- Created on Monday, 25 July 2011 12:27
I dare you to find any fitness or workout magazine that doesn't mention that you should eat 5-6 meals/snacks a day. It doesn't matter if it's about gaining muscle or losing fat, the prescription is universal. I'm even guilty of suggesting it myself. And occasionally I still do, but only after taking something very important into consideration- the individual I'm talking with.
Here are the factors I consider when discussing meal timing and frequency.
The individual's schedule. Are you capable of getting in 5 - 6 meals/snacks each and every day? Some situations and work setting won't allow a 6 meal a day schedule. And in some cases I'll advise to not try it. An example is a past client who is a surgeon. Some days he could easily fit six meals into his diet, others he was lucky to get three full meals. His case was one where it wouldn't be best for his body to get accustomed to frequently daily feedings. I think that's the last thing some of his patients would want.
The individual's dedication. Not every person that hires a trainer has the dedication, discipline and drive to exercise and diet as well as their trainer. Some trainers ignore this fact and set their clients up for frustration and failure. If someone has a tough enough time preparing and eating a decent healthy breakfast how is forcing them to prepare another 5 feedings worth of food going to make things better? In this situation getting them to consistently eat three balanced healthy meals a day is a good approach.
Their culinary skills. If someone can't cook, doesn't have a family member that can or will do the cooking then here's another sticky situation. Most cases they'll add a MRP bar and another trip to a restaurant to reach meals 5 and 6. If these trips are through the fast foods' drive thru that can be disastrous, even if you think the choices are healthy.
If someone is limited in the items they do know how to prepare there's the possibility of boredom and noncompliance. This can lead to bad choices. Once again I want to emphasize the importance of preparing your own food whenever you can. It's the best for you.
Food relationships. Some people live to eat while some eat to live. Again, here's where trainers, dieticians and nutritionists need to step back and look closely at the individual. If portion control can help the client get to their goal that may be a better focal point than splitting up the feedings based on the clock. For some people it becomes a burden having to plan out 42 meals for a week. The last thing someone trying to lose fat needs is the stress of stressing over food.
Some people love to eat out. This is something that can make a multiple meal diet plan difficult to adhere to.
The individual's knowledge of nutrition. Setting up and sticking to a diet, whether it's for losing or gaining inches requires research, planning and reevaluating on an ongoing basis. If it was easy for everyone I not only wouldn't need to write this I would probably have a different career and there wouldn't be so many articles online telling you to eat 6 meals a day. What it comes down to is doing it right. Some people do, some don't. Again, it may be better to get someone to learn to properly nourish themselves three times a day instead of having them worry over 6 properly prepared meals or snacks.
One other thing I need to add is the lack of science behind the mini meals suggestion. I first heard of this decades ago reading Muscle and Fitness magazine. It's a common practice among competitive bodybuilders and fitness athletes who carry high amounts of muscle(which require lots of calories to maintain) and need complete control over their body composition. These people's bodies are their livelihood. They may workout multiple times in one day. This is not the case of the average person wanting to get in better shape. Somewhere this advice has gone mainstream.
I have searched online for the one definitive study showing how more muscle mass is gained or fat cells are shrunken by this way of eating. I never found it. If you have the name of the study or can provide me a link please share it. I would appreciate it. Until then I see it as nothing more that anecdotal.
Do you eat 5 – 6 times a day? Have you been able to stick to it and have success? Please leave a comment below.
- Created on Sunday, 03 July 2011 23:24
Have a happy and safe holiday.
- Created on Saturday, 02 July 2011 15:21
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- Created on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 22:21
In a previous post I mentioned how easy it is not to see the positive changes that are taking place on a daily basis. You may not see that 1/4 inch change in circumference when you look in the mirror or the normal daily fluctuation in body weight may lead you to believe that you're wasting time.
A simple solution is to get a notebook, pen or pencil, and a camera. If you haven't taken before pictures and you're still working toward your goal it's never too late. A current photo will be a visual reference that you can compare your future self to.
Keeping a simple workout log will show your improvements in strength and fitness over time. This can be a real motivator to keep you exercising regularly. It can also show your weaknesses and where you need to place more emphasis during your training. One thing to keep in mind, if you already have the motivation to train regularly, is that adding the task of keeping a workout log might be a burden that you don't need. For some people, like myself, mental tracking works just fine.
Remember those SMART goals I told you to put on paper months ago? Refer to them now. Have you met some of your short range goals? If you have, and you're still following these posts an important goal- exercising regularly can probably be considered met at this stage.
The key is to use these references to check up on yourself from time to time and see the progress you've made. Seeing the positive effects from exercising and eating right will inspire you to keep moving forward and make 2011 the last year for making the same resolutions over and over. If you have any questions, suggestions or other comments please use the comment form below.
Congratulations and Good Luck!
- Created on Monday, 06 June 2011 21:29
The powerful influence of marketing has a big impact on people's fitness endeavors. It's frustrating to hear or read about the incredible results someone made in just 30 days using whatever product is being advertised when you're not seeing the results you want at the same rate.
Keep in mind that most of the marketing is not as it appears. Don't be fooled by the not typical results and claims.
Focus your attention on you. Keep clear in your mind all the good that is coming from your efforts. While the mirror or scale may not show the reflection or reading you want there are many great things taking place inside you plus other things you might be overlooking.
The fact that you're putting forth the positive effort to make a lifestyle change by adding exercise and a healthful diet is a major undertaking that deserves big credit. You have to change your habits before your health and physique will change. Also keep in mind that change starts from the inside first. Your cardiovascular fitness will improve before major inches or pounds disappear or appear. Think back to your energy levels and sleep patterns before you started working out and eating right. Chances are both have improved drastically.
Make a big deal of any compliments you receive. While you see yourself everyday you may not notice subtle changes that are occurring as much as someone that sees you infrequently. If they have noticed that means you are making progress and others can see it.
Keep a positive attitude. Don't dwell on the negative. Remember your brain is in charge. If your mind keeps the right attitude the body will pay attention and follow the brain's lead.
- Created on Saturday, 28 May 2011 23:02
Here are some great offers valid for the Memorial Day weekend I'd like to share with you. Have a safe and happy one.
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- Created on Friday, 20 May 2011 16:58
Jack and the King are probably getting nervous.
Fast food giant McDonald's is being pressured to pink slip their longstanding spokesman Ronald.
Some health activists are pushing for the franchise to ditch the clown who has been working for the golden arches since the sixties because he's making kids fat.
Unemployment here in the US is still too high. I don't think he should be fired, especially since according to the activists he is great at his job. Plus look at the after effects. If he's canned what happens to Grimace and the Fry kids? Mayor McCheese doesn't need that stress!
All this hubbub makes me wonder, with the popularity of Captain Jack Sparrow why don't we have a rising epidemic of childhood alcoholism since there's a swashbuckler going by the title of Captain Morgan spreading the word about his distilled beverage? Pirates, except the modern day Somalian ones are as cool as clowns aren't they?
My guess is that it has to do with something called parental responsibility.
It should be common sense by now that too much junk food and not enough physical activity could lead to obesity over time. And this common sense should be passed along from parents to their children. Telling restaurants to make changes will only go so far because there is plenty of junk on the grocery store shelves being represented by big cats like Chester and Tony and dozens of other childishly amusing characters.
In my opinion the well intentioned efforts are off target. Making companies fire their mascots is not the solution. It starts with education and that starts at home. And after the education comes discipline. Moms and dads need to just say NO when your toddler tells you he's going to go to Micky D's for a couple of big macs and some fries. Brush up on your nutritional knowledge and your culinary skills. A burger is not that difficult to make, and there's a great chance you can make one a lot tastier and healthier than the fast food joints.
If getting the parents to take charge doesn't work I suggest the activists stand outside of fast food joints holding up fun-house mirrors- the lateral distorting kind.
Fun-house Mirror credit: flickr.com/photos/foxtongue
Let repeat offenders get a glimpse of their possible future. Or maybe the marketing execs at Fruits and Veggies Matter could offer Sweet Tooth a new job, or find a very cool, persuasive pirate.
- Created on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 15:39
You have another 13 days to enter the 2011 Met-RX Warrior Sweepstakes. It's simple. All you have to do is register at this link and remember to visit and enter everyday through the 31st of May.
This year's grand prize is a 7 day trip for 2 to Rome, Italy. The instant win prizes include Torque Fitness F1 Functional Gym systems, Powerblock dumbbells with rack stand and bench, Powerblock Kettleblocks, Hyperstrike online fitness programs, plus lots of Met-RX brand products.
Remember to enter daily, and good luck!
- Created on Monday, 16 May 2011 15:18
There are hundreds of combinations of variables that you can consider when designing a workout- resistance, reps, sets, tempo, total time under load, range of motion, rest periods, rep speed, angles of resistance, blah, blah, blah. Nutrition and diet can be equally complicated and confusing- macro nutrient profiles and ratios, micro-nutrient profiles, meal timing, glycemic index, calorie cycling, the best source and form of this, the healthiest way to prepare that. It's enough to make anyone throw their hands up in the air in disgust, grab an ice cream sandwich & can of soda pop and lie down on the couch.
Don't let the information overload discourage you.
Start out with a simple plan to exercise and eat right. If you're just getting started do resistance training and cardio at a level that is appropriate for your level of fitness. Stick to the basics. This applies to you if you are trying to lose fat, gain muscle, improve your health or performance or any combination of these.
Find out the caloric range required for your target weight range and stick to it. Emphasize nutrient rich foods while minimizing the junk from your diet. Be sure to drink enough water to stay well hydrated at all times. You may want to consider a multivitamin, multimineral to make sure you're getting the right amount of nutrients. Again, these simple tips apply to all beginners, regardless of your reason for exercising and eating right.
Don't waste precious time reading, studying and analyzing all the overwhelming amounts of info. Pick a simple plan, get started, and stick with it.
- Created on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 17:09
When you think about it and take notice you'll see that accountability is a big factor in our lives. Most people have to check in at the start of their workday, whether it's punching a time card, being present in the office on time or phoning in. For some self-employed or operators of home-based businesses this lack of accountability to others can be a drawback. This is also true for some people taking on a new exercise and diet program by themselves.
To help you stay on track here are a few tips for adding accountability to yourself and your program.
Keep a fitness log. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or complicated. A workout journal with scheduled workouts, when treated seriously, can not only help with accountability but also with measuring your exercise progress. Even a plain monthly calendar can be a helpful tool. Make a note of the days you're supposed to workout. Everyday that you do follow through with your scheduled workout put some sort of positive symbol on the calendar- a plus mark, smiley face, a big check-mark, and for any day you skip or miss without a valid reason put some sort of negative mark- a minus sign, a big red X or circle with a diagonal line through it, or a sad or angry face. You can also write down the excuse you used for skipping your workout. You'll have a visual reference that will hopefully inspire you to stay consistent.
You can do the same for a food/diet log.
Create awareness. It's one thing to tell everyone about what your intentions are but you have to take it further and enlist their help. Tell your family and friends to help by giving you the needed push and encouragement to not skip your workout or a reminder that you're supposed to be watching what and how much you eat.
Let your coworkers know that you are not trying to be antisocial when you refuse the daily doughnut at break time or when you don't go to happy hour every Friday after work.
Join or create a support group. Some things seem easier when you're not doing it alone. Get a motivated workout partner or group of friends who are serious about starting and sticking to a fitness program.
No one wants to be labeled as the flake that's always missing the workout or not sticking to the diet. The camaraderie of belonging to an exercise group(being part of the club) might motivate you to not only exercise regularly but enjoy it even more.
Invest in yourself. Not many people like to throw away their money. Hiring a professional trainer, properly credentialed dietician/nutritionist, or both will put you on the fast track to reaching your goals. Plus the financial investment, accountability and support should be enough to keep you going until your goals are met and beyond.
- Created on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 19:40
One small change can lead to big results. Many small changes or one major change can lead to tremendous results but it can also lead to devastating negatives like noncompliance with your fitness program. In other words if the changes are too many or too drastic you might decide to abandon them and go back to your old, comfortable ways.
If you can foresee this happening to you, or have experienced it in the past I recommend making small changes and only one at a time. Pick one part of your lifestyle that you're pretty sure you can successfully change. Stick with that change until it becomes a permanent part of your routine. Allow that new habit to influence other changes.
For example eating a more nutrient rich diet or getting more quality sleep will lead to increased energy which in turn can help you feel more confident about starting and sticking to an exercise program. Or if you start working out regularly your body will start to send you signals to feed it good stuff, not junk. Then it's just a matter of discipline for you to not override those signals.
Keep focusing on each new change until it becomes a regular habit. Don't try to do too much all at once. It doesn't need to be an all or nothing approach. Remember if it's too drastic you could be setting yourself up for failure.
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