Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Much Should you be Eating?

If you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight, build muscle etc then you need to know how much to eat to achieve this goal. I have used several calculators and a variety of formulas and this calculator (and formula it uses) remains my favorite. It is super detailed and gives you descriptions on each of the exercise intensities. I would recommend doing a calculation for an exercise day and a non-exercise day so you can adjust your calories in your food-tracker app to reflect the difference in activity.

1 pound of body fat is equal to 3,400 calories, so a weight loss journey is not something that happens overnight. The MAXIMUM caloric deficit from the total daily expenditure you calculate should be 1,000 calories, otherwise you will risk catabolizing the muscle you have worked so hard for as well as drastically slowing your metabolism. A 1,000 calorie deficit per day will equate to about 2 pounds of weight loss per week. A 500 calorie deficit should cause a 1 pound weight loss per week. Keep in mind, it takes roughly 3 weeks for your body to adapt to whatever changes you make, so stick to it for 3 weeks before you try to change up the plan!

Link to Energy Expenditure Calculator

Here is an example of the calculator all filled out:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bikini Show Prep--Week 2

I am very happy with my decision to start the prep early so I can enjoy holiday outings and nights out with friends before getting more strict in the few weeks leading up to my March 11th show! Don't get me wrong, it's already tough to be cutting my calories from 2,200-2,600 down to my carb-cycling range of 1,600-2,200, but you better believe I look forward to those high carb days! I am also doing 4 days of cardio, but am only doing 20-25 minutes each bout. Depending on how my body is responding I may increase this as my prep continues!

Is Sitting all day Really Killing you?

Do you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day? If so, here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64%. You're shaving off seven years of quality life. You're also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting all day is killing you. That's the bad news. The good news is that this is able to be counteracted no matter how lazy you are.

Our bodies weren't made to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time, even with exercise, has a negative effect on our health. What's worse, many of us sit for up to 15 hours a day if most of our time is spent in the car, office chair, car again and couch until we go to bed. 

Immediately after sitting down: 

As soon as you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your metabolism adjusts accordingly to only burn roughly one calorie per minute. This is 1/3 of how much you would be burning if up walking. A major cause of Type 2 diabetes is from the inability to uptake glucose in insulin--this is reduced by 40% after sitting for only 24 hours.

After 2 weeks of sitting more than 6 hours a day: 

Within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increases its store of fatty molecules, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and insulin resistance. This means your muscles aren't taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just 2 weeks, your muscles begin to atrophy and your VO2 max (max oxygen consumption) drops. This decrease in cardiorespiratory fitness will show itself when you are attempting to climb stairs or walk the dog. Even if you are working out every day, this deterioration begins the second you stop moving. 

This trend continues, and the effects of sitting begin to manifest and worsen. Women can lose 1% of bone mass per year by sitting more than 6 hours a day. I know this looks bleak and unavoidable if you have a 9-5 desk job and intend to for the next several years, but here are some strategies to counteract the repercussions of being sedentary. 

How to remedy the situation: 

1. Make sure to stand once an hour 

This one isn't about working out, which is positive and necessary in its own right. It's about creating bursts (even if 5 minutes) of moderate activity throughout the day and giving your body a break from sitting. Moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk. Yard work or cleaning your house counts as long as it gets you moving. When I had an office job, I would take a coffee/water and bathroom break each hour to give me a reason to get up and out of the chair. For these intermittent breaks, you don't have to do what people think of as exercise.

2. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous. 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week of moderate activity is ideal. To facilitate lean muscle growth and improvements in bone density, adding in 2 days per week of moderate to high intensity strength training is recommended. 

Even with these changes, you will still have tightness and weakness from staying in one position for an extended period of time, so make sure to stretch and perform mobility exercises when at the gym or relaxing at home!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bikini Show Prep--Week 1

It's been awhile; actually it's been a year and a half since my last bodybuilding show. I am coming into this prep with a new outlook. I want to enjoy the journey this time rather than focusing so much on how I look, whether I will be as competitive as the other girls or who I need to know and pay to coach me to have a shot at my pro card. My priority right now is opening my gym in August 2018, but with everything going as planned en route to that goal (let's hope I didn't jinx it!), I thought it would be as good a time as any to prep for a show.

I have almost exactly 3 months from today to get myself down to 12-14% body fat while building 2-3 pounds of muscle at the same time. I wanted to document my journey to show my clients I understand and empathize with them in their own journeys toward their varying goals. The self discipline it takes to get ready for a bodybuilding show is surprising, especially getting down to those last few weeks!

I haven't really publicized it, but in the past year and a half I have attempted to prep for 2 other shows only to bail out when juggling prep, building a business and school got to be too overwhelming. I don't feel bad about delaying the prep, because I know if I can't give 100%, I won't enjoy the process.

One of the toughest parts for me in getting ready for a show is the posing. Even if you have a phenomenal physique but can't showcase that, you won't place well. Posing has been my weakest in past shows, so this time I am seeking outside coaching. I plan to attend posing workshops at the Armbrust pro gym in Wheatridge, CO (about 30 minutes away from me) anytime I can. I am doing this show on a budget, so I will be creating my own exercise program, diet plan and only outside help on the posing. Thankfully, I have some awesome trainer friends who I can use as resources if I have any major questions! 

Stay tuned for my week 1-4 show-prep diet plan! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Souvlaki Chicken

I have to give a shout out to my awesome client, Angela for this amazing recipe! I often get burnt out on meal prepped chicken by the end of the week because of how dry and flavorless it gets, but this recipe is the anomaly!

For the entire meal, I usually do: 4oz chicken/zucchini mixture, 1/3c tzatziki sauce, 1/2c halved grape tomatoes and 2oz red potato.

Ingredients for Souvlaki Chicken: 

-3tbs fresh lemon juice
-1.5tsp chopped fresh (1/2tsp dried) oregano 
-2tsp olive olive oil 
-1/2tsp salt
-4 garlic cloves (minced) 
-1/2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)
-1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces

Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce: 

-1.5cups plain greek yogurt
-1 large cucumber (finely chopped) 
-4 cloves garlic (minced)
-1/2 lemon (juiced)
-2tbs olive oil
-1.5tsp dried dill week, or 2tbs fresh dill (minced)
-Pink himalayan salt to taste
-Black pepper to taste

Directions for Souvlaki Chicken: 

-Combine everything in bag to allow chicken to marinate 
-Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through

Directions for Tzatziki Sauce: 

-Chop cucumber first to let as much water out as possible
-Combine all ingredients and leave in fridge until ready to eat! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Increase your Metabolism

Metabolism is the term for all the chemical reactions in your body; these chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning. However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn. The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.

Here are several easy ways to increase your metabolism and keep it heightened: 

1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It's caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. 
Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating. One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet. 
Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it helps prevent you from losing muscle, a common side effect of dieting. 

2. Drink More Cold Water

People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake.
However, drinking water may also speed up your metabolism temporarily. Studies have shown that drinking 17 oz of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature, but there are fewer studies to back this claim. 
Water can also help fill you up. Studies show that drinking water a half an hour before you eat can help you eat less. One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't.

3. Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity. It can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished. This type of workout causes an after-burn or excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) that continues the following several hours.

4. Lift Heavy Things

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and increasing lean muscle mass can help increase your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest. Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss. 
In one study, 48 overweight women were placed on a diet of 800 calories per day, along with either no exercise, aerobic exercise or resistance training. After the diet, the women who did the resistance training maintained their muscle mass, metabolism and strength. The others lost weight, but also lost muscle mass and experienced a decrease in metabolism.

5. Stand up More

Sitting too much is bad for your health. Sedentary lifestyles are becoming all-too-common in America, and this lack of regular physical activity paired with unhealthy eating will cause a significant weight increase. In fact, compared with sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories depending on your size. 
If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also invest in a standing, or request your work provide one.

6. Get a Good Night's Sleep

Lack of sleep is linked to a major increase in the risk of obesity. This may partly be caused by the negative effects of sleep deprivation on metabolism. Lack of sleep has also been linked with increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which are both linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This could explain why many people who are sleep deprived feel hungry and struggle to lose weight.

7. Drink Coffee

Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3–11%. Like green tea, it also promotes fat burning. However, this seems to affect lean people more. In one study, coffee increased fat burning by 29% for lean women, but only 10% for obese women. Coffee's effects on metabolism and fat burning may also contribute to successful weight loss and maintenance.