Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ahhhh ... Water!

One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100 percent of people looking to lose weight.

In 37 percent of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even MILD dehydration will slow down your metabolism as much as 3 percent, so drinking more water may provide you with more energy. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

A mere 2 percent drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily may decrease the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80 percent of sufferers.  Now while a general statement like '8-10 glasses of water' is OK for the general population, with an emphasis on fitness and body fat reduction, we need to be more accurate. 

If you are a 120 pound woman or a 250 pound man, 8-10 glasses of water is too vague.  A 'glass of water' to one person could be a four ounce cup.  To another person it might mean a sixteen ounce glass.  A much better and more precise rule of thumb is .5-.6 ounces of water per day for each pound of bodyweight.  Perhaps a bit more on days you workout and perspire, or work/live in a hot environment. 

Source: University of Washington study, reported in Integrated and Alternative Medicine Clinical Highlights 2002 Aug 4;1(16).

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Look, Feel and Perform Your BEST this Spring & Summer

Everyone joins Adventure Boot Camp in May.  It's always our biggest session of the year. 

It's a ton of fun getting outside after being indoors with cabin fever all winter long. 

And everyone wants to look their best as the warm temps arrive for good.  Unfortunately, too many wait until the warm weather arrives before "getting in shape". 

Thankfully you and I know that there's not a season for fitness, it's a year round pursuit, and a life-long commitment.   You get it, you're not gonna be "starting" or "restarting" a health/fitness regime in May ... you've been on the path, so you're well ahead of the majority.

So this is more of a Spring Clean-up, a review of sort, of what to do to Look, Feel and Perform at your best this spring and summer ....

10 Tips to Look, Feel and Perform Your BEST this Spring & Summer

1) Efficient Exercise

Intensity of your workout is more important than duration. It doesn't matter if you are looking for muscle tone or fat loss, long workouts are inefficient and actually can be counterproductive.  When exercising, make it count. Break a sweat, feel that burning sensation in your muscles, use heavy weight, and get breathless.  We did just that today!

2) You Cannot Tone Without Lifting Weights

A common term we hear all the time is "toning".  What too many people still don't realize is to create a "toned" look, we need to be lifting heavy weights with short rest periods.

3) Don't Overdo Cardio

Walk into any fitness facility and women (some guys too) are lined up across the treadmills, while the men are grunting at each other on the bench press. Yes, this is a generalization, but if you've been to the gym you've seen this too. Excessive amounts of cardio leads to an overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a significant contribution to storing belly fat.  Cardiovascular is a good thing, for sure.  But it shouldn't be excessive if a lean body is your goal.

4) Sprints

Sprinting is a great way to build a lean, healthy and strong body.  The degree & amount of time the muscle is activated and under tension is a major factor of muscle function and improvement.  And there is no exercise that generates more force and muscle activation (especially in your core!) than sprints (you got a BUNCH of those in today).  Sprinting is a great way to build the outer portion of your abs.  

5) De-stress

Easier said than done, right?  Stress is commonplace as we strive to get it all done, and oftentimes with minimal sleep.  You've heard this from me before ... to look, feel and perform at your best, it's essential to take the time to de-stress at points throughout your day.  When chronically stressed, you'll carry more body fat, even while following a "perfect" diet and exercise regimen. To de-stress: Mediate, laugh, read, walk, pray, find quite time, or anything you find relaxing and rejuvenating.

6) Sleep & Nap

Sleeping is your body's "reset" button.  When you're sleep deprived your decisions are compromised, your focus is lacking, energy is low, and cravings for sweet and fatty foods are heightened. On days in which you are unable to get your Z's, taking naps go a long way in resetting your stress hormone levels.

7) Use the Less Than 10 Label Rule

The "Less Than 10 Label Rule" is a cool trick to use when looking at nutrition labels.

  • What you do is take the total amount of carbohydrates, subtract out the amount of fiber, and then subtract out the amount of protein (all shown on a food label). You want that number to be less than 10.  The lower, the better.
  • Carbs (-) Fiber (-) Protein = < 10
  • This is a good reference guide because foods that score lower than 10 will keep your hunger, energy, and cravings in check for an extended period of time, which is essential for fat loss!

8) Use Cocoa

We touched on this last week ... this "magic supplement" has been around for many centuries. The Mayans and Aztecs even believed this plant could impart immortality. Now, we're not talking about Snickers, chocolate bars of Thin Mints here, but rather 100% raw organic cocoa powder. This can be found at your local grocery, Whole Foods or Trader Joes.  Organic options are best. 

Benefits of cocoa include:

  • Shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure
  • Full of antioxidants
  • Has antidepressant effects and has been shown to helps the body release its own opium-like compounds, called the endorphins, and also boosts levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (helping you feel balanced, and mentally good)
  • Cocoa is a rich source of many nutritive minerals, most importantly magnesium.  Magnesium, along with zinc and vitamin B6, are depleted micronutrients when under stress.
  • Increases focus and energy
  • Is an aphrodisiac in that it increases pleasures of the brain (I didn't know this 8 years ago, otherwise I would have shared that with Nancy James :).

Cocoa usage:  Mix 1 tablespoon with hot water and drink it like hot cocoa. Sweeten with stevia or Splenda if desired.  Or add it to a smoothie.

9) Decrease Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol causes dehydration, compromises liver function, & impairs brain function.  Yeah, we all know that.  But here's the deal - when your body burns fat it naturally produces what is called acetate. When you drink excess alcohol, there is an excess of acetate in your body which signals your body that it's burning fat, so it doesn't have to do it anymore. When you drink, you literally cannot burn fat at the biochemical level.  To look, feel and perform at your best, limit alcohol to the weekends, or special occasions. 

10) Eat Naked

What?!  Eat naked, Brian?  Well, hopefully you're intrigued.  Click here for more

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 | www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's time that we start eating NAKED!

Seriously, if we all ate naked, we'd live in a much happier world.

I'm sure right now you're thinking I've LOST MY MIND!!

But when I say, "naked," I mean food that is naked - not buried, covered up or disguised. Food that is fresh and nutritious and ... well, naked!

Naked foods have less than 5 ingredients.  The fewer, the better.  The less ingredients, the more of a nutrition powerhouse that food is for YOU (and your family)!  And the less hungry you feel after eating, the better your metabolism operates and the faster you lose body fat.

And now is the perfect time to consider eating naked.  

Summer will be here SOON, and NOW is the time to plan your summer harvest of good nutrition!  

Over the coming 6+ months, there will be no better time to incorporate the freshest ingredients around.   

Fresh produce picked locally (Farm to Farmer's Market to your kitchen) has significantly more flavor and nutrients than food that has been in the food delivery chain for weeks (from Farm to Truck to Manufacturer who bags/labels food to Truck to Wholesale Distributor to Truck to Grocery store to your kitchen).  

The same is true for produce when it is in season. In my mind, asparagus always tastes better in April (in-season) than it does in October. But with food manufacturing and shipping processes we can get most foods year round - regardless of when they are "in season."

Here are 4 ways to ensure you have the foods to eat naked:
  1. Join a CSA, which stands for Consumer Supported Agriculture. For about $500 per season (comes out to about $20 per week), you can get a share of a farm from May-November. Once a week you receive a share of the crop, which is packaged into a box that you pick up. What you get and the amount depends on what's ripe/ready to pick. The best part? You'll be exposed to foods you never would have considered purchasing in the grocery store! To check out local CSA's, go to http://www.localharvest.org/ and type in your zip code.
    Please note: Most CSA's close to new subscribers by the beginning of May - now is the time to get set up!
  2. Get fresh, organic produce delivered directly to your door.   My personal favorite is Green B.E.A.N. Deliver that actually drops amazing organic produce off to your home or business.  I get my delivery every Tuesday at home, and every other week at the studio - http://www.greenbeandelivery.com/cincinnati/
  3. Go to your local farmer's market or roadside stand and check out the beautiful bounty of fresh fruits and veggies.
  4. Grow your own garden.  Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs (and so much more) is so easy to grow. You can harvest a garden right on your back patio or porch in pots! Buy starter plants at a local farmer's market or nursery, heck even Lowe's sells them, instead of seeds, so you can begin to enjoy your fresh food even sooner.  Here's a list of what you can grow (starting NOW) in our region: http://tinyurl.com/cuk65zs
Fresh produce is front and center in the meals my family eats at home.  Just like you, I want to be a role model for healthful eating and nutritious food choices so that my kids grow up to be healthy and strong ... and make their own good choices as adults.

Naked foods-of-choice might be blueberries and strawberries as the BASE of cereal in the morning, topped with some whole grain oatmeal.  Or a fruit smoothies made in a Magic Bullet Blender, or a handful of fresh spinach and other veggies in an egg white omelet or sliced avocados on nearly anything!  We eat a lot of fresh fish prepared simply in the oven or on the grill, and our frig is always stocked with a big variety of fruits and veggies.

Chris Mohr, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert I have introduced to many of you through the years, gives us an easy rule of thumb to use for selecting foods - "the less legs the better!"

Paula Owens, author of The Power of 4, tells us to eat whole, unprocessed foods, preferably organic. Sean Croxton, another well respected nutritionist, adamantly abhors all processed foods. I could go on and on.

The advice is straightforward and the message is simple.  The idea of naked food is just a way to keep us mindful that when we take the best of natural ingredients and cover them with sauce, bury them in layers of fat, salt, sugar and chemicals or process them to death and put them in a bag or a box - we've ruined them. And when we think of produce as a SIDE DISH that we "have to" include with a meal, instead of the base of a meal, we have it backward.  To stay healthy, fit & lean, with boundless vitality, we need to consume NAKED foods for a minimum of 50% of the calories we take in.   

Eating naked is something that EVERYONE can do - in just a few short weeks of eating these power foods, your taste buds actually prefer them over the high fat, highly processed, high sugar, no nourishment food options.  

Take the challenge.  Now is the perfect time.  You will surprise yourself how easy it is for your body to lean out ... and how much natural energy, happiness, and mental clarity you'll have as a result!

Enjoy the upcoming harvest season, for all its bounty and joys ... and enjoy eating naked!

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Recharge your battery ...

Those of you that have been around me for a while know that I'm a little obsessed with keeping my phone charged. 

I have a charger in my car, at work, one upstairs and one downstairs in my home.  Yes, I'm obsessed. 

Sometimes think about Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway, and wonder what I would do if I found myself with no electricity?  How could I conserve my phone battery so I could call for help or reach out to family, if I was stranded on some uninhabited island?

Yeah, I know, it makes no sense.  There isn't any cell tower coverage on a deserted island.

I have the same obsession with my Garmin running watch, iPod, blue tooth wireless ear piece, and laptop batteries.

I'm not going to try to analyze my weird obsession with having a full battery, because I'm sure it was some crazy thing that happened to me in childhood.  ;)

But silliness aside, WE aren't much different than a diminishing battery that requires daily charging to keep a device running smoothly. 

At the end of the day, we too run out of juice.  Add in a ton of demands and stress to the mix, and our battery gets drained even more quickly.

So today I want to share a handful of ways to keep your energy flowing abundantly, and you operating at a HIGHLY productive level:

  • Workout first thing in the morning.  There's no better way to feel good and get fully prepared for the day mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically than getting the blood pumping, a solid dose of endorphins flowing, and a boost to the healthy hormones that help you energize up, than an invigorating workout to kick off your day.
  • Put something POSITIVE into your brain between the time you wake up, and the time you start work (or start chasing kids around).  Of course, we've heard a million times that "we are what we eat" ... and there's no doubt about that.  But we ALSO become what we put into our minds and think about.  The "junk food" happens every day - it's automatic - the news, negative situations, and energy-sapping people, etc.  And it'll drain your battery faster than downloading a 5 gigabyte movie to your phone.  We have to put in the stuff that will offset the negative, and charge the mind for a positive and productive day.  Keep audio books in the car for driving, watch an inspiring YouTube video, read something inspirational/motivational every day. 
  • Hang around inspired, driven, HAPPY, positive people.  We are the average of our 5 best friends.  Seek out special time with those MOST important to you, and connect with people that lift your spirit.  Even if it's just 15 minutes a day - it'll super charge your battery!
  • Build in some downtime.  Of course, vacations and time away is essentially.  But so too is getting sufficient sleep at night and scheduling breaks into your busy day.  I take a power nap (15 minutes is perfect, but don't go beyond 30 since the body tends to have a hard time coming out of a deep sleep) almost every single day - it allows the second half of my day to be equally as productive as the first half. 
  • Do something that you LOVE every day.  Music?  Nature?  Art?  Quiet time?  Reading?  Prayer?  Walking?  Dancing?  Making someone laugh? Meditation?  Watching a GREAT movie?  Whatever you love, you've gotta connect with it daily to keep your battery buzzing with plenty of juice!

Keep track of your personal battery meter throughout the day.  Have lots of "chargers" in all the environments you spend your time in daily (the office, home, your car, etc).  The more in tune you become with you energy, the better you become at recognizing when it's time to plug in and recharge!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Becoming a Fat Loss Nutrition Detective ...

Bio individuality in terms of your health, fitness and weight loss is the key to your health and fitness success.  There is no one way, there is simply YOUR WAY.    

And your way will be different than your best friend’s.  And therein lies the key ingredient. 

But how do you figure out YOUR WAY?

Let me go ahead and give it to you right up front.  Trial and error.

I’ll expand, of course, but I know many people don’t like that answer.  Human nature DOES NOT like uncertainty.  We crave answers and solutions to our problems.  Psychology research tells us that certainty is one of the key needs of the human brain.   Which is why we seek something to believe it, and look for the one single way.

But there is not a single or right way.  There’s YOUR WAY, and that takes trial and error, ebb and flow to discover it.   

Insight versus action 

To get started on the process of finding what works we need to let go of some old ideas and beliefs that may be keeping us stuck. These include:
  • That weight loss is linear, consistent and predictable. Weight loss is none of these things. The belief that it is will simply lead to disappointment.  Our expectation should be the opposite of linear. 
  • That being perfect is even possible or desirable. Perfection is a myth and even it were achievable there is no way to learn if we never make a mistake.
  • That failure is not helpful. Failure is THE most important aspect of change.  The harder and more frequently you fail, the more quickly and thoroughly you learn the lessons required to grow.
  • That information is the same as transformation.  Information plus learning is education.  Education plus experience is wisdom. Wisdom applied towards change is transformation. Learning, education, experience, application all involve action. Action is required. To discover what works for YOU, what will deliver the results YOU want, requires that we stop looking and start doing.
What to do. Structured Flexibility 

Structured flexibility is the way to think about this.  We need enough structure to get started, some basic guidelines.

You need to understand roughly how many calories your body needs for your goals (weight loss, maintenance, weight gain).  This is ALWAYS a good ballpark, it will likely be adjusted upwards or downwards a bit, and gives you a yardstick from which to measure.  But calories should NOT be your primary focus.  Here's the Harris Benedict Calorie Calculator to ballpark your calories for your goal: www.cincinnatifitnessbootcamp.com/CalorieCalc.xlsx  

More importantly, we need to eat foods that are high in water, fiber and have sufficient protein.  These foods give us the BEST opportunity to keep energy flowing, and they reduce hunger and cravings.  More info on these foods here: http://cincyfitness.blogspot.com/2013/12/fat-loss-foods.html 

Once you ballpark your calories and START eating fat loss foods, trial and error begins – you’ll use the response of your body to adjust and tweak your approach. 

Biofeedback & Results 

With the above structure in place, now we must become more like a detective than a dieter.  We need to pay attention and digest the “clues” the body is sending.  These clues provide feedback on whether the approach is working.  There are two main feedback scenarios you can pick up on. 

1) Biofeedback.   

The body is constantly feeding back to you in the form of sensations.  Hunger, energy, cravings, vitality, mood, digestion, sleep, workout recovery, etc.  All of these tell you how your metabolism, and the hormones that power it, are functioning.

The most useful biofeedback sensations for dieting is the trio of hunger, energy and cravings (HEC, pronounced “heck”). If your HEC is in check, then you have a strong indication your hormonal metabolism is burning fuel, especially fat, efficiently.

This should be assessed throughout your day. Rank the parameters on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being high and one being low.

This is a great way to subjectively understand your metabolism in real time.  And is one of the only tools I have found that allows you to figure out if your lifestyle factors are helping or hurting your progress. 

2) Results. 

It is possible, but rare, to have HEC in check when you are eating anything and everything included in the standard American diet.  Which is why we also need to correlate this with results.

It is a huge mistake to just use weight loss to assess.  We need to know not just the type of weight we are losing, but also where we are losing it.  A combination of weight, inches and body fat is best.  This is the tool we provide before and after every 4 week program, and it is the highest standard of body change measuring.  Another very good option is to find a favorite outfit that may be a little snug right now.   Every 3-4 weeks, try on that outfit to gauge your progress.  If it is fitting better, you’re on track.   

Putting it together. The AIM process 

Once you have the above pieces of information in place, you can begin the process of tweaking.  I refer to this as the AIM process:
  • Assess. Check in with HEC & body composition (or your favorite outfit) results.
  • Investigate. Like a detective, analyze the results. Was HEC in check or not? Did you lose fat or not?
  • Modify. Based on your investigation above, modify your approach.  Click here for a step by step approach on modifying your approach.
This process is NOT quick and easy for most.  It is, however, the path that will give you the results you desire.  There is NO ONE WAY, yet everyone can find their OWN WAY following the information above.  Learning, education, experience, application by taking consistent action.  Moving from seeking the one way, or the next way, toward action is your TRUE secret to success! 

Brian Calkins NSCA-CPT, ACE
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How to Modify Your Nutrition

There is a delicate balance with respect to the amount of starch/sugar a person can eat to supply energy for exercise AND activities of daily living, but not over produce insulin, so that the body can burn fat effectively. 

Finding this spot is important, and has three primary parameters: amount of carb, type of carb, and timing of carbs. 

Amount of Carb
For fat loss, each person needs to find the appropriate amount of carbs that will deliver sustained energy, but not slow fat loss … and as you likely now understand, it's unique to each of us.  

In this discussion, think in terms of bites since in today's fast paced society people often eat on the go and don't carry around scales to measure food.  We also don't have access to meals labeled with clearly marked grams of carbs.  So using bites allows a quick and adjustable means to manipulate the amount of carbs we consume.    

So a single bite will be approximately the size of a tablespoon and equal to roughly 5g of carbohydrates.  For those new to adjusting your eating with a goal of losing body fat, I recommend no more than 10 bites of carbs eaten exclusively at each of the major meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This can then be adjusted up or down based on your fat loss results … AS WELL AS your responses to hunger, cravings, and energy.  This is an individual process that needs to be approached with the mindset of a detective.   

Type of Carb
The type of carbohydrate corresponds directly with the amount of carbohydrate. The more favorable carbs are consumed in greater amounts of bites and those bites can also be a bit larger. The more detrimental carbs to fat loss are consumed in fewer bites and should be smaller. As an example, if you are eating white rice, have 3 small bites, but if you are eating brown rice eat 5 bigger bites. The types of carbs have much to do with how fast the carbohydrate will raise blood sugar (glycemic index and glycemic load) and the allergy producing potential of the carbohydrate.  

The carbs with the highest fiber relative to sugar/starch are basically eaten in unlimited amounts (for most people).  These include non-starchy vegetables and whole fruits (berries, apple, pear). But the starchy carbohydrates and sweet carbohydrates have to be managed tightly if body fat reduction is a goal. These include white grains, whole grains, beans, and other carbs. This is often a point of confusion for people as they have heard that the  "healthiest carbs" are whole grains and beans because of their high fiber. These carbs ARE high fiber, but they are much higher in starch/sugar and therefore are not as beneficial as the fibrous carbs and fruit.  This is an essential insight for body fat reduction and for modifying your carbohydrate consumption to see results.    

White grains have nothing but starch/sugar with little fiber. Whole grains and beans have more fiber and less starch, but they are still over 70% starch. They may be healthy, but they are not the best for fat loss. Vegetables and fruits in some cases actually have less fiber than whole grains and beans, but they have far less starch/sugar and also much higher water content. This means they have a low glycemic load and make for great fat loss foods.  If you take nothing else about carbohydrates from this, you should know that the only truly free carbs are non-starchy vegetables and low sweet fruits (even fruits can be an issue for some). All others carbs should be consumed as bites.   

Timing of Carb
The timing of carbs involves using carbs to control your hunger rhythms and energy needs. A high carb meal induces an insulin response which has been shown to adjust the leptin rhythm determining how hungry we feel from one day to the next. For some, having carbs at each meal is still too much to allow fat loss. In this case it is helpful to reduce carbs further and focus carb intake at specific times.  Eating the majority of your carbs at breakfast can help minimize hunger at night.  

Another great time to include a higher carb load is post workout. Because exercise makes us uniquely carb sensitive, carbs consumed post workout will be distributed to liver and muscle glycogen stores first and aid muscle development before they are stored as fat. This means higher loads of carbs as well as higher glycemic index carbs can be better tolerated immediately following a challenging workout, if desired.  However, this still has to be monitored, and viewed in context. There is a fine line between maximizing glycogen storage for performance compared to controlling carb amounts for fat loss. I'll share a bit more on this tomorrow.  

For now, if you've been exercising and eating healthy foods for some time and still have a few more pounds to go, start to think about your carbs in terms of bites.  Develop an understanding of the types of carbs available, and what is BEST for your goals.  And then consume the types of carbs using the timing suggestions above.   

Remember, the key in all of this working for you is the direct feedback you get.  How's your energy?  Your Hunger?  And your cravings?  All these should stay in check after eating.  This is feedback you receive constantly throughout the day.  Then every 3-4 weeks, monitor your body fat loss results.  Keep in mind, this is something that takes time to digest, and put into play in YOUR body.

The smart use of carbohydrates is one of the most important concepts in body fat reduction and changing your body.  Smart manipulation of hormones allows for two of the most critical aspects of fat loss: the right amount of calories and balanced insulin. And always remember that this is totally different for everyone.

One of the most common mistakes made by fat loss seekers is the "lower is better" mantra. This is especially true of carbohydrates.  Keep in mind that cutting carbs or calories too low can cause a slowed metabolic rate, insatiable hunger, uncontrollable cravings, unbalanced energy, lack of energy for workouts, changes in mood, and perhaps most importantly, a loss of lean muscle tissue.  It is no wonder that diet focused programs rely so heavily on willpower.  Avoid the trap of assuming lower is better, but rather find the tipping point (the amount of carbohydrates or calories that is low enough to initiate fat loss, but high enough to maintain energy, reduce cravings, and blunt hunger).  The "carb tipping point" is individual, needs to be adjustable, and when used correctly is a reliable and reproducible way to help you find your ideal fat loss formula. 

Please remember, we are all uniquely different and require a unique blend of macronutrients.  What works for your best friend will NOT be what works for you.  It's one of the reasons diets books don't work.  A 22 year old athlete that trains with the team 3 hours per day can (and should) consume tons of calories.  She has LESS of a need to focus on a regimen of fibrous carbs, and has a lot of leeway for the simple sugars, and starchy carbs, compared to a 37 year old working mother of 3.  

Even two 37 year old working mothers of 3 will vary GREATLY on their carb tipping points. 

Here is how you can begin finding your tipping point:

1). Pay close attention to your body's hormonal feedback mechanisms.  As you well know by now, these include hunger, energy level, and cravings, but also include mood, motivation, digestion, focus and sleep. The proper response should be no hunger between major meals, no cravings, and increased energy. You should also feel motivated and focused without anxiety and depression. Gas and bloating should not be present and sleep should normalize. Don't make the mistake of assuming these symptoms are not related to food intake. Getting your carb tipping point correct will balance metabolic function. When it's off, your body will let you know. Use these symptoms to monitor the mix of energy (food and exercise) you put in your body.  Remember carbs don't work alone. Your protein, fiber and fat intake will need to be regulated as well.

2) If hunger, energy and cravings are stable you can be assured you have things balanced, but you will need to monitor fat loss using a RELIABLE body fat tool (the bathroom scale doesn't measure fat loss).  If all the biofeedback sensations are stable AND you are losing fat, you found your tipping point.  All you need to do now is stay there. Do not be tempted to cut carbs further.  Doing so will sacrifice your energy and make your fat loss results unsustainable. If you want to speed results, proceed slowly and immediately increase carbs back again if your energy falters. 

3) If the biofeedback sensations are not stable or they are stable but you are not losing fat, you have not found the tipping point. You will need to alter your plan in one of two ways: 

FIRST– If sensations are not balanced, increase the amount of fiber, protein and water you take in. This is important. More times than not the issue has nothing to do with carbs, but is a protein issue. Wait a few days. If still having issues raise the protein content and fiber content one more time. If this still is not effective, increase the starch content of your meals by 5 to 10g (one bite is ~5g of carbs, as mentioned in yesterday's email) at a time until you find the issues resolve.  This is a trial and error phase where you will need to alter your intake of the major macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) to find your unique fat loss formula. This takes time and patience for some, and involves manipulating protein, fiber, starch and fat intake. This can take some work, but once you find it you have a system of body change that will never fail you even when your metabolism changes as you age. 

SECOND – If all hormonal sensations are stable and you are not losing fat, then begin to decrease the amount of starch at each meal by 5 to 10g. Also, begin to look at your fat and sodium intake. Adjust fat, carb, and sodium intake downwards every few days until the fat begins to come off your body.  As you do this you should be ramping up protein and vegetable intake. Often, this is the stage where you will appreciate the difference between healthy food and fat loss food. If managing carbs/starch and fat are not helping the desired results, then look at fruit and dairy next. These are two important sources of sugar/starch that can keep some from the results they want.  Finding your carb tipping point may mean you need to cut these foods back as well, at least temporarily. 

You might consider printing this out, re-reading and fully digesting to get you started on this process.  It's really all about building on all of your success to this point, and refining your approach.   Paying attention to your body's hormonal feedback mechanisms, and measuring your fat loss.  

Your friend in fitness, 

Brian Calkins NSCA-CPT, ACE
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bio Individuality: Your Secret Ingredient

I believe one of the most important insights in the world of vibrant health, fitness and weight loss is the concept of bio individuality.  There is no one way, there is simply your way.   As such, it's each of our responsibilities to discover what that is.

There is no single right diet out there somewhere.  Primal, paleo, low carb, vegan, you name it.  None of this works for everyone or even most everyone.  In fact, falling for the latest fad or eating approach, spinning wheels jumping from one book, guru or diet system to the next is a sure way to create frustration, and NOT get results.

We don't "find" a diet, rather we discover or create the diet that is right for each of us, individually.  We don't follow a protocol, we create a lifestyle that you can love, live with and own.  A lifestyle that delivers health, vitality and sustained weight loss, and supports your BEST you … without occupying every waking moment of your life.

Be leery of the fitness guru that posts pictures of his/her abs on facebook.  It's the same ego that tells you there is ONLY one right way for you to eat.  Also be leery of the follower of that self-absorbed fitness guru, he/she will tell you what you're doing is wrong.  Unless they live in YOUR body, feel YOUR energy, know when YOU'RE hungry, understand YOUR cravings, it's better to ignore that "expert" too.

Tomorrow we'll look at the components that YOU can rely on to create YOUR own ideal nutrition lifestyle.  And yours will be different than your best friend's.  And therein lies the key ingredient. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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