It’s Sunday morning, and typically on Sundays I do all my grocery shopping for the week and plan my meals out. That way I can stay focused on my fitness goals and save a little money as well. During my grocery shopping adventure I couldn’t help but notice all the people that were walking up and down the aisles trying to figure out what healthy foods to buy while attempting to read the nutrition facts some of which I still have a hard time reading.
As I wrapped up my shopping and headed to my car I couldn’t help but think about all the misconceptions out there regarding grocery shopping. Low fat, sugar free, no trans fat. No wonder people are so confused and misguided, they don’t know what to read or who to listen to.
With all the information out there, I have put together my top 5 secrets of supermarket shopping:
- Hydrogenated and Trans Fat= Bad Fat
What is BAD FAT? Bad Fat is otherwise known as saturated fat. The stuff that we eat and that unfortunately doesn’t want to do anything productive in our body before it stores itself around the belly. Be on the lookout for these types of fats in anything that is processed, especially sweets (cookies, doughnuts, ho-hos, etc.). Our bodies do not break down these types of fats easily. Instead, look for healthier alternatives such as “monounsaturated” or “polyunsaturated” fats. Both these fats can be used for energy and have some good health benefits.
- Stoop and bend or go up on your tippy toes to find the REAL healthy items
Ever notice what products tend to be right at eye level?
? The most popular ones. Every time I am walking down the pasta aisle the first thing I see is…good ol’ macaroni and cheese! In order to find the grocery items that are best for my body and my health, I tend to snoop around. I Look HIGH and look LOW, but I don’t look in front of me. The mouth might like what it sees, but the waistline won’t!
- Always try to shop around the perimeter of the store.
I have always pondered the layout of a grocery store. A word to the wise—some things in the middle might be okay but don’t get caught there. I always try to shop around the perimeter of the store. That’s where all the good healthy stuff is— vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and fish.
- Make a list with all the HEALTHY items.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is by far the most important tip I can give you! This tip alone has helped my lose 40 pounds and make sure I don’t put it back on. Take 15 minutes before heading to the store and write down everything
- The 411 on Label Reading
I could write for pages on this subject alone, but I wan to share some basic information.
- Ingredients begin with the item that is most prevalent in the food. Therefore, if I can’t read it, I don’t buy it.
- I am always wary of the “trans fat” and “hydrogenated fat” words.
- Watch out for saturated fats and try to stay below 10 grams of total fat.
- Find a way to control portion size…. In the beginning…. This is what worked for me.. I struggled with portion control. For example, a bag of chips might say that it is only 100 calories/serving but the serving size might be whopping 4 chips. All of a sudden, 12 chips later and still hungry, I was already 300 calories in the hole.
- Sugar was my best friend. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which means that it gets processed and into the bloodstream very quickly. When that happens, the body shuttles out insulin and pushes the sugar into cells. Too much sugar overload, and BOOM—fat storage!
Food is the foundation to any successful fitness goal, whether it is fat or weight loss or increasing lean muscle and gaining size. Following these 5 secrets will take ZOOM FOCUS, but the end results will be LIFE CHANGING!
In Good Health
Hitting a plateau is a common experience. It can be one of the most de-motivating things that can happen in fitness. Plateaus are the number one reason why people abandon exercise. They bring on feelings of discouragement, confusion, and utter frustration. Thankfully, overcoming them is easy... so long as you are prepared and know how overcome them.
What is a plateau?
The human body has a regulatory mechanism that works to keep the amount of energy you consume in balance with the amount of energy you use. In other words, the body does not like to lose weight! The slowing or stoppage of fat/weight loss occurs in spite of exercise consistency and consistent, proper food intake.
Look at the experience of a plateau as a good thing! Your body is telling you:
- “I am ready for the next stage”;
- “I have conquered this current routine”;
- And; “Give me something new!!”
This is when fitness gets fun, and creativity can be added to the routine.
The human body is amazingly adaptable for a variety of reasons. What we first need to do is identify the reason for the adaptation and then proceed with the proper changes.
Plateaus: The Reasons & The Solutions
Lowering calories too far…
“It takes calories to burn calories,” which is true both internally and externally. Internally, the body simply slows its metabolic rate (burns fewer calories) when it senses a decrease in food intake. The body still functions correctly, but requires fewer calories, creating hunger and preventing fat loss. Externally, the body is tricked into doing less, (i.e., you get lazy, tired and therefore, move less and more economically).
What to do…
To prevent a plateau, keep your calories slightly below the amount recommended for maintenance to keep your metabolism and energy levels high during exercise and daily activities. A deficit greater than 500 to 700 calories makes it much more difficult to maintain lean muscle.
Loss of lean body mass
Lean body mass uses up to eight times the calories as fat does. Therefore, loss of enough of this fat burning commodity (muscle) dramatically lowers metabolism and brings fat loss to a screeching halt.
What to do…
Keep your body nourished with supportive foods and a quality multivitamin. Follow your exercise recommendations; engage in resistance training at least 3 times a week, and limit all cardio sessions to between 20 and 30 minutes.
Body becomes efficient
The body is required to make hundreds of internal changes to adjust to different workloads. Each of these reactions consumes calories. Therefore, once the body stops repairing muscle from exercise or adding new cellular machinery, the calories burned to make these changes are no longer spent and the amount of energy your body uses decreases.
What to do…
Never let your bodies get used to exercise. Keep it guessing by changing frequency, intensity, type or time of exercise. When training for ___???___
Overtraining occurs when you push your body too hard and pass the point that your body is able to recover from. To make gains you must overload the muscles and then allow adequate time for recovery and growth by resting. Overtraining occurs when either the overload is too high, or the rest period aka recovery time is too low.
What to do…
Take at least seven days off from your regular exercise routine (this should be done every 4-8 weeks). Resume workouts with a different routine and increase only as necessary. Your metabolism and daily activities will reset and increase again.
Enhanced physical condition
When you are in better shape, your system is more efficient, which means it requires fewer calories to operate. The primary benefit of exercise is to improve health through an appropriate regime. Improved health can cause a slower resting metabolic rate. In other words, fewer calories are burned during normal daily activities. This is partially due to an increase in cardiopulmonary efficiency (e.g., lower resting heart rate).
What to do…
Stick with your goal of staying healthy. Concentrate on exercise intensity and type changes for a longer “after-burn” (calories burned above the normal resting metabolic rate after exercise).
Just as a well-tuned car gets better fuel economy, a well-tuned body can also thrive on less fuel (calories) when consistently challenged. By making a few changes, you can jumpstart your routine and see positive results in no time.
The grass is greener on the other side; or so they say. Since mycareer in the fitness industry began, more specifically once I became a FitnessManager, I have constantly overheard the rambling chatter of other trainers;"I could get paid more to do this on my own" or "I should openmy own studio; I could make a killing."
Both statements have the potential to be true, however, one mustnot forget that although the grass may seem greener on the other side, it isn'talways easy to get there to find out.
Two weeks ago, I had a one of my trainers come to me and say, “I am not busy enough and I think I have to look for another part time job. I love it here and I want to stay but I can’t afford to just do 10-15 sessions per week.”
Ihave heard this before many times and I usually have a couple initial thoughts and questions:
- What are you doing to get busier?
- How many more sessions do you want or need to do to make the money you want or need to make?
- How much more money specifically do you want to make per month?
- Do they understand what it takes to be an independent trainer?
Many trainers don’t really understand the costs of rent,marketing, billing, hiring an accountant and a never ending list of other items making independent training substantially more challenging than training under the umbrella of an established club.
There have been many times in my own career where I felt like leaving the “big box”, however, I have discovered that training at a club has numerous benefits, and the following are some of the most significant.
Learn your craft
As a personal trainer in a club, everyday there is anopportunity to show up and deliver the “WOW” factor. There is no better stagewhere one can not only learn, but also fine-tune their craft. It was in a “BigBox” gym where I realized my niche.
These facilities serve as a place where the role of personaltrainer can be mastered, and the skills required to be successful in thisever-growing and highly competitive industry can be fully developed.
A majority of clubs offers on-boarding process specificallydesigned to assist new trainers, as well as continuing education courses toincrease the knowledge base of existing trainers.
Become well known in your community. You don’t have to bethe trainer making all the sales, but you should strive to be the most populartrainer in the club.
Networking can be as simple as identifying that their“coins” are, such as, what their favorite NFL team is? (Go Cowboys), talkingabout what you do and what they do.
The best networking is inside your club. Club members canprovide the best networking opportunities, even if it doesn’t mean new clientsright away. Below, I share two best practices when it comes to networking.
1. Surprise andDelight Workouts.
Next time you are working, stand at the front desk or someother central location in your gym. As members enter the gym or walk to theworkout floor, ask them what they are working on today and if they would liketo work with a trainer for free today?
During the workout learn everything you can about them,build rapport, find special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Learntheir kid’s names, dog’s name, and wife or husbands name. Create a spreadsheeton your computer to log all this information. Do this for all your clients, andyou now have a client lead list that you can refer to when that particularmember comes in to the gym.
2. Leverage your social networks
Social networking is a very valuable tool for the personal trainer. Now,though, you'll use not only your actual physical social network and word ofmouth to get clients, but you'll also use online social networks like Facebookand Twitter. At the very least, you should be Facebooking and Tweeting yourblog posts, but you should really learn to use these tools to connect withpotential clients in other ways, too.
In the 4 clubs I have managed, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000people walked through the doors every Monday seeking a workout, yet in manysmall studios, walk-ins far rare.
By knowing you on a personal and professional level, thelikelihood of them giving referrals or making comments such as "he/she isthe best trainer here," increases exponentially. Remember, as trainers our business thrives onword of mouth, and referrals.
Working for a big box instead of as an independent allows youthe luxury of having virtually no business expense. Think about it, rent for adecent building, in a prime location will cost $10,000 to $20,000 a month. Youcan get away with having just the bare minimums for equipment, but like theequipment you see at your club? You are looking at well over $100,000 topurchase.
The marketing,advertising and prospecting for new member acquisition is done for you. Theequipment has already been purchased and in some cases the equipment you findin big box would take sometime to purchase on your own.
Insome cases, clients are simply handed to you, butin most cases all you have to do is prospect new clients off the floor. Istill don’t get this whole “selling” thing. But it is what it is. It isEDUCATING and believing in your product. Trainers, aren’t trained to sell, right? Well, remember, share, share, share, and share some more
This leaves room for you to focus on your ultimate goal as apersonal trainer, which is to assist your clients in getting RESULTS, andEDUCATE them. Many times as trainers we tend to show our clients new exercisesthat they have never done before. Now, this may seem like a good idea at firsthowever, most clients will take that new exercise and add it to their programand think they can do it on their own.
If you show the client exercises they are already familiar withand make them better, they are more likely to see the value in you as theirtrainer. Take for example the lat pull-down, how many times do you see membersshrugging their shoulder up, or protracted forward. Just walking around the gymand offering to help correct members form and technique, will help grow yourbusiness.
Take it from a fitness veteran who has been in the industry forthe last 8 years, and has managed several training departments, and hasdeveloped over 100 trainers. The grass isn’t always greener on the other sidesometimes the grass your on is green enough, it just need to be watered, and nurtured.
Dr. Chris Mohr recently shared a study with me about Protein and which type of Protein has the greatest metabolic effect (calorie burn). Since the Live Fit Formula is all about how many calories you are burning in a day and eating in a day, I thought you should see this.
Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):525-34)
Protein increases metabolism more than carbohydrates and fat. When you eat a meal there is a reaction in your body called the "thermic effect of feeding". When you eat protein, this thermogenic effect increases more to digest, breakdown, and metabolize your food. When you increase your metabolism, the higher the caloric burn, theoretically the greater the weight loss. Combine that data with the fact that protein helps fill you up more and you’ve got a win win for weight loss.
Quick side note: M2 Live Fit is all about balanced eating, we don't preach a heavy protein diet. We always want you to incorporate "good" carbs and fat in your diet. Actually a meal that has protein, carbs and fat will fill you up (satiety). But when choosing your proteins, this research can help.
Of course there’s more specifics to cover; we could go on about the quality of the protein as well and, in fact, this study did just that. It measured the effects of supplemental proteins (pills, shakes, bars) — whey, casein, or soy – on metabolism, satiety (feeling of fullness) and blood sugar. These 3 were compared to an equal calorie carbohydrate meal.
What did they find? All proteins were "better" in this case than carbohydrates in terms of the metabolic increase. Next, looking specifically at the different types of protein, the whey protein caused a significantly greater increase in metabolism than both casein and soy. On the flip side, casein and soy were reported as more satiating than the whey … but, more important than any of this scientific blah blah is that the whey was more "liked" compared to the others.
At the end of the day, compliance is most important. Regardless of how wonderful something may seem on paper, if it’s not going to be used, it’s not very effective anyhow.
Bottom Line: Protein should be part of every single meal. Each type of protein has unique benefits and properties, but if you’re looking for that metabolic "boost" — whey seems to have the greatest punch in that department and it scores high in the ‘likeability’ scale.