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weight loss

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Fad Diets

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Fad Dieting

"I've tried everything, I lose some weight but when I go back to eating regular food I regain it all back."
  • I only eat veggies and drink water for two months.
  • Detox juices
  • The Blood type diet
  • Cabbage soup diet
  • Paleo diet
  • Cucumber and milk
  • I only eat fruit 
  • Drink this tea and lose weight

These are all examples of fad diets. Some better than others but really what they all have in common is that they tell you NOT to consume certain foods for the sake of maintaining a specific "diet". 

What is a Calorie?

A Calorie is chemistry. It is the measure of energy stored in food. More specifically the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1L of water by 1 degree Celsius. Food energy is turned into eat which is how we measure what we understand to be food calories.

Science and Your Body

70% of weight and body shape is hereditary. This is where we get body shapes like the ones below. 

Photo Courtesy: Precision Nutrition

Photo Courtesy: Precision Nutrition

However I believe that while you may be predisposed to a certain body shape it isn't an excuse to blame your parents for why you can't lose weight. No matter your body shape there's no reason you can't look the best YOUR body can be. You can lose some weight on any diet, but it comes right back on if it wasn't built upon proper nutrition habits. 

Psychological Aspect of Weight Loss

John goes on a diet to lose weight. And he is able to lose 10 lbs in 3 weeks. John proceeds to tell everybody how great his diet was. He gives full credit to the diet. The problem is John proceeds to go back to his usual eating habits and regains the weight. Instead of blaming the diet, he blames himself.  Does this sound familiar?

Often times these diets restrict and cut out a large macronutrient. That alone will force weight loss, albeit mostly water and glycogen stores. The diet had very little to do with the person's success and now it damages the individual's psyche because they don't believe they're able to succeed. And that alone is large enough of a reason to not entertain trying these types of diets. 

Many fad diets have little science to back-up their crazy ideas and claims. This is why the results aren't what you're hoping for. Just because something works for someone else doesn't mean that it works for you. When you're looking to lose weight like getting a thinner waist or smaller thighs, your body doesn't know that's all you want. Metabolically speaking, it adjusts and when you continue to consume the same amount of food you ate to lose weight; you stop losing weight. In the same way that exercise needs to be progressed so too does your nutritional protocol. 

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What Does Male Fitness Look Like

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Growing up in the early 90's I spent a large amount of time watching WWF wrestling. These larger than life men running around in their underwear with muscles captivated me. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Slyvester Stallone were all over the movie screens with their oiled up muscular bodies; what boy didn't want to be like Rambo or the Terminator! I wanted to be like them.

5'7" 135lbs

UThat was me my senior year of high school. And this was AFTER discovering what a gym was. I had gained 10 solid pounds over the summer and was "on my way" to being like these guys I idolized as a little boy. 

Today I have a different perspective on the "ideal" male physique. Are we driven to want big, lean muscles because that's something we legitamely want or have we been told by others that's the physique we should aspire to?

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Most men interested in fitness have seen this meme on the internet. From a performance stand point it doesn't make any sense. The activities while similar (both are running) require two completely different physiological adaptations. One is endurance related and the other is power based. To compare the two is apples and oranges.

What I get from this photo dives deeper into the consciousness of Men. It illustrates the point that we should want to be big and muscular. But Why? From an early age we're told that unless you're big and muscular, that you weren't a "real man". Hell even our action figures were buff! So If you don't look like an upside triangle with a giant V-taper, you don't fit society's ideally male body. You aren't built for survival.

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Does this mean you think the marathoner isn't fit? 

Fitness means a lot of different things. I believe being fit comes in a variety of shapes, forms and modalities. Each physique is capable of things the other cannot do. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, it simply means they're different. 

"That dude is scrawny"

So what?
Why does it even matter? I believe it comes down to this: 

How big is big enough?
How strong is strong enough?
How fast is fast enough?

I would argue that unless your job is professional bodybuilder, weightlifter or athlete there should be more or less a target for you to aim for. Why do we lift weights, run and eat well? Other than looking good, its to live a long healthy life. Yes you should strive to always be getting better, but just because someone doesn't fit YOUR ideal depiction of fitness doesn't make them or their goals lesser than.

I'm sick of hearing bodybuilders saying those powerlifters are fat. 

I'm sick of weightlifters saying those bodybuilders aren't functional or mobile.

I'm sick of runners saying I don't do weights because then I'd be slow like those powerlifters.

Regardless of what you enjoy doing, there's A LOT to learn from each other. So instead of focusing on all of our short comings, we should be helping each other get better and be happy. But a lot of guys won't because talking smack is easier than raising each other up, because putting others down means you're a man. A real man, right?

I say that's one insecure man, now could you oil me up while I wear my man thong-singlet for my 10k meet?

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Are Those Calories Worth Eating

Being a former professional cook and now fitness professional, this question is always a subject of debate. 

Let's be honest, healthful food can only taste so good. REALLY TASTY food often contains high calorie ingredients like fats (cheese, oils, butter) salt, sugars and less than optimal cooking techniques (i.e. frying).

I like roasted chicken but you know what's even tastier? Fried chicken. Greek Yogurt parfaits are good but Ice Cream is even more delicious. 

The following is my opinion for you to agree or disagree with: If I'm going to indulge it's got to be worth eating. 

On a day to day basis I eat healthy food. I indulge a bit but 90% of my day is composed of lean proteins, a lot of vegetables, seeds/nuts, black coffee, and water. I rarely stray from this. My only compromise is if I somehow end up at a place I really have been wanting to try or an unexpected lunch meeting where I try to order a healthy item off the menu. On the weekend I make time to go out with Sara. Here we tend to make similar decisions about where to eat opting to support a small business producing a quality product.

I believe most people would benefit by having this mentality. What you decide is worthy of eating is completely up to you. If you're consuming these "worthy" meals in moderation, you'll end up eating more home cooked meals and saving a lot of money too. I would rather eat zero "healthy" pizzas and burgers then eat a really delicious one on the weekend. Skip the diet sodas and have a regular one once a week. All these things are a great way to live life while being mindful about what you're putting into your body. 

OVERVIEW

  • Opt to savor the foods you want to indulge in by saving them for the weekend. Instead of eating Jersey Mikes or Subway for lunch during the work week, bring food from home and enjoy a really tasty sub on the weekend. 
  • During the week eat more home cooked meal. This allows you to eat more nutrient dense-lower calorie meals. 
  • Support small local businesses, they are often more transparent about the quality of their food and will gladly talk about it if you ask politely. 
  • Have a plan if you veer off your regularly scheduled meals during the week when possible. If I'm going out to a restaurant, I always scope out the menu for a healthy option. 

5 Misunderstood Principles of Eating Healthy

Ate an extra carrot stick...so I need to add the calories! Carry the one...

Ate an extra carrot stick...so I need to add the calories! Carry the one...

1.  Eating healthy isn't 100% science. Keep things simple by following basic principles and using common sense

I don't count calories, macros or use any sort of fancy complicated formula or equation when preparing my food. 

I did a great job if: I ate real whole foods (especially plants), ate when I was hungry, stopped long before I got stuffed and fit in an hour of movement. 

Nutritional Science is the backbone of proper eating recommendations. You however don't need to actually know or implement all of that fancy-pants science into your dietary protocols.

The healthiest and leanest people I know don’t overthink nutrition science each day. But you know the people who do? Yo-yo dieters. These are the kinds of people who need an app for every single food they consume and freak out at any deviation. 

Take home: Unless you're an elite athlete or a physique competitor, you don't need to worry about the science. Being healthy and lean for life is EASY without a 4 year degree in Nutrition. Principles over plans.

Did you remember to soap and scrub your food? Yeah. No.

Did you remember to soap and scrub your food? Yeah. No.

2. Healthy eating isn’t black & white. It’s doing your best with what you have.

You can have the world's greatest meal plan and guess what? You just ran out of Kale and the store is closed! But..but..my plan calls for kale. NOW WHAT!!!!!????

Great scrap the whole thing, I'm going to eat that pie I bought?

Instead if you run out of kale, do you have ANY other vegetables in your fridge? Spinach? Romaine lettuce? Even frozen vegetables would suffice. 

Being able to make swaps and not just follow a black and white approach to your meal planning is vital to long term success. 

Take home: Even the best laid out plans can go awry and to make the best of any situation. Often we scrap our plans because we have unrealistic expectations for how we should be eating. 

3. Healthy eating isn't calorie counting. It’s paying attention to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues.

This is a tough one for people to understand. They think if only I could eat "x" calories each day, I'd be so friggin hot and ripped. 

Except trying to tabulate your calorie intake and expenditure is a losing proposition. There are so many factors that can change nutrient density of vegetables and your proteins like: Variables during growth, your cook preparation style, and even varietal of vegetable. 

For some, if they are unable to count calories they don't quite know what to do with themselves. But if you were to look around the world, there are many people who are in great shape because they are more in tune with their body's hunger cues. 

Take home: Learning to pay attention and knowing when you're 80-90% (I'm comfortable) versus being stuffed (think after a buffet) is vital to not needing an app for that.

I'd say that Roast beef looks pretty good...I made this =) 

I'd say that Roast beef looks pretty good...I made this =) 

4. Healthy eating isn't always AMAZING. It's good but not that good either

Okay let's be honest steamed vegetables and baked fish isn't nearly as good as a hamburger or pizza.

You can however retrain your tastebuds to enjoy different types of foods, healthier foods. It takes time but it can be done. It's why we eat something from our childhood that we recall as AMAZING, and now it's only okay. 

Take home: Food should always taste good, but not so good that it blasts you out in outer space every time. Again this goes back to expectations about how food is going to taste. If you've only been eating big sugary and salty foods, of course the broccoli is going to taste awful.

5. Healthy eating isn’t easy. But if you get organized with your daily routine it enables living healthily, and you'll find it gets easier and easier

Piggybacking off the last point, yes it's tough to eat 2 cups of roasted cauliflower instead of that basket of fries. 

Remember the hardest part is starting. Decide to have oatmeal instead of cereal. Choose roasted chicken over fried tenders. Great job! Now there will be a bevy of friends, family, co-workers, Dr. Phil, TV, and magazines telling you otherwise. Stay the course! Have a support system that will back you when things get hard and remind you of the goals you need to achieve.

Take home: Luckily the more often you choose being healthy over a late night taco truck run, the easier it will get. I promise you it will. 

Bonus:  Healthy eating isn’t restriction. It's about striking a balance seamlessly into your life so you can make better healthy choices without feeling "deprived"

If I said to a client, starting tomorrow they could no longer have any dessert, I might end up in the poor house. Can't get between a person and their dessert!

But what might also happen is said client going home and inhaling all the ice cream, cake and cookies they can get their hands on. 

There's no such thing as "clean" or "good" foods and bad foods. There's simply food. 

I recommend to all my clients, indulge a bit everyday.

Take home: We don't set restrictions. But we do practice good portion control. Have a few cookies, just don't eat the whole bag!

 

Buyer Beware: The Expert Trainer Who Can Help You With EVERYTHING

I LOVE using this photo

I LOVE using this photo

Piggybacking off a post during the final weeks of December about deciding to be great at one maybe two things and punting all else; I'd like to elaborate around the context of Personal Training. 

As a consumer one should be weary of hiring a coach who claims they're an expert at all things fitness and health. No one coach is THE BEST at building muscle, losing weight, sports performance, rehabilitative exercise, and nutrition.

Lets take Mike Reinold of Champion Physical Therapy based in Boston, Mass who is an extremely talented Strength and Conditioning coach and PT (Physical Therapist). Does one think he is not capable of working with physique competitors? While he's most likely well versed in the process, his main business is working with athletes and post rehab patients. He wouldn't be setting himself or his client up for the best chance at succeeding.

On the other end of the spectrum lets take Bret Contreras who runs the Glute Lab based out of Phoenix, AZ. As a PhD researcher he's one of the leaders in glute hypertrophy (muscle building) and if someone came to him with a SLAP tear of the shoulder, Bret would have an idea of what to do but this type of client would be better suited to someone like Mike because that's his area of expertise. 

Each coach is great at what they do and would most likely know what to do with their respective clients. If they however were able to swap people, they would have even better chances at success.  Great coaches are well versed at all aspects of training but they know what one or two things they're actually "experts" in. 

I am a former professional cook and Precision Nutrition level 1 coach, I feel confident in cooking healthy tasty meal prep for my clients. In addition to that, I am a well versed strength coach who uses strength to aide in weight loss and rehab. 

I know how to put muscle on, as well as improving sport performance, but if I received a client whom I thought a colleague would better suited at aiding the client, they'd be on their way with a referral.

In my opinion, looking for a coach who can succinctly state what they're GREAT at is one of the things I would look for in a coach or personal trainer.

Jack of all trades, master of none