7 Essential Tools To Start A Lean Lifestyle

Getting started with a lean lifestlye requires a few essentials to help you on your way. Here are 7 essential tools that anyone that wants to live lean should have!

Good Shoes – You can’t get in a good workout without protecting your feet! Invest in a good pair of shoes. Have the shoe store tell you what kind of shoe you need. Also, we are conditioned to buy shoes that are too big for us (thanks mom), get your feet professionally measured before you purchase your new kicks!

Breathable Clothes – Workout clothing has come a long way. There are a ton of good workout shirts/tops and shorts that make life a lot easier when you’re feeling the burn! After-all, you want to be comfortable when you’re finishing that last mile!

Water Bottle – Stay hydrated and protect the environment at the same time. Instead of using a endless supply of plastic water bottles, spend a few bucks on good reusable one!

Kitchen Tools – A few weeks ago I did a post on essential kitchen tools for weight loss. The kitchen is your lean life mecca, treat it that way. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to take a cooking class or two to get comfortable in the kitchen!

Planner– “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” You don’t necessarily need a paper planner, you just need something that you can keep track of your progress, when you workout, and your goals! My favorite is a white board with a calendar, it’s perfect to use everyday. I write my goals and track my progress on mine!

Bed – More and more studies are showing that people that don’t get enough sleep struggle with weight. Get a good bed, rest up, and slim down!

Professional Help– Whether it’s a workout DVD, a group of friends, a new gym, a group exercise class, or finding a personal trainer, get some guidance. You would be surprised how a little accountability makes the biggest difference!

Now you got to tools, now it’s up to you to use them!

You can't miss my water bottle!

10 Awesome Healthy Food Boards You Should Be Following On Pinterest!

Pinterest has become an awesome resource for everything from do-it-yourself projects to motivational quotes. Here are 10 awesome boards you should be following for some delicious healthy meals!

Number One
Fitsugar is an awesome resource for everything fitness. Their boards are no exception!

Number Two
If you’re familar with Real Simple magazine, their healthy eating board is a must follow!

Number Three
Shape Magazine has a ton of great pins to keep you healthy!

Number Four
We may not have a Whole Foods in Fargo, but that doesn’t mean we can use their fantastic ideas!

Number Five
Men’s Health has a great collection of healthy recipes that look different and delicious!

Number Six
FitFluential has a bunch of great meal ideas that you should try!

Number Seven
Booty Camp Fitness has a recipe board that you don’t want to miss!

Number Eight
‘How Does She?’ is great blog put together by a group of woman that want to eat great and be healthy! http://pinterest.com/howdoesshe/food-that-s-healthy/

Number Nine
If you know me, I love my smoothies, so why not follow this great smoothie board!

Number Ten
Of course I can’t do a Pinterest post without pluging my own joefitness pinterest board!

Now I know I haven’t covered nearly all the healthy eating boards, so your job is to post in the comments the boards that you think are awesome and we should follow!

To count or not to count calories?

Ask joefitness: ‘Hey Joe, I find it hard to constantly keep track of my calories. Do I really need to track them to lose weight?’

To Count or Not To Count Calories - joefitnessCounting calories certainly can be tedious process, it also may not be as accurate as you think. The process of cooking food can change the amount of calories the food contains. Also, there has been evidence that cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals inaccurately calculate calories burned. Furthermore, the idea of energy exchange isn’t all that accurate either. For example, if you ate a 500 calorie meal and you went to the gym and burned off 500 calories, it doesn’t mean you are a net zero for calories. Depending on the intensity of the exercise, your body needs to recover which can increase the amount of calories your body burns. Confusing? That’s not even the worst of it.

There’s a better way
It is very important to be aware of what you’re eating. This is why having a food journal in a weight loss plan is essential. However, I don’t find it critcially important to track calories. Instead on focusing on calories, focus on the quality of food. If your diet is rich with lean proteins, fruits, green leafy vegetables, and healthy oils, you will more than likely drop those unwanted pounds. If you want to take it a step further, managing your carb intake may be much easier than counting calories. For most people keeping your carb intake below 200 – 300 carbs per day is a good idea, as long as 2/3 of those carbs come from fruits and vegetables.

Diet plans don’t need to be complicated with math. Simply eliminating over-processed foods from your diet can lead to significant changes. Eat clean and look lean!

The Feeding Tube Diet?

The weight loss world has a wacky field of gimmicks and devices that claim to to help you lose unwanted fat. Well add another trend to the list, weight loss via feeding tube.

That’s right, a feeding tube used to lose weight. According the the New York Times article the individual has a feeding tube placed in a nostril. For ten days they go on a no-carb, 800 calorie per day diet. During this time individuals can drop 5 to 10 pounds. All for the low price of $1,500.

Okay maybe it works, but was it really worth it? If you put anyone on a 800 calorie, no carb diet they will lose weight. The one thing that most medical weight loss methods miss is the psychological transformation that occurs during the weight loss. You can’t put someone that is a habitual over-eater, have them drop a bunch of weight in a short period of time and expect their over-eating habits to go away. They will end up right where they started.

Maybe I’m biased because it’s not the way I teach my clients to lose weight. However, at the end of the day, indivduals that take the time to learn and live a healthy lifestyle through routine and hard work will end up maintaining that healthy lifestyle long term.

A few tips to avoid weight loss gimmicks:
  • To good to be true factor. If something claims you can lose weight with little exercise or diet, stay away.
  • The white coat factor. Don’t get me wrong there are many great weight loss clinics, but just because someone is wearing a white coat, doesn’t mean what they are selling is effective
  • New Technology factor. If weight loss method is proclaimed as “new” or “revolutionary”, it’s probably so new that it hasn’t been proven to work.
  • Cost:Benefit Factor. Maybe the “Feeding Tube” method works, but for $1,500? Instead get a gym membership, hire a trainer, or a nutritionist. All of those will cost you less.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/fashion/weddings/Losing-Weight-in-Time-for-the-Wedding.html
Photo Credit: Barbara Fernandez for The New York Times

Fat Loss Secret: Don’t Judge a Scale By It’s Number

You just started a weight loss routine, your first two weeks you’ve dropped 10 – 15 pounds and your doing awesome! And all of a sudden your in your third week the scale doesn’t seem to budge. You still feel great and clothes are fitting better, but your weight isn’t going down. What the heck is going on?

The culprit: The scale.

Like I mentioned in my 25 fat loss tips post, the problem with the scale is it’s inability to tell you the whole story of your weight loss. When you step on the scale it tells you every going on as a whole. It doesn’t tell you body fat changes, what you ate, the amount of water in your body, swollen muscles, and a number of other things that effect your weight.

Using the scale to measure your progress is okay, but don’t just depend on one measurement. Here are a few better ways to measure your progress:

Performance Goals
Instead on focusing on the fat loss result, focus on what produces the result. Make it your goal that you will go to the gym 3 days a week or eat like a diet rockstar for 6 days in a row. Maybe it’s to bike around the city limits or to finish your first 5k! Whatever it is, track it, improve it and you will see results!

Dress Size / Waist Size
One goal of weight loss is to look better right? Well why not measure your progress with clothing! My favorite clothes to use is jeans. They tend to be unforgiving and you can definitly tell when they are fitting looser! Whether it’s a dress or a pair of jeans, pick some clothing and track your progress weekly.

Before and after pictures can be an amazing tool when it comes to tracking your progress. Once a week take a picture of your progress and watch your body transform!

It’s not all about the number on the scale. Just remember, a scale is just one measurement that tells you the whole story at once. Pick a few ways to track your progress and watch your success!

Should I Go On A Detox Diet To Lose Weight?

Ask joefitness: “Hey Joe, I hear a lot about people going on a detox diets. What are they and should I do one? And will they help me lose weight?”

Detox diets typically are diets that are meant to “flush” all the bad stuff from your body. I’ve also heard them called cleanse diets, flush diets, body cleanse diet, etc.. Typically they come in the form of eating a lot of insoluble fiber, eating some form of laxative (natural or synthetic), or by way of fasting.

One thing I would be clear about is I would never buy a product that calls itself a detox diet. Save your money. Word of warning: If you do happen go on a detox diet, long term detoxing can lead to some major health issues. Constantly flushing out nutrients from your body is a bad thing.

I like the idea of a detox diet, but not for the purpose many of these diets promote. I like the idea because they act as a switching mechanism from a bad eating habit into a new eating habit. To put that in English, I like detox diets because they get people to stop eating crap and start eating healthy. I’m not into the whole grape juice cleanse, honey and tabsco cleanse or latest detox meme spreading over the internet, I think these things are just plain silly and a waste of time.

If I were to design you a detox diet, you would eat plenty of green leafy veggies and lots of fresh fruit. I’d cut out all the sugary drinks and overstimulated coffees. You’d have green tea at least twice a day and you’d be drinking plenty of water. I add some lean meat for your main meals and let you eat nuts for snacks. Kind of sounds like a healthy diet all around doesn’t it?

So when you are ready to start eating healthy and you want to detox, don’t drink the the internet diet koolade, just start eating healthy and make good diet decisions. The weight loss will come soon enough!

Do you have a weight loss question for joefitness? Post in the comments below or send us an email!

How To Keep Losing Weight During Holiday Meals

I got this question from a friend the other day: ‘I have a holiday get-together this weekend and I know I won’t be eating very well. What can I do to help me not fall behind in my weight loss goals?’

First off, it’s great that you are being proactive with your diet! If you know you won’t have access to very healthy eats, I like to have my clients eat two low carb days right before a day that they know they won’t be eating well. The key is to get right back into healthy eating mode after the holiday is over.

Also, plan your cheat day around the holiday meal. If you are eating like a diet rockstar 6 out of 7 days, one day where you eat a little bad will not hinder your goals. It might actually help you lose more by replenishing your body with energy.

You are in control of your diet, your diet doesn’t control you! Just remember to enjoy celebrating, and if food happens to be the gathering point, a little cheating won’t hurt.

Carb Cycling For Awesome Results: Sample Menu

Yesterday I posted an article on how to use a carb cycling diet to get amazing results. I received a few emails asking me to elaborate a little more on what a Normal Carb Day would be versus a Low Carb Day.

Here is an example of a 1500 calorie menu for a low carb day and a normal carb day.

Normal Carb Day – 1590 Calories (147 Carbs)
Breakfast – 385 Calories (61 Carbs)
Plain Greek Yogurt – 10oz
Strawberries – 1 Cup
Orange Juice – 12oz

Lunch – 449 Calories (36 Carbs)
Turkey Sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread – 2 Slices
Turkey Breast – 6oz
Tomato – 1oz
Romaine Lettuce – 6oz

Snack – 196 Calories (44 Carbs)
Fruit Salad
Orange – 1 Medium
Strawberries – 1 Medium
Grapes – 2 oz

Dinner – 560 Calories (6 Carbs)
Spinach Salad /w Chicken Breast
Spinach – 6oz
Chicken Breast – 6oz
vinaigrette – 3oz

Low Carb Day – 1513 Calories (18 Carbs)
Breakfast – 499 Calories (2 carbs)
Scrambled Eggs – 3 Eggs
Shredded Cheese – 1 oz
Bacon – 2 Slices

Lunch – 599 Calories (6 carbs)
Spinach – 6oz
Steak (cubed) – 6oz
Vinaigrette – 3oz

Snack – 169 Calories (3 Carbs)
Almonds – 1 oz

Dinner – 246 Calories (7 Carbs)
Chicken Breast – 4oz
Steamed Broccoli – 6oz

What about the High Carb Day?
The only difference from a normal carb day vs a high carb day is you get a cheat meal at the end of your high carb day. You can eat whatever meal you’ve been craving all week! (within reason of course)

As always, if you have any questions email me, post below, or find me on Facebook!

Carb Cycling For Awesome Weight Loss Results

Low carb diets might of been really popular a few years ago, but the sluggishness and mood swings that they created left people feeling a bit less optimistic about the new wonder diet. However low carb diets really did work! So how do you take the advantages of the effective low carb diet? Enter carb cycling.

Carb Cycling
The concept of carb cycling is pretty simple. You eat a low carb diet for a few days followed by a normal carb diet for a few more days. Throw in a high carb day once a week (a cheat day) and you got carb cycling.

Typical Carb Cycle
A common cycle will include two low carb days, followed by a normal day and then repeat. Once a week we will throw in a high carb day which is our “cheat day”. The amount of carbs you eat will vary from person to person. For an average person low days will usually be less than 100 carbs where a normal day would be around 250 carbs.

When to use Carb Cycling
My experience with carb cycling is only use it when you are dropping those last 20 – 15 pounds. I use it at the joefitness gym as a diet plateau buster! One thing to remember is if you have more then 30 pounds to lose, simply eating a healthier diet will help you more then anything.

Low carb diets are certainly effective. With carb cycling you can take advantage of awesome low carb diet results without feeling sluggish!

Have a question about carb cycling? Post a comment below!

25 Fat Loss Tips

It’s Friday! Here are 25 fat loss tips you should always keep in mind!

1 Carbs aren’t bad. They fuel your body to lose fat. Over consuming processed carbs on the other hand is bad.

2 Exercise is whatever makes you happy. As long as it’s a sustained habit.

3 Eating right is really the key to fat loss, exercise is just a faster path to the door.

4 You don’t have to count your calories. Just make sure the food you’re eating is good.

5 HIIT(High intensity interval training) over sustained cardio any day.

6 Exercise in the morning is best. You get it done with and nothing during the day can disrupt it.

7 Ellipticals are a terrible way to exercise. It’s to easy to do a lot of movement without any hard work.

8 HIIT training is nothing to be scared of, you do it every day jogging up the steps.

9 Chocolate milk is a great exercise recovery drink, but don’t over do it.

10 Drinking a recovery drink or protein shake after a workout will not hinder your fat loss progress.

11 A healthy body is a lean body.

12 Bad diets are habitual.

13 There are more forms of protein than meat. Much healthier ones too!

14 Steamed. Grilled. Baked. Fried. Good to bad.

15 Scales don’t lie. They just tell the whole unbiased story. Focus on more than your weight.

16 Women can lift weights and get bulky. They just have to eat like a person that wants to get bulky.

17 Muscle confusion is a made up marketing term for cross training (using different exercises).

18 Body weight exercises can be very effective for weight loss.

19 Smoothies in the morning are an awesome nutritional way to start your day.

20 Attitude reflects success. Bad attitude, bad diet, bad results.

21 Lack of variety in your weight loss diet isn’t a bad thing. You’re still losing weight aren’t you?

22 Never hire a trainer that hasn’t changed their methods in years. Times change, exercise evolves.

23 Consistency is the single most important aspect of a weight loss plan.

24 Cycling low and normal carb days is effective. Long term low carb diets aren’t effective.

25 You can save a ton if you shopped for your vegetables in the greens section. (You know that place in the grocery store where the misters spray water on those green things.)

Have a great weekend!

[Reposted and Updated from: http://joefitness.com/random-fat-loss-friday-tips/ ]