Sleep is so vital to everything that most desire – fat loss, muscle gain, more energy, more productivity, more money…

So set a timer to tell you to get your butt to bed. Hold yourself accountable, and make it happen.

Tracking Food – if I had a dollar for every time I told someone to just start tracking their food (not even making recommendations yet) and they said “I don’t have time for that” – I would have probably about 500 dollars – cool story.

But… if I had a dollar for every time someone started tracking their food, and they came back to me and said “wow! you haven’t even told me what to eat and I already lost some weight!” – I would be a millionaire. (okay maybe that’s a stretch…).

So many people claim to not have time to track, yet, those who do see the benefit right away.

Why wouldn’t you give it a shot? Truly – like setting yourself up for sleep – you can’t doubt it or knock it until you give it a fair shot. So many people just assume that they can’t do it without even trying.

Once you get the hang of it, it will only take you about 15 minutes per day – guaranteed to improve your chances of getting results.

How many people would buy a product called “The 15 Minute Workout” if it promised fat loss and sustainable results? So why not commit to tracking your food if that provides the same?

You don’t need to track forever, but it can be a great learning tool. Studies have shown that people underestimate their intake by 48%, and overestimate their output (calorie burn) by about 21-61%!

Many people “think” they are eating in a deficit until you track everything – nibbles, bites, and snacks included – and you will find that this stuff adds up fast!

Again, this is just a tool to bring awareness – and is not meant to punish or shame you. Awareness must always precede change.

Track your food while sitting on the toilet for all I care…just give it a try.

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I’m a Registered Dietitian…and I Don’t Like 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 one every time.

But – I eat them. Not enough, 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, 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.

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 goes 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.

View this post on Instagram

Don’t over complicate your training for the sake of being cool or different. There is a reason why these movements have withstood the test of time – they work. . . . Here I turned 4 fundamental movement patterns into a simple dumbbell Complex. These are great for getting your heart rate up, metabolism revved and still hitting the muscles decently well. . . . 5 reps of all 4 (squat, row, hinge and push-up) followed by a rest period (2 minutes for beginners, 90 seconds for intermediate and 60 seconds for advanced) . . . Complete 5-8 sets or set a timer for 15 minutes and just go. Make sure you use a weight that makes the 5 reps challenging. . . . #dumbbellworkout #dumbbellcomplex #metcon #hiitworkout #fatlossworkout #musclebuilding #primarymovements #squats #rows #deadlifts #pushups

A post shared by MG Fitlife – Mike Gorski, RD. (@mgfitlife) on

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.

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Stay healthy my friends,