Posts Tagged diet
I was sent some interview questions by a publisher that was interested in having me featured in a book they are making. Or so they said 🙂 Anyways, I thought that I would share my answers since the questions are pretty common:
Is it true that some exercises produce results faster than others? Is so, which exercises provide the best and worst “returns on investment”? Yes. This usually depends on what the person’s goals are. For example, a lot of “core” or stability exercises are great for overall strength and can help a person avoid back problems. Some people though, will do these exercises to develop their rectus abdominus (six pack muscles), when in fact they would probably be better off doing simple crunches and laying off the potato chips! One of the biggest mistakes I see most people make in exercise selection is actually during cardio. People spend so much time on the treadmill and elliptical just wishing their body fat away, when they could be burning far more calories and fat by adding resistance training or higher intensity, shorter duration cardio. My advice would be to at least talk to a professional about your goals and what you are currently doing to achieve them. Again, the problem isn’t the exercise; it’s WHY you are doing the exercise!
How should someone determine how many grams of protein and carbs they should be eating each day? There are many factors that need to be considered here. Age, sex, body type, lifestyle, goal… There are too many cookie-cutter approaches to diet and exercise nowadays. These diets aren’t necessarily bad, but two people’s bodies can react different to the same stimulus. Here is some diet advice that my clients have found helpful. Regardless of the diet plan that you are following, or how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you are eating, there are two things that you MUST do to be successful.
1.) Log your food. You’ve heard it before, but it is crucial. People that write down what they eat are always more successful at body composition goals than people who don’t. It is even easier now with all of the calorie counting apps that people can use on their smart phones, so there are no excuses.
2.) STAY CONSISTENT! If you are all over the place with your diet and it is not working for you, what do you change? You won’t even know where to start! If you have been consistent and have been logging you food, it is very easy to look and what you are doing, change one thing, and see how your body reacts. Remember, people are different, so their diets shouldn’t all be exactly the same.
Is it a good idea for someone to workout if they have a cold? If they don’t have a hard time breathing, I say go for it. I would lay off of the cardio though, and wouldn’t recommend pushing it too hard in the gym. Also, if you have a fever or are contagious, stay out of the gym!!!
Is it better to perform cardio before or after lifting weights or should cardio be done on a completely different day? Go do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of resistance training after. Then, on another day, do the exact opposite. You will probably notice that you had more energy on the latter day. Both cardio and resistance training cause your body to burn through sugar that you have stored in your body. The difference is that your body NEEDS that sugar for resistance training. The sugar (glycogen) improves your strength, and because your brain is sensitive to blood sugar, it helps you to focus (which is important when you are holding a dumbbell over your head!). Do your cardio after. You don’t need to focus as much, nor do you need extra strength. You are working your cardiovascular system. That’s it.
Is it better to exercise every part of the body on the same day, or it better to focus on different muscle groups on different days? This is another one that differs a lot depending on the goal. If a person wants to grow their biceps for example, they need to overload their biceps with multiple sets of different exercises. They will probably pick one other muscle to workout on the same day. They won’t have the energy, or the time to work every major muscle in their body this way. However, if your goal is more functional, or you don’t want to bulk up, you are better off doing more compound movements and total body exercises. Most women people fit into this latter category.
If someone doesn’t have the time to spend hours cooking healthy meals, how can they still eat healthy? My first advice here is to cook in bulk. Preparing meals for the next couple of days will save you time, save you stress, and make it easier to stick to any diet. If you are a person who travels a lot and cannot do this, there is some good news: eating healthy is getting easier every day! As different health trends catch on, more restaurants (even fast food) are offering healthier choices. Be careful though! Some things passed off as healthy aren’t what they seem. Try keeping apples and nuts with you so that you can snack regularly on healthy foods. This will help stop you from over eating later. Also, when you do go out to eat:
- Have a plan. Check the menu online first to see what the healthiest choices are.
- drink a big glass of water before you order your food
- eat your veggies first
- get your dressing on the side
- ask the waiter to NOT bring the bread basket
- look for the words “steamed” and “grilled”
What should a personal trainer take into consideration when working with each individual client? Personal training should be personal! Even if 2 people have the same goal, they have different abilities, injuries, allergies, motivational factors, likes/dislikes, and they should have a program designed around THEM. Sometimes trainers forget that in order to get their client to change, they must change their approach. Some people need a drill sergeant, some need a cheerleader, and some need a therapist. Let’s say that a trainer charges $60 per 1hr session. That is $1 per minute. If the trainer isn’t giving their client value every minute that they are together, then that client should be shopping for another trainer!
If someone isn’t sore after a workout, does that mean they didn’t workout hard enough? If your goal requires that you gain muscle, then you’d better be sore after most of your workouts. Otherwise, if the soreness is hit and miss, that’s okay! You weren’t sitting on the couch or taking a nap; you were doing something good for yourself. Just because you don’t feel sore the next day doesn’t mean that you didn’t benefit from the workout.
The new fad seems to be “buying organic”. Is there any validity to eating organic food over non-organic food? What are the benefits and/or things to be aware of? This is where goals change. Whether or not your food is organic won’t effect your body fat. People eat organic when they are trying to avoid pesticides and harsh preservatives. I think that there is a lot to be said for eating organic. It means that you care. It means that you are trying to do something better. Unfortunately, it is often far more expensive to buy organic foods. One general rule is that if you are going to peel it, it doesn’t need to be organic. Some foods are more affected by pesticides and herbicides than others. My wife and I have a list on our fridge entitled “The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen”. It lists which foods should be bought organic and which ones don’t need to be. A quick Google search and you should be able to find something similar.
Should people wait until they’re not sore from their previous workout to start working out again? If your legs are really sore from your workout, it may not be a great idea to do another leg workout, but using your legs during the workout or doing some cardio may help push the lactic acid from your legs and help them recover quicker. What i would do is a light warm up first. If the muscle group you wanted to work is still sore after a warm up, pick a new muscle group to work that day.
If someone reaches their fitness goals, should they still continue to work with a personal trainer? It depends on why they started with that trainer. I have had clients come in long after they hit their goals for one simple reason. If they didn’t have an appointment with me, they would stop working out. Even if this isn’t the case, I think it is a good idea to at least “check in” with your trainer to make sure you are improving, or to get some new ideas. Not everyone NEEDS a personal trainer, but EVERYONE can benefit from having one.
When people first start exercising, why do they sometimes gain weight initially? Multiple factors here again. I see this more with women. The initial weight gain can be from hormones changing, water retention, or muscle gain. Your body is going through all kinds of things when it is subjected to a workout program for the first time. Or maybe all the exercise is just making you hungrier! It sounds funny, but I know people who gain weight when they exercise more because of that reason exactly! Again, this is why I stress the importance of consistency with your diet. If you know how many calories, carbs, protein, and fat you are putting into your body then the initial weight gain shouldn’t scare you. It is the people that have no idea what they are putting into their body that should be scared. It could be the hunger that is getting to them!
If someone has a heart condition, can they still workout? After clearance from their doctor; yes. This person should get into it slowly, and put more of an emphasis on their cardiovascular training initially.
If someone has a job where they don’t move around a lot, what can they do to increase their activity during the day, when they’re not working out? Stand up as often as possible, or even use a stability ball for a chair. That will at least stop you from resting against the back of the chair, which is horrible for your posture. Set reminders on your computer that pop up every 30 minutes to an hour that remind you to stand and stretch out a little. When you do walk around, go ahead and take the escalator down, but always try to walk up the stairs. Park you car a little further away, and if you are in a structure park on the top and force yourself to walk up the stairs to your car. It really is about a mindset here. Some people just want to reach their goals more than others. When you put the extra effort in to little things like this it goes a long way.
Is it safe for pregnant women to workout? Absolutely! There are certain precautions a woman must take into consideration when working out, though mostly in the later half of the pregnancy (like laying on their back). Nowadays women see their doctor so often during their pregnancy that if there were any cause for concern in terms of working out, their doctor can tell them what needs to be avoided (if anything).
Wait, what? I thought that a Calorie was a measure of energy. Am I wrong?
Well, not exactly. First off, the correct terminology to use here would be kilocalorie, or kcal. 1 kcal is defined as being enough energy to raise 1ml of H2O by 1 degree Celsius. That means that when a calorie is being used it produces HEAT. Does your food continue to get hotter and hotter as it sits there? No. This is because the energy is STORED in your food. The Calories that are in your food are not energy; they are POTENTIAL ENERGY. So when you exercise, your body starts to “burn” this potential energy. Heat is produced as a waste product, and your body temperature goes up. Pretty simple, right? Are you wondering why am I explaining the difference between energy and potential energy?
People are always concerned about whether or not they have consumed enough energy to perform a task. The reality is though, your body is going to find this energy one way or another. Your body has energy stored in a couple different forms, the largest being fat. In the simplest of terms: if your body does not receive enough potential energy from food to survive, it will then pull energy from your fat storage. This is something that I have to explain over and over again to clients; even those who are pregnant or nursing (and have excess body fat). Here is how the conversation goes:
“My doctor says that I need to eat an extra 200-300 Calories per day because I am nursing”
“How many Calories per day are you currently eating?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tracked it”
“…then what are you going to add 300 Calories to?”
This dialogue always makes me laugh a little bit, because we Americans are always concerned about not getting enough energy from food, when the reality is that we don’t have a starvation problem here in America. In fact, MORE THAN HALF OF US ARE OVERWEIGHT! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?! We need to start looking at food as POTENTIAL ENERGY, because that is a healthier and smarter way to look at it. When you are looking at something you are considering consuming you should ask yourself, “am I realistically going to use all of this energy?” This might help you make better choices.
All that being said, it is important to give your body enough fuel to maintain the muscle mass that you have. Otherwise you will begin to lose your muscle (because your body needed more potential energy) and your metabolism will begin to slow down… But how do you know how many calories your body needs per day? That is a question that is easier to answer if you have had an accurate Body Fat % measurement done recently. Either way, there are websites that you can use to get a good estimate of how much energy (kilocalories) your body uses, both at rest and with exercise. Once you know that you will have a better idea of how much POTENTIAL ENERGY to consume each day.
Here is a great calorie calculator: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm (click on “Advanced Options” to enter your body fat %)
Jay was told by his doctor that he was pre-diabetic in early 2011. This scared Jay, who had just lost two friends; both close to his age. Something needed to be done. Now. He had a consultation with a Doctor to talk about the Lap Band, but after some thought Jay wanted to try to lose weight the right way. I met Jay in February when he committed to a 12 week program that I am involved with, focused on motivating people to get into the best shape of their life. You can check this out at www.12wfc.com
Jay was just shy of 300 lbs when he started the program. He had lost a few pounds, but felt like he needed more help with his diet as well as his exercise. The 12 weeks flew by, and Jay proved himself to be a MACHINE!!! He never cheated on his diet and never missed an appointment with me. He was also diligent in his cardio assignments, which would change every couple of weeks.
Long story short, Jay’s hard work paid off. He sweat his butt off in the gym, educated himself about nutrition, stuck with our meal plan, and in a few short months Jay looks like a different person! In 12 weeks he lost 41 lbs (9% body fat!), gained muscle, and got word from his doctor that his blood sugar levels look great now! Jay signed up for the next challenge and has stayed consistent with all of his hard work. I can’t wait to show you all how great he has done…
Great job Jay! It has been a pleasure to work with you.
This should probably have been split between several posts, although I am sure that I will revisit some of this content.
What is a supplement? According to www.Thefreedictionary.com, a supplement is “Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.” Please notice that nothing was ever mentioned about necessity, because supplements are only to be used when something is missing, or as an aid.
Let’s first talk about the most commonly asked about supp… Protein Powders. There are several different types, and again, I will go into more detail on a future blog. In a nutshell, protein powders are predominantly whey-based, although there are many different forms. They are usually marketed towards men, promising to “build muscle fast, and to get you ripped.” Some are marketed to women, usually called something like “Her Protein”, and promising to help you shed fat and speed up your metabolism. Here is the interesting part…
They are the same thing!
The only difference about most of these proteins is the label. When it comes to protein powders, they should generally be used when you can’t easily get protein from a whole food source, when you are having a hard time digesting or consuming your recommended amount of protein, or immediately after a workout for recovery. The truth is that your body would much rather get its protein from a natural, whole food source. Things like chicken, fish, yogurt, eggs, etc, contain all the protein that you need. When it comes to picking a protein out, try a few until you find one that you like. I recommend going the natural route, and trying to minimize artificial flavors and sweeteners, which is why I recommend MRM brand protein. I will go into the different types of protein powders and their uses in a future post.
Fat Burners are another hot topic. Fat burners promise to work in several different ways. They will often suppress your appetite using stimulants while increasing your body temperature (thermodynamics). Almost every time a new fat burning product gets put on the shelf, it is only a matter of time before it gets pulled right back off. Bottom line: they are generally unsafe and should be avoided. Also, taking pills alone will never get the extra weight off. No matter what you take or how much you exercise, if you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will never reach your goal. My advice: your body loves to burn fat. Let it. Educate yourself about what you are eating. Buy a food scale. Increase the amount of resistance exercise that you do, and turn your body into a 100% natural fat-burning machine!
Have you been approached by a friend yet, telling you that they have been taking this “revolutionary, doctor-approved” supplement that has helped them lose weight? If you haven’t, it is only a matter of time, my friend… Let me break this down really quick:
- They lost weight because they are making better decisions and replacing high calorie meals with low calorie shakes.
- There are SEVERAL of these companies promising to be the only one of its kind. Are they all lying???
- They are excited for you to try it because it will make them money. And if you decide to sell it, they make even more. Did you know that with most of these companies you are forced to have the products auto-shipped MONTHLY to your house? That’s a pretty serious commitment for a shake or a vitamin…
- Most of these products are crap. Not all, but why not just get your supplements at a reputable health food store for a fraction of the price?
- The people selling them are often not educated outside of the sales rallies that they attend to learn more about the same company’s products. Ask them a question that is not answered on the brochure and watch them refer you to their sales director. All this for a protein shake? No. All this for a sale.
If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Do your own research before putting any foreign substance into your body. Don’t take my word for it, and especially don’t take a salesman’s word for it. Remember, supplements are just that- supplements. All goals can be achieved without them. (unless we are talking about steroids) If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your fitness goals, please shoot me an email and I will see if I can get you pointed in the right direction.
I have been looking for a good Cauliflower Puree recipe, but everyone seems to like to take something that should be healthy and add things like butter and cream cheese. Why ruin a healthy dish?! So I decided to keep it simple, and turn to one of my favorite cooking methods for maximum flavor…
Who doesn’t like roasted garlic? Crazy people, that’s who! So garlic lovers: this one’s for you. And remember, if you are not part of the garlic lover’s club, just adjust the amount of garlic used to suit your taste! Not only is this a great tasting recipe, but it is also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, and is LOADED with vitamin C! Oh, and if you have high cholesterol: you’re welcome! This one is great for you!
Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes
1 large head of Cauliflower
1-3 cloves Garlic (I use 3!)
3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Fage Greek Yogurt 0% Fat
2 tbsp Reduced Fat Milk (optional)
Salt & Pepper*
Pre-heat oven to 375
Place 3 garlic cloves into a glass of water for 5 min (you’ll thank me later).
Remove base and leaves from cauliflower. Chop or break cauliflower head apart into several pieces (smaller pieces cook faster).
Now that it is SUPER easy to remove the husks from the garlic, go ahead and take care of that!
Place cauliflower and garlic into a mixing bowl, toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil (until coated). Place on foiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (go light this time; you can always add more, but can never take it back out!)
Place in food processor and let her rip! Once minced, add yogurt, milk (optional, but recommended), and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until mixed thoroughly and desired consistency is met. Salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with green onions/chives and enjoy!
Makes (4) 135-160 calorie servings.
I made this today for the first time and liked it so much I had to share it with you. Remember, this is based on MY body and goals… You can make alternations as necessary or even cut my portions in half to get a lower calorie version (250 cals).
1 cup water
7 oz Yam (Orange/Red)
1 cup Fage Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (whey)
A light sprinkle of Nutmeg and Cinnamon
Blend. Add additional water until you have the consistency that you want, or to increase volume.
Total calories- 505
Total carbs- 65g
Total protein- 58g
Total Fat- 1g
Has this ever happened to you:
You go to a restaurant and enjoy half of the massive serving that they gave you. You ask for a “to go” box, and you are already fantasizing about how great it is going to be tomorrow for lunch. But the next day you go to reheat the food and it looks like a completely different dish!
Oil and salt happened. When you go out to almost any restaurant (even when they claim to be healthy), they cook with massive amounts of salt and usually use a lot of oil. When your food has had a chance to sit overnight, the salt has also had a chance to pull the water out of the food. This, combined with the oils that have solidified underneath your food, makes for a disgusting and pathetic looking meal. This is why most people don’t like “left-overs.” This is also why it is hard for me to get some of my clients to prepare their meals ahead of time.
The most successful clients I have ever worked with are the ones who log their food, and prepare it themselves. But let’s face it: most of us don’t have the time to cook every day. Especially multiple times per day! If you want to be healthier, lose weight, and save money, then you really need to consider preparing your meals ahead of time.
But John, what about the “salt and oil” bit that you were just preaching about??
That won’t happen. (At least not so noticeably) Healthy cooking should mean more than just buying natural, whole foods. It is also knowing what amounts of those foods go into your meals. For example, do you want to cook with less oil? Then let it heat up first! It is very common for people to drizzle oil into the pan (which hasn’t finished heating up) and immediately place in whatever they are cooking. It sticks. So the next time they use more oil. The cycle continues…
Really, try first letting your pan heat up, then the oil. I promise you wont need as much, and you will cut down A LOT on the extra calories! (Oil contains about 120 calories/ 1 TBSP)
Here is your challenge: next Sunday try cooking some extra food to bring to work for the week. Trust me, it will only seem like a pain in the ass until you notice that your pants are getting loose and your wallet is getting bigger. Then you can email me a “Thank You” letter!
Looking forward to your responses!