29 Tricks to Improving Your Health

Look, none of these are really tricks, but they may be some things that you never thought of trying when it comes to creating a healthier life. Will these work for everyone? Nope. Will they make sense for everyone? Nope – but read through these quick hitters and maybe you will pick up on something that you never thought of.

These are in no particular order, as I’m writing them as they pop in my head.

1) Start your morning with a big glass of water – right when you get up. We lose water in our sleep and often wake up dehydrated. Replenish these losses ASAP.

2) Use the same water bottle throughout the day to track intake. If it is 24 ounces, and your goal is 100 ounces – you know that you need 4 of those bottles.

3) Place rubber bands or hair ties on the bottle – and every time you finish a bottle, take on off an put it on your wrist.

4) Trouble staying asleep? Shift some of your carbs to later in the day – this won’t make you fat, but it will help with your serotonin production.

5) Turn down the lights when the sun goes down – this will help keep in normal circadian rhythms, and can help with metabolic processes.

6) Don’t use melatonin to help sleep – it doesn’t work that way.

7) If you are active and have trouble staying asleep or getting deep sleep, consider a ZMA supplement – zinc, magnesium, and B6 are all needed in higher levels for active individuals.

8) Consider using a sleep cycle alarm clock. This will sense when you are most awake and wake you at a time when you aren’t in a super deep REM sleep – which can make you groggy even if you get 7-8 hours.

9) Make it a point to walk continuously for at least 15 minutes every day. Then build on that.

10) Stop drinking your calories.

11) Take a cooking class and learn how to make your own awesome food.

12) If you are not a broke college kid or a 10-year-old, stop eating like one – grow up, eat your veggies, and put the candy down.

13) Trigger warning: Again – you are a grown ass adult – stop eating candy. Seriously. (Yes, I’m shaming you here)

14) Learn how to lift weights, and learn from a professional, not an Instagram booty girl or abs bro.

15) Don’t chase the “feeling” of your workouts. Being sore after every workout is NOT a sign of a good workout.

16) Balance your intense workouts with low-intensity recovery work – this will make sure you hormonal and nervous systems stay balanced.

17) Don’t workout to earn food. You are not a dog.

18) Don’t factor in exercise calorie burns into your nutrition – these estimates are highly inaccurate and can lead to unhealthy relationships with exercise and food.

19) Eat birthday cake.

20) If you are afraid of birthday cake, your mind is broken.

21) Eat .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. I can’t say this enough, and people still are only eating 40 grams per day and wondering what the next secret is. If you haven’t tried this, try it, work up to it slowly though, or you might be a bit gassy 🙂

22) If you struggle to hit your protein goal – get a powder, they aren’t just for bros.

23) Sometimes the simplest workouts are the best – don’t over complicate it.

24) Have veggies or fruit at every meal.

25) Do a 30 minute day audit. Write out the whole day in 30-minute blocks and write what you are doing during that time – I bet you will find more room to exercise.

26) Make someone’s day

27) Read nightly – something that is not work-related. Don’t watch something that upsets you before bed. If the news upsets you, don’t watch it. If facebook gets you fired up, get off it.

28) Get outside more. Set your phone in silent/airplane mode – and explore outside.

29) Make connections with real people, you never know what will come of it. Nobody cares about how many friends you have on social media.

If you need more help coming up with a process that you can maintain, sustain and make gains, let me help you. Click here to check it out!

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Stay healthy my friends,

5 Simple Fixes to a Healthier Life That Take 10 Minutes or Less

We all want quick fixes right? Truth is – quick fix promises hardly pan out to work for the long haul. It takes time, consistency and managing the inevitable ups and downs.

However, there are many “simple” changes that you can make to your day that will lead to a healthier life, and take minimal effort. The following are my 5 favorites that I have implemented myself, used with many of my clients, in person and online.

1. Drink Minimal Calories

Liquid calories are mostly worthless. At least this is what I have come to think. When it comes to health, high-calorie drinks provide no health value. Soda and juice are pure sugar, leading to blood sugar spikes, crashes, headaches, depressive feelings, insulin mismanagement, and weight gain.

Sports drinks like Gatorade are just sugar with electrolytes – and aren’t needed by most recreational trainees.

Alcohol – yes I drink it – but if we distill it down to the facts (pun intended) – alcohol is a high-calorie toxin.

Minimizing these drinks can be as simple as swapping them out with calorie-free drinks, especially water – and setting some rules for alcohol intake so you aren’t throwing down an extra 400 cals every night.

2. Walk

What is the easiest, most fundamental movement you can do for your health? Walk.

Just get out and walk. Even a 10-minute walk outside can have so many benefits.

  • Improves digestion
  • Improves heart health
  • Improves blood sugar management
  • Improves joint health
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Improves mindset and mood

Seriously, if you don’t already walk once per day, start now – even just 10 minutes can go a long way if you make it a habit.

3. Perform mobility work for 5 minutes

What is mobility work? Essentially it can be anything you choose – moving your body and joints through their normal range of motion.

Wake up, slam a glass of water, and perform a 5-minute mobility session from head to toe. This will get blood flowing, joints lubricated, and help wake you up!

If you are heading into your workout, do some specific mobility work for your workout. Lower body focus? Open your hips, hammies, and ankles.

Going to work the upper body? Open up your chest, mobilize your back and thoracic spine.

4. Eat veggies or fruit at each meal

Yes, even fruit. Produce provides tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for keeping our insides nice and healthy. It also fills up a ton of volume with minimal calories, especially vegetables.

Look at a typical dinner of yours. Do you have veggies on the plate? If not, take away half of your carb source and replace it with vegetables. Simple swap, mega savings on calories.

Adding fruits to meals instead of only having a starchy carb will help balance out your meal, balance out your gut health, and fill you up easier on lower calorie options.

5. Focus on the positive – forget the negative

This is more of a mindfulness practice but can make big changes to your mental, emotional and even physical health.

Focussing on the negatives, in our day, in our life, and about ourselves can have a serious trickle-down effect on our mind and lead us to start over thinking things, being hard on ourselves, and thus managing these negativities with self-medication – i.e emotional eating.

Instead – remind yourself of all the positives that you have in your life, what can you be thankful for, and what do you have going well for you. I promise that even if you feel like you have none of these things – I promise you do, just think deeper.

The fact that you were born and are reading this is extremely fortunate – the odds of you being born as you are 1 in 400 trillion. So I’d say you are pretty lucky.

Take these 5 tips for what you will – they might not change your life, but they might! If you haven’t tried them, then give them a try and see what happens – I highly doubt that the results will be negative.

If you need more help coming up with a process that you can maintain, sustain and make gains, let me help you. Click here to check it out!

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Stay healthy my friends,

Stress Will Get You, One Way or Another

For those of you on the insider’s email list, you know that I sent out a newsletter this week about balancing your stress with decompression/destress activities. For those of you NOT on the insider’s email list, what are you waiting for?

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP for Insider’s Newsletters every Tuesday.

I got an awesome email response back from one of my subscribers, and here is the part that I want to focus on:

“For me, I think that leaving work mentally and emotionally exhausted, and going home and eating shitty processed food, or going out to dinner for shitty deep fried bar food (and some nights I literally had wine or bourbon for dinner) was the killer… I ended up in a tailspin that I am glad is behind me.  I’m below 200 lbs for the first time in a long time. 

Putting all that behind me, and taking the time to make a healthy-ish dinner, and walking to the grocery store has been huge.   

So moral of my rambling non-sensical story:  stress has a huge impact on your weight and well being.  Not just the cortisol, but also whatever your coping/ escape mechanism is.”

First – bravo my friend! I was so happy to read this email I even did it mid-workout, during my heavy bench press rest period, and those of you who know me, know it takes a lot to break my focus in that exact moment.

Second – he is 100% right here.

We can talk about cortisol, stress levels, stressors, etc. forever – we all have them – but it is the ACTIONS we do because of the stress that really ends up compounding the problems on top of us and leading to potentially unhealthy coping mechanisms.

So first we must look at what is causing the stress, and is it something that we can either change completely or do we need to change our response to it?

If the weeds in your front yard are stressing you out, you can change that – weed killer or hire a company.

If your boss at work is stressing you out…well you could change that by quitting, but what if that isn’t an option?

Then we need to go to step 2 – and alter our reaction to the stressor.

It first begins with analysis – why is the situation stressing you? What is your reaction to the stress, and is this healthy?

Problem: Continuously getting asked to work long hours at work.

Why is this stressing me: I’m overtired, it makes me crabby, and I am missing out on family time.

What is my reaction: I get home late, have a drink or two, and eat whatever I can get my hands on quickly.

What is the consequence of this reaction: I have gained weight, I sleep like shit because of the greasy food and alcohol – which then adds to more stress and less recovery, making me more susceptible to making these types of decisions more quickly and frequently.

What are my options to change this: Change the situation – quit my job. Change my reaction/change outside of the job – ask for a meeting with the boss, prioritize sleep patterns better to increase productivity, pre-plan meals so I have something that isn’t shit food ready for me when I get home late, enlist a no drinking during the week rule on myself, remind myself that I am more than my job and this behavior is not helping the problem, take a look at the project and maybe realize that the end is in sight and I can grind it out – then plan a vacation to recharge, practice 5 minutes of meditation every day…it could go on and on.

Now, there may be many ways to try and change your reaction to a big problem – and they may not work. This is when the nuclear option may be the only choice. That might be scary, especially when it comes to something like quitting a job, breaking up with your partner, moving to a totally new place, or other often scary and daunting choices.

But you might need to think about it deeper – what do you have to lose? What do you have to gain? Where does this balance out? Weigh out the pros and cons of both situations – and go from there. This critical analysis can help you rationalize an often daunting emotional decision much better than sitting around and pulling your hair out over it (shout out to one of my mentors who taught me this and put me through this during a bigger decision point in my life)

I’m not telling you to go out and quit your job today – but I’m also telling you that spending 50+ hours a week, doing something that you hate 100% of the time is no way to live, no matter what the paycheck is.

Stress management is huge – especially for those who choose to turn to food in times of stress, and all of a sudden find that their clothes don’t fit anymore! Many of my online clients deal with this, and this is often the topic of our check in’s. We might not even talk about macros, calories, etc…but just about stress and life, and that is what helps them the most!

If you’re stress eating has you out of control, I can help!

Apply here, and apply now – these spots are limited! – https://mgfitlife.com/apply-for-online-coaching/

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Stay healthy my friends,

Good Things Come To Those With Patience and Consistency

We live in a “what can you do for me now?” society. We want things done now, finish lines met, and dream bodies and lives in 6 weeks or less.

It always blows my mind that these “21 Day”, “6 Week Transformations” or “4-minute workouts” keep selling – but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. These products and programs make juicy promises that they just can’t keep.

Sure, you COULD lose 50 pounds in 6 weeks – but is that right for you? And if you gain it all back and then some, did that magic program really work?

What you don’t see being sold is the “2 Year Life Lasting Sustainable Program”…because 2 years is waaaay too long.

But how many people who might say, “2 years!? That is too long!”, are the same people who have been trying different fad diets, workout programs and other gimmicks for 5 or even 10 years?

Think of it this way – if you stuck to something reasonable, and sustainable for 2 years, and lost an average of a half a pound per week… you would be down 52 pounds in 2 years AND I can guarantee that you will keep it off for life.

Yes, it is 2 years – or heck – even 26 pounds in one year! (And that’s a very conservative number) – but in that time you would learn habits that you can maintain, not starve yourself, look your best, feel your best, and not feel beat up from high-intensity workouts 12 times per week…

So here is that secret, 2-year plan in a nutshell:

1 – Strength train 2-4 times per week

Strength training has so many benefits that I have previously named, but the biggest ones are long-term health, strength, muscle fights gravity – because gravity is always trying to kill us, increased metabolism, and just a better-looking body.

Your strength routines should be focussed on getting a little bit stronger over time – so it is crucial to track your weights, reps, and sets – so you know that you are challenging your muscles.

You should focus on full body workouts 2 to 3 times per week, or possibly an upper/lower split 2 times per week (upper/lower/upper/lower if doing 4 workouts per week).

2 – Increase your NEAT

NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the fancy way of saying “all activity that isn’t exercise” – this could be steps, using the stairs, dancing, washing dishes, etc.

Shooting for 10,000 steps per day is a great goal – but remember – if in it for the long haul, figure out where you are starting now – maybe its 2000 steps – and build from there.

3 – Diet is KEY

Clean up your diet, track your diet, cut out the crap, cut back on the booze, are all good, general starting points. Again – this is the long haul – what can you work on right now, that you feel can positively impact your health?

Some that have worked well for clients are:

  • Cut out liquid calories – soda, juice, alcohol. Yes, moderation is key, but there is really no need to drink 500 calories from soda or juice every day.
  • Add more veggies to your day. Veggies aren’t only good for you, but they take up space on your plate and in your stomach without eating a ton of calories – this is called volumetrics.
  • Eat more protein – 1 gram/pound of bodyweight or 1 gram per pound of goal body weight if you have a lot of weight to lose. This will help with fullness, muscle repair, and protein has a high thermic effect – meaning it costs the most calories to break it down during digestion.
  • Stop snacking – snacking or mindless munching throughout the day can lead to hundreds if not thousands of extra calories. Try eating 3 square meals a day, nothing else – and I bet you will lose some weight.
  • Leave a few bites on every plate out to eat. This is a strategy that one of my friends came up with on his own, as he eats out a lot for work. All he does is leave a few bites left on every plate – and he lost 10 pounds! Restaurants are notorious for having high-calorie meals, so you likely don’t need all of them – ever.

4. Sleep more

Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep cannot be understated. So many things get screwed up with sleep deprivation, that it makes fat loss and muscle recovery very hard to accomplish.

Sleep is when our body’s recover –  when they rebuild, and because of this – when we burn the most fat. So if you don’t get enough sleep, you better start prioritizing it soon, or you might be spinning yourself on the hamster wheel for a while.

Take these 4 things, and focus on them for a year or two, consistently – and I will bet money that you will be better off then than you are now, and it will feel effortless compared to many of the things you may have tried in the past.

Still not sure how to start? Well good news!

I’ve got 2 openings for online one-on-one training and nutrition clients and I can help you!

Apply here, and apply now – these spots are limited! – https://mgfitlife.com/apply-for-online-coaching/

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Stay healthy my friends,

More Exercise Doesn’t Mean More Results

Exercise, Physical Activity, Training, Working Out, Getting Your Fitness On….or whatever you like to call it is great for you. Here is what makes it so great:

Major benefits of exercise in general:

  • Improved heart/blood health
  • Improved mood
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood cholesterol

Direct major benefits of pure cardio exercise:

  • Improved cardiovascular endurance
  • Improved resting heart rate
  • Improved performance in cardiovascular events/activities

Direct major benefits of strength training:

  • Improved muscle mass/”tone”
  • Improved strength
  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Improved insulin sensitivity

Notice none of those said “weight or fat loss”?

Relying solely on exercise to lose weight is a terrible idea. Is it part of the equation? Yes, but a much more minor part than most think.

If you constantly think you need more and more exercise, and to do this class, or go on this run, or up your miles, or start 2 a days you are setting yourself up for a major bummer.

If you feel the need to dreadfully add more and more exercise, then let me stop you. It is not going to get you anywhere besides spinning your wheels on the never-ending hamster wheel of mediocrity and semi-decent results – BUT you will miss out on your true potential. “Why?” You might ask…

From a physiological and thermodynamics level:

Heres some numbers to cheer you up:

  • A 185 pound person will burn about 266-378 calories per hour in a strength training class (a lighter person will burn less)
  • Most people will burn, on average, 100 calories per 1 mile traveled on foot. So if you run 5 miles, that’s about 500 calories.
  • Various numbers can be given for different exercises, and modalities – so the results can be very variable and unpredictable.
  • Calorie burn calculations from wearable tech can be off by up to 45% – thus making it nearly pointless to care about how many calories you burned at your latest 1000 burpee challenge Bootcamp.

How easy is it to eat 266 calories? That’s about a handful of mixed nuts, a bite of your kids’ mac n cheese, and a girl scout cookie after dinner. Pretty damn easy to “cancel” out that calorie burn from that workout – I guess it was pointless…

This is the problem with thinking of exercise purely as a calorie burn. Look back to the list at the top of all the benefits of exercise, cardio, and strength training. Those are some pretty awesome benefits. But when you only think of exercises as “how many calories can I burn”, you end up wrecking your relationship with it, and sometimes wrecking your body.

If you are always chasing the calorie burn from exercise, you start to sacrifice form for speed, you lift lighter than you should, you turn a boot camp into a marathon day of working out, you start to do stupid things in your workout just because they “burn more calories” or get your heart rate up (Burpee challenges are the worst thing I have ever heard of BTW).

From a hormonal level:

Exercise stresses your body.

Dieting stresses your body.

Life stresses your body.

Your body only recognizes this all as stress is stress is stress.

Exercising more and more, and eating less and less will work – for the short term.

Eventually somethings gotta give, and that something is usually your progress – and this leads to semi-satisfactory results. These are usually the folks who have that last 5-10 pounds of stubborn fat that they REALLY want to lose.

When we workout out over and over again with a goal to lose weight, we are constantly living in a stressed state, Couple that with most people not eating nearly enough, not eating consistently, not sleeping enough or getting enough nourishment to fuel this many workouts, and you are looking to stall out or even start falling backward.

Stress in all forms induces cortisol. Constantly elevated levels of cortisol can and will eventually slow your bodies metabolic furnace down, because we’ve got more important things to worry about than trying to burn fat. This will also greatly affect the production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen are natural fat burning hormones), slow down thyroid function and imbalanced blood sugar levels. Lastly, it makes it hard for your body to create those ‘feel good’ hormones like serotonin.

And here is the WORST thing you can do when your body is under tons of stress from life, training, and dieting….eat low carb. (and what is the one diet most people gravitate towards these days?)

When your cortisol is already through the roof, your energy levels are zapped, yet you try and force yourself through more and more workouts – well, your body is just starving for carbs, but most people will deprive themselves of them – only putting your body into a crazier hormonal spiral.

Eating carbs increases your insulin response. Insulin works opposite of cortisol – sort of like a cortisol shut off valve. So when you eat carbs post workout, it’s not so much about the shuttling of nutrients to the muscles faster like old school bodybuilders used to think – but more so about spiking your insulin, shutting off your cortisol and letting your body get into recovery mode.

So if we should stop exercising to lose weight, what should we do?

Stop exercising with the mindset of having to earn your food, or burn your meal…exercise for the benefits listed at the start of this post.

You may have been able to ignore your diet at the start, but its time to get real and be honest with yourself. Nutrition is the key component for fat loss – but it also doesn’t have to be dreaded or miserable.

Instead of thinking you need more high-intensity training – see how many steps you get in a day. See how active you are OUTSIDE of working out. Think of the construction workers you see pounding 64 oz. sodas, burgers, fries, pizza, and yet they are still thin. It’s much more about your daily overall activity than your workouts…

Lastly, work to reduce your stress. Take a step back from crazy workouts, work on some breathing exercises, swap out a bootcamp for some yoga, and focus on improving your sleep and nutrition.

Exercise is great, but it should not be done out of guilt, or with a goal of just needing to burn more calories.

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

Nutrition Isn’t All About Numbers

***This was recently sent out as a newsletter to my subscribers, but I felt that it was worth sharing with more people***

You may hear me talk a lot about calories in, calories out, macros, grams, blah blah blah…

Truth is, that stuff does matter. However – for some, it might not be the right start point or the right conversation to be had.

I met with a young man a few weeks ago. His mom was worried about him losing weight – and not being heavy enough. He is VERY active, always on the go, and participating in multiple sports. His doctor told him – you cannot and should not lose any more weight.

After our initial consult, did I tell him “well you need 30 more grams of fat, 50 more grams of protein…”? Nope.

I looked at his nutrition recall and said “okay, what you ate here – eat two of them. What you ate here, add another scoop…” simple fixes to what he already eats.

Driving into numbers and macros would not have been the appropriate step in this guys plan – and it may never be!

How about another example.

One of my rockstar clients has come a VERY long way since we started working together. She has improved in so many aspects of her life, and health that sometimes I need to remind her of how far she has come.

Recently though, she hit a little bump in the road and put on a couple pounds – and she knew why. Busy life, weird schedule, and other things just overcame her focus on nutrition. So instead of panicking and saying “ah screw it, this is hard” – like many people do… we sat down for a 20-minute chat 🙂

After talking about her current situation, we determined that her biggest “issue” at the moment was dinners. So we came up with a “template” for her. This is her specific goal, as to what her plate should look like at most dinners of the week.

So why not just tell her to eat fewer calories, and adjust her macros?

Because sometimes a simple fix is all you need – like making one little rule for one meal (she’s already back down 2 pounds already BTW.)

This is a huge part of nutrition coaching that often goes unknown.

There are so many “coaches” out there who can spit out calorie and macro numbers. There are so many websites that will actually give that to you for free…However, getting your numbers dialed in is only a small part of the true process of nutrition, and it might not even be a part for you!

If you feel lost in the world of nutrition, and need some guidance – now is the time to start. My online group is filling up, and at a fraction of the cost of one on one coaching, I don’t think it will be open much longer…

To apply for the group – please follow this link – https://mgfitlife.com/online-wellness-group/

Stay healthy my friends,

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Help Isn’t For Losers

So many people try to go at it alone. Too prideful, too embarrassed, or even too thick-skulled to reach out for help – with anything.

Thing is, we are meant to help each other. We are meant to work together. We are meant to use resources from others who may have a different skillset than us.

We cannot do it all alone. We can try, but chances are, we will give up earlier, we may take a less than ideal approach, or we may falter sooner and never reach the full potential.

I am ready to change my life with your help -> https://mgfitlife.com/online-wellness-group/

It all comes down to asking the right people, the right questions, at the right time.

There is no shame in this.

I have so many amazingly smart and talented clients that I see multiple times per week. The amount of advice and guidance I get from them is quite awesome. I’ve got my own team of personal advisors. CEO’s, Lawyers, Food Scientists, Designers, Coaches, Computer Whiz’s, Doctors, Insurance Pros, Tax Pros,  Amazing Parents, and Amazing Grandparents just to name a few.

The advice, guidance, and help I get from all of them is unmatched and truly something that I am grateful for every single day.

So who can you turn to for help with all the nutrition info out there? Carbs are bad. Fat is bad. Protein is bad. Eating after 3 pm is bad. Cardio is bad. Lifting is bad. Gluten is bad. What the heck can we even eat?!?!?!

Well, I happen to know a dietitian and trainer who can help you…

If you are sick of going at your nutrition and training alone, I’ve got something for you. My online group is now open – and you can enroll here –> https://mgfitlife.com/online-wellness-group/

Stay healthy my friends,

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Staying on Track Through The “Tough” Times

I put tough in quotes because everyone’s “tough” will be different. This could be anything from something that most might think is minor, or something extremely stressful…it is what you make of it.

Let me know if you’ve been here before. Decide to make a change, maybe lose some weight, start pumping iron – and things went awesome, at first.

But then something came up, you got busy at work, the kids got out of school for the summer, or someone in your family got sick.

Now, these are all different levels of stress, and some more serious than others – but either way they can all be lumped into things that can derail progress pretty quickly.

So how do we keep progressing when things aren’t all unicorns and rainbows?

1 – Identify the timeline of the “issue”

Is it something that might be over in a week, a month, or a year? This matters because you need to set the frame in which you will be attacking the problem. If it is only a week, you can be more drastic in your approach, but if it’s a year’s worth then we need to find something more sustainable.

Example: We are getting ready to move in 3 days. Things have been crazy with the back and forths with our awesome realtor, the lender, and other parties. On top of this, we have been trying to pack up a little bit every day, leaving little time to think about eating, prepping, and tracking food. So what have I done? I have eaten 90% the EXACT same thing every day.

Is this something I could do for a year? Hell no. But I know the end is near, and it just simplifies my life – and has sustained my progress for my personal goal.

If it is a month, or many months worth of something – planning out more of a process is key.

2 – Creating solid habits PRIOR to the longer

This is key for the longer duration stressors. Kids home for the summer and you have to run run run them around. It’s life – so we gotta roll with it and build up some habits.

A habit is something we do automatically, at a subconscious level, good or bad.

Building or breaking habits is no easy task – it can take more than 2 months to do. There are three phases of building habits:

  1. Initiation – new behavior and context for new behavior are selected.
  2. Learning – Habits start to become automatic
  3. Stability – Formed habit continues perpetually

It is also important to choose one thing at a time and focus on it, and it only, for at least 2 weeks before trying to add in another habit.

Everyone wants the quick results, but think of all the quick results you have sought out the past year? Where did they get you? Down, up, down, up, down and up? What if you would’ve given your focus for a full year on just 2 or three solid, and sustainable habits?

I would bet money that you would be MUCH better off.

3 – Maybe it’s not the time to “progress”

If you are dealing with something uber stressful, and keeping you super busy, or taking up a ton of your focus…maybe it’s not the time to progress.

HOWEVER – it’s not the time to take a step back either!

In a big-time high-stress moment, maintaining can be a major win. Life happens and plateaus are wins. Why? Because the eventual goal IS a plateau – can you maintain your weight?

So think of maintaining, especially during high-stress times, as practice for your ultimate goal – once you hit your goal weight.

This might be easier said than done – but it can be done, and it all starts with creating those habits AHEAD of time (step 2).

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

Need help forming habits to get you through summer? I am starting my online training, nutrition and accountability group on July 9th. 

What this includes:

  • Full access to my online training app for 12 weeks! (so it doesn’t matter where you live)
  • Weekly email check in’s with me – I’ll keep you accountable
  • Weekly workouts, challenges, and Q&A sessions
  • Fully customizable habit plans for YOU and YOUR goals

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Stay healthy my friends,

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The Skinny on Dietary Fat

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – “fat doesn’t make you fat. Or, you can eat as much fat as you want – as long as you don’t eat carbs with it.” On the flip side, “fat goes straight to body fat, so you must eat low fat.”

It is easy to see why dietary fat might be almost just as controversial as carbs when it comes to nutrition, and especially the fat loss crowd.

Here are the basics to note:

  • Dietary fat is 9 calories per gram (carbs and protein are 4)
  • Dietary fat is essential for cellular development, heart health (yes) and hormone health
  • Dietary fat comes in a few forms, some better than others…

Speaking of various forms, and you may have heard of these so I’ll keep it quick.

1) Saturated Fat – these fats are solid at room temp, and have been linked to increased triglycerides (not good) and higher levels of LDL cholesterol (not good either) when overconsumed. They include butter, lard, animal fats, and coconut oil. Intake goal should be right around 10% of your total calories.

2) Trans Fats – these are man-made fats and are really bad for you (no one will argue with that one) – they raise your LDL and lower your HDL, and raise your Triglycerides. Trans fats are found in fried foods, premade desserts, and other junk food. Intake goal should be as little as possible.

3) Unsaturated Fats – (this could be broken down into Mono and Poly-Unsaturated)

Unsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.

Foods rich unsaturated fats also provide essential fats that your body needs but can’t produce itself – such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You must get essential fats through food. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for many functions in the body.

Good sources of unsaturated fats are oils (stick to olive, avocado, and some canola as much as possible), nuts, olives, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.

How much fat should you eat?

According to most credible resources, the recommendations for dietary fat intake are:

– 20-35% of your calories per day from all fat

– <10% of your calories from saturated fat, and none from Trans Fat

Of course, you will have your outliers and people telling you to eat more fat…and maybe that works for them, which is great. However, you need to find what works for YOU, and what makes you feel the best while getting results.

Never forget the BIG picture – calories are KING when it comes to fat loss. It doesn’t matter where they come from, as long as you are in a surplus, you will gain weight.

This brings me to my final point. Most people tend to not realize how much fat they consume, and thus how many calories they are really consuming. I’m not saying you need a low fat diet, but keeping your fat within 20-35% of your calories is less than most think.

Example: If you are eating 2500 calories. 55 to 97 grams of fat per day would put you in the 20-35% range.

Now consider this:

  • 1 oz. slice of cheese – 10g Fat
  • 2 eggs – 10g of fat
  • 1 oz of mixed nuts – 12g fat
  • 1 Tbsp. butter – 12g fat
  • Half an avocado – 10g fat

And now you are already at 54 grams of fat. Or you could just eat:

  • A Big Mac and A Large Fry – 52 grams. (good luck avoiding any more fat the rest of the day)

Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad fat, it still adds up quick and so do the calories from it. I am NOT advocating a low-fat diet, as anything under 20% for long periods of time can really mess with your hormones, and it’s not fun.

Moreso, I am urging you to be aware of how much you are truly eating, and how easy it is to underestimate calories, especially from fat. It doesnt take much to add in hundreds of extra cals, as you can see here (via Ftibit.com):

480 cals vs. 180 cals of mixed nuts…

330 cals vs. 165 cals of cheese…

Awareness and education are always KEY – remember that.

Stay healthy my friends,

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Why Your Source of Protein is Misleading You

More protein – the two words I utter the most when doing a dietary analysis…

I’ve outlined the importance of protein, how to plan it out and how to eat more of it here.

But when it comes to some sources people still seem a bit confused.

So now I will provide you with the tools to figure out if something is a “good” source of protein, or a less than stellar form.

What it comes down to is, do a majority of the calories come from protein, or do they come from fat or carbs?

For example –  100 grams (3.5 oz) of chicken breast

  • 165 calories
  • 3.6g fat (x9 = 32 cals from fat or 19.6% of the chicken calories from fat)
  • 0g carb (x4 = 0 cals from carbs)
  • 31g protein (x4 = 124 cals from protein or about 75% of calories from protein!)

Not sure where the other 5% went, but this is enough to prove the point 🙂

Obviously a GREAT source of protein!

But what about peanut butter? We have heard this from many people that “peanut butter is a great source of protein!” Lets look:

1 serving = 2 Tbsp.

  • 200 calories
  • 16g fat (x9 = 144 cals from fat or 72% of cals from fat!)
  • 6g carb (x4 = 24 cals from carbs or 12% of cals from carbs)
  • 8g protein (x4 = 32 cals from protein or 16% of cals from protein)

While peanut butter DOES have some protein, I would not classify it as a good source because it has twice the grams of fat as protein AND is made up of 72% fat, so it would really be a “high-fat source that contains protein”

Same thing goes for most cheeses, nuts, other nut butters, and high-fat meats/processed meats like sausage/brats…sorry folks 🙁

Another common one I see discussed in Quinoa…the magic grain that no one can pronounce.

100 grams of Quinoa

  • 120 calories
  • 1.9g fat (x9 = 17 cals from fat or 14% of cals from fat!)
  • 21.3g carb (x4 = 85 cals from carbs or 71% of cals from carbs!)
  • 4.4g protein (x4 = 18 cals from protein or 15% of cals from protein)

Again, Quinoa is a grain, that has SOME protein in it (not much – but more than other grains) – but it most definitely is NOT a good source of protein. It is a carb that has some protein in it.

Same thing goes for rice, any veggies (EAT YOUR VEGGIES!) and actually beans (although they have a good amount of protein, so are a decent source for non-meat eaters!)

So what are good sources:

  • Any lean animal meats/fish/poultry (low-fat, low processed meats)
  • Eggs (do have more cals from fat than protein – so like mixing with egg whites)
  • Egg whites
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (unflavored is best for pure protein)
  • Tofu
  • Protein Powders (try to minimize supplemental protein)
  • Protein Bars (try to minimize supplemental protein)

Hope this clears some things up – now, get your protein up!

Stay healthy my friends,

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