The Seven Habits of Healthy Weight Loss

Lets take a look at the big rocks and little rocks of fat mass loss!

Today I am taking a page out of Steven Covey’s book by talking about the big rocks and little rocks of fat mass loss. If you’re not familiar with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (which I highly suggest as a good read), a subject discussed is the concept of placing big rocks (important things) ahead of little rocks (less important things). So here is a list of the 7 big rocks you should do before you bother yourself with the minutia and gimmicks of fat loss.
1. Caloric Deficit – Consuming less that you are burning is obvious, but often it’s forgotten as the MOST IMPORTANT part of fat loss. Who cares if your eating healthy if your eating way too much healthy food?!?! That’s why I prefer to do a 3 day dietary log with my clients to see what their eating and if it’s way too much. Even though many calorie calculators are off by as much as 25%, it’s a very good place to start to make sure your in the ball park. And if you’re wondering how many calories you should be eating, a good equation to go by is body weight in pounds x 12.
2. Eating whole, unprocessed nutritious foods – This one also abides by the KISS principle. Eating veggies, fruit, and high quality protein (as in not hot dogs), is a foundation principle. Now eating  like sh** here and there is fine. We all do it. And if you say you don’t then you’re a dirty rotten liar. But the key is to make it here and there and not a staple of your day to day life. A good place to start with this big rock is the produce section.
3. Protein and Essential Nutrients – The cool thing about protein is that it both builds muscle, and fills you up. So in my opinion the more the merrier. However, with an RDA set at .8g per kg per day, most people simply just don’t realize their not getting enough. A good rule of thumb here is eating 1g per pound of body weight. As for essential nutrients, if your not eating a balanced diet you may want turn to a small rock by considering a quality multivitamin supplement.
4. Consistency/adherence – The answer is no. I don’t feel like exercising everyday. But it’s become a habit of mine so now it’s just something that I feel like I need to do. To keep my self going I choose exercises that I can do, that are fun, and that are never the same as the week before. The same goes for diet. Choosing foods you’ll actually buy, prepare, and eat, consistently is key. But keep your self sane by setting an upper limit of 20% “junk” calories per day.This way you can actually enjoy life a little 🙂
5. Water – Not to beat a dead horse, but drinking plenty of water is important. Drinking .5oz per lbs. per day is a good place to start for this one
6. Avoid Losing Weight Too Fast – Yes there is such a thing, and it’s a bad thing. One to two Lbs. per week is a solid strategy.
7. Exercise – Well this is a no brainer. Build muscle by exercise, and lose fat by concentrating on diet. These two intermingle a lot, but again this is the general rule of thumb.
For more information check out this article!

Body By Booz: The Effects Of Alcohol On Your Fitness Goals

How does doing 12oz curls can influence your fitness and physique? Whether you’re drinking whiskey, wine, or whatever else you use as social lube, we will dive into how it will influence your waistline.

Happy 4th of July! When I think about the celebration of this holiday, images of barbecues, fireworks, and beer dance through my head. I know that I’m certainly not alone when it comes to this way of thinking, which is why I wanted to write about how doing 12oz curls can influence your fitness and physique. So whether you’re drinking whiskey, wine, or whatever else you use as social lube, let’s dive into how it will influence your waistline.
The Basics Of Imbibing
Alcohol comes in many forms, but in general a unit is typically 12 oz (355 mL) of 5% beer, 5 oz (150 mL) 12.5% wine, or 1.5 oz (45 mL) of drinks with a higher (40%) alcohol content. Most of us drink alcohol because it’s a neuroactive chemical that gets us buzzed. But that inebriation comes at a caloric cost that most forget about. That fire water you’re enjoying contains 7 calories per gram energy-wise, but this does not always correlate well with body weight like the other macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) do. Finally, as you read the rest of this post it’s important to keep in mind that “moderate” drinking is dependent on gender and not ultimately defined, but an upper limit can be placed at 9 units per week for women and 12-14 units a week for men, with no single event exceeding 4 units.
Beer Nuts & Drunk Munchies
If you’re trying to lose weight, or at least not gain a beer belly, you know that you want to consume fewer calories than you expend. Drinking can certainly influence both aspects, but lets take a closer look at the former aspect of the equation. One important thing to consider when it comes to eating under the influence is that alcohol alters your brain activity along with your hunger hormones. In turn, it can influence what you perceive as tasty. We know that increased calorie consumption is not due to a drunken urge to chow down, but rather it’s due to an increased food-related reward when we taste energy-rich foods… like nachos (1). And remember how calories that come from booze don’t always correlate well with body weight? Well that’s because the calories that you get from alcohol have a large individual variability according to the absolute amount of alcohol consumed, drinking frequency as well as genetic factors. For instance, alcohol calories count more in moderate non-daily consumers than in daily (heavy) consumers as well as counting more in combination with a high-fat diet and in overweight and obese individuals (2). Just another reason why counting your calories can be frustrating. Although binge drinking can cause binge eating, it’s safe to say that exercising in moderation while tossing a few back together with a healthy lifestyle won’t cause weight gain (3).
Obviously, not gaining weight is not enough for most of us. If you want to lose weight then you may want to consider altering your drinking habits. This is because drinking is done in social situations, which leads to social eating, which can lead to poor nutritional choices. You should start by tracking your choices on getting tipsy with a drinking journal. From there, you can address where in your lifestyle you need to make adjustments. For more information on how exactly to go about this, you can listen to or read this wonderful information put you by the folks over at Precision Nutrition.
Ethanol & Exercise
Inline image 3
The key theme and take away from this whole post should be that moderation is key. Drinking a brew or two after exercise every once in a while won’t make you gain weight or lose any benefits you get from the bout of exercise. However, over indulging, especially on a consistent basis, will decrease your overall health and stop progress in its tracks. So have some fun if drinking is your thing, but don’t be an Animal House frat boy. This may be the best way to live life to the fullest.
Don’t forget to like me on Facebook!
1. Yeomans, M. R. (2010). Short term effects of alcohol on appetite in humans. effects of context and restrained eating. Appetite, 55(3), 565-573. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2010.09.005
2. Suter, P. M., & Tremblay, A. (2005). is alcohol consumption a risk factor for weight gain and obesity? Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 42(3), 197-227. doi:10.1080/10408360590913542
3. Traversy G, Chaput J-P. Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update. Current Obesity Reports. 2015;4(1):122-130. doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0129-4.
4. Jiménez-Pavón, D., Cervantes-Borunda, M. S., Díaz, L. E., Marcos, A., & Castillo, M. J. (2015). Effects of a moderate intake of beer on markers of hydration after exercise in the heat: A crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 26. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0088-5
5. Burke, L. M., Collier, G. R., Broad, E. M., Davis, P. G., Martin, D. T., Sanigorski, A. J., & Hargreaves, M. (2003). Effect of alcohol intake on muscle glycogen storage after prolonged exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 95(3), 983-990. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00115.2003
6. Ebrahim, I., Fenwick, P., Williams, A. J., & Shapiro, C. (2015). Alcohol and sleep review: Sound statistics and valid conclusions. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(5), 944-946. doi:10.1111/acer.12708
7. Steiner, J. L., Gordon, B. S., & Lang, C. H. (2015). Moderate alcohol consumption does not impair overload-induced muscle hypertrophy and protein synthesis. Physiological Reports, 3(3), e12333.
8. Duplanty, A. A., Budnar, R. G., Luk, H. Y., Levitt, D. E., Hill, D. W., McFarlin, B. K., … & Vingren, J. L. (2016). Effect of Acute Alcohol Ingestion on Resistance Exercise Induced mTORC1 Signaling in Human Muscle. Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Snap, Crack, Pop: What Joint Sounds Really Mean

It’s harmless to be a crack addict (e.g. cracking your knuckles), the hazards of trusting others to crack you, and what those other sounds your joints make actually mean.

I cracked my knuckles while at work the other day and a patron looks at me like a mother scolding her toddler and says “You know cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. You wouldn’t want to deal with that down the road now would you?” Being the nice young man that I am, I just smiled and nodded. But I really wanted to explain to her that cracking your own joints is harmless! That’s why I am going to talk about how it’s harmless to be a crack addict (e.g. cracking your knuckles), the hazards of trusting others to crack you, and what those other sounds your joints make actually mean. So prepare yourself for some snappy puns, and let’s get started on this poppin post!
Tribonucleation is the formation of tiny bubbles between two submerged surfaces when those surfaces are suddenly pulled apart (A.K.A. knuckle cracking). What this means is that during a the cracking process the opposing knuckle joint surfaces resist separation until a critical point where they then separate rapidly creating sustained gas cavities. We know this, due to a very cool study where a person cracked their knuckles during an MRI showing that the cracking is due to cavity inception rather than collapse of a pre-existing bubble (1). In other words, if you want to get your crack on you must generate enough force to overcome tension within the joints (synovial) fluid that keeps the joint tight (not within the soft tissues). This means that you are disrupting the tension forces that keep the joint surfaces together that adds stability to the joint itself (2). This is why you feel nice and loose after a good popping. 
Inline image 1
When it comes to the safety/potential for harm, we know that there is no reason to fret. The old wives’ tale of knuckle cracking causing joint arthritis stems from the thought that the joint collapses during and/or after the force is applied (3). However, we now know for sure that the resting joint orientation is not changed by the cracking event. Furthermore, there is some pretty good research out there showing that cracking your knuckles won’t cause harm (4)… unless it annoys those around you enough for them to cut your fingers off.
Inline image 1
What About My Back?!?!
Cracking backs is a practice used by Doctors of Osteopathy, Physical Therapist, and of course Chiropractors. Although the latter of the professions may suggest otherwise, what happens during a back crack is cavitation of a spinal facet joint… same as with the knuckles (5). And what does this “treatment” do? Well it can relieve back pain by taking pressure off sensitive nerves or tissue, increase range of motion, restoring blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and, like more active exercise, promote the release of endorphins within the body to act as natural painkillers. Of course these effects last for about 5 minutes, so a spinal manipulation should be considered one part of a therapy, and not THE therapy (6). Anyone who says otherwise is either lying, or selling you something (The Princess Bride shout out).
The Neck
Here’s where things get serious. First of all, we know that cracking the neck is not super beneficial for resolving pain compared to medication (7). Second, we know that neck manipulations come with a rare, but serious, side effects such Cervical Artery Dissection, stroke, and even death (8). I’ll end this brief segment by saying that the risks simply do not justify the reward.
Clicking, Crunching, Snapping & The Others
You may notice that not all joints make the same noises. In fact, there are lot’s of sounds that your joints can make, and they can often mean different things. Some common places to experience snapping, clicking, popping, or crunching include the chestshoulderforearmhips, and knees. Of these, the knee is the most common area to experience some form joint sound. Crepitus is the formal term for popping or cracking under the patella (kneecap) and can mean different things depending on where you experience it or feel pain. For instance, a grinding sensation can indicate arthritis, a popping sensation can mean you have loose tissue (plica) getting caught, and a catching feeling could indicate you have a meniscus disorder. Check out this brief video to learn a bit more about what to lookout for if you have questions on how to determine what your knee issue is.
Finally, I would say that the most important factor in deciding what to do about your joint noises is to ask yourself “is this stopping me from doing the things I want to do?” If the answer is NO, then the issue may resolve on its own in time. If the answer is YES, you should seriously consider seeing your Doctor or a Physical Therapist about it.
Don’t forget to like me on Facebook!
1. Kawchuk, G. N., Fryer, J., Jaremko, J. L., Zeng, H., Rowe, L., & Thompson, R. (2015). Real-time visualization of joint cavitation: E0119470. PLoS One, 10(4) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119470
2. ROSTON, J. B., & HAINES, R. W. (1947). Cracking in the metacarpo-phalangeal joint. Journal of Anatomy, 81(Pt 2), 165.
3. Unsworth, A., Dowson, D., & Wright, V. (1971). ‘cracking joints’. A bioengineering study of cavitation in the metacarpophalangeal joint. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 30(4), 348-358. doi:10.1136/ard.30.4.348
4. Deweber, K., Olszewski, M., & Ortolano, R. (2011). Knuckle cracking and hand osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM, 24(2), 169.
5. Patient positioning and spinal locking for lumbar spine rotation manipulation. (2001). Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 4(2), 65-65. doi:10.1016/S1443-8461(01)80005-8
6. Hegedus, E. J., Goode, A., Butler, R. J., & Slaven, E. (2011). The neurophysiological effects of a single session of spinal joint mobilization: Does the effect last? The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 19(3), 143-151. doi:10.1179/2042618611Y.0000000003
7. Gross, A., Langevin, P., Burnie, S. J., Bédard-Brochu, M., Empey, B., Dugas, E.. . LeBlanc, F. (2015). Manipulation and mobilisation for neck pain contrasted against an inactive control or another active treatment. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (9), CD004249.
8. Thomas, L. C., Rivett, D. A., Attia, J. R., & Levi, C. (2015). Risk factors and clinical presentation of cervical arterial dissection: Preliminary results of a prospective case-control study. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 45(7), 503.

The Good, The Bad, The Ridiculous: Where To Get Health Info

The problem I have with poor information outlets is that at best they are robbing you of your time and money. At worst, they can cause or exacerbate serious injury or illness.

Today I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. That, of course, is the issue of where to get proper information about health, wellness, and fitness. It’s not about promoting and individual person or idea. But rather, my objective is to help everyone figure out where to go when they have a specific question. The problem I have with poor information outlets is that at best they are robbing you of your time and money. At worst, they can cause or exacerbate serious injury or illness.
What To Avoid And Why
In the past I have written about challenging our assumptions, particularly when it comes to fitness and wellness products. I hope this message reigns particularly true as you read through this section, because I am sure some of you currently follow some of these resources. So please have an open mind, and if you think I am wrong, then at the very least Google the name of the resource followed by the word “scam” and see what shows up. That being said, let it be known that the following sources have been shown to:
 – Cherry-pick sources that agree with their beliefs while ignoring those that don’t.
 – Not interpreting data within the full context of what is known about a topic.
 – Over-extrapolating study results (like saying that findings from an animal trial apply directly to humans).
 – Citing invalid or uncredible sources (using anecdotes as hard evidence as opposed to peer-reviewed literature)
#1 David Wolfe – I don’t even know where to begin with this guy. The more I read from him, the more I think he must be joking. But when it comes down to it, his “solutions” are just quick “fixes” that don’t actually do anything. He’s #1 on my list because he is so popular. So please stop helping the spread of misinformation if you currently are a follower.
#2 The Food Babe – Her fame is slowly fading, but she is still a great marketer. She’s best known for her ability to be a sensationalist, and scare people into avoiding foods. Her claims don’t even have a shred of research backing them. Her “deadly food” can often be good for you, and “chemicals you cant pronounce” are everywhere.
Inline image 1
#3 Dr. Oz. – To start, there’s actual research showing that the majority of what he says isn’t correct or even wrong (1). He just can’t help but spread poor information. It’s time to say goodbye to the bad doctor.
#4 Dr. Mercola – This fraud is best know for his terrible customer service, fear mongering, and outright lies. That’s all I have to say about that.
#5 Natural News – I saved the best for last because it’s the easiest. Mike Adams and Natural News make claims that can be debunkedthrough a Bing search. You don’t even need Google! Althought their Wikipedia entry is quite entertaining.
These are my top 5 but here is the rest of the listAbel James a.k.a The Fat-Burning Man, Andreas Eenfeldt a.k.a The Diet Doctor, Andrew Weil, Barry Sears, Billy DeMoss, Bob Harper, Chris Kresser, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig / The Whole30 / Whole9Life / Healthy Mama, Happy Baby , Dana McDonald a.k.a The Rebel Dietitian, Daniel Amen, Dave Asprey, David Perlmutter, Deepak Chopra, Diane Sanfilippo, Erin Elizabeth a.k.a The Health Nut, Gary Taubes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jason Fung, Jeffrey Smith, Jillian Michaels, Jimmy Moore, Joel Fuhrman, Jonathan Bailor, Josh Axe, Katie a.k.a Wellness Mama, Kevin Trudeau, Kris Carr, Mark Hyman, Mark Sisson, Nina Teicholz, Oprah Winfrey, Pete Evans, Peter D’Adamo, Robb Wolf, Robert Atkins, Robert Lustig, Sally Fallon Morell, Sarah Wilson, Stephanie Greunke, Suzanne Somers, The Kardashians (All of them), Tim Ferriss, Tim Noakes, Tom Naughton a.k.a Fat Head, Tom O’Bryan, William Davis, Zoë Harcombe
Here’s Where You Should Go
#1 Alan Aragon – A researcher, a writer, and hilarious. Alan Aragon puts out fantastic work and I can’t recommend him enough. Check him out for some nutrition advice!
#2 Brad Schoenfeld – He should be your go to source for muscle building information. The guy puts out more research than I can read! He’s also a very down to Earth writer.
#3 James Fell – If for no other reason, you should follow him for his humor. James fell puts out wonderful information about general health and fitness and is extremely readable.
#4 – is a third party independent group that evaluates nutritional claims. However, if you want some solid information about that supplement you’re thinking about buying, go to them first and Google second.
#5 Whole Health Source – This is a great place to go if you want to learn some advanced knowledge in a particular area. If you want to go beyond the basics, this is the place to get your information from!
Here is the rest of the list: The ISSN Scoop, StrengTheory, My Sports Science, Body Recomposition, Adel Moussa, Amber Rogers, Armi Legge, Arya Sharma, Asker Jeukendrup, Bill Shrapnel, Brad Dieter, Colby Vorland, Dan Pardi, Danny Lennon, David Despain, Denise Minger, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, Evelyn Carbsane, James Krieger, Jeff Rothschild, Johan Leech, John Berardi, Jose Antonio, Kamal Patel, Kevin Hall, Kevin C. Klatt, Laurent Bannock, Layne Norton, Lyle McDonald, Maria Brilaki, Martin MacDonald, Menno Henselmans, Michelle a.k.a The Fat Nutritionist, Mike Israetel, Mike Sweeney, Patrick Umphrey, Peter Clark, Rosanne Rust, Seth Yoder, Stephan Guyenet, Steven Novella, Tim Crowe, Yann Le Meur, Yoni Freedhoff
Making your way safely through the internet can be tough. There are loads of people just trying to help, but there are just about as many people who are more concerned about only making money. This is especially true when it comes to nutrition. Only a registered dietitian (RD) can give specific nutrition advice so that should be the gold standard credential you look for when reading about the author. Proper education is important, but when all else fails make sure to check with your personal doctor before making and radical decisions about your health.
1. Korownyk, C., Kolber, M. R., McCormack, J., Lam, V., Overbo, K., Cotton, C.. . Allan, G. M. (2014). Televised medical talk shows–what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: A prospective observational study. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 349(dec17 11), g7346-g7346. doi:10.1136/bmj.g7346

Working Out To Justify Junk Food

It can be all to easy to justify a bad habit with a good one. To quote a client “Great workout. Now I can eat that bacon cheese burger later!”

Today I wanted to discuss a common, mind boggling, issue. To quote a client “Great workout. Now I can eat that bacon cheese burger later!” If you have fallen into this trap before I don’t blame you. It can be all to easy to justify a bad habit with a good one. But there are far too many things wrong with this line of thinking to cover it all in one email. So I am going to talk about it purely from a caloric/math point of view with today’s information coming from Suppversity
Issue #1
It’s commonly thought that to lose a pound of fat you need to burn 3,500kcal. This concept is fundamentally flawed. Learn more about whyhere
Issue #2
Working harder and doing more repetitions does not always bring greater results when looking at the scale. Learn more about why here.
Issue #3
Exercising more is not going to increase your appetite. So no excuses. Learn more about why here.
So what does all of this mean?
 Well basically when we are looking at weight loss, justifying your dietary decisions based on your exercise program is a poor choice. In fact exercise only makes up a small portion of you daily caloric expenditure as compared to the calories you burn just to stay alive. So at its core, the thought that the 300kcal that you burned during your gym session justifies the 800kcal bacon cheese burger (or insert you favorite junk food here), is fundamentally flawed. Now let me be clear here. It’s okay to live life and eat junk once in a while. But to regularly eat garbage because you exercised is a very poor way to go about achieving you goals. It may even make the scale move in the wrong direction.
What to do next.
Stick to your healthy eating habits. Don’t deviate away from being a healthy individual because you had a hard day pumping iron. Instead, you should stay consistent with your dietary goals even if you think you “deserve” more. The dark side (fast/junk food) will always be tempting, but achieving you ultimate goal will be so much more satisfying in the end. Finally, you need to stick with an exercise program you like, and try to incorporate both strength cardio training into your program.
For more information you can click on the links above or follow the link to the main article bellow. If you need help figuring out what the best course of action is for you, I am always here to help 🙂

Breaking Bad

Today we’re talking about breaking bad… habits.

Today we’re talking about breaking bad… habits. Because I am a huge KISS fan (keep it super simple), I really enjoyed reading the article published by My Fitness Pal. It talks about bad habits that can bugger up the works when it comes to your healthy lifestyle and nutrition. So lets take a look at the bad habits.
Bad Habit #1 Skipping the Grocery Store
We all know that eating out is almost always less healthy than making food for yourself. So make sure you have something to cook with by regularly going to the grocery store. If you like to save time, it is much easier to get in and out quickly if you go early in the day.
Bad Habit #2 Sleep Hygiene 
Want to get more done in your day, feel more energized, and able to take on the world? Well sleep should be one of your primary tools to do so. That cup of coffee wont do much if you’re regularly under sleeping. Practice some sleep hygiene and you will see a world of difference!
Bad Habit #3 Pantry Dropper
Dropping the ball on having your pantry stocked with good food is never a good thing. This poor habit plays into grocery shopping. Something is bound to happen to keep you from getting to the grocery store, so having a stocked pantry is a good way to not order junk food straight to your door. It can also pay off to freeze some fresh veggies and meats for the days you need to dig into your stash of quality food.
Bad Habit #4 Selecting Veggies
Eating old and out of season food can leave a bad taste in your mouth. So one solution is to make sure you’re buying fresh in season food that you will be getting at its ripest. Practicing this will make you happy to eat those vegetables and not dread it. Don’t know where to start? I recommend you check out our state farmers market that’s open year round. The vendors are always happy to educate and help you learn whats the best to eat this time of year.
Bad Habit #5 Kitchen Hygiene 
This is the bad habit I am most guilty of. This habit requires you to clean your kitchen frequently and thoroughly. However, I have to admit that doing the dishes quickly does result in less time/money wasted on ordering out food. Having a clean kitchen requires about 30m of work per day, but can save you hundreds (or more if bugs become a problem) of dollars per month overall.
Bad Habit #6 Over-exercising
Over exercising can cause anything from injuries to over eating at meal time. Keeping your exercise routine to a healthy work load can go a long way in keeping you sane and satisfied.
For more information on these topics, check out the link bellow. If you have any questions about what you can do to avoid these habits I’m always here to help!

Rise & Shine: Ways to Make Your Morning Great!

Let’s face it, mornings suck. But there are things that you can do to make it… suck less.

Last week I wrote about the importance of sleep, so what better way to follow it up than with a post about waking up?! Let’s face it, mornings suck. But there are things that you can do to make it… suck less. So take your hand off of the snooze button and listen up for some ways to make mornings less miserable!
Bright Idea
If you read last week’s post you know that bright lights at bed time are not a great idea. So being the smart individual that you are, you know that bright lights in the morning are a great idea! This is because light works as a signal for our natural circadian rhythm. So when the sun is up so are we and visa versa. That may be obvious, but light, even artificial sunlight, makes a huge positive impact to our mornings. Getting enough morning light can significantly enhance cognitive performance (1). Like to work out in the am? Well getting enough light can improve your ability exercise and improve reaction time (2). This means if you have a long commute it may be worth you while to invest in an artificial day light lamp. And I bet you didn’t know that along with diet, exercise, and sleep that light plays a huge role in obesity prevention (3)!
How Stimulating
Bright lights are great, but you can also make your mornings better by stimulating all of your sensesHearing – Most of us wake up to the sound of an alarm clock. But using your sense of hearing can, and should, involve other sources of sound. One great way to wake yourself up and start the day off right is through the use of positive affirmation. This means you literally say out loud “I’m going to have a good day.” Taking time to do this, as well as spending time focusing on yourself, is a great way to get the feel good hormones flowing early in the day. Smell – Wake up and smell the roses? Pshh. More like wake up and smell the bacon! Utilizing your sense of smell in the morning is an easy way to wake yourself up and make a positive ritual out of your day. Whether it’s having your coffee or tea pre-set to start around the time you wake up, using an invigorating soap first thing in the morning, or enjoying some bacon to start your day, waking up to smells can create a happy environment to start the day. Touch – A warm and cozy bed can be hard to break free from. So like tearing off the band aid, the best thing to do when you wake up is to break free of your bed! Rip the sheets off and stand up… it’s that simple. Taste – We will be looking at breakfast in depth later on, but for now what you need to know is that you can not go wrong with water in the morning. This is because we are constantly losing water and becoming dehydrated throughout the night. This can lead to a decrease in our immune response, poor cognitive ability, and bad breath (4,5)!!!
Not So Bright Idea
Okay so here’s where things get tricky. Breakfast is a very controversial area in general, but there are a few things that we do know. For instance, being hungry can decrease your decision making ability and make you a grumpy pants that no one wants to deal with (AKA hangry) due to the ghrelin hormone (6). So eat breakfast or else you will be known as the grump of the office! But what if you’re not hungry in the mornings? Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well the answer to that question is not so simple, but here’s a quote that I think is good food for thought “if there is little or no appetite for breakfast this meal can be safely missed by those who are well nourished, including children, because this will not adversely affect performance (body energy reserves can be readily mobilized to fuel muscle and brain activity), but will likely help reduce excessive energy intake.” (7). So this means that for some, skipping breakfast may not be a bad idea if you’re trying to lose weight. However, other studies show that you MUST eat breakfast to lose weight (8)! In reality, meals, and their timing, are largely driven by culture. Have you ever stopped to think about why there is such a thing as “breakfast foods?” It’s mostly due to marketing. So if you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle, the best thing to do is experiment on yourself. Pick a breakfast ritual and try it out for a month and see where it takes you. Personally, I eat 3 whole eggs (reduces ghrelin), 3 egg whites, and a hand full of home fries every morning. I chose this meal because it has plenty of protein, fat, and carbohydrates which helps to decrease my overall appetite throughout the day and decreases ghrelin (9). But most importantly I LIKE IT! So find out what works for you and make sure it’s what you enjoy. Because like so many other things in the health and fitness world, consistency reigns supreme.
1. Gabel, V., Maire, M., Reichert, C. F., Chellappa, S. L., Schmidt, C., Hommes, V.. . Viola, A. U. (2015). Dawn simulation light impacts on different cognitive domains under sleep restriction. Behavioural Brain Research, 281, 258-266. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.043
2. Thompson, A., Jones, H., Gregson, W., & Atkinson, G. (2014). Effects of dawn simulation on markers of sleep inertia and post-waking performance in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(5), 1049-1056. doi:10.1007/s00421-014-2831-z
3. Partonen, T. (2014). Obesity = physical activity + dietary intake + sleep stages + light exposure. Annals of Medicine, 46(5), 245.
4. Hanstock, H. G., Diment, B. C., Bendell, K. H. F., Carswell, A., Fortes, M. B., Moore, J. P., & Walsh, N. P. (2014). Effect of exercise-induced dehydration and subsequent overnight fluid restriction on immunity at the ocular surface. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(5)
5. Thornton, S. N., & Trabalon, M. (2012). Dehydration during sleep affects cognitive performance. Sleep Medicine, 13(1), 118; author reply 118. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2011.06.018
6. Rozita H Anderberg, Caroline Hansson, Maya Fenander, Jennifer E Richard, Suzanne L Dickson, Hans Nissbrandt, Filip Bergquist, Karolina P Skibicka. The Stomach-Derived Hormone Ghrelin Increases Impulsive Behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015; 41 (5): 1199 DOI: 10.1038/npp.2015.297
7. Peter J Rogers (2016). Breakfast: how important is it really?. Public Health Nutrition, 19, pp 1718-1719. doi:10.1017/S1368980015003705. 
8. Astbury, N. M., Taylor, M. A., & Macdonald, I. A. (2011). Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(7), 1381-1389. doi:10.3945/jn.110.128645
9. Ratliff, J., Leite, J. O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M. J., VanHeest, J., & Fernandez, M. L. (2010). Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30(2), 96-103. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002

Being a Protein Pro

Nutritional protein is a HUGE area of research and controversy, so here’s attempt to simplify things.

Today we are talking about protein! The only problem is that the topic of protein is a HUGE area of research. So I will attempt to simplify things as best as I can, but be sure to shoot me an email if you have any specific questions.
What is Protein
Protein consists of chemically bonded amino acids. Many things that we eat contain some form of amino acids ranging from animal products, to plants, and even insects. The ways that proteins are used in the body are far too complex for this post. Simply put, protein and amino acids are the building blocks of life.
Well What Does Protein Do For Me?
Most people are looking to do 2 things. Gain muscle, and lose fat. Well take a guess at what protein does? THAT’S RIGHT! From athletes to couch potatoes high protein diets can promote weight loss and lean mass gains/preservation. (Nerds like me can check out the science herehere, and here)
How Much Protein Should I Eat?
Aside from a few medical conditions, there really is no upper limit to the amount protein you can consume. I’m not saying you should go out and drink 5 protein shakes a day because you can. In fact there is a certain amount of protein that is just right for you. For most people 0.45-0.68g/lb body weight is a good starting point. If you’re looking to find out exactly how much is right for you, feel free to give me a buzz.
Where Should I Get My Protein?
For most people, I recommend getting your protein from your regular diet. However, for most people it is difficult to get enough protein by food alone. Additionally, those are vegan/vegetarian, athletes, and/or want to maximize muscle growth certainly will need supplemental protein intake (Nerd alert). I personally take at least one protein shake per day. I use, and recommend, the SRX brand that we sell at O2 fitness (see me for a 10% discount). However, it’s always important to make an educated decision when choosing you’re supplements. This is why I attached some additional information to this email about the SRX brand.
When Should I Get My Protein?
Morning, noon, and night. Continued consumption of protein increases muscle growth. For most people it’s more important to get enough total protein than it is to worry about when you get it. However, if you absolutely must know, I would suggest having a little protein and carbohydrate before and after a workout.
Bit of a long email today, but I hope you found it useful. For more information check out the well written, and brief, article by linked bellow. Of course you are always free to contact me if you have any questions about today’s topic!

How to Boost Your Health, Fitness, and Metabolism By Doing Nothing

The importance of sleep, what it can do for you, and a few tips on how to get more without hitting that snooze button.

Today’s post is all about the awesomeness of sleep! That magical time where you get to relax, dream, and recover from those stressful work days. But for many of us, it seems like there is simply not enough time in the day to fit sleep in! That’s why I wanted to go over the importance of sleep, what it can do for you, and a few tips on how to get more without hitting that snooze button.
The BasiczZzZzZ
Sleep is an entire field of scientific research and is not completely understood. So naturally I am going to do an awesome job briefly summing things up. In any case, sleep is regulated by two body systems: sleep/wake homeostasis and the circadian biological clock. Sleep/wake homeostasis tells us that a need for sleep is building up and gets us feeling sleepy while also helping us maintain enough sleep throughout the night. It’s the mechanism used to balance sleep and wakefulness. Our circadian rhythm regulates the timing of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. It’s a pattern of being awake and asleep that we can regulate. If you have ever woken up early on the weekend even though you wanted to sleep in, it’s because of your circadian rhythm. While we sleep, our body goes trough a cycle every 90 minutes as a way to recover and repair itself. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to sufficiently recover, but everyone is different. Some individuals may only need 5 hours, where others may require more than 10.
Inline image 1
Sleep To Get Shredded!
Let’s dig into the fun stuff! Sleep is crucial for so many reasons, but trying to stay healthy, lose weight, and get in shape without it can be a nightmare! We know that without proper sleep we will be more susceptible to decreased glucose tolerance, illness, elevated cortisol concentrations, increased cholesterol, decrease in the satiety hormone leptin, increased the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, and increased hunger and appetite (1)! What’s also interesting is that you can have a decreased glucose tolerance, and be more susceptible to type 2 Diabetes, if you have too much sleep as well (2).
If you’re looking to lose weight, sleeping enough is a must. Not logging enough sleep can decrease your metabolism and give you the munchies (3,4). Getting quality sleep is also important for building muscle. This is because adequate sleep is needed to optimize your natural growth hormones (5). Not only that, but it can suck the life out of your gym performance by decreasing your motivation and efficiency of cognitive processes, increasing perceived effort, and limiting physiological recovery responses (6).
How to Get Better Sleep
By now you realize the you need to sleep a lot, but you also need to sleep well. Quality sleep is crucial for achieving the 90 minute cycle throughout the night. So here are a few tips on how to get more sleep and with greater quality. First up, avoid the booz. Alcohol can have a deleterious effect on sleep in many ways but a few highlights include making you go to the bathroom more, making you sweat, playing with your blood sugar, and decreasing the amount of REM you get. Next, get out of the bedroom. The bedroom is a place for maximizing mental and physical recovery, so using it as a work or play space throughout the day can actually decrease the amount of quality rest you get in there at night. Limit the amount of stimulants in your life including nutritional and environmental. This means cutting back on caffeine (especially after 4 pm), nicotine, computer, cell phone, T.V., and possibly using blackout curtains to block light that can keep your brain active. Finally, exercise is your friend! Resistance training is a great way to help you sleep. So for those of you who struggle to fall asleep, work out earlier in the morning, whereas those of you who struggle to stay asleep should try evening strength training sessions (7). When it comes to health and fitness, your immune system, and brain power sleep is paramount. So get some rest!
1. Tremblay, A., & Chaput, J.-P. (2010). Sleep and Metabolic Fitness. Sleep,33(7), 861.
2. Cappuccio, F. P., D’Elia, L., Strazzullo, P., & Miller, M. A. (2010). Quantity and quality of sleep and incidence of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 33(2), 414-420. doi:10.2337/dc09-1124
3. S. Sharma., & M. Kavuru (2010). Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview. Int J Endocrinol. Volume 2010, Article ID 270832, 12 pages doi:10.1155/2010/270832
4. Taheri, S. (2006). The link between short sleep duration and obesity: We should recommend more sleep to prevent obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 91(11), 881-884. doi:10.1136/adc.2005.093013
5. Brandenberger, G., & Weibel, L. (2004). The 24‐h growth hormone rhythm in men: Sleep and circadian influences questioned. Journal of Sleep Research, 13(3), 251-255. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2004.00415.x
6. Marshall, G., Turner, A. (2016), The Importance of Sleep for Athletic Performance, Strength & Conditioning Journal 38(1),p 61–67
7. Alley, Jessica R (2015). “Effects of resistance exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure”. Journal of strength and conditioning research (1064-8011), 29 (5), p. 1378.

Too Much Healthy Junk Food

It’s way too easy to eat more than we should especially when things are labeled as “healthy.”

Today’s post is about eating too much healthy junk food. Just what the heck does that mean? Well to put it simply, it’s way too easy to eat more than we should. This is particularly true when things are labeled as “healthy.” A great example of this involves a conversation that my roommate Skiles and I had in college.
Me: Why are you putting so much fake butter on you toast?
Skiles: Because it says it’s heart healthy and I want a healthy heart!
Me: I think it says that because its not as bad for your heart as regular butter. Not because it will actually make your heart any healthier.
Skiles:…. Oh.
So what are you eating or over eating that are surprisingly unhealthy? Well a couple of great articles came out recently looking at that question, and I will hit a few of the best points.
You’re Nuts!
What do trail mix, peanut butter, and granola bars have in common? If you answered nuts, you’re right!!! (yes I know peanuts are legumes but that’s just too hard to make a pun out of). Nuts are fantastic because they have healthy fats, protein, fiber, and nutrients. But it can be wayyyy to easy to over eat these foods. The key here is moderation. Don’t shovel the trail mix or bar nuts in by the handful. Eating small amounts will fill you up if you give your brain just a little time to react.
Soft Served Saddle Bags
So here is a list of foods that we all buy with a smug grin on our face thinking we are making the healthy choice. When in reality we might as well be pouring sugar on our rice cakes: Granola, Sushi, Dried Fruit, Bagels, Energy Drinks, Yogurt, Canned Produce, Fruit Juice, Breakfast Cereal, Pasta, and Frozen Yogurt. What’s so wrong with these items is simply that for the most part they just don’t taste good to very many people. To make sure their items sell, many companies will pour on the yummy sugar while removing the yucky nutrients. What you should do with these items is look for both total and added sugars, as well as artificial sweeteners (which aren’t necessarily bad for you). If you see that there is more sugar or fat than you bargained for, then its a good guess that the manufacturer is more concerned with selling their product than with your health.
Hidden in Plain Sight
I freaking love Hummus, Green Bean Casserole, Veggie Burgers, Ranch Dressing, and Ice Cream (not mixed together of course). But the problem with these items is that the can come with a label like No Sugar Added, Fat Free, Organic, Heart Healthy, etc. Nothing wrong with these statements and when put together they make for a delicious and healthy adjective salad. But when seen alone on a label we all should be weary. Often time these buzz words are used to catch your attention. However, to make their foods taste good companies often need to rob Peter to pay Paul. Combat these buzz word buggers by checking the nutrition information and by using them in moderation (lord knows I love me some ranch!)
TO BE CLEAR, I’m am not saying any of the above foods are good or bad for you. But rather I am trying to open up your eyes to the world of “health” foods on today’s market. Usually your best bet is to buy your foods our of the produce section and dig in to grandmas recipe book. To sum it all up I would say that if it shouts “health” or “wellness” all over the label you should be skeptical. Just as importantly, if it tastes good you should probably indulge in moderation.
Wanna learn more? Check these articles out!
WARNING: Strong language
WARNING: Mild nonsense (i.e. toxins)