Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, like Keto, is becoming a buzz-word in the fitness community. It has become a huge trend because of the results people are achieving. Many studies show that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease, and perhaps even help you live longer. Are you curious about trying it? Here are the things you need to know before trying it for yourself.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different methods that we will go over below. The reason this is a fast-growing eating pattern is because it’s an easier way to live life, and there are several health benefits as well.

Health benefits 

  • Weight Loss:Naturally, if you fast, you will eat less. If you eat less than your output energy, you will lose weight.  That is, assuming you don’t compensate during the times you are not fasting, as in “making-up” for the lost time.
  • Insulin Resistance:Fasting lowers your blood sugar and can help protect from Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Inflammation:If you are someone that often experiences inflammation, fasting can help reduce this painful swelling.
  • Heart Health:Fasting may reduce “bad” cholesterol and other risks to heart disease.
  • Cancer:According to animal studies, it is suggested that fasting may prevent cancer.
  • Brain Health:Fasting increases the brain hormone and may aid in the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Anti-Aging:Fasting in rats extended their life-span, so this could be a positive effect for you as well.

As you can see, there are several benefits to trying intermittent fasting. On the flip-side, there can also be harmful effects. Always consult your physician before switching your diet and/or if you experience negative side effects.

Fasting methods

  • 16/8 Method16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour window to consume food. For example, skip breakfast and eat lunch at 1:00 pm, a snack around 4:00 pm, and eat dinner before 9:00 pm.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: 24-Hour fast 1x or 2x a week. Example, not eating dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet:You consume only 500 – 600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days a week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

 

How fasting affects your cells and hormones 

  • While fasting, your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. This can cause weight loss.
  • While fasting, your cells initiate important repair processes.

Now that you know the facts, how do you decide which method is right for you? Or is fasting for you at all?  If you think about it, our bodies were built to survive. We were hunters and gatherers.  If we did not hunt or gather food, we did not eat.  We are busy people.  Much busier than we ever used to be. So, if you are constantly on the go, fasting can make your life a little easier when it comes to food. It’s also less expensive, because you’re eating less. My recommendation to determine which method works for you is to ask yourself which method would make your life easier? Also, what category do you fall under:

  1. 16:8 Method:For dedicated gym-goers who are looking to lose fat and gain lean mass.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat:Healthy eaters looking for an extra boost.
  3. The 5:2 Diet:  Disciplined dieters with a specified goal weight.

Maybe you don’t fall under any of these categories right now, and that’s okay! My recommendation would be to start with small goals. Making incremental changes over time will help make this a lifestyle. And making it a lifestyle will ultimately make you successful with any health and wellness goals you have in mind! If you don’t fall under these categories, start off by eating healthier. Once you fall into one of these categories, then test out each method until you find one that works for you.

If you are interested in the 16:8 Method, find more information here about meal planning around workouts and what to eat during your feeding window.

These are not the only methods of fasting. If you want to learn about other methods and more about what might work for you, click here.

 


What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

Have you been working hard at the gym but you just aren’t getting the results you expected? Well, I’m gonna give it to you straight here – it’s your diet. Your diet, or should I say meal plan (aka: what you eat everyday), plays a vital role into your overall physique.

You Can’t Outwork a Poor Diet

Back in college when I gained the Freshman 15 (mine was the Sophomore 20), I decided to hop on the cardio machines at the gym for an hour a day. I changed nothing with my diet (I was still eating like an emotional teenage girl), and guess what, nothing changed!

With weight loss specifically, it always comes back to the golden rule:

Food In < Energy Out = Weight Loss

So, let’s just break this down a bit further. When I do a weight training session, I burn approximately 400 calories. That’s roughly 5 slices of bread. That’s about a cup and a half of diced chicken. A Big Mac has 563 calories.

In today’s world, a workout won’t even burn an American Fast-Food Meal (which is quite gross if you think about it). Yes, your body burns calories at rest during the day while doing your normal activities. We will get into that a little later as to how much you should be eating. But, first, let’s talk about the when.

When Should You Be Eating? 

You should be eating every 3 hours roughly. This allows your body to stay in an anabolic state. What does anabolic mean? It means staying in a fat-burning state. For me, this accumulates to 6-7 small meals a day. Why should I be eating that much? The most common mistake I see among clients is eating too little. When I tell clients to eat more, they are confused as to why they should eat more to lose weight.

First, your body runs off of fuel (food) and it takes your body roughly 3 hours to process the food you eat. After your body has processed that food, it begins to go into starvation mode (even if you don’t feel hungry). This is called “Catabolic.” Instead of your body feeding off of fat – it is actually feeding off of your muscle. Of course your body likes to eat the good stuff first, right? And why does this matter? Because having more muscle allows you to burn more fat at rest. Therefore, eating meals more frequently actually allows you to burn more calories at rest because it’s maintaining the muscle on your body!

Second, eating smaller meals throughout the day will help you to not overeat. I notice that after work I’m STARVING because I wasn’t paying attention to how hungry I actually was and then I overeat when I get home. You may experience the same thing. Try to stay on track with your meals throughout the day.

Third, you will feel more awake and more alert throughout the day. Like I said earlier, your body runs off of food and your body needs that food roughly every 3 hours. You won’t experience the afternoon crash if you eat like this – it’s amazing!

Fourth, your metabolism will increase! This is the best result by far. You will be going into your next meal really hungry, and that means that your body has used up all the fuel you gave it earlier and it’s ready for more!

But, Aly, how do I start eating 6 meals a day if I’m not even hungry? I suggest that you start by forcing it at first. Start with breakfast. If you are not a breakfast person, you need to force yourself to be one. You should be eating as soon as you wake up in the morning. Why? Because food is the only thing that will jumpstart your metabolism. You may not wake up hungry in the morning, but if you start having breakfast, I guarantee that in a few weeks your body will adjust and you will wake up very ready for food!

What You Should Be Eating?

What you should be eating is a little controversial. You have probably seen the trendy Keto Diet, Paleo, Flexible Dieting, and many more. Here’s the best way to go about your diet: keep it simple. If it’s not something you can do for the rest of your life, then it’s probably not something you should do at all. A “normal” American diet usually consists of things like pasta and pizza for dinner. This is not “normal.” Try to stick to whole foods that don’t come in a box or the freezer section.

A good rule to follow: Stick to the outside aisles when shopping at the grocery store.

Foods have Macro nutrients and Micro nutrients. Macro’s include: Protein, Carbs and Fat. When looking at the Macro Nutrients, here are some good examples to choose from that fit into each category:

Protein: Chicken breast, Lean/Extra Lean Ground Turkey, Lean Steak, Plain Greek Yogurt, Eggs, Fish, Shrimp

Fat: Avocado, Almonds, Fish, Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil

Carbs: Brown Rice, Rice Cakes, Sweet Potatoes, Red Potatoes, Ezekiel Bread, Fruits (bananas or blueberries are best)

Why are the foods you eat important? Micro nutrients are the reason why your food choices matter. Micro nutrients are the vitamins and minerals in food. For example, let’s take an orange and a jelly bean and compare macro and micro nutrients:

Orange Nutrition: .9g Protein  .1g Fat  11g Carbs

Vitamins: Vitamin C 85% + Other Vitamins

Jelly Bean Nutrition: 0g Protein   0g Fat   10g Carbs

Vitamins: NONE

As you can see, the right choice is an orange because of all the added vitamins!

Again, this should be an overall lifestyle. During life we get cravings. Allow yourself to eat what you want occasionally, just don’t go overboard.

How Much Should You Be Eating?

Portion sizes have gotten out of control in today’s world. So many people overeat, especially at dinner time. I portion my food based on the macro-nutrition (protein, carbs + fat). The reason I do this is because it makes things much easier, and I’m all about ease when it comes to my meal plan. But, how do you calculate what macros you should be eating in order to achieve weight loss? There are quite a few things that go into calculating this number such as resting metabolic rate and activity level. If you are looking for this number, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us for it!

In summary:

  • You can’t outwork a poor diet
  • Eat small meals throughout the day to stay in an anabolic state
  • Keep your food choices simple
  • Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store
  • Figure out your personal Macro-Nutrition goals for what you are looking to achieve

If you are looking to figure out your Macro-Nutrition goals, please reach out to Aly McPherson at PrettyGrittyGirl@gmail.com

 

 


4 Tips for Maximum Recovery

4 Tips for Maximum Recovery

As an athlete or gym warrior, it’s easy to get caught up in the barbells, sleds, and plyo boxes. While what you do in the gym is unbelievably important, taking care of your body when you’re not at the gym is equally as important. I have put together a list of 4 tips for maximum recovery to keep you at the top of your game.

Get moving

One of the worst things that you can do on your recovery days is to be a couch potato. When we workout, our body produces byproducts like lactic acid, pyruvate, and NADH+. These byproducts pool up and cause our muscles to be sluggish, slow and sore. In order for our body to get rid of these byproducts, it requires blood flow to carry them out of our muscles. A blood flow elevated above resting will help to drain these byproducts from our muscles and speed up recovery.

Tips for moving during a recovery day:

  • Go for a light jog/walk
    • Just get your heart rate up, don’t push it
  • Foam roll
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each of the major muscles
    • Glutes/Hamstrings/Calves/Quads
    • Lats/Upper back/Pecs
  • Lacrosse ball
    • Spend some time isolating specific knots or trigger points
    • Place the lacrosse ball on the knot and slowly grind into it
  • Stretch
    • Stretch the major muscles. If you neglect mobility, over time you will develop pain and injuries because the muscles aren’t functioning the way they should.
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each muscle
    • Dynamic stretching combined with a light jog/walk is a great combo
    • Try this 5 minute mobility routine

Eat right

Proper fuel is absolutely essential for competitive athletes. In order for our bodies to function properly at competition, they need fuel. Not only do they need fuel, they need the right fuel. Think of your body like a car. You could fill your car up with bleach and it would run … but not for long. If you’re filling your body up with junk food and missing out on the right nutrients, your body won’t perform the way you want it to for very long.

Tips for improving your nutrition:

Sleep

One of the biggest factors that significantly influences your body’s performance is sleep. Proper sleep has been shown to increase performance, motivation, concentration, and improve cognitive performance. While we are sleeping, our bodies go to work. During sleep, your body increases the hormone productions that lead to rebuilding muscles, increasing the tensile strength of your actin and myosin within the muscle fibers. It is recommended for athletes to get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are in the middle of pre-season or heavy training times, an extra hour is typically recommended. If you can’t manage to get that much sleep at night, naps can be a way to add up to that sleep total.

Tips for getting good sleep:

  • Get in a rhythm and stick to it! Plan ahead, finish homework/work in time that you can get to bed at a consistent time
  • Avoid being on your phone in bed, the stimulus will fight your body wanting to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day

Make goals

The process of setting goals for yourself will help you structure your plan to achieve those goals. During this process make sure that you structure in your recovery. Keeping to a schedule will keep you motivated and you will see significant results. Follow the strategy of SMART (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Results. Time.) goals. By creating goals that you can attain in a realistic amount of time, your schedule will practically create itself.

Tips for making goals:

  • Follow the SMART goals
  • Don’t over-do it. Setting a goal that you can’t attain will crush your motivation if you don’t achieve that goal. Be realistic.
  • Stick to your schedule. You created it for a reason.

How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

Are you kicking off 2018 with healthy goals? Meal prep and a balanced diet are both influenced by what you get at the grocery store. By going into the store with a healthy mindset and a strategic plan, you will set yourself up for success to reach your goals. Grocery shopping has gotten a lot more complex. To help you make the right choices, we have put together a specific food list that will help you navigate the grocery store effectively, efficiently, and leave feeling confident that you have healthy food options in your cart.

Check out the list we have put together to make your next trip to the grocery store a healthier one with the essential foods and nutrients your body needs!

Vegetable and Fruit Aisle 

You cannot go wrong with fruits and vegetables. Throw anything that appeals to you into the cart. More color variety = the more antioxidants and nutrients you’ll get. **DENOTES HIGH QUALITY NUTRIENTS**

FRUIT

RED

□ Apples**

□ Strawberries**

□ Cherries**

□ Watermelon**

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Bananas**

□ Oranges**

□ Pineapple**

GREEN

□ Kiwi**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Berries**

□ Red grapes

□ Figs and Dates**

VEGETABLES

RED

□ Red bell peppers**

□ Tomatoes

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Baby carrots**

□ Sweet potatoes** (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Corn (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Squash**(starchy carbohydrate)

GREEN

□ Avocado**

□ Broccoli**

□ Spinach, Kale, Power greens**

□ Green Beans**

□ Brussel Sprouts

□ Zucchini**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Beets**

□ Eggplant**

WHITE

□ Diced garlic or fresh garlic

□ Coleslaw mix

□ Onions

□ Portobello mushrooms**

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Deli Counters 

□ Turkey or chicken breast**

□ Deli turkey or lean ham

□ Ground turkey, chicken, lean beef**

□ Frozen salmon patties (wild Alaskan)**

□ Frozen seafood fillets (halibut, salmon, mahi mahi, tilapia, etc)

□ Grilled chicken strips

□ Lean beef or pork cubes for stir-frying

Snack Aisle 

□ Almonds

□ Dark chocolate

□ Dried fruit (no added sugar, unsweetened)

□ Graham crackers

□ High-fiber, high protein granola bars (minimum 10 g protein, under 30 g carbohydrates)

□ Pistachios

□ Pretzels

□ Reduced-fat microwaveable popcorn

□ Salsa

□ Seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame)**

□ Walnuts

□ Whole-grain baked crackers

Baking Aisle 

Herbs and spices—if you are an avid cook: keep a larger collection, but if you do not cook much, at least get:

◦ Black pepper

◦ Salt

◦ Garlic powder

◦ Cinnamon

◦ Chili powder

◦ Italian seasoning

◦ Pre-made spice blend that appeals to you (lemon pepper, montreal steak, Caribbean jerk, etc)

□ Nonstick cooking spray

□ Ground Flaxseed

□ Olive oil

□ Maple syrup

□ Vinegar (try apple cider, balsamic or red-wine vinegar)

□ Whole-wheat flour / Almond flour / Coconut flour

Beverage Aisle 

□ Carbonated water (LaCroix)

□ Coconut water

□ Tea

Condiment Aisle 

□ Oil based salad dressings

□ Low-sodium soy sauce

□ Hot sauce RECOVER. PREVENT. OPTIMIZE. VIVERANT.COM

◦ Black beans

◦ Cannellini beans

◦ Chickpeas

◦ Kidney beans

◦ Your favorite bean

Grain/Starchy Vegetable Aisle 

□ Ancient grain (amaranth, buckwheat, millet, farro)**

□ Barley**

□ Brown rice**

□ Lentils**

□ Quinoa**

□ Whole Wheat pasta

□ Steel Cut oats**

□ Whole-grain cereal (contain at least 3-4 grams of fiber)

□ Whole-wheat bread, English muffins or sandwich thins **

Canned Food Aisles 

□ Beans:**

□ Canned chicken or packets of salmon** and/or tuna**

□ Low-sodium spaghetti sauce

□ Olives

□ Peanut butter/Almond Butter

□ Stewed tomatoes

Frozen Food Aisles 

□ Berries

□ Peas (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Black-bean burgers

□ Chicken breasts

□ Turkey burgers

□ Vegetables (steam able broccoli, California blend)

□ Whole-grain waffles (Van’s power grain)

Dairy Case 

□ Eggs**

□ Feta cheese

□ Plain Greek yogurt**

□ Milk (skim or 1%)**

□ Whipped Neufchâtel cheese

□ Parmesan cheese

□ Mozzarella Part-Skim*

□ 2% cottage cheese**


5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Holiday Food Eating Facts

  • It is easy for holiday eating to turn into holiday OVER-eating.
  • We gain 1-2 pounds during this time and don’t lose it come January.
  • Research also shows those who are already overweight gain an average of 5 holiday pounds that don’t come back off and add up year after year.

Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals

  • Don’t attempt to restrict intake leading up to the holidays…this will only make you more likely to overeat once the holiday meals come.
  • Practice well-balanced and healthful eating leading up to the holidays, including adequate fruits, vegetable, lean proteins, high fiber foods and whole grains.

Tip #2: Avoid Overeating…Moderation is key!

  • Enjoy, Stop, Think
  • Smaller plate, smaller portions
  • Drink water throughout the day, dehydration can be mistaken for hunger
  • It IS possible to have too much of a good thing
  • Balance portions on your plate
  • Moderation applies with dessert too – One whole piece of your favorite  dessert, or two half-sized pieces if you can’t decide

Tip #3: Veggies First

  • First fill your plate with vegetable and salad options before adding the entrees and desserts to the plate.
  • ↑ vegetables + ↓ entrees & desserts = ↓ calories, ↑ fullness, satisfaction, nutrients

Tip #4: Play Your Part

  • Bringing a dish? Make it a healthy option!
  • Sides: Fruit or vegetable tray, salad, roasted vegetables
  • Entrée: Lean meat, whole grain pasta, beans

Tip #5: Stay Active


How Gut Bacteria Effects Body Function and Performance

How Gut Bacteria Affects Body Function and Performance

Gut health has gained traction in the health and fitness community as more people are aware of dysfunction in their gut health. Food sensitivity awareness has skyrocketed with over 15 million Americans dealing with food allergies. Your gut is the powerhouse of your immune system. It greatly affects your mood, energy level, digestive system, and response to stress. The state of your gut health is determined by the amount of live bacteria you have to allow your gut to function properly. Let’s dig into how gut bacteria affects body function and performance.

What is gut bacteria?

Gut flora is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects. The gut metagenome is the aggregate of all the genomes of gut microbiota.

People who take antibiotics and consume highly chlorinated water may be at risk of flora imbalance. The good news is that this can be treated by creating a breeding ground for microflora. The microflora in your body needs a stable environment to grow and flourish. Experts suggest that your ideal colon pH should be between 6.7 and 6.9. A pH of 7 is neutral—anything lower than 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Your colon should be slightly acidic, which decreases the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli, Shigella, and Salmonella.

Your gut is the powerhouse of your immune system. Roughly 70% of your immune system is found within the gastrointestinal tract. This is why having a balance of flora in your gut is so important to have a healthy immune system. Experts suggest that an imbalance in flora could be the cause of some autoimmune disorders and allergies.

What does gut bacteria do?

Bacteria lines your intestines and help you digest food. During digestion, it makes vitamins that are vital for life, sends signals to the immune system, and makes small molecules that can help your brain work. Gut bacteria plays a key role in our health, from metabolizing food to preventing disease.

Researchers have discovered that people who suffer from disease have a different combination of bacteria that line their intestines compared to healthy individuals. They are still working to define the makeup of gut bacteria in a healthy person versus the gut bacteria that puts you at risk of disease.

Ongoing research reveals that people with certain diseases often have a very different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people. Researchers are working to define the makeup of gut bacteria in a healthy person versus the gut bacteria in an unhealthy person that can point to higher risk or presence of certain diseases.

What can you do to restore and maintain a healthy gut?

In order to restore and maintain a healthy gut, you should create an acidic environment for bacteria to thrive. You can do this by consuming probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium (live bacteria and yeast that are good for your health). There are beverages, supplements, and natural food sources that you can consume as well that are a good source of healthy bacteria.

Foods and supplements that will help you restore gut health 

  1. Fermented Foods
  • Yogurt
  • Natto
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  1. Probiotic supplements – beverages or capsules
  • Flora Protect
  • Culturelle
  • Kavita
  • CoCo Biotic
  • Suja
  1. Lactic Acid Yeast Wafers

How much healthy bacteria should you be consuming?

Experts recommend one to ten billion live cultures split into three doses daily. The National Yogurt Association (NYA) has established a Live & Active Cultures seal program for all yogurt manufacturers whose refrigerated products contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and whose frozen products contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This level was based on a survey of leading research scientists involved in clinical studies of the health attributes associated with live and active culture yogurt. The seal appears on yogurt packages and indicates whether this level of live and active cultures is present in the product.

Benefits of a healthy gut 

Having a healthy gut has many benefits whether you are an athlete, someone looking to improve your overall health, or someone who frequently takes medication. Here are a few reasons why you should stay on top of your gut health.

  • Powers digestive system
  • Contributes to immune function and health
  • Fights off urinary tract infections
  • Good for cholesterol management
  • Cleansing agent
  • More efficient nutrient absorption
  • Increases stress tolerance
  • Offsets harmful effects of medication

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