What is Carb Cycling?

The skinny on carbs.

Carbs are everywhere. We hear about them being bad, we hear about them causing all of our problems. But do they really?

The truth is, they are not inherently bad. In America we tend to eat more of the processed, junk carbs than anywhere else in the world – and on average we do eat too much of them.

However, carbs are important for fueling out intense workouts and giving us the energy we need. Think of carbs as your gasoline for your car. If you are following a super low carb diet, your body cannot perform optimally and can eventually burn out. You need them as fuel to power through workouts with the right level of intensity.

Who could try carb cycling?

If you have been very consistent (including weekends) with your food intake and have been making solid progress for some time. Or if you are you are numbers person and you have your macros and calories in the right ballpark and have been doing well with counting and tracking, you may want to add a little bit of an advanced technique to your eating known as carb cycling.

Essentially, on your high activity days (workout days) you need more carbs.

***High activity days meaning tough workouts, around 60 minutes, at a hard intensity***

On your less active days, you don’t need as many carbs. This also means less calories on these days.

***This would be rest days, recovery days, or light workout days***

Carb cycling works very well for anyone looking to lose fat, and minimize muscle loss – or even gain muscle and minimize fat gain (all dependent on your calorie levels).

It also helps to control your insulin sensitivity, which is great for your internal health – especially if you have some weight to lose.

So how many carbs do I eat on workout days?

This is variable based on goals, body fat levels, gender, and even ethnicity (yes, genetics plays a role in how your body handles carbs). If you know your calorie level, then start around 40% of your calories from carbs.

For myself this would be 310 grams of carbs. Remember, this is an intense workout day. Lifting heavy, minimal rest, over 30 sets of strength training for over an hour.

No clue where to start? Email me.

Carb Cycling on Non-Lifting Days

Remove 50-75% of your starchy carbs on non-lifting days.

I recommend removing your starchy carbs from whatever meal(s) is easiest for you.

Example: I workout at 11AM on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays

 Normally I have 50 grams at breakfast with my eggs. Cut those.

 My lunches usually contain a sandwich with fruit or rice on my lifting days. By turning this into a huge salad with tons of veggies, protein, and a little healthy fat, I am cutting out another 80 grams of carbs. 

 This equals 130 grams of carbs, so I will usually eat about half the amount I would normally have at dinner to get my total intake as low as possible.

So this would mean that I cut out 155-232 grams of carbs (and also 620-930 calories).

On a low carb day, I will also get a higher percentage of calories from fat – BUT will not eat more grams.

This will still keep me in a 500-800ish caloric deficit for the day, which is right where I want to be when on maintenance.

So why not go low carb all the time?

Because you NEED the carbs for fuel, and to keep your metabolism running and healthy.

Yes, I know there are people who go full low carb all the time and run on ketones, but that isn’t most people.

Realize, me needing 310 grams per day is not just a random number, and I have literally worked up to it.

If you are a small female, looking to lose 10 pounds of fat, your HIGH carb days might only be 125-150 grams of carbs per day, and your low carb days might be 30-40 grams (pretty much your veggies and a piece of fruit).

So be consistent with your food for a while, and then if you want, give carb cycling a try!

Key takeaways:

  1. Before trying carb cycling, make sure you have been good with your tracking and following plan.
  2. Cut back your carbs from starchy foods on non-workout days.
  3. This definitely applies to weekends, especially if you have big plans for the night!

5 Nutrition Myths That Won’t Die

Eating _____ will lead to death and cause ______ and you will ______….

In honor of National Registered Dietitian Day (March 9th) I want to dispel a few nutrition myths that still seem to be popping up online, in questions from clients, and posts on social media.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Eating Clean is all that matters for health

cleaneating

Yes, eating a ton of processed junk food is not good for the body, and it will make you feel like garbage. However, when it comes to weight loss or control, it is all about the calorie.

There have been many instances of people losing weight on fast food diets, junk food diets, etc. BECAUSE they are creating a calorie deficit. What we don’t hear about is how their insides or blood levels look, but yes they lose weight.

In the same instance, if you only eat “clean” foods, but are still in a surplus, you will gain weight.

The reason junk food gets the bad rep is because it is much more calorically dense, and is much easier to over eat your calorie level.

Quantity (calories) controls your weight, quality (nutrients) is what has a bigger effect on your insides, blood labs, etc. Eat mostly healthy, natural foods, in a calorie deficit and you will look great and feel great.

2. Carbs/Fat/Sugar/Etc. are THE reason we have a weight problem.

This goes back to #1. Yes, these foods are often over consumed by everyone, but you cannot blame one food group alone for weight gain.

There are diet gurus out there who still swear that if you cut out carbs, you can eat whatever you want and lose weight. Sorry, but if you are still eating more than you are burning you will not lose weight.

Overconsumption, and under activity are what leads to weight gain – not one nutrient alone.

3. High Protein Diets Will Ruin Your Kidneys

Balanced diet

There are exactly ZERO studies showing that high protein diets (even up to 1.5 grams/pound of bodyweight) are harmful on the body/kidneys in healthy individuals.

Yes, if you have chronic kidney disease you need to watch your protein intake.

However, in individuals with healthy normal functioning kidneys, getting more protein in your diet helps with weight control, through satiety/fullness and will definitely help with muscle recovery and growth.

I recommend all my clients eat at least .7g of protein/pound of body weight no matter what your goals are.

4. Eating carbs later in the day will make you fat.

carbsatnight

There is no auto switch in the body that turns on at 3pm and magically turns carbs into body fat.

Eating carbs later in the day is especially important if you work out in the early morning on an empty stomach, as carbs are crucial for optimal performance during your workouts.

It still comes back to rule #1, and that if you are in a surplus – you will gain weight – no matter where those calories come from.

5. You must eat 5-6 small meals in the day to rev up your metabolism

Every time you eat, your metabolic rate does increase SLIGHTLY for digestive purposes. However, studies have shown that there is no difference at the end of the day between groups that only eat 2-3 meals vs 5-6 small meals.

The most important point is that you need to do what works best for you.

If you have the time to stop and eat many small meals throughout the day, great.

If you are better off eating 3 square meals per day, do it.

You need to find what works best for you, and what you can do for the long-term.

Some days it might work better to eat small frequent meals because of your schedule, and some days you might have more time to sit down and enjoy bigger meals.

Referencing back to #1, again, it’s all about that total daily intake of calories.

I hope these tips can help you out, no matter what your goals are. Please don’t fall for the internet diet gurus who don’t have any sort of nutrition background and are just instagram trainers/nutritionists.

 

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Change Your Attitude, Change Your Habits, Change Your LIFE

I will start tomorrow. I will start next week. I will start after I finish this project…

All things that we all mutter at some point when it comes to placing our own health ahead of other parts of our life.

Why wait until next week? Why wait until next month? Why wait? That tells me that you don’t prioritize your health and YOUR life.

You put in the hours to help your family, feed your kids, to help others, or to go out of your way for everyone around you. Yet, you put YOURSELF on the back burner, and have forgotten to give yourself the time and health you deserve.

Are you setting the best example for the ones you care so much about? Your kids, spouse, friends and family?

Not next week, next month, but now. NOW is the time to give yourself the time and chance to take care of yourself. You cannot truly love or help others until you love and help yourself.

 

I AM READY TO CHANGE MY LIFE! – CLICK HERE!

If you are reading this, I want you to stop, get out a pen and paper.

Write down three things:

  1. Where do you want to be in 90, 120, and 365 days from now? Physically, mentally, and emotionally?
  2. Why are you not there RIGHT NOW? What is holding you back?
  3. What do you think YOU deserve, and how will that get you to where you want to be in your answers from question 1?

These are the foundations of goal setting, and overcoming barriers. Setting goals is one thing, but without addressing your barriers, you will keep making excuses as to why you aren’t meeting your goals.

I’VE GOT MY GOALS, AND I’M READY TO ACCOMPLISH THEM! – CLICK HERE! 

Once you address your barriers, you need to figure out how to overcome them. Yes, I know you can’t just quit your job, forget about your kids, or stop seeing your friends.

What you can do is wake up an hour earlier, pass on a few weeknights out, or take an extra hour of a few days and commit it to YOU.

Now, think really hard, and be honest with yourself. Can you find 3 hours in the week to commit to you? These three hours are 1.7% of your entire week. (Ok, factoring out 7 hours per day for sleep, those 3 hours are 2.5% of your week).

What 3 hours can you cut out of your week, and commit to yourself? You can do it. Find the hours, find the ways to shift around your life, and commit to yourself. Not next week, not next month, but NOW!

Are you ready to commit to your health, fitness, and well being? I can help you. I have some upcoming exclusive opportunities for a select few dedicated people who are ready to commit to themselves, and join a group of likeminded individuals with the same types of goals.

Want to work with me in one of my exclusive semi-private training groups? Know someone who would like to change their life through health and fitness?

Click HERE or send them this LINK! (http://goo.gl/forms/OzmKsT3HKV)

Stay healthy my friends,

So Your Doctor Told You…You Have High Cholesterol

“Your cholesterol numbers are high, you need to go on this drug to bring them down.”

Thanks doc. However, there may be ways that you can bring your numbers down before having to opt for a statin, or other cholesterol fighting drug.

Before I go on, I do want to say that there are SOME cases in which drugs should be used, and it is up to your doctor to let you know if this is your only option – however, I feel it’s only fair that everyone gets a chance to lower their numbers without drugs.

First, what are the normal ranges for your cholesterol?

Based off of this chart, your LDL should be under 130, ideally under 100, and your HDL should be above 45, ideally above 65.

While these numbers provide a general guideline, more recently, it has been found that the actual particle size plays a much bigger role. As stated in The Great Cholesterol Myth,

Although LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad” cholesterol, the fact is that it comes in several shapes and sizes, as does HDL cholesterol, the so-called “good” kind.  These different subtypes of cholesterol behave very differently.  Seen under a microscope, some LDL particles are big, fluffy, and harmless.  Some are small, dense, and “angry,” and much more likely to become oxidized, slipping through  the cells that line the walls of arteries and beginning the inflammatory cascade that leads to heart disease.

The particle size test should be available at your doctor, or they should know where you can get the test done. What it comes down to is your ratio of large particle LDL to small particle. If your LDL is mostly large, fluffy, you might be alright.

Now, back to the original LDL is bad argument. This is a good starting point because if your overall LDL is high, you likely have elevated levels of small particle, and thus have more of the ApoB carrier protein – which is actually what causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Cholesterol is slimy and slippery – think of oil in water. It’s not the actual cholesterol that damages your body – it’s the increase in carrier proteins (apoB) that ram into your artery walls and cause log jams in your Panama Canals of life.

All that being said, in most cases, if you have high LDL, and low HDL, it would be helpful to fix those.

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Trainer Mike Says:

  1. Start exercising regularly. You don’t need to become a fitness junkie, or marathon runner, but by just increasing exercise to 30 minutes per day, you can lower your LDL numbers by 10-15 points. However, it is also crucial that your 30 minutes of exercise is slightly challenging. You don’t need to feel nauseous after your 30 minutes, but you should have worked up a little sweat and increased heart rate. Even if it’s 30 minutes of walking, it should be a brisk walk, not a casual stroll.
  2. You can split up your exercise. If your goal is to get 30-60 minutes per day, it doesn’t have to come in one session. Studies have shown that even breaking it up into 4, 15 minute sessions, will have the same effect of a straight 60 minute session.
  3. Hit the weights. Seems that I am always pushing weights on everyone, because I am. Weight training the large muscle groups can have so many positive effects on the body. Same as you walks, you need to be slightly challenging your muscles with the weights you choose. Always remember, perfect form is key – but using 3 pound weights on your squats is probably not challenging you body. Studies have shown than weight training 3 times per week can especially help increase your HDL (“good”) by 3-8 points.                                  
  4. Don’t forget overall heart health. While we are focussing on cholesterol here, it is important to not forget WHY you are trying to lower cholesterol – for heart health. Allowing your body to relax, and de-stress will help with overall heart health. Try meditation, yoga, or any form of exercise that helps you relax.

 

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Dietitian Mike Says:

  1. Cut out the Trans Fats. Everyone can agree that trans fats are bad. End of story. Trans fats are found in processed fatty foods, dessert, fried foods, etc. Trans fats are a double whammy on your cholesterol numbers. They raise LDL, and lower your HDL. Start avoiding them right now and you can see some good changes in your cholesterol numbers.
  2. Increase your fiber intake. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes.Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal (2/3 cups dry) provides 6 grams of fiber. If you add fruit (1/2 cup berries are great) you’ll add about 4 more grams of fiber. To mix it up a little, try steel-cut oatmeal or cold cereal made with oatmeal or oat bran.
  3. Replace your saturated fats with monounsaturated fats. Saturated fat is not inherently bad when it comes to cholesterol, the negative effects is found in the dosage. Try replacing some of your saturated fats (animal fats, butter) with some heart health monounsaturated fats (olive oil, macadamia nuts, avocados, almonds). As with all fats, you need to still watch the total quantity, as all fats are higher in calories, and if you are eating too many calories, you will gain weight.
  4. Eat a caloric deficit to lose weight.  Fat loss can greatly improve your cholesterol numbers. By losing even just 5-10% of your body weight, you can lower your bad cholesterol numbers pretty significantly. Read more here to lower your body fat.

I hope these basic tips can help you lower your cholesterol, and get you started on the path to health! As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments!

*This article is not to replace the advice of your doctor or provide specific treatment for issues. Always consult your physician for personal recommendations regarding your health*

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Re-Vamp Your Breakfast With Some Protein

Cereal, muffins, pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels, jelly, bananas, juice, cinnamon rolls  – staples of the traditional American breakfast.

carbbreakfast

While most of these foods CAN be incorporated into a healthy diet, they all have one thing in common – high carb, low protein.

What’s the big deal? Starting your day off with a well-rounded, and balanced breakfast can set up the rest of your day for success. According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects who ate a high protein breakfast (58% of calories from protein vs. 19% of calories from protein) saw a significant decrease in post-meal ghrelin (a hormone that signals hunger).

Another study from the Journal of Nutrition found that subjects who previously skipped breakfast, ate a high protein breakfast (35 grams) saw significant decreases in cravings for sweets and snacks later in the day compared to groups who continued skipping breakfast or ate a smaller amount of protein (13 grams) at breakfast.

These results are not anything new, but rather support the case for shifting our traditional, high carb breakfasts towards a more balanced breakfast, composed of more protein.

It is crucial to note that the studies did not have subjects eating a pure protein breakfast, but rather a high protein breakfast, in which protein made up 40-60% of total calories at breakfast. Thus proving that you can still have a carb source at breakfast, you just need to balance it out.

What should you eat?

While the most obvious go to would be eggs, I understand that some people aren’t like me and can eat eggs everyday.

proteinbreakfast

Some other great options include:

Greek Yogurt Parfaits 

Greek yogurt contains about 16 grams of protein per 6 oz. serving. While some including myself cannot stomach the flavor of plain Greek Yogurt, I recommend blending fresh or frozen berries into the yogurt. This will help release the flavors of the berries into the yogurt rather than buying the high sugar flavored yogurts. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup dry oats, and 1oz. slivered almonds/walnuts and you are looking at about 330 calories, with 18 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of heart healthy fats.Blueberry Quinoa Parfait

Anti-Oxidant Chocolate Shake

Looking for something quick, and tasty? Look no further. Combine 12 oz. skim milk, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and a quick dash of vanilla extract and you have an awesome, super high protein shake. Blend it all up and enjoy slowly. 

380 calories, 46g carbs, 42g protein and 6g fat

Breakfast Ham and Black Bean Burrito (you can add eggs here too)

Take a whole wheat tortilla, and fill it with 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup diced ham, 1/4 cup chopped red and green peppers, 1 Tbsp. diced onion, and a 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Add salsa and enjoy. I would warm it up on a frying pan myself, and probably add some eggs…

440 calories, 44 g carbs, 28g protein, and 15g fat (without the eggs)

450 calories, 34g carbs, 30g protein, and 21g fat (with 1 egg instead of the beans)

There are many other recipes out there that a simple google search will turn up, however make sure you look closely at the recipe itself and maybe enter it into myfitnesspal.com. I found some “high protein” smoothies that had almost 100 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein in them – hardly high protein.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Look for a good balance of carbs and protein – try to get a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Carbs are not the enemy, but you need a balance to help your body later in the day.
  3. You can get creative with breakfast, it doesn’t have to be a stereotypical breakfast either.

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So Your Doctor Told You…You Are Pregnant!

Welcome to another installment of “So Your Doctor Told You”. Maybe you don’t need a doctor to tell you that you are pregnant, but in this post I tend to tackle some of the common questions surrounding fitness and nutrition during pregnancy.

Guys, I know this post may not pertain to you, but you may find it useful for your wife, or someone you know, so feel free to share the knowledge.


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Trainer Mike Says:

  1. Get clearance from your OBGYN. This first step is crucial to your health and your babies health. If you had been working out prior to your pregnancy, and have had no previous issues with pregnancy or childbirth, you should be cleared to continue doing whatever you were doing prior to becoming pregnant – with a few minor tweaks.
  2. Monitor your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). For a long time, the main factor to be aware of during pregnancy training was your heart rate. Many schools of thought recommended not letting your heart rate go above 140 beats per minute. However, the latest research shows that this may be okay in some women, as long as you are not working out to exhaustion, or breathlessness. Make sure you are taking it a little slower, and monitoring your stress levels during your workouts. If you are having trouble carrying a conversation, take a break until you get your breath back. Also, avoid hot classes, any of those classes where they crank up the heat. You want to keep your body temperature close to normal, and be sure to stay hydrated through out your workout.  Nothing wrong with some sub-max deadlifts – courtesy of Tony Gentilcore – http://tonygentilcore.com/2013/02/what-to-expect-in-the-gym-when-youre-expecting/
  3. Avoid exercises on your back after the first trimester. Once you are into your 2nd trimester, you want to avoid laying on your back and doing exercises as this can reduce blood flow to your baby. For abdominal exercises, try standing anti-rotation exercises like the Pallof Press (video courtesy of John Rusin @ http://www.drjohnsusin.com) or planking facedown.
  4. Avoid over-stretching. When you are pregnant, you get higher levels of the hormone elastin which can make you hypermobile – or able to stretch further than you normally could. While stretching is VERY important to reduce discomfort during pregnancy, you don’t want to OVER STRETCH or go further than you normally could. Also, try using some foam rolling or other self myofacial release techniques for tight muscles. Massages work great for this (take not gentlemen).
  5. Avoid heavy, overhead lifting. Now is not the time to try and get new personal bests in the one rep hang clean. You can still train relatively heavy, just don’t be pushing yourself past your comfort zone, or putting yourself and your baby in any potentially dangerous positions where you could drop a weight on yourself or fall over.

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Dietitian Mike Says:

  1. You are NOT eating for two. Even though you do need to be eating a little bit more, you are not eating for two full grown people. You need to be in a 300-400 calorie surplus for optimal child development, and appropriate weight gain. If you are starting out at an appropriate weight for you, you should gain 1-2 pounds in the first trimester, and 1-2 pounds per week after that. 

2. Be sure to get your Folate.

Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. The synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods is known as folic acid. Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery.

How much you need: 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day before conception and throughout pregnancy

Good sources: Fortified cereals are great sources of folic acid. Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are good sources of naturally occurring folate.

It is also recommended that you take a pre-natal vitamin to make sure you are getting optimal doses of all your vitamins and minerals.

3. Protein for you and your baby. Make sure you are getting enough protein (.7-1 grams per pound of body weight). This is crucial for total body development, and optimal growth of the child after birth.

4.  Nausea, heartburn, and constipation are not biased! They will afflict women regardless of healthy living. However, women who regularly eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and avoid excess sugar and fat may significantly reduce these uncomfortable symptoms.

5. During pregnancy, some foods can cause harm to a developing baby. Be sure that all meats are thoroughly cooked to avoid exposure totoxoplasmosis, salmonella, and other harmful bacteria. Eliminate tobacco smoke, drug use, and alcohol consumption from your diet.

Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages (soda, coffee) from your daily intake.

For more interesting info on caffeine and coffee during your pregnancy, check out this article from my friend Helen –  https://www.healthambition.com/negative-effects-of-coffee/

***By no means am I claiming I can cure these issues, replace certain medications, or an entire medical team. My intent is to provide you with some quick nutrition and fitness based, actionable steps, that can help you or someone you know. As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments!***

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So Your Doctor Told You…You Have Pre-Diabetes

Welcome to the second installment of “So Your Doctor Told You”. Today I’m going to discuss pre-diabetes, and how exercise and nutrition can help prevent it, or even get you or someone you know backed away from it.

What is pre-diabetes? Also known as impaired glucose intolerance, it is where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal (fasting glucose levels of 100-125mg/dL or HbA1c between 5.7-6.4) but not quite high enough to be type 2 diabetes.

*HbA1C is Hemoglobin A1c or Glycated Hemoglobin -120 day average measurement of sugar in your blood, essentially*

How common is it? According to Mayo Clinic, there are over 3 million new cases each year – so it’s pretty damn common. The best way to know if you have it is to maintain your checkups with your doctor and get your regular blood work done. That good news is that if you have it, it can easily be reversed and we can keep it from becoming type 2 diabetes.

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Trainer Mike Says:

  1. Get lifting – heavy! Studies have shown that heavy resistance training can help greatly with glucose uptake; clearing it from the blood stream. Your muscles soak up glucose to rebuild and refill with glycogen, and lifting heavy weights will help speed up the process. I’m not saying to run down to the nearest gym and try to squat as heavy as possible, make sure you are doing it safely, but still challenging your muscles. Focus on the big, compound exercises, and skip the dinky machine leg extension.                  
  2. Combine aerobic training with your lifting. By combining aerobic training with lifting, you will be hitting your blood glucose levels with a 1-2 punch. Weight lifting will decrease your blood sugar levels by giving the glucose bigger places to go besides your blood stream, and aerobic (cardio) will increase uptake by triggering greater insulin action (the hormone that pushes the glucose into your bigger, stronger, muscles)
  3. Set up your plan, and do it! If you are new to exercise, start slow, and listen to your body. I recommend starting with 2-3 weight lifting sessions per week (45-60 minute, full body workouts) and 2-3 planned aerobic sessions (45-60 minutes). I say planned here because you also need to make an effort to be more active in general. Walk up stairs, park further away, take more trips to the drinking fountain, etc. More movement will help greatly.

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Dietitian Mike Says:

  1. Don’t go crazy with fad diets. Often times when people are diagnosed with “x” they run to the internet and look up the latest guru diet to fix their problem. This can create some huge imbalances in the body, and could essentially lead to greater issues down the road. Take a good look at your current diet. What are you putting in your body now that you KNOW you could cut back on. Start there. Do you pound a pint of ice cream every night? Stop buying it, and tell yourself that eating stops after dinner. Find your high calorie trigger foods and start by eliminating one.
  2. Control your portions, control your weight. By simply controlling your portions at meals, you could easily cut out 200-300 calories per meal, thus leading to a great caloric deficit. By losing, or keeping your weight down through diet, you will greatly improve your body’s ability to produce insulin and allow that insulin to properly do its job. Pass on seconds, and don’t fill your plate to the point that it is overflowing.
  3. Focus on protein and veggies first. Base all your meals around protein and vegetables. This is a huge strategy for helping with any excess body fat related condition, but it works for them all. Make sure you are getting some quality protein at each meal, pairing it with some sort of non-starchy vegetable, THEN add in an appropriate portion of a carbohydrate. Notice I didn’t say skip the carbs, but use appropriate portions. Most of us tend to go carb heavy first, then get some protein and maybe veggies. Flip that around and you will do yourself justice.
  4. Start the day with breakfast. Study after study has shown that eating breakfast can help decrease daily calorie intake anywhere from 200-400 calories per day. Why? Because when we skip breakfast, we often over-eat at successive meals and snacks. As in tip 4, get some protein (eggs, plain yogurt, lean sausage, cheese, protein powder) in at breakfast too. The American breakfast is especially carb heavy, and if you have pre-diabetes, one of the worst things you can do to your body is to load it up with high-glycemic carbs first thing in the morning.American_Breakfast_Feature vs. Fried eggs in a pan with vegetables
  5. Carbs are NOT the enemy. Just because diabetes has to do with blood sugar/glucose, doesn’t mean that its all about carbs/sugar intake. It really depends on your whole lifestyle, diet, weight, some genetics, and activity levels. Yes, eating twinkies and jolly ranchers probably won’t help, so focus on higher quality carbs that contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals to help improve your overall health.

 

I hope these basic tips can help you beat pre-diabetes and get you started on the path to health! As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments!

*By no means am I claiming I can cure these issues, replace certain medications, or an entire medical team. My intent is to provide you with some quick nutrition and fitness based, actionable steps, that can help you or someone you know.*

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So Your Doctor Told You…You Need to Lose 10 Pounds

HAPPY NEW YEAR, and welcome, or welcome back!

It has truly been too long since I blogged, but I am back with some big ideas and am looking forward to getting back to doing what I love.

Through out this coming year, I will be tackling some of the most common “medical diagnosis'” that we hear about, are diagnosed with, or know someone who has been diagnosed. I will be taking an approach to these issues as both a dietitian AND a fitness professional.

Mike Gorski, CPT and Mike Gorski RD...look out world!

Mike Gorski, CPT and Mike Gorski RD…look out world!

By no means am I claiming I can cure these issues, replace certain medications, or an entire medical team. My intent is to provide you with some quick nutrition and fitness based, actionable steps, that can help you or someone you know.

I figured, why not start the series and year off with something almost everyone can relate to: losing some bodyfat! 

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Trainer Mike Says:

  1. Set up a reasonable exercise plan. You may be thinking about spending 2 hours at the gym per day, and getting an extra 1 hour of exercise in at night right now, but what happens a week from now, a month from now? Come up with a MAINTAINABLE plan for moving with intent as many days as possible – within reason. You need to come up with a plan that you can stick to for the long run, not some gimmicky flash in the pan workout.
  2. Focus on big movements for your lifting. Yes, I put lifting before cardio. Multi joint exercises will work best for revving up your metabolism and getting your biggest bang for your buck when at the gym. Instead of spending 5 sets on bicep curls, hit some body weight rows, or barbell rows to work more muscles. Choose squats over the leg extension machine. Presses, squats, hinges, and pulling movements are the 4 prime movements (loaded carries makes it 5) that you need to be focussing on.
  3. Incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your workouts. Cardio is such a one-sided topic in the fitness industry. People swear it will make you fatter, or  it is the only way to lose fat. I like a middle of the road approach here. Cardio is great for your heart, metabolism and your body. It isn’t 100% necessary for fat loss, but it definitely helps and will make you a healthier person.
  4. What workout is the best? THE ONE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE DOING! There is no magic bullet fat-loss, 21 day, 7 minute per day, no equipment needed, super shred, high intensity interval, metabolism scorching workout that will work for everyone. The bottom line is that you need to find something that keeps you motivated, challenges you, and you enjoy doing (most of the time). You won’t always LOVE it, but you need to get some positive vibes from your workout in order to keep wanting more.
  5. Create your caloric deficit…through your diet. This goes back to tip #1, don’t focus so much on burning as many calories through exercise as possible, but rather creating a caloric deficit through your diet. If only we had a registered dietitian here to give out some tips on that…

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Dietitian Mike Says:

  1. Set a reasonable weight loss goal. If you need to lose 10 pounds, and keep it off for good, I recommend the following weight loss goals:
    • 2 pounds per week for obese (BMI >30) – it’s not uncommon to see larger numbers when starting out, this is okay.
    • 1 pound per week for overweight (BMI 25-30)
  2. Create a small caloric deficit through your diet. You notice here I didn’t say a HUGE caloric deficit, rather a small, obtainable deficit. In some cases, creating a large deficit may be necessary – but this is usually best recommended while under close supervision of a professional. A drop in too many calories could also lead to some muscle loss, which nobody wants. How much should you cut out? I recommend 300-500 calories under maintenance.  Using the Mifflin-St.Jeor equation is a good place to start:
    • Men
      10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
    • Women
      10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161.
  • EXAMPLE: Me = 10 x 95.45 (210 lbs./2.2 = 95.45kg) x 187.96 (74 inches x 2.54 = 187.96cm) – (5 x 26) + 5 = 2004 calories. This is your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
  • Once you have your RMR (2004 for me) multiply it by your activity factor (*Note: These are MY personally recommended factors for results. You may find different numbers elsewhere)
    • Sedentary (little or no activity) = RMR x 1.1
    • Mild activity level (intense exercise 1-3 times per week) = RMR x 1.2
    • Moderate activity level (intense exercise 3-4 times per week) = RMR x 1.3
    • High activity level (intense exercise 5-6 times per week) = RMR x 1.4
    • Hard Daily level (intense exercise 7 times per week) = RMR x 1.5
    • Extreme activity level (intense exercise multiple times per day) = RMR x 1.7
      • EXAMPLE: Me 2004 cals x 1.3 (I workout 4 times per week currently) = 2605 calories. This is the amount of calories I need to maintain my weight at 210.
  • Final step: 2605 – 300 calories = 2305 calories per day would be a perfect level to start at for ME.
  • For those of you who hate math, just click here.
  • For those of you who don’t want to deal with the math, calorie counting, and tracking – it can still be done. Think about your weight right now. Have you been gaining, maintaining, or losing lately? If you have been holding steady, just try cutting out 100 calories per meal from your current diet and see what happens at the end of the week or 2 weeks. Still not losing? Try cutting out another 100 calories per day. This is a process, but take it slow rather than cutting out a huge chunk of your intake super quick.
  • Focus on nutrient dense foods, instead of calorie dense. 100 calories from candy vs. 100 calories from vegetables is a huge difference in volume (and unfortunately taste). Watch out for the caloric dense foods, and try to focus on getting more nutritious foods throughout most of the day. Cutting out 100 calories per meal can be easier than you think. Skip the cheese slice on your sandwich, switch from 2% to skim milk, drink water instead of soda… little substitutions can make big differences at the end of the day. It is important to familiarize yourself somewhat with food labels so you are at least aware of what 100 calories looks like.

    All of these are 100 calories.

    All of these are 100 calories.

  • Tackle your stressors with other means than food. Stress and emotional eating are a huge reason behind over eating. This could be a whole article in itself (ARTICLE DROP HERE) and it’s easier said than done. But realizing that you are emotional eating is the first crucial step to overcoming your weight. Remember, food won’t fix it! Find other means to work with what’s stressing you out. PRO TIP: Exercise is great stress relief 🙂

 

I hope these basic tips can help you lose some extra pounds, and get you started on the path to health! As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments!

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Stay healthy my friends,

5 Wrongly Categorized Foods and How to Swap Them

 

“This is my lunch, isn’t it healthy?”, she says as she sips her coffee drink and chews a plastic looking nutrition bar at 2 in the afternoon.

After a few seconds of grinding the high fiber and sugar alcohol bar through her teeth, she mutters out, “I’m just really working hard to lose this weight, and my trainer told me to focus on getting more protein and limiting my sweets.”

 

In turn, you pose the question, “Oh yeah I totally understand, but is that enough food to be considered lunch?”

 

Probably not

 

The food industry is huge. The nutrition gurus and trainers dropping incorrect knowledge bombs might be bigger. Foods often get wrongly grouped into food groups, or just flat out are wrongly used relative to the overall goal.

 

You can’t blame the consumer here because companies marketing is so powerful, and if a commercial has testimonials and newly found fit people saying how they lost weight with a product, well that pulls on the emotional and relatable heartstrings of many.

 

Also, certain gurus and “docs” on TV tend to preach a lot about foods that will do this and that and then some, or foods that are super good sources of [insert nutrient here], that really aren’t the best option – but they do relate to the guest on his/her show that day, so what the hell.

The following are 5 instances where maybe a food isn’t inherently a bad choice, but you may just be using it wrong.

 

1) Quinoa – This super food and grain has really made a rise in the last 5 or so years. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it until 2 years ago (I always said kwe-no-a). Quinoa IS a great carbohydrate choice and a pretty good source of fiber (5 grams per cup).

“Hey is that a loofah?” – “No, it’s a qui-no”

 

However, it is NOT a protein for the sake of your meals source of protein.

 

One cup, which is a decent amount, only packs about 8 grams of protein, while containing 39 grams of carbohydrate. Not quite the protein your body needs in a meal.

 

Suggestion: Don’t ditch the quinoa, but make sure you are not counting it as your main source of protein in a meal. Add some meat to the side, or if you are not a meat eater try subbing out black beans for half the quinoa. The beans have the same carb content but twice the protein. Or there is always tofu.

2) Peanut/Nut Butters – same story as quinoa when it comes to protein content.

 

Often times peanut butter gets counted as a protein in a snack or even a meal. However, peanut butter is more of a fat than protein, and thus can pack on the calories fast.

 

One serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons (have you ever looked at how little this is? About the size of a golf ball!) and only contains only 8 grams of protein along with 16 grams of fat and thus close to 200 calories.

This is so sad, I don’t want to believe it.

 

Suggestion: Stick with lean deli lunchmeats for protein on sandwiches, and then load on the veggies too!

 

Instead of dipping veggies or fruit in peanut butter for a snack, try cottage cheese. A half cup of 1% cottage cheese has less than half calories that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter along with 14 grams of protein!

 

3) Protein Bars/Nutrition Bars – this is more of a quantity issue rather than quality.

 

These bars usually range between 120 – 300 calories. 300 calories is pretty low to be considered a meal, and 120 calories is a joke of meal.

 

The worst offender is the “Special K Diet” which contains the Special K Protein MEAL Bars – which only contain 180 calories, yet they have the nerve to call this a MEAL.

10 grams of protein in this meal! Careful, anymore and your kidneys might explode!

 

Also, watch the sugar and overall carbs on some of the bars if you are looking to keep it as a protein based snack. Some bars are loaded with carbs because they are meant to be post workout recovery snacks.

 

Suggestion: Keep these bars as snacks and workout recovery fuel, not meals. Your MEALS should be made up of whole foods, with good nutrition balance at every meal.

 

4) Chocolate Milk – “Chocolate milk is the perfect post workout recovery drink because of the optimal carb to protein ratio” – said Mike Gorski (2013) and a ton of other trainers.

 

While this notion does have some promise for high endurance athletes and intense frequent exercisers, most people don’t need the extra sugar post workout. The idea behind chocolate milk post workout is to optimize glycogen repletion after exercise. This is usually only necessary when exercising longer than 90 minutes at a decent pace (not a leisurely walk).

Chris Bosh is an elite athlete, your pickup games at the YMCA are far from elite…

 

Also, the protein content is just not enough for serious lifters who train using heavy weights (only 8 grams per cup).

 

Suggestion: For most people, eating a balanced meal within and hour of finishing their workout will suffice. For people training with heavy weights and looking for something quicker, a whey protein shake will provide more protein (aim for 20-30 grams) and follow up with a balanced meal an hour later.

 

5) Dried Fruits/Trail Mix – lastly we have one of the biggest lies in nutrition that just wont die.

 

Dried fruit doesn’t count as fruit. It is dehydrated, usually sugar coated, and super dense when it comes to carbohydrates. Trail mix is not a healthy snack either, as it usually has chocolate candies, more dried fruit, and then a ton of calorie dense nuts.

 

It is so easy to eat a half cup of trail mix, which can easily be upwards of 600 calories and 30 grams of sugar. This is not a snack, rather a full meal that fits in the size of your palm.

Snack sized, but not a snack

 

Suggestion: How about whole fruit. Makes sense, right? You get more micronutrients and phytonutrients, and it will actually fill some room in your stomach.

 

For trail mix, try making your own and leave out the candy and focus more on portion control and moderation.

 

Be sure you are reading nutrition labels and your foods are matching up with your goals. Don’t be eating snacks for meals, and meals for snacks. Make sure you are actually eating a high protein snack, and not just a protein-containing snack.

 

Food advertising and marketing can be ruthless and manipulative. Make sure you are staying informed, and working with a true professional that will set you on the right path with the right nutrition guidance.

 

Stay fit my friends,