Has anyone ever thought about how the months where want to look the best just happen to be the same months where we drink and eat the most? The majority of people diet over the summer months while simultaneously going to more barbecues and social gatherings than any other time of the year. How cruel is that? That's like putting an iPad in front of a kid with ADHD and telling him not to touch it.
You have two choices- be a social hermit all summer and not go to anything OR do a little planning and fully enjoy the company, food, and drink that events like barbecues have to offer.
I have several tactics to tap into depending on the situation but want to focus on a very important one here- Using Alcohol As a Weapon. And by this I mean Drink More Alcohol. How can this possibly be helpful? Let me explain.
First off, this will not work or apply to everyone. If alcohol triggers hunger and uninhibited or mindless eating than you need to drink less (sorry). For others, like me, alcohol has a significant hunger blunting effect.
Let’s think about why we drink alcohol at parties in the first place- it’s a fantastic social lubricant. With that said, I am not even thinking about food at the beginning of a BBQ. I grab a drink and SLOWLY consume it. I focus on it’s taste, temperature, and the effect it has on me. I become completely present at that moment. Throwing food into the mix will dilute the effect of the alcohol which defeats the purpose of drinking in the first place- chasing that buzz. It’s amazing how different drinking with little food in your stomach versus a full stomach is. This is why at restaurants I will stop drinking when the food comes out. At that point, the alcohol loses it’s potency so taste becomes the priority. Since alcohol tastes like shit (in my opinion!) I’ll switch to something that has a pleasant taste like Coke Zero or Iced Tea.
Back to the BBQ- by the time one or two drinks are down and I’ve had some quality conversations with friends/family, the appetizers (which tend to be the highest calorie options) are done and my hunger has simultaneously subsided. I didn’t gorge on the Doritos or buffalo dip. Yes those drinks have calories too, but a couple hundred of alcohol calories compared to what can be thousands of appetizer calories is a big difference.
When the main course rolls out, I have a ton of calories to play with. Burgers, hotdogs, potato salad, you name it. Even some dessert if I am feeling that.
There you have it- drink more to eat less!
I want to start a business but what if it fails? I want to go to Europe but what if a terror attack happens? I want to start lifting weights but what if I hurt my back?
Here's some food for thought- WHAT IF IT DOESN'T?
Taking risks is one of the scariest things to think about, I get that. But nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone.
Think about it. Do you think John D. Rockefeller built his empire by sitting around worrying about all of the bad things that could happen? While I'm sure they were in the back of his mind, he focused the vast majority of his mental capacity on the positives of risk taking and leaving his comfort zone. He was a "What If It Doesn't Happen" guy.
OK, so you try something and it fails. So what? Failure is just a part of the process. Most great entrepreneurs say they learned their biggest lessons and had the most growth from their failures.
I know quitting your job to start your own tech start up is scary. But if it fails you can always go back, right? You won't just curl up and live in obscurity the rest of your life. Just a stop in the journey.
Get uncomfortable and go get what you want! Failure is an option!
I slept like shit the other night. It was weird though because my day had been a normal rest day from a work, food, and lifestyle perspective. The only difference was that I had an extra coffee in the early afternoon which is not something I usually do. Still, it was at 1pm so it's not like that would have affect 8 hours later.
I decided to look up the caffeine content of the drinks I had. Saying that I was surprised with the findings would be an understatement. Each of the 24oz Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffees I drank had 295 milligrams of caffeine in them!
This is what my caffeine consumption looked like for the day:
That's 736mg of caffeine in one day, no wonder why I didn't sleep! For the majority of people, 400-500mg per day is the upper limit of caffeine intake.
- 8a: Keurig hot coffee 120 mg
- 11a: DD Iced Coffee 295 mg
- 1p: DD Iced Coffee 295 mg
- 7p: Diet Dr. Pepper 26 mg
Anything more than that and you'll start experiencing negative effects (sleep quality being the biggest offender). Caffeine is a great drug (yes, it's a drug) with many benefits but overconsumption can be an issue. Just like calories, over consuming caffeine doesn't take much effort. I spent some time on the following website looking up caffeine in a bunch of drinks.http://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-caffeine-databaseThe amount of caffeine in our favorite Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts drinks is mind boggling. A Venti (20oz) Starbucks hot coffee has 415mg of caffeine in it.
You pop two of those and you are in some trouble. There's just no way that won't affect your sleep, even if consumed earlier in the day.The biggest surprise to me was the amount of caffeine in Dunkin Donuts "DECAF" coffee- about 100mg in a 20oz hot coffee and a 24oz iced coffee.
The word decaf is inaccurate/misleading and should be renamed "less caffeine" instead. So someone like my Dad who is sensitive to caffeine therefore drinks decaf, would be unknowingly consuming a significant amount of caffeine. Yikes.
This was definitely eye opening for me and has changed the way I am going to drink coffee moving forward. For example, in the summer I will get decaf iced coffees from Dunkin instead of regular which will cut out 400mg of caffeine, putting me in a safe range.
Pre workout drinks get a bad rap for having 300-400mg of caffeine in them but it's things like coffee that we are consuming much more of that we need to worry about. No wonder why we are all addicted to Dunkin. Again, caffeine is a drug!
Does this cliche fitness statement hold true? Like pretty much everything in this world, it depends and is highly contextual. So, picking a set percentage doesn't make much sense.
Losing weight simply requires an individual to be in a calorie deficit and can be achieved through diet manipulation, exercise, or a combination of both. Nutrition's importance also depends on the goal at hand- pure weight loss or improved body composition (increasing muscle mass). Let's examine both scenarios.
Pure weight loss
If this is your goal, it is possible to get results without any exercise at all. Example- Donald Trump requires 2,000 calories per day to maintain his body weight based on a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise (hypothetically). By simply dropping calories to 1,500 per day (500 calorie daily deficit needed to lose roughly one pound per week), Mr. Trump will lose weight. No elliptical, no running, no lifting weights, nothing. So in this situation nutrition would be considered to be 100% of the equation.
However, adding in 3 to 5 hours of exercise per week will increase your calorie expenditure by a few hundred per day making it easier to diet because more food can be consumed. So, if Trump walked for an hour each day after his campaign speeches were over, he could probably get away with eating 1,800 calories instead of 1,500 calories and still lose a pound per week. Now, nutrition and exercise are blended (probably 70-90% nutrition, 10-30% exercise).
On the flip side, if Trump decided to ignore tracking his calories and just increase exercise frequency in an attempt to drop weight, it probably won't work. It doesn't matter how much you exercise if you are still in a calorie surplus. You see this a lot with people looking to lose weight- first instinct is to ramp up the cardio with no awareness of how many calories they are actually consuming.
Improved body composition
If your goal is to lean out but increase muscle mass, exercise (weightlifting specifically) plays a much larger role than in pure weight loss. Muscle tissue simply cannot grow without an appropriate stimulus. Lifting weights provides the stress muscles need to break down, repair, and ultimately grow. So, in this case nutrition is still important but you can argue that exercise (weightlifting) is just as important (50% nutrition and 50% exercise).
I'd advise most people, guys in particular, to prioritize body composition over just losing weight. If you are a guy and drop 50 pounds with no foundational base of muscle, it's not going to look good (think skinny fat). Fortunately, it's very easy to put a base of muscle on by just incorporating some full body weight training into your schedule 2-3 days per week.
What's the verdict?
Again, it's hard to say that nutrition is 80% of the equation in all cases. You can see from the above examples that the percentage swings based on the individual. However, for the general population just looking to lose some weight, nutrition is going to provide the best bang for your buck. And that's great news! You know why? Because eating food is something we already do everyday and not additive like starting to workout. So, instead of saying I HAVE TO do more cardio to lose weight, start saying I HAVE TO be more responsible and aware of the amount of calories I consume each day. The body fat will start peeling off with much less effort and stress!
Check out more cool insight on instagram @theshreddedsalesman
The human mind has incredible powers. Unfortunately those powers can, and often are used to our detriment to impede progress or growth. Our mind spends so much time worrying about the future. Think about where your stress comes from...hitting a sales goal, an upcoming wedding, or fear of growing old without finding "The One" are just a few examples.
I think fretting about the future causes such a high level of anxiety because it's indefinite, open ended stress. Worrying about something every day that may be 20-30 years away is maddening. That's like dying a slow, painful death.
But the crazy part is that most of that perceived future stress is completely fabricated by our minds! So chances are it's not real, why stress about it?
Why not instead focus on the present and take action when you have control? Think about the time wasted worrying about something like having enough money to pay your mortgage (future stress). Use that time instead doing something in the present like working towards a job promotion or starting an on-line business for additional revenue.
A great read or audio book to listen to is "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. He talks about spending the majority of your time in the present and not in the future. I found that listening to this a few times a week for 10 minute clips did wonders on my mindset adjustment/stress reduction.
Stress is the enemy of happiness and a life without maximal happiness sucks.
Kind of a random post but it's what's on my mind right now. Don't Worry, Be Happy!
Last summer my wife and I went to Italy for our 1 year wedding anniversary. Naturally, a trip like that includes overindulging on pizza, pasta, gelato, and wine. I probably challenged a world record for most pizza consumed in a 10 day period and my wife got the nickname "The Polisher" because of the way she polished off so much gelato (I still call her that). I did not really track my calorie intake while abroad like I normally do. Neither of us really cared if we put on a few pounds if it meant enjoying everything Italy had to offer.
To our surprise, when we got home both of us had lost 2-3 pounds! How could this be? Let me explain.
It may sound counterintuitive but there's a good chance you are more active on vacation than in your normal everyday life. The average American is pretty damn sedentary. If you work a desk job/white collar job, you aren't burning many calories other than the 3-6 times you may workout per week. I average about 1-2 miles of walking or 2,000-4,000 steps just going about my normal day which is pathetic. For some context, we burn about 100 cals per mile walked on average. So an extra 100-200 calories burned per day is nothing.
Now think about all that is involved on vacation- walking through airports, excursions and tours, walking around your resort, exploring/walking the city you are in. The common theme is increased walking which equates to more calories burned.
Check this out:
Miles/day Walking Calories Burned Walking
My Normal Week 1.5 150
My Italy Vacation 9 900
My Cali Vacation 5 500
So, while in Italy I was burning an extra 750 calories/day! That explains the weight loss.
I think this is pretty eye opening. There is a common misconception out there that we have to be actively exercising to burn calories but what we do outside of the gym is more impactful than what we do while working out.
Move more = burn more calories = lose more fat. Simple equation.
So I am writing this only because I've had an influx of questions around detox/cleanses, which makes sense given summer is right around the corner. I did not write this to shit on these methods; if it works for you, more power to you. In fact, I know people that have had great success using cleanses.
Personally, I am not a fan of these diets but also understand that my nutritional philosophies are not the only ways to get results.
I don't like detoxes/cleanses because they are 1) extreme 2) short term thinking in nature and 3) based on unsubstantiated scientific principles. Sounds like my thought process during college. Here are the details.
But won't I lose weight on a detox? (Extreme)
The short answer is yes, you will lose weight. To lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit, ie. take in less calories than your body needs to burn for energy. A cleanse is just disguised as a calorie deficit, albeit an EXTREME calorie deficit. From the research I did, most detoxes have people consuming anywhere from 500-1,000 calories/day. That is ridiculous!
We have something called a basal metabolic rate (BMR) which in a nutshell is the amount of calories our body needs to carry out its everyday processes at rest (think pumping blood throughout the body). To figure out your BMR, take bodyweight and multiply it by 8 or 9. For example, I am 190 pounds so my BMR is roughly 1,700 calories. A cleanse would have me eating significantly less calories than my body needs to FUNCTION PROPERLY. Just think about that. This is potentially dangerous and there's just no way you won't feel the effects of your body fighting back if this goes on for more than a few days. I wouldn't be surprised if someone has dizzy spells and cognitive impairment as a result. Having a foggy mind is not a good thing if you have something like say, a job. So, the moral of the story is don't eat below your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) for an extended period of time.
But it's only for X days, how bad can it be? (Short term thinking)
And then what? This would be the equivalent of a CEO taking over a struggling company but having no plan on increasing sales and reducing expenses. "Sorry guys, I'm just here for the big paycheck." Fat loss needs to be looked at in the long term. OK, so you lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Super, I truly am happy for you. But what's the game plan for the next several years to ensure you don't gain that weight back? I've seen it too many times- someone loses 20 pounds from an extreme, short duration diet and gains all the weight back, and then some. What's the point of losing the weight in the first place?
Short term thinking at its finest. We are too good for this. It amazes me how well thought out other areas of our lives are but we don't do the same for something as important as our health.
A good question to ask- can I see myself doing this in five years? If the answer is no, it's probably not going to work.
But don't I need to cleanse my body from toxins? (Unsubstantiated scientific principles)
Sure. Toxins are not good for the body and should be eliminated. Guess what? You have a built in detox system, mainly your liver and digestive tract, that eliminate these toxins everyday! Do you really think toxins and junk food residue (as one detox website so eloquently put it) have been hanging out in your body all your life waiting for a juice diet to come along and save it? If we truly were flush with toxins and poisonous chemicals, we'd all be bed ridden or dead. Not to get all Bill Nye the Science Guy on you, but here's a quick overview of the phenomenal job our body does to "cleanse" each and every day. Our liver either burns off hazardous toxins on site or turns them into waste that can be sent out out by doing #1 or #2. Our digestive tract contains hydrochloric acid (HCL). Do you know what HCL does to you if you come in contact with it? It is highly dangerous and can burn the skin on contact. Yes, we have that in our stomach specifically to break down food during digestion and to eliminate any harmful pathogens contained in the food we just consumed.
We need to give our bodies more credit, they are incredibly powerful machines.
So, doing a detox for it's "cleansing powers" is the equivalent of doing 1,000 biceps curls in a workout because "it will get you jacked bro!" Complete bro science with no scientific backing.
So what do I do?
We don't need extreme calorie deficits to lose weight and we certainly don't need to give up the foods we love to eat. A more moderate deficit of 500 calorie/day will result in fat loss of roughly 1 pound/week, a safe and normal rate of fat loss. To figure out how many calories are right for you, first find your maintenance level (the amount of calories where you will neither lose or gain weight). To do, this multiply bodyweight by 13. From there, simply take that number and subtract 500 calories from it. That is your daily calorie target to put yourself in a healthy calorie deficit. This is just a rough estimate to get started on so track your weight week to week and make adjustments. For example, if you find that your weight isn't changing after a few weeks then drop calories by 100-200 as your actual maintenance level is probably lower than the estimate. As far as food choice goes, knock yourself out eating what you want to get to your calorie goal. Think of it as a calorie "budget" that you have to spend each day. Life is too short to not eat the food you love.
The last thing I'll leave you with is a simple statement to keep in mind when evaluating diet plans to follow- the more extreme the methods, the more extreme the rebound.
I am going to start a new series of articles called "On the Road Eats," which is my top picks for finding healthier food options away from home. Being in outside sales for 9 years, I have eaten thousands of meals at restaurants so I have a large sample size to pull from. What I've found is that no matter where you eat, you can make it work. The key is to first understand the foundations of how food works in the body (hint- calories in vs. energy expended). Then, you can apply those principles to any situation.CHIPOTLE aka #godsgift, takes the top spot in my "On the Road Eats" power rankings. What Is There to Like About It?
- Satiating, whole foods. You hear me preach it all the time but I don't chase "clean" food, I chase food that keeps me full for a long time. Whole, unprocessed food choices are the best at that. Think lean meat, veggies, rice.
- High food volume to calorie ratio. You've heard of Time Under Tension (TUT) in weightlifting. Well in food talk, I judge meals by Time Under Chewing (TUC). The longer the better! Not to pick on McDonald's (because I eat there too), but 500 calories at Chipotle gets you a massive, overflowing burrito bowl that takes 20+ minutes to eat while Mickey D's gives you small fries and 6 McNuggets which can be eaten in the blink of an eye. Tip- other than meat or guac, there is no charge for doubling or tripling pretty much anything else so ask for more veggies, salsa, etc. to increase food volume.
What Should I Order?*Classification system borrowed from the homies at www.eatcleanbro.comLean. 6 pack food
- Completely customizable menu to fit any goal. Having the ability to get meals ranging from 200 calories to thousands of calories means that Chipotle is "season proof" and can be eaten at anytime of the year. The choice factor can be slightly overwhelming for Chipotle first timers (it's hilarious to watch them order), but once you go a few times you'll develop Go To's.
Clean. Maintaining food
- Salad bowl with meat of choice, fajita veggies, and salsa
- Calories: 230 / Macros: 7.5g Fat, 6g Carb, 33g Protein
Mean. #bulklife food
- Burrito bowl with meat of choice, rice or beans, fajita veggies, cheese, and salsa
- Calories: 545 / Macros: 20g Fat, 46g Carb, 43g Protein
- Burrito with flour tortilla, double meat of choice, rice, beans, fajita veggies, cheese, and salsa
- Calories: 1,145 / Macros: 37g Fat, 116g Carb, 87g Protein
What Should I Watch Out For (W2W4)?
- Guacamole. The servers have a heavy hand and tend to scoop 2-3 serving sizes instead of 1. If you are going to order it, ask for it in a to go container which ends up being the exact serving size.
- Chips. To me, they are just not worth it for 570 calories, 27g fat, and 73g carbs. I'd rather eat Tostitos with a single serve Wholly Guacamole at home later for much less calories.
- The Mexican specialty aka high carb meals. This goes back to understanding how food works. Flour tortillas, rice, and beans are all carbohydrate sources. If you get all 3 at once, that is easily over 600 calories right there. Pick one carb source per meal if you are trying to lose or maintain weight.
Let me know what you think of this article series guys. That will determine how often I write these. Thanks!- @theshreddedsalesman
The more I learn about the human body, the more parallels I find between fitness and everyday life. One of the biggest similarities is the stress/recovery process
, which for the purpose of this article will be focused on how this relates to our careers/jobs. This is a hot button for me and I apologize in advance for the language, but it's the most effective way to inflect my "writing voice."It doesn't matter what the stress input is
(ie. lifting heavy weights, running five 5 miles, or working 12 hour days), without equal recovery, our bodies are going to fight back with negative feedback
. The consequences of heavy stress on the body without recovery may not show for several months, weeks, or years but it will surface at some point.Let's think about this in fitness terms and look at Crossfit.
At it's core, Crossfit is a quality strength and conditioning program. If done properly, there should be periods of strength work, conditioning work, skill work, and rest. What it has morphed into in many "boxes" is balls to the wall conditioning work 5 days a week in form of METCONS. You might see solid body composition changes for a while but redlining that much is just not sustainable
. You are attempting to pull money out of an ATM that is out of cash
. What happens next is feeling like shit (injury, sickness) and/or lack of motivation leading to quitting. In no way am I singling out Crossfit, it's just a popular form of training that the masses can relate to. The same thing happens everyday in regular gyms. For example, there's a guy at my gym that wears an elevation mask for literally an hour and a half straight while he runs, lifts, and does some weird jump squat thing in the corner.
Ok, I get the fitness part. How does this relate to my job though? Here's how: the overworking/under recovering mentality is the norm in Corporate America.
People brag to their colleagues about how hardcore their work schedule is. "No Pain No Gain" and "I'll Sleep When I Die" attitudes are glorified and if you aren't working 60+ hours/week, you aren't working hard enough.
President Clinton was applauded for only sleeping 4 hours a night while in office "working for America." He was even quoted saying "sleep is overrated." Well guess what? President Clinton had a fucking quadruple bypass heart surgery. He did not have proper recovery in relation to the stress being put on his body. Now President Clinton spends some of his time spreading awareness that "maybe the whole sleep thing is kind of important." See what I'm saying? Short term thinking to the Nth degree. Did you ever notice that the people at work who are the most stressed and run at the most extreme paces non stop, seem to be sick more than others?
Short term thinking that risks your health is never a good idea. The question you need to ask yourself about your job is this- can I continue doing what I am currently doing 5 years from now? If the answer is no, make some fucking changes- NOW!And change includes building more recovery into your job.Practical Recovery Recommendations
- Take days off, and I mean really take days OFF. No email on the beach or phone calls on the weekend. Completely detach.
- Remember that at the end of the day, it's just work and not life or death! Taking care of yourself is the #1 priority over anything else. (Disclaimer- before rushing to judgement on this comment, think that if your health isn't in order you won't be around for your kids/family)
- Split your day up into several work bursts followed by mini breaks.
- Wind down at night with something that relaxes you, unrelated to social media.
- At a minimum, work on getting 6+ hours of sleep a night.
If you say there's no way you can implement any of the above, you have to wake up and make a change for your health's sake. Even if you have to talk to your boss and explain that the current pace and workload is taking a toll on your body. I know that's a tough conversation to have but he/she is going to have to address your concerns. If they say to suck it up, maybe it's time to find a new job.If you take one thing from this article, make it that the amount of stress put on the body needs an equal amount of recovery!
"I wish I had to time to workout like you."
Oh man, nothing boils my blood more than hearing that. I guess working a full time job, running a health & fitness blog, owning rental properties, working on personal development, and spending time with my family (among other things) doesn't qualify as busy enough. Last I checked, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's not a matter of having time to get in shape, it's making that a priority.
But I digress as poking holes in excuses is not the point of this article. What I want to focus on is why being busy actually makes it EASIER to hit your health & fitness goals. In fact, some of the most shredded, in shape people I know also happen to have the most high pressure jobs, young kids, and jam packed schedules.
How could this be? I always had this mindset that getting a chiseled body had to be at the expense of something else, whether that be my job or personal life. "I could get ripped IF I didn't have to work 50 hours/week."
The truth is being busy acts as a positive distractor, preventing you from obsessing over your goals. Think about counting the days down until Christmas as a kid- if you were sitting around the house doing nothing, that turns into an excruciatingly slow process. But if your schedule was packed with sports, birthday parties, etc., Christmas came much faster.
Apply this concept to losing 20 pounds. Dieting is hard enough, you don't need boatloads of free time to let your mind wander. Such a big part of transforming your body is enjoying the process. Constantly thinking about your next meal or obsessing over getting that six pack is not enjoyable. If something is not enjoyable, the chances of sticking to it in the long run are slim to none.
I know my best days, weeks, months when I am dieting are those where my schedule is full of meetings and personal commitments.
So, think about this the next time you feel like your schedule is too overwhelming to get in shape. You can actually use the lack of free time as an advantage!