Stop Counting Calories


Stop Counting Calories, Do This Instead

If you’ve ever pulled out all the measuring cups for your spinach, torn meat into tiny pieces as you placed it on a scale, or counted out exactly 26 almonds then this is the article for you. Fed up with stubborn fat or not looking and feeling your best…you found a hardcore plan that spelled out EXACTLY what you were supposed to eat. You religiously plugged everything you consumed into a special calculator. You lugged around an oversized diaper bag laden with tupperware containers of your “meals”. Yea we’ve all been there…

Trying to balance your macros based on your calculated energy expenditure is one popular way  to build a diet plan. It works for a lot of people who need to eat specific quantities of food to lose weight. So why doesn’t anyone stick with it?

Quite frankly it’s not really worth the time and effort of tedious weighing, measuring, and portioning. Especially when counting calories has some serious flaws. In fact calorie estimation is kind of like a game of telephone. Depending on lab equipment, human error, rounding, moisture, conversions, and a host of other factors calorie estimations can be widely miscalculated.

Yes it can be a great learning opportunity and gets you really thinking about what you’re putting in your body. But there has got to be a better way…Right?!

Instead of counting calories focus on quality of food and learning how to estimate portion sizes to keep your body healthy and satiated. You only need one tool to measure your food with and you just so happen to be blessed with two of them (unless you’re Jaime Lannister). That’s right, your hands are the only measuring tool you’ll be using from now on. Let’s explore how to use your hands to measure different food categories so you can stop wasting time counting calories. Your hands can be used to calculate:

  • Protein
  • Vegetables
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Let’s take a look at how.

Protein

For protein you want to use your palm to estimate portion size. That means a portion the same length, width, and thickness of your hand without the fingers. Men should eat about 2 palm sized portions of protein at each meal and women should try to eat 1 palm sized portion. This applies to foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Vegetables

For vegetables you can make a fist with your hand and use that to estimate portion size. Mens should try to eat 2 fist sized portions at each meal and women should shoot for 1 fist sized portion. This works for foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, peas, and many other veggies.

Carbohydrates

For carbohydrates you will want to curl your hand making it into a small cup shape. Carbohydrates include grains like bread and oatmeal, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruits. Men can eat 2 cupped hand sized portions and womens can eat 1 cupped hand sized portion per meal.

Fats

Last of all is calculating your fats. For fats you can use your whole thumb to estimate portion size. Men would use two thumbs to estimate their fat portion and women would use 1 thumb to calculate theirs. This works for foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

What has two thumbs and knows how to easily balance their meals?

–> THIS GUY! <–

Now that you know how to easily estimate a healthy portion size for your bodies it’s time to ditch the scales and measuring cups. Focus on quality foods, a daily movement practice, and enjoying your life!

If you are looking for more ways to make healthy habits a fun and easy part of your day then get in touch with one of our coaches today!!

How Your Mindset Affects Performance


How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!