Ed Fuchs is a Precision Nutrition Certified nutrition coach. Ask him for nutrition or exercise advice, personalized nutrition programs and exercise routines.
 

Most people have an idea of WHAT healthy is, they just don’t know HOW to get there.

I help regular people develop healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits so they can lose weight, build muscle and find meaning in health and fitness.

Through the power of habit-based coaching I provide you with a step by step process, bi-weekly habits to practice, interactive lessons, and a close one-on-one coaching experience where nothing is left to chance.

Less Than 3% of Americans Meet These 4 Basic Health Standards: Are You One of Them? 

“The more I learn about health, the more I tend to focus my attention on a few simple factors that I think account for most of the health benefits of diet and lifestyle. Don’t smoke cigarettes or use alcohol excessively. Get regular physical activity. Eat whole foods. Get restorative sleep. Manage stress. And don’t eat too many calories. These guidelines may not be very exciting, but they deliver a lot more value than the details that often distract us.” ~Dr. Stephan Guyenet, an expert on the neurobiology of obesity, and author of The Hungry Brain.

There is a lot of health and fitness information and misinformation out there, so before getting lost in the details let’s focus on the daily habits that have the greatest impact.

“But these behaviors sound too simple/boring and I want something more complicated/harder to follow.”

I get it. There’s nothing new or cutting edge in the above principles. And given the simplicity of these factors you’d think that many people would meet these qualifications.
Sadly less than 3% of Americans meet these basic standards,[i] specifically defined as:

  • Activity: 2.5 hours per week of moderate or vigorous activity (5-7+ hours may be better)
  • Nutrition: Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (feel free to eat more)
  • Body Composition: A body fat percentage under 20 percent (for men) or 30 percent (for women)
  • Lifestyle: Don’t smoke (stress, and sleep can be considered as well.)

Are you in the top 3%? Do you meet these basic standards for health?
Could you use some work?

Let’s take a quick look at these specific areas.

1. ACTIVITY

About 22% of Americans participate in regular physical activity.[ii]

activity2

Living a sedentary lifestyle and expecting your body to thrive is like staring at a white wall and expecting your mind to flourish. The body needs to be engaged. If you’ve never pushed yourself physically then you’re leaving parts of yourself unknown. Regular exercise helps prevent many diseases,[iii] benefits mental health, increases productivity and may help combat depression and mental illness.[iv]

“Eighty percent of American adults do not meet the government’s national physical activity recommendations for aerobic activity and muscle strengthening. Around 45 percent of adults are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits. Around $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity.”
(Click Here to see where your state falls.)

Activity

APPLICATION: How many hours per week do you spend on physical activity?

If your answer is zero, you can add in one hour per week by taking three 20-minute walks. Start wherever you are, build up over time. Fight to get to 2.5 hours per week and make them count. If you are trying to transform your body 5+ hours may be best. A blend of defying gravity through resistance training with foundational movement patterns, higher intensity activities and lower intensity activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, etc. are best for maximizing your results.

2. NUTRITION

23.3% of Americans eat 5 fruits and vegetables per day.[v]

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Nutrition is the biggest limiting factor for most people. Good Nutrition is a must if you want to look, feel, and perform better. Even with exercise, poor nutrition will hold you back from the results you truly desire.

Good Nutrition improves nearly every measurable marker of health, from mood and recovery to body composition and performance. Pair proper nutrition with an intelligently designed training program and you’ve got a great set up for transformation.

“Do you want the secret? And I mean THE secret? Here it is: lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.” ~Dr. Lonnie Lowery, Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition professor for over 20 years and former competitive bodybuilder.

APPLICATION: How many fruits and vegetables do you consume on a daily basis?

Don’t like veggies? Here are some easy ways to add them:
Get a great blender (or a decent one) and add some spinach in a maximal shake.
Learn to roast, sauté, or make a stir fry.
Buy some fun seasonings to add flavor.
Keep frozen vegetables so you always have a veggie option.
Tastes can be trained. You may not like something the first time you try it but try a vegetable 3-5 times. (I tried kimchi over 20 times before I actually liked it and now I love it!)

Get creative with your meals and let me know what you come up with!

3. BODY COMPOSITION

About 40% of Americans are in a healthy weight range. Over one-third of adults and 17% of youth are obese.[vi]

Metabolism

The projected future of our nation’s health only brings more lifestyle-related disease, increased medical bills and a greater burden on society[vii] unless we do something to change… Sadly, I too have personally experienced the great pain of loss that lifestyle-related disease, obesity, diabetes and coronary disease can bring.

WHICH SIDE OF HISTORY DO YOU WANT TO BE ON?
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If you need to lose weight remember that “weight loss” is not the same as “fat loss.” That’s why resistance training with the foundational movement patterns to build and preserve muscle is so important. If you lose 5 pounds of fat and 5 pounds of muscle you’ll decrease your metabolism and set yourself up for a rebound.

This is why crash dieting doesn’t work and why cardio alone is a poor choice for fat loss. As the researchers put it in the British Journal of Sports Medicine: “You cannot outrun a bad diet.”[viii]

I like to tell my coaching clients, “Calories are King and consistency is his Queen.”
Calories
The key with any successful nutrition plan is that it is sustainable, flexible, and built around your preferences and lifestyle vs. the other way around. This is why I focus on habit-based coaching with an emphasis of one action at a time.

4. LIFESTYLE

24 percent of Americans smoke.[ix]

American-Flag-Health-Care-States-Stethoscope-1024x768

My Grandfather served in the Navy for over 30 years. He joined when he was 17 to get away. He likely started smoking very early in his life. Later in his mid-fifties he went to a hospital to visit a friend who was dying of lung cancer, had a tracheotomy and was still smoking through the hole in his throat! That may not have been enough of a reason for his friend to quit but it was for my Grandfather! He quit smoking that day, cold turkey. That was the wake-up call that he needed. I believe that if he had continued to smoke he wouldn’t have lived to be 87, and would have missed out on many grandchildren’s births and birthdays.

grandpa

What is the wake-up call that you need?

Which health lifestyle characteristic could you make some improvements in?

  • Activity
  • Nutrition
  • Body Composition
  • Lifestyle

Pick ONE area to focus on.
How can you improve in that area?
What small steps can you take TODAY that will lead to your goals? What can you do this week? This month?
Invest daily in your health because your life matters.

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[i] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

[ii] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

[iii] Stampfer  MJHu  FBManson  JERimm  EBWillet  WC Primary prevention of coronary heart disease in women through diet and lifestyle.  N Engl J Med 2000;34316- 22

[iv] Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 6.3 (2004): 104–111. Print.

[v] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

[vi] Ogden  CL, Carroll  MD, Kit  BK, Flegal  KM.  Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.  JAMA. 2014;311(8):806-814.

[vii] Rowley, William R. et al. “Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends.” Population Health Management 20.1 (2017): 6–12. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2018.

[viii]      Malhotra A, Noakes T, Phinney SIt is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet Br J Sports Med Published Online First: 22 April 2015. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094911

[ix] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

The Life I Couldn’t Save 

Beautiful Robin
Amidst the sea of a stormy life many waves of pain came crashing along. This particular wave carried a crushing thunder that can still be felt to this very day.

Her name was Robin. She was the youngest of four siblings. She lived life on her own terms and dealt with many difficulties throughout her stormy life.

Robin was born on January 31, 1961. Her life was a burning flame that extinguished too soon and the smoke still fills the rooms of those who loved her.
Daughter. Sister. Wife. Friend. Robin held many beloved titles. She was my Aunt, but she was also like a second mom to me.

She was obese, had type 2 diabetes and used intravenous insulin to manage her lifestyle related disease. A heart attack claimed her life on January 26, 2004 at the precious age of 42, five days before her 43rd birthday.

I know the five stages of grief: Denial, Bartering, Anger, Depression, Acceptance, and not only because I read about them in a textbook but because I lived (if you could call it living at the time) through them.

I saw her body at the morgue the day she passed away on a cold cruel Monday. There was no denying, bartering, or anger to be had. It was sheer sorrow that swallowed my soul that day. I sank deeper into darkness and addictions fueled my escapism. I couldn’t feel or face this loss.

If I could know everything about health I know now…
If I could go back and meet her, help her…
If she was ready, willing and able to make a change in her nutrition, activity and lifestyle…

I could have coached her, I could have helped her, I could have possibly saved her life and saved all of those who suffered from her loss so much grief.

Lifestyle Related Disease is Real.

The projected loses it will bring in this generation will be devastating if we don’t do anything to change. [i]

  • “Nearly 35% of all adults and 50% of those aged 60 years or older were estimated to have the metabolic syndrome.” [ii]
  • Metabolic syndrome substantially increases the likelihood of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. [iii] (Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are different manifestations of metabolic syndrome.)
  • According to a new CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death. [iv]
  • Obesity, and childhood obesity along with type 2 diabetes in children and youth is also on the rise. [v]

By 2030 diabetes will increase by 54% to more than 54.9 million Americans; annual deaths attributed to diabetes will climb by 38% to 385,800; and total annual medical and societal costs related to diabetes will increase 53% to more than $622 billion by 2030. [vi]

90-95% of diabetes is type 2, which is actually good news because it’s a lifestyle related disease, meaning you can change it or prevent it by the life you live.

Lifestyle Related Disease Affects Loved Ones.

I can still remember going to my Grandpa’s 80th birthday. It was a surprise family reunion and he was elated. The whole experience was fantastical! We all stood in line to hug, kiss and greet him. Later when he stood up to give the toast he cried, missing his youngest daughter who should have been there.

Robin
My Grandfather with his children. Robin is the second on the left.

Is your health where you want it to be today? What’s your lifestyle like?  Do you need help knowing what to do?
Do you need help with your nutrition and activity?
Does someone you love?

You Don’t Have to Wait Until A Crisis To Change Your Life.

If you need coaching, accountability, a sustainable action plan to build lasting change then let me coach you. I’m happy to help. I can’t go back in time but I can help you move forward.

Robin passed away 14 years ago today. She would have been 56 years old and we would have been celebrating her 57th Birthday on January 31st.

I could tell you many stories about my beloved Aunt Robin but I’ll leave you with a short story of how she was a shelter and comforter to me.

The boy had a guardian angel. She wasn’t always around to protect him, but when she was she would stand up to block the fiery arrows that the Dragon would spew at him. 

The Dragon created a lair to try to isolate anyone from coming to save the child. He built a dense world of confusion and mazes of pain that the most courageous would flee from. Yet the wings of the Guardian were vast beyond expanse and she could travel over the walls of the chaotic fortress to bring warmth and shelter. 

For every flame of hate Leviathan aimed at the boy’s heart the Angel would rise up to conquer and attempt to salvage the innocence. Still she could only stay in the midst of this labyrinth for so long before her energy was drained and she had to flee to regain her strength.

The boy dreamed of running away. He wondered what the outside world was like and longed to be free from the torment and captivity. He looked to the skies and dreamed of the Angel taking him away to a safe place. He wondered what her dwelling place was like and longed to escape from this mire.

One day he did indeed run away. He called out to her in the dark of the night and she answered. He followed her voice down a frightful path. Finally he came upon her fortress and was warmly welcomed in. It seemed to take a lifetime to reach. His heart was frozen over with pain. She showed him great comfort and warmth that he had never really known. That would be one of the most memorable of his days. 

Later he had to return to the lair but the Dragon was intoxicated and had barely noticed he was gone. He had experienced the outside and a glow began to radiate in his heart. It was a feeling he had not felt before, a deep and profound love. 

Losing my Aunt Robin is one of the foundational reasons I’m passionate about nutrition and exercise coaching, if I can help you in any way contact me.

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[i] Rowley, William R. et al. “Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends.” Population Health Management 20.1 (2017): 6–12. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2018.

[ii] Aguilar M, Bhuket T, Torres S, Liu B, Wong RJ. Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the United States, 2003-2012. JAMA. 2015;313(19):1973–1974. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4260

[iii] Isomaa  B, Almgren  P, Tuomi  T,  et al.  Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with the metabolic syndrome.  Diabetes Care. 2001;24(4):683-689.

[iv] CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed Feb. 3, 2015.

[v] Ogden  CL, Carroll  MD, Kit  BK, Flegal  KM.  Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.  JAMA. 2014;311(8):806-814.

[vi] Rowley, William R. et al. “Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends.” Population Health Management 20.1 (2017): 6–12. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2018.

Four Key Principles For Maximizing Your Gym Time and Results 

As the antiquated saying goes, “training is an art and a science.” Unfortunately when you walk into a modern day gym today you’re more likely to meet Picasso than you are to see picture perfect form, proper technique, and intelligent exercise programming.

The art of training answers the why and is highly individual to each person, but the science, the how, is based on governing principles of biology, adaptation, and physiology.

Methods Principles
“Methods are many, Principles are few, Methods may change, but principles never do.”

Understanding these governing principles will maximize your training effect and ensure you’re getting the most out of your time investment in the gym.
(You do want results after all? Right?)

  1. Master Movement Patterns

Master the foundational movement patterns because they govern the way you move your body through space. Make progress to build strength using your own body weight. You don’t want to load dysfunction.

A music teacher of mine taught me that it takes 7 times of playing something the right way before you’ve ingrained it in your mind. BUT if you learn it the wrong way it will take 14! It takes longer to undo something you learned the wrong way than it does to learn it right the first time.

You want to develop function and proprioception. Hire a personal trainer, take videos of yourself, watch videos, read about form and strive to achieve unconscious competence.
Learning-CyclePRACTICAL GYM APPLICATION:
The most powerful muscle you can use in the gym is your mind. (The mind isn’t really a muscle, although it contains a bit…)
Don’t just count every rep, make every rep count.

  1. Progressive Overload

Progressive Overload = the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training.
Progressive
It was developed by Dr. Thomas Delorme. He was an army physician who was working to rehabilitate soldiers after WWII.[i] (Although it’s been used over the centuries.)

“DeLorme had used strength training to recover from a childhood illness and reasoned that such heavy training would prove beneficial for the injured servicemen. DeLorme’s new protocol consisted of multiple sets of resistance exercises in which patients lifted their 10-repetition maximum. DeLorme refined the system by 1948 to include 3 progressively heavier sets of 10 repetitions, and he referred to the program as “Progressive Resistance Exercise.” [… DeLorme’s work] helped legitimize strength training and played a key role in laying the foundation for the science of resistance exercise.” [ii]

weights WWII
World War II Weightlifters! Who knew that the history for 3 sets of 10 reps was so fascinating!

PRACTICAL GYM APPLICATION:
Add a little more weight (intensity), a few more reps or sets every workout (volume) and build up over time (progressive overload.) Your training split (frequency) should fit with your lifestyle (recovery/stress) and your exercise selection (sequencing) and rest periods (density) should match your goals: Want to be better at squatting? You need to squat (specificity.)

Manipulating the above training variables and techniques (Although there many are more… Remember exercise is an art and a science.) will take you far in maximizing your true genetic potential!

Be consistent and chase performance.

  1. SAID Principle

The SAID Principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) states that our body adapts to the demands we impose upon it. This principle is foundational to the training and detraining that every human being is practicing. You are always adapting to something, whether it’s chasing peak physicality, maintaining or declining.

The old adage: “Use it or lose it,” comes to mind. You can see this idiom in practice in the life of Ralph Freeman, who is a veteran of WWII and Korea and turned 100 years old on June 14 of this year! He credits his positive attitude and lifting weights as keys to his longevity.[iii]

la-1509555929-v5nygstoyt-snap-image
Read more about Ralph Freeman’s inspiring story and routine by the LA Times HERE

PRACTICAL GYM APPLICATION:
Love your body. It’s doing many amazing physiological processes to keep you alive, from a cellular, metabolic and anatomic level. Nutrition and activity have a synergistic affect these things.
NEVER accept your body. If you accept your body the way it is you welcome a life of weakness, immobility, declining quality of life, and possible early mortality.
Defy Gravity and let Ralph’s story inspire you to keep nurturing your strong body, sharp mind, active lifestyle and healthy relationships.

  1. Goal Setting

As you can see from Ralph Freeman’s incredible life, the man has GOALS, a plan to execute them and does them daily! Likewise, you too should have training goals and the type of training should reflect the results you seek. When you walk into a gym you should have a plan of action and thoroughly disrupt homeostasis. When you leave you should know that there was a training effect that took place. It doesn’t have to be soul crushing every time, but it shouldn’t be a walk in the park either… (unless that is your chosen activity for the day!) Lee Haney, 8 time Mr. Olympia and bodybuilding champion, said it best…Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate!

article-4
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

So What Are Your Goals?

Ask any regular gym goer about their goals and you might hear a response like,
“Get in shape, lose fat, build muscle and strength.”
You’ll nod and agree. It sounds like a pretty good plan. And it is as long as you understand the nuances… each one of those things is actually a different goal that will require a different plan of action.

THREE PRIMARY GOALS THAT PEOPLE HAVE:

  1. Fat loss– by far the most popular goal people have.

Nutrition is the biggest limiting factor in having a jaw-dropping transformation. At some point you’ll need to maintain your weight loss for a period of time (usually after a 10% total loss) or pick another goal before pursuing more fat loss. This is called nutritional periodization. A recent study showed that dieters who alternated between maintenance calories and reduced calories ended up losing more weight in the end, keeping it off longer, and their metabolisms weren’t as depressed as the group who ate less![iv]

(Read about that study HERE and Contact me If you’d like a more detailed laymen overview of what they study showed.)

People pursue fat loss ALONE to a detriment. How many times have you heard this?
“I just want to lose those last X amount of pounds.”

Below is a picture of a Amelia’s transformation.
These pictures were taken THREE YEARS APART.
DON’T scroll down too quick, just look at the pictures first and guess what you think the weight difference is?
Body Recomp
That’s right she is TEN pounds heavier in the second picture. She’s lost fat, increased performance and successfully built muscle and achieved body recomposition.

The crazy part is that if people’s rhetoric was, “I just want to gain those last 10 pounds of muscle.” They’d likely achieve all their other goals. Speaking of muscle building…

  1. Hypertrophy– this is a fancy word for building muscle.

This goal takes a calorie surplus, adequate protein and recovery paired with a progressive resistance training program. You can’t always do the same thing over and over again and expect to change. Your body will just get really good at doing that one workout.

  1. Strength– this goal could be to feel stronger for overall daily activity, get stronger in certain lifts or for a specific sport.

There is some overlap that exists but when choosing it’s best to have ONE primary goal at a time, and that will determine what your exercise routine and good nutrition plan look like.

There are many variables that proper training programming takes into consideration such as: Goals, Frequency, Training split, Intensity, Volume, Rest, Density, Exercise Selection (you’ll want to select some compound and isolation exercises based off of these foundations) Form, Technique, and much more.

PRACTICAL GYM APPLICATION:
Periodization- set specific goals for specific amounts of time or until you reach them.
Understand realistic progress- setting up unrealistic expectations will rob you from the joy of the journey[v]. If you only care about the destination you’ll never arrive.
Celebrate the small steps- Small steps in the right direction will lead you to your desired outcomes.
~Practice Daily Habits~
‪~Consistency is King~
‪~Progress Over Perfection~
~No Failure Only Feedback~
We cannot control the outcomes we desire, but we can control the behaviors that will lead us to our goals. That is why I believe in the power of habit-based coaching.

“Keep the Goal the Goal.” ~Coach Dan John

If you would like a custom progressive exercise program designed for your specific needs, level and goals, a nutritional triage assessment, and/or coaching to transform your body, health, and outlook, I am here to help.

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[i] Kraemer, William J.; Fleck, Steven J. (2007). “Progressive Overload”. Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts. Human Kinetics. pp. 33–6.
[ii] J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):2913-23. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825adcb4.
[iii] http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/tn-wknd-et-ralph-freeman-20171103-story.html
[iv] https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2017206
[v] Foster, G. D., Wadden, T. A., Vogt, R. A., & Brewer, G. (1997). What is a reasonable weight loss? Patients’ expectations and evaluations of obesity treatment outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 79-85. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.65.1.79

 


Effective Exercise Begins With These 6 Movement Patterns: How Well Do You Know Them? 

Have you decided you want to Defy Gravity, lose fat, build your body and get the awesome health and anti-aging benefits exercise provides?

If so I’d like to introduce you to the six foundational movement patterns. These movement patterns optimally engage the major muscle groups, strengthen you for daily activities and build a well-rounded body.

So whether you are new to resistance training/lifting weights or you want to get the most out of your time in the gym, make sure to master these movement patterns through regular repetition and progression.

All effective exercise routines or training programs will include various exercises that are built on these movement patterns:

  • SQUAT
  • HINGE
  • LUNGE
  • PUSH
  • PULL
  • CARRY

SQUAT

Some have said that, “The Squat is the king of all exercises.” And while the topic of Back Squats being king is up for debate, as a movement pattern it isn’t. The squat is the king of all movement patterns. Why? Because you do it every day! squatting-exercise_4460x4460
You squatted today. You squatted deep as a toddler and when you can no longer squat you’ll lose independence. Why? Because you may be unable able to sit down and stand up on your own, get on and off a toilet or pickup something up from the floor. Fight sarcopenia and master the squat today.

(TIP: If your upper body assists you in getting up and down, this is a sign that your lower body could use some strengthening.)

Basic Squat Cues:
-stand straight up with feet about shoulder width apart
-weight on your heels
-maintain a neutral spine
-begin descending by sitting back (don’t shoot the knees forward!)
-shins stay mostly vertical
-descend until parallel with the floor or lower
-drive the weight up through your heels
-keep your knees out (they shouldn’t cave in)

(Pro Tip: Spread the floor. Push your feet apart like your trying to pull the ground apart. This helps create tension in the lower body, forces the knees to push out, helps maintain a neutral spine, keeps the weight on the heels and correctly distribute the load.)

If you’re just starting out, practice squatting to a seat behind you or something lower, if possible. Keep the tension as you lower down and come up. This trains you to sit back, protects you from falling while you learn the squat and helps to keep you honest with your depth.

Exercise Progression: Practice and master each of these before moving onto the next. Bodyweight squats, goblet squats, front squats, back squats.

Strength Goals:
-100 continuous bodyweight squats
-25 continuous goblet squats with a dumbbell that’s 1/2 your bodyweight (if you can do this, you have strong legs and a strong core)

(BONUS: Hindu squats are a great exercise that targets your quadriceps, calves and conditioning when done for higher reps. 4 sets of 25 reps with 1 minute rest in between makes for a great finisher.)

HINGE

As the squat is knee-dominant so the hinge is hip-dominant. This differentiation helps as some have a hard time hinging at the hips. The hinge uses the posterior chain (hamstring, glutes, lower back etc.), which is great news because these muscles have a high potential for power output. This is the movement pattern you use when properly picking up something heavy from the ground, not exclusively using the back. Hence the exercise called the Deadlift. A.K.A. The queen of all exercises.

stockvault-weight-lifting206223
Woman in front = proper neutral spine setup, Guy in back with the rounded back = not so much.

Basic Hinge Cues:
-sit back into the hips
-minimal knee bend
-snap forward
-finish by squeezing the glutes for a strong contraction

Hinge Variations: Bodyweight hinge, DB Romanian deadlifts (RDLs), BB RDLs, Trap Bar deadlift, rack pulls, deadlift, hip thrusts, kettlebell swings, etc.

(PRO TIP: Imagine someone tied a rope around your waist and is pulling you back. In this way the Cable Pull-Through can be a great exercise for learning to hinge at the hip.)

LUNGE

Kneel down to tie your shoe? Notice the man proposing? What do these two have in common? The Lunge.
Lunge
This is the last of our lower body movement patterns; dynamic single leg exercises. By working one leg at a time we improve stability, coordination and correct muscle imbalances. (While some live and die in squat and deadlift land it’s important to do single limb exercises too.)

Taking The Lunge- Basic Cues:
-step forward on one leg
-more weight on front heel
-lower down until both knees are about 90-degrees
-back knee may touch the ground or be a few inches above
-don’t shoot your front knee forward
-press back up with the front foot
-upper body positioning: stay upright to target the quads or lean slightly forward for more glute and hamstring emphasis
-upper body stays rigid on either positioning
-repeat on both sides

Lunge Variations: split squats, forward lunge, reverse lunge, walking lunges, lateral lunge, Bulgarian split squats, alternating jumping lunges, etc.

(PRO TIP: when doing walking lunges do 2 reps on one side before switching; this removes momentum and allows you to focus on form. If you are proficient at lunging try combining forward and reverse lunges simultaneously. You won’t need much weight, if at all — 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps per side as a finisher will light your legs up!)

PUSH

The most popular pattern by far: The Push.

stockvault-santa-lifting201868
If you find the gym intimidating, you can always wear a costume.

From push-ups to the Bench Press these movements have been ingrained in our society. Push-ups have existed for centuries and have many variations, and benching is by far the most popular gym exercise. Every Monday is #InternationalChestDay after all. But before you jump into barbell training you want to master your own body weight.

Push-Up Cues:
-get into push-up position
-moderate grip
-elbows tucked, not flared
-squeeze your glutes
-brace your core
-bend at the elbows
-lower yourself until your chest touches the ground or your elbows are at about 90 degrees
-your body should stay in a straight line the entire time
-press yourself up and repeat
push ups
The push-up is a great exercise that can be done anywhere. It strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. It is a great teaching tool for creating total body tightness that will transfer to lifting weights in general. Once you can do 10 bodyweight push-ups (without your lower back sagging) you’ve earned the right to work on dumbbell and barbell pressing.

Pushing can be done in 180 degrees: variations are divided into horizontal pushing and vertical pressing.

Horizontal Variations: all forms of Push-ups, weighted push-ups, Hindu push-ups, low incline pressing, dumbbell bench press, barbell bench press etc. All are done at about the 90 degree angle. Lower angles would include decline pressing and dips.

Vertical Variations: 1 arm and 2 arm standing dumbbell overhead press (OHP), BB OHP,  Seated Presses, High Incline press, W Press, Y Press, Arnold press, handstand push-ups, etc.

If needed push-ups can be done on your knees or at an incline to make them easier (regression). The idea is to find out where you are and build on that (progression).

Strength Standards To Shoot For:
50-60 continuous push-ups for men
20-30 continuous push-ups for women
40 Dips for men
20 Dips for women

PULL

I was that kid in elementary gym class that couldn’t do one pull-up. I still remember hanging from the bar. I wasn’t even that big, yet. It was a strength test and I failed. I just wasn’t strong enough. No one explained that strength can be trained, that through progressive overload and proper regression we could someday progress to pull-ups. And this Fixed Mindset is how a lot of people view their upper body strength (especially women).

Why The Pull matters: It strengthens your back, upper back, lats, rhomboids, core, arms and grip. Grip strength is an indicator of mortality rates. Your arms manipulate everything around you and in order to have proper posture you must have the musculature to support yourself.

Unfortunately when we think of pulling we only think of it vertically, just like when I was a kid. What is a better test? Horizontal pulling. Enter the inverted row.

The inverted row is also known as the reverse push-up and a lot of the same cues apply.

stockvault-girl-training219006
Do it like this, except probably with your feet on the ground and in a better lit room.

Inverted Row Cues:
-brace your core
-squeeze the glutes
-body stays in a straight line
-engage the movement by pulling with your back (not just your arms)
-find the angle appropriate to your level

Pulling can also be done from 0-180 degrees. Here are exercises from the ground up: deadlift, Yates row, low angle DB row, horizontal row, barbell row, face pull, lat pulldowns, assisted chin up, chin-up, pull-up etc.

Start with inverted rows, then move to single arm dumbbell rows and finally the barbell row (where you’ll need to hinge at the hips!).

Strength Standards To Shoot For:
15 Pull-ups/Chin-ups (Men)
8 Pull-ups/Chin-ups (Women)
20 Inverted Rows (Men and Women)

(PRO TIP: while some get lost in the pursuit of pull-ups it’s a good idea to keep a ratio of 2:1 with horizontal to vertical pulling respectively. Take a look at your weekly training and adjust accordingly.)

CARRY

Infants learn many new motor patterns. Crawling. Walking. Running.
(Crawling is awesome exercise by the way!)
Though we may take walking for granted and not give it much daily thought, a lot of trial and error went into that amazing process. But before you could walk someone carried you.

The carry refers to locomotion; moving your body through space in a number of ways. Good exercise programs include walking, loaded carries and maybe sprinting, etc.

The weighted carry is generally considered an ab exercise as it targets the core. Think about a Suitcase Carry- when you carry something heavy on one side but do not maintain a normal upright posture. This is a sign of core weakness. The good part about finding weaknesses is that you can then work to strengthen them!

cropped-farmers-walk.jpg
Loaded Carry Cues:
-upright posture
-chin tucked
-neutral spine position
-joints stay stacked
-take narrow steps and move through space in a controlled fashion
-don’t rush the pace

Carry Variations: walking, suitcase carry, loaded carries, overhead carries, etc.
Crawling Variations: lateral crawls, bear crawls, Spider-man crawls etc.

Just like when you were a baby that learned to crawl, got stronger with more coordination and eventually learned to walk, so these movement patterns will require practice, commitment to the process (you didn’t give up on walking after all!) feedback and possibly coaching.

If you would like some workout ideas, nutrition coaching or a custom training program designed to fit your specific goals and needs, contact me. Feel free to ask me any nutrition or health questions as well. I look forward to hearing from you!
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DEFYING GRAVITY 

 

THERE IS A RESISTANCE.
Every day it weighs upon you.
Every day pulling you down.
It is inescapable, overbearing and favors no one.
Man, woman, child and elder; it holds everyone captive.
From the cradle to the grave its effects are omnipresent.

There is a way to resist, to fight it, to endure its pressure with greater resilience.

What is the resistance? Gravity.
What is the answer? Resistance Training.

WHY SHOULD I LIFT WEIGHTS?

If you aren’t strength training, then you are falling more and more each day to the brutality of gravity, and its aging effects are trying to get the better of you.

How do we resist gravity? Movement.
How is movement made possible? Muscle.

brain-interface

Muscle = Movement

All our muscles, connective tissues, brain and central nervous system (CNS) make movement possible. Can we make our bodies better? How?

ADAPTATION

The SAID Principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) states that our body adapts to the demands we impose upon it. Adaptation is a beautiful part of what makes us human. We may be the most adaptive species on earth.

So what are you specifically adapting to today? A life of movement and vitality or immobility and weakness?

You’ve probably heard that your metabolism declines as you age… But why?

The resting metabolic rate (RMR) declines 2%-4% with each decade after age 25.
An average of 5 pounds of muscle mass is also lost in each of these decades.
Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and this may be the reason for the metabolic decline. This suggests that “normal” aging may be an outcome of living a sedentary lifestyle. (“Use it or lose it.”) Add the decrease in activity to diminishing mobility and the weight gain of The Western Diet and you have a recipe for a steady decline in physicality until the end.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Chase your peak physicality and invest in your own fitness journey.

How?

By lifting weights/resistance training and using the principle of progressive overload.

Progressive Overload – you add a little more weight (intensity), a few more reps or sets every workout (volume) and every few weeks you try to do a little better.

I remember my first dip over a decade ago. I lowered myself until I fell to knees on the ground. I simply lacked the strength to press myself up. A few weeks ago in the middle of a training session I did about 31 and still did not reach muscle failure.

The weaker you become, the greater the toll gravity takes.
The stronger you are, the more you can resist the effects of gravity.

So is gravity progressively overloading you through the years or are you defying gravity daily?

defying gravity 2

Here are some ideas on how to start.

BONUS AT HOME WORKOUT – NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Find out how many total push-ups you can do and cut that number in half for each set. Record your reps, sets and rest time and add more over time.

1A. Push-ups
1B. Squats
1C. Push-ups

Rest 1-2 minutes. Complete 3-5 rounds. This can be done 2-3 times weekly.
Go for a 20-30 minute walk after this to get an aerobic benefit too!

AT-HOME WORKOUT USING DUMBBELLS, KETTLEBELLS AND BANDS

1A. Bear Crawl (10 seconds = 1 rep)
1B. Reverse Lunge
1C. Push-ups
1D. Squats
1E. One Arm DB Row
1F. Banded Good Morning

Do 5 reps of each exercise.
Repeat 2-4 times and rest 1-2 minutes in between rounds.

Contact me if you have specific questions about exercise programming or would like a custom routine designed for your specific goals, schedule, equipment and level.

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LIMITING FACTORS: What’s Holding You Back? 

LIMITING FACTORS

A limiting factor is any obstacle that stands in between you and your goals.

Have you ever seen a dog fiercely run after a squirrel but is quickly pulled back and choked?

It doesn’t know what’s holding it back as it relentlessly persists on trying the chase.

So what’s holding it back? It’s called a leash.

It’s tied up and stuck and doesn’t know how to get free.

dog leash

This is what a limiting factor looks like.

Some leashes are stronger, made of chains and may take more time to break.

Sometimes people think chopping down the tree the leash is attached to is a worthwhile pursuit.

Others get free from the leash but are still stuck in the yard and don’t know how to get out. If they did they’d still need a specific destination and a guide to get there. Otherwise, it’s like driving around town with no specific destination. It may be better than where you were but having specific goals and a plan of action can make all the difference, least you return to where you started because it’s all you know.

When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Hammer Time

Hammer Time!

This is where a good coach or mentor can come in, someone who knows the way, who can help navigate and who has been there or seen this before.

Coaches find the limiting factors and remove them to produce results.

The best coaches strategically find the simplest changes that will yield the greatest impact.

Here is a brief overview of some limiting factors people face:

 

  1. GENETICS

 

In health and fitness a lot gets blamed on genetics and so the saying goes, “Choose your parents wisely.”

The good news, however, for those of us who aren’t the genetic elite is that at any age and activity level most people can get leaner, stronger, improve conditioning and become healthier.

99.9% of people are nowhere near their genetic potential.

 

  1. MINDSET

 

Take some time to look within and ask yourself some questions:

What’s the story you tell yourself? What may be a different story?

Do you believe you can change?

Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

 growthmindset1

Do you have a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?

Are you ready to change? Are you willing to change? Are you able to change?

What is your relationship with food like? Is it a friend? A love-hate relationship? Something else?

What excuses do you make?

The mind is a powerful tool. You can use it to change or rationalize (rational lies) to stay the same.

 

  1. ACTIVITY LEVEL

 

If you live a completely sedentary lifestyle then one of the best things you can do is start being active!

I know pre-diabetic people (about in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome) who benefit greatly from taking daily walks. Start slow and build it into a habit. If you go from doing nothing to doing something that’s a 100% increase and a great change in the right direction.

I would highly advocate resistance training for building and preserving strength and muscle mass, aerobic activity to improve your cardiovascular health and aerobic capacity, and higher intensity activities such as sprinting, biking, swimming, sled pulling or any type of interval training that’s low impact on the joints.

If you can only walk, start doing that daily.

Everyday

“If something is important, do it every day.” ~Dan John

 

  1. AWARENESS

 

Some people don’t think of their health at all. I know I didn’t when I was completely unaware. I was dealing with mental health issues, depression and addiction. I never made the connection that my inner being was connected to my physical being. I was self-medicating with marijuana and pharmaceutical opioids. After smoking pot and getting “the munchies” I’d to go to Fat Burger and get a double bacon cheeseburger, fries, an extra large soda and milkshake. I would basically eat a whole day’s worth of mostly empty calories, fats, sodium and sugar (this is what The Western Diet consists of) before passing out. There were many other things going on in my life but living this kind of unhealthy lifestyle surely wasn’t helping my mental, emotional or physical health. Had I continued on that road I know my life would be very different than it is today.

Today I’ve been sober over 11 years, I exercise daily and enjoy the catharsis it offers me, I eat mostly whole foods with an emphasis on protein, veggies, healthy fats, and whole food carb sources and I’m coaching people go from where I used to be to a better brighter future.

Farmers Walk

If you had told me in my teen years that I would enjoy healthy cooking, eating, lifting weights and exercising I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s never too late to change and you can do something daily that adds or subtracts to your health. Before I was severely in the negative but today I’m aware.

 

  1. NUTRITION

 

Nutrition is by far the biggest limiting factor that people face. If you want to look, feel, and perform better good nutrition is a must. You can exercise all you want but poor nutrition will continue to hold you back from the results you truly desire.

Good nutrition improves nearly every measurable marker of health, from mood and recovery to body composition and performance.

Click Here for a deeper look into the results and online coaching I offer.

If you would like nutrition and exercise coaching to help you lose fat, build muscle, and look, feel, and perform better than you ever thought possible contact me here.

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Best Nutrition Advice You Can Use RIGHT NOW 

What is the best nutrition advice you can use RIGHT NOW?

What is the most important meal of the day?

What is the most important workout that you have?

Which night of sleep matters the most?

What is the most important thing you can do to improve your health?

What is the “best” food?

 

The list of best and most important is endless. Sometimes I think my #LegDay is the most important as it’s the hardest workout generally. Sometimes I think the intraworkout nutrition is the most important. But where does that leave me when the workout is over? Do the other workouts not matter as much? Should less thought be given to my other meals?

 

So what is the most important meal?

The workout that matters most and the night of sleep that can’t be overlooked?

 

It’s the one you can do right now.

It’s the  decisions you make RIGHT NOW in the present moment that matter most. Ate a whole pizza and 2 liters of soda last night? It doesn’t matter. Clean the slate and maybe have a healthy salad for lunch today. Missed all your workouts and waiting to go to the gym on Monday to start changing your life again? Go today. Go for a walk. Do some stretches. Go to sleep an hour earlier tonight. Do something that contributes to your health and adds to your life. Do it for yourself, do it for those you love. All the daily decisions that you can make that move you closer to living a healthy life add up.

 

It may not seem like much

But just being aware,

Taking action,

And continuing to add these marginal gains will pay off greatly in the end.

 

People want “black and white” “all-or-nothing” thinking when it comes to fitness but too many times this leaves us with nothing and in darkness.

Start

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

If you’d like to dive deeper into some specific actions view: Good Nutrition: Triage

If you’d like to know more about Good Nutrition read: Good Nutrition: What is it?


Good Nutrition: Triage 

Triage- the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition.

Wounded. I found myself in an ER with a bandaged head. The urgent care sent me away. They feared I might have sustained a concussion. My lacerated head required 13 stitches/staples but thank God I didn’t have a concussion. (Yay for a strong neck!)

Can you imagine if when I saw the doctor this was my first question:

“Hey Doc, what do you think about this paper cut on my finger???”

They may have thought the blow to my head caused some serious damage.

And yet this is what we do with nutrition…

“What do you think about acai berries?”

“Have you heard about this new superfood that does xyz?”

“How about intermittent fasting?”

“Is apple cider vinegar as amazing as some people claim?”

And while I love to debate the nuances of different dietary strategies (most of which, if they work, actually have more in common than not) most people are suffering from basic issues that should be addressed first.

Yes there are, to a degree, hacks and small things that when added up consistently may help with that last 1% but if you aren’t doing the 99% simple things first it’s like mowing the lawn while your house is on fire.

mowing-lawn-house-on-fire

Here are three simple steps that you can do to help yourself look, feel and perform better.

 

  1. CONSIDER YOUR HYDRATION

 

Our body weight is made up of nearly 60 percent water. All of our cells soak in water. So a 200 pound man is carrying roughly 120lbs of water! Different tissues in the body contain different ratios of water.

Water is so important that without it human life would be unsustainable and yet most people live their lives in a semi-dehydrated state.

Consider the following:

Just a 0.5% of body water loss puts an increased strain on the heart

A 1% loss reduces aerobic endurance

3% reduces muscular endurance

4% reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills, heat cramps

5% Heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, reduced mental capacity

6% Physical Exhaustion, heatstroke, coma

And finally a 10-20% loss means death.

So how much water should one aim for daily?

A general recommendation according to most literature is 3 liters (12 Cups).

This is a good place for a 150lbs male.

If you are eating a diet consisting of mostly whole foods then you’ll get about 4 cups of water from fruits, vegetables and other foods a day. This leaves 2L (8 cups) to be consumed from intentional water and fluid intake.

I would encourage tea and coffee as well but it would be best to consume liquids that do not contain any calories as liquid calories affect us differently than whole foods and are very easy to over consume.

Once you are thirsty there is already a 1-2% loss of body weight making it a poor gauge for fluid balance. If you are exercising your performance will be decreased and if you are simply at a desk job your mental focus and clarity may diminish.

Other considerations to base your daily water intake off of are:

-Your own body weight

-The climate you live in

-Exercise activities and duration

-Time of day you exercise

As an active exercising male at about 185lbs I shoot for an intake of 3L a day (101 ounces).

I probably consume more.

I try to have half my fluid intake before weight lifting and I consume 1L extra during training.

I achieve this by drinking out of big shaker cups but you could also buy a 2L glass pitcher  and make sure to drink that every day.

 

Feel free to add lemons, flavorings, salt and/or electrolytes to your water.

Create a plan of action and stick with it daily. If you think your water intake is lagging take the next two weeks to focus on creating this new habit.

What-gets-measured

What get’s measured gets managed.

(If you would like to know more about my intra workout drink I will be writing about it soon, otherwise ask me.)

 

  1. ADDRESS YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE

 

Have you ever heard the term ESSENTIAL amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they are critical for almost all metabolic activity in the body and responsible for protein synthesis, cellular and tissue repair, enzymatic functions, and many other biological processes.

There are 8 ESSENTIAL amino acids

4 additional essential amino acids (required for growing infants and children) and 8 conditionally essential amino acids.

But why is the word essential used?

Because they cannot be made by human body and must be consumed from the diet.

There are three macronutrients: Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates.

Our bodies can store an endless amount of fat, about 80-100 grams of glycogen in the liver and 300-600 grams of in the muscles (carbs we eat turn become glucose in the bloodstream and get stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles) and then there is the plasma amino acid pool which is our bodies storage of amino acids. The pool totals roughly 100 grams along with smaller pools in various body tissues.

Basically our bodies do fairly well at storing carbs, and especially fats but aren’t great at storing proteins. Therefore, this must be considered when we eat our daily meals.

The word protein comes from the Greek word “protos” which means, “First one,” “primary” or “most important one.”

So when you sit down to eat your meals be sure you’re including some good quality proteins such as meat from animals, eggs or even a protein shake. Try to get a palm (females) or two (males) of protein at every meal if eating 3-4 meals a day. This will yield 20-30 grams for a female and 40-60 grams for a male.

Protein has the highest TEF (Thermic Effect of Feeding) out of the macronutrients and it provides the most satiety, which means that you’ll burn more calories eating it and you’ll feel fuller longer (opposite of Chinese food which is high in fats and carbs and usually leaves you feeling hungry in a hour.)

The RDA recommendation for protein is 50 grams a day but that is the bare minimum to simply not be malnourished. A general rule of thumb is 1 gram per pound of body weight so a 200lbs male would eat 200 grams of protein a day. 200 grams of protein equals 800 Calories which will probably end up being about a third of the total intake.

If you have a hard time getting in adequate protein try a fast acting whey protein shake after intense exercise or a slow digesting casein protein before bed to keep feeding your body through the night, both of which have an amazingly rich amino acid profile.

So whether you are looking to boost performance, be healthy, burn fat or build muscle always keep protein intake up and learn to adjust the other macronutrients around it.

 

  1. GET YOUR HEALTHY FATS!

 

Ready for another term you’ve probably heard before?

Essential fatty acids.

And you know what essential means now; your body cannot create it from within and needs to get it from an outside source.

There are two EFAs that come from Omega 6’s (Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid.)

Then there are the most important (non-essential technically) Omega 3’s (ALA, DHA, and EPA.)

Omega 6’s are responsible for blood vessel constriction, pain, blood clotting, airway constriction, inflammation etc. Which may sound scary but these are good things as long as they are in balance with Omega 3’s which keep our cell membranes more “fluid” which helps with the transport of serotonin to the brain, increases insulin sensitivity, helps with cardiovascular function, nervous system function, and immunity.

Research also shows that a low DHA intake is associated with Alzheimer’s, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and other mood problems.

What is the ideal balance of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s? 1:3 or 1:4

What does the average person following The Western Diet’s ratio look like 1 to (Drum roll please) 16 or 1:20 Hence all the inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and so on.

What can you do about this? Actively decrease your omega 6 intake and increase your omega 3 intake.

Ideally about one third of your diet comes from fat and is balanced between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats = Animal fats and tropical oils (coconut, palm, cocoa)

Monounsaturated = Olive oil, avocado, peanuts, pecans, almonds etc.

Polyunsaturated = Omega-3 Fish oil and Flax (don’t eat the seeds whole they won’t be absorbed…) Omega-6 = Most seed oils – Canola, Safflower, Sunflower etc.

(Side note: Trans fats that occurs from processed foods should actively be avoided)

So how can you decrease your omega-6 intake? Look to corn oil, safflower oil and factory farmed animals that are fattened with corn and have a higher omega-6 content then reduce consumption.

Brainfood-1200-1200x640

Here are some of my favorite ways to consume omega 3’s:

A high quality liquid fish oil. 2-4 teaspoons a day. This is non-negotiable. We don’t eat enough fish in our diets and are lacking in these omega 3’s severely (EPA and DHA). If embarking on a fat loss phase you can have 4 tsp a day for 2 weeks and then cut the does in half. (Fish oil can have a blood thinning effect so consult your doctor if you are on blood thinner medication.)

Teaspoon
I keep a teaspoon on my counter top daily as an external reminder to do this and I’ve been taking fish oil for close to a decade now.

Research the benefits if you are still not convinced. I know drinking liquid fish oil can sound weird at first but you’ll be OK.

Milled flax seed mixed in oatmeal is a great option. 1-3 TBSP depending on how much oatmeal you are eating.

Hemp seeds mixed Greek yogurt make a great snack and 3 TBSP yields 10 grams of protein so if you eat 1 cup of Greek yogurt with this you’ll get 32 grams. #EatMoreProtein

Add berries for fiber, phytonutrients, and anthocyanins – feel smug about getting some awesome nutrition!

Chia seeds are also a great source of “healthy fats.”

Also simply by monitoring your fat intake you may begin to lose weight as fats contain the most calories per gram at 9 calories verses protein and carbs which contain 4 calories per gram.

Eat a good variety of fats from whole foods like seeds/nuts, seaweed, fish, grass-fed animals/eggs, avocado, coconut, cacao nibs and olives.

Avoid unhealthy fats.

Don’t get hung up on exact percentages or grams.

Supplement with 1-2 g of algae oil or about 3-6 g (or 1-2 tsp) of fish oil each day.

 

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Most people live their lives in a state of perpetual semi-dehydration, sub-optimal protein intake and an unbalanced fat intake lacking in essentials.

Don’t be most people.

Metabolism-Boosting-LEAD

It’s amazing how well you can feel when you start feeding yourself properly. You wouldn’t buy a Maserati and not fuel it properly so why do any less for your own body?

Pick one of these habits and focus on it for the next two weeks or however long it takes to be ingrained into your everyday life.

-Drink adequate fluids (3L daily).

-Consume 1-2 palms of protein at every meal daily.

-Pay attention to fat intake and actively eat more “healthy fats” while cutting out the “bad” ones.

-Take 1-2 tsp of liquid fish oil daily.

-Bonus tip: add in a multivitamin and probiotic to this fish oil habit and you’ll be covering even more nutritional bases.

This is how I coach.

This is how new habits are formed.

And this is how sustainable lifelong change is made.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Contact me here and let’s talk.

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Good Nutrition: What is it? 

 

Back to the first question I asked in,

“Good Nutrition: Why it Matters?”

“What is good nutrition?”

What was your definition? Is it complete, feel like it is lacking or maybe completely misguided. With so much information, misinformation, fad diets and human variability it’s easy to get lost. We’ve all been exposed to outrageous, oversimplify, and flat-out incorrect information.

Here is a complete picture of what a good nutrition plan will include:

  1. Good nutrition properly controls energy balance.
  2. Good nutrition provides nutrient density.
  3. Good nutrition achieves health, performance and body composition goals.
  4. Good nutrition is honest and outcome-based.
  5. Good nutrition is sustainable for both us and the planet.[i]

Let’s dive in and discuss these in greater detail.

  1. Good Nutrition Properly Controls Energy Balance.

The term “energy balance” refers to energy intake and energy expenditure of the body.

This is commonly referred to as “energy in” and “energy out.”

“Energy in” – All food and drinks have potential energy. We consume them and once digested and absorbed they provide us with energy usually measured in Calories. (a Calorie or Kcal is a standard unit to measure the amount of potential energy stored in food.)

“Energy out” –

Resting metabolic rate (RMR)

Daily activities, intentional exercise (Physical activity and NEAT)

Thermic effect of feeding [(TEF) processing food for use and storage]

All the physical and chemical processes that occur to sustain life, also known as metabolism.

meta-chart

Major Metabolic Functions that Contribute to Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

As you can see there are two parts of this equation. There are then three possible outcomes:

Neutral energy balance: Calories in = Calories out which results in a stable weight

Positive energy balance: Calories in > Calories out = weight gain

Negative energy balance: Calories in < Calories out resulting in weight loss

These principles are governed by the laws of thermodynamics and cannot be violated.

Energy balance goes beyond the scope of simply weight change and affects you metabolically, on a cellular level, influences your hormonal balance, mood and more.

Good nutrition helps to adequately control energy balance, preventing drastic swings in either direction (crash dieting anyone?) so that the body can lose fat or gain muscle in healthy and sustainable ways.

  1. Good Nutrition Provides Nutrient Density.

Simply put all foods contain:

Calories (potential energy to be turned into kinetic energy and used by the body) and

Nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.)

Nutrient density refers to how many nutrients are in a food relative to it’s Calorie content.

High nutrient foods provide plenty of key nutrients per 100 Calories.

They tend to be low in Calories and high in nutrients, while some are high in Calories and nutrients.

Lower nutrient density foods are higher in Calories and (you guessed it) lower in nutrients.

High nutrient density foods- lean meats, vibrant colored fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed high fiber grains.

Low nutrient density foods- Soda, sugar, ice cream and white flour (unless enriched, then it’s sooo much better for you!)

Foods also have calorie density which refers to how many calories they have compared to their weight.

High calorie foods – chocolate, cheese, butter, bacon, cookies, nuts and nut butters etc.

Low calorie foods- fruits and vegetables, spinach, broccoli, broths, chicken breast

A diet that combines both high nutrient-dense foods and low calorie-dense foods will improve health, promote fat loss and have the additional benefits:

Easy to control energy intake (without counting calories)

Hard to overeat

Leave you feeling fuller longer (protein and fiber provide more satiety) satiation

Provide more essential nutrients

If looking to build muscle a high-nutrient-dense, high-calorie-dense diet would be utilized as both are paramount for gaining muscle and increasing weight.

  1. Good Nutrition Improves Body Composition, Health, and Performance.

Said another way, good nutrition improves how you look, feel, and perform.

You can sacrifice one for the other and in the short-term this may pay off, but nutrition is a skill that we can practice for life and want to take a long view approach to.

Some diet plans can cause rapid weight-loss but will drastically impede performance and health (think modern day cleanses and crash diets)

Good nutrition supports and combines all three goals.

Good Nutrition Ven

  1. Good Nutrition is Honest and Outcome-Based.

If someone told you that they ate a healthy diet that was “perfect” yet they were overweight, out of shape, had low energy, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes you would probably be suspicious following their plan.

Is it possible to have some ailments while actually eating healthy, yes, is it likely, no.

In practicing Good Nutrition we must be honest with the results it produces.

If you have good a plan that you follow there should be positive outcomes that happen. If these outcomes are lacking, then either you aren’t compliant enough with the plan or the plan could use some work.

For example a USDA study[ii] showed that people’s perceptions of the foods they consume were very different from their actual consumption, based on diaries. See study here.

This is just one way that people may not be honest about their nutrition or lack the knowledge to assess intake properly.

In “outcome-based decision making” theory is useless and what matters is results.

We cannot control the outcomes but we can control the HABITS that lead to your desired outcomes.

  1. Good Nutrition is Sustainable for Both Us and The Planet.

The good news is that what is best for us is also what is best for our planet. By being mindful of buying locally, minimally processed foods, not over consuming or letting food and water go to waste you can do your part in sustaining yourself and the planet properly.

Too many people get lost in the quick and easy route, 90 days to your ultimate Greek God or Goddess body. Nothing that’s going to produces real results is going to be “easy” but it doesn’t have to be boot camp hard. If you wanted to master an instrument or learn a new language you wouldn’t expect to attain mastery in 6-12 weeks so why not take the same approach to nutrition. Every day you get to practice, sharpen your skills, learn new things and invest in your fitness, health, body, planet and life. Learning what Good Nutrition is can be a great thing, but even better is applying it.

[i] Berardi, John et al.,The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Precision Nutrition, Second Edition, 2013.

[ii] Basiotis, P. P., “Consumption of Food Group Servings: People’s Perceptions vs. Reality,” Nutrition Insights, Oct. 2000.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about the coaching services I offer.

PN1

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Good Nutrition: Why It Matters? 

“What is good nutrition?”

If you ask a hundred different people on the street what good nutrition is you would likely get 100 different answers!

“Eating Gluten free.” (What’s gluten again?)

“Eating fewer desserts. Mmm desserts.”

“Paleo.”

“Eating low carb.”

“Eating low fat.”

Food X is great for you but food Y is bad.”

What would your answer be? Have you ever considered your nutrition philosophy or lack thereof? How do you live? How do you eat? Do the foods you eat reflect the lifestyle you want to have?

Eating food is something the fortunate get to do daily and yet it is one of the least thought about activities we partake in. Maybe we don’t see the risks, maybe we don’t know the benefits or maybe food is a reward that we aren’t willing to give up. If you look at the statistics for where we are headed nutritionally and health-wise as a country in 2050 the future isn’t getting better. In fact, it’s getting worse. As obesity rates climb childhood type II diabetes and the number of lifestyle-related diseases rise[i]. Great news for Big Pharma, fast food and advertising companies.

Yet, we’ve never lived in a time with more choice. Eating healthy today is easier than it’s ever been in human history. You have the power to choose what goes into your body and how much you consume —a choice that affects not only you but those around you.

Is it apathy or ignorance that keeps us from saving ourselves and others? There is great gain and great loss that can come out of our seemingly small daily decisions. Being overweight and living a sedentary life can cost you decades off your life as well as greatly diminish the quality of life in your later years[ii].

So what is good nutrition again?

Maybe the first question even before that one is: “Why should I care?”

If you know something is good for you but you don’t care, then how good is what you know?

Frozen knowledge is empty, Only action saves.

So… Why care about nutrition?

Because everything you eat and drink affects your body on a cellular and cognitive level.

Brain-Food

Good nutrition matters because it affects the planet we live on, our resources, animals, farmers, soil, environment, mental well-being, mood, metabolism, energy levels, hormonal state, each other and our loved ones (even more if you die early due to lifestyle-related diseases that may have been prevented), our future generations, and so much more.

If I can help coach one person to live a life of healthy nutrition they’ll most likely be happier, live longer, have more energy, be a better lover, friend, employee, and make the greatest impact possible in their life.

Does that sound too extreme?

Consider this- write out your priority list. (I’ll wait)

Of the people I know the list would likely look something like this:

  1. God
  2. Husband/Wife
  3. Family
  4. Ministry/Career/Calling
  5. Friends
  6. Hobbies
  7. Health… if it even makes it into the list.

We like to compartmentalize (men in particular). This box and that box. Yet as beings we are immensely connected and deeply intertwined. Physicality, mentality, spirit and emotion make up the pillars of our being. And if we don’t have physicality and health we don’t have any of those other things, at least not in this life.

In hoping to replace apathy with action and/or ignorance with information I will now give you the nuts and bolts of good nutrition, and with enough practice you will be living a healthy nutritious lifestyle.

(Part Two! Good Nutrition: What is it?)

[i] American Diabetes Association: Type 2 Diabetes in Children. Pediatrics. 2000;105(3):671–680.

[ii] Fontaine, Kevin R. et al., “Years of Life Lost Due to Obesity,” JAMA. 2003;289(2):187-193. doi:10.1001/jama.289.2.187