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)

Speaking English Will Kill You!

With gobs of terrible information on the internet about “the perfect diet” I wanted today’s post to be about what a good diet looks like. Because there truly is no magic bullet, perfect diet, or one true way to eat.

Why speaking English will kill you according to research.
 The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Italians drink excessive amounts of ride win and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
With gobs of terrible information on the internet about “the perfect diet” I wanted today’s post to be about what a good diet looks like. Because there truly is no magic bullet, perfect diet, or one true way to eat. There are, however, dozens of people who will tell you otherwise, and they are probably trying to sell you something. I think this point is exemplified by this quote“When we have millions of years of evolutionary history to guide our dietary decisions, the latest nutritional trends don’t really matter much.”
Personally I take issue with the extremists. Low carb, low fat, Keto, Paleo, and even intermittent fasting all come at a cost. Whether it be ill effects on your body, or going insane every time you see a piece of bread. So I will attempt to quickly take a look at a few trends, as well as what you should really do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
High Fat/Paleo
So I think that the biggest trends lately have been towards area of high fat diets. From the absolutely ridiculousness of Bullet Proof Coffee to off base Paleo diet. The problem is that each of these examples are not backed by quality science. Bulletproof coffee does nothing more than add extra calories to your diet, but if you like the taste of adding butter to your cup of Joe (eww) then don’t let me stop you. I personally like Paleo because it encourages lots of fruits and vegetables. But any diet that says “you can’t have any of this or that” just sets you up for failure. Finally, high fat diets are not heart healthy. Fats are not the enemy by any means. But when we fail to moderate our fat intakes, our blood lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, Apob, etc) can get out of control.
Killer Carbs
Similar to high fat diets, low carb diets are trendy. However, carbs are not the problem! In fact we generally need carbs toperform exercise and for optimal brain function. Time and time again the research has shown that it is total calorie intake, not the macro-nutrient composition, of a diet that matters. So why do people see success using low carb diets? Well it’s because they cut out hundreds of calories from their diet. But at what cost? How long can you go without eating a sandwich? What’s worse is that as soon as you go off of a low carb diet you will likely gain back a lot, if not more, weight. I’ll finish up by saying that CARBS DO NOT CAUSE ANY KINDS OF DISEASE!!! However, using a Keto diet may cause extreme fatigue, dizziness, headaches, changes in bowel regularity and consistency, shakiness, muscle cramping, disruptions in sleep, a temporary dip in thyroid hormones, and even an increase in kidney stone formation. Yikes!
What To Do
I don’t adhere to any specific diet and I don’t recommend any specific diet. Everyone’s life can be hectic, and a demanding diet regime can often just put too much on our plate to handle (pun intended). Instead, because I am a true believer in the KISS (keep it super simple) method, I like to use some simple guidelines when it comes to food.
1. Make small adjustments to include more plants
Fruits and vegies are packet with nutrients. By adding more of these into your diet you will feel fuller for longer. All you need to do is put an emphasis on minimally processed plant foods.
2. Embrace the bean
Although they are condemned by followers of Paleo, beans are freaking awesome. Why’s the magical fruit great? They’re cheap, they contain protein, minerals, and antioxidants, they may reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and they’re freaking delicious!
3. Don’t try to eat “perfectly.” Just do your best
You should feel guilty for doing bad things. Feeling guilty for something you ate should not be a thing. Don’t sweat the little stuff and you will sleep easy at night.
4. Eat for a reason
So what’s the driving factor behind your nutrition habits? Do you want to set an example for your kids? Support local farmers? Improve animal welfare? Eat foods with a lower environmental impact? Worry less about your health? Try answering these questions if you need help figuring it out.
“I’m the kind of person who ___________________.”
“And it’s important to me that __________________.”
“So I’d feel good about accomplishing ___________.”
5. Move away from all-or-nothing thinking
“I need to eat 6 vegan meals a day or else!” First of all, eating more frequently won’t boost your metabolism. Secondly, this will only make you feel bad if you have a piece of meat or miss a meal! Instead find what works for you, in your real and messy life, and give yourself credit for the good stuff you’re already doing.
I’ll wrap things up by saying health and happiness should not be mutually exclusive. They should intertwine. If you feel that one is getting in the way of the other, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate things. Of course I am always here to help you figure it it out 🙂

The Best Way To Burn Fat!!!

With so many clickbait articles and diet/exercise fads out there promising to burn fat, it’s crucial to know what fat burning actually means.

Great news everyone! Science has found a way for people to burn fat 100% of the time. The answer to all your fat burning questions is to… do nothing! That’s right. To burn fat you need to do nothing more than watch TV, fiddle with your phone, or even take a nap! At this point you may be asking yourself “won’t I gain weight by doing nothing?” The answer is a resounding “YES!” Which is why I wanted to address the difference between burning fat and losing fat. With so many clickbait articles and diet/exercise fads out there promising to burn fat, it’s crucial to know what fat burning actually means.
 
Fact or Fitness Fiction
I wasn’t lying before. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel source while at rest. As we start to move more, and with greater intensity, the body will start to use glycogen (sugar) in greater quantities. For instance, walking uses around 80% for fuel, running uses 50% fat and 50% sugar, and high intensity exercise uses nearly 100% sugar as fuel. These very rough numbers are of course dependent on the person and their training levels, but the point is that it really doesn’t matter what the fuel source is for exercise. Because it’s true that with the right diet and exercise you can turn your body into a fat burning machine! But if you’re taking in more calories than you are burning, it really doesn’t matter if you’re burning fat all day long. The science behind gaining fat and fat loss is complex, but what you need to know is that there is no “one true solution” behind either of them. Take fasted cardio for example. The thought is that if you don’t eat anything before cardio exercise, then you will burn only fat, therefore you will lose fat mass. But in well controlled research, we see that this just isn’t true. A more malicious example would be weight loss/detox wraps. Yes you will lose weight using it… you will also gain a pound by drinking a bottle of water. See where I’m going with this? With the weight loss industry fraught with snake oil peddlers, knowing what actually works will save you time and money on top of getting you results.
 
What Works
One thing that successful fat losers have in common is gumption. Because when it comes to your health, failure is not the absence of success but the unwillingness to try. Even if it takes years, consistently making an effort will pay off big in the end. So if you’re currently in a bit of a slump, take the advice of my good friend Jen “Ditch the defeat, decide you are worth fighting for, and start again RIGHT NOW.” She also has a terrific blog that I highly recommend you check out.
Now that you’re good and motivated, let’s take a look into the exercises you need to do to “burn fat.” And at the top of the list is… drum roll please… the exercise you like to do! It’s a bit anticlimactic, but it’s true. There’s no way to be successful with a weight loss exercise routine if you don’t do it consistently. That’s why loving the way you move is so important! If you don’t even know where to begin, here are a few ideas.
Start with a steady state cardio program. If you’re new to exercise, simply hop on a treadmill or plop down on a bike and go. No this won’t get you shredded, and you won’t “tone” your muscles by doing this, but you will burn calories (not always fat though 🙀), increase your overall health, and you will get a chance to get acclimated to the gym.
Next, work you way up to weight lifting. As I’ve written about before, weight training is great for fat loss. And in reality, it’s the only way you can achieve a lean, strong and athletic-looking physique. You can lose all the weight you want, but if you don’t have any muscles then you will certainly be lacking ever elusive “toned” look most people are searching for.
Finally, once you’ve established a baseline of fitness, find ways to get uncomfortable. Break loose of the stereotypes. You’re never too old to try high intensity training. For those women who are worried they will get too big… stop thinking that! You wont! Woman up and lift heavy things to burn fat and see the change you desire.
Fat Burning Nutrition has some merit to it. There are some select foods and potables that can help you burn fat. But guess what? That doesn’t matter at all! No mater what diet you’re on or what super exercise and nutrition plan you have, you won’t see results unless you’re in a caloric deficit. Who care about carbs or fats. They have absolutely no bearing on weather or not you will lose weight. Research shows us that you simply need to find a way to cut calories out of your diet to lose fat. I highly recommend you listen to this podcast and/or watch this video for the best information on the subject.

Working Well and Living Easy

Strategies focused on how to stay healthy and productive, particularly for those of you who sit at a desk all day.

Today we are talking about a few strategies focused on how to stay healthy and productive, particularly for those of you who sit at a desk all day. For those of you who have won the lottery (aka retired), you will undoubtedly gain some knowledge from this post as well. So lets dive into how your daily activities, nutrition, and exercise routine can enable you to live life to the fullest!
Get Up
Sitting for long periods of time is almost inevitable for most people these days. And with prolonged sitting being touted as the new smoking (without the bad breath), it’s important to find ways to unplant yourself from your chair. Sitting has been shown to increase the likelihood of high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, back pain, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, herniated lumbar disks, colon, breast and endometrial cancers and more. If you find yourself saying, “I exercise regularly so this doesn’t apply to me” you’re wrong! Research shows us that even with exercise, those who sit for long periods of time are still at risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular events. So here are some ways to elevate your health, decrease the likelihood of back pain, and boost your productivity at work!
  1.  Use standing desks, or better yet, treadmill desks
  2.  Walk across the building to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email
  3.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  4.  Walk outside the building a few times each day
  5.  Hold meetings while walking
  6.  Create a competition in your office to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle
Nutrition KISS
I’m a big fan of keeping it super simple (KISS). When it comes to being busy at work all the time, the best way to stay healthy and/or lose weight is to plan. This is due to the fact that counting calories, points or macro-nutrients can be a real pain. So when it comes to your food, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning. The first thing you need to do is plan your meal frequency. It may seem silly, but if you don’t do this first step then you may find yourself eating out at a fast food joint because you didn’t account for a meal. Up next we can dig in to planning your protein at every meal, your snacks (if you have them), your veggies at every meal, your fruit, your carbohydrates, and your treats. Along with ensuring that you’re using proper portion size and a meal prep routine, you may want to consider using ONE of these tips as well:
 – If you’re eating a whole food carbohydrate source at each meal, adjust this first.
    *This can mean going from 2 servings per meal to 1 serving per meal.
    *This can also mean eliminating the carbohydrate source from 1 meal per day.
 – If you’re eating a snack, eliminate it.
 – If you’re eating 3 meals, reduce your meals to 2. Or perhaps 2 meals and a snack.
 – If you’re eating a fattier protein source at one of your meals, change it to a leaner protein source.
Finally, we come to hydration. Now this might seem like a no-brainer, but your hydration level can have a large impact on your work life. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, tiredness, headaches, as well as declines in cognitive performance, eye-hand coordination, word recognition, visual attention, and of course physical activity. So make sure that your urine is a healthy color (see below) and check out this link to see how different beverages can influence your hydration level.
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Back to Work
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you, and there are plenty of ways to go about it. But when it comes to those who sit too much, there are many things that you can do aside from getting those 10k steps in a day. This is particularly true for those with back pain, because we know that the special chair that you sit in, and those orthotics you’re wearing aren’t as beneficial as exercise. Aside from a specifically targeted stretching and strengthening program, some of the best moves you can do are these:

Losing Weight = Loose Wallet?

A few simple tips for dropping pounds and beefing up your budget!

Today I wanted to talk about losing weight on a budget. Because cutting a few Lb’s shouldn’t mean you need to cut a few goodies off of your wish list. So here are a few simple tips for dropping pounds and beefing up your budget!
Harness Your Inner Boy Scout
Be Prepared is a Boy Scout motto that I will never forget. It just so happens to be the first tip! Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time means you wont have to spend extra money by stopping for fast food (costly on the wallet and calorie budget), stopping for groceries while hungry (worst idea ever), or saying “screw it!” and just eating whatever junk you have laying around the house (unless you’re in college, a bowl of cereal for diner is not acceptable). There are dozens of ways to meal prep. To get started check out herehere, and here.
Frugality Does Not = Cheapskate
Buying groceries on a budget does not mean you need to buy the cheapest foods. In fact, paying a little more to buy potatoes instead of potato chips will save you money in the long run! When we spend a little bit more in the produce section, we receive the gift of nutrients(vitamins and minerals) in return. And what happens when we feed ourselves nutrient dense foods? We reduce our cravings for junk, we feel fuller longer, and we consume fewer overall calories! Check out some of these recipes for holiday foods that taste as great as their nutritional value.
Don’t Become a Potato Because You Can’t Be a Ninja
We spend our entire lives getting to the fitness level we are at right now. So don’t become a couch potato because you don’t look the way you want to right now! Gymtimidation is a real thing… for everyone. At some point we have all seen someone at the gym and said to ourselves “I wish I looked/performed like them.” The key is to use this potential barrier as motivation, and NOT letting it weigh you down to potato town. This means you can’t set unrealistic goals and lack patience, lack social support, lose your motivation/desire, or focus too much on the end goal.
Losing weight on a budget is like anything else. To look and feel a little bit better you need to plan/budget/exercise a little bit better. Take the cost of getting lean in stride, and you will do just fine.

Our Intellectual Hubris

How challenging our assumptions can change our mindset, save us money, and make us healthy!

Today I wanted to tackle a tough subject. Challenging our thoughts and beliefs, specifically when it comes to health and wellness trends. This is a tough subject because it requires us to admit we are wrong, and sometimes our ego’s just can’t handle it. However, it’s an essential requirement for us to grow as people. So lets take a look at how challenging our assumptions can change our mindset, save us money, and make us healthy!
Know That You Don’t Know
Science is constantly evolving and informing us of new and exciting things. Because what we think we know today will inevitably be challenged tomorrow by some new research. The key to keeping up is to not get dug in on any “one true method” of doing things. This can be tough because our mind hates uncertainty, and randomness and needs to make connections even when there are none because it has a need for order and control. So when you get all of your information from one source, there comes an asymmetry of input (what you believe versus what you choose not to) that creates ‘gaps’ in your knowledge. Your brain automatically fills these gaps based on your prior learning andBOOM you get suckered into a cult. So lets take a moment to “snap out of it.”
Step 1 Take Responsibility – When you start taking responsibility for your own goals (learning, health, fitness, etc.) you also give yourself the power to make changes. We consume the outputs of scientific inquiry like we consume everything else: through a filter of emotion, bias and personal connection. So as long as it’s somebody else’s fault, (i.e. “Dr. Oz said so, so it must be true”) you’re going to keep making excuses to justify why you’re doing, or not doing, things.
Step 2 Call Yourself Out – You need to call yourself out and make sure that what you’re saying/doing isn’t just some nonsensical story you’ve crafted to avoid the hard things in life. There is no magic bullet. Fat burning pills won’t make you skinny. What you learn today probably won’t be true even a year from now. This means you need to recognize your biases, as seen in the picture below, to be able to make a move in the right direction.
Step 3 Be Authentically You – Not being afraid to be you, the real you. Not some manufactured ‘me-too’ edition of somebody else, so you can fit into some arbitrary clique you’ve been told you should be a part of. Don’t assume that doing what everyone else is doing is going to make you look, feel, or be like them. Doing what the bull (e.g. a body builder) does, won’t change the fact that you’re a llama (e.g. a runner).
Inline image 2
When to Build, When to Burn
We determine the importance of information quickly and subconsciously, rather than through a conscious process of deliberative and slow reasoning. So it’s inevitable. You’re going to realize that because a snap decision was made years ago, a person, book, method, or way of doing things is no longer the golden nugget you once thought it was. For instance, we used to KNOW that eggs, fat spreads, potatoes, dairy, and raw nuts were bad for you. However, we now realize that all foods fit into a healthy diet, and perhaps more importantly, enthusiastic consumption of one particular “superfood” can be worse than consuming a so called “food villain!” What I’m getting at is that we all need to take a look at what bridges need to be burned and to start building new ones to the right places as more information comes to light.
The question now becomes “how do I separate the wheat from the chafe?” This is a toughy because you have people out there like David Wolfe, the Food Babe, and Dr. Mercola who spew nonsense but appear to be legit. The keys to their success are that they look “good,” they communicate well and are charismatic, they’re marketing machines, they seem knowledgeable, and they seem experienced. But being scientific and fact driven are not high on their priority lists. Here is how to recognize their pseudoscience garbage:
Translate their message into ordinary language, thereby assuring that what the claim asserts is a logical concept, rather than just a collection of jargon.
In doing this, you will know whether you have been taught an idea or you have only taught a definition.
Practical Application
The goal of this post is to get you to challenge your current belief system, and know how to look for good information. Because knowing what science is will truly benefit us all. What we know today is a reflection of what we have learned and experienced in the past. The problem here is that our memories suck! We all have a distorted and constructed memory of a distorted and constructed perception, both of which are subservient to whatever narrative our brain is operating under. Our malleable memories, combined with confirmation bias, are a key factor in the Dunning-Kruger effect, the inability to perceive one’s own incompetence in a given area.
So here are key takeaways to attaining competence.
 – Challenge what you know, because not even the practice of washing your hands isn’t immune from scrutiny. So if you’re going to read junk like The Grain Brain that’s completely fine. Just be sure to challenge that view by reading The Gluten Lie.
 – Don’t just read the words, understand the meaning behind them. This means that just because something is labeled as “organic” don’t automatically assume that it’s better, or even good, for you. Translate the message (in this case “organic is better”) into ordinary language to fully appreciate the value.
 – Ditch the dogma. I hate the term “clean eating.” It’s an over-hyped theory, an absolutely meaningless term, and can actually be detrimental. It’s a term used in many dogmatic diets and is used by many knuckle head guru’s.
 – Be reasonable, don’t retaliate. People squabble over the silliest of things. So instead of digging into your position, be reasonable and take a firm look at the opposing argument. Yes, reasons can be given as to why insulin will cause obesity, but research shows there’s far more to it than that, and that it’s simply not true. Sure slow and steady weight loss has been shown to be very effective for keeping off weight, but rapid weight loss can also work under the right circumstances. Don’t agree? Find out why these statements might be right before you go saying they are wrong.
 – Don’t just go along with the herd. Our actions are largely influenced by those around us. So do your best to break away from the herd to take a closer look at what’s going on. Because starving yourself won’t help you get skinny, weight loss “hacks” aren’t always helpful, and thatexpensive grass fed beef everyone is raving about isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

Cultivating Mass

The WHY and the HOW to cultivate muscle mass. If you don’t think this topic pertains to you, I will politely say stop being a jabroni. Ultimately, developing muscle mass is going to be one of the most important outcomes of exercise.

Today I want to talk about the WHY and the HOW to cultivate muscle mass. If you don’t think this topic pertains to you, I will politely say stop being a jabroni. Ultimately, developing muscle mass is going to be one of the most important outcomes of exercise. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, play sports, prevent/recover from injury, or even sport a bikini this summer, gaining muscle mass is critical.
 
Why
Building muscle is critical, especially as we age. Building, and maintaining, muscle mass becomes increasingly difficult as the dreaded sarcopenia starts to set in. So starting the muscle building process as soon as possible will do several great things now and for your future self. It will keep us looking and feeling young, increase our confidence, boost our sports performance, ramp up our metabolic rate (although not significantly), and promote bone health. This last point of bone health is particularly important for women as they are more susceptible to poor bone health with age. It’s crucially important for females to lift heavy weights and knock this “toning” crap out. Trust me, you won’t get “too bulky” or “manly” if you lift heavy. So before you move on to the next part I want you to do three things that I hope will get you inspired. Write down all the things you wish you could do, if you were fitter. Write the obstacles that are keeping you from getting there. Write down how you’re going to get around those obstacles.
 
How
The first thing you need to do is just start lifting things that are uncomfortably heavy. It doesn’t even have to be at the gym. Just start taking in groceries instead of having your husband do it (cough, my wife, cough), moving furniture, or even doing some body weight squats at home. 
The second thing you need to do is make a plan of attack. This is a crucial step for several reasons. Making and sticking to a set schedule will ensure you don’t suffer an over use injury. It also ensures you know what your weaknesses are. If you don’t know proper technique well maybe getting some professional help is in order. If you realize that you exercise schedule is missing a muscle group well then you can now make a place for it. More on this step later.
The third thing you will want to do is look at your exercise selection. This is where it gets tricky. Your exercises need to suite your goals, your fitness level, your skills/abilities, and should be enjoyable. In general, I recommend using compound movements and super sets for a quick efficient workout. For beginners this means you may want to start with partial movements (i.e. half squat/wall squat) to master technique. And of course if you’re looking to shake things up there’s always wild and crazy exercises out there to try.

< 18 years: 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight
19-40 years: 0.8-1.1 grams per pound of body weight
41-65 years: 1.1-1.3 grams per pound of body weight
> 65 years: 1.3-1.5 grams per pound of body weight
 
Dos and Don’ts 
Here is my final list of some things to maximize your exercise efforts, and some things that are not so wise.
DO
Focus on progressively increasing our performance on a handful of movements, and actually track your performance. Consistency is literally the king of gains.
Base your training on big compound movements. For each lift, figure out which muscle is holding you back and add isolation or assistance work for these weak points.
Change the specific exercises/make slight variations often. Do this by either varying grip, stance, bar type, or the conditions you’re performing the lift in (tempo, pauses in the movement, using chains, etc.).
Aim to train muscle groups 2 to 4 times per week.
Just get into the gym. It doesn’t matter what time of day you go, just get it done.
DON’T
Bro split your routine (i.e. only training muscle groups once per week).
Put an unnecessary time-cap on your workout.
Train every muscle the same/train every muscle directly.  Not all muscles respond best to the same type of stimulation.
Do more than four intense sessions per week.
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You’re Full Of It! The Fullness Factor

Here’s the catch. A typical fast food value meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples!!!

Today’s post is not about being full of it, but feeling full of it. By “it” of course I mean food! One of the easiest ways to lose weight is through proper selection. Don’t believe me? Well imagine yourself eating 18 apples in one sitting. Too tough? Okay well now imagine yourself eating a #5 value meal from your favorite fast food joint, which you’ll probably agree is a much easier task to accomplish. Here’s the catch. A typical fast food value meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples!!! So read on to discover reasons to smile the next time someone says “you’re full of it.”

Don’t Be So Dense

To be full of it, you can’t be (energy) dense. Energy density is the amount of energy (calories) per unit of food. Combine that notion with the fact that most humans eat between three to five pounds of food per day, and you can see how energy density plays a huge role in weight loss. But just for funsies, let’s take a closer look. The following calories (kcal) per 4 pounds of food eaten:

Raw Veggies = 400 kcal

Raw Fruit = 1,000 kcal

Whole Grains/Legumes 1,600 kcal

Nuts/Seeds = 10,000 kcal

Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts, Cheese = 10,000 kcal.

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Bottom Line, If we prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods there isn’t much room left for the energy-dense, processed foods.

Hold Your Horses

Before you gallop off to the farmers market to buy all the raw veggies they have, I need to give you a bit of a reality check. Unfortunately, Caloric density alone is not a reliable predictor of satiety, and it overlooks many enjoyable foods that would make wonderful additions to your diet. Luckily for us, researchers have looked into this have come up with the “Fullness Factor” (FF). At the end of this email is a chart of foods and their fullness factor ratings. Here is a brief description to help you understand it. FF values fall within the range of 0 to 5. Foods with high FF’s are more likely to satisfy your hunger with fewer Calories. Foods with low FF’s are less likely to satisfy your hunger.

Compare this chart with other health and fitness horse… crap… and you will see a major difference. For instance, I am not a big fan of the Glycemic Index (GI) for weight loss. Research time and time again has shown that the GI has little to do with feeling full and dropping pounds. While we are on the subject, GI is not only highly variable between people, but an individual can have different responses to the same food depending on the time of day! Click *here* for a detailed summary. The Bottom Line is that the Glycemic index is garbage, and the Fullness Factor is the way to go 🙂

Taking Action

Here’s what to do next.

#1 – Be smart while shopping. If you’re in a rush, just remember to grab “real” food. Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Real food regulates appetite—so you don’t overeat
  • Real food provides the best nutrition—so you can remain healthy for life
  • Real food has a sane amount of energy—so that you can’t accidentally overeat

#2 – Use the FF table at the bottom to plan your attack. This will guide you in preparing meals with appropriate portion sizes.

#3 – If you have enough time, you can plan out recipes at this website to see where your dishes land on the FF scale

As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this week’s subject. If you have any questions or tips related to the post, or suggestions for future topics, feel free to contact me any time. As always, I’m here to help. So if you need answers to your exercise program, nutrition plan, or wellness issues please don’t hesitate to ask!

Fullness Factor

Bean sprouts 4.6 Popcorn 2.9 Ice cream 1.8
Watermelon 4.5 Baked potato 2.5 White bread 1.8
Grapefruit 4.0 Lowfat yogurt 2.5 Raisins 1.6
Carrots 3.8 Banana 2.5 Snickers Bar 1.5
Oranges 3.5 Macaroni and cheese 2.5 Honey 1.4
Fish, broiled 3.4 Brown rice 2.3 Sugar (sucrose) 1.3
Chicken breast, roasted 3.3 Spaghetti 2.2 Glucose 1.3
Apples 3.3 White rice 2.1 Potato chips 1.2
Sirloin steak, broiled 3.2 Pizza 2.1 Butter 0.5
Oatmeal 3.0 Peanuts 2.0

The Skinny On Fats

What you learned in health class probably won’t look anything similar to what you read in here today.

There has been a lot buzz lately on dietary fats. Are the good? Are they bad? Do we eat too much or not enough?!?! Well today I wanted to go over some ins and outs regarding those lovely lipids. As most of us know, nutrition information is constantly changing. And long time readers know I like bashing fads because carbssugar, and chemicals aren’t necessarily bad for you, and probiotics and antioxidants aren’t as good for you as you think! So what you learned in health class probably won’t look anything similar to what you read in here today.
 
Out of the 3 macro-nutrients, fats were the first to get demonized. You couldn’t go anywhere to buy food in the 90’s without seeing an entire section dedicated to low/no fat foods. This “fat is bad” message has, unfortunately, stuck with many people. However, we now know that some fats are good and can actually decrease the risk for heart diseasehormone (testosterone) production, and aid in brain development/function! And lets not forget that fat is necessary for absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. What else is fat good for you ask? Well aside from making foods delicious, dietary fats slow down digestion which slows the rate at which sugars from carbohydrates enter our blood stream. Lets also not forget that fat is a good fuel source for exercise.
 
The 4 Big Links In The Chain
Dietary fats can be classified into four main types; trans fats, saturated fats, mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Each of these fats are structured differently via chains of specific molecules, and therefore impact our health differently.
 – Trans Fat – These fats are blasted with hydrogen molecules to make them more stable so that the food products they’re added to will last longer on supermarket shelves, spread more easily, and are easier to cook with. But they have been shown to not only increase our bad (LDL) cholesterol, but decrease our good (HDL) cholesterol. 
 – Saturated Fat – This fat family can be found in animal derived foods like red meat and dairy products made from cream or whole milk, as well as some plants, like coconuts and avocados. However, the animal-based saturated fats have been found to increase LDL cholesterol.
 – Mono and Polyunsaturated Fats – AKA MUFA’s and PUFA’s, these are the good guys. This is also the group to look to when we talk about Omega-3’sThey can be found in plant-based cooking oils (i.e. olive, canola, grape seed oils), ground flaxseed, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. These guys work together to moderate things like inflammation, blood clotting, muscle contractions, as well as improve blood cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
What To Do
The best thing you can do is to make yourself aware of what you’re putting in your pie hole. And because nothing goes better with pie than coffee (I’m so awesome at making segues), I’ll start by saying that adding fat from butter to coffee is a bad idea. In particular, bulletproof coffee claims that their special coffee, and use of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), will help you lose weight. However, these claims are mostly unfounded, and this concoction will likely lead to nothing more than poor blood lipid profile. It is worth noting however, that MCT’s (coconut oil) may have some mild body composition benefits, but only if they are used in place of some other fat or calorie sources. This goes in line with the first tip of being aware of what you’re putting into your body by choosing more plant and fish-based fats. Foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and nut butters and fatty fish like salmon should reign supreme. 
If you’re reading this then I know you’re not illiterate. So there is no excuse for you to not start reading ingredient lists! By avoiding foods that refer to any ingredient as partially hydrogenated, you will be steering yourself clear of those nasty trans fats. This code word is commonly found in peanut butter, baking mixes, commercial baked goods like cookies, crackers and cakes as well as some some margarines, lards and fried foods. So check your pantry to identify any guilty parties. 
Get the most out of your nutrient-rich foods by eating them with healthy unsaturated fats. By adding a little oil to your salad you will get the most out of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Similarly, by drinking 1% over skim milk you will get more Vitamin D!

Death Taxes and Sarcopenia

Starting around age 30 we all start to lose muscle mass and there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. Might as well accept your fate right? WRONG!

This week we are talking about how to minimize sarcopenia. What the heck is sarcopenia you ask? Well as the title of this week’s post implies, it is the inevitable decline in the strength and size of our muscles as we age. Starting around age 30 we all start to lose muscle mass and there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. However, several factors can exacerbate sarcopenia to extremes. In fact, it can cause loss of mobility and function, decline the ability to perform activities of daily living, increase risk of cardiometabolic disease, and increase chances of falls and hip fractures.
So the only things in life that are guaranteed are death, taxes, and sarcopenia. Might as well accept your fate right? WRONG! Here are a few key factors to keep your muscles, and consequently your lifestyle, from wasting away.
PROTEIN
I’ll start with protein because I know you all are protein pros! Protein is essential to muscle function. So it should come as no surprise that if you are under consuming amino acids, you will be at greater risk to suffer from advanced sarcopenia as you age. It’s important to note here that we need more protein as we age. So don’t be a part of the 50% of the elderly population who doesn’t get enough protein. Shoot for 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day (calculate here).
ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants are in the media constantly. They are touted as being the miracle source of all sorts of health. The reality is that they only play a role in our overall health. What they do is reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is responsible for all sort of things, not all of them bad. So for some the key is moderation, and for others it is supplementation. So how does it affect sarcopenia? Well in several ways, but really the most important way is that it reduces or even can reverse anabolic resistance. Now this is extremely important because anabolic resistance basically means your muscles can’t use proteins, and thus they will wither away.
RESISTANCE TRAINING
By far the most important factor in reducing sarcopenia is resistance training exercise. I think this point is even more important for women because in addition to sarcopenia they are more likely to suffer from bone diseases like osteoporosis. What resistance training does is force the body to adapt to the stress placed upon it. So your muscles get bigger because they need to adapt to lift more weight, and bones get bigger to support the added stress from the muscles. This is why I always encourage women of all ages to lift weights. It’s also why I cringe when a women tells me “but I don’t want to get too bulky”. James Fell wrote a fantastic piece on this very topic and I encourage everyone to read it here.
So whether you need help on increasing your protein intake, antioxidants, or figuring out an exercise program, I’m always here provide assistance.