15 Essential Fat Loss Tips!

If you’re on a mission to slim down and tone up then it’s really important to hone your fat loss rather than simply weight loss. Losing pounds feels good, but if those pounds are precious muscle, then you’re actually hurting your overall ability for fatloss. In order to ensure that the weight you’re losing is FAT and not MUSCLE take the following 15 Essential Fat Loss Tips to heart…

Fat Loss Tip #1: Keep Track

Healthy organic food, tape measure and smart phone on wooden table, copy space in the middle

Your willingness to track your food intake is equal to your desire to lose fat. Being serious about losing fat means taking note of every calorie you consume, making sure these calories contain enough protein, and stopping when you meet your daily allowance.

Fat Loss Tip #2: Have a High Protein/Fat Breakfast

Possibly the most fundamental eating tip of all time, if you choose to eat breakfast, a good protein source will help your body have good calories to burn throughout the a.m. hours, letting you get to lunch without being tempted by that mid-morning doughnut. Consider practicing intermittent fasting; this has a ton of health benefits including fat loss.

Fat Loss Tip #3: Have A Plan

Unfortunately, many poor choices are made in the heat of the hunger moment. Keep healthy (high protein and fat, and low carb) options nearby to stave off hunger and drink plenty of water to avoid eating when you should be drinking. You don’t have to snack, but if you are feeling hungry have something healthy to eat that is nearby and easily accessible.

Fat Loss Tip #4: Underestimate Your Routine

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Yes, you just pumped iron for an hour and ran six miles. But you probably didn’t burn as many calories as you think. You have a small window of 30-60 minutes following an intense workout to replenish your glycogen stores (this is where you store carbohydrates).

It’s essential to start repairing and recovering from your workout by having a high protein, moderate fat, low carb meal or shake right after your workout. My go to protein shake is Shakeology; I have this about 15 mins after I’m done training, and it helps my body recover and get ready for the next day.

Fat Loss Tip #5: Stay Home

Your favorite restaurant may be calling your name, but don’t listen! By cooking your own dinner at home, you’ll sidestep a variety of pitfalls that occur while eating out.

Fat Loss Tip #6: Reduce Alcohol Intake

be-healthy-alcohol-calories-151204a (1)It helps you relax and—if you drink red wine—can offer health benefits. But alcohol also comes with a lot of useless calories. To avoid having more calories to burn than necessary, skip the bar and grab another glass of water.

 

Fat Loss Tip #7: Redirect

Sticking with a fat loss plan gets hard. The next time it gets unbearable, grab your phone and walk out of the danger zone (your kitchen) and call a friend or loved one. Ask how life is going or plan a movie night—just talk about whatever will take your mind off the temptation that will ruin your efforts.

Fat Loss Tip #8: Hit the Hay

M_Id_401088_Kids_SleepRemember when your parents gave you a curfew because “Nothing good happens after midnight”? This is particularly true when fat loss is your goal. Get to bed to avoid late-night snacking and help your body function its best! A good tip is to brush your teeth immediately after dinner so that you aren’t as tempted to snack on something unhealthy; who wants to brush their teeth twice? 😉

Fat Loss Tip #9: Go Green (First)

There are lots of good foods out there that you need—lean meats, dairy, etc. But don’t let these be the bulk of your diet. Start your meals with something healthy and green to keep your carb count low.

Fat Loss Tip #10: Measure Yourself

You might not like the idea of measuring yourself, but if you don’t measure yourself, you may not recognize your progress. Just as you should count your calories, you should also count your measurements and make adjustments to your eating and exercise routines as needed.

Fat Loss Tip #11: Disconnect Diet from Life

Life comes with ups and downs. Your diet should not. When stressed, don’t go to the vending machine. Put on your walking shoes and get going.

Fat Loss Tip #12: Keep the Burn Going

2707Working out is not supposed to be a walk in the park. To push your body to its potential and to burn more calories, don’t take long breaks between exercises. Rest no more than 30 seconds after an exercise to keep your body shredding calories and pounds.

Fat Loss Tip #13: Goodbye Sugary Sweet

Everyone needs a quick sweet on occasion. Make sure yours is natural, whole fruit rather than regular old sugar. Every day, it seems more research is showing that refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup increase your likelihood of weight gain more than anything else.

Fat Loss Tip #14: Move Now!

Maintaining a consistent, challenging exercise program is essential for your fat loss, but don’t let that be your only exercise. Build 15-minute windows throughout your day during which you can take a brisk walk. You’ll be more alert at work and the pounds will keep dropping.

Fat Loss Tip #15: Don’t Give Up

You may think it’s too easy a tip to list, but very few people have the will power necessary to keep with a program long enough to see the desired results. Commit yourself today to being one of those few. If you’re not yet one of my esteemed clients then now is the time to join in and experience a whole new level of fitness and fat loss. Reply to this email or give me a call today to get started.


Starting Out Right

If you start your day with sugary pastries or a greasy breakfast sandwich, the rest of your food choices will follow suit. However, when you start your morning with a wholesome and nutritious meal you’ll be more likely to continue with good choices throughout the day. Try the Spinach & Egg Wrap recipe below as a nutritious start to your day. Healthy protein and fat for the win!


spinach-egg-breakfast-wrap-xSpinach & Egg Wrap

This wrap is delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s ready in a flash, tastes amazing, and is filled with healthy protein, veggies and whole sprouted grains. Try it today, and don’t be surprised if you get hooked!
(Always buy organic ingredients)
Servings: 2

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 cup tomato, finely chopped

  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup eggs

  • dash of salt and pepper

  • 2 sprouted grain tortillas

  • 2 Tablespoons pesto (purchase it pre-made, or combine ½ cup walnuts, 2 cups basil leaves, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste.)

  1. Spread a tablespoon of pesto over each tortilla and set aside.

  2. In medium sized skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the tomato and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it is soft and wilted. Remove the veggies from skillet, set aside in a bowl.

  3. Pour the egg whites into the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook until the egg is no longer runny.

  4. Arrange half of the egg whites in a line down the center of each tortilla. Top with half of the veggies and then fold the ends up and wrap like a burrito.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 288 calories, 18gfat, 28g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 21g protein. Motivate your friends, family and co-workers! 

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10 Reasons to Eat Organically—and Locally

Guest Post by  Steve Edwards Team Beachbody 

“Think globally, act locally” isn’t just for bumper stickers anymore. This grassroots politics–type slogan has become an important way of thinking about where your next meal should come from. But the implications here are far more than political. Buying local—as well as organic—foods allows you to protect your family by feeding them in the safest way possible. Here are 10 reasons to add “visit the local farmers’ market” to the top of your to-do list each week.

Local foods are safer.

Or at least you can find out if they are. Organic food standards are high, but there are still companies out there attempting to cloud the rules. When you buy locally, it’s easier to check out what you’re buying, and you won’t have to hire Magnum, P.I. to do it. The great thing about local media is that they love to cover this stuff. If for any reason a local farm is mixed up in nefarious activities, there’s a good chance your paper has a reporter dreaming of a gig at The New York Times who’ll be on the job for you. Even if this isn’t the case, you can be inquisitive at the farmers’ markets—you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get up to date on the local scoop. Farmers who adhere to a strict code of ethics love to talk about others who do, and those who don’t.

Organic foods are safer.

Organic tomatoes

Organic certification standards are the public’s assurance that their food and products have been grown and handled according to sustainable procedures, without toxic, synthetic, irradiated, or genetically modified elements, including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and other additives. At least that’s what the law says. But even though many companies still cheat the system, most of them play by the rules. These rules are in place to help both soil longevity and the health and safety of the consumer. Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides, and 30 percent of all insecticides, none of which meet organic criteria, to potentially cause cancer. You can’t always be certain you’re getting safe food, but eating organic foods stacks the odds in your favor.

Organic food tastes better.

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Many people would be amazed to taste the difference between garden-grown fruits and vegetables (and wild meat) and the offerings you find down at your local mega-grocery-mart. The main reason for this disparity has to do with something called trophic levels, which is determined by where plants and animals fall on the food chain. When food—even natural food—is manufactured, as when plants are grown in poor soil with some added nutrients, or animals are raised using drugs and a non-native diet, their physiological chemistry is altered. This doesn’t just change their nutrient content—it changes the way they taste.

Organic food is more nutritious

—which stands to reason, based on the whole trophic levels thing. When soils are depleted and then fertilized, only certain nutrients are added with fertilizers. This results in the loss of many of the plants’ original phytonutrients. While these lost phytonutrients aren’t necessarily a major component of any individual plant, they add up in your diet and become a major component of who you are. This lack of phytonutrients in the plants in our diets has a lot to do with many modern-day maladies. With regard to meat, it’s basically the same story. Animals that are fed a poor diet are, as you might imagine, less healthy to eat, because they’re also missing out on essential nutrients thanks to the trophic level paradigm—just like you are.

You won’t have to eat genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Researchers with Genetically Modified Corn

A GMO is a plant, animal, or microorganism whose genetic sequence has been modified to introduce genes from another species. Because the long-term impact of GMOs on our health isn’t known yet, they’re forbidden by the Soil Association Standards for Organic Food and Farming. Furthermore, in order to qualify as organic, animals can’t be fed GMOs, nor can they be fed antibiotics, added hormones, or other drugs. It is not currently required, however, that GMOs be mentioned on food labels, so it’s very likely that anything not certified organic contains some GMO ingredients.

Your drinking water will be safer.

The EPA estimates that pesticides contaminate groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population. Because organic farmers practice water conservation and don’t use toxic chemicals that leach into your groundwater, organic farming leads to less waste intrusion into our aquifers, which helps keep your drinking water healthier.

Your kids will be healthier.

The toxicity of pesticide residue is determined not only by the chemicals used, but by our body weight in relation to how much we consume. This means that your children are even more at risk than you are. It’s estimated that the average child receives four times more exposure than the average adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. To try and minimize this risk, buy organic, but also make sure that your family eats a wide variety of foods.

To help farmers and farm communities.

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It’s estimated that the U.S. has lost more than 650,000 family farms since 1990. The USDA estimates that half of the U.S. farm production comes from only 1 percent of farms. Organic farming may be one of the few survival tactics left for the family farm and rural communities. The majority of organic farms are still small-scale operations, generally on fewer than 100 acres, and using an average of 70 percent less energy. Small farms use far more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices than large-scale farms do. For example, small farms use manure to fertilize soil, naturally recycling it to keep the land productive. Industrial farms produce so much manure that it’s a human health risk.

The overspill of manure has contaminated water wells with E. coli and other pathogens. This brings up another subject: Industrial farms still—though now illegally—feed animals the ground-up remnants of other animals that aren’t naturally part of their diet. This has led to pathogens like E. coli getting into our foods in the first place.Furthermore, farm workers are much safer on small farms. A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times more risk of contracting cancer than nonfarmers did. Due to their direct exposure, field workers on conventional farms are the most vulnerable to illness as a result of pesticide use. Organic farms eliminate that risk by eliminating harmful pesticides and other chemical inputs from their practices.

For more humane treatment of animals.

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Factory farms treat animals like commodities. They are usually kept in tightly confined pens or cages and often never move more than a few feet for their entire lives. They are also fed the cheapest foods available, no matter how it affects their—and then our—health. Besides the fact that a host of illnesses have entered our world as a direct result of this practice, it’s also just not nice. Animals on organic farms are far likelier to be raised without cruelty. They are also fed a diet much closer to what they would eat naturally, and studies tell us—surprise!—that these animals tend to be significantly healthier than their factory-raised counterparts.

To promote a vibrant economy.

Organic products only seem more expensive because people base their cost on their sticker price alone. However, retail price represents a mere fraction of their true cost. Market prices for conventionally grown foods don’t reflect the costs of federal subsidies to conventional agriculture, the cost of contaminated drinking water, loss of wildlife habitat and soil erosion, or the cost of the disposal and cleanup of hazardous wastes generated by the manufacturing of pesticides. Compared to local farms, there’s also transportation—and the pollutants that result from it—to consider. All of this means that essentially, you can pay now or pay later—just remember that you’re going to be charged interest, mainly in the form of a socially and ecologically diminished world to live in.

 What if you can’t find organic food?

One of our members, who lives in a rural area, went to her local market and requested healthier options. Now the store owner can’t keep them on the shelf. You can, with a little initiative, make a difference. After all, retail stores are in business to serve you. If this doesn’t work, hit the Internet. Since “organic” is the current buzzword of the food industry, there will be options. And of course there’s always your local farmers’ market.

For more information on organic and local produce, check out the Web site for the Organic Trade Association, or type “Community Supported Agriculture” into your favorite search engine.

Shakeology® Is Low-Glycemic: What That Means and Why It Matters to You!

What’s the Glycemic Index?

Simply put, the glycemic index is a way to measure how carbohydrates react in your blood. When you eat carbs, your blood sugar level rises anywhere from a little to a lot. The GI (Glycemic Index) uses a scale of 0 to 100, with higher numbers given to foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar.

What do high-GI foods do to my body? They cause the body to produce higher levels of insulin, but sometimes too much. This gives you an energy burst known as a “sugar rush.” It feels good at first, but then your blood sugar drops rapidly and you “crash.” Eating low-GI foods is a smart way to avoid this, because they stabilize your blood sugar levels instead of spiking them.

What kind of high-GI foods to steer away from and why:

Foods with a high GI (above 70) include white bread, pretzels, potatoes, and most processed foods. Eating these foods triggers a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, which:

  • Encourages the body to store fat

  • Creates a cycle of hunger pangs and feeling unsatisfied

  • Causes an energy crash that leaves you irritated or tired

  • Can lead to high blood pressure, fluid retention and diabetes

In contrast, foods with a low GI (under 55)—like broccoli, oatmeal, peanuts, and Shakeology—help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, which:

  • Increases levels of glycogen, a hormone that causes body fat to be burned

  • Helps satisfy feelings of hunger

  • Helps balance moods

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, helps control diabetes, and positively affects the aging process

So you see, eating low-GI foods like Shakeology is good for you! Shakeology’s GI rating of 24 is much lower than most fruits and some vegetables. Low-GI foods keep your sugar levels in check while supplying nutrition that satisfies, energizes, and helps promote good health!

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Sleep and Skinny Jeans

What does skinny jeans and sleep have in common? Find out below.

Guest post by Karen Tonnis 

Your mission: to add lean muscle, form some well-defined curves. The prescription: get some sleep!

Crazy as it sounds, that’s the advice you’ll get from bodybuilders, trainers, professional coaches, and fitness experts in general. The fact is your body can only heal, repair, and grow during deep sleep. You can be doing the right things—perfectly portioning out your food, doing hardcore lifting that pushes you to the edge—but all that effort will be negated without enough recovery. You can’t cheat on sleep. We know sleep is essential to life, just like eating and breathing. But there are many theories as to exactly why we sleep, with no one clear answer. One is that sleep “restores” what our bodies lose while we’re awake. And recent findings actually support this theory, showing that many of the major restorative functions in the body, like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and the release of growth hormones, occur mostly, or as noted above, only during sleep.

Warning signs that you’re sleep-deprived

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Have a sneaking suspicion you might not be getting the sleep you need? You’re not alone. An estimated 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. don’t get adequate sleep every night. Here are a few classic signs:

  • Hitting the snooze button consistently on your alarm clock

  • Yawning uncontrollably and at inappropriate times (e.g., workplace meetings, parent-teacher conferences)

  • Feeling sluggish in the afternoon

  • Getting drowsy while driving

  • Having heavy eyelids and watery eyes

  • Experiencing memory lapses

  • Experiencing irritability and low energy

  • Feeling excessive hungriness or a complete lack of appetite

Tips for catching quality z’s

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Now that you know how important sleep is, don’t let it get away from you. Here are some handy tips to make the most of your rest time.

  • From 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night. And wake up at the same time every morning. If you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll wake up automatically without an alarm clock.

  • Get regular exercise. Physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that eases the transition between being awake and sleeping.

  • Sleep primarily at night. Short naps are great for recharging and catching up on missed sleep, but too many naps, and naps that are too long, can interfere with your regular schedule.

Make the most of your workouts

 

Be honest with yourself. If you’re doing the work and the healthy eating plan and you’re still not seeing great results, it could be lack of sleep that’s holding back your progress. Remember, your body is an incredible machine. Give it a chance to recover and build for the jump-start you’ve been looking for.

You Can Find Motivation Oddest Places

Music, as well as health/fitness, is a passion of mine. So when I found out the lead singer of one of my favorite bands Mikel Jollett (The Airborne Toxic Event) wrote an article for Men’s Health back in 2006 I was excited to read it! Mikel Jollett was a freelance writer prior to the band; I already knew he was ridiculously good at writing from his music, but this Men’s Health article is damn good! I’ve attached that article below. I relate to his article so much because as funny as this may sound,  while I was going through my weight loss transformation of 80lbs I was really motivated by the character Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) of the HBO series True Blood.

True Blood - S6E10 - Jason's Abs - 2

Jason had the exact body I always dreamed about since I was a little fat kid. After each episode of True Blood I felt like working out, haha! When I felt tempted to cheat on my diet, I would think of Jason Stackhouse, and as silly as it sounds this kept me on track with my diet. Motivation can come from the oddest places, but whatever that motivation may be, use it! Put up pictures around your house to keep reminding yourself. Constantly visit whatever motivates you, whether it’s a person, a thought, a feeling, a goal; use the heck out of it!

Here’s the article by Mikel

“Brad Pitt Whipped Me Into Shape”
By Mikel Jollett

I was a big fat slob. Then I went to the movies.

You can find the motivation to get in shape in the oddest places.

Some guys find it in a doctor’s office after a sobering chest exam or blood test or biopsy. Others find it at a high-school reunion when That Girl from 10th-grade biology doesnt recognize them through the haze of cheap vodka, male-pattern baldness, and so many forgotten years. As any good Russian novelist could tell you, life reaches a crossroads – and big changes follow – when sex seems less likely than death.

I found my motivation in the back of a movie theatre in Santa Monica, California. That’s where Brad Pitt comes in, but more about him later.

I was 25 years old, working a hundred hours a week in an office. I hadn’t really set out for that life, but you know how those things go. You’d trade a kidney for an extra zero at the end of your paycheck, and so on. My days were filled with 5-year plans, capital-amortization reports, key-performance indices – i.e., the tortured lexicon of the modern office. For the first time in my life, there wasn’t much time for exercise. Hell, there wasn’t much time for anything but sleep and work. And eating.

unhealthy-eating-86534618Why do so many office events involve food? The candy jar on the secretary’s desk. Doughnuts at morning budget meetings. Rubbery chicken lunches at the Yale Club. Steak dinners with board members. It’s like we’re trying to feed some existential hunger, trying to fill a dark void at the center of office life with caramels, Hershey’s Kisses, and muffin baskets. People eat at the office for the same reason they drink at a bar: to forget they’re there.

I don’t know exactly when it got away from me. In college, on the track team, I had been all-Pac 10 in the 10,000 meters, a svelte 148 pounds whipping around the oval at 70 seconds per quarter mile. At that age, those of us on the cross-country team, those of us who ran 12 to 15 miles a day and ate mountains of food at night, felt like wild beasts. Like we were born to leap boulders, like we were panting, pawing, screaming to run. It’s probably mixed up with some milk-toothed adolescent fantasy, but we really felt like we were pushing the limits of mortality. All that pain and strain and exhaustion and exhilaration. How far can we go? How fast can we run? How much can we take? Let’s find out.

But by age 25, after 3 years in office purgatory, 3 years of meetings and dinners and lunches and drinks, I was up to 225 pounds. Sitting there, listening to these middle-aged men make jokes about their wives over two-martini lunches, I felt caged, fenced in, trapped, old, tired, fat, bored.

I would find myself walking the fluorescent-lit corridors of that ungodly building with reams of green-and-white printout paper covered with endless rows of numbers, a big, round gut hanging over the 38-inch waistline of my green slacks, seething about the budget. “Have you seen these numbers, people?” Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of my reflection in the office glass and wonder who the fat man was.

Then it happened. In that movie theater in Santa Monica. Fight Club. I know that sounds trite. I know it should have been the birth of my first child or something. But it was Fight Club that did it.

Brad-Pitt-fight-club-body

I remember seeing Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter), with that ragged eyeliner and waifish body. She was so trashy and dirty and hot and broke. And Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) lived in this abandoned house in the middle of nowhere with the anonymous narrator (Ed Norton). All they ever did was get in fights, wreak havoc, work out, and make fun of the automatons. Though it all ended miserably – but triumphantly! – with that Pixies song when those buildings blew up, God, my life just seemed so tame by comparison, so forgettable, so compliant. I thought, What the hell am I doing? I’m 25 years old.

I saw the movie four times in one week. And I cracked. I quit my job. I dumped my girlfriend. I started working out constantly. Running, swimming, lifting weights, drinking protein shakes, eating apples.

My routine was basic. I thought of it as a matter of simple physics: If I burn more than I consume, my body will metabolize fat. It has to. I figured that at my weight, with my metabolism, I burned about 2,500 calories a day. So I kept to a 2,000 calorie diet and worked out like mad. Four runs a week (100 calories per mile), three swims (100 calories per 15 minutes), four weight sessions (300 calories per hour, plus beach muscles). I made sure I never rang up more than a 7,000 calorie deficit (which equals 2 pounds of fat) in a given week, since your body freaks out when you do that.

It was tedious at first. The runs were painful, I was always sore, and it took so much damn time. I had to make a decision: The plan would come first – it was the only obligation I absolutely had to fulfill. Everything else in my life would have to fit in around it.

After about a month, after the initial shock had worn off, once my feet had calloused over and my hair had become ragged from the chlorine, the plan became something else. A dare. Not in the okay-tough-guy, No Fear, come-over-here-and-check-out-my-glutes kind of way. More like it was a daring thing to do.

Because if you think about it, it’s kind of absurd. Grown adults running through fields, unprompted, unchased, lifting heavy objects for no practical purpose, swimming back and forth repeatedly across a rectangle of water and heavy chemicals. It prompts a question in your mind, while you’re pursuing these senseless tasks: What sort of creature does this kind of thing, anyway?

Over time, the answer becomes obvious, even if it’s just something you feel in your bones: Because this is what I was born to do. This is what this body was made for.

As for the desk job, those hellishly vapid budget reports: Was I honestly made for that crap?

When the money that I’d saved ran out, I started working as a carpenter, walking around with a tool belt on all day, driving a 5-ton truck, familiarizing myself with the layout of Home Depot. It was good to be paid to sweat. The guys I worked with couldn’t quite understand why I was doing basic construction instead of the cushy office job I’d left. “Hey, Stanford U,” they’d say to me, “think you could nail this two-by-four in that frame over there? They teach you how to do that in school?”

The work itself had its benefits. At the end of the day, when my back hurt and my hands ached from pounding a hammer or wielding a screw gun for 8 hours, I felt as though I’d earned a drink. And anyway, there is a certain manful pride in knowing your way around a miter saw and a speed square. But it was mostly monotonous and nothing I had aspired to. I wasn’t in it for that.

I was in it for the sense of possibility. For the idea that you can shake your life up like a soda bottle and smack it against the wall. That whatever prisons we construct in our lives – whether it’s an awful job, a gut, an unhappy marriage, an addiction, the things in life that hem us in, that make us wake up in the morning in a cold sweat and think, How did I get like this? and How can I escape? – all these things are transient. For me, and maybe for anyone, the answer was, just leave. Tear the entire thing down.

In 6 months, I was down 55 pounds – to 170 – and had all the accoutrements that so famously go with exercise: more energy, more confidence, better sleep, less stress. In place of the gut, I had the six-pack I’d had in college. I was also broke and single and had squandered what I had once understood to be a promising future. I didn’t care.

I met a girl in Las Vegas. We exchanged phone numbers, and when I got back to Los Angeles, I called her. She invited me over to her place, a real dump in Culver City that was brimming with empty wine bottles and Liz Phair posters. When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch – skinny, big eyes, flat chested, her shirt half unbuttoned, dirty blonde hair, and lots of eyeliner. My own private Marla Singer. I nearly cried.

fight-club-soap

“Have you seen this movie?” she asked, pointing to the television. And I couldn’t even make this up: It was Fight Club – the scene where Ed Norton fakes a fight with his boss to get fired. In the process he destroys the office, cutting his hands and back and face on the shattered galss of a coffee table. He walks out, whistling, pushing a pile of office equipment in a cart, with a smile on his face and blood dripping down his shirt. Fantastic.

I know, I know. Sophomoric. It is, a bit. But whatever the motivation, once I started taking exercise seriously, I felt more alive. I felt that my life had possibilities. I felt stronger. There’s really nothing so basically transformative, nothing so regenerative, as getting in shape. Some of it is simple blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and endorphins. Your high-school P.E. teacher could have told you that. But it’s also the sense that if you can change your body, you can change anything. You feel your muscles working beneath your clothes, you become aware of your heartbeat, and you remember that you’re an animal first and animals do not like to be fenced in.

The fact is, we’re going to be dead someday, and I don’t care how important we are or how much money we make, how refined our taste in wine, music, clothes, literature, art, women. Those things are great, but there’s just no escaping that your life begins and ends in your own body, your health, your ability to talk to That Girl with confidence, smile in the face of sobering news, senselessly lift heavy objects, swim great distances across various geometric figures, test your mortality, shatter some glass, eat an apple, tear across the plains, and run down a bloody gazelle.

It may be absurd, but honestly, you have to fill the void somehow, and you’re simply not going to do it with muffin baskets.

Processed Foods and Your Health

Did you know that about 90% of the American household food budget is spent on buying processed foods; this is one of the major contributing factors to the obesity epidemic in this great country of mine. Now allow me to ask you this; if a bag of chips had a warning on the bag that read “Warning: these chips will make you obese, and most likely cause hypertension and cardiac arrest” would you still eat them? Well, in a sense, you do see that warning on chips; just read the ingredients. I’m writing this post so you can gain a little knowledge about how processed foods affect your health.

3 Harmful Ingredients Found In Processed Foods That You Should Be Aware Of:

 

  • 8192765-48213-no-msg-stampMonosodium Glutamate (MSG) – Research suggests that monosodium glutamate causes obesity, making unhealthy snacks even unhealthier than you may have suspected. MSG is an excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites neurons to the point of cell damage and, eventually, cell death. Humans lack a blood-brain barrier in the hypothalamus, which allows excitotoxins to enter the brain and cause damage.  According to animal studies, MSG creates a lesion in the hypothalamus that correlates with abnormal development, including obesity, short stature and sexual reproduction problems. By avoiding foods with MSG, you are not only protecting your health and your family’s health, you are also protecting society’s health by not supporting companies that use MSG. Use your buying power to show that you don’t accept manufactured foods that use MSG or any of the other hidden forms of MSG such as yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins and autolyzed proteins.

 

  • high-fructose-corn-syrup-250x150High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – Since the late 1980s, HFCS has replaced regular table sugar, honey, and similar sweeteners in practically everything. A Princeton University study found that rats that were fed HFCS gained fat 300% more quickly than those fed an equal (or slightly larger) dose of fruit-derived sugar. High-fructose doesn’t just make your body fat, it makes your heart fat too. There is a strong link between the irresponsible consumption of high fructose corn syrup and elevated triglyceride and HDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Together these can cause arterial plague build-up and eventually lead to dangerous heart conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and even stroke. Like anything else you eat or drink, HFCS is processed by your liver, gallbladder and kidneys. And it’s especially destructive to your liver. When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, permanent liver scarring can occur. Excessive amounts of soda, energy drinks and junk-food simply aren’t worth losing a foot or going blind or harming your children.

 

  • notransfatcali1TRANS FATS – Once hailed as a cheap, heart-friendly replacement for butter, lard and coconut oil, trans fats have been denounced by one Harvard nutrition expert as “the biggest food-processing disaster in U.S. history.” Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel. Crackers, cookies and cakesand many fried foods, such as doughnuts and french fries — even the stick margarine you may rely on as a “heart-healthy” alternative to saturated-fat-laden butter. Trans fats are worse for your heart than saturated fats because they boost your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol. That’s double trouble for your arteries. And unlike saturated fats, trans fats also raise your levels of artery-clogging lipoprotein and triglycerides. Check the ingredient list for any of these words: “partially hydrogenated,” “fractionated,” or “hydrogenated” (fully hydrogenated fats are not a heart threat, but some trans fats are mislabeled as “hydrogenated”). The higher up the phrase “partially hydrogenated oil” is on the list of ingredients, the more trans fat the product contains.

 

Weird Ingredients Found In Processed Foods That Will Make You Think Twice:

  • KFC’s Chicken Pot Pie contains L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, an amino acid often derived from human hair, feathers or a mutation of E. coli!

  • Subway Sandwich Rolls contains fertilizer! Ammonium sulfate can be found inside many brands of bread, including Subway’s. The chemical provides nitrogen for the yeast, creating a more consistent product.

  • Beaver Anal Glands in Raspberry Candy! The anal glands of a beaver are a common ingredient in perfumes and colognes but are also sometimes used to enhance the flavor of raspberry candies and sweets.

  • All Hostess Products (Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc.) contain beef fat!

  • Skittles and sprinkles contain beetle juice! They get that glaze from the secretions of the female lac beetle.

  • Wendy’s Chili has sand in it! Silicon dioxide is used as an “anti-caking agent,” perhaps to make sure the chili can last for days and days over a heater.

In an effort to keep this post short I only included 3 harmful ingredients found in processed foods; don’t be mistaken, there are plenty more harmful ingredients found in these foods. Eat whole foods instead of the synthetic processed junk; get real food with real benefits! Flush out all of the processed junk food you’ve consumed over the years by drinking Shakeology, you’ll feel great!

Antioxidants…Why We Need ‘Um!

Antioxidants are surrounded by a lot of hype. They are touted as everything from disease fighters to memory protectors to the antidote to aging. So what are antioxidants? Why are they important? What is the best way to get them in your diet? 

Antioxidants help fight oxidation, a normal chemical process that takes place in the body every day. Oxidative stress and free radical damage to cells is harmful because it may initiate the early stages of cancer and heart disease. Eating foods rich in antioxidants help fight the oxidation and free radical damage plus, they also help you look and feel younger by helping to slow down the aging process and help to prevent cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Finally, an added bonus is that they also help to speed up the recovery from exercise which means more muscle and less fat on your body!

Health organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend eating between five and nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables every day.

Shakeology meets this recommendation and more because it contains some of the most potent antioxidants on the planet: flavonoids and phytonutrients such as spinach, blue green algae, carrot powder, strawberry powder, and vitamins E and C. All of these help to prevent free radicals from oxidizing and destroying cells. In addition, the ingredients in our antioxidant blend such as pomegranate, acai berry, camu-camu, goji, and blueberry also have powerful antioxidant effects to support your immune system and help protect your body from normal inflammatory response.

So the bottom line is to choose your foods wisely to help prevent healthy-aging as well as cellular health from the stress of oxidation on your cells. Your cells need a variety of antioxidants to fight the destructive little molecules that wage war in the body daily and Shakeology, as well as a well-rounded diet of fruits and vegetables, can help do exactly that!

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Spotlight on Shakeology Ingredient: Moringa

Via The Shakeology Blog

Say hello to moringa, one of the latest additions to the cornucopia of superfoods found in Shakeology! This amazing plant—sometimes called the horseradish tree or the drumstick tree—has been used medicinally the world over dating back the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. Moringa is known to promote energy, vitality, athletic performance and weight loss while also promoting a healthy immune system to keep you super healthy. And while all this ancient wisdom is fantastic, this magic shrub can hold its own when looked at from a modern nutritional point of view too.

Although the entire tree is edible, we just use the chlorophyll-rich leaves for Shakeology, which you’ll find packed with vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, iron, and zinc. You’ll also find 96 active phytochemicals and 35 active antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme especially effective at combating damage done by superoxide, a common free radical.

You’ll also find 18 essential amino acids, including the 9 essential to human life, making it a great addition to any vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet. (Although it’s still great for you even if you’re a carnivore.)

See what we mean? The research on moringa goes beyond indigenous folklore. While moringa originated in the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, it is grown and farmed throughout the tropics around the world. We source ours primarily from Senegal, due largely to the research of Dr. Lowell Fuglie, arguably the world’s foremost expert on the crop. “Dr. Fuglie found out the soil qualities, the mineral qualities, the temperature, the climate were the best in Senegal,” explained Shakeology co-creator Darin Olien, “and he went all over the world! Also, the labor issues in Senegal are solid and the relative cost is cheaper for us but they get a higher wage than in the other commodities. So you’ve got all those things.”

All in all, moringa is a wonderfully complex supplement and that’s why we chose to include it in the new ‘Superfood Formula’ blend of Chocolate Shakeology. It is one of the 4 new superfoods in the new formula plus the 3 you know from Tropical Strawberry Shakeology: Coconut Flower Nectar, Luo Han Guo, and Himalayan salt. Try it out, let us know what you think and most importantly, take note of the newfound benefits moringa brings you!

Read even more about the science and benefits of this newest superfood ingredient from a thorough study out of Johns Hopkins University at: http://moringamalunggay.com/John_Hopkins.pdf.

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The Number of Superfoods in Shakeology® Is Rivaled by None

via The Shakeology Blog

There are many protein shakes and meal replacements that are less expensive than Shakeology, but none of them have as many quality superfoods as Shakeology does. Usually the “you get what you pay for” logic rings true, and the shake biz is definitely a case where it applies!

Shakeology has 70+ ingredients, 41 of which are defined as “superfoods”—foods that are loaded with essential nutrients that enhance energy, boost immunity, and improve moods. Other shakes may trumpet their number of ingredients too, but they don’t come close to Shakeology. Plus, too often their “magic ingredients” have been isolated from the enzymes and phytonutrients that actually make the ingredients useful when consumed.

In contrast, Shakeology has been formulated in such a way that all the ingredients work together to give you synergistic benefits; they weren’t just slapped together and packaged as an açaí juice or a chia nutrition bar because ingredients like açaí and chia are super hot in the media (even though Shakeology has those too!). Shakeology’s ingredients work together like a symphony, and this combination is so effective that some people report dramatic benefits in the first week!

Here is a list of the superfoods we’re currently using in Shakeology. Try to incorporate some more of these in your diet throughout the day along with Shakeology, and you’ll be feelin’ super, super good!

Acerola cherry

Acai

Amaranth

Ashwaganda leaf

Astragalus root

Barley grass

Bilberry fruit

Blueberry fruit

Brown rice

Camu camu fruit

Cacao

Chia seed

Chlorella

Coconut flower nectar

Cordyceps

Flax seed, sprouted

Gingko leaf

Goji berry

Green tea

Himalayan pink salt

Kamut grass

Konjac root

Luo han guo

Maca root

Maitake mushroom

MSM

Oat grass

Pomegranate fruit

Quinoa

Reishi mushroom

Rosehip fruit

Sacha inchi

Schisandra

Spinach

Spirulina

Stevia

Peas

Tulsi (holy basil leaf)

Wheatgrass

Whey protein isolate

Yacon root

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Snacks Under 100 Calories

Although some of you may feel guilty about snacking, know this; snacks aren’t necessarily bad as long as you choose the right snack. In fact, well timed healthy snacks helped me reach my weight loss goals. You may be asking yourself which snacks should you eat? Select foods that satisfy your hunger, supply your body with energy and provide important nutrients.

I’ve compiled a list of 30 healthy snacks under 100 calories: *Always buy organic*

  • Grapes: 1 cup (62 calories)

  • Popcorn: 2 cups, air popped. (62 calories)

  • Raspberries: 1 cup (64 calories)

  • Tangerine: 1 (47 calories)

  • Pear: 1 (86 calories)

  • Peach: 1 (58 calories)

  • Mango: 1 cup (99 calories)

  • Apple: 1 (77 calories)

  • Broccoli: 1 cup (58 calories)

  • Cashews: 10 (91 calories)

  • Cherries: 19 raw (98 calories)

  • Watermelon: 2 cups cubed (94 calories)

  • Organic Free Range Egg: 1 hard boiled (70 calories)

  • Almonds: about 14 unsalted, skin on (98 calories)

  • Baby Carrots: 30 pieces (72 calories)

  • Strawberries: 1 cup (77 calories)

  • Kiwis: 2 medium (84 calories)

  • Peanuts: about 20 (96 calories)

  • Cheerios: about 1 cup (99 calories)

  • Blueberries: 1 cup (84 calories)

  • Banana: small/medium (about 95 calories)

  • Cucumber Slices with Hummus: 1 cup cucumber slices, 2 tbsp hummus (98 total calories)

  • Avocado: about 2 ounces (99 calories)