Realistic, Effective, and Sustainable Real Life Strategies

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances.

We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.

1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

2. Aim for a little bit better.

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the nearly 100,000 clients that have been helped through Precision Nutrition Coaching method.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.

TR

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Woman Looking Inside Fridge Full Of Food And Choosing Salad

Five Strategies to Sustain Fat Loss

1. Use a habit-based approach.

A more sustainable, habit-based approach that doesn’t include a drastic calorie deficit can give you a better chance at adapting — physiologically and psychologically — to a healthier lifestyle, without your metabolism coming to a screeching halt. This point of view is consistent with The Biggest Loser research paper, which closes with recommendations to focus on health markers like insulin and triglyceride levels rather than weight loss, and to take a more moderate approach with exercise and calorie reduction for long term success.

Here at Fit-2-The-Core we practice one of the most effective principles from Precision Nutrition, a habit-based approach by gradually introducing our members to small, manageable daily practices that support healthy eating and movement.

2. Eat slowly.

This is another foundational habit used at Fit-2-The-Core from Precision Nutrition. Many studies show that people who eat faster are heavier than people who eat slowly, and that people who train themselves to eat more slowly eat less, and lose weight as a result. There’s a 20-minute delay in satiety hormone signaling when you eat, so if you plow through a huge plate of food in 10 minutes, you’re liable to eat it all before you realized you’re actually stuffed.

In fact, it’s proven that simply reducing the number of bites you take per minute by half is effective at reducing your energy intake by 40 percent, particularly in big eaters. That’s why we coach our members to eat slowly. Play a game with yourself: Try to be the last one eating — even after your slow-as-molasses toddler). Tune into hunger and satiety cues, which tell you how much food you really need.

3. At meals, eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

If you’re saying, “I’m stuffed!” after your meals, you’re probably overeating and/or eating for the wrong reasons, which will make it very challenging to control your energy intake. Another keystone from Precision Nutrition Coaching: Eat until 80 percent full.

This helps ensure that you’re not eating more than you need by:

• Helping you connect with your physical hunger cues

• Decoupling eating from emotions

• Breaking the deprivation/binge pattern and mindset

• Regulating your appetite

Feeling full, anxious, lethargic, foggy-headed, heavy, or extremely thirsty are signs of overeating that warrant an 80-percent experiment. Next time you eat lunch, eat slowly, take a good break after each bite, and ask yourself, “Am I still truly, physically hungry?” If the answer is yes, take another bite, chew slowly, and repeat. If the answer is no, end the meal and start monitoring fullness/hunger cues until dinner.

4. Reduce stress.

When you experience psychological stress, cortisol shoots upward. Research has linked increased cortisol with weight gain, likely due to poorer food choices and physiological changes. It’s conceivable The Biggest Loser participants experience considerable psychological stress: Undergoing an intense weight-loss program on national TV; airing their traumas to the world; regaining the weight when everyone knew they’d appeared on the show;

feeling the shame of “failure”. Every day, take steps to reduce your stress level and recover from all the hard work you do — physical and otherwise.

Some ideas:

• Sit and read a book

• Go for a walk

• Play with your cat

• Get a massage

• Take a warm bath

• Meditate

• Do yoga

Of course, what you find rejuvenating might be unique to you. Just be honest with yourself: Some activities that have the reputation for being relaxing — say, watching TV or throwing back shots at the bar — may be more escapism than true stress reducers.

5. Put your environment to work.

Change is hard for most people, and it’s partly due to our hardwiring. Research shows that most of the decisions we make are automatic, based on patterns and brain shortcuts as opposed to rational thought. We react to what’s in front of us, and our actions are often impulsive and/or the result of motivations we’re not fully conscious of. That means our environment powerfully shapes our decisions — including food decisions — more than we realize. We eat whatever’s in front of us, finish all the food regardless of portion size, consume more when we’re multitasking… and more.

Tough to change your eating habits when those habits are based on thoughts you didn’t know you were having, huh? But you can use this hardwiring to your advantage by putting your environment to work to control your energy intake:

• Keep fresh fruits and vegetables within view

• Park far from the office so you have to walk

• Don’t keep junk food at home

• Get a dog that needs walking

If your familiar with strategies that it takes to lose fat, then these should sound familiar. It’s no secret that when you use a sustainable approach to fat loss and health, that the strategies to sustain fat loss tend to be the same common sense strategies that you can follow for a lifetime.

 

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Composite image of new years resolutions on january calendar

Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Holding You Back

The New Year is right around the corner and you are eager to start 2018 strong. Throughout the month of December with every workout you miss, piece of pie you eat and every glass of wine you drink, you keep telling yourself that on January 1st I’ll recommit to my nutrition and workout regimen. The ole reliable New Year’s Resolution, that for most just gets them through the holidays guilt free, with promise to themselves that they will get it together on January 1st with their New Year’s Resolutions.

This may seem normal, I mean everyone does this right? Yes, most people do, but most people who take this approach usually end up right where they started by end of February , so maybe this isn’t the recipe for success. Maybe after all the years of failed New Year’s Resolutions you finally have come to grips that it’s these very New Year’s Resolutions are what have been holding you back all these years. There is a fact that can’t be denied, that most people have forgotten and giving up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. Each year is filled with one excuse after the other, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, it’s not working, I’m too tired, I don’t know what to do, I’m hungry all the time, eating healthy is boring and the list goes on and on.

The main issue with New Year’s resolutions is that many people use it as an excuse not to get started right now, they rely solely on the motivation of the New Year to get started on eating better and working out more consistently. They rely merely on the motivation and excitement of the New Year.

The reality however is that the reason many people fail to reach their health and fitness goals is simply because they rely too much on motivation, and this is one of the biggest reasons why your New Year’s Resolutions are holding you back.

Motivation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Motivation is great at getting you started, but fails miserably at keeping you going, this is why most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January. Many of these people hit the gym 5 days a week while completely overhauling their diets and their lifestyle. This works for about 3 weeks and then reality starts setting in, you start to lose that motivation that you had at the beginning of the new year, and getting up 5 days a week starts to get harder and harder, your tired of being sore all the time and the workouts are just too hard, all the sudden those 5 days start to turn into 3 days, 1 day and then no days.

The diet, well you just have time to make all those meals, and in honestly you miss eating carbs and your tired of being hungry and tired all the time. All the sudden the excuses start to slowly creep their way back into your life, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, I don’ like the food I have to eat, I’ll get back on track tomorrow etc. Problem is that tomorrow never comes.

Even though your intentions are good, it’s this strategy of relying solely motivation that is holding you back. The reality is that you will get busy, you will soon find out that it is hard and there will be days that you just don’t feel like working and eating healthy. Motivation ebbs and flows and it’s the only way to stay consistent with your goals is to have strategies in place for those times when your motivation is ebbing, it’s your strategies that will see you through until your motivation is flowing again. It’s normal to not too be excited to workout, or to eat healthy and to want to skip workouts and eat whatever you want. But the difference between those that do it anyway and those that don’t isn’t that their more motivated, it’s they have a strategy to ensure that it gets done.

Don’t want to get up and workout? Make an appointment with your coach each week like it’s appointment. It’s human nature not to want to let others down. This strategy of having someone waiting for you, holding you accountable, can just be that push you need to stay consistent with your workouts. You can also find a friend to workout with, holding each other accountable is another powerful strategy in overcoming a lack of motivation.

Don’t feel like eating healthy. Only have food in your house that supports your health and fitness goals. This again works for you as humans we are innately lazy, and we can make this laziness work for us if we make it more difficult to eat food that doesn’t support our health and fitness goals. If chips, burritos, ice cream and or wine isn’t readily accessible, it will be more difficult to talk yourself into going out of your way to eat foods that won’t support your goals.

Preparation

I you don’t feel like preparing food, you can simply by prepared food in advance, one of my favorites is rotisserie chicken form whole foods. It’s easy, when you get home you can just throw it the oven and warm it up or simple chop it up and make heathy and delicious salad. You can also invest in a food delivery service such as Territory who deliver fresh precooked food to your door, throw in the microwave and you’re eating in three minutes.

These are just a few examples of strategies that we use with our clients hear at Fit-2-The-Core. There is nothing wrong with New Years Resolutions motivation, but make sure that you don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will always be motivated, start to implement strategies that will help you to stay consistent with your workout and nutrition, especially when your motivation is hard to find.

 

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Six Steps To Success

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How do you do it?” Here’s the great part. It almost doesn’t matter what the “it” is! Whether it’s, “how do I dial in my nutrition, how am I going to drop 20 pounds, or how am I going to get my spouse to come in and train with me,” the system for achieving what you want is held within these six simple steps.

Here’s what you do:

#1 – Figure out what you want.
Get specific. Having a clear definition of what you want is integral to actually getting it. Want to drop 20 pounds? Why? What are you going to do and how are you going to feel when you’re 20 pounds lighter?

my goals are smart - goal setting concept - handwritten text on a napkin with coffee

 

#2 – Create a plan.
Many times it’s as easy as writing down the first step. More importantly, taking the time to create a plan can help you preemptively tackle potential obstacles, discover resources you might need, and give you a foundation to return to if you lose your way.

Action Plan

#3 – Seek out a mentor
There are people out there that have done this before. There are people out there that have done this hundreds of times and happily do it every day. They’re called coaches.

“It’s my job to change people’s lives. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved, and it’s my responsibility to earn that trust through consistency an awesome results.” -TR

A great coach will pay attention to your individual needs and help you refine your personalized plan (Step #2). They’ll encourage and guide you all the way to the finish line.

Patty Coach

#4 – Take consistent action every day.
This is a big one. The Grand Canyon wasn’t carved from a singular force of action, its beauty and majesty was created over 5.4 million years of persistent force. It’s what we do every day that defines us. Changing one habit at a time will make it easier to stay consistent. Don’t start out trying to eat the perfect meal five times a day. Just start with breakfast.

female chopping food ingredients

#5 – Review your progress.
Track it, track it, track it! Monitoring your progress will boost your confidence when you are successful and help you reassess if you wander astray. Tracking is also imperative to isolating the individual parts of your plan. You’ll be able to answer questions like “What can I dial in even more?” and “Where am I putting in more effort than necessary?”

tracking sheets

#6 – Renew your goals.
What happens when you achieve your goal faster than expected because you used these simple steps? By now you’ve built up all of this momentum and as Sir Isaac Newton said, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Because you’re following this 6-step success cycle, you can apply this momentum to anything. You can circle back into new fitness goals, re-direct the energy towards your financial goals, and even apply your forward motion into learning a new skill. It’s easier to maintain and reassign than to start over.

An image of a nice clock with time to renew

The secret to achieving whatever you set out to do is following ALL of the steps. Like any system, it only works when you use it!

 

 

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eating out

15 Healthy Fat Loss Tips for Eating Out!

Eating out can be the one thing that destroys your fat loss efforts. Now I’m not going to tell you not to eat out, heck I eat out once in awhile, I Love the experience and the food.

I’m sure there are times you might go out for social events, travel, family dinners, special occasions and even work-related lunches or dinners etc.

So knowing that you eat out once in a while or maybe more than once in a while I’ve come up with 15 tips to help you eat out without expanding your waistline and sabotage your efforts in feeling and looking Strong, Sexy and Confident.

1. Take One Bite At A Time

Inhaling your food in a few bites, or gulps, results in a larger amount of food entering the stomach at once.  This is not only bad for digestion and absorption but it can leave you feeling bloated and with unpleasant gas problems (so I’ve heard).  Eating slower will ensure you don’t over eat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full.  If you eat fast or gulp fast then you eat beyond the point of fullness and this leads to unhealthy weight gain. If you want to lose fat and get lean, enjoy your food and eat slower.

2. Broiled or Baked?

Do your best to order you food broiled, steamed or baked. Broiling and baking remove fat as the cooking takes place, opposed to frying and deep-frying add extra fat calories.

3. “Take It Away!”

That’s what you say when they bring by the basket of “free” bread.  Have your waiter take it away and don’t even bother letting it sit there to tempt you. If it’s not starring at you then you won’t eat it. Nothing in life is “free.”  Your belly will “pay” for it later!

4. Avoid Eating Out Late!

Go out for dinner early so you’re not ordering a double chocolate ice cream brownie dessert at 10pm at night. You are probably familiar with the theory of eating processed carbohydrates and fats causes weight gain and I’m a firm believer in this message.  Some experts argue that total calories are the main factor in weight gain and a small amount of carbs in the evening time will have minimal harm, and I agree.  However, restaurant dinners usually contain more than a “small handful of carbs” so not only will the excess calories get stored as fat but you’ll spike your insulin causing fat storage while you sleep.

5. Pass The Salt

Although you need a bit of salt for chemical reactions in your body and nerve impulses, you’ll get more in your diet than necessary without even trying.  For example, 2 slices of bread supply more than your daily requirement for salt.  Too much salt has been connected to heart and kidney diseases.  Bottom line, don’t add salt to your food.

6. Steam Your Vegetables

The most nutritious form of vegetables is raw so eat your veggies like this whenever possible. Cooking destroys much of the nutritional content. If you’re in a restaurant, ask them to steam your vegetables instead of boiling. Boiling will suck out 50 to 75 percent of the nutrient value. Considering vegetables are not cheap, this is a horrible way to throw your money down the toilet.

7. Ask for Fruit Or Oatmeal Instead Of The Bread

I love eating out for breakfast, it’s my favorite meal of the day. You need complex carbohydrates to shrink your waistline, breads are never your best bet. Even whole-grained breads are more refined than potato or oatmeal. Always ask for oatmeal instead of all the bread that comes with your breakfast meal. You can often get a side of tomatoes or fruit instead of the starch for cleaner calories and a lot more fiber.

8. Skip the Appetizer

It’s almost sickening to see how much food the North American culture consumes when we eat out.  Do you really need an appetizer?  Do you have appetizers when you eat at your home? You do realize appetizers are complete money grab, right? And another meal in itself!  Enjoy a nice entree by not getting filled up and charged extra for food your body does not need.

9. “Undress” Your Food

For example, instead of ordering a grilled chicken sandwich loaded with fat-packed mayonnaise, ask them to hold the mayo and request some mustard instead, which will control your caloric intake.   If you’re ordering any kind of meal with sauce, have the server bring the sauce on the side.  If you’re really want to feel Strong, Sexy and Confident, just say “No sauce.”

10. Never Order Sodas

Always order water and lemon (and lime) or a unsweetened iced tea.  I often just ask for a jug of water for the table so I don’t have to wait around for the server to return. After a few “free” refills on soda, you can consume easily over 500 calories, which is a meal in itself!

11. Don’t Let the Menu Bully You Around

Never be afraid to custom order your meal.  Most restaurants nowadays will honor some simple requests like “no sauces”, “extra veggies”, “steamed instead of boiled” and no added oils.

12. Save The Alcohol for Special Occasions

Not only is alcohol overpriced in restaurants but it also costs your waist line 7 calories for every gram. And alcohol stops your body from burning fat for up to 3 hours. If your goal is to lose that belly fat and feel and look Strong, Sexy and Confident then be prepared to cut back on your alcohol and if you “must” get an alcoholic beverage than go with a glass of red or white wine to get a bit of nutrition. Limit your intake to just one drink. Another problem with drinking more than one beer or glass of wine at a restaurant is that it impairs your judgment – making you likely to order more deep-fried foods, extra bread and some dessert. Not to mention, tomorrow’s workout is going to suffer.

13. Sugar Substitutes

When you’re finishing your dinner with a coffee, cappuccino or espresso, go for sugar free i.e. Even though sugar substitutes like Stevia are among one of the most tested food compounds in the world and for the most part are considered safe. One packet of sugar contains about 15 calories while artificial sweeteners contain no calories. I advise you to use the famous saying, “Everything in moderation.”  The ideal standard to shoot for would be to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners completely.

14. Table Rules

After a night out for a dinner you can drive home knowing that either 1 of 3 things happened based on how you feel: Leave the table satisfied and you will feel Strong, Sexy and Confident. Leave the table full and you feel bloated, lethargic rushing to get home to get out of that outfit that no longer has you feeling Strong, Sexy and Confident!

15. Buy Yourself an Awesome Cookbook!

Eating out is great but there is nothing like cooking a gourmet dinner in your own home at a fraction of the cost. An awesome cookbook will provide creative freedom over what you eat. Without options, you’ll always cater to the “same-old-same-old” which can get boring and bland and lead to more cravings and poorer food choices.

There you have it, use these 15 Tips to ensure that you are always feeling and looking Strong, Sexy and Confident in any outfit of your choosing J

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