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Articles Tagged: caloric intake

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough

It’s human nature to appeal to labels and neat packaging of ideas. In the fitness and nutrition industry, this is readily apparent.

If you look at most workout programs, they have a name, a brand: Body Pump. Jazzercize. CrossFit. P90x.

The same thing is true with nutrition: the Paleo Diet. Atkins Diet. Clean Eating. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).

Labels are convenient because we can wrap said labels around a bunch of ideas and make the ideas appear more cohesive than if we had to track each idea individually. It allows us to understand relatively complex concepts more easily.

In competition prep, nutrition has primarily focused around two pre-packaged ideas: clean eating and IIFYM.

Let’s take a historical trip together down competition prep’s “memory lane.” Continue Reading Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough »

4 Elements of Basic Nutrition

Before you can run, you must walk. Likewise, before you can optimize and perfect your diet, you must fully understand the basic elements of nutrition and how they affect your health and results.

The good news is that basic nutrition is both simple and effective. It’s true that the fitness industry has hopelessly over-complicated nutrition in an effort to justify product differentiation (e.g. “my nutrition system is SO effective because it covers these 3 ‘secret tricks’ that nobody else knows!!!”) that many people feel like they need a master’s degree just to take care of themselves at a basic level.

This is not the case. The fact is I can teach you everything you need to know to cover basic nutrition in about 10 minutes, which I am going to do with this very article. Continue Reading 4 Elements of Basic Nutrition »

4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong

“Eat clean, train mean, get lean!” Seems so simple, right?

Of course, as anyone who’s gone through the process of prepping for a competition (successfully or otherwise) can tell you, there’s a lot more to it.

Unfortunately, misinformation and bro-science have permeated the bodybuilding subculture of the fitness industry more than perhaps any other niche–which is saying something. Approaches to dieting and training have been handed down from one generation of competitors to another–without critical analysis–so many times now that most of what is taken as “common sense” is actually myth.

Here are the top four mistakes I see many competitors make when prepping for a fitness competition. Continue Reading 4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong »

Think You can Starve Your Way to Weight Loss Goals? Think Again!

Eating for weight loss can be tricky. Everywhere you look, there’s different advice being given. Some articles/authority figures say eat more to lose more, others tell you to go on a juice fast, yet others recommend eating nothing but specialized meal replacements, or to eat low carb/high fat, go Paleo… the list goes on and on.

Frustratingly, every piece of advice seems to directly contradict that which came before it. So who is right?

In this article I’m going to break down one of the main claims–that eating as little as possible (whether in terms of calories, carbohydrates, fats or otherwise) is the best way to lose weight–and I’ll give you a better method that will help you get vastly superior results. Continue Reading Think You can Starve Your Way to Weight Loss Goals? Think Again! »

Troubleshooting Weight Gain

A couple of years back I wrote an article series on troubleshooting weight loss that was quite popular with my clients who were struggling with identifying the reason they’re weight loss efforts had stalled.

I have been meaning to write a companion article for some time now on the other side of the coin–weight gain, for my hardgainer athletes who find themselves in plateaus on the other end of the spectrum: where they feel like they should be gaining weight but are either maintaining weight, or even losing weight.

I unfortunately got distracted by other obligations but now I am getting this article out there once and for all.

When I talked about the issues with weight loss plateaus, they mainly centered around unwittingly eliminating the calorie deficit that weight loss requires through one or more factors.

These same factors are typically responsible for stalls in weight gain for those looking to put on size, so it behooves us to review them, but from the perspective of someone desiring to add mass rather than reduce it. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Gain »

Nutritional Success Starts in Your Kitchen

Imagine trying to quit smoking cigarettes while working in a convenience store that sells them right behind where you stand.

Or, imagine trying to overcome alcohol addiction while working as a bartender.

My point is, if you’re attempting to unlearn poor habits, nothing makes the process harder than being surrounded by temptations for sabotage.

So, if our goal is to eat better and control portions, one of the best ways we can ensure our success is to start in our kitchen and make sure it’s aligned with our goals.

If your goal is weight loss for example, it likely behooves you to get rid of the cookies, cakes and other treat foods that you would have a tendency to binge on–especially as your body rebels at first against the improvement of your diet and tapering down of calories. Continue Reading Nutritional Success Starts in Your Kitchen »

Top 3 Things You Need to Lose Body Fat Now

Look, I get it. Getting motivated to stick to a weight loss plan is hard, and staying motivated as the weeks grind on is even harder.

Going down that path–fighting your body every step of the way as you push yourself further into  unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory–can seem so insurmountable that you find yourself thinking of reasons you shouldn’t do it before you’ve even begun the process.

In today’s post I am going to break this process down into components that are easier to wrap your head around, which will help you attain–and retain–the drive to keep pushing towards your goals, so you can get on the road to weight loss and finally reach the goal physique you’re looking for. Continue Reading Top 3 Things You Need to Lose Body Fat Now »

Instagram Workouts from Bikini Competitors are a Waste of Your Time

How many times have you browsed Instagram, Facebook, Women’s Health Magazine, or another website and seen the latest “bikini competitor leg/arm/shoulder/butt workout?”

Images of hard, lean bodies jump out at you from the screen—seemingly-impossible levels of muscle definition on perfectly proportioned bodies with just the right amount of sweat and goosebumps… before you know it you have goosebumps of your own just thinking about what it would be like to have that body for yourself.

At the beach… all eyes on you, super confident in that bikini. Walking into the gym… girls whispering to each other about how you must be a competitor, and coming up to ask you for exercise advice. Fitting into all the tiny little dresses that you want to wear to the club and having them fit your body like a glove. Heck, having ANY outfit you wear fitting perfectly.

Even reading this right now, I am willing to bet the hair is standing up on the back of your neck slightly—and that’s exactly the response that fitness marketers use to lure you in, because if you think a product is going to provide you with that body (and the lifestyle that you imagine comes with it), you’re going to buy the product at whatever asking price, no questions asked! Continue Reading Instagram Workouts from Bikini Competitors are a Waste of Your Time »

Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring

“I work out hard all the time and I just don’t grow!” Sound familiar? How about, “No matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight!” or, “My bench has been stuck at __ lbs forever and I just can’t get stronger!”—any of those sound like something you’ve heard recently, or perhaps even said yourself?

Every day, thousands of hopeful hardgainers travel to their local gyms, diligently work through the latest muscle magazine or bodybuilding.com workout program, and summarily fail to achieve any of the incredible results promised by these programs despite their best and continued effort.

While some maintain a headstrong attitude in the face of continued failure for years, most eventually burn out and give up. And who can blame them? Nothing is less motivating than working excruciatingly hard at something, only to see literally nothing for your hard work.

The reason I am so familiar with this feeling is because I went through the same thing myself as a young adult. Throughout high school and early college, I was a scrawny, muscleless weakling and was treated as such by everyone around me.

Continue Reading Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring »