Archive for December, 2010

You’ve probably heard that for “every pound of muscle, your body will burn an additionally 50-100 calories a day.” I’m not sure these numbers are totally accurate but I do believe adding muscle will help you burn fat. Muscle is more of a metabolically active tissue than fat. Muscle needs more energy expenditure to move. Meaning is requires more calories to be maintained. Fat is completely the opposite. It simply sits there, waiting in case it is needed in the future.  Fat does not require any calories to be maintained.  It is energy itself.  Fat is emergency stored tissue, while muscle allows you to move, bend and stretch or leap tall buildings in a single bound like Superman! Muscle is what you’re after if you want a shapely, defined, and toned body.

If you’re not pumping iron already, then, I suggest you start a program as soon as possible. Cardio alone is not going to get the job done. Actually, an overabundance of cardio could repress your fat loss.  We’ll discuss that in another segment. So, join a gym, buy some weights, or hire a trainer. Start lifting. But, don’t jump too heavily into a weight training program because you could be overly sore, possibly injured, and inconsistent. Gradual is the key. Muscle is built over time involving many factors: progressive resistance, proper nutritional balance, hormone regulation, adequate sleep, to name a few. I’d shoot for a minimum of 2-3 days a week of weight training. Choose compound movements that require multiple muscle groups. Mix up the program into different cycles to create muscle confusion and prevent the possibility of a plateau and boredom. Stay tuned for the next fat loss tip!

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How many people don’t eat breakfast? Then, have a moderate-sized lunch and gorge on a large dinner. Well, that’s the typical American diet. And, therein lies the problem. The exact opposite to the needs of your daily metabolic rhythm. No wonder America is the fattest nation with millions of cases of heart disease and diabetes. We eat our largest meal when our metabolism is at its slowest and when our metabolism is at its peak (in the morning) we eat nothing. If you are serious about dropping body fat, it’s time to break the habit and start mirroring your metabolism.

I know it’s tough for a lot of people. But, since your metabolic functioning is highest in the morning, make breakfast your largest meal of the day. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. Not only will you fire up your metabolism so the body will burn more calories throughout the day, your blood sugar will stay more consistent giving you continued energy all day long. Research has shown that those who eat breakfast have faster metabolisms than those who don’t. By not eating breakfast, you are setting yourself up for a blood sugar nightmare. Here comes the yawning, the need for that mid-afternoon caffeine fix, unwanted calorie nibbling, and the possibility of eating like a sumo wrestler at dinner. So, try and eat a big breakfast.  Then, as the day goes on, start to taper off a little and limit your food intake into the evening just before bed. Also, try not to eat carbohydrates too far into the afternoon and definitely not for dinner. Fruits could be allowed in moderation but only after a strong, intense workout; and nothing in the form of breads, cereal, pasta, etc. Your body doesn’t need that sustained energy only a few hours from shut eye.

For dinner, it’s best to go the low-carb route. You should get the majority of your carbohydrates at breakfast and lunch with others during the snacks in between.  A great dinner for the “mirror your metabolism” approach is a large salad full of mixed greens and/or vegetables with a protein source (chicken, fish, or some other form of animal protein), and some healthy fats (i.e. an olive oil-based dressing). If you are hungry after dinner (which is OK if you follow the rules), make sure it’s in the form of green vegetables and protein. Green veggies contain minimal calories, they’re high in fiber, and curb hunger pangs and have very little caloric damage. Protein, on the other hand, will contain more calories, but will continue to enhance and support calorie-burning muscle tissue into the wee hours of your sleeping cycle. In a later segment, the fat loss tip of increased muscle tissue will be explained.

A quick and easy recipe you can use any day of the week. Try a little something different this Christmas morning. Or, make a batch and keep them in the refrigerator for a snack at a later time.

Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (I prefer Beverly International Ultimate Muscle Vanilla)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed

 They are really simple to make. Bake the sweet potato, remove skin and mash with remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well and flatten out the pancakes about 3 inches in diameter and place onto a low heated skillet with extra virgin olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, turn, and cook 2-3 more minutes. Also, you can bake them in the over on 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

1 pancake: about 150 calories, 12g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 6g fiber

A very easy recipe with many benefits. Good macronutrient balance, low glycemic carbs, high quality protein, low in fat, and a good source of fiber.

Holiday Eating Tips!

Posted: December 20, 2010 by Louie Brockhoeft in Nutrition, Other
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Too funny. My client Janet sent me this via email yesterday. She knows how I am about getting on people and their food choices. Have a nice laugh!

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS

1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday  spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls. 

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat.. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think It’s Christmas! 

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat. 

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a  Holiday  party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello? 

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog. 

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again. 

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards. 

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by: 

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!” 

Have a great holiday season
and a Merry Christmas!!!

Janet

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those that are necessary for our health but cannot be manufactured by the body. Therefore, it is important to supply the body with EFAs from natural food sources or supplementation. There are two main EFAs in human nutrition: Omega 6 and Omega 3. Omega 6 fatty acids can be found in dietary sources like nuts, cereals, whole grain, most vegetable oils, eggs, and poultry. Omega 6 fatty acids are easily metabolized and are good for healthy skin and renal function. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients and have great benefits for your health. The following conditions or symptoms indicate a need for more Omega 3’s in your diet.

  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair & nails
  • Joint pain or a lot of inflammation
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

We need Omega-3’s for certain bodily functions such as hormone production, blood pressure and cholesterol regulation, reduced inflammatory responses, better cell membrane structure, as well as keeping the nervous, immune, and reproductive systems in check. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

The three most nutritionally important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And, within the Omega 6 group, there is linoleic acid. Dietary sources of alpha-linolenic acid include flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, soybeans and some dark green leafy vegetables. Linoleic acid is found in high concentrations in corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil. A typical Western diet with highly processed foods gives Americans an overabundance of Omega 6’s. The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 on average is about 12-15:1 where it should be 2:1. (more…)

Are you Stressed?

Posted: December 8, 2010 by Louie Brockhoeft in Other
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Stress screws up everything!  It can wreak havoc on your body. When we feel upset, out of sorts, overwhelmed, we eat.  What’s worse is chronic low-level constant stress, via high cortisol levels and insulin, decreases the body’s ability to burn calories laying the foundation for weight gain. When we are always on the move, feeling anxious and under pressure to meet our goals, we set ourselves up for digestive shutdown and decreased hormonal activity. Our satiation regulating hormones are puttering and the hunger hormone ghrelin is in overdrive. And, let’s not forget the long list of possible inflammatory and auto-immune illnesses about ready to come to the forefront.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  We can choose a different route.

We cannot change with the same mindset. As long as we remain in a chronic state of stress, the body will remain in alarm mode, with survival on its mind, and will attempt to save us from extinction. So, take a breath, step back and reassess. Change your mind. Get better prepared. Work on your organizational skills. Be patient and try not to do so much in a day. And, most of all, take time for yourself and relax. Begin with relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or Yoga. Take a walk, vent to yourself or throw a few dumbbells around. Do whatever you do in order to relax. Find balance. And when you do, your body will begin to respond in the right way. Your food choices will be better. Your energy levels will increase. Better sleep. Your body will get rid of the fat. Your mood will be enhanced and you will have less trips to the doctor.  And, finally, you will take charge of your life!