How many of you have been on a business trip or vacation where you have been driving for hours, and one of the only options to stop and eat are the golden arches of McDonalds. At times we can get in a pinch with our busy schedules and lifestyles that can make it not as practical to eat the best quality food choices. So I decided to put together a small list of my top 5 low carb fast food meals that can help you stay on track with your meal plan….And no, they do not involve a “supersize” of any kind, sorry not sorry.
Chipotle Bowl– This one almost doesn’t even seem like fast food being the quality of meat is better than some sit down restaurants. But one a good note, Chipotle now has online ordering, so if you know you will be passing through a certain area around a certain time, you can have your meal ready for you when you walk in, pay and get outta there probably within 2-3 minutes. As far as what to get on your bowl I would suggest the following…
*Chicken, or Steak, Fajita Vegetables, Lettuce, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Cheese.
Getting a serving of all these ingredients will put you at about 20 carbs total, mostly coming from the guacamole, which is mainly fiber.
2. Naked Chicken Chalupa from Taco Bell– Yes Taco Bell made the list! If you order there naked chicken chalupa without tomato, this will keep you around 15 carbohydrates total.
3. KFC Grilled Chicken- Order KFC’s Grilled Chicken with a side of green beans and you are at approximately 10-12 carbs total. Perfect, and plenty of protein and fat to keep you feeling full.
4. Subway Double Chicken Chopped Salad– Make sure to order this with the avocado to add some more fiber and healthy fat and you will still only be at 10 carbs total, and about 40 grams of protein. Solid option, and tasty as well.
5. Arby’s Roasted Turkey Farmhouse Salad- This one made the list for its minimal 8 carbs total.
Well there you have it. 5 solid options all from various places. When making the list I wanted to pick out different places for each one, so that way at least there is some variety. These fast food spots do have other accommodating meals for low carb eaters as well, but I wanted to put meals that I have actually eaten myself and would actually recommend to you. Hope this helps some of you guys traveling a lot to stay on track. Until next time.
So I have been training clients for quite a few years now and it still boggles my mind at how many people will completely lie about their current diets and training routines during my initial assessment with them. It’s like they want to make it seem like everything up to this point has been picture perfect and they just have no idea why they are not seeing results? Then after asking a few questions and doing a little digging I find out that the diet they initially told me might as well have an asterisk next to it with a disclaimer stating this is the diet I intend to eat, but throughout my crazy day between work, school, kids, and just life throwing me curve balls in general I never get to stick to this plan. And you know what….That’s ok! But, keeping this information quiet and pretending that everything is good to go is not going to help you. So if you have a trainer, or ever do decide to get one, please remember to be completely honest and upfront with them so they can help you to the best of their ability. In fact if you feel like you need some help getting a plan together, please feel free to reach out to me and I will be glad to help you for free. Just use the contact me tab on our website and send me an email to get started.
I hear people say this way too often at the local gyms so I thought this would be a great topic to bring up. Genetics, do they really matter at all? In my opinion, for the 99% of us average folks out there absolutely not. Now, if you are attempting to be an IFBB pro bodybuilder, or fitness professional of that caliper then okay yes genetics can give you that extra edge you need to get to the top. For example, I could lift daily, eat a perfect diet, and take a disproportionate amount of performance enhancing drugs and in five years I still would not stand a chance against him. So for that scenario genetics does make a difference. But in regards to the vast vast majority of us that are just chasing a better version of ourselves genetics will not matter at all. Sweat equity is what matters when you want to transform your body and get into better shape. I see so many people put these limitations on themselves and will use genetics as an excuse to not being able to achieve the look or goal they originally had. That’s bullshit. Have some discipline and self control to stick to your program and I guarantee in time you will start to see changes. NEVER limit yourself, always be pushing forward! Complacency is the killer of long term goals, so stay hungry and stay motivated my friends!
Very Often I get asked how much do I indulge in alcohol throughout the week? Occasionally, I will have a drink or two on my off days to help unwind, relax, and usually when I am drinking I am at some type of social event with friends which is always a plus. Nothing too crazy, but of course every once in a while I do have one of those nights that are usually pretty memorable in terms of alcohol consumption. The question is how much does this actually effect your weight loss, or fitness goals in general? Let dive in…
How Bad Can It Be?
Alcohol unfortunately disrupts REM sleep, which is the important sleep for those of you that may not remember the sleep cycle. REM sleep is the time when all the magic happens with your hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone release. By decreasing REM sleep, this will inhibit some of the hormone release you would normally get from a night sober. Additionally, alcohol is very dehydrating. In fact most researchers have agreed that most of the hangover effect that happens post drinking is attributed to your body being dehydrated. Having a lack of water in the body will have your energy levels low, and have you feeling less than your normal self. From a weight loss stand point the most important thing to understand about alcohol is that when you ingest alcohol, whether its something that is almost calorie free, such as a vodka and tonic water, alcohol itself is still converted over to an energy source once ingested. This means that the body will need to use this energy source up first before it can burn through whatever else you are taking in. To say it as simple as possible, alcohol consumption will decrease your metabolism by spiking your insulin and putting your body in a storage mode vs a burning mode. Now do not feel like you should try to quit drinking all together because you are destroying your weight loss goals. There is still room for a drink or two every now and then as long as it is in moderation. The problem truly lies in the weekend binge drinkers that have 5 plus drinks in a night, and then also while they are out, eat a burger with fries and various other bad meal choices. So if you are really trying to cut body fat you will really want to consider cutting down on the alcohol consumption to maybe a night a week, to try to ensure you are not impeding any of your results.
Today I would like to drop a little motivation and knowledge on everyone in regards to exercise. How many of us have had those days where we just aren’t feeling it? I know in all honesty I have one of those days at least two times a week. But you know what, I still get up and get my ass in gear and go get my workout in….I go through the motions! Even when you are not feeling it, and think that going to the gym on that particular day will be a waste of time, still find a way to get there. Do not let a little lack of discipline ruin what you are working hard to keep. So the next time you are not “feeling it” just remember why you started, and the progress you made. Skipping workouts is one of the quickest ways to hinder your fitness results. So keep pushing through, even when it gets tough. In the end, you will be happy that you did, and tomorrow we will talk about some of the worst things you may be doing to hinder your fitness results.
Research has shown that both of these options can be effective for weight loss, and keeping blood sugar and insulin lowered. But is one option better than the other? Or does it even matter which you choose, as long as the carbohydrate levels stay down. Let’s break them down and see what the research says.
In Regards to Weight Loss
Both carb restriction and fasting can help you reduce your total calories, which can lead to weight loss, and both are easy to follow. But, if you have any issues with feeling hungry it may be tough for you to consistently stick to your meal plan if you have issues with fighting hunger. So from the perspective of staying the most consistent, I would have to vote for just following a lower carbohydrate diet consistently vs fasting.
What About For Health Benefits?
As far as the health benefits go surprisingly fasting showed a greater drop in glucose and insulin for a 24 hour period. Additionally for those that were doing an evening fast that lasted throughout the night into the early morning saw an even greater decrease in glucose levels.
This is great news, but you can not just fast all the time! So what can we do to find balance to try to reap the health benefits of fasting, and also continue with our weight loss efforts?
IF or intermittent fasting, also known as temporary fasting is where you fast for a temporary amount of time throughout the day, or during the day into the night. Most people doing temporary fasting will eat the majority of there calories in a window of say 8 hours, and then fast for the next 16 until the next day. For example, say you wake up at 8am, and eat your first meal around 9am. Between the hours of 9-5pm you would eat what you had planned for the day, then from 5pm until 9am the next day do not eat anything. Some will squeeze the window even tighter where they only eat in a 4 hour window and fast for 20 hours. Obviously this will take a lot more discipline, but in time it can be done. This way you can reap both the health benefits of fasting, and get the weight loss benefits as well. Give this a try sometime, and see if you can stick with it. Personally, I think it is worth giving a shot even just for the health benefits alone. What do you think?
This time of year there will be a lot of people jumping on the new year’s resolution train with there weight loss goals. Before you get too wrapped up in all the noise that is coming in about ten days, let me share with you five simple reasons low carb diets work, and why I would recommend them as a place to start to get the body you want.
They Are Easy to Follow!– This has to be the number one reason by far to choose a low carb diet. No counting points, no subtracting certain nutrients to get the “net sum”. All you need to mainly focus on is keeping those carbs low. Staying consistent on a diet plan is hard enough without any extra nonsense to track.
They Increase Nutrient Density, While Decreasing Total Calories– In the simplest terms, low carb diets tend to cause things like this to happen. Instead of ordering the french fries, you order a salad. Or instead of having dessert at a restaurant you tough it out, go home, and eat celery and peanut butter for a snack. In these scenarios, by choosing a low carb alternative you are also simultaneously decreasing total calories consumed AND you are increasing your nutrient density.
They Work Fast– It is no mystery that low carb diets have a quick effect on us. Results begin to show in as little as a week of consistent meal planning. This can be important for those that need to “see” the results to keep them motivated.
They Reduce Sugar– Pretty simple, but important none the less. reducing sugar will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels more stable throughout the day, promoting more of a metabolic environment. From a health standpoint reducing sugar is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. If you consume excess sugar consistently, and the liver becomes full of glycogen, any excess sugar then being consumed will convert directly to body fat, and also contribute to a fatty liver.
They Increase Protein Intake– This last one is really by default because a low carb diet is going to be more rich in foods with less carbohydrates. Different types of meats all have little to no carbs per serving, and are rich in protein. The higher the protein intake is, the more satiation you will feel, helping prevent you from over eating. Also, eating more protein contributes to maintaining lean muscle mass while dieting, which in turn keeps your metabolism steady.
This is a question I think doesn’t get asked often enough and leads people to complacency and “average” thinking very quickly when it comes to getting the results they want at the gym. Here are a few simple things to ponder on to make you either realize you are where you need to be, or it’s time to move on.
Biggest Fish in a Tiny Pond
Are you the biggest, strongest, fittest, most consistent gym goer at your local 24 hour spot? If so….It’s time to switch gyms. Why you ask? You need to surround yourself with people of your caliper or hopefully you can surround yourself with people that are even better than yourself to help keep your competitive fire alive. If you are an advanced lifter training with beginners, novices, and intermediates at the local YMCA, you may look like the hulk there, but the truth is you may be robbing from your own potential.
What Does Your Gym Really Offer?
Where I am going with this one is does your gym offer personal training, classes, or anything that could be of benefit to your overall goals, or are they offering you free candy, pizza, and soft drinks as an incentive because you decided to show up to the gym today? Clearly the pizza and candy is a problem if you have any amount of drive to make yourself better. And if you actually think that a gym giving away this kind of crap is okay, then please stop reading my blog because you clearly do not get it, and you never will….Seriously thou. So make sure that your gyms attitude and motivation is looking out for your best interest, otherwise make a run for it.
How Is The Atmosphere?
When you are at your gym working out, are you noticing a lot of like minded people working toward something? In other words, no matter their fitness level do you notice good effort being put in or is it more of a social club? You can have all the motivation in the world heading into a gym, but there is something about going in the gym and seeing a whole crowd of people that could just as soon be at a coffee shop bullshitting about nothing. It can take your motivation level from a 10 to a 4 pretty quick. Gives you the impression that as long as we show up and eventually get through our lifting routine we should see some results. Now, if you have been a gym avid gym goer for some time you know this is a fairy tale, but if your newer to the gym scene, this type of environment can be extremely impressionable on you. So my advice here is, find a gym where you notice people of all ages really putting in some time and work. These are people you can most likely learn something from. The only thing you will learn from the social club is who won the game last night.
In closing, I urge clients to give this sort of stuff a lot of thought because I would say 90% of getting in shape is mental. It’s getting in the right frame of mind, day in and day out consistently that is going to get you the absolute best results. And you do not have the time to waste wanting to deal with issues that can already be avoided such as these above.
Being ready to compete in a bodybuilding or fitness competition takes a ton of hard, work, consistency, and dedication to not only your lifting routine, but your diet as well. Week after week you will be on the grind, unable to stray from the contest prep diet to ensure you get the best results possible going into your show. These two basic principles will never go away if you desire to do shows. But, if you are questioning whether or not you should compete and you haven’t before here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself.
What are your reasons for wanting to compete?
Is it for the love of the sport? Is it because you want to be the best? Or is it simply a fun challenge? Well regardless, you need to have some strong reasons why you are doing this, because when you start getting closer to your competition, your depleted, and not able to eat certain foods, being able to justify your means can sometimes be tough. You start telling yourself, well who really cares if I do this or not, or i’m not going to place well anyway etc. People will justify anything when they are uncomfortable or when the going gets tough. So keep in mind that whatever reason you are deciding to do this better be a good one.
Who are you?
No really though….What I mean is who are you trying to be? There are a ton of different federations and divisions these days so you could go a bunch of different routes. You have regular bodybuilding, physique, classic physique etc. All of these carry with them a different look to achieve. For visual images I urge you to look up the difference in the builds of these competitors, and different body weights they carry for the show. Before starting any show prep, get a good grasp of who you really are and who you are not. Do not let someone talk you into doing a bodybuilding show when you clearly have the build of a physique guy.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes?
Bodybuilding and Fitness are extreme sports in that it takes a great deal to get your physique to a top level. So, if your goal is to not only compete, but to become a professional you gotta ask yourself are you willing to do whatever it takes to not only compete but to win? The bodybuilder of today has there competition schedule down to a science from there training, diet, sleep schedule, and supplementation, everything is planned out.
One last note
I want to leave all you future competitior’s with one last piece of advice moving forward. Do not get frustrated. There are a few things you need to keep in mind. For your first show you will not be ready. I don’t care how much prep you do you will not be ready for your first show. In fact there is a good chance you will not even make the top 10. But that’s okay. You are not expected to come out of the gates getting first or second. That will come with time. The first step is going through the prep the best you can and then moving forward from there.