Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Ingredients:

For Salmon:

2 Tbsp. light teriyaki sauce
¼ C Mirin (or sweet rice wine)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. scallions (green onions), rinsed and minced
1½ Tbsp. ginger, minced (or 1 tsp. ground)
12 oz. salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions (3 oz. each)

For vegetables:

1 bag (12 oz.) frozen vegetable stir-fry
½ Tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil
½ Tbsp. garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 Tbsp. scallions (green onions), rinsed and minced
1 Tbsp. lite soy sauce

Directions

1. Thaw frozen vegetables in the microwave (or place entire bag in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes). Set aside until step 7.
2. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
3. Combine teriyaki sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, scallions, and ginger. Mix well. Pour over salmon, and marinate for 10–15 minutes.
4. Remove salmon from the marinade, and discard unused portion.
5. Place salmon on a baking sheet, and bake for 10–15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork in the thickest part (minimum internal temperature of 145 °F).
6. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large wok or sauté pan. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and cook gently but do not brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
7. Add vegetables, and continue to stir fry for 2–3 minutes or until heated through. Add soy sauce.
8. Serve one piece of salmon with 1 cup of vegetables.

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Supplements for women

Today let’s focus on women, shall we? There is a lot that goes on in the female body. The food that we put in our body and the nutrients we receive are vital for a long and healthy life. It should be no surprise that the female and male bodies sometimes require different vitamins and minerals to function at their best. Here are some of the best supplements specifically for women.

Iron

Iron carries oxygen in the blood, supports brain development, immune function and helps in the production of red blood cells. Anemia is a very serious condition where the body is not getting enough iron. The most common symptom of this is extreme fatigue but it can also cause a weakened immune system and problems regulating body temperature. For women, when you have your period each month you lose more iron which makes it even more important that women are getting enough iron through their diet or by supplementation.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D’s most commonly known role is its aid in calcium absorption in the body and bone growth. It also plays an important role in immune function and reduction of inflammation in the body. Without proper vitamin D intake, your bones can become weak. When this occurs it can lead to much more serious conditions such as osteoporosis, which is much more common in women. Deficiency can also lead to the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3’s are important for the brain, help to reduce blood pressure and can help calm down inflammation. This is very important for the female athlete. While we all know that getting enough fat in your diet is important, supplementing with Omega 3’s is always a great idea especially for women. You can also find this in foods such as fish and nuts.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps to maintain normal muscle function, keep a healthy heart, support your immune system, strengthen bones, regulate blood sugar, and helps to improve the metabolism of energy. If you don’t realize it by now, it does a lot for the body! Due to the fact that it does play such an important role in so many processes in the body, being deficient in magnesium can have many consequences.

As we know, getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals can be tricky. If you can’t always count on yourself to eat the right foods to get these nutrients through food, supplementation is very important! It’s a good thing in fact!

The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off?

The cost of getting lean:
Is it really worth the trade-off?

By Ryan Andrews & Brian St. Pierre

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Six-pack abs. Tight butts. Lean, vibrant, flawless health. That’s the image the fitness industry is selling. But have you ever wondered what it costs to achieve that “look”? What you have to do more of? And what you really have to give up?

Make no mistake, there are real trade-offs as you attempt to lose fat and improve your health. Let’s talk about what they are. So you can consider how to get the body you really want while living the life you really enjoy.

A tale of two clients

Not long ago, one of our successful clients — we’ll call him Bill — came to us with a question.

Now that he’d lost thirty pounds (going from 22% body fat to 15%), he could run up stairs and haul heavy bags of garden soil without getting winded.

He could genuinely enjoy weekend bike rides with friends. He could wear clothes he used to be able to fit into but had long given up as hopeless.

But what next?

“Don’t get me wrong,” Bill said. “I’m happy with the way I look and feel.”

It’s just that he also wanted six-pack abs.

“Oh, I don’t have to look like a cover model,” he mused. “It’s just that I’m really close to looking… awesome.”

Bill figured that with just a little extra work, and a little more time, the abs would start popping and his physique would be “finished”.

Meanwhile, another client, Anika, had the opposite concern.

She just wanted to lose a little weight, and get a little more fit.

But she worried that in order to do so, she’d have to give up everything, become a “health nut”, and make massive changes.

Changes that probably included 6 AM bootcamps, kale shakes, lemon juice cleanses, and 1000 situps a day… forever.

“No way,” thought Anika. “That’s too much work.”

Two common misperceptions

Our two client stories reflect two common misperceptions:

Myth #1:
With just a few small, easy, hopefully imperceptible changes to one’s diet and exercise routine, you too can have shredded abs, big biceps, and tight glutes, just like a magazine cover model.

Myth #2:
“Getting into shape” or “losing weight” involves painful, intolerable sacrifice, restriction, and deprivation.

Of course, neither of these are true.

Reality #1:
The process that helps you lose “the first 10 pounds” isn’t the same one that’ll help you lose “the last 10 pounds”. Indeed, it usually takes a lot more work as you get leaner.

Reality #2:
If you do aspire to “fitness model” or “elite athlete” lean, you might be surprised. Images are photoshopped for effect. Bodybuilders only look like that for competition. And achieving that look comes at a high cost; one most people aren’t willing to pay.

Reality #3:
However, if you’re okay not being on the next magazine cover and aspire to be “lean and healthy” even small adjustments can — over time — add up to noticeable improvements. Sometimes these improvements can change, perhaps even save, lives.

Do more of this (and less of that)

With that said, we’re about to share something a lot of people in fitness and health don’t want you to see.

It’s a chart outlining what it really takes to lose body fat, improve your health, move from one fitness category to the next.

Some fitness people think you’re too afraid. Or too weak. Or that you won’t buy their products and services if they’re honest with you.

We think otherwise.

We think it’s necessary to weigh the pros and cons so that you can make informed decisions about your body and your life.

Let’s start with the benefits and tradeoffs with each fitness level.

precision nutrtion cost getting lean benefits table The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Now let’s talk about what you might consider doing more of (and less of).

precision nutrition cost getting lean do table The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Bonus: We even created a cool infographic that summarizes this article. Click here for: The cost of getting lean illustrated. Is it really worth the trade-off?]

Your body, your choice

At some point, many of our coaching clients decide that being severely out of shape costs them too much energy, health, quality of life, and longevity. So they choose to change their behaviors and choices. With our help.

Other coaching clients decide that they want six-pack abs. Then, they discover that this option costs them something too. Some folks are willing to pay that cost. But most aren’t.

Even if you think you’d like that six-pack, it might turn out that you actually want something else a little bit more. And we wouldn’t blame you.

Here are the two basic principles:

1. If you want to make further changes to your body, you’ll need to make further changes to your behaviors.

2. The leaner you want to get, the more of your behaviors you’ll have to change. 

What you decide to change, and how much you decide to change it, is up to you. What’s most important here is that you understand what it actually takes to do what you want (or think you want).

What’s a healthy level of body fat, anyway?

First, for the sake of context, let’s take a look at some numbers.

Data tell us that most men can be healthy somewhere between 11 to 22% body fat. For women, its between 22-33%.

Right now in the U.S.,  the average man is about 28% fat, and the average woman is 40% fat.

In other words, the average adult in the U.S. (and throughout most of the West) is carrying a lot of excess body fat. Unhealthy levels of body fat.

Getting the process started

The good news is that it’s not that hard to go from over-fat to the higher end of “normal”.

You can do it with a few relatively small, easy-to-implement changes.

For instance:

  • drinking less soda or alcohol each day
  • not overeating desserts and fast foods (instead, just eating them in reasonable amounts)
  • taking a daily walk or adding a yoga class

Assuming there are no other factors involved (such as a chronic health problem), if you make a few small changes like these, and do them consistently, in six months to a year, your body fat percentage will drop and fall into a much healthier range.

Cool!

Now of course, not every change will feel simple, small, or easy. Especially when you start out.

You’ll need to put a little extra effort and energy into making those changes happen every day. And having a trainer or a coach support you — and hold you accountable — will probably help you feel more confident and on-track.

Nevertheless, if the changes are small enough, and you practice them consistently, you’ll probably find that eventually they’re just part of your regular routine.

In fact, one day in the future, you might even say, “I just don’t feel like myself without my daily walk!”

“Overweight” to “no-longer-overweight” to “lean”

Suppose you’ve made a few changes like this.

Maybe you pack an apple in your lunch instead of apple juice. Or you include a salad with dinner, or you stick to one or two drinks with friends.

And you’re feeling good! Your knees have stopped hurting, plus your pants now button comfortably.

Now you’re somewhere in the zone of “a little extra padding, but not too bad”. You’re more mobile, healthier, and high-fiving yourself.

What’s the next step?

Well, if you’re a man who wants to reduce body fat from 20% to 14% (or 14% to 8%), or a woman who wants to go from 30% to 24% (or 24% to 18%), you’ll need to make some bigger changes.

You’ll need to invest more time, energy, and effort. You’ll need to plan more.

And you’ll also have to make some trade-offs.

From “lean” to “leaner”

If you’re a man and you want to go from 20% to 14% body fat, or you’re a woman and you want to go from 30% body fat to 24%, it’s all a question of doing more…and less.

You’ll probably need to do more stuff, such as:

  • get more exercise and daily-life movement, and perhaps make that exercise more intense
  • eating more vegetables and lean protein
  • choosing more whole foods
  • doing more meal planning
  • getting serious about rest and recovery
  • learning your physical hunger and fullness cues

You’ll probably need to do less stuff, such as:

  • drinking less alcohol and other high-calorie beverages
  • eating less processed foods
  • not eating when you’re not physically hungry

And you’ll need to make these small changes consistently, over a period of time.

Many folks will decide that these changes are worth making. They want to look and feel better, get a good night’s sleep, get off medications, and so forth. So they’re ready to compromise.

Other folks will decide that they’re not yet ready to make more adjustments. And that’s fine too.

The most important thing is that you realize: In order to change…you have to change.

What it takes to get “super-lean”

At next stage — going from athletically lean to bodybuilder lean — the tradeoffs get even more serious.

Here’s something that you may not realize:

Elite bodybuilders getting ready for a contest and models getting ready for a shoot are basically in a slow starvation process.

Adhering to an extremely strict and precise regimen of eating and training (and perhaps adding some drugs into the mix) is the only way way they can drop their body fat to extremely low levels.

Males can get to body fat levels under 6% with this process, and females can get to under 16%.

But this process is not for the faint of heart.

It goes against biological cues. It requires exercising when exhausted. It demands ignoring their desire for food in the face of powerful hunger cues. It involves intense focus and dedication.

And it often distracts from other areas of life that these athletes might enjoy and value.

Imagine all the practical things that are involved in very strict dieting and training.

  • You have to make your own food and measure every meal down to the last gram.
  • That food is generally very plain — lean protein, steamed vegetables, plain potatoes or rice, etc.
  • You have to carry that food with you so you can eat at a precise time.
  • You cannot eat in restaurants.
  • You have to do a specific workout on a given day, exactly as specified.
  • No sick days, no slacking.
  • You’ll probably be training 2 or 3 times per day.
  • You have to sleep and recover precisely.
  • No parties or staying up late.
  • You can’t think straight because you’re always hungry and tired.
  • Your whole life revolves around making food, dieting, training, and recovery protocols.
  • Did we mention you’re slowly starving?

So forget having a sex life, social life, parenthood, school, and probably a regular job.

Is that level of leanness worth it?

Having a six-pack doesn’t automatically make you healthy. In fact, getting toolean can be actively unhealthy.

You might end up with amenorrhea, low libido, disordered eating, bones like Swiss cheese, social isolation, and a host of other problems.

Some elite bodybuilders rely on drugs like stimulants, diuretics, and other drugs just to keep themselves going.

Many folks even rely on cosmetic surgery. Which creates its own health risks… and certainly doesn’t add health on its own.

In short, being really lean has almost nothing to do with being really healthy.

Indeed, being too focused on getting lean may lead you away from good health.

precision nutrition getting lean abs The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Meanwhile, on the subject of six-packs, it might surprise you to learn that even among the super lean, not all abs are created equal.

That’s right. Strip away all the excess fat, and some people will never reveal a magazine cover set of abs.

Why? Because — quite apart from that airbrushing we referred to earlier — we’re all built differently.

Some folks have staggered abdominals. Some have angled abdominals. Some people might really only have four abdominals that are visible no matter how lean they get.

Don’t believe us? Go to any amateur physique competition for a first-hand view.

Who knows? The experience might prove enlightening. It might even contribute to greater body acceptance and self-compassion.

Because what you’re sure to notice is that in real life, nobody’s “perfect”.  Not even elite bodybuilders and fitness competitors.

Getting clear, getting real

Clarity is essential in change.

If you think you may want to change how much body fat you have, start by getting a clear idea of where you’re at.

  • Figure out your goals and priorities. If you don’t know what your priorities are, now’s a great time to explore that.
  • Decide what you’re willing to do right now in order to serve those goals and priorities. Why?
  • Decide how often, and how consistently, and how precisely, you’re willing to do those things.
  • Decide what you’re not willing to do right now. Why not?
  • In the above steps, be brutally honest and realistic yet compassionate with yourself.

Now you have your action plan.

And you know where you are on the cost-benefit continuum.

In the table above, we’ve provided rough estimates for what it might take to achieve specific levels of leanness or muscularity — or even simple health improvements, like getting off medications.

This is just a general guide. It’s a start. Something to get you thinking.

You may need more tailored guidance or coaching. Age, gender, genetics, medical conditions, and pharmaceuticals can all affect what you’ll need to do to get and stay lean.

If tracking your body fat is important to you, make sure you have a valid way to do it, such as a skinfold caliper measurement by a trained professional. If you don’t care, and use other indicators like your belt notches, that’s cool.

What to do next

1. Take the long view

Whatever change you want to make, remember: It will take time.

Eating one big, rich meal won’t make you wake up overweight. Fasting for 24 hours won’t give you six-pack abs.

A simple plan followed consistently is better than a complex plan followed intermittently.

2. Review what’s involved

To reduce your body fat from unhealthy to healthy levels

You only need to make a few changes, and follow them about 80% of the time.

To go from normal to reasonably lean

You need a few more changes, and a bit more consistency.

Now you might need to eat protein and veggies at every meal, and get 7+ hours of sleep 85% of the time.

To go from lean to very lean

You’ll have to put in more time and more effort. Plus, you’ll need to follow your plan even more consistently — with almost obsessive accuracy.

This means adding a few more habits, such as monitoring fat and carbohydrate intake, and exercising at least 5 hours per week 95% of the time.

For instance, if you eat 4 meals per day, in any given month you’ll need to ensure that 114 of your 120 precisely calibrated meals are perfectly executed, in order to achieve your desired level of leanness.

That’s a serious commitment right there.

3. Get clarity on what YOU want

Review the “getting clear, getting real” list.

What matters to YOU?

What are YOU willing to do… or not? Why?

There’s no right answer. What’s most important is that you understand what it takes to get a certain outcome.

And now YOU have the power to choose. Healthy, athletically lean, or super lean: It all depends on your priorities and goals.

Now you can make the decisions — and get the body you really need, while still living the life you want.

[Bonus: We created a cool infographic that summarizes this article. Click here for: The cost of getting lean illustrated. Is it really worth the trade-off? If there’s someone you think might benefit from seeing it, please pass it along.]

The cost of getting lean

Here’s the cost of getting lean. [Infographic]
Is it really worth the trade-off?

By John Berardi and Brian St. Pierre

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Six-pack abs. Tight butts. Lean, vibrant, flawless health. That’s the image the fitness industry is selling. But have you ever wondered what it costs to achieve that “look”? What you have to do more of? And what you really have to give up?

Make no mistake, there are real trade-offs as you attempt to lose fat and improve your health. In this infographic, we outline them. So you can consider how to get the body you really want while living the life you really enjoy.

precision nutrition cost of getting lean infographic Heres the cost of getting lean. [Infographic] Is it really worth the trade off?

What the American Diet says about its Culture

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

If we are what we eat, as the old adage proclaims, then what does the American diet say about its culture? Before delving into this, let’s state for the record that the U.S. is a large nation with many diverse regions and subcultures. What people eat in rural Georgia, for example, can be quite different from an affluent city such as San Francisco. However, there is a larger American culture which transcends these differences and its cuisine is unmistakably unique compared with the rest of the world.

Consider the burger, or its original moniker – the hamburger. The idea of a ground beef patty sandwiched in a bun is so ubiquitous that virtually all types of food establishments serve them. The manager of my local Chinese restaurant revealed once that he sold nearly as many burgers as he did specialty items. You can get…

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Lose fat for this summer

Read this and take notes if you want to lose fat for summer.

2015 is steamrolling forward and not letting up. February is here and it’s time to get down to business when it comes to being beach ready. The summer months are closing in and right now is the time to lose fat and get in the best shape of your life.

Here is the lowdown on dropping the fat you don’t want on your body. Whether it’s your stomach, thighs, hips, or arms, follow this plan and start now and you will have an awesome chance of losing serious weight by the time the fourth of July swings around.

Being mindful of your nutrition and exercise is the most important key to your success and here’s why. When you are stuck in a rut and not losing weight and not training hard, it’s probable that you’re mindset is not in line with the desire for losing weight. When we go grocery shopping, the steps of success are being built. Often, we listen to marketing campaigns that drive us away from our end result. We believe greek yogurt is better than eggs or we grab 100 calorie snack packs because the packages say it’s good for you. Next time you go shopping, pick up a 100 calorie cookie snack pack that promises it’s good for you and ask yourself “Is this going to help me burn fat?”

The obvious answer will come to you right away.

Step one in the journey to healthy and fit in 2015 is to be mindful of the process and not let yourself get into a unconscious blur. You don’t want to get caught up in that blur because it can crush your results. Being mindful of your schedule, the proper foods to buy, cook, and eat, the workout program you’re on, and hydration and sleep will bring you the best results.

So now, here are some immediate things you can do that will help you drop bodyfat, help you feel better, and get you out of the rut you might be stuck in:

– Drink more water.

If you drink one glass of water today, drink two tomorrow and then add another the next day. Work your way up to around seven or eight bottles of water a day and you will be fully hydrated, which helps your body burn more fat. A lack of hydration can mess with your energy levels, performance in the gym, and functions of the body’s hormones and digestive system.

– Eat these foods:

Lean Meats. Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Buffalo, Pork, Venison, and Fish

Vegetables: Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Cauliflower, Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers and more. Make the produce section the place where you spend most of your time at the grocery store. Most stores have prepackaged salads that are great to grab a few handfuls from and take with you to work.

Nuts and Seeds. Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, more.

Fruit. Apples, Bananas, Lemons, Limes, Berries of all kinds, and more.

Also eggs should be in your diet.

Cook with coconut oil, olive oil, or real butter.

Eating rices and potatoes are fine. Keep them to one meal a day and it’s best if it’s after a workout. Carbs don’t make you fat. Eating too much food and not moving enough does.

A lunch or dinner plate should look like this:

One Serving of a lean meat

Two Servings of Vegetables

One Serving of Nuts or Seeds or Nut/Seed Butter

One Servings of a carb source like Rice or Potato (preferably once a day after a workout)

For breakfast, I usually eat 4 to 6 eggs or I just grab a Whey or Hemp Protein shake and a banana or apple if I’m in a rush.

The key to success with nutrition is to eat healthy and whole foods. You should absolutely avoid foods that have a lot of processed material in them. Foods like microwave popcorn won’t help you see fat loss. Foods that you find in the snack and cereal aisle like weight watcher cookies or 100 calorie pretzels won’t help you see fat loss. The more real, quality, foods that you eat, the better your results will be.

Once your nutrition and hydration are in order, it’s time to talk about exercise.

– Exercise at the level of your current fitness.

Many people are afraid of exercise. It burns the muscles, the lungs, gets the heart pumping and uses our energy. Sometimes we just don’t have any energy left after dealing with the kids, the jobs, the dog, and more, but exercise doesn’t need to scare you.

For beginners, there is no reason why you won’t lose a lot of fat by simply walking for a few minutes everyday. Walking is the most underrated exercise there is for people it benefits most. Walking doesn’t burn as many calories as running or burpees, but for people who have a hard time breathing during heavy exercise or have a lot of weight to lose, walking is simply the best thing you can do. But, you also have to make it more challenging every time. That might mean walk faster, go further, or walk longer.

There is a large number of people I’ve encountered who have no time to exercise. They’re schedules are packed with work, kids, sports, school, and many other important life events. But that doesn’t have to stop you from working out. Sure, it’s hard to just get started at home, especially when you don’t have the accountability of a coach like those at Activate Fitness, but you can always find ten minutes for an at-home workout.

Here is a sample at home workout you can perform right now that will shed fat in 10 or 15 minutes.

10 Bodyweight Squats
10 Push Ups
10 Sit Ups
20 Jumping Jacks

Repeat that circuit for 10,15,20 minutes or more.

For those of you who have time to make it to the gym and are able to perform workouts effectively, you want to make sure you train three to four times a week. Progression in strength, endurance, and mobility is important. As you train you should be working on getting stronger and feeling like you can get through an intense workout better. Simply showing up for a workout and going through the motions will not help you produce the change you’re after.

This brings me to my secret weapon when it comes to losing fat fast.

A notebook.

Several years ago I was 60 pounds overweight and struggling to drop fat. I was working out four times a week and trying to eat the healthiest I could at the time. The problem was, I was not losing weight. I was stuck and it pissed me off. Then one day, I heard someone talking about how record keeping, writing your daily foods and exercise, in a notebook is one of the most powerful things we can when trying to lose weight.

Within 30 days of writing down everything I ate and what I did during my workouts, I lost over 20 pounds. Within 60 days, well over 30 pounds. Over half of the entire weight I lost from when I was my fattest came within two months of writing things down. Sounds like something you should do huh?

Here’s an example of an entry in a notebook.

2/2/2015
5 am workout
Trap Bar Deadlifts with 225 pounds 5 sets of 5
Push Ups 5 sets of 20
1 Arm DB Rows 4 sets of 20 with 60 pound dumbbell
Bodyweight Walking Lunges 4 sets of 100 feet
Plank 4 sets for 1 minute

Finished workout with 5 minutes of Jump Rope

6:30am- Breakfast
4 eggs
1 Banana

9:30am- Snack
1 Scoop of Whey Protein
2 ounces of Almonds

1pm- Lunch

6 Ounces of Chicken Breast
2 Handfuls of Spinach/Mixed Green Salad
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 Ounces of Mixed Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

4pm- Snack

1 Red Apple
2 carrots sliced
1 TBSP of natural peanut butter

6pm- Dinner

6 Ounces of Pork Chops
2 Handfuls of Spinach/Mixed Green Salad
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Cup of White Rice
2 Ounces of Mixed Nuts on Salad

8pm- Dessert

1 Cup of Mixed, Sliced Strawberries and Blueberries
1 TBSP of Heavy Whipped Cream

That is a perfect notebook entry for when you’re trying to lose weight. It shows you exactly what you did, when you did it, and it keeps it recorded so you can always go back and look or show your coach if you have one. Doing this takes roughly a few minutes each day and if it seems like a hassle to you, most likely you don’t want to lose fat, you’re just pretending.

Now that we have your hydration, your nutrition, your exercise and movement, and the secret weapon (a notebook), the last thing to do is talk about:

– Sleep

How long do you sleep each day? 4, 5, 8 hours?

“The best I can do” is usually the answer and for awhile, it’s okay. You can’t change it right away but it should be worked on. If you sleep less than 7 or 8 hours a night, working on getting more will help you lose more fat in 2015. If possible, like on weekends, find time to nap. Even if it’s 30 minutes. Napping is a great way to relax the body and help yourself catch up on needed rest. Sleep has a big effect on performance and mindfulness, work on it.

I am confident that if you follow these simple guidelines you will burn more fat than ever before. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed though. If one thing is harder than the others, don’t make it as big of a deal until you have the ability to focus and make it happen.

Some people have no time to cook. While eating out isn’t the best thing to do, you can find alternatives to menu items that are somewhat in-line with the foods I listed. Don’t just give up and blow your diet.

Workouts are hard to do and finish. Start where you are. If a 10 minute walk fatigues you, that is progress and not something that should get you down. It’s a small success that will lead to big results. If you can’t make it to the gym, do the circuit above for a few minutes and be happy that you had the ability to do it in the first place. Sometimes you have to find the inner strength to make the workouts happen as well. If the baby naps and that time is the only peaceful quiet time you have all day, it’s probably a good bet that you should train during that time. It will make you feel better.

The key to your success in 2015 when it comes to losing fat is your mindset. Say it’s hard or not worth it and you’ll be stuck exactly where you stand. Accept the resistance of exercise, the difficulty of scheduling, shopping and cooking, and you will find that you have the time and ability to get in the best shape of your life. Drop the excuses. There are none. The only reason you have for not getting results is the fact that you don’t want to try. All it takes is a little effort and you will change your life.

Getting enough protein in your diet?

Ok this is a big fat mother of all protein posts if I have every seen one before. Any questions about how much protein is in a particular food should be easily answered here. We have 3 parts. The first is just a simple way to figure out how many grams of protein you should get and a couple of simple menus that show what you need to eat to get there. The second part contains pictures of food and what 20 grams of protein looks like. The third part is just a real long alphabetical list of food and how much protein is in that food.

PART 1

When planning out your caloric intake, start with protein. 1 gram for every pound of lean mass is a MINIMUM. For me this number is 160. If you aren’t sure about your numbers, take your bodyweight and subtract 20% (BW x .8). When you calculate everything out you will find that getting this much protein probably won’t leave much room for carbs and fats. If you find this to be the case, then you have a good reason to believe that to this point you haven’t been getting enough protein, and I’d bet dollars to low-carb fat free donuts that increasing your protein intake will have a positive effect on your diet.

What does eating 200 grams of protein a day look like?

Whey  Shake w/ Milk
6 Egg Whites
1 Can of Tuna Or Chicken Breast
Whey  Shake w/ Milk
6-8oz Chicken Breast or Tuna
6-8oz Chicken Breast

or

250 g  chicken breast

230 g  cottage cheese

6  eggs

250 g  cottage cheese with dry fruits

130 g rice (I measure it dry before boiling; it’s half a cup)

+ any amount of veggies

Total: 2549 kcal

Protein: 187 g

Or

10 hard-boiled eggs

460 g 0% cottage cheese

250 g  cottage cheese with dry fruits

+ any amount of veggies

Total: 2013 kcal

Protein: 186 g

Eat something like this everyday and “fill in” the rest of your eating around this. Becareful you don’t add in too many carbs and fats or you will go over your caloric requirments.

PART 2 Where can you get your protein?

People who aren’t used to reading food labels usually have no idea how many grams of protein they’re getting. The following list of foods can help eyeball protein portions. Building every meal around a portion of at least 20 g of protein is good place to start for women figuring 6 meals x 20g of protein equals 120g/day. For a man either go with 30 grams x 6 meals for 180 grams total or go with  25 grams x 7 for 175 grams.

20 grams of protein =

Protein powder (whey) 21 grams protein powder (whey isolate)
83 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.2 g carbs, 0.2 g sugar, 0.2 fat
Egg whites 182 grams egg whites (5 egg whites)
94 kcal, 20 g protein, 1.3 g carbs, 1.3 g sugar, 0.3 g fat
Tuna 80 grams canned tuna (packed in water)
84 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.0 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 0.4 fat
Turkey 80 grams turkey
88 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.0 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 0.8 g fat
Scallops 118 grams scallops
91 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.7 g carbs, 0.4 g sugar, 0.8 g fat
Chicken breast 87 grams chicken breast
91 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.0 carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 1.3 g fat
Shrimps 75 grams shrimps
99 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.9 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 1.7 g fat
White fish 143 grams codfish
101 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.4 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar,  2.1 g fat
Seitan 76 grams seitan
110 kcal, 20 g protein, 6.1 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 0.6 g fat
(Seitan is a vegetarian meat-subtitute made from gluten, the main protein of wheat.)
Fat free Greek yogurt 194 grams fat-free Greek yogurt
111 kcal, 20 g protein, 7.8 g carbs, 7.8 sugar, 0.0 fat
Spirulina 33 grams spirulina
123 kcal, 20 g protein, 6.3 g carbs, 0.0 sugar, 2.0 fat
Spirulina is a kind of sea weed rich in protein. However, eating 33 grams of spirulina powder in one go is too much and above the recommended serving size.
Ham 125 grams ham
125 kcal, 20 g protein, 2.5 g carbs, 2.5 g sugar, 3.8 g fat
(but careful: high in sodium)
Quorn 138 grams Quorn – meat substitute made of mycoprotein (mushroom protein)
130 kcal, 20 g protein, 6.2 g carbs, 0.8 g sugar, 2.8 g fat
Red meat 105 grams lean beef
131 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.8 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 5.3 g fat
Mussels 182 grams mussels
131 kcal, 20 g protein, 4.5 g carbs, 0.9 g sugar, 3.6 g fat
Fat free yogurt 400 grams fat-free yogurt
144 kcal, 20 g protein, 16 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 0 g fat
NB: although fat-free yogurt contain protein, it is not a good food to rely on for your protein intake if you’re looking to lose weight as you’re also getting 16 g of milk sugar (lactose) along with the 20 g of protein.
Cottage cheese 179 grams cottage cheese
159 kcal, 20 g protein, 4.1 carbs, 4.1 sugar, 7 g fat
Sardines 88 grams sardines
174 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.1 carbs, 0.0 sugar, 10.4 g fat
Mushrooms 667 grams mushrooms (uncooked) (I put the cooked mushrooms in the picture because the 667 g of raw mushrooms were taking too much volume for the plate)
180 kcal, 20 g protein, 20 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 2 g fat
Tofu 167 grams tofu
192 kcal, 20 g protein, 1.7 g carbs, 0.7 g sugar, 11.7 g fat
Feta cheese 121 grams feta cheese(10% fat)
194 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.1 g carbs, 0.1 g sugar, 12.5 g fat
(but careful: high in sodium)
Ground beef 105 grams ground beef
196 kcal, 20 g protein, 0.5 g carbs, 0.4 g sugar, 12.6 g fat
Edamame 185 grams edamame(soy beans)
204 kcal, 20 g protein, 4.4 g carbs, 1.9 g sugar, 11.9 g fat
Tempeh 103 grams tempeh(fermented soy product)
207 kcal, 20 g protein, 13.3 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 8.2 g fat
Eggs 159 grams eggs (3 whole eggs)
225 kcal, 20 g protein, 1.1 g carbs, 1.1 g sugar, 15.7 g fat
Lentils 235 grams lentils
228 kcal, 20 g protein, 33.2 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 1.6 g fat
Red kidney beans 250 grams red kidney beans
240 kcal, 20 g protein, 37.5 g carbs, 1.3 g sugar, 1.3 g fat
Salmon 105 grams salmon
245 kcal, 20 g protein, 1.1 g carbs, 1.1 g sugar, 17.9 g fat
Chick peas 313 grams chick peas
325 kcal, 20 g protein, 45.9 g carbs, 0.0 g sugar, 6.9 g fat
Surimi 222 grams surimi
278 kcal, 20 g protein, 26.7 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 10 g fat
Surimi is fish-based food product. It is a processed food and not the healthiest choice but it is a cheap source of protein.

PART 3 Food items with listed protein amounts

Almonds
dry roasted unblanched—1oz—5 grams
Planters—1oz—6 grams
Almond meal—1oz—11 grams

Anchovy
canned in oil—5 pieces—6 grams

Artichokes
boiled—4oz—4 grams
S&W hearts marinated—1/2 cup—2 grams

Asparagus
cooked —4 spears—2 grams

Avocado
avocado—1—4 grams

Bacon
cooked—3 strips—6 grams

Bagel
egg, plain, poppy seeds—1—8 grams
cinnamon raisin—1—7 grams

Bass
striped baked—3oz—19 grams

Beans
baked beans plain—1/2 cup—6 grams
refried—1/2 cup—8 grams

Beef
brisket braised—3oz—21 grams
chuck pot roast—3oz—23 grams
corned beef brisket—3oz—15 grams
corned beef canned—3oz—10 grams
eye round roasted—3oz—24 grams
filet broiled—3oz—21 grams
flank broiled—3oz—22 grams
ground broiled—3oz—22 grams
ground fried—3oz—21 grams
porterhouse steak—3oz—21 grams
roast beef med—2oz—12 grams
shortribs braised—3oz—18 grams
t-bone steak—3oz—21 grams

Biscuit
buttermilk—1—2 grams
plain—1—4 grams
w/egg—1—11 grams
w/egg & bacon—1—17
w/egg& sausage—1—19 grams
w/egg & steak—1—19 grams

Black Beans
cooked—1 cup—15 grams

Blackeye Peas
cooked—1 cup—13 grams

Blintze
cheese—2—13 grams

Bluefish
fresh baked—3oz—22 grams

Bran
oat cooked—1/2 cup—4 grams

Brazil Nuts
dried unblanched—1oz—4 grams

Bread
chapattis as prep w/fat—1 (2 1/2oz)—6 grams
cornstick—1 (1.3oz)—2 grams
Cracked wheat—1 slice—2 grams
Focaccia rosemary—3.5oz—6 grams
French—1oz—3 grams
Irish Soda—2oz—4 grams
Italian—1oz—3 grams
Oat bran—1 slice—3 grams
Paratha—4.4oz 1 piece—10 grams
Pita—1 reg 2oz—5 grams
pumpernickel—1 slice—3 grams
rye—1 slice—3 grams
seven grain—1 slice—3 grams
sourdough—1 slice—3 grams
Thomas English muffin—1—4grams
white—1 slice—2 grams
whole wheat—1 slice—3 grams

Broccoli
spears cooked—1/2 cup—3 grams
birds eye w/cheese sauce—1/2 package—5 grams

Brussels Sprouts
fresh—1/2 cup—2 grams

Buckwheat
Wolffs kasha med. Cooked—1/4 cup— 64 grams!

Bulgur
cooked—1/2 cup—3 grams

ButterFish
baked—3oz—19 grams

Calzone
cheese—-12 oz—48 grams

Canadian Bacon
jones slices—1—3 grams

Carp
fresh cooked—3oz—19 grams

Cashews
dry roasted—1oz—4 grams

Catfish
fresh—3oz—15 grams

Caviar
black granular—1 tbsp—4 grams
red granular—1tbsp—4 grams

Cheese
American—1oz—4 grams
bel paese—3 1/2oz—25 grams
blue—1oz—6 grams
brick—1oz—7 grams
brie—1oz—8 grams
camembert—1 wedge—8 grams
cheddar—1oz—7 grams
cheddar low fat—1oz—9 grams
Colby—1oz—7 grams
Colby low fat—1oz—9 grams
Edam—1oz—4 grams
Feta—1oz—7 grams
Fontina—1oz—7 grams
Gjetost—1oz—3 grams
Goat soft—1oz—5 grams
Gouda—1oz—7 grams
Gruyere—1oz—8 grams
Limburger—1oz—8 grams
Monterey—1oz—7grams
Mozzarella—1oz—6 grams
Mozzarella part skim—1oz—7 grams
Muenster—1oz—7 grams
Parmesan—1 tbsp—2 grams
Provolone—1oz—7 grams
Ricotta—1/2 cup—14 grams
Romano—1oz—9 grams
Roquefort—1oz—6 grams
Stilton blue—1.4oz—9 grams
Swiss—1oz—8 grams
Whey cheese—3.5 oz—15 grams

Chestnuts
roasted—I cup—5 grams

Chicken
breast & wing fried—2 pieces—36 grams
broiler/fryer breast w/skin roasted—1/2 breast(3.4oz)—29 grams
broiler/fryer breast w/skin stewed—1/2 breast(3.9oz)—30 grams
broiler/fryer breast w/o skin—-1/2 breast(3oz)—27 grams
broiler/fryer drumstick w/skins, floured, fried—1.7oz—13 grams
broiler/fryer drumstick w/skins roasted—1.8oz—14 grams
broiler/fryer drumstick w/skins stewed—2oz—14 grams
broiler/fryer drumstick w/o skin fried—12 grams
broiler/fryer drumstick w/o skin stewed—1.6oz—13 grams
broiler/fryer skin roasted—from ?chicken(2oz)—11 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/skin, battered, fried—3oz—19 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/skin, floured, fried—2.2oz—17 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/skin stewed—2.4oz—17 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/o skin fried—1.8oz—15 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/o skin roasted—1.8oz—13 grams
broiler/fryer thigh w/o skin stewed—1.9oz—14 grams
broiler/fryer w/skin floured, fried—1/2 chicken (11oz)—90 grams
broiler/fryer w/skin roasted—1/2 chicken (10.5oz)—82 grams
broiler/fryer w/skin stewed—1/2 chicken (11.7oz)—82 grams
broiler/fryer wing w/skin battered, dipped, fried—1.7oz—10 grams
broiler/fryer wing w/skin floured, fried—1.1oz—8 grams
broiler/fryer wing w/skin roasted—1.2oz—9 grams
broiler/fryer wing w/skin stewed—1.4oz—9 grams
canned w/broth—I can (5oz)—31 grams
Cornish hen w/o skin roasted—1/2 hen (2oz)—13 grams
Cornish hen w/o skin roasted—1 hen (3.8oz)—25 grams
Cornish hen w/skin roasted—1/2 hen(4oz)—25 grams
Cornish hen w/skin roasted—1 hen(8oz)—51 grams
Drumstick breaded & fried—2 pieces (5.2)—30 grams
Oven roasted breast of chicken—2oz—11 grams
Thigh breaded & fried—2 pieces(5.2oz)—30 grams

Chickpeas
chickpeas—1 cup—12 grams

Chili
con carne w/beans—8.9oz—25 grams

Chocolate
chips milk chocolate—1 cup—12 grams
chips semisweet—1 cup(6oz)—7 grams

Clams
cooked—20 small—23 grams
raw—20 small—23 grams

Cocoa
hot cocoa—1 cup—9 grams

Cod
atlantic cooked—3oz—19 grams
pacific baked—3oz—21 grams

Coffee
caf?au lait—1 cup—4 grams
cappuccini—8oz—4 grams
coffee con leche—1 cup—4 grams
mocha—1 mug (9.6oz)—3 grams

Corn
cream style—1/2 cup—2 grams
on the cob—1 ear—4 grams

Cottage Cheese
creamed—1 cup—26 grams
dry curd—1 cup—25 grams
lowfat 1%—1 cup—28 grams
lowfat 2%—1 cup—31 grams

Couscous
cooked—1/2 cup—3 gram

Crab
Alaska king cooked—3oz—16 grams
Baked—3.8 oz—29 grams
Blue cooked—3oz—17 grams
Crab cakes—1 cake(2.1oz)—12 grams
Soft shell—1 (4.4oz)—11 grams

Cranberry Beans
cranberry beans—1 cup—14 grams

Croissant
cheese/plain—1 (2oz)—5 grams

Croutons
plin—1 cup—4 grams

Dates
whole—10—2 grams
Deli Meats/ Cold Cuts
bologna beef—1oz—4 grams
bologna pork—1oz—4 grams
braunschweiger pork—1oz—4 grams
headcheese pork—1oz—5 grams
liverwurst—1oz—4 grams
mortadella—1oz—5grams
pepperoni—1 slice—1 gram
salami—1 slice—4 grams
corned beef—1oz—5 grams
pastrami—1oz—5 grams
genoa—1oz—6 grams

Duck
w/ Skin roasted—1/2 duck(13.4oz)—73 grams

Eel
smoked—3.5oz—19 grams

Egg
cooked any style—1—6 grams

EggNog
eggnog—1 cup—10 grams

Fava Beans
canned—1/2 cup—7 grams

Figs
dried—10—6 grams
*fresh= 0 grams

Flounder
fried—3.2oz—13 grams
cooked—3oz—21 grams

French Toast
w/ butter? slices—10 grams

Green beans
cut—1/2 cup—3 grams

Grouper
cooked—3oz—21 Grams

Haddock
cooked/smoked—3oz—21 grams

Halibut
Atlantic/pacific cooked—3oz—23 grams
Greenland baked—3oz—16 grams
Ham * highest protein content per brand
Alpine lace cooked—2oz—9 grams
Armour deviled canned—3oz—14 grams
Carl budding honey ham—1oz—5 grams
hansel ‘n Gretel Virginia—1oz—5 grams
Healthy choice deli cooked—6 slices(2oz)—10 grams
Hormel curemaster—3oz—14 grams
Kraus—1oz—5 grams
Louis rich dinner slices—3.3oz(1 slice)—16 grams
Oscar Myer deli smoked—4 slices—9 grams
Lower sodium—3 slices—10 grams
Russer Canadian maple—2oz—9 grams
Underwood deviled—2.08oz—8 grams
Underwood deviled light—2.08oz—11 grams

Hamburger
double patty w/bun—1 reg—30 grams
double patty w/bun—1 large—38 grams
double patty w/bun and cheese—reg—28 grams
single patty w/ bacon cheese bun—1 large—32 grams
single patty w/bun—1 large—23 grams
single patty w/bun—1 reg—12 grams
single patty w/bun and cheese—1 large—30 grams
triple patty w/bun—1 large—50 grams
triple patty w/bun and cheese—1 large—56 grams

Hazelnuts
roasted—1oz—4 grams

Heart
chicken simmered—5oz—11 grams

Herring
atlantic kippered—1 fillet (1.4oz)—10 grams
atlanic cooked—3oz—20 grams
atlantic pickled—1oz—4oz

Hot Dog
beef—1 (2oz)—7 grams
beef & pork—1 (2oz)—6 grams
chicken—1 (1.5oz)—6 grams
corndog—1—7 grams
turkey—1 (1.5oz)—6 grams
w/ bun, chili—1—14 grams
w/ bun plain—1—10 grams

Hummus
hummus—1/3 cup—4 grams

Ice Cream
ice cream can contain between 2 grams to 9 grams per serving…see brand label

Kidney
beef simmered—3oz—22 grams

Knish
kasha—1 (7oz)—7 grams
potato—1 (7oz)—8 grams

Lamb
cubed lean braised—3oz—29 grams
cubed lean broiled—3oz—24 grams
ground broiled—3oz—21 grams
loin chop w/bone broiled—1 chop (2.3oz)—16 grams
rib chop lean broiled—3oz—19 grams
shank lean braised—3oz—24 grams

Liver
beef pan fried—3oz—23 grams
chicken stewed—5oz—34 grams

Lobster
cooked—1 cup—30 grams
newburg—1 cup—46 grams
steamed—1 (5.7 oz)—43 grams

Mackerel
atlantic cooked—3oz—20 grams
canned—1 cup—44 grams

Matzo
plain/whole wheat—4 grams

Meat Sticks
beef jerky—1oz—11 grams

Milk
1%—1 cup—8 grams
2%—1 cup—8 grams
buttermilk—1 cup—8 grams
goat—1 cup—9 grams
skim/whole—1 cup—8 grams

Miso
miso—1/2 cup—16 grams

Monkfish
baked—3oz—16 grams

Mousse
chocolate—1/2 cup—9 grams

Muffin
blueberry/corn—1(2oz)—3 grams

Mussels
blue raw—1 cup—18 grams
fresh blue cooked—3oz—20 grams

Navy Beans
cooked—1 cip—20 grams

Noodles
chow mein—1 cup—4 grams
egg cooked— 1 cup—8 grams
Japanese soba cooked—1 cup—3 grams
Shofar no yolks—2oz— 91 grams!

Nuts mixed
dry roasted w/peanuts—1oz—5 grams

Pasta
all shapes cooked—1 cup—7 grams
fresh w/egg cooked—2oz—3 grams
protein fortified—1 cup—9 grams

Peanut Butter
chunky/smooth—2 tbsp—8 grams

Peanuts
dry/oil roasted—1oz—7 grams

Peas
green—1/2 cup—4 grams
split pea cooked—1 cup—16 grams

Perch
cooked—3oz—21 grams

Pierogi
pierogi—3/4 cup—11 grams

Pigeon Peas
dried cooked—1/2 cup—6 grams

Pike
cooked—3oz—21 grams

Pink Beans
cooked—1 cup—15 grams

Pinto Beans
eden organic—1/2 cup—5 grams

Pistachios
dry roasted—1oz—4 grams

Pollack
baked—3oz—21 grams

Pompano
florida cooked—3oz—20 grams

Pork
center loin roasted—3oz—24 grams
loin w/fat broiled—3oz—20 grams
pork roast—2oz—10 grams
spareribs—3oz—26 grams
tenderloin roasted—3oz—24 grams

Pout
ocean baked—3oz—18 grams

Pumpkin
seeds roasted—1oz—9 grams

Quiche
cheese—3oz—11 grams
lorraine—3oz—15 grams
mushroom—3oz—9 grams

Red Beans
canned—1/2 cup—6 grams

Rice
brown long grain—1/2 cup—3 grams
pilaf—1/2 cup—4 grams
ristotto—6.6oz—6 grams
Spanish—3/4 cup—11 grams
White long grain—1/2 cup—3 grams

Rockfish
pacific cooked—1 fillet (5.2oz)—36 grams

Sablefish
smoked—1oz—5 grams

Salmon
baked—3oz—22 grams
pink w/bone canned—3oz—17 grams
salmon cake—3oz—18 grams
smoked—1oz—5 grams

Sardines
in oil w/bone canned—2— 6 grams

Sausage
bratwurst pork—1 link—12 grams
Italian—2.4oz—13 grams
Kielbasa—2.4oz—8 grams knockwurst pork & beef—1oz—3 grams
Smoked pork—1 link—15 grams
Zungenwurst (tongue)—3.5oz—17 grams
Turkey—2.5oz—11 grams

Scallops
fried—2 large—6 grams

Scone
fruit/plain—1—4 grams

Scrod
Gorton baked—1 pkg—17 grams

Scup
fresh baked—3oz—21 grams

Shad
baked—3oz—18 grams
roe baked—3.5 oz—22 grams

Shark
fried—3oz—16 grams

Sheepshead fish
cooked—3oz—22 grams

Shrimp
fried—4 large—6 grams
canned—3oz—20 grams
jambalaya—3oz—11 grams

Smelt
rainbow cooked—3oz—19 grams

Snails
cooked—1/2 cup—41 grams

Snapper
cooked—3oz—22 grams

Sole
fried—3.2oz—13 grams
cooked—3oz—21 grams

Souffle
cheese/spinach—3.5oz—11 grams

Soybeans
dried cooked—1 cup—29 grams
dry roasted—1/2 cup—34 grams

Squid
fried—3oz—15 grams

Sturgeon
smoked—1oz—9 grams

Sweetbreads
beef braised—3oz—23 grams

Swordfish
cooked—3oz—22 grams

Tofu
firm—1/2 cup—20 grams

Tuna
canned light oil—3oz—25 grams
canned light water—3oz—22 grams
canned white oil/water—3oz—23 grams
fresh cooked—3oz—25 grams

Turkey
breast—1 slice—5 grams
breaste w/skin roasted—4oz—32 grams
canned w/broth—1/2 can—17 grams
ground cooked—3oz—20 grams
leg w/ skin roasted—2.5 oz—20 grams

Veal
cutlet braised—3oz—31 grams
cutlet fried—3oz—28 gramsloin chop braised—2.8oz—24 grams

Venison
roasted—3oz—26 grams

Wheat
white wave seitan—4oz—31 grams
wheat germ toasted—1/4 cup—8 grams

White Beans
canned—1 cup—19 grams

Whitefish
smoked—1oz—7 grams

Whiting
cooked—3oz—20 grams

Yellowtail
baked—3oz—25 grams

Yogurt
fruit low fat—8oz—9 grams
plain—8oz—8 grams
plain low fat—8oz—12 grams
plain no fat—8oz—13 grams
vanilla lowfat—8oz—11 grams

L-Glutamine

Accelerate Recovery With L-Glutamine

By Anthoney J. Andersen 

You’re in the middle of an intense workout. Sweat rains off your brow, the blood surges throughout your body – flooding your muscles as your veins are forced against the walls of your skin – looking like large cable lines thick enough for a tightrope walker to amble across.

You breathe hard, struggling to complete that last repetition, your muscles burning to the point that they feel like they’re going to shred like tissue paper. But you push through the pain and finish the set. Your muscles pulsate, giving your body that ‘pump’ look.

The next day your muscles throb like someone beat them repeatedly with a sledgehammer. This pain – which is considered the ‘good pain’ – is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness.

To decrease the longevity of onset soreness, it’s recommended that you consume a post workout supplement to help speed up the recovery of your muscles, while helping repair the muscle tissue that was ‘shredded’ during your exercise.

One of the most popular supplements that many bodybuilders turn to for muscle recovery is an amino acid known as L-glutamine.

NO PAIN, NO GAIN

Whether you’re an exercise novice or someone who partakes in regular physical exercise (three to four times a week), muscle soreness is par for the course. It should be viewed as a good thing – a reward for pushing your body to new heights.

glu2However, prolonged onset soreness can be a very vexing ailment to cope with, especially if you’re itching to get back into the gym.

“Muscles go through quite a bit of physical stress when we exercise,” says Rick Sharp, professor of exercise physiology at Iowa State University in Ames. “Mild soreness is just a common outcome of any kind of physical activity, especially in the early stages of a program.”

Glutamine can be used to combat this soreness and reduce its presence in your muscles. Glutamine is an amino acid (a building block of proteins) found naturally in the body.

According to WebMD, glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body. It’s produced in the muscles and is then distributed by the blood to the organs that need it. If the body uses more glutamine than the muscles can generate (times of stress or during intense physical training), then ‘muscle wasting’ can occur.

“Glutamine has become increasingly popular among athletes, as it is believed that it helps prevent infections following athletic events and speeds post-exercise recovery,” says registered dietician and American Diabetic Association spokesperson Jim White. “Doctors use glutamine most often when athletes are in a catabolic state of injury or after surgeries.”

BREAKDOWN, THEN BUILD UP

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. According to MedlinePlus.com, the basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. When proteins are broken down or digested, amino acids are left.

The human body uses amino acids to create proteins to help the body:

  • Break down food.
  • Repair muscle tissue.
  • Help muscles grow.

During intense exercise, blood and muscle levels of glutamine are crumbled. To reverse this effect, nutrients must be delivered to the muscles and protein synthesis must be stimulated to build new muscle.

“If we supplement our body with glutamine before an intense training, we allow our body to preserve a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop them from breaking down,” says White.

During this critical period, glutamine becomes an ‘essential’ amino acid and must be obtained from dietary sources like beef, chicken, fish,eggs, beans, cottage cheese, raw spinach and cabbage.

Other forms of glutamine supplementation come in the form of L-glutamine, which can be purchased at vitamin shops and most drug stores in the form of powder, tablets, capsules and liquid forms.

DOSAGE

Doses of 500mg one to three times a day is considered safe for adults ages 18 and older, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doses as high as 5,000-15,000mg daily (in divided doses) may be prescribed by health care providers for certain conditions.

OTHER USES

Glutamine is most widely associated with athletes, but it can also be used to help treat other critical health conditions.

HEALING WOUNDS

When the body is stressed (from injuries, infections, burns, or surgical procedures), it releases the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. High levels of cortisol can cause your body to reduce its storage of glutamine.

According to Mayo Clinic, adding glutamine supplements to a person’s diet can help strengthen the immune system and reduce infections.

HIV/AIDS

When a person becomes diagnosed with HIV, they often experience a dramatic loss in weight – particularly a loss in muscle mass. Research has found that HIV and AIDS patients who take glutamine supplements – along with other vital nutrients like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium – may increase weight gain and help the intestines better absorb nutrients.

CONCLUSION

Glutamine is a vital nutrient that the body produces naturally, but increasing daily intake of the essential amino acid can help your body fight off certain critical health ailments.

However, like with most things, glutamine should be used with caution. Even though the body naturally produces it, combining glutamine with certain medications can cause adverse reactions and side effects.

So, it’s recommended that before you start supplementing your diet with glutamine (especially in high doses), you should consult your health care provider to make sure it’s a sound decision.

Stay strong and remain healthy.

 

How We Get Fat

 Energy Intake Exceeds Energy Output

At a fundamental level, fat storage occurs when caloric intake exceeds caloric output.  Now, I know that a lot of people claim that basic thermodynamics don’t hold for humans. Simply, they are wrong.  Invariably, the studies used to support this position are based on a faulty data set: to whit, they are drawing poor conclusions about what people SAY that they are eating.

For example, one popular book bases one of its many incorrect theses on a 1980 report suggesting that the obese ate the same number of calories as the lean.  Ergo, obesity was caused by something else.  The problem is this, the data set is wrong.  A fact we’ve known for nearly 30 years but that the author was somehow unable to become aware of in his ’5 years of dedicated research’.

Study after study after study over the past 30 years shows that the obese systematically under-report their food intake (by up to 30-50%) and over-report their activity (by about the same).  So when they say they are only eating 1800 calories per day, they may be eating 2400-3600 calories per day.  And their activity isn’t nearly what they think.

And when you put those same folks in controlled metabolic ward conditions and control their food intake and/or activity output…voila, the energy balance equation holds.  It’s only when you believe the (incorrect) self-reported data that it doesn’t.

And make no mistake I am NOT saying that the obese are lying about their intake, not consciously anyhow.  Most people simply suck at knowing how much they are actually eating.  Leave them to self-report it and they almost always screw it up.   If you’re mistaken enough to believe the self-reported values, you reach even more screwed up conclusions about things.

In that vein, I have found that the chronically underweight “I can’t gain weight no matter what I do” are invariably vastly over-estimating what they are eating.  That is, they are eating far less than they think.  Other studies show that ‘health conscious people’ tend to under-report their true ‘junk food’ and dietary fat intake; to appear more healthy they conveniently forget or leave out that trip to the burger joint.

Put differently, this isn’t something that only occurs in the obese (so spare me accusations of ‘hating the obese’ or some nonsense).  Am I clear or are people going to misinterpret me some more in the comments and claim I said that fat people lie about their food intake?  Because I’m not saying anything of the sort.  Make no mistake, I’m sure some do lie about it; most are just clueless about how much they are actually eating.

Now let me make it clear that there is obviously a lot more going on here, hormones and all manners of other stuff impact on the energy balance equation.  For example, chronically elevated cortisol does a lot of nasty things in terms of reducing metabolic rate (reducing the energy out side of the equation) as well as negatively impacting on calorie partitioning (where calories go when you eat them).  But for the most part, a lot of that is outside of our control.  It’s relevant but you can’t do much with most of it.  So I’ll focus on calories.

.

 Nutrient Intake, Oxidation and Storage 

The primary storage of fat in the body is in fat cells, duh.  Most of that is found in what is called subcutaneous fat, which is found under the skin.  There is also fat stored around the gut area called visceral fat (this surrounds the organs).  Fat can also be stored in ‘bad’ places like the liver and pancreas under certain conditions; this is called ectopic fat storage.

I’m going to focus here on subcutaneous fat.  There, whether or not fat is stored or removed comes down to a concept called fat balance,    You can think of fat balance as the fat specific equivalent of energy balance.  That is

Net Change in Fat Stores = Fat Stored – Fat Burned

I’d note that the same nutrient balance holds for protein, carbohydrates and alcohol (which I’m not going to talk about today).  That is, the net effect on bodily stores, whether protein or carbohydrate stores in the body increases, decreases or stays the same comes down to the balance of protein/carb stored vs. protein or carbs/burned.

So at a fundamental level, fat gain occurs when fat storage exceeds fat burning (technically oxidation).  And fat loss occurs when fat oxidation exceeds fat storage.  I’d note that both processes take place in some amounts throughout the day, controlled by a host of processes I’m not going to talk about.  Just recognize that what happens over time in terms of your fat stores comes down to the relationship between those two processes: fat storage – fat oxidation.

So what determines fat oxidation and fat storage rates?

 Back to Nutrient Intake, Oxidation and Storage

  1. Carbs are rarely converted to fat and stored as such

  2. When you eat more carbs you burn more carbs and less fat; eat less carbs and you burn less carbs and more fat

  3. Protein is basically never going to be converted to fat and stored as such

  4. When you eat more protein, you burn more protein (and by extension, less carbs and less fat); eat less protein and you burn less protein (and by extension, more carbs and more fat)

  5. Ingested dietary fat is primarily stored, eating more of it doesn’t impact on fat oxidation to a significant degree

Let’s work through this backwards.  When you eat dietary fat, it’s primary fate is storage as its intake has very little impact on fat oxidation (and don’t ask me a bunch of questions about “But people say you have to eat fat to burn fat?” in the comments.  That idea is fundamentally wrong but would take an entire article to address).  It also doesn’t impact greatly on the oxidation of the protein or carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are rarely converted to fat (a process called de novo lipogenesis) under normal dietary conditions. There are exceptions when this occurs.  One is with massive chronic overfeeding of carbs.  I’m talking 700-900 grams of carbs per day for multiple days.  Under those conditions, carbs max out glycogen stores, are in excess of total daily energy requirements and you see the conversion of carbohydrate to fat for storage.  But this is not a normal dietary situation for most people.

A few very stupid studies have shown that glucose INFUSION at levels of 1.5 total daily energy expenditure can cause DNL to occur but this is equally non-physiological.  There is also some evidence that DNL may be increased in individuals with hyperinsulinemia (often secondary to obesity).  There’s one final exception that I’ll use to finish this piece.

But when you eat more carbs, you burn more carbs and burn less fat.  And that’s why even if carbs aren’t directly converted to fat and stored as such, excess carbs can STILL MAKE YOU FAT.  Basically, by inhibiting fat oxidation, excess carbs cause you to store all the fat you’re eating without burning any of it off.  Did you get that?  Let me repeat it again.

Carbs don’t make you fat via direct conversion and storage to fat; but excess carbs can still make you fat by blunting out the normal daily fat oxidation so that all of the fat you’re eating is stored.  Which is why a 500 cal surplus of fat and a 500 cal surplus of carbs can both make you fat; they just do it for different reasons through different mechanisms.  The 500 calories of excess fat is simply stored; the excess 500 calories of carbs ensure that all the fat you’re eating is stored because carb oxidation goes up and fat oxidation goes down.  Got it?  If not, re-read this paragraph until it sinks in.

Oh yeah, the same holds for protein. Protein isn’t going to be converted to and stored as fat.  But eat excess protein and the body will burn more protein for energy (and less carbs and fat).  Which means that the other nutrients have to get stored.  Which means that excess protein can still make you fat, just not by direct conversion.  Rather, it does it by ensuring that the fat you’re eating gets stored.

Of course protein also has the highest thermic effect, more of the incoming calories are burned off.  So excess protein tends to have the least odds of making you fat under any conditions; but excess protein can make you fat.  Just not by direct conversion to fat; rather it’s indirectly by decreasing the oxidation of other nutrients.

Ok, is the above clear enough? Because I can’t really explain it any simpler but will try one last time using bullet points and an example.  Let’s assume someone is eating at exactly maintenance calories.  Neither gaining nor losing fat.  Here’s what happens with excess calories.  Assume that all three conditions represent identical increases in caloric intake, just from each of the different macros.  Here’s what happens mechanistically and why all three still make you fat:

  1. Excess dietary fat is directly stored as fat

  2. Excess dietary carbs increases carb oxidation, impairing fat oxidation; more of your daily fat intake is stored as fat

  3. Excess dietary protein increases protein oxidation, impairing fat oxidation; more of your daily fat intake is stored as fat

Got it?  All three situations make you fat, just through different mechanisms.  Fat is directly stored and carbs and protein cause you to store the fat you’re eating by decreasing fat oxidation.

And I’d note again, since someone will invariably misread this that that doesn’t mean that a low-carb and/or low-protein diet is therefore superior for fat loss.  I’m not saying that and don’t think that I am.  Because in such a situation, while you may be burning more fat, you’re also eating more dietary fat.  So net fat balance can be unchanged despite the dicking around with macronutrient content.  It still comes down to the deficit.

.

The Obvious Question: Why Not Just Eat Zero Dietary Fat?

And now I’ll answer the question that I know every person who has read (and hopefully understood) the above is asking: so if carbs and protein are rarely converted to and stored as fat, and make you fat by decreasing fat oxidation and causing all ingested dietary fat to get stored as fat, can’t I eat as much as I want of protein and carbs so long as my dietary fat intake is zero?

And the answer is still no.  Remember how I teased you above with one other exception, when carbs are converted to fat for storage?    That exception is when dietary fat is below about 10% of total daily calories.  Under that condition, the body ramps up de novo lipogenesis.  So you still get fat.

Because the body is usually smarter than we are.  Under conditions where dietary fat intake is ‘adequate’ (meaning 10% of total calories or more), the primary fate of that fat is storage and protein and carbs are used for other things.  And when dietary fat is too low, the body will start converting ingested carbs (and probably protein, though it would still be rare) to fat for storage.

Oh yeah, the other question you’re going to ask in the comments “What about alcohol?”  That’s going to require a full article so be patient.  I know that’s another thing lacking on the Internet but so be it. But I can briefly tell you that alcohol is seen as a poison to you body because it is a poison and that means your liver will shut down normal functions to deal with this invader. Taking your liver “offline” will disrupt metabolic processes that help maintain weight. Also chronic alcohol use will damage your liver.

And I really hope that clears things up.  If it doesn’t, re-read this piece until it is.

Muscle Building Workouts

Muscle Building Workouts – Build Muscle And Fitness The Right Way

Does this sound familiar to you?

You have goals for your muscle building workouts. You follow a regime that allows you to achieve those goals. You’re doing everything right. But, you fall on your ass.

Then you find that you get back up and start the whole process working on your muscle building workouts all over again. Only to find that you keep falling down, getting back up again and repeating this over and over.

You do this until you think that you are never going to achieve anything here. You think that this training lark isn’t for you. So what do you do?

Yep, you give up.

Why does this happen and what can I do about it?

You’ve probably asked yourself that question many times. But you may have found that you never came up with a real answer. You blame the muscle building workouts and everything that led you to it.

So what is the real problem?

It seems that you have the right muscle building workouts. You may have goals in mind of what you would like to achieve with that training routine.

Maybe you’re doing one, or more, of the following:

* Having bad, or no, warm up sessions.
* Not eating enough.
* Not taking enough fluids.
* Training too much.
* Lifting excessive weights.
* Not getting enough sleep.

These are all very common to all muscle and fitness workouts, no matter what sport you do.

These are easily identified and remedied. Just go through each one of these and see if they apply to you. If so, then identify why this is the case. Having done that, you need to find the right solution to fix it. You do this in a systematical manner, until you have fully identified what is wrong, the reason for it going wrong and the appropriate solution for it.

For example:

Lets say that your not experiencing any growth in your biceps. Ask yourself some questions of your muscle and fitness workouts:

Question: What is wrong? Answer: My biceps are not growing.

Question: What are the possible causes, and why? Answer: The exercise may be done too quickly, or maybe I’m cheating in my training, or maybe there isn’t enough weight on the barbell.

Question: What can be done to remedy this? Answer: Improve my form when doing this exercise. Reduce the weight so that I don’t cheat and to keep me more strict. Or increase the weight on the barbell to promote more growth in this area.

So you see, you need to identify the problem first. If you don’t do this, you cannot fix it up. Then you must identify what the possible causes are so that you can offer up appropriate solutions to remedy the situation. Just go through each solution, one at a time, until you are satisfied with the results.

This requires patience and dedication. Most people will not put in the time to find out why they’re going wrong. Instead they spend a lot of money and waste a lot of time trying out different solutions. Whereas, what they should have done first was to seek the answer within themselves. Then seek the appropriate solution elsewhere suitable for their muscle building workouts — only if that solution is outside of their grasp.

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