How to Eat Like a Champion
Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, IIFYM, gluten free, clean eating, etc., with all the nutrition plans and diet fads out there, of course it can be confusing as to which one to follow. There are only two things that should come to mind when deciding on which plan to follow, if any at all:
1. Can you abide by that plan for the rest of your life?
2. Does it fit into your lifestyle?
These have to be the main things considered when choosing a "lifestyle change" because a diet is only successful for the amount of time you are on it. If you are on a diet and lose 15 pounds and then go back to doing whatever you were doing before, you will gain all those 15 pounds back. Fitting into your lifestyle is so important for many reasons. You cannot follow a diet that involves cooking all of your meals, packing them and eating six times a day if you hate cooking and you will never give up going to the café next door for lunch. This isn't a bad thing but it emphasizes the point that you have to find something that works for you.
Calories In versus Calories Out. Most important? Kind of. You definitely need to burn more calories and take in fewer calories if you want to lose weight. However that isn't the be all and the end all. For example, 5 candy bars equal about 1200 calories. If you choose to eat 5 candy bars in a day instead of 5 nourished meals with various whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and protein, there will be a significant difference in the way you feel, perform and look.
So which way is the best way? I'm going to give you some simple steps on how to make sure you can follow the BEST plan for you no matter which route you choose to go.
· Always have a lean protein source in each of your meals. That doesn't mean just chicken! Explore lean beef, seafood, eggs, turkey, bison, whey protein, and even legumes.
· Half of your meals should contain a healthy fibrous carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. And half should contain a healthy fat such as olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, avocado, almond butter, and flaxseeds. You also need vegetables to be in the majority of your meals. The more vegetables you eat, the more fiber you will have and thus, the more the carbohydrates you can eat that will not be stored as fat.
· Avoid empty calories such as sugary soft drinks, juices, and even added flavorings to your meals using cream sauces and extra fillings. Try drinking extra water, decaf tea, and occasionally sugar free Crystal Light.
· Use natural herbs, spices, and olive oils with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for seasoning foods. Natural is better!
Start here and with a little extra cooking, motivation, and guidance, you can be eating like a champion in no time!
QUINOA BERRY BOWL
3/4 cooked quinoa
1 handful raw walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup fresh organic berries
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Almond or coconut milk (about 1-2 tablespoons, optional to your liking)
Add a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Heat quinoa with coconut oil and stir well. Add walnuts, cinnamon, almond or coconut milk and stir, incorporating all of the flavors together. Top with fresh organic berries and drizzle with grade b maple syrup.
In the late spring of 2006, I packed all my personal belongings into my old Saturn SL1 (which had about 80 hp on a good day) and started on the long drive from Port Charlotte, FL to Schenectady, NY. I packed my final bag into the backseat and I got out the map to reexamine my route north (75 to 10, 10 to 95, etc.). I figured that the whole trip, if I didn't stop, was going to take about 23 hours. I got through the southern states pretty easily and was cruising by the time I got to Washington D.C. I was revved up and excited to get back home and I figured since I got this far just cruising, I could ramp it up and get back faster, so my foot got heavy and I started accelerating, passing cars as I headed towards the signs for 87, the final stretch. I was feeling great because I was going to be back early; I could unpack and meet some friends. It was going to be awesome. I was feeling so good that as I was passing cars on the left, I ended up passing the exit as well! I ended up having to go through Philadelphia and jump on two different highways before I could find my way back to the road I needed. Luckily I made it safely home about the same time I had originally estimated; I just added a full tour of the City of Brotherly Love.
If you are asking how this road trip relates to fitness, I don't blame you, but look at it this way. Everyone who starts some sort of exercise program has a goal or destination. This goal is going to take some time to achieve and you are going to have to map out a plan to reach it. Many people still start a program with intentions to achieve something and then just wing it. For example, start on the treadmill for 10 minutes; do some arm curls; go use the band for something because that guy in the Under Armour shirt used it. Imagine being in Port Charlotte, wanting to get to New York with no map (this was before I knew the genius of GPS) and just start driving around until you get to the city. How long would it take you to get there? It's the same with having a fitness program, and this is why many people struggle with the same goal for years! They don't have a plan. You need to get your road map out.
I understand that you have a goal and you want to get to it fast, so you go as hard as possible with your workouts; push it to the limit and your co-workers will ask if you're okay because you are painfully shuffling your feet around the office the next day after your workout from the day before. Is this the right approach?
The answer is—it depends.
I know, total cop out, but let me explain. A vital part of striving towards reaching a new level in your fitness is pushing yourself hard and staying focused. HealthPlex fitness pro, Amy Jones, has used the analogy of a "light switch". When it is time to go for it, you turn your switch on, and you're on. You give it a heightened focus, plan down to a T, and make big strides towards improving fast. One of the best examples I've seen of turning the switch on is a future bride preparing for her wedding. Talk about an event you want to look your best at.
Another example is marathon runners. They will go off food before they go off their running program before a big race. These are examples of accelerating your progress, but this doesn't mean you should train like this every time you step into the gym. Unless you have no other responsibilities except training, eating, and sleeping, it is mentally and physically draining to keep this intensity up 365 days a year. You will lose motivation, stop making gains, or lose your focus and go off-course. This is a big reason why most people stop exercising after 6 weeks of starting. The go too hard, too fast, drain all their energy, and can't get the focus back.
Health and fitness is not a quick fix, no matter what goal you have. It can be the most influential aspect of your life. Here are some key tips to getting in top shape properly:
1.) Know your calendar. Mark down events and times of higher demand or stress and you can plan out your training more easily. I know that when I work with parents of young kids in December, I know they have so many holiday parties, concerts, shopping nights, etc. and that it's probably not the best time to ramp it up. Know those key dates and plan around them.
2.) Take 6 weeks to ramp it up. Between work, school, kids, and other responsibilities, it is tough just to find time to get training in. The worst thing is for your workout to add stress to your life. That is why it is best to ramp it up within a timeframe. I have found that 6 weeks is a good time period for most people to really push the intensity and focus in their training. Most of the challenges and programs we offer at HealthPlex are 6 weeks long for this reason.
3.) Set a deadline. Just like the future bride mentioned earlier who knows that she needs to reach her goal by a specific date, putting a deadline to your ramp up will keep you focused during this time. Even if it is not a major event, put down a date and hold yourself to it. If your goal is to get back into your old jeans, put a date down and try on the jeans on that date.
4.) Plan your down time. Even when you are not ramping it up, you still need to train. You can still make gains while in your down time, but you should know your training program well so you don't fall into the trap of winging it. This is a good time to try something new. If you are looking at building strength up, try a kettlebell class, or learn how to use suspensions. Enter into a light competition, such as a 5k or a summer softball league. Enjoy this time to stay fit so you can ramp it up when you need to again.
In my experience as both a fitness professional and a human with goals, I have learned that you have to ramp it up and push yourself if you are going to break through barriers and make big gains. However, I have made some bigger gains during times when I was on cruise control because I tried something new or found something to add that helped me the next time I ramped it up.
In Dan John's new book Intervention (which I highly recommend) he refers to these workouts as park bench workouts and bus bench workouts. When on a park bench, we take time to enjoy the view, without much agenda or deadline. When on a bus bench, we are on a deadline, and we need the bus to come at a specific moment to keep on track.
Follow this track, plan ahead, and be fit for life!
This year, WIN the WAR, not just the BATTLE of the bulge by beginning with the end in mind.
It starts with the fall foliage..the air changes, the weather shifts , life is beautiful...until..suddenly we are getting new junk food ads all but lasered into our retinas as we turn every corner and change every radio or television station! We start with maybe a pumpkin latte (or 2, or 3), a hand full of candy corn every now and then, those have-to-have-'em-just-this-once apple cider donuts.. before you know it you wake up with your head in an empty bowl of left halloween candy!
Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But you get my point; All too often we have good INTENTIONS of not adding on those pesky 8-10 holiday pounds yet again we find its just the start of the Holiday season and we are 5 lbs up, full of sugar and cravings, having mood swings and low energy NOT very optimistic about keeping the extra weight off, and we can forget about the 5 we were trying to shed BEFORE that!
So then, looking ahead, we know life really gets busy..we have thanksgiving, Haunnika, Christmas, New Years, and all the holidy parties in between! So we will just enjoy ourselves and take care of our bodies and health after this all just settles down.. you know..in a month or two (just as everyone else in the world is scrambling to get in shape before summer gets here..for real this time)
Did you ever stop and say to yourself, "THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?" Because..really..and trust me here.. it DOESN'T! This year I offer you the challenge to get ahead of the game here..Begin with the end in mind (rather than thinking about how hare it will be and give up before you get started!) and you will the whole WAR on that weight gain one holiday battle at a time!
I am a fitness Professional and believe it or not..a fellow Human Being! I understand daily challenges, especially surrounding the Holiday season. I get it! Life gets a little crazy! With a little planning, a helping hand and LOT of determination I KNOW you can win this war (and yes, I do believe the fight against junk food, lethargy, weight gain, etc is an all-out war!)
Here are some of my tips that I personally use to keep myself in check BEFORE and throughout the holidays:
*keep in mind I whole-heartedly believe and recommend staying active and eating well BEFORE the holidays, all through the year is the greatest way to feel and look your best at all times
Fall Season- I know everyone loves their Dunkin Donuts pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, donuts, etc.. but come on.. Do we really need all that fat and sugar every single day? If you love a good seasonal treat like most of us do, pick and plan them out. If you leave them random you will consume WAY more garbage than you intend or even realize. You know the saying, "you are what you eat?" Do you want to walk around looking like a pumpkin muffin!? If you must, I would limit the seasonal treat to ONE beverage and ONE food item per week. This will not only help to prevent the unwanted weight gain, but you will appreciate the treat much much more!
*Fit Tip- Plan this wisely- if that night you know you are going out to dinner with friends (indulgence) then it is not a good day to have the sugary beverage or food item-save it for a day that there are no other junk foods going into your body! Try to limit empty calorie snacks to once per week
Thanksgiving and other Holiday Parties through the New Year- Ok, so we are off to a good start, we managed to escape Halloween without a new pound (or 9 of its buddies)! Now is the time to DECIDE that you can and will continue to make wise choices and plan out your meals and yes your "treats" through the rest of the season. Keep it simple, and keep the end in mind (you are not gaining 10 lbs this Holiday season!). When things get busier we tend to put our workouts on hold until the New Year. Keep those workouts a priority but at the same time don’t overwhelm yourself.
Share the love! Here at Healthplex Fitness Center we are always handing out recipes and teaching people of all walks of life how to make health and fitness work for their lifestyle! Stop in and ask for a copy of our delicious and oh-so-satisfying healthy dishes including Crock pot chicken and brown rice, Crock pot sweet potato Chicken Chili, Sweet potato pancakes, chic pea curry, creamy carrot ginger soup, butternut squash, roasted garlic and apple soup and even our ever famous treat, FUNKY MONKEY BANANA BREAD MUFFINS!
You can win this war. I believe in you, and you can be proud of yourself for accepting this challenge!
Yours in Strength,
Erin Bosford B.S. Kinesiology/Fitness Development
Fit Pro/Functional Movement Specialist
It's that time of year again guys! Those extra sweets, desserts and comfort foods can add a lot of extra calories and therefore can lead to addition weight gain! We've been working so hard on shedding those unwanted pounds not only to look good but feel good as well! Let's not let the kick off of the holiday season scare you off from reaching your goals; the slimmer, more confident you!
HealthPlex Fitness center is offering new shake flavors to perhaps help you avoid those excessive calories while fighting your cravings. Since our shakes contain 20 grams of protein they also are supplementing your workouts by helping to build muscle and boost your metabolism!! A definite added bonus so try one today.
November is just the beginning of the weight gain season. With other holidays fast approaching, that means bring on the parties, lack of time, and constant desserts, food, and drinks! Here are some quick simple steps to help battle that bulge that we're working so hard on to keep away currently: Always prepare, whether it's a simple grocery list, planning out dinners for the week, packing your lunch everyday or making an entire weeks worth of food; remember failure to prepare is preparing to fail. If you had to present a huge power point presentation at work and your career depended on it would u just go in and wing it? No, so why not prepare for your health!? Your health depends on your preparation with food, exercise and lifestyle choices.
One final helpful hint I can give you while getting ready for the festivities is avoid sabotaging yourself. If you LOVE candies don't buy them for the trick or treaters, hand out pencils or spider rings instead! Also there is no unwritten rule that food and drinks have to be consumed in excess at social gatherings! Eat before you go to the parties or bring a dish to share that you know you can eat. Remember we eat to live, we do NOT live to eat!
I'll leave you with one last tid bit of information. 3,500 calories makes up one pound of fat. Let's not allow our bodies to adapt to constant weight gain this holiday season, count your calories, start exercising, and plan plan plan! Call on a HealthPlex professional if you are worried about this fall and winter and remember, you're not in this alone, we are all here to help you!
Lately a lot of clients have been coming up to me explaining to me about these new apps in their phone which tracks food, calories and energy used and burned through daily activities and exercise. I think this is a great tool to become more aware of your caloric intake on the day and to become more aware of what exactly you are putting into your mouth on maybe a daily basis. (like what qualifies a vegetable or not) However there is one area of this program that I would like to “debate” so to speak and give you a little insight on. There is also an area on this program where you can track and log your exercise. Now I believe that all exercise is important and does in fact help you lose weight, but it does not serve as a purpose to eat more!!! I have had some people come up to me saying well I ran 3 miles and on my exercise tracker and food diary it now says I have 1600 more calories I can eat today!!! In my opinion this is where sometimes people who exercise- either gain weight or do not lose (no it isn’t due to muscle) .
85% of what you look like is what you eat. That 15% is exercise, yes if you exercise A LOT and really hard you can transform what you look like definitely, but the truth is there are 24 hours in a day and only realistically 1-2 can be spent exercising- the rest is the diet. So next time you track that food diary and exercise here’s some advice, either skip the exercise portion and just concentrate on the food, or log the exercise but just use it as a guide is to how many “extra” calories you burned and pat yourself on the back for that. Keep your food within your normal range whether it be 1300 calories or 2000- whatever works for you and then just know that every time you exercise you are helping those extra calories burn off- not using it alone to allow yourself more food intake on the day!!! Because the truth is Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym!!
By: Amy Jones
HealthPlex Fitness: The Functional Movement Experts.