The more I learn about all the complexities of nutrition and the human body, the more I realize it’s imperative to keep it super simple.
There is NO other way.
There’s just too much out there today to bog you down. I see it every day; clients confused about what to eat and when to eat it because one thing they read says low carbs are good and the next thing says too much fat is bad.
What the hell are you supposed to do?
I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s not easy. Eating healthy is hard but really the hardest part is making it a lifestyle and not a diet.
Cutting out this and that until you’re at the point where you find yourself eating boring chicken and vegetables every night, that sucks.
I am a huge fan of creating the lifestyle that allows you to enjoy delicious foods, look and feel awesome and actually have a life, aka going out with friends and enjoying a glass of wine if you want.
What does healthy eating mean?
It depends first of all on your goals. In my experience training clients and meeting people, there are usually four kinds of goals:
1. The person is overweight to where it’s affecting their health, and they need to lose body weight
2. The person has a higher than normal percentage of body fat and they need to lose fat and gain muscle
3. The person is lean, has a good amount of muscle due to training for a longer period of time and wants to continue to see results without being too strict
4. The person has some lean muscle but has trouble keeping weight on and wants to add a few pounds
Recently, due to the fact that our clients are freakin’ awesome, I have had the #3 conversation with a lot of people. Besides that, #2 is the most popular with a few people in the #1 and #4 categories.
Last week I wrote an article for Fitness RX for Women on how to use Intermittent Fasting in your life. There were a lot of people that kinda bashed the idea, saying that it’s a form of starvation and there is no way you can eat enough.
I also got some great comments from people who want to try IF and I’m going to be doing a series of articles over there to break down exactly how to eat and when to eat depending on what time of day you train.
It’s important to know that this is not a dogmatic approach. If you don’t want to practice IF, I really don’t care. This has worked well for me and for a lot of my clients because it’s simple and there’s no hassle. You don’t have to pack 6 meals in your little cooler and set your clock to eat every 3 hours.
If eating every 3 hours was the key to fat loss, we likely wouldn’t have a 65% obesity rate in the United States. I’m just sayin’.
Check out my article, Intermittent Fasting: What It Is and How You Should Do It and please leave a comment over there at FitnessRX to let us know how you feel about IF.
Hey, Happy MLK Day to you!
I’m about to hop on a flight to Vegas for a three day business and marketing seminar. I’m really excited about this but before I go I wanted to hook you up with a little video to help your nutrition.
I was talking with two different clients last week and they both had the same situation. I won’t call it a problem, but it’s something that I know comes up a lot for people who are watching their food intake closely.
Both of these ladies have been kicking ass with their nutrition and they both had parties and dinners coming up over the weekend.
They were nervous about what they should eat and would splurging a little bit slow down their process?
As long as you do it the right way.
If you don’t, then hell yes, it will mess you up.
Check out this quick video where I talk about how to avoid dieting and create a lifestyle that allows you to actually enjoy a night out with friends or a great meal.
Happy Monday. I hope your weekend was great and you’re ready to attack this week with focus and clarity and that you’ll have some fun along the way.
In the last couple of months I’ve been really focused on making sure that I’m having fun every day. Obviously there are things that come up each day that we just don’t want to do, but when there are times to enjoy yourself, you gotta take it.
It’s all about staying present too. I used to be really bad about always thinking about what I need to be doing in the next moment and not focusing on what I am actually doing in that current moment. Now I’m trying to stay in the moment and that helps me to have more fun too.
How’s your eating going?
Did you get your 80 ounces of water in like we talked about last week?
Well, no. I just forget to drink while I’m at work and then I hate getting up and having to pee every 5 minutes.
Did you skip the sandwich at lunch and pack your own lunch with protein and veggies?
No. I just ran out of time and then I get so busy with meetings that I don’t have any time and I have to run out to get the quickest thing.
Pretty standard conversations that I have with people over the course of the week.
Getting your nutrition dialed in is key. Period. The end.
Okay, not really the end because I’m going to keep talking. The thing I want you to think about is when you start your conversation or your answer to those questions above with the “yeah but” you are just giving a knee jerk reaction and an excuse. There is no real reason why you didn’t drink enough water or why you ate that bomb of a sandwich at Au Bon Pain.
You just didn’t prepare.
I’m not saying this to be mean but I want you to just think about the reasons, excuses and thoughts that you have over the course of the week about why your nutrition is not happening the way it should. When you start to say or think something like those answers above, just stop yourself and think about how you can actually just make it happen instead of giving the “yeah but.”
Just think about it….
I wanted to show you what a typical day looks like for me. This post is called what I ate today but it’s actually what I ate on Tuesday. That’s okay though because so far it’s been pretty much identical.
This is a training day for me. Strength training followed by some conditioning (Battling Ropes were the lovely finisher of the day).
On training days I’ll up my carbs a bit and I end up having one extra meal because of my post workout shake. The basic theme is that since I train in the morning I have two carb and protein-based meals (more like snacks here) and then two meals (lunch and dinner) that are protein and fat based.
Please excuse my photography skillz…..
This happens 30 minutes after I train. 2 scoops of Prograde Workout. This stuff is the bomb dot com when it comes to after training. You don’t have to mix up a smoothie or anything, just throw 2 scoops of this in with water and you’re golden.
Typically I try to eat real food but once and a while I’ll take in one of these bars because 1). they taste delicious and 2). it’s an easy way to get in a more carb based snack. This is really the only kind of protein bar that I’ll eat because it’s all natural, doesn’t taste like crap and well, I pretend it’s a real brownie…..
This was lunch around 3pm. Eggs with salsa, broccoli and scallops wrapped in bacon. A-ma-zing.
Dinner around 6pm. 2 grass fed burgers, broccoli and asparagus.
So there’s a typical training (weights) day for me. Higher carbs in that 2 hour window after I train and then I go lower carb as the day goes on. Every meal and snack has 20-40 grams of protein.
In terms of miscellaneous stuff I took in 100 ounces of water, 4 grams of fish oil and a multi-vitamin.
If you have questions about what to eat on certain days (off days, training, conditioning days) just leave a comment below.
What to Eat with Intermittent Fasting
Hey what’s up, Happy Tuesday….it’s a gorgeous day and I’m sitting here writing this blog post for you on my back porch with a nice breeze overlooking the golf course. I just finished up a sprint session at Harvard Stadium and my legs are just a tad jello-like.
I just realized as I’m writing this post that I’ve got a few hours left on my long fast of the week. Typically I’ll have a cheat day on Sundays so I will then fast for 36-38 hours but this week I decided to push to 40 hours. The hardest part is Monday night when I’m just about approaching 24 hours and after that it’s actually okay.
So, I was talking with a couple clients about intermittent fasting and they were really excited to try it. One of the things that becomes a bit tough is figuring out what to eat. Sometimes you just have to experiment because everyone’s fasting and feeding windows are going to be a bit different. Today I wanted to give you some guidelines and simple starting points to figure out what to eat during that glorious 8 hour window. Remember, this is not an excuse to eat whatever you want, but you do want to make sure you’re getting enough calories when you’re eating only 2-3 times.
First let’s lay some groundwork. If you need a bit more information on intermittent fasting you’ll want to back up a bit and read this post….
Now we need to figure out what you’ll need for calories, carbs, protein and fats. I’m not a huge number counter but you do want to have a baseline because otherwise stuff can get out of hand. Most people are taking in too many calories overall and they are not timing their nutrients up correctly. This means very, very slow results.
Here is how you want to break down your overall calories. This is going to be based on what your lean body mass is currently. If you want to lose fat then you will want to drop these numbers just a bit, probably 300-400 calories.
Your lean body mass is your total body weight minus your fat weight. This includes muscle, bones, organs and other body mass that’s not body fat.
So for example if you weigh 140 pounds and you have 22% body fat that means you have 30.8 pounds of body fat. So take 140 and subtract 30.8. That leaves you with 109.2 for your lean body mass. Let’s use 109 just to make it even.
To figure out what your total daily caloric intake should be, here is a good scale. If you don’t know your body fat percentage you can have a qualified trainer measure it using calipers or if you are lucky enough to get access to a Bod-Pod that’s pretty awesome too….
6-12% body fat = 17 calories per pound of LBM (lean body mass)
12.1-15% body fat = 16 calories per pound of LBM
15.1-19% body fat = 15 calories per pound of LBM
19.1-22% body fat = 14 calories per pound of LBM
22.1 or above = 13 calories per pound of LBM
In the example used above, this person would want 14 calories per pound of LBM which is 1,526 calories. This is simply to maintain that weight and body fat. If you were looking to lose body fat you should drop that number by roughly 300 calories each day. If you are getting within 5% of these numbers you’re going to be doing really well so don’t get too hung up on everything.
The number above should be used for strength training workout days. If you are doing conditioning work or taking an off day, drop that above number by around 400.
Now let’s move on to the carbs, proteins and fats.
A good rule of thumb for your protein intake is 1 gram to 1.5 grams per pound of LBM. So if we’re again using the example above that would be 109-163 grams per day. Anywhere in that range is going to be really great and you’ll want to push to the higher end of the range on strength training days.
For carbohydrates, this one can get a bit trickier. Carbs are going to be an important source on your strength training days and you’ll want to keep them lower when you’re conditioning only or on your off days.
On a strength training, heavier workout day you’ll want to have .5 to .75 grams of carbs per pound of LBM. On conditioning and off days keep your carbs between 30-50 grams total.
For fat intake it also depends on when you’re having your carbs. A general rule of thumb is that you don’t want to combine high amounts of fat with high amounts of carbs in the same meal. Keep your fat intake around 1/2 of your LBM so the example above would be about 50 grams. Ideally you want to go a bit lower fat on the higher carb days so drop that number by about 20 grams.
Remember, don’t get too hooked on the numbers but use these to help your own preparation of food each day.
With intermittent fasting figuring out what to eat can be tricky. Here’s a simple way to do it…..
Meal #1- break your fast with a shake.
For me, my first meal comes around 11am-12pm. If I am within 1 hour of completing a strength workout, I have a post workout shake. If I did a conditioning workout, it’s my off day or if I trained early that morning, I keep it as a low carb shake. The goal here is to keep your carbs down during the day, but if you have just completed that strength workout you can go a bit higher on the carbs to recover.
For example, if you trained from 7-8am and you weren’t eating until 11am, you’ll want a low carb shake. If you trained from 7-8am but your fasting window was ending at 9am you can go with your post workout shake.
I like the shake just because it’s easy, digests quickly and I just really like the taste. Here’s a good example:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop whey protein powder (flavor of your choice)
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
handful of baby spinach
1 tablespoon of all-natural almond or peanut butter (optional)
2-3 ice cubes
Blend and enjoy. This shake should be around 200-300 calories.
Meal #2 – Low Carb Snack
Again we want to keep the carbs low during the day so your body can really keep up the fat burning potential. When insulin levels are low, fat stores are prime locations for fuel.
This snack should be around 200 calories for most females and 300-400 for guys. It should be focused on lean protein and veggies. Keep your fat under 10 grams here.
I usually have 2 hard boiled eggs and some green veggies (snow peas, green beans, spinach, peppers, etc)
You can also do eggs scrambled with veggies or some beef jerky and veggies.
This meal will come 2-3 hours after your shake.
Meal #3- The big feast
Many old school myths will tell you not to eat a lot at night. This is somewhat true, you don’t want to eat a lot a night if you’ve been eating a lot all day. That makes you fat, plain and simple.
If you keep your calories and carbs low during the day, your body has no choice but to burn fat. Then you can pump up your calories at night, enjoy a satisfying meal and actually socialize with your family and friends instead of being a dieting hermit that can’t enjoy life.
This is not a ticket to go overboard and eat whatever you want. You’ll be eating the remainder of your calories during this meal. So, if you ate 200 calories then 300 calories and your daily intake is 1400 you get to eat 900 at night. Pretty cool, huh?
I’m going to break this down into two parts. You’ll have your strength training days and your conditioning or off days. Just as I noted below, your strength training days will allow you higher carbs and less fat.
Here’s a typical strength training day dinner:
*A side note, I know most of you are thinking, I thought whole grain was better than white….well in the case of this meal plan you want quick digesting carbs at night and things like bread, whole grain and pasta will simply slow down the process and give you some serious bloating.
A conditioning or off day dinner:
This will be virtually the same except you will cut out the serving of carbs and berries for dessert. You’re focusing on protein and green veggies. You can add an extra protein source to make up for the left-over calories. For example, I typically have a grass fed burger with no bun and a chicken sausage as my main protein sources but on the days that I cut out my carbs, I have two chicken sausages.
I know a lot of this is going against the norm and what you’re used to hearing but I’m just putting this out there for your knowledge. I won’t come on here and say that this is the only way to eat, but I will say that it’s successful, it’s practical for a busy person and think about what you’re doing now. Is pumping your body full of food every 3 hours without giving it a break to digest or to actually burn fat instead of just sugar over and over, really working for you?
Give this a try 2-3 days per week for 2 weeks and see how your body feels. Your energy levels will improve, your sleep will improve due to the higher calorie intake at night and your muscles will be primed with energy for the next day’s training session.
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