Fat and why you need it

Fat-free does not equal healthy So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your…

Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

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Fat-free does not equal healthy

So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your daily diet. I’m not saying to go for the high-fat ice cream and yogurt, but next time you’re in the store keep these simple facts in mind.

Good versus bad

When it comes to fat, we want to focus on eating the right types. Unsaturated fats are necessary to live: both poly and monounsaturated fats. Both of these can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. What are some good sources of unsaturated fats?

  • Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive, canola and peanut oils

Fats to cut back on

Saturated and trans fatty acids should be used sparingly. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Artificial trans fats should be avoided at all costs, but saturated and natural trans fatty acids should be 7% or less of your diet. Examples include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry skin
  • High-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cookies
  • Baked goods
  • Crackers
  • Icing
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Some margarine’s

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold myself back when it comes to cookies. And I eat eggs like they’re going out of style. But I do try to eat most of the other things on this list in moderation. And I try to avoid the cookie aisle as often as possible.

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Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

Protein: building blocks of muscle

Muscular endurance and strength Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or body builder, you need muscle. Even for those couch potatoes out there who don’t lift, muscle is still needed for everyday basic functions such as walking and sitting upright. Or for those times you have to carry every grocery bag all at once (team one-trip!).…

Protein: building blocks of muscle was originally published on Self Evolve

Muscular endurance and strength

Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or body builder, you need muscle. Even for those couch potatoes out there who don’t lift, muscle is still needed for everyday basic functions such as walking and sitting upright. Or for those times you have to carry every grocery bag all at once (team one-trip!). But outside of skeletal muscle, there’s also the important cardiac and smooth muscle that keeps our organs intact and functioning properly. In order to build all muscle properly, we need to consume protein. And while you may think meat is the only option, I’m here to tell you it’s not.

Veggie protein

proteinMany people instantly think of chicken, beef, or pork when I mention protein sources. While meat has a high amount of protein, the animals we eat get their protein from their diet. And guess what? Cows, chickens, and pigs are all vegetarians. So we are just eating veggies through their carriers. While this may seem like a workaround and a reason for you to stop eating vegetables, it isn’t. Vegetables are still needed thanks to the awesome fiber and complex carbohydrates they provide. So be sure to cook up some veggies to eat with that meat!

Good sources of protein

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Chia Seeds

And if you’re sitting here wondering where protein shakes and/or bars fall into this list, I’m here to tell you that natural sources/foods are always going to be better than a shake or bar. But when in a pinch, they work. Just be sure to pay attention to how much sugar is included. I recommend going with the 0g of sugar option when available. The less sugar the better, unless you’re looking to get some carbs.

What’s your favorite food to fuel your muscles?

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The FitExpo Chicago 2018

My first FitExpo experience was a blast! This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday…

The FitExpo Chicago 2018 was originally published on Self Evolve

My first FitExpo experience was a blast!

This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday afternoon. I had so much fun walking around getting lots of free stuff and watching the various types of fitness shows/competitions. To anyone considering attending the FitExpo in the future, this is why you should go.

Swag

Not only did I get two t-shirts, I also got tons of samples including a tub of protein. Like a legit 1 pound tub. I also got other samples of BCAA’s, pre-workout, and post-workout supplements. There was a heavy protein focus all through the expo, and my friends and I would joke with every vendor if their product didn’t have protein then why bother? 🙂 I mean, we were there for gains weren’t we?

Competitions

FitExpoThere were several bodybuilding competitions going on, and I kept getting distracted by the amazing guys and their abs on display. I literally stood staring as my friend was trying to meet up with me. Whoops. Other than bodybuilding, there were powerlifting, crossfit, max reps, and other cool fitness competitions going on.

Workout classes

We got to get a good workout in, mostly by walking around for many hours. But my friends did take on the Spartan obstacle course which was a condensed version of the Spartan race. While this was an additional cost (unless you do it right before they close), there were other fitness classes offered for no fee. Unfortunately, they looked cardio based and I had already gotten in my cardio workout for the day.

Deals

There were many deals going on at the expo. Nearly every product there was at least 50% off the regular price. I bought some great-tasting BCAA’s at half the cost. I left with more muscles than I entered with. 😉

Two thumbs up

All in all, I would highly recommend The FitExpo Chicago. It’s an annual event that occurs either in May or June of every year. I had a great time and I look forward to attending next year!

 

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Fiber: the most overlooked but necessary ingredient

Most people focus on protein and the number of grams they need to consume, but often overlook the amount of fiber they’re consuming. Majority of Americans don’t eat enough fiber, which leads to many digestive issues. With the right amount, you can have a much healthier digestive track which will allow you to utilize that…

Fiber: the most overlooked but necessary ingredient was originally published on Self Evolve

Most people focus on protein and the number of grams they need to consume, but often overlook the amount of fiber they’re consuming. Majority of Americans don’t eat enough fiber, which leads to many digestive issues. With the right amount, you can have a much healthier digestive track which will allow you to utilize that protein more efficiently.

Benefits

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. This helps make it easier to pass, making it less likely you’ll be constipated.
  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. 
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. Fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes. A healthy diet may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in achieving healthy body weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods so you’re more likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And they tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. More bang for your buck!

How much fiber is needed?

If you’re female, you need at least 25 grams of fiber daily. For men, the requirement is higher right around 38 grams a day. Be sure to include the following foods in your daily diet:

  • Whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

What’s your favorite high-fiber food?

 

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Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them

To carb or not to carb That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our…

Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

To carb or not to carb

That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our muscles properly. But rather than reaching for that bowl of cereal or box of Oreos, I’m going to share some healthy, complex carbs you should incorporate into your daily meal-plan.

Complex Carbohydrates

Next time you’re in the kitchen, whip up some of these quick and easy food items to incorporate complex carbs in your meal.

  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Fruit (especially when you can eat the skin for extra fiber)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin)
  • Beans, lentils, and split peas
  • Popcorn (just skip the salt and butter and use spices instead)
  • Quinoa, bulgur, and millet

Simple Carbohydrates

Things to cut back on include the following:

  • Sodas and juices high in sugar
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Chips (sorry guys!)
  • Candy
  • Added sugar
  • White bread
  • Cereal

Be sure to read labels and look for how much sugar is in the food item prior to buying it. It’s best to aim for lots of complex carbohydrates and to not over-indulge in the simple carbs.

What’s your favorite carb?

 

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Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you work out until you puke?

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked? After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out,…

Should you work out until you puke? was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked?

After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out, similar to calluses and popped eye blood vessels after reaching your squat PR. But most people find it disturbing to puke during or after working out. And from a personal trainer who manages trainers and handles hundreds of clients, I’m here to share my opinion on the matter of puking before, during or after a workout.

To puke or not to puke?

First of all, if you’re eating the right foods and performing the right exercises for your fitness level, you shouldn’t be puking ever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked out to the point of feeling nauseous but have never puked before during or after working out. I think there’s a fine line between puking and feeling nauseous. When I do feel nauseous, I tend to pull back a little bit while working out. Whether that means taking a short break or slowing down (cardio) for a minute, I allow my body just enough slack in order to not actually vomit. This is best both for me and those around me.

Ideally, instead of pushing yourself into nausea, monitor your heart rate and make sure it’s between 65 to 85% of your maximum during your workout. It’s good to sweat, but not good to vomit. Next time you’re at the gym, keep these pointers in mind: watch your heart rate, drink lots of water, and push yourself in relation to that heart rate and not until you’re dizzy.

How do you push yourself to workout hard?

 

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Bike the Drive: going the distance

This wasn’t my first bike ride.. But it was only the second time ever doing Bike the Drive. If you don’t know what Bike the Drive is, it’s an annual Chicago event where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and let people ride their bikes up and down it for a few hours every Memorial…

Bike the Drive: going the distance was originally published on Self Evolve

This wasn’t my first bike ride..

bike the driveBut it was only the second time ever doing Bike the Drive. If you don’t know what Bike the Drive is, it’s an annual Chicago event where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and let people ride their bikes up and down it for a few hours every Memorial Day weekend. Last year was the first time I ever participated, and I instantly fell in love with the event. I’m not an avid bike rider, but I found myself enjoying the scenery and found the distance to be the right level of challenging. Last year I rode about two thirds the full distance, right around 21 miles. This year, I rode the entire distance. And this is how I did it.

How to increase your cardio endurance

  • Lift weights: This may seem weird, but strength training will build your endurance. Even if you’re not lifting for endurance, having the extra muscle will help you process food (fuel) more efficiently. This in turn leads to higher endurance since you will be better able to use that banana, apple, electrolytes and water to bike further than you ever have before.
  • Change up your cardio routine: We are creatures of habit. I’m guilty of it, I’m a runner! So my go to cardio? Running! But if all I do is run for cardio, my cardio endurance isn’t going to improve. Instead, what happens is my body gets used to running and my cardio endurance may actually decrease unless I start changing up my routine. I change up my running, i.e. distance, speed, and incline. But I also throw in days of HIIT cardio and rowing. Add in a 30 mile bike ride and I feel well-rounded.
  • bike the driveEat well: Pretty straight forward, but you’d be surprised how many gym members I talk to who tell me they pig out on entire pizzas after working out. While this is not the worst thing once in awhile, it should be rarely happening. Instead, focus on eating foods that will fuel your cardio and strength endurance. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are the best to grab. Also, complex carbohydrates like brown rice and veggies are great too.
  • Drink water and lots of it: Hydration is often over-looked. Especially on a hot day like this past Sunday, I was downing as much water as I could while biking the drive. Nuun was out there serving up electrolytes so I jumped on that opportunity especially since I was biking for just about 3 and a half hours.

Did you participate in Bike the Drive this year?

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Bike the Drive: going the distance was originally published on Self Evolve