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15 Minute Fix: Morning productivity

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.  ~Richard Whately

So why not maximize your morning from the beginning?

Start with a crummy morning, you’ll have a dreadful day. Brew a few dreadful days together and you’re messing with a recipe for a shitty life.

Screw that.

With simple steps and daily practice you can make mornings productive and even enjoyable.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/voglesonger/2172138920/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/voglesonger/2172138920/

What’s the recipe for a crummy, shit-tastic morning?

It starts with the piercing noise spewing from your alarm clock.

Slowly rolling over, you blindly throw your hand at the snooze button, only to miss and smash your numb hand on the nightstand.

Fantastic.

Clenching the covers in your aching fists, you roll back over and attempt 15 minutes of shut-eye.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Great.

Stumbling your way to the kitchen you struggle to find your balance, and shock your eye-balls with bright light.

You make a shitty pot of coffee and slop down a shitty bowl of sugary multi-colored cereal (heart healthy by the way). Glancing up from your bitter coffee and sugar-bomb cereal you squint at the florescent-lighted microwave clock. “Shit”, you rush to your closet throwing on clothes that fit the “casual” criteria, and sprint out the door.

Time for day of doing un-rewarding things you don’t want to do. Awesome.

 

“But Eric, I don’t have time for anything in the morning.”

I hear you, but that’s bullshit.

Take 15 minutes in the morning (yes, you have 15 minutes) you can prime your muscles and mind, build a healthy muscle building breakfast, and set the table for an awesome day.

The First Few Minutes

-Get up right away, even if you wake up before your alarm. Your sleep cycle has ended and smacking the “snooze” will prolong your sleepiness. Pick a relaxing alarm, such as rain or crashing waves.

– Drink a large glass of cold water. You just spent 6-8 hours (hopefully) sleeping. 6-8 hours without fluids leaves you groggy and dried out like a raisin. Slugging down a large class of water re-hydrates your body, jacks up your metabolism, and gets your body rejuvenated for the day ahead.

– Turn the lights on immediately. Light turns off melatonin production, helping you wake faster. Start your coffee, tea, or warm beverage of choice.

Wake up your Body

-While your beverage is brewing use this time to get the blood flowing with a short workout.

Try This

1a. Push-Up x12 reps

1b. Plank x30 seconds

1c. Push-Up x10 Reps

1d. Body Weight Squat x12

1e.Bodyweight Reverse Lunge x6/leg

Feed The Machine

While sipping your coffee, whip together a healthy, muscle building super-shake.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/36933654@N00/7986327244/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36933654@N00/7986327244/

Eat This

-In a blender mix the following

-1 scoop vanilla protein

-1 cup blueberries

-1 cup cottage cheese

-1 cup spinach

Optional: Water or a few ice cubes.

Enjoy your coffee. Then, get dressed, grab your supershake, and head out the door.

 What To Avoid

–      Avoid your email/social media. Waking up right away to check your email, creep on Facebook, or tweet #’s wastes time.

 

Ready to Maximize your morning?

We all have the same amount of time, how enjoyable that time is remains up to you. Take control of it and maximize your morning productivity. Setting your morning off right takes a little bit of knowledge and willpower. Will you take advantage?

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius

 

 

photo credit: cvogle via photopin cc

photo credit: ad454 via photopin cc

Should Women Train Differently than Men?

Recently, I’ve been receiving questions on how females should train. Most have the goal of looking leaner, toned, and a more curvy. In this post, I wanted to answer the most frequently asked question, “Should Women train differently than men? ”

Short Answer: No, not really.

With the questions I frequently get, I have put together 7 considerations for helping sculpt a sexy female figure.

1.) “Toning” and “shaping” are not the answer.

Weight training in popular media for women generally revolves around words such as “toning and shaping.”
Lets examine “toning” This term is used to make muscles appear firmer, and tighter without them appearing bigger. It’s a common, but extremely thawed thought. Routines based upon “toning” likely involve extremely light weights for very high rep amounts. Think pink dumbbells for 20 rep sets of triceps kickbacks. Unfortunately, these routines are not challenging enough to the muscle to force growth and change.

Without challenging you body to grow and change, how will it look any better?  With or without excess fat, a body looks healthy and fit with a little more muscle.

Shaping offers a different, yet equally confusing idea. Muscles cannot be shaped; rather, they are pre-determined by your genetics. You can’t physiologically change a muscles shape, only whether it is bigger or smaller.

2.) You should lift heavy.

Certain goals for both men and women are similar. The most common is a firm, toned, sexy look. One of the best ways to get that look, for men or women, is with heavy weight. Lifting heavy weights is the fastest, and most efficient way to build myogenic muscle tone… or the highly dense, toned muscle that you seek.

Photo Credit: List09.com
Photo Credit: List09.com

“But won’t lifting heavier weights make me bigger?” This leads to right to my next point…

3.)No, lifting weights will NOT make you bigger.

Why? Building muscle is very, very, hard. Ask any guy. There is a reason we train year in, year out, eat copious amounts of dead animal flesh, and cherish any small, muscular changes. And that’s with a plethora of hormonal benefits from testosterone helping us out! Unless you have extremely rare genetics you won’t be piling on slabs of muscle and look like Hulk Hogan.

Additionally, there are tons of factors that mitigate muscle growth: Training style (most importantly, muscle tension and training volume), diet, and hormones (as mentioned above.) Unless you are taking external testosterone, training with way too much volume, and consuming a ton of excess calories you won’t be getting bulky.

With that thought, I recommend all women do some sort of heavy training once per week. 
Try squats, deadlifts, bench presses, push presses, and rows for 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps with the heaviest weight you can safely do.

4.) There is no such thing as spot reduction

Men and women deposit fat differently. Men generally carry more body fat centralized around the abdomen whereas women carry more excess fat around the hips and thighs. For both genders, spot reduction is a popular topic. In most cases, body fat is lost evenly throughout the body. Therefore, in order to be leaner in a particular area fat loss needs to occur all over.
I find the best exercises for losing fat all over are done in a standing position, such as sprints and high intensity weighting, rather than a seated position like a stationary bike, or rowing machine.

5.) Women have a different weight distribution than men.

Because women carry more weight in their lower body they are generally relatively weaker in the upper body, but just as relatively strong in the lower body. In most cases it’s best to regress upper body exercises, such as a push up or pull up.  Rather than watching in horror as a female grinds out worm-ups, regressed the exercise by performing it with a barbell racked off the ground. Just because someone can’t do a full exercise…yet… doesn’t mean they shouldn’t perform any variation.

6.) Women have better stamina than men

Women can handle a higher training density– less rest between sets and a higher volume– than their male counterpart. This may be due to an overall decrease in relative strength. This factor allows women to train at a higher frequency with a higher density than men.

*Note: Training density (doing more in less time) is a huge variable for fat loss.   

7.) Women need more protein

I find most of my female clients drastically under-consume protein. Protein does three awesome things for your body: Protein can blunt your appetite to keep you fuller for longer, speed up your metabolism, and help you maintain your muscle (giving you that toned, dense look) while stripping off  unwanted fat. I tell my female clients to have protein with any carbohydrate source and shoot for their body weight in grams of protein. This would mean a 120 lb female consumes roughly 120 grams of protein per day.

Wrap Up

Okay, I’ve got to run, but I gathered a list of great sites and resources for you to check out. These are some of the best fitness sites for females looking to build awesome bodies. Fellas, you can take a look to and stop giving poor advice to women who ask you :).

http://www.soheefit.com

http://bretcontreras.com/strength-training-for-women/

http://www.jensinkler.com

http://www.negharfonooni.com

http://www.girlsgonestrong.com

http://www.cassandraforsythe.com

Let me know any questions you have and how you currently train!

Resources:

“Beautiful Crossfit Woman.” List 09. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.list09.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/crossfit-girl-Laura-Plumley1.jpg>.

Romaniello, John . “Sexy Female Training.” Roman Fitness Systems. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com/blog/6-tips-for-building-a-sexy-female-body/>.

Schuler , Lou, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove.The New Rules of Lifting For Women . New York City: Penguin Group, 2007. Print.

 

 

Busy Man’s Carb Cycling: The Uber Convenient Way to Shred Fat and Build Muscle.

pizza

Carb cycling may be the best way to maximize the muscle building benefits of carbs while maximizing insulin sensitivity and minimizing fat gain.


The Problem?

A strict dietary regimen of counting calories, managing multiple menus, and analyzing every diet decision down to the gram isn’t practical for most people. Save for the elite physique or bodybuilding competitor, harping over every dietary decision is a first class ticket to frustration and overwhelm, not a better-looking body. 


It doesn’t have to be so complicated and in this article, I’m going to clear the air on how to simplify carb cycling so you can reap the same physique changing benefits without the frustration. 


And while you’re burning fat, here’s a free workout to maximize fat loss and retain lean muscle so you look, feel, and perform your best  Thanks for being here.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

-Eric


Building muscle while losing fat to unveil a lean, ripped body.

That’s what we’re all after, right? Recomposition, the process of losing fat while building muscle is the single biggest goal of most gym goers. The problem is, most folks tend to either build muscle easily but can’t lose stubborn belly fat. The others?
They have the metabolism of a hummingbird on meth and despite their efforts, can’t build a lick of muscle. 

Fortunately, carb cycling has been used for physique enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders for decades and is one of the most effective ways to keep you lean and muscular. 

So…What is Carb Cycling? 

Carb cycling is the planned manipulation of carbohydrate consumption to maximize workout performance, build lean muscle, and minimize fat gain. It’s an advanced strategy that can do wonders for preventing fat loss plateaus and maximizing insulin sensitivity.   

But carb cycling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. For most people, carb cycling is downright overwhelming and a first class ticket to saying “fuck it” to yet another diet. If you’re preparing all of your own meals, building separate menus of high/low carb days, and calculating nutritional requirements, carb cycling is extremely time-consuming. 

And if you have business dinners, have multiple people to cook for, and feel overwhelmed by the amount of “perfect” diets plastered all over the internet then another cumbersome diet plan then carb cycling is the last thing you need.

Fortunately, I have your back. You too can implement carb cycling to lose stubborn fat, build muscle, and transform your body without measuring and tracking calories.

I’ve refined and tweaked this process with hundreds of my clients to help them boost performance and look better naked.  It worked for them and can work for you, too. 

 Picture This: It’s early fall and Saturday around noon. College football season has arrived. You’re at your local alumni sports bar with your buddies. Everyone’s ordering, microbrews, nachos, chicken wings, and fries..food galore, a gluttonous paradise.

Carb Cycling

 

The waitress makes her way to you, what do you do?

The decision shouldn’t be whether you can crush a few nachos and beer with your friends, it should be “ did I earn my carbs today?”

Luckily, you crushed front squats and your quads are smoked. You order the double bacon bison burger, fries, a side salad, and a Hercules Double IPA. Now, this isn’t an everyday occurrence, but you’ve earned the right to splurge. That’s one of the beauties of carb cycling–the freedom to enjoy some of your delicious, higher carb, and sometimes less healthy options with less damage to your diet.

The key to this high effective strategy? Insulin.

Insulin and Carb Cycling

Insulin is an extremely anabolic hormone that can help you lose fat and build muscle if manipulated correctly. Too little and you’re doomed to flat muscles, poor recovery, and pre-shrinking your affliction t-shirts to look jacked. Too much and you’ll resemble the Michelin Man and suffer from myriad health problems.
 
Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas that plays a major role in metabolism and regulates nutrient entry into your cells. When insulin is seldom elevated (like long-term low carb diets) you won’t gain much muscle. Conversely, a higher carb intake when your body is more sensitive to insulin such as the hours after a workout triggers rapid tissue repair, protein synthesis, and muscle growth.
On the flip side when your body is not sensitive to carbs, such as non-training days and being excessively overweight, spending your afternoons at the pasta buffet will lead to carbs behind stored as body fat. As you can see insulin is a double edged sword. Through proper timing and fluctuations, carb cycling empowers you to control insulin and strip off body fat and build lean muscle faster. 

Carb Cycling Made Easy

Carb cycling is as easy as it sounds. Cycle carbohydrates on weight training days (high carb) and non-workout/cardio days (low carb). Rather than giving you a plethora of calculations and impractical menus we’ll simplify the process. 

Lifting heavy and with high training volume? It’s a high carb day. 

Due to the repeated muscle contractions during resistance training, your body will have an increased insulin sensitivity. With this increased response to carbs your body will drive nutrients into your muscle cells, aiding them in repair, growing them, and providing you with more energy. 

On lifting days you’ll be consuming fruits and starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and oats) as your carbohydrate sources. If you’re trying to build muscle like the Minimalist Muscle course or have long, grueling workouts then have starches during all meals and during your workouts.
If you gain fat easily or have shorter, less intense workouts like a 30-minute bicep blaster, use moderate starches. This would mean carbs during your workout and with your first meal post-workout.

Taking a day off or hitting a low volume workout? Keep the carbs low.

On non-lifting days keep carbohydrates low because there isn’t the same increase in insulin sensitivity. Carbs consumed when your body is less sensitive may lead to additional fat gain. Let’s minimize that, shall we? By minimizing carbs a few days per week your body becomes more receptive to insulin. This means on the days you do consume carbs, your body becomes hypersensitive and  shuttles carbs towards building muscle rather than being stored as fat.  

If you hit a light workout or interval session get your carbs from fruits or veggies throughout the day. It’s fine to keep carbs during your workout or in the meal after, but keep them lower overall. 

Lifting? Carb up and support your muscle-building workouts. More volume in the gym means more carbs. 

Intervals or taking the day off? Avoid most starchy carbs, improve insulin sensitivity, and burn more body fat.  

 

Sample Workout Schedule and Carb Intake

Monday: Lower Body Training (high volume) /High Carb

Tuesday: Upper Body Focus (low volume) /Moderate Carb

Wednesday: Off Or Sprint Work

Thursday: Upper Body Focus(high volume) /High Carb

Friday: Lower Body Focus/High Carb

Saturday: Upper Body Focus/High Carb

Sunday: Off Or Sprint Work

Low Carb Day

Breakfast: 4 egg scramble, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 avocado

Snack (Optional): Handful nuts and carrots

Lunch: Mediterranean salad w/cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, chicken, feta cheese w/balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Workout: One banana with protein shake

Dinner: Sirloin steak, broccoli, and a small salad. Optional: One sweet potato

High Carb Day

Breakfast: 3 egg scramble with spinach, 1 cup oatmeal with blueberries

Snack (Optional): Shake with 1 scoop vanilla protein, 1 cup berries, 1/2 cup cottage cheese

Lunch: Sandwich loaded with lean meat and veggies

Dinner: Sweet potato, barbecue rubbed chicken thighs and cauliflower

Snack (Optional): Shake with 1 scoop chocolate protein, 1 orange, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup cottage cheese

 

Common Issues and Questions

Do Calories Still Matter if I go Low Carb? 
Yes. The idea that dropping carbs will miraculously drop body fat is false…unless you’re burning more calories than you’re eating. Now, carb cycling can improve insulin sensitivity and over time lead to better fat loss, but if you’re eating more calories than your body burns you’ll still add fat. Sorry, butter in your coffee can still make you fat. 

How Low is Low Carb?

This depends on your size and body part percentage. With some clients, I’ll shoot for under 100 grams of carbs on low carb days for fat loss. A simple trick is to replace the grains/starches you eat with leafy, fibrous greens.

I’m not looking to build muscle, only lose fat. Is Carb Cycling still for me?

Yes! Carb cycling is great for a fat loss diet. When you’re consistently low on calories and carbohydrates you may see reductions in metabolic rate, thyroid hormones, sympathetic nervous system activity, energy levels, and sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen (Berardi and Andrews 368).

This leads to a plateau that stops your fat loss in its tracks, yikes!

When you cycle carbohydrates and calories back into your diet you raise leptin levels a powerful fat burning hormone that down-regulates when calories are low. Essentially, you trick your body into burning more fat by keeping it out of starvation mode.

Can I pig out on High Carb Days? You did use examples of fries, beer, and wings….

Although carb cycling does afford my flexibility in your food choices this isn’t a pass to go eat pizza, burgers and fill the gaps in with crappy protein powder.  You can indulge occasionally but stick to mostly high-quality foods and supplements like Grass-fed whey and a greens powder (here’s mine) if you hate veggies. As tasty as it is, the combination of high fat, high carb, high alcohol containing meals is a perfect recipe for gaining weight. Sorry IIFYM folks, junk food is still junk food and will come back around to harm your body in the future. 

That’s a Wrap

Carb cycling works–that’s been shown by coaches a long time ago.  For starters, you’ll improve insulin sensitivity and strategically maximize the power of insulin around your workouts to build muscle. Psychologically, my friend and fellow coach Ben Johnson points out carb cycling helps you pay more attention to what foods you’re putting into your body, leading to better food choices. In both cases, approaching your diet with awareness and timing carbs around your workouts is a no-brainer for losing fat, building muscle, and improving performance in the gym.

It doesn’t need to be complicated, just focus on eating healthy food options and staying true to your carb cycling schedule to reap the rewards of proper nutrient timing.

P.S. Looking to drop 8-10 pounds in the next month? That’s exactly what people have been doing in our 30-Day Fat Loss Contest. Apply today, spaces are limited. 

 

Citations:

Berardi, Jon, and Ryan Andrews. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Second. Precision Nutrition Inc., 2012. 368. Print.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. “Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes.” Bethesda, MD: , 2013. Web. 

 

Is Calorie Counting Practical?

Wednesday afternoon, 2:30pm. The bag of almonds is beside you as you send a trade request to your friend for fantasy football. You take a handful, then another, and then another.

You bypass ESPN on your browser and click on your calorie counter. After all, you’ve tracked your diet for the last 3 months. You even saw great progress in the first six weeks and now you’re hooked.

Problem is, your diet has stalled.

You haplessly continue on, guessing at your portion sizes and recalling what you ate the last few days. Clicking, scanning, and entering information that has a pretty solid chance at being incorrect. You’ve been traveling for work and it’s impossible to measure out food when it’s being served to you  at a steakhouse (unless you really will bring a food scale, but I hope not).

No trans fat?

As well as things were working before, calorie counting has become a burden. It’s become impractical for your busy life and you are no longer seeing the changes you’ve diligently pursued.

All dietary changes will create some level of stress, and some tough decisions. Without a struggle there is no progress. Changing the way you eat goes much further than simply food in food out; there is a huge emotional component of eating, as well as hunger and appetite signals.

In the short term, anyone can monotonously, robotically enter calories and macronutrients into a computer system.  But how many can do it long term?

Few, very few. Just ask around, you will find tons of people who “used to” count their calories. They quit, gave up, and found it impractical.

Now, they continue to struggle with their dietary behaviors and never developed control without thinking of food in numbers.

In addition, counting calories is  just not all that accurate.

Because of incorrect labeling, laboratory errors, and differences in food quality and preparation, calorie counts recorded on food labels and websites – even those within the USDA’s nutrient databases – can be off by as much as 25%.

For example, this study observed bagels on patients food records. The textbook weight of a bagel is 65 g; however, the bagels brought in by patients weighed between 98g-128g. That’s nearly twice the size of the textbook weight and up to a 550+kcal difference (Heymsfield, Darby,Muhlheim, Gallagher, Wolper & Allison, 1995)

.

Week21, Recipe33

Bottom line

Even if you’re the world’s best calorie counter, your calculations are off. Even the best data is wildly inconsistent due to factors such as growing conditions, seed quality (if a seed), and how it is prepared.

 Changing your diet isn’t easy  and impractical, sub-par results can contribute to a ton of frustration. These constant irritations eventually lead diets to fail, fat to return, and unhealthy lifestyles to continue. There is a better way.

The Palm Method

My friends at Precision Nutrition have developed an uber-advanced, spectacular way to count calories……

By using the palm of your hand.

 “The palm of my hand?”

Yes! The palm of your hand gives you a consistent measuring tool that is unique to your body and is always with you. When preparing your meals how often does your food touch your hands?

Granted you cook your own food, I would say quite a bit.

 Using the palm of your hand gives you a clear visual of how much food you should eat, rather than trying to estimate how much chicken equals out to 6 ounces.

 For example, Men looking to lose fat would eat this:

  • 1 – 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal

  • 1 – 2 fists of vegetables with each meal

  • 1 – 2 thumbs of fat dense foods if including extra fats. (avoid in post-workout meal)

  • (Optional) 1 – 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods if post-workout or if you tolerate carbs well.

 Women would eat:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal

  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal

  • 1 – 2 thumbs of fat dense foods if including extra fats. (avoid in post-workout meal)

  • (Optional) 1 – 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods if post-workout or if you tolerate carbs well.

These obviously change due to factors such as: body type, dietary style, carbohydrate tolerance, training intensity, health concerns, and current fitness goals.

Looking to gain lean mass or optimize recovery in your workouts? Increase the carbs post-workout.

Looking to lose body fat fast? Keep starchy carbs low and post-workout.

It doesn’t have to be exact.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

It doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Wrap Up

Calorie counting is rarely a feasible, long term option. Worse, it’s wildly inaccurate. Adopt the palm method for stress-free meal tracking and keep your diet on track.

The best plans are rarely the best designed, most complex, most scientifically in depth.

 The best plans, whether it’s diet or exercise, are the plans that are practical and can be done consistently. Consistency is the key.

 

 For more information and strategies check out this free 5 day fat loss course for:

Men==> Fat Loss Course For Men

Women ⇒ Fat Loss Course For Women

Sources:

Berardi, D. J. (2013, 6 13). How to fix a broken diet:3 ways to get your eating on track. Retrieved from http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fix-a-broken-diet

 

Heymsfield , S. B., Darby, P. C., Muhlheim, L. S., Gallagher, D., Wolper, C., & Allison, D. B. (1995). The calorie: myth, measurement, and reality.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65, 1034-1041. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/62/5/1034S.full.pdf html

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/miyagi/1951765824/“>Mr Miyagi</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/amls/3540309399/“>amls</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

For more information and strategies check out this free 5 day fat loss course for:

Men==> Fat Loss Course For Men

Women ⇒ Fat Loss Course For Women

 

 

Hormones and Body fat Distribution

getting back into shape, Fat Deposits and Hormone Correlations

Dude…is it true all this beer is giving me man boobs?

I keeled over and nearly spit my beer all over the table. I was 21 years old, an undergrad in kinesiology and kickin’ back a few beers on thirsty Thursday with my friend Chris.

“No, I mean, seriously. I heard beer has compounds that mimic estrogen. So drinking a lot of beer throws guys hormones off and gives us man boobs. Is this right?  At the time, I wasn’t sure. Three beers deep I was tipsy and didn’t really care. In hindsight maybe I was being a jerk. But then again, I wasn’t completely sure.

Do hormone imbalances play a role in where we store body fat? Is excess cortisol the reason some of us have stubborn belly fat that won’t go away?

Is excess cortisol the reason some of us have stubborn belly fat that won’t go away?
Taken a step further, by naturally working to improve hormone levels can we get rid of stubborn body fat to become stronger, leaner, and look better naked?

The more clients I work with, the more I believe hormones play a significant role in body fat and body fat distribution. Before going any further I must note that I am not a doctor. This is no attempt to treat any medical condition; rather, to paint a picture of a few possible reasons for stubborn body fat. That said, using well-planned resistance training, small tweaks in your diet, and avoiding environmental toxins you can potentially improve natural hormone levels for less fat and more muscle. I put together a free guide showing you what to do. Grab it here.


Here are some common issues and questions that my clients bring up when coming in for body composition testing, typically done as skinfold measurements and body circumference measurements.

“My arms and chest are toned and lean, but I just can’t seem to shake this stubborn lower belly flab, why am I lean everywhere but my stomach?”

“I can’t get rid of this stupid fat around my hips, it looks like a muffin top!”

“ Why am I developing man boobs  fat on my chest muscles?”

I’ve heard every combination of slang terminology for fatty deposits around the body. As funny as some of them may be they represent real, common problems that can wreak havoc on both physique and confidence.

Having body fat tested is a great way to get a reliable, quantifiable idea of your current body composition and is recommended for everyone. If this is not an immediate option, make it a priority. Check out this post on how to estimate your body fat percentage based on what you see in the mirror.

Skinfold measurements will provide vital information to track body composition with changes in activity level and diet. These numbers from a skinfold also provide important data that can signify correlations between important body altering hormones in the body and skinfold measures.

Here are the most common trouble spots along with necessary interventions and strategies to correct the issue:

High abdominal Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: High Stress, High Cortisol
  • Intervention: Cortisol Suppression, Stress Control
  • Potential Strategies: Frequent protein meals, improved sleep, BCAA’s, stress reducing techniques such as meditation.

High Suprailliac Skinfold (hip region)

  • Physiological Correlation: Large Insulin Release w/meals (Likely too much sugar)
  • Intervention: Control Carb intake and greatly reduce processed foods
  • Potential Strategies: Consider a low carb diet. Better yet, try carb cycling, as outlined in this article.

High Subscapular Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation:Poor Insulin Sensitivity (too many carbohydrates, too little exercise)
  • Intervention:Boost Insulin Sensitivity
  • Potential Strategy: Add Fish Oils, R-ALA Supplementation, Low Carb Diet, potentially Intermittent fasting protocols

High Chest Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: Low Testosterone, high estrogen
  • Intervention: Support Healthy Testosterone Levels
  • Potential Strategy:Adequate caloric intake, adequate dietary fat intake, possible medical referral. Avoid alcohol, beer specifically.

High Triceps and Thigh Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: High Estrogen
  • Intervention:Reduce estrogen levels
  • Potential Strategy: Increase exercise volume, add cruciferous veggies (always a good idea), discuss prescription estrogens with doctor

As you can see there is a pretty consistent consensus that many hormonal issues stem from poor exercise and dietary habits. Body composition is very diet specific and using the potential strategies to attack trouble spots can help you lose fat, improve your overall health, and look better naked.

It is important to note that if body fat is high universally on all body composition measurements then correlations are relatively meaningless. You need to lose body fat to improve your overall hormone profile. Our 30-day fat loss transformation plan can help you lose 6-10 pounds in one month. Join us next month by applying here.

Other Tips

If looking to lose weight do whatever is necessary to increase your activity level, but studies show 5+ hours per week is what is needed to optimally lose weight. And if you’re looking for a workout program to maximize your fat loss, here’s a free program to get building your dream body.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Sources:

Andrews, Ryan, MS,MA,RD. Berardi, John, PhD,”Chapter 12 Interpreting Client Information.” The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. 2nd ed. N.p.: Precision Nutrition, n.d. 316-18. Print.

Precision Nutrition Certification Review

Like any certification the number one question I have received after getting my PN1 is “Was it worth the Money?”

To make it easy the answer is yes, yes it was. The Precision Nutrition Certification strikes gold for coaches looking for top-notch results with their clients. The PN system delivers what few other certifications and educational courses can: Up-to-date information and a delivery system to implement change in your clients.

The Breakdown

Precision Nutrition Certification Review
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Precision Nutrition contained two distinct portions of this certification. The first portion of the textbook and lectures was based on nutritional science. This portion covered topics such as cell structure and function, energy transfer and metabolism, energy balance, macro/micronutrients, special populations, and hydration status.

The information is up-to-date, and extremely thorough. Precision Nutrition does a phenomenal job breaking down difficult topics such as the Krebs cycle with both in-depth explanation, workbook questions, and video lectures to fit all learning styles.

The Best Part

The scientific based parts of the certification are great, but the practice, coaching, and implementation are even better. The practice portion of the certification contains extremely thorough client prep and information collecting, how to interpret this information, nutritional supplementation information, setting realistic and achievable goals, and how to provide continuing education and support for clients.

 

Advanced Strategies

Because PN does such a great job analyzing behavior and making change stick, advanced strategies are much easier to master. PN covers the following topics in-depth, providing calculations and estimations based on individual goals and body types for the following:

  • Carbohydrate cycling
  • Calorie cycling
  • Athlete sports nutrition as it relates to immune function
  • Nutrition for injury and rehabilitation
  • Supplementation to speed healing of injuries
  • Plant based diets
  • Eating disorders
  • Nutrition and cardiovascular disease
  • Nutrition and diabetes

These advanced strategies are an awesome addition to any repertoire of nutritional knowledge bombs. They might not apply to the majority of clients, but they are extremely thoroughly and helpful to the advanced clients that do dictate the strategies.

Why It’s Better

The Precision Nutrition Certification is NOT the only nutritional certification available to fitness professionals, but it does offer an entire section based on implementing change with clients. Too often certifications leave the coach with a wealth of information without the tools to successfully carry out the strategies into practice. This is where the PN system separates itself from the others. Dr. John Berardi has the hands on knowledge and experience from years of working with clients ranging from elite professional and Olympian athletes to non-athletes and average-joes.

If you are a fitness professional looking to take your business to the next step then I strongly recommend the PN1 Certification and Precision Nutrition.

For more information go check PN out at http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ and explore the wealth of information they have to offer. Specialized programs such as PN Lean Eating as well as Scrawny To Brawny programs are available to guide you towards your specific goals.

For information on how I implement the Precision Nutrition System with my clients please contact me through my newsletter and pick up your free gift here ==> Hook me up!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

5 Essential Nutrition Habits

Below are 5 essential habits via the Precision Nutrition System. These wicked-awesome 5 habits are pretty Kick-Ass! Why?!

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...
Food for Life distributes food on an international basis produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, they are easy to follow, especially if you looking to lose body fat ( NOT GAIN lotza MUSCLE) and optimize body composition without the work of calorie counting and spending countless hours logging and tracking your food choices (which is still a good idea).

Enough with my blabbing, here is the list.

1.)Eat Slowly and Stop at 80% Full. It takes 20 minutes for brain signals to kick in, take your time and enjoy your meal.2.)Eat Protein dense foods with each meal.

Women- 1 Palm (20-30g)

Men- 2 palms (40-60g)

–This will support positive nitrogen balance, leading to better muscle development, body composition, and metabolism.

3.)Eat Vegetables with each meal. ½ cup raw= 1 serving, aim for 10 servings between fruits and vegetables per day. 2 palms per meal!

–These are filled will all kinds of good shiznit, such as phytochemicals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. Fight cancer, fill up on good stuff, and be healthy!

4.)For Fat Loss, eat most carbs after exercise. Keeping carbs low until aftr exercise will promote burning stored fat before/during exercise.

–Keep carb choices slower digesting, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat if you tolerate them.

5.)Eat healthy Fats Daily. Get roughly 30% of kcals and include healthy fats during each meal.

Get 1/3 from each type of fat, saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated by varying your sources between lean meats, fish, nuts, and healthy oils.

For more information regarding Precision Nutrition check out my review of their level 1 certification below:
http://ericbachperformance.com/2013/01/21/precision-nutrition-level-1-certification-review/

 

Resources:

Berardi, Dr. John, and Ryan Andrews. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. second. Precision Nutrition. INC, 2012. 345-351. Print.

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