Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners. Which Is Better?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

Are artificial sweeteners actually worse for your health and your waistline than regular sugar?

 
 

 

There is a lot of controversy in the dieting world around artificial sweeteners and whether or not you can or should consume them as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. A common frame of thought is that while artificial sweeteners may contain zero calories, they can (and will) still cause weight gain. Some argue that this is because of the toxins and chemicals that are found in artificial sweeteners while others claim that the consumption of such sweeteners stimulates the brain's 'reward center' and makes you over-consume sweet or calorie dense foods following the ingestion of the artificial sweetener.

Are these assumptions correct? Could you be sabotaging your fat loss efforts by swapping sugar laden treats for their lower calorie artificial alternatives? Let's take a look at the facts to find out.

What stimulates fat loss? Although this is a relatively...

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Diet Breaks: What Are They And Do You Need One?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

A strategy that has been gaining a lot of popularity amongst dieters and coaches with an overarching goal of weight loss is the implementation of diet breaks. Taking a 'break' from being on a diet sounds all good and fun, but can it actually be an effective strategy in helping lose MORE weight than a standard diet or continuous deficit? Let's look at what the research says to date.

What Is A Diet Break Anyway?
First of all, let's define a 'diet break'. What are they? When should we use them? And what for? A diet break is simply a short period of time during a fat loss phase where the dieter takes a break from dieting by increasing calories intentionally. These periods of increased calories can last anywhere from 1 or 2 days (usually more commonly referred to as a 'refeed') to one or two weeks (maybe even longer in some cases). Diet breaks can be implemented for a number of reasons. Some great fat loss plans will have the dieter set up with a plan to implement diet breaks within the...

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How is Alcohol Affecting Your Fitness Goals?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

Most people don't exactly associate drinking with the epitome of 'health', but is it keeping you from reaching your fitness goals to a significant degree? How much your alcohol consumption interferes with your fitness goals will of course depend first and foremost on the type of drinker you are. Do you have one or two drinks a week? Or are you going out hitting the bars ordering round after round or getting noticeably intoxicated once, twice or even three+ times per week? There are some ways that alcohol may be interfering with your ability to lose fat, gain muscle and make progress toward your goals both directly AND indirectly (which is often mistakenly dismissed or overlooked). How, exactly?

DIRECTLY:

First, let's talk about the direct effect that alcohol consumption has on your goals. For fat loss, remember that a consistent environment in which calorie intake is less than calorie output (a calorie deficit) is needed. Alcohol is inherently very high calorie yet not very...

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NEAT: The Reason Your Unable to Change Your Weight

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

Ever gone on a diet, been consistent and faithful and done everything 'right' but still didn't see the results you were looking for or reap any reward for your hard work? Your NEAT could be at fault.

 
 
 

 

 

What is NEAT and why does it matter? NEAT stands for Non-Exercises Activity Thermogenisis. In other words, it's all the calories you burn from day to day through daily activities (everything EXCEPT for your workouts or intentional exercise i.e. cleaning, cooking, walking the dog, walking from your parking spot in to work, etc.). NEAT plays a huge roll in overall calorie burn, much moreso than intentional exercise for most people. Because of this, it has a huge impact on how many calories one should consume and plays a big part in overall changes in bodyweight and fat loss/muscle gain. For people who have active jobs and lifestyles, their NEAT will be relatively high, whereas people with sedentary occupations and hobbies will have pretty low...

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Should You Weigh Food Raw or Cooked?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

When tracking macros and calories or gauging portion sizes, whether you should be weighing food raw or cooked is important to consider. The nutrient content of 4 ounces of raw beef and 4 ounces of cooked beef is NOT the same and can cause some large discrepancies in perceived calorie and nutrient intake, especially with foods that are consumed fairly frequently.

 
 
 
 
 
 

In most cases, it's absolutely going to be best and the most accurate to weigh food raw. Depending on the food, food will change density pretty drastically during the cooking process. Exactly how much it changes will depend on the cooking method, cooking time, temperature, etc. so it's difficult to come up with an exact general conversion for what a given raw amount of food should weigh when it's cooked, every time. It will vary from case to case.

Unless otherwise specified, nutrition labels will yield the nutrition information for the weight of the food as is. If you are...

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Are Rest Days Overrated?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

Many people fall victim to the 'no days off' approach or talk themselves into training everyday despite what they might hear about the benefits of rest days because they claim they don't feel good when they take a rest day.

So the question is; as long as you're up for it, is it really so bad to train everyday? Regular exercise has so many benefits it's not even worth trying to list them all. But it's less widespread knowledge that exercising TOO much can actually reverse the benefits of regular training and even cause the opposite effect. Even if you manage to make training such a strong habit that you don't feel the need to take days off, there may be some negative impacts to disregarding rest days. First off, rest days provide a psychological break from the grind of hard gym sessions. Without them, many may find it hard to turn up and feel motivated enough to put in a good effort during their training sessions throughout the week because they are constantly burnt out or bored...

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WBFF: Final Results

Uncategorized Oct 13, 2019

My first WBFF show has now come and gone and I couldn't be more pleased with the entire prep, the show and the experience as a whole. I want to make it clear that this was NOT my first bikini competition, however, it was my first competition in the WBFF federation. I have competed in 4 NPC shows, 1 INBF show (natural bodybuilding federation) and one Bikini Model Search at the Olympia expo.

 

Although I have placed well in all of my shows under the guidance of a great coach (Aaron Orton @genuinefitnesstraining), I really wanted to give this prep a shot with completely coaching myself. I will be completely honest, I really underestimated how challenging that would truly be. I know how to prep effectively in theory, but there were many moments of self-doubt and insecurity. This is to be expected during prep, but I found it extremely difficult to keep myself in check mentally and stay the course without having anyone to reassure me that I was on the right track or that I looked...

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WBFF Prep: Peak Week

Uncategorized Sep 29, 2019

It's officially peak week of my first WBFF show! This past week has been the most challenging yet. Not so much physically, but moreso mentally and emotionally. As the date draws nearer, self doubt is increasing and to be quite honest, I was feeling pretty down about the way I looked for the majority of the week. You always want the best possible outcome and we are our own worst critics. I may have set up slightly unrealistic expectations for myself as to how I would look on stage. Prep requires a hyper-focus on the way you look and that can be mentally exhausting as you start to hone in on every imperfection or area of improvement. Some of it was physical and there are definitely areas that I wish I could improve upon, but a large majority of it was also mental. I am feeling a bit better entering this week and one of my main goals going into peak week is to work on talking myself up and owning my physique. Regardless of how I look or don't look, confidence speaks volumes and will be...

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WBFF Prep: 2 Weeks Out

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2019

Wow, what a week it has been. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Olympia last weekend in Vegas as a member of the Fokken Nuts team (if you like peanut butter, you NEED to check them out at www.fokkennuts.com). It was a great time with a good company and even better people but nonetheless, travel is travel and is always a bit stressful and challenging to stay on top of a routine. I was able to stick to my macros while away, but I did put my gym routine on hold for the most part. Since returning, my sleep hasn't been at the quality and quantity that is ideal for me and it has been a bit of a challenge to jump back to my normal routine. In addition, I had an higher stress week than normal with work, my car broke down unexpectedly and the reality of being so close to show finally set in as I felt the rush to get everything (from tanning appointments, hotel bookings, hair/makeup appointment, suit/dress fittings, buying shoes, etc.) set up before it was too late. None of this...

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WBFF Prep: 4 Weeks Out

Uncategorized Sep 08, 2019

If you have been following along, you may remember that for my last update at 6 weeks out I mentioned that I was slowly reversing and increasing my calories into my show. Apparently, the increase was a bit too subtle as I continued to get smaller and smaller for the next 1-1.5 weeks. After a certain point, I noticed my waist line was actually not decreasing any further, yet my extremities were getting thinner. This resulted in a less 'shapely' and overall less aesthetic (in my opinion) physique, despite my weight going down and me continuing to get leaner. Yes, I was seeing more striations, veins and a lot of fine lines in my muscles, but my overall appearance was not what I wanted. I train hard year-round (not just during prep) to create a physique with a nice overall shape and I don't want to lose or take away from that shape during prep. Continue reading to see where I am at and what I plan to do for the next few weeks to bring in a physique to the stage that I am happy with and...

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