Today’s article is a bit different. It’s not exactly fitness or nutrition oriented, but more of a lifestyle topic. With the New Year right around the corner, I’ve been writing down tons of goals I want to accomplish in 2016.
While doing so, I’m carefully evaluating all of the moves I’ve made this year towards my goal – and in some cases, becoming further from certain goals. I start to wonder why and how I was able to achieve some goals, while falling short on others.
One thing that can help you achieve all kinds of different goals is a great support system, which I am blessed to have! I have an incredible family and lot of friends from all walks of life, each offering their own supportive role in my life and helping me become a better person.
Take a look at your friends – your crew, if you will. I’ve heard people say that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. You are the average of your 5 best friends. What does your current support system say about you as a person?
I got to thinking about the diversity among my friends and wanted to share the 5 types of friends that I think everyone should have in their network!
Success is never achieved alone. Everyone needs a mentor who has been there, done that. Surround yourself with people who are more successful than you. Find people who are smarter, stronger, more financially comfortable, less stressed etc. and learn from them. Then become a mentor for someone else and share your knowledge!
You need a ride-or-die, loyal best friend that’s going to be there through thick and thin with you. This person knows more about you than you know about yourself. You guys depend on each other in the most important situations and can always count on that person to support you to the best of their abilities. They aren’t a yes man who just constantly tells you that you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but more of a lifelong teammate always cheering you on.
The Devil’s Advocate
Who’s going to keep you in check when you get a little ahead of yourself? This type of friend doesn’t let your ego overpower your rational thought process. This is the person you go to when you need a reality check. You may think you have the next million dollar business plan, but you can count on this person to put things into a realistic perspective for you. They may be pessimistic at times, but it’s always for the best.
Whatever industry you’re in, you need to be friends with a specialist in that trade. This is more specific than a mentor because this person is in your field of work and at the top of their game. You want to be in their position one day, and you will. This type of friend is constantly learning and improving, which will rub off on you and pay dividends in your work life.
The Polar Opposite
Lastly, you need a friend who is the polar opposite of you. This person zigs when you zag. You may even butt heads fairly often, but I believe everyone needs to be exposed to confrontation every now and then. This person is a great friend, despite your differences, and will help you become a more well-rounded human. I believe our society is too scared to be uncomfortable. Find someone who you have nothing in common with and become their best friend. That speaks volumes about the type of person you are (same goes for them.) Expose yourself to more of the unknown.
So take another look at your crew. Hopefully nobody is dragging you down. Your support system of friends should help you make progress towards success and now you know some qualities to look for in those people.
What do these guys have in common?
- Frank Gore
- Arian Foster
- Marshawn Lynch
Well, there are a couple of obvious similarities. All 3 men are elite NFL running backs. They’ve all played in multiple Pro Bowls. Some of them have even won or played in Super Bowls. Each of them have run for multiple 1,000 yard seasons too.
Bottom line: These guys are studs on the field.
But what you didn’t know they all have in common is that they are all OBESE.
How can an NFL running back who is in peak physical condition be obese?
Each one of these guys’ BMI is above 30, technically making them obese. Do you know how infuriating that is? BMI still exists. People still refer to BMI. Don’t even get me started…
I wanted to preface this article with that little tidbit of info. Extreme example? Yes, but it truly helps illustrate the point I’m trying to make.
The greatest piece of fitness advice I can give anyone is this:
Look deeper than the number (weight) on the scale.
Weight is just a number, and a lot of the times, it can be misleading. In the example used above, weight was used to determine those guys as “obese” with the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula that is used heavily in consensus health reports and fitness institutions across the world. In this case, weight and height are the two driving factors in the equation.
The issue? There is no mention of body composition measurements such as muscle or body fat. If things like that were considered, there would be no way to slap the “obese” label on them.
I’ve heard fitness pros preach, “Throw away the scale,” but I’m not ready to get that drastic. Keep it, you paid for it already, just don’t use often – if ever.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your health progress simply by acknowledging that there is more to your body than just bodyweight.
Weigh Yourself Less
As I mentioned before, you can throw out your scale if you’re an extreme type of person. Or, you can just use self-discipline and allow yourself to weigh-in once a month. Put it in a bathroom cabinet so it’s not out and readily available to use.
Human weight fluctuates too often with drastic differences. You don’t need to start your day stressing about how you gained 3 pounds overnight. Chances are, you didn’t gain real weight at all. Conversely, I’d recommend you don’t celebrate your 3-pound overnight weight loss either. Neither are accurate.
Use the Eye Test
The best way to track your fitness progress is to use mirrors and friends. Ask your significant other or a close friend how you look, or check yourself out in the mirror. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with a little flex in the mirror. You put in the hard work. You deserve to see the results.
Before, during and after pictures are also effective ways to see changes. The camera doesn’t lie. Unless you add 3 Instagram filters, adjust the brightness and do a quick crop job. In that case, yes, the camera is kind of lying.
Plateaus for Plato’s
You finally broke through that plateau and achieved a goal – congrats! Bad news, now your clothes don’t fit. This is one of the most surefire ways to track your progress. When your clothes start to fit differently you know your body is truly changing. Now you’ve found yourself accumulating baggy jeans and ill-fitting shirts in a laundry basket labeled “Plato’s Closet.”
What a bittersweet experience. Three things are about to happen:
- You will take your clothes to Plato’s Closet and get absolutely hammered on the pricing. You’ll give them close to $1,000 worth of attire and receive a $53.76 offer because, “these clothes are actually out of season, sorry.”
- You take the money… *fist-pump* (NOT!), then go spend it (and so much more) on your new, form-fitting attire!
- Repeat 3-6 months later. This time, donate to Goodwill.
Here’s a shameless 1 & Only Fitness plug. Another great way to track your progress is to test your actual body composition beyond bodyweight. We have a medical-grade device called the InBody 570, which measures complete body composition at 98% accuracy.
The InBody, as some of you know, is a truly amazing machine. It uses bioelectrical impedance to scan your body and relay readings of skeletal muscle mass, body fat mass, body fat percent, visceral fat and more.
Of course, it tracks bodyweight too, but now you can actually see what your bodyweight is made up of. You can allocate certain amounts of weight to muscle, fat, water, bones, etc. It’s all laid out on a report that is easy to read and comprehend.
Still, I would recommend you only do this once every month at the very most. I typically have my clients re-test every 8 weeks.
Here is a real-life example on how the InBody is far superior to the typical bathroom scale. Client X did her first InBody and weighed 135lbs. She had 19% body fat and 66lbs of muscle. 12 weeks later, on the re-test, she weighed 138lbs, but only had 16% body fat and 70lbs of muscle.
Those are awesome results, she gained muscle and lost fat. That’s the name of the game!
If Client X would have been weighing herself every morning in the bathroom, she would have gotten discouraged with the lack of weight loss. In fact, she gained weight. I would have been fired as a trainer. But, she trusted the process and the InBody results show the true story of the amazing changes that happened to the body composition.
Like I said before, there’s no need to throw away your scale. Just use it sparingly. You can lay the groundwork for some really healthy habits by making your weigh-ins worthwhile. Make yourself work hard for an extended period of time before you check on the results. You can’t get out of shape, or in shape, overnight. Everything is a process.
Disclaimer: This is intended for general health enthusiasts. If you’re an athlete that requires weigh-ins for competition, you live by a different set of rules. Boxers, wrestlers, bodybuilders, etc. can disregard!
So you made it through Halloween without overdosing on candy. Congratulate yourself, but get ready, because the next Holiday is one of the biggest dietary challenges of the year; Thanksgiving.
You’ve probably seen the reports that Americans, on average, gain 7-10 pounds between Halloween and New Years. Maybe you’ve even fallen victim to some holiday weight gain. Whatever the case may be, I’m here to help you through the winter months and stay focused on a healthy lifestyle.
Before I get into the 3 easy and healthy Thanksgiving food swaps, I do want to put a disclaimer out there.
Thanksgiving is one day. One day will NOT make you fat and/or out of shape. You won’t deteriorate into a sloppy mess of lard if you overindulge for one day. I can promise you that. This is especially true if you’ve laid the groundwork for the majority of the year by living a healthy lifestyle with a clean diet.
I don’t want this to come across as a don’t enjoy yourself on Thanksgiving type of post, but I do want to offer some assistance so that you can stay on the safer side during this holiday. People tend to fall “off the wagon” and lose confidence. They never get back “on the wagon” and further regress their fitness level.
These 3 Thanksgiving food swaps will fulfill your holiday cravings, keep you closer to your nutritional goals and allow you to easily get back on track after Thanksgiving.
#1: Baked Apples for Apple Pie
Apple Pie is a Thanksgiving staple. Apple Pie is also terrible for you. Assuming you’re no fool, you probably like a little bit of ice cream on top of your warm Apple Pie too, right? That definitely doesn’t help. Coming in around 600 calories, 90 grams of sugar and 30 grams of fat for a moderate slice of Apple Pie a la Mode, you may not want to go that route this Thanksgiving.
Instead, try a Baked Apple. You can even top it with a little bit of raisins, nuts, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and coconut oil to enhance the flavor. Use whipped cream if you’re feeling crazy.
Just cut [in half] and core a large Honeycrisp apple, then spread some coconut oil on the flesh of each half. Top it with your favorite nuts and spices, then bake it for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Throw some whipped cream on top to complete the I miss you, Apple Pie effect and you’ll be good!
#2: Baked Sweet Potato for Candied Yams
Candied Yams; another Thanksgiving side dish that people would die for. I mean, what’s not to like? You’ve got Yams, Marshmallows, Pecans, Brown Sugar and Butter all mashed together into a glorious pile of deliciousness.
One serving of this will probably register at around 500 calories and close to 80 grams of sugar. It’s not even technically a dessert! This is like cheating the system. You add this to your plate with turkey and other side items, finish it, then go eat “dessert.”
A healthier, and in my opinion, tastier swap for this would be baked sweet potatoes. You can get creative with this one. I’ve baked sweet potatoes, topped it with pecans, bacon and cinnamon, and enjoyed that as a food swap. You can enjoy sweet potato fries, spiced up however you’d like. Another option is mashed sweet potatoes, using coconut oil, coconut milk and spiced up to taste.
However you go about this Thanksgiving food swap, you’ll surely save yourself from a sugar-high (and crash) that will ensue if you go with the Candied Yams.
#3: Roasted Veggies for Green Bean Casserole
In theory, Green Bean Casserole seems harmless. If you dig deep into the recipe, you could probably do without the heavy cream and fried onions. Now, if you’re making the Paula Dean version, you’re probably throwing in an entire stick of butter and maybe some cheddar cheese too.
Let’s stray away from ruining simple Green Beans like that. Instead of making a casserole, try roasting a wide variety of vegetables together – you can even drizzle it with a creative sauce if you want.
Roast a pound of the following veggies for 25 minutes at 400 degrees:
- Carrots (cut to spears)
- Brussels Sprouts (cut into halves)
- Golden Beets (skinned and chopped)
- Butternut Squash (skinned and cubed)
(Drizzle those with Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
With about 10 minutes left to roast, add the following:
- 4 cups Kale
- 2 cups Green Onion
- Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano to taste
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- ½ cup EVOO
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Mustard
- Salt & Pepper
Now you can enjoy a larger spread of veggies that aren’t drowning in Cream of Mushroom soup, cheese and fried onions!
Like I mentioned before, Thanksgiving is just one day. Don’t let it spill over for the next week. Don’t let the host insist on sending you home with all of the leftover beer and an endless supply of holiday food. Enjoy your day, try to stay on track to the best of your ability and continue to make progress toward whatever your goal is!
– Justin Ochoa
Our lives are driven by consumption. Every day, we are faced with decisions on what to consume. We consume information on the news. We consume entertainment from television, movies and music. We consume knowledge from our peers. You get the point.
The thing we consume most is presentation. We make decisions based on presentation. We buy Nike because the Nike model looks incredibly fit and athletic in his Nike gear. We buy Crest toothpaste because the model on the box has one of the most beautiful, pearly white smiles you’ve ever seen. We make completely unnecessary purchases on items that are on sale, because the store presented us with a discount.
Presentation is the lifeblood of consumption.
When it comes to food, this can be a huge issue. Presentation, or marketing, of food paints a vivid picture of a product that will often fall short of your expectations. Everything from the look to the taste to the nutrition of the food can be presented to you in a way that is far more appealing than the truth.
I’ve made tons of poor eating decisions in my life based on presentations of food. I’ve also made just as many healthy choices. I’m sure I’ll make plenty more of each throughout the rest of my life. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at identifying the hidden marketing tricks used to advertise our food and that has helped my health tremendously.
I’d like to share some of those food marketing tricks, so you can continue to better yourself and make informed decisions on what foods you choose to consume.
Gluten-Free is extremely trendy right now. According to market research done by NPD Group, 29-percent of Americans are trying to cut down on the gluten they consume.
I’ve been gluten-free for 5 years now for medical purposes and have seen the industry grow right before my eyes. I fully support a gluten and grain free diet. I encourage all of my weight loss clients to at least give it a try.
What I DO NOT support is the consumption of gluten-free packaged foods. Just because the label says gluten-free on it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, most foods that have a gluten-free label are just as bad, if not worse, than the original item they mimic.
The whole point of a gluten-free diet is to cut the crappy grains and replace them with real food – not to replace them with even more sugary, starchy, chemically enhanced foods. If you’re going GF, try eating foods with just one ingredient. Meats, fruits, nuts and vegetables are all gluten-free, whether the label says or not!
The nutritional facts you see on labels, in commercials and on menus, are almost always going to be the amount per serving. It’s your job to determine how many servings you’re eating of that product.
Every product has a different serving size and different amount of servings per container. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It’s just so sneaky.
For example, let’s say you buy a nice big bottle of Gatorade and head to Planet Fitness for some vicious treadmill walking. The label says it has 80 calories and 21 grams of sugar – per serving. The serving size is 12 oz. Your bottle is 30 oz. You’re going to drink the entire bottle because you think Gatorade is good for you, because their awesome commercial with colorful sweat and general athletic baddassery told you so.
Well, you just drank 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar. Not what you were expecting was it?
This happens all the time with pretty much any food you can think of. I wrote an article on nutritional labeling flaws a while back. You should read that or at least check out this graphic below.
The point is that you absolutely must read the labels of your food products. By labels, I mean the nutritional facts. You need to see exactly what you’re putting into your body so there are no surprises when you do, or don’t, get the results you’re seeking.
Honestly, if you see the word natural, it may be a good idea to run. Natural food doesn’t need to tell you it’s natural.
What the hell is a natural flavor anyway? Who knows?
Food Scores has a database of over 80,000 foods and their ingredients and natural flavors is the 4th most used ingredient in our food. Salt, water and sugar are the top 3, respectively. All three items you can buy in your local grocery store – at least they have that going for them. You’re not going to find a bottle natural flavors in your local Kroger.
The term natural flavor can contain more than 100 ingredients. Literally, food labels can kill up to 100 birds with one stone by putting natural flavors on the list of ingredients.
Flavoring your food is your job, not the manufacturers. Just buy whole, real food and season it yourself.
This is kind of a general tip, but be cautious of buzz words like:
- Reduced Sugar
- Whole Grain
- Weight Control
- Naturally Sweetened
- Made with “Real ______”
- Heart Healthy
Not saying these are always a bad thing, but chances are slim that what you see is what you get when it comes to these claims. Just for fun, let’s see who can create the most buzzworded healthy sounding unhealthy food products. Here’s mine:
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo Low-Cal Breakfast Cookies Baked with Real Cinnamon – And for every box you purchase, we help rescue a Bald Eagle and put it in a Cage-Free Environment to live a long and healthy life!
Your turn below. My favorite answer gets a free personal training session.
Generally, food items that have commercial advertising campaigns are not going to benefit your health. There are SOME that are good for you, but for the most part, it’s a no-go.
Think about the purpose of an advertisement. That 30-second television clip’s job is to convince you that you need that product. It’s really tough to think of a healthy food item that has a national ad campaign going right now…
You have McDonald’s now offering all-day breakfast. Healthy? Nope.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 6, 2015
You’ve got Taco Bell offering breakfast, period. Healthy? No. We hear about Cheerios being gluten-free now. Are those benefiting your health? Not really. Crappy food is much more appealing than healthy food, but which produces the most appealing physique?
I’m pretty sure there’s no ads running for broccoli, are there? What about fresh blueberries? Any ads for those?
This is because those are actually FOOD items. They aren’t brands. They don’t have franchises or publicly traded stocks. It’s just food and it’s sad that we don’t get to learn about food as much as we get to learn about Burger King’s “Black Whopper.”
Hopefully these 5 food marketing tricks help you identify some unhealthy foods in your diet so you can eliminate them! As always, reach out to me with any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out in any way that I can!
Meet my newborn son, Julian. He’s 6 days old and he can already teach you three very important things about improving your fitness.
I must say, I’m impressed! He really knows his stuff. Unfortunately he can’t speak, but he wanted me to relay these tips to you guys so you can maximize your gym progress starting today!
Recovery Is Key
Recovery, more specifically sleep, is one of the most unappreciated and underutilized methods of improving your fitness. Sleep is essential for recovery and optimizing your body for making progress towards your goals.
Poor sleep can negatively affect your fat cells, causing “metabolic grogginess,” according to the University of Chicago. Their research shows that after just four days of sleep deprivation, metabolic grogginess can drop your insulin sensitivity by over 30 percent. Eventually that will cause your body to hang on to extra insulin and store it as fat, which will be backtracking in the worst way.
Poor sleep can also cause you to crave foods, miss gym time and actually decrease your mobility in day-to-day activities.
Maybe you can’t sleep 20 hours a day like Julian does, but you can definitely prioritize sleep and aim for 8+ hours a night. Turn off the lights and TV, set your phone off to the side, get comfy and sleep your way to new fitness success.
Eat Frequent Meals
Julian currently eats every 2-3 hours. Sound familiar? At 1 & Only Fitness, we encourage our clients to adapt this style of nutritional intake. Instead of eating 2-3 large meals a day, break your meals up into 5-6 smaller portioned meals, evenly spread out through the day.
Everyone has a different opinion on this subject – some people dislike frequent meal dieting, others swear by it. I’m just telling you guys what Julian tells me. He says to eat every few hours so you can increase muscle mass, increase metabolism and keep a good mood all day.
Personally, I adhere to this style of eating. My typical day looks like this:
- 4am: Breakfast
- 3 whole Eggs, 5 Egg Whites, 2 cups Spinach, Salsa
- 7am: Snack #1
- Apple and/or 1 oz. Almonds
- 9am: Post-Workout Meal/Shake
- Plant-Based Protein Shake from 1 & Only Fitness
- 12pm: Lunch #1
- 5 oz. Chicken Breast, 7 oz. Sweet Potato, 10 oz. Asparagus
- 3pm: Lunch #2
- 5 oz. Salmon, 2 cups Broccoli, 2 cups Cauliflower
- 5pm: Snack #2
- 1 oz Almonds (sometimes I skip this)
- 7pm: Dinner
- 5 oz. Chicken Breast, 2 cups Spinach, Salsa
Ask for Help
This is huge advice for you guys to take. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. When Julian needs something, he cries. He doesn’t care what Catherine and I are doing at the moment, all he knows is he needs help. So he cries…
I do not want you guys to cry, but I do want you to know that you don’t have to hold back any questions about fitness. Whether it’s help with exercise form, how to lose weight, how to gain weight, how to eat, etc. we have a staff full of pros who can help you out!
Reach out to our staff, or even other gym members, who helpful tips on how you achieve your fitness goals!
Today the new American obesity rates were released by The State of Obesity Organization – and it’s not pretty.
There are currently three states who have an adult obesity rate exceeding 35-percent. 22 states have exceeded the 30-percent mark. Every single state in America is above 20-percent. Things are continuing to get worse – and by “things,” I mean the health of our country.
Indiana, specifically, is at extreme risk. Our state has the 7th highest obesity rate in the country – 32.7%
In 1990, Indiana’s obesity rate was 13.3 percent. We’ve nearly tripled that number.
Look at our state by the numbers below:
It’s not just adults, our children are trending in the wrong direction as well. Indiana ranked 15th when it comes to childhood obesity – 14.3%
WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE!
It’s no secret that obesity can lead to some life-threatening health issues. Help us reverse this trend in Indiana, and our country. We have a personal challenge for all of you – and there’s a reward to go along with this!
It’s time to share the gift of health. If you’re reading this, you obviously take interest in your health. Please share this with 3 of your friends. It doesn’t matter if they’re someone who works out once per week, once per month, every day, or never! We just need these statistics to be seen our community so we can create an avalanche of action. Show them that Indiana, overall, is not a healthy state and that WE are here to help change that.
Tell you friends to come visit us. We will give ALL REFERRALS who mention this article 32.7% OFF their first personal training package. 32.7 percent because that is Indiana’s current obesity rate – and also, it’s a heck of deal! We will also reward YOU, the referrer, with a $50 gift card to redeem at the gym.
Let’s do our part in getting Indiana healthy and moving in the right direction for 2016 & beyond!
*Offer ends January 1, 2016
From the time I could run, I have been involved in sports at a high level of competition. I played basketball for more than half my life for some of the best teams in the city, state and nation. I love competition and challenges. I live for it, it’s an attitude that’s embedded in me for life.
I can’t just do things without it being a competition. Ask my wife, literally everyone turns into some kind of contest or goal-oriented game. Dinner; who is the superior chef in the house? Walking the dog; who took her on the longer walk? You see the trend. No matter what it is, I want to be the best at it. For the record, she’s undefeated.
I’m 100% willing to and excited to put the work in for the goals I set. I do not speak on things I’m not ready to act on.
I recently completed the Whole30 challenge and loved it, but as I said before, I’m always on the hunt for competition. I need a new challenge. I need something to work towards and I’m running out of things to try.
I’ve been gluten-free for 5 years, grain-free for 2 and dairy-free for 2. I’ve tried Paleo, Whole30 and Ketogenic diets. I’ve fasted and I’ve feasted. I’m ready something that is going to completely test my commitment and willpower to the core.
The problem is that something doesn’t exist. So I made it up. I don’t even know what to call it, but my next nutritional challenge is going to be a mixture of all the diets and challenges I’ve done in the past, combined into one hell of a journey!
I will eat vegetables/plants, fruits and nuts. No meat, no grains, no dairy, no added sugars, no alcohol, no legumes, no BS faux treats, no artificial/harmful food additives and no animal products. It’s not vegan, vegetarian or pescetarian. It’s not Paleo or Whole30. It just is what it is, I guess.
Here’s an outlook of the guidelines, as of now.
|Animal Products||Plants (Vegetables)|
In addition to the table above, I’m going to stay under 50 grams of sugar a day. This is a guideline that will help me avoid overeating fruits, especially dried fruits. It will also be awesome to detox from sugar – I’d encourage everyone to try this out daily!
So there it is, the rules are simple. Eat plants, fruits, nuts and oils + stay under 50 grams of sugar per day. Preserve as much muscle as humanly possible. See what happens. I don’t what what will, but I guarantee you I will feel great and learn a thing or two. I’m all about that!
I’m so pumped for the challenge. This will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done nutritionally. I currently eat eggs every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I love meat of all kinds, and usually eat meat/seafood 3-5 times a day. But, I love competition more than anything. Giving up these items for an extended period of time is well worth the opportunity to challenge myself towards a goal. I will adhere to this lifestyle until my 26th birthday – October 27. After that, I’ll just keep tweaking what I like / dislike and move forward. It’ll be a fun journey.
I heard this quote somewhere, I don’t even know where, but it kind of changed my life. “You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.”
It blows my mind how perfect that is. Think about that for a while and give yourself a challenge to work towards TODAY! I’ll help you in any way that I can – while I snack on broccoli nonstop.
Stay tuned for updates on what I’m eating daily, starting Monday, August 24. I’ll post frequent journal entries so you can follow along!
My Fitness Pal – Have you heard of it?
Here at 1 & Only Fitness, we are huge fans of My Fitness Pal! Several of our staff members use it and the majority of our personal training clients use it as well! If you’re not up to speed on what MFP is, here’s a quick overview.
My Fitness Pal is a FREE online fitness journal and smartphone app available on Apple, Android and Windows devices. The web application automatically syncs with the mobile data so that you’re always 100% caught up on your journal entries. With MFP, you track your daily nutrition right down to the macro and micro-nutrients! You can also track water consumption, fitness activity and use it as a journal/blog!
The best part? Did I mention that My Fitness Pal is free. There is a paid version, but it’s strictly upgrades. You can get everything you need and more from the free app.
Here’s a list of perks that come from the free version, taken from MyFitnessPal.com:
- The easiest to use food diary on the web Track what you eat with just a few clicks from anywhere with an internet connection – at home or at work
- A searchable food database of over 1,000,000 items and it’s growing every day!
- Your own personal food database add your own foods and recipes at any time and access them from anywhere with an internet connection
- Free mobile apps for iPhone and Android so you can log your meals and exercise even when you are on the go
- Support and motivation from people just like you – Our discussion forums let you learn from others, share your own tips, receive and give encouragement, and make friends.
- A personalized diet profile customized to your unique weight loss goals.
- Flexibility: Our system can support any diet like Atkins, the South Beach Diet, the Zone, and more. No matter what diet you’re on, we can help.
Sound like something you could benefit from? I think YES!
With My Fitness Pal, you can easily keep yourself accountable. Take it upon yourself to start measuring portions, paying attention to your food intake and fuel your body with the proper wholesome foods you need to make progress towards your goals!
Here’s the deal!
I would like to offer a FREE 4-week training program, consultation, nutritional counseling session AND 30-minute personal training session to the first THREE people who keep a 7-day food log and show it to me at the gym (or via email).
This deal expires in 14 days. You have until July 21 to keep a 7-day consecutive food log, you can do that! Complete it, show me and we’ll get you set up with a package values at over $400 for FREE!
What a month! After 30 days, I have officially completed the Whole30 program. I have nothing but awesome things to say about Whole30 and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Literally, anyone. If you love food, this is for you. If you love being healthy, this is for you. If you love trying new adventures and challenging yourself, this is for you. You get the point. There is not a single human on earth who wouldn’t benefit from trying out Whole30.
I don’t want to be too long-winded with this post, because I flooded you guys with like 20 blog posts during the 30 days I was “on” Whole30. I do want to highlight some key items and show you guys my personal results, explain my goals and my future plans for Whole30.
Let’s start with my goals. What were my goals? Why did I even do Whole30 in the first place? I address the “why?” in this blog, but never really got into my goals.
My goals for Whole30 were to add muscle mass, while leaning out and losing body fat. I wanted to get under 185lbs without losing any of my muscle mass, specifically. With my [still] injured back, I knew that I could only train at about 80% of my normal intensity, so I needed a great nutrition plan to carry me to my goals. Whole30 was just that.
I hit my goal – and then some! I’m very excited because I know that you guys will hit your goals as well! This is just an incredible way of life and I feel excellent daily.
Below are the key components of my “weigh-out” InBody, which measures a complete and comprehensive body composition. It’s 98% accurate and is used as a medical device by the most elite health & fitness organizations across the world. We use it as the backbone of our consultations, so if you haven’t gotten your InBody yet let’s do that ASAP!
|Measurement||Day 1||Day 30||Differential|
|Body Fat Percentage (%)||12.4%||9.7%||-2.7%|
|Skeletal Muscle Mass (lbs)||93.3||95.0||+1.7|
|Visceral Fat Level (#)||4||3||-1|
|Body Fat Mass (lbs)||23.4||17.6||-5.8|
|Basal Metabolic Rate (kcal)||1982||1992||+10|
So what does all of this mean? Let me address each section.
Weight: This one is easy; It’s my weight! It was never my goal to lose a lot of weight, I just wanted to lose enough to reach my fat loss goals. The funny thing is about a week in I could feel myself being “too thin” for what I was aiming for. If weight loss is your goal, you will have great results. I really had to work hard to eat enough to maintain muscle mass, build muscle mass but not overeat. It’s a fine line. I felt well-fueled daily. I lost 4.5lbs of total weight, but I’ll touch on the fat/muscle exchange later. Bottom line: I feel lean!
Body Fat Percentage: This is the portion of the human body that consists of fat. I went from 12.4% to 9.7% which I feel great about! I’m pretty pumped. The male body needs about 5% body fat to survive in a healthy manner, females need about 12%. This is called your essential body fat, which is used to protect your internal organs. A lot of people have a highly misguided understanding of body fat percentage. I’ll go more in depth into that in a separate blog post, but for now we’ll keep it brief. I’m very content with 9.7% and I would never want to be lower than 7% because I like to have a life too!
Skeletal Muscle Mass: This is the amount, in pounds, of muscle that is attache to your bones. Oh yeah! This is what we all lift for, right? I was at 93.3 and got up to 95. Not only did Whole30 help me shed body fat, but it also fueled me enough to gain exclusive muscle along the way. This is no easy task! Gaining almost 2 pounds of strictly muscle in a month is something I am very proud of and truly believe that you can also do! I will help you in any way that I can.
Visceral Fat Level: Visceral fat is the internal fat that can surround your organs, in a negative way. It’s not essential fat. It’s fat that can kill you. A healthy range of Visceral Fat is between 1-10. I went from a 4 to a 3 (lower is better). This is what I’m the most excited about because Visceral Fat is highly influenced by diet. When you start to eat the Whole30 way, you’re going to be adding years to your life!
Body Fat Mass: Unlike body fat percentage, this is body fat in pounds! Going from 23.4 to 17.6 pounds of fat mass was a great improvement for me! Some of my fat loss came from the trunk/core region, which is a common goal for all fitness fanatics. They say abs aren’t made in the gym, abs are made in the kitchen and now I see why! Stick to the plan and let those six-packs come out this Summer!
Basal Metabolic Rate: This is a measurement of how many calories your body burns at rest, in a single day. The higher the number, the more calories you burn & the better your metabolism is performing. As you start to gain muscle and lose fat, this will speed up your metabolism. If you love food like I do, this is great news.
WHAT I LEARNED
I learned so much about myself and about food during the month of June. Here are some tips based on what I learned.
Love Your Food
You will learn to LOVE your food. The best health experts in the world all say that people should be more connected with their food. This means enjoying it, rather than texting in between bites, watching TV, etc. I learned to love my food a little bit more during this challenge. I bought locally raised products when possible. I often enjoyed fresh salads from my in-laws’ garden, eggs from a friend’s chickens and responsibly raised meats from the farmers markets. Don’t get me wrong, I still shop at grocery stores for 90% of my food. That is what I can afford and what works best for us. But if given the chance to try some local food, you should go for it! The taste and nutrient profile of a locally grown food is always going to trump store-bought items! Just do what you can and try to enjoy your food because that is your fuel!
Have a Goal
You are dead without a goal. What do you want to get out of Whole30? Ask yourself why you’ve decided to join the challenge and what your expectations are. Write it down and go get it! You can do it. Goals are so helpful in all aspects of life because it’s a road map to success. Whether it’s work, fitness, relationship or anything in between, I believe you should have goals written down to help guide you!
Just Win, Baby
Just like the late great Al Davis said, “Just win, baby!” You will not lose. You will not allow yourself to cheat, slip-up or deviate from your plan because you are a winner and you set your mind to this. I’ll be there to support any time you need it. Develop a confidence within yourself that will not let you be defeated by this challenge.
Set the Environment
Environment trumps willpower, in case you didn’t know. This means you cannot rely on willpower to adhere to the Whole30 plan. You need to plan ahead and set up a successful environment. Throw away anything that may tempt you. Ask friend and family for support. Prep your meals ahead of time so you take the guessing out of what you’re going to eat each day. These are small, powerful tools that will allow you to excel.
Adapt & Advance
So, what’s next? After 30 days is up, you get to eat an entire pizza and wash it down with a cold beer, right? No! This isn’t a diet or a fad. Whole30 is a lifestyle change. After 30 days you will understand how much better you feel by eliminating crappy food from your life. What’s my plan? I am going to use Whole30 as my “base” diet forever, and may deviate as “life happens.” It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ve had chances to eat several items that are NOT Whole30 compliant, and I don’t want to. It’s the weirdest thing. Honestly, I thought I would want to reintroduce disapproved items back into my diet, but the urge is not there. You’ll see what I mean after you try it out. I suggest you focus on these 30 days and give it your all, then you can try to reintroduce things that you may have missed like peanut butter, beans or the occasional cocktail – IF NEEDED! You may not want to.
There’s the rundown of my Whole30 experiences. I tried to keep it short and sweet for you, but as always, I got kind of chatty. The bottom line is that Whole30 is a great idea for anyone who wants to feel great and look awesome. This style of eating can improve your weight loss results, improve your digestion, boost your energy, reduce stress, enhance athletic performance and so much more. Put your mind to it, kill it and keep that momentum going towards whatever it is that you’re trying to reach!
Below are some of [what I think are] my best blogs from the 30 day challenge. TONS of tips in these blogs that will help!
The first 6 days are FULL of in-depth, valuable info. I suggest re-reading these.
Here are some tips from how I stayed focus on my vacation, in case you’re traveling.
Here’s a blog about trying new products:
To read it all, just go here and scroll down!