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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.
  • 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.

What Should I Order?
*Classification system borrowed from the homies at www.eatcleanbro.com

Lean.  6 pack food
  • Salad bowl with meat of choice, fajita veggies, and salsa
  • Calories: 230   /   Macros: 7.5g Fat, 6g Carb, 33g Protein
Clean.  Maintaining food
  • Burrito bowl with meat of choice, rice or beans, fajita veggies, cheese, and salsa
  • Calories: 545   /   Macros: 20g Fat, 46g Carb, 43g Protein
Mean.  #bulklife food
  • 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

 
 
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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!

 
 
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"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!

 
 
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It's amazing how fast the online coaching industry has grown over the past few years.  While it's great to see so many people trying to make careers in fitness, many are just out to make a quick buck and are in no position to be coaching others towards health related goals.  Combined thousands of unqualified coaches with millions of overweight Americans desperate and willing to try anything to get in shape and you have a recipe for disaster.  

While these coaches may look great in their shirtless selfies or have recently won a bodybuilding show, there is so much more to the equation.  Just because something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.  For example, that person may happen to be blessed with great genetics, lucked their way into looking like a Greek god, or have some "chemical assistance" at play.

Think of it this way- would you rather hire the Kentucky Derby winning thoroughbred horse (who is clearly a genetic out-lier) or the trainers behind the scene who have a proven track record of coaching and prepping hundreds of other horses to success?

That being said, here are 5 red flags to look out for when considering an online coach.

1.  Speaks in absolutes.
As in their way is the only way.  A good coach realizes that each person requires their own customized plan of action.  A qualified professional values learning new things and is not afraid to admit when their ideology is wrong or outdated based on new research.  I think this can be extracted for all areas of life, not just fitness.
Example- "this is the ONLY way to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time!" 

2.  Promotes dramatic, quick results.
This may be the worst of them all because this is what most people are looking for- the fastest results in the quickest amount of time with the least amount of effort.  I see this frequently- people coming to me saying "I need to be in a bathing suit in a month or have to get shredded for my wedding in 6 weeks what should I do?" What you have to realize is that there are no shortcuts to completely changing your body composition.  If you are 50 pounds overweight and have been eating like shit and not exercising for 6 years do you really think 4 weeks of dieting is going to undo that?  The answer is hell to the no but there will be an online coach out there telling you it can be done.
Example- "lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks on my secret shredding program!"

3.  Little to no education/certifications.
I'm not saying you need to hire someone with a PhD in nutrition, but competing in a non drug tested NPC bodybuilding show does not automatically qualify you to work with the masses.  A minimum level of personal trainer certifications and nutrition courses should be a prerequisite.  That at least shows they are serious about the field and have put in some effort.  Here are a few questions to ask- what is your nutrition/fitness philosophy?  What do you base those philosophies on?  How long have you been in the field?  How do you keep up with current research?  

4.  Doesn't provide valuable free content.
A good coach constantly puts out authentically generated educational and relevant information (whether that is through videos, articles, or other mediums).  If someone does not have an archive of content speaking to their philosophies, RUN.  Putting out free content also shows that the coach is passionate about what they do and not just interested in making money.
Example of what is not valuable content- "video showing you how to squat with a fat burner supplement bottle on the ground next to them"

5.  Doesn't even look like they lift, bro.
Some people will argue that you don't have to be in good shape to know how to get others in good shape.  Well, I disagree.  If you can't demonstrate that your processes and principals work on you, how the hell can you be trusted that it will work on others?  I'm in no way saying your coach needs to be shredded but some level of noticeable fitness should be required.  There is the opposite end of this spectrum that you need to watch out for too.  Instagram is littered with obvious steroid using online coaches (how can you tell? Look for cartoonish like bodies and out of whack proportions).  There is nothing inherently wrong with someone making a personal choice to use steroids but there is a problem with using what works for them on non using populations.  Night and day with what works.

Applying some critical thinking and good old fashioned common sense when searching out an online coach can go a long way.  If you need some help finding qualified coaches, let me know!

-- 

Chris Wirth
The Shredded Salesman
@theshreddedsalesman (Instagram)

 
 
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The 80/20 rule is a widely accepted mantra on how to approach many things in life.  I use it all the time.  However, when it comes to nutrition, 80/20 may not be the best strategy.  Here's why.

It's safe to say that most Americans fall into the weekend warrior category- work a 9 to 5, stick to a somewhat healthy lifestyle during the week, and treat the weekends like a free for all.  When progress is slow to come by, it's baffling to most people because they are so good with their diets 5 days out of the week, or shall we say 80% of the time. 

Technically, eating healthy during the week and eating bad on the weekends is close to 80/20 from a time perspective BUT it's not even close from a total calories perspective.

As you've seen me post/write about religiously (probably annoying to many at this point), overall caloric intake is the #1 determinant in whether or not you will lose weight (if that's your goal).  Here's an example of the flawed Weekend Warrior 80/20 approach and how calories fit into it:

We'll call the the weekend warrior in this example Skippy.  Now Skippy works a white collar job where he is able to bring lunch in everyday during the week and has pre made meals for dinner each weeknight.  Not bad so far.  On the weekend, Skippy's willpower is very low because he has been eating "healthy" foods all week that he doesn't even like.  So, he naturally gives in and eats all the food he has been refraining from eating.  Skippy also goes out Friday/Saturday night so a bunch of alcohol is thrown into the mix.  He figures that since he was so regimented during the week, the weekend doesn't really matter.  Ehhhh- wrong answer Skippy!

Skippy's daily calories to trigger fat loss: 2,000

Monday-Friday
  • Made up mostly of lean meat and vegetables
  • 5 days x 2,000 calories = 10,000  
Saturday/Sunday
  • Some lower calorie meals but 10+ beers, pizza, and Chinese food
  • 2 days x 4,000 calories = 8,000   

Skippy should be able to eat 14,000 calories for the week (2,000 x 7) and still lose weight.  In this example, he ended up eating 18,000 calories for the week- completely wiping out his calorie deficit and actually managing to get into a slight calorie surplus (gain weight)!  All of the healthy eating during the week was for nothing.

So as you can see, the 80/20 rule is irrelevant if on those 20% days you are completely blowing past your required caloric intake.  

How can this be addressed?  To start, eat foods you actually like during the week to hit your daily calorie target.  Then, you won't be going into the weekend dying to eat food that has been restricted all week (commonly known as "cheat meals").  Also, alcohol is very calorie dense so drinking in moderation can make a huge difference.

Holla at me on Instagram @theshreddedsalesman

 
 
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**This is part 3 of a 3 part series.  Part 1 and 2 are previous posts.

This installment explores the alcohol influence that is a big part of these work trips.

I have come to the conclusion that we have a love/hate relationship with alcohol more than anything else in the world.  On one hand, alcohol is a fantastic social lubricant that enhances face to face interactions like nothing else.  On the other hand, alcohol can be incredibly calorie dense, lead to bad decision making, and cause your next morning/day to be hell.

You can get all of the positive benefits and limit the negative benefits if you follow my advice below:

Moderation is key
You have heard this before but my definition of moderation is a little different.  Typical moderation calls for 2-3 drinks but I find that to be unrealistic at convention events.  Instead, staying in the 3-5 range will be totally fine.  3-5 also seems to be the sweet spot for maximal social performance while not being too drunk.

Type of alcohol to drink
This is so simple- hard liquor with a zero calorie mixer.  Hard liquor examples are whiskey/vodka/gin and zero calorie mixer examples are club soda and diet soda.  This approach has roughly 70 calories per drink which is nothing.  Lite beer is also not a bad choice.  Stay away from sweet shots (loaded with carbs) like Fireball, fruity mixed drinks, and heavy IPA type beers.  5 vodka clubs equals 350 calories while 5 IPA's equals 1,000 or more calories.  That's an easy choice to me.  A common mistake I see people make all the time is thinking that tonic water is the same thing as club soda.  Tonic water is essentially soda and has a significant amount of calories.

Hydrate
As mentioned in the previous blog, hydration is key.  As long as you have consumed a significant amount of water throughout the day, you will be fine the next morning if staying in the 3-5 drink range.  Many people do this already but chug as much water as possible before hitting your pillow.

Don't be the last guy at the bar
If it's just you and a really drunk guy from the Kansas City office left at the bar, chances are you stayed out too late.  A good rule is the leave before midnight.  At that time, you've probably hit the 5 drink limit and staying any longer will just lead to a complete drunken disaster (not to mention a trip to Fatburger at 3am).  I know it's tough to leave when everyone else seems to be having such a great time but you will thank yourself in the morning.  I utilize the old "Irish Goodbye" frequently, even though my wife doesn't approve of this! That is, saying you have to go the bathroom and never come back. 

There you have it- 3 articles on everything you need to know to survive your work conference or convention!

Follow me on Instagram @theshreddedsalesman for more tips.

 
 
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**This is part 2 of a 3 part series.  Part 1 is previous post.

Now to the main event that everyone has been waiting for- how do I eat and drink like a king on my work trip but not gain weight or feel like shit?  

At conferences, the reality is, meals progressively get worse throughout the course of the day.  More specifically, you are going to consume the most calories post 5pm between dinner, alcoholic beverages, and late night snacks.  So, doesn't it make sense to eat less earlier in the day to soften the blow?  Here are my favorite tricks:

On my most recent trip, I utilized the below strategies and actually came home two pounds lighter (while eating a ton of pleasurable food and consuming a moderate amount of alcohol).

Skip breakfast
No, it's not the most important meal of the day and no, you aren't going to starve if you don't eat it.  Your body is still busy processing food from the last meal before you went to bed so there are nutrients in your bloodstream.  Some people actually do 10 day water only fasts so I think we can handle 5-6 hours of not eating.  But what about being hungry?  Drinking lots of water when waking up and drinking 2-3 cups of black coffee throughout the morning will blunt even the worst hunger.  So, basically just have your first meal at lunch time.  This allows you to split up your calories over 2-3 meals instead of blowing a big part of your calorie budget on breakfast.   

Be strategic if you have to eat breakfast
Don't get the eggs.  Seriously, the way hotels/restaurants prepare scrambled eggs is the worst (loaded with oil, cheese, and butter).  You want to save all that stuff for later in the day.  Instead, your breakfast should be focused around protein and not on fat and carbs.  So, get a few slices of bacon, ask for an egg white omelette, and have some fruit.  Or, just grab a few bananas.

Use black coffee as a weapon
Black coffee = the most powerful weapon against hunger on the planet (mentioned above).  Save your coffee until you start experiencing hunger later in the morning.  Some artificial sweeteners or milk is fine to throw in.

Lunch
Just like breakfast, you want to focus around protein and save your carbs and fats for what will most likely be a calorie bomb for dinner.  Load up as much lettuce as you can fit on your plate and pile a few palm size servings of whatever protein source is available on top of it (chicken, steak, shrimp, fish, etc).  Feel free to throw in a small treat if you have a sweet tooth.

Enjoy Dinner
If you loosely follow the above guidelines, there should be plenty of calories left over where you don't have to worry about what you have for dinner.

Late Night Cravings
The obvious answer is the avoid the 3am pizza but this can be hard due to peer pressure or alcohol induced hunger.  So, if you must indulge do your best to limit the damage.  That means eat what you want but do it in moderation.  Instead of eating an entire pizza, eat two slices.  Instead of eating a double cheese burger with fries, just get the burger.

Stayed tuned next week for the final installment of this series which is all about alcohol!

Instagram: @theshreddedsalesman

 
 
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**This is going to be a three part article.  As I started writing, it became evident that certain areas like nutrition and alcohol needed their own spotlight.  


So, this is Part 1- General Tips to Surviving Your Work Conference/Convention!


To outsiders, work conferences and conventions sound like the greatest fucking thing on earth.  Take a break from the daily grind for a few days, travel to an exotic city like Las Vegas or Miami, and party like a rock star on your company's dime.  "What do you mean you're going to Vegas for work bro?  You are the luckiest person ever!"

However, for anyone who has actually participated in these events knows this is far from the truth.  The partying/wine and dine sessions are only a small part of the trip.  One word comes to mind to describe these mega events- exhausting.  Here's what a typical day looks like for most large companies (this is actually the agenda from my conference the week of 1/25/16):

06:00 am - 07:20 am     Breakfast
07:30 am - 11:20 am     Business Sessions 
11:20 am - 12:20 pm     Lunch
12:30 pm - 04:20 pm     Business Sessions 
05:00 pm - 06:00 pm     Open Time (gee thanks!)
06:00 pm - 06:45 pm     Cocktail Hour
07:00 pm - 10:00 pm     Dinner
10:00 pm - ?????????       Bar

The next day, breakfast starts at 06:30 am and repeat!

As you can see, that agenda is absolutely busting at the seams with activities.  Basically 2, 4 hour business sessions with minimal breaks during those hours.  It makes sense though- companies have a rare opportunity with all their employees/resources together at once so time has to be maximized.  What ends up happening though is the days kind of just roll into one another and you never get a chance to rest/recover to be at your best.  I even remember a few years where a bunch of co workers got sick when they got home, probably from pure exhaustion. 
 
I have enough conferences under my belt where I have a pretty good handle, through trial and error, on what to do and what not to do.  A survival guide of tips and tricks as some would call it. 

Without further ado, here is my Work Conference/Convention Survival Guide!  If you go on these trips, you definitely want to stay tuned for the next few weeks.  Follow me on instagram (@theshreddedsalesman) for updates.

General Tips:

Arrive Early
If your conference starts on Wednesday, fly in on Tuesday.  The extra cost for a hotel room is well worth it.  If you get to town the same day the conference begins, that probably means waking up super early to catch a flight and rushing to make the first session.  You are essentially pre-exhausting yourself for the rest of the trip and as you can see from the agenda above, there is really no time to rest and recover.  Coming in early allows for a golden opportunity to get 8 hours of sleep and relax so you perform optimally at your conference.

Working Out
Personally, I stopped trying to workout on these type of trips.  The travel beats you down and my lifts reflect that.  However, I do make sure to still burn calories.  You may not realize it but you will actually be doing a significant amount of walking at these events anyway.  In addition to that, I like to walk for 45-60 minutes each day which will burn as many calories as lifting weights or running a few miles.  

Hydration
Drinking plenty of water (at a minimum half your body weight in ounces if sedentary and much more if active) is important normally but even more so on trips.  The dry cabin air on a plane pulls any available moisture from your body thus leading to dehydration.  Moving to the hotel, they do a poor job of making water available so you will naturally be drinking less.  Throw in the higher than normal alcohol consumption and you are a dehydrated mess.  So, buy two of those large Smart Water or Fiji bottles at the airport, drink one on the plane and chug the other when you land.  Buy two more bottles either at the hotel or a convenience store.  That gives you about 1 gallon of water for the day which is plenty.  For the remaining days, drink as much water as you can tolerate when you wake up and make sure to include water in all your meals throughout the day and you'll be fine.

Part 2 and 3 will be focused on what most people struggle with at work events- nutrition and alcohol. 

 
 
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Close your eyes and think of a time in your life when you were the happiest you've ever been.  No stress or anxiety, just pure happiness.

Chances are, the moment in time you pinpoint was when you were a kid.  Even if you had a crappy upbringing; being a kid was pretty awesome - no responsibilities and days filled with Lunchables and Lite Brite.

The question I have is how come when we get older we stop doing the things that made us so happy at a younger age?  It's not like we stop liking those things just because an arbitrary number (age) says you should be more mature.  

Seriously, we only get one shot at life so who gives a shit if the stuff that makes you happy is outside of a social norm or something people half your age are supposed to do?  So many of us fall into the trap of doing what others say we should be doing.  I see the "live to work" mentality all the time in people and it's sad to watch because they don't even realize it. They aren't aware of what they are missing out on. 

I was one of them up until a few years ago.  I finally reached a boiling point with the grind all week/rest for 2 days/repeat mentality that America has done such a good job ingraining into our brains.  I decided to make a change that has enhanced my life in numerous ways- BE A KID AGAIN!  More specifically, start doing more of what I WANT to do and rediscover things I was passionate about but stopped doing for 20+ years.

While my main goal in doing this was to have more fun, an unexpected benefit has come in the form of stress management.  It's amazing how much of a de-stressor it is to come home at night after a long day and eat pancakes for dinner or write (like I did when I was 10).  It triggers this calming feeling, kind of hard to fully explain unless you feel it yourself.

So, give being a kid again a shot. Start by listening some things you used to enjoy and slowly start reintroducing them back into your life.  Here is my list to give you some ideas if you're stuck. 

The Shredded Salesman's KID List

Food
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Breakfast for dinner (specifically pancakes, french toast, waffles, and cereal)

Hobbies
  • Playing the guitar 
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Puzzles
  • Video games
  • Biking

 
 
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Eating in a calorie deficit, exercise, and tracking progress are the 3 pillars of a successful fat loss plan.  Without tracking properly, it's really hard to evaluate whether or not what you are doing is working.  There are so many metrics you can keep track of, but the most relevant measurements are waist size, body weight, and progress pics.  I'm all about making everything in life as simple as possible which ultimately leads to better adherence.  Tracking 10+ measurements like arm size, leg size, body fat percentage, hips, etc. is 1) unnecessary and 2) way too much work to stick with over time.

General Thoughts on How To Track

Pick a day of the week that is going to be your "check in" day.  I'd avoid using Monday because if you overeatSaturday/Sunday then you may have some water retention issues which can skew numbers.  A good suggestion is Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  Recording your waist, weight, and progress pics should be effortless and quick.  I track these plus some additional things and it takes me less than 2 minutes to do. 

The Details

1.  Waist Size
Waist measurements track FAT LOSS as opposed to weight measurements which track WEIGHT LOSS.  You want to be focused on fat loss.  A general rule of thumb is 1 inch = 5 pounds of fat.  So if you go from a 36 waist to a 35 waist, that is approximately 5 pounds of fat lost.  You might have a week where your weight doesn't budge but your waist is down 1/2 inch.  That is great progress but the scale would say otherwise! 

You are going to need a flexible measuring tape which is cheap.  Here is a link:
http://www.amazon.com/AccuFitness-MT05-MyoTape-Body-Measure/dp/B000G7YW7Y

To measure, stand in a relaxed position neither breathing in or out- just chillin'.  Position tape measure at belly button level and record circumference.  I track this in my notepad on my phone.


2.   Body Weight

The most accurate way to track weight is to weigh in each morning and take a weekly average of your weight (the Apple Health app actually averages out your weekly weight so there is no math to be done if you use it). Weight fluctuates so much day to day (this is normal) that it really doesn't make sense to rely on a single day to judge progress when your body, for example, may just be retaining more water than usual thus leading to a higher number on the scale. 

With weekly averages, this high day just gets thrown in with 6 others to provide an accurate snapshot of progress that week.  What if you lost 1 lb. in the previous week but on your weigh in day you just happened be 1 lb. heavier due to a normal weight fluctuation? You would think progress is going in the wrong direction and unnecessarily reduce calories even further.

How to accurately use the scale- wake up in the morning, go number 1, get naked, and hop on there.  It is critically important to do this the same way everyday.  Just drinking something as small as a glass of water will throw the number off.  Again, I record this data in Apple Health but myFitnessPal and several other apps track weight.

*Note- if you think weighing yourself everyday may lead to obsessing over the number, then stick to once a week.  However, I've found that weighing everyday actually has the opposite effect.  You get to see the crazy daily fluctuations, realizing they are normal which leads to less stressing about the number.


3.  Progress Pics
Progress pics have a bad rep because of all the Instagram idiots like @theshreddedsalesman posting them non stop.  I was totally against this concept until I tried it.  You are the last person to notice changes in your body composition because you see yourself every day.  Putting pics side by side separated by 1 month, 6 months, etc. are eye opening.  We are our biggest critics so pics allow for a more objective view of our fat loss journeys.

All you need is a camera phone, a spray tan, and some good lighting (just kidding on the last two).  How you take your pics is up to you, just make sure it's the same pic in the same location every time.  I literally just take a selfie in the bathroom mirror.  If you use myFitnessPal, they actually have a progress pic section now which is pretty cool.


Remember, tracking progress should be consistent and effortless.  As always, if you have any questions I am here to help.  Happy tracking!

 

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