Portion control is an effective and easy way to get started tracking what goes into your body. But when we eat out, sometimes it's not as appealing to measure everything according to your palm and hand size or pull out our containers! Here's a simple method that you can use based on your plate size that can keep you on track!
Below is what the USDA now recommends based on their MyPlate initiative:
Although it's a long way from the old food pyramid, it's still not ideal... Remember the days they taught the food pyramid in schools? Ah, the good ol' days...
Here's a better way and more balanced macronutrient way of portioning out your plate at each meal so you can hit your fitness goals:
So along with using the portion control containers, here's another way that you can still stay on track when you are dining out with your friends or going out for a surprise lunch at work.
Want to focus on just your nutrition this month? Click here to check out the Portion Control Fixate Program!
Yours in Fitness,
Yoga… the four letter word that strikes fear and dread into men everywhere. Feelings of stretching, calmness, quietness start to rise up and contradict everything that we as men feel a typical workout should be.
I remember my first introduction to Yoga was in the old Tony Horton Program P90X. If any of you have tried this, it’s 90 minutes of being patient, endless vinyasas, downward dogs, cranes, sweat, and even Ohms at the end. I mean, seriously, who likes doing Ohms??? And if you’re trying to get a workout done in the morning, I always felt weird trying to project out 5 nice long Ohms when my family is quietly sleeping just down the hall…
Every guy wants 'em and every girl loves to touch 'em: Abs! But as summer starts to wind down and most guys prepare for the "winter bulk", is it even worth it at this point?
Of course it is!
Abs can be a year-round event if you plan your meals right, balance out your workouts, and this is true even if you are "bulking".
Typically, most of us divide up our year like this:
Jan-March: Bulking, lifting weights, eating whatever we can put in our mouth
April-June: Spending a lot of time on cardio, cutting down on carbs, and "cutting"
July-August: We're outside enjoying our hopefully "shredded" bodies, enjoying our foods that we deprived ourselves of from April-June as we were getting beach ready. So this typically includes the ice cream, the "adult" drinks, the bbq ribs, hot dogs, burgers, you name it.
Sounds about right, doesn't it?
But what if you have a quick event coming up that you want to look good for and you only have 21 days to get "beach" ready (or "event" ready)?
This could be your weddings, your high school reunions, etc. that either you want to make someone jealous (maybe the bride at the wedding you are heading to dumped you for the chump of a groom), or you want to show off your new body to the homeroom hottie from your sophomore year of high school.
Whatever the occasion is, here's a plan that you can begin right away.
The Meal plan
For this plan we're going to do a simple carb cycling plan, with low carb during the weeks Sunday-Friday and a carb refeed on Saturday.
I'm going to suggest you use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your food and balance out your macronutrients.
For macros, we're going to set them as the following:
Low Carb Days Sunday-Friday: P 45% C 25% F 35%
Carb Up Day: P 35% C 50% F 15%
For proteins, stay with your lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey (deli or ground), pork, eggs and egg whites (depending on your macros), and whey isolate or hydrosolate.
For Carbs, stick with light fruit, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, ezekial bread, and lots of veggies.
For Fats, avocados, almonds, coconut oil, seeds, and butter from grassfed cows.
For your calorie level, take your ideal body weight and multiply it by 11, plug in your calorie level and macros to MFP, and start planning out your day.
Now that you have the meal plan well under way, it's time to talk about the sweating!
This varies based on your schedule but ideally, in the morning you can do a light cardio workout 20-30 minutes in a fasted state (before breakfast). Walking, jogging, etc. are perfect for this.
Along with the Fat Burning Workouts I've already posted here I also suggest incorporating lots of full body circuits as well as my new favorite type of workout to add in once or twice per week---Hurricane workouts.
These workouts were first introduced to me through Martin Rooney, author of the book Training for Warriors, which is primarily an MMA training protocol.
So here's how the Hurricane Workouts work:
1. You select some type of cardio workout to raise the heartrate that you will do for 30-60 seconds, depending on the difficulty level. You can do treadmill sprints, elliptical sprints, hill sprints, or something as simply as jumping jacks or floor sprints. This move should get you gassed and breathing.
2. Immediately after your 30-60 seconds you'll move to two back to back strength exercises. These can be bodyweight moves like pushups, dips, pullups, crunches, etc. You can also add in weights, such as kettlebell/dumbbell swings, Squat/Presses, Bench Presses, Lunges, etc. The list and possible combination is endless!
3. Complete the circuit 6 times, rest for 2-3 minutes, and then repeat with two new strength exercises.
For this sample workout, I had access to a treadmill. After a good warm-up (5-6 minutes getting the heart rate up, lots of dynamic stretching, etc), I did a 60 second sprint (hard!) on the treadmill at 10 mph and a slight incline.
I let the treadmill continue going as I hopped off, grabbed a barbell and did 10 front squat to overhead presses, followed by 10 pushups on the barbell. I immediately jumped back up and repeated the sprint, squat/press, pushup circuit 5 more times.
For the next set I did reverse step back lunges with the barbell, followed by barbell curls as my strength moves (2nd circuit).
By that time, I was pretty gassed! If I had shortened up my sprints to 30 seconds I probably couldn't gone another round but the 60 second sprint intervals are difficult.
The whole point with these workouts is to tax your body, build endurance and strength, and prepare you for doing battle in the Octagon! So these hurricane workouts should only be done once or twice per week.
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Want an even more detailed, step-by-step plan to getting shredded in 21 Days? Check out the 21 Day Fix Extreme Program below for details on carb cycling as well as follow along workouts that will get your ripped in just 21 days. It'll be tough but worth it!
You've probably heard of the Dietbets that were popular back in the beginning of the year but now it's time for something a little more focused on something other than weight... yes, it's your health!
Hence, Beachbody's Health Bet, the first ever Beachbody focused Bet that takes place starting September 5th, 2016!
What does it entail?
1. You must have a workout to do. If you need help there, contact your coach or scroll down to see the amazing challenge packs that are on discount this month.
2. You need Shakeology. If you don't have that but you have do have a workout, click HERE and get it now. Otherwise, again, get the discount and get it with a program below.
3. You need to log at least 3 workouts per week (from your program or just do the daily Challenge De Jour through Beachbody On Demand).
4. Take a picture of you with your Shakeology shake and log that you drank your Shakeology, again all in the My Challenge Tracker App.
Why the App?
This is Beachbody's new app and there are some cool features that make it different from facebook or any of the other challenge groups we've run before. Primarily, it gives you more of a connection with your coach and the other participants because YOU WON'T MISS ALL OF THE UPDATES IN YOUR FACEBOOK FEED. Plus, you can have reminders set to drink your shakeology, to do your workout, post your pic, and basically just help you hit your goals!
So how do I get started?
1. First, download the My Challenge Tracker App via the iOS Store or the Google Play Store (it's called the My Challenge Tracker).
2. Next, I need to email you a personal invitation, so enter in your name and email below (it usually takes me a day or so).
3. Log in to the app and be ready to go Sept. 5th!
Challenge Packs on Discount this month!
Get the 22 Minute Hard Corp Challenge Pack
Get the 22 Minute Hard Corp Performance Line Challenge Pack
With all of my research into ketosis and the ketogenic diet, I started looking into how a ketogenic diet affects athletic performance. After all, many of the fitness gurus I see posting about higher fat diets are typically advising on weight loss and not necessarily coaching athletes who's paycheck depend on them being able to cross the finish line the fastest or sink the 3 pointer at the last second.
I came across this post on Men's Journal that takes into account the athletic aspect of fueling our bodies and even points out the research done by Jeff Volek, the author of The Art and Science of the Low Carbohydrate Athlete. It's an interesting read...
The Ketogenic Diet is slowly becoming more and more popular. In fact, I even did a blog post a while back on our initial "foray" into a Ketogenic Diet with some sample ketogenic meal plans:
Keto Clarity Book Review
Ketogenic Sample Meal Plan
As I hear more and more people start to delve into this new lifestlye, I wanted to share with you a few resources and a blog post I came across on MyFitnessPal that may help you as you just start out.
If you have been contemplating various weight-loss strategies, you may have run across the ketogenic diet. This dietary strategy, which is often used in a clinical setting to help improve seizure control in children with epilepsy, is picking up steam as an effective treatment for weight loss. But is it right for you? We turned to the experts to find out more.
The Composition of a Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis, where fat is burned for fuel instead of carbohydrate. (This isn’t to be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition typically caused by a lack of insulin in the body.) Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, a researcher on ketogenic diets, says “the ‘classic ketogenic diet’ used originally for the management of drug-resistance seizures is a 4:1 ratio of fats to protein and carbohydrates.” That equates to about 80–90% fat, 5–15% protein and 5–10% carbohydrates. For weight loss, he says, this diet is typically modified “to allow a more liberal consumption of protein” (20–30%) with the same carbohydrate restriction.
Is a Ketogenic Lifestyle for You?
Advocates of the ketogenic diet are quick to point out many of the benefits this diet can have for those looking to lose weight. “Rapid weight loss and a decrease in hunger are the most common and evident benefits,” says Kristen Mancinelli, MS, RD, author of the “Ketogenic Diet.” D’Agostino references promising studies that have been shown to “lower blood glucose levels, increase sensitivity to insulin, decrease inflammation and reduce triglyceride levels while raising HDL cholesterol.”
Although Christy Brissette, MS, RD, agrees that this diet can promote rapid weight loss, she also cautions on the risks of losing weight too quickly. “Research shows that people tend to regain weight they have lost on low-carb diets because they are difficult to maintain long-term,” she says. “A ketogenic diet cuts or severely limits food choices such as fruits and whole grains, leading to a limited meal plan which may can be difficult to stick to.” It’s also worth mentioning that low-carb diets deplete carbohydrate stores in the liver and muscles. Since these carbohydrate stores are bound tightly to water, you can expect the majority of weight lost during the first week of a ketogenic diet to be water weight.
Proponents of ketogenic diets agree that this form of weight loss is not appropriate for every individual. D’Agostino and fellow University of South Florida researcher Andrew Koutnik stress that “individuals with liver cancer or elevated liver enzymes, pancreatitis, fat malabsorption issues, lipid metabolism disorders, gall bladder removal or obstruction, or those taking a drug such as a steroid which may elevate blood glucose levels and inhibit the ability to achieve ketosis should refrain from following a ketogenic diet.
D’Agostino and Koutnik, however, state that this dietary strategy may be beneficial for those with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They point to research at Duke University that found individuals with Type 2 diabetes who followed a ketogenic diet lowered their A1C level, a long-term indicator of blood sugar control, by 16% along with a 6.6% reduction in total body weight. For anyone with diabetes considering a ketogenic diet, it is recommended that you discuss this dietary strategy with your medical team before proceeding.
Tips for Ketogenic Eating
Before making any major, long-term changes to your diet, it’s best to check in with a doctor or registered dietitian. Should you decide you’d like to try a ketogenic lifestyle for weight loss, here are a few tips to get you started:
Adjust your macros. To achieve nutritional ketosis, adjust your MyFitnessPal macronutrient goals to achieve a daily intake of 70–75% fat, 15–20% protein and 5–10% calories from carbohydrates.
Anticipate a temporary drop in energy. Transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle can be a bit challenging in the beginning. “The first few days to few weeks of a ketogenic diet can be tough to get through,” says Mancinelli. “You may experience very low energy, crankiness and foggy thinking.” This feeling of lethargy may last from a few days to a few weeks; however after it passes, many individuals report an improvement in energy and mood, as well as clearer thinking.
Check your urine for ketones daily. D’Agostino says an optimal amount is 40mg/dL, but even a range between 5–15mg/dL indicates a state of accelerated fat burning.
Moderate your protein intake. Remember that a ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet. Consuming too much protein may shift you out of a state of ketosis, as the body can convert excess protein into carbohydrates.
Eat a variety of fats. Make sure your intake of fat is balanced between plant-based sources and animal fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, coconut, along with fatty fish. This will not only help to improve overall health, but it will add variety to your meal plan as well.
Know it’s not a quick fix. As with any weight-loss plan, the goal is not just to lose weight but also to keep it off. Before you transition to a ketogenic way of eating, ask yourself whether you can make this a long-term lifestyle change and not just a quick fix that could lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
The Bottom Line
When followed properly, ketogenic diets have been shown to be safe and effective for weight loss and may provide other health benefits including better blood sugar control, a decrease in inflammation and improved triglyceride and HDL counts. However, in order to achieve ketosis, one must consider this a long-term lifestyle change and follow a very specific eating plan to maintain weight loss over time. As always, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before making any major dietary changes.
More Ketogenic Sample Meal Plans:
7 Day Meal Plan
Ketosis For Dummies
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
Yours in Fitness,
Want more one-on-one help? Click the link below for free guide to having more energy and creating a simple to follow meal plan that will get you results! No more crazy recipes or exotic ingredients!
When it comes to Pre and Post Workout meals, I'll admit, we "fitness experts" can go a little overboard. We talk about the Post Workout window for getting nutrients in, we talk about nutrient timing in order to avoid gaining fat from carbs, and we debate how important fueling up before a workout really is.
And as fun as taking pre-workout supplements can be...
It sometimes gets a little confusing with all of the different ingredients, how soon to take it, and what the heck is with the "tingly" feeling that it gives you?
So here are 3 simple and fun Pre-Workout Meals to get you ready for your workout if supplements aren't quite your thing:
Have you ever played Call of Duty? If you haven’t, you check out what it’s like here but basically it’s a “Shoot Em Up” video game I tried to do a few years ago. But here’s the one problem…
I’m awful at video games…
I just don’t do well with the controllers and I don’t have the patience to play for hours on hours to really get good at it.
But I always wondered, “If there was a real life version of the Call of Duty Game, man, I think I would do really well!”
Well, this weekend, the thought became a reality..
At AkersFitness I'm always on the lookout to share with you some great moves that will challenge as well as change you! So here are 3 moves that I've recently posted on my Facebook page, so try them and comment below on how you like them.
Everyone is throwing around the term “Portion Control” these days and there are all kinds of new gadgets and “concepts” that go with portion control. But as guys we just want to EAT, right? No guy wants to be seen going around with special tupperware or plates---it’s just not macho.
So how is a regular guy supposed to take advantage of all these portion control techniques and does it really work?