Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Calorie Here, A Calorie There...

 I firmly believe you should not have to live and die by every single calorie you consume. The ultimate goal should be to eventually have a pretty good idea of what you are eating; the number of calories you are consuming, and the percentages of each macro nutrient (carbs, protein, fat).

 With that being said, if you are having a hard time reaching your fitness goals, you may need to reassess your calorie tracking (or implement it if you are not doing so). Many may see it as "obsessive" to count calories daily, but for a large number of people, it is a necessity, at least in the short run.

The main reason calorie tracking is important, is that all too often we have a bite of something here or there, and we do not account for it. The problem with this, is at the end of the day, several small snacks or bites that have not been accounted for can have you under or overestimating your calories by the hundreds. As this happens on a daily basis, by the end of a week, thousands of calories may not have been accounted for.

We all know about the huge importance of consistency. Consistency in our exercise regime, in our sleep patterns, and most importantly, in our nutrition. One of the biggest road blocks to reaching our goals are variables in these routines.

For example, if you plan on trying a 1,400 calorie a day diet for weight loss, it needs to be 1,400 calories every day (or as close to it as possible). This is the only way to know if the calorie range you have given yourself is going to be effective, or if you need to modify it. You can't expect to know if 1,400 calories is working for you if one day you eat 1,000 calories, the next day you eat 2,000 calories, the next day you eat 1,100 calories, and so on... You see the point I am trying to make. This may seem like common knowledge, but it speaks mainly to those small frequent snacks you are not accounting for.

If you stick to a set number of calories every day for a few weeks (and are diligent about it), you will be able to better assess if it is the right range for you, or you need to make some adjustments.

My next post will be sort of a "part 2" to this post, where I talk about how to count and track calories. So stay tuned in, you will want to take notes!

I hope you reach your destination, but your journey is what really counts! Until next time... L.D.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blasting through Plateaus

I have seen and heard it time and time again. You embarked on the journey towards a better you; through dedicated fitness and nutrition. The months pass by, and the weight melts off. You are stronger, fitter, leaner, more muscular, and in overall better shape. You are feeling great. Then it happens...you start to stall. You are doing everything you have always done, but for some reason, you hit a plateau.

Before you freak out, relax and take a step back; this is very common, and it happens to most of us. We can't understand why our efforts are not providing the same positive results we were accustomed to seeing. This is the critical point where we need to mix it up.

Our bodies are amazing machines that have the ability to adapt to change very quickly. You may read this and think: "I am working very hard, doing everything I can." I am not questioning the work. But it is time to start questioning the approach.

My four approaches to success are strength training, cardio, nutrition, and sleep. You may be including all of these elements in your arsenal, but if your results have leveled off, it is time to mix it up. You need to provide a shock to your body, so it has something new to adapt to (which should bring positive change).

Strength Training

If you have been doing solely resistance machines, it is time to add free weight work into the mix. If you have been lifting light weight for high reps, it is time to add heavier weight that challenges you in the 8-15 rep range. If you have been doing straight sets, it is time to throw circuit training and high intensity interval training into the mix.


If you have been cruising along on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike, it is time to step it up. Ramp up the incline on treadmill/elliptical and push yourself for intervals i.e. 1-2 minutes of high intensity, followed by a few minutes at your usual grade/pace. Hit the stair climber. Start doing conditioning exercises such as mountain climbers, jump squats, side shuffles, squat thrusts, etc. If the average gym fare doesn't excite you, get out and walk, run, or bike!! You will be able to push longer without the monotony of gym cardio equipment.


The body's metabolism adapts to the same eating patterns just as your muscles adapt to the same fitness routine. Mix it up. Eat a variety of meals throughout the week, or at least change your diet week to week.


Often neglected and undervalued, sleep is a vital part of the equation for success. Your mind and body recover the most during rest. They will also recover faster with consistently good sleep patterns. I recommend 7-8 hours a night.

I hope you reach your destination, but your journey is what really counts! Until next time... L.D.