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Author: sdevolution

Josh & Alessandra are Connecticut natives who moved to San Diego to pursue their passion of spreading the healthy lifestyle through fitness and wellness. Both graduated from Central Connecticut State University however it wasn't until both resided on the West Coast when they decided to join forces not only as a power couple but as business partners. Using their combined knowledge and experience, they have made it their mission to continue changing lives one client at a time.
Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

You’ve seen a budget before. You have probably come up with one to make sure you can pay your bills every month. But budgets aren’t always financial. The term “budgeting” is extremely relevant when it comes to your fitness goals and in ultimately determining your level of success. We’re going to talk about the standard “you get out what you put in”, and exactly what that means! But first, let’s start with some TOUGH LOVE!

“You get out what you put in.”

TOUGH LOVE

As coaches, we hear it all the time.. “I had a bad weekend. A bad meal turned into a bad day. I went out drinking. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t feel like working out this week, so I didn’t.” And there is plenty more where that came from. And do you know what our answer is? “That’s ok.” Because it is! We preach balance. Our clients know that we harp on it, but it’s true.

If you are prepping for a contest, or are another type of competitive athlete and you are getting ready for your event, there is less room for error in these instances. But for the typical person who is just looking for a healthier lifestyle, this is nothing more than a minor speed bump. BUT, there can’t be any confusion as to why the scale hasn’t moved or clothes aren’t fitting better. A bad day here or there won’t kill your efforts, but it can be enough to stall them. Even if it’s only one bad day per week and you’re cutting, it could be enough to take you out of that deficit or drastically decrease it. So instead of a little over a pound of weight loss, you could be looking at the same number or maybe down a quarter of a pound.

On the other end of it, let’s say you’re bulking- you drank a little too much on Friday night and you used the weekend to sleep it off. Well it’s a little harder to get to your total daily caloric intake with half the number of meals that you usually eat. So that’s two days at significantly lower numbers, which is probably enough to inhibit an increase in weight.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll have to curb your expectations as far as progress is concerned. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you do something once in a while, you can expect results once in a while.” I love it. Most people don’t understand the amount of dedication it takes to achieve something that they aren’t used to doing. Furthermore, the more you progress and get closer to an elite level, the more dedication it is going to take to continue to progress.

You can’t bust your ass in the gym and then have a free for all in the kitchen and you can’t spend your life meal prepping then half-ass it in the gym and expect to get great results. It doesn’t work like that. Results are HARD to get. They may come easier to some people, but those people may just be programmed already on how to get this stuff done- making it less effort for them specifically.

Setting Your Budget

Again, we’re not talking about money here. This article isn’t about setting money aside for groceries and your gym membership. We’re talking about time and effort. How much time can you budget to your goals. How many things are you willing to give up in order to achieve them. The higher the number, the better the results. You don’t have to want to be elite. You just have to decide how much you want out of this. And that’s exactly what we’re going to breakdown here.

“Do I really need to bring a scale with me everywhere I go?”

Honestly? Yeah, you do. At least until you’ve memorized what an accurate serving size looks like for all the things you eat regularly. And even after that, if you are really hard-core about this stuff, you will have to continue to weigh your meals out because there’s no way you know what 130g of oats looks like vs 115g. Eyeball it after you learn what it looks like: Good Results. You weight it out at every meal: Great Results.

“I don’t have a set program in the gym, but I know what my body likes.”

Cool, do you remember what you did for every set of every exercise the last week? How about the last month? I can probably stop asking there but I’ll move forward anyway.. How about the last 3-6 months? Do you know exactly how much you’ve progressed in every single lift over this time frame? If you aren’t progressing, you aren’t growing and you’re likely not achieving the adaptations that you’re looking for. If you are, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could be for the amount of time that you’re in the gym.. Or you’ve just started working out and you get to enjoy the amazing responses that your body is going to give you for the first few months! But for most of us, we have to make sure we get everything we work for, so tracking your workouts is a huge tool.

If you go through the motions in the gym (busting your ass, but still untracked), you will get good results. If you track your workouts and plan them out, ensuring your volume has increased and you have progressed, you will get great results.

“I didn’t drink that much, but we got back at like 3 o’clock this morning. I’m pretty beat but I’ll still meet you at the gym at 7.”

I’ll be honest, this was my downfall for a while (college). But I probably wasn’t saying I didn’t drink that much… For whatever reason, I still felt good when I hopped out of bed after a few hours of sleep. Fitness was my religion and I wasn’t going to miss a meal or a workout. Especially not with spring break on the horizon.

But I overlooked how critical sleep was to everything else I was so dedicated to. You don’t grow while you’re lifting. You grow while you’re resting and recovering. Where does most of that take place? Sleep… And the deeper sleep the better. Can you progress off of a limited sleep schedule? Yup.. Results: Good. But get into that sweet spot of 7-9 hours of sleep.. Results: Great.

“I had a family barbecue this weekend.”

This one is easily the most common. Family/friend cookouts/get togethers. It happens all the time. You don’t have to be a party animal for this to be a common occurrence in your life. And this is really what we’re talking about with balancing your lifestyle with fun and fitness. If you aren’t competing and you just love being in shape, isn’t it ok to enjoy the quality time? That’s up for each individual person to debate. But we say yes. Absolutely enjoy it. Life is too short. BUT, if you have a show or competition coming up in two weeks and you’re already cutting it close.. Pack your own damn meals! Haha you can still enjoy the company of others while eating your prep food. Too many people shut themselves out from the world when it comes to crunch time. That’s not very enjoyable. You just need a little self-discipline and to remind yourself of why you started. You are doing something that’s very important to you. That should outweigh the big ass brownie you’re staring at.

Even if you aren’t competing, if you’ve just gotten into a rhythm in your weight loss after a long rut, stick to it! Make some tasty meals to bring with you to keep your progress rolling. We’ve done it.. Your family and friends might throw some playful jabs at you, but you’ll survive, and you’ll have abs to show them at the next one.

Mindful/intuitive eating: Good results. Meal prep: Great results.

Conclusion

So, do you have to be on top of your game all the time? That just depends on where you’re going with this. There are two extremes to every spectrum. The majority of people will find themselves somewhere in between. If you want to be elite, you do need to be at the high-end of the spectrum, on your game all the time. If you are perfectly happy being good, then make good choices most of the time. That’s your balance. That’s your budget. At the end of the day, if you are happy then you already won.

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Paleo… You can probably Google 25 more that will express how THIS diet will change your life. Which diet truly creates the best transformations? Let’s go through a few of the most popular and identify the winner.

The Keto Diet

The low-carb diet. The principle behind the Ketone Diet is getting your body into a state of Ketosis. This is where your body transfers from using carbohydrates as fuel to becoming extremely efficient in using fat for fuel. So how do you get there? The general rule of thumb is keeping your carbohydrates between 30-50 grams.

Basically, when planning your diet, you consume a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and the remainder of your calories are going to come from fat. You don’t plan out your carbohydrates (you’re trying to eat as few as possible) but you the little bit you take in is coming from your protein or fat source that may have a few grams of carbs in them.

The Paleo Diet

This is sometimes called the new, old diet. It’s a bit of a caveman reference. The idea is that you only consume foods that you could hunt or gather.. These foods include fruits, veggies, meat, seeds, and nuts. The bigger list is of things it doesn’t include. You can’t eat any refined sugars, or anything that has been processed. If we couldn’t eat it 500 years ago, you can’t eat it today. That’s the concept.

The Atkins Diet

This one took the country by storm. I feel like half the books in the nutrition section of Barnes and Noble are all about the Atkins Diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, it is extremely similar to the Keto Diet in that the number of carbohydrates you consume are drastically reduced. The biggest difference is that the Atkins Diet calculates “net carbs”, or total carbs minus fiber. His idea on that is the foods high in fiber have less of an impact on blood glucose and can be considered “good carbs”.

Do Any of These Offer A Real Advantage?

The short answer? No. Weight loss and weight gain is extremely simple.. Calories in vs Calories out. The math is extremely straight forward. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, then you will lose weight. If your diet is 5 bags of M&Ms and a Snickers Bar per day, but you’re a competitive distance runner, you’re likely to lose weight. You’re also likely to be extremely malnourished and unhealthy, but you’ll lose weight.

“But (insert diet here) worked for me. I lost 40 pounds on it.”

The only advantage a diet offers is if it is easier for you to follow. Can you live on 30g of carbs per day for the rest of your life? Can you avoid bagels or cereal forever? I can’t speak for you. Maybe you can. But I can’t. And I don’t think most of the rest of us can either. But if you can, then yes, one of these diets does carry and advantage… For YOU.

Understanding Your Lifestyle

The only way you can be successful in a transformation is understanding your own lifestyle. Consistency is key to success. If you can’t maintain something, that success will not last. And if it isn’t maintainable, why are you doing it? How fulfilling is it to hold a trophy for a month and then have it taken back? You need to choose a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain. For most people, that just means eating a healthy balance.

I love the 80/20 rule. It’s a pretty good starting point. If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, the 20% of fun foods isn’t going to crush your goals. It’s actually going to help you maintain them because your aren’t restricting yourself. And when you don’t restrict yourself, you tend to have fewer cravings. The bottom line is that if you are eating foods with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, you can have that bowl of ice cream if it stays within your caloric allowance. If your goal is weight loss and you have 2000 calories for the day and you’ve eaten all your fruits and veggies already but still have 400 calories left over, a few Oreos won’t keep you from losing weight. You’re still in a deficit so you’re still losing weight.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no miracle diet. The only miracle is finding something that you enjoy and are able to sustain. There is no magical food, no magical process, and no overnight transformation. Caloric balance is the determining factor in whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. If you can plan out your goals and be consistent, you will have success. We can help with that 🙂

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Top 4 Exercises to Build Your Back

Top 4 Exercises to Build Your Back

Have you ever gone online and found a training program but wondered how and why it was put together? Or better yet, have you tried to build your own training program but weren’t sure if you were choosing the best exercises for your goals? Well we’re going to make it a little easier for you. Here are the top 4 exercises for building your back!

4. Dumbbell Row

One of the most simple, and yet foundational exercises in any back routine is the dumbbell row. There are plenty of variations to it, including one or two arms, and supported or unsupported. These different variations can be designed engage your core more, or to move maximal weight and place as much stress as possible on your lats.

3. Barbell Row

The barbell row is another awesome tool that allows you to move a significant amount of weight, which is always a plus when you’re trying to build muscle. Depending on how you angle your body and set yourself up for the pull, you can add emphasis to your upper or lower lats. This movement is a must in your back training.

2. Pull Up

Pull ups are awesome for an added emphasis on your upper back. A lot of back exercises are performed pulling up or towards you, but the pull up hits it from a different angle, being an overhead pulling movement.

1. Deadlift

Deadlifts are the king of all exercises. There’s no cheating them.. You load the bar up and you pull it off of the ground. It sounds simple, but you are working your entire posterior chain in the process. Nothing beats this for overall back development.

Summary

These 4 movements are the foundation for a solid back building routine. The compound movements and amount of weight that you can use are the building blocks for strength and growth. These exercises incorporate several different muscles, so you can be sure that your workout is extremely efficient!

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

How Many Meals Per Day Should I Eat?

How Many Meals Per Day Should I Eat?

Introduction

How many times per day should I eat? That question might cross the mind of non-fitness minded folks once in a while. But for those of us who have adopted this lifestyle, it’s a pretty common concern. Most of us grew up eating three meals per day- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That changes based on how our lifestyles change as we get older. Many may continue eating three times per day. Some skip breakfast or are too busy to eat at work and that number drops to two times per day. Others expand on their original three meals and toss in a snack or two throughout the day.

“I’m too busy at work. I just don’t have enough time to eat.”

Once you dive into fitness trends, it just adds to the jumbled confusion about how many times your should eat. Some say it doesn’t matter, it’s strictly calories in vs calories out. Others say the more frequent meals you eat, the better your body composition will be. And then there are studies on intermittent fasting that debate eating all of your calories within a small window, say 8 hours, will create a beneficial response in your body. So who do we listen to? What’s the right answer? We’ll help you decide.

Lifestyle Factors

Some of us naturally fall into one of these categories already. Our lives are busy. The best way to stay efficient is to have a process, a regimen. This regimen dictates when we eat, without thinking about it. If we don’t have the time to eat, and we only “eat when we can”. You might get a small breakfast in on your way out the door and then come home to a large dinner because you haven’t eaten all day. Others might adapt to the busy lifestyle by packing a bunch of small snacks and eating frequently throughout the day. They won’t have your typical “large meal” but several smaller meals every couple of hours to keep them going and fueled for their daily endeavors. A lot of people probably still fall right into the three meals per day category, eating breakfast before work, grabbing a bite to eat on their lunch break, and coming home to make dinner.

This is why we do what we do, but which method works best?

The Effects of Meal Frequency

The science suggests that eating more frequent meals throughout the day may lead to a lower body fat percentage and a higher state of fat-free mass (FFM). There are many different factors that go into this, but we’re going to talk about a few of the major reasons why this method has been so successful

Appetite Control

Do you ever remember being full and deciding, “I could eat an entire pizza right now.” Probably not.. We make most of our poor eating decisions when we are hungry. And typically, the hungrier we are, the worse our decisions may be. The more we let our appetite get out of control, the higher level of cravings we have. Eating more frequently helps to diminish those cravings. You tend to stay in the middle-ground of feeling like you just ate or you are about to eat, but never really hungry or really full.

Blood Sugar Stabilization

You’ve heard of your blood sugars, but you might not know what it really means. We’ll focus on the fitness side of things and what it means for your body composition to keep it really simple. When your blood sugars are too high, your body tends to store more fat. When your blood sugars are too low, your body tends to burn more muscle because muscle is actually utilized faster as a fuel source than fat is.

What affects the level? When you binge or have an entire bag of candy, your blood sugars spike. This is where we are talking about more fat being stored. But inversely, if you go a long time between meals, your blood sugars drop. And this is where we talk about muscle mass being reduced.

Increased Thermic Effect on Food

What is the thermic effect on food? It’s the amount of calories your body burns by processing the food that you’re eating. To give you an idea, 20-30% of the calories from protein you eat, 5-15% of the calories from carbohydrates, and 0-5% of the calories from fats are actually burned as you digest them. Eating more frequently actually helps to increase your metabolism and bump that number up even more!

Anabolism

The evidence also suggests that more meals throughout the day has a positive effect on anabolism. Ingesting a source of protein every three hours optimizes increases in net protein balance. The three hour intervals maximize protein synthesis. These benefits lead to an increase in lean mass, which also increases your resting metabolic rate (calories your body burns at rest), leading to a decrease in body fat percentage.

Summary

Eating smaller, more frequent meals has been shown to have many benefits. It can lead to an increase in lean mass and a decrease in body fat, which creates a lower  body fat percentage. It also helps to reduce cravings and create better blood sugar stabilization.

We typically recommend our clients eat between 4-6 meals per day. Not only in the science, but in our experience, this has shown to be the optimal method. That doesn’t mean the other methods don’t work. There are endless ways to get results and the bottom line always comes down to what works best for each individual client. But for most people, a great start would be here.

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Dealing With Those Who Don’t Support Your Goals

Dealing With Those Who Don’t Support Your Goals

Have you ever started something new and felt like no one supported you? Or even worse, they actually try to pull you away from what you’re trying to achieve. They belittle your goals and accomplishments because they “don’t see the point” and don’t know why you even bother.

This can happen in a variety of situations throughout our lives, but it is definitely prevalent in the fitness world. Maybe you’re attempting to lose 20 pounds. It could be that you want a six pack for the first time in your life. Or it could even be something as significant as a complete lifestyle transformation. You would think everyone in your circle would be behind you 100%, right? Unfortunately that’s not always the case. As a matter of fact, plenty of our clients reach out to us asking what to do about the negative, unsupportive people in their lives.

So what do you do?

Well, it depends on the situation. How significantly you are trying to change your life will dictate how much you will have to decide to change.. And WHO…

You’re not going to say goodbye forever to your parents because they encourage you to enjoy the desserts at a family gathering while you’re in the middle of a cut. But if you’re prepping for a show and your friends are always pushing you to go out and drink with them no matter how many times you tell them what you’re doing, you may want to go MIA until after your show.

“Come on! You can go back to starving yourself after tonight! We’re all gonna be there!”

Some of our friends will get it and some won’t. Some will be there to push us harder than we could have pushed ourselves, and others will do nothing but stand in our way. Are you strong enough to withstand the pressure? If you’re not, then you have a decision to make. Do you give in and give up on your goals or do you reconsider your inner circle of friends.. If they don’t raise you up, do you really want that friend in your life anyway? It’s one thing to not understand what you’re doing and an entirely different thing to put it down. So before you do write anyone off, keep that in mind.

So I can’t have friends if I have goals?

They say you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. If I could golf every Sunday with Bill Gates, Tim Ferris, Michael Jordan, Mark Zuckerberg, and Dwayne Johnson there’s a good chance I’d be pretty successful. You talk about a plethora of knowledge, hard work, and success… But we don’t all have an A-list like that. However, we can create our own A-list. You meet the people most like you by doing what you like to do.. So if you’re riding this fitness wave, there are about 10 million people waiting to be your friend. You could meet them at your gym, at a show, a competition, or maybe a local rec sports league. These people will probably understand what you’re going through. And even better, they can probably offer you ADVICE on how to do it better!

I’m not saying to go replace all of your friends with professional athletes, but could broadening your horizons help you out? Probably.. But before you do anything, make sure your crew knows what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how important it is to you. That’s how you draw the line in the sand. The people who walk across that line to stand on your side are people who add value to your life. Those who stay on the other side? You can take or leave them at your own discretion.

Balancing this beautiful life

I was the party animal in college. I’m not saying I was A party animal.. In the zoo we called a house, I was THE party animal among our party animals. 5 years later my hobbies include sports, lifting, traveling and exploring this beautiful planet that we live on, and finding a tv series and binge-watching the entire thing until I’m depressed that it’s over and I find another one.

Did I find all new friends in the process? Nope. I definitely made plenty of new friends, especially since I spent a year living on the golden coast 3000 miles away from almost everyone I knew. But my best friends are still my best friends. Some of them share my interests and some of them don’t. I see some of them more than others, but a lot of that has to do with geography.

I’m pretty good at saying no. And my friendships are strong enough to have lasted that. I pissed them off for quite a while when they realized I wasn’t the person who was hitting clubs with them any more. But after a while they understood what I was doing and they accepted it. And they’re still my best friends because of that. There are some people who definitely phased out of my life because of it, but that’s ok too. They like what they like and I like what I like. If I saw them for the first time in a few years I’d still give them a massive hug- and then probably not cross paths for another couple of years.

We don’t have enough time to make everyone happy. Decide what’s important to you and who’s important to you. Figure out who brings the most value to your life and who is just taking up space in it. Then get to chasing your goals! You don’t have to stand alone on the mountain top.. You just have to figure out who is willing to climb it with you.

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

We’ve all been there. There was a time in our training where the progress just seemed to stop. It became the un-bustable plateau. Maybe it’s getting stuck at a 225 pound bench press for 10 reps. Maybe it’s getting stuck at 150 pounds. Somewhere along the line that “beginner magic”, where the results came almost easy, just wore off. Now it’s been two years and you’ve gone to the gym consistently busting your ass but you haven’t made any noticeable progress from where you were. Why? How can all this work count for nothing? We’ll, I’m going to tell you.

 

Let’s keep it really simple.. I’ll start with a question. How do we progress? We make small progressions over time, right? We can’t expect to PR every workout over the lifetime of our fitness careers, but we can put a plan in place that lets us PR every time we plan to test our maxes. But what do we consider small progressions over time? If you’ve been stuck at 225 pounds for 10 reps on the bench press and you’re waiting to feel like you’ve progressed enough to add more weight, when is it time to do so? Well the problem that most of us have is that we spend more time waiting than necessary. Maybe it’s waiting for a day we have a workout partner who pumps us up and we add an extra 10 or 15 pounds. But how often does that happen?

 

The truth is that we all progress differently. But in order to adapt, we need to progress. So our plan of action needs to ensure that it does happen. Some people (especially if you’re new to working out) seem to progress every single week. They might add 5 pounds per week to their 8 rep max. Every single week they can do the same workouts and they just keep throwing weight on the bar. That’s progression.

 

But what if you can’t do that? We don’t want to go to failure every single set, and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice form to get more reps up because we had to add weight. So how do you progress from there? Maybe you couldn’t add 5 or 10 pounds this week, but could you do an extra set? Could you bump up your 3 sets of flat bench to 4 sets? Again, this depends. If you’ve been recovering well recently, you can probably add a set. That’s progression.

 

If you feel like you’ve been beaten to a pulp and there’s no way you can add a single set to your workout, you’ve got a couple things to consider. 1- When was the last time you de-loaded? Your cumulative fatigue may be at a point where you are best suited to take a de-load week to reduce it. And 2- Is your workout routine designed optimally?

 

There is a magical line that we should all recognize in the pursuit of our goals. It’s the line that tells us we’re working too hard or not hard enough. We want to work right up that that line to optimize our results as efficiently as possible. Going over that line is called overreaching, which is ok as long as it’s planned and usually followed up with a de-load. Staying well under that line means we are just spinning our tires and not doing enough work to progress and force adaptations within our body. Does this line have a name? Yep.. It’s your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV). And unfortunately, this line is not universal. It depends on a long list of factors (like training experience) and is different for everybody. But it’s name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the most amount of work that we can do that allows us to recover and not interfere with our next workout.

 

It’s not that hard to figure out your own MRV. It just takes some time to test it. Let’s say you use 100 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 on flat bench. Next week do 4 sets. Then try 5 the following week. If during that week, your reps looked like this: 10, 10, 10, 10, 7- your MRV for that exercise at that weight was the 4th set. You failed on the 5th, so that was a little bit past your MRV.

 

Do we want to train to our MRV every workout? We suggest working up to your MRV over the course of three weeks, then overreaching on your fourth week, and then you would follow that up with a de-load on your fifth week. (FYI: when I say de-load, that doesn’t mean a week off. It’s a week at a calculated lesser volume). Then you could start the cycle over.

 

So that should help us in deciding how to maximize the efficiency of our workouts, but how do we parlay that back into progressions? Well, that will help us calculate what the overview of our program should look like. But in the day to day of each of our individual workouts, ON AVERAGE, each workout should have increased volume from the last. That doesn’t mean every single workout, but on average that should be the rule… Increased volume=progression.

 

This part can get pretty technical when it comes to designing your program. But for those of you who aren’t sure exactly what volume is: weight x sets x reps = volume. If you bench 100 pounds for 4 sets of 10, your volume is 4000 lbs. So whether you add 5 pounds next week, or increase that same load for an additional set, your volume is increased. The extra set increases volume a lot more than the 5 pound increase at the same number of sets. So both should be incorporated at different times in the program to ensure you are progressing, but not overreaching too often.

 

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Train insane or remain the same,” right? There’s a little more to it than that, but it’s true. If you train the same, you remain the same. You need an overload to progress. You need to progress to force adaptations. We need adaptations to go to the beach every summer or to leave a competition with something shiny. You have to train harder AND smarter.. We can help with that! Join the Evolution and find the success that so many of our members have already!

 

http://www.sd-evolution.com/services.html

Client Spotlight: Liana Ross

Client Spotlight: Liana Ross

This week’s client feature goes to Liana Ross. Liana has been working with us since May and has been such a positive addition to the team. Initially we started with fat loss and then progressed her through a reverse diet which she is now maintaining.

1) Hey Liana! Tell us about your dieting history and journey with not only flexible dieting but with food in general. 

Throughout my child hood i was not the most healthiest eater.  This caught up with me by the time i reached high school and therefore ONLY focused on wanting to lose weight.  So during this time i thought the only way to lose weight was to restrict my eating.  I would eat sparingly throughout the day which resulted in binge eating at night due to the restriction, paired with long extensive time on the cardio machines.  This continued until college.  During college i became involved in a lot of partying and with partying comes poor diets.  I had gained 25 pounds while at college and knew when i came home this needed to change.  During my third year of college i became introduced to the idea of counting my calories and incorporating the 40/40/20 rule.  This is when my cooking began due to wanting to fuel my body with healthy meals.  Even though i was not restricting food as bad as i had in the past, i was still afraid of eating more..but i knew i NEEDED to in order to lose weight.  I trusted the process and immediately saw results.  This peaked my interest about nutrition which resulted in my own research of how to lose weight, workout, and basic nutrition principles.  Yes, i became knowledgable, but i became obsessive about “clean eating.”  Many people do not see this type of eating as restrictive due to eating the necessary amount of food for my body, but it was restricting any food that was made out of processed ingredients.  Yes this produced results, but i quickly plateaued and i did not know why.  About 2 years ago throughout more of my research, I came across Layne Norton who was the first person who had introduced the idea of IIFYM or flexible dieting.  I knew i did not want to be a “clean eater” any more and wanted to enjoy the foods i loved.  I knew I HAD  to once again trust the process.  I experimented with configuring my own macros through certain websites which increased my experience with IIFYM and flexible dieting. I had the freedom i wanted, while also getting the results i wanted. I believe both of these aspects combined is what helped motivate me and grow my passion for lifting and fueling my body today.

2) What has been your favorite part about learning to incorporate flexible dieting? 
My favorite part about incorporating flexible dieting is being able to have freedom.  Freedom from feeling guilty over eating certain foods, and freedom to eat a variety of foods, from oatmeal and egg whites to Reese’s puffs cereal and double stuffed oreos.  I am able to attend social events, restaurants, and vacations without feeling the need to turn it into a constant “cheat day.”  Flexible dieting has also allowed me to learn so much about my body, nutrition, and fueling my workouts which has given me relief after being obsessed with the idea of “clean eating.”  Lastly, one of my main passions include cooking which flexible dieting has allowed me to experiment with a variety of recipes.  Restriction does not need to be a part of my story anymore.

3)How has incorporating an untracked day of eating helped you along this journey? 

Incorporating an untracked day has helped me mentally and physically.  At first, I knew i wanted to do it once the idea was brought to my attention, but i was nervous and hesitant.  In the past, having an untracked meal meant saying “fuck it” or turning it into a cheat day, as a result of my history of binge eating.  This time i knew it was going to be different.  It has allowed me to recognize the knowledge and experience i had gained through flexible dieting while also allowing me to recognize my true hunger cues.  Often times, we can turn to flexible dieting and macro counting for all the right reasons, but it is very easy for it to act as a crutch rather than a tool.  This was the situation for me and i did not recognize this until recently.  This is something i am still consistently working on as it is not an over night switch, yet incorporating the untracked day is helping improve my mind set and confidence.

4) What do you eat in a typical day?

Breakfast: Egg white scramble with veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and peppers, topped with some salsa, with a side of a carb choice (either oatmeal, frozen hash browns, toast, or fruit are my favorites)

Mid morning: Chobani flavored or plain greek yogurt mixed with almonds and french toast crunch cereal

Pre workout: Sweet potato, broccoli, lean protein (chicken, turkey meatballs, salmon are my favorites)

Post workout: 3 slices of Cinnamon raisin ezekiel french toast topped with banana and sugar free pancake syrup

Dinner: Baked spaghetti squash chicken parmesan boats

Evening snack: One serving of Edy’s slow churned cookie dough ice cream topped with sprinkles, and cookie dough peanut butter, with a side of strawberries

BEFORE YOU START THAT CRAZY DIET…

BEFORE YOU START THAT CRAZY DIET…

When you think of the word diet, what do you think of? Probably something along the lines of miserable, strict, and/or boring. Dieting gets a bad rap because of the past. Fad diets have proven to be unsustainable for most, and honestly unappealing to even more. Fear-mongers have driven us to think whole entire food groups are not good for us (protein causes kidney issues, carbs make you fat, fats make you fat, and the most recent trend of carbs make you fat …again). There is a plethora of information (good and bad) out there so I can’t blame you for not ever sticking to a diet, nor lacking the knowledge of what exactly makes a good diet anyways.

In my opinion, there really is no “best diet”. In fact, the best diet is highly individual to the person starting it. What works for Jane next door, most likely won’t work for you. Why? Well, to put it simply, you are not Jane. The most important factor when starting a diet is making sure that it is going to be sustainable and fit your lifestyle.  

We compiled a few tips to not only help you ease into a healthier lifestyle, but to also hopefully steer you away from jumping into the next juice cleanse, 30 day detox, or worse.

blog 1This seems to be the first mistake most individuals make when starting a diet. They immediately try to change their entire lifestyle in order to adhere to this new (and pretty large) part of their life. A diet should be like a new relationship. You obviously aren’t going to move in, marry and have children with your new partner all within one week, so why should something that literally keeps you alive every single day be any different? Small, baby steps will not only lead you to success, but allow you to learn more about yourself and this new endeavor in the process which will ultimately lead to sustainability. For example, if you are a total nutrition newbie and really don’t even know where you stand with your current nutrition. Take a few days to track your current intake using an app (We love the MyMacros+ app!) just to see where you current standing is. Are you a carb-ivore? Do you love your fats? Lacking in protein? This will give you a great idea of what areas you need to improve upon. 

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Speaking of protein, shift your focus to protein starting now. With a lot of our new clients we find that most individuals are under-consuming protein. Without getting too technical, a good starting place would be to focus on getting a source of lean protein in at every single meal throughout your day. The RDA for protein is pretty low at only .8g per kilogram of your bodyweight (to get your bodyweight in kilos simply divide it by 2.2). For athletes it is recommended to consume about 1g per pound of your bodyweight. So while everyone requires different amounts, shooting to hit somewhere within that range, while also incorporating a source at every meal should be helpful if you are trying to increase your protein intake. 

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 And no..we don’t mean to go shop at the store. While we don’t advocate a full-blown “clean eating” method as it can be restrictive and also force you to think of certain foods as good or bad, we do suggest filling your day with mostly whole food sources. By doing this, you are getting in quality micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as helping to keep your body full-especially if you need to diet on lower calories (see the next tip for more on that). By replacing packaged food sources with either fresh or frozen fruits/veggies, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products, you will give your body a well-rounded intake of the macronutrients, micronutrients and energy it needs to…well you know keep you alive and kicking. We suggest shooting for the 80/20 rule– 80% of your day should come from nutrient dense sources, leaving around 20% to be foods that maybe aren’t so healthy, but enjoyable. By leaving yourself a little wiggle-room, you aren’t restricting things you may like, you aren’t totally sabotaging your goals, and you can still have that piece of birthday cake, cookie before bed or head out for ice cream with your family without feeling like you totally killed your diet. 

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Drinks add up! Replace any beverages you may drink daily (soda, iced tea, etc) with water. Water is also highly under-consumed and it’s safe to say the majority of people spend their days dehydrated without even knowing it. A good suggestion is to have at least 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. So for those of you who are visual: I weigh 125lbs—I need at LEAST 60 ounces of water daily. That number increases if I exercise/sweat a lot. Plain water is obviously optimal, however if you really cannot stand plain old water, adding in some Crystal Light, or zero-calorie flavor shots is a great way to increase the amount of water you drink daily. 

So before you jump into the next big diet that your BFF wants you to do, take these 4 tips first. We can guarantee you if you simply start by adding in these small steps, you will start to not only see a change in your body, but also in your energy levels and overall health. This is certainly just the tip of the iceberg for optimal nutrition, so if you can adhere to these 4 things yet still want more of a change, it may be time to take it to the next level. Email us if you feel that you are ready for more of a push, a higher focus on nutrition, and want to learn quality techniques to give you a happier and healthier life. 

SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

Think back to the last time you had to deal with a period of high level stress. Now, I don’t want you to think about what exactly was causing the stress, but more so about how it affected you. Most likely, it impacted your daily life to a certain extent depending on the level of stress you were experiencing. Many individuals use food as a coping mechanism when experiencing high amounts of stress. Maybe you turned to food as comfort, maybe you went the opposite direction and simply did not have an appetite for days at a time. Neither of those options are beneficial to your health nor your goals of weight loss. On the other side of the spectrum dieting can actually induce stress in your life. Low-calorie diets have been shown to increase cortisol production which is our major stress hormone. That along with counting calories and macros can be incredibly stressful for (SOME) individuals. This is why we stress that:

  1. Dieting (or fat loss) should be a phase. Dieting is not a lifestyle, and you should not be in a caloric deficit for the entire year. Spending some time at maintenance, or even massing (gaining weight with the focus of muscle-building) is recommended to not only give your body time to recover from dieting, but also give you a mental break which will ultimately reduce stress levels. If you do however come to the realization that your diet is adding too much stress to your life, it may be time to reassess your goals in order to go through a more productive fat-loss phase at a later time. 
  2. Make sure you are choosing a diet that is a good fit for YOU. Counting macros certainly has a time and place, but it is not for everyone. Maybe you need a more general approach to start, maybe you need a more structured meal plan to follow. Chances are, if you are severely struggling with dietary adherence, it may be time to reassess your methods and try something new. (If you need help figuring out what may be best for you, email us HERE– we can help!)

With that being said, dieting is HARD. Harder for some than others, but it is also important to recognize that you are essentially putting your body into starvation mode (on purpose) when in a fat-loss phase. Your body is going to want to fight you, you will probably experience hunger, and that is normal in this phase. There are however a lot of great ways to combat these issues and in our next blog we will be discussing our favorite dieting tips so stay tuned there!

Obviously we can’t just flip to the next page of our lives and be stress-free (wouldn’t that be nice?), but there are ways to minimize your stress levels and how you handle your overall stressors. There are a few steps you can take to address this and move forward as a calmer, more efficient individual. 

step 1Identify what is stressing you out. Sometimes this is obvious, other times there may be underlying issues that you simply did not realize are messing with your head. Lack of sleep, a big life change such as moving, a restrictive diet, workplace drama or even your marital status can all cause some level of stress. Realizing what it is that is causing you higher levels of stress than normal is just as important as drawing a line between what it is that you can control versus what is beyond controllable. Be old-fashioned and grab a pen/paper (or use the Notes app in your phone is you’re more tech-savvy) and literally jot down everything causing anxiety to you at the very moment. Put a star next to what you have control over and work from there to see how you are going to start managing them. As far as those un-starred items? Simply make it aware to yourself that these are far beyond your control, and let be what will be.

step 3Structure your day. This is something that has really been life-changing for me personally as I have grown from being the most unorganized, late, “hot mess” individual to someone who utilizes a daily planner to schedule time slots for just about everything that needs to be accomplished. When you design a structured day, you are ultimately referring back to step 1 and controlling everything that can possibly be controlled. I find this method great for those who get overwhelmed with the “small stuff”. This can be as simple as using a planner, or just taking a blank sheet of paper and jotting down your daily schedule, what needs to get done and when it needs to be done by. I schedule everything from packing my lunch for the next day, to some downtime to read, to my training, and since I have started acting on living an organized life, I have GREATLY reduced the amount of stress I was perceiving. Every Sunday, I take some time to either mentally or physically take note of the week ahead and what it will consist of so that way when things DO pop up, I can be as prepared as possible to address them.

step 34Practice mindfulness. I can’t preach this one enough. Set aside even just 5 minutes out of your day- maybe after you shower at night, before your morning coffee or right before you hit the pillow- to sit in silence and just ponder your life. I start by pointing out all of the positives I can think of that I have going for me at the moment. Small things such as getting to spend some time with a certain loved one that day, hitting a new PR in the gym, or even a really delicious meal you had earlier. Let the good consume your mind for a few minutes and you won’t believe how much less stressed you immediately feel. When you focus on the positive, you will continue to act, think and be positive. 

While stress will never go away completely, you can do everything in your power to learn how to handle it best for your body and mind that are healthy, productive and will ultimately make you happier while still allowing you to achieve your goals. 

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

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We’ve all been there.. We’re motivated, we’re ready to go, we’re really going to change this time. Time to get back that body you had in high school, or college, or whenever it was that you peaked. And when are we going to start? On Monday.. It’s always Monday. Your friends came over for a barbecue on Sunday, and Saturday you were recovering from Friday night so you couldn’t start then. So Monday it is.

 

Even if you’re already in a regimen we have moments, or ruts, in our training where we seem to just be going through the motions and not making any progress. A lot of times the reason isn’t that we aren’t putting in the work, but that we overreact to small speed bumps. You were counting macros at the barbeque on Sunday but then dessert came out, your eyes lit up, and that’s the last thing you remember. So after that, you just stopped counting. You decided to pick things back up on Monday.

 

What if I told you that you could have your Aunt’s famous dessert at your family cookout and not have to feel bad about it? I’m not talking about “if it fits your macros”. I’m not talking about macros at all. I’m talking about setting up the goals that are right for you.

 

So let’s get into it… First and foremost, what are your goals? Are you a weekend warrior who puts in 60 hours a week at a job and then crushes it on the weekends to stay healthy? Or are you an aspiring fitness athlete who is looking to compete? As you can imagine, these two scenarios are gong to play out with two very different goals. These are two people at opposite ends of the spectrum just to make my point, but there are stages in the middle where most people find themselves. We’ll go step by step and you can decide what category you fall into, and how you can decide how to follow a program from there.

 

Category 1: I just want to be healthy

 

A significant portion of the population will fall into this category. These are the people who have full time jobs on top of full time jobs. They might be married with kids, or travel for work 90% of the time. Or they just might not care a lick about the idea of “fitness” and just want their doctor to give them good news every year. It’s ok to be in this group! It’s not always about aesthetics! SD Evolution preaches healthy LIFESTYLES. Not all of our clients are training for a competition. A lot of them just want to be healthy. And we love that. We are building a fitness COMMUNITY and that covers all goals being HEALTHY and in any way that any of our individual clients views that.

 

SO, what does this mean? What do you have to do? What don’t you have to do? Well, this might come as a shock to hear me say this, but you DON’T have to count your macros. You don’t even need to follow a fitness regimen. The guideline here is just making healthy choices. Here is where I would recommend using the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% “hey shit happens”. You ate healthy all week, cooked healthy dinners for your family, and then the cookout came up on Sunday and you had an entire plate of dessert. I’m ok with it.. If you had McDonalds all week and ate nothing but Hot Tomales (my favorite candy by the way) while you watched Shark Week every night, then no, I would tell someone to slap that plate out of your hand you shouldn’t eat all that dessert! The world we live in sees most people getting the 80/20 backwards. That’s a whole other topic and I won’t get off on a tangent, but you get the idea. As far as training, a workout program would be helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Maybe you like finding new hikes. You just got a pool and you love swimming. You just joined a basketball league at work. Those are all forms of exercise; they just happen to be so fun that you forget you are working out. With enough frequency and balance, those are more than enough.

 

Why would I say all this when I run a fitness business? Well for starters, because I’m honest. But even still, we offer programs that consist of lifestyle coaching. So someone in this category would still benefit from an online coach, we just wouldn’t be giving them workouts and meal plans. They would be getting outlines of how to make their current lifestyle healthier, and we would teach them how to incorporate those things step by step, as well as keep them accountable.

 

Category 2: I don’t want to compete, but I do want to change my body

 

This category is where the majority fall into. Not everyone wants to go stand on stage and lift heavy weights, or put their sculpted physiques on display. Some people just want to feel more confident. I want to look good naked, I believe is what a lot of people talk about from this stand point. They might have accumulated a few pounds over the years, or they never really did have a great body but they decided they wanted to set their sights on having the mirror make them smile. Either way, they are at a point in their lives where they want to make a visible change to the way that they look.

 

These guys have to go a little farther than the 80/20 rule. To change your body, the numbers have to add up. We have this down to a science where “if you do this, then this will happen”. There are a lot of calculations that go into this, but the most basic form is a topic called caloric balance. If you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. If you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. There are a lot of other things that go into this, and some of those things actually make my previous statement false, but I won’t bore you with the details. For the vast majority, caloric balance holds true. From there, it is also very important WHERE your calories come from. We’re not just talking about the specific foods, but the macronutrient breakdown of those foods.

 

That is why this group needs to track what they are eating. The simplest way to do so… Counting your macros. More advanced people in this group may not need to do so because they already have their meals planned out and prepped the same way they have been doing it for a long time. But most of us will have to do this on a day to day basis because we will not want to eat the same exact things on a day to day basis. Counting our macros allows us the flexibility to eat with diversity, but also gives us the structure to not overdue it on any one part. You can do this manually, or most phones will let you download an app where you can just punch in the food and the amount you had and BOOM, macros tracked.. **cough cough** “MyMacros+” **cough**

 

Your workouts should also be programmed in this category. You will need to track volume to ensure progress. You don’t have to go overboard, but knowing what you did last week, and how to increase it this week is pretty important. And again, this stuff doesn’t have to be all in the gym. A lot of the peeps in here like to do other activities in place of the gym. But making sure you reach a certain intensity for a certain amount of time during you basketball game should be tracked in order to make sure you are getting to the level you need to, to achieve your goals.

 

Category 3: I want to be the best

 

You want to be the best? You better work harder and smarter than the best. This category is where very few people will take it. Not a lot of people want to compete. The biggest, most shredded dude in your gym might not want to step on stage. He’s just there to be big and shredded, and that’s ok. But some people strive to be the best in everything they do, and they want something measurable to tell them that. That measurement would be which flavor medal you bring home from a competition. Anyway, this category is the easiest to talk about, and the hardest to achieve.

 

Are you tracking your macros? Yes… Unless you’re on a meal plan eating the same thing every day. In which case you or your coach determined your macros on day one and that is set until it is adjusted moving forward.

 

Are your workouts programmed? You better believe it.. One of the easiest ways to determine if your weight gain is lean mass or fat is to look at your lifts. Are they the same weight that you started with when you were 200 and you are now 210? That was mostly, if not all, fat buddy.. Sorry. How do you program for improvements? Very simply put, make sure you do more than you did last time. It could be an extra set, or it could be an extra 5 or 10 pounds on your lift. Your volume must grow for you to grow.

 

What category do you fall in? Are you doing the things you need to in order to reach your goals? Do you now know what your goals are? If you need help, you know where to find us…

http://www.sd-evolution.com/contact.html

Until next time,

Josh