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Fitness

Low Calorie Diets The Way To Go?

I’ve been reading/hearing more and more about people wanting to lose weight by eating less. And when I mean less, I mean less than 1000 calories/day. Let’s examine this and if low-calorie intake is effective.

First, every person has a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) that tells you how many calories you need in a day for your body just to function. These calories go to your organs so they can do their daily tasks. I have never seen a BMR lower than 1000. In my profession, we do many health screenings and check people’s Body Mass Index (BMI) with instruments that can break down how much of your body is fat, water based weight, and bone mass; all components on your weight. The instruments will then calculate how many calories your body needs to do the essential tasks (BMR). Even in the heaviest person I ever encountered in these screenings, his BMR was 1500. Even with his weight, he still needed 1500 calories per day just so his brain, liver, heart, kidneys, GI tract, etc. could do their jobs.

The question then arises, “If I take in less than my BMR, my body will have to use it’s stored energy to make up the difference, right?” Yes and no. Your body will use it’s stored energy, but when you take in less than what your BMR calls for, you are in a fasting state. (Read my post about what happens to your body when you exercise in a fasting state: Exercise Before Breakfast: Beneficial?) Your body doesn’t just use fat as energy. It uses sugars (glucose/glycogen) and proteins (amino acids) stored elsewhere in your body, specifically your muscles. Big deal… Well it is, since your muscles are the best at burning fat. Most organs cannot use fat as energy until it’s broken down into another form, which takes longer to produce it into useful energy. But the glycogen and amino acids are used fairly quickly, so they will get used first.

 

Ok enough with the science, what does this all mean? When you eat less that what your BMR calls for, your body will eat away at the things it needs most to lose the fat (adipose tissue). You will see results on the scale, but then when you get down to that target weight, and start eating more calories again, you’ll gain it right back. Sounds like yo-yo effect to me.

 

There is a solution!! Eating the correct amount of calories, from healthy, nutrient rich sources, for your goals (because you may have to eat MORE to reach your goals) and burning them off through exercise. Only then will your muscles adapt, and continue to burn fat efficiently so you can see the results you want, fat loss. No magic pill, diet drink, or magic potion from the 1950s will do it. You must eat healthier and do the work.

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Muscle Milk vs Shakeology

I tried my first carton of Muscle Milk today after my workout. It tastes better than I expected but it was not exactly delicious either. After I drank it, I was logging it in my food diary on myfitnesspal.com and noticed how many fat calories there were. I was not shocked about it, but they 70 calories from fat were much higher than I expected. So I compared it to the whey protein I use, and the numbers were similar, except for my whey powder has lower fat content, & potassium, but double the protein.

Then I thought, how does Muscle Milk compare to my daily nutritional supplement, Shakeology? So I put the labels side-by-side and found the following: Shakeology when mixed with water (like the Muscle Milk was) has 120 fewer calories, 1/7th of the fat calories, 1/3rd of the sodium, almost half the carbs, more dietary fiber, and only 1 gram of protein less than this other nutrition shake!

Not only that, Shakeology has healthier ingredients and much much more of your daily values of vitamins and minerals.

The only other difference I could find was in your wallet. The Muscle Milk pre-made cartons are around $2 apiece. Shakeology comes in a 30 day supply, and depending on how you order it, costs $3 or $4 per shake.

Sure, you look at the price and think, “I’ll go for the cheaper version.” But in order to get the same nutrition that you get from Shakeology out of Muscle Milk, you have to drink 2-3 of them! Doesn’t sound like it’s any cheaper to me.

Shakeology: The Healthiest Meal of My Day, and a much better option for post workout shake when compared to Muscle Milk.

And did I mention Shakeology tastes much better?!

See what doctors think about Shakeology: Can 100 Doctors be Wrong?

Interested in buying Shakeology? Get it here!


Exercise Before Breakfast: Beneficial?

Recently, I was asked a question about what the body uses for energy in an early morning workout, before breakfast, fat or muscle protein. Oddly enough, I still had my old Anatomy & Phsyiology book from undergrad and I felt that instead of answering by reasoning all of my knowledge, I should refer back to that book to find the correct answer.

The scenario: It’s 4:00, 5:00 , 6:00am, you just woke up and you are going to exercise on an empty stomach, having had your last meal the night before, we’ll say 9 hours ago. What is your body going to use for energy in this fasting state to power those muscles and get your routine done?

It’s the body’s job to maintain an constant level of blood glucose (sugar) because your nervous system can only run off glucose and ketone bodies for energy. When you eat, the majority of the glucose comes from your GI tract as the food is digested. But in a fasting state, where you haven’t eaten in over 4 hours, the body has to get its energy from storage. That can be fat tissue, within the muscles, or the liver. Your muscles prefer to use glucose as well, but since the nervous system needs it, that energy has to come from something else.

So what does your body use in this fasting state? The answer is Fat AND Muscle protein. The first reaction that skeletal muscle has is breaking down some of the proteins into amino acids that go into the blood to be broken down by the liver into usable energy. While that is happening, the muscles use fatty acids from adipose tissue (fat stores) first. The last source used is the muscle glyogen stores, which is more stored glucose.

Ok, so now you know what is breaking down, and what is fueling your body. So what? What does this mean for weight loss and body composition?

If you are solely looking to lose weight and drop your body fat percentage, this is a decent way to deplete the fat storage, thereby shrinking the size of the fat cells. And because you have exercised before eating, you body will continue to use these areas for energy until your GI tract is digesting food again, then it will reload those storage places in the muscles and liver before the adipose tissue.

If you are looking to gain size/muscle mass this is not the way to do it. By breaking down muscle protein, you in turn break the entire muscle down. It has to be rebuilt before it can grow. Those that want growth don’t want breakdown, they want breakage, where the muscle has to be repaired in order for hypertrophy to happen. And when you have adequate amount of energy in your blood where you don’t have to break the muscle down, size comes on more quickly.

Be sure to think about what your goals are before you exercise before eating. Make certain that you aren’t hindering your progress instead of enhancing it.


Do You Know Where You Are Going?

I was recently in a bookstore and came across a memoir of Yogi Berra. I figured I’d thumb through it and find his zany quotes that I had forgotten about. It turns out, each chapter was a quote of his, so I read down the table of contents and came across the last chapter, and this quote was there:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there.”
Yogi Berra

Now, as silly as that sounds, it makes a ton of sense. I began to place it in context of my fitness and business. If I don’t know where I’m going, I might not get there. Here’s what I came up with:

Fitness: Do I know where I want to go? Did I set a goal? If you want to have a successful outcome in your fitness, you must know where you want to end up, right? So I began thinking about what I am doing for myself. I am still doing P90X and having much success with it. My goal hasn’t been met completely, but the path I’m on is taking me there. This path I’m on is taking me to my destination. I chose the path of P90X to achieve my fitness destination. So yes I KNOW where I am going.

Business: I applied the quote to my business as an Independent Team Beachbody Coach also. Where do I want to go? What do I want to accomplish? The all important question: How do I get there? I want to achieve so much with my business, but what is going to take me there? Well the amazing thing is, I have help! Team Beachbody gives me so many resources to be successful, all I have to do is cater them to my needs. I follow the Game Plan, by letting people know about this business, and show them they can be successful too. Plus I have an awesome resource in my Team. Team Genesis is one of the most successful teams with Beachbody, and they have helped me through so much already, along with my mentor Kevin Kane. I am still traveling on this path to my destination, but again, I KNOW where I am going.

What I ask is this: Do you know where you are going? You can apply this to every aspect of your life: family, finances, fitness, work, etc. Look for the path that will lead you to where you want to go, and you will get there, every time.

J


Nutrition for Intense Workouts

Football Practice in AUGUST?? Drink your Water!!

Ok, for today’s tip, in honor of Football two-a-days EVERYWHERE (especially since I was taking part in them with my job today in 100+ degree temps) it’s all about nutrition and hydration.

Nutritionally, I have a super example for you. I was having to tend to a couple of athletes going through some signs of heat illness and through my history questions I ask, I find that 2 of them did not eat breakfast, and one of those two hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day! Now, I am sure most of you reading this realize that you must have a certain amount of calories daily for basic body function. For me, before I began exercising regularly, it was 1500 or so. That is just for your body, all the non-voluntary muscles in your cardiovascular system, your digestive system, and every other system that runs smoothly in the background that you are only aware of if there is a problem. All the rest of the calories go to voluntary muscle fuel, just doing day-to-day things like walking from the chair to the kitchen, or doing a workout.

So imagine not having any supplemental energy from food in your body for your activities, and then not have the energy it takes to run your body’s multiple systems… It’s a scary thing. Your body has to draw energy from somewhere. And you would think it would just come straight from storages places like the spare tire people try to get rid of. Alas, it is not true. It will gather some from fat stores, but your body will also break down cells, like muscle cells, for energy. This in turn will cause many problems like electrolyte imbalances, muscle atrophy, hypertension, kidney failure, heart attack… Obviously what no body wants.

Just take the advice I gave today to these athletes. DO NOT EVER skip breakfast when you know you have to do strenuous activity, like football practice. Same goes for those doing workouts like P90X. Plyo, on an empty stomach? You might pass out!

Now the other knucklehead I had to care for was dehydrating. Why? Well again through my history gathering, he had been drinking energy drinks before and nothing but sodas the day before. DIURETICS! (Among other things) They dehydrate more than they rehydrate, unlike some claims from major soda companies. So this is a short tip: DRINK YOUR WATER!!! People survived for thousands and thousands of years on water, I am pretty sure it can keep you around too.

In conclusion, be sure to eat well, and for those of us doing extra activities like football practice, or working out, get some extra calories in you. And DRINK the H2O! You may not be exercising in the 100+ degree temps, but everyone who exercises can benefit from these tips.


Go from Regular 2 Ripped!!

Welcome!

Thank you for your interest in our workout group! Our goal is to create a group that will help keep each other both accountable and motivated to Keep Pushing Play over the next 90 days using the proven system of P90X! Whether it’s your first round or your fifth, we welcome all who are wanting to go from Regular 2 Ripped!

Regular 2 Ripped has had successful groups already this year. In fact that is where I got started with my P90X workout. Thanks to that group, I Kept Pushing Play and got results. I lost 30 pounds, 3 inches off my waist, dropped my body fat percentage 5%, added 1″ to each arm, and 2″ around my chest. Some others have had similar success with our Regular 2 Ripped group from March and April.

We are beginning our 90 day Regular 2 Ripped transformation in August, and that means ANY day in August, not just August 1st. We know that schedules are different for everybody, so if you start on Aug. 2nd, Aug. 12, or Aug. 31st, you can be part of the group. We are running on all cylinders already! Come along for the ride with us!!

So here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Get P90X!
We’re so sure you’ll love this program, we’re giving you our 90-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, simply call Customer Service to return P90X within 90 days for a refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling. But keep the Ab Ripper X routine and the 3-Phase Nutrition Plan as our gift just for trying P90X.

Order here and get TWO FREE WORKOUTS from Tony Horton’s P90X ONE on ONE series!

  • Fountain of Youth – Tony’s favorite yoga moves in less time. Perfect for when you don’t have the time to complete Yoga X.
  • Mammoth UML – Tony’s ultimate Upper-Middle-Lower workout. Great for when you’re on the road.

If you already have it, go to Step 2. If this is your first time to go through P90X, you can get it here.

Step 2: Sign up for your FREE membership at TeamBeachbody.com and fill out your profile..
This is one tremendous resource to helping you get results. It’s not just our group, but a whole online community there to help you achieve your goals. Then there are the nutrition guides, tips from Beachbody Trainers like Tony Horton, and the chance to win money and prizes just for working out. You can also sign up for a Team Beachbody Club Member and get 10% discount on your P90X and all other products. Both memberships are eligible to win money and prizes by working out in the WOWY Gym on Beachbody.com, but the Club membership allows you to use an invaluable resource in the daily meal planner that you can specify to your needs. After you sign up…

Step 3: Get involved with the message board thread.
The thread is where we will post info to help you achieve your goals and ask you to post daily after your workouts to stay accountable, not only to yourself but with the rest of the group. You will find that there are so many others going through it with you, experiencing the same things that you are, and you will be amazed at how much that keeps you wanting to Keep Pushing Play everyday!

That’s it! No more necessary! But if you have questions, please feel free to email me at kineticcoach@beachbody.com

If you want to be in the Regular 2 Ripped group and also save 25% on your P90X order, click here before you go through the steps above to learn about becoming an Independent Team Beachbody Coach!


How to Add Muscle to Your Frame

We all know that getting fit has different definitions for different people. I, myself, wanted to slim down the fat surrounding my midsection while also bulking up muscle, and defining that muscle, in my upper body, because frankly, I wanted to look better with my shirt off. In this post, I will tell you some steps to take to get some mass in your arms, shoulders, chest and back.

There are two essential things that have to get done in order to build muscle mass. One is working the muscle groups that you desire to improve hard enough that they have to change the way they work in order for you to move the resistance (i.e. weights, bands). Now, they will function the same way, but the muscles themselves will have to make more cells (hyperplasia), or change their size (hypertrophy) to accommodate the demands being put on them. Hyperplasia is not a common way to gain strength, but in ill-used muscles, it has happened. The most common strength gains and mass building is through hypertrophy. So, what you must do is work your groups with weights that are hard enough that you can repeat the motion, but you can only do it 6,8,10 times, so your muscles will increase in size. If you are able to do more than 10, then you are working more of an endurance angle with your muscles vs size, and you will become lean and defined.

How to work them? I find it best to work your upper body 2 different days concentrating on 2 different motions. You always want to work the groups that compliment each other on the same day vs groups that work against each other. With that in mind, one day working out your chest, triceps and shoulders, and the other biceps and back. One day is pushing the resistance away from you, while the other pulls it towards you. There are many exercises out there that work each muscle group, and many that work multiple groups. Just remember to combine the exercises that work those groupings above on the right days. For example, I would do a routine that would first isolate the triceps, then the shoulder, then the chest. The reason is the triceps is isolated more freely than the shoulder and chest, which will inadvertently work other muscles by the nature of the exercise. I would even go in that order. Start with a triceps exercise, then shoulder, then chest, back to triceps, then shoulder, etc. Same goes with the biceps and back day. Work the biceps and then the back. There are so many exercises that isolate elbow flexion, but it is very hard to isolate a back exercise to just work one of your back muscles. So you are getting a lot of work on your Bis and Tris, but don’t leave out the variations like hammer curls, reverse curls, or different angles like front and lateral raises, upright rows and bent rows, and regular bench, incline and decline bench.

Now part two, which is probably the most important, of the essential things that must be done for muscle growth is, NUTRITION! If you do not eat properly, you are just moving around and not gaining anything from it. First thing you must do if figure out how many calories per day are necessary for your goals. I made the mistake of just thinking a 2000-2200 cal/day diet would get me there, even if I ate the right things. WRONG! I had to increase to almost 3000-3500 cal/day. With the increase in activity, your body will burn more calories, LONGER, and use up body stores more and they will need to be replenished. Once you have that figured out, then you’ll need to know…

WHAT TO EAT! If you are looking to gain mass, you are going to need lots and lots and lots of PROTEIN. There are various ways of obtaining it, but the best is through LEAN cuts of fish, skinless chicken, beans, and to some extent red meat. The fish has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which will in turn burn the fat off, but there is hardly any fat in fish. Most fat in chicken is in the skin, and beans are naturally high in protein. The red meat gets tricky, because you have to know what part it is coming from, and most red meat purchased in the US is coming from animals raised specifically to be eaten, and they aren’t always the healthiest or leanest cuts of meat. Be more speculative of red meat in your diet. Eating these, along with decreasing your dairy and carbohydrate intake, and increasing your veggies daily, will help with the protein synthesis that is necessary to build muscle.

You will also want to use some protein supplements with your workouts. Whey protein has been found to be more easily absorbed than any other type of protein out there, which is why it is advertised so much as a workout drink. I have always used EAS Myoplex powder that I mix with water right after my workouts are done, but there are many many others out there. You have a 30-60 minute window for this whey protein to get into your system and help with the muscle rebuilding process. That will also decrease any soreness that comes with the workout.

Good luck to you and I hope this helps you achieve your goals.