Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

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.

The goal of simultaneously building muscle and shedding body fat is tricky.

But, yes it can be done.

With a smart and sound plan, it’s possible.

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1. Consistency reigns supreme

 

Perhaps the most obvious out of the bunch, steady improvements in your body composition requires discipline and consistency — it doesn’t happen overnight.

Admittedly, there were times I felt completely drained and burnt out, but the thought of having to start all over again was just bone-numbingly painful. Rather than taking long breaks or pressing the pause button, consider turning the dial down. This ensures you maintain a respectable amount of work while still moving in the right direction.

Never stop. You can slow down a bit, but don’t stop.

Taking intermittent sabbaticals leads you nowhere. Moreover, nobody likes the idea of taking one step forward and two steps back.

Rest assured the ones who are making steady gains are the ones who train consistently.

2. Use high ROI exercises

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with novelty.

Think about it, there’s a reason why compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, pull-ups, and push-ups are the cornerstone of most sensible programs — they’re tried and true.

It stimulates your entire body.

It’s not the end-all be-all approach, but you’re ahead of the curve once you start mastering the basics.

Every exercise serves a purposes, but for the mean time, leave the BOSU ball and “functional” training out of this.

Simplicity, not complexity. ‘Nuff said.

3. Nutrition and lifestyle must take precedence.

 

This is hardly groundbreaking, but for whatever reason many just don’t get it. I understand the rationale behind working out so you can eat what ever you want, but the work you put in will be rendered useless with destructive eating habits. In other words, stop eating — and drinking — so much crap.

A good training program is equally important, but you can’t expect magical things to happen because even the best method in the world will not offset poor nutrition.

Make better choices.

Instead of the typical trip to Starbucks for breakfast, blend up a protein shake. Have a few meals prepped and ready to avoid making poor food choices.

I’m not advocating that you should be perfect, but you won’t get the results you’re looking for if you don’t take this part seriously.

4. Train with a purpose

 

You’re obviously not going to produce substantial gains just going through the motions. To some degree, your workout has to bring you to a point where you almost start to question your sanity. Put simply, it kind of has to suck (in a good way).

I’m not saying you have to constantly beat yourself up, but training with a purpose goes a long way.

So, work your ass off.

As a point of reference, the main reason why I make it a priority to get in a workout is because I want to look and feel good. Also, I don’t want to have to take medication as I get older.

5. Recovery matters

 

For years, I was convinced that more training equates to faster results.

Boy was I wrong.

Unless you’ve been injected with the super solider serum, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll achieve optimal results with that approach.

All you do in the gym is break your body down.

Your training is only as good as your ability to recover from it.

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be launching my first product, Assault, soon. If you’re interested in getting the most out of training to build lean muscle and shed body fat, get a FREE preview HERE before it comes out.

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If you’ve been training for quite some time, you’ve hit that proverbial bump on the road on more than a few occasions — and you’re pretty familiar with it.

You dust off your shoulders, and keep on keepin’ on.

If you’re relatively new to the iron game, nothing is more frustrating than realizing you’ve hit a plateau because it feels like an eternity to get out of it.

Whether your goal is to become insanely strong, get lean, or a bit of both, it’s never a pleasant feeling when your progress comes to a halt.

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Plateaus are a natural occurrence, so don’t lose sleep over it when it happens. You apply the stress, then your body adapts. That’s how it works.

There are so many variables that can be at play here, but the number one way to get out of it is to…

Address Your Diet

 

Newsflash: It’s not your training program (to some extent).

I find it oddly amusing that when we presumably hit a plateau, our natural inclination is to pull the trigger on our training routine. Panic ensues and we immediately overhaul everything. Admittedly, I’ve made this mistake in the past a number of times, so I can totally relate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve went program hopping only to find out years later that my nutrition game was horrible.

Having a well-designed training program makes a huge difference, but what is often overlooked as the possible cause is the diet.

Strength training by itself doesn’t work all that well. Yes — you can experience modest improvements, but exercise on it’s own without nutrition produces mediocre results.

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Whether you’re not getting enough protein, going over your allotted carb intake, or simply consuming too many calories, make the necessary adjustments rather than waving the white flag.

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