When it comes to nutrition which is more important quality or quantity? That is one of the most common questions that I get or hear people talk about. During this blog, I dive more in-depth with both sides of the equation and provide some key tactics to help you lose fat.
Back at it again with the calories! I know I talk a lot about calories in my content and sometimes I get backlash from it. I’ve gotten both positive and negative remarks regarding caloric intake content. During this blog, I want to help address my perspective in regards to calories and provide some helpful tips when you start tracking.
First off, I understand that losing weight is multifactorial. There are many factors involved and many considerations that need to be taken into account. Individualization is extremely important when you are looking at embarking on a wellness journey. However, I’ve found that usually creating systems around the terms simple, sustainable, and enjoyable provides the right foundation for results.
As previously mentioned, there are many factors involved with changing body composition. It can be really easy to go down a rabbit hole and develop extremely rigid structure when it comes to creating a periodized plan (especially with all the conflicting information and studies out there). Creating a simple approach involves focusing on principles that create the largest bang for the buck which allows you room to live your life. This ultimately leads to... sustainability.
When you create appropriate structure based on your own individual needs you are able to develop adherence. Adherence is essentially your ability to stick with something. Adherence leads to sustainability and sustainability leads consistency. Consistency is the ultimate goal with any wellness goal because it will override the small x’s and o’s (details) that come along with wellness information. Essentially, 80% of results will come from 20% of the wellness tactics. My logic involves creating consistency with the 20% which allows you to live life and see amazing results.
Last but not least, when you have a simple and sustainable program it ultimately leads to enjoying the journey. This is the main point in creating this fitness brand. Wellness is something that you should enjoy. It is something that looks different person to person. It’s something that will enhance your life and bring more peace and contentment into your human experience. You need the flexibility to make it enjoyable for you as an individual.
So to cap it off… I know counting calories isn’t the only factor involved in the process. However, energy balance (caloric intake) accounts for 70-80% (if not more) of weight manipulation. Personally and professional I have found that if people spend their limited energy on the main aspects and less energy on splitting 'wellness hairs' they will be able to develop simplicity, consistency, and contentment through the process.
That’s a long winded introduction into some practical calorie tracking tips.
Understand that this process isn’t meant to be lifelong. It’s purpose is to gain perspective into being aware of energy balance. Once you have seen some progress, developed an idea of caloric intake you can wean off the tracking process and/or implement the tracking process into certain time periods or seasons.
Understand different things work for different people. While there are some universal truths when it comes to the biological scientific functions of macronutrients; there is no universal truth when it comes to adherence. Some people will adhere more consistently to a high carbohydrate intake than others. Some people will adhere more consistently to a higher fat intake than others. My recommendation is to set a protein goal (.7-1.0 grams per pound of body weight) and figure out what carb/fat intake you can be most consistent with while hitting your overall caloric intake goal. This allows the room to make nutrition enjoyable to you as an individual.
3.) Eat Less Snacks
Unless its absolutely necessary depending on your situation, don’t snack consistently throughout the day. Eat a meal when you are hungry not a snack. Eating less throughout the day means less tracking and less tracking means more sustainability. Furthermore, less snacking can help drive adherence/consistency because you are able to enjoy bigger more satisfying meals during the day. It is important to note, there isn't any significant correlation between eating more meals versus less meals on metabolism. Overall daily caloric intake is the prime driver in weight gain/loss.
At the end of the day, you can rest assured that you are one step closer to your goal if you have tracked your calories. Tracking metrics is a win win when it comes to wellness results. It either creates the process in which we are aiming (fat loss, recomposition, muscle gain) or it gives us valuable data in which we can adjust our path to achieve our goals. This simple truth will help keep you going when you run into inevitable adversity along your wellness journey.
Again, I know there is more to the equation but we only have so much energy throughout the day. Let’s channel that energy into areas that are principle based and that we can control. Your best is yet to come!
I believe that if you can change your mindset from quick, right now, instant, short-term thinking; to patient, slow, methodical, long term-thinking every area in your life will improve. This mindset is especially important when it comes to fitness because like everything, it is a process. It takes time for your body to change, adapt, and grow. It’s no different than a lot of things in life. Once you realize this you can begin to respect the process of achieving wellness results.
In John Ratey’s book called “Spark”, he discusses the research behind exercise and our brain. It is apparent that our bodies are made to move. When we move, certain neurotransmitters, chemical processes, and hormones get released in the body that develop our brains and muscles. Quite simply, if we don’t move, our bodies don’t have a reason (from a phsyiological standpoint) to work efficiently. Exercise is for EVERYONE. Not just for the people with the perfect pictures on social media. During this blog, I hope to shed some light into why exercise is so much more than a simple behavior change. Exercise has the power to create life transformation from the inside out!
During this blog, I want to talk more on the deeper parts of motivation and less about the little x’s and o’s of fitness. I recently had some conversations with people that really opened my eyes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly important this topic is. It’s nothing new or revolutionary but this week it truly hit me.
ESTIMATED READ TIME: 7 MINUTES
During this blog, I want to talk about nutrition methods that sometimes steal too much credit when it comes to results. I want to shed light on areas that only account for about 5% of the results. My intention is not to dismiss these areas completely. These areas still contain some importance especially when you are competing at high levels of sport/physique. However, for the majority of us, these areas shouldn’t control every aspect of our lives.
ESTIMATED READ TIME: 7 MINUTES
When I first started my fitness journey, I spent so much time focusing on the little x’s and o’s of exercise and nutrition. I was too strict and rigid in my approach and it caused me to sacrifice certain aspects of my life. Not only was I missing out on life, but I also didn’t achieve my fitness goals. Things became to structured and it didn’t leave room for life to happen. It takes an enormous amount of will power to keep up a strict nutrition/exercise plan. I spent years being entranced in this mindset and couldn’t find enjoyment in the journey. I realized that I didn’t want my life to be fitness. Instead, I realized that I wanted my life to be enhanced by fitness. During this blog, I want to suggest a different approach to your wellness goals. One that builds consistency while having the flexibility for life's tosses and turns.
During this blog, I want to talk about the Principle of Progressive Overload. What is the right exercise? What is the right workout? What is the right program? These are questions I hear a lot. We are all different in terms of how we respond to certain stimuli and each have various individual factors such as exercise history, anatomy, and mobility (just to name a few). However, what each program has in common is the Principle of Progressive Overload. This principle states “in order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.” In order to apply this principle to your workouts, you need to find different ways to increase stress that is above and beyond what your body has previously experienced. In this blog I want to discuss four different ways in which you can do this. Keep in mind that these are basic concepts but are often times overlooked. I believe that we have a tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be. For whatever reason, we tend to believe that programming needs to be complex and extremely difficult in order to see results. Keep it simple, sustainable, and enjoyable while mastering the basics. You will be surprised how effective this approach becomes.
The most common and straight forward way to increase stress on your body. This method involves increasing the weight lifted over each workout. For simplicity sake, I will use the same example throughout the entire blog. During week 1 you squat 100 pounds for 8 reps. Using this method, you would then squat 110 pounds for 8 reps on week two. This increases the demands placed on the body and as a result adaptation will take place assuming you have adequate recovery.
This is pretty self explanatory here. This method involves increasing the reps performed over each workout. During week 1, you squat 100 pounds for 8 reps. During week 2 you would then squat 100 pounds for 10 reps. Again, this method increases stress placed on the body and will lead to adaptation eventually.
Tempo is essentially the speed of the movement you are performing. This is an area a lot of people forget but is so incredibly important and effective. Here’s an example of how you can progress with tempo. Week 1 you squat 100 lbs for 8 reps with a 2 second eccentric (lowering phase) and a 1 second pause on the bottom of the squat (isometric). This provides a time under tension of 3-4 seconds assuming you have good movement quality throughout the range of motion. During week 2 you can increase the time under tension to 5 or 6 seconds (3 second eccentric and a 2-3 second pause). Time under tension drastically increases the metabolic stress placed on the body and is a key component in hypertrophy (muscle growth), connective tissue health, and progression.
Rest periods are another effective way to increase the tension placed on your body without changing weight, reps, or tempo. Let’s say week 1 you rest 1 minute between squat sets. During week 2, if you rest 30 seconds between each set and achieve same amount of reps with the same amount of weight, you will have increased the tension placed on your body but just simply resting less.
There are lots of other methods you can use to adhere to the principle of progressive overload. Weight, reps, tempo, and rest are basic concepts but are extremely effective. Every solid program out there is built around this principle and applies one or two of these basic concepts. Choose a balanced outline, be creative, progress slowly, and find a sustainable program that you can adhere to on a consistent basis. Adhere to these principles and explore your wellness. Your best is yet to come!
During this blog I want to talk on the subject of principle based training. I see too many people get caught up with the little details of finding the right exercise and the right foods that they ignore what accounts for the majority of results. If you listen to successful people in the fitness community, you begin to see a trend. No one does the exact same thing. Instead they follow fundamental principles and adjust for their own individual needs. There is no secret exercise that brings instant results. Instead of trying to find the “perfect” program, focus on a few key exercise principles and allow room to explore your own fitness DNA. These principles, if applied, have the ability to make drastic improvements in your fitness journey.
Today, I want to talk about the Principle of Specificity. This principle states “to become good at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill.” It may seem simple but it is an extremely difficult principle to adhere to. Let me explain. If you want to be good at basketball, you need to spend time playing basketball. If you want to be good at the bench press, you need to spend time bench pressing. If you want to lose fat you need to spend time training for fat loss. If you want to gain muscle you need to spend time training for hypertrophy. Hopefully, by the end of this blog you will be encouraged to have a specific vision, direction, and action when it comes to your fitness goals.
The first step in reaching your goals is to figure out exactly what you are trying to achieve. Too often people have conflicting goals and as a result, end up spending more energy running around than making actual progress. If you are looking to lose fat you need to train different than someone looking to gain muscle. Personally, I spent way too many years just “working out” without direction. I didn’t have a clear focus and didn’t have specific goals. I thought just working out hard would magically create the body I want.
Once you figure out your goal, your program should be completely geared towards what you are trying to accomplish. There’s a difference between working out and training. Don’t just workout to workout. Train for your goal. Training implies purpose and you would be surprised how much of a difference purpose makes.
Once you find your goal, you still need to take action! I believe there are lots of people that know what they want but don't have a direction in which to take action. Create a specific, measurable attainable, realistic, and timely goal (SMART goal for short). This gives your goals some direction. For example, the goal of “losing weight” doesn't have an effective sense of direction. It isn’t specific, measureable, or timely. Instead, your goal could be “I will lose 15 pounds by Christmas." This goal gives each day meaning and adheres to the SMART goal protocol.
Finally, once you have a sense of direction, you need to take action! Results are created as a byproduct of consistency. You have to find a sustainable lifestyle where you can exercise on a regular basis. This should look different from person to person. Working out three times a week for a year will bring more results then working out "hard" six days a week inconsistently. Find a sustainable system that works for you and commit to it. Intentionally pursue the best version of yourself with a sense of contentment and hunger. Your best is yet to come!
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Junk food is a topic that I think we can all relate to. No matter, how motivated you are or how much willpower you have, we have all eaten things we believe we shouldn’t have. However, I am convinced that it is precisely that negative relationship with food that may be holding you back from your goals. It is my hope that this blog helps you develop a different relationship with food. A relationship that promotes balance, consistency, and enjoyment.
What’s really interesting about the term 'junk food' is how individualized it is. It really depends on your own individual perspective. Some people think bread is junk food. Some people think pizza is junk food. Believe it or not, some people think fruit is junk food. For simplicity sake, I’m going to define the term junk food as the negative relationship between a certain food and our own personal perspective. In other words, the feeling we get when we eat something we 'feel' we shouldn’t have.
With that in mind, the term junk food is a mindset that is doomed from the beginning. The term junk food insinuates that the food you are eating is inherently bad for you. When you call something junk food, you are supporting the negative relationship you have with that particular food. In reality, the negative relationships you have with food may be slowing down your progress.
Thinking about food in terms of 'good' and 'bad' will bring a sense of guilt into the equation. Guilt and shame are the two areas that cause the most damage when it comes to wellness. From my experience, these culprits can take you down two paths.
The first and most common path is overeating 'bad' foods (what you believe is bad) because of the negative feelings derived from guilt/shame. Eating 'negative relationship' foods leads us to consume excessive amounts because we have the 'already screwed it up' mentality. Instead of being able to enjoy food, realize it’s importance, and move on, we eat excessively.
The second path is when you completely eliminate foods you believe are evil. Eventually, depriving these foods will cause cravings to set in. The majority of the time, these intense cravings will lead to overeating. I spent years and years traveling back and forth on these paths. I didn’t get the results I wanted and it was miserable. Quite simply a lose-lose situation.
I want to challenge you to stop viewing food through the lens of junk food and healthy food. Instead, we should be viewing food evenly through the structure of a pyramid. The nutrient dense, whole, unprocessed foods are found in the base. The more refined, processed, foods are found towards the top of the pyramid. The shape refers to the amount of each food you should consume. The base consists of the 80% of the food quantity that is consumed. The top refers the other 20% of food quantity consumed. For some reason, people believe that certain foods get you fat instantly. You know the phrase, 'don’t eat that, it will go straight to your hips'. When in reality, the foods at the top of the pyramid are critical to the structure of the pyramid as a whole. Eating 20% at the top of pyramid allows you to eat 80% at the base of the pyramid and vice versa. The top helps maintain cravings and can even support metabolic processes, while the bottom provides your body with nutrient dense foods on a consistent basis. When you realize the top is just as important as the bottom, nutrition starts becoming more simple, sustainable, and enjoyable. Realizing both sides play a crucial role is so incredibly important in reaching your fitness goals.
It is so much more effective to view food equally this way. First of all, you will have a more consistent caloric intake. This will lead to more consistent results and that will give you additional motivation. Secondly, a balanced pyramid will not deplete willpower reserves and as a result, nutrition will become a sustainable system (recent research supports the claim that willpower is a limited resource). Viewing food through this pyramid structure leaves room for life to happen while reaching your fitness goals. You don’t have to refuse social gatherings at restaurants or when your co-workers offer you that cookie. Win-win.
Most importantly, it allows you to develop a healthy relationship with food. That is so incredibly important because fitness should enhance your life and not take away from it. If it’s a miserable process, why are you doing it? Your best is yet to come!