Wreck It Weekend WOD 8/26/16

Happy Friday!  Take a day to get off the couch and crush this leg/cardio circuit.  It will help build some muscle while kicking your fat burning potential into high gear. This is inspired by our superhero ladies of the universe and is brought to you by the always awesome WOD-RX!

Wod-Rx1

 

The Storm:

storm

6 Sets:

10 Squat Jumps

10 Scissor Squats

10 Wide Squats

10 Half Burpees

20 Ice Skaters

30 Second Plank

 

The Mystique:

mystique

6 Sets:

15 Squat Jumps

15 Scissor Squats

15 Wide Squats

15 Half Burpees

30 Ice Skaters

45 Second Plank

 

The Wonder Woman:

wonderwoman

6 Sets:

20 Squat Jumps

20 Scissor Squats

20 Wide Squats

20 Half Burpees

40 Ice Skaters

1:00 Minute Plank

Weekend Workout 7/15/16

Another week has come and gone!  This year is moving by at a wicked pace.  If your fast paced life has 20 minutes of down time this weekend, try out this awesome fat torching circuit.  This one has your basic moves with a Burpee twist inspired by the new Ghostbusters Movie!  Brought to you by the amazing WOD-RX!

Wod-Rx1

 

The Slimer:

Slimer

(3 Rounds)

5 Burpees

20 Push ups

5 Burpees

20 Squats

5 Burpees

8 Pull ups

5 Burpees

1:00 Plank

 

The Kevin:

ghostkevin

(3 Rounds)

10 Burpees

25 Push ups

10 Burpees

25 Squats

5 Burpees

10 Pull ups

10 Burpees

1:30 Plank

 

The Patty:

ghostpatty

(3 Rounds)

12 Burpees

30 Push ups

12 Burpees

30 Squats

12 Burpees

12 Pull ups

12 Burpees

2:00 Plank

Fats: Reality Check

The word FAT elicits some pretty nasty emotions.  We see fat on a nutrition label and instantly become nauseated by the product were holding.  Fat has been demonized by our food industry and cast out as a nutritional pariah for many years.  “Experts” harp on the danger that high fat diets present and lead people towards some fad diet plan that can leave us in a worse position then before.  There is so much confusion surrounding fat and the way it impacts our bodies that is much easier to simply believe the hype and try to cut it out of our lives.  I am here to tell you that fat is not evil.  It does not aim to bloat your body or steal your gains.  It is not attempting to kill you or murder your dreams.  Fat is a very pivotal part of the fitness pie (pardon the pun) that should be utilized to create the healthy body you envision.Healthy-Fats

Lets look at some of the fats that are out there.

Trans Fats:

Like anything, there are good fats and bad fats.  Trans fats fall into the bad category and should be avoided at all costs.  These come from fried foods, processed goodies, and chemically manipulated treats.  These thicken your arteries, cause rapid weight gain, and contribute to many of our diet based diseases.  Avoid those deep fried donuts at every opportunity.

Saturated Fats:

Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap because of its supposed link to heart disease and high blood cholesterol.  Much of the truth has been obscured throughout the years by improper studies or bad information.  Saturated fats actually help to increase HDL Cholesterol (the good stuff).  This helps the body remove cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver for processing.  Sat fats also can increase the size of LDL Cholesterol (the bad stuff), which makes it harder for the LDL to breach the arterial wall and cause damage.  As an added bonus, most foods containing saturated fats taste amazing! Most of our saturated fat comes from foods like beef, butter, cheese, land animal fat, eggs, coconuts and cream.  The Health Industry has long stated that these foods should be minimized or avoided but this practice can leave you devoid of ample sources of essential nutrients for over all health.

Omega 6 Fats:

These fats are a form of Unsaturated fat that can help keep you satiated and decrease your risk of heart related illnesses.  However, these fats should be consumed on a limited basis.  This fat falls under the cliche of too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  Omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory fats.  Inflammation is necessary for our survival but too much inflammation in the body can have dire consequences.  Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and metabolic syndrome have been linked to excess inflammation.  A good practice is to be aware of your Omega 6 intake and minimize the amount you ingest on any given day.  You should keep an eye on your consumption of items like peanut butter or oil, grape seed oil, hemp oil, soybeen oil, fast food, seeds, mayonnaise, and high fat salad dressings. Remember, these are not inherently bad foods.  A lot of them can aid you in your nutrient search.  Just be mindful of how much of this category you are consuming and you will be fine!

Omega 3 Fats:

This is another Unsaturated fat that has gotten a lot of press and good vibes for years now.  These fats are anti-inflammatory and can reduce your risk of all the previously named diseases associated with the heart, mind, and bones.  They can impact brain health and development, help with joint health, and can aid in depression treatment.  Most natural Omega 3s come from fatty fish: herring, salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout, and tuna.  You can also get these fats from some nuts and seeds, like walnuts or flaxseed, as well as different oils, like canola oil or flaxseed oil.  If some of these foods are hard to come by, not available to you, or you just would like more Omega 3s in your life, invest in an Omega 3/Fish oil supplement.  These can greatly bolster your nutrition and help you along your health improvement journey.

The goal of nutrition is to find the mix of foods. supplements, and nutrients that provides the optimal benefit for a person to achieve his or her physical vision and to allow him or her to live an abundant and healthy life.  The balance of fats is pivotal for us to attain the healthy body of our dreams.  All we can do is try our best to minimize destructive behaviors and the consumption of unhealthy foods and maximize positive decisions and increase the use of beneficial nutrients.  Start by simply substituting some healthy fat sources in place of your normal junk.  Try to keep the reasons for your selections in the front of your brain so you are always mindful of your choices and how they will affect your body.  Build on each decision.  After awhile, it will be second nature to choose almonds over nuggets!

Here’s a fat super food list that will help you make the most of your meals!

Avocados 

Almonds

Salmon

Mackerel 

Macadamia Nuts

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Pumpkin/Flax Seeds

Eggs

Canola Oil

Almond Butter

Walnuts

 

TABATA Training

If you saw the title and had no idea what I am talking about, don’t feel like an outlier.  Most people have never heard of Tabata training.  Even I didn’t hear about this style of exercise until somewhat recently.  I am glad that I did, though.  I believe this is one of the most amazing ways to challenge your body, increase endurance, and light the fat burning furnace.  If things have grown stale on your pursuit of physical excellence or you’re looking for a great way to kick start your weight management program, this type of exercise training is as powerful as any out there.  Plus, when you’re short on time, this is the perfect method to crush then carry on with your day.

Tom Ropes

I don’t want to bore you with the exact statistics or any fancy mumbo jumbo.  Here’s the basic rundown:  Tabata training is named after a Doctor who studied the effects of 8 sets of an exercise broken into 20 seconds of all out effort and 10 seconds of rest.  This equals 4 minutes of total work that will leave you completely drained.  This Doctor tested this type of training against regular bouts of exercise and found a significant increase in aerobic capacity in the Tabata group.  The point is, if you incorporate this style of training into your weekly regimen, you will spice up your workouts, keep things fresh and interesting, challenge your body in a different capacity, and improve your overall body function.

This type of workout is not for the faint of heart.  It can be the most grueling 4 minutes of your life.  Each second can tick by slower than the one before it.  By the end of your 8 sets, you will gasp for air and beg for a nap.  It is a supreme challenge that forces your brain to push your body through pain.  It is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.  Tabata is one of my favorite ways to end a weight workout or simply hit a quick sweat session, if I am on the go.

Here is a sample list of some exercises that can be done in a Tabata format. 

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Battle Rope Slams
  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Goblet Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Bench Step Ups
  • Dumbbell Power Cleans
  • Push-Ups
  • Squat Jumps
  • Sprints
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Pull-Ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Rowing Machine

You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to incorporating Tabata training.  It can be done with virtually any exercise on the planet.  I challenge you to add two Tabata sessions a week into your training plan.  After two weeks, add one more session for the next two weeks. See how your body reacts to the new style!  I have no doubt that this will improve your total body performance and help you blast some stubborn fat.  Let us know if you have any questions or tell us how you felt after a Tabata session!  Get out there and Wreck It Every Day!

 

5 Tips to Cheat Like a Rockstar

Cheat meals are a blessing and a curse.  Some plans advise us to steer clear of indulgence, while others embrace the concept of the occasional delight.  I have done it both ways.  Being so strict that I drove myself crazy never gave me the complete satisfaction that total body health and fitness is supposed to.  I found that cheat meals can offer the brain a quick “recharge” and allow you to enjoy yourself from time to time.  On a strict diet, we can become discontent with ourselves.  We feel trapped by a totalitarian food regime and that any deviation from the plan will derail all the progress we have made.

I believe in the 80/20 rule.  If you do the right thing 80% of the time, then the other 20% will not ruin all your hard work.  We have to learn to stop punishing ourselves for little deviations from the track we’re on.  Once we start to perceive a positive correlation between food and our bodies, we can truly enjoy the awesomeness provided by quality nutrition.

cheat day

Here are 5 easy tips that can help you on your cheat journey:

1.Hold on to your sanity.

Take small steps to achieve your nutrition goals.  Don’t cut every “bad” thing out of your diet immediately.  You can throw your body and brain into shock and decrease your chances of continuing.  Decrease your consumption of naughty indulgences over a months time so you can acclimate your brain to the new habits!

2.Make your cheats work for you.

Planning your cheat meals on weekends, particularly after a workout, is the best time that I have found to properly reward my good behavior throughout the week.  When you eat sweets after an intense training session, your body utilizes as fuel to repair your depleted muscles instead of railroading the excess sugar to your fat supply stations.

3.Use cheats as a motivation – not a punishment. (Rewards!)

Saving cheat meals or sweets until the end of your week gives you something to look forward too!  Train your mind to think of these meals as a reward for all your hard work instead of a shameful act that you can’t tell your mother about.  This will give food a positive association in your brain and give you an extra boost of motivation when things get tough.  Mark it on your calendar if you need to!

4.Create a positive idea of food and relax!

Planning and prepping your meals can become tedious from time to time.  But if you work hard and stay consistent most of the time then you can enjoy the fruits of your labor while having a good meal now and then.  Don’t feel bad about going out to dinner with friends or munching on popcorn at the occasional movie!  A diet deviation won’t kill you.  It is when bad foods become the standard that you slide down a slippery slope towards unhappiness.

5.Enjoy life and enjoy your diet.

Always enjoy yourself.  With the right goal, plan, and consistent hard work you can navigate the pitfalls of life without issue.  As you become more comfortable with your body and mental resolve, the minutia of the diet details will be less relevant.  Attempt to have fun with your fitness and stop giving yourself such a hard time!

Are Optimized Towards Your Health & Fitness Goals? Get Your Free Personalized Assessment From Onnit Now.

Snap Shot: Ketogenic Diets

“Ketogenic Diet” and “Ketosis” are words that don’t mean much to the average person.  To a fitness enthusiast these words are gaining more and more momentum.  Most new diet aficionados have seen these crop up in recent publications, articles and books.  The art of ketosis is gaining traction in the fitness communities across the globe.  But what is Ketosis?  What is a ketogenic diet?

I’m not a doctor or a scientist so I’ll keep this brief and leave the nitty gritty to the big dogs.  Put simply:  Ketosis is when your body begins utilizing its stored fat as its primary source of fuel.  This also produces ketones, which your body can use as an energy mechanism.  Ketosis is achieved through a “Ketogenic diet”.  By restricting carbohydrates to about 50 grams or lower in a given day, you can begin to move your body into ketosis.

This is an excellent way to burn up fat and lean out your body.  Like all things, there needs to be moderation and monitoring.  Going overboard by starvation or completely elminating all forms of carbohydrates can throw your body into ketoacidosis, which can be a big problem for those in favor of living.

When you eat a diet that forgoes breads, pastas, potatoes, processed carbohydrates, and all forms of sugar, your body instinctively reacts by turning to its stored fat for sustenance.  Without the presence of fast digesting, quick energy carbs, fat will become the furnace feeder.  For anyone who is struggling with an excess of body fat or has struggled to drop weight in the past, this style of eating can be incredibly beneficial.

There are hardcore believers, like in any school of thought, that think this is the be all/end all way to live.  Carbs and grains are the devil and we should burn down all bakeries!

ketodiet

I think the balance always lies somewhere in the middle.  I believe a person can eat in the Ketogenic spectrum 75% of the time and enjoy a few “cheats” the other 25%.  Food is not inherently evil, except for high fructose corn syrup!  The problem lies with us.  When we consume massive amounts of processed sludge, our bodies begin acting abnormally.

Over time, we develop diseases, excess fat, mental deficiencies, and a multitude of inflammatory issues in response to the unnatural “american” diet.  Our bodies were not designed to handle 100s of grams of sugar a day or a constant pound of croissants down our face holes.  We are at our optimal when we introduce our guts to good greens, healthy fats, and animal/plant proteins.  Diversity is the name of game.

I utilized a Ketogenic lifestyle as part of an experiment Dr. Ed Adams constructed for the Wreck It Crew. (You can read about that here: 2 month experiment)  I ate this low carb/high fat diet for 60 days and some crazy things happened.  I wasn’t hungry all the time, my brain seemed to operate on a clearer plane, my energy didn’t dip in the afternoon, and I lost 15 pounds (mostly fat).

I felt great, looked great, and was free to design my day based on how I felt instead of how hungry I was or what macro-combo I needed.  It was an awesome experience and I believe everyone should give it a shot for at least 30 days.  Ketosis could be the missing link in the chain to fitness and nutritional success!

Without the presence of fast digesting, quick energy carbs, fat will become the furnace feeder.

Here are some great resources and guides to help you along your Ketogenic journey.  I utilized the Primal Blue Print by Mark Sisson.  It can be a technical read, but it provides some great research and concepts to help you craft a high fat/low carb happy bus.  Here is an awesome resource guide to Ketogenic living from Bodybuilding.com.  You will find some ballin insight, FAQs, common made mistakes, and general knowledge about this style of eating.  Also, check out this big low carb foods list that will aid you in your search for the perfect ingredients to ignite your fat burning voyage!

I thoroughly enjoyed this body/mind experiment.  It taught me so many things about my physical needs, reactions to outside stimulus, and gave me the tools to better create a lifestyle that meets my end game goals.  Give this diet a try and see for yourself how beneficial it can be!

 

 

Yoga is for Men

manyoga1

“Please God.  Let this end.  I swear I’ll be good from now on!”  This was my exact thought the first time I took a Yoga class.  I was bargaining with my creator 45 minutes into the 75 minute class the same way I used to after I got in trouble when I was younger.  I kept checking my watch as the seconds dragged on and the torture continued.  My body had never bent, contorted, strained, or sweated like it did on that first day of Yoga.  I couldn’t breathe.  My legs were shaking.  I had to hold on to the wall next to me so I didn’t fall on to the nice ladies calmly performing the flow next to me.  It was a humbling, ego deflating experience.  The crazy thing about all this unbearable abuse was: I loved it.

I had never been challenged in that particular way before.  My body was built from the iron in the gym.  I could lift heavy and lift often because that was how my body was trained.  Yet, all this physical fitness and constant gym attendance didn’t prepare me for an hour and 15 minutes of holding my body in a sequence of hardcore stretches.  There were times in that Yoga class that I just sat down while all the women around me held perfect alignments.  I, with all my strength, endurance, and knowledge, was defeated by a hot room and some body weight holding positions.  I was stunned by the difficulty and intrigued by the proposed benefits of incorporating a regular Yoga class into my fitness regimen.

There is a misconception that surrounds the art of Yoga.  When I mention a Yoga class, I often hear responses like: it’s “just for women”, its “girly”, “go do a man’s” workout”, or “where’s your sports bra?”  This is so sad because all those guys who knock the art as being beneath them or something that is gender specific are missing an amazing piece of the fitness puzzle.  Growth, in all forms, requires an open mind and a willingness to try new things!  Yoga has the ability to enhance your flexibility, core strength, joint strength, and mental toughness.  An hour long class can make you activate your hips like never before, hold planks way longer than you ever dreamed possible, or force you to perform a hand stand against a wall.  All this while your brain is screaming at you to stop the carnage.

mel gibson yoga

“I hope that silent rip wasn’t deadly..”

Yoga is not just for housewives or board college girls.  It is for everyone.  It is an art form that can improve your mental and physical functions in and out of the gym.  The more flexible you are, the more dynamic your lifts can be and the risk of injury from weight training decreases substantially.  The stronger your joints get, the more weight you can hold.  Just by knowing you can make it through an hour of warrior poses and constant leg tension, prepares you to handle the strain of a crazy intense cardio session or long day at the office.  Yoga is a way to build a more effective body that can perform at a more optimal level.  It is a simple addition that might just be the missing link in your fitness regimen.

Stop being such a girl!  Get a Yoga mat, learn some awesome stretches and how to breathe, test your body, and gain insight into what strain your brain, as well as your body, can truly handle.  I have come to believe that the way to becoming a completely fit individual is through a diverse array of stress.  Putting yourself through a variety of different workouts and physical disciplines is the best way to build a holistic, functionally fit body.  I dare you to try just one Yoga class.  I am willing to bet that your perspective will be much different when you crawl out of the studio!

Total Human Optimization

There is a gross misconception that there is one holy grail answer to all of life’s mysteries.  There is one ultimate solution to all issues.  Whether it is fitness, nutrition, religion, child rearing, education, taxes, government, or any other issue that brings warring sides to battle, each person has his or her own version of the truth.  Here lies the rub.  We live in a world that is ever evolving, changing, and growing, whether we like it or not.  New discoveries are made, an alternative view point on a problem is presented, and questions come faster than answers.  People are quick to choose a side and fight, tooth and nail, to prove that their opinion is fact.  This type of thinking and behavior causes a short circuit in the growth process and inhibits our natural ability to adapt to new information.  When we close our minds to alternative options, opinions, and critiques, we become stale, fragmented, and disconnected.
I view the world in a much less “black and white” fashion.  I try to see all sides of the board when I am playing a game and do my best to understand opposing views.  My reality is a fusion of multiple ideas that converge on one another to create a beautiful mess of information that I can sift through.  I attempt to find new and different ways to expand my thinking and evolve my methods to become the most well rounded human possible.

Lyle Tire

I used to think that weight training was the be all end all form of exercise.  If a person wanted to get strong, lean, and fit, he or she had to lift weights and the gym was my sanctuary.  Eventually, I couldn’t touch my toes or recover from injury quick enough.  I took incredible amounts of supplements to improve my training edge but neglected the natural ingredients from fruits and vegetables.  Protein was my only objective.  I built a body that looked good on paper, but, when put to the test, it crumbled in the functionality department.  I began to wonder if my version of truth was the “whole” truth.

I timidly began to reach out of my comfort zone.  I attended a hot yoga class and added more vegetables to my diet.  I rearranged my supplement intake and focused more on total body movements in the gym.  I started sprinting periodically, as well as researching the benefits of saunas and cryotherapy.  I quickly realized that I was missing a gigantic chunk of the puzzle.  I had been locked in a one sided mentality that caused me to have unnecessary negative ideals about other forms of fitness.  I was instantly humbled in that yoga class, immediately felt the benefits of adjusting my diet, and started to feel more mental clarity after long sauna sits.  The true benefits of health began to manifest once I started playing with all the pieces on the board.  The one size fits all mentality simply does not exist.  It takes a collection of different stressors and an open mind to reach the full potential your
body has locked inside.
Are Optimized Towards Your Health & Fitness Goals? Get Your Free Personalized Assessment From Onnit Now.Total Human Optimization is my goal.  I want to be functionally fit from as many angles as possible.  The world is full of different and exciting ways to test my grit, endurance, strength, speed, and mental focus.  The only way that I can build the body that can handle the world around me is to incorporate an ever expanding list of differing disciplines.  It took me years to realize this irrefutable fact.  You can begin by seeing the whole picture and start placing the pieces that form the best picture of health imaginable.  Don’t get bogged down in one sided views, stereotypes, biases, and ignorance like I did.  Bring together the most holistic fitness approach you can and your body will certainly reward you for it.

If you have a certain goal in mind, like getting big and strong, then focus on the tools needed to reach that goal.  But, don’t neglect the wide array of disciplines that can help bring your fitness to the next level.  Attend that yoga class, check out martial arts training, sit in a sauna, go for a swim, eat a piece of fruit, or take a day off.  Listen to your body.  Expand your mental boundaries.  Explore the wide and wonderful world of fitness.  Find what fits you and Wreck It!

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Sugar: Reality Check

We have all seen the news and heard the data revolving around refined sugar.  It is bad, plain and simple.  The problem is that sugar resides in almost everything we eat in modern society.  Companies crank out candy, chocolate, pastries, soda, and candy coated anything like it’s going out of style.  But sugar also hides in our canned/bottled sauces, condiments, creamers, milk, protein bars, jerky, juices, granola, breakfast cereals, pastas, and breads.

candy

We can consume 50-100 grams of sugar in a day without even realizing it.  Even if we cut back on  “bad foods”  we will still, somehow, exceed the recommended daily dose of sugar (25 grams/6 teaspoons).  There is literally no escaping the sweet stuff.  Ingesting too much sugar, over an extended period of time, has been linked to a multitude of harmful side effects such as:

  • Cardio vascular disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Liver Damage
  • Metabolic Dysfunction
  • Immune Dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimers

This is just a short list.  Each of these issues can be expanded on at length, along with an alarming number of other problems that excessive sugar intake can cause.  We don’t think about these problems and diseases because they don’t affect us immediately.  That cookie won’t kill you today, but 20 years of cookies will most certainly lead to something that will.  I wanted to give a top down view of the effects that large amounts of sugar can have on the body.  My ultimate goal is to give you enough knowledge to help you navigate nutrition effectively, without getting too deep scientifically.

When you eat sugar, your blood sugar level rises (obviously).  Your pancreas proceeds to release insulin.  This hormone is used to transport the sugar, which is toxic in high amounts, out of the blood stream and into your muscles.  The catch:  your muscles can only hold so much sugar at one time for energy output.

If you haven’t done any sternous exercise right before you ingested your treat, the excess sugar is then carted off to your fat cells.  These cells gobble up the remaining sugar and store it for later use.  Because your blood was flooded with insulin to remove the sugar, your body enters hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and your brain hates that!  You are instantly sent signals, even if you’re full, to ingest more sweetness and the process starts over again.

Over time, your body becomes tolerant to the effects of sugar and you require more to produce the same energy and euphoric feelings you used to get from that one donut.  This creates addiction like symptoms.  Your body and brain constantly crave sweets with a vengeance and, if you go cold turkey, you can experience similar withdrawals akin to an avid opiate user (to a lesser degree).

This cycle of highs and lows will continue until you cut refined sugar and process carbs down to a minimal level.  Your body sees processed carbs (bread, pasta, and pastries) as if they were sugar in disguise.  It simply doesn’t know the difference between a slice of toast and a snickers bar.  With our diets revolving around these types of carbohydrates and dessert like snacks, it becomes extremely difficult to remove our sweet teeth.

If we continue to eat the way we do, we are destined for more and more of our population to enter into the realm of obesity.  The way we eat is slowly making us sick.  Companies want their food to be sold because it tastes great, but if their products are inevitably killing off the population, who will be left to buy cereal or twinkies?

sample_hospital

We have to adopt a different style of eating that benefits our bodies and our minds.  Rewarding yourself with a sweet cheat meal once in a while is fine and even beneficial to your sanity in our society.  It is when you wash down your bag of chips with a 20oz coke, followed by a honey bun on a daily basis, that the grim reaper starts to take notice.

Try to taper your reliance on sugar over a few weeks.  Replace a dessert with fresh fruit and some whipped cream.  Cook three dinners a week at home with your family, with an emphasis on healthy meats and good greens.  Keep a healthy nut mix (almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts) by your side throughout the day and focus more on good fats (coconut, almond butter, butter, olive oil) and minimize the processed carbs.

If you feel a sweet craving coming, grab your significant other and go for a stroll in the neighborhood.  You could even keep a journal dedicated to your food intake and reward yourself with a treat after 5-6 days of honest eating.  The possibilities are truly infinite.  Be creative and learn from your mistakes.  Don’t feel bad for cheating.  Use it as a reward and slowly add more days before a cheat meal.  You will be amazed by how quickly small tweaks will catapult you further and further from sugar town.

keto food pyramid

Remember, you are not just doing this for your waistline, which will inevitably shrink once you cut out the processed crud, but you are also doing this for your health.  You don’t want to be in a hospital regretting every piece of cake you destroyed or skittle you popped.

The risks of sugar and processed carbohydrates are real and catastrophic.  Do yourself and your family a favor.  Eat better, live longer, and enjoy the time you have been given.  Don’t let your sweet tooth check you out too early.

If you have about 45 minutes and want a more in-depth look at sugar and its effects, here is just one documentary on youtube by CBC News: The Secrets of Sugar.

Why do I care what I eat? Taking responsibility for one’s health

No matter what your activity level is or what your specific health goal is, it is always beneficial to eat better. I understand how anxiety-provoking it can be to recognize the impact of our dietary choices and consider making changes. But it’s also exciting and tremendously rewarding! Along my journey, I have found it to be incredibly empowering to take responsibility for what I put in my mouth, and to realize the great service I am doing for my health and happiness when I eat well. Exercise gets the spotlight as the way to good health in the vast majority of media and marketing ploys, but it is only a piece of the puzzle. It’s well worth your time to closely examine and possibly change your food choices!

Nutrition plays a role in every possible function of the human body. If you think about it for just a second, that will seem pretty obvious. We are LITERALLY what we eat at the cellular level. It makes sense then that nutrition plays a causal role in the development of diseases, including America’s top killers—heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It is an absolute shame that we do not hear about this more, but doctors have simply not been provided with nutritional education and do not get reimbursed when they counsel patients in the lifestyle changes that can literally save their lives.

This is a close-up of vegetables and fruits.

Plant foods have the power to turn off genes that promote the development of killer disease processes. For many young folks, this is not enough motivation to change one’s habits. With youth comes a mindset of invincibility. However, by and large, young people already have the beginnings of heart disease in their blood vessels. SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT of 12-to-14-year-olds have early signs of cholesterol disease in their hearts. That’s the vast majority of tweens, and I imagine you’re likely older than 14 if you are reading this.

If I still don’t have you, consider this: you will look and feel a whole lot better. Plants have the power to provide an abundance of energy, mental clarity, enhanced athletic performance, and a myriad of desired effects, such as fat and weight loss; soft, clear skin; healthy, lustrous hair; strong bones, teeth, and nails; decreased bloating and puffiness; better digestion; reduced body odor; clear, bright eyes; and more! Interested in losing weight and leaning out? Diet, above and beyond physical activity, is the most efficient way to do just that.

SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT of 12-to-14-year-olds have early signs of cholesterol disease in their hearts.

Granny’s advice to “eat your veggies” is absolutely correct. The problem is typically implementation. In both my professional and personal lives, I’ve heard the reasons why. “It costs too much to eat healthy.” “I don’t have time to prepare those meals.” “I don’t know how to cook that way.” “My kids/spouse/partner won’t eat that.” “I don’t like fruit/veggies.” That’s all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is YOUR life and YOUR body. It is YOUR choice how you feed yourself. How you choose to eat will have consequences. It is within your power to determine the trajectory of those consequences—aspiring towards extremely good health and a long life, or towards the typical American path, riddled with disease, low quality of life, and premature death. This is not meant to scare you, but to be a reality check. Your health is in your hands, not your doctor’s. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Guest Post:  Taylor Norris

Taylor Norris