Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?

Hey! I was chatting with a client the other day and he had a question that made me say ‘Hmm’. He asked the question in the title of the post.

As with every other answer I ever give, I want to be confident in saying Yay or Nay. On this one I more concerned with what was actually in the drink he was talking about.

So far, I’m having trouble finding anything credible that says adding air to water is bad. Plain carbonated water doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on your health.  Where it gets a little fizzy is when they start to add crap to it  from electolytes like sodium and folate to ‘natural flavors’/sweeteners, artificial sweeteners and the dreaded sugar. In seeing a few sources, it seemed like there was no harm in anything that was plainly labeled ‘carbonated water’.
Conversely, La croix is a popular drink these days, which is touted for it’s natural flavors and carbonated water (what the hell is a ‘natural flavor’ in the context of an ingredient, anyways?). La croix has recently been studied and found to increase a hormone called ghrelin in rats and non human populations. Ghrelin is one of the hormones in charge of hunger. So you could become more hungry with La Croix. But it also holds more in the ingredients than just carbonated water.
Where there is plenty of research, is in the world of calorie free soda/pop. Calorie free pop has phosphorous which has been linked to decreases in bone density. And certain sweeteners have been linked to brain tumors. 
So I’ve gotta throw that stuff into the ‘crap’ category.
As far as plain carbonated water goes, the jury is still out but nothing so far points to any worse than regular water.
Ok, there’s my take. Hope this helps! Have a great day!

Lessons from March Madness

If you’re reading this you probably know who I am. If not, here’s a quick wrap up – I am completely, utterly obsessed with college basketball and March Madness.

We are coming off the craziest weekend of March Madness that I can remember.  Tons of upsets, a rough loss for my Spartans but a ridiculous amount of fun. After ascending from my cave of college basketball – I came out of it taking a lesson from the University of Virginia’s basketball coach, Tony Bennett.

For anyone struggling with the idea of failure, I present to you the most humbling post-game interview I’ve seen. In context – the University of Virginia came into the tournament as the highest ranked team in the country. They faced off against the lowest ranked team in the tournament (UMBC). After taking a humiliating loss by 20 and becoming the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed, UVA’s coach came up to the podium to face the media.

Thinking about the stage and the long term implications, Bennett knows that this loss will mean something for years to come. To me, the acknowledgement of the risk being taken in showing up for the game really struck home. Demonstration of the fear of failure is a primary reason individuals get detracted from their goal. And to me, I see it everyday. You may gain weight one week. Or get demotivated because of stress and sleep. Or you just end up screwing up your diet. It’s not a big deal. Becoming comfortable taking risks in trying – as well as failing – needs to become something we all experience. Shoot for the friggin stars. Attack what you want to achieve. And when you fail, brush it off and accept it. The only way you truly fail is if you give up. And that’s not even an option.

I just became a fan of UVA and know they’ll bounce back next year!

Have a great day!

Mike Goose

All Bout Gout

Gout. 
Just saying that word makes me smile. I’m not sure why and I couldn’t care less. But it’s one of those words that just rolls off your tongue. 
Which is sort of the opposite of what gout is. Gout is when urate accumulates in your joints, forming little crystals, leading to tons of inflammations and soreness in the joint. Increase levels of uric acid in the bloodstream lead to gout, leaving in their wake a crappy, intense pain.
I had someone come to me saying he kept getting flare ups anytime he tried to get healthy.  Unfortunately, the most common person to come down with gout are males at the ages of 30-50. So for most folks with gout who get back into exercise, it’s going to be hard to turn off the brain and take it slow. You shouldn’t just jump back into the old routine if you’ve been sedentary for the last 15 years. So check that ego at the door, talk to a professional and get some guidance! That’s what we’re here for!
With that said…
Healthy ways to curb GOUT
Do more of the following:
  • Eating foods high in anthonyacins can help reduce bout of inflammation. Foods highest in anthonyacins: tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase water intake
  • Get protein from dairy and vegetarian sources
  • Get a food sensitivity test done and monitor which food sources cause inflammation

 

Limit the following:

  • Limit alcohol as much as possible (is it really worth it?)
  • Limit intake of meat, seafood and sugar
  • Sitting and being sedentary. Work to increase your work capacity in things that are fun but not too strenuous.

Breaking out of a Workout Rut

What are some general reasons people fall into a workout rut?

 
There are so many ways you can fall into a rut with your workouts! 
 
One of the most important pieces of the ‘health puzzle’ is integrating a realistic plan at an appropriate intensity. Especially at this time of year, individuals are motivated as hell on day one, kicking ass every day for two weeks. All the sudden they take a day off. And the next day thy’re still in recovery because this will only be the second day they missed in two weeks. From there, it snowballs and the year goes by, with them wishing they had kept up. 
 
Another important piece of the health puzzle is making the exercise relevant to what the individual needs. Is the person at a healthy weight and just looking to tighten up? Is the person bored with their current routine and want to learn new ways to stress their body effectively? When I am diving into workouts for individuals, I center them around two important pieces: Results and fun. When you work to see your body change and see it, you will continue working hard. And when you have fun exercising, the exercise becomes more like play, something we miss out on far too much as adults! 

 

Tips and tricks to get out of your rut!

 
1) Remind yourself of your ‘why’. Why are you going to the gym? Why are you taking steps to better yourself? There comes a moment with every new client I train that I can point to as our ‘why moment’. It’s an extremely important, vulnerable moment for someone to discover. But if you can find it and connect to it, there’s no stopping you. For some people, it’s a comment from a friend or spouse, a pair of jeans that used to fit, a vacation where it was way harder to keep up with the kids. Carry a notecard with your ‘why’ everywhere you go. Have it easily accessible and somewhere you HAVE to look everyday. Above the mirror, taped to the dashboard of your car. 
 
If it’s important enough to you, you will find a way. If it’s not important enough, you’ll find an excuse.
 
2) Exercise with a friend! The most successful people in health make the health thing a part of their daily lives. There were two ladies I trained about 5 years ago now, who just happened to be doing small group training with me. Eventually, they got into doing some 5ks together, some half marathons, and some marathons. They became best friends. And five years later, they still are! 
 
3) Find a new gym! If the gym you are hanging at is a bodybuilding gym but you’re a little less inclined to that type of mentality, shop around! The money you spend should be looked at as an investment in your health – if the gym you go to doesn’t support your culture, shop around your area! 
4) Sign up for an event! It can be any event. A 5k. A donut run. A powerlifting meet. The moment you sign up, you will have something to train for rather than just going through the motions. Dive all-in to what you’re training for and I guarantee you, you will learn a ton about yourself!
 
5) Get educated! You are what you do. Read some books on training, running, exercise. It’s actually amazing what the human body is capable of when you get to know what it can do.
 
6) Ask a trainer! It’s easier than ever to meet and find the RIGHT personal trainer. There are apps out there, endless websites and abilities to find the RIGHT trainer for what you are looking for. At the end of the day, a good trainer should be able to help motivate, push and give you an experience you can’t get anywhere else! And oddly enough, we’re not perfect physical specimens and can have our issues with food and exercise too. All the good trainers I know have also gone through periods of burnout! They’ll get so focused on their work and some days/weeks pass on their own health. So don’t be intimidated to ask for help! We’re people too!

Final advice!

 
Honestly, just have fun and play around. Try new things – try running. Lifting weights. Functional training. Ice skating regularly. Enjoying a walk every Sunday. Working out doesn’t have to be a production and the more you can integrate it into your life, the better!
Dork out a bit to find new exercise and ask for help when you need it. 
 
Work to improve one thing at a time. As that happens, add something else.
Happy Christmas, ya filthy muggles.

Improving Your Nutrition: Part 1 – Energy Balance

Energy Balance

Whether you are in the middle of deciding to increase mass or drop bodyweight, the very first and most important step in achieving a healthy nutritional balance is figuring out how much energy your body needs. The most simple form of measurement is keeping track of the amount of food you eat. You consume energy, and through some magical process, your body converts it into energy! Calories are energy. You use energy to eat, sleep, breathe, move and even sit on your butt. As humans, we have to consume energy everyday in order to survive. The trouble comes when we decide to consume more energy than we naturally put out. Simplified, that’s how we gain or lose weight.  You are either taking in too many Calories, too few Calories or you’re doing it just enough to maintain your current stature.

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In order to find out the number of Calories your body needs to sustain its current weight with no bearing on your current activity level, plug in your personal statistics into the following equation, where BMR stands for your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of estimated Calories your body burns with no bearing on activity):

 

Male:

BMR = 66 + ( 6.2 × weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 × height in inches ) – ( 6.76 × age in years )

YOUR DAILY BMR: _____________

 

Female:

BMR = 655.1 + ( 4.35 × weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 × height in inches ) – ( 4.7 × age in years )

YOUR DAILY BMR: _____________

After figuring out BMR, we have to account for your daily activity levels. In this one, we want you to look at the previous 6 months of physical activity versus the plan ahead. As you get deeper into the program we can adjust for your increased activity levels. Listed below are the modifiers for your above BMR, which you will multiply by your DAILY BMR to get your Total Daily Expenditure (TDE). Choose from the categories below and multiply the modifier from the chart to your BMR.

 

Little to no exercise Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.9

Your Activity Level modifier : ______________

YOUR BMR * Activity Level Modifier = Total Daily Expenditure

_________________* _________________= ___________________

YOUR TOTAL DAILY EXPENDITURE: ___________________

In order to gain weight or lose weight, your body needs to be in a Caloric surplus or deficit. In terms of Calories, one pound of weight gain or weight loss is a difference of 3,500 Calories in either direction each week. More aggressively, you can put on or drop two pounds with a difference or addition of 7,000 Calories per week. To me, it has always made more sense to think of your Caloric intake as a weekly budget instead of a set daily total. With that in mind, we multiply your TDE by 7 to extrapolate a Weekly Caloric expenditure:

TDE * 7 = _________________ (Weekly Caloric expenditure)

If you are looking to gain or lose weight, add or subtract 3,500 (less aggressive, one pounds of weight loss) or 7,000 (more aggressive, two pounds of weight loss) from your weekly Caloric total.

Weekly Caloric expenditure +- 3,500 or 7,000 = Weekly Calorie Goal

_________________ +  – ________________ = _______________

Now, though keeping track of your weekly total, spread the Calories throughout the week. I have found that allowing myself fewer energy on the weekdays, allows me to flex more on the weekend for fun. If you are the kind of person who just likes the consistent number to hit, go for your set number throughout the week. But understand that once you’re done for the day, you’re done.

Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun

In reality and the long term, counting Calories is an inexact science. It’s not a perfect! Many other factors come into play with the human body – absorption rate of food, hormonal response to food, genetics! On top of that, when it comes to logging your Calories, studies have shown that there can be a difference of ~25% in given foods, even when counting every Calorie perfectly. If after two weeks of hitting your Caloric totals, you haven’t achieved your objective goal (gain or lose weight), adjust your daily caloric goals by 250 Calories in whichever direction you need!

That’s it for today, good luck!

Getting Fit 101: Measurements Worth Tracking

The last couple of weeks I have been riddled with ideas, thoughts and new ways of thinking. I’ve compiled a small group of testers to track a few measureable data points each day, week and month. The intention of the data is to keep track of your health and see how you progress with a consistent effort in purely keeping track.

If you think about it everyday, don’t you think you’ll hold yourself in check a bit more?

Daily Data Points

Weight

Blood Sugar (optional) – normal range is 70-110 in a fasted state or upon waking.

Resting Heart Rate – Shooting to keep heart rate around 60 beats per minute. Between 60-90 is considered normal.

Total Sleep

Heart Rate Variability – Is a little harder to capture, if you have a Samsung you can capture it with your ‘stress’ test in Samsung Health.

Level of alertness/mood upon waking (1-5) – Purely Subjective, how do you feel upon waking?

Wake up time – Maybe there is a correlation between early to rise and consistency?

Subjective food score (1-5)

 

Weekly Metrics

Bodyfat Percentage – 8-22% for males, 18-32% for females

Circumference measurements

 

Monthly Metrics

Broad Jump Distance – Jump as far as you can, measuring at the rearmost heal.

Pushups in 1 minute

Max Deadhang Chinups

400m Run

Cooper Run Test (1.5 mile run)

 

If you’ve got any interest in being a guinea pig and can guarantee you’ll log in each and every day, shoot me an email or leave a comment. Let’s blow this up!

Behavior Drives Results

Wake up.

Brush your teeth.

Take a shower.

Eat Breakfast.

Go to work and make money.

Go home.

Eat dinner.

Go to sleep.

Far too often, I see this kind of routine. It is a pleasure of mine to learn and work with all of the professionally successful people I do. At the same time, we work tirelessly to drive home a common message.

Behavior Drives Results.

We are what we repeatedly do. If your default lunch is a half mocha chocoleano from Starbucks, that’s what you’ll become. And you’ll be tired as hell for the rest of the day because of it. If you find yourself dragging your butt home from work, regretting not going to the gym, you’re going to look like you didn’t go to the gym.

To see Results, you change behavior.

What parts of your life are you proud of? What have you improved upon so much in the past ten years that you can say that nobody else in the world can do what you do? In essence, what is your superpower?

How did you get there? Did you wake up one day with a knack for it? Or did you struggle for it? Chances are, you didn’t crawl out of bed and wake up in the position you are today. It probably took years of work. Blood and sweat and all that other stuff.

How can you connect your behavior to your super power?

How can we harness and build a new super power?

What small, simple task can you do each and every day to get you to your desired outcome?

Winning behaviors: Start small and build momentum to create sustainability

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier and cook breakfast
  • Put your gym clothes in your car
  • Walk for 10 minutes after dinner
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour every night
  • Pay the poop/pee toll – 10 pushups, 20 squats every time you leave the bathroom
  • Pace your meals with your family
  • No screens during meals
  • Cook together
  • Plan your meals
  • Journal about your health (including mental, physical, spiritual, emotional) for five minutes everyday

 

Killing Sugar Cravings

YO!

A topic I probably should have addressed in one of my first blog posts ever…sugar cravings. Everyone knows it’s terrible to consume a metric crap ton in one sitting, but I’ll be the first to admit I’ve destroyed a bag of Twizzlers or Skittles in my day. With no regrets.

That shit is like crack. Let’s start at the beginning.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is a source of energy for our body to break down that helps us eat, sleep, breathe, move and live. In chemical makeup, sugars can either be short chain and quick to break down (low fiber, highly processed –  candy, white bread) or long chain and harder to break down (high fiber, minimally processed – fruit, vegetables). For the sake of this post, we’re going to refer to the generic term of sugar as the stuff that is highly processed and quick to breakdown in your body.

Why do you crave sugar?

Sugar is sweet. Sweetness is one of the first taste’s you’ll experience at birth. It releases a crap ton of hormones and has a big impact on your body’s physiology. But that gets boring and I want to keep it short.

Sugar releases serotonin, a hormone that causes your body to feel happiness, euphoric and stoned out of your goard. Sugar gets you high. After a period of time, your body uses the sugar and you get a little bit of a drop in that happy feel. So you want to get high again by eating more sugar. Causing you to want more happy feels. In the end, the more you consume, the more you want. It’s a vicious cycle!

How do you combat sugar cravings?

  1. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps curb the amount of sugar streaming through your blood. When there’s a bunch of sugar in your blood, your body decides to store it as fat unless it gets used. When your body engages in moderate to intense exercise, the sugar in your blood gets used as fuel. Which is also an optimal time to eat sugar. So if you need to dive into a sugar craving, go for a little dark chocolate post-workout.
  2. Consume a diet high in protein. A high protein diet satisfies your body for a longer period of time, reducing the amount of cravings throughout the day.
  3. Allow yourself to have a treat. But make sure you portion it out and it is a reasonable amount. At least 80% of the food you eat should be the good-for-you stuff. And even higher for those of you with more lofty bodyfat goals. With that said, you should have a bit of flexibility to have a daily treat. And when you tell yourself you CAN’T have something, how much more do you want it? So give in. But don’t be crazy.
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain a bunch of sweet stuff. But it’s not hyper-sweet. And they also contain a good amount of fiber. Fiber slows down the digestion of sugar, giving your body a more even release of happy hormones, reducing the intensity of cravings you’ll have.
  5. Choose quality over quantity.  The more you have, the more you are going to eat. Grab the small bar of chocolate that’s 75% chocolate rather than springing for the family size bag of Skittles.
  6. Don’t have sugar at home. Having sugar readily available at all times is a recipe for disaster. If you have it in your house, you or someone you love will eat it. All of it.
  7. Eat regularly. Anecdotally, I have found that the days I skip breakfast are the days I get the hungriest. They’re the days I crave sugar the most. They’re the days I regret stopping and grabbing a bunch of crappy food. So be prepared. Bring your favorite protein bar/drink with you.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to deal with cravings.

I’ve had people go full blown keto. I’ve seen people eat sugar in moderation without issues.

But for anyone looking to make a quick change and reduce sugar intake, I say this:

Make sugar inconvenient.

Make it something you have to go to the store for – each and every time you decide to consume it. Is the craving worth the drive? Is it worth leaving home for? This forces you to make a few decisions before consuming all the sweets and hating yourself.

Make sure you eat your planned meals prior to consuming the sweet stuff. You’ll feel better, be proud of yourself and enjoy the experience of having something sweet a bunch more.

Most of all, hold yourself accountable. You make hundreds of decisions each and every day. And the more you can become cognizant and make an honest decision, the better off you’ll be!

Day 1 in the Gym

There’s a guy I know who’s scared shitless of the gym. Mirrors everywhere. Jacked dudes and beautiful women with wandering eyes. There’s an unspoken pressure to lift at least as much as the person next to you. And an uncomfortable feeling of asking someone to spot you…and being so nervous that you just try to lift alone, drop the bar on your throat and somehow shimmy off the bench only to feel like an idiot and run far, far away from the gym.

Yeah, I used to be scared shitless of the gym.

There’s a certain point in a person’s life where they step foot in the gym, feel intimidated and walk out. You get home, upset at yourself, hate the way you look and feel about yourself.

 

Screw that. I’m going to tell you a little secret about the gym…Everyone feels the same way you do. Anybody who gives a shit isn’t worth your time.

So start with your goal. And it most likely begins with getting your ass to the gym.

Begin easy.

Begin with a simple routine that involves bodyweight movements. Squats, pushups, pullups (or rows), lunges, some form of walking/running and picking up heavy stuff. Hell, you can even go through the stuff you did in gym class in grade school. Pushups, situps, pullups and running. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Two days per week, focus on doing more next time.

Look forward to your plan while staying honest with your food.

Keep track of  your workout.

As much as you hate it, snap a couple before pictures and invite a friend to workout with you. Social structure is CRUCIAL to changing lifestyle habits.

Lift some weights. Getting stronger will motivate you to get stronger.

Cardio becomes a way to challenge yourself. Going further will motivate you to go further. Going faster will motivate you to get faster.

Start easy. Start with fun. Sign up for a sports league. Give yourself a WHY if you don’t have one.

But most of all, show up. Two days per week for an entire year is equal to 104 workouts. Which is a hell of a place to begin.

Don’t overcomplicate it and don’t worry about what others are doing. Way too many folks will tell you what to do. They’ll tell you how to do it better. They’ll tell you how to get stronger. Everyone is an expert. But only YOU know if it’s good for you.

Easy Diet Changes to Lower Cholesterol

Soluble fiber is the stuff that is found in beans, oats, seeds, etc. Which is a bit different than the stuff in fruits and veggies (still YUGELY beneficial for overall health).
Here are some of the best sources of soluble fiber out there to combat high cholesterol!
1)Beans
2)Oats
3)Brussel Sprouts
4)Flaxseed
What YOU can do in a week –
Easy – Have some steel cut oats for breakfast with flaxseed mixed in.
Easy – Eat black beans 3 or so times per week (if tolerable). Black beans have the highest amount of soluble fiber but all other beans have a bunch too.
Hard – Global nutrition paradigm shift – Focus on vegetable intake being the focus of each meal – will naturally have a bunch of soluble fiber. Eat a ton of veggies and throw in meat and fats to your meals as necessary.

**Nerd talk** 

How can eating fiber, especially soluble fiber, lower blood cholesterol levels?

 

Soluble fiber binds to bile salts in the GI tract, causing them to be excreted as part of our fecal matter, rather than being re-absorbed by the colon as they usually are.

Since blood cholesterol is needed to make bile, the body must pull more cholesterol out of our blood to make more bile to replace what was lost.

This lowers the amount of cholesterol in our bloodstream.