I listened to an audiobook a couple of summers ago and have continued re-listening to it every year because it's so powerful to me. The book's title is called "The One Thing". A fitness influencer I have been following over the last couple years suggested reading it so I gave it a shot. Little did I know the impact this book would have on my perspective in life (not just in the gym).
I was listening to an interview the other day on overall health and wellness. During this podcast, a world renown doctor was being interviewed. This doctor was discussing the idea of increasing our perspective/approach when it comes to our individual wellness journey. He talked about the four pillars of wellness from his perspective which relates to the overall message of the Spark brand extremely well. The four pillars he talked about were movement (exercise), diet (nutrition), sleep, and renewal. Most fitness professionals will focus more on the first two pillars but sometimes neglect the other two. During this blog, I want to dive more specifically into the pillar of sleep and how extremely important it is in regards to reaching your goal.
My first full time job out of college was a wellness director for an organization that helped served high risk youth. I helped spearhead an exercise therapy based program called Spark. I created this program based off a book called 'Spark' by John Ratey. Ratey is a member of the Harvard Medical Team and provides ample research supporting the physical and physiological effects of exercise on the brain. We combined Ratey's research based protocol and some of my background in exercise science to provide a thorough exercise program for the youth we served. Through this experience, I came to realize the psychological power that exercise has on the brain. Many times we only think about the physical benefits of exercise and nutrition. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wellness benefits.
Periodization is used all the time in the world of exercise training. Periodization is a systematic way to segment your training in order to gain effective adaptation and bypass injury/fatigue. However, most of us don't realize that there is a thing called "nutritional periodization". At its core, it seeks to segment nutrition in a similar fashion aiming to bypass metabolic damage, hormone damage, and other physiological/mental issues.
It's been a while since I've posted a blog but I just HAD to share this nutrition system with you. At least for me, I seem to become a lot more consistent when I have a game-plan in place. Now, this game-plan can't contain too much structure/regulations or it becomes an unsustainable chore. It has to allow for life to happen. If you can develop a plan that adheres to life's variables then you will develop positive momentum as you move along your fitness journey. If you always feel "on track" you will become a lot more consistent.
I am fascinated with the concept of momentum. I can't identify the scientific effect behind it but I know it exists. I've experienced the power of momentum in many areas of life but especially in the area of fitness. During take off, a plane uses the majority of its fuel and energy in order to reach cruising altitude. The same principle applies to fitness transformations. Once you reach "cruising altitude" it is way way easier to adjust and maintain wellness results compared to creating wellness results.
Resistance training is as an interesting topic. By now, I hope there is enough education and information around this misconception but there still seems to be some hesitation with it. During this blog I want to talk about some of the benefits of resistance training and help you create your foundation around this life changing fitness component.
This is such an interesting topic to me because it can be your greatest asset or your greatest enemy. Controlling hunger levels can either help you achieve your goal or cause lots of inconsistent and frustrating results. Here are 7 tips that I want to share with you in regards to controlling hunger levels throughout the day.
Make sure you are consuming .7 - 1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I realize this is a large range but different things work for different people (depending on goal and individual lifestyle factors). Along with all the great benefits of protein, it helps keep you full due to its high fiber and nutritional structure. In addition, protein has the highest thermic effect of digestion. That means that you burn more calories when you consume protein compared to consuming fats or carbohydrates.
I understand that some people don't enjoy coffee but it truly does work wonders in regards to suppressing appetite. However, stay away from the fillers, additives, and sugar. If you aren't a coffee fan then try other low to no calorie drinks such as sparkling water, teas, zevia, and/or other drink mixes.
This isn't anything new but increasing fiber intake will help you stay full for a longer period of time. Great candidates are typically found in whole, nutrient dense, natural, food sources (things with typically 7 ingredients or less).
Although this could be included with the fiber category I wanted to talk about fruit and veggies separately. These foods do contain fiber but they also contains ingredients that specifically work to help keep you full and thriving. These foods also contain relatively low amounts of calories for how much you can consume (which gives you the best bang for your 'nutritional' buck).
Make sure you are getting enough fat in your diet as well. Fat doesn't make you fat. In fact, it can help you lose fat by creating optimal hormonal levels and keep you full in a caloric deficit. A great number to shoot for is around 25% of total calories for the day. You can make 10 gram adjustments up or down depending on individual factors, preferences, and positions.
resistance training > cardio
Let me start off by saying that I use both of these methods during any transformation. Resistance training has certain benefits and cardiovascular exercise has certain benefits. They are both incredibly important tools when achieving wellness goals. With that being said, if you are having a tough time controlling hunger, prioritize resistance training over moderate/high intensity cardiovascular exercise. High levels of cardio can increase appetite which will make caloric deficits less enjoyable and ultimately harder to stick to. However, low intensity exercise such as walking doesn't seem to have an effect on appetite. My recommendation is to create your foundation on resistance training and develop consistency with it. You can still perform cardiovascular activity but stick to small bouts of moderate/high intensity cardio while performing as much low intensity cardio as you desire (as long as it doesn't effect overall recovery).
Probably the most underrated aspect of fitness. In my humble opinion, sleep is the most important recovery asset. If you aren't recovering, try sleeping an extra hour rather than drinking that second protein shake. Along with that, sleep is incredibly important in controlling mood, hormones, brain function, and hunger! If you find yourself with inconsistent patterns in any of these areas, start sleeping more.
If you need individual guidance or help with troubleshooting personal barriers please contact me on the button below or click any of the social links. I would love to give you some free practical and applicable advice. Your best is yet to come!
Here are four habits to take into consideration if you are struggling along your wellness journey. Regardless of your goal, these habits will help you create momentum. This is by no means a complete list but something that stands out to me. In my humble opinion, I believe we put too much emphasis on 'fancy' systems and programs. The reality is the journey isn't 'sexy' or 'flashy'. Creating transformation consists of a small key habits that are executed with consistency day in and day out. Most of these areas are overlooked and underappreciated but have the capacity to create that wellness momentum that we are all looking for.
Eat 80% of your foods from whole, natural, nutrient dense sources. These foods are usually sources with 7 ingredients or less. The rest of the 20% can come from foods that are typically more desirable (chocolate, pizza, ice cream). Eating 80/20 is a great habit to develop because it controls cravings. It also helps create a sustainable, enjoyable nutrition approach. If you can become consistent with 80/20 the results will play out over time.
Consume at least one handful of fruits and or vegetables with each meal. Stay away from dried or frozen fruits/vegetables. Instead, consume fresh natural sources. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables have many benefits. First and foremost, these sources have plenty of micronutrients which help promote internal health (hormone, cellular, brain function). Furthermore, these foods have a high fiber content and contain relatively low amounts of calories. This is extremely useful when losing weight because these foods promote a caloric deficit without having to feel miserable and deprived.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day (generally 1/2 bodyweight in ounces + 8-16 ounces per hour of physical activity) as this will help keep you full as well as promote internal health. Drinking water throughout the day will help with absorbing food, promoting proper digestion, and aid in flushing out toxins. Furthermore, water helps keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. This is extremely beneficial regardless of whether you are losing fat or gaining muscle.
Pick four or five go-to food combinations that you enjoy that contain quality food sources. Use these meals regularly throughout the week as this will make transformation journeys a lot more simple. When you eat similar meals throughout the week you develop an eye for portion sizes, macronutrients, and overall calories. Especially when you are tracking calories, this makes things less complicated because the meals are saved into the app database (so you don't have to continually look up foods). I like to stick to the 5 S's. Those being: salads, soups, stir-frys, shakes, and scrambles. I've found that these combinations allow for plenty of variety and contain higher amounts of fiber/micronutrients while containing lower amounts of calories (depending on the chef).
These habits are common among successful people in the fitness community. If you find that you are struggling along your fitness journey, set aside the next four months. Pick one habit and really focus on it for a month. Once you have a mastered it, move on to the next month and start developing habit number two. Complete these steps until you have all four habits under your belt. A big myth with creating wellness results is unlimited willpower and discipline. Most people think you need high amounts of these factors in order to see results. I would challenge this notion because will power, discipline, and motivation ebbs and flows. The 'secret' isn't to extend high amounts of these factors day in and day out but to channel all willpower and discipline towards one habit. Once that habit is mastered it runs on limited will-power (mostly autopilot) so we are able to devote the remaining will power to the next habit. It is precisely this process that creates sustainable, long-term results. If you have any specific questions please reach out to me. I would love to help you troubleshoot any problems or barriers in your individual lifestyle. Your best is yet to come!
I was finishing up the nutrition section of my soon to be released E-BOOK yesterday. I was talking about the process of counting calories and it made me realize that not everyone is in that boat. Tracking calories is the method I recommend because it takes the guesswork out of body transformation. I also think it's the fastest and most efficient route to your goal. Without it, I do believe we are essentially shooting in the dark.
However, I do realize that some people aren't in a place to be tracking calories for multiple reasons. Maybe it is too stressful and causes more emotional distress than relief. Maybe life is too hectic and counting calories isn't in the cards right now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Adherence trumps everything else when it comes to creating sustainable wellness habits. If it isn't practical, it isn't optimal. If you fall into this category then here are some tips/guidelines to follow that will help promote a caloric deficit without tracking calories.
3 meals a day
Stick to three meals a day. Make sure 1/4 or 1/2 of your plate is made up of veggies. At least 1/4 or 1/2 consists of a protein source, and 1/4 can be from any carb of fat source of your choosing. It is important to note that carbs and fats are extremely individual. Typically, the higher the body fat percentage you have the lower amount of carbohydrates you need. The lower the body fat percentage you have the higher amount of carbohydrates you can eat. Use this general guideline as a way to dial in carbohydrates and fat sources.
1-2 snacks a day
Stick to a couple snacks a day and make sure they fit into the palm of your hand. These snacks should consist of either a fruit, vegetable, or protein source.
Be aware of dressings/sauces that you add to your foods as these will increase calories dramatically. Keep oils to a minimum and be aware of drinking calories. Stick to low-no calorie drinks such as water, Bai, sparkling water, and coffee for example. Drink a glass of water before you eat as this will help keep you full during a caloric deficit. Also make sure to drink as much water as you can throughout the day as this is a great plateau breaker (generally 1/2 bodyweight in ounces + 8-16 ounces per hour of physical activity). Lastly, stay active throughout the day. Move around as much as possible. Go for a walk. Move around in the house. Find ways to move at work.
If you have any other questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to email me on the button below. Also take advantage of our free strategy call! We would love to help troubleshoot any wellness barriers that you have in your life right now. Remember that there isn't a one size fits all equation when it comes to wellness results. The magic isn't in the information, it's in the application. It's about meeting you where you are at in order to get where you've always wanted to be. Your best is yet to come!