Should You Be Eating Simple or Complex Carbs?

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Should You Be Eating Simple or Complex Carbs?

Nutrient timing was such a hot topic that we decided to expand and create “part 2” that dives in deeper on the importance of simple vs. complex carbs in conjunction with when you should be eating them.  We discussed the importance of macro frequency and the specific timing of certain macros around workouts. The frequency of protein intake is more important than the specific timing around workouts while the consumption of carbs have an even more significant timing window. The vast majority of your carbs need to be consumed around your workouts, especially if it is a high intensity session. Carbs gives your body a great source of energy by replenishing glycogen stores pre and post training. Glycogen stores supply blood glucose (energy) to the nervous system and muscles for contraction. These carbs can be broken down into two classifications: Simple carbs, which are referred to as high glycemic index carbohydrates while the other form of carbs is complex also referred to as low glycemic index carbohydrates. These two forms of carbs are very specific in their timing around workouts as well so we should pay close attention to reap the most benefits for our body. 

Simple Carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates are your most basic form of carbs. They are typically monosaccharides (one-unit sugars) and disaccharides (two-unit sugars). The monosaccharides being glucose, fructose and galactose, while disaccharides are two monosaccharides combined. While disaccharides typically need an enzyme to break them down, the body can absorb monosaccharides immediately. That being said simple carbs are just your basic forms of sugar. They need to be consumed during or 30 minutes’ post training. At this point, your body is extremely depleted of glycogen and glucose. During training you are burning through those glycogen stores and you hit a point where you cannot supply the body with enough glycogen. The body releases a hormone called cortisol (a stress hormone), causing the breakdown of muscle (catabolism), which results in the conversion of your protein to glucose for energy release. At this point, the body can quickly absorb the newly released simple carbs (glucose). This causes a chain reaction where insulin is released to help the muscles absorb the glucose to decrease muscle lost. This actually starts the process of muscle growth. Consuming carbs right after training helps with the likelihood of those carbs being used as glycogen versus being converted to fat. That quick absorption gives you a boost of energy, but that energy cannot be sustained. Since simple carbs are a fast absorbing carb that provide the body with a boost of energy, that energy cannot be sustained due to their rapid rate of absorption. There is some controversy of whether or not to consume simple carbs before training. I believe if you are going to absorb simple carbs before training it needs to be within 30 mins of your training period. I would also recommend that you continue that consumption during training as stated above. Outside the thirty-minute window before or post training, I would focus my energy on the consumption of complex carbs. 

Complex Carbohydrates:

 

Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugars referred to as polysaccharides. The polysaccharides are commonly referred to as starches and fibers. The most common starches and fibers are plant foods such as grains, potatoes, vegetables and legumes. These polysaccharides are broken down into monosaccharides before they can be digested and used as energy in the body. The fact that these carbs have to be broken down to a simpler form decreases the rate of absorption. Your body will be absorbing the sugars slowly, but with a timed release, which allows a more sustainable energy level. That is why complex carbs are the best choice of carb consumption before workouts. It allows for sustainable energy levels throughout training. They are also a great source of carbs throughout the rest of the day. Your nervous system’s primary energy source is carbs so they will keep you alert and full throughout the day. Complex carbs are also a great source for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Below is a table that breaks down the optimal timing carb intake throughout the day: 

Credit: Taylor Smith, LMN Coach

Credit: Taylor Smith, LMN Coach

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Nutrient Timing - Things You Should Know

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Nutrient Timing - Things You Should Know

Nutrient timing has recently become a popular topic in the fitness industry. Nutrient timing is the concept of certain macronutrients being consumed at certain periods throughout the day and also around your workouts. Two questions are often asked about nutrient timing:

1. "How often throughout the day should I consume certain macros?"

2. "Does the timing vary depending on my workouts?"

These are great questions and we will dive into it a bit deeper.  Below is each macronutrient broken down to better understand the science behind nutrient timing. 

Protein

There is evidence that show similarities in the development of muscle metabolism and protein feeding. The muscle is a dynamic tissue that constantly grows and shrinks throughout the day. That being said it is extremely beneficial to have a constant supply of amino acids (broken down proteins) in GI tract to promote muscle growth and repair. Protein, unlike fats and carbohydrates, do not have a storage mechanism in the body. Fats are able to be stored as adipose tissue, while carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver. Proteins are broken down, absorbed and whatever cannot be absorbed is flushed out. The only way to get more protein in the body is to consume it. If we are not taking in protein then our body will naturally take amino acids from the next best source, which would be other muscle tissue, because our body still has to repair and contract. Breaking down one muscle to help grow another does not sound like a sustainable process. Protein needs to be consumed in a sufficient amount and consumed in a way to continuously supply amino acids to the bloodstream. The issue with developing a consistent method for the frequency of protein consumption is how to get a consistent amount during the day. We need to consume protein every 3-5 hours so we do not have periods without amino acids in the bloodstream. The exact timing aspect of protein is minimal. You can consume protein after you work out and data shows that it slows catabolism and promote anabolism. However, the actual muscle growth will occur 2-3 days after training not in the hours post training. 

Carbohydrates    

Carbohydrate timing is more complex than protein timing. How often you eat protein is more important than timing it around workouts. However, it is the opposite for carbohydrates. The frequency of carb intake is not really an issue until we are consuming vast amounts of carbohydrates.  In that case, carbohydrate consumption can become too large to be synthesized into glycogen stores and deposited more as a fat. Therefore, the timing of carb intake becomes more important to increase its frequency throughout several meals. 

Timing carb intake as it relates to physical activity has several distinct phases. The first window would be the pre-workout phase. The pre-workout phase is important in replacing glycogen stores, which supplies blood glucose (Energy) to the nervous system and muscles for contraction. Having full glycogen stores will allow better workout performances. Carbohydrates also have been shown to be helpful in preventing muscle loss when ingested during the pre-workout phase. For this to be effective pre-workout carbs would need to be consumed 1-3 hours before training. 

The next phase is post workout carbs which have similar effects as pre-workout carbs. They have an anti-catabolism mechanism as well as glycogen repletion and will activate anabolic effects. Protein combined with carbs helps to blunt the catabolism process. These carbs help with glycogen repletion so we do not have chronically low glycogen stores effecting workout performance and muscle growth. Consuming carbs right after training helps with the likelihood of those carbs being used as glycogen. The alternative is being converted to fat stores at rest. The anabolic affects occur by spiking insulin. Insulin stimulates muscle growth upon binding to the muscle cell surface. Post-workout carbs show a lot of benefit for your performance and your absorption for glycogen stores. They need to be consumed in a 1:1 ratio as your pre-workout carbs. Then the rest of your carbs, which isn’t much, should be spread throughout your remaining meals.

Fats

The last macro to worry about for nutrient timing is fats. Fats are very difficult to digest. They slow down digestion of proteins and lower the glycemic index of carbs. They slow down your digestion of proteins from one to seven hours depending on how much fat is consumed with the protein. Fats need to be consumed away from your workouts. This way they do not affect the nervous system functionality and glycogen stores of which carbs are trying to promote. There are exceptions for endurance athletes training for several hours due to the specific energy system they are training because they will be burning more fats during that state.

    Now that we have talked about the different timings of the different macros, I find it important to also tell you how important nutrient timing is to weight loss. When you total up all the variables to consider when losing weight, timing falls 3rd in line. Caloric balance and macronutrient amounts take the top 2 spots. A deviation from either one of these will make or break a diet plan. As long as you get your calories and macros right, timing is a much smaller concern. Research shows that nutrient timing is responsible for at most about 20% and possibly as little as 10% to the total impact of a diet plan. For those trying to obtain the loss of those last few pounds need to be more conscientious about their intake timing in order to make the biggest difference. That 10% for a top level athlete could mean the difference between 1st and 3rd. If you want the best possible results, then nutrient timing could be something to consider.

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Eating Clean

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Eating Clean

Finally! Team LMN has unlocked the secret to freezing fat and making it disappear…. 

All is takes is 3 simple steps:

  1. Go to your local grocery store and buy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s (Haagen Dazs will do too).  OK so now you have your fat
  2. Take home and place in freezer. OK fat has been frozen
  3. Eat with pure abandonment! Do I have to say it? YES, the fat has disappeared

The point of this torture? There is no easy way to lose weight – it’s a combination of eating healthily (with occasional treats) and exercising regularly (with occasional burpees).

If you’ve been following flexible dieting and have numbers to follow (your macros), you may have been told that as long as you hit your numbers it really doesn’t matter what you eat.  To a certain extent this is actually true – surprised? Don’t be – it sometimes is all about the numbers – take a look at this:

2 slices of Papa Johns large cheese pizza provides

580 calories

76g carbohydrates

20g total fat

22g protein

Doesn’t sound too bad right? It could definitely fit into my macros and I could still lose weight.  Consider the alternative:

Baked Chicken – 4oz

Sweet potato – 1 cup (200g) with 1-teaspoon butter

Steamed broccoli – 1 cup with 1-teaspoon olive oil

Orange Juice – 5oz

Milano cookies – 2 – dessert yay!

Banana – ½ (63g)

Definitely a LOT more food for your ‘money’ so I know which one I’d rather eat – Now, flexible dieting is called flexible for a reason.  It is meant to allow you to enjoy all foods and we are certainly not saying that pizza is no no – just that it shouldn’t be an everyday food.  It should be considered a treat because what the numbers don’t show you are that those 2 slices of pizza also provide:

  • Over 1400mg sodium – almost 60% of your allowance for the day
  • 9g of saturated fat – close to your limit for the whole day (per American Heart Association’s recommendations)
  • 4 g fiber – less than 20% of what you need 
  • Did we mention 580 calories? That’s a lot of calories for a little bit of food

On the other hand, our full meal also gives us:

  • A whole range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the broccoli, the fruits and the sweet potato.
  • Twice the fiber 
  • Less than 150mg sodium keeping you well within your limits (and allows for an extra salty rim on that margarita)
  • Umm – did we mention dessert?

The take home message?

Enjoy all foods but remember some are meant to be occasional treats – to get leaner, faster, and stronger you want to be eating quality nutritious foods on most days of the week – margarita optional. 

Tejal Parekh, MS, RDN, LDN              Registered Dietitian                               Lean Machine Nutrition

 

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Back to Basics

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Back to Basics

So you’ve made the move to counting your macros or you are thinking about it, which is a great start to a healthier, leaner, stronger, you! You’ve heard the words: carbs, protein, fat – all sound familiar….but what exactly are they are why are they important? Let’s chew the fat.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed. Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. 

Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products as well as table sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. 

Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good.

 Do I need carbohydrates? Yes! Without it, you are not giving your body enough of an energy source your body will then use the protein (inefficiently) for energy instead of growth and repair of muscle tissue.

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs. They are also found in plant sources such as soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains (such as wheat germ and quinoa). You do not need to eat animal products to get all the protein you need in your diet.

Do I need protein? Absolutely without it, your body is not able to sufficiently grow and repair cells.  You won’t be building much muscle without enough protein in your diet

Fat

Fat serves many important roles in the body at the cellular level.  It’s important for heart health and an essential source of energy.  There are 2 main types of fatty acids (FA’s): Omega 3 FA’s & Omega 6 FA’s.  We get plenty of omega 6 fats from vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower and soybean oil.  We get omega 3 fats from oily fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and other sources like flax, walnuts and chia seeds.  The difference is big between the 2 though – omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory and omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory.  The population as a whole eats too much of one and not enough of another – can you guess which? The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be about 6:1 at the very least in order for our body to function optimally.  The reality is that the western diet has a ratio of about 15:1.  This is thought to be one of the reasons for increased heart disease, cancer and various autoimmune.

Do I need fat? Fat is certainly an important component to our cells and provides the necessary source of energy.  Be sure to include foods though that is rich in omega 3 fats such as the ones listed above.  You can make easy switches, for example, eat walnuts instead of almonds or for a homemade salad dressing, use flaxseed oil instead of your usual oil.

So, the bottom-line? Eat from a variety of sources and don’t skip out on one macro over another.  Each provides a valuable source of nutrition and if you are looking to get leaner and stronger, you can’t deprive yourself of the trifecta!

 

Tejal Parekh, MS, RDN, LDN             Registered Dietitian                               Lean Machine Nutrition

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Gabby and Alanna make Regionals 2016!

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Gabby and Alanna make Regionals 2016!

A BIG congratulations our LMN clients Gabrielle Andrews (OPEX client) and Alanna Fisk (Training Think Tank client) for qualifying for the 2016 CrossFit Games Regionals!!  Alanna took 13th in the SE Region and Gabby took 16th in the SW Region.  These extraordinary woman and athletes are on the road to the CrossFit Games!   It has been a pleasure working with these ladies up until this point and we are looking forward to continuing to dial them in over the next few weeks to make sure they are fueled properly and have a specific plan going into the 2016 Regionals.  Come support Gabrielle May 13-15th in Dallas, TX and Alanna in Atlanta, GA May 20-22nd!  

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15 Great Ways To Get Fiber

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15 Great Ways To Get Fiber

1.  Artichokes

2.  Asparagus

3.  Apple

4.  Avocado

5.  Beans

6.  Berries

7.  Broccoli

8.  Lentils

9.  Pears

10.  Peas

11.  Prunes

12.  Spinach

13.  Sprouts

14.  Sweet Potato (with the skin)

15.  Whole Grains (oats, whole wheat pasta, bran flakes)

 

Why is it important to ensure you are getting the proper amount of fiber in your diet? Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Insoluble fiber makes waste easier to move through the intestines to keep you regular.   LMN requires clients to track their fiber to ensure that they are getting their macros from whole nutritious foods instead of processed foods with little micronutrients. Fiber also plays a large role in satiety so if you eat too little of it you may have cravings you wouldn’t have if you were getting the proper intake.  This can lead to weight gain because if you don’t feel satisfied you may overeat. On the flip side, consuming too much fiber can lead to bloating/discomfort, irregular bowls and weight gain. The recommended amount of fiber to consume for an average woman is between 20-30 grams and for an average man would be 30-40g. It is all about finding that sweet spot.  “myfitnesspal” is a great tool to track your fiber intake. 

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How I Lost 10lbs When Nothing Else Worked

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How I Lost 10lbs When Nothing Else Worked

Day1/Day 70

Day1/Day 70

Jesusa lost 10lbs and 6inches in the first 10 weeks of working with LMN and her journey to get here will inspire you.

"Like most of us, I took my health for granted until at the tender age of 38 I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease. I was not a drinker so all my research told me it was my diet. I spent the last 4 years learning and adjusting my diet and exercise to address my medical issue. Somehow, no matter how much I tried though, I could not get my weight down and there were no significant changes with the condition of my liver. To be clear, I was never obese and I worked out 4-5 times a week. So again, my research said it must be my diet. I went vegetarian (worked but I couldn’t maintain it long term), I went paleo (lost weight but my liver was fattier than ever), and then honestly I just gave up. I figured I eat clean enough and if I continue to exercise, it will all sort itself out. Fast forward a few months from reaching that decision, I come across a Facebook post for Lean Machine Nutrition. I knew its founders from my experience with Crossfit. I knew personally they themselves were lean machines so for sure I was intrigued. But I was skeptical. Flexible dieting, macro counting… I had heard it before and had even downloaded an app to count my own macros and wasn’t seeing many changes in body composition or weight After a few days, I contacted Lindsey and to be honest my first question was how are you better than what I can get from downloading an app. Sounds rude and I’m glad Lindsey took the time to explain the process and I was in! The first few weeks were difficult! I was hungry, I was missing my numbers, I was out right frustrated. There were some days I literally cried thinking I can’t do this. But with every week, I saw changes in how I was feeling, how I was looking and meeting macros became second nature. Having unlimited access to your nutrition coach is a invaluable service and I am forever grateful to Lean Machine Nutrition. I have learned more than I can ever put in words. What I can put in words is that I am HEALTHY. The weight loss and physical changes are just by-products of this journey towards wellness. Thank you Lean Machine Nutrition. You have truly changed my life." -Jesusa

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Before LMN (left)/ 70 day in (right) 

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My 6 Month Macro Journey

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My 6 Month Macro Journey

6 months: down 8lbs, 2" off my chest, 1.5" off of my waist, and .5" off of my hips.

6 months: down 8lbs, 2" off my chest, 1.5" off of my waist, and .5" off of my hips.

I started counting my macros a little over 6 months ago and I want to share my progress.  I have lost 8lbs, 2inches off my chest, 1.5inches off my waist and .5inches off my hips.  I was worried I would lose my femininity if I lost body fat but overall I am really pleased with the subtle results.  I can’t remember the last time I had a “fat” day where my clothes didn’t fit and my constant struggle with bloating has diminished.  We all know that when a female is feeling confident, everyone is happy, right guys?  

I am eating about 1000 calories more and 3 times the amount of carbs than before I started.  My performance in the gym has skyrocketed and my relationship with food has improved drastically. I am stronger now than ever before even at a lower body weight and battling injuries.  Goes to show you that you don’t need to be “big” to be strong.  Nor do you have to gain weight to be stronger.  Although, if bigger is better for you I am not here to tell you otherwise, just sharing my personal story.  

I am no longer scared to eat worrying if I will gain weight. I have a plan that is usually pretty easy to stick to and this process has become second nature for me.  I have also become obsessed with the science behind counting macros and the knowledge associated with nutrition and how every human body is magnificently unique.   To fuel my passion, God has provided Team LMN 50 like-minded people who want to make a change  and I couldn’t be more privileged.  Nutrition is such a huge part of everyone’s life for different reasons and the way someone feels about their body and performance can impact their mood that day, or even that year as well as the people closest to them. 

 Flexible dieting allows me to have small indulgences without the guilt or worry of side effects.  I do admit that the majority of my food choices are very clean, organic whole foods.  I am not really a fan of “junk food” except maybe when I was a young teen and ate Cheetos and Welch's Grape pop everyday for dinner ;)  Anyways, my take on flexible dieting may be different than other people because it isn’t just about losing body fat for me, it is to make sure I am fueling my body properly, getting the micronutrients my brain and organs need to function efficiently and live the healthiest life I possibly can so my family doesn’t have to worry about me.  

To conclude my 6 month macro journey, my advice is that results don’t happen overnight if you are doing it the right way.  Body composition takes time, knowledge, awareness of food sensitivities and patience.  Stick to the program!

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What Is a Refeed Day?

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What Is a Refeed Day?

Refeed Days for Weight Loss

If you have been dieting for some time and are no longer seeing significant results, you may need a boost of carbohydrates. I’m referring to a refeed day, a strategic plan to lower your fat intake and increase the macronutrient carbohydrates. Studies show that carbohydrates increase leptin levels, which is the hormone that helps us feel satiated. Refeed days kickstart your metabolism and increase energy levels to help you get over any weight loss plateau. 

Reefed Day vs Cheat Day

A refeed day is designed to replenish your leptin levels after a period of calorie suppression due to dieting. Cheat days are typically a day where all dietary guidelines are removed and you can eat anything you’d like. Most people use cheat days to consume the high-fat foods that they have been craving. Overfeeding on high-fat foods can actually decrease your leptin levels and cause you to store fat. In contrast, a refeed day done the right way is focused on consuming carbohydrates and decreasing fat. While you may gain a very small amount of weight right after your refeed day, don't fear because your metabolism will kick into high gear and help you to lose weight in no time.

Why is Leptin Important to Weight Loss?

One of the most important keys to lasting weight loss is feeling satisfied. Leptin is the key hormone in satiety which makes refeed days an effective way to lose weight. When you are dieting, your leptin levels are typically lower, which can affect your energy, hunger level, immune system and mood. Ever feel cranky while dieting? Are you having daily cravings? That may be your brain’s way of telling you that you need an increase in your leptin levels. The longer that you allow these level to stay low, the better chance you have of going on a binge that can set your weight loss way back. A strategic refeed day can help you regulate your leptin levels and avoid a relapse.

Refeeding 101

You want to plan ahead by stocking up on carbs that you can tolerate.  I personally choose gluten free options such as rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, gatorade or a “carb drink” around my workout.  Some people can tolerate gluten very well and in this case feel free to eat bread, pasta, oats, and cereals. As a general rule of thumb, your carbs will be increased significantly on this day.  Depending on your goals, this number will vary person by person. Keep your protein levels moderate and lower your fat intake to between 20-25% of your daily caloric intake. Remember, excess fat can lower your leptin levels. Some people prefer to spread this over two days. Experiment with different time periods and macronutrient counts to see what works best for you or feel free to hire Lean Machine Nutrition if you are unsure of how many macros you should be eating or how to attack your reefed day. 

Make a Refeed Day a Regular Part of Your Diet

If your weight loss goals are not going as expected, plan a high-carb refeeding day. Once you experience the difference in your metabolism, energy level and mood, you will want to make it a regular part of your diet strategy. Now that you understand the role of leptin, you will want to make sure that you are giving yourself boosts of this hormone on a regular basis while dieting. Reefed days can be scheduled as often as weekly or maybe once a month depending on your goals and current body fat %.  Allow Lean Machine Nutrition to guide you in the right direction if you are unsure of how often you should be refeeding or need nutritional coaching.

 

 

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How Counting Macros Can Help You Lose Weight

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How Counting Macros Can Help You Lose Weight

Dieting is difficult at the best of times. Decreasing calories and fat, while trying to eat more protein, fruit and vegetables doesn’t always work for everyone, particularly when you’re weightlifting, doing CrossFit, or in bootcamp. "Counting Macros" also known as "Flexible Dieting" has been catching on with active people as a realistic way to manage a healthy diet. 

Telling someone they can’t eat cake, steak, or cheese for several weeks out of the year can make them give up before they even start. But counting macros is different. While portions are still carefully measured, no one food is off limits in your diet plan. This means that if you want a little donut with your coffee, or you want the lobster with butter sauce, you can indulge.

The human brain is wired for survival. You go against your internal programming by trying to limit your diet. You’ve already set yourself up for failure, before you’ve even begun. And who wants to be exhausted before you’ve even gotten to the weights, because you had only salad for lunch!

With counting macros, no one food is considered good or bad for you.  Some foods may be more beneficial than others and everyones bodies vary so much that we are asking you to think outside of the box.  You’ll want to toss your old dieting belief system to the mat. So, how do I lose weight, you may be wondering. There is still work involved and it requires tracking your food. When cutting, you will be eating less calories than you burn.  We take it one step further than traditional calorie counting and have you track your macronutrients. 

What are macronutrients, or "macros" for short? In the human diet, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are our three main macros.

These three main macros are counted as 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate equals 4 calories, while 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories. 

To achieve weight loss goals, you’ll need to hit your macro goals. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a chicken burger or tuna with brown rice. Each hits on your 3 macro goals. Your body is able to break down the same amount of nutrients regardless of the food choice.   

You can eat different foods each day, and yet still reach your macro goals. This is the end of diet plans where you eat the same foods every day for 1 month, and then fail, because you’re tired of eating the same type of food over and over again. 

When you’re counting macros, you’ll still want to ensure that you’re gaining micronutrients, such as fiber. According to the AMA, you should be eating 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories eaten. 

If you are an athlete, gym rat, jogger or couch potato this diet can work for you but it needs to be tailored to your needs specifically.  Trust a professional to calculate the macronutrient numbers you will need to reach your goals.  

A flexible diet plan is not only healthy for the body, but it’s also sustainable over the long term. 

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Top 6 Benefits of Counting Macros

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Top 6 Benefits of Counting Macros

Counting macros has been a hot topic in the health and fitness industry for a few years now. It is more like a set of nutritional guidelines than a diet. While diets usually imply restriction, our way gives you flexibility.

In fact, no foods are off limits but I do recommend filling your macros with whole, nutritious, non processed foods. People who count macros make up about 80% of their diet from healthy foods. They track their macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) and make sure that they don’t go over the macro number that was assigned to them. As long as they stay within their limit, technically, they can eat anything they want. 

Still not convinced that it is worth a try? Check out my top six benefits of counting macros.

Benefit 1: You will be more likely to stick to your diet. 

Most people break their diet because they feel too restricted. With counting macros, you can make room for a few squares of chocolate, a cheeseburger or an ice cream sundae in your diet and still reach your fitness goals.

Benefit 2: You can still go out with friends and enjoy a meal.

Trying to stay on a strict diet and having a social life can be difficult.  With most diets your choices are to either restrict what you eat when you go out, don’t eat at all, or even more embarrassing, bring your own prepared food from home. With counting macros, all you need to do is track what you eat while you’re out or even better, plan ahead. Most restaurants post the nutritional value of their menu online.

Benefit 3: Meal prep doesn’t take as much time.

Many traditional dieters spend hours each week prepping meals. Now that no food is off limits, you have a lot more flexibility in what you can eat. People who count macros fill their kitchen with a wide variety of nutritious foods and a few of their favorite treats.

Benefit 4: You will become more educated about food.

One of the biggest benefits of counting macros is getting more educated about food. As you track your daily diet in your app or food diary, you will learn about the nutritional content of your favorite meals. It may surprise to you learn what little nutritional value some foods contain. While you may not need to track your daily diet for life, you will learn how to make better food choices. In the end, knowledge is power.  

Benefit 5: Improved performance in the gym.

My favorite benefit of counting macros is how much it positively affects your performance in the gym. Clients get new personal records often,  have a significant amount more energy and do not crash mid workout.  Most people who count macros claim that they are "allowed" more carbs than they were accustom to and in return fuels them really well and the results speak for themselves.  

Benefit 6: It works!

Science and many, many success stories have shown that counting macros works. When done right, you can achieve your weight loss or muscle gain goals. All it takes is a little guidance which we provide so you know exactly what, when and how much to eat. 

When you look at all of the benefits of counting macros, it really doesn’t make sense to try another fad diet again.

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To Count, Or Not To Count On Thanksgiving?

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To Count, Or Not To Count On Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving is approaching and I want you to have a plan!  I am going to break my clients up into 4 categories for argument sake and let you decide how you should attack the Holiday.  Please choose your category or a combination and begin planning accordingly.

 

Type 1. “Portion control is my middle name”

Type 2. “My eyes are bigger than my stomach and I clean my plate(s) every time”

Type 3. “I was good until I had too many drinks”

Type 4.  “Desserts are my favorite part of any meal”

 

Type 1 tends to enjoy the social aspect of Holidays more than the actual food.  Sure, they enjoy tasting the different foods, and eat a decent meal but generally they stop when they are full.  They have learned over the years to portion out small amounts so they can taste more variety and never have room for a second plate.  They don’t feel guilty about leaving food on their plate because they know the feeling of being so full they can’t move isn’t worth it.  Type 1 most likely will count their food on Thanksgiving but are probably the ones that don’t need to if they want to enjoy a day off.  They have portion control down to a T and will not blow their macros.

 

Type 2 tends to starve themselves all day so they can make room for the feast they are about to smash.  They are so excited about the food that they take massive portions and go back for more even though they are full.  These people tend to eat fast so they can fit it all in because it is so darn good! I would say that this type of person needs to count all of their macros OR learn portion control over night.  Maybe a strategy here would be to count all of your macros leading up to the feast, keeping it high protein, low fat, low carb and then allowing yourself only one plate with small portions. Estimating portion sizes and inputting them into MFP is always better than just blowing your macros.  Do yourself a favor and make a commitment to stop eating when you are full if you aren’t weighing and measuring everything you are putting into your body. 

 

Type 3 likes food and booze equally.  They have a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail before dinner (or three) and are feeling good.  They eat just enough to soak up the drinks and feel satisfied.  Three drinks later they have eaten the last 7 slices of pumpkin pie or half a sweet potato casserole.  If this is you, I would plan a moderate amount of drinks, input them into myfitnesspal ahead of time and do not let yourself go over that number.  This is a magical number that will not leave you with the munchies and you are more likely going to stay on track. No one likes drunk Uncle Sam anyways so don’t be that “guy”.  Input all of your drinks ahead of time, track as much as you can,  and eye ball the rest if you aren’t in a place where you can weigh and measure. 

 

Type 4 eats well for dinner.  Fills his/her plate with mostly turkey and veggies but is not satisfied until they have tried every dessert.  If this is you, then you have to plan ahead.  Find out which desserts you are going to eat, input them into MFP to figure out how much other food you should allow yourself.  My guess is that fats and carbs will go pretty quickly so if all you are left with turkey, then turkey it is.  At least this way you can enjoy your favorite part of the meal without feeling guilty.  

 

    What it comes down to is portion control and moderation.  Gaining 5-10 lbs is not worth it for one day.  Feeling so full you can’t enjoy yourself, is not worth it.  If you are in a place where it may be rude to weigh and measure your food then strap on your moderation belt and track as much as you can throughout the day.  Take a walk to the bathroom and track the dessert you are about to eat.  If you have to estimate it, then do so but it is better to estimate than just say “screw it” and blow your macros all together. 

 

    You all have come too far to back track.  If you have any questions at all or need a detailed specific plan of attack then email me right away and I will help you!

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Food Coma on Thanksgiving This Year...Yes, or No?

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Food Coma on Thanksgiving This Year...Yes, or No?

 

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner and most of us are guilty of eating until we are in a “food coma”.  I want to provide 8 tips that may help you stay on track this year with your weight loss goals!

 

    1. First, lets consider why we actually celebrate Thanksgiving.  Last time I checked it was not to support gluttony but to give thanks for all the blessings in your life.  Try and focus on building relationships with the people you are spending this holiday with and give less focus on the actual food provided. Life is about relationships, not food.

 

    2. Portion control will be your best friend. I know there are many delicious foods that your aunt Sally made that you can’t wait to get your hands on but to be able to try them all you must help yourself to small servings. 

 

    3. Eat healthy foods first so you are more likely to fill up on protein and veggies before indulging in the sweets and heavy fats.  I always start with a healthy serving of turkey since it is high protein, low fat and low carb.  

 

    4. Plan ahead.  If you know that you want pumpkin pie AND cheesecake then you need to have that in the back of your head when eating snacks throughout the day and dinner so you save room in your belly for dessert.  You don’t want to get to the desserts and feel like you are going to explode because then you don’t really get to fully enjoy them.  Revert back to portion control to save room for the foods you are most excited about.

 

    5. One plate should be plenty.  When you go out to dinner, do you order two meals?  Not likely.  You should be able to fit all of the food you want to eat on one plate with no problem.  

 

    6. There will always be leftovers.  If you don’t have room to try everything, ask for a to go plate.  If you are hosting then save some in a tupperware ahead of time so you can try it the next day.  

 

    7. This is not your last meal.  Try and avoid the mindset of treating Thanksgiving like it is the last meal you will ever eat.  It is just food.  If you are reading this than you are more than likely lucky enough that you will never run out of food for the entirety of your life.  I don’t want to pull the “there are starving kids in Africa card”, but its true.  There are starving people everywhere.  If you put half of the food you would normally eat on Thanksgiving on a separate plate, you could probably find someone within a 5 mile radius that would appreciate that hefty meal more than you can imagine.

 

    8. Last but not least, remember how awful you feel when you are so full you can’t move.  You can’t enjoy football, you don’t want to play with your nieces and nephews, you don’t want to talk to anyone because you are afraid if you open your mouth, food may come out.  You are so uncomfortable that you can no longer enjoy yourself.  Don’t be “that guy”.  Keep yourself under control this year and stay on track so you can make the most out of this Holiday and not backtrack with your weight loss goals! 

 

 

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Can You Lose Weight and Eat Whatever You Want While Flexible Dieting?

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Can You Lose Weight and Eat Whatever You Want While Flexible Dieting?

     The short answer is, yes.  BUT, I am here to tell you that just because a box of Oreos fits your macros and you can still lose weight eating them, doesn’t mean you should.  

     I don’t want you to forget about the essential micronutrients found in food and how it is vital to many of our body’s physiological functions. Fast food, candy, cookies, “shelf-life” treats, frozen meals, etc. are all deficient in micronutrients.  Lack of micronutrients can lead to all kinds of health problems.   If you want the most out of your body, workouts, brain function, sex life, and sleep then you should consider eating mostly foods with essential micronutrients, not just hitting your macros for the sake of hitting them.

     Below is a list of 10 Essential Micronutrients as well as the risks associated when you are deficient in them.

Calcium-Essential for healthy teeth, bones, protects the heart and arteries.  Can lower the risk of breast cancer. With all the lifting and/or impact you do in the gym, healthy bones are vital!

Vitamin D- Produced by the skin and plays an essential role in building and maintaining healthy bones. When deficient, the mitochondria in muscle fibers can’t regenerate energy properly after your muscles contract, causing you to feel tired quicker.  

Potassium- Too little potassium can lead to high blood pressure, increase the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. High potassium foods can help with cramps and speed up recovery by linking with sodium to help your muscles and nerves work properly.

Fiber- Can help maintain a healthy weight, resist against type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  As we all know it keeps you regular ;) I give all my clients a number to hit when they work with www.leanmachinenutrition.com

Vitamin A- Crucial nutrient to help maintain healthy eyesight, strong immunity, and can help with tissue growth.

Vitamin C- Antioxidant, keeps immune system strong, aids in wound healing and can lower the risk of cancer.

Vitamin K- Essential for bone mineralization and cell growth as well as normal blood clotting.  You may experience bruising and nosebleeds if you are deficient.  

Vitamin E- Antioxidant.  Severe deficiencies can cause nerve damage. Essential for blood circulation and protection from free radicals.

Vitamin B- Feeling sluggish at the gym? The body uses Vitamin B to convert protein and sugar into energy and produce red blood cells.

Magnesium- This nutrient is what I call magic!  It is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.  It helps regulate blood pressure, maintains bone strength and keeps the immune system healthy.  Personally, it has helped me sleep better and lessened my RLS.

     With all of that said, can you still lose weight Flexible Dieting and eat Oreos?  Yes.  Do I eat cookies once in awhile?  Absolutely, in moderation when it fits my plan.  Trust me this is one of the reasons I love Flexible Dieting so much, but I do my best to stick to the 80/20 rule.  

     Just remember, If you eat mostly lean meats, fruits, veggies, naturally gluten free starches such as rice, quinoa, oats, potatoes, then you are on the right track.  Try and stay away from processed foods, fast food, frozen meals and anything with a "shelf life".  You will be shocked at how much more focus you have at work, more energy you have with the kids, performance in the gym will skyrocket and not to mention your hair, skin and nails will be more beautiful than ever!  

    If you need help getting on the right track or want to learn more about Flexible Dieting, please fill out our contact form at  http://www.leanmachinenutrition.com/contact/

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