Going Keto: Is It Worth It?

A short and sweet summary of what Keto is, what actually happens, and who all should consider using it.

The Ketogenic diet has been all the rage lately with its claims of weight loss glory and sciency sounding words used to describe it. However, like all extreme diets, there are reasons both to jeer and cheer. So today, I wanted to give a short and sweet summary of what Keto is, what actually happens, and who all should consider using it.
 
What Is Keto?
In short, if you don’t eat carbs, your body will turn fat into ketone bodies that act like sugar in the tissues that need them. More specifically, the ketogenic diet involves severely restricting carbohydrate intake to about 10-20 grams per day while having a high fat intake, along with moderate protein consumption. So when people hear that the Keto diet forces your body to burn fat, they think “Eureka! It’s the holy grail of weight loss!!!!” In the short term, you will lose a lot of weight, which will get you motivated to stick with the diet. But this is water weight that will return once you eat carbs again and restore the glycogen (muscle fuel) to your muscles. However, what we do know is that ketogenic diets don’t seem to provide a metabolic advantage or result in a higher rate of fat loss when compared to isocaloric non-ketogenic diets with equal amounts of protein (1). Just because you burn fat doesn’t mean you lose fat!
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Other Claims
Those who swear by Keto also say that fat is good for you, sugar is bad,the diet can reduce inflammation, high fat diets make you burn more calories, carbohydrates are stored more easily than fat, eating fat before a meal makes you eat less, you eat less when you eat high-fat meals, and fat is more satiating than carbohydrates. Almost sounds like this diet is too good to be true! Well… it is.
No, sugar is not by itself bad for you when used in moderation. The old notion that specific foods will raise and lower your insulin (glycemic index) has been called into question, and can in large part be dismissed because we all react differently even when given the same foods (2).
Pretty much anything that you eat will cause inflammation/bloating (3).
High-fat diets won’t make you burn more calories (4).
Sugar isn’t stored more easily as fat when compared to other calorie sources (5), and the adverse effects of a high-glycemic diet are likely due to increased energy consumption rather than to increased fat storage (6).
Consuming fat before a meal won’t make you eat any less, however, consuming carbs or protein will (7).
Eating meals that are energy dense is a bad idea whether it’s fat or sugar that we are talking about (8).
Fat is the LEAST satiating (filling) macronutrient (9).
How It Can Work For You
Keto isn’t all nonsense and fairy tails. It can, and will, actually work for many people who use it. However, it works because it restricts a number of calories your taking in which can be done just as easily by reducing calories from your fat intake (10). In the long term, going the Keto route seems to work great because it in part forces you to avoid calorie dense foods (11). And while similar high-fat diet fads such as Paleo/bullet proof are bad for your blood lipid/cholesterol levels (12), Keto does not encourage consumption of large amounts of saturated fat (13). In fact, Keto seems to increase the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and other hormones (14).

Summary
Much of the Ketogenic diet mythology revolves around false claims and over exaggeration of the truth. However, it works. As long as you can handle the restrictions, Keto works the same as every other successful diet. You burn more calories than you consume. It’s also safe and comes with other health benefits like a better blood lipid profile. So if it sounds doable for you, give it a shot and let me know how it works for you!
Resources
1. Hall, K. D., Chen, K. Y., Guo, J., Lam, Y. Y., Leibel, R. L., Mayer, L. E., … & Ravussin, E. (2016). Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 104(2), 324-333.
2. Zeevi, D., Korem, T., Zmora, N., Israeli, D., Rothschild, D., Weinberger, A., … & Suez, J. (2015). Personalized nutrition by prediction of glycemic responses. Cell, 163(5), 1079-1094.
3. Dror, E., Dalmas, E., Meier, D. T., Wueest, S., Thévenet, J., Thienel, C., … & Vallois, D. (2017). Postprandial macrophage-derived IL-1 [beta] stimulates insulin, and both synergistically promote glucose disposal and inflammation. Nature immunology.
4. Thomas, C. D., Peters, J. C., Reed, G. W., Abumrad, N. N., Sun, M. I. N. G., & Hill, J. O. (1992). Nutrient balance and energy expenditure during ad libitum feeding of high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 55(5), 934-942.
5. Veum, V. L., Laupsa-Borge, J., Eng, Ø., Rostrup, E., Larsen, T. H., Nordrehaug, J. E., … & Mellgren, G. (2017). Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high–fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(1), 85-99.
6. Bosy-Westphal, A., Hägele, F., & Nas, A. (2016). Impact of dietary glycemic challenge on fuel partitioning. European journal of clinical nutrition.
7. Stubbs, R. J., Harbron, C. G., Murgatroyd, P. R., & Prentice, A. M. (1995). Covert manipulation of dietary fat and energy density: effect on substrate flux and food intake in men eating ad libitum. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 62(2), 316-329.
8. Rolls, B. J. (2000). The role of energy density in the overconsumption of fat. The Journal of nutrition, 130(2), 268S-271S.
9. Weight, L. (1995). A satiety index of common foods. European journal of clinical nutrition, 49(9), 675-690.
10. Sacks, F. M., Bray, G. A., Carey, V. J., Smith, S. R., Ryan, D. H., Anton, S. D., … & Leboff, M. S. (2009). Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med, 2009(360), 859-873.
11. Bueno, N. B., de Melo, I. S. V., de Oliveira, S. L., & da Rocha Ataide, T. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(07), 1178-1187.
12. Smith, M., Trexler, E., Sommer, A., Starkoff, B., & Devor, S. (2014). Unrestricted Paleolithic diet is associated with unfavorable changes to blood lipids in healthy subjects. International Journal of Exercise Science, 7(2), 4.
13. Zong, G., Li, Y., Wanders, A. J., Alssema, M., Zock, P. L., Willett, W. C., … & Sun, Q. (2016). Intake of individual saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: two prospective longitudinal cohort studies. bmj, 355, i5796.
14. Silva, J. (2014). The effects of very high fat, very low carbohydrate diets on safety, blood lipid profile, and anabolic hormone status. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), P39.

Can You Get Too Much Protein?

Let’s break down protein problems into bite-sized chunks so that you can easily digest the info!

Today’s post will be a quick one in response to a question I received last week. The question was, “what happens when you get too much protein?” There’s not a simple answer because it’s really multiple questions all in one. For instance, is there such thing as too much protein? If so, how much is too much? What types of protein are we talking about, and how many meals? Are there negative consequences to over consumption, or positive ones? I could go on and on. However, I wanted to break down protein problems into bite-sized chunks so that you can easily digest the info!
Can’t Get Enough
For healthy people, there is no such thing as getting too much protein. You can eat and drink it to your heart’s content without having to worry about bodily injury (1). While dieting, an increased amount of protein will only help you retain muscle mass, and not be a tremendous source of fat mass gain (2). Below are some general recommendations; however, more is better.
If you are an athlete or highly active person currently attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean muscle mass, a daily intake of 1.5-2.2g/kg bodyweight (0.68-1g/lb bodyweight) would be a good target.
If you are an athlete or highly active person, or you are attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean mass, then a daily intake of 1.0-1.5g/kg bodyweight (0.45-0.68g/lb bodyweight) would be a good target.
If you are sedentary and not looking to change body composition much, a daily target of 0.8g/kg bodyweight (0.36g/lb bodyweight) and upwards would be a good target.
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Metabolism
Protein does have a positive role when it comes to the rate of your metabolism. However, your metabolism is incredibly complicated. The image below shows just how different individuals will respond to protein in their diets (3). So increasing your protein will not necessarily be a cure-all.
Inline image 2
Do Sources Matter?
In short, yes the source of protein matters. You want to get a wide variety of protein to get all of the essential, and nonessential, amino acids. Which is why taking BCAA’s is useless. With rapid absorbing sources, like whey, consuming up to 40 grams at a time is useful after a workout (4). Some sources are also better for appetite/hormone control (5). Regardless of the source, it’s important just to try and eat a little bit more protein.
Inline image 4

Summary

As short as this post may be, it’s important to recognize a few things. First, no, you cannot get “too much” protein. Second, there are a lot of nuances when it comes to protein ingestion so a broad overview such as this may not give you perfect information. Consult a registered dietitian, or other healthcare professionals, for details into exactly which sources and quantities you should be getting. Finally, don’t let fear mongering or sensational headlines deter you from doing the right thing. Unlike high fat or high sugar diets, it’s really difficult to gain fat from over-consumption of protein. So go grill up some chicken and be happy!
Resources
1. Leidy, H. J., Carnell, N. S., Mattes, R. D., & Campbell, W. W. (2007). Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre‐obese and obese women. Obesity, 15(2), 421-429.
2. Antonio, J., Ellerbroek, A., Silver, T., Vargas, L., & Peacock, C. (2016). The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition–a crossover trial in resistance-trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1), 3.
3. Bray, G. A., Smith, S. R., de Jonge, L., Xie, H., Rood, J., Martin, C. K., … & Redman, L. M. (2012). Effect of dietary protein content on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition during overeating: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 307(1), 47-55.
4. Macnaughton, L. S., Wardle, S. L., Witard, O. C., McGlory, C., Hamilton, D. L., Jeromson, S., … & Tipton, K. D. (2016). The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole‐body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein. Physiological Reports, 4(15), e12893.
5. Pal, S., & Ellis, V. (2010). The acute effects of four protein meals on insulin, glucose, appetite and energy intake in lean men. British journal of nutrition, 104(08), 1241-1248.

Double The Metabolism Mayhem!

Today’s post is a follow up to last weeks discussion where I went over the basics of metabolism science.

Today’s post is a follow up to last weeks discussion where I went over the basics of metabolism science. As we know, our metabolism is complex and there isn’t much we can do to greatly change it. However, today I wanted to talk about how gaining and losing fat can change the way your brain regulates your body weight. This is a complex area because our body composition can be influenced by a myriad of factors including sex hormone levels, macronutrient intake (especially protein), exercise style / frequency / intensity, age, medication use, genetic predisposition, and more. No ones body defies the laws of physics. So if the calories in calories out equation isn’t working for you, it’s because the equation is more complicated than it sounds.
Calories In
This part is easy. You eat food, so you gain calories from that food… right? Well not exactly. For starters we aren’t very accurate at guessing how many calories are in foods. In fact, food labels can be off by up to 20-25%! Secondly, the amount of energy we absorb, store, and/or use isn’t even close to being uniform! For instance, processed foods (cooked, chopped, soaked, blended, etc.) are broken down plant and animal cells, which means we absorb more energy from them. Have a gut feeling that there’s something more to it? Well you’re right! The bacteria in your gut can also influence the amount of energy we take in from foods. In the end, don’t count on counting calories to correctly calculate the quantity of calories converted to energy. Say that three times fast and receive a free high five!
Calories Out
I would first like to make a correction to last weeks post where I stated “with digestion we use a maximum of 43% of energy from the foods we eat.” Although it is true that the thermic effect of eating consists of burning 0–3% from fat, 5–10% from carbs, and 20–30% from protein, these numbers actually only represent roughly 5-10% energy out. The point here remains that meat sweats are real. Protein requires a lot of energy to digest!
As a refresher, our resting metabolic rate (RMR) accounts for about 60% of our calories out per day. But guess what… that figure can be off by about 15%! That means while I’m a 200-pound guy with an RMR of 1905 calories, another guy just like me might burn 286 more (or fewer) calories each day with no more (or less) effort. Tack on variable from the last two sources of energy out (physical activity and NEAT), and now have a 50% disparity between what can be calculated to calories in and out vs. reality. Ultimately the Energy Balance Equation will look like this.
Damage Done
Because our bodies enjoy consistency (homeostasis), it will respond negatively when you restrict your calorie intake. So what happens when you go on a restrictive diet? The thermic effect of eating goes down because you’re eating less. Resting metabolic rate goes down because you weigh less. Calories burned through physical activity go down since you weigh less. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis goes down as you eat less. Calories not absorbed goes down and you absorb more of what you eat. Hunger signals increase, causing us to crave (and maybe eat) more. A rise in cortisol from the stress of dieting can cause our bodies to hold onto more water. Bad things also happen when you over exercise as well. For instance, over exercising can cause an increased appetite and more calories eaten, absorbing more of what we eat, decreased RMR, and decreased NEAT. YIKES! The good new is that losing weight won’t “damage” your metabolism. Your body simply makes adaptations in response to fat loss (to prevent that fat loss, in fact).
The Bottom Line
 – How your metabolism reacts to changes in energy balance will be unique to you.
 – Food labels are way off, so 1,600 calories eaten daily could really be 1,200… or 2,000.
 – By eating a diet rich in whole, minimally processed foods, the number of calories you absorb can be significantly decreased and require more calories to digest.
 – Eating lots of highly processed foods will increase the calories absorbed, burn fewer calories in the digestive process, be less filling, more energy dense, and more likely to cause overeating.
 – Energy out for those who have lost significant weight will always be lower than for people who were always lean, so keep in mind that exercise provides tremendous health benefits and should be done for more than just weight loss purposes.
 – Losing weight, and keeping it off, is accompanied by adaptive metabolic, neuroendocrine, autonomic, and other changes.
 – Even if your body might defend against weight loss, you can still lose weight, gain muscle, and dramatically change your body.
 – TAKE ACTION by eating plenty of protein, eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, quality carbs, and healthy fats, adjust portions as you plateau, or to prevent plateaus, create an environment that encourages good food choices, do a mixture ofresistanceHIITcardiovascular, and recovery activities, find ways to increase NEAT, create a nightly sleep routine and manage your stress, and eat slowly to enjoy your meals and decrease the total amount of calories consumed.

The Importance of Life Changes

You can’t change your past, but you better believe that you can learn from it.

As I celebrate the arrival of my first child, I have had a lot of time to think about how I got here. All of the life events, choices, friendships, decisions, and other influences that I don’t even realize happened. Because as I gaze into my daughter’s precious sleepy eyes, I know that every single decision I’ve ever made since the time I was born has culminated into this moment of pure bliss. I know that I won’t have a great deal of time to spend with her as a newborn so I want to make every moment count. At the same time, I am overwhelmed with excitement to see how she will grow and develop.
Now take a deep reflective look at yourself (in a mirror or otherwise), then take all of the words describing my child, and replace them with your personal health and fitness goals. The paragraph above could be describing your body weight, strength, muscle size, or even something about your general health. And while the core message will remain true, you may not be looking at yourself and be happy or excited about how your goals are growing and developing. You can’t change your past, but you better believe that you can learn from it to make your next look in the mirror blissful.
The “Why”
If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and read the book “Sart With Why.” It’s a leadership book, but it has some great take home messages that get to the core of what can help us feel fulfilled. When it comes to our health and fitness goals, many of us want to get there without making changes. Sure, going to the gym a couple times per week, drinking less, and saying no to candy bars is great. But I can honestly say that in the 7 years I’ve been doing personal training, I can count on one hand the number of people who were willing to exit their comfort zone to get to where they wanted to go. We all fall into these comfortable patterns of daily living that draw us in like warm cozy beds on a cold damp Sunday morning. We may be able to escape for a little bit, but we fall right back in when we get too uncomfortable.

Homeostasis —–> change —–> Chaos —–>Homeostasis

I think that’s why so many people do those 30-day diet/exercise challenges. They know that once it’s over, they can go right back to their comfort zone. The problem is that our end goal motives can be internal behavioral causes, such as instincts, impulses, needs, resolutions and desires as well as external behavioral causes, such as rewards, commendations, approval or disapproval. But the individuals that do the best, are those who are engaged in an activity for the pleasure the process provides (1). So if my goal is to get out of the cozy bed (get in shape), and stay out (stay in shape forever), I’m much more likely to do so if I’m playing with my daughter (healthy habits I like) rather than having to do chores around the house (nonsense health fads like eating kale) (2). When setting goals, the “why” should be something that makes you enjoy the ride.
Past Mistakes
The best lessons in life are learned through error. Whether they are mistakes we make, like leaving out a box of cookies on the table and expecting to have enough discipline not to eat them all by the end of the day. Or learning from others, like not to poke the bear. If you have tried and failed in the past, don’t go about things in the exact same way. It’s the reason why I talk to people on the treadmill at the gym. Typically, people do cardio to lose weight. However, cardio and dieting alone without strength training is a terrible way to lose weight, especially over a long period of time (3). But people try that route over and over again expecting weight loss to come. And when they don’t see that goal come to fruition, they get bummed out and quit for a few months. However, goal attainment is synonymous with behavior change goal feedback and tracking focused on accomplishments, resulting in enhanced self-efficacy for the goal (4). In other words, change what you’re doing (i.e. habits), document the positive results, and be happy with who you are and that you’re progressing!

References

  1. DECI, E. L., & RYAN, R. M. (2008). Facilitating optimal motivation and psychological well-being across life’s domains. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(1), 14-23. doi:10.1037/0708-5591.49.1.14
  2. Wisdom, J., Downs, J. S., & Loewenstein, G. (2010). Promoting healthy choices: Information versus convenience. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2), 164-178. doi:10.1257/app.2.2.164
  3. Dulloo, A. G. (2017). Collateral fattening: When a deficit in lean body mass drives overeating. Obesity.
  4. Héroux, M., Watt, M., McGuire, K. A., & Berardi, J. M. (2016). A Personalized, Multi-Platform Nutrition, Exercise, and Lifestyle Coaching Program: A Pilot in Women. Internet Interventions.

Metabolism Mayhem!

Almost everyone has heard that our metabolism does… something.

Almost everyone has heard that our metabolism does… something. If you have a high metabolism, you can eat a lot and stay lean. Or maybe, you put on weight just looking at a piece of cake because you have a slow metabolism. But what the heck is the metabolism anyways?!?!?! Well that’s what I’ll be answering today, and I will go over some common misconceptions that I hear all too frequently.
Calories enter your body one way (om nom nom!), but there’s many ways for them to leave it. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) accounts for 60–70% of daily calories burned and included doing things like breathing, thinking, filtering waste. You know… bodily functions required for living. However, your BMR can be subject to many things including your size, composition (body fat%), age, genetics, hormones, and health status. This means even the most accurate way of calculating your metabolic rate (Mifflin-St Jeor equation), can still be about 10% off! Other ways we burn calories include food thermogenesis (digestion) which accounts for 10% of daily calories burned, and physical activity which accounts for 20% of daily calories burned.
Magic Bullets
For health “Guru’s” each area of metabolism is a way to sell a particular magic bullet for fitness or weight loss. But magic bullets don’t exist, so here are a few common myths that have cropped up over the years.
More Meals = More Metabolic Burn – The thought behind this is that if we burn calories by eating, then eating more frequently will burn more calories. While this, in part, is true, it is also very far off point. This is because to help with digestion we use a maximum of 43% of energy from the foods we eat (0–3% from fat, 5–10% from carbs, and 20–30% from protein). In short, eating more frequently means we are doing nothing more that increasing the total amount of calories we eat throughout the day. So if your goal is weight loss, this myth is busted.
I Moved More = I Eat More –  This may be the worst myth because it creates a bad habit! While movement is about 20% of our metabolic demand, only a small portion of that (7-9% daily) comes from the gym! This means if you reward yourself for going to the gym you are doing nothing more than consuming more calories than burned. Most of the calories burned from moving are from doing NEAT things like walking, doing chores, and even fidgeting.
More Muscles = More Food – Another common myth is that as you grow more muscles you burn significantly more calories. Again, a partial truth that has been blown out of proportion by the likes of Dr. Oz, fitness magazines, and other nonsense peddlers. They have claimed that 1 pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories a day. In reality, a pound of muscle burns 6 calories a day at rest and a pound of fat burns about 2 calories a day. So getting shredded doesn’t mean you have the luxury of eating everything in sight!
Fat Burning Exercise = Weight Loss – As we exercise our body metabolizes fuels like carbohydrates and fats. Someone had the great idea to start burning fat instead of carbs to lose weight! But that’s not how it works. Our fuel source for exercise doesn’t matter at all if you are eating more calories than you are using on a daily basis. So don’t pay any attention to the “fat burn” settings on the cardio machines or fat burning supplements. Just make sure you are working hard to burn as many calories as you can while exercising!
Taking Metabolic Actions
Before you get too down on yourself and think there is nothing that you can do to help stay metabolically fired up, there are a few simple ways to “boost” metabolism. The first thing you can do is simply move more. Take the stairs, park far away, exercise regularly, even standing more will boost your metabolism throughout the day. My second tip is to eat more protein. This simple action will increase thermogenesis as well as muscle mass which are two small things that when put together will have enhanced results. But more importantly, increasing total amounts of protein will make you feel fuller more quickly/longer which will decrease your total caloric intake! Finally, having the perspective of “you lose weight in the kitchen, you gain health in the gym” will help you avoid scams and place focus on the things that are most important.

How’s That Resolution Going?

You don’t have to be perfect to get perfect, the best exercise and nutrition programs, and how to be realistic with what you’re going after.

Right about now, I bet many people are starting to say, “screw it” when they think about their 2017 resolution. And while this is indeed a shame, it’s not an eventuality. It is something that can be avoided by a little kick in the rear. Which is why I’m going to talk about how you don’t have to be perfect to get perfect, the best exercise and nutrition programs, and how to be realistic with what you’re going after. So buckle up for a quick read on how to resolve your resolution disillusion! 
 
What Do You Mean You’re Not In Perfect Shape After 3 Weeks?
One big reason why people give up on their health and fitness resolution so quickly is that they don’t see immediate returns on their investment. In fact, when we exercise, we often see the opposite. We are achy all the time, more tired than usual, stink with sweat (at least I do), and I feel like the list goes on forever. But, all that stuff goes away (invest in quality deodorant) once you push past the first month or two. The trick is really not to expect perfection. Not only do we all have flaws, we all have lives that don’t revolve around having a perfect body. Which is why, at the end of the day, it’s more important to be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished rather than be disappointed with what you didn’t. So, instead of going home and being bummed out that you didn’t get in the greatest workout, use techniques such as positive reframing, acceptance, and humor to be happier and more satisfied with how your day went (1). Be happy that you got any exercise in at all, and be satisfied knowing you truly made an effort to eat better that day.
 
You Already Know What The Best Exercise & Diet Are
People always want to know what’s the best exercise to do, or what diet works the best. The answer will forever and always be… the one that you will stick to. When it comes to your nutrition, none of the major diets reigns supreme. There is no clear cut winner when we compare any diet plan to another. As long as you can stick to it, any diet will do (2). One quick thing to note: In the short term, you will need behavioral support for friends, family, and possibly a professional for both nutrition and exercise (3). And in the long term, the effects of exercise will be more pronounced if you’re lifting weights (4)! But remember, your training program shouldn’t make you miserable. Which leads me to my last point.
 
Get Real
You aren’t going to look like a Spartan after a few weeks just because you did the “300” workout you saw on the internet. You need to set realistic goals for yourself… which can be tricky. For some, just asking yourself, “will this make me better?” is enough. For others, you may need hard and fast numbers to go by. In general, if you’re looking for fat loss, here is a formula to figure out how much you should lose per week (5):
Body fat percentage ÷ 20 = percentage of your current bodyweight you should aim to lose per week.
If you’re looking to gain muscle, you can expect to gain 4-7lbs within the first 3 months (6). And while muscle does weigh more than fat, it’s not by much. The density of muscle is about 1.06kg/L, and the density of fat is about .9kg/L.  In other words, muscle IS denser than fat, but only about 15% denser. Below is a picture of what two pounds of each looks like (7).
Inline image 1
What I’m trying to say is, don’t get caught up in how much you weigh for the first few months, and don’t overestimate how much muscle you will gain either. Just know that if you’re doing the right thing on a day to day basis, both metrics will improve. So don’t give up just yet if you’re not satisfied with the way you feel, what the scale says, or by how much you can lift. Everything will get better in due time as long as you stick with it!

References

  1. Stoeber, J., & Janssen, D. P. (2011). Perfectionism and coping with daily failures: Positive reframing helps achieve satisfaction at the end of the day. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 24(5), 477-497. doi:10.1080/10615806.2011.562977
  2. Johnston, B. C., Kanters, S., Bandayrel, K., Wu, P., Naji, F., Siemieniuk, R. A., . . . Mills, E. J. (2014). Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: A meta-analysis. Jama, 312(9), 923-933. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397
  3. Zurlo, F., Larson, K., Bogardus, C., & Ravussin, E. (1990). Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 86(5), 1423-1427. doi:10.1172/JCI114857
  4. Zurlo, F., Larson, K., Bogardus, C., & Ravussin, E. (1990). Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 86(5), 1423-1427. doi:10.1172/JCI114857
  5. Alpert, S. S. (2005). A limit on the energy transfer rate from the human fat store in hypophagia. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 233(1), 1-13. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.08.029
  6. Damas, F., Phillips, S. M., Libardi, C. A., Vechin, F. C., Lixandrão, M. E., Jannig, P. R., . . . Ugrinowitsch, C. (2016). Resistance training-induced changes in integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis are related to hypertrophy only after attenuation of muscle damage: Muscle protein synthesis, hypertrophy and muscle damage in humans. The Journal of Physiology, 594(18), 5209-5222. doi:10.1113/JP272472
  7. Wernbom, M., Augustsson, J., Thomee, R., Sahlgrenska akademin, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Section for Anesthesiology, Biomaterials and Orthopaedics, Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, sektionen för anestesi, biomaterial och ortopedi, . . . Göteborgs universitet. (2007). The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Cham: Adis International. doi:10.2165/00007256-200737030-00004

Health And Happiness

With most of us becoming fitness slackers during the long Christmas and New Years vacation time, I thought I would summarize some of the best tips on how to not gain weight.

With most of us becoming fitness slackers during the long Christmas and New Years vacation time, I thought I would summarize some of the best tips on how to not gain weight. I use the term not gain for a reason. During this time of year you should be able to enjoy the foods you want to eat, drink the alcohol you want to drink, and cherish the precious time with your family without feeling any guilt. So today I am going to go over the best fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle choices to make to get you through the season sane and slim!
Fitness
If your goal is to get buff during the holiday season… well then the best of luck to ya! I personally aim to maintain my fitness level. Health and fitness should rightfully take a back seat to the enjoyment of friends and family during this time of year. However, this does not mean you should stop exercising completely. In fact, it’s the best thing you can do to not gain weight! So here’s what you should do.
 1. Make physical activity a part of your holiday routine. Don’t be a lemming. Just because everyone else wants to be lazy doesn’t mean that you should be lazy too.
 2. Eat the friggin delicious holiday food. Just be mindful to not eat everything just because it’s in front of you.
 3. Plan around the obstacles. Not having equipment and traveling shouldn’t be your downfall. Follow the links here and here for exercise programs you can do anywhere.
Nutrition
Absolutely nothing can replace the joy of eating grandmas famous Christmas cookies (at least for me this is true). So any advice you get telling you not to, will simply rob you of joy in my opinion. This is because, medical conditions aside, carbs aren’t inherently bad for you and they certainly wont make you fat. They can do harm when over consumed, just like proteins and fats will, but they won’t mess with your insulin causing fat gain (again medical conditions aside). Just don’t go nuts on the macadamia cookies and you will be okay. This goes for the prepackaged stuff as well. Because “eating clean” really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so don’t fear the not so home made apple pie. And when it comes to alcohol, the message is the same. Moderation is crucial, and there’s no need to worry about gaining weight or losing those guns you worked so hard to polish.
Lifestyle Choices
There are plenty of bloggers claiming to know the secret to the perfect lifestyle. But in reality, you are the only one who knows what’s best for you. Making good responsible choices is a complex process. In my opinion there are many things to consider outside of your immediate actions on you overall health. Think about what brings you joy over the holidays. Think about the choices you make, and how you make them. Savor the moments by take the time to “check in”, pay attention, and be present. Reach out by connecting with friends, family, and whoever else you consider your “tribe.” Consider how you might be able to share good health and well-being with others during this important time of the year. Here are an additional seven things to consider when trying to stay on track over the holidays.
 1. When you’re feeling stressed (which has been known to happen when around a lot of family), take a big belly breath or eight.
 2. Eat slowly, with moderate pauses between bites. The saying “savor the flavor” reigns true for this one.
 3. Be mindful of hunger. Don’t just eat because it’s time to eat or there’s something in front of you. Listen to your body and it will tell you when to eat and when enough is enough.
 4. Make mindful choices. Similar to being mindful of hunger, your body will tell you what to eat. Pick out only the thing you want, and when they are on your dish you can choose to eat what tastes good and leave the rest on the plate, or try something else.
 5. Distinguish between desire and craving.
 6. Practice generosity. Cook, eat, and share food with other to truly get the most out of this holiday season.
 7. Express your gratitude. According to research, this simple action increases our inclination to be caring, compassionate, honest and respectful.
 
I truly hope everyone has a wonderful time with their friends and family over the holiday season.

Move More, Eat Less?

One phrase that gets thrown around a lot is “move more, eat less” for anyone who wants to lose weight. Because… you know… it’s just that simple. Right?

Resolution season is in full swing, and so is terrible health and fitness advice season. One phrase that gets thrown around a lot is “move more, eat less” for anyone who wants to lose weight. Because… you know… it’s just that simple. Right? No not at all. We spend our entire lives getting to the point we are at now. This means we have to break lifelong habits and create new ones to suit our goals. However, to lose weight we do have to burn more calories than we consume. That’s why today’s post is about practical ways to start your weight loss journey without losing your resolution mojo by Valentine’s day.
Never Be Hungry
WHAT?!?!?! Eat food to lose weight? There are actually great reasons to never be hungry. Generally speaking, people are really bad at being hungry. It’s distracting, and can be constant reminder that we’re denying ourselves and that we’re struggling. It also makes us more likely to give into temptation (cake looks a lot more tempting on an empty stomach). This can create a feedback loop where the harder we try to diet, the more likely we are to fail. To avoid the feedback loop, think “more is less.”
More Is Less
Obviously you don’t want to eat just anything to stay full. Making smarter choices will mean that you stay full while consuming fewer calories. What I really mean is that you should have;
      More colorful vegetables,
      More water,
      More lean protein,
      and more healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, walnuts, etc.).
By doing these things we will eat less calories by crowding them out with more nutritious, fibrous, and filling foods. By eating more will be less hungry and less likely to feel like we’re denying ourselves things. These steps will also help us avoid eating the “healthy” foods, like 100 calorie cookie snack packs, that don’t fill us up. In addition to being weary of the “healthy” label on foods, consider high intensity interval training (HIIT). Using HIIT training has been shown to decrease the feelings of hunger, while cardio training has been shown to increase the feelings of hunger. Come to our free Grit demos these next few weeks to see how a safe, motivating, and effective HIIT program is done!
 
Master Consistency
Mastering consistency, not intensity, is the last key to success. Making a bigger cut in your food intake will certainly make it harder for you in the long run. Being consistent, pacing yourself, keeping it simple, recognizing your shortcomings, and keeping it fun/fresh are crucial for long term success. Not only for your diet, but for your exercise program too. If you’re new to exercising, or getting back into shape, you will want to start slowly, learn correct techniques for every movement/stop an exercise when you can no longer control the movement, and cross train one or two days each week.
Keeping all of these things in mind can be tough. But when it comes down to it, your health and longevity is worth the price of the effort you put into it. Here is a great video to watch that summarizes the importance of consistency and safety in exercise, and how a little personal training can get you there. So when you hear “move more, eat less” just remember that this means to never be hungry, more IS less, and to master consistency.

Resolutionary Thoughts

No matter where you are in your fitness journey, I think you will get something out of this post.

With resolution season coming up, I wanted to give some tips on how to adjust your fitness goal, and stick to your resolution! For most people, the key this time of year is to either shake things up, or start a new, safe, and enjoyable exercise program. So, no matter where you are in your fitness journey, I think you will get something out of this post 🙂
Shake It Up
One of the best ways to shake things up is to reevaluate your goals. Often times when I get stuck in a training rut, it’s because I am aimlessly exercising. To break loose from the chains of exercises staler than flat beer, I make sure I have a purpose. Whether it’s to gain muscle mass, trim down, or prepare my body for the rigors of joining a team sport, I make sure to lift accordingly. In turn, I will know exactly how much time and effort I will need to put in to see my goals come to fruition. Here are seven things to think about, and take into account, when shaking your routine up:
 1. Your training age: Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee?
 2. Your goals: Are you training for better physique, bodybuilding (muscle size), powerlifting (strength), general health and fitness, conditioning, fat loss or a combination?
 3. Your recovery ability: How well can you handle a large volume of exercise?
 4. Your split routine: Are you training your entire body, half your body, or just a body part or two in a single workout?
 5. Your personal preferences: What style of training do you enjoy the most – short and intense or long and leisurely?
 6. Your results: Is what you’re doing now working well for you?
 7. Your schedule: How much time do have available and how much are you willing to spend working out?
A New Beginning
If you’re new to the gym, or starting back up into a regular routine, it’s important to progress through your weight training safely. So here are some thoughts on when, and by how much, you should increase the iron your lifting.
1. Start small. If you’re new to lifting, start with about half as much weight as you think you can lift. This simple step can not only save you from injury, but it will save you from embarrassing yourself the day after when you cant move your arms due to DOMS.
2. Know when it’s time to increase the weight. In general, it’s safe to start lifting a little bit heavier when you’re completing your last set of an exercise with ease, and barely feeling it the next day.
3. Figure out how much weight to add. Essentially, you should be adding a little bit more weight each week for any given exercise. Pushing yourself will drive results.
The Long Haul
Regardless of your fitness goal, the overarching theme should be that of life long health and fitness. Here are some tips on how to stick to your fitness plan past February.
 1. Announce it to the world. The more people who are aware of your intentions, the more support and accountability you will have.
 2. To go along with this, create accountability measures. Make use of a journal, friend, or accountibilibudy to regularly update your progress.
 3. Tackle the goals with other people. Whether it’s a group, a friend, or hiring a professional, creating a give-and-take system will thwart the feeling of not wanting to work out.
 4. Make very specific goals or resolutions. I went over a few general thoughts on goal making, but utilizing the SMART goal making system, will help ensure your success.
 5. Do something every day. Achieving your dream body/fitness goals doesn’t happen over night. So trying to make it happen all at once isn’t the best idea. Even if it is a really small step, do something that helps you get closer to your goal every day.
 6.Pick a goal that seems impossible. The key word here is seems. That’s because you will be amazed at your self-confidence as you start actually progressing toward that goal.

Nutrition For A Unique Snow Flake Like You!

Our nutrition should be tailored to the varying demands and requirements we face on a daily, weekly, seasonal, and lifespan basis.

The year 2017 is here, and I for one am excited! Coming off of the holiday break, I am fully refreshed and prepared to hit the ground running. And while no one can be fully prepared for what life has in store for him/her, most people can make smart decisions about where they want life to take them. Which is why it’s this time of year that I like to say that when it comes to health and fitness, you’re not special, but you are unique. No, this saying doesn’t make any sense out of context. It’s really a broader term that can be used to help you realize that there are guidelines for people like you to follow, and individualized approaches that you should use when making your health and fitness resolutions come to fruition.
 
In General
Let’s focus in on weight loss/body composition. By now, almost everyone should know that if you want to lose weight, you have to master your nutrition before exercise (1). The number one rule for weight loss nutrition is calorie balance. This means you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning. This doesn’t mean “eat less, move more” because if it were that simple, the advice “buy low, sell high” would make us all rich! These two pieces of advice don’t take into account the complexity of getting to the end result, and really don’t mean squat at the end of the day. Instead, calorie balance simply means you need to take into account how much you’re eating on a day to day basis. If you don’t know how much you’re eating, you don’t know what needs to change. So you can break out a food scale, weigh your food, and calculate how many calories are in each meal with a calculator and food label information (very accurate, but very time intensive). You can guess how much you’re eating and enter it into a calorie calculator like My Fitness Pal or Calorie King (not very accurate, but a modest amount of effort needed). Or you can use the old “your hand is your serving size” method (not accurate at all, but little effort needed). Calorie balance being the most important factor for success, I would recommend the former, at least at first.
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The second most important factor is food composition or macro nutrients. And while there are thousands of books that have been written about this topic, you really should keep it simple by prioritizing protein over carbs, eating fruits and vegetables, and avoiding over-processed junk food (2). These simple actions will keep you feeling full and decrease your total calorie intake without you even realizing it (3). Success is not measured from meal to meal or even one day at a time. To succeed in a weight loss program, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn on a weekly and monthly scale. These final factors are what everyone should be considering on a day to day basis, but are low on the priority food chain, so to speak.
 – Calculating and eating exactly the right amount of proteins, carbs and fats
 – Nutrient timing
 – Hydration
 – Supplements
Are You A Snow Flake?
Would you agree with the statement that what we do and where we are may be more important than what we are? If so, then you would agree that we don’t need a unique individualized nutrition plan. This is because we, with the rare exception of those with disability or disease, are not unique snowflakes. We are more like… cars, for example. We may have different years, makes, models, colors, and possibly aftermarket alterations, but we can function more or less the same way (4). Even our genetic makeup doesn’t tell us what the best nutrition program will be (5). Heck, we can’t even predict something as simple as height by using genetic analysis let alone the complex issue of nutrition and health outcomes (6). Not even our individual gut microbiome can be of any help in creating a personalized nutrition program (7). Environmental, cultural and behavioral factors greatly overshadow our individuality (8). So, what are some personal factors that should influence your nutrition then? The answer to this includes factors such as age, body/fat mass, physical activity, and even pregnancy. Due to the fact that all of these factors are subject to change (especially physical activity) throughout our lifetime, an optimal diet should not only be determined by what you’re currently doing but also to what you should be doing (9). To sum it all up, our nutrition should be tailored to the varying demands and requirements we face on a daily, weekly, seasonal, and lifespan basis (10).
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References

  1. Malhotra, A., Noakes, T., & Phinney, S. (2015). It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: You cannot outrun a bad diet. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(15), 967-968. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094911
  2. Klok, M. D., Jakobsdottir, S., & Drent, M. L. (2007). The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: A review. Obesity Reviews, 8(1), 21-34. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2006.00270.x
  3. Holt, S. H., Miller, J. C., Petocz, P., & Farmakalidis, E. (1995). A satiety index of common foods. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(9), 675.
  4. Smith R (2012) Stratified, personalised, or precision medicine. Avail-able at: http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2012/10/15/richard-smith-strati-fied-personalised-or-precision-medicine/ (accessed 14 September2016).
  5. Celis-Morales C, Livingstone KM, Marsaux CFM et al. (2016)Effect of personalized nutrition on health-related behaviourchange: evidence from the Food4me European randomized con-trolled trial. International Journal of Epidemiology. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw186.
  6. Gudbjartsson, D. F., Walters, G. B., Thorleifsson, G., Stefansson, H., Halldorsson, B. V., Zusmanovich, P., . . . Stefansson, K. (2008). Many sequence variants affecting diversity of adult human height. Nature Genetics, 40(5), 609-615. doi:10.1038/ng.122
  7. Zeevi, D., Korem, T., Zmora, N., Israeli, D., Rothschild, D., Weinberger, A., . . . Segal, E. (2015). Personalized nutrition by prediction of glycemic responses. Cell, 163(5), 1079-1094. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.001
  8. Joyner, M. J., & Prendergast, F. G. (2014). Chasing mendel: Five questions for personalized medicine. The Journal of Physiology, 592(11), 2381-2388. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.272336
  9. Blundell, J. E., & King, N. A. (1999). Physical activity and regulation of food intake: Current evidence. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(11 Suppl), S573.
  10. Betts, J. A., & Gonzalez, J. T. (2016). Personalised nutrition: What makes you so special? Nutrition Bulletin, 41(4), 353-359. doi:10.1111/nbu.12238