Todays Spotlight spotlight goes out to my client Denise
Denise has been absolutely killing it and I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask what her “secret” is. So I’m happy to share her “secret” with you.
There is no secret 😱
She already had a pretty good diet plan, been extremely consistent with her 2x per week strength training plan, and had been walking regularly. Off to a great start…….but she’s been doing that for a while…..what else?
- She started the online nutrition coaching with me. This gave her solid habits to follow and skills to practice which gave her direction and great ideas for planning.
- She improved her snacking by prepping and chopping up vegetables to take with her on the road as well as tuna packets in her desk at work for a high protein snack.
- She planned meals and always thought about challenges ahead due to her busy schedule.
- She satisfied her sweet tooth with a pretty decent tasting low sugar chocolate protein shake.
- She started eating slowly and mindfully.
Overall, she is just doing a LOT of things right and consistently. By identifying and addressing things she felt were ‘weaknesses’, she was able take that next step. Throughout this whole process she has felt a lot better and her overall health has improved. On top of all of that, she shared this in social media, which also takes a huge amount of courage!
I am a naturally lean person. People have called me skinny my entire life….which is true. They have said its unfair that I have a high metabolism and they don’t, or I’m a young male so it’s easier to stay skinny. Both of those do have some truth behind them. However, while I do have a couple advantages behind me, I whole heartedly feel that the way I eat keeps me looking the way I do. Since most of my time is at work and most of my food is here, I will share with you what in the back room.
Appliances: Microwave, coffee pot, small fridge, blender, shaker cups, silverware, and paper plates.
Proteins: Eggs, greek low sugar yogurt, tuna and salmon packets, protein powder, and typically something from last nights dinner that I brought to heat up.
Veggies: Tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, greens salad mix, greens powder (awful!).
Carbohydrates: Apples, frozen berries, gluten free oats, rice, gatorade.
Fats: Olives, olive oil, almond butter, heavy cream (for coffee), avocado, guacamole, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, chia seeds
Miscellaneous: Coffee (of course!), Creatine monohydrate, sea salt, pepper, vitamin D, fish oil capsules.
As you can see, I am a naturally lean individual, but I could eat anything in that back room in near any quantity (within reason) and not gain fat. It’s mostly all whole foods. Occasionally I will splurge on some certain foods to get more calories in on busy days.
Here’s a sample day:
515am – coffee with cream
9-10ish – 3 eggs, salad (yes i get plenty of weird looks) and occasionally oatmeal + berries
12-1 ish 2 Tuna/Salmon packets, rice, 1/2 avocado
3-4ish – Super Shake and nuts
530- Head home for dinner which is usually a meat 1-2 veggies and potentially a carb.
I saw recently that 67% of adults to not floss their teeth at least once per day. If you are one of the 33%, then give yourself a pat on the back (although theres a 2/3 chance you’re lying). Even though I do a lot to take care of my body, I am sadly a part of the 67% that do not.
I’ve had dentists tell me everything under the sun about how healthy it is for me, about how I can prevent cavities, even had me watch a 10 minute video about gingivitis (seriously). I’d like to consider myself well educated, so I don’t think education about gum disease is the issue (just like most people know vegetables are good for them). I’m just kind of lazy. I asked the hygienist how she gets people to floss and she said she doesn’t…..she only says that we should and hopes it sticks.
Contrary to the health and fitness field, there aren’t many best sellers about flossing. I am sure there is plenty of good information out there, but certainly not 10,000 books about it. So whats the hang up? You need to have floss. It’s cheap. It takes 10-30 seconds. Why aren’t people flossing?
Here comes the important take home message: Sometimes you just have to do. Start doing and make it a habit.
Stop waiting for the perfect time to floss. Don’t buy an expensive powered flosser. Don’t say you don’t have time. Just do something. Start small.
Tie this into whatever fitness domain you like (you can also use the example of flossing as well). 5 minute walk. Eating veggies at every meal. Stretch.
DO SOMETHING TODAY. MAKE HABITS
Just recently, I had a discussion with a client about how fat loss works. He had been struggling with losing body fat despite eating a low amount of calories per day and exercising three times per week. After our metabolism and physiology lecture, I told him I would write a post to simplify things in 5 key steps or less. Here they are:
1. Have a small calorie deficit.
In the number of calories in (food) must be less than the number of calories out calories out (resting metabolism + exercise) in order to lose weight. There is nothing more simple than that. Your body is comfortable with having a smaller deficit (300-500 calories), but red flags will be thrown up for a 500+ calorie deficit. The common “eat less and exercise more” initiative usually ends up in a larger deficit with way too few calories in and an overexerted calories out, which can alter hormones and affect metabolism, leading us to number two.
2. Have a balanced metabolism
Your metabolism is always trying to break even in all cases. As with example one, creating large gaps in calories send off red flags. If you have a 500+ calorie deficit, it would be very logical that they would lose weight (and very short term they may). However, your metabolic hormones will adapt to only burning as many calories as you take in to break even. It takes your body only a couple of days to adapt to a very low calorie diet, and it usually brings metabolism to a slow crawl. Too few calories or too little exercise can lower metabolism. If you under-eat (which is actually more common than not) eat more calories and make sure you exercise. If you over eat, cut back on food and increase exercise.
As a side note, there are many other hormones that regulate metabolism even if calories are sufficient; a blood test can usually detect these.
3. Be in a healthy state
Your body is much less likely to give up on excess body fat if you have a lot of other health issues going on. It is a basic survival technique where the body will do what it feels to be most important. Getting plenty of fruits and veggies, potentially a multivitamin, and plenty of quality carbohydrates, fats, and proteins while getting regular exercise will assist the body in letting go of some extra fat.
4. Perform inefficient exercise
Exercise will fall in the calories out equation. With the body’s wonderful ability to adapt, the same exercises will continually burn less and less calories than before. Weight training and high intensity intervals are two favorites, as they can be manipulated and periodized to keep the body guessing. Walking and or running may be a great place to start for some people, but the adaptations will come quickly. Which ever you decide to do, change it up every 4-6 weeks.
5. Focus on food quantity and quality.
These last two concepts are difficult for a lot of people. We live in a time where food is fast, cheap, and usually depleted in nutrients. That being said, there are a lot of good healthy options and we have to do the best we can with whats available. Is the non-GMO grass fed pasture raised organic food X going to be the best for you? YES. Is it going to be available and affordable? Probably not. You’ll also find these two go hand in hand. Its very hard to get 800 calories worth of chicken and broccoli, but easy to down a 1200 calorie #3 and X Fast Food place.
This wraps up the post on fat loss. Each section could be a 10 page paper in itself, but the basics are there for you. Please post or ask questions. I’m here for you.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is if I recommend protein powders and what I recommend. There are multiple ways to look at which is best, and in this short post we will dive into it.
I do recommend protein powders for most all people due to the fact that most people do not get enough protein in their diet. Quality protein sources are sometimes hard to find, take time to prep, and are extremely satiating (in a good and bad way). Protein powders are relatively cheap, easily digested, and extremely convenient.
Just like with any food, you have to base your selection off of what you need and what you can afford. Some cheap powders can be as little as $10/lb and $30/lb, but they will vary dramatically in taste, quality, % protein, bioavailability, and many other aspects.
Generally, there are 3 major types of protein: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. There are many other derivatives (egg, hemp, pea, etc) as well as different heating and cooling methods, but for the sake of this article we will leave it at 3.
1. Concentrate is the cheapest form in both price and protein composition (only 70% protein per gram). May be gritty and hard to digest, but cheap.
2. Isolate is the middle of the road and in my opinion, the best bang for your buck.
3. Hydrolyzed was all of the rage a couple years ago, but the high price made it less popular. Highest quality no doubt about it.
Before my recommendations, there are a few things to look at for a protein powder.
1) Total calories. Cal from fat, carbs, sugars, and protein.
2) Grams of protein – shoot for 20-25 per serving
3) No added sugars (less than 7 grams) (or if on weight loss plan, less than 3-5g)
4) Low amount of ingredients and fillers.
Places to get protein. 1. Walmart/GNC, 2. online, 3. in club (currently snap fitness for me)
1. Walmart has the cheapest of the cheap Body Fortress and Six Star. Best available is Muscle Pharm or Muscle Milk. Muscle tech Isolate is decent, the rest is less to be desired. Gritty but cheap. Flip side, GNC has a wide range from bad to excellent but you will pay a pretty penny for it in price/pound either way.
2. Bodybuilding.com is my go to. Other sites will be comparable. Check out and shop around. I just made a purchase on Monday night and got my order Wednesday morning. Top Protein and best bang for your buck. (both recommendations for general people)
3. At my Snap Fitness gym, we started selling Clean Vitamins. It is a whey isolate, low sugar, mixes, well but $21/lb. Very convenient none the less.
In general, I go with vanilla so that I can make “Super Shakes”
If you’re interested in more advanced types of protein for serious bodybuilding or specific allergies/intolerances, shoot me an email and we can find one for you.
I have recently been working with an IntervalTimer app on the iPhone and like the simplicity of use. Here is a quick tutorial of how to use it. (Most interval timer apps should operate very similarly). I would suggest trying the free version, but the paid version allows you to save workouts for reference.
Here’s a screenshot of the app so that you can find it from the app store.
This is the app itself when it’s opened. To edit a workout protocol click the timer (clock) in the upper right corner
This will send you to the screen to edit the workout.
Let’s enter the following workout. The only thing you will have to do is know what exercises you’re doing. (I’m sure more advanced apps can allow you to enter the exact exercise, but simply writing them on paper will be just fine).
4 rounds: 20 seconds on 40 seconds off.
A1. Bodyweight Squat A2. Pushup A3. Lunge (Left leg) A4. Lunge (Right leg)
You can name the routine as 20:40 if you choose. This is also Type Simple.
Adjust the warm up time for the amount of time it will take you to start the timer, set it down, and get to your first exercise.
For the interval cycle, we’ll click it to adjust the numbers:
First you enter the number of sets (We have 4 rounds of 4 exercises so we have 16).
Also set first interval to HIGH
After setting it click DONE in the upper right and it will take you back to the first screen
Now you can click start and the countdown will begin and make sure the sound is up to hear the buzzers.
You can also mess with song selection and other little tweaks (such as locking your phone if its in your pocket, or having the song change or stay the same with each different set).
The final tweak I would recommend is based on your recovery capacity. If you get through the 4 exercises but 40 seconds isn’t enough time to recover before your next “round”, you can go back into the current routine page. Edit the number of sets back down to 4 (since we’ll be doing them individually now). Swipe the Repeat option to turn it on. Set the number of cycles to 4. Then adjust your rest time to what you think will be necessary for you to recover.
With the free app, only the most recent workout will be saved. It takes a few seconds to adjust, but if you rotate through different combinations you may want to forgo that $4 coffee at Starbucks and buy the app itself.
I would like to welcome everyone to my blog. Blog posts will be short and to the point.
This blog will be educational. I aim to break down information so that it’s easily digested and useful. This is also a chance to reinforce topics that I discuss with clients to help clear up a lot of the confusion and misinformation out there. As many of you already know, this field has very few absolutes. Almost everything in the industry can be debated, and nobody will be more right or wrong than others.
Most of the time, the answer will be “it depends”. ” Is this a good food (it depends); My friend does X workout…..should I do it (it depends); Should I run out and buy what Dr. Oz tells me…..no.
If you know me or have worked with me, you know I am very conservative. My ideas of various exercise programs, diets, ways of thinking, will all be on a continuum based on information and applicability. You may agree with some topics or not, but you’ll see one view.
The flip side is that all of the information gets transformed over time with new information. 15 years ago, people thought that the low fat high carb diets were the BEST and everyone should do them. Nowadays we know that that may only work for some, but not for the majority. Food A is good this week and bad next week. Exercise B is the number 1 exercise now and terrible for joints next week. You get the point.
Much more to come