Understanding Energy Balance

Most people know of calories (also kcal) but do not truly understand how they work. Those that believe calories don’t matter also probably think the Earth is flat. Perhaps there is a disconnect. Let me explain.

It all comes back to thermodynamics which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system. Energy balance is the result of energy being transferred. You have likely heard the phrase “calories in, calories out” or “energy in, energy out.” This is what energy balance is all about: the difference between calories consumed and calories expended through activity. The result is body composition remains the same, being lost, or being gained.

Without getting too in-depth, I’m going to explain the factors that largely effect energy balance because ultimately this is the point people miss due to a lack of knowledge or understanding:

First off, each individual has their own Basal Metabolic Rate/Resting Metabolic Rate (BMR/RMR). These are the calories expended performing normal daily bodily functions such as breathing, circulating blood, and maintaining body temperature. BMR/RMR belong to the the “calories out” segment.

Also belonging to the “out” portion is the Thermic Effect of Activity  (TEA) which is the energy put in to exercise or any other physical activity. There are many variables that effect this segment of “energy out” such as individual BMR/RMR, duration of activity, and intensity of activity.

Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) or Spontaneous Physical Activity (SPA) refers to energy expended during involuntary actions throughout the day like fidgeting, obsessive compulsive behavior, or any other non-exercise tasks that aren’t typical bodily functions. Again, another component of the “energy out” segment of energy balance.

“Energy in” is a little more obvious.  Your body has to breakdown and metabolize the food and beverages we consume which requires energy in varying amounts depending on the type of nutrients we are consuming. This is know as the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) and is basically the energy expending metabolizing nutrients and non-nutrient sources such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and alcohol.

One of the more important things to know about all of these factors and how they effect body composition is that they are never static figures. Due to natural changes in body stores (water, sweat, urine, poop, hormonal factors) from one day to the next as well as many other variables, it becomes much more complicated to track these figures. Again, there is a lot going on with inter-individual caloric expenditure.

I purposely didn’t elaborate on each of the factors effecting energy balance because it’s hard enough to keep the reader’s attention span for this long. However, if someone has specific questions about any of the above, I will answer the question(s) in detail and add to this post. Bring it!

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Two Years of Eating “Too Much Protein”

Being a two-year study subject has its perks. Things like free blood work, free body composition analysis via the Bod Pod & DEXA, and free protein supplements are just a few of those perks! Big thanks to Dr. Jose Antonio, Co-Founder and CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), for giving me an opportunity to take part in his one-year study along with a one year follow-up examining the effects of high-protein diets on subjects with previous strength-training experience.

If you know anything about conducting research then you would know it is VERY hard to find subjects to agree to take part in a study for one full year. It’s even harder to find subjects that will agree to track all of their training to account for adequate volume, log all calories consumed for one year (minimum of 4 days logged per week), show up for lab testing consistently, and get their blood work completed in a timely fashion after lab visits! I guess I am one of the few but I blame it on being meticulous with a slightly obsessive compulsive behavior!

The research team at NOVA Southeastern University in Davie, FL has conducted a series of studies (here, here, and here) investigating high-protein diets on resistance-trained men to put to rest the circulating myth that too much protein has harmful effects on the kidneys. Bodybuilders and common “bros” have known for decades that eating more protein than what is recommended is the key to making and sustaining your gains in the gym.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a measly 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. That amount may be enough for someone who does not regularly participate in vigorous exercise but is far from sufficient for the more active individual or athlete participating in an intense training program. The ISSN position stand on protein intakes, along with more recent data from Helms et al., suggest a range of 1.4 grams to 3.1 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. This range helps to promote recovery, promote training tolerance, and maintain lean tissue during periods of caloric restriction (the lower the calories, the higher the recommended amount of protein).

For the full details of the study design, click the link to the study HERE. Here are the cliff notes of the actual study for the TL;DR crowd:

Methods summarized

  • 14 Resistance-Trained men in a randomized crossover trial assigned to one of two groups: normal protein (minimum of 1.4g-2.0g/kg/d) or high protein (minimum of 3g/kg/d)
  • Baseline measures were taken on the first lab visit then four additional visits spread throughout the year
  • Group assignment was randomized averaging 6 months total on normal protein or high protein
  • Body comp was analyzed via Bod Pod under the same conditions
  • Dietary reports were self-reported a minimum of 3 days per week (I’m aware there is a large margin of error here BUT I am very skilled with My Fitness Pal and measuring/weighing food)
  • Training logs were self-reported
  • Blood lipid and comprehensive metabolic panel were performed fasted on 5 separate occasions after each lab visit

A lot of people (see armchair scientists) had some critiques of their own about the research published from Dr. Antonio’s lab because it had a small sample size of 14 subjects including myself. I also noticed comments stating that a supplement company funded the study because Dymatize is a sponsor of the ISSN and provided protein powder for the study subjects (I was also provided other brands of my choosing). Again, it is extremely pressing for researchers to find subjects that meet the criteria of the study and have them commit a full year of their life to it. Second, Dr. Antonio is the lead author because he is the Associate Professor for the College of Health and Human Performance at NOVA.

My results

Below is a table I put together of my personal results from the one-year study including baseline body composition measurements along with the subsequent lab visits:

High-Protein Study

DatePercentage Body FatFat MassFat-Free Mass
4/25/1517.3%31.3150.2
6/18/1515.2%27.4152.5
8/20/1516.9%30.37149.4
12/11/1516.1%28.37147.9
4/22/1611.9%20.27149.6
Changes in body composition measured via Bod Pod from baseline to finish. Changes will reflect intentional caloric intake modification throughout the study as I was rotated from "normal protein group" to "high-protein group" throughout the year.

Notes worth mentioning

  • My heaviest bodyweight during the study was approx 180 lbs. My lightest was approx 168 lbs. I’m 6’0″ tall with a more athletic build to help you get an idea of what that looks like (sorry no skin pics).
  • I lost 5.4% body fat within one-year with largest loss (4.2%) coming from December 2015 to April 2016. Interestingly, I also gained 1.6 lbs of lean body mass during the same period. Yes, I lost fat and gained muscle. I suspect this is due to a change in training volume.
  • A total of 11 lbs of fat lost over the entire year with only a 0.6 lb loss of lean body mass
  • Overall, I gained 0.64 lbs of lean body mass by the end of the study including gains and losses of lean body mass and fat mass. This is likely due to intentional manipulation of caloric intake during dieting phases and dieting breaks.
  • Other supplements to take into consideration that I used regularly prior to, during, and after the study are a basic multivitamin like Centrum, peri-workouts such as Pre-Jym and/or Post-Jym, Vitamin D3, fish oil, a greens supplement, and HMB-FA (maybe that gave me the gainz like it did in this study although it wasn’t 8kg LOL).
  • My blood work remained impeccable throughout the year. My kidneys didn’t dissolve. Currently, I am involved in a follow-up investigation on high-protein diets with the same researchers which includes Bod Pod & DEXA body comp analysis. My blood work as of May 12, 2017 is still immaculate. This also means I have been involved with this research for two years now.

How did these series of studies come about?

Here is a brief interview I did with Dr. Jose Antonio answering a few questions about the high-protein diet studies:

 

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Scapular Mechanics: Lesson 1

Can we all agree that Facebook Live is kinda weird? On this particular Saturday morning while out of town, consumption of a copious amount of caffeine inspired me to do my first Facebook Live video. The topic was about scapular mechanics during horizontal pulling exercises.

In the group fitness setting, I see A LOT of horrendous rowing form that results in more scapular elevation (upward shrugging) than  scapular protraction (reaching phase) and retraction (pulling back phase). As described to me by one of my strength & conditioning mentors, Eric Cressey, you want to visualize the scapula “sliding across the rib cage” as you reach forward or outward then pulling back and “tucking it in” on the backside of the ribs. This allows the scapula to move freely, thus keeping congruency with the ball and socket portion between the head of the humerus and the glenoid cavity of the scapula.

Often times, I see clients keeping their scapula “locked down” where only the arm is moving. This is ineffective in keeping the shoulder joint healthy in the long-term because it creates more of a lat-dominant rowing pattern. If that person is already lat-dominant, then you risk causing muscular asymetries. Check out the Facebook Live video I did that briefly covers this topic!

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Trainer Pro Tip: TRX Y-Raise

As a trainer, you gotta stay on top of continuing your education! I’ve followed Cressey Sports Performance for the past 4 or 5 years learning a lot from their practices with their athletes. One exercise in particular is the Y-Raise with the TRX straps to help improve function of the shoulder girdle. I use this exercise often with both private clients and members at Orange Theory Fitness.

One of the target muscles of the Y-raise is the lower trapezius which helps to control movement of the scapula on the rib cage and scapular position. A lot of people with poor shoulder mobility, like myself, lack proper scapular upward rotation (think of a counter-clockwise rotation of the shoulder blade).

The line of pull from the arm to the lower trapezius is about 135 degrees which means your arm is not too wide nor too narrow when going into that overhead position making that “Y” shape. The TRX Y-raise serves as an excellent horizontal pulling exercise to strengthen the lower trapezius, muscles of the rotator cuff, and shoulder area.

In the video below, I offer some tips on how to successfully execute this exercise. The TRX Y-Raise will be easier by walking toward the wall or will be harder by stepping further away from the wall. I recommend 2 or 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

 

 

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Locating Integrity in the Fitness & Nutrition Industry

In a multi-billion dollar industry with growth on the rise year after year, it seems like everyone wants to get in on all of the potential profits to be made even if it is at the expense of others. From know-it-all trainers that are getting clients injured due to negligence to self-proclaimed nutrition experts selling you supplements that don’t work and may actually be doing more harm to you than good.

There is a lack of integrity in this industry that gives credible professionals a bad name. Here are some signs you should be aware of when dealing with these individuals…

On the Fitness Side…

All too often I hear of horror stories that others have had going to unqualified trainers and coaches. A lot of times these stories involve injuries, unpleasant experiences, and a lack of personal touch to the training experience. People buy trainers, not training. They are in it for the results AND the experience.

When trainers and coaches neglect fundamental concepts such as exercise frequency, volume, intensity, and duration of exercise then it leaves the client exposed to an increased probability of exercise-related injury (1). For example, you’re likely thinking about CrossFit. Truth is that there a lot of GREAT CrossFit coaches that have done their due diligence in studying the fundamentals of exercise prescription and biomechanics. Clients can get injured by negligent trainers anywhere, any time.

As a client, how do you know the person(s) you’re about to hire is well-qualified? I would suggest interviewing that trainer on their education, credentials, years of experience, and what he/she does to continue their education in the field (This is actually funny because I can count on one hand how many people have asked me about my credentials and education since I started training in 2011). Previous client testimonies can sometimes serve as a professional reference on a résumé with proof of the trainer’s work…provided that they are real.

As a trainer, ALWAYS COVER YOUR ASS! Most personal training certifying organizations offer discounts to Professional (malpractice) and General Liability coverage (simple mistakes). Get Insured! Unless you have millions of dollars laying around, get coverage!

It definitely helps if the trainer has a website, has established a social media presence, offers online training, and has YouTube videos (I’m a shill! What can I say?) Long story short, know what you’re getting in to and do your research!

On the Nutrition Side…

This area gets tricky since supplements come in various forms of bullshit. For a long time, there wasn’t much quality information available on the internet unless you went to PubMed or some other peer-review, research-based website and then extrapolated your own conclusions from the studies. Unless you are involved in academia, then that is VERY unlikely.

Some of the most basic and cheapest supplements are the best ones! But supplements like Vitamin D3, fish oil, creatine, whey protein, and multivitamins aren’t sexy. People want the latest and greatest, celebrity endorsed, and overly-hyped supplement.

You’ve got people believing that putting butter in coffee is the greatest thing since sliced bread, that “fat-burners” actually work (Hint: most don’t), and doctors with no formal education in sports nutrition and supplements recommending “miracle cures” such as garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketones. For the record, neither of which are an effective supplement for weight loss in humans according to Examine.com. Hopefully, you’re not someone that bought into the hype. If so, then I can only leave you with THIS.

The best thing you can do is to fully research each individual ingredient on EVERY supplement you plan to purchase to create a full awareness of what it is you’re buying and putting into your body. One important aspect people tend not to take into account is the possible dangerous interactions with prescription drugs you may already be taking. In order for some supplements to work they need to be taken in efficacious dosages, not small amounts in undisclosed proprietary blends. The consumer and said nutrition expert needs to know what is proven to work and what isn’t along with possible precautions.

Supplements aside, be cautious of unqualified professionals that give nutrition advice that is outside of their scope of practice. There are 17 states that are very restrictive on nutritional counseling. For example, even though I am a Certified Sports Nutritionist through the International Society of Sports nutrition (ISSN), I cannot give individualized nutrition counseling without a state license or exemption (this is where Registered/Licensed Dietitians come in). The rules and regulations vary by state so check out http://nutritionadvocacy.org/ to see what is legal and illegal where you practice.

Individual faults aside, large supplement companies also lack integrity as many have inaccurate label claims such as the case with protein spiking. It’s not that the industry is unregulated because Congress, the FDA, FTC, and NAD all oversee the market. It is just insufficiently enforced. Quality control is the main issue in the supplement industry (2).

Conclusion

Not everyone is out to do the right thing so just be aware, do your research, and stay abreast on current topics in health, nutrition, and fitness. Trainers and nutrition experts need to do their part to give our industry a better name. If you don’t have the answers it is completely okay to admit that. I do it all the time. The journey is a learning process so learn along the way and maintain integrity. Doing so will keep you winning in the long-term.

 

 

 

 

References

  1. Bibi, Khalid W., and Michael G. Niederpruem. “Chapter 7: Safety, Injury Prevention, and Emergency Care.” ACSM’s Certification Review. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. 142-43. Print.
  2. Collins, Rick, JD. “Nutrition Law Every Fitness Professional Should Know.” The 12th Annual ISSN Conference. Austin Texas, Austin. 3 Apr. 2016. Lecture.
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7 Things Women Should Know About Strength-Training

The following is from an interview I did for a FemaleBB.com.

How is strength training good for women specifically?

Prevention of osteoporosis would be a great reason women should strength train. Research indicates that long-term weight training can help maintain and even form new bone. Those that already do suffer from osteoporosis could still make improvements in balance and coordination, thus preventing the chance of falling. Also, if a woman wants to get leaner by dropping body fat, she has to move loads that are challenging. Not only will strength training provide a more healthy metabolism because it helps to increase and maintain lean tissue, but it will also burn more calories post-workout when compared to lower intensity activities.

What are the main differences between strength training and other kinds of weight training?

Dr. Brad Schoenfeld’s research on muscle hypertrophy (growth) suggests that three types of stimulus are necessary for optimal progress in your resistance training efforts: muscle damage, metabolic stress and mechanical tension. Not only do you need lighter loads and higher reps but also heavier loads with lower reps to increase overall strength and joint structural integrity which may prevent injury in the long run. Constantly using the same weights and loads will prevent progression and may even regress your efforts of obtaining that lean, defined physique you desire due to adaptation.

What are the main supplements should women take while they are strength training?

Above all else, nutrition should be dialed in by observing the diet as a whole and not one meal or item in isolation. Adequate protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake must be prioritized first. If your goal is getting stronger, creatine monohydrate would be at the top of my list. It has been proven in both long-term and short-term research to be safe and effective for both men and women with no negative side-effects and also has benefits outside of athletic performance.

What advice can you give women who want to start strength training without injuring themselves, but while still pushing their limits?

Most women are unaware of what exercises to do and how to do them which is why I highly encourage they take on the help of a certified professional to show them the ropes of proper strength training and how to progress each exercise safely. A qualified trainer can help to push you while also helping to find levels of strength you never knew were possible. It’s all about proper progression and doing the best of YOUR OWN ability.

What advice can you give women who want to increase their strength without increasing their size? Is this even possible?

Yes, very possible. Just lift and monitor caloric intake according to your goal. Women have much lower testosterone levels than men which makes it very hard for them to pack on as much size. The rate of muscle growth per year a woman can naturally achieve declines over the span of several years. Also, take into account that while you’re making lean gains, you’re also losing body fat in the process. I wouldn’t worry about gaining a ton of muscle unless you are supplementing with some sort of anabolic steroid or hormonal manipulation.

What are the best exercises and/or training styles for increasing overall strength for women?

To keep it brief, implementing multi-joint lifts such as barbell squats, deadlifts, shoulder press variations, pull-up or rowing variations, and horizontal pressing variations (push ups and bench press) using varying loads and intensities in a periodized fashion will yield the best overall results for continued progress. Most women are afraid or lack the formal education to perform the compound lifts that make up the basis of a strength training program. Embrace them and you will achieve lean gains.

What are 3 of the most common mistakes women make when strength training and how can they be avoided?

In my opinion, the three most common mistakes that are made if you have some formal training is not learning how to use periodization, not having proper form or going full range of motion, and not using variety in your training sessions. People often get stuck doing the same things over and over because it may have worked for a while then they stop seeing progress. Again, using varying loads and intensities, performing the exercise through a full range of motion, and incorporating different assistance exercises can sometimes make all the difference.

Any other information you feel might be pertinent?

Lift heavy, lift often, and you will obtain YOUR ideal physique!

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Recent Gems Worth Reading or Watching

Whoa, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here on the main site. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or “the Gram” then you know I’ve still been actively posting there. Stay woke on those social media outlets because you might miss something useful!

On to the good stuff…I constantly stay abreast with the current research due to my Master’s Degree obligations (almost done!) which means I’m reading constantly or watching educational videos. Some of which may interest you and they are from sources I highly respect or consider to be credible. Check them out below:

 

Training-Related

  1. Clinical Relevance of Foam Rolling on Hip Extension Angle in a Functional Lunge Position

  2. Plateau-Busting Strategies to Start Seeing Results at the Gym

  3. Why I Dislike the American Kettlebell Swing by Tony Gentilcore, CSCS
  4. The Art of Being Flexible with Your Training Part 1
    The Art of Being Flexible with Your Training Part 2: Including REF into Your Programming by Chris and Eric Martinez, CSCS, CISSN
  5. Autoregulation Training Talk with Eric Helms – Interview by Chris and Eric Martinez, CSCS, CISSN

Nutrition-Related (mostly)

  1. The Clean Eating Delusion by Steven Novella
  2. Nutrition for Women: Optimizing Fat Loss and Body Composition Goals by Dawn Weatherwax, RD, CSSD, ATC, CSCS (VIDEO)
  3. Grocery Shopping Basics | Transformed via Bodybuilding.com (VIDEO)
  4. 32 Longstanding Health Myths That Need to Go Away (scroll through tips 22 to 25) Interview with Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS
  5.  Meal Plans VS IIFYM: What Is the Superior Method?

  6. Can You Gain Weight In A Calorie Deficit? by Lawrence Judd and Eric Helms

Dig in, enjoy, and make sure to pass these awesome articles along! Have a great weekend!

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Choosing HEALTHIER Options At The Fast-food Drive-Through

While I’m definitely an advocate of being prepared in all situations, it is not always possible when you are on-the-go. Meal prep can be very important to keeping individuals on point with their nutrition plan especially if you have a very busy lifestyle.

I personally failed to do so this time around. However, when you keep some flexibility in your diet and know how to track your food intake, you can wing-it sometimes and still be successful.

The purpose of this video is not to talk about food quality, fast-food vs what you may or may not have meal prepped, but to focus on what to do in a situation where you have no food. I’m also not here to discuss your personal beliefs on food from McDonald’s or GMO’s because in reality, it doesn’t matter much.

Hopefully this video will inspire you to make BETTER decisions at the drive-through if you ever get stuck in a similar situation.

 

 

 

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Gains For Everyone

It’s safe to say I’ve reached a pinnacle in my career where my friends and clients confide in my knowledge of fitness and nutrition because they will regularly tag me on Facebook and Instagram about the latest supplement, diet, or fitness-related product. People also send me Snapchats of their meals to validate to me that they eat healthy while using the hashtag #gains or #gainz.

They know I’m about that life. Some even say that’s all I talk about…there is some truth to that. It’s funny considering I’m not the most jacked guy in the gym, though I’m fairly strong for my bodyweight. So yeah I talk about gains, I read about gains, I eat for gains, and daydream about gains…of all kinds.

So allow to me clarify what gains are because they can be had by all.

Muscular Gains

This one is likely the most obvious because, well, gains bro. But in all seriousness, this aspect of achieving gains in the scientific community is known as muscular hypertrophy which can be defined as the muscular enlargement resulting from training, primarily owing to an increase in the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the existing fibers (1). Gains in muscular size can typically be achieved when using repetition range between 65% and 85% of your 1-repetition maximum (RM).

This is what a lot of guys and girls are after when it comes to resistance-training. Somewhere along the way, you were inspired to lift weights because maybe you saw fitness models in magazines, your older brother doing it, thought it would improve your love/social life, or maybe the most athletically talented kid in school. You made the decision that you wanted gains in your muscular definition right then and there. The seed was planted and the rest is history.

So that’s gains in a nutshell. When you see it hash-tagged on the internetz or your friends talking about it, that’s likely what it is.

Lean Gains

Achieving lean gains is likely the hardest for most to carry out because it arguably involves more discipline as your diet becomes the biggest factor here. Although this term was coined by Martin Berkhan, lean gains is more specific as it generally refers to those wanting to maintain their lean body mass (muscle) but drop some body fat. By making steady decreases in your body fat percentage, this is known as lean gains because you’re increasing your level of leanness.

If you’ve read some of my previous articles on dieting, then you know what it takes to get leaner. Sure, you can start by exercising more and may have luck dropping a few pounds at first but your weight loss efforts need to be strategic. I’ve laid out everything you need to know to get started in 5 Reasons You’re Not Lean(er). That should set you on the right path for lean gains.

Another plus to making lean gains is when you’re  successfully losing weight while also making gains in strength AND muscular size. Yes, losing body fat and gaining muscle is entirely possible in certain populations given specific circumstances. Beginner trainees, overweight individuals with limited training experience, and those coming back from an extended layoff would fit into this category of making lean gains. Those that have trained for a while are less likely to experience this type of effect from training and dieting.

Strength Gains

By now you’re likely seeing a trend with these.

Acquiring strength gains requires you to lift heavier loads that only allow 6 reps or less. Strength can be defined as the ability to exert force at any given speed (2). Gains in strength are largely due to neural adaptations because the body learns how to generate more force from muscle fiber recruitment, rate coding frequency of nerve impulses, and synchronization motor units (3).

In order to gain strength, you need to move heavy loads that equate to >85% of your 1-repetition maximum. Strength gains are those you’ve made in an effort to become stronger. Maybe you deadlifted or squatted 5 to 10 lbs heavier than you did the week before. That’s always a great feeling of accomplishment! Obviously you’ve done something right to become stronger with your training and/or nutrition to make these kinds of gains in strength.

Gains Are for Everyone

Long story short, don’t hate on the gains someone is making. Embrace them and congratulate that individual’s effort and willingness to strive towards a better version of themselves. In the end, it’s all bout goal-setting and smashing those goals so you can move on to the next. Push your limits and find out how far you can take it in an effort to make your own individual gains.

Nobody likes taking a loss. If you’re not gaining, you’re losing. If you’re not getting gains, you should probably try hiring a professional : )

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. National Strength and Conditioning Association; Thomas R. EdD Baechle; CSCS (2011-05-01). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Kindle Locations 3452-3453). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.
2. National Strength and Conditioning Association; Thomas R. EdD Baechle; CSCS (2011-05-01). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Kindle Location 2730). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.
3. Schoenfeld, Brad (2012-09-19). The MAX Muscle Plan (Kindle Locations 1800-1801). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.

 

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Getting Lean(er) Starts in the Kitchen

You’ve been on the right path for a while now especially if you’ve read my article 5 Reasons You’re Not Lean(er).The only thing missing now is putting it all into action. Besides, how do you finish the job without the right tools? Never go into battle without being prepared!

If you’re on the path to getting your diet dialed-in, you’re going to need to start with what’s in the kitchen or find out what’s missing. Here’s my comprehensive list of kitchen necessities to make you successful when it comes down to your nutrition.

The Hardware

You’re an adult so act accordingly, Count Chocula, Peter Pan. This includes your kitchen wares. A self-respecting adult should own MOST if not all of the following:

– Entry-level pots and pans
– Quality set of knives
– Baking sheets/pans
– Casserole Dishes
– Measuring cups and spoons
– Stainless steel bowls
– Digital scale for weighing foods accurately (grams and ounces FTW)
– Various kitchen tools such as spoons, rubber/silicon spatulas, tongs, etc.
– Blender
– Tupperware of varying sizes and shapes
– Cooler to pack your Tupperware
– Ice Packs for the cooler
– Cutting boards (one for meats, poultry, and veggies)
– At least 2 shaker bottles for protein shakes
– Wok
– Food Processor
– Graters
– Tea Kettle
– Indoor grill

All of this stuff can be ordered on Amazon or picked up locally. If you already have the last five items then bravo (fancy pants)! These are considered the essentials to a complete kitchen since most people already have a toaster and microwave at a minimum.

The Pantry

Now we’re going to start talking about food items that can be kept at room temperature that will benefit you from a nutritional standpoint.Your pantry may be the place where you keep snacks or anything else that is quick to prepare. Here are some healthy ideas to get you started:

– Almonds, Walnuts, or other mixed nuts
– Natural Nut butters (avoid hydrogenated oils when possible)
– Oatmeal and/or Oats
– Canned or bagged beans
– Whole-Grain, veggie, or bean based pastas (such as Barilla Plus)
– Canned tuna, salmon, or sardines (gross but good source of Omega-3s)
– Canned veggies
– White potatoes and Sweet potatoes
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Coconut oil
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Quinoa
Protein Powders
Fish oils

The Fridge & Freezer

This is the star of the show in terms of what ends up on your plate for the most part (provided you’re dining at home). This may make up the majority of your grocery list particularly if you buy these items in bulk from a Costco or Sam’s. Consider this your healthy food cheat sheet:

– Lean beef such as filets, sirloins, and extra lean ground beef
– Lean meats such as poultry breasts, tenderloins, and thighs
– Salmon, trout, and tuna
– Liquid egg whites and/or egg substitute
– Whole eggs
– Various Cheeses (cottage, sliced, shredded)
– A variety of fruits of different colors
– A variety of veggies of different colors

Again, these are all ideas for those of you that need a little guidance on eating a more balanced and healthy diet. Keep your diet flexible by making room for treats every now and then as long as you stick to an actual portion size. Adherence wins the race in the long run.

From this list the possibilities are endless. You can get creative with a lot of these ingredients and make a healthy dish. One example would be a lean ground turkey meatloaf using ingredients such as chopped zucchini, peppers, whole eggs, and spices. Another idea is to make an omelette with your favorite veggies in it. Maybe you want to make a fruit and protein powder smoothie. Again, the options are limitless and just takes a little creativity on your end.

 

Posted in Fat Loss, Fitness, Flexible Dieting, Health, Macros, Nutrition, Supplements | Leave a comment
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