Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

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“I’m gunna start working out because I want to lose X amount of pounds/kilos”. If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. You might have said it yourself or have heard a friend say it. The reason I bring this up is because the general population believes that solely the scale can track progress. While losing weight will definitely bring you closer towards your target body, it won’t be of much use once you actually hit your target weight. I very rarely, if ever, look at the numbers on my scale. If I were to hop on a scale now I’d probably be sitting around 180-185 lbs. You may be wondering how I measure my progress if I don’t watch my weight. What I’m going to tell you might surprise you. Ready? Drum roll…..the secret to getting your perfect body is the mirror. Crazy right! It can’t get much simpler! Let me explain how I’ve come to this conclusion.

When I started working out I was skinny-fat and I weighed around 135 pounds. I needed to lose fat on my body but I was actually really light.  Typically when somebody has a higher amount of body fat they’ll immediately think losing weight will give them the body they want. I’m here to tell you that’s not necessarily the answer. I’ve seen people that look like they’re 180 pounds of pure muscle, when in reality they weigh 160 pounds. After my phase with p90x, I weighed around 175 and had some good muscle definition but I wanted bigger more defined muscles. 3 months later, I looked like I gained 10 pounds of muscle and weighed myself and was 2 pounds heavier at 177 pounds. How is it possible that I looked a lot heavier when I actually only gained 2 pounds? Would I have been as successful if I only used scale to track my progress?! No way!! DO NOT TRACK PROGRESS SOLELY WITH THE SCALE, TRACK PROGRESS BASED ON HOW YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR VS. WHAT YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE. That’s right, all caps, if you know what’s good for you, caps usually mean something important, so take it in again. MIRROR > Scale. 

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you how to track progress by using the mirror. The thing you’ll be focusing on changing is your body composition. Body composition is basically the amount of fat vs. the amount of muscle on your body. If you think you need to lose weight then you probably have a higher amount of body fat and want to convert that into muscle. I’ve found that my weight generally fluctuates 5 pounds,  give or take, from my starting weight. I like to eat just above my maintenance calories (to find yours click here)  with a macronutrient split of about 40% Protein 40% Carbs 20% Fats. This is generally my starting point when I start a program and I adjust the ratio based on how I look in the mirror. If a couple weeks down the road, I don’t see the definition I want, then I’ll replace a serving of complex carbs with a serving of fibrous carbs. I’ll eat this way for a week and then make any necessary adjustments again. I’ve found this method of measuring progress to be the best for me because instead of worrying about my weight, I can focus on how my body looks, which is, in essence, the main goal. We’re trying to shape and build a body that we want. You have to be able to visualize what you want your body to look like to get there. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of people with amazing bodies that you aspire to build. Use that as motivation. Recognize that the mirror will give you a better measure of your progress towards that dream body than the scale. You can see abs and muscles in the mirror but you can’t see those on the scale. How are you going to get closer to achieving that dream body if you’re only focused on the numbers on the scale?! You won’t, it’s as simple as that!

You can find everything you need to build your dream body on this blog. Use the nutrition articles to find out your maintenance calories and to create a meal plan, try my workout routines and continuously check progress in the mirror and adjust your nutrition accordingly. Results will follow and you may just be surprised of what you’re capable of looking like!!

Good luck and train hard friends!

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Looking for bulging biceps with peaks the size of Everest?! You’ve found the right place. These workouts will have those arms bear hugging your sleeves within a couple of months. These are some of my favourites that help me build strong and powerful arms. I like to keep it intense by performing several different rep ranges within a workout, using dropsets, supersets and short rests to stimulate different muscle fibers in the arms and grow those puppies. Try one of these workouts the next time you train arms and see for yourself. Let me know how you like these workout by commenting!!

Workout #1

 Rest between 45-60 seconds after completing all exercises in the superset before performing the next set.

  • Superset: (A) Barbell Curl 4 sets of 6 reps (B) Close-Grip Bench Press 4 sets of 6 reps {Increase weight with each set, rest for 75 seconds)  
  • Superset: (A) Dumbell Hammer Curls 4 sets of 8-10 reps (B) Overhead Triceps Extension 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Superset: (A) Cable Straight Bar Curl 4 sets of 25-30 (B) Tricep Extension 4 sets of 25-30

 

Workout #2 

Rest 45 seconds between sets.

  • Barbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10,8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Incline Dumbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Spider Curl 3 sets of 10 {Keep same weight}
  • Tricep Extension 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 sets of 10,8,6 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 sets of 15 {Position yourself between two benches, and have a spotter put some plates onto your hips. Drop down into the dip and extend, that’s one, let’s hit another fourteen}

Workout #3

Rest 45 seconds, and add on 15 seconds until you finish your fifth set. Rest 120 seconds before hitting another 10 reps, then decrease by 15 second intervals as you move up the rep range

  • EZ Bar Curl 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50
  • Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50

 

Workout #4

Rest 60 seconds for the first two exercises, then use short 45 second rests to keep the intensity up and the blood flowing into the muscle.   

  • Bicep Barbell Curl 10 sets of 10
  • Skull Crushers 10 sets of 10
  • Superset: (A) Preacher EZ Bar Curl 3 sets to failure (B) DB Single Arm Preacher Curl 3 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Tricep Extension 3 sets to failure (B) Dips 3 sets to failure

Workout #5

Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets. I want intensity here and maximal blood flow to the muscles. Let’s put some power into those arms.

  • Straight Bar Curls 3 triple dropsets of 10, 10, 10
  • Incline Dumbell Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Standing Hammer Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Tricep Extensions 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 heavy sets of 8,8,8
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 triple dropsets till failure (Start with a 45 lb plate and rep out to failure, have a spotter replace the 45lb plate with a 35lb plate, rep out again, then replace the 35 lb plate for a 25 lb plate, rep out, rest and repeat)

What’s up everyone. Here are some of my favourite shoulder workouts that I like to cycle between when trying to put some size on my delts, while dialing in the striations by utilizing various training methods, including supersets, dropsets, rest-pause and german volume training. Try these out and see how effective they are for yourself!

Workout #1

  • 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 8* rep Behind the Neck Seated Military Press

 (Increase weight with each set, on the last set perform a triple drop set, hit 8 reps with the weight, drop the weight and rep through the next few until failure, drop the weight again and pump them out)

  • 1 set of 50 reps of Lying Upright Cable Row  

Pick a lighter weights here and rep out to 50. Take as many breaks as you want but don’t stop until you hit this number.

  • 3 Sets of 12 reps One-Arm Cable Lateral Raises superset with 10 reps of

Barbell Front Raise

This one will BURN. Pick a relatively lighter weight and rep out 12 lateral raises on the cable per arm. Immediately after, grab a lighter straight bar (I use 40lbs) and lift the bar with straight arms to eye level, bring down and raise again, with straight arms, over your head, that’s one rep. Perform 10 more.

  • 3 sets of 12 reps Hyperextension DB Reverse Flyes superset with 12 reps of Cable Face Pulls

Position the pads on the hyperextension bench so that you can hand over with your lower body stable and locked in. Bend over as if you were to do a hyperextension, and with dumbells in hand, perform a reverse flye. After you’ve hit your numbers move on to the cable machine and set the cable with the tricep ropes at eye level. Grab the rope and pull the rope towards your face.

  • 10 sets of 10 rep Arnold Press on Swiss Ball

This is the final burner and will kill all heads of the shoulder. Grab a swiss ball and some light dumbells, maybe 40% of your 10 RM (I use 17.5 lbs) and perform 10 reps. Stop, count to 10 000, by thousands in your head. And perform another 10. Follow this method until you hit all ten sets. You’re shoulders will be toast by now.

Workout #2

Rest 60-90 seconds between reps.

  • Arnold Press 4 sets of 12 superset with Standing Military Barbell Press 4 sets of 8
  • Seated Lateral Raises 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12 superset with seated front raises 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12
  • Reverse Machine Flye 3 sets of 10 superset with Reverse Cable Flyes  3 sets of 12

 

Workout #3

Rest between 60 -90 seconds between reps.

  • Shoulder Press 3 x 8-12
  • Upright Row 3 x 8-12
  • Lateral Raises 3 x 8-12
  • Front Raise 3 x 8-12
  • Seated Reverse DB Fly 3 x 8-12

 

Workout #4

  • Barbell Shoulder Press 4 sets of 30,20,10,5 superset Lying Upright Row 4 sets of 30,20,10,5
  • DB Arnold Press 4 sets of 5, 10, 20, 30 superset DB Lateral Raise 4 sets of 30,20,10,5

** REST starts at 45 seconds and increases 15 seconds until you hit the set with 5 reps, rest for 90 seconds, then move on to the second round of exercises going from 90 seconds back down to 45.

Workout #5

  • Machine Shoulder Press (Body facing towards machine) 4 sets of 12, 10, 6, 6

Performing machine shoulder presses facing towards the machine will put a focus on the anterior (front) head of the shoulder.

  • One-Arm Lateral Raise 4 sets of 12 reps superset Lateral Raises 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Straight Bar Front Raise (Eye-Level) 4 sets of 12 reps superset Straight Bar Front Raise (Arms Fully Extended Over Head)  4 sets of 12 reps
  • Pronated Dumbell Reverse Rows 4 sets of 10, 12, 15, 20

 

Pancakes..mmm.. who doesn’t love them! Thought eating healthy was boring? You’ll think again after you’ve had some delicious banana chocolate protein pancakes. These are some of my favourites to make! They’re delicious. They’re healthy and they’re convenient. You can make these the night before and heat them up next morning if you’re usually out the door before eating breakfast. If not these can be the perfect  breakfast,post-workout meals, or meal anytime during the day. So easy to make, you’ll be wondering how you lived without em!

Here are the ingredients and the recipe with pictures to help you follow along!

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1/4 cup oat flour ( I use Quaker Instant oats and the nutribullet to mill the oats into flour. You can also buy oat flour at health stores, but their pretty expensive, so I prefer this little improve).

3 egg whites (You can also use liquid egg whites, just use the nutrition info to calculate the equivalent of 3 egg whites).

1 scoop of protein powder (I use Kaizen Whey Protein because it’s natural, without any GMO’s or gluten, and it doesn’t give me stomach problems. You can also use any type of protein powder; whey, casein, egg, oat, hemp, etc.

1 medium-size organic banana 

1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of organic coconut oil

Preparation:

  1.  Mix the dry ingredients (oat flour, cinnamon, and protein powder into the bowl).
  2. Mash the banana into a smooth consistency and add the to bowl.
  3. Break (or pour) the 3 egg whites into the bowl and mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Place a pan on the stove and set it to medium. Grab a Tbsp of coconut oil, and coat the pan with it.
  5. After all the ingredients are mixed you should have a lightly runny consistency. Pour some from the bowl onto the pan.

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6. Let it sit for a 1 minute or two, until you can slide the spatula under it without any resistance. Flip it for another minute     Repeat these steps until the bowl, is empty. This mixture made me 3 smaller pancakes and one bigger pancake.

**OPTIONAL: Pending on your goals, you can add this!! I don’t like to eat my pancakes dry, so I used a Tbsp of 100% pure organic maple syrup. I’m in Canada so this stuff is amazing and its available to me. I tend to stay away from the calorie-free, sugar-free syrups because they are full of ingredients that aren’t very good for the body. Pure maple syrup has natural sugars and has more antioxidants then blueberries and spinach. So with a little moderation, you can eat these natural sugars on occasion. Unless your allergic, in any case, natural honey and agave syrup are good alternatives!!

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I used this as breakfast, but the mix of protein and low-glycemic will release nutrients into my blood through the next couple of hours until I re-feed. As mentioned earlier, these are super convenient, easy to prepare and will provide a sustained energy release. If you haven’t tried them, have a go and let me know what you think!!

Nutritional Info:

Per 1 Serving

Calories: approx. 100 calories

Protein: 9.45 grams

Carbohydrates: 4.68 grams

Fats: 4.125 grams

Abs….we all want them. They’re usually the first muscle noticed and their high sex appeal doesn’t hurt either. Let me teach you a bit about yours, so all you jackedudes can chisel those bad boys out and all you jacketettes can sport a tight, flat stomach!

What we know as the abs are actually a group of four muscles. These are the:

  1. Rectus Abdominus
  2. External Obliques
  3. Internal Obliques
  4. Transversus abdominis

The rectus abdominus is the flat muscle at the front of your stomach that, when body fat is low enough, provides that “6 pack” appearance. It’s main functions include the flexion of the lumbar spine and compressing the abdominal contents. The first of the three anterolateral muscles (muscles that wrap around the sides of your body), the external obliques, are located at the side and the front of the abdomens. Their main functions consist of unilateral and bilateral actions. The unilateral, or one sided actions, include contralateral rotation and ipsilateral side flexion. Big words right? Have no fear, let me explain. A contralateral rotation just means that the muscles on the right move the trunk to the left. An ipsilateral side flexion is simply a same sided flexion, the muscles on the right flex the right side of the abdomen. Moving on we have the internal obliques, which lie underneath the external obliques and run in their [external obliques] opposite direction. The internal obliques share the same functions as the external obliques, which we can see if we scroll back up. The final layer of muscle, the transversus abdominus, is the deepest muscle in the abdominals and is tasked with stabilizing the back and maintaining abdominal pressure. An example of when we use this muscle is when we go to poop and pee. When you’re pooping and going for the kill, those final pushes are recruiting the transverse abdominus. Pooping your way to abs, wouldn’t that be something! Unfortunately, its not that easy. Let me give you some of my best tips and movements to build your own set.

Before I get into the movements and tips, I want you to chisel this into your brains! Having visible abs is only possible when your nutrition is in check. Notice how I said nutrition, not diet. That’s because your changing your lifestyle here, this isn’t some diet fad that you complete over a month and then go back to junk food for breakfast. It doesn’t work that way. Proper nutrition leads to lower body fat which leads to visible abs. That’s on you. This is your life. Your transformation. Your body. Imagine  your favourite car. Now imagine your favourite car as your body… are you gunna feed yourself shitty 87 grade fuel or super 91. Which one is going to provide you with the better long term performance? The 87 or 91? I hope you get my point.. nutrition is like 80% of the battle for that six pack or tight core you’re looking for. Dial it and results will come. Now how to make those abs pop and those tummies tight!

To those of you who might be doing thousands of sit ups or crunches a day naively believing your going to get a six pack, I advise you to read this and see if it changes your mind. I, for one, am unorthodox when it comes to training my abs. I feel this way because I don’t often directly train my abs. I’ll do some targeted ab work here and there but no religious schedule or workouts. That’s me! I do, however, do a lot of indirect ab work that recruits the abdominals to stabilize my body and keep my  lower back from snapping. Sounds a bit harsh, but I’ve taken a new look on training my core. I like to put the body outside of its comfort zone. This is how I see it. 3 sets of 15 crunches vs 3 sets of squats with a heavy barbell on your upper back, and your abs are stabilizing your body; preventing you from snapping. It’s a bit vulgar but its how I train. Stabilization. Heavy weight isn’t the only solution, take away balance and your in a new world. I do a lot of work with stability balls and bosu balls to build my core. Calisthenics is also a great discipline I use to build my core. When I do train my abs directly, there are a few favourites I have that always manage to kick my ass.

My favourite ab exercises are:

  • Toe-to-Bar Leg Raise
  • Roman Chair Oblique Leg Raise
  • Decline Crunches
  • Swiss Ball Crunch
  • Swiss Ball Bicycles
  • Jackknife
  • Cable Crunches
  • Cable Oblique Crunches (Chops)
  • Windshield Wipers (*advanced )
  • Back and Front Levers (*advanced movements)
  • Hanging Leg Raises

Doing these exercises will provide you with little visible progress unless your body fat is low enough. You’ll need to have your nutrition in check and be consistently active!! You can do it, no excuses, if you want it, you’ll get there. Use your new knowledge of your abs along with these exercises and clean nutrition, and you’ll the that jacked you in the mirror that you’ve always dreamed of!!

A favourite of mine and all guys a like, and ladies, if this isn’t one of your favourites, it soon will be. All men want big, full, peaked biceps and horseshoe tri’s. For the ladies, tight and toned does the job. Nobody wants flabby arms, the fix? Read on.

Section A – The Anterior (Flexor) Arm Muscles

First we will take a look into the flexor muscles in the arm known by normal people as biceps and by gym rats worldwide as guns. As you can see, there are 3 flexor muscles that make the “biceps”. These are the:

  1. Biceps Brachii
  2. Brachialis
  3. Pronator Teres

The largest muscle you’ll notice is the biceps brachii. The term bicep means two heads, and the biceps brachii has both a long head and a short head. These heads work together to allow flexion at the elbow and shoulder, as well as supination (holding with an underhand grip). The brachialis is the main flexor of the forearm and the pronator teres flexes the forearm at the elbow and allows us to pronate at the forearm. What does this all mean? Essentially, it means that the main job of the bicep is to allow the arm to flex at the elbow.

How do we work them out? Well this one is pretty self explanatory. We’ve all seen pictures of massive men with bulging biceps curling heavy looking weights. As flexors, the best way to build and develop the biceps is to add weight to any movement that involves flexing the arm. With that said, there are a variety of exercises we can perform to hit the biceps from all angles and get em growing, or in the case of women, tight and toned. My favourites include:

  • Supinated Dumbell Curl
  • Barbell Curl (*Works wonders for adding size to the guns)
  • EZ Bar Curl (Wide Grip/Close Grip)
  • Preacher Curl ^
  • Concentration Curl ^
  • Spider Curl ^
  • Incline DB Curl ^
  • Overhead Cable Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Pronated Curls
  • One-Arm Cable Curls
  • 21’s ( These are DEATH)

^ – These four lifts limit the amount of momentum of the movement and therefore really isolate the bi’s and are effective in giving your biceps that highly sought after peak!

Section B – The Posterior (Extensor) Arm Muscle

If the term “bicep” means two heads, how many heads do you think the triceps have? If your answer was three, you’re correct! The Triceps Brachii, or more commonly referred to as triceps or tri’s, have 3 heads that make up the muscle. These are:

  1. Long Head
  2. Lateral Head
  3. Medial Head

The long head is the longest head of the triceps. As you can see in the photo, it runs down the arm alongside the body. The medial head is found in the middle back portion of the upper arm and the lateral side is found on the outer side of the arm, it completes the triceps and gives it that distinct “horseshoe” look. The  main function of the triceps is to straighten the arm by extending at the elbow, while the long head of the arm also works simultaneously to bring the arm down toward the body.

The triceps are trained using push movements that require the arms to be extended at the elbow. Some of my absolute favourite tricep exercises are:

  • Overhead DB Extension (*great burn)
  • French Press
  • Close-Grip Bench Press (*beast for adding size to them tri’s)
  • Skull Crushers +
  • Cable Extensions +
  • One-Arm Extensions^
  • Rope Extensions +
  • Bodyweight Dips
  • Weighted Dips +
  • Dumbell Kickbacks
  • Overhead Barbell Extension ^
  • Bent Overhead Cable Extension^

^ – These exercises are great for burning out the triceps

+ – These exercises are great for adding size to the triceps with heavier working loads.

There we have it folks, the complete go-to guide to building your arms. Now that you have a better understanding of the anatomy of the arms, lets get to growin! Until next post everyone, stay jacked!!

Nothing tops of an upper body, nicer than a set of defined shoulders. On both men and women, defined shoulders compliment the rest of the upper body and also play an important role in daily functionality. Have a read into the anatomy of shoulders and built them to your liking!

The muscle that we know as the shoulders are  actually called the deltoids!

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The deltoids have three main heads, these are:

  1. The Anterior head
  2. The Middle head
  3. The Posterior head

All three shoulder heads work together to allow the arm to raise away from the midpoint of the body (known as abduction). So when you are standing with your arms to your sides and you raise them to shoulder level, you’re deltoids are engaged and make this possible. The important thing that I want you to remember is that there are 3 heads in the delts! Why is this important? Because each head can be worked with specific exercises, and by combining exercises that work all three heads we can create a workout thats hit the whole delt and build some beautiful tennis ball delts.

As with the chest, working out the delt consists of performing push movements. There are movements that we can use to add size and thickness to the delts, and there are also some movements that we use to shape and define the deltoids and really get those striations showing.

To add size to the delts, I recommend doing a variation of pressing movements, the heavier weight will tear apart the muscle tissue in the shoulder and rebuild huge delts. The presses work the whole deltoid, all three heads included, and below you’ll find some of my favourite exercises for slapping on size to those delts:

  • Standing Military Press
  • Seated Military Press
  • Behind the Head  Barbell press
  • Arnold Press
  • DB Press
  • Handstand Pushup
  • Hammer Shoulder Press
  • Korean Dips

To really shape and define the delts, we use raises to target the anterior, middle, and posterior heads of the delts. These are isolation movements and really provide a deep burn when done correctly.

To target and shape the anterior (front) deltoid head, we use the following exercises:

  • DB Front Raise
  • Incline Front Raise
  • Barbell Front Raise
  • Low-Cable Front Raise
  • One-Arm Low-Cable Front Raise
  • Seated Front Raise
  • Front Raise w/t plate and twist

To target and shape the middle deltoid head, we can use any of these exercises:

  • DB Lateral Raise
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • One-Arm Lat Raise
  • Seated Lat Raise
  • Incline Lat Raise

To isolate and shape the posterior (back) deltoid head, we use any variation of the reverse flye:

  • Reverse Cable Flye
  • Reverse Machine Flye
  • Bent Reverse DB Flye
  • Seated DB Reverse Flye
  • Lying DB Reverse Flye
  • Seated Reverse Cable Flye

There we have it everyone! As you can see, the deltoids are one of the smaller muscle groups on the body but they still require attention and targeted training to be built. Well built delts complement a big back and a solid chest, so use the provided exercises to target the delts, destroy them and get jacked. Until next post everyone,stay fit, make healthy choices and kill it!

Hey everyone, this is the third installment in my nutrition series. In this post I’ll be talking about the macro breakdowns in your meals and the importance of timing, so let’s get started.

The macro breakdown of your meal determines what you will be eating for that meal and when to time it. By eating certain macro’s at certain points of the day we can ensure optimal absorption of nutrients, resulting in prime muscle recovery and growth, as well as nutrient absorption. How do we capitalize on this? Let me show you!

In the original post, I explained how your body uses macronutrients. It just so happens that there are certain periods of time in which eating certain macro’s can aid in boosting recovery and metabolism. Now some may consider this “broscience”, but I’ve experimented with different timings and have found what works for me.

Let’s say your eating 6 meals a day, you’ll have breakfast, pre-workout meal, post-workout meal #1, post-workout meal #2, meal.

Now in each meal, you’ll want to get your recommended amount of protein, no ifs ands or buts. This is the one macro that you will be taking in with every meal.

The timing magic happens with the manipulation of carbs and fats.

Breakfast is a heated topic of debate. Is eating  protein + carbs + fats for breakfast is more beneficial than only sticking to proteins+fats? In my opinion, no.   I’ve experimented with both and to tell you the truth I didn’t notice much of a difference, that’s just me. You can experiment and see what works for your body.

My general rule of thumb is to have meals consisting of only proteins + carbs before and immediately after the workout. I try to refrain from eating fats because they generally take longer to digest and I want my food digested by the time I’m at the gym so I don’t get any cramps from blood leaving my stomach and entering the muscles I’m working. I try to take in my pre-workout meal anywhere between 1.5-2 hours before I workout and I often opt for whole foods. It’s important to take in only complex (low-glycemic) carbohydrates at this time, because they take longer to digest then simple carbs and provide for a steady release of energy during the workout.

Immediately after you work out, I’m talking within 30 minutes, you have whats referred to as the “window of opportunity”. When you workout, your body uses carbs for energy. In doing so, the glycogen stores (which convert the carbs into sugar and release it into the blood) become depleted and your muscles literally become a vacuum. It’s important to jump on this opportunity and take in a whey protein shake sided with some simple carbs. I prefer to eat fruits, honey, and/or natural sugars such as 100% pure maple syrup or blue agave syrup, but it’s popular to use dextrose or maltodextrin to literally rush the protein to your muscles. Hence is why we do not consume fat directly after working out, because it slows the digestion. We want to feed our muscles as soon as possible and by combining a quickly digested protein (whey) with simple carbs (which almost immediately create an insulin spike and rush the protein into the body), we can optimize the nutrient absorption and help our muscles recover and grow.

So remember as a general rule of thumb, pre workout meal = protein + complex carbs , post-workout meal #1 = fast digesting protein + simple carb.

The other 3 meals of the day are fair game, they should be evenly split to ensure you’re taking in your required macros.

Now it’s generally recommended to eat every 2-3 hours as this will keep your metabolism burning, which we want because it shreds fat. You’ll find that this isn’t the end all be all approach and you might stumble across eating styles such as paleo, intermittent fasting, carb backloading, if it fits your macros, etc. I will cover these in the future, but this method is tried, tested and true. Its worked for me and my friends and it should serve as a functional base for your goals. Once you learn how your body responds to different eating styles over time you might find something might work better, but thats in due time, for now I recommend trying this out and seeing how it goes for you.

Many people wonder about eating at night and if it will make you fat. I, for one, call bullsh*t on this! My view and whats worked for me has been getting in all my macros and calories every day. Your metabolism doesn’t just shut off at 8pm and store food as fat. Calories in vs. calories out, if you’re hitting your cals and macros, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you are eating.

So that pretty much covers this topic, again if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to get back as soon as possible.

If you’re here because you’ve already read my post Nutrition 101: Macronutrients, please read on, if you haven’t click here to check out the first lesson in Nutrition before returning to continue your learning.

So we know about macronutrients and you’re probably thinking holy sh*t, this must be really time-consuming and difficult to maintain. This is the point at which you decide how strict you want to go! If you’re looking to get into contest shape or planning to be a fitness model, you’ll want to have a plan of action with your macros and track each one so you can monitor progress and adjust based on how you look. That’s a different story, and I will be writing an article about specifics in another post shortly and linking it here. This post caters to the beginners, who haven’t followed anything specific and don’t know where to start. I’ll break this up really easily for you.

The good news is that there are many ways to achieve your nutrition goals. Some prefer to cook their meals for the day everyday, but in this day and age, it is much more practical, convenient, and efficient to prep are your meals once every 3 days. For me, Sunday and Wednesday nights work. I grill all of my proteins and prepare my carbs as well, all this alongside some salads and vegetables.

So what do I recommend? A visit to your local dollarstore, walmart, target, etc, to buy some Tupperware containers. Why? Because this will make your life SO much easier. Grab a small cooler as well, this will give you a place to store and carry around all your food so you can eat on a dime and you’re never left unprepared. This may seem like a weird order of events but bear with me. It just makes more sense to get the elephant out of the room right now. You’re going to have to be prepared, and failing to plan will lead to failure to execute.

Before you continue reading, please understand that I myself don’t count calories because I’m just maintaining my current physique. I’ve been eating like this for so long I can tell portions without weighing them and I know the nutritional profiles of what I usually eat, and if you’re a beginner you most likely wont, so make sure you track what you eat. This will help you greatly in making necessary adjustments based on your progress.

So we now know about macronutrients and why they are important, but what role do they play in our plan? You’ll see, but for now it a good idea to find your Daily Caloric needs, which can be calculated by clicking here. This will give you the amount of calories that you need to maintain your current weight. Now for the plan, if you’re trying to gain weight/build muscle you’ll be adding anywhere between 250-500 calories/day to that amount. If you’re trying to lose weight you’ll be dropping about 250-500 calories/day. You should be dropping about a pound or gaining about a pound for every week. That’s what’s considered normal. Remember that these numbers aren’t exact! Everybody is different, take a week or two eating at a caloric increase/deficit and see how you weigh, if you’re not gaining or losing you’ve gotta adjust accordingly until you find out what works for your body. Just remember, if you’re focused on losing weight, during the first week, the healthy eating and exercise will shock your body and you may lose anywhere between 3-10 lbs. This is water weight, aside from the first week, you should be losing about a pound a week.

Almost done promise! Now that you’ve got your set amount of required calories, you’ll have to figure out how many meals you will have. I usually have anywhere between 5-7 meals a day, consisting of 3 larger meals and 2-4 snack meals, depending on whether I’m training that day or not.  So what you’ll want to do is divide the total calories by how many meals you plan to have. It’s generally recommended to eat in 2-3 hours intervals in order to keep the metabolism revved. Some live by this others are against it. Like I said earlier, it works for me and that’s what matters. Find what eating regime works for you and stick with it, just make sure you’re getting in all of your required calories!!

Ok so we’ve got our caloric requirements and we’ve determined how many meals we will eat each day, what’s next? Cooking your food and preparing the meals with the right macro’s. The general rule of thumb is to take in about 1-1.5 grams protein per lb. of bodyweight, 1-2 grams of carbs/ lb. of bodyweight and 0.5 grams of fat/lb. of bodyweight.

For example, at the time of this writing I weigh 186 pounds.  To fill my caloric requirements, I need to eat anywhere between 186 grams- 279 grams of protein, 186-375 grams of carbs and approx. 95 grams of fats. I know from personal experience that I need about 3000 calories to maintain my current size.  To get my required calories and macros, I would need to eat about 240 grams of protein (240×4=960 cals), 300 grams of carbs (300×4=1200) and around 95 grams of fats (95×9=855 cals), which adds up to 3015 calories. Knowing this, you can divide your macronutrients by the amount of meals you’ll be having and set goals for each meal (e.g. If I eat 6 meals in a day, for each meal I should aim for about 40 grams protein(240/6), 50 grams of carbs (300/6) and 16 grams of fats (95/6). Be sure to check out my post on macro meals breakdowns and meal timing, by clicking here, to see how to manipulate the macro’s in each meal to optimize nutrient absorption and recovery.

Here’s a quick guideline to recap our meal prep for dummies:

  1. Find your daily caloric needs and adjust them based on your goal.
  2. Divide these calories up by the amount of meals you’ll have and your macro requirements .
  3. Prepare your proteins, carbs, fats and veggies/greens on the same day, and have your Tupperware containers ready.
  4. Once finished making all the food, mix and match your protein, carb and fat sources into each of the containers and you’re set!

What’s worked for me is using my fist size to judge portion sizes. This makes it so easy to prepare meals and takes the hassle out of the meal planning. One fist size for me is about 5-6 oz of protein, 1 cup of carbs, 1 cup of veggies/greens and a tablespoon or two of fats. Using this method, when I prepare my foods, I toss in a chicken breast, 1 yam and a cup of broccoli into one Tupperware case and in the other I’ll change my protein source and throw in a fist size portion of extra lean ground beef with a cup of brown rice and a cup of mixed greens. Sounds easy right? It is.  Use this method to ease into the habits of healthy eating. If you’re just looking to lose weight or build mass this helps. If you’re not losing weight, switch one carb serving for an extra serving of veggies/greens. On the mass building plan, if you’re not gaining, increase your carbs to a fist and a half for a meal or two and see how that goes. It’s all played by ear, if it works keep it going, if not make simple changes, experiment and adjust based on the results. I’ll make some specific nutrition plans for weight loss and muscle gain in time, but for now remember to keep it simple and make small changes where necessary.

Remember I’m here for you during this journey, if you still find something confusing, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back with an answer as soon as I can!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of muscle specific workouts and workout programs, I want to make it known to all that nutrition is easily 85% of the battle. If you want to make a transformation, be it lose weight and tone up, lean out, or to pack muscle, whatever your goals are, you’re nutrition has to be spot on, I CANNOT stress this enough. Having a sound nutrition plan and staying consistent with it is a KEY ingredient (see what I did there) in the recipe for success. It’s said that failing to plan is planning to fail and I agree completely. So now that thats out of the way, let me get into the nitty gritty of nutrition and show you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as people make it. There are many ways people go about nutrition and food prep, but the most successful people are those that plan ahead and are always prepared. Being prepared allows for  consistency and ensures that your body is receiving enough nutrients to recover and grow. Don’t think of this as a diet!   You’re changing your lifestyle here, this isn’t something that you follow strictly for said amount of weeks and then you go back to eating junk food. This is a change for the better. You’re doing your body good with this and trust me, its not as hard as people make it out to be.

Okay, so now we know that nutrition is vital for a successful transformation and preparation is the best way to ensure consistency of this nutrition.

Now let me break this down for you. Grab something in your kitchen with nutritional info on the package and have a look. This will be your new bestfriend. On the label you have total calories, then the chart breaks down into FAT, cholesterol, sodium, CARBOHYDRATE and PROTEIN. See the letters in caps? Those are what we call macronutrients. There are three and as you can see above, they are:

1. PROTEINS

2. CARBOHYDRATES [ Two types: (1) Hi-Glycemic Simple Carbs: quickly digested and cause a insulin spike in the blood (2) Low-Glycemic Complex Carbs: slow and steady insulin release]

3. FATS

These three macronutrients provide the calories that you see listed on as the total amount of calories on your label. These guys are important so pay attention!

Proteins have 4 calories per gram.

Carbs also have 4 calories per gram.

Fats have 9 calories per gram.

What does this mean? Well, take you’re calculator and multiply the amount of fat shown on the label, in grams, by 9. Next, multiply the total carbohydrates by 4 and the total proteins by 4. Add them all up and you should receive the total calorie amount shown on the label. This means that proteins, carbs and fats are what we must feed our body with for it to be able to recover and grow from your intense training sessions. Now every food has its own macronutrient profile, some foods are build mainly of carbs (e.g brown rice and oats), some of mainly proteins (e.g turkey, chicken, fish), and some of mainly fats (e.g coconut oil, nuts, flax).

The goal of proper nutrition is to manipulate the numbers of proteins, carbs and fats into a macro ratio, which will be planned according to your goals. Most people use the 30 P/40 C/30 F ratio, meaning 30 percent of your calories will come from protein and another 30 percent will come from fats, and the remaining 40 percent will come from carbohydrates. I will make a post in this series about different macro ratios and describe what goal each will help attain, as for now read on!

Here are some basic examples of foods that fit into each macronutrient profile:

Proteins –  Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Whey Protein, Eggs, Beef, Poultry, Lamb, etc.

Carbs –  Hi-Glycemic Simple Carbs: Fruits, Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup

Low- Glycemic Complex Carbs: Brown Rice, Oats, Grits, Whole Grain Pasta, Whole Grain Bread, Quinoa, Couscous

Fats –  Coconut Oil, Nuts, Flax Seeds, Fish, etc.

At this point, I’ll explain how your body uses these macronutrients, so play close attention, this is important!

Protein:  Your body uses protein to help rebuild and repair muscle tissue. When you workout, you rip muscle tissue, thats why you feel sore the day after. By getting in enough protein, you will be able to help your body repair the ripped tissue and grow.

Carbs: Carbs are your bodies preferred source of energy and they are required for you to function. The brain needs carbs to work and the body uses them for energy.

Fats: Help promote good health, brain function and help protect your limbs and joints from damage.

Okay cool!  So we’ve covered what macros are, how your body uses them and I’ve given some examples of foods that fit in each category of macro. What now? Well head over here to find out how to prepare your nutrition battle plan.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!