How to Use the Scale PROPERLY to Track Fat Loss Progress

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How to Use the Scale PROPERLY to Track Fat Loss Progress

I want to talk to you about using a scale properly to avoid freaking out. It can be used as a great tool to measuring your weight loss or weight gain progress.

It’s a topic that comes up frequently in my discussions with clients. They will see a number on the scale for one day after they haven't weighed themselves for a couple of weeks and then they see it, they're like, "Holy crap!" They'll freak out because that number isn't what they expected or they thought it was gonna be higher or lower.

So let's take the weight loss example for a second here. Let's say you're trying to lose weight. You weigh yourself one week and then you weigh yourself again. If you've seen my other video on daily fluctuations in weight you'll know that there are many factors that come into play in terms of what effects body weight. 

Water retention depending on where you are in your cycle, food from the day prior, carbs, salt, heavy training sessions, stress, etc, these are all things that can effect fluctuations in weight on a daily basis.

So you're not accounting for that if you just weigh yourself once a week. So you might be catching yourself on a “bad” day and you may have missed some other lower numbers throughout the week and now you've only seen that higher number.

So, on average, you may have actually lost weight on the weekly average but you've only seen that higher number today. And that's why I recommend weighing yourself more frequently over the course of at least three days a week up to seven days a week to get the most accurate average of the week. 

Now for some people I know it causes some stress and anxiety, getting on a scale, but I think once you understand how to use the scale properly and understand what it's actually measuring it will help to decrease those feelings. The scale is measuring your weight in that moment in time and it takes into account everything that's happened in the 24 hours prior in terms of food intake, water retention, etcetera. Remember that to use it properly you should get a weekly average and know that we should be comparing weeks to weeks in terms of our weight. It's a very valuable tool in terms of measuring progress for body composition changes but because a lot of people don't understand the factors that affect body weight and how to actually use the scale properly to track weekly averages it does cause some anxiety and freaking out. 

So measure yourself and track your weight more frequently over the course of a week, get weekly averages and compare those weeks to each other.

Now, if you're a woman that's pre-menopause and you're not on birth control, you want to take a week in your cycle, we'll call that the anchor week, and you're gonna compare that same week in your next cycle. So you're comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges. That way you get a more accurate measure of your body weight going forward. Hope this helps. 

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Podcast with James Clear - Atomic Habits

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Podcast with James Clear - Atomic Habits

I’m super stoked about this interview.

I had the incredible opportunity of meeting James at a fitness conference a couple years ago. I had read so much of his work so I was fan-boying so hard my hand gestures were all over the place LOL (you can see that here). Anway, in that brief interaction I learned a lot which is why I’m so happy I got to have a longer chat with James.

James does an awesome job of breaking down the science of habits in an interesting and very applicable manner.

I learned a lot from this podcast and I'm sure you'll pick up some very useful bits of info to help you with any habit you want to build.

If you like what you heard, give it a like on YouTube and share it with a friend to help them build good habits.

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Is Keto the Best Diet for Fat Loss?

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Is Keto the Best Diet for Fat Loss?

I want to go over a topic/question that's been coming up more frequently in the past couple of months regarding the Keto diet.

Friends, family, clients, and even during consults, I've been asked, "Should I be doing the keto diet?”

“Is the keto diet going to help me burn more fat?”

“My coworker's doing it, my friend's doing it. It's worked great for them. Do you think I should be doing the keto diet?"

I'm not going to bash it (Keto) or anything. I'm going to give you my thoughts on it. At the end of the post, I'll give you a tip on how to do the keto diet better if that's something that you're going to pursue and if that's something that you're going to do. 

I think there are couple sets of questions you should ask yourself first.

The first set comes down to sustainability and enjoyability. Is this diet going to help me? Am I going to be able to sustain it for a long period of time? So, that's over six months. Am I going to enjoy it? Those are questions you want to ask yourself.

Enjoyability is kind of a two-factor/ two-part question. Enjoyability comes from food preferences. Do you like pasta, rice, potatoes, wine, and fruits and vegetables? Also, what is your training style like? 

Going back to actually the food preference, if you like those foods, then obviously a diet that cuts those foods out is likely not going to be something that you're going to be able to sustain for a long period of time. Now, if you're the type of person that doesn't even like those foods, doesn't eat them regularly, feels great without them, then yes, you're probably going to have the better chance of sustaining that diet for a longer period of time.

Training style. Lifestyle. Are you a sedentary person? Are you someone that does very low intensity exercise, Walks and doesn't really do high intensity exercise? Then, yes, the keto diet, a diet that is very low in carbs, is going to be something that can suit you.

But are you someone that goes to barre, goes to spin, goes to power yoga, does high intensity interval training, HIIT, and lifts weights, so you're active several times a week, and you want to keep your performance up, you want to go in that workout and workout for harder and longer? Then carbs are going to be your friend and they're going to help you to perform better in those workouts and help you with recovery. 


The second part is can I achieve these same results, fat loss, with other diets as well or is this the only way?

Calorie balance is the king of fat loss. It rules everything. It doesn't matter what diet you're on, if you're on a keto diet, the paleo diet, the vegan diet, the Oreo, Twinkie, Arby, Subway, McDonald's, my grandmother's Persian diet, whatever…

Whatever diet you decide to choose, you will lose fat as long as you can maintain a calorie deficit for a period of time.

It doesn't matter if your diet is very low in carbs or high in carbs. Researchers has shown this when they've compared a very low-carb diet to a high-carb diet. The fat loss effect has been the same when the calorie intake and the protein intake has been matched. So both diet strategies work.

It busts one of the myths and one of the selling points of the keto diet, that if insulin goes up, you won't lose fat. You can still lose fat on a diet that has a higher level of carbs as long as calorie intake and protein intake are at a levels that puts you in a deficit. 

On the topic of protein, and this touches on the tip that I wanted to give those of you who are doing the keto diet or going to start doing the keto diet:

A lot of people who start the keto diet don't maintain a high enough protein intake. The keto diet typically is very high in fat, but not that high in protein.

The issue with that is that as we lose weight, we want to maintain as much muscle mass as we can so that we maximize fat loss. The two ways that we do that is by resistance training and consuming enough protein.

It's very important that you're lifting weights when you're dieting so that you maintain the muscle mass, muscle tone, and muscle definition as you lose fat. To maximize muscle mass retentions aim to keep your protein intake take at a high enough level. 

But one of the fears that some people have with keeping protein intake up during the keto diet that they may go out of ketosis due to a rise rise in insulin levels, and stuff like that. If that is a worry for you, you can still bump up your protein intake to a range of 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. At that range you should still be able to sustain your state of ketosis if that’s your goal.

But if that's not something that you're worried about, I would advise you to bump up your protein intake even higher than that and aim for closer to 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of protein per day of body weight.

I hope those things help. If you have any questions, shoot them in the comments below.

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10 Ingredients For Living The Good Life

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10 Ingredients For Living The Good Life

This list is a collection of activities and food times I’ve incorporated into my life over very recent years to help with my anxiety, to sleep better, and to reduce general muscle achiness.

I’m a work in progress and will always be that way. I’m continuously researching and trying out different things to see what works. I encourage you to do the same after reading this book.

As of the date of writing this (December 2016) - at the age of 26 - I’ve found incorporating the ten items listed here to have helped me tremendously.

I posted this list on Instagram a few weeks ago. In this blog I'll go over each point and why it's a part of my day. 

 

Dark Chocolate (85% and above)

Dark chocolate became a staple in my life after my short stint of binge eating. I needed something to kill my cravings and to stop me from going all Cookie Monster on the pantry. Dark chocolate helped.

A lot of people - including myself - experience a blunting of sweet tooth cravings and hunger with just one or two squares of dark chocolate. There is research to back this up.  When compared to milk chocolate - promotes satiety, lowers the desire to eat something sweet, and suppresses energy intake.

But you might be wondering why I’m big on 85% dark chocolate. Is 70% bad? No.It’s just that I can’t tell any difference in the taste of 70% versus 85% dark chocolate. So for me, it’s a no-brainer to go with the darker chocolate and get more cacao with less added sugar.

My favorite right now is 99% dark chocolate from Lindt. What’s yours?

 

Coffee

I go to bed each night excited because sleep is a time machine to morning. The sooner morning comes around the corner the sooner I get to turn on my espresso machine.

Fact: coffee makes everything in life seem excellent. Coffee appears to be nothing short of a wonder drug. Study after study shows relationships between coffee consumption and positive health outcomes like lowered risk of colorectal cancer, better liver health, better brain health in seniors, enhanced memory, and it even helps keep ears from ringing. 

Remember that too much of anything isn’t good. So find a reasonable amount of coffee that makes you feel super, without making you anxious and messing with your sleep.

Because I’m sensitive to caffeine, I have a personal rule of not consuming any after 11 am. I typically have an espresso at 4:30 am and another one sometime before 11 am.

 

Short Workouts (in 'n out in 60 minutes)

When you’re forced to keep your workouts under 60 minutes, you make better use of your time instead of your texting muscles. Setting a time limit makes your workouts intense which leave you sweaty and breathing heavy.
 

I also believe in fitting fitness into your life, not the other way around. So I find setting aside 60 minutes to live a long healthy life in a body you’re proud of seems reasonable. The 6o minutes includes the time spent changing in and out of clothes, by the way. Realistically, all-in, your workout will take up to 45 minutes. They’re short enough to allow for quick day-to-day recovery and long enough to get you results.

The main reason I try to workout every day is the post-workout euphoria. That’s what gets me out of bed and into to gym at that ungodly hour. It’s not my unconditional love for the dumbbells or elliptical machine.

Ever after being on SSRIs, I’ve come to realize there is no better antidepressant than an energizing workout that gets your heart racing.

If you ever want to see what working out at 4:30 am is like and how good you’ll feel after, I can show you. You just have to show up :)


Sex (with yourself or others)

Just do it. It doesn't matter if you’re doing it to yourself or doing it with someone.

For guys, research shows an inverse relationship between ejaculation and risk of prostate cancer. As of yet, I’m not aware of any research on the relationship between orgasm frequency and physical health outcomes for women. What we know is that more sex and masturbation is good. Frequent orgasms highly correlate with an increased quality of life.

 

Stretch (three to five minutes, preferably pre-sleep)

Stretch (three to five minutes, preferably pre-sleep)

Self-care isn’t just manicures, pedicures, and shiatsu massages. Stretching is up there. And it’s free. Stretching helps reduce anxiety, bodily pain and exhaustion, and boosts vitality and mental health. It’s awesome for winding down gets you in a relaxed state ready for sleep.

I’ve tried to develop some stretching a habit a bunch of times but failed miserably. I gave the 20 to 30 minutes-a-day thing a shot a couple of occasions. I couldn’t do it. It took too long, and I didn’t have the patience for it. Same reason I can’t do an hour long yoga class. Find me a 20-minute yoga class, and I’m in.

Plus, three to five minutes is a lot more manageable than 20-30 minutes, and it’s so short that it makes for an easy add-on to your existing sleep routine.

Possible options - among many:

  1. Brush your teeth, then stretch.

  2. A warm glass of milk, then stretch.

  3. Watch cat videos on YouTube, while stretching.

  4. Sex, then stretch (or vice-versa as a warm-up).
     

Sleep (7-8 hours)

No amount of coffee or will make up for piss poor sleep. Eight cups of coffee are not the same as eight hours of sleep. One of them makes might you a heart attack while the other one decreases the chance of it.

I guard my sleep routine with my life. It’s one of, if not the single most effective change I’ve made to my life that has paid huge dividends.

Enough quality sleep will make you less anxious, irritable and bitchy. It also helps you to have better control over your appetite, and accomplish more in a day because you have more energy than when you have a crappy sleep.

Lack of quality sleep can cause:

  • Insulin resistance

  • Increased risk of diabetes

  • Impaired cognitive function

  • Higher fat mass

  • Increased hunger

  • Slowed fat loss


Alcohol (a couple drinks a week)

You might have heard that moderate alcohol intake (one to two drinks per day) can have benefits like decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. I used to think that until I started researching for this book.

But a behemoth of a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that the scientific evidence backing such claims is “shaky at best.”  If that’s your concern, diet and exercise will have a way bigger bang for your buck. Plus, the research on those isn’t equivocal like it is with alcohol intake.The researchers said there was no benefit regarding longevity with moderate alcohol consumption and no risk with the occasional drinks. That’s why alcohol is still on this list

And because I just discovered mezcal cocktails.

 

Nuts (handful a day)

This one has to be the easiest thing on this list to implement. (Unless you’re allergic to nuts).

20 grams or a handful of nuts a day can cut our risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30 per cent, cancer by 15 per cent, and premature death by 22 percent. Doesn’t matter what kind. They all work.

 

Fruit (couple a day)

Nature’s dessert. Cliche but it’s true.

Fruits like pineapple, mango, banana, peach, and kiwi are awesome substitutes for a high-calorie snack. The research on diets higher in fruit and decreased risk every cause of death. The reason Kenny keeps dying in every South Park episode is that he never ate a single fruit.What’s your favourite fruit? I’m all about pears and pineapples right now.

 

Being early

I had a chronic problem with being on time for ages. I set my watches and clocks ahead yet I still managed to be late. Because I like getting the most out of every day, I plan every appointment and action item in my calendar close to one another. Too close.

I thought having a calendar would decrease my anxiety, but it backfired because it made me more anxious. I was either just on-time or five to ten minute late for everything.  Now I’m getting to my appointments early - as in 10 to 15 minutes early. Being early is tied with my sleep routine as adding tremendous benefits to my life.

If you want to live a more relaxed life, be early.

 

Gratitude

Do you ever wonder how, out of the seven billion people on this earth, you were lucky enough to be born into a family that fed, raised, and took care of you so that you can read this blog on your futuristic device?

Life can get shitty sometimes. I’ve been in and sometimes still go to some dark places. But all it to come back to the good life is to zoom out - way out - and realize:

  • You don’t have to worry about drinking water or dying from a fever.

  • You don’t have to run from bombs, gunfire, or wild animals.

  • You have access to the internet so you can learn whatever you want, whenever you want.

If you have any doubt that you’ve won the lotto by being alive you need to watch this.

 

 

References for the nerds:

Sørensen, L. B., & Astrup, A. (2011). Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake. Nutrition & diabetes, 1(12), e21.

http://qualitycounts.com/fpcoffee.html

Rider, J. R., Wilson, K. M., Sinnott, J. A., Kelly, R. S., Mucci, L. A., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2016). Ejaculation frequency and risk of prostate cancer: updated results with an additional decade of follow-up. European urology.

As a female, does orgasm affect my health? (2012). Retrieved December 09, 2016, from https://examine.com/nutrition/as-a-female-does-orgasm-affect-my-health/

Montero-Marin, J., Asún, S., Estrada-Marcen, N., Romero, R., & Asun, R. (2012). [Effectiveness of a stretching program on anxiety levels of workers in a logistic platform: a randomized controlled study]. Atencion primaria/Sociedad Española de Medicina de Familia y Comunitaria, 5(7), 376-383.

How important is sleep? (2015). Retrieved December 09, 2016, from https://examine.com/nutrition/how-important-is-sleep/

Stockwell T, Zhao J, Panwar S, Roemer A, Naimi T, Chikritzhs T. Do “Moderate” Drinkers Have Reduced Mortality Risk? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of alcohol Consumption and all-Cause Mortality. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2016.

Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L. T., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D. C., ... & Norat, T. (2016). Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC medicine, 14(1), 207

 

Article Image: Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_lineartestpilot'>lineartestpilot / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Make Your Form Great Again: Cable Glute Kickback

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Make Your Form Great Again: Cable Glute Kickback

This week I'm continuing my mission of making your form great again by going over an exercise that is a very popular exercise, especially among women. 

The Exercise

This cable glute kickback can be either a glute builder or a back destroyer, depending on how you go about performing it. 

The most common mistakes I see with the cable glute kickback are:

  • "Bad girl booty syndrome" where the low back is arched like a MF and butt sticks out. I mean, I'm not a real doctor, but that shit ain't good for your back.
  • Using momentum to drive the leg back and not controlling the negative portion.
  • Standing upright and DECREASING the range of motion. 


How To Make It Great Again: 

Stef demonstrates what NOT to do, followed by how I like to coach it. 

  • Brace your abs and maintain that tension throughout the set. This will keep your back from overarching and prevent Bad Girl Syndrome.
  • Bend your knees SLIGHTLY and bend at the hips.
  • Make your glute do all the work. Start the motion with your glute squeezing hard, instead of just kicking your leg back like you're kicking something off your leg. 


Give it a try with great form and let me know if this helped.

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3 Exercises To Help Your Push-up

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3 Exercises To Help Your Push-up

Bodyweight exercises have gotten a bad rap for being ‘easy’ and not challenging enough. That’s far from the truth. The push-up is more than just a great exercise for building upper body strength and sculpting the arms and shoulders. It’s a full-body exercise that embodies true physical strength and endurance.

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