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When to start using a lifting belt

When to start using a lifting belt

Photo Credit: Moffitt Photography

“At what point am I lifting heavy enough to use a belt?”

This is a question we get a lot from new clients who are just starting to learn about powerlifting. Nearly all powerlifters utilize a lifting belt during meets and during most of their training. It’s a very rare occasion that you see an experienced powerlifter who does not use a belt during competition simply because it can help you move more weight. Period.

When people ask about this, I find that they think you have to reach a certain level of expertise, or certain amount of weight lifted before you can even put on a belt. They have this understanding that a belt is like the holy grail, or something that you need to earn and be gifted with upon reaching elite-level status. That couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Using a belt can be a great tool for beginners to powerlifting or just lifting heavier in general. When you’re lifting heavy, you need to properly brace your core. What does that mean exactly? Basically, you want to stabilize your entire core area by breathing into your stomach. This will help make your trunk stable enough to support moving heavy weight. This can be confusing to most people simply because they don’t have a good understanding of what the core consists of. If you think your core is just your abs, we hate to break it to you but you’re wrong.

Here’s a great graphic showcasing all of the muscles of the core:

Credit: https://www.acefitness.org/blog/3562/muscles-of-the-core

 

As you can see, the core is made up of a series of muscles not only on the anterior side of the body, but also on the lateral and posterior sides. Establishing a strong core goes a lot further than doing some crunches or sit-ups. In fact, your core is utilized in almost every exercise or movement that you do.

Training without a belt is obviously going to help you increase your core strength and stability. Training “beltless” is something you can use as a training tool when in the off-season to do just that. However, we like to suggest our beginners try out a belt when learning how to brace and breath for the main lifts.

Why is that?

When you breath into your stomach, your stomach is going to expand. The expansion of your stomach is what is going to give you that stability while going through a loaded movement. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. Learning to breathe into your stomach properly is the first step. A lot of people naturally want to suck IN their stomach when learning how to breathe and this is incorrect. When you suck in, that means the air isn’t in the right spot, therefore you’re not going to be stable. The goal here is to honestly look as fat as possible by sticking that stomach out.  A belt comes in handy here because you can cue the individual (or yourself) to think about filling out their belt or pushing their belly into the belt. Here, the belt becomes the teacher to ensure the athlete is properly breathing therefore bracing before attempting to load the movement.

Here’s a great video we recommend on learning how to breathe properly: Breathing + Bracing Technique

Now comes the ever so popular question of,

What belt is the best?

Our friends over at BarBend.com put together a great article discussing different types of belts and what would be best for you here: Best Lifting Belts.

Hopefully this cleared up any confusion you had about using a belt or how to properly brace for the main lifts. We are always available for questions and further discussion at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. Now go put these brain gains to use!

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.

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. 

SD Evolution Intro Offer

SD Evolution Intro Offer

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We have put together an introductory package for those of you who are on the fence about beginning a fitness regimen! It is very common to get stuck in this “purgatory”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients who wanted personal training but felt they weren’t ready yet because they weren’t “in-shape” enough, or they didn’t know what they were doing and wanted to learn before they spent their money on a trainer. That is the exact OPPOSITE of what you should be doing. The point of personal training is to TEACH you what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. It is easy to go into the gym and try to learn on your own, only to see no progress and just quit. A personal trainer coaches you on proper technique and teaches you why you are doing these things the way we do them. It is as much a learning experience as it is a workout. From that point you can choose whether you would like to continue personal training, or continue on your own with the workouts and just have the programming done for you.

THE PURPOSE:

This offer is for people who want to join our online membership, but aren’t comfortable with their form or understanding of the programming enough to just go do it on their own. This is designed to teach you what you will be doing in your program and making sure you are performing each exercise safely and effectively.

THE OFFER:

$279.99 for 4 personal training sessions, meeting once per week for 4 weeks. PLUS you get the first month of your online training membership for FREE! That breaks down to only $70/session! Then after your free month of online membership, it’s only $39.99/month to maintain your personal online coaching- all the benefits of personal training, without the cost of needing us there with you anymore!

Creating a Pre-workout That Works For You

Creating a Pre-workout That Works For You

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There is no doubting the importance of a pre-workout. But your idea and my idea of a pre-workout are probably completely different. You all know how I feel about certain supplements in general, ESPECIALLY pre-workouts, so I’m only going to briefly touch on this and then breakdown how you can build this yourself NATURALLY.

I won’t throw them all together, but the vast majority of pre-workouts are just tasty powders loaded with stimulants and blended chemicals to make you feel like you can run through a brick wall.. At least for about 90 minutes. That is usually followed by a significant crash down to earth, and maybe some jitters, itching, and tweaking out mixed into that along the way. Now I say the vast majority because some companies are starting to get the idea and make different blends that don’t include the stimulants and are built with a somewhat less harmful list of ingredients. (I don’t dare say healthier to anything that needed a lab to create it.)

But if it’s possible, why don’t we avoid putting these substances into our bodies all together? Well it is… So let’s breakdown the reasons we take a pre-workout and then reassemble that using natural sources.

Why do we take pre-workout supplements? What are the effects we are looking for? The main answers you are going to get to those questions are high energy, focus, and endurance. That’s the point right? To help us have better workouts. So what can we eat or drink that will help fill those needs?

Caffeine: This one is the obvious starting point, as it covers all three of those needs. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and it is hyper-dosed in most pre-workouts. But it’s the easiest thing you could consume naturally to achieve the same desired effect. My go-to in this category is green tea, but the other, most effective caffeine source would be coffee. The optimal “dosage” is about 1.5 cups of coffee, but I feel great with just one cup of coffee or tea. When it is coffee, I take it black (I have no soul).

Protein: More specifically, whey protein, because it is fast absorbing and utilized quickly for your workout. Experts argue about when the best time to drink you protein shake is. My counter? Before AND after. I have two protein shakes per day and this timing ensures it is best utilized. Protein pre-workout is used for fuel because of those building blocks it is made from, AMINO ACIDS! It also increases protein synthesis, which will inhibit muscle breakdown and help with your pump.

Simple Carbohydrates: All of you flexible dieters should already know about this one because you should be planning those simple carbs around your workouts. This should be exciting for the poptart junkies! (myself included..) Simple carbs, sugars, are frowned upon because they are so quickly absorbed by your body and stored as fat if not used. BUT, this is actually a great thing before your workout because when it IS utilized, it’s immediately available fuel for your muscles. The most popular choice here is definitely the poptarts but I also mix in Gatorade and high carb fruits like bananas.

Put it all together: My personal pre-workout usually looks like this:

  • A cup of Green Tea
  • 1.5 scoops of Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Natural Whey
  • 2 Blueberry Poptarts
  • 32 Ounces of Gatorade

I know that’s a lot of sugar but I do utilize it and my diet requires almost 600g of carbs per day. The poptarts I’ll actually eat with my pre-workout and the Gatorade I’ll start drinking on the way to the gym and I’ll finish it throughout my workout.

Your pre-workout doesn’t have to, and probably won’t, look anything like mine. But you can take those basic outlines and plug in what you love and what you know works best for you. Use your outlined macros to figure out how much of each you need to best utilize them for a great workout.

If you don’t know your body’s specific macro needs, or have been interested in working with us, you can always contact us at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com

Online Training Memberships are currently only $33.99 per month!

Until next time,

Josh