Tag Archives: nutrition

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

12 Nov

Over the last two years, I’ve learned a LOT about weight loss, fitness, and nutrition. I’d like to think that I wasn’t totally ignorant before I started on this self-improvement journey. Generally speaking, I’m a reasonably smart guy. I have a college education from a prestigious school, I’m a big reader, and I’m naturally inquisitive. That all said, I WISH I had known then what I know now!

I’ve recently been having people ask for my help and guidance on how they can lose weight, get in shape, etc. At times been shocked at how ignorant people are about nutrition and fitness! The things people hold as self evident truths about fitness and nutrition, while silly to me now, are many of the same things that I believed once upon a time! Reflecting on it, I’ve thought of a few things that I wish I had known, or done a bit differently when I got started:

1) Don’t Start Over Your Head – I had a few failed attempts to whip myself into shape in years past. I bought P90X from Beachbody because of the flashy infomercial and super fit people doing the workouts on TV. Boy was that a mistake! Not because it isn’t a great program, but because it was WAY too advanced for me at the time. What ultimately got me to stick to a routine was not getting in over my head right away. In February of 2012, I started with Power 90 (which I call “P90X-light”). Power 90 is geared towards a typical fitness beginner. The workouts are shorter, and less intense than P90X which made them more approachable for me and helped me to stick with the program. I lost 33 pounds in 90 days on Power 90, and then couldn’t wait to tackle P90X from there. The moral of the story is to start slow. If you are truly trying to change your lifestyle, the important thing is that you start doing something. By biting off more than you can chew right away, you are likely to get frustrated and give up.

2) You MUST Focus On Nutrition – Ask any serious trainer, body builder, fitness model, etc., about their physical conditioning, and they will tell you that results are 75%+ nutrition. Ever hear the old adage, “you are what you eat?” This is so true! If you are serious about losing weight, improving physical performance, etc., you have to have a proper diet. You simply cannot out-exercise bad nutrition. A definition of “proper nutrition” however is a bit subjective. For me, proper nutrition has taken the form of adopting a Paleo diet. For more on this, I recommend the book The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. At a minimum though, I recommend people eliminate processed foods, minimize/eliminate wheat and grain, eliminate sugar, and eat more vegetables. I’ve experimented with a variety of nutrition schemes, and hands down Paleo has yielded the best results and made me feel and perform my best.

3) Have A Plan – If you are serious about losing weight and getting in shape, you need a plan. Just going to the gym and fiddling with the various equipment does not count. In order to have a plan, you need a goal – lose 30 lbs?, gain muscle?, train for a sport?, etc… Sometimes, your goal may be obvious. When I started, I was 227 lbs and had a 40″ waist dress pant. My goal was simple – LOSE WEIGHT! I adopted a plan that limited my calories and gave me a broad workout with a mix of circuit and cardio training. Whatever your goal is, make sure you are selecting a workout and nutrition regiment optimized to get you to your goal. While on your plan, I also found it very motivating to keep records. I tracked my body measurements and weight so I could visually track my progress. Before and after photos are also a great idea. Keeping a workout log in a notebook is a must. Monitoring your reps/weights and tracking them over time shows your progress. It also makes just keeping track of what to do workout to workout easier.

4) Educate Yourself – Reading about fitness and nutrition has been very important to me. I’ve learned a ton about the subject I didn’t know, I’ve “unlearned” things I thought I knew that was just wrong, and I’ve incorporated new things into my routines and nutrition that have vastly improved my results. Knowledge is power, so educate yourself!

Paleo Progress… and ideas

15 Oct

So, I’m about two weeks into my “hardcore” Paleo challenge. I feel AWESOME… strong, lean, and full of energy. I’m looking better too. Not quite time for comparison photo against my last entry, but that’s coming soon.

I got a haircut today and got to chatting it up with the girls in the salon. I mentioned “paleo”, and suddenly I was the Most Interesting Man in the World. Some knew a bit about it, others knew nothing. They asked for my explanation and peppered me with questions. After telling them you can eat all sorts of meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and tubers, the question that struck me was, “So, what do you actually eat?”

Obviously, eating paleo is hardly a limiting diet. There are literally thousands of foods in MILLIONS of combinations! That said, I do find my self struggling with food ideas sometimes. Like a lot of people, I fall into patterns of eating things that are easy, already prepared, or familiar. My wife especially struggles with this “what do I eat now” dilemma. Here are some tricks I’ve developed for keeping your taste buds excited on paleo:

1) Try new things — given that there are literally thousands of foods that are OK to eat while doing paleo, don’t be afraid to try new things! I found out that I love brussels sprouts, salmon, and kale. I had literally NEVER had any of these foods in my life, and now I am eating them daily or weekly. Give new foods a chance!

2) Get a paleo cookbook — I bought a great Paleo cookbook and I frequent the authors site for new ideas. I have tried about half the recipes already with great success! One thing paleo has showed me is that good food can also be prepared in exciting ways that is also DELICIOUS! The internet is also FULL of sites and blogs with paleo recipes you can try out.

http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Cooking-Elanas-Pantry-Gluten-Free/dp/1607745518

3) Make food in bulk — This is smart for any “healthy” eating plan. Every couple of weeks, my wife and I have a bulk food prep day where we make large batches of things so they are “ready” when we want them. I’ll make a tripe batch of meatloaf and then freeze individual serving sizes so I can take them to work. I’ll make a giant batch of paleo nut bars for snacks. I find that bulk food preparation is a great way to make sure you have things to eat when you need it, but also a great way to stay on track with your nutrition.