Did you know that you can indeed have your cake and eat it, as they say!
All it takes is being accountable to your food by tracking calories, knowing what nutrients are in it and then you can remove restrictions that encourage short spurts of consistency.
If that one slice of cake has 169 calories and that's all its going to take to prevent you over indulging and exceeding your required calories, wouldn't it make sense to account for it, know its value and stay on track with your goals for the day?
With 5 minutes a day you can stay on track with Movement Food and MyFitnessPal!
Watch the video below to learn how to track you calories now and stay on track
Movement Food is a Meal Preparation and Coaching Service providing Healthy Meals for convenience, fitness, weight loss and muscle building.
If you need don't have time to prepare healthy meals for your meal plan, let us know your interested and we can help get you started!
The words fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. One inevitably follows the other, but regardless of which order you say them in, science proves nutrition reigns king. When it comes to building muscle specifically, studies indicate that your diet could be as high as 80% responsible for meeting your goals, with the other 20% being your workout regimen and rest habits. Movement Food is here to take care of the 80% while you can focus on going the extra mile with the rest.
1. Proper Nutrition
There are three macronutrients required by humans: carbohydrates (sugars), lipids (fats), and proteins. Each of these macronutrients provides energy in the form of "calories"
People often associate the word nutrition with subjects like vitamins, supplements, and vegetables. These all primarily provide what are called "Micronutrients". The problem is that, while they are important to a healthy life, they aren't going to play a massive role in packing on lean muscle. You need macronutrient rich food, this is what's full of calories, the fuel for your body.
Fat... Sugar... Calories... Scary words right? Often not what you would associate with nutrition. There are very few people living in western society who do not meet their micronutrient requirements, and if you didn't, you'd likely be in the hospital pretty quick. The vast majority of the population however, simply does not eat enough of their caloric requirements, or eats far below.
If you could unlearn everything that mainstream media articles of the week have you believing about things like fats sugars, and calories, you can take a scientific approach and see them for what they really are: lipids, carbohydrates, and energy.
1 gram of lipids produces 9 units of energy (Calories).
1 gram of carbohydrate produces 4 units of energy (Calories).
1 gram of protein produces 4 units of energy (Calories).
That's a little more comforting, isn't it? Now that you understand the building blocks of a diet, you need to determine how much energy your body expends during the day. This is called your base metabolic rate. This number is influenced by many factors such as weight, height, level of activity, and age. When your goal is to gain muscle, you will want to exceed this number by 300 calories. If you go too far above this amount, the excess energy is stored as fat in your body.
Using a fitness tracker like MyFitnessPal, you can carefully monitor your calorie intake and ensure that you are hitting your daily macronutrient goals perfectly. Movement Food is designed to sync simply and easily with MyFitnessPal. Just scan the barcode on your meal lid and the macronutrient data will be automatically inputted into your diary. This is the secret behind every shredded 6 pack and sculpted set of pecs.
The internet is overcrowded with people convinced that they have figured out the optimal workout. The fact of the matter is, there is just a few basic principles of human physiology that you need to understand and take advantage of.
Building muscle can be broken down into a simple process.
Provide your body with energy
Introduce your muscles to stress
Supply your body with more food
Repeat and increase workload and calorie intake
Without getting to deep into the nitty gritty of every routine out there and which one is best for you (hint: the one you enjoy and can do consistently is the right one for you), here are the key points to remember when working out.
Cause your muscles stress. This is what you are doing when you lift weights in the gym. The type of stress depends on your goal. It's important to remember that with size, you will need to build some strength also in order to keep progressing.
Strength: Low rep (1-5 Reps) with high rest (3-5 minutes) between 1-6 sets.
Size: Higher rep (6-12 Reps) with low rest (45-90 seconds) between 3-5 sets.
Increase the stress on your muscles in each workout. This is called "progressive overload". This signals your body to continue adapting to receiving more and more stress, meaning more gains.
When you rest, you grow. All the time you spend in the gym is actually tearing your muscle fibers on the microscopic level.
Recovery is where nutrition and training unite and create growth.
The fibers you have torn begin repair immediately during a workout, and take usually between 24-48 hours to recover. In that time, it's vital that you keep a constant supply of protein pumping through your system, and that you don't cause any extra stress on the muscle groups that have been worked. Always stay above your daily metabolic rate regardless of whether or not you have worked out that day. Your body is always in repair. Failing to meet your metabolic requirements will result in what is called a "catabolic state", where your body actually begins to consume itself in order to acquire energy. Muscle cannot be built during a catabolic state.
Sleep is a vital component to proper recovery. During sleep, growth hormone is released, signaling hormal reactions within the body to promote a muscle growth. In combination with proper nutrition, this time a time of high muscle growth known as the "anabolic state".
So there you have it
There's no tricks, no secrets, no shortcuts. It just comes down to science. We've mastered the science of making delicious meals that compliment your macronutrient goals.
Seeds might be small, but they pack a mighty nutritional punch. Harness the power of the seed with these easy additions.
Meal prep doesn't end after cooking or even plating your food. There's usually one more way you can further boost nutritional content: Add seeds.
You likely have a few seeds stored in jars in the back of your cupboard, leftovers from recipes cooked months before. There they sit, still in mint condition. While you know they're good for you, it's not always easy to integrate these small nutritional powerhouses into your diet.
Flax seeds and chia may hog the limelight, but there are other varieties you can eat to boost your performance and reach your goals. Not sure where to start? Don't worry! We've taken the guesswork out of the equation by rounding up some good-for-you choices.
Depending on your goals, they can help support your cardiac health, your immune system, your endurance, and your muscle-building efforts.
A review article in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that alpha-linolenic acid, the same type of essential fatty acid found in hemp seeds, may help support heart health.
Add them to oatmeal or muesli for an extra crunch.
Chuck a few in any flavored protein shake.
Combine them with cooked quinoa for a nutty flavor boost.
Coat fish or chicken with ground hemp seeds before frying.
Include generous helpings in a homemade pesto.
Serving size: 100 g
Fat: 44 g
Carbs: 12 g
Protein: 32 g
Sesame seeds are exceptionally high in copper and manganese, both of which help your joints form collagen and support healthy bone structure.
Dust onto any Asian-inspired chicken dish.
Sprinkle in any type of icing for an extra pop.
Apply liberally to any salad.
Use in a recipe to compliment fish such as salmon.
Add to a sauté of greens and roasted vegetables
Serving size: 100 g
Fat: 44 g
Carbs: 26 g
Protein: 17 g
The multivitamin of the seed world, these guys have the highest levels of phytosterols, which may help support healthy lipid levels and heart health.
Top any tuna-based dish with sunflower seeds.
Sprinkle them over roasted pumpkin.
Add them to biscuit recipes for extra crunch.
Stuff sunflower seeds into chicken wraps for a new take on an old favorite.
Pile seeds high on top of stuffed peppers.
Serving size: 100 g
Fat: 51 g
Carbs: 20 g
Protein: 21 g
While chia is higher in omega-3s, poppy seeds are substantially higher in manganese, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium and, well, just about every nutrient.
Sprinkle poppy seeds on any dessert.
Add them to oil-based salad dressings.
Pour generous helpings over fresh pasta.
Add seeds to pancakes to bulk up their fiber content.
Pepper the poppy seeds into curries and stews.
Serving size: 100 g
Fat: 42 g
Carbs: 28 g
Protein: 18 g
De Lorgeril, M., & Salen, P. (2004). Alpha-linolenic acid and coronary heart disease. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 14(3), 162-169.
As you age, your body's protein, carb, and fat needs change, making it harder to hold on to muscle. Here's how to build a diet to sustain you for a lifetime!
From teens to people in their 80s, improving one's physique is a truly "ageless" pastime. Sure, not all of these people call themselves bodybuilders, but more of them in all age groups are eating and training with the pursuit of more muscle in mind. And with good reason! The further on we get in age, the more pronounced the benefits of a little more muscle mass become in terms of quality of life and longevity.
In short, you're never too old to see the benefits of getting stronger. But while training plays a major part in giving your body the stimulus to change, there's plenty you can do with your diet, as well. In fact, structuring your diet around your age and goals is essential to great results.
Of course, I'm not going to hit you over the head with some "one magic food" baloney here. Just the opposite. I'm going to help you utilize the classic way bodybuilders balance the three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fats—to ramp up muscle growth and fat loss. The only difference: You're going to optimize them for your age!
It turns out there's been an extensive amount of research into how people at different ages respond to different levels of the macronutrients, and it's not hard to make some recommendations that could pay off big-time for you. Let's chow down!
Protein Are You Getting Enough?
You are probably aware that dietary protein is important for stimulating muscle growth (through muscle protein synthesis, or MPS) and optimal recovery from training. But how does age affect this anabolic (muscle-building) response to protein?
Research suggests that younger individuals are very sensitive to the anabolic effects of amino acids.1-3 The old cliché of a young man who can seemingly put on muscle just by looking at a steak? Yeah, there's probably something to it. The opposite might also be true, as several researchers have shown that comparatively large doses of amino acids are required to maximize the anabolic response in older individuals.1,2,4-8
As you age, a diet rich in protein can help prevent age-related decline in muscle protein synthesis.
Why is this? It appears the decreased response may be explained by a decrease in the activity of the protein mTOR and the enzyme p70S6K, both of which are involved in initiating protein synthesis.2,4 Furthermore, it appears that the decreased anabolic response in the elderly may be due, at least in part, to the natural increase in oxidative stress that accompanies aging. Oxidative stress is the type of damage that all those antioxidants are meant to mitigate. As levels of certain molecules known as "reactive oxygen species" go up, levels of protein synthesis go down.9
There is hope, however. Consuming a diet rich in protein—specifically, the amino acid leucine—can help prevent the age-related decline in muscle protein synthesis.
Muscle-building protein recommendations by age:
< 18 years: 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight
19-40 years: 0.8-1.1 grams per pound of body weight
41-65 years: 1.1-1.3 grams per pound of body weight
65 years: 1.3-1.5 grams per pound of body weight
Even if you don't measure out your protein to the gram, the lesson here is that as you age, you need more protein. If you can have it with antioxidant-rich foods, all the better. You can't go wrong with a diet rich in meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds here.
Carbohydrates Eat Less Over Time
Like protein, adequate intake of carbohydrates can positively affect muscle protein synthesis rates. However, compared to their younger counterparts, older adults may need fewer carbs to experience muscle growth.
The primary way carbohydrates influence muscle growth is by increasing insulin secretion. Insulin helps shuttle available amino acids to cells to jump-start the muscle growth and repair process. In this sense, a fair amount of carbohydrates are still needed even in your later decades of life to help maintain and grow muscle.
Carbohydrates consumed together with protein appear to have a greater anabolic effect in adults than simply consuming protein alone.10 It also appears that insulin can still guard against protein breakdown in adults, meaning it could have a "muscle-sparing" effect. Additionally, there is some evidence that eating carbs can prolong the body's muscle-building response to amino acids.11
Compared to their younger counterparts, older adults may need fewer carbs to experience muscle growth.
In short, you can still benefit from carbs as you get older. But because physical activity and metabolic rate tend to decline as you age, you probably don't need nearly as many of them. As your protein intake goes up with age, your carbohydrate intake can comparatively go down.
Muscle-building carbohydrate recommendations by age:
< 20 years: 1.8-2.6 grams per pound of body weight
21-40 years: 1.5-2.3 grams per pound of body weight
41-65 years: 1.2-2 grams per pound of body weight
65 years: 0.8-1.7 grams per pound of body weight
It's worth repeating here that these recommendations are for maximizing muscle gain, so they will need to be adjusted for individuals wanting to lose body fat. Additionally, as I mentioned in my PH3 Power and Hypertrophy Trainer, individuals vary wildly in their ability to "tolerate" carbs—that is, eat them without turning them into body fat.
So consider these numbers simply to be a start to the conversation. While I think the protein numbers are more or less solid, these carb recommendations definitely aren't set in stone.
Fat Go Up As Carbs Go Down
The classic way for bodybuilders to construct their diet plan is like this: Protein first, and then tinker with the balance between carbs and fats until you find the sweet spot that works for you. Often, the protein stays consistent, regardless of whether the goal is muscle gain or fat loss.
This approach works wonders because it prioritizes the nutrient most people neglect most—protein—and gives endless room for customization in the other two macronutrients. Appropriately, I advise that, as you age, your fat intake should largely be determined by your carb intake.
Protein first, and then tinker with the balance between carbs and fats until you find the sweet spot that works for you.
In other words, while someone who is younger and still sensitive to the anabolic effects of carbohydrates may be better off consuming lower fat (never lower than 0.2 grams per pound of body weight) with more carbohydrates, an older individual may want to consume fewer of their calories from carbohydrates, and more from protein and fat.
Muscle growth fat recommendations by age:
< 20 years: 0.25-0.45 grams per pound of body weight
21-40 years: 0.35-0.55 grams per pound of body weight
41-65 years: 0.45-0.65 grams per pound of body weight
65 years: 0.55-0.75 grams per pound of body weight
Never Stop Growing
As they age, far too many people in their middle years and older take what is effectively a haphazard approach to their diet. If they want to lose weight, they keep eating the same things in the same balance, but simply cut serving size. If they want to gain muscle, they eat their normal diet, plus a protein shake or bar every now and then.
That can work to a limited degree for certain people, but it's far from ideal. You deserve better—and getting your macros in the right ballpark is the best place to start! Get just a little more systematic about what you're eating to go along with your training, and you can amaze yourself with what you're able to achieve at any age!
Paddon-Jones, D., Sheffield-Moore, M., Zhang, X. J., Volpi, E., Wolf, S. E., Aarsland, A., ... & Wolfe, R. R. (2004). Amino acid ingestion improves muscle protein synthesis in the young and elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 286(3), E321-E328.
Cuthbertson, D., Smith, K., Babraj, J., Leese, G., Waddell, T., Atherton, P., ... & Rennie, M. J. (2005). Anabolic signaling deficits underlie amino acid resistance of wasting, aging muscle. The FASEB Journal, 19(3), 422-424.
Drummond, M. J., Miyazaki, M., Dreyer, H. C., Pennings, B., Dhanani, S., Volpi, E., ... & Rasmussen, B. B. (2009). Expression of growth-related genes in young and older human skeletal muscle following an acute stimulation of protein synthesis. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106(4), 1403-1411.
Guillet, C., Prod'homme, M., Balage, M., Gachon, P., Giraudet, C., Morin, L., ... & Boirie, Y. (2004). Impaired anabolic response of muscle protein synthesis is associated with S6K1 dysregulation in elderly humans. The FASEB Journal, 18(13), 1586-1587.
Katsanos, C. S., Kobayashi, H., Sheffield-Moore, M., Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 291(2), E381-E387.
Katsanos, C. S., Kobayashi, H., Sheffield-Moore, M., Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 291(2), E381-E387.
Dardevet, D., Sornet, C., Bayle, G., Prugnaud, J., Pouyet, C., & Grizard, J. (2002). Postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in old rats can be restored by a leucine-supplemented meal. The Journal of Nutrition, 132(1), 95-100.
Rieu, I., Balage, M., Sornet, C., Debras, E., Ripes, S., Rochon-Bonhomme, C., ... & Dardevet, D. (2007). Increased availability of leucine with leucine-rich whey proteins improves postprandial muscle protein synthesis in aging rats. Nutrition, 23(4), 323-331.
Patel, J., McLeod, L. E., Vries, R. G., Flynn, A., Wang, X., & Proud, C. G. (2002). Cellular stresses profoundly inhibit protein synthesis and modulate the states of phosphorylation of multiple translation factors. European Journal of Biochemistry, 269(12), 3076-3085.
Volpi, E., Mittendorfer, B., Rasmussen, B. B., & Wolfe, R. R. (2000). The response of muscle protein anabolism to combined hyperaminoacidemia and glucose-induced hyperinsulinemia is impaired in the elderly. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85(12), 4481-4490.
Wilson, G. J., Layman, D. K., Moulton, C. J., Norton, L. E., Anthony, T. G., Proud, C. G., ... & Garlick, P. J. (2011). Leucine or carbohydrate supplementation reduces AMPK and eEF2 phosphorylation and extends postprandial muscle protein synthesis in rats. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 301(6), E1236-E1242.
Eat less, work out more. It can work wonders for a while, but definitely not forever. When you can't cut any more, it's time to turn your diet around. Here's how!
When most people decide they want to take control of their physique and lose some fat, the next step seems clear: Go on a diet. But honestly, not everyone should take that step.
For those with a history of crash dieting, severe calorie restriction, or multiple failed diet attempts, jumping once more on the diet bandwagon is unlikely to yield results, and will probably do more harm than good.
Over repeated bouts of calorie restriction, your metabolism takes a beating. When you drop calories too low for too long, your body intervenes on several fronts. Most notably, it reduces the number of calories you burn throughout the day, often priming your body for surprisingly rapid weight gain.
This biological phenomenon, known as "metabolic adaptation," can really throw a wrench in your weight-loss goals. With your body continuously fighting to erase the calorie deficit necessary for fat loss, eating fewer calories than you burn can eventually become very tricky. You can only drop calories so far and increase exercise so much before that lifestyle becomes miserable, as well as impossible to maintain.
Fortunately, for anyone fighting an uphill battle against a slow metabolism, there may be a solution. It's possible to reboot metabolism and ultimately lower what's known as your "body-fat set point"—or the level of body fat your body finds easiest to maintain— through a process known as "reverse dieting."
Here's everything you need to know to get started with what may turn out to be the best diet of your life!
What Is Exactly Reverse Dieting?
Reverse dieting is pretty much what it sounds like: a diet turned upside-down. Instead of cutting calories and ramping up time spent on the treadmill, you increase metabolism by gradually adding calories back into your diet while reducing cardio.
Although it sounds very simple, there's more to reverse dieting than just "eat more, do less." If you want to maximize gains in metabolic rate without storing a ton of body fat, you must be strategic and patient. This means giving your metabolism time to adjust by making slow, deliberate changes, rather than hitting the buffet every day and cutting out cardio overnight.
To grasp the science behind the theory of reverse dieting, you need to understand what happens in your body during metabolic adaptation.
Metabolic Adaptations From Dieting
When you drastically restrict calories or lose weight, your body senses the energy gap and your departure from its body-fat set point. In a desperate attempt to erase the energy gap and put the brakes on fat loss, several body systems work together to orchestrate a reduction in metabolism[1,2]:
Your organs consume less energy.
Your heart beats slower as sympathetic nervous system activity declines.
Hormones that influence metabolism and appetite, such as thyroid hormone, testosterone, leptin, and ghrelin, are adversely effected.
You burn less energy during nonexercise activities, such as fidgeting, walking around the house, working, and doing chores.
You use fewer calories to absorb and digest food because you're eating less.
Your muscle becomes more efficient, requiring less fuel for a given amount of work.
These changes ultimately boil down to burning fewer calories, both at rest and while working out. This sounds bleak, but luckily, metabolic adaptation is not a one-way street.
You can slow down your metabolism, but you can also speed it up! This is what the concept of reverse dieting is built upon. Many of the physiological changes that work to slow metabolism during calorie restriction can occur in the opposite direction when overeating to make metabolism faster.
You Can't Just Go On A Pizza Binge And Expect Metabolism To Increase Overnight. It Takes Time!
But you can't just go on a pizza binge and expect metabolism to increase overnight. It takes time! This was demonstrated when researchers at Laval University in Quebec overfed 24 men by 1000 calories for 84 days. At first, almost all of the extra calories turned into fat or contributed to lean mass. By the end of the study, however, as each subject's metabolism adapted, more and more calories were burned, rather than being used to create new tissue.
The moral of the story is that metabolism will speed up eventually to dispose of some of the extra calories you eat. But if you drastically increase calories before your metabolism has time to catch up, you'll pile on the pounds.
A Reverse-Dieting Success Story
While the science supporting metabolic adaptation is sound, there is currently no definitive research on the actual process of reverse dieting. But this doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of people out there experiencing real-life success stories with reverse dieting. To help show you what this approach looks like in action—down to the macros—let's meet one of those success stories. Her name is Katie Anne Rutherford.
As a high school track athlete, Katie Anne wanted to become as fast as possible. In her mind, this meant getting rid of any extra weight that might slow her down. Being thin was the name of the game. This mentality sparked an unhealthy relationship with food that would plague her for years.
To lose weight, Katie Anne began eliminating food groups and cutting calories. At her lowest, she was eating about 1,300 calories and running over 7 miles per day. Fruit, vegetables, and lean protein made up the bulk of her diet, while bread, sugar, and dessert were forbidden.
Feeling deprived, Katie Anne had a history of binge eating. Food became a source of comfort during times of stress, and she couldn't seem to find balance. Alternating between eating hardly anything and eating everything, she was miserable.
Katie Anne's diet struggles continued into college, where she started on a 1,500-calorie "standard" bodybuilding diet of lean protein and veggies. Paired with 90 minutes of cardio each day, she successfully lost 20-25 pounds a few different times.
Unfortunately, this success was never long-lived. Unable to stick to the diet, she gained the weight back each time. Living a life preoccupied by food, she had become a slave to her diet and the scale.
Unable To Stick To The Diet, Katie Anne Gained The Weight Back Each Time. Living A Life Preoccupied By Food, She Had Become A Slave To Her Diet And The Scale.
In 2013, Katie Anne came across two of Layne Norton's YouTube videos: "IIFYM vs. Clean Eating" and "Metabolic Damage." She realized that her metabolism had adapted to her restrictive eating regimen and excessive cardio routine. This motivated her to start "flexible dieting"; rather than restricting certain foods, she began engineering her diet around carbs, protein, and fat.
Although it was liberating to eat more than just lean protein and veggies, Katie Anne was still subsisting on low calories—a restriction that led to continued binging episodes. She was sick of the ups and downs and frequent urges to binge, and she felt as if she was being held hostage by a low-calorie diet that was difficult to maintain. At this point, she realized that a reverse diet with higher calories might help add some stability to her nutritional life.
In April 2013, Katie Anne officially began her first reverse diet. She started out eating 190 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fat (2010 calories) while lifting weights and doing four sessions of cardio per week. From there, she increased her calories quickly, adding 15 grams of extra carbs and 2 grams of extra fat each week, and reduced her cardio by half a session each week.
Choosing such an aggressive reverse diet quickly gave her more calories to work with, helping to reduce cravings and the urge to binge by allowing her to fit more food into her diet. She also felt better. Katie Anne focused more on becoming strong and healthy, and defeating her binge-eating habits. She never weighed herself during the reverse-dieting process.
In April 2014, at the end of her reverse diet, Katie Anne had gained 10 pounds and was maintaining this weight on 200 grams of protein, 375 grams of carbs (+175), 65 grams of fat (+15) (2885 calories, +875), and no cardio. She was able to gain strength and put on a substantial amount of muscle through heavy lifting, and had improved her relationship with food.
Katie Anne Was Able To Gain Strength And Put On A Substantial Amount Of Muscle Through Heavy Lifting, And Had Improved Her Relationship With Food.
After training for a figure competition in November 2014, Katie Anne decided to reverse diet again. This time, she opted for a slower, more conservative reverse to minimize fat gain, starting at 180 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 52 grams of fat (1988 calories) while lifting weights and doing no cardio.
She increased carbs and fat by just 5 grams and 1 gram each week. By the end of the reverse, she hadn't gained any weight and was eating 170 grams of protein, 320 grams of carbs (+120), and 80 grams of fat (+28) for a total of 2680 calories (+692) per day, and still not doing any cardio.
By The End Of The Reverse, Katie Anne Hadn't Gained Any Weight And Was Eating 170 Grams Of Protein, 320 Grams Of Carbs (+120), And 80 Grams Of Fat (+28) For A Total Of 2680 Calories (+692) Per Day, And Still Not Doing Any Cardio.
Today, Katie Anne has been binge-free for two years. She's stronger and healthier than ever, and is maintaining a lean physique at 2400 calories per day—a figure that is 900 calories higher than when she was at her lowest body fat three years ago.
When Done Correctly, Reverse Dieting May Reset Your Body-Fat Set Point And Allow You To Eat Normally And Live Again.
The moral of the story: When done correctly, reverse dieting may reset your body-fat set point and allow you to eat normally and live again. Here's how to do it correctly.
How To Reverse Diet
Through reverse dieting and heavy lifting, Katie Anne harnessed the power of metabolic adaption to turn her body into a calorie-burning machine. You may be able to do this too by following these six steps:
1. Calculate Your Current Calories And Establish Starting Macro Targets
To avoid jumping up in calories too quickly, you need to know how many calories you're currently eating to maintain your body weight. From there, you'll use this to establish baseline macros.
First, track everything you eat for a few days to determine your average caloric intake. Let's say it's 1,800 calories.
Third, subtract your protein calories from your current total-calorie goal to determine the remaining calories:
150 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram = 600 calories of protein.
1800 total calories - 600 calories from protein = 1200 remaining calories.
Take your remaining calories, and split them 40/60 or 60/40 between carbs and fat. These numbers can be manipulated, but either one of the above is a good starting place.
Let's say in this example that you love carbs, so you decide to set carbs at 60 percent and fat at 40 percent of the remaining calories.
1200 x 0.6 = 720 calories from carbs
1200 x 0.4 = 480 calories from fat
To determine your macros, divide the carb calories by 4 and fat calories by 9.
720 calories of carbs / 4 calories per gram = 180 grams of carbs
480 calories of fat / 9 calories per gram = 53 grams of fat
You now have your baseline macros. In this example, they are 150 grams of protein, 180 grams of carbs, and 53 grams of fat.
2. Decide How Quickly You Want To Increase Carbs And Fat
To figure this out, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Do I care more about reaching a higher caloric intake than I do about gaining excess fat?
Am I trying to overcome a history of binge-eating behavior?
Am I planning to hit the weight room hard and add muscle while I reverse?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," you may benefit from a more aggressive reverse. Although you'll likely gain more body fat by increasing carbs and fat quickly, you'll feel better and less deprived, you'll have more flexibility to fit in the foods you crave, and you'll be less inclined to binge. The extra calories that accompany an aggressive reverse may also give you more energy to train, allowing you to build muscle.
If you're concerned about gaining body fat, you may benefit from a more conservative reverse. For example, if you're coming off a reasonable diet where you reached your goal body weight, you may want to increase fat and carbs more slowly to better maintain your results.
3. Raise Carbs And Fat At A Rate Compatible With Your Goals
If you've decided that a slow reverse is more in line with your goals, start by increasing your carb and fat intake by just 2-5 percent per week, depending on how concerned you are with gaining weight.
If you've decided that a fast reverse is for you, you should start by increasing your carb and fat intake by 6-10 percent per week. You may even want to increase fat and carbs by 15-25 percent the first week to give yourself a jump-start.
4. Weigh Yourself Multiple Times Per Week To Control Weight Gain
Choose 2-3 days per week, and weigh yourself first thing in the morning. Assessing your average weight change over the course of the week will help you evaluate your macro manipulations and decide on your next increase (if necessary).
If you see a large jump in weight gain over a one-week period, you may want to scale back the rate at which you're increasing your intake. On the other hand, if you maintain your current weight, or even lose slightly, bump up both carbohydrates and fat.
5. Slowly Reduce The Time You Spend Doing Cardio, And Add Heavy Lifting To Your Workout Routine
Lifting heavy 3-6 days a week is a great way to build muscle, which increases metabolism not only in the short term, but also over the long run. Long sessions of steady-state cardio do little to build muscle, and they may even interfere with muscle-building pathways.
6. When You Reach Your Desired Caloric Intake, Stop And Choose Your Next Action
Once you're satisfied with the amount of food you're eating, stop adding calories and go from there. If you feel good, you may want to stay at this level. If you'd like to lose weight now that your metabolism is at a better starting point, go right ahead!
But be smart about how you go about it; don't recklessly slash calories. You'll want to diet on as many calories as possible while still losing weight. Your metabolism depends upon it.
If you need more guidance on reverse dieting, check out Layne Norton’s Avatar Nutrition for a customized coaching experience that adapts to your ever-changing metabolic demands.
Rosenbaum, M., & Leibel, R. L. (2010). Adaptive thermogenesis in humans. International Journal of Obesity, 34, S47-S55.
Levine, J. A. (2002). Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 16(4), 679-702.
Deriaz, O., Tremblay, A., & Bouchard, C. (1993). Non linear weight gain with long term overfeeding in man.Obesity Research, 1(3), 179-185.
Fyfe, J. J., Bishop, D. J., & Stepto, N. K. (2014). Interference between concurrent resistance and endurance exercise: Molecular bases and the role of individual training variables. Sports Medicine, 44(6), 743-762.
Ditch the low-fat fakes and choose fatty foods more often for a range of health and physique benefits. Put these 6 high-fat options on the menu today!
Perhaps no piece of nutrition advice was more detrimental to the overall health and weight of society as a whole than being told to slash fat intake as a means to fend off heart disease. Sadly, the low-fat craze of the '80s and '90s did little more than actually increase rates of obesity and conditions like type 2 diabetes. That's because too many people simply swapped out the high-fat foods in their diet for items pumped full of waistline-thickening refined carbs and processed sugars.
Now for the good news: Fat is no longer off the table, as people have woken up to the importance of including enough of this macronutrient in their everyday diet. Aside from its vitamin-storing and hormone-boosting traits, scientists continue to show that fat can actually improve—not worsen—your health.
For starters, because it takes your body a fairly long time to digest fat, fatty foods work hard to keep you feeling full. Fat-free gummy bears and low-fat crackers? Not so much! Getting enough dietary fat can help keep you from needlessly snacking on an excess of calories (from any food source) that your body is likely to store as flab.
Furthermore, a recent study out of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that a low-fat diet actually works to decrease resting energy expenditure.1 Translation: eating a low-fat diet can reduce the energy you burn over the course of the day, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight! Eating a reasonable amount of high-fat foods, conversely, can actually help you trim the fat. Go figure!
You now have permission to be liberated from a tasteless low-fat diet for good. We encourage you to add these six fabulous fatty foods to your grocery cart.
AVOCADO 81% CALORIES FROM FAT
Fatty in a good way, the rich avocado should be a staple in your kitchen repertoire. The creamy, green fruit delivers a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, fiber, and plant sterols, which provide numerous health benefits. Eating a whole avocado daily as part of a moderately high-fat diet has been demonstrated to have a profound impact on LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels even more so than a moderately high-fat diet without inclusion of avocadoes.2 This fruit—yes, it's a fruit!—has also been shown to help promote satiety, which may curb your appetite and help with weight loss in the long run.3
THE RICH AVOCADO SHOULD BE A STAPLE IN YOUR KITCHEN REPERTOIRE.
Fatten up: Add slices of avocado to salads, slather it on sandwich bread as a replacement for mayo, eat one with a spoon right out of the skin, or even blend it into a smoothie for a creamy drink.
PICKLED HERRING 61% CALORIES FROM FAT
In recent years, an eating regimen hailing from Scandinavian nations called the "New Nordic Diet" has been amassing accolades for its potential to fend off unwanted weight gain and various maladies, including heart disease. Beyond a reliance on whole grains, root vegetables, and foraged edibles (yum, moss!), a major player in this diet is fatty fish, with herring being a preferred catch of the day.
This small, oily swimmer is laced in the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been credited with a number of important health benefits, including protection from a slew of cardiovascular disease related symptoms.4
THIS SMALL, OILY SWIMMER IS LACED IN THE LONG-CHAIN OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS EPA AND DHA, WHICH HAVE BEEN CREDITED WITH A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT HEALTH BENEFITS.
A study review performed by Swiss and South African researchers found that eating omega-rich fish like herring may even help you avoid packing on winter weight.5 People who ate fish regularly or took fish-oil supplements every day lost an additional 1.3 pounds of weight and 0.5 percent body fat over a 2- to 3-month period, compared to those who eschewed fish products. How? It's thought that the anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitivity-boosting powers of omegas may help keep the flab monster at bay.
In addition to the pickled version, keep an eye out for kippered herring, where the fish is sliced in half (butterflied), gutted, salted, then smoked. Like their smaller cousin the sardine, these make a great lunch right out of the can!
Fatten up: Look for jars of pickled herring and tins of kippered herring in European specialty markets and most regular supermarkets. Use them in sandwiches, egg dishes such as omelets and scrambles, salads, pasta dishes, or simply scoop them up by the forkful for a protein-packed snack.
ALMOND FLOUR 79% CALORIES FROM FAT
Made by finely grinding up blanched whole almonds, almond flour is a great way to infuse pancakes and muffins with nutty flavor while simultaneously helping you cut back on the high amount of carbs found in traditional types of flour.
Rich in health-hiking monounsaturated fat, almond flour also delivers a wallop of vitamin E. Research suggests that higher intakes of this nutrient are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairments.6 You also get about three times the protein of that found in wheat flour. An increasing number of supermarket health-food sections are carrying brands of almond flour such as Bob's Red Mill.
AN INCREASING NUMBER OF SUPERMARKET HEALTH-FOOD SECTIONS ARE CARRYING BRANDS OF ALMOND FLOUR SUCH AS BOB'S RED MILL.
Fatten up: The next time you embrace your inner Martha Stewart and rustle up a batch of pancakes, waffles, cookies, or muffins, replace 25 percent of the regular flour with the almond version. You can also stir it into a pot of simmering oatmeal for nutty flavor and a nutritional boost. Or, use almond flour instead of bread crumbs as a coating for fish and chicken, or when making meatballs and burgers.
COCONUT BUTTER 81% CALORIES FROM FAT
This Paleo favorite is made by puréeing coconut flesh into a spread with a buttery consistency. Coconut butter shouldn't be confused with coconut oil, which is made by pressing the fat out of coconut meat. The advantage of the former over the latter is the presence of some fat-fighting dietary fiber, which most fitness buffs—and everyone else—should be eating more of.
Of course, we were told for years that eating foods like coconut that are rich in saturated fat was like pouring superglue into our arteries. But new, better-designed research shows that a reasonable intake of saturated fat—not multiple slices of deep-dish pizza—isn't your heart's worst nightmare.
Case in point: A large review of studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat were not at a greater risk for heart disease than those who ate mostly polyunsaturated fat.7 Further, an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study determined that replacing saturated fats in the diet with high-glycemic carbohydrates such as white rice, highly processed breads, and baked goods is associated with a higher risk of succumbing to a heart attack.8
So is this your green light for a sat-fat free-for-all where every meal is a pile of bacon, sausage, butter, and all things coconut? Not necessarily. More than that, it points out that your entire diet needs to be analyzed when considering its impact on health, instead of just focusing on one item in particular, like saturated fat.
THE ADVANTAGE OF THE COCONUT BUTTER OVER COCONUT OIL IS THE PRESENCE OF SOME FAT-FIGHTING DIETARY FIBER, WHICH EVERYONE SHOULD BE EATING MORE OF.
Fatten up: Spreadable coconut butter such as Coconut Manna from Nutiva can liven up your morning toast or a few whole-grain crackers come snack time. You can also stir it into a pot of warm cereal, whiz it into post-training shakes, or use it to add a tropical touch to mashed sweet potatoes.
ROQUEFORT 79% CALORIES FROM FAT
Let's face it—most of the reduced-fat cheese at the supermarket generally sucks. Luckily, better taste and better health need not be at odds. France is known for low rates of cardiovascular mortality, despite fairly lofty intakes of saturated fat. Their love for awesome cheese might be one contributor to what is known as the "French paradox".
What's so special about Roquefort? Pronounced "roke-fert," this cheese is an oozy, moldy cheese that boasts high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds.9 In fact, intakes of fermented cheese such as this one have been shown to inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol and bacterial growth, key mechanisms in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.10
PRONOUNCED "ROKE-FERT," THIS CHEESE IS AN OOZY, MOLDY CHEESE THAT BOASTS HIGH LEVELS OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY COMPOUNDS.
Plus, when you splurge on higher-quality cheeses like aged cheddars, pungent bleu or brie, and creamy chevre, their high fat content will mean you'll need less to feel satisfied. This helps keep calorie intake in check while still adding to your intake of muscle-building protein.
Fatten up: Opportunities to incorporate these cheeses into your diet are unlimited: sandwiches, pizza, salads, cheese plates with fruit or nuts, or just on their own. Wherever you use cheese, seek out higher-quality, full-fat stuff, rather than what is sold in plastic-wrapped singles, to make your saturated fat intake work harder for you.
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 100% CALORIES FROM FAT
If you're using EVOO in your salad dressings, don't change a thing. Research conducted at Purdue University determined that sources of monounsaturated fat such as olive oil are particularly effective at bolstering the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins found within various vegetables.11
IF YOU'RE USING EVOO IN YOUR SALAD DRESSINGS, DON'T CHANGE A THING.
This is significant, considering that nutrients like lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots are important allies in the battle against various diseases, and may also help reduce muscular damage following hard workouts.
The combination of healthy fats and antioxidants in extra-virgin olive oil have a long-standing reputation of improving heart health, but dressing your greens in this oil may also help you look your best. Scientists in France found that people who consumed higher amounts of monounsaturated fat from olive oil (about 2 teaspoons daily) showed fewer signs of sun-related aging than those who consumed less.12
Fatten up: For an all-purpose salad dressing, try blending together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 anchovy fillets (more great fat, plus great umami flavor), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. This makes four servings. Use one serving per meal to fatten up your greens!
Ebbeling, C.B., Swain, J.F., Feldman, H.A., Wong, W.W., Hachey, D.L., Garcia-Lago, E. & Ludwig, D.S. (2012). Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 307 (24), 2627-2634.
Wang, L., Bordi, P.L., Fleming, J.A., Hill, A.M. & Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2015). Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. The Journal of the American Heart Association, 4(1), 1-14.
Wien, M., Haddad, E., Oda, K. & Sabate, J. (2013). A randomized 3x3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutrition Journal, 12, 1-9.
Mozzaffarian, D., Lemaitre, R.N., King, I.B., Song, X., Huang, H., Sacks, F.M., Rimm, E.B., Wang, M. & Siscovick, D.S. (2013). Plasma phospholipid long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: a cohort study. Annals of Internal Medicine, 158(7), 1-22.
Bender, N., Portmann, M., Heg, Z., Hofmann, K., Zwahlen, M. & Egger, M. (2014). Fish or n3-PUFA intake and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 15(8), 657-665.
Mangialasche, F., Solomon, A., Kareholt, I., Hooshmand, B., Cecchetti, R., Fratiglioni, L., Soininen, H., Laatikainen, T., Mecocci, P. & Kivipelto, M. (2013). Serum levels of vitamin E forms and risk of cognitive impairment in a Finnish cohort of older adults. Journal of Experimental Gerontology, 48(12), 1428-1435.
Chowdhury, R., Warnakula, S., Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H. A., Johnson, L., ... & Di Angelantonio, E. (2014). Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160(6), 398-406.
Jakobsen, M.U., Dethlefsen, C., Joensen, A.M., Stegger, J., Tjonneland, A., Schmidt, E.B. & Overvad, K. (2010). Intake of carbohydrates compared with intake of saturated fatty acids and risk of myocardial infarction: importance of the glycemic index. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(6), 1764-1768.
Zheng, H., Yde, C.C., Clausen, M.R., Kristensen, M., Lorenzen, J. Astrup, A. & Bertram, H.C. (2015). Metabolomics investigation to shed light on cheese as a possible piece in the French paradox puzzle.Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 63(10), 2830-2839.
Ptyaev, M. & Bashmakov, Y.K. (2012). Could cheese be the missing piece in the French paradox puzzle?Medical Hypotheses, 79(6). 746-749.
Goltz, S.R., Campbell, W.W., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Failla, M.L. & Ferruzzi, M.G. (2012). Meal triacylglycerol profile modulates postprandial absorption of carotenoids in humans. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 56(6), 866-877.
Latreille, J., Kesse-Guyot, E., Malvy, D., Andreeva, V., Galan, P., Tschachler, E., Hercberg, S., Guinot, C. & Ezzedine, K. (2012). Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging. PLoS One, 7(9), e44490, 1-9.
Article courtesy of bodybuilding.com and Matthew Kadey
Juggling macros, micros, and calories can make it difficult to know what and how much to eat. Make your diet failproof with these 3 simple tips!
If you work in the fitness industry, or even just look fit, you've likely had this conversation before. In my office, it happens dozens of time a day.
Client: "I really can't seem to lose weight, coach. I mean, I eat perfectly all the time. Just last night I had chicken and broccoli for dinner, but the weight just doesn't come off. What should I do?"
Me: "Tell me a bit more about your diet. What did you eat this morning for example?"
Client: "Well, today was different. I have this big project I'm working on at the office, and my kid was late for school, plus the wife and I stayed up late last night watching a movie, so I didn't really have time to make breakfast and blah, blah, blah…"
Now, the client didn't really finish his statement with "blah, blah, blah"; that's simply what I start to hear at that point in these conversations, I usually cut them off as politely as possible.
The problem most people have with lean mass gain and body-fat loss is typically a direct result of being undernourished. By undernourished, I mean one of three things:
They're not taking in enough total calories.
Their macronutrients are out of balance.
They eat enough total calories but not enough micronutrients.
The first miscalculation is a simple lack of total calories, which makes sustaining and building muscle mass completely impossible. Consuming too few calories can also lead to a decrease in metabolism, making fat loss more difficult. Your caloric intake must be high enough to support your basal metabolic rate (BMR), with a slight calorie surplus to support lean muscle gains.
If your micronutrients are insufficient, weight loss won't happen either. Even if your macros are on point, your gains will come to a screeching halt if your food is devoid of the essential micronutrients.
To help you strike the ideal balance between meeting your caloric intake and macronutrient goals while maximizing micro nutrition, here are a few simple tips to get you back on track!
EAT A DIET OF WHOLE FOODS
Eating whole foods is the best way to ensure you're covering the majority of your micronutrient issues. Natural, whole foods have sustained life on this planet since the dawn of time. It's a no-brainer that they should make up the bulk of your food intake.
It is always best to buy your foods fresh, local, and organic—both to remove any possible degradation in nutrient quality and to preserve flavor. The same goes for your meats. Ask your butcher if he knows any hunters, and always try to buy wild-caught game.
DETERMINE YOUR CALORIC REQUIREMENTS
When deciding how many calories you need per day, a good rule of thumb is to take your total body weight in pounds and tack a zero on to the back of it to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or how many calories your body will burn at rest.
For example, I weigh 220 pounds and need approximately 2,200 calories per day just to sustain my mass while at complete rest. If I were sedentary, active, or very active in my daily activities, I would add 600, 800, or 1,000 additional calories respectively.
Lastly, I'd add in my exercise. Since I strength train intensely once per day, I'd add another 800 calories to my diet, bringing my daily total to 4,000 calories per day for maintenance. If I wanted to increase my muscle mass, I would add 300-500 calories to gain muscle without spilling over into fat. If I wanted to maintain most of my muscle and drop body fat, I would reduce my calories by 300 to 500.
Note: When making calorie adjustments, do so slowly and conservatively. This is especially important when trying to reduce body fat.
BALANCE OUT YOUR MACROS
While there are different schools of thought for hard-training athletes, a general rule is to consume 8 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, with fat filling in the rest to meet your caloric targets.
Let's see how that works with me:
Bodyweight: 220 lbs. = 100 kg.
Carbohydrates: 8 g x 100 = 800 (3,200 calories)
Protein: 2 g x 100 = 200 (400 calories)
This brings me to 3,600 total calories so far, with an allowance of approximately 45 grams of fat (400 calories). That puts me right at 4,000 calories per day.
THE GOAL IS TO HAVE A COMPLETE MEAL PLAN THAT YOU FOLLOW EACH DAY. ADD SUPPLEMENTS TO FILL IN ANY GAPS YOU MAY BE MISSING, SUCH AS ADDITIONAL PROTEIN, OR A COMPLETE MULTIVITAMIN OR MINERAL FORMULA.
With all that worked out, I want you to make sure you still address the vital role of micronutrients. Micronutrients are the catalysts in the production of energy, growth of muscle, and reduction of body fat, as well as most every other biological function.
For example, most of you reading this will statistically be deficient in vitamin D, not knowing that this deficiency can reduce muscle strength and leave you susceptible to injury.1 Iron deficiencies can be so severe that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and Dietitians of Canada have selected iron as one of the few nutrients they endorse supplementation of.2
The goal is to have a complete meal plan that you follow each day. Add supplements to fill in any gaps you may be missing, such as additional protein, or a complete multivitamin or mineral formula.
This may seem like a lot, but just remember, if you plan your meals in advance and prepare them before you need them while following the tips outlined above, your ideal body is just around the corner.
Bartoszewska, M., Kamboj, M., & Patel, D. R. (2010). Vitamin D, muscle function, and exercise performance.Pediatric Clinics of North America, 57(3), 849-861.
Zourdos, M. C., Sanchez-Gonzalez, M. A., & Mahoney, S. E. (2015). A brief review: the implications of iron supplementation for marathon runners on health and performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(2), 559-565.
Article courtesy of bodybuilding.com and Mike Dolce