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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.

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

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?

Thinking Emoji

 

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

World Health Organization Declares Processed Meats Cause Cancer

World Health Organization Declares Processed Meats Cause Cancer

Bacon

We all know that things like bacon and hot dogs aren’t good for us, but a direct correlation to these types of processed meats causing cancer has put these thoughts on a new level. The World Health Organization is the most prominent group to make one of the most aggressive statements against processed meats. They followed that up by stating that red meat probably does too. The findings were determined by 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research regarding the connection between red meats, processed meats, and cancer. Many organizations have gone as far as to say there is a link between these types of meats and cancer, but no major association has gone as far as to make the connection and say that it causes it. This came across as mind-blowing to me.

I have a few red flags raised with this finding. First and foremost, they even go out of their way to say in this article that there were no direct studies performed with this report. What that means is they reviewed records of people who ate red meat, processed meats, and thousands of other foods in their lifetimes, and used their health data to come to a result. That makes it extremely difficult to determine that the rest of those individuals’ diets had no effect on their long-term health.

Next, you have to take into consideration the types of meats they were eating in their diets. You can imagine how significant the percentage probably is of people eating red meat via fast foods. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc… Considering the epidemic that our country is just now starting to get in front of, many people’s diets are thoroughly saturated with fast foods and other extremely unhealthy habits. Are these people setting themselves up for long-term health disasters? Yeah, they are…

Another major concern I have with this is lumping all red meats together. Before I dive in here, let me backtrack for a second and say that I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement regarding processed meat. My argument here is more directed toward red meat being tossed into this mess as well. Anytime you manufacture and process anything, in my mind, it is no longer “natural”. A hunter who takes a deer from his back yard straight to his table is eating natural meat. I will even expand this to say that large, food-manufacturing companies who make sure their animals are not pumped full of hormones and have passed all check-points to deem it organic are also in this “natural” category. But from there on out, all bets are off. So my point regarding specifically lumping all red meats together is that I would like to differentiate red meats. Not by type, but by how organic it truly is. We have been saying for a long time that the way our foods are genetically modified will have massively significant effects on our health. This was not the way our bodies were meant to ingest these foods. Of course it was going to catch up to us and cause all kinds of nasty diseases. It’s just not natural, and this is the price our bodies pay for consuming these chemicals on a daily basis. It’s almost unavoidable unless you are an extremely conscious health advocate who is actively researching health foods and what to specifically avoid. This isn’t just with meat, but 90% of the foods at your local supermarket.

With this all said, I think it is an extremely important finding. There may be a significant portion that I disagree with, but I think it brings a lot of light to a very important topic. If we can get this to reach the right areas of attention, maybe it will help us make more of a conscious effort to change how we look at and shop for food. For most of you reading this, you are probably already health-conscious and don’t take in a lot of those fast foods. But how many of you actually only buy organic? Honestly, I rarely do. But now it should be pretty eye-opening. Is avoiding cancer worth an extra few bucks a week to make sure we aren’t eating food full of hormones? Can we find a way to avoid the fast food and just make it ourselves using healthy ingredients? Yes and yes. This isn’t just for the long-term benefits either. If you have yet to make any changes, you will be amazed at how much better you feel in the short-term. Our processed foods diminish the nutritional benefits of real food. Do you have a friend who grows their own veggies? Go buy a tomato at the store and then snag one out of your buddy’s garden. It’s like your eating two different things. The taste and nutritional benefits are night and day.

Your health will be too.

 

Until next time,

Josh

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

rules for beginnners

 

I have posted plenty of blogs on why resistance training is beneficial to our health, and I have also posted many blogs on why (if you’re a female) you shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy weights (SEE HERE). Now that you may be convinced incorporating weight training into your life is a good idea, there’s one problem: you’re clueless when it comes down to how to begin.

I think that a lot of people could LOVE resistance training if they had the confidence to give it a shot which is why I chose to blog about this topic today. So here we go!

LIFTING RULE #1

Find a gym in your area that you can easily attend. The closer the gym is to your house or work, the more likely you are going to go. Easily incorporating this into your daily routine is what is going to keep you motivated.

LIFTING RULE #2

Create a plan. If you’re a total newbie to lifting, chances are you aren’t going to be very familiar with the machines. I usually have my beginner clients stick to dumbbell/barbell exercises that can easily be referenced on YouTube. If you are more familiar with your gym’s equipment, make sure to still set a weekly lifting schedule. Does this totally uninterest you? Luckily we do offer Online Training Plans HERE  which are 100% personalized to your goals, body & availability. Having a set schedule not only holds you accountable to your workouts, but (for me at least) gets me pumped up all day knowing what I have to do in the gym later.

LIFTING RULE #3

Start simple. There are SO many exercises out there which can be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to know that you don’t have to do EVERYTHING you see and at the same time it is also important to switch things up once in a while. I have witnessed people doing the same workouts years later and guess what….they look exactly the same. Our client plans change every 4 weeks which keeps the body guessing but also allows you to improve on those set movements for a duration of time.

LIFTING RULE #4

Find a training style that works for you. So many people go into the gym and perform a boring, basic bodybuilding style workout day in and day out not realizing there are multiple ways to reach their goals. I used to be one of those people. I thought 3 sets of 12 reps was the only way. Did it give me results? At first, yes however then I reached a halt in my progress. My body adapted and honestly, I was pretty bored with those workouts. I found powerlifting at the end of last year and I thoroughly look forward to going to the gym every day because I am so excited to do my set workout. I’m not saying you have to become a powerlifter, but do some research and see what else is out there besides your average bodybuilding split. For example, I like to start a lot of our beginner clients (depending on their goals) with a simple Upper/Lower Body split. This means 2 Upper Body days per week and 2 Lower Body days with 1 or 2 full body days. This keeps it simple at first, and down the road we change things up.

LIFTING RULE #5

Choose a starting weight that you can perform about 80% of the amount of reps with, leaving the last few reps as more of a challenge. A lot of clients ask me how much weight they should start off with and honestly, the answer is different for every single person. I cannot simply tell you where to begin. This is your job during your first week of training to “feel” out the weights. You don’t want to be too easy on yourself but at the same time leave your ego at home until your form is on point.

 

With these tips I hope we have inspired you to create a plan, step out of your comfort zone and go try a strength training workout that challenges and excites you! As always, E-mail us with questions or more information about the Online Coaching plans that we currently offer.

 

~Alessandra

 

 

 

Do you eat enough protein?

Do you eat enough protein?

protein

 

Protein, protein, protein! This macronutrient is essential for not only living but also muscle growth and maintenance. We have noticed lately that many of our new clients struggle with meeting their protein goals in their Macro-Based Nutrition Plans  that we offer on our website. It is important to eat enough protein if you are an avid exerciser and especially if you lift weights. To put it simply, the more muscle mass you have on your body, the more energy you are going to expend to keep that muscle. Why does this matter? Well for those of you who are interested in fat loss, this is necessary!

When you think of protein, you may immediately just think of a boring old Whey Protein shake. Luckily for you, this is not the only or “best” source of protein! While we do recommend Whey before and after a workout (as it is digested fast and can go straight to the muscle site), you don’t need to drink shakes all day long to hit your goal. Here are some of our favorite protein sources:

  • Eggs/Egg Whites
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt

And as far as Whey Protein goes here’s a few good options:

  • Quest Nutrition Whey Protein
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Natural Whey
  • True Athlete Natural Whey Protein

While these are not the ONLY sources of protein, they are our favorites and go-to’s. You can get so creative with these few items including hard-boiled eggs as a snack, turkey/hummus wraps or even Greek Yogurt parfaits. So now that you have the tools to create some healthy high-protein dishes, how much protein should you be eating each day?

Everyone requires a different amount of protein. You may have heard the old 1g of protein per pound of body weight rule, however that much is not even necessary for the average person. We suggest 1g of protein per KILOGRAM of body weight which equates to less than that of a pound.

To convert your bodyweight from pounds to kilos, simply divide by 2.2. Whatever that number may be is the amount of protein you should be consuming daily.

We have our clients using the app “My Macros+” to track their daily intake however MyFitnessPal works just fine as well, or if you are old-school: jot it down in a notebook! While you don’t need to hit this number perfectly every single day, coming close (within 5-10g) may just push you a little further towards your goals of fat-loss or muscle maintenance or gain.

For further questions or information about our Macro-Based Nutrition plans, shoot us an email at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. We would love to help you reach your goals!

 

Fit Fast Food- For those who live life on the go

Fit Fast Food- For those who live life on the go

No fast food

For some of us, it’s just a busy day here and there, but for others, busy is their entire life. There are no breaks for these people. Whether it’s work or family or keeping up with the kids’ schedules on top of their own. But in both of these instances, how can we survive without caving in to fast food? And it’s not because they crave it, but because that is simply the only food that they have time to take in. Fast food is the go-to for food on the go. What other options do we have?

Well fortunately, there are options that allow you to drive past McDonalds without worrying about what you’re going to have for lunch. Yes, they are going to take a little planning and a little preparation, but they are going to keep you healthy and happy for the long run.

Now with this, I am also considering the fact that it isn’t just getting the food that is consuming, some people just don’t have time to take a break and EAT it. I get that. Busy meetings, busy driving, busy finishing projects. So it isn’t just meal prep Sundays that are going to save you. There is more planning to be done on WHAT you’re making and what you’re buying.

To give you examples, I’m going to tell you what I do. But what I do is pretty extreme (and unreasonable) so I will follow that up with some more palatable options. For starters, I stock up on liquid egg whites. I have ten first thing in the morning to go with one and a half cups of oats. Now I know what you’re thinking, “how is eating ten egg whites and a big ass bowl of oats quick and easy?” It’s not. I don’t eat that. I DRINK that. I don’t cook the egg whites, I just drink the carton. (they’re pasteurized) And I hate eating oats. It takes way too long and I’m uncomfortably full after eating that many. So I blend them up into a fine powder, mix it with water, and drink that too. Overall, that’s breakfast in under 5 minutes- prepared and eaten. (honestly it takes me about 2 minutes… I chug and get it over with) My next meal is usually my pre-workout. That’s just a protein shake and some simple carbs. It could be some fruit, another smaller serving of oats coupled with Gatorade. Sometimes it’s a couple of Poptarts. My post-workout is another protein shake and a lot more simple carbs- my favorites are gummy bears or Gatorade. They are composed highly of dextrose, a sugar that your body absorbs almost immediately, which helps replenish your muscle glycogen and get you recovered ASAP. I’ll follow that up a couple hours later with a solid protein this time. This isn’t much of a “quick meal” but I have a little more time to eat it and I had my quick meals earlier in the day. This time it’s usually chicken and rice or a sweet potato. The remainder of my meals will consist of one more carton of egg whites (yes I drink 20 egg whites per day) and another solid protein and then finish my day usually with a slower digesting protein like greek yogurt or cottage cheese. But you get the idea. The egg whites are my “go-to” for when I’m on the run. I can throw down a carton while I’m driving somewhere and then all I have to worry about is a few minutes to eat my carbs, rather than finding 15-20 minutes to eat an entire meal.

Now I get that most people can’t stomach going “Rocky style” and throwing back some liquid eggs. So here are a couple options for your quick “go-to” for those times during the day when you would otherwise be skipping or eating nasty fast foods.

-Greek Yogurt. This is a protein punch that won’t take you long to eat. One of these usually has around 15-20 grams of protein. So depending on your needs, pack one or two of these and you’re golden.

-Probiotic Smoothie. Now this one has an asterisk next to it. These are the yogurt smoothies you see in the store. Keefer is the brand I go with. They are another good, quick protein sources, but they usually also come with a lot of sugar. So if this is going to be one of your choices, it needs to be first thing in the morning or pre/post workout. During these times, your body can use that sugar to replenish your body rather than store that unused energy as fat.

-Cottage cheese. Sticking in the same consistency as yogurt. Another snack that is quick to go down and high in protein, low in fat.

-Protein shake. Depending on the time of day, you will need specific types of protein. Early in the morning, pre and post workout, you can go with your standard whey protein. This is the fastest digesting and those are the times when your body will need to absorb it quickly. In the middle of the day, you are going to want a slower digesting blend. A lot of mixes will include whey, egg, and casein protein to give you a fast, medium, and slower digesting protein to sustain your body for longer. Before bed, casein is your go-to protein. This is your slowest digesting protein and will help your body avoid eating that hard-earned muscle from when you close your eyes until you eat breakfast in the morning.

These may not be the flashiest choices, but they will help you avoid skipping meals during your busy day and allow you to drive past the fast food chains. And hey, if you’re feeling like a champ, chug a glass of egg whites and tag us in your video on Instagram! …and we fade out to the Rocky theme song…

Until next time,

~Josh

Good Food vs. Bad Food

Good Food vs. Bad Food

 

good vs. bad Food

What exactly makes a food “good” to you? What makes something “bad”? Somewhere down the line we started labeling foods in our heads as being good or bad and I think that it not only has caused more confusion in the nutrition world, but has forced us to diet in unhealthy ways that we do not particularly enjoy. In my eyes, there is no such thing as good/bad foods. Are some foods more nutrient dense than others? Sure. But what really matters is the macronutrient content of the food.

Let’s start with a VERY basic nutrition lesson:

Every single thing you put into your body is made up of a combination of either protein, carbs or fat aka your macronutrients.

Protein and carbs both have 4 calories per gram while fat has 9 calories per gram. (For the record alcohol has 7 calories per gram so keep that in mind the next time you have a drink!)

Micronutrients are also essential in your diet and consist of your vitamins and minerals (think magnesium, iron, calcium, etc).

Every single person requires a different amount of macros depending on their current body weight, what their goals are and their activity level. For example, someone who is sedentary the majority of their day will not need as many calories as someone who is on the go all day. This is why some diet plans work for some people and not others. There is not ONE magic plan that is going to work for everyone.

This is why here at SD Evolution we prescribe our clients macro-based nutrition. This means we personally calculate your macros for YOUR body. We have found that a scientific, personal approach leads to a successful, sustainable diet created by you. Check out more info about what we offer for nutrition programs HERE.

So now that you know what macros are, how is this relevant? Well, once you have your personally calculated macronutrients for your body, you can choose to fill your day with ANY type of food that you enjoy…as long as you hit your numbers by the end of the day. Having good/bad or clean/dirty foods goes out the window. While we recommend that 80% of your diet comes from nutrient dense foods, that leaves you with 20% of freedom. That cookie you’ve been craving? Go for it. This method is known as Flexible Dieting and will allow you to achieve your goals in a more sustainable, less miserable way. There are absolutely no restrictions with Flexible Dieting. You can choose to eat whatever it is that you are craving, like I said, as long as it “fits“. This lifestyle works for SO many people whether your goal is fat-loss, maintenance or even weight gain. I personally have been Flexible Dieting for about 4 months now and not only have I almost doubled my daily caloric intake (by Reverse Dieting or slowly adding in calories each week), but I am enjoying life so much more than when I was clean eating. I don’t limit myself at family parties, I got to enjoy my own birthday cake this year unlike last year when I made myself eat a protein cake because REAL cake wasn’t “allowed“, and I am still achieving all of my fitness goals!

I didn’t believe it either at first but living a life where I no longer limit my food intake, no longer label foods as good or bad, and no longer restrict any type of food from my diet has been a huge blessing. I never thought in a million years I could eat a Pop Tart every single day (as well as chicken and PLENTY of vegetables) and still somehow be losing weight and inches. I have learned that life is all about balance. Pushing yourself too far in any direction can be damaging so finding that middle-ground in every aspect of your life can be SO fulfilling. With this I hope I have left you at LEAST curious about this newer method of dieting. It has 100% changed my life and so many of our clients lives already. Are you ready to hop on the bandwagon of freedom?

As always, email me at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com for more information or if you have personal questions.

~Alessandra