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

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

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3 Reasons Why Your 1200 Calories is Really 2400

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

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Hey Friend, Long Time No Talk…

This is usually how these conversations start. Before you know it, your long lost “friend” is inviting you to a new 30-day challenge that also requires you to buy hundreds of dollars worth of supplements. Are MLM supplements healthy, necessary, and good quality? And do they really work? Let’s dive in…

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5 Ways To Sneak Extra Protein Into Your Diet

A busy mother of 3, trying to lose 20 pounds, wants to fit into that sexy dress for the summer – What’s your protein intake look like?

Skinny college guy, trying to pack on some serious muscle gains, wants to impress the chica’s at Spring Break  – What’s your protein intake?

A retired older gentleman, a former CEO of a big company, recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and had a melanoma removed from his back, want’s to be able to keep up with the grandkids – What’s your protein intake look like?

No matter what your goals are, having an adequate protein intake can help you reach them.

Protein is not the end-all, be-all, cure-all of all of our world’s problems, but it does hold merit when it comes to many goals. Body composition changes wound healing, proper immune health are just a few of the areas that adequate protein is necessary to help with.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) specifies that the dietary protein requirement for all individuals 19 and older is 0.8 grams of protein per each kilogram of body weight per day. This is (unfortunately) still recommended by many in the nutrition world. This level was set as a bare-bones minimum to help maintain proper nitrogen balance in the body and prevent nutritional deficiency and muscle wasting.

If you are reading this blog, you likely exercise pretty regularly.

For most of my clients, regardless of goals, I recommend .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (Sometimes higher if we are doing a short-term cut)

Example: 55 year old, 5′ 6″ – 170 pound woman looking to lose body fat – works out 3 days per week, relatively sedentary otherwise.

In this case, her goal based off of body weight would be 136-170 grams of protein per day.

136-170 That’s a ton!

I have found, especially for many of my female clients, that is a high number that they are not used to. When looking through their intake journals, I often see 60/70/80 grams per day. Maybe close to 100 if they do a shake.

So how can you get your protein numbers up, without going over your calorie goal?

You need to track your intake and see if you are even hitting your calorie goal, then look at where those calories are coming from. In the above scenario, let’s say this client is eating 1600 calories. If we are looking for at least 136 grams of protein, then the other calories coming from carbs at fat should be right around 164g carbs and 44g fat. (don’t worry about how I got this numbers)

164 grams of carbs and 44 grams of fat per day are not hard to hit in our culture. We could easily be hitting the 1600 calorie goal, but you may be getting 60% from carbs, 30% from fat, and 10% from protein.

You will likely need to reconfigure where your calories are coming from and skew them more towards getting your protein intake up, and carbs and fats down. Luckily, carbs and protein are isocaloric – 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories. Simply cutting back on carbs, and replacing them with some protein is a good start. If your diet is heavier in fat, then sub 2 grams of protein for every gram of fat you need to take out – since fat has 9 cals/gram.

Here are 5 ways you can up your protein intake (just make sure you are replacing something in your diet with them – instead of just adding them in)

1. Spread your protein out. I have written on here about the importance of protein at breakfast, and this is a great place to start. Trying to get at least 1/4 of your protein goal at breakfast is a good number to reach for. Eggs, Greek Yogurt, and protein smoothies are all great sources to incorporate into your breakfasts.

Be spreading your protein out throughout the day, this will make that huge number seem much more attainable, and help you get much closer to it than you’d think.

2. Base each meal around protein. Make sure you have a protein source at every single meal you eat, and in every single snack you eat. Ladies, start with a palm-size portion. This will be right around 20-25 grams of protein if it is coming from a meat source. Guys, shoot for a hand size – 40-50 grams of protein. For snacks, reach for jerky, Greek yogurt, or just have a protein shake.

While I’m not a fan of multiple shakes/meal replacements during the day, adding one can help you get to your goal, and feel fuller longer.

3. Up your intake per meal. Once you have incorporated protein at each meal, try having just a little bit more than you usually would. Generally speaking, most animal proteins contain about 7 grams per ounce of meat, especially in leaner meats. What does an ounce look like? See below.


This chicken breast was 6.3 ounces. Here you see what 4 and 1 ounces looks like as well.


Adding one ounce of protein per meal may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a day and a few meals, it can add up to an additional 20-25 grams. If your calorie numbers are pretty stable at your goal intake, make sure you are replacing something with the added protein. Cut back on your starchy carbs at the meal, even just by the same volume of the protein you added. Add 1 ounce of protein, remove one ounce of rice, etc.

4. Add in a protein shake. As stated above, I am not a fan of adding in multiple shakes during the day. I want my clients’ intake to come mostly from whole foods. However, starting with a protein shake post-workout, or as a late afternoon snack might be all you need. Especially in my clients who follow more vegetarian style diets, protein numbers can be very hard to hit. You want to look for a powder that contains whey protein and provides 20-30 grams per scoop. That is a good starting point.

Try this protein powder if you need a good break from the standard flavors.

5. Replace your carbs with protein-carbs. Replacing something like rice or pasta with beans can make a huge swing in your protein intake. The same amount of rice and beans will contain close to the same amount of calories (the beans are slightly less) but the beans will contain 4 times the protein. A half-cup of rice is just about 2 grams of protein, while a half cup of beans is 8. While this may not seem like a lot, remember, it all adds up throughout the day.

Try these 5 tips for increasing your protein intake throughout the day. You may still not hit your goal number, but you will be much closer and will probably find that you feel more full, fat starts coming off easier, and you might just start lifting heavier as a side effect.

How should you start?

Figure out how much protein you currently eat daily. Is it 60 grams? Great! Is your goal according to calculations 120 grams? That means you need to double your intake!

That can be a pretty hefty challenge. So here is where you should start:

Aim to get 10% more next week – and maintain for two weeks. Average 60 this week? Get 66 grams a day the next 2 weeks. Then 73 grams each day the following 2 weeks, and so on.

Throughout this process, only focus on your protein numbers. Believe it or not, many times the rest of your macros (fat and carbs) will adjust accordingly on their own.

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

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Protein 101 – What, Why, And How Much?

Protein; what every gym rat likes to talk about. The truth is, protein is very important for everyone looking to maximize his or her health. To keep it simple, protein is made up of the building blocks of tissue – amino acids. In addition to muscle, protein also makes up hair, skin, nails, hormones, and enzymes.

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

Protein helps with satiety, or fullness, and will help control overall intake and hunger pangs.

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

High protein foods are pretty much anything that comes from the flesh of animals, or anything produced by an animal that is edible (milk, eggs, and dairy based protein powders). High protein, non-animal sources include tofu and beans – which also are a moderate protein source at best and also a significant carbohydrate source.

Protein is probably the most under consumed macronutrient in the average diet. For a healthy individual looking to maximize performance (performance not necessarily meaning athletic performance, but overall performance through out day to day tasks) , health and overall strength, I always recommend eating 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. (200 lb. healthy male = 200g of protein per day).

Where this recommendation changes a bit is in overweight or obese individuals. If looking to lose body fat, a caloric deficit is still crucial, and if somebody is 300 pounds, eating 300 grams of protein per day might not be possible or necessary.

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

 So lets say that someone is 260 pounds, and 35% body fat. 260 x .35 = 91 pounds of body fat. Taking the total weight (260) minus the body fat (91) gives us 169 pounds of lean body mass x 1.25 = 211 grams of protein.

If you are serious about your training (or health for that matter), you need to be serious about your protein intake. Training is catabolic – meaning it breaks down muscle tissue. Sufficient protein is key for proper recovery and boosting performance.

If you are more sedentary, maybe its time to consider getting some weight training in – but that’s for another time. Our bodies eventually get to a point in our 30s and 40s where we start losing muscle mass. This is called sarcopenia. It has been proven that this process can be slowed or even reversed by following even a basic full body strength program and eating enough protein to facilitate recovery and maintain muscle mass.

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

First, try to find what your consistent daily average is. (100 grams per day)

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

I have found that naturally when people focus on increasing their protein intake, they start cutting out more and more less nutritious foods, especially foods that are loaded with junk carbs and greasy fats.

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

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Worried About Holiday Eating? Let’s Talk…

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy day, spent with family and or friends, where we come together and ENJOY our favorite holiday foods.

It should NOT be a day where we demonize food, or feel like we need to EARN food, or work off food. Don’t get me started on those posts about “It takes X amount of burpees to burn off a piece of pumpkin pie” – stop it. Enjoy the pie.

On the flip side, if you have been working at creating consistency and positive, healthy eating habits, it should also not be seen as a day to completely forgot about everything you have been working on and just pig out to the point of feeling sick or so bloated that you look like a tick ready to pop.

We need to get away from this “all or nothing” mentality.

Thanksgiving can easily be enjoyed without stressing about our diet, or the scale.

Here are some simple things to keep in mind when it comes to ENJOYING Thanksgiving responsibly.

1) It is ONE day. Enjoy that ONE day.

There are 30 days in November, and 31 days in December. Let’s assume you eat 3 meals a day. That makes 183 meals for the two months.

Let’s assume there are 3-4 meals of pure holiday joy during the two months. Enjoy them – and put your focus on the other 179 meals.

Where people tend to get into trouble is when they start celebrating the feast at the start of the week because “who cares, I will be pigging out on Thursday, so why not just start now?”

Or allowing the feasting to continue past Friday (because leftovers happen) and the rest of the weekend.

This is the mindset that can easily snowball back into old habits that you have worked hard to break. Leading up to Thursday, you should continue your week as you normally would. Eat responsibly, eat when physically hungry, get your workouts in, and maintain a slight caloric deficit (assuming your current goal is fat loss). Simple – IF you have been working on these habits up until now.

Give yourself the day, but nothing extra before or after. It is ONE day out of 365.

2) Enjoy Your Favorite Foods – responsibly 

I use this with my clients all the time. Do you enjoy (insert favorite holiday food here)? Then eat one serving/slice/portion/scoop/etc – not the entire thing.

Yes, it can even be a super rich, sugary, fatty dessert. One piece will not destroy all of your progress and ruin everything. However, if you know you have certain trigger foods, it may take some extra precaution before indulging. Plan to have just the ONE piece – and move on.

The truth is, food does not not carry morals, nor does eating a certain food make YOU a bad person. It is food – that is all.

Thou Shall Not allow guilt to be felt on Thanksgiving Day!

Enjoy it, clean up your dishes like your mother taught you, and move on back to your regularly scheduled life.

3) Plan Accordingly the Day Of

If you are like me you KNOW that you will go a little crazy with the food choices at the feast. These are probably foods you don’t regularly eat, so why not?

This being said, if you normally eat an early Thanksgiving dinner, then maybe have a lighter breakfast, or pass on lunch – knowing all too well that you will definitely get those calories in later.

Focus on protein and veggies early in the day, saving all those rich, carb and fat filled foods for later.

Even if you have the best of intentions and you do over eat, oh well. It’s OKAY!

Side note: I know I said you don’t need to feel like you need to earn your food, however if you want to make the most of it, hit a nice heavy weight training session the morning of the feast – I’m thinking 10×10 squats are on my pre-feast plan 🙂

The Bigger Picture:

Holidays are supposed to be enjoyable times. When you create a healthy relationship with food, you don’t worry about holidays because you know they are only a small fraction of the entire year – and there are bigger habits that matter.

When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you stress and worry about the holidays, but often ignore all the other moments that you mindlessly snack, over eat, and all the moments that you eat without even being hungry.

The moral of the story here is short and sweet – enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family, enjoy the foods, and get right back to it Friday morning and through the rest of the weekend -and all will be good – I promise!


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You CAN Get Protein at Breakfast With These 9 Options

Everyone knows they need to get more protein, right? We have been pretty clear on that. I often hear “I can’t get enough at breakfast!” “I don’t have time to make eggs”…

First, there is no “rule” that you must have breakfast foods at breakfast, and breakfast only. However, I get it – we want some familiar delights at breakfast, so let us look at a few different options based on how much time you have.

***The calorie amounts vary, so make sure you adjust based off of your goals***

Unlimited Time

Protein Pancakes 

1 cup kodiak cake mix

1 egg

1 cup Fairlife Milk

530 cals 60C/9F/47P

Breakfast Burrito

1 XL Flour Tortilla

2 eggs + 1/4 cup egg whites

Any veggies

2 Tbsp. Cheddar Cheese

590 cals 53C/23F/35P


 Euro Breakfast

1 plain bagel

2 oz. smoked salmon

2 Tbsp. Whipped Cream Cheese

450 cals 62C/13F/24P

Short On Time

All American Breakfast

1 small apple

2 hard boiled eggs

1 flavored Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt

350 cals 37C/10F/28P

Classic Crunch

1 cup Raisin Bran

1 cup Fairlife Skim Milk

2 eggs (prepared any way)

420 cals 52C/11F/30P


Carb Heavy PrOatmeal

1/2 cup oats (dry)

1/2 cup Fairlife Skim Milk

1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup berries

1 Tbsp. Walnuts

500 cals 70C/11F/32P

No Time At All!

McDonalds Can Be Healthy

2 Egg White Delights

500 cals 64C/14F/36P

Shake It Up

1 Scoop Whey Protein

1 cup Fairlife Skim Milk (or water – reduce 14g protein)

1 Large Banana

2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter

475 cals 38C/16F/46P


No Time Breakfast Sandwich

2 slices of toast

2 oz. ham

1 slice cheddar cheese

1 fried egg (this only takes 2 min – I promise)

440 cals 37C/18F/29P

There you have it. 9 options to get protein at breakfast no problem at all.

Now get cookin!

If you want more daily guidance through this crazy time we are in, look no further than online coaching – training and nutrition – let me help you find the best plan for you!

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Two Vacations, Two Different Results

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

After getting back from my week cruise to Alaska, I was back at it Monday morning.

One of my clients was also on vacation the entire week that I was gone – in Italy.

He was curious to see how he did while being gone for a week, and he stepped on the scale.

To his amazement and as I expected – he lost weight.

So how did he vacation for a week, and lose weight – while I GAINED weight?

It’s the food (mostly). It’s always the food.

Before discussing the food, this was probably the 2nd biggest factor:


I worked out 4 times on my cruise – but walked much less than I am used to in a normal week. I usually average 12,000 steps per day, but this week I averaged 7000.

He walked 17,000-20,000 steps everyday.

As I have discussed many times – daily steps and movement is VERY crucial to weight management. Studies have shown a range of 500 – 2500 extra calories can be burned in a day based off of just how much you move!

The Food

The food on the cruise was amazing. However – it was VERY VERY rich. There was butter in everything. There were extra portions of everything. I had a roll every night with butter. I had dessert every night. I had several drinks most days.

What does this add up to? Considering ONE tablespoon of butter is 100 calories…

One old fashioned is 200+ calories…

2 scoops of REAL ice cream could be around 500 calories…

I have no idea how much I consumed.

Do I feel guilty? Shameful? Nope – I chose to do it – I’m an adult and I’m cool with my decisions.

So what was different with HIS trip?

Traditional and authentic Italian food is relatively “light” compared to the American versions.

They eat limited red meats, little butter, plenty of fruits, veggies, pastas, and olive oil (yes it’s still a high calorie fat – but much less is needed than butter).

So is butter and fat the problem with American diets?

NO! It is one of the leading factors contributing to the American diet – but the bigger picture is just an overconsumption of FOOD and CALORIES.

When you prepare your foods, when you know what you are eating, and when you are in control of your nutrition – you know exactly what to expect.

Back to normal habits for me!

How to GET BACK to it!

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Are You A Weekend Saboteur?


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

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

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

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

How does this happen?

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

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

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

1) Set Rules

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

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

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

2) Change How You Eat During the Week

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

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

Let’s find a happy medium.

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

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

It doesn’t even have to be sweets either.

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

3) Shift Your Mindset

“I earned this weekend”

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

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

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

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

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

Find different ways to reward yourself or de-stress.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Measure and cut portions after bulk prep

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

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

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

3) Keep a measuring cup in any bulk prepped carbs

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

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

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

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

4) Have your “go-to” meal foundations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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