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What if you got $$$ to workout?

“Dude, if I got paid what those actors get paid I’d be freaking jacked too!”

“I could get in sick shape if you paid me a million dollars, yeah!”

And I’ve heard plenty of others like this. It’s this sense that somehow money is the ultimate motivating factor in being in the best shape of your life. It’s what thousands of “challenges” offer up as their reward following a 30 day or 8 week weight loss challenge. The popular online program among the fitness industry, Precision Nutrition, gives away tens of thousands of dollars annually to their clients who excel in losing fat or getting into better shape. Hell, I personally know a couple who owns a very successful gym out in California who, at the end of the challenge they ran, awarded the top winner a weekend stay on Richard Branson’s private island! After hearing this I asked one of them why they would go to such an extraordinary length, to which the blunt reply was “because we don’t f*** around”.

Well alrighty then!

But all this got me to thinking “why”? And at first glance that seems like a stupid question to ask, doesn’t it? It’s freaking money after all! And there ain’t isn’t such a thing as too much of that is there?

But I decided to think a bit deeper. Go beyond the obvious. You see, in my line of work it is really important (scratch that, it is crucial) that I find what motivates each individual client. And you already probably guessed that it’s different from person to person. And you’d be right. But did you know that there is more to the story? It involves looking at the situation from both an external motivational standpoint and an internal standpoint as well. And what we know is that long term adherence to something like, say eating well and exercising, is correlated not as much with external motivators as it is with internal ones. Now this is probably a bit of an oversimplification, as it will no doubt vary from person to person, but overall, the internal motivators are what I’m looking to get to. Sure, external ones such as money or a trip to an island are great in the beginning, but the shine or luster wears off after a while. And that usually occurs before we’ve had enough time to develop the habit.

“What would your life look like if you lost 50 pounds?”

“So you’re looking to lose ‘x’ amount of weight. Why?”

These are just a couple of questions I ask my client’s regularly. They may seem kind of dumb to you, but they are really important. Most people come to see me because they step on a scale, look in the mirror, or need to buy new clothes because the old ones don’t fit. Or maybe their doctor told them they need to lose weight. That one comes up quite a bit too. But aside from the doctor recommendation, those are really more about vanity than anything else. And not that there is anything wrong with that. AT ALL! Hey, we all want to look good naked, right? But long term success rarely results from just wanting to look good. There just isn’t enough pull for it to last longer than say, a few months. That’s why you see 21 day fix, and 90 day whatever challenges. You don’t see many 730 day challenges do you? And that’s because no one can jam on the gas pedal that long. But 21 or 90 days isn’t enough to establish habits for most people either. So my challenge is getting to a more internal motivator.

Often times I ask the “so you’re looking to lose ‘x’ amount of weight, why?” question at the end of the session. And I then tell them to really think for a long time on it. Don’t just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind because that usually goes back to vanity. And what I find when they come back to me a week or so later is that they’ve found the actual reason. It’s not to look good or because their doctor said so. Here are a few examples:

“I need to be there for my grandchildren”

“I want to watch my kids grow up and get married”

“I won’t live past the age of ‘x’ if I don’t change”

“My dad died of a heart attack and he wasn’t even 50”

Is the theme starting to sound familiar? Sure, looking good is great, but the real reasons hit home hard don’t they? That’s why I have to keep Kleenex on my desk. Many of my clients end up crying at the thought of what might happen if they don’t change. And I also know this:

Win the heart and the mind will follow.
The mind can easily create logic to justify
what the heart has already decided.

So I’d like to pose a question.

Why is it that money is this big motivator in the weight loss industry? Is money really more important than your health? Your spouse? Your kids? Why not change for them instead of something that, according to The Notorious B.I.G, only causes mo problems anyways? Why not do it for you?

Til next week…

 

100th post!

The date is April 18th, 2011. Poised at the keyboard, fingers dancing in excited unison, is an up and comer. A spring chicken. And he’s thinking to himself, “shit this is gonna be fun. I know what I’m doing. People are gonna be lined up and banging down the door for this knowledge I have. I’m gonna change the world, man!”

Poor spring chicken.

Fast forward to January 17th, 2017. Lines stretching all the way to Terre Haute weren’t exactly formed. Nor was a hinge damaged or displaced from its perch. Things didn’t quite pan out the way he thought. But… it’s also not quite been 6 years either. Many mistakes were made. And in hindsight, most of them were necessary to have evolved to where our subject is today. Those mistakes will continue as they should. Tweaks will continue to be made at each failure. Seminars will continue to be held, regardless of how many people plop their butts in the seats. To paraphrase the situation, “onward and upward”.

I don’t know why, but for some reason today I’ve been reflecting a lot more than usual. Thinking back on all my former clients and if I was able to give them the best from me. Thinking back on some of the crazier things that I’ve come across. From the woman literally showing me her bare skinned belly to show me where the fat needed to come off to the guy who swore by the GOMAD diet. For those wondering, that’s an acronym for Gallon Of Milk A Day. I’ve thought about how my whole approach to diet and lifestyle changes is so very distant from what I used to teach. Meal plans? What was I thinking? Dialing in macros to the exact gram? Why in the world did I ever think anyone would adhere to that?

I’ve thought about the different office venues I’ve resided in. From a fancy, marble floored, chandelier entry way to a square in the upstairs of a gym within an industrial complex (great gym by the way). And to where I am now. My own, albeit small, gym and nutrition counseling room here in Carmel, Indiana.

I don’t know what lies ahead, but who does? That’s the fun part, after all. What I do know is that I will continue to do my best to provide quality nutrition and exercise advice to whoever is willing to listen… and hopefully simultaneously open up their checkbook. I have certain specific business goals that I want to meet as well as personal ones too. I’d imagine you do as well.

So I suppose my goal for this post is to get you to thinking about your goals and what is important to you. Don’t just be a passenger or go through the motions each day/week/month/year. Don’t don’t. Do. Be you.

Two weeks into the New year. How are you holding up?

You’re still on track, right? The wheels haven’t completely fallen off anyways, right?

Well if they have, you’re like most everyone else. When something is new it is exciting. When it’s new there’s curiosity, the unknown. There’s potential. It probably gives you butterflies.

And then a few weeks later that’s all gone. It’s no longer magical. You know all about it. It’s hard. It’s not all fun and games and hopes and dreams. So you bail. And that’s understandable, isn’t it? Maybe you just weren’t seeing progress fast enough. Maybe you got sick or injured. Maybe your boss got on your ass “Office Space” style and had you working the weekend so you couldn’t get in that long run with your friend. Or maybe you were just focused on the wrong thing.

Look,  I’m making this short and sweet and to the point today. This is actually almost identical to the post I put up last week. And you know why? Because I’m literally GIVING you the secret to long term success. The last post I wrote was likely the most important one of mine you could ever read. You can read it here: http://fgnutrition.com/wordpress/2017/01/03/yep-its-the-new-year-again-how-this-one-really-can-be-different/

I’m done typing today. Just click the link above. And yeah, that might be lazy on my part, but I really do believe that the focus on the task is something everyone needs to know. Hell, even if you read it last week. Read it again. I believe it to be that important.

Yep, It’s the new year again. How this one really can be different.

I know, I know. I didn’t want to write it either. I’m pretty anti-resolutions. I don’t need to bore you with the statistics about the percentage of people who make a resolution and then don’t follow through on it. You already know that it’s high. You probably know because you’ve personally made one (or a lot of them) and they didn’t really pan out. You’ve also probably heard all the reasons “why” they don’t work and my personal belief is that they don’t work because you don’t want it badly enough. If you were truly serious about it, you wouldn’t have waited until the start of the new year. You’d have started the moment you came up with the idea.

But enough of that. I’m coming to you today to tell you how to actually succeed. And this isn’t subject to only new years resolutions, but really any change you want to make when it comes to your nutrition and health or fitness. It’s what I work on with all of my clients on a daily basis. And you’ve certainly heard me elude to it in previous posts if you’ve been following along over the years. We know that there isn’t really any secret. It’s not sexy. It boils down to consistently eating pretty well and getting in exercise over a long period of time. Aren’t you excited?!

But you knew that too, didn’t you? After all, if it was so damn easy we’d all be sporting 6 packs. In fact, and this is still crazy for me to think about, but if you are of a normal weight for your height, then you are a minority. Most people are overweight or obese. That’s just a fact, albeit a sad one. Were quickly approaching our general population to be at 70% overweight or obese. Seventy. Not seven.

So… we know that it takes consistent dedication to eating well and exercising. Bottom line. But how do we consistently do it? I think that’s the question most of us aren’t asking. And it’s the most important one. And here is my answer:

Focus on the task.

That’s it. Focus on the action you need to take that will lead you to your goals. Too many people focus on their weight, for example. If instead, however, they were to focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night, have a vegetable with lunch and dinner, or drink half their body weight in ounces of fluid each day, then I think a lot of people would be a lot more successful. You see, focusing on the task is easy. There’s no emotional tie to having a vegetable at dinner each night. That ain’t the case when you step on the scale after putting in work for a couple of weeks and it’s barely budged. That shit will bring you down, man. That’s a goal killer. Now yes, you might hop on and maybe not seeing it down is just more motivation, but eventually, that’s going to get old. Instead, just focus on the tasks. And do them. Ev. Re. Day. Over a long period of time. You WILL see results.

Now, you can also pair that with just having low expectations and you’ll also be happy!

But seriously, the task is the key. That’s the golden ticket. Stick to the task, do it and you’re set. Sure, I’ve made it sound more “easier said than done”, but trust me it gets easier. You know why? Because by focusing on the task, you’re subconsciously forming a habit. You’re forming a norm. And the norm should be eating well and exercising. If down the line you find yourself out of whack because you haven’t exercised in a few days, you know you’ve got it. If you feel like absolute crap after eating a greasy, fried or super sugary meal, you know you’ve made it. Try it for a year. They go by pretty fast and the time will pass anyways, so give it a shot.

Happy 2017 everyone!

How I manage my calories and macros

I get asked questions like this all the time:

“How many calories do you eat in a day?”

“Do you eat low carb?”

“How many grams of protein do you eat?”

To which the answer to these, in order, are: “No clue”, ‘nope, love carbs”, “probably right around what I need”

This post came about because I was driving into the office/gym the other day and it dawned on me that I drive almost always focused on what’s a little ways up ahead, not on the car directly in front of me. I probably developed this habit because I’ve only ever owned manual transmission cars and when you’re in city traffic, you learn this much valuable skill so as to not burn the hell out of your clutch as well as your left leg. But enough about cars. Although I’d actually really enjoy going on and on about that topic!

So this got me to thinking that I kind of operate on a nutrition and fitness level in a very similar manner. So the rest of this post will be comparing cars to nutrition and fitness.

Now I get the “how many calories do you eat” more often (far and away) than any other personal question about my eating habits. And I’m being 100% honest in telling people that I have no idea. I don’t track on an app. I don’t weigh or measure. I simply eat mostly minimally processed, whole foods, start to eat when I’m kinda hungry, and stop when I’m satisfied. Well…. most of the time anyways. I’m not perfect by any means, after all. But in doing this I’ve basically been between 165 and 175 lbs since I was 18 years old. And I still eat pizza and ice cream and all sorts of tasty shit like that. I just don’t do it all that often. I don’t think I can give you a “I eat well 90% of the time….” type of answer here, but just know that it’s mostly veggies, lean meats, complex carbs, fruit, and a bit of dairy. I’m not cut up by any means and eating this way won’t get me there. For that you have to dial it in. But I’m at a healthy weight, I’m active, and I enjoy myself. That’s really all I want anyways. Screw a six pack, man. So this is like my car in that I put in the required 93 octane, get regular oil changes, and pretty much leave it at that. Yeah sure, I floor it occasionally to see how quickly I can get to 60, but in general I take good care of it and it runs great. I don’t fuss over the little things about it. Except tires. Good tires are the most important addition you can make to your car IMO.

To address the “low carb” and “grams of protein” questions I get, I think it will be best to put them into one here. As for the carb thing, I probably do a mini version of carb cycling…. but not really intentionally or to any strong degree. I just know that if I’m working out that day I’ll include more carbs than if I’m not training or working out. I couldn’t tell you by how much, I just usually swap in veggies where rice might have been or something like that. But I do love carbs! As for how many grams I get? Again, no clue. Training days it’s maybe 200-250 or so? Off days maybe 125 ish? I just know I have plenty of energy and feel good.

For the protein question, I suppose this one has some merit as it’s critical to maintaining and building muscle mass (among other things). Go to a gym and you’ll likely leave feeling like that’s all you should be eating based on the conversations of the trainers and patrons there. Obviously that isn’t the truth and how much you should be taking in is variable based on several factors. I won’t get too deep into it, but I typically have my clients consuming a minimum of 1.2 grams/kg body weight. For my highly active and resistance training clients I’m probably bumping them straight to 2 grams per kilo. That’s just slightly less than 1 gram per pound of body weight. Now as for me, I just make sure that each meal/snack I have has 20-40 grams of protein in it. I can look at a dish/meal/snack and guesstimate close enough after doing it all these years. So therefore if I’m eating 4x/day, then I’m probably getting anywhere from 120-160 grams per day. Although my guess is I’m closer to the higher end of that range most days. And if you take my weight of 172 lbs, that means that 2 grams per kilo would be 156 grams per day. Therefore my answer of “probably right around what I need” is pretty accurate. I’ll compare this to how I fill my cars fuel tank. You see, I’m one of those guys who knows that I have 27 miles left once the low fuel light comes on. And it’s often I use some of those 27 miles. So when I’m fueling up, I like to play the guessing game to see how close I can get to the final gallons added. I know, I know…. not normal. But anyways, I know I have a 14 gallon tank of which roughly 13.8 gallons are useable. Furthest I’ve ever taken her was 13.5 gallons added which means that if I’m averaging 23 MPG, then I had just under 7 miles remaining.

Wow I really got off on a tangent there didn’t I? I was going to delete it, but what the hell, I’ll just leave it there for you guys to see where my mind wonders while I’m typing these things. So that’s all for today’s post with the exception of this shameless plug:

Check out the Feel Good in ’17 Challenge we’re running beginning January 9th right here! –> http://feelgoodin17.com/

 

 

New Year Habit Transformation Challenge!

Okay, so as you may or may not have heard, I am running a New Years Challenge. NOT a resolution because those are dumb. Sorry, I’m just not a fan. If it was that important to you, then you’d start today. But I digress.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to how the challenge will be structured and I’ve just recently dialed in the details of it. So without further adieu, here is how the Feel Good in ’17 Challenge will go!

Duration and start date: 28 days beginning on Monday, January 9th and wrapping up on Sunday/Monday, February 5th/6th.

What it is (and isn’t): This is a habit based challenge. We do not require any measurements, weights, body fat %, etc. However, if that is something you would like to monitor for yourself, we can certainly provide that. It is just not the focus of the challenge. Again this is habit based. So you may be asking yourself at this point, “okay cool, but what exactly does that mean?” Essentially there are 4 main points of emphasis in which we track. They are Training, Nutrition, Detox, and Lifestyle. Now for each category there are things that you will do daily/weekly and record them to a daily tracking sheet.

For Training, you must (or I should say GET TO) train at the Feel Good Nutrition and Fitness facility a minimum of 3x per week to earn your “points” for that week. Each persons’ workout will be individualized and based off of a Functional Movement Screen that each participant will go through. Workout sessions are typically around 1 hour in duration and are done in a small group personal training setting (1-6 people per hour). Training times will be determined on number of participants and their schedules. I’m open to a lot of possibilities.

For Nutrition, you’ll simply aim to eat 3 balanced meals each day. For those who sign up I will be discussing what this ultimately entails.

For the Detox, the goal is to do your best to eliminate added sugars in your diet. Again, for those who sign up I will discuss how to navigate that aspect of the challenge.

For Lifestyle, you will simply choose 1 out of 5 daily habits to adhere to. They are as follows:

  • Meditate for 5 minutes
  • Walk for 20 minutes
  • Turn screens of by 9 pm each night
  • Keep a daily food log (highly recommend this one)
  • Drink a glass of water upon waking each morning

At the end of each day/week you tally up your points (there’s an easy to follow system, don’t worry) and submit them to the website for the challenge I have set up. Each week we’ll have a prize for the person(s) with the highest point total. Prizes will be decided upon once I know how many will be joining this challenge, but they’ll be kick ass I promise. Also, there will be an overall grand prize for the person with the most points at the end of the challenge. Although that person is likely to have already attained the ultimate prize…. feeling and looking awesome!

Who the challenge is for: Everyone! That’s the beauty of it. Because each program is tailor made for each person, anyone can join. Bring a spouse, friend, cousin, uncle, co-worker, or whoever you like to join in the fun with you! Hey, it’s only 28 days after all. You can do anything for 28 days. Well…. not heroin. Don’t do heroin for 28 days. But you can do this!

Facebook Group: In addition to the website, we have set up a private Facebook group so that you can get on and share tips, ideas, recipes, photos of your progress, or just to post a funny meme. It’s all about fun! You’ll meet new friends and can stay connected to me as well. So it’s a great place to throw out that question you forgot to ask me when you were at the gym. I’ll be monitoring it daily and will be happy to respond.

Bonus of the week: Each week, in addition to the 4 major categories above, I will be posing a “bonus” challenge for everyone to do. Think of it like extra credit. It’s not necessary, but why not go all in? I will announce this bonus on Monday of each week and you will have until week’s end to complete it. A bonus challenge might be something like taking a photo of yourself prepping your meals for the week. Or it might be sharing a recipe with the group and posting a photo of you with the finished product. It could also be fitness related. Maybe you felt like banging out 10 goblet squats with your dog in your arms during a commercial break. Snap a photo of that one for sure!

So there you have it. These are the details of the Feel Good in ’17 Challenge and I’m pumped to get it underway. There is a lot I still have to do behind the scenes, but if there is one thing I can ask of you (other than signing up, that is) it would be to tell anyone you know who might be interested in doing this!

The cost to sign up is $49 for current clients and $149 for new members.

That’s less than most spend on groceries in a week (if you have kids).

That’s less than 2 upper-level tickets at a Colts game

That’s less than… well a lot of things we buy!

Bottom line is that this is a great deal, I promise. My goal is for you to walk away saying, “I can’t believe we got all of that for just $149”. This is a special promotional deal so if you’re on the fence that might be something to think about.

Thanks so much for reading all the way to the end. I’m sorry it’s all pushy promotional stuff, but I have to do these once in a while too. So that’s all for this week. Til next time!

The New Year is quickly approaching… and I’m running a challenge!

Yeah, yeah I know the title is corny and cliched, but it’s the best I could come up with. But you have to admit that it’s true. As I write this we are 2 days away from December. I’ll say that again…. De-freaking-cember. I know I’m not alone in that the year flew by. A lot changed for me, personally. And I’m sure you had a lot go on as well. Good, bad, or otherwise. Hey, how about that Donald Trump?

Just kidding. Today’s post is an exercise in looking back along with a shameless plug for my upcoming nutrition and fitness challenge beginning on January 9th. Oh, did I mention that I’m going to be running a nutrition and fitness challenge beginning on January 9th?

But let’s start with the reflective part of the post today. It really doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with exercising or nutrition, but I think it’s important nonetheless. I’ve had these conversations many times before, and oftentimes with myself. I am big on setting goals and doing my best to achieve them. And I’m guessing that pertains to you as well, no? And reaching a goal is an awesome feeling, no matter how small. But then what? Well, we set another and another and another (those last 5 words remind me of my days bellied up to the bar at the chocolate shop there on Chauncey hill). So we go on and on, setting goal after goal and hopefully reaching the majority of them. And the next thing you know it’s 10 years later and a LOT has been accomplished and happened.

My point here is that I think it’s important to look back on all that we’ve accomplished instead of always just looking for the next goal to reach. Otherwise, what’s the point? The only way to truly enjoy our successes, according to me anyway, is to reflect on them. So for me for example, I worked pretty hard to obtain my RD credential (it was a longer road than it needed to be) back in 2010. But before I’d even sat for my exam I was only focused on getting a job. I’m not sure I really allowed myself to enjoy it as much as I should have. But looking back now I can smile and appreciate it. Another instance for me would be the business. It’s so easy to get fully absorbed into it that I often forget to appreciate the situation I’m in. So I’m asking you guys today to look back and appreciate some of the things you’ve accomplished. Even if your year was a bag of shit. There’s something there.

Okay, now for the shameless plug… again. The challenge will begin on January 9th and run through Monday, February 6th. Also, this will be a habit based challenge. You will have the option to choose out of a list which habits you want to focus on. Some examples include meditating 10 minutes each day, keeping a food journal, eating breakfast everyday, keeping a gratitude journal, and many others. Now, it won’t be entirely habit based because I want to get people in here to the gym and working out as well, but it will heavily rely on the habits. I don’t have the full details on the challenge yet as I have to meet this coming Monday with my friend who is going to help me run it, but keep an eye out on social media and spread the word! There WILL be awesome prizes if we can get enough people to sign up for this. And by awesome I mean cash (a nice chunk, trust me), an iPad, discounts on training here with me and on nutrition too, gift certificates around town, etc. I’ll make sure they are kick ass. I’m still dialing in on the cost, but expect it to be around $99-$120 with heavy discounts for those who choose to sign up with me after the challenge has ended.

If this is successful, the plan is to run a challenge every quarter so if you miss this one, know that there will be other opportunities. But I’d recommend getting in on this one because why not get started on your health journey early? Next week’s post will be about the absolute details of the challenge (sorry in advance) so be on the lookout!

My take on “rest days” and de-loading

Over training. It’s a bit like the Loch Ness Monster, paranormal activity, or Big Foot. We’ve all heard about it before. There are theories as to whether or not it exists. But like the majority of the population’s take on ‘Ole Nessy, I just don’t think it exists.

I’ll pause here for a second as I hear jimmies being rustled.

Okay, look it probably does exist when you look at your extremely high level, pro and Olympic athletes, but I’m not referring to them. I’m talking about regular Joe’s like you and me. A basic physio 101 course is enough to put it to rest, really. We can adapt like you wouldn’t believe to the external stressors that are put on our bodies. Think about it this way. Let’s say you decide to quit your job and become a garbage man. Now, these days a lot of the trucks are fully automated and you don’t have to physically haul the bags in like the old days, so for the sake of this scenario the year is 1996. Anywho, you finish up your first day on the job. The next morning you wake up and….. Whoa! Holy shit you’re sore! Muscles that you didn’t know existed are screaming at you. But guess what, you’ve got to get your ass out of bed anyways and get to work. Can’t call in to the boss on the second day because you’re sore. You just get back to it and suck it up. And you’re probably sore most mornings for about a week or so, but then you adapt and it becomes no big deal.

So if you look at the “total volume” of weight being moved around by the garbage man over the course of the day, some experts would say that he needs at least 24-48 hours of rest in between his shifts or else he’ll run the risk of over training. Really? He’s performing the same move over and over and over for hours on end and he’s just fine. We go to the gym 3-4 times a week or maybe go out and run 3-4 times per week (really just insert whatever it is you do here) and yet if we don’t take time off in between we’ll wind up injured and over trained. I’m just not buying it, man. This, however, is NOT to say that performance may decrease and burnout will likely increase, but I’m saying that you won’t necessarily be over trained assuming your diet is on point and you are getting 7-9 hours or more) of restful sleep at night.

So yes, I understand that exercise merely provides the stimulus for which our bodies can adapt and improve from. But what is the cutoff? How much is too much? And does that change as we continue to become more and more trained? I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I just am having a hard time buying into the whole over training thing.

So this brings me to “de-load” days. The idea behind these is that you build up reps, sets, weights, miles, etc. over a period of time (e.g. 3 weeks) and then you cut way back on those reps, sets, weights, miles, etc. for a week before returning back to the building stage. The idea of this is to give the body ample rest and to prevent over training. And I’m not necessarily knocking it in practice because I certainly believe that it can be highly beneficial. My problem with it is the way we just plug them in to programs. I’ve found that life is really good at providing it’s own stimulus for a de-load week. You get sick. You travel. You’re just not on your A game. Whatever the reason, it’s my personal belief to not predetermine your de-load weeks or rest days. And another aspect of it to consider is that let’s say you are heading into a de-load week and are told to decrease your load by 30%. BUT… you feel freaking awesome! I say screw the program and kill that session. Again, there will be days when you aren’t on a de-load and you feel like pure doo doo butter and will have a crappy session with weights closely resembling that -30% anyways.

So in summary, does over training exist? Yes and no I think. Should it be at least considered? Absolutely. Should de-load weeks be predetermined ahead of time? I think 99% of the time the answer is no. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but for us average folk, I say no.

Why walking kicks ass

Walking. Yes we’re talking about walking today because it is extremely underrated in my opinion. And actually, it’s not just my opinion. There’s a crap ton of scientific research to back up my opinion.

But today’s post came about because the weather has been awesome in central Indiana as of late (for you East coasters ravaged by Matthew, sorry. Hope that gets cleaned up soon.) My new gym/office location is right off the monon trail in Carmel and so I have been making it a habit to go out and get in 30 mins 1-2 times per day lately. And from an anecdotal standpoint, here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Better recovery from training sessions. Now that I’m 32 (and yes I realize that isn’t that old, but 32 ain’t 22 either) I notice that I can’t quite get after it like I used to. Years of training for triathlons while simultaneously lifting weights and playing recreational sports like pick-up basketball and flag football often meant training or exercising 2x per day and up to as much as 10-12 training sessions per week. I know that sounds like a ton, but I did it and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Now? Eh, not so much. I can still get a couple of 2 a days in there every now and then, but man I pay the price. Even with my diet in check and a solid night’s sleep, it just isn’t quite the same. I need about 1 extra day it seems to get back to 100% whereas before I bounced right back. Hell, after my first half ironman on a Saturday in 2011, I went out and ran 6 that following Monday because I felt fine. Probably wouldn’t be the case today. Anywho, I’ve found that a nice brisk walk really rejuvenates me and seems to allow me to bounce back a bit quicker, especially following a heavy strength training session.
  2. More focus and alertness. This is very similar to how swimming affects me. Typically after a pool session I feel really, really good and ready to get back to it. It’s like a second start to the day. Well I’ve found that walking has a very similar effect. And oddly enough, I don’t get the same feeling after a run of similar time. Runs seem to really gas me out lately. Although in all fairness I still push it to get solid splits (and negative whenever I can). But the bonus here is that I don’t have to drive to the gym, change, swim, shower, and then drive back to the shop. I can just go out and immediately get these benefits with nothing on but a pair of shoes…. okay and shorts and a shirt.
  3. Better back health. If you’ve followed along at all in my blogs over the years I’ve beat this one over the back (see what I did there?). I have a screwy back with a long sounding diagnosed name that you don’t care to know about. Just know that I have to be cautious with it. After swimming, it seems to really be in great shape and my chiropractor 100% agrees. Well, more good news! Walking seems to have a very similar impact on my spine too. Again, all without having to do anything but go for a stroll.
  4. Improved mood and creativeness. This one is kind of a no brainer, but I feel it is still worth mentioning. It’s pretty much common knowledge that exercise improves mood. It’s like that co-worker who comes in all happy and shit at 8 am and hasn’t even had coffee yet because they were busy busting out an hour long spin class at 6 am. But it really does help me out. I just overall feel happier after a walk. And when I’m on that walk it gives me time to think about better ways to do things both within the business as well as life in general. I’m telling you guys you’ve got to start doing this! As little as 10-15 minutes will do the trick.

But as I said earlier, this is anecdotal. What works for me may or may not work for you. So with all this said, do what ever makes you happier and healthier overall. But for the sake of providing some evidence, below are some of the actual observed benefits of walking:

  • Walking at least 30 minutes a day is linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.*
  • Walking at least nine miles a week was linked to a 22% lower death rate.*
  • Among 72,488 female nurses, walking at least three hours a week was linked to a 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.*
  • A 10-year study of 229 postmenopausal women randomly assigned the volunteers to walk at least one mile a day or to continue normal activities. At the end of the trial, the walkers enjoyed an 82% lower risk of heart disease.*
  • Walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress.*
  • Walking and other moderate exercise programs also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and even erectile dysfunction.*

And guys, if that last one didn’t sell you I don’t know what will! So if you’re finding it hard to squeeze workouts into your busy schedule, just remember that walking around a bit more can really do wonders for your physical and mental health. So get out there and start walking!

 

* All of the above bullet points were taken from The Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications and the full article can be found here: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Walking-Your-steps-to-health

 

What kinds of foods does this dietitian eat?

‘Tis been quite the busy week so far and it’s only Tuesday! For anyone who is friends with me on Facebook you probably saw that we 100%, officially opened for not only nutritional counseling, but also fitness training as well (finally). So I’m pretty excited about that as you can imagine. Nonetheless I wanted to get the weekly blog out there and I didn’t know what I was going to write about at first, but I just came back from a walk on the Monon because it’s pretty much perfect weather out right now. In fact, my weather app says 74 and sunny with a light breeze and loew humidity. Like I said, perfect.

Well on my walk I was thinking about how I was pretty hungry and trying to remember what snacks I had remaining at the shop in the fridge and in my desk drawer. I eventually settled for a piece of string cheese and mixed nuts and washed it down with water. But then I was thinking back on what I had for breakfast this morning and what I had for dinner last night. That lead me to start thinking about what I was going to have for dinner tonight and so on and so forth. Well first of all I’m in a bit of a pinch because we made a bunch of healthy food to last us for the week this past Sunday afternoon/evening (took longer than we thought). However, today is Tuesday. And not just any old regular Tuesday. It’s national taco day too! And I love me some tacos. So dinner tonight is still up in the air.

But with all this talk of food it got me to thinking about what I typically eat. And I thought that you guys might be interested to know what someone in the field of fitness and nutrition eats. So while it obviously varies quite a bit, there are certainly some staples in my diet. But outside of those staples I’ve come to believe that the more meals I make and eat with my girlfriend, the more I realize that I eat better when I’m with her. It’s probably because she eats (mostly) really healthy and we also both enjoy cooking. In the past I’d just steam up some veggies in the microwave, bake some chicken, and throw some rice in there too and top it all off with hot sauce. I’m just not that picky of an eater. But now we’ve gotten pretty savvy in the kitchen and make some pretty solid meals. And a lot of the time those meals are vegetarian. We eat a lot of portobellos, black beans, quinoa, tofu, and fruits and vegetables in general. In fact, the other day I was at my chiropractors office and we were talking about it (he’s a former amateur body builder and really into nutrition). I mentioned that the night before we had made tofu and Brussels sprouts. It came out of my mouth rather casually, but then I stopped and thought about what I had just said. Tofu. Brussels sprouts. What the hell happened to me?!

Well, Megan isn’t a big meat eater. Me? I could have steak, chicken, or turkey with every meal. But it turns out I don’t miss eating it as often as I did in the past like I thought I would. Although now that I’m writing about it and it’s 1:00 in the afternoon, I’m kinda craving some skirt steak tacos for dinner tonight….. mmmm tacos.

But anyways, now that you know a little more of the background of how I’m eating these days, I wanted to list out some foods I have every or almost every day. And I eat them every day not only because I think they are good for me, but also because I just really like them. I’ve listed them below:

  • eggs
  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • Ezekiel bread/oatmeal/whole wheat toast
  • avocado
  • cheese (string, 2% shredded sharp cheddar, and feta are my favorites)
  • mixed nuts
  • Greek yogurt or low fat cottage cheese (varies day to day)
  • berries (raspberries and blueberries are my favorites)
  • mixed vegetables (or whatever is in season locally)
  • turkey or chicken (almost every day for lunch. Old habits die hard, man.)

I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are definitely staples for me. Obviously dinners are going to vary a lot, but I think I covered most of that above. But maybe you guys noticed one food was missing. And if you’re a health nut, dietitian, or personal trainer, then it probably sticks out like a sore thumb. What is NOT a staple for me?

Peanut butter. There, I said it. Look, it’s not that I don’t like peanut butter, I think it’s great. I just don’t crave it like it seems every other health professional does. I swear every time I read an article about what other folks in this industry consider their guilty pleasure the answer is peanut butter. I’m sorry, that’s not a guilty pleasure. Fried mozzarella sticks are a guilty pleasure. Cupcakes are a guilty pleasure. Deep dish pizza is a guilty pleasure. Peanut butter? No. Sure it’s high in calories and all, but overall it’s pretty good for you. Not sure how that comes across as a guilty pleasure. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox. I’ve just been wanting to write that for a while now and the opportunity presented itself pretty well there.

So there you go! A look into what I eat on most days of the week. Although I feel like I left out pizza. It’s true. I have pizza once a week. Usually Friday or Saturday. And sometimes the leftovers on Sunday for football. Oh, and a few beers.

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