Category Archives: Nutrition

Eat Carbs and Get Leaner (Not Bigger)

You should be able to eat carbs and get leaner. 

Even if you want to lose weight.

Too many people swear off carbs in hopes their six pack will appear faster than they could imagine. Unfortunately, cutting out all carbs isn’t going to make everything sunshine and rainbows.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you love carbs.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about why many people have it wrong when it comes to carbs and, most importantly, how you can still lose fat this summer while enjoying carbs.

[Pay attention close, because at the end of this article I’m going to tell you more about my summer rapid fat loss program, Leaner, (Not Bigger)]

You Can’t Eat Carbs and Get Leaner, Can You?

If you’ve checked out your local bookstore you’ve probably seen plenty of diet books lining the shelves. Most of them slamming carbs as the primary reason people get fat and put on weight.

(There are plenty of books like this that prey on the public and blame carbs for everything wrong in the world)

But, don’t be too quick to judge a book by its cover. You can eat carbs and get leaner.

Luckily for us carb lovers, we can ignore these books because they’re biased and spitting out bad information.

Below are common misconceptions about carbs and weight loss:

  • carbs will make you gain weight and fat
  • carbs are the sole reason for the obesity epidemic in America
  • if you want to lose weight you have to cut out carbs completely
  • if you do consume carbs, they have to be whole, unprocessed carbs or else your body will ‘reject’ them (this means no sugar of any kind)
  • don’t eat carbs after 6 o’clock
  • carbs will make you feel sluggish
  • you don’t need carbs for exercise and can be fueled just fine without them

The widespread beliefs above are *mostly* false. I say mostly because you *could* gain weight if you ate too many carbs, but only if you were eating too many calories.

So it’s calories that matter most. Get the full scoop on calories and creating your own fat loss diet HERE.

Here’s The Truth About Carbs

I love carbs because they’re delicious. Can you imagine life without ice cream, sushi, grits, or cereal?

Food, Sushi, Boat, Seafood, Japanese, Fish, Rice, Meal

(Courtesy of Pixabay)

That’d be a sad, sad life in my opinion.

Here are some facts about carbs some people might overlook:

  • carbs are the main fuel source for exercise providing energy for daily activities such as lifting weights, walking, running, rock climbing etc.
  • they have less than half the calories per gram as fats do. So when people suggest eating fewer carbs but more fats it doesn’t make sense because you’d be eating more *total* calories.
  • they can be eaten even during a fat loss diet (I actually would encourage you to keep your carbs as high as you can as long as you’re dropping weight)
  • liver glycogen, the carbs that get stored in your liver, are important for mental clarity and brain function
  • carbs contain important vitamins and minerals which are beneficial to the development of your muscle tissue, bone health, and other important body functions

What does all this mean?

That You Can Eat Carbs and Still Lose Weight

And you should if you know what’s good for ya. Listen, you *could* cut out carbs completely to help you lose weight.

That might help you lose weight quick, but soon your workouts will suffer and you’ll be a grumpy pants all the time.

That’s no good.

Plus, why make dieting harder than it has to be? 

[Eat Carbs and Get Leaner for Summer]

In my upcoming Leaner, (Not Bigger) rapid fat loss program, you’ll get to enjoy your favorite carbs while losing body fat at the same time.

On May 3rd, I’m opening spots for online coaching clients that are focused on achieving their fat loss goals in time for summer.

There are so many people that worry about getting ‘bigger’ and ‘bulkier’ due to lifting weights.

I’ll tell you right now, this program is *not* designed to get you bigger. Its primary focus will be on stripping away body fat and defining muscle so that you feel toned and sexy just in time for summer.

This program is for you if you:

  • want to lose at least 10-15lbs of body fat in your hips, stomach, and thighs
  • are worried that lifting will get you bulky (you don’t have to worry here, this one is for pure fat loss)
  • want to get into great shape, feel better, look better, and move better
  • enjoy carbs and don’t want to give them up (I don’t blame you, here)
  • need an extra accountability boost and motivation to keep you on track so that you can reach your fat loss goals in time for summer
  • don’t want to be on a super strict diet just to lose weight (you just need to eat the right amounts and the results will come)
  • have some extra body fat that you’d like to tone up so you can feel confident in a bathing suit

This program is *not* for someone looking to build tons of muscle or size. That’s not the goal of this program at all.

But if you do want to drop unwanted body fat, increase your energy levels, feel better, and get more toned and defined, then drop your email below and you’ll be the first to know when the program goes live.

As an added bonus, all email subscribers will receive a ‘subscribers only’ rate for this 1-on-1 online coaching program.

In the meantime, grab your free copy of ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ below to learn the principles of fat loss and stay tuned for more details in the next couple weeks. 

Let’s crush carbs and get lean together, whaddya say?

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (4/9)

Enjoy this week’s list of the top fitness articles to help you get stronger, build more muscle, lose more fat and get into better shape.

If you enjoy this content, please be sure to join the community at the end of this post. By doing so, you’ll receive a free nutrition ebook to help you dial in your diet and get you making even better progress.

Now, onto the top reads of the week!

Top Articles of the Week

  1. 8 Takeaways From Complete Sports Conditioning via Eric C
  2. Beyond The Back Squat: 3 Squat Variations To Mix It Up via Meghan C
  3. Wedging Into The Bar For A Stronger Deadlift via Dean S
  4. How to Travel for Business or Vacation and Still Lose Fat via Bryan K
  5. To Lose Weight, All You Need Is Love via James F
  6. How to Perform the Bodysaw for Stronger Abs via Ryan W (me)
  7. 3 Fatal Flaws with MRV for Hypertrophy via Steve H
  8. Rear/Side Delt Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Dr. Mike I
  9. Exercises You Should Be Doing via Tony G
  10. Scapular Positioning During Press Exercises via Tony B

Lose Fat, Build Muscle and Make Better Progress

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (4/2)

It’s that time again to bust out the week’s top fitness articles.

I’ve got a fantastic list for you so I hope you enjoy!

And, if you’d like to get this list in addition to other fitness content and workouts delivered straight to your inbox every week, go HERE.

Let’s get to it.

Articles by Me

The Most Effective Way to Lose Belly Fat (And Keep It Off)

Top Articles of the Week

  1. 5 Best Loading Schemes for Size and Strength via Christian T
  2. Foods More ‘Addictive’ Than Sugar via Dr. Specncer N
  3. An Advanced ‘Core’ Exercise for Better Posture and Strength via Ryan W
  4. Deadlift Technique Tutorial via Adam P
  5. Maybe Your Shoulder Hurts Because Your Technique Sucks via Tony G
  6. Chest Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Dr. Mike I
  7. Cryotherapy Doesn’t Work via Dean S
  8. Tip: The Key to Strong and Healthy Shoulders via Eric C
  9. Quick Squat Tips for Less Achy Knees via Ryan W
  10. Escaping the Pit: What To Do When You Become Stuck via Aadam A

Hey, before you go…

Be sure to grab your free nutrition ebook below. All you need to do is plug in your email and you’ll have your own shiny new copy of ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ delivered straight to your inbox.

Did I mention it’s 100% free?

See you in there 🙂

The Most Effective Way to Blast Belly Fat (And Keep It Off)

9 out of 10 people want to know how to lose belly fat.

Many of them are told they can get washboard abs in 7 minutes a day or by eating a special fat blasting food.

The truth is losing belly fat has nothing to do with which exercises you choose or what ‘style’ of diet you follow.

Follow along closely if you want to find out what it really takes to blast belly fat and keep it off for good.

It’s Not About What Diet You Follow

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Will going low carb or eating Paleo help you lose belly fat?

It’s possible.

But it’s not guaranteed.

The fact is, the style of diet you follow doesn’t impact your ability to lose belly fat as much as you may have been told.

You might prefer eating 2 meals a day or enjoy having 6 smaller meals spread evenly every 3-4 hours.

When it comes to your diet as it relates to fat loss, your calorie deficit matters the most. Simply put, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This means by the end of the week, you need to have eaten fewer calories than you burned. If you need any help knowing how to get started with your own fat loss program, fear not, I’ve written a free guide for you HERE.

Don’t get hung up too much on what ‘diet’ is the best for fat loss.

It’s Not About What Kind of Exercise You Do

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I love lifting weights and recommend that all of my online coaching clients lift weights as well to help them reach their goals.

But does lifting weights guarantee you’ll lose belly fat?

No. Not at all actually.

So is cardio the answer to melting stomach fat?

Nope.

You can lift weights, crush cardio and do every crunch variation known to man and still struggle to lose belly fat.

Your exercise routine is secondary for targeting stomach fat (but don’t use that as a reason not to lift and perform your cardio).

The Big Secret to Blasting Belly Fat…

I hope you’re still with me because this is *very* important.

There is no single exercise to blast away your belly fat. You can’t zap away fat by cranking out thousands of crunches.

There are no special foods to melt away love handles and give you washboard abs. Avoiding ‘bad’ foods won’t even guarantee you success.

So what is the most effective way to blast belly fat?

Consistency, training hard and eating right time and time again.

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Image courtesy of flickr

Consistency is, bar none, the only way to effectively lose body fat and ultimately reduce the troublesome love handles, low back fat, and belly bulge. Exercising, eating right and getting quality sleep are definitely pieces of the puzzle don’t get me wrong. But how effective is your training program going to be if you only exercise 2 out of your 4 scheduled days? Or if you only practice good eating habits 3 out of 7 days a week?

But how effective is your training program going to be if you only exercise 2 out of your 4 scheduled days? Or if you only practice good eating habits 3 out of 7 days a week?

Doing the right things training and diet wise are important no doubt (For help creating your own plan go HERE.)

Doing them consistently is even more important.

If you’re fired up and ready to go but don’t quite have the consistency to match, give these 3 things a try.

#1 Be honest and explicit about your goals and why you want to achieve them

Some people struggle to be consistent because they aren’t quite sure what they really want to get out of their gym routine or new diet. Be honest with yourself and set clear, concise goals to help you stay the course. Without at least an 80% level of consistency, you probably won’t see the results you’re looking for.

#2 Don’t bite off more than you can chew

You’re ambitious and ready for a change, I get it. You start hitting the gym every day and adopt a new and healthier diet. After a week or so, though, things come screeching to a halt and you fall off the wagon.

So what went wrong?

Maybe you tried to take on more than you could handle at the beginning and simply couldn’t keep up with doing quite so much. If consistency is a primary issue for you, set yourself up to succeed by starting with a plan you know with 100% certainty you can stick to.

If it means hitting the gym 3 days instead of 5 because you know you’ll probably blow off those extra 2 days, then go with it. Build momentum and a solid routine by beginning with a realistic schedule. Don’t over commit only to fall off a week later.

Introduce new things one at a time so that you’re more likely to stick to them. If you attempt to change every single thing at once, well, good luck ;).

#3 Stop Making Excuses

This one can be a tough pill to swallow for many of us. I’m the first to admit I make excuses sometimes which end up wasting my time and preventing me from getting stuff done.

If you’re prone to making excuses for why you can’t eat right, why you can’t make it to the gym, or why you’ve had 5 cheat days in the last week of your diet it’s time to get real.

You’re busy, I get it. But there’s still enough time in the day to hit a workout if it’s a priority. Go before work. Go after work. Heck, go during work, just don’t tell your boss 😉

Lack of time is not an excuse to skip workouts or fail to prepare for success. Schedule in your workouts the week ahead and do your absolute best to stick to those times. If you miss one workout it’s not the end of the world. Consistency, in the long run, is the key to achieving lasting results.

If you can’t ‘stick to your diet’ try simplifying things. Make it impossible to fail. Give yourself 3-4 diet guidelines to stick to for one week.

  • Eat protein rich foods 3-4x per day
  • have 2 fistfuls of veggies with those meals
  • drink 8-10 glasses of water per day
  • prepare at least 1 meal a day ahead of time

Simple things like prepping some go-to meals ahead of time can do wonders for compliance and consistency. It takes repetition and practice to turn these things into habits so the more you do them the more automatic they’ll become.

Let me help you melt away fat…for free

If you’re still with me, great. It probably means you’re someone who gets it. Someone who realizes the gimmicks, fad diets and ‘special’ ab exercises aren’t the keys to losing belly fat and keeping it off for good.

Only consistency over time will give you the results you really want.

Since you’ve made it this far (maybe you skipped ahead, which, by the way, is perfectly A-ok), I’d like to give you a gift.

Don’t waste another second spinning your wheels, trying to figure out how you’re going to get in shape for summer. Instead, grab your free fat loss blueprint below to help you:

  • create a sustainable calorie deficit so you can lose fat while still enjoying your favorite foods
  • increase your metabolism so you can burn more calories and lose fat faster
  • develop lean, strong muscles that look more toned and defined so you feel more confident
  • build proper habits so you can create your own fat loss program whenever you want to tighten things up

Get Your Fat Blasting Blueprint Now

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The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/26)

Another solid week in the books! I’ve got a great list of fitness articles for you to dig through 🙂

You can get these delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by clicking HERE.

Enjoy!

Top Articles of the Week

  1. The Difference Between Training for Strength and Training for Hypertrophy via Joy V
  2. Your Weekend Splurges are Ruining Your Weight Loss Efforts via Dr. Spencer N
  3. Your Questions, My Answers: Rep Speed, Low VS High Reps, Clean Dieting via Charles S
  4. Should Your Client Be Deadlifting From the Floor?  via Dean S
  5. 5 Mistakes Women Make With Strength Training (And How to Correct Them) via Nia S
  6. Progress is Progress and Fat Loss is Not Linear via Stacey S
  7. The Abdominal Rollout: Common Mistakes and Progressions via Tony G
  8. Quick Tips for More Pressing Strength via Ryan W 
  9. What to Do When You Don’t Like Vegetables via Precision Nutrition
  10. Open Your Hips and Improve Mobility with This Simple Drill via Ryan W

Did you enjoy this week’s list?

Of course, you did 😉 Moving forward, though, it’d be really cool to have you in my email community to interact, ask questions, and get advice from me to help you reach your fitness goals.

Just plug your info in below and once you’re in, you’ll get my free nutrition guide, 10 Commandments of Fat Loss, to get you started.

See ya in there!

7 Things About Fat Loss You Need To Know Before You Begin Your Summer Diet

Summer’s coming, so listen up.

You’re *probably* starting to think about how you’re going to get into shape to look and feel better by the time beach season rolls around.

You *probably* want to reveal muscle definition and trim off unwanted fat.

You also *probably* want straight-to-the-truth, no bs methods for losing unwanted body fat in a reasonable time frame.

Yes?

Good. Then follow along closely to what I’m about to tell you to learn how to put these tips into action so you can feel confident and sexy heading into summer.

Don’t ‘Diet’ Before You Diet

If you’ve already been ‘dieting,’ or trying to diet, and have been eating fewer calories for a long time already, then it’s a good idea to take a break from dieting before beginning another diet.

From a physical and mental standpoint, it’s a good idea to go into a diet feeling fresh and not already run down from lowered calories.

So first things first before you begin this year’s summer fat loss diet is to ensure you aren’t dieting leading up to your diet. That make sense?

For this period before your official ‘diet’ begins, try eating right around maintenance levels. You can get a better explanation of maintenance and starting calories in my free fat loss ebook, HERE.

So for the nutritional side of things, maintenance level calories prior to beginning your diet is a good idea. On the training/exercise side of things, I’d recommend doing some lower volume, strength-focused training during your ‘maintenance’ period.

This will allow your body to lower fatigue levels, develop more strength (which will be useful during higher volume training coming soon), and prime your body for a change in calories and training volume.

You’re basically preparing your body to lose body fat more efficiently.

  • Nutrition wise before you begin your diet–aim for maintenance level calories with the idea of keeping your bodyweight pretty steady for 4-5 weeks before your fat loss diet begins
  • With training, aim to hit the major muscle groups with compound lifts for sets of 4-8 reps on average with the goal of increasing bar weight week to week. During this time you should be lifting more weight by the end of this phase. This higher intensity/lower volume period will prime your body to respond well to the start of the fat loss protocol.

Turn Up the Volume

Crossfit, Sports, Fitness, Training, Exercise, Athlete

Courtesy of Pixabay

A lot of people are afraid to lose strength during a fat loss diet so they continue lifting super heavy while consuming fewer and fewer calories.

I don’t recommend this approach because it can be very taxing on the body and in my opinion, isn’t the most optimal way to lose fat.

Once you’re ready to begin your fat loss diet, you’ll want to use a  higher volume, more bodybuilding-esq approach to training. 

This is for several reasons:

  1. Higher volume training helps to preserve lean tissue (aka muscle) while in a calorie deficit
  2. Lifting super heavy in a fatigued and drained state just isn’t a ton of fun and can be dangerous.
  3. You *can* still get stronger during a fat loss diet. The primary difference is you’ll be getting stronger in a different rep range than the typical ‘strength range.’

So what exactly does high volume training mean?

To keep it as simple as possible so you can get started right away, think of higher volume training as training where you’re doing anywhere between 8-20 reps on average per set and your total volume of work increases over the course of your program.

For instance, you might do 3×10 in week 1 on a given exercise, 4×10 week 2, 5×12 week 3, and 6×12 week 4.

Provided you kept the weight the same or increased slightly week to week, this would result in more volume which is beneficial for holding onto precious muscle mass while dieting down.

Get a taste of how to set up your program for fat loss HERE.

Don’t Be Overly Aggressive

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Courtesy of Pixabay

So you’re pumped and ready to attack this fat loss diet with everything you’ve got.

That’s great, but just how fast should you aim to lose weight?

Some people say you can rapidly lose fat, while others suggest a slower approach. So which is it?

Personally, I think it depends on the individual and their goals, and also their experience level and buy-in.

One thing I do know for sure, however, is that if you start out too overly aggressive with the calorie cutting, you’ll have nothing left to cut to further your weight loss.

Here’s a quick tip: start your diet around your maintenance calorie level to see how the scale reacts to what you’re currently consuming combined with your new training program and exercise.

Then, if the scale stays pretty stable, reduce your calories by 300-500 per day and let that run its course. I actually really like the guidelines of 1-2lbs per week for males and 0.5-1lb per week for females. Of course, these are averages and depending on your total bodyweight might be different.

Heavier individuals can probably lose at a slightly faster rate initially, while lighter individuals will lose slower simply because there’s less weight to lose in the first place.

The goal of your diet shouldn’t be to cut calories as hard and fast as possible. It should be to eat as many calories as possible while still losing fat and getting results.

Use Various Tools to Track Progress

When you get going with your fat loss phase, you’ll definitely want to use various methods to ensure that you are making progress and to also know when it’s time to modify your training or diet.

The scale gets plenty of hate, although I believe it to be an extremely useful tool. Is it the end all be all to judge fat loss progress?

Healllll naw.

But, it is a useful too so I suggest using it. Along with tracking gym performance, taking progress pictures, and monitoring your energy levels.

Honestly, the scale, progress pictures, and how you feel are *very* good indicators of whether you’re making progress or not.

Scale, Diet, Fat, Health, Tape, Weight, Healthy, Loss

Courtesy of Pixabay

You’ll definitely want to use a combination of all of them because relying on one method only might not provide enough reassurance that you are actually progressing.

Scale goes up a pound?

No biggie. Keep plugging along and if after 3-4 weigh-ins it’s still the same or has gone up more, then you can adjust your diet and calories.

Pay attention to the week-to-week differences in scale weight rather than day-to-day. Because guess what? The results aren’t going to happen overnight anyway.

Your Diet IS Most Important

The more and more I work with online coaching clients, I find the saying “results are 80% diet and 20% exercise” to be truer than I once thought.

It might be sorta cliche to think that what you eat will make up 80% of your results but it turns out it may actually be pretty accurate.

I mean, how easy it to rack up 500 calories without even realizing it? A couple cookies, some peanut butter, and a glass of milk would probably do it.

So when fat loss is the goal, you really should ‘watch what you eat’ a bit more closely. It’s easier to mind your eating habits than it is spending an extra 3 hours in the gym trying to burn off the extra calories you ‘accidentally’ consumed.

The key to fat loss?

Sustaining a calorie deficit.

The easiest way to achieve that deficit is to reduce calories via nutrition changes. You can take away the guesswork with my free nutrition manual, HERE.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to establish your very own fat loss diet including target macronutrient amounts and how to structure your diet to help keep you consistent and on track.

Embrace the Journey

I said I was gonna give you the no BS truth so here it is.

Most progress pictures you see of incredible transformations and shredded abs took wayyy longer than a month or two.

Heck, when I got to my all-time leanest last year, I had been hard at work for over 6 months. While that isn’t a super long time, it isn’t the ‘overnight’ results we hear about way too often.

So keep your expectations realistic yet challenging. If you’re 30% body fat, don’t kid yourself thinking you can get to 10% in a single 10 or 12-week diet phase.

Because that just isn’t likely to happen.

If you do your first diet and still want to lose more weight at the end of that diet, simply maintain your new weight for a month before beginning another period of focused fat loss.

DO NOT try to lose everything in one fell swoop because it’ll be miserable, unnecessarily tougher than it has to be and mentally draining. Not to mention your rate of fat loss will really slow down.

Instead, plug along at a steady clip and just keep putting in the work. It may take a couple ‘fat loss’ diets to get there but eventually, you will, no doubt about it.

Enjoy ‘Healthier’ Treats to Stay On Track

Seeing as the food part of the whole ‘losing body fat’ thing is the most difficult for people, don’t be afraid to mix in some healthier/lower calorie ‘treats’ to help you keep your sanity while you lose weight.

Now, I’m not against having regular treats from time to time (if you can control your intake), but for many people, having some higher calorie foods leads to eating more higher calorie foods.

So if you have trouble keep things under raps, try some lower calorie options.

One of my favorite new discoveries is Enlightened ice cream. They really should be paying me for the number of times I’ve told online coaching clients about their ice cream and bragged about it on Instagram. Oh well haha. I’ll keep buying it because it’s delicious and easily fits into a fat loss diet.

Here’s a recent pic of one of my shopping excursions 🙂 Let’s just say I stocked up 😉

Summer is coming, will you be ready?

If you’re anything like me, then you want to look good and feel confident by the time the clothes come off when summer gets here. 

Using these tips and the ones you’ll learn in the ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ manual below, you’ll be well on your way to your leanest, sexiest body yet.

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/19)

You’ve come to the right place if you want great fitness content from trusted names in the fitness industry.

Hope you enjoy this week’s list!

Articles by Me

Top Articles of the Week

  1. Exericses You Should Be Doing: HBT Front Squat March via Tony G
  2. Quad Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Mike I
  3. 3 Tips for a Stronger Sumo Deadlift via Ryan W (me!)
  4. Partial Range Reps: Not Always Cheating via Nick T
  5. Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read via Eric C
  6. Tip: How to Activate Your Pecs for Better Gains via Christian T
  7. Fix Your Rowing Technique for Better Back Definition via Ryan W (me!)
  8. What the Diet Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know via Sivan F
  9. Should Women Fix their Flaws? via Nia S
  10. Addiction Transfer: Are You Swapping “unhealthy” behaviors for “healthy” alternatives? via Lisa L

Get This Delivered Straight to Your Inbox!

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/5)

It’s Sunday which means it’s time for another brand-spanking new edition of the top fitness articles of the week.

Enjoy the list!

Articles By Me

Top Articles of the Week

  1. Body Type Revisited : A New Way To Think About The Endomorph, Ectomorph, And Mesomorph via Tom Venuto
  2. 13 Training Tips To Build A Bigger, Stronger Back  via Alex Mullan
  3. 3 Myths About Women and Lifting via Ryan W (me)
  4. You Don’t Need a Detox. But I Know Why You Want One, So Do This Instead via Amy Dix
  5. Fasted Cardio…An Undeserved Good Reputation via James Krieger
  6. Diet Breaks and More via Steve Hall with Mike Israetel
  7. Quick Hip Mobility Drill for Better Performance and Strength via Ryan W (me)
  8. Best Diet-Friendly Foods via Sivan Fagan
  9. 3 Tips for Better Pushups via Ryan W (me) 
  10. Tip: Master the Tuck Jump via Christian Thibaudeau
  11. Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read via Eric Cressey
  12. Creatine Quickie via Jorden Pagel

Get Content Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

You can get the best articles delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday, plus get your hands on my nutrition ebook ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ when you join my exclusive community below.

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (2/26)

Every Sunday, I’ll be sharing my picks of the top fitness reads from around the net.

They’ll be articles on fat loss, muscle building, strength gain, and overall fitness improvement. If you like this kind of thing, be sure to jump on my email newsletter at the end of this post because I send out useful fitness info and tips throughout the week.

And you’ll get a free nutrition guide when you join.

Anyway, enjoy the list!

Articles by Me

A Beginner’s Guide to Calorie Counting to Look Better Naked

Top Articles of the Week

  1. From Couch To Courageous: How I Learned How To Embrace Yes  via Jen C
  2. Let’s Be Honest – The Body You’re Going For, Doesn’t Exist via Lee B
  3. Advanced Plank Variation for Stronger Abs via Ryan W (me)
  4. The Pros and Cons of Online Training via Tony G
  5. 5 Biological Adaptations To Fat Loss You Need To Know via Steve H
  6. The Broccoli and Cookie Conundrum via Aadam A
  7. DB Complexes for Fat Loss and Definition via Ryan W (me)
  8. Stop Using Detoxes and Cleanses via Jordan S
  9. 9 Processed Foods You Should Be Eating via Mike S
  10. The Magic Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone via Ryan W (me)

Sunday Quick Tip

The scale can be one of the most dreaded aspects of fitness.

A *lot* of people are afraid to step on the scale. And that’s ok.

But what’s most important to remember is that the scale is just a tool to show whether your bodyweight is going up or down.

It does NOT define who you are. It doesn’t tell the whole story of your progress. It’s just a tool to track body weight over a period of time.

An online client recently sent me this text:

She’s feeling better but got discouraged simply because the scale number was up a bit.

You know what my response was to her?

“Screw the scale!” (slightly different language was used haha)

The bottom line is that the scale can be a useful tool, but you shouldn’t get upset if the number isn’t changing for a little bit, or it goes up slightly.

Remember that fitness is a journey and you’ve just got to keep on moving forward.

Keep doing your best and working as hard as you can.

Do NOT equate your self-worth or measure your fitness progress only by the number on the scale.

Keep on getting after it 🙂

Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Make Gains

A Beginner’s Guide to Calorie Counting to Look Better Naked

The single most important factor in diet success is total calories.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to blast away fat or pack on pounds of muscle, your overall food intake matters most.

And, counting calories can be a great way to ensure you look better naked.

In this guide, I’ll keep it as simple as possible so that you can implement these methods right away for better results.

I’ll break down calorie counting into two separate methods of tracking. Depending on how precise you want to be, and the level of success you’d like, I’ll recommend which one I prefer depending on your goals.

So let’s get to it.

Calories, What Are They?

calories

Put simply, calories provide the body with energy that we need to live. Without calories, you won’t be able to do daily activities like lifting weights, driving to work, or climbing Mount Everest. Everyone’s climbed Mt. Everest, right?

Most foods can be broken down into one of three macro nutrients. Some foods contain more than one macro nutrient, like eggs for example. The three macro nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Protein

Protein counts as 4 calories per gram. This means that for every 1 gram of protein, there are 4 calories.

Protein is found in a variety of foods. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:

-Any fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia, etc)

-Any seafood (shrimp, lobster, crab)

-Chicken

-Turkey

-Any beef 90% or leaner (steak, ground beef, etc)

-Ground turkey or chicken 90% or leaner

-Greek yogurt

-Cottage cheese

-Eggs/egg whites

-whey protein powder

Of course, this isn’t every protein option out there, but it should give you a good idea of what sources you can eat.

Carbzzzz

Carbohydrates also count as 4 calories per gram. A sample list of good options here include:

-Vegetables

-Breads

-Rice

-Pasta

-Potatoes

-Oats

-Quinoa

-Fruit

Carbohydrates can be broken down into fibrous, starchy, and simple varieties.

Vegetables are fibrous carbs which means they’re very low calorie and contain fiber, so counting them towards your daily calories is not really necessary.

Starchy carbs are higher in carb content and are great for replacing glycogen from working out. Included here would be your oats, breads, potatoes etc.

Simple carbs, well they’re the devil (Just kidding, they’re not). Many people view sugar as a super destructive ingredient to your body. While consuming loads of sugar throughout the day is probably not the best practice if you’re looking to shed body fat or get into great shape, simple carbs can be used at specific times to provide benefit.

More specifically, during lifting and after lifting your body can utilize simple sugars (Gatorade) and actually prefers them because they are easy to digest. Outside of the workout window, it’s probably best to keep your sugar content lower.

Fats

www.ahchealthenews.com

Fats, on the other hand, are more than double the calorie amount as protein and carbs, and contain 9 calories per gram. Here’s a list of healthy fats:

-Nuts

-Nut butters

-Olive oil

-Canola oil

-Coconut oil (1/3 of your fats can come from saturated fats)

-Avocado

These are the delicious foods that are so easy to eat. It’s important to keep your fat intake in check because they are so easy to over consume. 

The amount of fat you eat will be dependent on how many calories are left after you account for protein and carb needs. Fats have the least effect on body composition, so there’s no need to eat tons and tons of fat. Unless of course, you’re doing a massing phase where gaining muscle is the goal.

Counting Up Those Macros

By now, hopefully, you have a handle on the calorie amounts in each macronutrient. Protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram, and fats are 9 calories per gram.

Good?

Perfect. Now let’s add em up.

Method 1- Using A Food Scale and Measuring Cups

The more accurate and precise of the two methods I’ll describe, weighing your food can be an excellent way to help you count calories.

A food scale can be a great asset to have in the kitchen. Whether you’re aiming to drop some pounds or pack on muscle, using this tool can be a huge benefit. 

food scale

A simple digital food scale can go a long way in helping you hit your calories each day. 

Measuring cups are another tool to use when wanting to count carbs such as rice, potatoes and pasta. I prefer to use cooked measurements of these, mainly rice and pasta because it’s easiest this way. The main thing when measuring is to be consistent with how you measure. Uncooked rice compared to cooked rice will have a different weight on the scale due to water absorption after cooking, so using measuring cups for cooked amounts is recommended.

1 cup of cooked rice is about 40 grams of carbs. This makes it super easy to measure for different meals throughout the day.

measuring cups

Let’s use these tools to count the calories in this meal right here:

donuts plate random

Oh, whoops, that’s not right. Dangit I love donuts, though.

Sorry for the distraction. We’ll count this meal up instead:

healthy-gourmet-meal (1)

You just put together a nice dinner for yourself. Pan seared chicken breast, some whole grain pasta, and succulent veggies. 

Before you assembled your feast you weighed and measured everything to make sure you hit your calorie amount.

Let’s say these are the amounts you used of each ingredient:

4 oz chicken breast

3/4 cup of cooked pasta

1 cup of cooked veggies

2 tbsp olive oil

Using the food scale and measuring cups, you could portion this out fairly easily. Simply tare the food scale and weigh out 4 oz of chicken. Use the measuring cup to portion out 3/4 of a cup of pasta and 1 cup of veggies. Using a tablespoon, fill twice with olive oil and drizzle over your plate.

You’ve measured the amounts, but how do you know how many calories and grams of each macro you’ve got?

Well if we refer to our chart for protein above, we see that lean protein sources generally have 6 grams of protein per 1 oz of weight.

So 4 oz of chicken breast = 4 oz*6 grams of protein * 4 calories/gram of protein= 24 grams of protein *4 calories/gram= 144 calories of chicken breast.

3/4 cup of cooked pasta

We know that 1 cup of cooked carb is 40 grams of carbs.

Each 1/4 cup of cooked pasta is equal to 10 carbs so 3/4 cup is 30 grams of carbs.

30 grams of carbs* 4 calories/gram of carb= 120 calories of carbohydrates.

You won’t really need to count the veggies towards your calorie allotment because of the low calorie content and high fiber.

2 tablespoons of olive oil 

Most olive oils are 14 grams of fat per tablespoon and we have 2 tbsp so= 14*2*9 calories/gram of fat= 252 calories of fat

Adding up your calories for this meal you’d have:

24 grams protein=144 calories

30 grams carbs= 120 calories

28 grams of fat= 252 calories

516 calories total

Obviously, this is just an example of how to calculate the amount you’re eating. Your portion sizes and the amount of each macro will differ depending on overall calorie needs and individual goals.

**Please note, this is the calorie amount if you’re only measuring the main macro in each food. This doesn’t include the incidental calories from other macros. The pasta, for example, will likely have some protein and some fat. If you want to be even more precise, you’ll want to look up the calorie amounts and macros for each individual food. Otherwise, just counting the main macro is pretty accurate.

To help you find out calorie amounts, check out My Fitness Pal and sites like Calorieking.com.

Method 2- Eyeballin’ It

The less accurate of the two methods, using the eyeball method can still be used with great success. It does take a bit of trial and error to get the portion sizes fairly accurate, though. This method can be used by people who choose not to weigh out their food. For those that still want great results without as much precision, eyeballing it can be a useful tool.

Ok, so I guess now you wanna know how to measure using the eyeball method?

Fortunately, Precision Nutrition came out with a portion size guide that many of their clients use with great success.


percision-nutrition-portion-control1 (1)

From the Precision Nutrition website:

For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

These are just starting points but should give you an idea of what your plate will look like using your hand as a calorie guide.

With this method, you won’t necessarily be “counting calories” but more like counting portion sizes. You’ll simply use your hand as a guide and adjust your portion sizes depending on your goals and what your weight is doing.

If you are aiming to lose body fat, start with these recommendations and track your body weight over the course of 1-2 weeks. If your weight is not going down, simply reduce your portion of carbs or fats slightly and see what your body does.

If muscle gain is your goal, start here and adjust up if your weight doesn’t increase slowly.

Recommended Use of Each Method

We’ve gone over both methods and you’ve learned the application of each one.

But when should you implement each method?

I actually like to use both of these methods, alternating them depending on the phase of dieting I’m doing.

When I’m aiming to lose body fat, I’ll be more precise and utilize method 1. The reason being is that I only want to diet for as long as necessary. If I’m precise, I can achieve what I want in a shorter amount of time. If I’m a bit more lenient with my calories, losing fat is going to take longer.

Dieting down is not a long-term thing. A typical diet may last anywhere from 4-12 weeks depending on the amount of body fat you’d like to lose. To maximize your fat loss, you may as well be as accurate as you possibly can so that your diet doesn’t take 20 weeks when you could have achieved the same amount of fat loss in 8 weeks by being more precise.

Personally, I like to use method 2 during periods of maintenance. This is simply a phase where you aim to keep your body weight pretty steady. It is still possible to slowly lose body fat during this time, but the idea is to keep your body weight stable so your body can adjust to it’s new weight after a cut or mass phase.

It takes much more effort to lose or gain than it does to maintain. Method 2 is great for maintenance because you can still apply the principles to slowly lose body fat, the changes just won’t be as rapid.

What to Do Next

Now that you’re armed with the methods of calorie counting so you can achieve your unique goals, you should grab my free nutrition manual below.

With the info in this manual, you’ll be able to set your own diet up to lose fat, gain strength, and define muscle.

It’s completely free and I think it’s one of the best and simplest resources to get you started.

Grab Your Fat Loss Guide Now!