Category Archives for weight loss

Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine And You Are An Addict

People kid about being addicted to sugar but its no joke. I doubt you would think to compare sugar to cocaine but sugar is more addictive than cocaine. For the average person it is more addictive and more harmful (although you probably aren’t getting cuffed for eating too many Twinkies).

You may think this is hyperbole from a health nut trying to scare you into dropping the cookie tray, but it is a fact; the metabolizing of sugar lights up the brain similar to a line of coke. One difference is the accessibility. To get cocaine I’d first have to find a dealer (is there an app for that?) then I’d have to endure the awkwardness of asking for the product without sounding like a cop (there’s a certain vernacular for this exchange I’m sure). Whereas the other white powder; I don’t have to go far.

Sugars from fruits, vegetables, and some complex carbs like sweet potatoes are not the bad guys we are talking about. These foods have a lot of nutrient value. We’re talking primarily highly processed foods, sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup (really bad guys!)

How is sugar more addictive than cocaine?

Cocaine and sugar trigger the release of dopamine. This is the neurotransmitter that tells the brain we feel pleasure. The surge of dopamine is followed by a crash. Once we are bottomed out we naturally look to the source that got us high and want more.

The difference is we do not have any biological drive to snort things up our nose, whereas we have to eat in order to survive. Food provides us energy. Sugar is by far the fastest metabolizing source of energy there is. The body becomes accustomed to using sugar for energy and then craves more.

As we mentioned earlier, sugar is easier to access.

It is also socially acceptable. More than that, people push it on you…”oh live a little. You can have one. Life’s too short not to enjoy some desserts.” This happens a lot when people clean up their diets. Friends and family get weirdly self-conscious and say things like that to make them feel better.

Most people do not realize sugar is addictive. Nor are they aware of the bodily consequences of over consumption.

We can also note that things like brownies buried in my grandma’s ice cream taste AMAZING.  It’s hard to refuse.

 


 

The sugar cycle

Sugar is hard to kick because of its hormonal effect. The reason we are drawn to sugary foods when we are depressed is because of its instant hyperpalatable reward. But this doesn’t last. It’s an artificial pleasure that fades fast once the insulin is spiked. People are often stress eaters. This is a bad hole to fall into. The cycle goes:

  1. I’m stressed
  2. Give me sugar
  3. Damn that’s good!
  4. I’ll have just one more
  5. I need a nap
  6. I’m still hungry
  7. More sugar please

Stopping this cycle and cutting sugar out of your diet is the first step to improving your health dramatically. High sugar diets are the norm in America and they are literally killing us.

(Discover the easiest thing you can do to optimize your fat burning metabolism)

The good news is, it takes less time than you think to kick this habit. If you give it a few days, your cravings will decrease. Your taste buds will adapt. After this happens, sugary foods will taste too sweet. Every time you power through temptation, it gets a little easier.


How sugar has you fooled

  1. Excess sugar drives the pancreas to release insulin, the key to the cell doors that converts and stores sugar as fat.
  2. After the insulin has done its job, our brain doesn’t think we are full. The cravings are still there because the hormone (leptin) that tells us we are full never gets received.
  3. Sugar is now the most desired of all the nutrients because the brain has become addicted to the quick energy and pleasure it provides.

Sugar is a killer

We know that excess sugar leads to hazardous issues including obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and cancers. It feeds cancer cells and facilitates nearly every disease process.

The constant yoyo of insulin and blood sugar will result in insulin-sensitivity, at which point you are in real danger of Type II diabetes and other diseases.

It gets worse…

Not only does it have devastating consequences on the body, we are learning that processed and sugary foods have a terrible effect on the brain. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and a Prevention advisory board member stated, “There’s a compelling argument being made that Alzheimer’s disease is actually ‘type 3 diabetes,’ or insulin resistance of the brain”.

A 2009 study in Diabetes Care, researchers studied people with type 2 diabetes and other risks for cardiovascular disease and found diabetics are at greater risk of brain shrinkage and dementia. Furthermore, new studies suggest you do not have to be at a diabetic diagnosis sugar level to be at risk. Sugar levels at the higher end of the normal range can make you vulnerable.

If we know elevated blood sugar leads to these ailments, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume it causes or at least exacerbates other problems, such as depression and other mental illnesses. There are many assertions I will not include because I haven’t found scientific data but I think research in the near future will link high sugar diets to other problems.


Detoxing and replacing sugar in your diet.

It does not take long to detox from sugar. One thing you want to make sure of is that your diet is not too bland. Sugar addicts are accustomed to tasty – hyperpalatable foods. So, use plenty of spices and herbs to prepare your meals. You will want to up your protein intake as well as your vegetables to get that nutritional satisfaction. The fuller you are, the less tempted you will be to eat the sweets.

One of the best ways to make changes to your diet is to have a plan to follow.  There a lot of great resources you can follow to keep you on track.  One of my favorites is PaleoPlan

You will probably crave sugar for the first few days, but it will be worth it when you feel more energetic with a clearer head and a better mood.
Replace the sweets with the following:

    • Peanut butter. It’s delicious and it fills you up more than sugar. Get the natural kind with no preservatives.
    • Fruits. Eat 2-3 servings per day. Yes fruits are sugar but they are not hyperpalatble or processed. When have you ever binged on apples? Fruit is good for you.
    • Meat! Sorry vegans. Meat is highly satiating and the protein does a body good.
    • Whey protein shakes. The right kind is tasty. You can drink them plain or make a smoothie and mix it with greens and fruits. That will take care of your sweet cravings!


Be happier, live longer. You deserve it.

Is it really that big of a sacrifice to put down the plate of brownies in the scheme of things?

It would be highly hypocritical of me if I did not admit my own sugar cravings. I LOVE sugar! Chocolates, pies, brownies, candy bars,…. I love it all and if its around I am tempted to eat some (ok, a lot!). My discipline lies in knowing how tempting it is, so I do not buy it. If its not around, I don’t think about it.

It is also important for me share that I am a believer in enjoying things in moderation. If you’re having desserts on occasion, its not likely to be an issue. Eat a cupcake every once in a while. Just don’t have the whole plate.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you found it useful. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way. Thanks!

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Is The Keto Diet Good For You? What You Need To Know

The keto diet is a hot item right now. I have no doubt at least one of your friends or family members are on it right now and just like your CrosssFit buddies, they won’t shut up about it. The popularity has snow balled because of its undeniable affect on weight loss. It will definitely shred the fat but is the keto diet good for you?

Lets dig in and find out what the pros and cons of the new cool diet.

What Is Ketosis?

The purpose of the keto diet is to put the body into Ketosis; a metabolic state causing the body to produce and use ketones for energy. In other words, you will burn fat instead of sugar. You achieve this state by eating a specific diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Eliminating nearly all carbohydrates from your diet will result in the depletion of glycogen. Glycogen is like a warehouse for glucose, which is the body’s main source of energy. Once these stores have been raided, the body goes in search of alternative fuel sources. It just so happens we have extra fuel close by in the form of fat. The breakdown of fat produces ketones and voila we have a brand new power source.

Learn more about the diet and how to implement it correctly.

Eating a diet high in fat seems counter intuitive. We have been programmed to believe fat is bad. The truth is, fat is bad for you only when you are consuming too many calories on a diet that is also high in carbohydrates. It goes without saying, your food choices are important too.​


Is It Safe?

I personally thought the keto diet was a terrible idea as it went against everything I was taught in school. New paradigms are hard to shift. I became interested in learning about it years later after seeing people not only lose weight but improve every biomarker imaginable, from blood pressure to resting heart rate.

Ketosis is nothing new. No one invented it. It is a natural state of the body. There will likely be side effects in the beginning as your body transitions from glucose to ketones but these will subside in a few weeks if you can hang in that long.


The Pros

I’ve had clients drop over 50 pounds in 3 months on the keto diet. That’s a little speedier than I recommend but its just easy to do once the fat burning process begins.

Shredding body fat is the least of the benefits.

First it regulates your blood sugar and insulin. Insulin is the hormone that keeps fat on our bodies. When insulin spikes, you will store fat rather than burn it. Regulation keeps everything in check, from appetite to energy swings.  Maintaining the hormonal balance improves mental focus once you are acclimated to ketosis.

Ketogenic diets may reduce the risk of cancer. Cancer cells are thought to feed off of sugar. Depriving them of their sugar can stop the growth of cancerous cells.


The Cons

The biggest drawback for me is the scientific fact, Carbs are tasty!!! You will have to accept the sacrifice. Life without beer, chocolate, or bread is a tough adjustment.

There will likely be several side effects as ketosis kicks in but these will go away over time.

  • You can count on being very tired the first few weeks.
  • Your brain will be foggy.
  • You will be hungry
  • You will crave carbs like an addict going through detox.
  • Your physical performance will fall off. Keep exercise light during this transition phase. No worries, you’ll get it back.
  • Your digestive system may get out of wack
  • You may experience dehydration. Glucose stores water.  The majority of your weight loss in the first few weeks may be water simply because your body will not be retaining as much.

How To Safely Implement The Diet

  • Start with a low carb diet to ease into it and test the waters. Do not attempt full keto off the bat
  • Have a plan to follow instead of winging it.
  • Drink a lot water
  • Eat fibrous vegetables
  • Scale your workouts back for a few weeks
  • Regular check ups with your doctor
  • Make sure you are getting enough sodium
  • Test your ketone levels

While there’s no denying the benefits, you have to decide if its worth it or not. Achieving ketosis is simple but it is far from easy. It’s a commitment. You have to endure a rough couple of weeks before your body acclimates. It takes 1 to 6 weeks depending on how long you have been running on sugar. Most people will give up in the first week.

If you are seriously going to follow a ketogenic diet, another drawback is you will likely have to buy a lot of new clothes!


Test Your Ketone Levels

This is easy to do and fairly inexpensive

You will want an accurate method of testing. The blood monitoring is the best route to go. Testing for ketone levels in your blood is more accurate than urine tests. It will tell you what you need to know in a few seconds.

 

You can us urine strips if you want. This is the most common form of checking ketones but they are far less accurate. The strips will indicate if your body is producing more ketones than you are burning but not an accurate sign of being in ketosis.


Tips

Follow a good plan. This is new to you and the body. Following a plan will help ensure success.  Here is the best plan on the market.

Test your keto levels often.

KETO-MOJO Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit, Monitor your ketogenic diet, 1 Lancet Device, 10 Lancets, 10 Ketone Test Strips, Carrying Case. Does NOT include Glucose Strips

See your doctor for a physical before you begin. Do a checkup every month for 3 months.

Take measurements and before and after pictures! You will not regret it.

If you are going to test this diet out, do it right.  Follow the tips I provided closely.  See your doctor, get on a plan and test your levels ​regularly.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions on this subject. I am happy to help out anyway I can!

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Build Awesome Abs in 3 Simple Steps

I can’t do the work for you but if you follow these guidelines you can build awesome abs. 

Hiding underneath the layer of potential energy wrapped around your waist lurks the 6-pack that everyone wants. They are one of the most difficult parts of the body to achieve (for most). To be honest, yes genetics do play a role, but stop with that excuse right now. Anyone can get them to shine. It is a matter of developing the muscle and trimming the fat. Let’s get to it!

I am going to give you the 3 main steps to take to get that sexy core and a workout you can start following now.

3. Do The Big Core Exercises

The most effective exercise for building a great core are probably not what you expect. Prioritize the big movements; squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. These movements pack tremendous value. If you are doing them correctly, they place an intense demand on the entire core. The front squat in particular is a killer ab exercise. Your core has to work hard to keep you in an upright position when you are load baring in front of your body. The deadlift, especially the Romanian deadlift, is my favorite for the posterior chain (the whole backside of the body). Working the posterior chain is mandatory. Train it often. Do each of these moves 1-2x every week.

2. Training Your abs The Right Way

You do not need to train your abs every day. 3-4 days per week is the most you need to do. Doing 1,000 crunches is not going to get you anywhere. Your ab specific routine should take no more than 10 minutes, so stop spending a whole workout on your belly. Specific ab training is to be done at the end of your workout session. Focus on the form of each exercise.  Your reps should be slow and controlled.  Your rest periods need to be short.

1. Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

And the number one step towards shred city is in the kitchen. You can not out work your bad diet. If you are rewarding yourself for a good workout with a Big Mac, those abs are going to stay in hibernation. To get that six-pack, you will have to drop somebody fat %. Here are a few keys to a good diet.

  1. 3 servings of vegetables
  2. Plenty of water. The exact amount depends on the person and the demands of their daily activities. 80-100 oz will be plenty for most of us
  3. Eat lots of protein. Supplement with a good whey protein.
  4. Eat healthy fats
  5. Follow a time restricted diet. This is the easiest thing you can implement that by itself will give you great results. Read up on it here.

Shred City workout

You can do this workout at home, on the road, or at the gym. One of the most important components of this workout is the amount of rest you take between sets. They are going to be short because the type of muscle fibers the abs are made of have a lot of endurance, which means you have to keep them under tension in order to make any changes.

Beginner

2-3 rounds:

  • :20 plank on your elbows – squeeze your abs, quads, and glutes as tight as possible. Remember to breathe. If you are shaking like a jack hammer, good!
  • 12 Leg raises. Go slow. Each rep should take :03-:05. Keep your back flat on the ground. For the love of God, do not let me catch you with your hands underneath your butt. Doing so will render the exercise ineffective.
  • 5 Side plank raises each side. Each rep should take :03-:05
  • Rest periods no longer than :20 between exercises and :45 between rounds

Intermediate

3 rounds:

  • 12 Ab roll outs. The ab wheel is amazing. This is the best exercise I have found for developing the abs. Most people do not have the core strength to do this effectively, though they think they do. If it is hurting your back, that’s a good sign you are not ready for this movement. I do not advise this move for beginners but once you have worked up the core strength to do this move correctly, it is an absolute must.
  • 24 Windshield wipers. This is a diagonal leg raise that works both the rectus abdominous and the obliques. Each rep should take :03
  • 60 mountain climbers. Maintain flat back and draw your knee to your elbow. You should be able to touch your elbow.
  • Rest periods no longer than :20 between exercises and :45 between rounds

Advanced

3 rounds:

  • 12 Strict toes to bar (slower the better. Scale to knees to chest once you can no longer achieve the toes to bar)
  • 12 Ab roll outs. At this point, you should be able to make full contact with the ground each rep.
  • :30 side plank each side
  • Rest periods no longer than :20 between exercises and :45 between rounds

*important complimentary exercises: supermans, back extensions, hip extensions, bird dogs

  • These are important to incorporate. Your workout routine should be balanced, so if you are working one muscle group or plane of motion, you need to work the other.

It takes a lot of work but the process is pretty straight forward. Anyone can build ridiculous abs!

Thank you for reading! I hope this article was helpful. If you have a question or need anything please comment below! I’m happy to help.

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Health and Fitness Transformation – John

 “If I can do it, you can do it”, is the best adage there is for summoning the courage to get your ass in gear and make things happen.  When we see the proof; real people starting their personal fitness journeys and achieving great results, we learn we too can do it.  It shifts our paradigm from believing excuses to ‘hey maybe I can do this’.  There is no reason why you can’t have your own health and fitness transformation.  

Check out a piece of John’s story 

What got you started on your fitness journey?

Realization that I didn’t have to live with the pain that I was experiencing and that my years of living a sedentary lifestyle was not allowing me to be the man I wanted to be.

In what ways has your life changed since you made your fitness a priority?

Physically I feel the best that I have in a long time…..I was a sedentary kid that became a sedentary adult who was on roller coaster diets that weren’t sustainable for long-term weight management. The lack of strength in my upper body & lower back was creating back pain for basic things like driving; I was taking OTC pain meds (Advil) daily.

Mentally I am much more confident in my appearance and abilities.

What fitness accomplishments are you most proud of?

1. I’ve gone from a body fat level of almost 30% down to the 15% range (and I’m not done yet)….words can’t describe my feelings about this accomplishment – the ‘man boobs’ are gone and they’re never coming back!

2. The upper body strength to do pull-ups….I had mentally convinced myself at an early age that I could not do them and here I am at 45 finally doing them.

3. I’m less stressed mentally/emotionally…..nothing else in my life has changed – I have the same job, family responsibilities, etc but now that I feel better physically, I handle life’s stresses better – when I do find that I’m stressed and I can’t get it out of my head though, that’s a good time to take a walk, jump on a treadmill or go grab some dumbbells.

4. NO back pain.

What would you say to people with the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse?

You can’t view it as just another activity to add to your daily routine, you have to view it as a change in lifestyle that’s going to allow you to live a better life. If you get your head wrapped around feeling better, you’ll stick with it and make changes that are sustainable and not just short-term.

What are some of your current goals?

1. Continue to chip away at body fat especially in my mid-section…an overall 10-12% body fat level feels like the right number to continue to work towards.

2. Add muscle in my upper body especially in my arms and chest.

3. 50 pull-ups in a work out session.

4. Same level of proficiency with tricep push-ups as I have with regular push-ups.

What motivates you to keep going?

The progress that I’ve made so far….with how I feel and look after 8 months, I can’t wait to see where I am when I hit the 1 year mark, 18 months, etc.

The sign that you have posted in your gym….’When you think about quitting….remember why you started’….I have that burned into my mind.

What is one adversity you’ve had to overcome in your life (doesn’t have to be fitness) and how did you handle it?

Lack of self-confidence & that internal voice of doubt….constant work in process.

What would you say the biggest 3 keys have been to your success?

1. Desire to feel & look better.

2. Great coaching & guidance that I’ve received from you on diet, strength & conditioning….thanks for meeting me where I was but pushing me through the weekly plan.

3. Complete change in how I view food…specifically with how/what/when I eat.

What do you do with your free time?

I’m a proud dad to my two sons….keeping up with their activities and supporting them.

I enjoy working outside….with 6 acres to maintain, there’s always something to do.

KC sports….love watching and cheering for the hometown teams (Royals, Sporting KC & Chiefs)

Name one hidden talent you have.

I’m highly detailed & organized (some call it OCD)….I focus on looking out for things that can be problematic before they happen

Name one talent you wish you had.

Carpentry skills

What advice would you have for someone who is struggling to make the changes in their life that they want and need?

Be honest with yourself about why you aren’t making the changes on your own…..for me, I honestly didn’t know what to do even though I thought I did. I really didn’t know how to eat right or which exercises I needed to do – I also lacked patience to chip away at it on my own so I would get frustrated….it was easier to avoid it since that was the path of least resistance. Get a good coach to work with and keep you motivated. Remember, iron sharpens iron.

Be ok starting where you are….don’t judge yourself based on where others are, focus on where you want to be. If I can go from never doing a pull-up to now doing them – you can too.

I hope you have enjoyed this story.  Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or if I can help in any way, please let me know!  

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Magic Weight Loss Pill, How To Shred Fat!

If you want to drop some Lbs and get in shape, read on to learn the best methods possible.

We all want the magic weight loss pill. We want the results ASAP. Our programming is not designed for instant gratification. Delayed rewards is difficult for us to process. For this reason, most people fail to make the changes they desire.

So, about that magic pill, it is still in production. It doesn’t exist and I am sorry for misleading you. But, my heart is in a good place because I know I can help. There are regiments that you can do that produce amazing results and require relatively small sacrifices. I want to share with you what I’ve learned as a personal trainer (primarily training weight loss clients) that really works.

It is not complicated. It is simple to follow. Be consistent with these guidelines. You will see changes before you know it. These changes will empower you. They will inspire you to keep going.

3 Steps to weight loss!

1. Start doing a time restricted diet. This is the easiest nutritional change you can make and has health benefits that reach far beyond weight loss. Even if this is the only thing you do, you will lose weight. It is simply eating in a 9-12 hour window then fasting for 12-15 hours. Check out my blog to learn more.

2. Stop sitting. This is killing you. Literally killing you. No bullshit. Sedentary lifestyles are the number 1 cause for preventable diseases. Medical schools used to teach that smoking was the biggest contributor to preventable deaths. Not anymore. Sitting is far worse.

Your metabolism plummets the longer you sit. You become more insulin resistant, which causes all kinds of problems, least of all is storing more fat.

3. Follow an exercise program. Winging it is going to halt your momentum. One of the main reasons for my clients’ success is having a routine they can follow. I’d like to think some of it is my charming personality and infectious inspiration. But the reality is knowing what to do goes a long way. Having a simple plan laid out for you keeps you on track and confident that you are doing the right thing.

These three steps will get you started. There are other things to implement in the future but I have found keeping it simple is the best route. You do not want to make too many changes at once. Let your mind and body adapt then add to your new lifestyle. Here are some things I’ll cover in future blogs.

*3 servings of vegetables *importance of hydration *types of exercise best for weight loss *macro nutrient profiles *supplements

5 Step Beginners’ Guide to getting in shape

Still in production

While the manufactured product doesn’t exist, the real one does and it is far more rewarding than a pill could ever be! When you work for something and you see results, it changes you on the inside. You start believing in yourself. Your confidence grows. You become inspired to see what else you can do. That is the real magic.

Like many cliches; the first step is the hardest one to take. Waiting around for the motivation to start will leave you as disappointed as waiting for that hot girl to come on to you (sorry ladies, I couldn’t come up with a clever analogy for you. You get the point though). You just have to man up and make the move.

I hope you found this article useful. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.

Happy Gains!!

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