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Diet

Paleo diet, is it the best one?

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What did ancient people eat? What did our ancestors eat? Many people claim that the paleo diet is the best ones, that´s how our ancestors ate but, is this true?

There´s a lot of research about what our ancestor ate, and there´s some research going on still but, there are also different diets claiming that each was the real, original diet of our ancestors and therefore it´s the healthiest one. But, from my point of view it´s really hard to know exactly what they ate.

Paleo diets are really simple, they eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. We can agree that this is a good strategy because most health problems nowadays are caused by our unhealthy lifestyles which include more sedentarism and highly processed and refined foods that contain sugar and unhealthy fats. From this perspective a paleo diet can be healthy.

I can´t deny the fact that a lot of people who follow this diet lose weight and their health improves and this is obvious because you are eliminating unhealthy, highly processed and refined foods that contain a lot of toxic ingredients for the body so the moment you eliminate this unhealthy foods you will start feeling better and losing weight. We also need to consider that by eliminating unhealthy foods you are eliminating inflammatory foods which also leads to health and weight improvements.

There are some points you need to consider, I´ve seen people following this diet to eat too much fruit, some of them adjust it or modify it to be a vegan or vegetarian paleo diets, some do not get enough protein and fats. Our bodies do not need high amounts of carbohydrates so I don´t consider eating too much fruit to be beneficial, we do need veggies because those are the ones that contain more micronutrients but we also need a moderate amount of protein and especially healthy fats. The macronutrients ratio is something I consider for making sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs and in paleo diets in some cases they just focus on food you can eat and the ones you need to avoid without paying too much attention to macro ratios.

We´ll talk on other post about the quality of protein and why it´s better to get it from animal sources so if you want to follow a vegan paleo diet make sure that it is well created and that you are getting the nutrients you need.

The paleo diet is a great option when used as an elimination diet, when you have health problems whether physical or mental going throw an elimination diet helps you target the foods that are causing problems like dairy, grain, gluten, etc. As you´ll see in the next paragraphs the foods you eliminate on this diets and the ones you can eat make it a good option.

Foods you can eat on a paleo diet:

Meats, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, poultry, pork, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs.

Foods to avoid on a paleo diet:

Dairy, grain, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, sugar, trans fats.

The problem you may find with this diet is that it´s limited as with many other diets, you can eat dairy, grain, legumes which can´t be consider as bad or unhealthy foods.

It doesn´t matter which type of diet you are following whenever you eat foods that come in a package you need to check the ingredients, there are products sold as “paleo, vegan, keto, etc” but if you read the ingredients you´ll find that they contain some ingredients you are trying to avoid.

As always, the best you can do is give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how you feel and if you are able to maintain it long term. If you really want to maintain optimal health and a lean physique you need to find a diet that works for you so if you are not able to maintain it long term figure out ways you can modify it or if you don´t feel comfortable with it try other diet.

As I mentioned before this diet is a great option as an elimination diet, to use it this way follow the paleo diet for a couple of weeks, 2 or 3 weeks and then start adding foods one at a time, for example add dairy and see how you feel, add legumes, grains; this way you can find out which food is causing you problems and you know what to avoid.

If you´re tried this diet before you are on it let me know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if it was easy for you to make the change and which food you found most difficult to eliminate.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets

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As you may know by now I don´t like diets and I don´t even like to use the word diet. For me that makes it harder mentally and emotionally it gives our brain the idea that we will eliminate our favorite foods for a period of time and that it will be tough. We´re sending the wrong message only with words.

Even when I don´t like the term diet there are so many out there and some of those are the vegan and vegetarian diets.

There are differences between vegan and vegetarians, vegetarians do not eat animals, meat, chicken, fish, etc; their diet is based on vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts and some of them consume eggs and dairy.

Vegan is a more strict vegetarian diet, they don´t consume any animal product and animal derived ingredients so all meats, poultry, fish, etc are out also eggs and dairy, honey and any other product that comes from animal.

In most cases the reason why people decide to go vegetarian or vegan is for environmental reasons, vegetarians are against killing animals and that´s why they can have dairy or eggs, vegans go deeper and not only go against killing animals they really consider the conditions in which all animals are treated and that´s why they also eliminate eggs and dairy.

When someone following any of this diets tell me that their reason why I respect their ideas and decisions, when their number one reason is environmental I´m totally accept it, it´s great to have people that care for the animals and environments but when some of them tell me that it´s for health reasons I totally disagree because many of them consume a lot of junk and refined food which are unhealthy.

They don´t eat meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, etc; but they eat patatoe chips, cake, fries,  (it´s funny how they say they´re vegans and watch them eat cake, cookies or some other processed food made with animal derived ingredients).

All the added sugars, chemicals, extra ingredients, flavors, etc; contained in processed food are so unhealthy and are the cause of some health problems. You need to be clear on your reason why you are following a certain diet and be aware of what you´re eating this is why reading labels is important. If your reason is health then it may be better to eliminate all junk, processed and refine foods and stick to whole fresh foods, once you are comfortable with this you can adjust your diet to make it better for you.

For people who follow this diets I do think they´ll need to use supplements for the nutrients they´re not getting from animal products, our bodies need proteins and the proteins or amino-acids that can be found on animal products are not the same to the ones find on vegetables, the amino acid profiles are different. At least the amount of food needed is higher.

If you have a really good reason why you want to follow one of this diets give them a try but don´t forget that your health most be a priority, if you follow it just because someone lost a lot of weight and that´s your goal it may not be the best option for you. There are so many ways to achieve the same results, there are different tools and strategies you can use to get to your goal so don´t stick with just one diet , give it a try and if you don´t like the way you feel then try another one.

If you are following any of this diets for environmental reasons then that´s great, continue with it just make sure that you are giving your body all the nutrients it needs through food or in case you need some supplements find the one that are best for you and also be aware of the products you are consuming, make sure that they are vegan or vegetarian.

Talking about the environment there are other ways to help a part from avoiding animal products like walking or using a bicycle instead of the car or finding ways to use our car less, reducing the amount of waste, etc.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Why we need to focus on macronutrients over calories

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Most people are not aware of the impact food has on our health and the importance it has not only on fat loss, some of them start paying attention to it just to lose weight and they go crazy counting calories, for me that´s not the way to go or to live.

We know that all macronutrients are different so the popular saying of “calories are calories” is not true, all calories are different and they all have a different impact on our body this is why we need to focus on macronutrients and not only calories but even when we need to focus on macronutrients we don´t need to get obsessed and count, track or weight everything we eat. It´s about understanding each macro, identifying foods or learning which foods go in each macro and having a clear idea of how much we´re eating with tools like portion control.

Every macronutrient has its own function in your body and you need them in different ratios but how you set those ratios is important, when you only focus on calories you can achieve those same calories with different ratios and all those different combinations of ratios will have a different impact on your body and the macro ratio you´re getting may not be the best for you.

When you focus on macros you´re considering what´s more important, you´re making choices based on the function of each macro and from there you design your nutrition program based on which macro your body needs more and which one less.

Now that you focus on eating healthy, whole foods and you know that it´s more important to focus on macronutrients you need to know which foods belong to which macro which we will see in other post to go deeper and then you can learn about portion control which we´ll also see in other post also.

The reason why you don´t need to measure everything you eat when you focus on macronutrients is that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to work, function and perform great and all those foods loaded with nutrients will make you feel full and satisfied, it´s harder to overeat when you eat whole fresh foods and consider macros first. What you can do is have a clear idea of how much you´re eating with a tool I mentioned earlier in this post called portion control. It´s a guide for you to know how much you need to eat of each macro.

If you want to think about calories or macros to reach your fitness goals whether it´s fat loss or muscle growth when you focus on calories you are restricting yourself and not paying attention to what´s more important, to how things work and how your body responds to different macronutrients, at the end of the day macronutrients are the ones that get the job done, if you just focus on calories you will plateau even if you keep adjusting calories, focusing on macros give you the chance to adjust your macronutrient ratios as you progress without hitting plateaus and you are making sure that your body gets everything it needs to work efficiently and sustain your goal.

Focusing on macros and setting macronutrients is a more advanced level compare to just counting calories but is the right thing to do. You need to understand how each macronutrient works, have a clear goal and be able to measure your progress, protein is needed to repair and build tissue, also for hair, nails; fats are needed for energy, cells and hormonal function, carbohydrates are needed for fiber and energy. This are the basic functions of each macronutrient explained in a simple way.

To set your macronutrient ratios you need to consider your daily activities and workout, if you have a 9 to 5 job where you spend most of the time sitting in front of a computer you don´t need a lot of carbohydrates compared to someone with a more active job.

Your lifestyle, genetics and other factors play an important role when designing your nutrition program, you need to be true to yourself and modify your diet each day according to the activities, some days you may spend a lot more time sitting at the office doing paper work and other days you may be more active.

Now, you can´t forget that the most important step to consider is t avoid processed foods that contain unhealthy oils and added sugars so you need to keep this step always first and from those healthy foods then you focus on the nutrients your body needs and adjust them.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

DietSleep

How food impacts sleep

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One of the biggest problems for most of us that affects the quality of sleep and our weight is food. Do you love late night snacks? Do you love eating something before going to bed?

If your answer is yes which I think so, you are not alone. I used to love those late night snacks and for some time I chose ice cream which you may love too but what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat all have an impact on the quality and quantity of sleep.

The first point I´m going to mention is that you don´t want to go to bed hungry and you don´t want to go to bed full.

I mentioned before that food is fuel and information for our body, if we want our body to function and perform as best as possible we need to give it the information it needs, the nutrients it needs. Your gut is connected is connected to your brain and the immune system so everything we eat has a huge impact. Unhealthy highly processed foods increase stress on your body because your body doesn´t know what to do with them, the moment it ends with digestion there´s nothing it can use to function properly and all that foods end up being toxins and the amount of time it took your body to digest it is just a waste of time and energy.

I´ve also talked about the circadian rhythm, the internal clock in your body and how you need to make sure that you keep that internal clock in sync so that melatonin is secreted at the right time to fall asleep an get high quality sleep and when you wake up you feel rested. This clock is also important during the day to keep you awake and it also helps with the digesting process. Your body and brain know that at night in darkness it´s time to repair, recover, grow and get rid of toxins, during day and light hours it´s time to digest and stay alert.

For all this reasons I don´t recommend eating right before going to bed, when you go to sleep you want to make sure that your body is not working on digesting food because it has other jobs to do, if you go to sleep after having a meal your body will be digesting all that food and it won´t be working on repairing, growing and getting rid of toxins. You may have some trouble to fall asleep and you may not get a good night sleep. But you can´t go to bed hungry because it will also be hard for you to fall asleep.

Since sleep is important for optimal health you want to make sure that you get enough high quality every night and what you eat has an impact on the quality and quantity of sleep, what you eat, how much you eat and the time are all important. Having a schedule or a daily routine is a better way to call it will make it easier for you to improve sleep so here are some steps you can take:

1.- Have your last meal 3 hours before going to bed. This way you make sure that your body is not working on digesting food and it´s ready to sleep.

2.- Try the 80% rule. Do not eat until you are full, eat until you feel 80% full this gives your body enough time to digest food without work overload.

3.- Prioritize whole, healthy foods. You want to make sure that your body can work properly on digesting food that it can use the nutrients and information from the food properly.

This steps are simple to follow but will give you great results, food and sleep are crucial for maintaining optimal health and making it easier to lose weight and maintain a great physique but, you may not be able to get the 7 to 8 hours recommended so you need to make sure that you got other healthy tools you can use to make sure that the amount of sleep you get every night is the best quality possible. These 3 steps help you with that.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you thought about the relation between food and sleep before reading this post and if you have any sleep problems that could be related to what you eat.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Food and inflammation

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How many times have you find out this year that someone close to you, family or friend or maybe someone you know a classmate or coworker was diagnosed with a chronic disease like Parkinson, Alzheimer´s, Cancer?

Nowadays we´re dealing with so many different chronic diseases to which there´s no real cure so the best step we can take is develop healthy habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle that can help us prevent as many of this diseases as possible.

We know that nutrition is key, food is not only fuel for our body, it´s information, everything we eat sends a signal to our body and that signal can be positive or negative. There´s researching showing that inflammation plays a key role on our health.

Even when inflammation is good, too much of it or chronic inflammation has a negative impact on our body and health. Inflammation helps our body heal wounds, this type of inflammation is good, it is helpful and we need it but when we follow an unhealthy lifestyle that includes lack or poor quality sleep, chronic stress, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet all this leads to inflammation and when this happens over and over which is how we live, it leads to chronic inflammation this is very harmful for our body and cause health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, and things get worse with diseases like heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer´s, Parkinson, Cancer.

What we eat impacts our gut microbiome (we´re going to talk about this in future posts) every food choice we make has an effect on our body, we know that unhealthy foods are bad for us but it ends there, we don´t ask ourselves what´s happening with the food we eat.

Unhealthy foods like highly refined and processed foods, fast foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates, unhealthy oils, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and many other added ingredients create inflammation. Your body and brain need specific nutrients for overall health, we won´t get into detail in this post (we will do as we keep sharing info with you) but your body and brain needs healthy fats, fiber, protein and micronutrients the problem is you´re eating too much of the wrong foods.

There are so many processes going on in your body every second and every choice you make has an impact, positive or negative depending on your choice healthy or unhealthy, respectively. Since inflammation is linked to chronic diseases and since there´s no treatment you need to focus on preventing them and for this you need to focus on lowering inflammation on your body. When I say lowering inflammation, I mean the harmful type of inflammation which is the one causing problems.

You can start making healthy choices today to start living a better life and improve your health, here are some steps you can take today:

1.- Avoid unhealthy foods.- We all know which ones, sweets, junk, highly processed and refined foods, fast foods. With this we want to avoid refined and processed foods loaded with sugars, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, seed oils and added ingredients, etc.

2.- Choose whole foods, focus on consuming healthy fats, protein and healthy carbohydrates.

3.- Keep your carbs low.

This are 3 simple steps to start changing eating habits but there´s a lot you can do. Your health most be your priority if you want to live an amazing life, you all have the right to enjoy your life as much as possible and live a happy and fulfilled life, this is only possible when you are healthy and lean so that you can focus on your purpose. We will continue sharing information, simple and effective steps you can take to improve your life but at the end it´s up to you to use this information and apply it.

If you want the best for the people around you, for your closest friends and family you need to take time to work on yourself, if you feel great you´ll have the energy to share amazing times and moments with the people you love and care and you can lead by example.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Food and hormones – Ghrelin

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In the last diet post with talked about leptin and how this hormone is one of the reasons why is hard for you to lose fat and stay lean because you are not satisfied and you feel hungry. In today’s post we will talk about another important hormone that works together with leptin, this hormone is called ghrelin.

Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite, it tells us when we´re hungry and we need to eat which is the contrary of what leptin does. To keep it simple ghrelin is the hormone that makes us eat. This hormone can also be triggered by several factors and if we trigger it the wrong way it will cause so many problems and make it harder for us to lose weight and stay lean.

Some of our unhealthy habits are triggering this hormone the wrong way and one of them is lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep which increases ghrelin and this increases our appetite throughout the day and make us feel hungry so we tend to over eat.

Studies show that when people follow a weight loss program and reduce calories, ghrelin increases as a response of the body to protect us from starvation, the lower we go in calories the high this hormone goes and the longer we stay with the diet the higher this hormone goes.

So if ghrelin increases and leptin decreases it´s the best way to gain weight and it´s so hard to lose weight and stay lean, we need to keep ghrelin low and leptin high so that our brain gets the right message. We don´t feel hungry all day long and we know when it´s enough at every meal. There are some steps we can take to make this happens which are:

1.- Get enough good quality sleep every night, at least 6 hours per night and make those 6 hours of good quality.

2.- Follow a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate nutrition program at least for a period of time to improve insulin and which also helps to keep appetite more in control.

3.- Follow some type of intermittent fasting having 2 meals per day which also helps lower insulin which helps us lose fat and keep hormones more balanced.

As we´ve seen there are several things that come into play when we talk about getting in amazing shape and sustain it, it´s more about hormones, macronutrients and how everything works together. It´s not only about following a very extreme and restrictive diet low in calories, and just to lose weight fast which will cause more harm to your body, it´s about understanding how things work and doing the right things to be able to sustain your results.

Your body is a complex machine there are different systems and hormone working together and they need to work in harmony to the same goal not only to make your fat loss journey easier but for health reasons.

As we´ve seen, leptin and ghrelin are 2 important hormones that need to be working the right way if you want to lose fat and stay lean and one of the most important fitness principles that trigger them is sleep. If you don´t get high quality sleep every night these 2 hormones won´t be working properly and you have the recipe for weight gain. This is why it´s important to develop good healthy habits for the 5 principles of fitness not only to lose fat and maintain a great physique but for health reasons.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Food and hormones – Leptin

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Have you ever heard about leptin? Have you tried the leptin diet? if your answer is not then continue reading to learn about this hormone and if your answer was yes, also continue reading, you may learn something new.

Most traditional or commercial weight loss programs focus on calories, they make you follow diets too low in calories and the workouts are based on cardio or circuit training to lose as much weight as possible but when you stop following the program you start gaining all the weight back and the reason is simple, hormones and metabolism.

Our goal is to help you get an amazing physique and sustain it effortless and to do that we need to focus on what matters which is improving metabolism and hormones so that they work properly and give you the best results while improving and maintaining optimal health, leptin is one of those hormones.

Leptin is the satiety hormone and it´s job is to tell us when we´ve eaten enough and we need to stop. To keep it simple leptin tell us when to stop eating because we´re full. This hormone can be triggered by several factors and if we triggered it the wrong way by doing the wrong things then it won´t be doing its job effectively and if we add to this that some of our unhealthy habits are causing problems  like lack or poor quality sleep, which reduces leptin which is why we are hungry and have more cravings during the day and this is one of the short term effects of poor sleep.

When leptin is low it won´t send the message to our brain that we are full and we need to stop eating, on the contrary we will eat more in each meal and we´ll feel hungry throughout the day this is why weight gain is related to lack of sleep.

Fat cells increase leptin so the more fat we have the higher this hormone will be.

As with insulin there´s something called leptin resistance which is when our body produces too much leptin in this case the fat cells when we are obese or overweight and it gets to a point where the receptors block all that leptin so it can´t do its job and instead of getting signals that we are satisfied we feel hungry.

So as you can see, weight loss is not as simple as eat less and move more, yes it´s part of the equation but there are other things that come into play, what you can do to improve leptin, one simple step is start by getting enough high quality sleep every night, this is a simple tool that gives a lot of benefits and makes everything easier.

If you are overweight the best thing you can do is reduce insulin, we´ve talked about insulin in other posts and by improving insulin is easier to burn fat, when you start losing weight and getting rid of that excess fat, leptin also starts to lower, you can do this by trying some type of intermittent fasting like limiting your meals to 2 or 3 meals per day in an 8 hour window, another way is by reducing carbohydrates and follow a low carbohydrate, moderate and high fat diet like ketogenic for a period of time. Exercise also helps lower insulin specially HIIT.

What I recommend if your nutrition program is based on unhealthy foods, you´ll need to eliminate those unhealthy foods and focus on eating meals cooked with whole fresh ingredients and try intermittent fasting, go for 2 meals a day you can have breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Do this for 4 to 6 weeks and see the results and how you feel.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Food and hormones – Insulin

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With so many diets and a lot of contradicting information, myths and lies the best way to know what´s true, what doesn´t, what work and what doesn´t is to understand how things work. This has been my focus for the last years understanding how things work, to get in shape and sustain it and for this hormones play an important role, one of those hormones is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced and secreted by the pancreas following the consumption of carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose which raises the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. The body cannot have a lot of glucose in the bloodstream so the pancreas secret insulin to take the excess of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.

Carbohydrates are the primary trigger of insulin. Insulin blocks the utilization of fat as fuel and promotes its storage so when insulin is high fat is not burned, when insulin is low the body can break down triglycerides (stored fat) to be used as fuel.

When insulin is absent, or the cells are not responding to it glucose is not used efficiently and therefore cannot be utilized for energy. Under these conditions carbohydrate consumption causes blood glucose levels to skyrocket.

Insulin is related to diabetes which is a common disease that affects more and more people. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the hormone insulin is not working properly. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Millions of people are diagnosed and in treatment of one of these types while many others are undiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas which produces insulin cannot work efficiently resulting in insulin deficiency, with this lack of insulin the cells are unable to take up glucose,  blood sugar is high but it cannot get into the cells. This type of diabetes is generally treated with insulin injections which provide the insulin that the body needs to take glucose out of the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is still able to secret insulin, but cells are unable to respond to insulin and therefore do not allow glucose to enter. This is known as insulin resistance; it is the opposite of insulin sensitivity in which insulin easily moves glucose into cells. Individuals whit type 2 diabetes should aim to improve their insulin resistance.

In insulin resistance, cells do not respond efficiently to insulin´s signals to take up excess glucose, the pancreas secret more and more insulin to compensate for insulin resistance and manage blood glucose levels. Over time, this process leads to dysfunction and the pancreas is not able to secret insulin efficiently to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose then accumulates in the bloodstream which may lead to type 2 diabetes.

The hormone insulin is one of the most important when trying to lose fat and stay lean. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity will determine how efficient your body is at utilizing carbohydrates which can make your process simple or harder.

High levels of insulin for a long period of time is unhealthy and causes many health issues, every time we eat insulin gets high so one way to keep it low is following some type of intermittent fasting which we talked about in other post (click here to read that post), we can do this by reducing meals per day, instead of 5 meals per day try 2 meals. Another way we can keep insulin low is with a low carbohydrate diet, especially keto which is high in fats, moderate protein and low in carbohydrates since carbohydrates are the macro which spikes insulin.

High levels of insulin caused by unhealthy diets are the cause of most metabolic diseases so finding tools you can use to keep it low will give you amazing benefits.

In both type of diabetes and even when insulin injections and other drugs are the preferred treatment, I cannot stress enough the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes including exercise and nutrition. 

The importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and a healthy diet have a positive impact on our life and daily activities preventing some diseases and leading to a more enjoyable and meaningful life.

Before you do any change to your diet and lifestyle talk with your doctor or health professional. We all know which unhealthy habits we follow and which healthy habits we need to develop but we still need some guidance and know what´s the best way to do it for each of us and they are the ones that can help us create a plan that works according to our own situation.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

What is carbohydrate cycling

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I know a lot of people who hate bodybuilders but no one can deny that when we talk about nutrition they really know what they´re talking about. They know different tools and strategies we can use to get in amazing shape, one of those tools is carbohydrate cycling. When I tried this tool I was amazed at how well it works, it´s great for fat loss without depleting carbs for long time and it´s great for muscle gains while staying lean.

All the tools or strategies I use and I share with you here are meant to make your life easier and give you amazing results and more importantly that you develop new good habits that lead you to a more healthy and happy life. Carbohydrate cycling is a tool you can use for either fat loss or muscle gains.

We can manipulate carbohydrates as much as we need, we´ve been told that we need carbohydrates because glucose is the preferred form of energy for our bodies, so if we reduce the amount of energy we give to your body we force it to use stored fat as energy.

This strategy can be use if you are following a balanced diet with moderate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Of course, in diets low in carbohydrates like ketogenic you need to be more cautious. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin and also lower calories so that your body use stored fat for energy and increase carbohydrates on the right times to restore glycogen.

Carbohydrates cycling means that we increase or decrease the amount of carbohydrates we consume depending on our goal. We need to be on a caloric surplus to gain muscle and on a caloric deficit to burn fat, with carbohydrate cycling we can gain muscle without gaining to much fat and we can lose fat without losing muscle.

What we do in this strategy is set macronutrient ratios (I explain in other post how to set macros) and keep proteins and fats the same and we manipulate carbohydrates accordingly. To do this we have three carbohydrate days being: high carbohydrate, moderate carbohydrate and low carbohydrate.

Our workout program needs to be aligned with our nutrition program, high carbohydrate days needs to be placed on resistance training days and low carbohydrate days on rest days. We also need to consider calories but if we set our macros right then calories must fit into place.

It doesn´t matter if your goal is fat loss or muscle growth the principles of this strategy are the same, you can also use this strategy for body recomposition which is losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time and have great results.

Body recomp is one of the hardest things to do and most people will say it´s impossible, the truth is it´s possible but it takes time. For guys who are starting their fitness journey and are new to training specially weight training and following a healthier lifestyle is easier to see their body changing. Gaining muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is easier when you are new to resistance exercise.

If you are not new you can still do it effectively but you need to be patient, it will take more time to see results but you won´t regret it. Carbohydrate cycling is a great tool for this by manipulating carbohydrates and calories to have some low calorie/low carbohydrate days and some high calorie/high carbohydrate days.

The whole goal of this strategy and all the others I share is to make any fitness goals simple and more enjoyable so that you get amazing results and sustain them in an effortless way and this strategy is not exception, following a low calorie diet is almost impossible for most of us for long periods of time, we get to a point where the calories are really low and we feel hungry all the time and we end up overeating and giving up.

Having low carbohydrate days with high carbohydrate days is the best option to make it easier for you to stick to a program without feeling hungry all the time and you are giving your body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that you train hard in the gym and it can recover afterwards.

For any nutrition tool I´m assuming that your nutrition program is healthy, your diet focuses on whole fresh foods and you eliminate or avoid refined and processed foods as much as possible so even if I don´t mention to choose healthy options for any macro is because that´s obvious now.

If you have any doubt about this tool let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to help.

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Pam

Diet

An introduction to Intermittent Fasting

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When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites recommended having 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks was the way to go so I followed this advice and to be honest it was so hard to get 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks 7 days a week. It was a lot of work and I needed to be strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions had used it. Once I started following a fasting schedule everything changed, it was a lot easier to get in shape and sustain it but what´s better is all the amazing benefits for overall health.

If you are looking for a tool that can make your life easier, that helps you get lean and stay lean and that is healthy, then intermittent fasting is what you need.

I can´t think about any other fitness strategy that gives you the freedom you need while getting or staying lean and that makes your life easier. It doesn´t matter how your days look like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces  stress, get you focused on what matters, gives you more freedom and you can enjoy life a lot more.

Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that you have your meals on a small period of time and you don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when you eat is known as the eating window and the long period when you don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives your digestive system a rest which is amazing if you feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.

When you want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time you eat insulin raise so when you are fasting you have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when you stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and you are in a fasted window your body increases growth hormone and keep insulin and cortisol down. Insulin and cortisol are two important hormones for weight loss and intermittent fasting is a great way to keep insulin low giving chance to growth hormone to increase.

Having 2 meals a day is the best option, most people prefer to fast in the morning skipping breakfast and have lunch and dinner, this is one way to do it. What works best for me is to have breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping the eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.

You don´t need to worry about losing muscle, it won´t happen unless you fast for 2 or more days.

There are some goals you can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as a bonus.

When fasting you can lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into your lifestyle if you love to eat big meals, if you want to have the freedom to enjoy foods you love and want to stay lean all year give it a try.

When you are trying to make fitness a lifestyle it becomes so hard to fit 5 or 6 meals a day, plus one hour or more at gym at least 5 days a week into our busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, you don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into our day, you only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when you´re starting the biggest issues you have is hunger and that´s normal just give time to your body to adapt, don´t follow any eating window, do what works best for you, the first days when hunger appears have a piece of fruit or some nuts and seeds, you can have water or coffee if you are fasting in the morning and tea at night, those are the best options if you need some snacks, if you can go all the way to your meal without any snack that´s amazing.

Intermittent fasting should be easy and a way to have more freedom in the choices you make enjoying life even more so don´t stress, don´t overdo it and don´t over think. Don´t focus on any eating window and create yours, one that fit your schedule and daily activities.

Don´t forget to provide nutrients to your body, fasting gives you the freedom  to have big meals, enjoy your favorite foods and dishes (considering they´re cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients), go out to lunch or dinner with friends and family and enjoy the moment but if you cook try to make healthy  meals with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you are only eating 2 or 3 meals you must be sure that your body has the nutrients it requires.

Be careful with how you organize your meals and your workouts, if you are training in the morning around 8 or 9 and your first meal is at 2 pm it´ll be harder to stay fasted, if your workouts are high intensity interval training for an hour or so it will increase your appetite, boost your hunger making almost impossible to fast, you need to fit your workouts in a way that they make fasting easier and that both of them, your workouts and your meals fit perfectly in your daily activities.

Intermittent fasting also gives us other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to our life. This is a huge theme so in future post we will go deep on intermittent fasting and we´ll talk about the benefits and tips and strategies you can use it for your own goals.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you´ve tried intermittent fasting and what was your experience?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam