Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

Nutrition is absurdly simple.

Hard, but simple.

By and large, though, we expend our time and resources looking at the wrong things — and the choices we ultimately make come down to which promises the fastest results.

Regrettably, there are no tricks or a “superfood” protocol that can shed body fat and get you from point A to point B lightning fast. But, there are some gold nuggets I’d like to share with you that can have a tremendous effect in terms of your health and body composition.

1. Don’t fear salt

 

We’ve been indoctrinated into this mindset where salt is to be avoided at all cost. Despite the widespread belief salt is bad for you, I’m here to tell you it is in fact a major contributor for optimal health and performance. I say this with a complete understanding it will likely take a couple more years before we erode the vilification of salt.

It’s an essential mineral.

It aids in digestion and regulates your metabolism, increases blood flow and circulation, which then helps deliver nutrients to the body, and helps remove waste.

Conversely, salt restriction can have an adverse effect on your health. You’ll start to run into problems such as: low blood volume, electrolyte imbalance, chronic fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms become more pronounced if you exercise regularly.

Likewise, when you cut out salt from your diet, your body compensates — it pulls minerals from your bones. In turn, you start to run on fumes, which then elevates your heart rate and blood pressure.

So, if you think about it the very thing you’ve been told to restrict is actually causing the problem.

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2. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement

 

It’s been well documented low levels of vitamin D poses a real risk to your health. Granted, it may not be the only micronutrient we want to pay attention to, but it is a major player.

It largely affects your mood, energy, sleep, and can negatively impact your cognitive function and brain health. It’s also worth mentioning that it plays a significant role in your immune system, and is strongly associated with your body’s sensitivity to insulin. In other words, if you’re low in vitamin D chances are carbohydrates aren’t your friend.

Sadly, more than 40 percent of American adults are considered deficient. In addition to sunlight, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, whole eggs, and dairy are among the best sources.  

For adults, a safe range to supplement is 2,000-4,000IU daily.

3. Everybody should be taking a magnesium supplement

 

Once you have the point above in check, it’s important to outline the inclusion of another micronutrient, magnesium. Sufficient levels of magnesium is required because they aid in the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D.

Recent research suggests that vitamin D alone could possibly be dangerous. Too much leads to a surplus of calcium in the blood, which can cause calcification of the arteries.

Without magnesium taking vitamin D alone is rendered useless. What’s more, low magnesium has been shown to increase blood pressure, and has a negative effect on carbohydrate metabolism. There is also an increased risk of bone fractures, which could also be attributed to low vitamin D.

For males, shoot for 400-450 mg. For females, 300-350 mg. If you choose to go the au naturel route, nuts and leafy vegetables are among the best food sources of magnesium.

4. A brief period of eye-bulging discomfort is what you might need

 

Restrictive methods are completely unwarranted because at the end of the day if you can’t adhere to a plan long-term, then you’re bound to crash at some point. Meanwhile, there are certain individuals who need a degree of restraint in order to get the ball rolling.

I’m all for kicking your feet up and enjoying a savory meal, but for the sake of your progress, a brief period of eye-bulging discomfort is what you might need. Generally, those who are sedentary and have baggage need to consider eliminating, or at the very least, meticulously controlling their guilty pleasures.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but I’ll tell you what, it’s certainly the best approach to reduce your body fat and unsightly gut.

This strategy may not be sustainable, but for 30-60 days you’d be surprised how far better off you’ll be when you put aside things that are counterproductive. Effectively, you’ll improve your health markers which positively impacts body composition. It’s not punishment. It’s a rite of passage.

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5. Pay close attention to your gut

 

For some odd reason, people perceive gas and bloating as healthy.  This is especially true for those who habitually go on detoxes. Frankly, I find it mildly entertaining.

I hate to break it to you, but the only reason a detox might work well in the beginning is because you’ve eliminated the crap you normally consume.

Gas and bloating is not by any stretch of the imagination, healthy. And, if you’re going straight to the toilet that should already give you an indication that it is anything but. Moreover, continuing to consume foods or stay on a diet that causes gut distress wreaks havoc on your health and performance —  and it makes fat loss extremely difficult.

6. Hydrate first thing in the morning

 

This is one of those “Thank you, Captain Obvious” moments.

And, it’s certainly a drum I keep beating, for good reason. The vast majority are chronically dehydrated. Many disregard and fail to understand the importance of adequate hydration.

Instead of drinking a glass of cold water first thing in the morning, you’re reaching for a cup of coffee. I’m no purists, but the most important things we should give our attention to are often the simplest.

Along with sleep, drinking enough water is the easiest thing you can do to move forward.

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Just so we’re clear, there is absolutely no supplement out there that is going to make up for crappy nutrition and destructive eating habits. Supplements are there to supplement your diet.

With that in mind, food is always going to be superior to supplements. There’s no debate in saying that your nutrition should primarily consists of whole foods — it’s a given. But, there are a handful that I strongly recommend looking into.

1. Curcumin

 

Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with Turmeric — and is perhaps the most powerful supplement I’ve taken. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, its other effects range from pain management to benefits that affect nearly every organ system in the body. One of my long-time clients who has osteoarthritis in both knees has experienced tremendous feedback from supplementing with curcumin.

The caveat, though, is that it has poor bioavailability. So, you need to ingest curcumin as part of a formula that contains piperine (black pepper extract) to enhance absorption.

2. Vitamin D

 

More than 40 percent of American adults are thought to be deficient in vitamin D.  In fact, every time I ask my clients for their blood work, more often than not, their vitamin D level is sub-optimal. Interestingly enough, when carbohydrate intake is controlled, I’ve found that supplementing with Vitamin D has a positive effect on Hemoglobin A1c. So, if you’re pre-diabetic, look into your Vitamin D levels. Of course this is just anecdotal evidence.

3. Magnesium

 

Magnesium is a big player for a number of biochemical reactions that keep the body functioning properly. Unfortunately, most people across the population are deficient in it. A deficiency has been shown to increase blood pressure and has a negative effect on carbohydrate metabolism.

If you don’t want to supplement, nuts and leafy vegetables are among the best food sources.

4. Fish Oil

 

It’s pretty obvious that we all should be taking this due to it’s variety of health benefits. There’s ample evidence that suggest it promotes healthier blood vessels, and lowers lipid count. Omega-3 fatty acids delivers potent anti-inflammatory effects, and the most obvious is that it has a positive effect on brain and cardiovascular health.

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Become An Insider

Let’s face it, cardio is bone-numbingly tedious. There’s ample evidence that suggests long duration of steady-state or low-intensity cardio leads to muscle loss. Simply put, it becomes counter-productive. Now, if we’re talking about having a positive impact on your performance and body composition, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better solution than adding “finishers” to your workout — it does a fantastic job of building muscle, maximizing fat loss, and improving conditioning. Don’t get me wrong, low-intensity cardio is still important, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by doing only two hours of cardio five days a week. Mix it up.

 

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1. Sled Work

 

Sometimes you just need a good kick in the ass to toughen you up. Hence, the sled.

The vast majority can agree that there’s really nothing more badass than moving heavy weight on the sled. But… they’re brutal, and they also make you question your sanity (in a good way).

Push it. Pull It. Drag it. Move it.

 

2. Landmine Complexes

 

Just to be clear, I think traditional barbell complexes are absolutely fine. If you can do them, do them. Generally, though, I don’t like them because a lot of people royally screw it up, particularly beginners. You also have to understand that the further you go into a fatigued state, one thing is constant — your form will start to break down. That is why I’m more partial to setting up with the Landmine. They’re safer. Nuff’ said.

Try this:

  • Landmine Squat x 8
  • Landmine 1-Leg RDL x 8/leg
  • Landmine Deadlift x 8

Repeat for 3-4 sets.

 

 

3. Kettlebell Combos

 

While the sled is my favorite tool to use, the kettlebell would be a close second.  This piece of equipment is one of the most versatile tools you can have at your disposal.  As such, everybody should learn how to properly use them.

Option 1:

  • Kettlebell Swing x 12
  • Push-Ups x 8
  • Kettlebell Goblet Squat x 8
  • Push-Ups x 6

Repeat for 3-4 sets.

Option 2:

  • Kettlebell Swings x 20
  • Front Plank x 30 secs

Repeat for 3-4 sets.

Takeaway

 

Despite what you might’ve been told, cardio doesn’t have to be relegated into just countless hours of walking on the treadmill or elliptical. These are some of the simple protocols you can use to add some spice into your training, but also speed up your progress.

Speaking of which, I’m happy to announce that I’m taking clients for my online fitness coaching. If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and decrease body fat, learn more about my coaching here. Follow the link and I’ll contact you as soon as possible to see how I can help.

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