With the new year approaching I figured it would be the perfect time to arm you with three tips on preventing weight gain in the new year. If you missed out on Part I, click here.
1. You Consume Too Much Processed Food
As a Rokiskyfitness reader you know that exercise, community and sleep play a huge role in body composition. But our nutrition and what we consume is still the most important factor. Granted, if you sleep and exercise well you will be able to get away with a mediocre diet. However, if you don’t sleep well and exercise regularly then you must follow a healthy diet 90 percent of the time i.e 9 out of 10 meals. The best way to eat healthy is through the consumption of nutrient dense food instead of empty calories like processed food. Pasture raised eggs, beef, chicken, turkey and wild caught fish are excellent choices. And of course fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients with minimal calories, including starchy vegetables like potatoes and squash (Read More). In addition to these foods, legumes like lentils and beans are good choices too. When it comes to grains I recommend sprouted grains, oats, rice and quinoa.
There are certain facts we must accept in this life. One of them is that our body isn’t ours, it was given to us. We had no choice in the matter and we can’t go back and change our genetics. Nevertheless, we have the ability to optimize our body and turn a bad situation into a good one. This can only occur if you eat, sleep and move often. Your lifestyle choices will impact your mood, energy and productivity. There is no debating this, if you don’t eat real food, sleep and exercise then you will not be performing at your best. For example, if I don’t get to bed by 9pm or sleep for at least 7.5 hours then I am not at 100 percent the next day. Yes, I am able to do my job and perform, but I know I am not at my best.
In last weeks post I wrote about a study that showed sleep restriction (4 hours a night) promoted weight gain. In the study, the authors hypothesized that the weight gain was due to increased ghrelin levels and late-night eating (1). This study triggered my Alice In Wonderland and sent me down a research rabbit hole. Let’s face it, we are fighting an uphill battle in the obesity fight. As humans we are wired to eat and a lack of sleep is only making that worse. Recent research has shown a correlation between a lack of sleep with increased consumption of sugary, caffeinated beverages (2). In the study, Short and sweet: Associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in the United States, they analyzed data from 18,799 adults who self reported sleep durations and completed two 24 hour dietary recalls. Out of the 18,799 adults, 13% slept five hours or less. The group of people who slept five hours or less had a 21% increased in sugary caffeinated beverages. Granted, the lack of sleep could have been a contributor to the increased consumption of caffeinated beverages. And usually most caffeinated beverages contain sugar so that could account for the increased intake. But I don't think that is the reason why. I believe a lack of sleep is rewiring our brain causing us to crave sugary foods and there are studies to back this claim.
In my experience as a trainer I have come to realize that losing weight and getting in shape is very challenging for the everyday person. Especially in America where work comes first and sleep second. We are encouraged to burn the midnight oil and told that that sleep is for the weak. Unfortunately, this couldn’t further from the truth. Lack of sleep is making people weak and fat. .The latest statistics from stateofobesity.org state that 38% of adults are obese and of that percentage, 8% are extremely obese. To put this perspective, 1 in 3 adults are obese. Yes, exercise and diet play a huge role, but they aren’t the only things that matter. After all, sleep determines what we eat and how we perform in the gym. However, we have forgotten how influential sleep can be. But don’t worry, by the end of this post you will know the importance of sleep and how it influences your hunger.
"Be natural and yourself and this glittering flattery will be as the passing breeze of the sea on a warm summer day"- William Sherman, General from the Civil War
Last week I was listening to the School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes and I came across an episode with sports psychologists Dr. Michael Gervais (HERE). The episode covered a range of topics on high performance mindset training. The two talked about the importance of meditation and having a mentor. But the thing that caught my attention the most was when Dr. Gervais talked about the importance of being yourself and how it is the key to a happy life. But he was quick to mention the challenge that comes with it. And I agree, it may sound easy on paper, but being yourself is one of the hardest things to do. It is much easier to be the person that others want you to be. But you must have the courage to go on your own journey and find yourself.
Our ancestors evolved living in tribes and small communities until the creation of cities and modern society. For the last 200,000 to 300,000 years we lived and interacted with others on a daily basis. Our mind and body adapted to learn how to survive in a small community. In tribal life, everyone had a purpose and a job to do. This dependence on someone else wired us to be social and help one another. This behavior trait was advantageous for us back then because it allowed us to survive dire situations. Currently, the need for help from others to survive has greatly been diminished. This has left us clueless, searching for our passion and purpose. The majority of us live alone and can survive in today's world by ourselves. But this environment can also do harm and lead to a lack of purpose due to you not being needed. This lack of purpose and need by others has caused the use of social media to skyrocket.
Over 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their life (1). In 2008, obesity costed America 147 billion dollars (2) and some websites have reported that the number has climbed to a staggering 192 billions dollars (3) . Based off these numbers, America is overweight and injured. I have seen this firsthand as a trainer. People are weaker than ever and lack the ability to move well. I am sorry to be brash, but it is the truth. We are animals and movement is wired into our dna. Unfortunately, we no longer have to move for food or shelter like our ancestors. Technology is slowly replacing our need to move and is slowly persuading us to be lethargic and do nothing. While humans are wired to move, we are also wired to do nothing. It is important to understand that we will adapt to any environment we live in. Just take a look at the schools from the 1940s and 1960s:
From a very young age I had been training with my Dad on the beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. We would run the beach together and push wheelbarrows of concrete up my driveway in hope of me becoming the best athlete possible. I loved this style of training, but when I heard that my friends were lifting weights I felt left out and wanted to switch to weight training. So I started training with my oldest brother, Sean, during the summer leading up to my 8th grade year. I still remember sitting in the bleachers that summer talking to my friends about our max bench press. I was very weak compared to my friends, most of them were benching 135 pounds while I was only benching 95 pounds. I was embarrassed to say the least. This embarrassment started a fire inside me and motivated me to become as strong as possible.
Have you ever wondered what the least amount of exercise you could do while still obtaining some sort of health benefit from it?
We live busier lives than ever and for some, the idea of exercising 30 minutes to an hour isn't realistic nor enjoyable. For most of us, we love our workout and look forward to it but that isn't the case for everyone. There are a lot of people who dread exercise or lack the time to exercise. It could be their job, family life or just a lack of priorities. I still believe that exercise should be one of your main priorities because it enhances every aspect of your life, but that isn't the point of the this discussion. The point of this post is to answer the question above:
What is the least amount of exercise you could do while still obtaining some sort of health benefit from it?
Last week I just got done writing about the benefits of a high intensity workout and how it can save you time in the gym. This week I am going to go over another sprint workout that has been shown to help reduce body fat. And don't worry it isn't going to take you an hour to perform. Regardless of how much time you have that day, you should never let a busy schedule force you to take break from exercise, rather, you should switch your workout to one that accommodates your schedule. The easiest way to do this in a time efficient manner is through sprint training. When it comes to sprint training you don't need much, and this was proven in my previous post on interval training (click here). But not everyone enjoys that type of interval training, so I decided to search pubmed until I found one that seemed suitable. I came across a study that showed sprint training induced fat loss in women. The study consisted of 15 women and each participant completed six weeks of sprint training. The training regimen consisted of four to six 30 second “all-out” sprints on a self propelled treadmill with four minutes of rest (walking) performed three times per week. After the six weeks were over, training decreased body fat mass by eight percent! (2)