It’s 2010 and I’m a broke college kid living in a psuedo frat-house with a bunch of guys that were on the University cheer team with me. This is the time in our lives that we were surviving off alcohol, fast food, sub-par workouts, and little sleep; and let me tell you, it showed. All of us had that typical fraternity bro body that said “Hell yeah I workout and drink protein shakes, but let me hit that keg-stand first.” That is, all of us except one. Zak, that sly bastard. He somehow managed to live off 99 cent Totino pizzas, worked out less than me, AND still had a f****** 6-pack! The hate. Anger. Jealousy. And above all, self-loathing this caused can’t even be described. How was it possible that this rare-specimen gave little effort to his body, but managed to have that Holy Grail of fitness? Well, here I am, 9 years later cracking the code!
outside of the alcohol that zak would pass on; the biggest difference between me and him were our body types. Did you know that there are three body types that everyone can be classified into? research has shown that the differences between body types goes deeper than just physical qualities, but also that these body types differ on a cellular level. these differences affect everything from response to training and metabolism to carb tolerance and energy stores.
the first body type we’re breaking down are ectomorphs. this is the body type that zak was and is often found among endurance and track athletes. they’re typically tall, have longer limbs, have an above average metabolism, and a higher carb tolerance compared to their peers. even though this sounds like the ideal body, i had one thing over zak because of his ectomorphic qualities; i could put on muscle faster than him. for ectomorphs it’s usually pretty hard for them to put on weight due to the faster metabolism and carbohydrate tolerance. this is why he (zak) could down multiple pizzas and still not see the scale move whatsoever. Ectomorphs typically respond better to a high-carbohydrate diet with moderate protein and lower fat. a rough estimate at what that would look like from a macronutrient stand point would be:
so, if you’re looking at it from a “shredding” standpoint an ectomorph is the ideal body type, but if you’re trying to put on weight or muslce then you’d rather fall into one of the other two body types.
this body type is normally characterized with medium-sized bone/limb lengths and athletic bodies that seem to hold and maintain muslce fairly well, while keeping body fat levels on the lower end. a popular athlete with a mesomorph body type would be a gymnasts. Once I learned about body types I knew this is where I fell and in my eyes, i now had the upper hand on zak! us mesomorphs can do well on a variety of diet/macro breakdowns depending on personal preference and goals. keeping a good balance of carbs, protein, and fats in the diet is key to building and maintaining muscle and healthy levels of fat. a macro breakdown that mesomorphs could do well on could look something like:
Protein : 30%
The last body type we’re going to breakdown is the endomorph. this is the body type that’s typically common among strongmen athletes or linemen on a football team. They have larger bone structures and tend to hold much larger amounts of body mass, muslce, and fat. Endomorphs can store energy (calories) better than it’s counter-body types, but because of this it’s also harder for them to “cut” weight. They will typically do best on a higher fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet/macro breakdown. here’s what that could look like:
is it possible for someone to be a mix of body types? you bet it is. just like all diets and training programs it takes time to figure out what works for you and your body, but I promise that if you start eating for your body type, you’ll be headed in the right direction for looking and feeling better!
sorry zak, but your secrets out. you’re not some alien superhero or greek god. you’re just a carb-hungry ectomorph!
Looking for some help in putting together a nutrition plan for your body type? set up a time to meet with our coach to start building your own custom program!
By now you’ve probably seen Netflix’s hit movie, Bird Box, with Sandra Bullock saving her family by taking them on a blind trip. (If you haven’t seen the movie then this reference is going right over your head and I’m sorry.) Either way, this is exactly what it looks like when you say you want to lose or gain weight, but are doing absolutely NO type of tracking or measuring. You’re going on a long journey with your eyes closed and blindfolded; just hoping that you’ll make it to the end safely. Yeah, you might finally reach your goal, but it’s going to take a lot of trial and error and may involve running into a few trees along the way (another Bird Box reference).
Does this mean that to reach your goal weight you need to turn into a crazed scientist and weigh/measure every little thing you eat? Not necessarily. Today we’re going to breakdown what we like to call “The Hand Scale”. This simple system is an easy way to know how much fuel you’re putting in the furnace. The best parts about this glorious way to measure is:
Your hands are always with you, so there can never be an excuse as to why you didn’t measure.
Your hands are typically proportional to your body and it’s energy needs. In other words, if you used your kids hands to measure your meals, you would more than likely be under-eating…a lot.
This is a great way to get a feel and lay down a foundation for tracking, counting, & measuring food
Lastly, this measuring system can be customized to work with any type of macro preference; low-carb, keto, paleo, vegetarian, etc.
How do your hands compare?
Palm of your hand = 1 serving of Protein (about 30-35 grams)
Cupped hand = 1 serving of carbs (about 33-40 grams)
Closed fist= 1 serving of vegetables
Thumb = 1 serving of fat (about 12-14 grams)
Putting it to Work
Now that you know how to use your hands, it’s time to apply it. Let’s say we’re trying to track macros for a 43-year old mom who trains 3 times a week. She knows that she wants to hit 2, 100 calories using a 40/30/30 (Fat/Protein/Carbs) breakdown. So, her macros would be close to 160 grams of carbs and protein and 95 grams of fat. The hand-scale measurements would then look something like this:
1 cupped hand of carbs 4-5 times/day
1 palm of protein 4-5 times/day
1.5 thumbs of fat 4-5 times/day
1 fist of vegetables 4-5/day
Pretty easy, hu?
Like I said, you can also tweak these servings sizes based on how you like to breakdown your macro percentages. For example, if you like to stick to a lower carb diet, you would just switch out 1 or 2 of your carb servings for 1 or 2 of your fat servings.
To wrap it up, if you’re looking at shredding down your body fat to the single digits, then you need to be very specific with how much and what is going into your body. You’ll need to count, track, and hit your daily macros; most likely while using some kind of system/app. (MyFitnessPal from Under Armour is a great app for tracking) On the other hand, if you’re looking at lowering your BF a bit or just want to get into a healthy range, then using the hand-scale can be your best friend. NOTE: If you’ve never had any experience with measuring starting with the hand-scale would be the most beneficial.
Have you been tracking your numbers and still can’t seem to make any progress? It might be time to get your metabolism checked so you know exactly how much you should be eating!
2018 has come and gone and now it’s time to sit back and reflect on your accomplishments. Did you reach your goals? How did your 2018 Resolutions come along? With only 20% of Resolutions making it passed February; where did you fall on that statistic? Whether you accomplished your goals or fell short; we’re here to give you some tips to sticking to your 2019 goals, So pull out your pen and paper, take some notes, & welcome to Goal Setting 101.
Tip #1 - Find Your Anchor
So, the New Year is coming and you’re trying to think of your goal(s), but where do you start? Remember our entry about the “Why Game”? if you missed it, Don’t worry, here it is. before you plan out your year of goals, you need to make sure you find your anchor. for every goal you set, there needs to be an anchor attached to it that will help keep you going when you want to quit or it gets tough. as for what that anchor is; it’s completely up to you…
Tip #2- be a realist
when it comes to goal setting, some people get a little too carried away or “ambitious”. now, don’t confuse this with me doubting your capabilities because when it comes to dreams and goals; i’ll be the first to support and have your back no matter what. i think you need to dream big, but from a realistic space. for example, if your goal is to make a million dollars in 2019, but you are flipping burgers at mc d’s; you may need to go back to the drawing board. a more realistic goal could look something like this;
2019 Goal - Increase CURRENT income by 30%
Make $15, 000 from Mc D’s
Build social networking business to increase income by $200/month
Invest 5% of income each month into stock
make sense? then the next year you can build off this 2019 goal; moving you closer to the main goal of 1 million dollars. in other words, you made an end goal and then broke it into yearly/macrocycles to get there. Which leads us right into tip #3.
Tip #3- map your journey
ok, so now that you have your goals set and anchors ready; its’ time to map! you can’t just “set a goal” and then do 0 mapping or planning. that’s not goal setting. all that is doing is saying you want something in 2019. the first step is to set your end date or when you will have accomplished your goal. this can be the full 12 months or just 2 months. once you have your end date, all you need to do is work backwards. by working backwards it will make this big scary goal seem a lot more manageable because it’s broken into smaller pieces.
from your 12 month or macrocycle goal you’ll break it into quarterly (mesocycle) goal(s), then monthly (microcycle) goal(s), and lastly weekly goal(s). For example, 2019 goal is to lose 60 pounds, quarter 1 goal is to lose 15 pounds, monthly goal is to lose 5 pounds, weekly goal is to lose 1.25 pounds. Now, when you say “My goal is to lose 1.25 pounds this week.” it seems a lot easier than if you were to wake up january 1st and say “Alright, time to lsoe 60 f****** pounds.”
along with planning ahead and working backwards you need to make sure that you’re tracking your progress every week. Tracking will help make sure that you are moving in the right direction and when you hit each goal, it’ll release a little bit of dopamine, the “feel good” hormone, which can help re-motivate you into the next week of goals. IF YOU’RE GOAL IS LOSING WEIGHT THEN DO WEEKLY CHECK-INS WITH YOURSELF OR TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR CURRENT PHYSIQUE EACH MONTH SO THAT YOU CAN COMPARE TO THE MONTH BEFORE. or YOU CAN DO SOME BODY FAT TESTING to get a detailed breakdown of what you’re losing/gaining.
tip #4- help yourself
Ok, so you have your year mapped out and you’re almost ready to go; the next thing you should do is help yourself out. make reaching that specific goal as easy as possible. this can come from changing your environment, seeing something that reminds you daily, or even just planning out your days. if your goal is to lose weight you probably don’t want all that junk food in the house. if your goal is to save money, then freeze your credit cards so you don’t spend money on useless things. when i was prepping for my first physique show; i set a picture of steve cook and other mens physique athletes as my phone background so that every time i looked down, i would see what my end goal was and it would help me turn down that delicious cupcake.
Whatever is going to motivate or help you; do it! it doesn’t matter what other people think or say about it because this isn’t their journey; it’s yours. overtime these small changes to your day/environment will turn into habits, which then makes reaching goals that much easier.
tip #5- no excuses!
now tip #5 is probably on eof the most important when it comes to goal-setting. when you set a goal, you need to realize that you are making a promise with the most important person in your life (even more important than your best friend susan). you’re making a promise to yourself. because you are what matters, you need to make sure you don’t let anyone or anything get in your way; including yourself. you need to plan on having some struggles in reaching your goal. it might be hard to cut back on your daily soda. it may be hard to say no to that new louis vutton bag. it may be hard to change these habits that you’ve developed over the years, but don’t forget why you started this journey. think back to your anchor.
when it comes to bettering yourself there can be NO excuses. who cares if you’re craving a candy bar or don’t feel like training today; your goal sure as hell doesn’t!
now that you have some different tools to help you reach your goal; get out there and kill it! don’t forget you have your A.W.A.Y ‘OHANA IN YOUR CORNER SUPPORTING YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.
By now you may have seen us posting about our new recovery sessions using TENS and E-Stim. Along with seeing these posts, you’re probably thinking to yourself “What the hell’s TENS? EMS? Are we talking about ghost?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone in these questions and that’s why we’re going to clear it all up!
So, for starters lets talk about how TENS and E-stim are the same. Both methods are a form of recovery, which send low-electrical charges through the muscle and nerves to either excite or block the bodies messengers. When it comes to TENS and E-Stim, the targeted nerves of the body will be affected differently, which in turn, give us different responses. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) will affect the sensory nerves, which are responsible for producing “pain”. Whereas E-Stim affects the muscle directly via motor pathways. So, the easiest way to break it down is:
With me so far?
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
Remember how we said TENS is used for pain relief? This is caused by stimulating the sensory nerves with a low-level electrical current that “blocks” pain. In reality, the pain is still there, but the affected area can’t relay that message back to the brain because the nerves have been “shut-off”. By tricking the mind, we’re able to provide clients with a short duration of time to be pain-free. TENS is a great option for clients dealing with:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Because this is a just a temporary fix, TENS should not be considered a “heal all” product and clients should continue to follow advice and directions from a licensed physician.
E-Stim (aka EMS)
So, now what the heck do we use E-Stim for? E-Stim is ideal after an intense training session or recovering from an injury or surgery. With E-Stim, the muscles are “shocked” in a way that mimics the same type of signal the brain sends to the muscles during exercise. Have you ever been told that after a workout you shouldn’t sit around because you will just become more sore? E-Stim is a way around this by increasing local blood circulation and muscle activity without actually having to move or train more. So, E-Stim is great for:
Increasing rate of recovery
Increasing blood circulation
Helping prevent muscle atrophy (loss)
Now, there have been some companies and people that claim their products are so effective that you can just strap it on and shock your way to a 6-pack…Sorry this just isn’t true. The electrical charges used in E-Stim aren’t strong enough to sculpt a Greek-God physique; especially if the muscles are still covered by fat.
To put it all together, never take for granted what a little shock therapy can do for you. And remember TNS=Pain relief and E-stim=Muscle recovery.
Now, if you tag team this with N.M.R, then you WILL be ready to take on your next training and competition with everything you have!
Everyone knows protein builds muscles, but what EXACTLY is it? Well, to give a quick and easy chemistry lesson, protein is made from carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. The smallest unit of protein are amino acids (which we will talk about another time). These amino acids can come together to form different “combos”, which then make up the bodies different proteins. For example one “combo” is used for muscle protein, while another “combo” is used in the protein that makes up the lens of our eyes.
Now, what else do these bad boys do other than help with the gainz? For starters they:
Synthesize enzymes, hormones, & peptides
Help maintain fluid/electrolyte balance
Helps with satiety (feeling full)
Can provide energy in some cases (only about 5% though)
As you can see, there are a lot of other things protein is needed for in the body besides building and repairing muscle. To be sure you’re getting adequate protein numbers, we recommend shooting for 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh. Remember, just because you’re not deficient in a certain macro or micro; won’t necessarily mean you’re getting optimal amounts to help prevent excess protein turnover or other negative changes!
Fun fact: Our Bodies can store excess amounts of fat and carbohydrates, but we can’t store protein the same way. the body is always losing different levels of aminos (proteins), so we need to make sure we get enough in our diet to keep up with protein synthesis (rebuilding) and protein breakdown (protein turnover.)
What this means? Eating excess protein is most likely not the culprit to excess body fat! It may affect our fat oxidation and carb stores, which may cause those macros to be stored as fat, but not protein.
If you aren’t a big meat eater, get to busy and forget about eating (don’t understand this one), or are an athlete looking to build and recover faster; then adding a high-quality protein powder to your regimen can be a life saver. We highly-recommend SURGE Supplements Active Whey because it tastes great, mixes easy (no clumps), is vegan friendly, and has no added preservatives or other B.S.
Don’t forget to use code: LIFTAWAY when you checkout to receive 20% off your entire order.
Remember our last post about the different energy balance scenarios; negative, positive, and neutral? (If you missed it don’t worry here it is.) Well, this time around we’re going to talk about where this energy in goes and how it will effect the energy out. This includes everything from our physical activity to our storage systems. Our goal is that by the time you’re done here you’ll have a better understanding of why losing weight isn’t just as simple as “eating less”.
To kick things off, let’s talk about where the energy we take in goes. No matter what type of energy (calories) we take in they’ll be used for either; heat, energy needs (digestion, absorption, physical activity, & other metabolic needs), or stored for later use. These three factors all play hand-in-hand and changing one will affect the other.
So, what accounts for heat aka thermogenesis? This includes things such as physical activity, thermic effect of food, resting metabolic rate, and fat oxidation. In other words, anything that is increasing your body temperature or releasing heat. Have you ever noticed how some people are always hot, while others may always be cold? Well, just like some people like their house set at a constant 70 degrees while others may prefer 75 degrees; it just comes down to individual needs. *Fun fact about body temperature; the body burns more calories when it’s cold due to it having to work harder to keep warm. Now, i’m not saying to go waltzing around in your boxers or bikini the next time you go skiing, but a little chilly weather can give you a little more burn!
This part of the equation is pretty self-explanatory; work consists of just that…work. This is the energy your body uses when your taking the kids to school, cooking dinner, giving a presentation at work, or anything else requiring some form of movement. Have you ever heard of NEAT? NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (there’s that word again). Wait…What?! Don’t get too stressed about this fancy sounding phrase because all it means is anytime you’re doing some type of movement that is producing HEAT and isn’t technically exercise; you’re producing NEAT. Again, everyones lives, schedules, and jobs are different and so pin-pointing the exact number is can be really tricky. If you’re interested in knowing how much you of your total calories come from neat; you can wear some type of hr/calorie tracker for a day. Don’t forget to minus your physical activity or calories burned while sitting around.
This is probably everyones least favorite part of the equation because when they hear “storage”, they automatically think fat. But did you know that the calories you take in can be stored as other things besides fat? For example, it can be stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, which will help keep you alive and functioning when you have a 12-hour work day with no breaks for lunch. Have you ever noticed that when training on an empty stomach or in a state of “fasting” you can’t lift or go as hard? Or have you ever gotten “HANGRY”? Yep, this is all thanks to your storage system being depleted or empty. And if you couldn’t already guess, this varies from person-to-person; some people can store more than others or store it in a more efficient way.
To wrap everything up, we are all unique and have individual energy needs and our bodies have different variables that play into our total burn. This is what makes losing or gaining weight much more complicated than “eating more” or “eating less”. You need to have a good understanding of how your body works before you randomly go increasing/decreasing calories blindly.
looking for an easy way to find out how your body burns without all the guessing? Then let’s get you set-up for a resting metabolic assessment today!
Paleo. Ketogenic. Organic. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. South Beach Diet. Mediterranean Diet. IIFYM. Vegetarian. Nutri-System… Pretty sure you get the picture by now; these are all popular diets that have been around for a while now or have recently become popular over the last decade or so (and this is just a small list). Now, when you first think of these you probably think of how they’re all different whether through macro percentages or what you are or aren’t “allowed” to eat. you may even think about the die-hard zealots, who border cult-like, ranting about their way being “the best”, but is one really better than the other? Is there one diet that surpasses them all?…. The answer: Yes…and no. Before you roll your eyes and throw up the middle finger, let me explain:
First let’s talk the “yes”, which is actually the easy part of the answer. The best diet out there is the one that you can stick with and enjoy (as much as you can during a diet) while living a happy and healthy life. If cutting out carbs makes you happy, then by God cut them out! If eating nothing but vegetables is your go-to, then do it. But if you’re “diet” is turning you into a crazed murderer because you can’t stick to it or enjoy certain foods; then you should probably try something else. Want to know what The best diet for YOU is? It’s the one that doesn’t seem like a diet at all! It’s the diet that fulfills your nutritional needs while helping you recover, train, function, AND achieve the results you want. Mind. blown.
Now, it’s time to talk about the “no”. Why isn’t there a diet that works better than the rest? Well, because no matter how different these diets seem, they have one thing in common; negative energy balance. This is the relationship between the calories (energy) you take in to the calories you use on a daily or weekly basis. at the end of the day, the random diets popping up everywhere just cause a negative energy balance; which in turn causes weight loss. if you eat less calories than you use on a daily basis you will lose weight. And do you want to know a fun fact about this rule? there is no way around it; if you don’t eat enough that scale will change! Oh, what about your friend Susan who has been only eating 1,000 calories for two months now and has gained weight? no Susan isn’t some mystical creature defying the laws of science. She probably just doesn’t understand everything that goes into this simple, yet complicated law. Does she know what her base metabolic rate is? What about the thermic effect of food? is she keeping track of neat and physical activity? what do her cortisol levels look like? These are just a few of the underlying factors you need to account for when it comes to energy balance. Want to learn more about weight loss and all the factors that play into it? Check back next week when we cover everything from metabolism & hormones to the thermic effect of food and other energy balance scenarios!
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"I want to lose weight." "I want to have more muscles." "I want to look good on the beach this summer.".... We've all heard these and many more reasons as to why our friends, family, strangers, and even we start a new diet or training program. The problem is that these don't motivate us enough to really make a long-term change. They sound good at the time and they might be an added perk to beginning a health journey, but they aren't the real why.
Try this; think of your fitness goal. Got it in your head? Good. Now, ask yourself why is that your goal. Repeat this process 4-5 times and at the end you probably have a deeper reasoning behind your goal that you may not have even realized. I worked with a client once, we'll call him Frank. Frank came to me initially saying he just wanted to "lose his gut." GREAT! I can definitely help Frank with that, but I want to know more about what drives him. I want to know, what I like to call, his Anchor, his why. When I first asked Frank what his Anchor would be when things got tough, he responded "Well once I get going I'll be good and typically don't fall off the wagon." Great job Frank, but I'm calling B.S. (sorry not sorry) I want MORE! So, I started the Why Game and it ended like this:
Me- "So, why do you want to lose your gut?"
Frank- "It gets in the way and makes my life harder."
Me- "Why does it make your life harder?"
Frank- "Well, anytime I want to do something physical with my family like hike or even just go on walk; I get out of breath and tired faster than I really should."
Me- "And why is that a problem?"
Frank- "Because doing that type of stuff is fun for our family because it gives us quality time, especially with the kids." (Great, we're getting somewhere)
Me- "Why is that important to you?" I know this question may seem kind of dumb and "obvious", but in this profession you can't assume you know your clients and their why. It also means more when they discover it or figure it out on their own.
Frank- "My kids are getting older and will soon be going to college and out on their own before I know it, so I want to be here to take care of them and spend as much time with them as possible. I love my family."