Category: health

Every Day Matters

I am sure at some point in your life you may have heard somebody say this phrase, “every day matters”….And if you haven’t well then congratulations now you did! I was actually listening to a podcast the other day that mentioned this topic and I wanted to expand on this because I feel it is very important to a lot of people’s success in fitness, and is also why I myself have became a big advocate for working out every day. Yes, exercise every day. Not an intense routine everyday, but simply getting to the gym, and getting in a good hour of activity. I say this because mentally when you have to be accountable for getting the task accomplished, and you are able to finish this one task everyday, consistently, over and over, you begin to build momentum in your life. This momentum is huge for people because you are turning this “working out” thing that you started doing into a habit and lifestyle change. Eventually, this hour a day becomes part of your daily routine, no different than brushing your teeth, or taking a shower. At this point, you would almost feel weird if you did not make it to the gym, as if something was missing all day long the day you decided to not go. And it would stay on your mind going into the next day as well. Once you are to this point I like to say you have arrived. To really see lasting change in your body and fitness level you need to take the approach that every day matters. Every day, every exercise, every meal, they all mean something. And when you begin to lie to yourself and say things like, “well I am not feeling it today” so you end up skipping out on your workout. Or my favorite line, “I have been doing sooooo good I can take today off”. These are lies we tell ourselves to attempt to avoid the discomfort of going out and putting the work in. So the next time that little voice in your head tells you to “take it easy” be sure to ignore it and keep pushing forward!

Understanding Hormones & Weight Loss

Have you ever had that friend that even when they diet and exercised like crazy they still seemed stuck in a plateau that they could not get out of? I think we can all think of somebody that has done this before, but usually not all for the same reasons. One reason may be the closet eater, who hides the fact that they are gorging on bad food choices behind closed doors. Or the excessive drinker, that says they only drink a few beers once a week, and it’s more like 10 beers at 2-3 times a week. The above two examples are not who we are talking about today. We are talking about the guy or girl that is actually putting in all the hard work but just can’t seem to get past that hump. Why is that? Well, the answer could be as simple as your hormones are not in an optimal state for fat loss….Here may be why.

Feeling Stressed?

We have all heard that stress kills right? Well, not only does it kill you, it also kills any fat loss or muscle gain progress as well. Studies have actually shown that when you are in a stressful state for consistent periods of time you can eat the perfect diet for your goals and still not lose body fat. In fact you will either stay the same, or you may even gain weight! So why does this happen? What is triggered in us that is causing this stress?

Cortisol

Cortisol is the stress hormone, responsible for that fight or flight response in the body that gets released when we are perceived to be under stressful situations. When cortisol stays up it is actually benefiting fat gain, and preventing muscle gain simultaneously. Now lets go back to the question of what is causing this in us? What is causing cortisol to stay elevated? Well, there are a number of things that could be plaguing our day. Here is just a small list…

Job or work environment, family life, Time Management, money management, over training at the gym, excess alcohol consumption, and consistent bad sleep.

This list probably covers the top stressors the average person has in there life. I would say out of all of the issues listed above, the number one issue leading to elevated cortisol is consistent bad sleep. You should always try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Now, I know they say 8 hours is considered best, but I am trying to be as realistic as possible. Quite a lot of us are busy people these days. For example, lately I am in bed around 10 to 10:30pm, and will be up at 4:30am ready to go. Whatever your time window is, please remember to not completely neglect your sleep. Try to make 6 hours be your minimum. Also, remember to keep the “blue lights” off when you go to bed at night. Blue light is the light emitted by television screens and phones, and can interrupt healthy sleeping patterns.

In regards to some of the other stressors listed above I highly doubt anyone is suffering from over training, since it is very difficult for the average person to even over train in the first place. But, as far as the rest of the list goes if you want to make a conscious effort to reduce stress try yoga or even meditation. Look for something you can do to unwind and calm the body. Maybe even massage therapy would be a great idea as well. Just keep in mind if you are at a sticking point in your fat loss results and you know in yourself you are doing all the right things then you may want to consider taking a look at your normal routine and figuring out what changes you need to make to get yourself moving in the right direction. Always remember we are here to help so if you need any assistance in figuring out what to do please feel free to contact me at our email address and we will get it figured out.

The Ultimate Weight Loss Supplement….Discipline

I wanted to touch on something today that is really a punch in the gut for most average people, because in today’s modern world most of us have no self control or self discipline, and it effects us every single day. Even the most simple things you may brush off and not even notice have an effect on your day. For example, the alarm clock, the awful, no good, loud, and obnoxious alarm clock. What do 90% of people do when they hear that sweet sound? Hit snooze at least 3 times, or turn it off and just go back to sleep. Well, right there you already lost. Now you have set yourself up to play from behind the rest of the day, staying in a more stressful, reactive state, rather than being prepared and ready to take on the day’s tasks. Another great example of no discipline can be seen when someone starts a new diet. They start off a few days doing great, and then they completely fall off the wagon and binge on trash food. Or even better, they go get a solid workout in at the gym, and then go “reward” themselves by having some sugary treat that is not only cancelling out the hard work you just did, it’s actually putting you in a worse state! The “reward” if you want to call it that is having the discipline to put in the hard work, and go home and eat sensibly, so then in 8 weeks you can look back and say, “damn, I feel great”! And the reflection in the mirror will show it too. A wise man once said there are only two major pains you will feel in your life….The pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. So the question is do you have the discipline to do what is necessary to take yourself to that next level, or will you give up and have to deal with the pain of regret? The choice is yours.

Keto Breakfast Sandwich

keto breakfast sandwich

You must must must try this very simple to make low carb breakfast sandwich. Here is what you need….

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • 1/2 water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 sandwich slices of cheddar cheese

As a side note the birch benders can be purchased directly from there website www.birchbenders.com

Directions

To begin it is best to start with your base. All you need to do is follow the instructions for the waffles that are on the birch benders keto mix. You should be mixing in the water, keto mix, and coconut oil together to create the waffle batter

Next, you will need to scramble up your two eggs. I recommend using coconut oil to cook the eggs in as well. While cooking the eggs I would get your 3 bacon strips cooked up as well.

Once the waffles are done, layer the sandwich, starting with the waffle at the bottom, then add 1 slice of the cheddar cheese, next approximately 1.5 strips of bacon, then the egg, then add another 1.5 strips of bacon, and one more piece of cheddar cheese. Top it off with the other waffle and you are ready to eat!

Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet

Where to Begin

The Benefits of a Ketogenic, or Keto Diet are vast to say the least. With that being said let’s take it from the top.

Fat Loss

This is the most popular reasoning that people have attached themselves to the keto diet….Thanks to TV ads and social media. Some of the promises made by slick marketers on how keto will drop bodyfat effortlessly, or selling you some type of keto supplement to help cut weight is almost always snake oil.

But there is truth in the fact that a keto diet will help keep your insulin levels low, which creates a great environment for your body to burn fat. When you are not taking in a lot of carbohydrate, especially 50 grams or less per day, your body will have to pull from other energy sources to fuel itself. The next fuel source from stored glycogen, or carbohydrate would be your bodies stored fat, which is how the magic happens. Once your body begins using stored fat as fuel you will begin to really see some progress in your fat loss goals.

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Greater Hormone Response

Not only does a keto diet aid in fat loss by utilizing stored body fat, it can also aid in increasing key hormones such as growth hormone as well. When the bodies insulin levels are lowered from eating keto, this causes growth hormone to stay more elevated. The benefits of more growth hormone production is tremendous, but here are a few key benefits…

Better Energy Production, Vitality, Joint Support, Fat Loss, Better Looking & Skin, Better Sleep Quality.

So eating keto is not just for weight loss purposes, but really can have anti-aging benefits as well by increasing growth hormone production. Lets move onto the next benefit.

Helps Build Mitochondria

Mitochondria, are the power plants of our cells, turning the nutrients we uptake from foods into ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is our cells energy source. The more mitochondria we have the more energy we can receive from food we eat. When the body goes into what’s called ketosis, after eating keto for a while, this state puts new demands on our bodies’ mitochondria, which causes the body to adapt by producing more mitochondria. This means more energy, and an increase in physical performance.

Better Cognitive Function & Reduction In Brain Fog

When the body is in Ketosis, it naturally produces more GABA, an amino acid that acts like a neurotransmitter, a calming neurotransmitter to be exact. Depressed GABA levels have been shown to cause brain fog, which now explains why a lot of dieters that go Keto begin to notice a certain clarity after a few weeks, due to the increase in GABA.

Ketogenic diets have also shown to cause a decrease in cognitive decline in patients with certain nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

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So eating a ketogenic diet is not just something that can be beneficial for weight loss purposes, but can be an aid to keep you healthy as you age. But always remember even eating keto you can not ignore food quality, which I can’t stress enough. Until next time.

Is Following a Keto Diet Healthy?

Recently in the media, I have been seeing the keto diet popping up, and not for good reasons. People are making claims that keto diets are causing problems such as heart disease. But is the keto diet as bad as it is being made out to be? Let’s take a look…

Quality vs Quantity

When eating a ketogenic diet it is still very important to pay attention to the quality of the foods you are putting in your body. For example, eating two cheeseburgers without the bun, and a few veggies on it would constitute as being “keto”, but you are also consuming a large amount of trans fats that are known for causing heart disease. So even thou the two cheeseburgers kept your carbohydrates low, it is still a very poor choice in food quality. This concept of quality vs quantity can be applied to any meal of any time of the day. Another great example is breakfast. Instead of eating a few scrambled eggs topped with home made salsa and sliced avocado, you decide to eat one scrambled egg with a pound of bacon and cheese. In this scenario you are again keeping your carb intake low, but the foods you are putting in your system will play a roll in your overall health over time.

keto diet for beginners

Too Obsessed With The Numbers

Another issue that has been getting noticed is the fact that people can’t figure out why sometimes there ketosis readings are coming back so high, meaning they are barely into ketosis even thou they have been eating a very low carbohydrate diet. No one has discovered why this is yet, but I am sure at some point down the road scientists will in fact figure it out. The important part to remember is that you are in ketosis, and you are getting all those benefits from being in that state, which we will discuss in another post because honestly there is a pretty lengthy list. By people getting obsessed with there keto readings they actually end up cutting out some very healthy and beneficial foods in there diet for more meats because the thought process is, “well I guess I should try to cut my carbs from 40 to 15, and then maybe my ketosis reading will be better”. More isn’t always better, and as long as you are in ketosis in the first place, honestly who cares about the number, just be consistent with your diet so you can stay in that state to reap the benefits. Don’t sacrifice eating good quality foods to attempt to get a better ketosis reading. This mistake can cost you in the long run in terms of your overall health, and we have discovered doing so may not even help your numbers anyway. In our next installment we will touch on the benefits of being in ketosis. Until next time.

3 Simple Methods for Fasting

Now that we have discussed the benefits of fasting in terms of fat loss, today we are going to touch on a few simple ways you can apply this concept to your daily lives.

Method 1: 16 on and 8 off

This Method of Fasting is broken down into windows. You fast for 16 hours and eat your meals for the day in an 8 hour window. To me this method actually seems to be the most practical out of any of the methods I have tried so I figured I would start with this one. I feel the main reason it is realistic is because the time you are sleeping you are on a fast anyway. So if you sleep 6-8 hours, you almost have half of your fast knocked out already. All you need to do now is tighten up the window on your last meal in the evening, and your first meal in the morning. For example, let’s say I ate my last meal at 8pm last night. Then I went to bed around midnight. I wake at around 7am, and already I have 11 hours knocked out on the fast. Instead of having breakfast, I simply wake up and have some coffee, or tea along with water. I will sip on whatever zero calorie beverage I prefer until around 12pm, when my 16 hours is up, and then from 12-8pm I will have my meals for the day. Typically I spread them out to 12pm, 3pm, and 7:30pm.

Method 2: Every Other Day Method

This method is exactly how it sounds and it definitely takes fasting up a notch. You fast for 24 hours, and then eat normally for 24 hours, and alternate. On your fasting days I do know that some people allow for a small calorie intake on your fasting days like 25% of your normal intake, which is equivalent to one small meal, but others go all day without. This one would be tough to try right out of the gates in my opinion. If you haven’t fasted before I still feel the 16/8 method would be best.

Method 3: The Warrior Method

In this method, the idea is to fast all morning and into the afternoon, until the later evening, and then eat one large meal. I mean its like thanksgiving dinner type of meal. You are consuming a high amount of calories at this meal, and then doing the same thing again tomorrow, and the next day. One meal a day, in the evening. If I did this method my meal would be between 2400-2600 calories at one sitting! Probably a 16oz ribeye with a huge salad topped with a large avocado. By the time I add on all the extra foods to my salad the calorie intake would be right where it needs to be.

Again, I would suggest if anyone wants to try fasting in any way to help accelerate fat loss, that they start with method 1, eating in windows. From here it is a much easier transition into something like the warrior method or even the every other day method. If you struggle with cravings in between your windows I would suggest drinking green tea when you are on your fast. The green tea can really help keep the cravings down for you, to make it easier to stay on track.

green tea fasting

How Fasting Accelerates Fat Loss

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting almost always causes a calorie deficit, but it also creates ideal circumstances for fat loss. This is because it increases your insulin sensitivity. When you fast, your insulin levels lower, causing your body to access your stored fat easier. That’s how your body opts to use fat for energy, instead of muscle.

You might be familiar with this idea, because it is the same reason why people adopt low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets to drop body fat. Eating low carb will lower your insulin levels, but the fact is that fasting will drop them even lower. This makes fasting more powerful for fat loss. Another way fasting boosts fat loss is by increasing the amount of growth hormone your body produces. Studies have shown that production of growth hormone can decrease your amount of body fat. Finally, fasting has also been shown to increase production of norepinephrine, the fat burning hormone.

Hopefully some of these reasons give you some insight into why fasting has been all the craze the last few years. There is quite a lot of research now backing it up so if you are wanting to further you fat loss gains, then this may be something you want to try. There are a few different methods you can try to use when fasting to achieve greater fat loss. We will go over these on one of our next posts.

Are All Calories The Same?

If It’s Too Good To Be True…

You know how people say, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is”? Well in this case regarding calories in and calories out that statement holds true. If everything we put in our bodies had the same measurable effect on our metabolism, then losing weight would be much easier that’s for sure. All you would need to do is eat in a deficit of calories everyday, and as long as the calories you were taking in were under your required intake for weight loss, you would drop body fat. Simple as that right? Wrong! Here’s why….

The Stalling Effect

Changing your eating habits to lose body fat is generally the best thing you can do to begin to see results. You begin to lose inches around your waist, your clothes get a little baggier, and you start feeling better from the more nutrient rich foods you are taking in. But, after a while, even if you are consistent with your diet, you will notice that progress can slow down, and even come to a screeching halt. This happens because the body is always defending itself. The human species has done this for thousands of years, adapt or die. The body has adapted to your new style of eating and regulated the metabolism to burn just enough calories to get through the food you are currently consuming in a day. So now what do you do? Here is what I suggest…

Increase your activity level first, don’t cut more calories!

Increasing your activity level can be as simple as adding a little more cardio into each session you do daily. So for example, if you are not doing any cardio on your weight training days, try adding a simple walk on the treadmill at the end of your lifting session for 20-30 minutes. Then on your regular cardio days add on an extra 15 minutes to your time. This extra time could be spent doing a number of different activities. One of the best cardio workouts in terms of bang for your buck would be either a rowing machine or jumping rope, but you can just as easily walk on an incline on the treadmill and still see results. Over the course of the week, by adding in this simple approach you can be doing an extra 2 hours of activity per week, which really adds up in terms of calories burned, and will help reignite the fat loss you have been missing.

Take Home Point

If you remember anything from this post please remember this part. When dieting, if you hit a sticking point in your fat loss progress, always try other avenues before cutting more calories out of your diet. Always remember, the body adapts over time to these changes, and eventually again yes, it will adapt to the new deficit you put it in, making it again even more difficult to see any progress. So always try other means first before cutting your diet.