- Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science
- Master of Education, Health Science Education
- NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
- Quest Magazine “Best of” Trainer, 2005
- Karate Black Belt
- Former Collegiate Athlete
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Diet Planning and Other Interesting Stuff
The following sections below cover my thoughts on diet, exercise and healthy living. Included is a calorie calculator to determine your caloric and dietary needs based on the goals you want to achieve. I tried to keep it simple by focusing on the important concepts that if followed, can result in a healthier, fitter and leaner you.
Keep in mind that the science is never settled, new research is always being presented and in this industry there are a lot of opinons on the “best” way to do things. But remember, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Eat well and exercise and you will be amazed at what happens.
So without further adieu, let’s get on with the show!
Almost Everything You Need to Know About Carbohydrates
Contrary to current popular nutritional trends, dietary carbohydrates do not have to be limited in order to achieve your fitness or body composition goals. Certain types of carbohydrates are loaded with with vitamins, minerals and fiber which are essential nutrients needed for good health. When consuming the right types in their proper amounts, carbohydrates play a critical role in supporting mental alertness, fueling workouts, increasing strength, building muscle and supporting a well designed fat loss plan.
What type of carbohydrates are we talking about?
Basically there are two types of carbs; simple and complex. Since we are not here for a lecture on molecular chemistry, we won’t be using those terms. Instead, we will discuss carbs in terms of being empty or nutrient dense.
Can you start by telling me about the nutrient dense carbs?
Sure. Carbohydrates that have ample amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals would be considered nutrient dense. Whole grains such as amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckweat, bulger, corn, couscous, farro, freekeh, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum,, spelt, teff and wheat are all rich in nutrients, especially fiber. All fruits, vegetables and legumes such as various beans, lentils, peas and peanuts also fall under the category of nutrient dense carbs.
Nutrient dense carbs should be the focus of your carbohydrate consumption. Just make sure the grains you choose are whole, not processed or refined.
What is an empty carb?
Sugar and highly refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, vitamins and minerals. In other words, other than having sugar, they are empty. But they do come with calories.
White bread, white rice, white pasta, white pizza dough, pastries, cookies, cakes, “kids” cereals, candy, soda, energy drinks and other sweetend beverages. Think junk food and the whites.
Are empty carbs bad?
They can be. When carbohydrates are digested, they are broken down into glucose (sugar). Empty carbs are digested very rapidly causing a spike in insulin which results in increased blood sugar levels. Insulin spikes will move glucose out of the blood and into the liver, muscle and fat cells.
Glucose moving into muscle cells is a good thing as it provides working muscles with the energy they need in the form of glygogen. This allows you to train harder and recover more quickly from workouts. However, extended periods of high insulin secretion will result in helping fat cells to grow. This is not good. Unless of course, you like having large fat cells.
For individuals who are overweight, sedentary or perform very little physical activity, empty cards should be avoided or strcitly limited. Besides leading to an increase in body fat, consuming too many empty carbs can cause insulin resistance which can increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
So when can I have my empty carbs?
This is where it can get tricky so pay attention. Prior to exercise, empty carbs can provide the energy needed to fuel your workouts. Post workout, working muscles use empty carbs to repair damaged muscle tissue, build new muscle tissue and refuel muscle glycogen in preperation for the next workout.
If you don’t need to lose a lot of body fat and your goal is to increase muscle mass, strength, cardiovascular endurance or you are performing heavy weight training sessions, sprint intervals or endurance activities lasting longer than 45 minutes, empty carbs can be consumed just before, during and immediately after exercise without having to worry about giving your fat cells a workout.
The post workout meal is especially important because after a workout, muscle cells are hyper sensitive to insulin. Insulin is the most potent anabolic hormone which makes it a must for builing muscle. Quite simply, Empty Carbs = Big Insulin Spike = Big Muscles. See how simple?
But do I really want big muscles?
You don’t need to have enormous muscles but building muscle is important. Not only are muscles aesthetically pleasing and helpful when moving heavy objects but having more muscle means better insulin regulation. With better insuling regualation, you can eat more empty carbs without the fat conversion. This means more empty carb cheat days for you! Just don’t get too carried away.
So what are the best type of empty carbs to have with my workouts?
Empty carbs containing dextrose, preferably in liquid form.
What is Dextrose?
Dextrose is a type of sugar derived from corn. Honey, corn syrup, pretzels, cookies, frosting, gummy bears, frosting, ice cream and apple pie are a few examples of foods containing dextrose.
Are you saying I can have apple pie and ice cream after I workout?
Um, no. Besides dextrsoe, apple pie and ice cream also contain fat. Foods containing fat and fiber should be avoided because they take longer to digest and slow gastric emptying. This will reduce the insulin spike needed for optimal growth and recovery.
What do you recommend?
Gatorade contains dextrose, has no fat or fiber, is easy to digest and since you will be using it in conjunction with your workouts, it’s good for hydration. You can also dilute it with water if you are trying to lower your overall calorie intake or if you find the taste too sweet.
There are also dextrose gels that are sold and marketed as energy shots. And no, I’m not talking about 5-hour Energy. Dextrsoe gels are popular with runners and cyclists who want something light to carry and consume during a run or ride. Examples include Clif Shot and Hammer Gel. And if you want to flashback to the happy days of your childhood, try gummy bears or pixie stix.
The reason I prefer Gatorade is because after a 50 mile bike ride or an hour of doing squats, I don’t find chewing on gummy bears or sucking on a pixie stix to be particularly refreshing. But that’s just me.
Are you a paid spokesman for Gatorade?
How much Gatorade should I have?
Got it. Do you have some bullet points to summarize this discussion?
I can do that.
– The majority of your carbs should come from nutrient dense sources.
– If you are overweight and sedentary you really need to limit your intake of empty carbs.
– Empty carbs taken during the right times and in the proper amounts can be beneficial for fit individuals who train hard.
– Build muscle so your body can better utilize carbs.
Our Friends, the Fats
There was a time not too long ago when dietary fats were considered the evil stepchild of the macronutrients and unjustly given the blame for such ailments as double chins, saddle bags and heart disease. Luckily for our friends, times have changed and dietary fats can now join a seat at the table and be enjoyed as part of a nutritious diet without being shamed.
Dietary fats play an important role in brain and nerve function, help with the absorption of certain vitamins, provide energy for workouts and many other physiological functions responsible for the growth, repair and operations of the human body. But just like with carbs, some fats are better than others. For simplicities sake, we will classify fats as the Good, the OK and the Ugly.
Can you start by telling me about the Ugly fats?
Sure. Ugly fats are trans fats or otherwise known as trans-fatty acids. Trans fats are created through a process called hydrogenation. Keeping with my policy of avoiding molecular chemistry lectures, hydrogenation is simply the process of converting liquid fat oils into a solid or semi-solid fat by adding hydrogen.
Why is this done?
Trans fats are cheap to produce and they extend the shelf life of packaged foods. Trans fats are also used when deep frying food because once again, the oil is cheap and can be used many times over. This makes it a popular option for restaurants and fast food establishments. However, the practice of using trans fats in restaurants is decreasing so be aware of how your food is being fried.
Why are trans fats Ugly?
Besides having no nutritional value and extra calories, trans fats clog your arteries which increases the likelihood of you suffering a heart attack or stroke. This is not good. They should be avoided completely or kept to a minimum as they will interfere with your goals of trying to look good and live longer.
Which foods contain trans fats?
Check the food label and be on the lookout for partially hydrogenated oils. Packaged foods and baked goods such as cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, pies, frostings, refrigerated doughs, frozen pizza, vegetable shortening, margarine, non-dairy coffee creamers, some microwavable popcorns and fried foods including french fries, fried chicken and fried fish are all on the proceed with caution list.
Ok. What can you tell me about the OK fats?
You would be asking about the saturated fats and they have a bit of a complicated story to tell.
Scientific studies. The research is not very clear as to whether or not saturated fats can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Some studies say they do while others say they don’t. See, it’s complicated.
Which foods have high amounts of saturated fats?
Let’s see…Red meat(beef, pork, lamb), Poultry skin(chicken, duck), Whole-fat dairy products(milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream), Egg yolks and Tropical oils(coconut and palm oil).
How much saturated fat should I have in my diet?
It’s complicated. If your primary concern is health, it is recommeded saturated fats make up about 10% of your total calorie intake. But remember, science. There are a number of variables that contribute to heart disease and pre-mature death. The science has yet to conclusively determine how much of a role saturated fats play into the equation.
As for weight loss, a diet high in fats will work in reducing pounds and shedding excess body fat. This is the concept behind a ketogenic diet or “Keto” dieting. By eating a high fat, very low carb diet, you are putting the body into a state of ketosis which causes the body to start burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This results in a thinner, less fat you. I will go into more detail about keto dieting later on.
A higher carb, lower fat diet will also work in creating a thinner, less fat you as long as you are choosing the right type and proper amounts of carbs and fats. What you can’t do is create a hybrid of a high fat, high carb diet. The following concept is very important so pay close attention;
DO NOT PAIR EMPTY CARBS WITH SATURATED FATS.
We already discussed how empty carbs worsen insulin resistance and can increase the size of your fat cells. Saturated fats also lower insulin sensitivity. Pairing saturated fats with empty carbs is the fatal recipe for setting the impending detanation of a fat bomb in your gut. Combinations such as a bagel and cream cheese, pasta and alfredo sauce, chips and queso, sausage and biscuits, fried chicken and gravy, a cheesesteak sandwich and a meat lovers pizza are food pairings that can do serious damage to a leaner you. Proceed with extreme caution.
So why are saturated fats classified as Ok?
Some foods that are high in saturated fats are also loaded with nutrients that promote good health and improve workout performance. Red meat provides iron, zinc, selenium and the vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Containing 7 vitamins and a variety of minerals, egg yolks support brain, eye and cardiovascular health while milk provides all 9 essential amino acids.
A well constructed, balanced diet includes a variety foods containing saturated fat. Taken appropriately, there is no reason to worry about saturated fats preventing you from achieving your fitness goals or maintaing good health. Saturated fats…they’re OK.
And about the Good fats ?
They’re not just good, they’re Great! The good fats are great for regulating metabolism, supporting brain development in the young and helping to protect us against mental health illness as we age. Diets high in the good fats have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, arterial disease and stroke and they also act as an anti inflammatory to help prevent chronic inflammation which is associated with obestiy, diabetes, depression, joint stiffness and pain. And yes, they can also assist in helping you achieve better body fat composition.
What are the Good fats?
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered the good fats. However, some good fats are greater than others and when reviewing the typical American diet, the greater fats tend to be neglected. Now that I think about it, the great fats should have their own seperate grouping.
Ok, so what’s the Great fat?
I know. But once you realize how great it is, you will learn to love it…or at least supplement with it.
What makes oily fish so great?
This can get long winded so I will try to be as brief as possible. Here it goes!
Oily fish is a polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsatuarted fats are considered essential and are therefore called essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are not produced by the body and need to be acquired from the food we eat.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential fat. Based on it’s chemical structure, ALA is classified as an Omega-3 fat. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are Omega-3 fatty acids.
You’re losing me, can you just get to the good part?
Sure thing. What seperates a good fat from a great one is not only the Omega-3’s but also the presence of EPA and DHA. While a number of good fats contain the omega-3’s, EPA and DHA are primarily found in oily fish.
Many of the previously mentioned health benefits associated with dietary fats are because of EPA and DHA. This makes oily fish a nutritional powerhouse and a must when constructing a healthy meal plan. As such, you should try to incorporate an oily fish meal at least twice per week. Oily fish…The Undisputed King of the Great Fats!
Is there a chart ranking the great oily fish?
As a matter of fact…
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
There are fish oil supplements but the research is not conclusive as to how well they compare to the natural source.
As you can see, there is a variety of fish and shellfish listed in the oily fish chart. Try your best to find a few you like or can at least tolerate and incorporate them into your weekly diet. Your brain, heart and abs will be much obliged.
What else do I need to know about the other good and great fats?
Let’s start with the essential fatty acids we mentioned earlier. We discussed alpha-linolenic acid which is an omega-3 fatty acid but it also has a potentially evil twin, linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid.
What is so evil about Omega-6?
I said potentially. The research on this matter is inconclusive and still open for debate. Omega-6 fats are essential and nutritious, the quantity and ratio consumed when compared to omega-3 fats can be problematic. Too much omega-6 might contribute to excess inflammation, an increase in heart disease and certain types of cancer. A typical American diet has about 10x the amount of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fats.
What foods are high in Omega-6?
Cooking oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean are high in omega-6 fats while walnuts, tofu, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds tend to skew on the high side. Baked and processed foods like bagged chips and frosted cake also contain high amoutns of omega-6 fats.
What should I do about this?
Good question. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids and cut down on processed foods that contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids such as bagged chips and frosted cake. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to watch your intake of baked and processed foods that come in a bag or a box.
Shoot for about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats. But remember, omega-6 fats are essential and nutritious. Just pick the right types and increase your intake of omega-3 fats.
What foods are high in Omega-3 fats?
We already covered the oily fish but also included are plants, nuts and seeds. Spinach, brussels sprouts, avocado, soybeans, navy beans, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and canola oil are all sources high in omega-3 fats and should make up the majority of calories from your fat sources.
And the rest of the fats?
You mean the monounsaturated and the polyunsaturated. We already discussed the polys and there is some overlap with the monos and the omegas.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, olives and avocados. The good fats…enjoy!
This is a lot of information. Can you summarize?
– Avoid trans fats.
– Saturated fats are okay.
– Be careful not to have high amounts of saturated fats with empty carbs.
– Oily fish is Great!
– Omega-3 fats are also great so you should try to eat more.
– Omega-6 fats are good but eat them in the right ratio to Omega-3 fats.
The Uncomplicated Protein Basics
Protein is an essential nutrient needed for the proper functioning of all cells in the body. This includes the growth, maintenance and repair of all muscle tissue. As the title of this section implies, dietary protein is not as complicated as the complicated carbohydrates or our friends the fats. As such, this section wil be heavy on brevity.
How much Protein is needed in my diet?
The answer to this question is determined by such factors as age, gender, acitivty level and training goals. Click here for specifics.
Are all Proteins created equal?
Nope. Proteins are rated using the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score. Otherwise known as the “DIAAS.”
What is DIAAS?
It’s an intestinal disorder caused by the rapid ingestion of toxic proteins.
No. It’s a measurement score used to determine protein quality. The quality is determined primarily by the amino acid profile and how well the protein is absorbed and utilized by the body.
Proteins are made up of 20 aminio acids and of this number, 9 are considered essential. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are 3 essential amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are particularly helpful in building and repairng muscle tissue.
Essential amino acids are unable to be produced by the body so we must get them from the food we eat. A protein containing all 9 essential amino acids is considered a complete protein.
A DIAAS value ranges from 0 to 1 (100%) with a score of 1 being the highest value. The more essential amino acids a protein contains and the quicker it is digested and absorbed by the body, the higher the value. Scores can be greater than 100% if a protein contains a particularly high amount of essential amino acids. So essentailly, we are talking about some really good stuff.
Is there a DIAAS value chart?
Funny you should ask…
What are the important take aways?
There are 2.
Ok, what’s the first?
Make sure to get your protein from a variety of sources. Animal proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and milk are conisdered complete proteins while plant proteins such as vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds usually lack one or more of the essential amino acids and are considered incomplete proteins.
However, just because a plant protein may lack some of the essential amino acids, it does not mean it lacks other vitamins and minerals essential for good health. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to ensure we are getting all the nutrients we need to keep our bodies functioning optimally.
If you do not consume animal proteins, you can stack two or more complementary incomplete plant proteins to make them complete.
Excellent! Is there a Complementary Protein chart?
Funny you should ask…
And the second important take away?
Why is Whey protein important?
Besides containing all of the essential amino acids and high amounts of BCAAs, whey protein is rapidly digested and quickly utililzed by muscle tissue. This is very important as it relates to training.
When we are training, especially weight training, we are breaking down and tearing muscle tissue. Immediately after a workout, muscle tissue is very responsive to the nutrients we feed it. Becuase of its amino acid profile and rapid rate of digestion, whey protein causes a big spike in insulin. Remember, we discussed the important role of insulin as it pertains to muscle recovery in the carbs section and it is for this reason, whey protein is optimal for helping muscle tissue repair and grow following a workout.
So after a workout, I want whey protein?
Yes. With carbs. No fat. No fiber.
Why carbs but no fat or fiber?
The reason for the carbs is covered in the carbs section. As for fat and fiber, they slow down the absorption of protein getting to the muscle tissue thereby interfering with its important work of building and repairing muscle. This was also covered in the carbs section but I thought it important enough to repeat myself.
How many grams of protein do I need after a workout?
Click here for specifics.
How can I get whey protein from my diet?
You can seperate it from the caesin in your milk or you can collect the run-off when your are making cheese. If those options aren’t convenient, you can buy it in powder form from a store.
Is there a particular whey protein powder supplement I should buy?
You had to ask. I’ll keep this simple by giving a somewhat simple answer. We have whey isolate, whey concentrate and whey hydrolysate. The difference comes down to the way they are processed. Isolate contains less sugar and fat than concentrate and hydrolysate gets absorbed the fastest. Concentrate is the cheapest.
My advice, use the one you think tastes best and fits within your budget. If you find one that works well for you, stick with it. Personally, I have not found much difference between the three.
Can you summarize everything about protein in 4 simple points?
1. Make sure you know your complete proteins and include them in your diet.
2. Consume a protein with every meal.
3. Eat a variety of proteins.
4. Why protein immediately after a workout.
The Ketogenic Diet
As was discussed earlier, Keto dieting is the practice of eating a high-fat, very low-carb diet. The idea is to get the body to go into a state of ketosis so it will primarily burn fat for fuel because of a lack of available carbohydrates. Ketone levels in your blood and urine can be measured to determine if you have entered ketosis or you can monitor yourself for symptoms of the “Keto Flu” which are discused below. I’ll layout the pros and cons and several different ways keto diets can be constructed.
– It works.
– It works quickly.
– Effective at reducing abdominal fat.
– Calorie counting is not necessarily needed.
– Can help properly regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
– Although calorie counting does not need to be precise, calorie ratios do or else ketosis won’t be achieved and weight loss could be slowed.
– Many nutrient dense carbs such as grains and certain types of fruit, beans and legumes are off lmits. You can also forget about empty carbs and a plethora of adult beverages. Besides missing out on foods you might enjoy, you need to be careful of missing out on certain vitamins and minerals.
– The “Keto Flu” can be a difficult adjustment. Due to a lack of carbs, symptoms such as fatigue, light headedness, nausea, constipation, bad breath and hunger can be expereinced until the body adapts to your new lifestyle.
– Pregnant women shoud refrain from using a ketogenic diet and also any idividual who suffers from any medical condition such as diabetes or kidney stones should consult with a physician before starting keto or any other diet plan.
Different types of Keto
Standard Keto Diet (SKD)
Macronutrient Ratios: 70-75% Fat, 15-20% Protein, 5-10% Carbs
As the name implies, this is a standard keto diet. It’s very in high fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbs.
Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
Macronutrient Ratios: 65-70% Fat, 15-20% Protein, 10-15% Carbs
This version of keto allows for more carb consumption pre and post workout. It’s popular with workout warriors who perform better with a few exrtra carbs spinkled around their workouts.
Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)
Macronutrient Ratios: 70-75% Fat, 20-25% Protein, >10% Carbs for 5 days.
20-25% Fat, 20-25% Protein, 55-60% Carbs for 2 days.
Keto Cycling allows for more carbs to fit around a more nutritionally balanced and social lifestyle. The idea is to go keto for 5 days and higher carb for 2 days as you cycle in and out of ketosis. This works well around a Monday-Friday “work” schedule and a weekend “fun” schedule.
High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)
Macronutrient Ratios: 60-65% Fat, 25-30% Protein, 5-10% Carbs
This variation can be more beneficial for those looking to build more muscle as it increases protein intake. It may also be a prefered method for those who enjoy the taste of protein more than fat. With a higher protein intake, ketosis can still be achieved as long as the carb intake remains low.
Lazy Keto Diet (LKD)
Macronutrient Ratios: 60-75% Fat, 15-30% Protein, 5-10% Carbs
This method makes it easier to follow because your primary focus is making sure your carb intake stays low and not fretting too much over calories, fat and protein. A majority of people don’t want to be bothered with counting calories or tracking macronutrient ratios so this keeps it simple. Although easier to follow, it’s also easier to screw up.
Do you have some final thoughts?
As a matter of fact, I do have a few.
What are they?
The ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss and can be beneficial for improving certain troublesome health issues. If you are okay with eliminating a number of common and “sinful” foods, can stay committed to following the macronutrient ratios and find the diet fits easily into your lifestyle, then keto can be the diet for you.
However, don’t accept the notion that a higher carb diet is unhealthy or will not allow you to achieve your workout and body composition goals. I still have a number of my training books and magazines going back to the 90’s when keto dieting was not mainstream and believe it or not, the pages are filled with bodies beautiful.
What’s important is that you find a food program that you can follow and works for you!
The Healthy Living Tips Section
The purpose of this section is to provide some helpful hints to assist in the pursuit of a fit body and hopefully a long and happy life. A good place to start is by defining health.
Being healthy is not only the absence of disease but the optimal pursuit of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. Although diet and exercise primarily focus on physical well-being, keep in mind how other lifestyle and behaviorial choices effect your overall health.
Being physically fit but mentally lazy, emotioanlly unstable and a heavy drinker is no way to go through life. Such imbalanes can negatively impact your chances of professional and societal success which can also adversely impact your overall health and happiness. You might be nice to look at but an absolute torture to be around.
So with that being said, here are a few tips from our host:
– Being overweight is very bad for your health. Not only is obestiy directly responsible for a number of physical illnesses and diseases but it can also negatively effect mental, social and emotional health resulting from poor body image and depression. The good news is that something can be done about it.
– Eat well, don’t overeat. If you are accumulating body fat, you are overeating unhealthy food.
– Structured dieting involves counting calories and keeping track of nutrient ratios. It takes more effort but can assure better weight loss and maintenance of energy.
– Most people have no idea how many calories they are eating. Figure out your current calorie intake and keep track of every bit of food that goes into your mouth. Before long, you will be able to determine proper portion sizes and nutrient ratios without having to read labels.
– Monitor your progress. If things aren’t working, re-evaluate what you are doing. And remember, the mirror don’t lie.
– For overall health, don’t get caught up in the little things. Adding or eliminating one food from your diet is not going to make much of a difference. Choosing to do yoga instead of pilates is not going to be the reason you don’t reach your 100th birthday.
Instead, focus on lifestyle habits and routines. I really don’t like to nag but certain habits can have a major impact on your health and happiness.
– Don’t be sedentary. Exercise and stay active. A sedentary lifestyle can be just as harmful to your health as being overweight. The health risks of a sedentary lifestyle include an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.
– Build muscle. More muscle means a higher metabolic rate, better sleep, improved brain function, greater bone density, a stronger heart and an impoved immune system. More muscle can also be a major boost to self-confidence and your mental health.
When you are in your 20s you can do a lot of damage to your body and for the most part, still look good. It has been my personal observation that people start to fall apart in their mid-30s if they don’t take care of themselves. By their 40s, it’s pretty obvious.
You can read about the science and research as it realtes to the benefits of weight lifting and building muscle or you can just take a look around you. Lifting weights will keep you looking and feeling younger. Do it. Male, female, young or old…it’s never too late to start.
– Get enough sleep. Although individual amounts might vary, a lack of sleep is directly associated with many poor health outcomes. The body needs to rest and repair and it’s best work is done during sleep.
– Manage stress. Some stress is unavoidable and in small doses, it can be beneficial. But extended periods of elevated stress can cause a great deal of harm to the body. All people are different so learning techniques that can help you relax and destress is important.
– Alcohol in moderation. The research on the benefits of alcohol and the amounts recommended are still up for debate. What is not up for debate is the damage that can result from excessive alcohol consumption.
– Don’t smoke. Does anymore need to be said?
– Don’t do drugs. See above.
– Keep a positive attitude. A simple, yet underappreciated concept. Much research as been done on the power of positive thinking and some of the benefits that may result from the practice include lower rates of depression, better stress management skills, stronger immune system function and an increased ability to rebound from hardship and failure.
Simple tips for a simply healthy life. Good luck!
Getting Lean Fast
“OMG!!!…I’m going to Cabo in two weeks, what should I do???” I guess this is the question everyone would like to have answered so I guess I’ll answer it. I’ll start by saying that if you are overweight and new to working out, your goal should not be to “get lean fast.” Like most things in life, body transformations don’t happen overnight so you need to be patient and give your body time as it transitions into an aesthetically pleasing work of art. You need to be thinking in terms of months, not days or weeks. For your long-term fat-loss plan, click here.
For those of you who have been working out, following a proper diet and just need something to get you over the hump, then I suggest a Cyclical Keto Diet for two weeks. It’s very effective for dropping body fat, especially abdominal fat, while building muscle during a brief dieting phase. If done correctly, I have observed a typical weight loss of about 7 pounds over a 2 week period. It does get you lean…fast!
The Cyclical Keto Diet is not only exceptional for its short-term effectiveness but I believe it to be more manageable for individuals not used to keto dieting. Going cold turkey on carbs can be difficult so the 2 days of carb loading every 5 days makes the task less daunting.
Cyclical ketoing is also ideal for individuals who have been working out (you have been lifting, correct?) as the weekend carbs will provide your working muscles with a nice pump as a result of glycogen supercompensation. Since glycogen in the muscle will be depleted from not eating carbohydrates for 5 days, the reintroduction of carbs into the diet for 2 days will result in a higher than normal storage of glycogen in the muscle. The end result is an aesthetically pleasing, happily pumped muscle.
Follow this program for 2 weeks. It’s 5 days (Monday-Friday) of no carbs followed by 2 days (Saturday-Sunday) of a higher carb diet. Repeat the same schedule for a second week. As for workouts, lift weights on Monday (upper body), Wednesday (lower body) and Friday (full body). You should be using a high rep and short rest circuit style routine for about 45 minutes. Your energy levels will most likely be low so make sure to pace yourself and not over exert yourself. If you feel like you have the energy, you can do a light cardio workout on Tuesday.
And to answer the question I get asked a lot, “Wait, salads have carbs?” Yes, vegetables have carbs. Remember, zero carbs for the 5 day cycles. If you don’t get into ketosis because you are eating carbs, the diet won’t work. Have fun!
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