Fall is in the Air
Summer is simply the best, I think we can almost all agree, but fall isn't too far behind in the favorite season category for most of us. Fall, especially in Northern Michigan as absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The weather is amazing and the colors are gorgeous. As the temps cool of, sadly we put away the swimsuits and watch our tans fade away. The good ol football hoodies become a daily favorite. Along with the weather and wardrobe change come a huge schedule change for those of us with kids. Back to the daily routine of alarm clocks, packing lunches and snacks, after school taxiing and activities, dinner, and homework all to go to bed and do it all over again the next day. Not going to lie, but with an 8th grader, 5th grader, and 3rd grader I was kind of looking forward to putting these crazy girls back into a routine. Although their new routine also changes up my routine A LOT! This is the time of year where everyone gets incredibly busy and overwhelmed with activities, the comfy cushy clothes come back out, we get exhausted, then naturally put ourselves on the back burner. No longer are you trying to eat as healthy, you are slipping into those cozy clothes, you aren't making your workout time a priority in your busy schedule, and you slip FAST. You know as well as I do, a week or two off while you are trying to get into the fall grove and suddenly its a week, next a month, then a year goes by and you slipped away. Right now the gyms are slow, the local trails for biking and running are nearly abandon, and everyone is trying to figure out what and how to eat during this in between of summer BBQ and winter comfy food.
You are missing out on the best time of the year to workout!!!!!
The heat of the summer has now passed, the humidity is nearly gone, and you can't beat the amazing color change outside! Now is the time to get out and hike or mountain bike through the woods on nature trails, or get on the road bike or your sneakers on for a good cool jog or ride. I know you are CRAZY busy, but you are missing out on SO MUCH of you let fall slip away from you. Most importantly, make the time for yourself and make it a priority. You may think you are being a good parent by carting your kids to their activities while staying on top of the important responsibilities of the household, but if you are doing these things while being crabby from a lack of exercise (which you know makes you a much happier person) then you are really not being a good parent at all. The happiness you carry within you is the most important thing you give to them every single day. For years and year and even still today I hear the same ol question, "why do you workout so hard? Are you training for something?" My answer, "heck yes I'm training for something...it's called life!" "I'm training hard because I need to keep my sanity even more so than my physical fitness." "I'm training because I have three daughters at home watching me." "I'm training so that when one of my daughters coaches needs a fill-in on the soccer field or basketball court, I can get out there and play with them." These are the reasons I train. Training is not about vanity, and I need to make this a REALLY big point to those that think "gym people" are so vain. There is a really good chance that people that think "gym people" are vain, have never really stepped foot inside of a commercial gym. Most of us there are not supporting a six-pack set of abs and watching ourselves in the mirror nonstop. If you have ever seen any of my workouts, then you know the level at which I am working, and I don't have the shredded bod to show off because quite frankly I like to eat and eat a lot. The workouts are about my sanity, the athletic build is just a positive side-effect.
Be a Priority
Getting started....one of my favorite products that is crazy user friendly that I suggest everyone to start on is the Standard Process SP Detox and/or Purification Program. They have tweaked it over the past few years making it so much easier to use and for the consumer. They have 2 different programs, the SP Detox (10 day or 28 day) and the Purification Program. I could spend the next 2 hours giving you all of the details of both, but instead I'll give you the link to explore them both.
So besides being part of a Detox program, as I mentioned, I use the SP C Detox shake as a supplemental protein shake also. My 2 cents on protein shakes: not everyone needs a protein shake just because they are working out and trying to get into shape. If you are eating enough protein and getting your macoros and more importantly MICROS daily, there is not a need for extra in a shake. In regards to using this shake and other shakes for uses other than Detox, please evaluate if needed. For myself, I know I burn a lot of calories in my training. In order for me not to lose condition, keep my immune system strong, and support my dietary needs, I do incorporate shakes about 4-5 days out of the week or more dependent on activity level.
OrthoMolecular is spot on with their shakes also. This company has gone even further to formulate shakes for different needs. They are the following:
MitoCore: Stimulates mitochondria and recharges cellular energy, strengthens immune function, and increases detoxification.
Calories: 120, Fat 3g, Carbs 7g (fiber 1g/sugars 3g), PROTEIN 15g
InflammaCore: Enhanced G.I. barrier function, mucosal cell regeneration, supports a healthy inflammatory response
Calories: 200, Fat 6g, Carbs 12g (4g fiber/8g sugars), PROTEIN 19g
GlycemaCore: Supports healthy blood sugar levels, increases insulin sensitivity, and improves metabolism plus supports weight management.
Calories: 150, Fat 3.5g, Carbs 17g (12g fiber/sugars 2g), PROTEIN 10g
LifeCore Complete: Clean and diverse blend of plant based protein, supports healthy weight management, and promotes a feeling of fullness plus reduces cravings.
Calories: 210, Fat 7g, Carbs 12g (4g fiber/2g sugars), PROTEIN 20g
My two favorites include the MitrCore and the LifeCore. The fun factor to their supplements are the flavors. The MitoCore has 2 flavors: strawberry and lemon, both are amazingly tasty and a great change from your basic chocolate and vanilla. The LifeCore truly hits the mark when you are super hungry after a tough workout and need to grab a protein rich snack mid-day.
My personal arsenal for supplements. As a soon to be 40yr old athlete, I have spent some time digging to see what supplements can help me function day to day better along with helping me preform and recover on a fitness level. My two most important supplements include OrthoMoleculars OrthoMega and Orthobiotic.
Second on my list is the OrthoBiotic. I plan to devote another blog post to the massive importance of gut/intestinal health, so I'm not going to linger here for too long. This supplement is a very high quality probiotic. Gut health is directly proportional to health gut bacteria. Low good gut bacteria = lowered ability to absorb nutrients = lowered immune system. Another topic to spend some time researching if you are unfamiliar with gut health and probiotics.
Supplements for the Aging Athlete
My List of OrthoMolecular Supplements for myself, the aging athlete:
CoQ-10: Coenzyme Q-10 is a pro enzyme produced naturally in the body. It plays a critical role in energy (ATP) production, and is one of the most powerful lipid-soluable antioxidants that prevents lipid and mitochondrial DNA oxidation. CoQ10 naturally decreases with age.
DHEA: or dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone precursor that promotes healthy hormone levels and supports our bodies stress response system. DHEA is an important counterpart to the stress hormone cortisol. It helps provide an inflammatory balance and protection to brain tissues, along with supporting healthy aging, mood regulation, memory, and bone density.
Collogen: This supplement combines hyaluronic acid (HA), Type I collagen, Type II collagen bioactive peptides, mucopolysaccharides, and vitamin C to stimulate collagen regeneration and support joint health. Lifestyle factors and aging reduce the elasticity in tendons and ligaments, which leads to soft tissue and joint discomfort.
MSM: Helps to promote new cells and tissues, naturally supporting soft tissue health and regeneration. Significantly supports connective tissue health and maintains normal inflammatory balance. MSM is a natural compound that provides a high concentration of sulfur. This boosts the body's antioxidant mechanisms, supports detoxification pathways, and strengthens the immune system. MSM naturally decreases with age.
AminoComplex: A blend of all 9 essential amino acids (EAA's) plus the most commonly deficient conditionally essential amino acids that become essential during stress, disease, and poor diet. Optimal amino acid intake is essential for supporting muscle strength, immunity, gastrointestinal health, and neurotransmitter production in the body. Amino acids are simulators of protein synthesis , which is not only a key component of muscle recovery, but also important for muscle maintenance in all age groups. There is a natural and gradual decline of muscle mass beginning around our fourth decade of life.
Chondro-Flx: A combination of glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, vitamin C, and bromelain to promote healthy cartilage within our joints. These work together to decrease inflammation, re-hydrate, and increase joint integrity within our bodies.
You are probably looking at all of this wondering how on earth I take all of them in a day. Really, most of them are just once a day, so it really isn't over the top crazy. I will not tell you that I am super disciplined and never miss a supplement, because that would be lying. The two I rely on the most are the CoQ10 and the DHEA. I make the collegen a little easier and sometimes buy it in the powered form, which allows me to put it into my shakes. I do get a lot of my Amino acids in my shakes, so dependent upon my workout week and if I have had my shakes, the AminoComplex is not at the top of my list. The MSM and Chondro-Flx for me are interchangeable, and I base the need on them solely on my workout intensity and recovery.
None of the supplements above that I take are by any means "enhancers". These are all products specifically formulated to work with our bodies already existing chemicals. The supplements for me "fill the gaps" sort-a-speak that are forming with my aging. I'm not ready to slow down because I'm ageing. I am thinking that my 40's just might be my most active years yet!
Health and Fitness Series
A few years ago I stumbled upon these two words an it felt like the fitness universe finally came together. It all made sense and almost everything was right in the world...almost everything. Now people just need to start embracing health and fitness as a way of life instead of letting the days of their lives slip away from them as unhappy and unhealthy people.
The definition is simple: functional fitness is a personal fitness program that will help you function at a higher fitness level in daily activities. Helping to function more efficiently and safer. Training your body to handle real life situations. A huge emphasis on core strength and stability, balance, endurance, flexibility, and overall strength. It can enhance the coordinated working relationship between the nervous and muscular systems of the body. Below is a basic list to recognize the benefits:
-Improves balance and coordination
-Is designed to optimize movement
-Enhances athletic performance
-Increases strength and endurance
-Helps your muscles recover faster from injuries
-Strengthens your core muscles
-Involves compound exercises that mimic real life movements
-Suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels
-Restores posture, muscle imbalances, and dynamic stability
So what are we talking about with all this? Really it's a mixture of training programs that focuses on exercises that are going to help you in you everyday life. What I enjoy the absolute MOST about functional fitness is that it can be yours to own. You can decide yourself, or with the help of a trainer/professional, what you really need to focus on in your workouts. Someone in the military, police, fire dept, etc may choose to focus their workouts on strengthening movements with the added bonus of stability, mobility, etc. Where someone that is in their senior years will have a primary focus of balance, then strength, posture, stability, etc. The exercises are even great for young athletes to get started on strength/core training. This is why I love functional fitness so much, it's adaptable to your personal preference. When utilized correctly, your muscles learn how to engage properly and that decreases personal injury rates immensely. The majority of functional exercises use compound movements. Movements that incorporate multiple muscles and joints at the same time are compound movements. Now, if you are a bodybuilder and want to increase your bicep peak, by all means have at the billion bicep curls you are doing. Not going to lie, I love the feeling of a good pump in my biceps by doing curls. On that note, I will do those cute little bicep curls at the end of my full body workouts if I am not already blasted and I have enough time. The same goes for leg extensions. These work on primarily your quad strength and aesthetics, but do very little on the "transfer effect" of daily living strength. Instead, walk past that machine and do some squatting.
Time management, the key word being TIME! If you are trying to get into better shape whether it is losing weight, heart health, getting stronger, etc, your time management plays a pretty big role. Not everyone has 2 hours to spend at the gym 6 days a week. I think I am speaking to the majority here when I say it would be darn nice to get a killer strength workout in while doing cardio at the same time in under 45 minutes 3-5 days a week. Functional training programs put all of this together. They hit almost all beneficial levels of fitness in a time manageable way for the average person.
Before I glorify this too much, let me pull back and clarify some things also. Just like a lot of the trends in the fitness industry, this came in as the latest and greatest explosion recently. It's actually been around for many many years from physical therapists. Their job is obviously to get you to heal from an injury to get back to your activities of daily living with less pain. Then the crossfit revolution hit around the year 2000. These seemed to somewhat mesh together in my opinion. So why not promote crossfit you may ask...I will never tell you that I don't promote crossfit. I happily promote anything that helps our society find health and fitness. I personally do a lot of crossfit, just not in a box (crossfit facility). This is because I have taken years to tweek my own personal workout programs that I enjoy doing at my schedule and my pace. As you read last week, I tailor my workouts on how I feel. I like a mix everything up to keep challenging myself. My only 2 cents on Crossfit is this: push yourself against yourself, not your gym crew. Too many injuries are made from coaches that aren't paying enough attention to keep you safe. Not that it is the coaches fault, but know your limits and stay safe. A great coach will know how to start you slow, get the patterns/moves correct, and strive to keep you safe. I know a lot of people that love crossfit because they don't have to plan their own workouts. It's one less thing they have to think about, and that's great too.
If you hop online and do a little google search about Functional Fitness, you do get a little bit of a variety and some not so optimal training ideas. Every industry has their idiots (true statement #sorrynotsorry). When you take the functional fitness people trying to promote stabilization and strength, with a few dim light bulbs that see an exercise ball, you get some idiot that tries to barbell squat while standing on an exercise ball. Please use sense when lifting, it may save your life.
I'm going to put ideas together along with a list of types of equipment for functional training, but there is one last VERY important point to make first. It is not recommended to jump right into a functional fitness program that you might see on YouTube or a google search. If you do not currently workout or are not familiar with compound lifting, you need to spend some time finding your weaknesses if you have them (and we all typically do). This is where injuries happen frequently. Often people initially exceed their own physical capabilities of the average exerciser and this leads to injury.
Stability Stability Stability
The most important foundation of any training program.
The three key groups in need of stability training are:
- the deep abdominal (transverse abdominal and internal oblique),
- the hip abductors and rotators
- the scapula stabilizers.
*As always, consulting with your primary care physician is recommended before the start of any workout program.
Besides the above that I have to mention, my personal recommendations for a someone exploring the idea of functional fitness is 1 of 2 things. One option is starting very slow as a beginner and focus only on body weight exercises. Basic air squats, planks, pushups, assisted pullups, etc are a great foundation to build strength and stability to carry over into the more difficult exercises. Having a mirror or now days a selfie video is a great way to assess your body while doing these exercises. Examples: while squatting: lower yourself so your thighs are parallel with the floor or below, back straight, shoulders up, heels down. Planks and pushups: body a flat line without sinking or bridging of the pelvis. Pull-ups: start in the completely lowered position, retract scapulas first, then pull body weight up (assisted with a long band if needed). Secondly, find a gym or fitness trainer to work with that can help you get started. They can help you with form, addressing weaknesses, and give you exercises to help get you started and avoid injury.
My 2 cents about gyms...I can't tell you how often I hear people complain about not being a "gym" person, but seconds later say that they can't find the discipline to workout at home. You can't say these two things in the same conversation! Yet, I hear it ALL OF THE TIME! So I understand the discipline factor of having trouble working out at home, especially in the winter. I have a home gym myself, but you are likely going to find me at my regular commercial gym. I too struggle with this, especially as a mom. If I'm home, I'm doing laundry, picking up the house, making food, putting list together for shopping, etc. Before you know it, time is up and you need to run and get kids from something, then boom your day is gone and you didn't work out. Knowing you have to make time to LEAVE and go to the gym for an hourish is easier (for me), it's scheduled in just like the rest of the important stuff. Summertime has the added bonus of longer day light hours and more workouts outside even with the family, like biking, hiking, paddling, and running. Now back to not being a gym person...my question is why aren't you a "gym" person? If you have ever stepped into a gym, then you know there are all kinds of makes and models sort-a-speak. Not everyone in a gym is a week away from a bodybuilding show, it's actually quite the opposite. A small amount of people may be ripped up, but I can almost guarantee you that those people are likely to be some of the nicest and happiest that you are there working out too (as long as you have good gym etiquette of course.) Do you feel uncomfortable about the machines? If yes, then either spend some time scoping those machines and users out while doing some cardio nearby, or just simply ask. The people that work at these gyms and even own them are typically very happy to help. Some trainers even offer up a free training session upon your initial signup, just ask. Do you feel not strong enough in comparison to others? This one I know is very common, especially for the men. They are afraid to walk into the squat rack and squat 45 lbs when the last dude just squatted 300+. Believe it or not, that dude that just finished the 300+lbs, once squatted 45 lbs also, then worked his butt off to get to 300+lbs. Please don't ever feel intimidated by people judging you at the gym. Nobody knows if what you are benching that day is your true maximum bench. Maybe you went wakeboarding or wall climbing the day before and are still sightly fatigued, so you are lifting light that day, honestly do you really truly care what someone might think? What you are doing in the gym is not affecting their life, but it is affecting yours so don't be nervous about others. I guess that was a long 2cents, but I have been wanting to say that for a long time.
Okay.....my lists for Functional Fitness
Equipment: You may not even need equipment to get started, but below is a list of suggestions to keep things interesting and challenging.
- Barbell : by far my first on this list. (my favorite price of equipment)
- fitness rubber bands - multiple sizes
- medicine balls (multiple weights)
- exercise ball
- wooden box (18in, 24in, or 36in)
- TRX bands
Basic Body Weight Exercises
- Squats!!: regular squats, sumo, close stance, pistols, split, jump (JUST SQUAT!)
- Pushups (keep those elbows tucked in or at the most 45 degrees out)
- Pull-ups (banded if needed)
- Lying hip raises/hamstring bridges
- Lunges: All the kinds, front, back, to the side, switch jump
- Planks: on elbows, on hands, one arm, one leg, leg extensions with one arm reaches, rotating hip touches
- Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jumping rope, knee high running in place
- Squats: All varieties
- Deadlifts : many varieties
- Cleans and Presses
- Step ups (box step ups)
- Farmer Carries
- Bench Press
How do we put this all together? Make a goal for how many days in the week you want to incorporate a function fitness workout. They can be pretty demanding so maybe start with 2-3 days a week. Aim for at least about 30-45 minute workout. If you have a time restraint, you can bust a hard workout in under 25 minutes, but you better make it worthy and difficult. DO NOT try to go all out your first couple of workouts, no need for heart attacks or the inability to function the next day. You can do these as just body weight at a tempo similar to Tabata. Your phone likely has a tabata timer app to help you time yourself. If you are going to push yourself with weights, you can tone the timer part down and/or just shoot for "cycles". By cycles I mean pick 3-5 exercises to do in a particular order, then repeat them 4-8 times.
Example of one of my cycles:
- Barbell Squats (light) x 10-15
- Jump Squats (15lb-20lb dumbbells) 12-15
- Barbell Bench (light)10-12
- Sandbag Get-ups 45lb sandbag on shoulders Left x 10 and Right x 10
Example for a Beginner:
- Air Squats x 10
- Push-ups x10
- Mountain Climbers x 10
- Lunges Left x 10/ Right x 10 or 5 left and 5 right
Example for Intermediate:
- Thrusters (barbell or Dumbbell)
- Sandbag Row
- Weighted jump squats (dumbbell)
The idea is to build strength while also getting your heart rate up to get some great cardio work in. You can always add in a slower run or bike ride to for more aerobic aspects to your workouts, or just do those things on our active recovery days. The first few weeks, you may simply want to write all of the exercises down, take a sneak peak on youtube how to do them if you are unsure, and then just practice form and flow before you make them into a full workout. Like I mentioned earlier, building a strong core and posterior chain (back, booty, and legs) is far more beneficial to every day living than a little 2 mile elliptical stroll and bicep curls if you are really looking at getting healthier and stronger. Not saying the elliptical and curls are bad, because they are way better than your couch and curling a beer to your lips, but I think you know what I am getting at for this segment. I have seen some pretty cool animations of proper lifting form. If I find the links, I'll definitely try to put them together. Maybe next week I will go into form. Form is Key in the fitness world, and the absolute foundation to a healthy program.
If there is interest, I can start throwing a few workout programs on here to help everyone. They will basically be my workouts and you can tone them down or go harder, your preference. My weeks do incorporate these functional fitness days, but I also mix in many pure strength training and cardio specific days into my schedule. Together they hit all aspects of training. Even though I am approaching forty, I still consider myself an athlete. I will continue to work hard to keep myself worthy of that title.
Check out this link below. The initial video just gives you an idea of what functional fitness is about, plus gives you a little extra motivation.
First Steps in Fitness
Health and Fitness Series
Anyway, off my rant and back to the importance of fitness. The definition of fitness straight out of the dictionary; the condition of being physically fit and healthy. The definition of physically fit out of the same dictionary; to be in a state of health and well being. Physical fitness is defined as the body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist disease, and to react to emergency situations. I know these seem pretty self explanatory, but if you think a little bit deeper here, some people that are "thin/skinny" may NOT be physically fit, and on the flip side, you can be overweight and be physically fit. This is a debate that many argue with me and it is my personal opinion, but I believe you are far healthier to be 10-20 pounds overweight and able to physically keep up with workouts of any kind then those that are lean and not able to run even a mile. Fitness does not have to be defined as lean. The purpose of fitness is to FUNCTION optimally in a healthy state. Function is a huge word and I am going to keep bringing it to you. Fitness is having a healthy cardiovascular system, meaning your heart and lungs are not taxed and tired from simply walking up a flight of stairs. The heart and lungs function to move blood and nutrients throughout your body with ease. The only way to keep the cardiovascular system happily working in harmony in you body is to make it work.
Heart Rate Zones...Let's get to it!
There are various Heart Rate Zones to understand and those include resting, target, reserve, and max. There are 5 other Zones to help describe percentages of your heart rate under working conditions. The general calculations for Heart Rate are below:
Resting Heart Rate: heart rate at rest; typically taken as an average of calculations counting beats per minute optimally in the morning before you arise from bed.
Maximum Heart Rate = 220 - Age
Heart Rate Reserve: the difference between resting heart rate (HRrest) and maximum heart rate (HRmax).
HRR = HRmax - HRrest. Heart rate reserve is used when determining exercise heart rates.
Target Heart Rate: is defined as the minimum number of heartbeats in a given amount of time in order to reach the level of exertion necessary for cardiovascular fitness, specific to a person's age, gender, or physical fitness.
Max Heart Rate 220 - 39(my age) = 181 beats/minute (Max HR)
Resting Heart Rate 50 beats per minute (fitbit and machine morning average)
Heart Rate Reserve 181 - 50 = 131 beats/minute
Target Heart Rate 131 (reserve) x .5 (50%) = 65.5 --------65.5 + 50 (resting) = 115.5 Target
*these are specific to my and my personal calculations for example purposes
Light walk with friends or pet
*Exercise Benefits: Body fat decreases, blood pressure lowered, cholesterol lowered, muscle mass improvements, decreased risk for degenerative diseases, safety high.
Zone 2 - Easy Transition Zone: 60% - 70% of your Max Hr Fat Burning Zone – you can train for extended periods of time in this zone. 75% - 85% of all calories from fat as fuel, Beginner Safe, early intermediate
Easy power walk or light jog, able to still talk with ease
*Exercise Benefits: Gain muscle mass, lose fat mass, strengthen heart muscle, fat utilization zone.
Zone 3 - Aerobic Zone: 70% - 80% of your Max HrAerobic Zone – Moderate energy expenditure. Running is a great example. You can speak, but not easily hold a long conversation with ease due to heavier breathing.
Intermediate and early advanced
*Exercise Benefits: Improved overall functional capacity with increase in the number and size of blood vessels, increased vital capacity, respiratory rate, max pulmonary ventilation, pulmonary diffusion, increase in size and strength of the heart, improvements in cardiac output and stroke volume.
Zone 4 - Threshold Zone: 80% - 90% of your Max Hr
Anaerobic & max caloric burn, intense exercise, breathing hard/panting
*Exercise Benefits: Max fat burn, but you must be fit enough to train with some oxygen present for additional fat burn. No fat burning if exercising above fat burning heart rate, high total calories burned during exercise, carbohydrates as source of calories/fuel, improved VO 2
Zone 5 - Preformance Topline Zone: 90% - 100% of your Max HrPeak Race Zone – Athlete Only Zone! Advanced +
All out training, example: sprints
*Exercise Benefits: Highest total calories burned, but lowest percentage of fat calories. This zone is only for the very healthy and fit!!! Spending too much time in this zone, even for elite athletes can be painful, cause injuries and lead to over training, which leads to poor performance!
Next week I will go more in depth with my training schedule, but I wanted to briefly touch on it now to put the heart rate zones into more perspective for training purposes. I schedule my training for all eight days of the week (I know there are only 7 days in a week, my workouts typically fall into an eight day cycle), this includes an active recovery/rest days. I don't structure this program on particular days of the week, because it's impossible with life interfering. My entire week is scheduled around my hardest day of the week, for me that is leg day. Leg day is the lightest cardio but most strength challenging day of the week. This is the day I try my hardest to push through barriers and work at my highest peak. Leg days also leave me in a pretty good world of hurt from muscle soreness. My typical week is designed below with a lot of room for change ups. Nothing is set in stone, I just try my best to get the following in for my week.
Day 1: Leg Day Zone 2-3
Day 2: Mix Day; Cardio and Strength Training Zone 3
Day 3: Active Recovery/Rest day Zone 1-2
Day 4: High Intensity Training Zone 4-5
Day 5: Long distance Endurance Training Zone 3
Day 6: High Intensity Training Zone 4-5
Day 7: Mix Day; Cardio and Strength Training Zone 3
Day 8: Active Recovery/Rest Zone 1-2
There is a lot more detail to bring to you about the training schedule above, but I can't squeeze it into today's post. Next week I'll explain to my personal preferences to my training program, and why I have structured the program the way that I have for myself.
Health and Fitness Series
Carb Cycling is a planned alteration of your carbohydrate consumption over a chosen time period, or an enjoyable and capable lifestyle habit.
Carb Cycling is considered by some to be an aggressive and high level nutrition strategy in order to prevent a fat loss plateau, plus help maintain a good metabolism without hindering workout performance. This last sentence is obviously pretty loaded, so I'm going to break everything down for you. Yes, carb cycling is a nutritional strategy, one in my opinion is GREAT! I LOVE it and utilize it often. I don't feel it is "aggressive", but rather easier to use since it gives you some wiggle room and is not as difficult. I will say that I don't think carb cycling is for beginners trying to figure out how to lose body fat while making positive lifestyle changes. If you are just learning how to count calories and macros while trying to incorporate exercise, keep at it my friend and keep making those changes to your lifestyle. Now, if this isn't your first rodeo and you understand the macro stuff, carb cycling may be something you can throw into the mix.
The Benefits of Carb Cycling
- Keep favorite meals on your menus
- Keeps hormones balanced
- Aids in muscle recovery and prevents muscle wasting
- boosts weightloss
- helps prevents metobolic dip
- helps prevent hunger and fatigue
- Increases energy and endurance
- Easier to manage and maintain since it is less restrictive
The basic idea behind Carb Cycling is to plan a certain amount of days when you eat higher carbs verses lower carbs. There are MANY different varieties and ways to cycle. Some people will try to sell you plans saying one way is better for fat loss, another is better for muscle gain, etc etc. Personally, I go with what my body tells me. I have structured my carb cycling based mostly on my workouts and water retention.
After spending a lot of time discussing the Keto diet last post, I am hoping I left you with an understanding that carbs are NOT bad. To revisit for a brief moment, Carbs are needed as a fuel source for your workouts. Carbs replenish glucose and glycogen to prevent fatigue and help repair tissues. When in ketosis, you use fatty acids (fat) as a fuel to live and even workout, but you will not have much success in building muscle without glucose (carbs). Those carbs aid significantly in recovery and support of muscle growth, cause the body to burn more calories, and provides you with ENERGY. One of the biggest fallacies is that eating carbohydrates makes you fat and even eating carbohydrates at the wrong time will make you fat.
Eating too many CALORIES makes you fat.
Insulin has unfortunately been thrown under the bus A LOT the last few years. Once again, Insulin does not make you fat, overeating does. Revisiting the job description of Insulin and why people presume it's bad:
- Insulin stops burning fat and tells the body to start burning what's available from what you just ate.
- Insulin causes the body to store a portion of the energy you just ate (from food) as body fat.
high carbs = high insulin = burn less fat = store more fat = fatter & Fatter & fatter
low carb = low insulin = burn more fat = store less fat = stay lean
HOWEVER, this completely violates the principles of energy balance, which is how much energy you eat and how much energy you burn.
Weight gain results in a surplus of energy stored as fat. You cannot lose weight without an energy deficit.
For those into building and maintaining muscle mass (that should be all of you since muscles increase metabolism), insulin actually decreases catabolism.
Muscle growth = increase in carbohydrate diet = increase in glycogen: which improves performance = more strength & energy for workouts = helps progressively overload muscle fibers = muscle growth
Research shows that low carb/low glycogen levels post workout reduce cell signaling related to muscle growth. Also, resting cortisol levels rise and testosterone decreases with the lack of glucose/glycogen.
So how do you carb cycle? Lets talk about ways to match lifestyles and activity levels. Another reminder here, go ahead and read this post, but if you are still working on your macro counting and trying out other things like intermittent fasting, don't rush to jump into this until you are ready. It's easy to bombard yourself too early with everything without enough time to make the other changes habitual and a lifestyle. Come back to this when you are ready and want to try it out.
For carb cycling, you are going to continue to follow your calories and macro that we already calculated (see macro post here). Those macros will now fluctuate with carb cycling. As I said earlier, there are many different "cycles" you can use and I'll give you examples. Basically you are going to increase and decrease your carbohydrate intake depending on the day. Some people will tell you to stick with a pretty strict cycle of maybe a 1:1 ratio of a high carb day followed by a low carb day. Others use a 3:1 ratio of three low carb days followed by 1 high carb day. Another possibility is a fluctuated carb cycle of low, moderate, and high carb days throughout the week. Lastly, there are those that like to live on the wild side and decide to put no carb days into the mix. The other macros are not going to change significantly. The idea is that the lower carb days, are days that you caloric intake will be lower, even lower than maybe what you have calculated for your daily caloric needs. An important factor is not to decrease your protein consumption. So yes, you will still macro count or go back to macro counting for a little while until your food choices become natural and you just "know" what you are eating.
Planning your personal cycle...it's all about your personal needs. If you are getting to the point of trying this, then I am assuming you are pretty disciplined with your workouts plus you know your caloric needs. Nobody is going to tell you what is right for you, only you will know that with experimentation. For me personally, I know I need high carb days thrown in when I have a hard workout planned. I don't have a particular "plan", I base my cycle on my activity. My leg days are ALWAYS high carb days. My gym days that I do a mixture of Olympic lifting/powerlifting/crossfit are also high carb days. Days that I run, bike, kayak, and weight train are moderate carb days. My rest days are no carb days (unless its a cheat day). Honestly thought, cheat days are not to much of a "cheat" day if you are putting yourself through a killer hard workout.
Here are a few examples below:
Nutrient timing is planning your food intake at a particular time centered mostly on your workout schedule. Some make sure to have certain nutrients upon waking and going to bed also, but I'm only going to briefly hit on the nutrient timing around workouts. The research has shown that there is a pretty significant importance in planning to digest particular nutrients pre and port workouts. Most importantly the "window of gains" post workout that you will likely hear from the muscle building world. They used to believe that you only had about 30 minutes to make sure your body would optimally uptake all the nutrients it could post workout from whatever you were trying to feed it. Now they are getting a little bit more relaxed and saying you don't need to rush. My thoughts, you absolutely DO benefit from a nutritious post workout meal/shake. Physiologically, if you just finished a pretty intense workout, your cells are depleted of nutrients, particularly glucose, and need to refuel for repair, which lead to growth and strength. I don't feel however, that you need to pack a full meal to the gym and eat it as soon as you finish your last rep. Refuel with healthy carbs and protein on those hard days, your body needs it! In relation to the intermittent fasting post, when you come out of your fast make sure you are not instantly hitting the carbs. Put a meal together with healthy proteins, fibrous carbs, and some fat first. Save those yummy carbs for after your workouts. The most optimal time to consume your carbohydrates is after your workouts. The key to understanding Nutrient Timing is understanding when your body is in need of particular nutrients.
- My personal nutrient timing: I come out of my intermittent fast one of two ways
- I have a Beet Juice (black cherry flavored & naturally sweetened shake with a scoop of collogen protein "pre-workout", then I workout, and eat a slice of homemade bread with honey and a protein shake "post-workout"
- or: I have protein (typically grilled chicken breast) and veggies for my first meal. This is then followed by the above #1 prior to my workout.
Soon I hope to start putting together a few workout ideas for everyone to help you get started, if you haven't already, on your fitness journey.
The Keto Train
Health and Fitness Series
So what is Ketosis... a metobolic state in which our human bodies no longer have glucose to burn for energy and use fat. The fat ingested and the fat in storage breaks down into fatty acids and are converted into ketones by ketogenesis. I'll spare you the biochemistry of it all, and skip to the understandable stuff. Like I have mentioned in earlier posts, our human bodies are super smart and know how to accommodate a lot of changes. Some changes take a little bit longer then others, so each person may be a little different. Back to ketosis...I'm sure almost all of you are familiar with the Adkins diet or low carb dieting. Well, the keto diet is like Adkins on steroids. You are slashing your carbohydrate intake to almost nothing. Most traditional Keto-dieters try to stay under 5% carbohydrates for their caloric intake, which is roughly 50g or less depending upon your activity level, size, and sensitivity. A nice example is a simple apple or even a banana, one of these babies a day and you might be over your limit for carbs. Let's not forget though, keto diets push the greens/veggies, and they too have carbs. A lot less and mostly fibrous carbs, but you count them. So in all reality, you aren't eating much of any fruit except for a few berries if you are lucky. You are eating Fat, more Fat, and more FAT. You are trying to consume around 75% of your diet as fat. That leaves about 20% to protein. Quick perspective here, a 2000 calorie diet on keto at 80% fat is 1600 of your 2000 in just fat alone. That 1600 calories from fat is anywhere between 140-170g of fat.
Do I encourage Keto Dieting? yes and no. Yes, I mentioned that it is hard, but what isn't hard that takes work?!?! Eating like crap is easy, but it's not getting you anywhere except into your grave. Let me start by the biggest question, is keto dieting safe? Yes, I feel if done properly with proper guidance and strictly short term, it is safe. The biggest safety factor is ketoacidosis. When there are too many ketones in your bloodsteam, your blood becomes too acidic. Ketoacidosis is the leading cause of death to people with diabetes under the age of 24. Be cautious with any new diet and know your body.
Pros and Cons
- Fast results. When we see something work so quickly, we get excited, encouraged, and more motivated to keep up the good work.
- The plan is pretty simple (when you read it, lol) You just cut out anything with sugar/carbohydrates. An entire macro group to not worry about. Simple is sometimes really good for some people, so in that case I encourage them to try it.
- There are great benefits and results to the control of Diabetics
- Lastly (my favorite): decreases the consumption of processed foods. No more junky processed foods = more energy and less sugar crashing.
- STRICT! This feels like an understatement. It's hard to get into ketosis, but even harder to STAY in ketosis. One little slip up of a treat (even simply watermelon) and you have to start over.
- EVERY single person metabolizes differently. One person might jump right into ketosis and be able to eat a few more grams of protein than the next. You can't get discouraged by your own speed, so be patient.
- Not a lifestyle. This diet is meant to be short-term.
- It is very difficult to gain muscle mass (your calorie furnace) in ketosis (more on that later)
- SIDE EFFECTS: When a person's body is accustom to using carbohydrates as a fuel source for many years and even decades, it's a pretty big process to switch over and start using fat. This comes with side effects that are seen by many but not all. Many of these are related.
- Fluid loss is a pretty big factor. A lot of people get super excited to see the scale go down so quickly, but in all actuality, it is a lot of fluid loss. As our bodies use up the stored glycogen (sugar) in our muscles and liver, the cells release water with them.
- Water loss naturally means salt and mineral loss. It is IMPERATIVE that you stay very well hydrated and keep you electrolyte balance in check Many people add Himalayan salts to their food and supplement with bone broths.
- Fluid loss and salt imbalances also can lead to muscle cramps.
- Loss of energy
- KETO-FLU...it's a thing. Keto flu can be a combination of one, some, or all of the following: brain fog, dizziness, insomia, rapid heart rate, and simple flu-ish like symptoms.
Left me briefly touch on toxin release. We are exposed to toxins everyday in the food we eat, air we breath, and things we touch. As toxins enter our bodies, they are both excreted out and stored. The toxins take refuge in our fat storage cells. As you start to burn up "old fat' , sort-a-speak, you have an increase in toxins trying to get excreted into your blood stream. Some may not notice this at all, but others can feel it and even see it. A lot of complaints I hear are skin reactions, an increase in acne and other skin irritations. For those that have pretty significant sugar addictions, the process of withdraw can also be pretty rough. Similar to alcohol and drug addictions, your body craves its sugar high. The cravings can be pretty darn harsh for some.
Briefly let me touch on the testing portion of this diet. A lot of new comers to the Keto-diet get super excited to buy the testing strips to see how soon they get into ketosis, and if they stay in ketosis. These little strips test the excess ketones in your urine. I don't recommend using them for the diet, and feel that they can be a huge disappointment. Every person is different and will test differently. Results can vary with what time of the day you are testing, when you last ate, and if you just exercised. Ketones are only in the urine when they are spilled over into the blood when you have an excess. Remember, ketones are now an energy source, so if you are expending a lot of energy in a workout, you are using up your excess ketone bodies for fuel. That means you will not get a good reading for the keto strips. They just aren't worth the time, money, and disappointment.
My experience...of course I decided to give Keto a whirl, honestly to see of I could discipline myself enough to keep it up for a couple of weeks. It was pretty tough at times, but I was super thankful for the millions of pinterest recipes for keto foods. I did have the keto flu for about 4 days in the very beginning, the brain fog and sluggishness were very noticeable. I also dropped a pretty good amount of water weight right away. After the first week, my energy came back and I feel was increased. I no longer had the "carb coma" after a meal. I did struggle a little bit more with body temperature. Staying warm when I was not active was probably the most difficult struggle, but on the other hand, my body heat was turned up when exercising and sleeping. I regularly do low intensity fasting cardio in the mornings, this quickly became a sweat-fest while on the keto diet. I also had an increase in night sweats, that I contribute to a hormonal fluctuation. My weightlifting had it's ups and downs while in Keto. I had some of my best "leg day" lifts in keto, but my upper body lifts suffered. My upper body strength decreased quite significantly plus I struggled with the shakes under the weights. Lastly, the reasons I no longer dapple in keto are because of the side effects I struggled with were more then the benefits. I truly enjoyed the increase in energy and the lower water retention (aka bloatedness), but these weren't enough to sell me. The night sweats, and body temp regulation problems were not fun, but the struggle with weightlifting and the dizziness tapped me out. At one point, my dizziness reached a scary point of not being able to stand up and walk to my kitchen from my living room without grabbing the wall to stop myself from falling over.
Again, I do feel this diet can be very beneficial for some people. Those that have significant sugar addiction can likely benefit the most. It's certainly worth a try if you want to test your discipline and reset your metabolism. I think forcing your body to burn fats instead of the constant sugar feed is very beneficial. The first go around with Keto will probably be your most difficult, but also the most noticeable for the positive outcomes as well. Personally I stick to lightly dipping into Keto each morning when I am fasted from my intermittent fasting plus the light cardio. Along with the intermittent fasting, I carb cycle when I am trying to get myself back in check and/or cut. This allows me the benefits of going near keto, but not the struggles of actual keto dieting. Next week I'll bring more info to you about carb cycling.
Summer Health and Fitness Series
Years ago, when I was young, it was preached to us to ALWAYS eat breakfast. "It's the most important meal of the day." I do agree that breakfast is important for our kiddos out there. I would not send the little brain and body of my 8 year old to school without having healthy foods in their tummy. As for adults, the same is not needed on a daily basis. Neither is eating 5-6 small meals a day. Our bodies have NEVER been designed to continually eat throughout the day. Just look into the physiology of our bodies, they are amazingly adaptable. This may be cliche, but our ancestors did not have access to a refrigerator full of food 24-7. They weren't breaking out the Ben & Jerry's at midnight for a little snack. They ate abundantly when food was available, then literally fasted until they hunted for their next meal. Back to my main point here, you will NOT die if you intermittent fast. You may think you are going to die from hunger the first few days, but I assure you that hunger for a few hours will not kill you.
INTERMITTENT FASTING PLANS:
Among the above, the Leangains is the most popular and easiest to make into a lifestyle. It is honestly not as hard as it sounds, and I speak from experience. I have been intermittent fasting for almost two years and I absolutely love it. The Leangain is also known as the 16:8, 16 hours fasting and 8 hours of refueling. This schedule is easily adapted to your daily regimen by simply skipping breakfast. (Breakfast aka "break fast") Here is a sample below for the 16:8 schedule.
In all honesty, IF can be a great tool to help with weight loss, since you are cutting out those sneaking times that you would indulge in extra snacks, like before bedtime. I am not going to lie to you and say it is easy, because it is not easy at all in the initial few weeks/months. It's been almost 2 years, and I still get super hungry before I break my fast, but I actually enjoy it A LOT. I know that sounds a whee bit crazy, but I have a sense of control and discipline that I am proud of each and every day. When I get to my first meal of the day and break my fast, I am proud each and every day. What's even more helpful is the change in food choices when you are actually hungry. I can almost guarantee that most of you decide to eat whenever you feel simply hungry. IT'S OKAY TO FEEL HUNGRY! It's actually good to feel hungry, and hear me out on that...when you are truly hungry you chose to eat healthier. You are not looking to grab a piece of candy, a muffin, or a donut, because you start to crave healthy protein rich foods to fill you up and give you energy. Nothing will make you feel worse then crappy food on a truly empty stomach.
Example: We had a patient a few years ago ask us about nutrition and eating habits for losing weight. We mentioned the first meal of the day being a chicken breast and veggies, to which she/he thought was just awful. She/he said there was no way they could eat chicken as their first meal. Well guess what, when you have been fasting for 16 hours, chicken sounds darn good and tastes even better. The intermittent fasting can truly help as a tool in you arsenal to help you get fit, lose weight, stay fit, etc but it has so many other amazing benefits that we are learning about all of the time.
- As mentioned above, fat loss is a great result of IF. I will mention that you still have to be diligent about eating healthy when you are refueling in your window of eating. This does not mean BINGE when you start to eat. The basics: when we are fasting, you bodies use up all the glucose that we have readily available as an energy source. If we are not continually eating, the glucose gets used up and our bodies turn to a different source of energy, FAT. Some people refer to this as a cyclical ketosis. Think about this...you eat a healthy dinner with good carbohydrates. By bedtime those carbs are dwindling as a energy source. If you sneak a crappy snack before bed, once again you body will continue to use that carb rich snack for fuel. If you IF and don't have that snack, your body will turn to its fat storage to make its fuel. Imagine the little fat furnace burning by the time you skip breakfast and wait until lunch to eat. Plus studies show that the average calorie reduction in those that intermittent fast is 20%-40%. So yes, it can be a great tool for weight management.
- Healthy hormones are KEY! The major player in the hormone world and intermittent fasting is our Growth Hormone. Growth Hormone is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. Growth hormone is released mostly at night while we are asleep hence the importance of sleep for tissue repair. Our bodies will continue releasing Growth Hormone until we break our fast.
- Leptin: fasting increasing the leptin hormome which is a key regulator in hunger and directly impacts fat loss by metabolism regulation. Leptin is a key component is our thyroid produced hormones, T3 and T4.
- Insulin: While fasting, you are giving insulin a break. No sugars to digest, no insulin released, and this equals increased insulin sensitivity. In this sugar loving over processed food society, our bodies are subjected to constantly producing and releasing insulin to stabilize our blood sugar. Over time, this system gets burned out and you start facing the scary road to diabetes since the insulin sensitivity is lost. As your insulin sensitivity is healing and increased, your body starts processing food more effectively which decreases the risk of storing fat.
- Gut Health: I am sure almost everyone not living under a rock today has heard something along the lines of food sensitivities, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel, lactose intolerance, etc. Many of the main causes for these issues along with more substantial problems like immune dysfunction and autoimmune diseases are believed to be derived from poor gut health. Intermittent Fasting gives your gut microbes a break and time to heal. The newest discoveries being made have found that fasting activates a gene that strengthens the gut barrier which protects us from harmful toxins that can leak into our bloodstream and decrease our immune system.
- Cellular Autophagy: WAIT! Before I lose you on the scientific name, bare with me because this one is most important. Personally I still Intermittent Fast because of this super cool and important info. Cellular Autophagy is just a fancy way of saying "cell clean-up". Similar to the growth hormone above, cellular autophagy happens when we are fasting and our bodies are cleaning up shop sort-a-speak. Our bodies again and looking for an energy source and our innately intelligent system turns to eat up the trash in our cells that are not as productive. When you break your fast and start eating, the autophagy turns off and goes back into using the new food for energy. Amino acids and insulin are autophagy's negative regulators. Autophagy contributes to cellular development and differentation, suppresses tumors, and supports immunity. When people discuss fasting reversing the damage done to your liver, they are referencing the fact that most of our damaged cells end up in the liver and are replaced through our metabolism when looking for a source of energy/fuel during fasting. Research has connected autophagy with conditions including cancer, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, as well as aging. Some has gone so far to say that lengthy fasting has completely regenerated their immune systems and have helped fight cancers.
- Brain Goodies! Recently, information and research has been released on the foundation that fasting triggers neuron regeneration in the brain. Fasting has increased Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that basically fertilizes our brain cells, promotes neuron growth, and builds and maintains brain circuits.
My personal notes...I stumbled upon IF years ago while working on dropping baby weight and getting healthier. It is a useful tool for me with weight management because I truly love to eat. This keeps my snacking at bay and helps me make much better whole food choices when its time to eat and I'm REALLY hungry. I have learned that I actually enjoy feeling empty and hungry rather than bloated and full. IF forces me to keep hydrated, because that is all you are having while fasting. Lots of hydration is key to helping you through your fast. I still enjoy my coffee, tea, and mineral waters during my fast, as long as they don't have calories. Please don't consider fake artificial sweeteners friends, just write your last will and testimony instead since that crap WILL kill you. Lastly, I will continue IF because it gives me such a sense of control and pride. Like I said earlier, when you make it through to the end of your fast successfully, you feel so accomplished and proud of your discipline. The amount of other wonderful benefits to your body when fasting excites me. Our bodies are so incredibly intelligent and down right cool, keep working hard on the only body you have right now.
To Our Health
Dr. Kallie Wegmann
Health and Fitness Series
Make it Simple
I would like to give you a little bit of perspective that will hopefully go a long way. These are everyday examples that I think a lot of you will relate to or know of someone almost instantly. One of my favorite examples is the "runner". There are so many "runners" that try so hard to lose weight and don't even shift the scale a single ounce. There are two huge reasons for this: they are still eating more calories then they are burning, and secondly, their body is not being challenged by the same ol' runs every day. I'll touch on this a lot more when we dive into workouts, but knowledge that our bodies are incredibly intelligent and will QUICKLY become adapted to repetitive workouts is a major key. We have the most intelligent systems on the planet. Our bodies learn quickly to try and become the most energy efficient they can be in the shortest amount of time. If you start running a mile today, that mile becomes easier to run a week from today, even more in a month, etc. When you get into the physiology of it all, our bodies learn to transport nutrients faster to the needed areas of our bodies to get the energy delivered. After a few weeks +, our heart isn't as stressed and works with more ease with its conditioning, which also decreased the amount of energy needed. There is not a significant decrease in energy needed, so we have to go back to the first point. Too many calories are still being consumed to not create a deficit. There is this false idea in many peoples minds that, "omg, I just ran 3 miles, I need to refuel and EAT." Yes, you do need to eat, obviously, but what and how much are you eating? The mentality of I can eat whatever I want because I ran or lifted weights hard, maybe did some crossfit, or all of it, is the WRONG mentality. The following picture is one of my favorites. How to view food:
One of the coolest things I have learned about my own body is it's own response to eating healthier and working out. When you deliberately put workouts into your day, you start to make healthier choices for meals and snacks. After cleansing out the unhealthy foods from your diet and sticking to your workout plans, you'll easily notice your cravings starting to shift. The body starts to crave good fuels, you sleep better, your energy levels change increase. The subconscious connections of knowing that you need to stay below a certain amount of calories, plus your knowledge of healthy calories all starts to tie together. When you are coming down from your workout "high" and start to feel REALLY hungry, 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast and huge bundles of fresh veggies to fill your tummy sounds a whole lot better than a candy bar.
Understanding the deficit. If you don't take the time to do the math for needed caloric intake you are going to struggle with the entire process. If you don't take the time to HONESTLY analyze what you eat in a day per your macros, you are going to struggle with the entire process. A little perspective here: 1 pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you simply ate 10 (TEN) extra calories every day for a year, you would put on a pound a year of fat. Over the course of 10 years, you have now gained 10 pounds. Maybe not significant to you, but lets look more into this math. One candy bar a day is roughly 215 calories. One candy bar a day for one month, and BOOM-that's 2 extra pounds of body fat. (3500 / 215 = 16 candy bars or one candy bar a day for 16 days) Same idea with soda, beer and other junk foods. Those calories add up quickly and get overlooked so easily. Those small snickers bars that you grab after lunch do add up over time and a shorty amount of time at that. It doesn't always have to be junk food either. Here's where that runner come back in that can't lose weight even though he/she eats healthy. The extra cheese stick, extra handful of healthy walnuts, extra banana etc, they can all still put you over your needed deficit number. I'm not going to tell you this will be straight out of the gate easy for anyone, it's a process. You might be breaking lifelong habits, it will be hard, but I do promise you this...it gets easier, you become more aware, you'll feel better, and above all is feeling happy/proud of yourself. This is not an intended battle or imprisonment. This is a step toward feeling better about yourself. Being able to keep up with friends and family on adventures like bike rides, swimming at the beach, running for a fun cause with a group.
Keeping it Simple
Macros Macros Macros
Health and Fitness Series
My Protein at full weight: 135 Range 0.8-1.2 = 108g-162g
My Protein at Guesstimated lean body mass: 125 Range 0.8-1.2 = 100g-150g
As you can see, this is a pretty big spread from 100g - 162g. A difference of 248 calories per day since protein is 4kcal/g. When you are trying to create a deficit, be careful when structuring these macros. I like to look more at my "lean" aka goal weight numbers rather then my current weight. This will help create your total calorie deficit as well without sacrificing too much protein. When you get more comfortable with daily macro counting, you can start to adjust these numbers in you head each day. For instance, I am naturally going to increase my protein consumption on days which I workout really hard, typically leg days for me. When I have a hard leg day, I know to increase protein because my body needs the fuel, but more importantly the repairing tools. My opinion again, dropping below 1gram/lbs of body weight for an athlete runs the risk of strength and muscle loss.
Calculating Fat grams:
The calories per gram of fat are different then that of protein and carbohydrates. There are 9 calories per gram of fat. It is suggested that humans consume roughly 20%-35% of their daily calories from fat for optimal health.
example: a 2000 calorie diet x .20(20%) = 400calories - Divide that 400 calories by 9 (calories per gram of fat) = 44g
I like working with ranges, because lets be real about being "macro perfect" - not likely nor should be "perfect". Remember to allow fluctuation because this is a lifestyle not a strict diet.
SO 1200cal/day x .20 = 240 / 9 = 26g fat/day 1200 x .35 =420/9=46g 26-46g
1500cal/day x .20 = 300 / 9 = 33g fat/ day 1500 x .35=525/9=58g 33-58g
2000cal/day x .20 = 400 / 9 = 44g fat/day 2000 x .35=700/9=77g 44-77g
2200cal/day x .20 = 440 / 9 = 48gfat/day 2200 x .35=770/9=85g 48-85g
2500cal/day x .20 = 500 / 9 = 55gfat/day 2500 x .35 =875/9=97g 55-97g
Personally, I typically try to stay on the lower end of the fat gram range. I just would rather have more carbohydrates and proteins then fats. Now, I'll get into flexible macros later, but I may have a high fat day, which then I would choose to go lower carb that same day. More on that for another time.
FYI: when you see "net Carbs" this means the fiber and sugar alcohols have been subtracted.
Here is a little. explanation:
- Eat sugars and/or starches -they get broken down into simple sugars
- simple sugars are absorbed into your bloodsteam aka blood sugar (blood glucose)
- glucose enters cells with the help if insulin
- glucose is used for energy
- extra unused glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen for later, stored in the muscle tissues for your next adventure, or converted into FAT.
This brings us to our last calculation. Since Carbohydrates are less of a "necessity", we make up the remainder of our caloric intake with them. I'm hoping that everyone had a chance to figure out your Basal Metobolic rate and then figure our your daily caloric needs via any of the hundreds of online calculators. Remember these are just guidelines for you to follow and adjustments can be made daily to accommodate your activity levels. I'm going to go ahead and use a basic 2000 calorie diet for the next calculation with my weight. I can give you a range also following this calculation. This is all just to tie together your knowledge base and where these numbers come from. It's likely you already have the numbers from an app that did it for you.
My weight at 135 and 2000 calorie diet.
I choose 1 gram of protein per pound of my weight according to my activity level. Then multiply that by the amount of calories per gram of protein.
135lbs x 1g protein = 135g protein x 4cal = 540 calories from Protein
Next is fat:
2000calories/day x .20 (20% daily fat intake of macros) = 400 calories (44g)
Lastly its time to calculate your carbs: if I allow 2000 calories a day and subtract the fat and protein calories, I am left with calories from Carbohydrates. I can take the calories from the carbs and divide them by 4 since there are 4 calories in each gram of a carbohydrate. That will give me my grams of carbohydrates.
540 + 400 = 940 2000 - 940 = 1060 calories from carbs / 4 = 265g of carbs
My Macros: 2000 Calorie Day Protein: 135g Fats: 44g Carbs: 265g
I do want to point out that I personally will make this number fluctuate a lot with where my training is at during the week and where my goals are headed. My proteins will never be adjusted lower, only high depending upon demand and recovery. I will drop my calories for the day down to about 1500 if I am not working out or trying to make a deficit. Those numbers look like this:
Protein: 540 calories
Fat: 1500cal/day x .20 = 300calories (33g)
Carbs: 1500-540 - 300 = 660calories / 4 = 165g
1500 Calorie Day Protein: 135g Fat: 33g Carbs 165g
*Alcohol is calculated at 7 calories per gram. Please adjust accordingly. It is not a fat, carb, or protein. The calories add up faster with the high caloric value, and don't forget to add in calories for your cocktail mixers. Sometimes those sugary mixers really mess with your deficit creating abilities.
I'll leave you with a little "cheat sheet" that I like.
Dr. Kallie Wegmann
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
So I'm going to be straight to the point and simple here. Regardless of what all of those weight-loss salesmen, or social media ads tell you. so you buy into their latest and greatest new trend, there is 1 single and simple rule to drop weight...
ENERGY IN < ENERGY OUT
Now you have the basic rule, (calories in must be less than calories burned) so the next step is figuring out your basic caloric needs BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the lowest amount of calories your body needs to maintain vital functions. There are numerous websites that have calculators to figure this out for you. If you enjoy a little mathematical challenge, feel free to use the following:
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Important Point: Often times people think this number stays the same throughout there weight-loss. This is not the case at all. As you can see, it is dependent on your current weight. You need to recalculate this number frequently because the number will continue to decrease as it takes less energy for your body to function at a lighter weight.
My example: 655 + (4.35 x135) + (4.7 x 67) - (4.7 x 39)
655 + (587.25) + (314.9) - (183.3)
655 + (718.85) = 1374 calories/day
If I were to literally sit on the couch all day and do nothing, I would only need to eat 1374 calories from food to keep my body functioning without having to use stored energy (fat) to survive. To put this another way, I still will not lose weight if I drop my calories to 1374/day if I'm not moving at all during the day. This number is a pretty big shock to some, as it needs to be. One of the biggest fallacies is to think you are active simply because you get out of bed, do a few chores here and there, go to and from work or school, etc. You are actually NOT expending that much more energy then the BMR number. Personally I can't imagine eating only 1374 calories a day, I would feel completely starved and very HANGRY. This is where the first steps to become more active come into play "exercise", and eating healthy whole foods. The more calories you burn, the more calories you are going to be allowed to consume and still stay under your projected calories needed in a day. The eating healthy whole foods is SO important. The biggest factor to me is you can simply just eat SO MUCH MORE food when its healthy and a whole food.
I'm going to get much more in depth with macro counting and food choices, plus dieting styles soon because it all ties in together and again, helps your knowledge foundation.
Side note #1: I do not judge any diet type as being better for you or not. I believe each is a tool for personal preference. The trick is finding what works best for you and can turn into a lifestyle and not just a fad diet. I know Keto is the latest "greatest" weight-loss method and I am absolutely "pro" keto if it helps you and is sustainable. I do believe it has its place and I could write a completely new blog about just Keto, but I'll try to keep this a short version. Like low carb, you have very low to now carbohydrates, boom-bye bye glucose. No more carbs and glucose in your body, good bye water retention from the body holding onto those glucose molecules. No more sugars to burn, and the body turns to fat. Anyone that tells you you can eat as much fat as you want and still lose weight is full of horse poo. Yes, you are going to quickly drop water retention weight, but your body is not going to dip into its fat storage if you have too much readily available. Like I started out with, you STILL have to create a deficit.
Side note #2: This is just a personal note from me to you. One of the best investments I have made with my fitness lifestyle is a fitbit. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I really thought they were a waste for so long, but I don't regret this purchase at all. There are a lot of different smart/fitness watches out there by now I'm sure, so if you are remotely interesting in one then make sure to research what might work best for you. I chose to go with the Fitbit Ionic because of all of the features. Yes, I budgeted for it since it's a bit expensive, but worth every penny to me. Obviously it is a watch and step counter, but it also fully links to my phone for updates from my email, texts, calls, calendar, and weather alerts. The watch now has apps to GPS locate all of your walks/runs, biking, hiking, skiing, etc. Mine is water resistance for water sports, plus has a heart rate monitor, sleep monitoring, exercise goals, music downloads, and SO MUCH MORE. Lastly, and almost my favorite, is the calorie counter. You can open the fitbit app on your smartphone, input all of your information and get help with your nutritional goals while it keeps track of your calories left for each day. The database for food is great and its always right there with you. I'm pretty sure the Fitbit Blaze and Versa are very similar to mine also. If you can budget for it, I don't think you will be disappointed in the purchase. I've learned so much about my own habits from it, plus it keeps me VERY motivated to keep moving throughout the day to rack up those steps. You might be very surprised how few steps you take in a day if you don't make movement a priority.
Before I leave you for the week, I'm going to give you something to work with again. Next week we are going to get into counting Macros and the many different ways to configure your macros. In order to make this useful, you need to keep track of EVERYTHING you eat. I'm not asking that you count for the next 7 days, maybe try 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day and write everything down. There are tons of apps on smartphones now that will help you count all of your calories and even macro divide them for you. My Fitness Pal, Loseit, fitbit, and many more that can assist you. Please don't cheat yourself and be diligent about writing everything down. If you snuck a bit of a muffin or cookie, you need to count it. Remember, this isn't a punishment at all, it's laying the foundation for your new healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned to the next few blogs as I go a little bit further in depth with the different types of dieting/eating habits to help you build that educational foundation.
I'm already proud of the steps you are taking and happy to be in this journey with you.
Till next week...
Dr. MJ Wegmann,
Dr. Kallie Wegmann and Dr. Chelsea Bachelor bring you the latest in health, fitness, wellness & prevention and science-based spine research.