Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Succeed in... (Life) Without Really Trying

I recently read a couple of articles talking about motivation, these led me to dig deep to find where my motivation comes from.
 I still have no idea. 
The way I think about things is, "well, it has to be done eventually, might as well be done by me, now."  I know that's not what you want to hear.
You want some flowery saying about how you just need to put your head up so you can let your hair down, and you will be fine. The fact of the matter is, the best way to get something done is just to do it.

In this article titled The Key to Getting Motivated: Give Up, the author says:
"trying to “get motivated” can often make matters worse. The real problem isn’t that you don’t feel like taking action. Rather, it’s the underlying assumption that you need to feel like taking action before you can act."

Sometimes you've just got to "buck up buttercup" and do whatever the task is. I find this especially true when dealing with health and fitness. Since exercise and eating your vegetables are considered "non-essential" activities they are easy to slough off for "another day." 
What's the best way to start exercising and eating healthy?  
Just do it!
 Do it today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Do it everyday until it feels wrong if you don't.

Get out of your head and out of your own way. 

Speaking of getting out of your head, stop thinking so much! In this article by Precision Nutrition a few studies were performed. The subjects did not know what the study was, just that they got to test some food samples. The studies found that the subject who were actively counting calories generally ate more than those who were not. Not only did they eat more, but they felt worse after. It's the guilt circle. 

-I'm going to eat better, I'm going to totally cut out sugars and count my calories. 

-I'm so sick of salad I could vomit, but it's totally worth it. You have to be miserable to be fit, right?
-Well maybe just one brownie...oh they have pie too?!

-I just ate my weight in sugar, and all the calories allotted to me for the next three days!
-I'm a terrible person, I will never be fit, and as a result I will never make any friends, or find love.

-I'm going to re-double my efforts and start fresh, nothing but salad for a whole week!
-I'm so sick of salad I could vomit.....
You get the idea, right? 
I just want to say one thing, calm the bleep down! 
Everything is going to be okay. Correction, everything is already okay.
There have been times when the extra layer of fat on my inner thigh has sent me into a downward spiral, but being sad just made me want to eat chocolate, which made me more sad...and added more chub to the thighs. Vicious cycle.

Don't let small mistakes paralyze your progress. 

The best way to succeed, in this life, is to DO.  
Do your best, Do it often, and Do it now.

 Don't let small mistakes, or the idea that you have to feel "excited" paralyze your progress. 

In review; life can be hard, work is boring and stressful, exercise is not always fun, vegetables are not as sweet as candy, and you might occasionally be an outcast. But in the end whether you feel like it or not, just DO it. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

All About Eating For Your Body Type

The idea that "one meal plan fits all" is far from true. All of our bodies process food and exercise differently, so it's important to think about that when planning meals. This article, found on Precision Nutrition, helps outline some basic "rules" of eating for each body type.

All About Eating For Your Body Type

by RYAN ANDREWS | February 9th, 2009
Body type — whether ecto, meso, or endomorph — can determine what sports suit you best, as well as what you should be eating to fuel your activities. Yes, it’s true — those darn ectos can get away with a little extra pasta!

What is eating for your body type?

Many people think that “body type” just describes the way someone looks. In fact, your body type can also provide information about how you respond to food intake and about your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics.
Physique characteristics can thus be linked to metabolic differences between individuals. Once someone establishes their body type, they can then adjust nutrient intake to maximize body composition and health related goals.
There are three general categories of body types (somatotypes): ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
Very few people fall perfectly into one of the three categories. People are often a mix of characteristics. Additionally, years of training and good nutrition can change the outward appearance of one’s body.
For instance, a bodybuilder might be mistaken for a “natural” mesomorph when in fact, s/he is really an endomorph who’s trained and dieted hard; or an ectomorph who’s spent years guzzling protein shakes and doing the power lifts.
An ectomorph who’s gained a little weight around the middle from a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition might assume they’re more endomorphic.
However, most folks can find their general tendencies in one of the three groups.
somatotype body types All About Eating For Your Body Type
Ectomorphs are thin individuals characterized by smaller bone structures and thinner limbs. Think of a typical endurance athlete. They tend to be thyroid and SNS dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance.
This group generally does best with more carbohydrates in the diet, along with a moderate protein and lower fat intake. A nutrient distribution for this body type would ideally be around 55% carbs, 30% protein, and 15% fat.
ectomorph kenyan runners All About Eating For Your Body Type
A group of ectomorphs doing what they do best
Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure and athletic body, and if they’re active, they usually have a considerable amount of lean mass. Many explosive athletes like wrestlers and gymnasts fit these criteria. Mesomorphs tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant. This profile leads to a predisposition for muscle gain and the maintenance of a lower body fat.
Mesomorphs typically do best on a mixed diet, consisting of balanced carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A macronutrient split of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat can work well.
mesomorph reggie jackson All About Eating For Your Body Type
Reggie Bush
serena williams denim All About Eating For Your Body Type
Serena Williams
Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Football lineman and powerlifters are frequently endomorphs. They tend to be insulin dominant. This profile leads to a greater propensity for energy storage, including both lean mass and fat mass. This can also mean a lower carbohydrate tolerance.
Endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed (e.g., after exercise). Their ideal intake might look like 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat.
slow fat triathlete All About Eating For Your Body Type
Jayne Williams, author of Slow Fat Triathlete
endomorph shot putter All About Eating For Your Body Type
Shot putter Dan Taylor
In general, we encourage individuals to experiment with different nutritional strategies until they find what works for them. And this is certainly one way to go about doing things.
Still, if seemingly endless trial and error with food intake doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to spend your weekends, then identifying your body type and eating the appropriate distribution of nutrients might be a smart place to begin.

What you should know about eating for your body type

Regardless of your body type, body composition, or overall health status, your ability to handle carbohydrate-dense foods is greatly improved during and after exercise.
This means that the best time to eat a majority of those starchy (or, less ideally, sugary) foods is around the times that you’re physically active. Depending on your body type, your carb tolerance is different and your strategy should be different.


If you’re the very carb tolerant type, eating a greater percentage of high carb foods outside the workout window will likely be just fine for you. This means eating more carbs all throughout the day. You should, of course, still get more carbs during/post workout than any other time of the day. Just think more carbs after workouts and less carbs at other times. Remember that as carb intake increases, fat intake decreases.


If you have moderate carb tolerance, you should likely minimize high carb/starchy carb foods outside the workout window — except, perhaps, after an overnight fast (think: breakfast). This means you’d try eating some higher carb/starchy carb foods in the AM as well as during/post exercise. The rest of the meals would consist of less dense carb foods and more lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.


If you’re not very carb tolerant, your best bet is to avoid high carb/starchy carb foods outside the workout window (including breakfast). This means only veggies and fruits outside the workout window (along with proteins and fats).

For extra credit

As we approach different stages in our lives, hormones change and our body type can be influenced. This includes stages such as puberty and menopause (as well as the male equivalent, andropause).
Dense carb foods include whole grains (rice, breads, quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, barley, etc.), dried fruits, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, recovery drinks, sugars, etc.

Summary and recommendations

Carb tolerance: High
Typical body type: Ectomorph
Carb timing ideas: Should include dense carb foods during/after exercise. Some starchy, whole grain, unprocessed carbs can also be eaten at each other meal if desired. Veggies and/or fruits (~3:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.
Carb tolerance: Moderate
Typical body type: Mesomorph
Carb timing ideas: Should include dense carb foods, but only during/after exercise. Starchy, whole grain, unprocessed carbs can also be eaten at breakfast and post exercise. These foods should be used in moderation during the rest of the day. Veggies and/or fruits (~3:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.
Carb tolerance: Low
Typical body type: Endomorph
Carb timing ideas: All dense carb foods should be included only during/after exercise. Veggies and/or fruits (~5:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.
All of the aforementioned guidelines are great for muscle gain (assuming overall food intake is high enough), maintenance, and even moderate weight loss/shifting body composition.
For people brand new to the world of healthy eating, don’t worry too much about body type eating, because you’ll likely have some broad food issues to deal with first. For our advanced nutrition readers, take advantage. Establish your body type, implement the strategies, and watch how your body changes.
If you’ve used a strategy in the past and it didn’t work, then don’t do it again. As always, match up behaviors and expectations while utilizing outcomes based decision making.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Talking About Vitamin Deficiencies

As a trainer I am often asked about the meaning behind strange symptoms my clients are experiencing. They often (always) want a quick fix, such as drink more water and the symptoms will disappear. It's difficult to remember all the many symptoms that can manifest themselves from malnutrition, or the lack  of one specific nutrient. This is why I love to find charts like this one from Precision Nutrition. It does not cover everything as a chart like that would take several pages, but it does cover some of the more common problems people experience.

Deficiencies by body part

AnklesSwollen anklesOver-hydrated
BrainMemory problems, disorientation or dementiaNiacin (B3), vitamin B12, or thiamine (B1) deficiency
EyesPuffy, swollen eyesOver-hydrated
Sunken, dull or dry eyesVitamin A or zinc deficiency; under-hydration
Dry eyes with gray spotsVitamin A deficiency
Red or difficult-to-control eyesRiboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), thiamine (B1) or phosphorus deficiency
FaceAcneVitamin C deficiency
FeetTingling feetPyridoxine (B6) or vitamin B12 deficiency
GumsSore and spongy or red and swollenVitamin C deficiency
HandsTingling handsPyridoxine (B6) or vitamin B12 deficiency
LipsCracked lipsRiboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), or pyridoxine (B6) deficiency
LungsShortness of breathOver-hydrated
Mouth and mucous membranesDry mucous membranesUnder-hydrated
Sore mouthPyridoxine (B6) or vitamin B12 deficiency
MusclesMuscle spasmsCalcium, magnesium or vitamin D deficiency
NailsBrittle, thin nailsIron deficiency
SalivaSticky saliva / dry mouthUnder-hydrated
SkinMoist skinOver-hydrated
Dry, scaly, pale or bruises easilyIron, vitamin A, C, K, zinc, essential fatty acid or protein deficiency
Red spots under your skin’s surfaceVitamin C deficiency
Cool, pale, clammy skinUnder-hydrated
Scaly, greasy skinVitamin A, zinc or riboflavin (B2) deficiency
TonguePurple, white, or smooth and slick; painfulRiboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), B12, zinc or iron deficiency
Sore tonguePyridoxine (B6) or Vitamin B12 deficiency
UrineLight-coloured urineOver-hydrated
Dark coloured urineUnder-hydrated

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