Category Archives: Nutrition

Eat More Often to Lose More Weight

I used to think that it didn’t matter how many meals you ate per day.

From a weight loss perspective with all things being equal, it doesn’t matter whether you eat 2, 4 or 6 meals per day.

But the thing is, everyone’s preferences are different. Just about everyone I work with prefers a higher number of meals per day. 

Today, you’re going to find out how eating more often throughout the day can actually be highly beneficial for weight loss.

Calories In, Calories Out

Balance, Brass, Court, Justice, Law

Courtesty of Pixabay

Hopefully by now, if you’ve been following along, you know that our total calorie intake is the number 1 deciding factor in weight loss. To keep things as simple as possible and without getting into the nitty gritty with hormones, water retention etc, to lose weight we must be a calorie deficit.

Basically, we need to eat fewer calories than we burn and we’ll lose weight.

And although these calories can come in 1 meal, 2 meals, or 6 meals, if we don’t have our total calories lined up, we won’t be able to lose weight.

So before you even decide how many meals to eat, you need to get a ballpark of your calories and then subtract 200-500 calories on average depending on your total bodyweight.

Again, keeping things simple, for those weighing over 150lbs, multiply your bodyweight by 12-13.

For those under 150lbs multiply your bodyweight by 10-11. Keep in mind these are simply starting figures which will give you an estimate of how many calories you need.

Next, let’s go into exactly why I believe more meal frequency is best for the majority of people’s weight loss goals.

You Can’t Stop Snacking

Cheese Slicer, Crackers, Appetizers, Dairy Product

Courtesy of Pixabay

The biggest issue I see with the less frequent meal approach (ie 2 meals a day) is that a huge chunk of the day is spent being hungry.

At least hungrier than is necessary for weight loss.

You know exactly what happens if you get hungry and there are snacks laying around at work or at home? You’re going to eat them.

So even though you may only be eating 2 meals per day, your snacking habits can rack up the calories quick and in no time you’re completely erasing any of the calorie deficit you thought was there.

If, however, you eat more meals per day but evenly spread the calories, you have a better chance of following your plan without overconsuming excess calories.

More meals in the day can potentially equate to less snacking, and fewer additional calories that might normally erase your calorie deficit.

You Have Long Days

Alarm Clock, Stand Up, Time Of, Sleep, Bed, Wake Up

Courtesty of Pixabay

Let’s say you get up early, around 6 am or so and you go to bed around 10/11pm.

That’s about 16 hours that you’re awake. If you ate 2 meals that day and you spaced them evenly that means you’d have 8 hours between meals.

That would suck. To me at least.

I honestly don’t know many people that enjoy going 6, 7, or 8 hours without eating. I mean I’m usually hungry 2-3 hours after a meal.

From a logistics perspective, waking up early doesn’t lend itself well to a reduced frequency of meals.

Not unless you want to be really hangry all day long.

So if you wake up early or are awake for more than 12 hours a day, it’s probably a good idea to have more meals than fewer meals.

You’ll stay fuller longer with a higher frequency of meals which will help you control your food intake.

You Want to Lose Weight But Not Starve All Day

Diet, Calorie Counter, Weight Loss, Health, Food

Courtesy of Pixabay

When you’re losing weight, you should get hungry. But being hungry and literally feeling like you could chew your arm off are two different things.

From a consistency and sustainability perspective, I’ve found my clients do much better with more meals than fewer meals. When I say more, I’m talking 4-5 meals instead of a 2 meal or even standard 3 meal approach.

With 4-5 meals, there’s enough flexibility to fit your diet around your life and schedule, but enough structure to keep you consistent.

You’re Weight Training Consistently

Weight Lifting, Fitness, Gym, Perspective, Body, Health

Courtesy of Pixabay

Since you’re reading this post there’s a good chance that you’re already lifting or are following a lifting routine at the moment.

When you add resistance training into the picture, it’s important to get proper nutrition before and after your workouts.

We could get into a long nutrient timing discussion but the fact is, your workouts will be more productive if you’ve gotten in a pre-workout meal of some sort within at least 3 hours of your training.

If you eat lunch at 12  pm and then go to the gym at 6pm, there’s a good chance your energy will be down a bit if you haven’t eaten in 6 hours.

Getting in a good dose of protein and some carbs before your workout can be very beneficial to being able to push yourself hard in the gym.

And, if you’re going to the gym to lift you want to be fueled up to train hard. A good pre-workout meal will lead to better performance and strength and will contribute to weight loss.

Then, after your workout, getting protein and some carbs for recovery is also a smart idea.

This is where giving yourself more meals per day can be really important.

You’ll be able to evenly spread your meals out, have a pre and post workout meal, and still lose weight.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Practical Tips for Better Consistency and Weight Loss

Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding how many meals to eat per day.

  • How many meals per day will allow you to be consistent, feel as full as possible, and make progress?
  • Is it a workout day? If so, adding a meal can be helpful. If it’s a non-lifting day, fewer meals can work just fine because you’ll be expending less energy and won’t have the need for a pre/post workout meal.
  • Aim to space your meals out fairly evenly throughout the day. Try to feel some hunger before eating your next meal and aim to eat every 3-4 hours on average.
  • Keep protein powder and/or low-calorie snacks on hand with you or at work at all times.
  • Stick to your frequency of meals every day. Instead of winging it every day, decide how many meals you’re going to eat each day ahead of time (depending on workout schedule) and stick to that. This will definitely help with accountability and consistency.

What’s Your Preference?

I’m willing to bet that *most* people will do best reaching their weight loss goals eating between 4-6 meals per day.

Based on clients’ results, my own results, and much of the feedback I receive, it seems that a more frequent meal schedule allows people to be more consistent and helps with sustainable weight loss.

If you’re someone that is dead set on eating 2 meals per day that’s completely fine. If it’s working for you that’s great.

But if it’s not, you may want to give a more frequent meal structure a try to see if you get better results.

Because at the end of the day that’s what matters. 

Want Help Designing Your Optimal Fat Loss Diet?

I’d love to give you a free copy of my fat loss manual ‘10 Commandments of Fat Loss‘ to help you design your own diet that will work for your specific goals.

All you need to do is input your info below and I’ll send that free manual over to you within the next 60 seconds.

Inside the manual, you’ll learn how to calculate your calorie needs, what type of cardio is best for fat loss, and which supplements will help you reach your goals faster.

Again, it’s completely free, so plug your info in below and enjoy.

Get Your Free Fat Loss Blueprint Now!

 

5 Nutrition Myths That Won’t (Actually) Make You Fat

Have you ever wondered how someone could be eating fruit and not be gaining weight?

Or what about ‘those’ people that eat oatmeal (carbs, oh my) in the morning? How can they possibly be controlling their weight?

It’s ideas like these that need to stop once and for all.

In this article, I’m going to uncover 5 nutrition myths and tell you exactly why they aren’t going to make you fat.

Let’s have at it.

Myth 1) Fruit Will Make You Fat

Berries, Fruit, Fruits, Mixed, Fruit Stand

Read that headline again.

One more time.

Unfortunately, there are still some people that truly believe fruit will make them fat.

Because of the sugars, the fructose, and the carbs.

Luckily for us, fruit is not only delicious but nutritious as well.

Sometimes when people who are too smart for their own good write books and stuff spewing nonsense like fruit will make you fat, I can’t help but feel sad.

Fruit is literally one of the best pieces of food you could eat and here are people telling other people not to eat it because they’ve made up some bologna about fat gain and insulin and fructose.

But please, for the love of everything holy, eat your fruit and eat it plenty.

Fruits are:

  • generally low in calories
  • full of vitamins
  • packed with fiber

Besides being absolutely delicious, many fruits are super low calorie for their serving size. Watermelon only contains 136 calories for 1 pound of goodness.

1 whole freaking pound!

A whole cup of blueberries is only 83 calories. Strawberries, only around 115 calories for an entire pint.

These calorie amounts are incredibly low considering how filling and delicious fruits are.

And since we know we should be eating less calories if our goal is fat loss, fruit seems like the perfect option.

And it is.

Of course some fruits contain more calories than others, but overall fruit is 100% perfectly fine to eat.

I’d even go as far to say that if people ate more fruit they’d weigh less.

Because nobody ever got fat from eating fruit.

Myth 2) Eating At Night Will Make You Fat

Warm And Cozy, Winter, Popcorn, Coffee

Sigh.

Newsflash, you can only eat between 8am and 7pm.

If, however, you eat anything after 7pm you will get fat.

Seriously?

I thought this school of thought was over with back in the early 2000s.

The common rationale behind this thinking is that if you eat at night, usually late at night, those calories will just sit in your stomach and won’t be burned off. Thus making you gain weight.

To a certain degree, this is partly true. If you eat late at night you may end up weighing more the following morning. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily gained body fat.Water retention, total calorie intake, hormones, bowel movements, and the physical amount of food in your stomach can affect the weight on the scale.

Let me provide you a quick example.

Jane eats the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. On average she eats around 1700 calories throughout the course of the day and has dinner around 5:30 or 6 at night. She works out regularly and sleeps about 8 hours a night.

Susan prefers skipping breakfast and likes to eat a late lunch and then a large dinner around 8:30 or 9 night. She also averages 1700 calories daily. She also averages 1700 calories daily, works out regularly and nabs about 8 hours of sleep a night.

Because their total caloric intake is relatively equal, they should both expect to lose about the same amount of weight.

Jane wouldn’t be expected to lose more weight just because she stops eating sooner than Susan. And Susan isn’t expected to gain weight because she eats her meals a bit later than Jane.

It all comes back to calorie balance and energy expenditure.

You can eat at night and not gain fat. 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, midnight, it doesn’t matter. The key is making sure you’re in a calorie deficit.

If, however, night time eating causes you to overeat an extra 1000 calories, then yeah, you will gain weight.

But in the context of a normal diet and one focused on a slight calorie restriction, eating at night will not make you fat.

Myth 3) Eating Carbs in the Morning Will Make You Fat

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Walnuts, Blueberries, Berry

If it’s not eating at night that makes people fat, then it must be the morning, right?

Some people believe eating carbohydrates in the morning causes them to store more body fat and gain weight.

Whenever you eat carbohydrates your body secretes insulin (provided you aren’t Diabetic), which is very important for muscle growth, but is responsible for fat gain as well.

However, unless your insulin levels are chronically elevated from slamming down an excess amount of carbs all day long for a long period of time, carbohydrate consumption in the morning can be very beneficial for weight loss.

So that oatmeal your momma used to tell you to eat when you were a kid can actually be a good thing. If you like carbs in the morning you should know that within the scope of a healthy diet and your own calorie targets, they will not lead to fat gain.

So enjoy your eggs and toast, or fruit, or oatmeal.

 Myth 4) Too Much Protein Will Make You Fat

Barbecue, Meat, Grill, Fire, Flame, Bbq, Charcoal, Food

Let’s say you normally eat 150 grams of protein per day, on average.

And, you like to spread out your amount of protein through 5 meals.

So usually you’re consuming about 30 grams per meal.

But one day at work, you get called into a meeting right around lunch time and you’re unable to eat so you have to skip that meal.

Then, at the next meal, you decide you’re going to combine your protein amounts which will give you around 60 grams in one sitting.

Is that going to make you fat?

100% no.

It’s simply not true that eating a certain amount of protein at one meal is going to cause you to gain weight. The only scenario where this would be the case would be if eating an extra ribeye steak (or any source of protein) puts you well over your calorie goal for the day. Then you’d probably gain some weight.

But doubling up your protein amounts or eating more than the average person does protein wise is not going to make you fat.

Continue to enjoy your protein and be sure to aim to have the same amount every day.

Myth 5) Sugar Will Make You Fat

You may have read things by these gurus out there that say sugar will make you fat and sugar is the cause of obesity and basically sugar is the devil.

Let’s put it this way.

Sugar alone isn’t going to make you fat. Don’t believe me, check out this guy below who basically ate twinkies and junk food and lost 27 pounds. Click the image for the full article.

It’s impossible to simply look at something such as sugar without looking at the overall context of a person’s diet.

Personally, I think it’s silly just to say that sugar is bad and that you shouldn’t eat it.

Sugar, which is found in carbohyrate containing foods, has calories just as do protein and fats.

Taken into the right context, sugar can be perfectly fine to include within your diet as a whole. Now I’m not recommending you follow a similar diet to the professor above (although his health markers did improve). But what I am saying is that there’s no need to blame sugar for weight gain.

It’s often more than sugar and can include lifestyle factors, relationships, activity levels, income levels that lead to weight gain.

It ain’t sugars fault.

Damn, I could go for some Ben and Jerry’s right about now 😉

Improve Your Fat Loss Results

If you want to weed out the nutritional bs floating around and finally start seeing fat loss progress, be sure to get your hands on my free nutrition ebook ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ below.

’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ is your solution to simpler, healthier, more effective fat loss. You’ll learn how much you should be eating and how to set up your own fat loss diet that’ll get you the results you want. Get your free copy below!

Lose Fat Faster With This Free Guide

 

Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving with These 8 Tips

The holidays are here and Thanksgiving is tomorrow (depending on when you read this). Rather than stressing out, you can still burn fat over Thanksgiving while enjoying a nice family meal.

Forget about scouring the internet for tricks and shortcuts to speed up your results. In this article, I’m going to give you a no B.S. rundown of what not to do, and more importantly what to do to improve your fat loss results.

I’ve got 8 tips to burn fat over Thanksgiving, helping you prevent holiday weight gain so you can make progress and lose inches the smart way.

1) Limit Isolation Exercises to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving

burn fat over Thanksgiving

The next time you go to the gym I want you to take a minute or two to observe where most of the members spend their time. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people are using machines, oftentimes seated while doing so.

This isn’t to say that machines are bad because, hey I like to hit some leg curls or extensions from time to time.

But, and it’s a big but (pun intended) you should prioritize compound movements in your training.

Why do compound movements when you could sit and relax on a machine?

  1. With compound movements (think squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, chins, rows, lunges, etc) you recruit more muscle fibers. A squat, for example, will hit more muscle groups than just doing a seated leg extension. This is why compound exercises are the perfect choice to burn fat over Thanksgiving. You can enjoy your holiday meal and still get results.
  2. Compound lifts will be better to burn fat over Thanksgiving because they’ll burn more calories.
  3. At the very least, start your workout with big, compound lifts, and finish with machine stuff if you choose.

2) Don’t Go Crazy With Warming Up

It seems like lately people are spending more time during their warmup than lifting some damn weight. And, to burn fat over Thanksgiving, spending too much time warming up is going to be a waste of your time.

If your warmup takes more than 15 minutes MAX, please rethink how you’re going about that. I wrote an article a while back on warmup drills you can do before lifting some heavy weights. You can read that here.

A lot of people have gotten realllllly carried away with stretching/mobilizing/flossing every nook and cranny of their body that they’ve lost sight of the main purpose of being in the gym.

foam rolling won't burn fat over Thanksgiving

To look better, feel better, and move better.

My online clients are busy people. They don’t have an extra 30 minutes to spend rolling around when they could be lifting. Funnily enough, many people fail to realize that lifting can actually improve your mobility and range of motion if done properly.

Unless you’re a circus performer, do you really need to be able to do the splits or toss your legs behind your head?

Probably not.

Instead, work towards a full range of motion with compound exercises to drastically enhance mobility.

Because at the end of the day, foam rolling isn’t gonna burn fat. You still need to train hard.

*Note- Don’t get me wrong and think that I’m anti-warmup or stretching or mobility stuff. Just don’t get super carried away with it that you run out of time to actually LIFT and get stronger.

3) Group Classes Aren’t Very Effective

Having worked in a commercial gym for 2 years, I know exactly how these group classes work. The instructor takes a large class through an array of exercises, makes em sweat, and they leave feeling exhausted.

The biggest problem though, is there’s no type of progression in place at most commercial gyms. Every class is just a random hodge-podge workout, often using exercises that I honestly can’t actually call exercises.

Balancing like the karate kid while doing curls is not the most effective use of time. It’s also not the most effective way to burn fat over Thanksgiving.

group classes aren't the most effective way to burn fat over Thanksgiving

However, group classes can be a fantastic addition to an existing gym routine. You want to make sure the instructor knows what they’re doing, and also that there is some sort of tracking involved.

How will you, or the instructor for that matter, know if progress is being made if there isn’t any way to track things? A group class structure where you train with the same movements for a period of time and gradually increase the sets, reps, or weight each week would be a great start.

Simply going to a jam-packed group class where you’ll do a random workout every single time isn’t the most efficient strategy to help you burn fat over Thanksgiving.

If you do want to burn fat over Thanksgiving, make sure that in a group setting you’re still doing the compound lifts, or at the very least, variants of them.

4) Follow a Logical Plan to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving

Building a little on the last point, you’ll have a tough time making significant progress just “going to the gym.”

What I mean is this: Some people go to the gym with a plan of what they will do that particular day. Others simply go to the gym and do whatever they feel like doing.

If you want to get real results, you should be following a program of some sort. You need to be able to compare your results from one week to the next and track weights, sets, and reps to see if what you’re doing is improving.

To burn fat over Thanksgiving, I’d recommend training with higher volumes during your workouts. This means you should lift in the 6-15 rep range on average and use weights that are moderately heavy.

If you want to preserve muscle mass and burn fat over Thanksgiving at the same time, then follow these guidelines.

5) Be Consistent With Workouts

Let’s say your current training routine is set up as a 4-day split. If you miss just one of those four sessions, then you’re missing out on 25% of the work you were supposed to do.

Of course, life gets in the way. Things happen. Unexpected events occur. But many times we’ll skip a workout for no good reason. It’s really important to be consistent day-in and day-out.

I’ve talked a lot about consistency in previous articles. There’s a good reason for that. Being consistent is a huge component to your success. Without it, you’ll pretty much be spinning your wheels and wasting your time.

Forget what the internet says about “the best time to workout” or training when you’re in the “fat burning zone.”

To burn fat over Thanksgiving you simply need to be consistent. 

The best time to train depends on YOU. Do it when you can make it a priority for that hour or so. It can be morning, noon or night. Whenever you can get it done is what you should go with.

But, that doesn’t excuse you from missing workouts later in the day because you chose to do something else. To put it pretty cut and dry: if you don’t treat your workouts similar to your job, you’ll get fired pretty quickly. Imagine if you only showed up to work 75% of the time. That wouldn’t be too good.

Get your work in and reap the rewards.

6) Add Some Cardio to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving

A lot of people are on opposite ends of the spectrum with cardio. They either think they’re the energizer bunny and do insane amounts of cardio or neglect it altogether.

The amount of cardio you do really comes down to what your goals are. If you’re a marathon runner, then you’ll probably be doing a bit more cardio than say a powerlifter.

If you’re the type of person that can just do endless amounts of cardio, keep in mind that cardio is still a stressor to the body. More is not always better. If an overabundance of cardio is hindering your ability to recover then it’s not having the benefits you’re probably thinking it does.

On the other hand, doing absolutely zero cardio is not what I would recommend for most people. My clients who are looking to lose body fat and improve their quality of life do some cardio but not a ton.

If you want to burn fat over Thanksgiving, you can use low intensity, steady-state cardio, or include some metabolic conditioning circuits, like those found in my ‘Metabolic Fat Loss’ manual. 

Burn fat over Thanksgiving

If you want a copy for yourself, to help you burn fat over Thanksgiving, shoot me an email to ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com and I’ll give you the details.

Cardio can have a nice impact on body composition, recovery, general health and well being, and can help you burn fat, too. Some people despise it, while others would only do cardio if that could get them the body they wanted (you need weights too 😉 )

7) Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving by Focusing on Diet ‘Big Rocks’

focus on nutritional priorities to burn fat

fieldservice.com

What’s the number one most important consideration in diet success to burn fat?

If you’ve read any of my other articles then you know the answer.

To burn fat over Thanksgiving, total calories matter above everything else. Calories are more important than food quality, nutrient timing, and fancy supplements put together.

This means you should focus on total calories first before worrying about other less important details. Of course the other stuff matters, just not as much as understanding calorie balance.

In terms of gaining or losing weight, building muscle and boosting strength, the number of calories you consume will always be most important.

Obviously, health is a big concern for many people, as it is for me as well.

What you’ll often find is that when you get your calories going in the right direction, you feel better, look better, and are most likely improving health markers like cholesterol and blood pressure as well.

8) Avoid Mainstream Diet “Fads” to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving

Gluten Free

I got trapped. Back when the whole “gluten free” craze started, I read tons of different articles and the book “Wheat Belly.” I thought avoiding wheat was the cure to burn fat and get into amazing shape.

Ha, was I wrong. I’ve been wrong a lot, but this is probably one of those things that I look back on and think, “Man, I love bread. Why the heck would I trade that in?”

*Quick note- I’m not debating the fact that some people have Celiac’s Disease. These people have a severe sensitivity to gluten and just can’t have it at all. However, from my latest findings, this is only about 3% of people.

Anyway, why do people lose weight and think they’re getting healthier by eliminating gluten? Well, mostly because a lot of foods with gluten also have tons of other added ingredients and extra calories. So, it’s not the gluten that’s the problem for most people struggling with their weight.

It’s the additional calories in many of the foods containing gluten that do them in.

It all comes back to total calories. Eat all the gluten in the world and you can still lose weight. Just as long as your calories are in line.

Paleo

Another popular word in the last 10 years or so is “Paleo.” A lot of people jumped on the paleo bandwagon. 

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. I’ll tell you what, the main principles of this type of eating make a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately, following a Paleo diet does not necessarily mean you’ll burn fat more than someone who doesn’t follow Paleo. 

On the plus side, you don’t need to avoid carbs, bread, or potatoes to burn fat over Thanksgiving.

Like anything diet related, it seems like the extremes always show up more but what really works is a balance of all nutritional aspects.

With some Paleo circles, it’s a sin to have any processed food, gluten, or sugars etc. I feel like this leads to more patterns of disordered eating than focusing on getting healthier, stronger, and more fit.

While Paleo is a great base diet, it’s simply too strict in food choices to work for the majority of people. Use it as a base, but adjust it accordingly to fit your own personal goals.

Plus I’d still like a beer every now and then 😉

 Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving with My FREE Nutrition Guide Below

Free fat loss manual to burn fat and boost strength

4 Little Nutrition Tricks to Keep Burning Fat Over the Holidays

apple-pie-966742_960_720

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays–food, family, and tryptophan.

Lots of tryptophan.

And while Thanksgiving and the holidays are such a joyous time for many people, some worry about gaining excess weight and can’t fully relax and soak up the true meaning of the holiday season.

There will be treats, holiday parties, and plenty of spiced egg nog to go around.

To help you really be able to enjoy this time, and not have to worry about gaining extra fat, I’ve come up with 4 nutrition tricks you can use to reduce the stress about overindulging and gaining weight, and, help you continue burning fat through the holidays.

#1 Get in some protein before big meals

shake-677437_960_720

I’m almost positive you’ll be invited to some holiday parties (at least I hope so :)) and also spending time enjoying dinners with your family.

One of the best ways to keep you on track while enjoying many of the foods you love is to consume protein rich foods before a big meal, party, or family dinner.

By consuming protein-rich foods like chicken, beef, greek yogurt or even a protein shake, you’ll help reduce hunger which can help with overeating.

If you show up to a meal or party and you’re ravenously hungry, chances are pretty good you’re going to eat everything in sight.

Instead, drink a protein shake or chow down on a piece of meat an hour or so before the meal to reduce hunger cravings or satiate a sweet tooth.

Then, eat a normal sized portion of the foods you’ve been waiting all year for. You won’t have to worry about over consuming anything because by the time the meal comes around you won’t be starving.

You’ll be way more likely to eat closer to your calories goals by having a smallish (20-30 grams) source of protein before the real fun begins.

#2 Make ‘lower’ calorie options of your favorite desserts

desserts

Another trick for trimming the waistline through the holidays is to make your own pies, desserts, and dishes using lower calorie ingredients.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to completely skip the ‘normal’ goodies. You know, like mom’s homemade cookies or grandma’s super secret sweet potato pie.

But, if you’re eating these things every day without paying attention to your calorie intake, you will likely gain weight.

To help you get the best of both worlds–eating yummy desserts and losing fat–try making your own ‘healthier’ options.

Healthier is kind of a loaded term so let’s call them lower calorie treats. These treats will help to quench your thirst for calorie-loaded family recipes.

Precision Nutrition has a whole ton of desserts you can make this holiday season to save calories while still enjoying some yummy treats. Check out the recipes HERE.

#3 Budget calories

smoked-turkey-1071528_960_720

Keeping with the theme of maximizing enjoyment during the holidays without maximizing your waist, you can use intermittent fasting at various times to give you some ‘wiggle’ room in the calorie department.

By fasting, you’ll essentially reduce calories earlier in the day which will give you a larger amount you can eat later in the day.

If Thanksgiving dinner is in the late afternoon or early evening you may want to use this strategy to save up extra calories for the big dinner.

If going completely without food for half the day is something you’ve never tried before, then maybe having a small protein shake several hours after waking would be a good idea.

Many of my clients like to use this approach when they know they’ll be out on the weekends or for these special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

By effectively shortening your ‘eating window’ you’ll have a better chance to stay within your calorie targets and prevent overeating.

Use the intermittent fasting strategy for those times when you know you’ll be eating large meals that’ll more than likely pack a big calorie punch.

#4 Follow the 80/20 ‘rule’

milk-1769136_960_720

Ever heard this ‘rule’ before?

It’s pretty simple but it can have a really positive impact on your diet success, especially when we’re talking about the holidays.

80% of your overall diet should come from whole food sources. Stuff like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, minimally processed carbs. You know these foods already.

Then, the 20% can come from typical holiday staples like cookies, pies, and of course sweet potato casserole with all the fixin’s.

What this means is that as long as you eat sensibly the majority of the time, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

You’re not going to get fat from enjoying a piece of pie after dinner.

Or a cookie or two and some milk when Santa’s on his way.

As long as you’re following this general rule you won’t gain extra ‘seasonal’ weight only to be stressing about losing it come January 1st.

Burn Fat this Holiday Season

Join my exclusive VIP area below to get more tips like these to help you burn fat, build muscle and boost strength. As a thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my nutrition manual ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss.’

tenc2_copy (2)

Fat Loss Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Accelerate Fat Loss

[I’ve been working on a new metabolic workout program for a while now and am pumped that it’s finally ready.

3d-1

Do you:

  • want short, quick, effective workouts to burn fat?
  • want to improve work capacity and stamina?
  • want to boost your metabolism?
  • want convenient workouts that take less than 20 minutes?
  • want to improve your conditioning and boost results?

If this applies to you then I’ve got something special for you at the end of this article]


Stress is more complicated than people realize and it’s not often thought of as something that could affect your fat loss progress.

Many people just think if they eat pretty good and exercise a ton they’ll lose body fat.

Except that fat loss and stress are enemies.

You’ve got bills to pay and maybe a family to take care of. You have work and appointments, and stuff that is really important.

Did you know that high levels of stress have been associated with weight gain? Yea, it’s true. When you stress out, your cortisol levels go through the roof, increasing your appetite and causing you to reach for extra calories.

Rather than continuing to add to your stress levels, I’ve got 5 tips to improve your training and nutrition during stressful times so you can continue to make fat loss progress.

#1 Reduce Training Frequency

gymer-1126999_960_720

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when their progress slows due to stress is adding more training sessions.

Think about it.

You’re already stressed and are having trouble recovering. The last thing your body needs is more stress (via more training/exercise). Of course, exercise can be therapeutic but there’s no doubt about it, one of the reasons we benefit from lifting weights is because we break tissues down during the session, they recover and repair, and we make progress.

The problem comes from the lack of recovery. If stress levels are high you simply won’t recover. So adding more work on top is not going to be beneficial.

If you’re currently training 4-6 times per week and feeling stressed and run down, consider scaling it back to 3 days of lifting and replacing a day or two with low-intensity cardio or metabolic circuits to burn fat and boost recovery.

#2 Reduce Training Duration

stopwatch-73399_960_720

I’m all for getting after it in the gym. Trust me, if I could be in the gym for hours and hours I would be (ok, I’m guilty of doing this from time to time.)

But here’s the thing: you can still get effective workouts in less time provided you’re using the most bang-for-your-buck exercises. When you’re looking to cut back on training time the compound lifts are very beneficial.

If you aren’t able to do the regular squat, bench, deadlift, row, pullup etc you can do variations of these lifts. The idea is that you want to work as many muscle groups in as little time as possible. This is where a compound exercise would be more beneficial than an isolation exercise. There’s nothing wrong with targeted isolation exercises, but if you’re limited on time and want to get in and out, then compound exercises should be your go-to.

#3 Improve Workout Structure

dumbbells-1634750_960_720

Another valuable way to get in an effective training session without compromising the quality of that session is to utilize supersets and total body workouts.

Supersets (pairing two exercises together, usually opposing muscle groups) is highly effective for increasing training density (the amount of work you can do in a certain period of time).

Some of my favorite supersets are:

-Barbell Bench Press supersetted with Barbell Row

-Overhead Press supersetted with Pullup or Lat Pulldown

-Squat variation supersetted with Hamstring dominant exercise like RDL/Leg Curl

-Deadlift variation supersetted with upper body push like Dips

While supersets are a great option, you can also use total-body training sessions 2-3 times per week to make sure you hit all the major muscle groups and continue to at least maintain muscle mass.

When stress levels are out of control the best thing you can do is focus on quality training sessions that fit your schedule. Super stressed out periods of your life are probably not going to be the best times to do an aggressive fat loss phase or mass building phase. With these modifications though, you’ll be able to continue losing body fat by reducing stress levels and allowing your body to recover from hard training.

Focus on quality training that enhances your life, not training that detracts from it.

#4 Simplify your Diet

7890484144_c17caf95b9_b

On the nutrition side of things, it’s best to keep it simple when it comes to your diet. Do not go radically changing your day-to-day diet or begin a new crazy diet.

-Focus on getting in adequate protein, I like to recommend 1-2 palms of protein at every meal on average. The more meals you eat the less you’ll need at each meal. Shoot for about 1g per pound of bodyweight.

-get in tons of vegetables. Vegetables contain important micronutrients and fiber which are very important especially during stressful times.

-eat mostly whole food sources of carbohydrates. Foods like sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, fruits etc will help fuel workouts and provide you with some satiety.

-get in some healthy fats. Olive oil, avocado, natural peanut butter are all great sources of healthy fats and will help slow digestion of proteins and carbs and help to reduce inflammation (something that can be elevated during stressful periods).

-drink plenty of water and 0 calorie beverages

#5 Make Time to Prep

shake recipe

Credit to Precision Nutrition for this recipe

Take time to prep food?

It might sound kinda crazy to take more time away from things you need to get done, but trust me, having quality food prepped will become a huge benefit.

And, it’ll actually remove a lot of stress associated with having good meals. You won’t have to worry as much about what to eat because you’ll have quality options already made.

I’d suggest taking 1 hour on a weekend day to prep proteins, veggies, and carbs, or to simply have some quality foods on hand for the week. You can also make super shakes if you find time is limited during the week to sit down and eat a lunch or meal.

For those that aren’t big cooks, simply buying a few rotisserie chickens and microwaveable rice would be a good start. Throw some fresh or frozen veggies with it and you’ve got a quick and healthy meal in a couple minutes.

Carry protein powder, nuts, protein bars, greek yogurts, fruit and foods like this to have something convenient at all times.

Preparing a little bit ahead of time will save you so much stress when it comes to food and will give you quality fat loss meals at your fingertips.

Bye Bye Stress, Hello Fat Loss

With the tips above, you should be pretty well-armed to deal with stress while continuing to get in quality training sessions and lose fat.

Look, we all go through periods of time where things get stressful. Instead of beating yourself into the ground, focus on the important things to keep making progress without adding more stress to your life.

Below, I’ve got more info on something I feel will be a huge benefit during stressful, busy times.

[Metabolic Fat Loss-Important Info]

I’m very excited to tell you more about my new program, Metabolic Fat Loss.

If you:

  • want short, quick, effective workouts to burn fat
  • want to improve work capacity and stamina
  • want to boost your metabolism
  • want convenient workouts that take less than 20 minutes
  • want to improve your conditioning and boost results

Then Metabolic Fat Loss will be right up your alley.

I’ve compiled 28 of my all-time favorite circuits into a pretty little PDF that you can open anywhere you go. They’re perfect as standalone workouts or can be used as finishers after a lifting session to help you burn loads of calories and keep the fat blast going.

If you’re interested in Metabolic Fat Loss shoot me an email at ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com and I’ll give you the rest of the details.

[Subscribe to my email list below to receive 20% off the launch price of Metabolic Fat Lossand, get a free copy of my nutrition manual, 10 Commandments of Fat Loss]

3d-1

11 Habits of Every Successful Dieter

If you’ve ever tried to ‘diet’ but haven’t had much success, then pay attention closely.

Every successful fat loss story will come as a result of practicing established habits on a consistent basis.

Forget about quick fixes. What you need are solid nutritional habits.

In today’s article, I want to share 11 habits you need to practice to become a successful dieter.

1) You focus on the ‘Big Rocks’

healthy food

A successful dieter focuses on the big rocks or the stuff that really matters most. Stuff like:

  • Eating in a calorie deficit
  • consuming adequate protein
  • drinking plenty of water
  • eating 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies every day
  • eating mostly whole foods (80/20 rule)

Worrying about nutrient timing, supplements, and whether your food is organic or not are simply pebbles in the grand scheme of things.

To be a successful dieter you must focus on the big rock items first and foremost.

2) You’re prepared

Preparation truly does go a long way for dieting success. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do this:

7890484144_c17caf95b9_b

However, making some meals ahead of time or preparing food in bulk for the week goes a long way in hitting your nutritional needs. My favorite is simply making up a bunch of food on the weekend and then having that stocked in the fridge. When I need some nutritious and delicious foods I can just grab and go.

Preparation also means you plan ahead if you know you’ll be dining out or eating on-the-go. Your diet isn’t doomed if you’re unable to eat out of tupperware.

You simply have to be aware of the options you’ll have when dining out and adjust those choices to fit your current calorie guidelines.

3) You understand your ‘diet’ is temporary

A successful dieter knows the difference between long-term dieting (your lifestyle) and short-term dieting (specific to a goal, ie losing 20lbs etc).

You shouldn’t be aiming to lose weight for life. Or rather, in a non-stop calorie deficit. You should, however, break your fat loss diet into specific, targeted periods where you’re more focused on a meaningful goal. Fat loss diets can range in duration from 4-16 weeks on average. They are not meant to be done for a year straight.

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

If you’re looking to lose a lot of weight, it’s best to split that into several ‘diet’ periods. This will lead to better results and will provide some mental relief throughout the process.

Once you’ve reached your first goal, you can then utilize a lifestyle diet where the principles still apply but you’re not actively trying to lose a certain amount of weight.

The habits that helped you reach your goal should be very similar to ones you practice as part of your daily life. The only difference will be the changes in calorie amounts.

4) You aim for consistency, not perfection

To be a successful dieter, you understand that consistency beats perfection 100% of the time, every time.

22009823742_fb735433b3_z

Perfection really isn’t possible, or remotely realistic on a fat loss diet. Instead, focus on being consistent as much as possible day in and day out and you’ll reach your goal much faster.

Be consistent with the big rocks mentioned earlier and you’ll become a very successful dieter–both short-term and long-term.

5) You’re in control of your choices

You’re in complete control of what you eat, drink, and put into your body. As a successful dieter, you understand that you’re free to make your own nutrition choices, and are responsible for what goes in your mouth.

brain-954821_960_720

You also are aware that no matter how many tips or guidelines you’re told, you’re ultimately the only one that can put those things into action.

6) You value the importance of exercise

Any successful dieter can tell you how important exercise is. When your goal is weight loss, burning calories is the name of the game–to a degree. 

My preferred method for myself and my online coaching clients is resistance training. Not only will resistance training burn calories, but it also helps build muscle and strength. This ultimately creates a fantastic foundation for fat loss and is directly responsible for giving the body shape and definition.

IMG_0971

Coaching client, Andy, crushing some squats. He’s lost 30lbs so far.

Exercise has to become a habit if you want to be a successful dieter.

7) You’re aware and can adjust on the fly

A successful dieter can adjust his/her food intake to accommodate social gatherings, events, and holidays. Look, unless you’re dieting to step on a bodybuilding stage, there’s no reason you have to skip important events or avoid social gatherings.

Many people are afraid these things will ‘blow’ their diet and cause them to fail.

The truth is, if you plan it right, you’ll gain a few pounds of water weight and be right back where you started before the festivities.

I mean, who doesn't love pizza?

I mean, who doesn’t love pizza?

The trick is adjusting ahead of time. Saving a large amount of calories for a special occasion is probably a good idea. Think of it like this.

Say you eat 4 meals a day, 7 days a week.

On a Saturday night, you enjoy yourself.

Out of 28 meals you have one that’s a bit higher in calories than normal. That’s 1/28 meals. In the grand scheme of things, this is likely to have very little impact on your overall success.

A successful dieter understands that life should be lived and as long as you’re making conscious decisions the rest of the time, it’s ok every now and then to let loose.

8) You can say no

On the flip side to the point above, it’s also ok to say ‘no.’ Just because there are foods staring you in the face doesn’t mean you have to eat them.

If you don’t want something, by all means, do not feel like you have to eat it just because other people tell you to, or because it’s there. Remember, you get to make the decisions. If you want something, then have it. If you don’t that’s perfectly fine, too.

9) You don’t look for shortcuts

road-220058_960_720

I’m 100% guilty of looking for the shortcuts. The ‘diet’ that would make everything super easy. 

After successfully losing 25lbs , I can tell you with certainty that there are no shortcuts. It sucks in a way but it’s always reassuring to know the hard work and effort you put in will pay off. Calories are still calories at the end of the day and you still have to put in the effort and hard work.

Don’t look for tricks, shortcuts, or follow diet fads–because they don’t work.

Instead, focus on those big rocks and put in effort repeatedly.

10) You don’t view food as good vs. bad

batman-499645_960_720

Food isn’t like Batman vs. the Joker, where one is good and one is bad.

As a successful dieter, you understand how important it is not to place a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label on foods. Sure, whole food sources are great and should make up the bulk of your diet, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you have something different.

By removing the labels from foods we can also remove a lot of the guilt associated with eating certain foods. Food guilt is one of the biggest problems people face when dieting. They think that because they ate X food that their diet is ruined.

This causes a nasty cycle to occur. They’ll eat what they think are ‘good’ foods and then have something they consider ‘bad’ which then causes them to spiral out of control.

Instead, view foods as things that contain calories and do your best to hit your calorie targets on a daily basis while eating mostly whole foods.

If an ice cream sandwich or cookie slips in there it’s not the end of the world.

In fact, it likely won’t make a hill of beans at all.

11) You adjust when things get crazy

planning-620299_960_720

A successful dieter knows when to crank things up and when to back off. 

If you’re extremely busy or stressed, that’s not likely the best time to go on a restrictive diet. By restrictive I simply mean a diet where you’re focused on a specific goal like losing 10lbs.

Rather than running yourself into the ground with a calorie restricted diet, keep things flexible when you’re really, really busy.

Like I said before, you shouldn’t always be dieting for weight loss anyway. Short (1-3 month) periods of a calorie deficit at a time are probably best.

If you’ve got too much going on right now, the last thing you need is to be worrying about ‘hitting your macros’ or running on low(er) calories.

Instead, aim to maintain your bodyweight while still making good choices overall.

How do your habits stack up?

So how’d you do? Do you practice these 11 habits?

Take a look at the areas you might need improvement and focus on making those better.

Once you nail these 11 habits, you’ll forever be a successful dieter. If you need help honing in your nutrition, be sure to grab a free copy of ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ below. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about losing body fat and getting into great shape.

Lose Body Fat and Become a Successful Dieter

tenc2_copy (2)

5 Quick Tips to Improve Calorie Counting Accuracy

image courtesy of pixabay.com

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Calorie counting is one of the best ways to manage your food intake to help you lose weight.

But, one of the biggest problems with calorie tracking apps like My Fitness Pal are the amount of inaccuracies that can occur.

Today I want to share some quick tips to improve your food tracking accuracy which will help you be more consistent and lead to better results.

#1 Use brand names

One of the simplest ways to ensure accuracy when logging your food is to utilize the brand name of the food you’re eating.

Many of the foods you eat will have a brand name, which is usually recognized in apps like My Fitness Pal.

A common breakfast staple is oatmeal. Simply type in the brand name and you’ll likely find the correct option:

img_1951

In this case, you’d pick Quaker quick oats and use that entry. You can then easily adjust the serving size depending on the amount you’re eating. Using brand names will save you a lot of time and will lead to better logging consistency.

#2 Foods without labels

For some foods, you’ll need to enter ingredients separately. If you’re having something like lasagna and making it yourself, you can’t just type in lasagna because you’ll get a wide variety of options.

image courtesy of pixabay.com

For foods like this, just enter in the individual ingredients. Be sure to save that entry so that you can use the same entry if you tend to eat meals like that often. All you need to do is enter in all of the ingredients and then do your best to divide the portions based on the total in the entire meal. This will give you a pretty good idea of how many calories are in each serving.

#3 Pay attention to search results

When logging your food it’s very important to select the option that most closely represents what you’re eating.

If you’re having chicken breast and then entry comes up showing very little protein you might not have the correct entry. Just make sure that the foods you’re entering in match as close as possible to ensure the best accuracy.

For example, one of my online coaching clients logged her breakfast the other day. Part of that breakfast was oatmeal and this is what My Fitness Pal logged:

img_1953-1

This is a good learning lesson and one reason you have to be aware of what you’re logging in. This shows 0 carbs, 0 fat, 0 protein. If that were true then it would contain 0 calories as well. However, it shows 270 calories. We know oats are a primary carb source so there should be a number in the carb column.

Make sure that what you’re entering in matches what you’d expect the food or foods to be. It’s very easy to pick the first option that pops up but it’s also important to choose the best option that matches what you’re eating.

This will make your entries much more accurate which will lead to better fat loss results.

#4 Don’t forget condiments, beverages, and oils

Image courtesty of pixabay.com

Image courtesty of pixabay.com

Sometimes it’s the foods we don’t think about that’ll sneakily add excess calories. If you’re adding oil or calorie containing condiments to your foods then be sure to factor those in.

If you don’t, you may be under-reporting 200-300 calories per day which will certainly affect your overall calorie balance. Also, you need to include any beverages that contain calories as well such as milk, sodas, smoothies etc.

#5 Make your best guesstimate

Counting calories isn’t meant to take up hours of your day. It’s simply a way to ensure you’re consuming the right amount of calories for your goal.

Sometimes, you may just need to use your best guess when logging certain foods. As long as you’re consistent with the options you’re choosing, you’ll still be able to make progress.

These apps aren’t perfect, and they certainly won’t always show the best option up front. Use your nutritional knowledge to assess whether or not the entry you’re including is the best option for that particular food.

Better tracking, better progress

If your progress has stalled, or it’s not moving as quickly as you’d like, give these tips a shot.

I think once you improve the accuracy of your calorie tracking you’ll notice a big improvement in your results.

Give em a try and let me know what you think.

Lose Fat, Build Muscle, Gain Strength

tenc2_copy (2)

The Truth About Cravings, Consistency, and Fat Loss

One of the biggest problems people face is a lack of consistency. It’s one thing to be consistent for a few days with eating right and getting to the gym.

But what happens when life gets busy, your routine gets thrown off, or you struggle to fight off food cravings?

Do you succumb to the temptations or do you navigate around them?

In today’s article, I’m going to talk about ways to help you beat the cravings, stay more consistent, and ultimately improve your results overall. 

Everything Starts With Your Mindset

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

To accomplish fat loss or anything in life really, you need to have your own purpose.

Your own ‘why’.

Why do you want to achieve XYZ? What will achieving this goal do for you personally and how will it make you feel?

These are all important questions to consider.

The reason being, if you don’t have a strong why‘ you’re likely going to fail.

Unfortunately, that’s the truth of it.

Your ‘why’ should be something you want so bad that it drives you every single day until you accomplish it.

Find your ‘why’ by asking yourself the questions above. It all starts there.

Consistency≠Perfection

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

A lot of people believe diet perfection is required for fat loss. Luckily for us, it’s not. If it was we’d all be screwed.

Consistency is more about doing enough of the ‘right’ things over a long period of time. The right things being hitting your calorie and protein targets time and time again. The right things don’t necessarily mean eating clean or avoiding certain foods.

It’s about playing the long game and nailing the foundational aspects over time.

So the next time you think you’ve cheated on your diet by having a cookie, don’t stress out. You’ll probably be fine once you learn to have a system in place.

Which leads me to…

Having a System

fat loss pyramid

You can remove most of the diet stress and problems with consistency by having a nutritional system in place. What this means first and foremost is that you understand the basics of nutrition and how each component plays a role in your fat loss success.

You need to know how calories affect your weight, and that to lose weight and body fat you have to eat less than you burn. Whenever I begin with a new online coaching client, I always stress the importance of getting the right amount of calories for their goal.

One of the things we talk about is the aspect of being flexible. Having some flexibility of your diet is a good thing, and will likely help you stay more consistent for longer periods of time.

This means you don’t have to panic if you are going out to dinner.

You don’t have to worry that your diet is ruined because you had a few scoops of ice cream.

And you certainly aren’t doomed if you get tempted easily and have a food you think might be ‘bad’ or off limits.

If you understand the role of calories and how they affect your success, then you’ll take away a lot of the stress associated with diet temptations and the feeling of not being consistent.

Your system is your base or foundation to work from. If you have a solid understanding of the foundation, then you can regulate and adjust for different scenarios.

Food Temptations and Fat Loss

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

I think we all get tempted to eat something from time to time that we may see as fattening, unhealthy or not part of our diet. This is where having your system in place comes in handy because that food you would normally say is off limits might be able to work its way into your diet.

Now, we still have to keep our total calories in mind, but if you’re armed with the knowledge of how many calories you need then you might be able to enjoy some treats every now and then without damaging your progress.

Want to have that cookie later on? Ok, no problem. Make sure you hit your protein total for the day and simply save yourself 300-400 calories to work that into your diet.

Food temptations are ok. It means you’re human. Try to think of your diet as a scale. On one side you have all the foods you think are good, and on the other, you have the ‘bad, unhealthy, tempting delicious treats’. If you simply fill most of your diet with the stuff you think is good while saving a little bit of room for the tasty stuff some of the time, you’ll remove the guilt associated with enjoying those foods.

3 Tips for Better Nutrition Consistency

Whether you struggle daily or weekly to eat consistently for your goals, give these 3 tips below a try to help you improve your diet and make things much simpler.

#1 Always have food prepped

This one is huge. Even if you aren’t a world-class chef, there’s no reason not to have some good food options in your fridge and pantry at all times. This is one of the best tips I can give you especially if you’re someone that struggles a lot with sticking to your diet. Winging things on the go is all well and good, but I’d leave that to people who have experience dieting and such. I don’t think it’s the best option if you’re new to dieting, or if you struggle to be consistent. Having some of your favorite proteins, veggies, and carbs cooked and on hand can make things a lot easier.

#2 Understand Nutrition Labels and Macros

If you understand the basic gist of macronutrients and how to read nutrition labels, you’ll be just fine. Rather than looking at foods as good vs. bad, look at them as numbers. Food A contains 500 calories per serving while food B contains 150 calories per serving. You must be able to decide which food will get you closer to your goal. I wrote a post on macros HERE, so be sure to check that out.

#3 Make sure your goal is really important to you

This one is huge and probably the most important.

Don’t just pick a goal because other people tell you to. Go for your goal because it’s important to you. The crazier (in a good way) you are about achieving your goal, the more likelihood of success you’ll have. Sure they’ll be ups and downs, but I guarantee you’ll have better success going for something you truly want instead of picking a goal that you’re kinda wishy-washy about.

Putting This Into Action

Remember, diet consistency is something we all struggle with. Even us fit pros. If you establish good habits and understand the system, you’ll have much more freedom with your diet.

So before you call it quits because you think you deviated from your meal plan, keep in mind that nutrition works as a whole and a single meal or food won’t sabotage your progress.

Before I go I’d like to give you an action tip. For the next week, yes, all 7 days, I want you to keep a written food log of everything you eat and drink. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to track your intake and at the end of the week, figure out how close you are to your calorie goals.

This will help you see how many calories you’re actually consuming and then from there, you can decide if you need to cut back a little, adjust food sources, or simply be more mindful of your intake.

Do it. It’ll help.

Grab Your Free Guide to Fat Loss Basics

tenc2_copy (2)

The Best Protein Sources to Help You Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Chances are you’ve heard of protein before.

Protein is the powerhouse responsible for helping you build muscle. It’s also super important for preserving lean muscle tissue during fat loss phases.

Protein is pretty awesome and something you definitely don’t want to skimp on.

In today’s article, I’ll briefly explain the role protein plays in our diets as well as the best sources to get your daily dose.

The Role of Protein

Protein is the most important macronutrient without question.

Proteins are comprised of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. When choosing proteins, you should aim to consume complete sources. These sources contain all of the essential amino acids which are why they are the best sources hands down. If you choose incomplete protein sources, you’ll need to combine multiple foods to make a complete protein.

Protein also plays a large role in diet adherence. Protein helps keep you satiated which can be highly beneficial for weight loss and improvements in body composition.

Those looking to maximize muscle gains as well as people aiming for fat loss should be sure to include plenty of protein in their diets.

How Much Do You Need?

Before we get into the best sources of protein, we need to figure out how much protein we should be consuming.

Individual preferences and needs may vary, but some starting guidelines will be helpful.

In general, leaner individuals need a bit more protein because they carry a greater amount of lean tissue (muscle) and less body fat.

Those with higher body fat percentages would do just fine consuming a bit less protein than what’s required for leaner individuals.

 Despite these variances, a great place to start is around 0.8-1.0 grams per lb of body weight. Please note this is based on your body weight and not your lean tissue mass. Most people won’t have access to tests that will determine lean tissue mass, so it’s a good bet to use total body weight to set your protein intake.

Contrary to common belief, more than adequate levels of protein are not infinitely better than normal levels. This means you can save your cash on eating double the amount of protein. Around 0.8-1g/lb is plenty.

Simply take your bodyweight and multiply by 0.8-1.0 to get your daily figure. If you’re a 200lb male you would consume 160-200 grams of protein daily. If you’re a 150lb female you would consume 120-150 grams daily.

While it may sound like a lot at first, it’s a lot easier to get adequate protein intake as long as you spread out your total amount through multiple meals per day.

Now, let’s get to the best sources of protein.

Quick note–These protein sources are in no particular order. Many of them are favorites of mine and a few are great options for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Eggs /Egg Whites

breakfast-1615784_960_720

Eggs and egg whites are a top level protein source. Not only are they super affordable, but they pack a big protein punch. One whole egg contains around 6 grams of protein, while 3 tablespoons of egg whites are 5 grams of protein.

For those looking to build muscle, whole eggs are a fantastic option. Not only will you get high-quality protein, you’ll also get added fat which will help you hit your calorie targets.

If you’re on a fat loss diet, egg whites should be a staple.

Scramble them up with veggies and cheese, make savory omelets, or hard boil and eat on-the-go.

Lean Beef

steak-1445122_960_720

Probably my favorite protein source, lean ground beef and various lean cuts of steak are great choices to fulfill your protein needs.

Choose lean ground beef that’s 90/10 or higher and cuts of beef such as London broil, top round, flank steak, and filet.

Although I do love a nice juicy rib eye steak, they contain loads more fat and calories. Not every cut of beef is identical in nutritional value so it’s a good idea to choose the leaner cuts.

Chicken and Turkey

food-1130949_960_720

Ah, yes. The old bodybuilding staple.

There’s a reason chicken and turkey have been bodybuilding staples for decades. They pack a mean protein punch, are low in fat, and can be cooked many different ways.

They’re also relatively cheap per serving of protein. A 4oz piece of chicken breast brings in around 25g of protein.

Yogurt, Milk, Cottage Cheese

dairy-1489124_960_720

Dairy products are fantastic options for easy protein intake. Milk, greek yogurt, reduced fat or fat-free cheese, and cottage cheese are great additions to a balanced diet.

One of my favorites is Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt with some blueberries and Truvia mixed in. You can also grab milk or greek yogurts on the go for a high-protein portable snack.

Unless you’re lactose intolerant, don’t fear dairy one bit. It can be an easy way to get more protein into your diet. 

Whey/Casein Protein Powder

1986876_set

Protein powder is a staple in my diet. Although it’s not 100% required, I enjoy the convenience it provides as well as allowing me to make a delicious ‘pudding’ before bed every night.

Whey protein is a fast digesting protein that is best used before, during, or after a workout. Casein protein, on the other hand, is best saved for periods of time where you won’t be eating, such as overnight.

I love making casein pudding before bed every night to provide me with a sustained release of amino acids for growth and recovery while I sleep. Here’s my recipe:

-25g casein protein powder (My favorite is Dymatize Chocolate)

-1-2 tablespoons Teddie’s Natural Peanut Butter

-Just enough water to get desired consistency

Mix that all together and throw in the freezer for about 10 minutes. It’s a nice treat before bed and can help you crush any sweet cravings you may have.

Fish/Seafood

seafood-1178989_960_720

Tuna, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, crab, lobster.

All of those are fantastic options in the fish/seafood department. They’re all very high in protein and lean as well. 

Consider making a shrimp scampi, or some broiled tilapia with a homemade lemon sauce to change up your protein options.

Tofu

food-908917_960_720

Tofu can be a fantastic protein option for those following vegan or vegetarian diets. Made from soybeans, tofu is a complete protein source that should be a staple in any vegan/vegetarian diet.

Try fermented tofu if you decide to go meat-free.

Boost Your Protein Challenge

Over the next week or so, I want to issue you a challenge.

Can you get in at least one palm-size serving of protein at every meal? For larger males, this might need to be two palm-sized servings.

Do your best to add more protein to your diet and quickly notice the benefits to your training and physique as well.

Plus, who doesn’t want more protein?

Burn Fat and Build Muscle (Free Diet Manual)

tenc2_copy (2)

The 2 Most Effective Fat Loss Tools You’ve Been Told to Avoid

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

I consumed artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods regularly during my last two diet phases.

And I wound up losing 25lbs.

How can this be? Mainstream fitness advice tells us these things are terrible for us. Strong advocates of natural and clean eating demonize them.

In today’s article, I’m going to show you how these two atypical foods can actually be very powerful tools to help you get better fat loss results.

Let’s start with some Context

Your diet as a whole should include a wide variety of foods in order to get a good balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, as well as important micronutrients.

When fat loss is the goal, you simply need to consume fewer calories than you burn on a consistent basis. Sounds simple, right?

Well, for some people, eating less is quite challenging. Cutting calories can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re only eating whole food sources.

Imagine your perfectly delicious, salted, baked potato has the butter removed. You’re now left with a dry potato to choke down. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?

While I’m not advocating you guzzle down 26 diet cokes a day, there is nothing wrong with using artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods as tools during a fat loss diet.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diet-Coke-Can.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diet-Coke-Can.jpg

(I love me a nice cold DC)

Calories are the name of the game when it comes to losing body fat so it only makes sense to use these to our advantage.

Artificial Sweeteners

If you’re a Paleo follower, or someone who only eats natural and organic, what I’m about to say might surprise you.

Artificial sweeteners are perfectly fine to use in your diet and have been found to cause no adverse effects to your bodyweight as once believed.

Not only are they ok to use, I strongly suggest using them at various times to help you cut calories. Sure, having the real deal is tasty, but so isn’t losing fat and hitting your goals.

Instead of loading up your morning coffee with regular sugar (not necessarily bad but has a good amount of calories), opt for some Truvia, Splenda, or other sweetener of your choice. This may save you several hundred calories per day, which by the end of the week will greatly contribute to your overall calorie deficit. HERE is a great article from two trusted medical doctors on the topic of artificial sweeteners and weight loss.

www.flickr.com

www.flickr.com

Some of my favorite products with artificial sweeteners include diet coke, sugar-free maple syrup, Truvia, Mio flavoring and Powerade zero’s. This is just a brief list of my favorites but there are plenty of products to achieve the desired effect: to make things taste pretty good without the added calories.

Because remember, when dieting, every calorie matters. I don’t know about you, but personally, I’d rather be able to eat more food. If that means using some artificial sweeteners throughout the day to help save me some calories then I’m all for it.

My advice to you?

Feel free to use artificial sweeteners as part of a healthy diet. They can help you cut calories and lose more weight when you replace them for regular sugar-laden foods.

Fat-Free Doesn’t Suck

I once thought fat-free foods were terrible for me. Even though they contained zero fat, I somehow believed they were worse than eating full-fat foods.

How could a food with fewer calories be worse for weight loss than foods with several hundred more calories?

It can’t.

Now, not all fat-free foods are created equally. Many times when the fat is removed, other ingredients go in to make the food taste good. Oftentimes it’s sugar or carbs which replace the fat. You definitely want to check the nutrition labels because some fat-free foods may contain more calories than the regular version. It’s up to you to identify which ones will help you cut calories and which ones are simply tricking you into believing you’re being ‘healthier.’

One of my favorite fat-free foods and something I used throughout my diet was fat-free cheese. Along with shredded cheese, these bad boys below go nicely over eggs and veggies as well:

www.flickr.com

www.flickr.com

An excellent source of protein for such a small amount, a serving of shredded fat-free cheese comes in with around 9g of protein and only 45 calories. It contains trace carbs and zero fat. This was my go-to when making breakfast scrambles, omelets, or looking for some additional flavor on potatoes and rice.

Another swap I made was using butter spray, something I used to despise, in place of real butter. This helped save me tons of calories which I could use to get more food in during my diet. It’s important to realize how these foods can be of benefit during a diet.

You aren’t only eating these foods, but rather using them as tools to cut calories, stick to your diet, and burn more fat.

That’s the whole idea of a diet phase, right?

Tools of the Trade

Dieting isn’t easy, but it can be made a bit less stressful.

Sure you could avoid artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods.

But why would you if they can help you effectively lose weight?

There’s simply too much fear mongering going on these days. Foods are placed off-limits. People are being told they’ll get deathly ill if they consume a diet soda. 

It’s pretty crazy to think about, actually.

The fact of the matter is this: artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods are phenomenal tools for controlling calorie intake. Better yet, as part of a well-rounded diet, they’re perfectly healthy to use.

Stop being afraid of these things and use them to your advantage.

Burn Fat. Build Muscle.   Boost Strength.

tenc2_copy (2)