Categorized as: Health Tips

Who cares how much you eat on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it forces us to stop and remind ourselves to give thanks and count our blessings. With that said, I’ve never understood the guilt of eating an endless amount of food on Thanksgiving. Isn’t that what makes Thanksgiving one of the best holidays ever?!

I know that’s probably not the most politically correct answer as a trainer and coach, but it’s the truth. No single salad made anyone skinny. Conversely, no Double Cheeseburger ever made anyone become overweight. Nevertheless, if you are already feeling anxiety about overeating on Thanksgiving here are three tips that may help keep your calorie consumption somewhat manageable. 

Stay moving
Just as popular as chest day is on Monday for bodybuilders, everyone knows that Thanksgiving is left for running 5ks. Every city in the U.S. host 5ks on Thanksgiving. My theory is that because they know they can take advantage of the mindset “if I burn extra calories by running, then I can eat more food.” Although I don’t agree with that, it does help ticket sales.

If running isn’t your cup of tea, perform a quick bodyweight workout from home. Here is a list of workouts and exercises you can do that require no equipment. Whatever your choice keep the workout fun. My family has decided to play sports this year before dinner which is going to be interesting, but I like the idea that we are all encouraging each other to move and break a sweat.

Fill up with protein and veggies
When it’s time to eat start with your protein and vegetables first. I encourage you to snack on those foods higher in protein and fat before the Big Meal. It can take up to 20 minutes to feel full once we start eating, so picking at food while waiting for dinner to can help make you feel fuller before you are tempted to eat the typical starchy Thanksgiving style foods. Does mash potatoes, cheesy potatoes, stuffing ring a bell?

Who cares
You’re not going to eat perfectly on Thanksgiving. What does that even mean anyways? There’s no reason to place all that pressure on yourself. You begin to get caught up on eating “healthy” that you forget the whole reason you are celebrating Thanksgiving, to start with. Each the company of family and friends. Laugh, tell stories, give chest bumps. When it’s all over, we’ll wake up the morning and crush it like we usually do.


The True Meaning of Moderation

The dieting term “cheating” comes from the philosophy of the Clean Eating Approach. On this diet, it is typically encouraged that 80-90% of your food remains “healthy” (whatever that means). The 20-30% left over can be used to eat “bad” (whatever that means) foods. In this context moderation is your limit on how much “bad” food you eat. Heres the problem studies have shown that trying to”eat clean” isn’t sustainable long term. These diets are restrictive and very unpractical to modern living. I try not to use the word cheating in conversation with clients because the connotation implies you are dishonest and unfaithful to yourself. To make matters worse, this type of diet begins to create feelings of guilt and shame about eating certain foods which you had never experienced before.

What I tell my clients is if you aren’t tracking what you eat it’s impossible to know if the amount of food you are eating is causing the weight gain. That’s the cold hard truth. Anyone else who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something.

Moderation is constant counterbalancing of your daily caloric numbers to ensure you don’t gain weight.

For me to be able to help someone who wants to lose weight, I would need to know everything they are eating for at least a month at a time. This type of journaling provides me a measurable, observable, quantifiable way to troubleshoot someone’s eating habits. From there I can help them tweak their caloric needs to help them lose weight while being able to enjoy the process.

So what does it mean to eat in moderation? Let me give you an example. If you plan on going out to dinner with the family and decide to have two beers, If you are a conscious eater, you would naturally tell yourself “I’m going to have to eat a light meal tomorrow to counterbalance those beers.” Or let’s say you want to eat a cup of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream for dessert. You might tell yourself that you are going to skip breakfast and fast until lunch the next day. Without knowing it, you are practicing the technique of moderation. Those who maintain a lean body fat percentage throughout the year do this quite naturally. For most of us, it takes a lot of practice to know if we are eating above our means.

Moderation is constant counterbalancing of your daily caloric numbers to ensure you don’t gain weight eating less favorable foods. For those that are overweight, this can only be done by quantifying ones’ food intake on a daily basis. Otherwise, you are left to guessing which ultimately causes frustration due to the inconsistency and inaccuracy of not knowing how much one is eating.

Anyone else who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something.

Which raises another question. How many calories should you be eating?

The answer to this and most fitness questions is it depends. Everyone’s caloric needs are different. Using online macro programs will help you set a baseline for weight loss. But easier than a fancy calculator is simple multiplication. Just multiply your body weight by 10. Weigh yourself on Monday. Measure and log EVERYTHING you eat all week long on the MyFitnessPal app. The following Monday I want you to weigh yourself again. What happened? If you gained weight a factor of 10 is too high, drop it to 9 and repeat the process measuring and tracking EVERYTHING. If you lose more than 2lbs your factor is too low raise it to 11 and see what happens. Did you still lose weight, maintain, or gain? A sustainable weight loss program reduces weight at .5-1bs/week.

Ultimately, maintaining a healthy body weight comes from being able to accurately know how much to eat, so you don’t gain weight.

Not many people can do that which is why tracking is so important


Get up, Stand up, Move!

By: Coach Kirk
Everyone knows that sitting isn’t the best for you. In fact, it’s one of the worst things for you since we do it so much in our modern life. So what makes sitting so awful?!
Here are a few reasons:
  1. Weak glutes, hamstrings, and adductors. When you sit in a chair, the only muscles that really work are your quads, and of course, that’s just when you are descending and ascending from the chair.
  2. Increased weight gain. Your metabolism grinds to a halt when you sit meaning you are hardly burning any calories
  3. Tight hips, hamstrings, back, and neck muscles. Let’s be real, the majority of us when we sit have terrible posture. That’s enough to destroy our mobility throughout our spine. The immobility of our legs in an awful 90-degree position at both the hip and the knee is about as unnatural as it gets for our bodies.
  4. There are many more detriments of sitting such as: anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis.
So what can you do if your job requires you to sit all the time???
I have a few ideas:
  1. Stand up and walk as often as possible. Try not to go more than 30 minutes of sitting at any time. 
  2. Adjust your position. You can kneel or stand at your desk. Sit on your knees on top of your chair like here. You might have to rotate the chair so your feet can rest off the edge of the chair. 
  3. Mobilize when you have off-time. Grab a foam roller and roll out when you can between appointments or every 30 minutes. 
  4. SQUAT! Squats will help activate the muscles that have been shut off due to sitting in a chair. Do lots of squats and rest at the bottom of your squat when you can!
There are more options out there like standing desks and chairs that allow you to kneel. Those are great but they don’t come cheap. Nothing can ever make up for getting up, standing up, and actually moving.

Sodium…the hidden enemy!

By Coach Miles

Are you over-consuming salt? Did you know that 90% of Americans eat more salt than the recommended 2,300 mg per day? That is the equivalent to about one teaspoon per day. In fact, the average American consumes an average of 3,400 mg per day, a full 1,100 mg more than the U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend. 

Don’t get me wrong, salt makes food taste great, and a small amount is important in a healthy diet. But in excess, salt is linked to high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Here are 5 things you can do to reduce your daily consumption:

  1. Read the Label – Most of the salt we eat comes from processed foods and restaurants. If you eat something that comes out of a bag, box, or can, read the nutrition information for sodium content. Chain restaurants are now required to provide the nutritional information about their menu items.
  2. Pay Attention to Serving Size – Serving sizes can be deceiving, and very small! For example, a can of soup often contains two servings. If each serving has 650 mg of sodium and you eat the whole can, you’d have consumed more than half of your daily sodium in one meal!
  3. Know Where Salt Lurks – Sodium goes by many different names. Read an ingredients list, and you may see it called salt, sea salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium alginate, sodium citrate, sodium hydroxide, and sodium phosphate. Salt usually hides within other ingredients as well like yeast extract, natural flavor, malt extract, malt flavoring, natural beef or chicken flavoring, seasoning, spices and anything called “extract,” especially in savory foods. MSG is an ingredient in many additives including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, and calcium caseinate.
  4. Choose “Low-Sodium” Foods – Look for the words “unsalted” or “low-sodium” on labels. These mean that the product has no salt or very little added salt. Avoid packaging that says “reduced-sodium.” That label only says that there is 25% less sodium than the original version, which is usually still too much. Just because something is low in salt doesn’t mean the product is good for you. Manufacturers often make up for the loss of flavor by adding sugar, fat, or additives.
  5. Salt is Not Just an Ingredient in Junk Food! – Even pantry staples can be high in sodium. Check the sodium content of jarred pasta sauces, lunch meats, cheese, condiments, canned beans and vegetables, broths and soups.

We have all been using MyFitnessPal to track our nutrient and macro intake. Sodium is one of those tracked nutrients. Take a look at your sodium intake over the past several days. Were you over your daily limit? If so, take some of these tips I’ve listed above to help you reduce your sodium levels. 

The Scoop on Gluten

By Coach Miles

Everywhere you go, and everywhere you look someone is talking about GLUTEN. It has become a favorite nutrition topic as of late. Your family, friends, and co-workers are talking about it. You’ve seen it on restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. Flip open a page of your favorite magazine, and you’ll find a story about a celebrity going GLUTEN-FREE.

So, what’s going on here? Are all these people ditching gluten because its trendy? Or is there more to this new trend?

Let’s start by discussing what gluten exactly is. Gluten is a protein composite found in grains. Wheat is the most well-known gluten source, but you can also find it in rye, barley, spell, and all kinds of other grains too. Gluten is made up of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is the one that gives people problems after they eat it. When you mix flour made from gluten-grains you get a sticky mixture. This is what helps the dough stretch and allows it to rise when you bake it.


Now, that doesn’t sound so terrible, so why is gluten getting so much attention?

Did you know that a scientific review published in the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten? It’s true. There’s an incredible range of conditions; ranging from fatigue and canker sores to osteoporosis and inflammatory bowel disease. All of these conditions are associated with eating this seemingly innocent protein. Gluten causes trouble by making the body inflamed, resulting in effects all throughout the body. This means gluten can affect your brain just as well as it can affect your joints or digestive tract.

Most people struggling with inflammation-related conditions focus on treating them at the surface level. They take medications to minimize the symptoms of the condition, but they have to keep taking these medications because they never get to the root of the problem.

If you’re struggling with a chronic health issue, or even if you feel okay, eliminating gluten can have an incredible impact on your health. The Greek physician Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine.” And more and more scientific research is proving he was right. It might be time to change your “prescription.”

All you need to do to help your body is to look at your food you’re consuming. Labels are there for a reason. If it is gluten free, it will say so.

Its Prepping Time!

By Coach Miles

Picture this, it’s Sunday evening, and you have no plans, what can you do with your free time? Game of Thrones is over, and Walking Dead hasn’t started yet. So, what could you do? Oh, I got it! You can meal prep for the upcoming week. If you’ve never meal prepped before then, you’re in luck s today is the day where you’ll receive a crash course on meal prepping and its advantages.

Meal prepping is quite simple. All you do is prepare your meals 3-7 days out in advance. You can either cook them, package them, freeze them or do whatever you want to do to make your life easier when it comes time to eat a meal. Spending those 10-15 minutes each day before each meal trying to figure out your calories, or macros and what foods you can and can’t eat can stack up to a lot of wasted time and energy.

Here are some benefits of meal prepping:

  1. Saves Time – You can save time by creating, cooking, or even packaging your foods for the upcoming week all at once. Or you can just do it every single time over and over again multiple times a day for every day and waste your time.
  2. Saves Money – By buying in bulk and either planning or selecting a particular type of food to consume during the week can save you a lot of money. You could easily buy a six pack of chicken breast that you can put on the grill and have one for each day. Or you can spend more money by buying six different types of meat. To avoid any boredom of the chicken, you can just place different seasoning and serve it with mixed vegetables or sides for each day. 
  3. Helps Avoid Cravings – It’s in the middle of the afternoon, and you are hungry. But, you woke up late and didn’t have time to make your lunch. Now you’re staring at the McDonald’s across the street salivating. You could have avoided this scenario if you simply meal prepped earlier in the week. If you did meal prep, you would be enjoying a healthy and delicious meal instead of hating your self after that Big Mac.
  4. Helps you stay on Track – Meal prepping will allow you the time to sit down and figure out all of your macros and calories all at once for each meal. Once you’ve cooked and packaged everything you know have that sense of comfort knowing when you wake up the next morning you have your pre planned meals awaiting you. And even better those meals all contain the right amount of macros and calories for you to achieve your weight loss. 

Meal Prepping has been practiced and is still being practiced by most if not all serious athletes, bodybuilders, CrossFiters, and gym goers alike. It’s about time you jumped aboard and saved some money and made your life much easier.