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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.

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

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

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It happens to all of us. Ok, if you really want to argue, it happens to 99% of us. The holiday season begins and things get crazy. Our workouts get rescheduled (or maybe one or two are even missed) and our diets become a little more lax… We’re running around getting presents and getting ready for parties and seeing family, and fitness takes a back seat for longer than we planned. We get a little softer. We start watching our results disappear day by day. But there is a light at the end of that tunnel! If you can sneak through that process relatively unscathed, you’re already in good shape. So here we are. We have officially made it past Christmas and we are all staring in the mirror. Now what? Now we get started…

The first thing you need to do is put your workout plan back in focus. Plan out your entire week of workouts and meals. DO NOT WING IT. You will have a very frustrating time getting back into a rhythm if you walk into the gym and plan your workout on the fly. You will walk right back out feeling like you accomplished little to nothing and that is not a positive note to start your system reboot on. Go in with a force. Throw your headphones on and get the job done. You are not there to socialize. You are not there to talk about what you got for Christmas. You are there to get your body back.

You must start by choosing what type of program you are going with. Are you continuing a weight-loss/cutting phase? Are you looking to put some more muscle on? Or do you want to continue a strength training routine? Chances are, regardless of what you are getting back into, you are going to be set back a little bit from where you left off. That’s ok, just record it and use that as a starting point. This is Day 1! Next, you get into the nitty gritty. Sit down and plan each day of your workouts for the entire week and STICK TO IT. If you don’t feel qualified to do so, get some help. The trainer at your gym probably won’t write you a program without you signing up for a personal training package. But if that isn’t in the budget, you have plenty of online options. Here at SD Evolution, we run a New Year’s Special on a very affordable 8 week program, and always offer our regular 12-week Online Trainer and Meal Plan.

Next, get your meals back in check. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. I’m sure you have plenty of left overs from the holiday parties… Give them away! Get back to what you know works. Go shopping for the healthy goodies and spend a day preparing it so you can take it to go as you get back to work. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. There is nothing that sets you back quite as bad as a bad day of eating. Nutrition is 60% to our workouts’ 40%. You can’t out-workout a bad diet, and a couple missed or poor-quality meals creates a bad diet.

Once you have all of this down, you need to remind yourself that this is a process. You will not be at your end-goal next week. So find a plan that you are comfortable with, and complete it. Don’t get through, one, two, three weeks and then quit. That will start a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s important to believe in the program you are about to start. If you trust it, stick with it. If you don’t trust it, don’t start it and find a new one that you do and that you will stick with.

Finally, track your progress. Complete measurements and weigh-ins along the way. You can even take weekly pictures. You may not be able to see the transformation on a day-by-day basis, but the numbers won’t lie.

The most important thing you can do.. Get started and stay dedicated! You are starting for a reason. You have a goal in mind. Get to that goal. It’ll take hard work, but you can achieve anything. I’ve seen incredible transformations throughout my career. Yours can be next!

 

Until next time,

Josh