IIFYM: Part 2 Are you doing it right?

images4MRCJONZWe have all heard the phrase “IIFYM brah!” and have seen the endless number of Poptart pictures on Instagram. IIFYM has been huge in the diet and workout industry as of lately. Even my first post on IIFYM has seen the most hits out of all the ones here on my blog. I personally shift back and forth from eating things I WANT to eat and eating things I SHOULD eat when it comes to macro tracking. First let’s start with the three macros one tracks when dieting or bulking: Fat, Protein and Carbs. There are a ton of sites and ways to calculate your macros and calories. From IIFYM.com to the plethora of google results you can get just by typing it in, it might be hard to choose the right formula.

Fret no more! Direct your attention to this article written by a good friend of mine: Scott Herman Fitness Now this isn’t a shameless plug or a bit of spam. I’ve known him since we were in high school and his fitness success has exploded on the internet. You can find him on Youtube as well and follow all his free workout videos.

By calculating the correct number of calories and macro percentages based on your goals, you will find that losing weight or gaining weight can be very easy.

One of the biggest takeaways from IIFYM however is what you put into your body. Many of these IGers will swear by IIFYM and because they are lean and “make gainz” IIFYM and eating poptarts and pizza must be right. Here is where I disagree. There are so many chemical in today’s foods that by eating whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, can set your body up for self destruction later on. Why do I say this? Another good friend of mine recently beat cancer by changing his diet and incorporating raw greens juicing and healthy organic foods into his diet. He is a professional bodybuilder and admits to eating fast food at least once a week as his cheat meal before his cancer diagnosis. After cancer, he realized that more should go into what you put into your body. Forget about all the conspiracy theories and people who go for media drama and hype, there are a number of chemicals that are banned in other countries but not here in the US (for those readers who are outside of the US, check online to see if any other chemicals your nation might use are considered harmful).

By raw juicing and eating organic, grass fed beef and chicken, you can rid your body of the harmful chemicals that are snuck into your foods. While it’s great to look lean and cut, what good is that going to do you if you decrease your future quality of life? Be smart about this folks!!

Now I don’t claim to have vast amounts of knowledge in dieting and nutrition. However I’m sure this photo will prove that I have made great progress in trying to understand health and fitness:

 

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While it might be fun to eat poptarts and pizza, please consider the damage you may be causing to your body. Instead, focus on clean foods that will round out your macros while allowing yourself to cheat once and a while so you don’t binge on snack foods. If you have any questions on counting calories or macros, comment below and we will get back to you right away!

As always, following along on Instagram and come on over to our Facebook page Fitness by Claire

 

Favorite Paleo Pins of the Week!

I’ve considered doing a weekly post with some of my favorite food pins from Pinterest. Coming soon will also be Juice recipes for those of you who have picked up juicing like we just did. We have been doing it with a specific idea in mind: fight cancer. I don’t know how well it works, but we will find out in the coming months. For now, enjoy these Paleo Recipes!

Wheat Free Pancakes

Wheat Free Pancakes

 

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Almond Flour Breakfast BiscuitsIf you are not on pinterest you need to be on it! If you are then please click on this link and follow my boards! http://www.pinterest.com/levyii/boards

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

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I’m always looking for new and exciting recipes to try and I happened to stumble across this gem. I made it right away today and as you can see, I already dipped into it, for the sole reason of reporting how good it is of course! This recipe calls for basic ingredients, most of them should be in your pantry already. I put all my ingredients into MyFitnessPal recipes and it came out to 147 calories for 1/2 cup serving with 19g of carbs and only 6 grams of fat. The ingredients you will need are:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (not the quick cooking kind)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup. Now I use Walden Farms calorie free, gluten free, carb free, sugar free syrup

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  • 1 cup of milk (I used Pure Silk Coconut milk, made it taste awesome)
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 bananas (depending on the size of your baking dish)
  • 1 cup blueberries frozen or thawed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Lightly grease your 2 qt baking dish, I just used a stick of butter and rubbed the bottom. In a bowl, mix the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix it all up. In a separate bowl, mix syrup, milk, egg, butter and vanilla
  3. Cut up the bananas and place the slices across the bottom of your baking dish. In my glass 2 qt dish I used 1 1/2 bananas to do this. Cover the bottom with the bananas. Put half the blueberries on top of the bananas. Sprinkle the dry mix on top of the blueberries making sure to get an even layer out of it. Pour the liquid mix on top of the dry mix, don’t stir it up, just leave it on top.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the blueberries on top of the liquid mix and bake in the oven for 35-40 min or until the top is browned and the oats have set.

Enjoy!

Follow along on twitter or instagram and on pinterest

How to Beat the Thanksgiving Day Bulk

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Most Americans love the holidays. It is a time we get together with family, enjoy great food, and catch up on all that went on during the year. This is also the time where most Americans put on the most weight. With a spread like that pictured above, how can one NOT want to indulge during the holidays? Well if most of you are on a healthy diet or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then these tips will surely help you avoid the holiday weight gain many of us dread.

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Tip #1: Drink Responsibly

This seems like a no-brainer however, when we get together with family, there seems to always bee alcohol available, especially around the holidays. Sam Adams has their pumpkin brew and I’m sure many other companies have similar beers. But, did you know that for example, the carbohydrates found in one pint of Guinness are 100% sugar! Sugars are simple carbs, used up faster by the body and can create unwanted insulin spikes! This can cause you to eat more than you wanted and crave more of the sugary sweet stuff you’ve worked so hard to avoid.

Tip #2: Drink H2O

Drink a full glass of water before you sit down to your Thanksgiving day dinner. Many times it is hard to differentiate between hunger and dehydration and that second and third helping you have, may have been better served with just another glass of water.

Tip #3: The 70/30 Rule

70% of the food on your plate should be protein in the form of turkey, chicken, or any meat of your choosing. Preferably the meat should be the white meat as it is lower in fat, but if you must have the dark meat (let’s face it, it tastes much better) just even it out with a mix of white and dark. Your protein should be no larger than approximately 4oz (basically the size of your fist or a deck of cards). 30% of the food on your plate should be from complex carbohydrates in the form of green beans (NOT the casserole), wild rice, or sweet potatoes (again, NOT the casserole).

Your carbs should equal no more than 2-3oz (the size of the inside of the palm of your hand). And that extra 10% we haven’t covered? Enjoy a small helping of the item of your choice. It IS the holiday season and that DOESN’T mean you can’t enjoy a small taste of Grandma’s homemade stuffing! Just make sure it’s ONLY 10% of what you’re eating!

Tip #4: Dessert

Beware! This is where you can really pack on the calories! Restrict your dessert to an item no larger than the palm of your hand, or no bigger than the size of your thumb. (So that 7 layer cake is OUT of the question!) Many of you may not like this suggestion. Hell, I’m known in my family to eat two slices of pie with ice cream before everyone is done being served their own slice! However, desserts are filled with sugar, butter, and are so calorically dense, that you could take all the precautions during dinner and throw it right out the window at dessert. Remember what you are working for and use your wits when it comes to these sweets.

Tip #5: No Round-Trips through the Table!

No going back for seconds or thirds… yet. Get enough in the first pass to keep you from going back. Many times, you’ll attempt to fill the plate in your hand again, either wasting food you’ll find you’re too full to eat, or an additional meal’s worth of calories you didn’t really need to eat. Stay where you are and catch up with family you might not have seen for awhile. Many times you’ll find a 2nd trip unnecessary if you’ve followed some of the tips above.

Tip #6: Wait 20 Minutes…

You’re allowed a trip back to the buffet… IF you wait 20 minutes first.

Wait 20 minutes after you’ve eaten your big holiday meal. If you’re still truly hungry, go back for a smaller version of whatever you’re hungry for.

However, chances are, after that 20 minute wait you’ll find you’re pleasantly satisfied. Why? It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to get the message to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Scarfing down a 2nd helping of Aunt May’s sweet potato casserole before your stomach has had time to get that memo to your brain can result in the top button of your pants relieving itself from the buttonhole without you even realizing it!

Tip #7: The Workouts

Try to get a good workout in the morning of Thanksgiving if your gym is open. If it’s not, go for a run. By burning off some calories you can increase your caloric deficit, helping you when it comes time to eat. You can also use Thanksgiving dinner as a refeed option and won’t have to feel as guilty or watch those calories so closely. The day after thanksgiving, while everyone is fighting each other in lines for Black Friday, go to the gym again. I’m almost positive they will be close to empty the day after, but not so much the Monday that follows. (Everyone feels guilty about the weekend they just had and all rush to the gym to work it off in one workout, we all know that won’t work!)

Tip #8: Diet Wisely Leading Up to Thanksgiving

Since weight loss or gain is determined based on calorie balance over time rather than day to day fluctuations, if you can create a decent calorie deficit during the week leading up to the meal, after you have that higher calorie meal on Thanksgiving, you’ll actually just set yourself back closer to baseline.

For example, even if you can remove 200 calories from your daily diet starting on Monday leading up to Thanksgiving that will be 600 additional calories you can add. Depending on where your calories are, 200 may seem like a lot. I know for me, if I eliminated 200 a day, I’d be down to 1100 calories a day, and I’d be hungry all week, which could be dangerous. Those of you on a bulk during the winter months, this might be a bit easier for you to do. If you are already on a caloric defict, try reducing by 50-100 calories a day.

Given a typical dinner meal of 500 calories, this allows you to eat 1100 calories that meal without gaining any weight (note that you may have typical dinner meals of more or less calories than this so the number would have to be adjusted).

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I know we won’t be doing much for Thanksgiving this year, I may cook a turkey, haven’t decided yet. However, I hope these tips will help some of you avoid feeling so guilty during the holidays. Family should understand your healthy lifestyle and help you rather than hinder you during this time. I know I love the holidays. In fact, it’s hard to go grocery shopping now as all the ingredients for ginger bread houses and pumpkin pies are screaming my name as I walk down the aisle (or atleast that’s how I see it!). By staying motivated and allowing yourself to relax a bit during the holiday, it will allow you to reduce your stress levels, which we know creates cortisol and increases body fat all on its own.

Fitness Facts: SUGAR

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Watch your sugar intake this Halloween!

🔹In moderation, sugar is an important and vital part of your diet. It is either used as an immediate energy source or saved for later use in your muscles, liver, or body fat.
🔹The body releases insulin when it detects too much sugar in the bloodstream to filter it out & store it for later. The problem with excess sugar intake is the excess insulin causes the sugar to be stored directly as body fat.
🔹A diet high in sugar can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, & type-2 diabetes.
🔹2 main forms of sugars are refined & unrefined. Refined sugars come in sources like table sugar, candy, & pastries. Unrefined sugars are found in fruits, some vegetables, & other natural foods.
🔹Foods that contain refined sugars are normally less healthy because the sugar content is usually high, the products usually include other unhealthy ingredients, & are usually high in calories.
🔹Foods that contain unrefined sugars are more beneficial because they are generally more nutrient dense, usually containing more vitamins, minerals, & fiber.
🔹Sometimes when the body’s blood sugar levels are low it causes sugar cravings. If you’re going to eat sugar, get it from naturally occurring sweeteners fruit, dark chocolate, or yogurt. Be careful of fruit consumption at night as the natural fructose in sugar can be stored as fat if unused.
🔹Another way to curb sweet cravings is to use an artificial sweetener. One of the best to use is organic Stevia. Stevia can be found in your grocery store as drops or packets.
🔹The best time to consume sugar is post-workout. It helps carry nutrients to muscles, refuels energy storage, & helps aid recovery.
🔹If your primary goal is weight loss, minimizing sugar consumption can help decrease the amount of fat your body stores.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE #FITNESSFACTS

5 Halloween Treat Myths You Should Know!

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Halloween is fast upon us. Most of you have picked out your costumes, RSVP’d to your parties and have purchased candy to hand out to trick or treaters. For those of you trying to maintain a strict diet and weightloss program, this particular day may be difficult. With so much chocolate and sweet treats floating around, it could be difficult to pass it all up. Here we will provide you with 5 Halloween Treat myths to help you stay on track.

1. The Sugar Free Candy Myth

Just because it says “sugar free” it does not mean to go ahead and indulge in these candies. If you are looking at the sugar free hard candies, then you would be right in your assumption that they have fewer calories per piece. However, it is the sugar free chocolate candies you should watch out for. They tend to contain plenty of fat calories and can be worse in total calorie consumption compared to a sugar filled gummy candy.

2. The Size Illusion

Halloween candy is all about those cute fun sized little packages that make you think because it’s small, its ok to have. Let’s look at it this way: If you were to eat a full sized candy bar you probably would feel a little guilty after cosuming it, no? It wouldn’t impact your diet too much unless you are really cutting out sugar and you would continue about your day. This fully sized chocolate bar might contain 250-400 calories depending on what you ate. Now lets look at the bite sized candies. They typically have 70-100 calories per mini bar. The problem is, you might find yourself reaching for another an hour later, and then another, and then another. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a good 8-10 of the tiny candies, giving you 800-1000 calories to your day….at night! OH MY!

3. Dark Chocolate

When comparing dark chocolate to milk chocolate, yes, dark chocolate is the lesser of two evils. It will never be as healthy as an apple, a bowl of oatmeal or chicken breast. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of consuming large amounts of dark chocolate on Halloween. Keep your portions in check!

4. Raisins

Many people opt for the chocolate covered raisins over the chocolate covered peanuts. They seem to think that since raisins are fruit, they must be the better choice…..right? Well if you look at the macros, 20 grams of raisins have 90 calories, 3.2 grams of fat, 14.4 grams of carbs (13.6 of them from sugar) and 0.8 grams of protein.  20 grams of chocolate covered peanuts on the other hand, contain 109 calories, 6.7 grams of fat, 9.8 grams of carbs (only 7.6 grams from sugar) and 2.5 grams of protein. The fats in the peanuts are healthy fats and if you maintain good portion control, the peanuts get the win in this one!

5. How to Avoid Snacking

The trouble people have is reaching into that bowl in between the trick or treaters. One trick to ward off those cravings is to buy candy that you are not a fan of. Don’t go and buy your favorite peanut butter cups and butterfingers (I am guilty of this one!) but instead buy the candy you don’t really like, this way you are less inclined to reach into the bowl and snack!

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe, keep the diet in check, and we will see you again for how to maintain a good diet during Thanksgiving! Follow along on Twitter @levyii

The Top 10 Vitamins That Should Be in Your Diet

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If you’re focused on results such as losing body fat or increasing the amount of lean muscle mass you have on your body, taking care of your total calorie, carb, protein, and dietary fat intake will be essential. It is these nutrients that will determine how your body composition changes as time goes on.

Water Soluble Vitamins

    1 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

The primary purpose for vitamin B1 in the body is to help your body make use of the carbohydrates you take in on a daily basis, utilizing the nutrient for energy.

Another main purpose for this nutrient is to promote a healthy nervous system where it will help maintain proper nerve transmission throughout the cells.

Where To Get It: One of the best sources of vitamin B1 in the diet comes from sunflower seeds, with a quarter cup supplying almost 50% of your daily needs. Other good sources include yellowfin tuna, black beans, and lentils.

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    2 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Another variation of the B vitamins, riboflavin helps the body break down and process the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats), as well as promoting a healthy skin complexion.

    3 Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is a third B vitamin and also plays a key role in energy production and maintaining the nervous system. In addition to this, is also promotes a healthy digestive system.
Where To Get It: Chicken breast meat is a really good source if niacin and provides 72% of your daily needs per 5 oz serving. Other foods that contain niacin include yellowfin tuna, halibut, and turkey breast.

    4 Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most widely recognized vitamins for its role in helping fight off colds. It does this due to its antioxidant properties that will also help to keep your immune system safe from free radicals you encounter. Finally, vitamin C is important for maintaining proper connective tissues throughout the cartilage and tendons in the body.

Where To Get It: Vitamin C

    5 Biotin

Biotin is a nutrient that also allows your body to maximize the use of the other nutrients it receives and will help to maintain your red blood supply.

Since your body relies on red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body, it will be especially vital for those who are participating in regular physical activity.

Where To Get It: Unfortunately biotin is not found readily in high amounts in many foods at all, therefore your best bet is to make sure you’re taking a good multivitamin that contains this nutrient. The food sources it can be found in, although in lower amounts include liver, legumes, swiss chard, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and almonds.

    6 Folic Acid

Folic Acid is an especially important vitamin for females who are expecting or who are trying to become pregnant because it helps to prevent neural tube birth defects. In addition to this, it will also help with the reproduction of new cells in the body and prevent anemia

Fat Soluble Vitamins

    7 Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has the primary function of ensuring healthy vision and helps keep the immune system going strong since its key for the mucous membrane development. It also plays a role in bone growth, so it’s important for younger individuals to ensure they are getting enough.

Where To Get It: One of the best sources of vitamin A are carrots, with a single cup supplying over 600% of your daily needs. After that, other good sources include spinach, sweet potato, winter squash, and turnips.

    8 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ since our bodies can manufacture this themselves when enough direct sunlight is given. The purpose of vitamin D in the body is to aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, ensuring your bones grow strong and healthy.

Where To Get It: Apart from the natural source of sunlight, vitamin D is primarily found in milk that’s been fortified, as well as salmon, shrimp, and whole eggs. One glass of milk will give you about 25% of your total needs, so drinking milk regularly is a good way to get both calcium and vitamin D at the same time.

    9 Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another nutrient that acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps to promote a healthy immune system. In addition to that, it also helps with the flow of blood and also plays a key role in repairing the body’s tissues, so it’s important for recovery purposes from your workouts.

Where To Get It: One of the best sources of vitamin E is sunflower seeds, with a quarter of a cup giving you almost 90% of your daily needs. Other good sources to add to your diet include almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, and turnip greens.

    10 Vitamin K

Finally, the last vitamin that you should pay attention to in your diet is vitamin K, which is important for ensuring your blood clots. If you cut yourself and are low in this nutrient, it could become a very serious situation, so something you don’t want to take lightly.

Where To Get It: A very good source of vitamin K is kale, with one cup providing you over 1000% of your daily needs. Other good sources that are fairly common include spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and romaine lettuce.

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Fast Food…Can I Really Eat It?!

Nowadays people are learning that fast food is NOT good for you. Yes it’s cheap, yes it’s easy, even I ate it religiously as a kid (Mcnuggets anyone?). However, it’s time to face the reality that this food is simply poison entering your body…think that’s an extreme accusation? Head over here if you think so
There is however a better alternative to McD’s, Burger King or even Long John Silver (please for the love of god if you eat here, STOP. it was rated as having THE worst fast food items ever!). Chick-Fil-A is a favorite spot of our family. First, its chicken, who doesn’t love chicken? Second, if you take a look at the caloric value, it’s really not as bad as the rest of them. Ok, so where DO I get the nutritional information you may ask? Well right here! I found a pamphelt while chowing down on some nuggets the other day and took the liberty of taking a few photos to share with everyone.

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This first image is a picture of Chick-Fil-A’s classic meals. This includes their chicken club sandwiches and nuggets. Now the Spicy Chicken Deluxe has the highest amount of calories at 570. This is to be expected with a large piece of chicken between a bun. These caloric values though do not include the waffle fries that come with the meal or the large soda most people order. This next photo is simply of the ingredients that go into their sandwiches that are listed above:

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So now that we have seen just what Chick-Fil-A uses in their food we can all rest a little easier. If you are craving fast food and have a Chick-Fil-A nearby, stop on over for a decent meal. Just remember that they are closed on Sundays!!