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.

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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.

Would you like help with spicing up your training, learning to love health and food, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Hacks to Add More Time to Your Day

“If only I had more time…”

Here’s the deal – we all have the same 24 hours. Nobody is special and gets more.

What you do in that 24 hours is YOUR doing, no one else. Taking responsibility for your own life, decisions and actions is step 0 of this process. Without being in that position, you will continue to blame others, play the victim card, and not do anything for yourself.

Okay, tough love talk is out of the way, and you have accepted that you are in control of your life, right?

Cool.

Now to the actionable items…

How can we add more time to our day?

1) 15 Minute Time Audit

Yes, write out your whole day in 15-minute blocks. What were you doing during each of those blocks. What EXACTLY were you doing? Were you at work working, or at work creeping on your ex-girlfriend on Facebook?

Were you spending time with your partner, or actually just sitting on the couch browsing Instagram while some boring show played in the background?

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Within your full day of 15-minute windows you will find 2 different opportunities:

A) Instant cuts – things you can get rid of right now to free up more time

B) Linkable habits – things you always do that you can LINK new habits to.

2) Habit Linking

What is something you do every day, without even thinking about it? This is a pure habit. Find something that you WANT to do every day…and link it to that habit, preferably BEFORE the habit you currently do…so you have to “earn” it.

“I need to start exercising” –> “I currently brush my teeth every morning after breakfast, then watch the morning news for 15 minutes”

Cut out the news, it’s all fake anyway 😉  (but you can check it later really) and make it habit of – after breakfast, before I brush my teeth, I will do 5 squats and 5 pushups every minute on the minute for 5 minutes.

Another example:

I always walk by Sharon’s desk at work AND grab a piece of candy out of her bowl.

Sharon is an awesome lady – don’t stop walking by her desk and saying hello. But guess what, you can say hello without mindlessly eating 100 calories every day. Swap the habit of grabbing candy with saying something nice about Sharon every day (don’t be a creep though)

How does this add time to your day though? Think forward. By mindlessly skipping the candy, you have saved yourself 100 mindless calories. When you save those calories, you don’t need to stress about eating a “healthier” dinner because you shamed yourself for eating that candy (THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY BEHAVIOR, BUT Let’s be real, people do it), nor do you “need” to walk that extra mile to burn off those 100 calories… (again NOT what I condone, BUT in reality, people do this)

3) Outsource Tasks

We live in a crazy new world. You could stay in your bedroom all day (with the right job) and get everything you need. This is a curse and a blessing – but if used wisely, you can add time to your day.

Hate grocery shopping? Most places will deliver for FREE if you spend at least $50. That saves you a trip to and from by itself.

The other benefit to this – you can decide what food enters your home, and not leave it up to chance at the store. How many times have you gone grocery shopping hungry, stress, or sad…only to buy food that you didn’t really want, and definitely didn’t need?

So let’s put this into practice with the previous hacks.

When is it that you feel the most motivated to be healthy? Usually after a good workout, or after doing something else for your health. So link it up.

After working out on Fridays, I will take 15 minutes to log in and online grocery shop for the foods that 90% support my goals, my families health, and 10% are enjoyable treats.

You can outsource so many other things…even if you have to spend some money.

Figure out what your time is worth. Whether it is based on being able to work more (what is your hourly rate) OR being able to do more of what you love (no price needed).

Pay the neighbor kid $20 to mow your lawn so you can meal prep, spend time advancing your business, or just spending time with family.

Whatever value you put on your time, or what you want to be doing – figure this out, and find a way to make it worthwhile.

4) Schedule Out Your Entire Day

Yes, this might seem OCD, but it really helps.

I am terrible at time management. If I am working on one thing, and an email pops up – I will stop what I am doing, and check the email…and then somehow find myself on facebook, and then decide I need a snack…

Schedule your day. When you work. When you eat. When you play. When you sleep. When you have family time. When you check emails.

After doing your 15-minute audit, clean it up. Designate specific times for the things that matter most.

I removed my work email from my phone and designated specific time EACH day to check my work email from my home computer. This has helped incredibly with focus, and stress in my life, and it is so simple!

I schedule in time to train, and I have my phone automatically lock me out of all apps besides my music app during this time. No more getting wrapped up in facebook, emails or reading the news – just my time to train because it makes me feel better, keeps me in shape, and is a stress reliever for me.

5) Plan Out the Next Day the Night Before

What are the 3 things I NEED to accomplish tomorrow?

Nothing else matters until those 3 things are done.

Write this out. They might be 3 very simple tasks – but you will be much more likely to actually do them. If you only do 2 of the 3, put the 3rd task as #1 on the following day’s goal list.

Put the easiest task first. That way it puts you into a winning mindset for the day. As soon as you do task #1 – cross it off, and say “hell yeah, I got this”

When you plan out these things and trim the fluff from your day, you will find yourself having more time, more freedom and honestly – a much better life.

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,

 

Ladies! Get Your Lift On!

This one goes out to all the ladies in the room.

When was the last time you lifted weights that were heavier than 3 pounds? Or hell, lifted weights at all? Performed sets of 3-5 reps? Rested after a set for more than 1 minute?

Has it been a while? Or maybe never?

That’s okay! But maybe it’s time to give it a try. You see, you have been misled, and lied to. Magazines, fitness influencers, and other people and company just trying to play into your emotions and take your money have been lying to you.

Cardio only for fat loss – LIES

Light weight and high reps to tone – LIES

1200 calories to lose fat – DANGEROUS LIES

When MOST women I talk to about their goals describe the “look” that they are after and then tell me about what they have been doing to reach that goal, there is a disconnect.

Again – not your fault! You have been lied to that lifting heavy makes you turn into she-hulk, or eating more than 1200 calories will make you fat, or you need to spend hours on the step mill with a band around your knees to get that booty you are after (while wearing an ab trainer belt that the shady trainer at the gym conveniently sells out of the trunk of his car….)

Here is why lifting heav(ier) is what you might need, and how to do it…

1) Build Muscle – there is no toning of muscle. You are either build muscle or losing muscle. You are either adding body fat or losing body fat.

When you strength train – you build muscle. Having more muscle increases your resting metabolic rate – which means you burn more calories throughout the rest of the day.

If you have never tried lifting heavier, try this.

Stay in the 5-8 rep range most of the time. Use big compound movements – squats, deadlifts, rows, presses. AND THEN…REST after a set!

Resting for 45-90 seconds will not kill your fat burning zone. It will allow your muscles to recharge so they can attack the weights even harder on the next set!

2) A Sense Of Badassery 

You already are a badass, and no you don’t need anything else to prove it…but lifting some heavy stuff can help with that.

I love seeing my female clients hit new lifting PR’s (personal records). Lifting 250 pounds off the floor, or pushing a 500-pound sled…Talk about empowering!

You are not a delicate little flower – start challenging your body to do what it was made to do!

3) Functional Strength

Besides looking like a goddess, lifting heavy has benefits for your everyday life and health.

Let’s say your kid weighs 40 pounds. And you can only lift 50 pounds off the floor.

When you go to lift your kid up, you are using 80% of your max working capacity. That’s pretty tough!

Now let’s say you get stronger by deadlifting weekly – and you can now lift 150 pounds off the floor no problem. Well, your 40-pound kid is now only 26.6% of your max lifting capacity! Easy peasy!

Kate Upton is a beast thanks to her trainer Ben Bruno! But she doesn’t look bulky, does she??

4) Bone Health

Unfortunately, women are much more prone to degeneration of their bones due to osteoporosis or osteopenia.

Heavy strength training (With proper nutrition) is one of THE best ways to make your bones more dense and stronger. Younger ladies, you might not be worried about this now, but don’t play with fire – bone loss starts around 30 years old.

Heavy squats and deadlifts are great for challenging your whole frame to grow stronger!

5) Follow a Structured Program

Don’t just use the IG video of the day, or do the lifts you know and enjoy.

Follow a structured program so you can actually monitor progress and know if you are getting stronger.

This is called progressive overload – and is the main principle behind muscle growth!

If you lifted 100 pounds for 3 reps one week, and 105 for 3 reps the next, you progressed! Awesome!

Don’t have a structured program to follow?

Check out my Ladies 3-Day Lean Lifting program! This will cover everything above, and then some! Spend only 45- 60 minutes at the gym, 3 days per week, AND get that lean, toned look that you have been after? Sounds like a win to me!

Ready to create a new you through lifting? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Ways To Make Grilling Season Healthy…AND Still Tasty.

Grilling season is upon us here in Wisconsin and you need to be ready to dominate without blowing up your waistline.

And no, you don’t need to be bland and boring either. You should know by now that I’m not that guy, I want you to enjoy your food to the fullest, but also not lose track of your goals.

Hell, grilling is already healthier than our other favorite method of cooking – deep frying. However, just because something is grilled – doesn’t make it your best option. Nor does it usually consist of the entire meal.

Time to cover the 5 ways that you can master the grilling season, and still rock your bikini/mankini this summer.

1 – Veggies Always 

This is a no brainer for any meal, but if you focus on filling half your plate with veggies, you will be filling half your gut with very lower calorie nutrient goodness. You can’t go wrong there.

My favorite grilling veggies? Zucchini and Asparagus.

Give them a drizzle in olive oil, throw some pink salt and garlic powder on them, and grill to perfection.

2 – Lean Meats

I love brats. However, the high amount of saturated fat found in a brat doesn’t love us back. Look for leaner sources of protein to grill when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck this grilling season.

How do you know what good lean options are?

A great rule of thumb is if the grams of protein is at least 2x the grams of fat, it is a decent protein source. IF the grams of protein is closer to 3x or 4x, then you have a real winner.

Here is a brat compared to some good alternatives:

Do you see how the brat has 7 MORE grams of fat than protein? This would be considered a VERY fatty protein source, and frankly a pretty crappy one at that.

3) Watch the Carb Overload

If you have been reading my other posts, you should know that I love carbs.

However, there is no need to go overboard on them, especially if this a low activity weekend we are talking about.

If you are eating something with a bun, don’t forget that these count as carbs, so maybe your side dishes should be lower carb options.

Or if you want the higher carb sides – potatoes, corn, mac n cheese… then maybe skip the bun. It’s your choice, but make it quick before you have an “ah screw it” moment.

HIgh carb side dishes also can pack a lot of extra calories from fat – so be aware of that as well!

 

4) Go To Town With Seasonings

You don’t need your food to be boring and bland to be healthy. Seasonings are a fantastic way to add tons of flavor with minimal extra calories.

Staples to always have on hand are:

  • Garlic powder
  • Pink salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Any BBQ dry rub
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Need ideas for pairing these up? I got you covered from SpicesInc.com

(Click the photo to make it bigger)

5) Don’t Forget the Real Reason You Are Grilling

Here is one that can apply to any social situation.

Keep the focus on the occasion itself, and not the idea of blindly stuffing your face with food and drinks. You can celebrate a beautiful day without pigging out, or drinking 12 crispy boys with your bros. Yes, this is actually possible.

Are you grilling to celebrate a great baseball game? Awesome! Enjoy the game. Nothing anywhere says that you will enjoy it more if you eat 4 brats and pound 12 beers…you CAN enjoy things without this!

Many times we gravitate towards eating mindlessly or drinking in social situations that we might not feel 100% comfortable. Rather than stuffing your face or drinking the liquid courage, why not practice being social? Stuffing your face won’t help you improve your social skills, and drinking might end up making a fool out of you and making you REALLY socially awkward.

Stick to these 5 tips this grilling season (and year round) and you will be feeling better, and enjoying more warm days with fewer clothes on 🙂

Would you like more help on controlling your food choices, 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,

 

Getting Swole While Fasting, Is It Possible?

Fasting seems to be all the rage these days. Intermittent fasting more specifically. The benefits are touted as being superior to non-fasting protocols, from boosting growth hormone to preventing aging…

While these claims are a bit silly, one thing that is for sure is that fasting is nothing new.

Fasting has been a worldwide principle since the dawn of time, particularly for religious purposes.

A friend recently reached out to ask how to structure nutrition during Ramadan, with a goal of maintaining or even gaining some solid muscle during this period.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is observed worldwide by Muslims by fasting during the times when the sun is up for 29-30 days. 

While this is a tricky time to gain muscle for those looking to observe this period and get jacked, it is still possible.

1) Prioritize Your Eating Windows

With any fasting protocol, you need to plan out your opportunities to eat a little bit more than the average person. Since you are restricted to a specific time, you must be planning in advance to make sure all your bases are covered – especially if your goal is gain muscle, you will need to be in a slight surplus of calories.

If it is for Ramadan, you will need to split your eating windows in two, and base each one on when you are training, to maximize your peri-workout nutrition as well.

If possible, I would recommend training in the morning and eating a solid pre-workout meal 2 hours before training, ideally this would happen upon waking, and training could happen anytime 2-3 hours after (while the sun is up)

  • Wake up: 4:30 AM – Eat 50% of daily goal
  • Sunrise: 5:48AM
  • Train: 7:00AM

If you cannot train during the AM hours, and need to train in the PM, I would try and get in a smaller high easy digestible carb shake on the way to hit the gym, then eat a larger meal after.

  • Sunset: 7:58PM
  • Drink 30-40g carb + 10g protein
  • Train
  • Eat meal by 9PM

The PM option is tougher, because you are eating later, and potentially limiting sleep, which is key for recovery and muscle growth.

2) Prioritize Calorie Dense Foods (Carefully!)

This doesn’t mean you should live off of ice cream and donuts during your eating window, but if your goal is to gain or at least maintain muscle, you need to be at maintenance or a slight surplus.

Choosing slightly fattier cuts of meat, having handfuls of nuts, or using higher fat versions of any foods might be needed to hit a calorie target.

If you are used to being on the lower end of fat intake, this might throw you for a bit, but if calories are controlled, you may have to drop your carb intake slightly and bump up your fat intake slightly.

I would keep carbs as close to training as possible, whether it be before or after.

Carbs will not only provide fuel for intense training, but they also provide a “switch” to turn off the sympathetic nervous state that is heightened during training and shift our body into a parasympathetic state of recovery.

If you train in the morning, and cannot eat carbs post workout because the sun is up – no worries, prioritize your recovery breathing, chillax a bit, and wind down from your workout.

Remember – total daily intake is what matters most!

3) Get Enough Protein

This should go without saying, but to maintain or build muscle mass you NEED to be getting at least .6-1g/lb of protein. (if calories are sufficient, the .6 will work, not ideal, but it will work) Because your eating windows might be shorter, this can be tough, and lead to some gassy results.

Try to split the feedings up as much as possible, but if you can get 3 feedings in that should be the minimum goal.

Now, if you are a bigger person, getting 250 grams of protein in 3 meals might not be possible. Truth is if you are getting enough calories, and getting at least .6g/lb you should have no issues losing your gains over the 29-30 day period.

So what might this all look like for a split day fast like Ramadan? Let’s use my friend as an example:

Current Intake: 310g C/55g F/170g P – 24-30g/fiber ( 2415 calories )

  • 4:30AM – Wakeup – Eat 40-50% of daily intake carbs, 20% fat, 40g pro (130g C, 11g F, 40g Pro)
  • Train
  • Sunrise – FAST
  • Sunset – END FAST
  • Eat 25-30% carbs, 30-40% of fat, and another 40-50g protein.
  • Then cap off the rest in another meal before bed.

Now, this would be ideal…but life isn’t always ideal! If this person wanted to still maintain muscle but wasn’t able to eat all this food what can we do? This is where tweaking the macros could be an option. Now I wouldn’t do this overnight, but a slow transition to lower carb, higher fat would be the way to go…

Reminder – carbs are 4 cal/gram and ft is 9 cal/gram – so for every 2ish grams of carbs we drop, we can add 1 gram-ish of fat. I would keep adjustments around 10-20g/carbs per day per week while balancing out with added fats.

So maybe the macros look like this:

250g C/ 82g F/ 170g P – 24-30g fiber (still 2415 calories)

Then the distributions might be easier, because you are getting more calories, with less volume of food.

Lastly, what if training at night?

I would try and train before the sun goes down, and be ready to feast as soon as you finish training. HOWEVER – don’t do this RIGHT away, because your body is in a super sympathetic state and may not be ready to digest a feast. So cool down, hit a protein and simple carb shake, then feast 1 hour later.

In this situation, I would still try and get 50-60% of calories in before the sun comes up but would shift to a little bit more fat dominant, and save more carbs for after sundown.

I hope this helps some of my swole bro’s out there who are partaking in this fasting period – hats’ off to you guys because I don’t think I would make it!

 

Ready to make the lifetime commitment? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Keys To Sustainable Fat Loss Results

Losing weight isn’t the hard part. Losing weight and keeping it off is.

Maybe you or someone you know lost a ton of weight once, and now they have since gained it back, and then some, and seem to struggle mightily to lose it again.

If you know more about this person, think about how they did it. Maybe they went on some crazy hardcore diet for a couple of months, spent 3 hours a day at the gym, or took questionable supplements that cost over $2000/month…

The person who loses and regains all usually lost via some extreme fashion.

So how do we avoid this? How do we make progress that lasts, and seems as effortless as possible? These are not in order of importance.

1) Regular Exercise

You may be wondering, “I thought diet was most important for fat loss!” and you would be right. BUT, maintaining fat loss is a different story. Regular exercise that challenges the body is key to maintaining results long-term. Yes, walking is great and getting 10k steps per day is awesome – but our bodies are meant to be physical, strong and challenged once in a while.

You don’t need to spend hours per day, but even 4-5 days per week of 30 minutes of vigorous activity will be enough.

While I don’t advise people to count their calories burned from exercise into their food intake (earning food is a bad mindset) – you cannot deny that regular exercise does increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

2) Willingness to Change

This should seem like a no brainer, but you need to be willing to change some things in your life for good. You cannot expect to make a ton of changes for 12 weeks, get results, then revert back to all your old habits and maintain your progress.

Obviously, we want to change as little as possible to make this as easy as possible.

However, the number of people who say they want to change, yet continue to live 3-4 days a week like they are in college still cracks me up.

You need to be okay with changing your ways if you want to see a change in your waist…….that was awful 🙁

3) Consistent Monitoring of Something

Whether it be your food, your weight, or your lifts in the gym – you have to monitor something to maintain your own sort of self-accountability.

If you weigh yourself daily, you shouldn’t worry about your day-to-day weights, but rather your general trends over the course of time. Try the Happy Scale App for this.

Tracking food is one of the best tools when it comes to improving your nutrition knowledge. I don’t know how many times I have heard people say, “once I started tracking, I was SHOCKED at how many calories were in XYZ”

Tracking your progress at the gym is a great idea for everyone, even if you don’t necessarily care about being super strong. It will help you track overall progress, because if you are slowly getting stronger, you are slowly building more muscle, and thus likely improving your body comp (muscle to fat ratio).

4) Support

Going at things alone is never a good idea. I don’t care what people say, nobody is truly self-made successful.

If you are trying to improve your health by eating healthier and being more active, it doesn’t help if your partner keeps bringing home fast food, and sweets and encouraging you to skip the gym and watch late night TV instead.

Get a new partner. Ok, maybe not.

BUT – have that discussion with them, explain why this is important to you, and what they could do to show love and support.

Join a weight lifting group, a running club, or any group of like-minded people who maybe have the same goals and hobbies as you. In a world where we are so overly connected via the internet, we are less socially connected more than ever. Having your “tribe” or coach to guide and keep you accountable is key.

5) Appreciation of the Long Game

My clients probably get sick of me saying this.

But you have to be willing to go with the ebbs and flows of life and play the long game.

Think about the person who puts all their eggs in one basket, pushes all their chips into the pot, and goes hog-wild for 12 weeks of exercise and extreme dieting. Let’s say they lose 20 pounds. Then they regain. They then repeat next year, because it worked for the last year… maybe this time they lose 18 pounds in 12 weeks. Then regain…this pattern continues for 3-4 years.

Then the other person comes in. They focus on sustainable results, and work at it, but also live life, and enjoy the process. They “only” lose 6 pounds in a year. That’s .5 pounds per month…or roughly 0.125 pounds per week… “nothing” to most people…

3 years later, they are 18 pounds lighter, leaner, and healthier and hardly noticed the struggle.

3 YEARS! <—- Read this again.

Think back 3 years ago. If I came to you and said – “hey, you will be 18-25 pounds leaner 3 years from now, and the process will be almost effortless compared to crash diets and crazy workouts, you in?”

3 years isn’t really that long of a time, especially if you are 100% more likely to KEEP that 18-25 pounds off for the rest of your life because you learned so many positive habits and skills along the way.

Ready to make the lifetime commitment? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

What Are Macros Anyways?

My macros are 300 C, 80F, and 215P…

If you are totally lost as to what that means, you are not alone!

Without any messing around, let’s just dive right in.

Macronutrients – or Macros for short – are the energy-containing compounds in our diets that make up the calories (energy) in our diet. We also consume micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals, and while these are essential, they do not contain any energy.

The three macros are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Alcohol is also sometimes included because it does contain energy. I use the word “contain” lightly because the energy/calories (used synonymously here) application is actually the amount of energy it takes to burn these nutrients. Confused yet?

  • 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories

When it comes to fat loss or weight gain (this includes muscle) – it comes down to the number of calories we consume, and the source to some extent.

For simplicity sake, let’s say you burn 2500 calories per day – all things included your metabolism, exercise, thermic effect of food (the calories you burn digesting food) and your general movement, or NEAT.

If you eat 3000 calories per day, you will gain weight. (A surplus)

If you eat 2500 calories per day, you will maintain your weight. (Maintenence)

If you eat 2000 calories per day, you will lose weight. (A deficit)

What contributes to these calories, is our macros.

What if you ate PURE sugar, 100% carb goodness and nothing else? Remember, carbs are 4 cals per gram. So if we want to lose weight on PURE sugar, you could eat – 2000/4 = 500 grams of carbs per day. BUT nothing else.

Obviously, this is highly unsafe, and not realistic, but the math is there to prove a point.

So back to my macros, which I have adjusted almost every 2 weeks, based on my personal goals, etc.

Where they are right now:

  • 300 grams of carbs x 4 cals per gram = 1200 calories from carbs
  • 215 grams of protein x 4 cals per gram = 860 calories from protein
  • 80 grams of fat x 9 cals per gram = 720 calories from fat

Those macros make up 2780 calories. Which for me, is a slight deficit. (I was cutting down a bit for vacation – you know, beach bod ready 🙂 

So what are sources of carbs, protein, and fats?

Glad you asked! Here is a pretty solid list of what contributes to what.

Mostly Carbohydrates:

  • Bread
  • English muffins
  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Pancakes/waffles
  • Bananas
  • Frozen berries
  • Seasonal veggies
  • Jello or pudding
  • All non-starchy veggies don’t really count for carbs (green and other colored veggies)

 Mostly Protein:

  • Egg whites
  • Chicken breast (or sliced from the deli)
  • Turkey (breast, patties, or bacon)
  • White fish
  • Lean ground beef
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Non-fat cottage cheese
  • Non or low-fat cheese
  • Whey protein

Mostly Fat:

  • Egg yolks
  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts
  • Oils
  • Olives

These are examples of foods that are made of MOSTLY one macronutrient. There are few grey areas to cover though…

Carbs/Protein:

  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Nonfat sweetened Greek yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fair Life skim milk
  • Peas
  • Protein bars (most have around 7g fat)

Fat/Protein:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Steak
  • Tofu
  • Whole fat milk
  • Whole fat yogurt
  • Full fat cheese
  • Chia seeds

Fat/Carbs (These are mostly things that you should eat as little of as possible)

  • Donuts or other breakfast desserts
  • Fancy coffee drinks
  • Pizza/other heavy dishes
  • Most mixed dishes at restaurants
  • Anything deep fried
  • Desserts
  • Most things that come in vending machines

These lists are not exhaustive but should give you a general idea of what contributes to what when it comes to figuring out where you macros are or should be coming from.

Are you still confused or want to know more about macros, how much YOU need, what ratios or gram intakes are optimal? Check out the link below for online coaching and take yourself out of the driver’s seat.

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Maybe You DON’T Need More Intensity?

High-Intensity Training; it’s all the rage.

Bootcamps, Crossfit, HIIT Class, Orange Theory, F45, etc. Everyone is promoting HIIT workouts as the holy grail of fitness. Burn more fat in less time, they say. Increase your post-exercise calorie burn significantly they say…

There is nothing inherently wrong with it, rather the approach may be the biggest problem.

Even powerlifting type workouts can be prone to too much high intensity. When you hit the gym day after day, working at high intensity super heavy sets that you have to crank up the Metallica to 11 for, slap your chest and huff and puff – (this used to be me) – day after day…

What about endurance athletes? Some might say – that’s not high intensity! –  While it may not be high intensity in the form of an all-out sprint, I would argue that it still is because of the duration of the activity, and especially if it is used ina competitive sport.

So what’s the problem? 

You spend all your time doing HIIT, or balls to the wall workouts – because that burns fat faster, right? Not always.

Truth is; the body has a finite amount of intensity that it can endure until somethings gotta give.

The graph on the left is what we THINK happens – more physical activity will always lead to more total energy expenditure aka calories burned. However, the true story is the graph on the right. At some point, the body will start preserving energy in other forms to counteract the “over intensity-ness”. This cannot be good, and especially at a deeper level of HOW the body will do this.

Let’s think about this:

High Intensity not only places stress on the physical musculature of the body but also the central nervous system. Your CNS is composed of your brain and spinal cord, but most importantly your HPA Axis (Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal). When we put the body through high-stress training, this system is stimulated. It is a cascade of hormonal triggers that flow downward to eventually release the hormone cortisol. This is a NORMAL response to stress (like high-intensity training).

Most of us have other stressors in our lives.

What also places stress on the body and the CNS?

  • Work
  • Life
  • Sickness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dieting
  • Watching the news
  • Frequent travel

So how many of you High Intensity 7x per week go-getters are perfect in all of the above categories? Probably not many.

How many are taking time to do the opposite, and recover or do something that is LOW intensity?

In that overstressed, high octane, environment, your body releases chronically high levels of cortisol, which in excess can cause:

  • Muscle aches
  • Joint aches
  • Fat and water retention
  • Sleep issues
  • Food cravings
  • Low mojo in the bedroom

So what do you do???

Am I saying stop doing HIIT all together? NO

Think of it as one of those seesaw scales that big fancy city lawyers have.

One side is where you put your high-stress things, and one side is where you put your low-stress things. Is your scale balanced?

Another way to think of your day is being + or – towards your stress/health.

  • Got 8 hours of sleep +1
  • Ate donuts and Starbucks for breakfast -1
  • Got stuck with extra work -1
  • Skipped lunch -1
  • Got my backup protein shake +1

So at this point, you are in the negative…so what can you do to get positive, or balance out your scale?

Here are a few ways how to keep yourself in check:

Be aware of your training volume. If you aren’t sleeping well and you are eating like crap, doing HIIT stuff won’t help you 5 times per week – it will probably do the opposite. Get your diet in check and try to sleep more, and limit your high-intensity training to 1-2 times per week.

Self-monitor. Here’s a novel idea – listen to your body. If you are dragging and feeling extra bloated and weak, it’s probably not the best idea to go all out crazy at the gym. Reflect on why you are feeling this way, fix that problem, and then dial it back for the day and do some lower intensity pump work, foam rolling, or a nice hike outside.

Work to Recover. When we talk recovery from training, it’s usually in the form of eating better, sleeping better, and do your foam rolling and stretching. How many of us do that?

If you can’t sleep more and don’t want to change your nutrition habits, then you can at least make an effort to do a solid recovery session 1-2x per week.

What would this include?

  • Breathing exercises
  • Mobility drills
  • Soft tissue work
  • Range of motion work – light activation
  • Light/low-stress cardio – incline walk, light sled dragging…

Essentially 30 minutes dedicated to leaving the gym feeling better than when you got there.

Build recovery focussed days into your plan. For every crazy intense session you do, match it with a recovery session, massage, outdoor hike, etc.

By focussing just a little bit on recovery, listening to your body, and dialing back a bit on the crazy 100 burpee challenges, you can actually improve your bodies ability to burn fat, grow muscle, and feel a whole heck of a lot better.

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Why Meal Plans Don’t Work, and What To Do…

I used to make meal plans. Hand them out. Expect results. Get puzzled. Repeat.

But…it never happened. And with speaking with multiple other nutrition coaches, and dietitians, they all said the same thing.

Meal plans sound great in theory. Just eat this EXACT plan and you will get results. If they are made properly and calculated correctly, they CAN totally work. But usually from a quick fix standpoint or something that is not truly sustainable.

The time and effort that can be put into a meal plan, only for it to break apart in one meal is unmatched.

“My meal plan says 4 ounces of chicken, 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of broccoli…but I had to go out to eat for work! HELP!!!”

Meal plans are too rigid. They take away any actual learning about food that is involved, and they only work for people who are willing to eat the same twigs and sticks every single day.

Now – there is a difference between a meal plan and a sample day (which I use). A sample day is one single example of what a day at a certain calorie/macro level might look like. But, nobody is expected to follow this one day for weeks, months, or years.

It is only an example of what the day might look like. Why? Because people often underestimate how many calories they eat, and seeing it on paper, and maybe trying it for one day can be very eye-opening.

Showing an example of a day at a set calorie level is good, but teaching sustainable habits and how to be flexible with your diet is better.

What is flexible dieting? 

Let me use an example. Let’s say your current goals are to lose weight. After finding that you currently eat 3000 calories, I would start with a nice deficit of 300-500 cals. So your goal will be to eat 2500 calories.

After figuring out your macros (carbs, protein, fat) – let’s say your goal is this:

2500 calories – 220 grams Carbs (25-35 grams Fiber), 220 grams Protein, and 82 grams Fat (these are all hypothetical)

With flexible dieting, your goal is to hit these numbers every day, by any means possible***

Some people will think this means you can eat whatever you want…which yes, you can! However, as fun as that may sound, it might not be the best idea.

Let’s go back to that photo from above.

These both are 1470 calories. The meal on the left is what we call calorie dense. It means there are a ton of calories (1470) in a small volume of food. The meals on the right are more nutrient dense – more volume, less calories.

If you think you could eat these foods, and hit your macro targets, you are good….but that might be highly unlikely.

Most calorie dense foods are high in fat, and carbs, and LOW in protein and fiber. Think about things like donuts, greasy burgers, pizza…

These three foods account for 154 carbs, 89 fat, and 69 protein, with only 9g of fiber.

That leaves our hypothetical person with:

66 grams of carbs – 151 grams of protein – and NEGATIVE grams of fat…

So pretty much the rest of the day would have to be PURE protein, and some rice…not the healthiest day.

How can you “have your cake and eat it too”?

Once you have your macros set – and you know you want a donut, go ahead and plug it in.

Then work the rest of your day AROUND that choice, with nutritious, whole foods, and high nutrient dense options.

Yes, this involves a basic understanding of nutrition, how to track, and how to measure foods…but when you understand how this all works, and it does, and it is like “magic” every single time you eat those foods that make your friends say…

“I thought you were trying to lose weight?”

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Do I Need to Track Food Forever?

I get this question a lot. “You always talk about tracking food, do I need to do that forever?”

Short answer, NO.

I recommend everyone tracks their food at some point though. Not because it is the only way to see results, but because most people have NO clue what they eat, how much they eat and aren’t even aware of half the food they put in their body.

According to studies, people underestimate their calorie intake by about 50%.

More than 4,000 people tracked what they are for four days. Men reported consuming an average 2,065 calories a day, but were estimated to actually consume 3,119; while women reported 1,570 but actually consumed 2,393.

This brings up the often made point “I barely eat, and still can’t lose weight!”

It’s not that people are willfully lying about their food intake (maybe some do) – but most are just not truly aware.

Take my current standard breakfast for example:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whites
  • Veggies
  • 100g of carbs (varies by the day) – let’s say it was my 130 grams of Life Cereal I had this morning (that is 130g of WEIGHT = 100g of carbs, in this case)
  • 1 cup of Fairlife Skim Milk

If someone tracked this as is, I would say that is some pretty dang accurate tracking.

But, what about the oil I used for the eggs? Oops forgot to track that (5g coconut oil = 45 cals)

And the veggies – didn’t track them, but likely 50 calories or so.

Oh, then Adalynn didn’t finish her oatmeal, so I had a couple of bites of that (20 calories?)

So right there, even though they were all healthy calories, it still was 115 calories unaccounted for…at one meal. Project this over 2 more meals, and that could easily be a 300-400 calorie swing, which is enough to move you from a deficit (eating less than you burn) to a surplus (eating more than you burn)

This is why I highly encourage consistent tracking for at least a couple of weeks to get an idea of what you actually eat.

Once you educate yourself on this and become more aware, you can make some tweaks.

Once things start going in the right direction, and you get into a routine or have a vacation coming up, or something called life happens…this is where the lesson needs to be applied.

After tracking for a while, and seeing what your ideal intake actually looks like, you CAN take a little step away from tracking…BUT this doesn’t mean you need to go fully off the rails.

Try to keep meals consistent, and duplicate portions sizes, and keep in a solid routine when not tracking.

But still, you should be monitoring SOMETHING. Your weight, your measurements, your performance in the gym…and if it starts to go the wrong way, maybe it’s time to get back to tracking.

If you maintain your loss without tracking, then that’s great! The eventual goal IS to maintain! Maintenance “practice” while taking a break from tracking is a great challenge in itself, and something that with enough practice, can be done!

IT takes practice, and it takes time – but once you learn more about the foods you eat, and make adjustments, and LEARN from the process (this is why meal plans FAIL, they don’t teach you anything ACTIONABLE), you can APPLY what you learned and build on it, take breaks, and jump back in the game when you are ready to make more changes.

If you still are stumped with all this, let me know, and let’s jump on a call!

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Stay healthy my friends,