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Nutrition

What you need to know about insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance

09 Insulin resistance & sensitivity
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93

Most people in the industry give us the same advice for weight loss “eat less-move more” and the reason this doesn´t work for most people is that getting in shape gets more complex, if we don´t understand how hormones work it will be harder to lose weight and keep it off. In most cases the ones trying to lose weight and get in shape have a lot of fat to lose and the chances of them being insulin resistant if really high, if we want results we need to improve insulin.

The hormone insulin is one of the most important when trying to lose fat and stay lean. Insulin resistant and insulin sensitivity will determine how efficient is your body at utilizing carbohydrates which can make your process simple or harder. Insulin is also related to diabetes which is a common diseases that affects more and more people.

Insulin sensitivity can be defined as the amount of insulin the pancreas needs to produce to move certain amount of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. Someone who is insulin sensitive can need only a small amount of insulin, while someone who is insulin resistant needs a lot of insulin to deposit the same amount of glucose.

Insulin sensitive is when less insulin is required to move a greater amount of glucose into the cells. Insulin sensitivity is the ability to take in and utilize carbohydrates efficiently for energy. People who is insulin sensitive can consume high carbohydrate meals and use the glucose for fuel with low amounts of insulin. That is why they can eat donuts, brownies, cakes every night and stay lean.

People who are insulin sensitive are more likely to stay lean even if they eat a lot of sweets; the carbohydrates they eat are taken up from the bloodstream to the cells and are use as fuel, people that is insulin resistant have to release a large amount of insulin to get some of that glucose into the cells, this blocks the breakdown of fat.

Insulin resistance is when the cells stop responding to insulin so all the glucose stays in the bloodstream and our bodies stop breaking down fat and instead we end up storing it. Those who are insulin resistant must use excessive amounts of insulin to do the job, which means that their blood glucose is higher. People who are overweight or obese are likely insulin resistant, reducing carbohydrates can improve insulin levels.

If you are insulin sensitive you can eat carbohydrates, if you are insulin resistant or diabetic, considering a low carbohydrate or ketogenic nutrition program can lower insulin and improve insulin sensitivity.

The more effective your body is at utilizing carbohydrates the easier it is to burn fat, to get lean and to stay lean, if insulin is high your body cannot breakdown fat and use it for energy, being insulin resistant which makes glucose in the bloodstream stays high won´t let your body use fat even on a low calorie diet.

The best ways to improve insulin resistant is by lowering carbohydrates consumption and intermittent fasting. You can use this strategies for a period of time until your insulin resistant improves and you lose some weight or you can adapt them to your life making them a lifestyle. Intermittent fasting have a lot more benefits for your health, to get all the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet the best option is ketogenic where fat intake is about 70%, protein 20% and carbohydrates 10%. (This macro nutrients vary from people to people).

People with obesity or overweight are more likely to be insulin resistant, their body is not efficient at using carbohydrates and some other hormones like cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, metabolism. Their body is not being as effective as it should so in this case they need to be more discipline in their diet by reducing carbohydrates for a period of time until they lose some weight and their body gets more efficient.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about insulin

08 Insulin
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93

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 and to get in shape and sustain it 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.

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 this 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 resistant 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.

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 life changes including exercise and nutrition. 

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

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 is your body at utilizing carbohydrates which can make your process simple or harder. Insulin is also related to diabetes which is a common diseases that affects more and more people.

High levels of insulin for a long period of time is unhealthy and causes may health issues, every time you eat insulin gets high so one way to keep it low is following some type of fast, you can do this by reducing meals per day, instead of 5 meals per day try 2 meals. Another way you can keep insulin low is with a low carbohydrate diet, specially keto which is high in fats, 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.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

How carbohydrate cycling can help you achieve your fitness goals

07 Carbohydrate cycling
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73

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 you 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.

You can manipulate carbohydrates as much as you need, we´ve been told that we need carbohydrates because glucose is the preferred form of energy for our bodies, so if you reduce the amount of energy you give to your body you 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 or ketogenic it won´t apply. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin so that your body use stored fat for energy and increase carbohydrates on the right times to restore glycogen.

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

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

Your workout program needs to be aligned with your nutrition program, your high carbohydrate days needs to be placed on your resistance training days and your low carbohydrate days on rest days. And you also need to consider your calories.

It doesn´t matter if your goal is fat loss or muscle gains (I´ll be writing a post for each goal) 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 and have great results.

Body recomp is one of the hardest things to do and most people will say it´s impossible and it´s actually not impossible 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 it´ll easier to see their body changing. Gaining muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is easier when you are new to lifting weights.

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 the exception, following a low calorie diet is almost impossible for most of us, 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 also giving your body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that you train hard in the gym and it can recover afterwards.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about intermittent fasting

06 Intermittent fasting
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111

When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites 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 really strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions 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 looks like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces your stress, get you focused on what matters, gives you more freedom and you can enjoy your life a lot more.

While some people say that fasting is the worst think you can do I´ve been using it for some years now and it is amazing. Intermittent fasting has some great benefits for your health.

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 a great option. What works best for me is having breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping your eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.

You don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are some studies that say that it´s possible to gain muscle while losing fat at the same time following intermittent fasting, if we analyze this from the calories point of view you need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, your body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and your body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if you know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way you can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if you are starting in fitness.

The way catabolic and anabolic states work in your body is easy, when you are fasting your body is in a catabolic state and when you eat your body goes to the anabolic state, this gives your body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and you have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.

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 an added bonus.

When fasting you´ll be able to 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.

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 your 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 your day, you only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when you´re starting the biggest issues you´ll have is with 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, I don´t recommend any other snacks and fruit is ok on an empty stomach, 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 is a great nutrition tool.

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, 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 can also give you other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to your life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

Why micronutrients matter

09
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122

Food is fuel for our body, we need to give it the right nutrients and the energy it needs for its daily functions and to support our fitness goals.

As we saw in earlier posts, food is divided in 3 macronutrients which are proteins, fats and carbohydrates each of them provides our body with nutrients and our body needs them in large quantities and there are also micronutrients which our body needs in smaller quantities. This micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and they are essential for optimal health and preventing diseases, they all have an specific function in our body.

The best way to get this nutrients is through food but nowadays we need to consume a lot of highly nutritious food to get the amounts our body needs, the reason why is because the soil is depleted, we don´t get the same amount of nutrients in vegetables that some years ago, this is why many people decide to take supplements like multivitamins and minerals.

If you are deficient in any of them your body won´t work properly and in some cases the negative effects are not huge; examples of this can be chapped lips,  hair loss but things can get really bad and cause a lot of health issues.

All systems in our body from the digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal system, muscular system, etc; they all need vitamins and minerals, some of them may need more vitamins, others more minerals but they all need some amount and all this systems work in conjunction, talking about how our body works can get really complex and I´m not and experts so we´re going to keep it simple with what you need to know not only to reach your fitness goals but to live a better life.

The reason why I don´t like diets that eliminate a food group is because of a lack of micronutrients, animal produce also have nutrients so vegetarians need supplements to give their bodies the nutrients they´re missing. People that don´t eat enough vegetables and fruits also need some supplements.

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and are low in calories, they are also high in fiber which also important this is why many fitness people that start following a weight loss program go with vegetables and salads and some of them avoid completely meats, fish and other proteins and also avoid fats which are crucial for your health.

You´ll find that there are 13 essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. They function is primarily focus on energy and supporting all the systems of the body to function properly. Minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium etc; some of their functions are focus on building and maintaining healthy bones, hair, teeth.

They are all needed in different quantities and apart from helping your body function properly they can help prevent diseases and infections by getting some systems strong like the immune system. If you are deficient of some vitamins or minerals your body tells; if you feel tired, weak, you lack concentration, you suffer insomnia, you feel fatigue that means that you´re deficient in micronutrients.

What you can do is follow a nutrition program based on real, fresh foods you don´t need to follow strict diets just be sure that your meals are cooked with real, fresh ingredients and avoid junk, processed and fast foods as much as possible. Processed foods lack nutrition that´s why in some products you´ll see that they added some vitamins and minerals, also some processed products deplete your body from vitamins and minerals so the more you can stay away from them the better.

If you don´t consume enough fresh foods you may want to take a multivitamin but I recommend you talk with your doctor first.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about carbohydrates

06
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81

The last macro we will talk about is carbohydrates which for some are the evil  so they avoid them at all cost and others make them the base of their diet. There are 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are carbon-based molecules that contain water and can be classified in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest basic structure which include glucose (is the simplest form of sugar), fructose (fruit) and galactose (dairy). Glucose is the building block of most complex carbohydrates and it´s our body´s preferred source of energy. This simple sugars do not need to be broken down for the body to use them so they get into your bloodstream and are used immediately.

Disaccharides are two monosacchrides bound together which include sucrose and lactose.

Polysaccharides are more than two monosaccharides bound together which include starches.

Some years ago this three groups (monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides) were divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates to describe how fast or slow they were digested and how fast they raise blood glucose. The simpler the molecule of sugar, the easier it is to break it down; the more complex the molecule, the more it has to be broken down and the longer it takes to absorb. Simple carbohydrates was used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates was used to describe polysaccharides which increase blood sugar slower.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so your body needs to keep it regulated, when you eat too much sugar it gets to your bloodstream, insulin raises to take that glucose from the bloodstream to the cell and use it for energy or store it as glycogen in the muscles and if there´s an excess it stores the rest as fat.

Fiber is also a carbohydrates that is not broken down in the small intestine, it get into the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria. It can be divided into soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, insoluble fiber does not dissolves in water. Both of them have a lot of benefits making it an important part of your diet. Green and cruciferous vegetables are great options to add fiber to your meals and your nutrition program.

Our bodies does not need high amounts of sugar and we are eating more carbohydrates than our body needs. If you are insulin resistant you may consider going lower in carbohydrates for a period of time until insulin improves.

Our body only needs a small amount of carbs.

We are all different so if a higher carbohydrate diet works best for you go ahead. The best carbohydrates sources you can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, beans, legumes, rice, pasta, corn tortilla are also a great option.

If you´ve read the posts “what you need to know about fats” and “what you need to know about protein” you can see that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids which make them a crucial part of our diets but there are not essential carbohydrates meaning that our bodies only need sugar for energy, thanks to this we can use them as a tool like in carbohydrate cycling like a source of energy and glycogen to lose fat or gain muscle.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there’s not an essential carbohydrate and our body doesn´t need them you can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates, actually the carbohydrates you consume in keto diets are vegetables to get nutrients.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about fats

03 Fats
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95

The second  macronutrient is fat, this macro has been involved in some myths regarding to fat loss and health issues. There are 9 calories on one gram of fat.

Fats come in the form of triglycerides in our diet and are also stored as fat as triglycerides. Fats are formed of a molecule of glycerol connected to three fatty acids.

Fats are also called lipids and their main function is to form the membranes of each cell of your body. Fats are divided into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats.- Each carbon molecule can form a bond with four other molecules, two of this molecules will always be used to connect it to the next carbon in the chain, if the remaining two bonds are connected to hydrogen is called saturated fat. This saturated fats are solid at room temperature an example is butter. If you follow a balanced nutrition program that include  high carbohydrates and you consume a lot of this type of fats your body is not efficient at breaking them down and digesting them.

Unsaturated fats.- If the remaining bonds do not bond with hydrogen molecules is called unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats have a single double bond and include olive oil, avocado oil.

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond and include canola oil and fish oil.

Trans fat.- This fats are produced when companies turn unsaturated fats into saturated fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature. Products like margarine are high in trans fats. This fats are commonly used by fast food chains and processed food. This are the fats I recommend you avoid due to their negative effects on health.

Essential fatty acids are those fatty acids that are not synthesized in the body and they need to be obtain from nutrition. They are classified as polyunsaturated omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

The amount of fat you need will vary depending of the nutrition program you are following, for a ketogenic diet  70% to 80% most come from fat, around 5% – 10% carbohydrates and the rest of protein. I want to make something clear here, if you are on a ketogenic diet, you must eat all healthy fats, the only ones you must avoid are trans fats, when you lower carbohydrates and your body is on ketosis, your body is able to use saturated fats efficiently.

One of the biggest reasons why people don´t consume it is because they´re afraid that eating too much fat will make them gain more fat, this is not true. If you eat unhealthy foods like simple carbohydrates and trans fats and you eat a lot you´ll gain weight and you´ll get fat, if you eat healthy food it´ll be very hard to gain weight because it´s harder to over eat.

Fats are a great option to keep you satisfied and full, you can have some almonds or nuts as a snack or add avocado to your meals to keep you full longer.

If you like to eat at restaurants like I do you need to watch out at how meals are cooked, many of them use dips and sausages high in fats and sugars and some cook with a lot of butter, even when butter is good if your goal is fat loss you want to be in a caloric deficit and fats are high so in this case I recommend you stick with unsaturated fats.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

NutritionSleep

How sleep and food are related

02 sleep and food
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137

After a couple months of researching about sleep and thinking about a few years ago when I had many nights of poor quality sleep I tended to crave more junk food for the most part of the day and to make things worse, I didn´t have a lot of sweets and junk in the house so I went to the store to buy them. I ate a lot more and I didn´t feel like working out but at the end of the day I felt terrible.

Understanding the relationship between food and sleep can help you have better quality sleep and can make it easier for you to stick to a nutrition program.

Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep increase cravings specially for sweets and junk food, is you try to stick to a diet but you didn´t sleep well it will be harder for you to make the right choice at every meal. Now what you eat right before going to bed can cause sleep problems like insomnia or some digestive issues that won´t let you fall asleep. On the long run, you nutrition program or what you eat on a daily basis have an impact on your sleep patterns.

Our body needs nutrients to function properly but what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat they all have an impact on our health and the quality of our sleep, if you eat unhealthy foods before you go to bed your body doesn´t know what to do with them and it takes longer for your body to digest them plus you are not giving it the fuel it needs so it can´t recover and you won´t feel great the next day. Foods high in refine sugar and trans fats cause indigestion and make you feel bloated.

If you eat too much before going to sleep it can cause digestive issues, some people like myself have digestive problems like feeling bloated or constipated so having big meals at night can be counterproductive your body will be working a lot harder to digest all that food and you won´t be able to sleep, you may suffer of acid reflux or heartburn. This is the reason why I do intermittent fasting and skip dinner.

Drinking too much caffeine specially late in the afternoon or night you´ll find it harder to fall asleep most of us use coffee or any other form of caffeine to stay awake so that we can finish what we´re doing but in the long run this disturbs your sleep patterns and functions of your body.

Our body has an internal clock which keeps all functions scheduled and running on time, when you take caffeine to stay awake, you go to sleep and wake up at different hours your body goes out of rhythm, when you eat too much before bed, your body takes longer to digest that food and it´s working on that when it supposed to be sleeping and recovering.

Lack of sleep and even sleeping too much can alter your appetite, this is why if you didn´t get enough quality sleep you have cravings for sweets and unhealthy foods and you also eat more and that excess of food which is usually unhealthy makes you gain weight.

Poor quality sleep has negative impacts on your brain and hormones and this hormones, neurons and neurotransmitters are the responsible of you making bad choices you have less control over your impulses and will power.

When you lack sleep you less energy and it is harder to do everything you need to get done, you don´t feel like going to the gym so you don´t workout and comfort food is your first choice. If your concern is weight loss then you need to make sure that you sleep enough at least 7 hours of good quality and that your nutrition program is good.

With lack of sleep your metabolism slows down and two hormones get affected. Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite and leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating when you are full. With sleep deprivation ghrelin goes up and leptin goes down, so you eat more and you eat almost all the time. You have no control over this two so you keep eating and it takes longer for leptin to send you the message of being enough.

When you have some days of poor sleep in a row insulin levels are also affected, you become insulin resistant and your body is not able to use the food you eat properly specially carbohydrates.

As you can see; sleep, stress, nutrition, training and mindset are all connected and one change in one creates a change in the rest. It´s a cycle that never stops this is why I share with you tools for each of them and I urge you not to be perfect in any, it´s not about perfection it´s about finding tools you can use every day and develop habits that lead you to a better life without being so restrictive.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about protein

02 Proteins 2
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118

The first macronutrient we´ll see is protein, which is primarily used to build hair, nails and various organ systems and are also the building blocks for tissue. Protein is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth. There are 4 calories in one gram of protein.

Protein is essential for the body but it has more functions apart from building muscle fibers. Some proteins provide structure to your body, to bones, skin, teeth, hair, nails; others provide antibodies to defend against viruses or bacteria. Protein is not used as a source of energy unless you are on a critic situation or your body feels you are on starvation and there´s no other source of energy left.

Protein is made of amino acids that create long chains called amino peptides, the structure of an amino acid is made of hydrogen, carbon, amino group, carboxyl group and a side chain. The side chain varies among each amino acid and is what gives each amino acid it´s name.

Protein comes from different sources including animals and plants. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can be divided in two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids that you need to get from your nutrition and eleven nonessential amino acids that your body can make on its own. The nine essential amino acids also called branched chain amino acids are the ones that have a bigger impact on building muscle.

One thing to consider about protein is something called protein turnover which is the protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Protein synthesis is the building of new muscle using the amino acids, and protein breakdown is when your body takes existing muscle and breaks it down for energy.

There are some important factors you need to consider for protein consumption which are the amount of protein you need to consume and the quality of the protein. Getting around 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is good place to start if you want to protect muscle mass, there´s not an exact number you may need more or less protein so you need to adjust the numbers considering you current goal and the type of nutrition program you are following.

Protein is consider by many as the most important macronutrient for weight loss and gaining muscle this is why some people increase their intake. If you are looking to lose weight considering that you are in a calorie deficit and you are doing some kind of resistance training along with some cardio, increasing the amount of protein will make sure that you maintain your muscle. If you want to gain muscle, you´ll need to be in a calorie surplus, you can use carbohydrate cycling and increase carbohydrates while focusing on keeping protein at 1.5 grams.

Some people adjust their macro nutrient ratios getting about 50% from protein, 25% fats and 25% carbohydrates. There are many protein sources from meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, also nuts, beans, dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, also vegetables and they´re all natural foods. Another way some fitness experts, and athletes consume protein is by supplements in the form of protein bars, protein powders and you can find different sources or type of protein including whey, casein, isolated and some others, the difference between them is the time of absorption, how fast or slow your body digest the type of protein, this is key to knowing when you must consume each type to have better results.

Fish, lean meat and protein shake are great sources of protein.

Protein shakes are famous for pre/post workout meals and also as meal replacements, as you know I don´t like to use supplements but if I did, I would take protein shakes as a post workout meal considering that liquid nutrition gets faster to where your body needs it because your body doesn´t have to digest it.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

Why macronutrients matter

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Even when my approach to nutrition is not about counting calories or being perfect with macronutrient ratios it is important that you know and understand at least the basics of nutrition so that you can adjust your meals according to your goals to get amazing results.

The goal of any diet or nutrition program must be to give nutrients to our body.

Macronutrients give energy to our bodies in the form of calories, you may have heard that “calories are calories” or “all calories are equal”, this is completely false, all three groups are different, your body will not respond the same way to protein than to fat and in each group you´ll find healthy and unhealthy options, your body will respond in different ways to this three groups of macronutrients and how healthy they are.

I know I´ve talked before that highly processed food is unhealthy and you need to avoid it as much as possible, now that you avoid all those unhealthy foods we need to start learning about the differences in real fresh food, we know that this healthy foods have the nutrients our body needs to function and we will divide it into macronutrients and micronutrients.

The first we´re going to learn are macronutrients, now that you eat healthy meals cooked with real, fresh natural ingredients it´s time to know more about those foods. Macronutrients are divided in three: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Each group has its own primarily function making all of them a crucial part of our diet.

It´s not the same to have a cup of oatmeal than to have a some cookies like Oreo, for your body it´s completely different, it´s not the same to have some rice and broccoli than to have a donut with ice cream. I know this examples look silly but I want to make the point clear, not all calories are created equal. This is comparing healthy vs unhealthy options, if we compare healthy options from different macronutrient groups like avocado with chicken or oatmeal with nuts they are still different and you´re body uses them in different ways even if they are healthy options. This is the reason why the famous “calories in – calories out” advice won´t work for everyone.

Each macro nutrient has its own purpose to help your body function properly every day, I´ll be talking about each macronutrient on separate posts to give you all you need to know and keep it simple so that you can take your time to understand it.

I´ve said before that weight lose and fitness in general can be complex, the reason why is because you need to know and understand the job of each macronutrient and how your body responds, once you understand this information all fitness goals will be simple.

Knowing the job of each macronutrients is key because you need to manipulate them in certain ways to achieve your fitness goals, if you want to lose fat or gain lean muscle you´ll need to adjust your nutrition and make some slightly changes to support your goal.

For me macronutrients are far more important than calories, I don´t  consider a fitness program that only focus on calories to be right because there are different ways to achieve the same amount of calories with different macronutrient ratios and each one will give you different results.

You may know by now that I love food, I love to cook and I consider food to be part of the culture and traditions of each country, I love traditional food and local cuisine. My approach to fitness and weight loss is to keep things simple by avoiding unhealthy, highly processed food and to stick with real fresh food. I don´t count calories, I don´t count points, I don´t weight my food to set macro ratios I just have a clear idea of the amount of food and the types of food I´m eating.

When you understand each macronutrient and have an idea of the amount of food your body needs you´ll be able to enjoy food, I hate the idea of following diets, we´re supposed to enjoy life and for me food is an important part of life but you still need to know the basics so that you can use the information and use it to achieve your goals.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam