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Nutrition

The food pyramid

13 Food pyramid
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186

Some years ago the USDA launches its food pyramid recommending people to consume 6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates from bread, cereal, pasta, rice and grains, while using fats and oils “sparingly”. What we need to do is to turn that pyramid upside down or at least reduce carbohydrates. We do not need all those servings of bread, cereal, rice, pasta and grains, if you are insulin resistant or diabetes it will be better to avoid them at least for a period of time. If you have fat to lose and you spend most of your day sitting on a chair at the office there is no reason why you should be consuming those amounts of carbohydrates.

I´m not telling you to eliminate these type of foods completely from you nutrition program or that you won´t eat any of them again. My objective is to educate you about the negative long term effects this products have on your health.

All this problem about the food pyramid, food groups, and how a healthy plate or dish must look like, started a few years ago when people in the industry blamed fats as being the culprit of many diseases, so companies took advantage of this and created “low-fat” products which are worst than normal versions, this “low-fat” products have more sugar to add taste and flavor. They also created amazing marketing campaigns to sell us their “low-fat healthy products”.

There were some few people on the industry trying to show the truth, trying to make people understand that fat is not the culprit, and that sugar was and is the cause of many diseases like high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, etc. The problem here was that companies want your money, they live from your money and if they make you think they´re selling you healthy products you will buy them and sugar creates and addiction so by adding more sugar, they´ll make sure  you keep consuming their products.

With all this people fighting and creating campaigns in favor of sugar (most of them) and some in favor of fat, the food pyramid was launched as you can see in favor of sugar and blaming fats, when the food pyramid was launched and companies created their marketing campaigns we get bombarded with all this information about how bad are fats and this is when the problem got worse. More people got sick.

The companies will continue selling high sugar and highly processed products loaded with chemicals, it´s clear that we´re consuming a lot more carbohydrates than our bodies need, a normal diet nowadays is based on simple carbohydrates, trans fats and chemicals which is the worst combination.

Most people still believe and trust a 100% this food pyramid, doctors, nutritionist and people on the industry. What we can do is research, continue reading and find out what´s the truth and what works best for you.

I´m not telling you to follow a ketogenic nutrition program where healthy fats are between 70%, proteins 20% and carbohydrates 10%, I´m not telling to eat only fats and eliminate completely all carbohydrates, I´m not telling you to follow one diet that will work great for all people, I´m sharing with you all I know so that you can understand and find out what´s the best option for you. The food pyramid as we know it is not the best or healthiest option and it can cause more problems to people with insulin resistant.

Our body needs healthy fats, fiber and protein if we make our meals based on healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, fish, carbohydrates from different vegetables to get fiber and meat and eggs for protein we will feel a lot better and our health will improve.

Your health must be your priority, taking care of you and your body must be first, then you can help and take care of loved ones and people around you.

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

Should we count calories or macros?

12 Count calories or macros
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132

So many guys and girls get stressed counting calories or points, most people on the fitness industry are more interested on calories and that´s all they talk about, if we focus on nutrients, then macros are more important.

Counting calories is not the best option for any fitness goal, not all calories are created equal and each macronutrient has its function on your body even when they are all healthy options, it´s not the same to have some meat than to have rice or almonds, if you count calories you can´t have complete control of what you eat and what your body does.

Each macronutrient has its own functions which in conjunction helps our body to work and perform the best way possible. If you understand the job of each macronutrient, how you can manipulate them and how to set macronutrient ratios correctly you´ll see that it´s more important to set macronutrient ratios than to count calories.

If you only focus on counting calories your diet may not be adequate for you, if you are insulin resistant and you are only counting calories, your diet may be high in carbohydrates which can worsen insulin and make it harder to lose fat, if you are insulin sensitive and are very active you may need more energy at certain meals, just by counting calories you may be eating less carbohydrates than you need on the meals that are needed.

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 to get you where you want.

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 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.

We need to focus on health and from this stand point counting and setting macro nutrient ratios is more important than counting calories and it´s not that hard to do, you need to have a clear idea of what you are eating and the amount of food you are eating, then you need to know how much you really need so you´ll need to read labels and use tools like portion control for a period of time until you get used to how things look like, once you have an idea you don´t need to be measuring and counting everything.

Life is to enjoy it not to spend most of our time focusing on training and food, do not let you life revolves on counting food and the gym, do not get obsessed with it, you need to be more discipline at the beginning to develop good habits and to know what you are doing then you can have a lot more freedom. It´s easy to count macros, portion control gives you a clear idea of how much you are eating and it´ll makes your life easier, it´s more important to focus on the nutrients your body needs and the times it needs them.

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

Fitness goalsNutrition

Why low calorie diets don´t work long term

11 Low calorie diets
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132

Most people I know who want to lose weight think of it of diet and exercise, the most common advice we all know “eat less move more” but when they start following this advice with any weight loss program they realize how hard it is, some of them finish the program and lose weight but can´t maintain the results for long, other don´t finish the program.

Weight loss is not about eating less and following strict low calorie diets, when people need to lose a lot of weight their body don´t work the same as a lean person, their metabolism is slower, they are insulin resistant so their body can´t use carbohydrates efficiently and their hormones are not working in balance.

With all this going on if they follow a strict low calorie diet of course they will lose weight, sometimes a lot but as they lose weight they´re losing muscle mass and they´ll hit a plateau and get to a point where the calories are too low that is not sustainable. This is a short term solution that causes negative impacts long term.

You may also know that it is actually very hard to keep calories low and avoid certain foods, in most cases people who have been following unhealthy diets and make a sudden change won´t stick to a nutrition program for long, the more strict the program the less chances of sticking with them. Your body is used to all those unhealthy foods, they create addiction and a vicious cycle that is so hard to change, if they focus on making healthier choices without considering calories the progress is amazing.

The first step is to first develop the habit of eating fresh foods, meals cooked and prepared with fresh ingredients then you can manipulate macro nutrients according to your body.

Not all calories are created equal and each macro nutrient affects our body and hormones differently, low calorie diets do not consider this so they´re not considering what matters most.

Low calorie diets are a short term option, if you want to lose weight fast you can follow one of those traditional weight loss programs and you´ll get results but the problem is when you stop following the program and realize that you made more harm to your body.

As I´ve said before your weight loss goal must be set as improving body composition and a lifestyle change, in order to sustain your results you need to develop healthy habits based on what matters most, the 5 principles of fitness are key.

It´s important that you understand the function of each macronutrient and the impact it has on your body and also how the hormones of your body respond to each macro and their functions.

Losing weight, getting in shape, improving body composition and make it sustainable is more complex than just calories. You need to improve insulin sensitivity, keep insulin and cortisol low, increase growth hormone, keep ghrelin and leptin in balance, imrpove metabolism and this can only be done when you focus on macro nutrients.

Low calorie diets do more damage to all those hormones, they slow your metabolism, they keep insulin and cortisol high, growth hormone is low, leptin and ghrelin are not in balance as you can see it´s the opposite of what we want and the more you stay with those diets the more damage they do.

Weight loss is not about diets, there´s no reason to follow a diet for a period of time and then get back to where you began. It is possible to get in amazing shape and get the physique you always wanted and sustain it, it´s simple and effortless the key is to make it a lifestyle by developing good healthy habits based on the 5 principles of fitness.

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 portion control

14
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127

I see many people who are not professional athletes and who don´t compete trying to be perfect counting calories, most of them just want to lose weight and get in shape. If the goal is just to get in shape and sustain it, then it´s not necessary to be perfect counting calories or macros. The best tool to use here is portion control.

Having a clear idea of portions will make it easier for you to achieve your goals and you´ll be considering what´s important.

Focusing on the most important things is the best way to achieve your goals and finding ways to make it simple will reduce stress and obsession, portion control is one of those things, as I´ve said before it is better to count macros than to count calories but weighting your food every meal is impossible so a way to get it done is with portion control.

Knowing what a portion size really looks like and getting it accurate is hard at the beginning, most of us are really bad at portion sizes we don´t know what a cup of rice or 4 ounces of meat look like and if you take your plate and take a look thinking on portion control and you measure it you´ll see you´re eating more than you need, this may be one of the reasons you why you can´t get to your goal.

Portion control gives you the opportunity to focus on macronutrients, as you know now each has its function and job in the body, it´s easier to adjust how much you eat of each food so if you need to lower carbohydrates you can reduce portions or add some protein according to your goals.

Portion control is the amount of food you eat, you can weight your food or use some simple rules that you can find on the internet like 3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards, half cup of oatmeal is the size of a hockey puck, one cup of broccoli is the size of a baseball. With time you´ll get familiar with sizes and you´ll be able to “eye ball” all your portions and get them more accurate with time.

Portion control can also help you reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and keep those in check while increasing healthy foods, this can make it easier for you to start making the right choices by changing or substituting some unhealthy foods for healthier options.

It´s easier to keep portions under control when you´re eating at home or when you prepare your meals but it can get more complicated when you eat out and specially this days when packages are bigger and when you have the chance to make your meal bigger for some dollars more in fast food chains.

Buffets are a great way to eat healthy and control portions, when you eat out you can ask for one portion of carbohydrates and double protein with some healthy fats you can choose what you want to eat, and in restaurants you can tell the waitress to change fries for salad or to give you only half portion of carbohydrates.

As always don´t get obsessed with this use it as a tool and guide to keep the amount of food you eat under control but don´t try to make it perfect, perfection will stress you, make the best you can and enjoy your meals, if your meals are healthy you don´t need to get obsessed or stressed, if you don´t see results just reduce the amount of food to lose weight or increase it to gain muscle, the most important macronutrient you need to focus a little more is protein, you need to consume enough protein and even when you´re losing weight you want to keep it high.

You also need to consider the macro ratios you are following, if you go with a balanced diet between carbohydrates, protein and fats or if you prefer keto, don´t forget that fats are higher in calories compared to the other 2 macros and it will keep you full longer.

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

Ketogenic diets

08
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207

We´ve been told our entire lives that carbohydrates is the best source of energy for our bodies. But this is not completely true, ketones are another source of energy that our bodies can use efficiently.

A ketogenic diet reduces carbohydrates but you´ll find different macro nutrient ratios because there´s not a rule to set a proper ratio, we´re all different and our lifestyles play a big role also. The goal of a ketogenic diet is to get into ketosis, this is possible by reducing carbohydrates, increasing fats and keeping protein moderate. Some people recommend 20% to 30% of carbohydrates, other people want to go lower in carbohydrates and recommend 5% to 10% of carbohydrates, 15% protein and 80% fat. If you go higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates it is possible to get into ketosis faster.

When glucose is available in the blood, the body will use that to make energy instead of using stored body fat.  When glucose is not available the body starts breaking down fat, and ketones become its primary fuel source.

When you lower carbohydrates blood glucose levels lowers and the body´s glycogen stores are depleted. When blood glucose is low and glycogen stores are depleted it forces your body to use another fuel rather than glucose. The body naturally utilizes glucose whenever it is available in the bloodstream or from the breakdown of stored glycogen. By lowering the amount of glucose from food which are mostly carbohydrates and the amount of glucose stored as glycogen the body is able to start burning fat/ketones as its primary source.

In the presence of a low-carbohydrate diet, all healthy fats are easily metabolized and broken down, including saturated fats (trans fats are not part of this, they are unhealthy fats and have negative effects for your health).

Ketogenic diets shifts the body from relying on glucose to relying on fat as its primary fuel, where you are in a state of ketosis, the body easily taps into fat stores when it needs energy. Before your body starts using fats efficiently it needs to adapt, this adaptation and switching from utilizing carbohydrates as its main source of energy to utilizing fat take some time. The period of adaptation varies from person to person, consider 4 to 6 weeks to give enough time for your body to adapt, it may adapt sooner or it may take longer. The first days and weeks you may feel tired, unfocused, you may have headaches and other symptoms all related to this diet, this phase is known as the “keto flu”, most people give up during this period thinking that the diet is not for them.

The anabolic diet may be a good nutrition program for some people, but others may find it difficult to sustain, on the anabolic diet by Mauro Di Pasquale you follow a ketogenic diet for 2 weeks very high in fats and very low in carbohydrates to help your body adapts faster, on the second or third week on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) you´ll change your macro ratios from high fat/low carbohydrates to high carbohydrates/low fat, making this two days or for some people just one day a cheat meal or cheat day, I´ll explain more about this diet which I consider to be a modified ketogenic diet in other post.

If you want to try a ketogenic diet I do not recommend counting calories or trying to lose weight and reduce calories during the adaptation period, if you are training continue with your cardio and resistance workouts but you´ll need to lower the volume and intensity. Once your body is adapted you´ll shred fat faster and your strength and energy increase so you´ll be able to continue with your workouts and make consistent progress.

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 sensitivity and insulin resistance

09 Insulin resistance & sensitivity
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147

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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154

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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139

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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180

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

NutritionSleep

How sleep and food are related

02 sleep and food
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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