How to Eat on Holidays

This subject is fitting that a holiday is coming up this week, but this information can be used for every holiday or event that you encounter. The holidays usually mean that there will be some kind of get together or special event that is taking place. This comes with, family, food, and less exercise in general. When you are trying to keep your head above water the holidays can be a stressful time, your schedule will be different, the food you eat will be out of your control and you have more temptations around you. 

Social gatherings and holidays are meant to be fun. It is not worth stressing yourself out over for just a day. You CAN recover from a “bad day”, you WILL be fine if you have a slice of cake, and you won’t magically can 10 pounds from having some extra chips. 

What we want to minimize is the “throwing it all out the window” approach. Yes I want you to have a good time and not stress over the food selection, but no its more than likely not a good idea to eat the whole cake and then continue eating the same way for the next 3 days. After all most holidays are just a one day thing. 

What we are always trying to find is the balance in the situation. The balance is where things get good and you can sustain them. It is not sustainable to live on a strict diet that restrict you from all foods, see how many people invite you to parties after that (not many). On the other side of things it’s not sustainable to eat everything you can get your hands on, and never stop to think about what might happen to you. The best place to make yourself comfortable in in the middle. Enjoy a sweet treat, or a beverage, but don’t over do it know when you are full. 

Here are some ways to make the best out of your holiday/party/event: 

  • If it is a party you can bring your own food to do it. 
  • Know when you are full and stay away from mindless eating because it is there
  • Start your day off with a good breakfast with vegetables before the event
  • If tracking is too hard to do at a party, don’t do it, just be mindful of what you are eating
  • It is fine to have a cookie or something sweet, just try having less over more of that stuff
  • If you are drinking alcohol, drink water after each drink you have. (try to stay with 2/3 drinks) 
  • Look for the protein packed options if it is a potluck style event and limit the side options (burgers, hotdogs, steak, chicken, pork) 
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t give up on yourself and eat everything in site. 

Most importantly the holidays are a time to spend around people you love and want to be around. Relax and enjoy the moments you have with them, that’s what holidays and events are for, not for you to get perfect Marcos. If you need help with anything at all let me know!

It's Time To Recover

If you have been participating in the Crossfit Open for the past 5 weeks, you are at the end and you may be thinking of what to do next. The Open is an awesome time to test your fitness, find out where your weaknesses are and access yourself to move forward for next year. With all the fun and excitement of the open what happens after it’s over? It’s time to recover!

You might be thinking, well I'm not a regional athlete or a games athlete so why would one workout a week for five weeks need any recovery? You still need to recover because the Open is more than just five workouts for five weeks. It's a five week long competition no matter what stage you are at currently. The Open has a different feel than a regular workout, and it makes you go to places you didn’t know you could go. You have pushed your limits, tried new skills, and lifted heavier weights than you would have on a regular day in the gym. You also have had some stress going into the workout, from having a judge count your reps, having a crowd watch you and having a leaderboard to look at. This is all added stress to an already stressful and demanding workout. Now you have to repeat that for 5 weeks! So yes, you need to recover! 

While getting your eating habits and body goals where you want takes time and there are different factors involved, right now you need to pay attention to what your body needs currently. You just spent 5 weeks in an intense workout setting with added stress to your body. Setting yourself up for success after the open with nutrition will lead to better performance in the future, or faster weight loss when the summer comes around. I'm going to lay out the groundwork for what you should focus on after the open. 

Your time period that you need to recover is specific to you, there is not a certain amount of time that will help you recover, it’s Individual to the person and you should be paying attention to your bio-feed back. This would be sleep, energy levels, mood, and hunger levels. 

You Need to Eat More Not Less

You just came out of 5 hard weeks of the open, with added stress on your body and the central nervous system. Your body is calling for you to feed it. If you are someone who has been tracking their food add 20-15% more calories to your food intake. Specifically more fats and protein. Fats will help your body repair hormonal changes that happened the last 5 weeks, and protein will help build back your muscles that you have been breaking down. This is NOT a time to go on a calorie deficit, you will only lead yourself down to trouble. This is not a time for fad diets, juice cleanse, or any other form of extreme weight loss. This is a time for real food, and more of it. Feed yourself now and later you will be ready to cut out some body fat.

Higher Food Quality

In Crossfit the energy pathway that you use has a direct effect on your gut and gut health, making sure your gut health is in check is important after the open.The food that you take in should be higher quality food, eating junk food and fast food won't actually help, make sure you are paying attention to your food quality when you do this. Things like bone broth, collagen protein, a wide variety of vegetables, and fermented foods. 

You Need to Rest More 

Sleep, is so important at any stage in your life but after a hard 5 weeks and your nervous system constantly being in the flight or fight mode you need some more sleep to help you recover. Your body can rebuild and repair when you are sleeping and if you aren’t getting enough sleep you are in a constant state of breaking down. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep and try to stick to a routine every night. 

Destress Yourself

Many of us are wanting to ramp it up right after the open. You might feel like you need to work on the things that held you back right away. You need time to relax and destress yourself, and putting on a higher work load right after a 5 week competition will only hurt your progress. There is time to learn and improve skills and build your fitness up, but right after the open is not the best time. Take a few more rest days, get out and enjoy the outdoors, find a low impact activity that makes you happy, and you can even scale or change workouts so you aren’t going 100% all the time. There are seasons to everything and each season helps us grow into a better version of ourselves over time. 

Even if you didn’t participate in the open you still need time to recover from time to time, if you had high stress the past month, not been sleeping well, working out too much you need to take a step back and recover. There is nothing wrong with slowing things down. This will only help you move faster in the future. If you have any questions about recovery, nutrition, or would like to work with me one-on-one, please email me info@push-nutrition.com

6 Tips to Help You Stay on Track Over the Weekend

We are a little under a week into the program and many of you are starting to put it all together and get consistent getting a 5/5 day. That is awesome and what we want to strive to do. You have by now figured out some foods are higher in areas that you did not realize and I hope you all are starting to feel better about this process. We have our first true test coming up and that is the weekend. For most people the weekend is a magical place where schedules are thrown out the window, calories don't matter, anything with sugar looks good, and pizza and tacos are the staple of the two day binge fest. If that is not most peoples weekends it sure looks a lot like mine. Although its enjoyable while going through these 2 days, the repercussion are not worth it and often times take more time to fix than it did to ruin everything. I sure have been there doing well on my “diet” and then the weekend comes and I'm promising myself just a few things here and there and its back on track for Monday. It just doesn't work out like that and we end up in a see-saw battle with trying to eat “healthy” and just giving up all together. The weekends should be relaxing and care free you have worked hard during the week and everyone deserves a break. With that being said staying on track during the weekends goes a long way into reaching your goals. Here are some tips to keep the weekends productive but give you some room to be care free. 

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1. Start with Breakfast

This may seem like a simple tip but for most of us when its the weekend schedules are thrown off and we may sleep in and just skip breakfast and go right into lunch at mi cocina (whoops). So make sure you wake up and start your day with a protein packed breakfast. Make a protein shake with some of your favorite fruits, make some bacon and eggs, just make sure you eat something. This will help you stay full during the day and help you get in the macro we all are lacking in, protein. 

2. Track It Before You Eat It

Put into MyFitnessPal what you know you are going to eat before you actually eat it. This allows you to plan out your day better and see areas where you can take some things out or add some things in if needed. 

3. Track Everything

Even if you think its “bad food” track it. This will only help you in the long run. We are looking for balance not perfection. So those chips you are eating at the table before the real food comes, yes track those. 

4. If You Know You Are Going Out to Eat or to a Party Leave Yourself Some Space. 

I am not saying starve yourself, that is not beneficial and will set you back, but if you are going out with friend or a party give yourself some wiggle room to indulge a little more. Many times thats means just taking out a snack or having a smaller lunch. Most of the time keeping carbs and fats low will help you have s successful night later on. 

5. Use the Restaurant Feature on the App

If you want to go out to eat and you have no idea where to go use the restaurant locater feature on the app. It does not have every restaurant but it has most, and it gives you the menu items which makes it easier for you to track and see what foods you should have there. 

6. Don’t Be to Hard on Yourself, but Be Realistic

Its the weekend guys! You have worked hard all week don't be the crazy person in the group that is measuring your food. (I would be proud of you) You can be care free but just don't over do it. We live in a culture where more is better and that doesn't have to be the case all the time. Know your goals and know why you are doing this. That makes it easier to make the decision on the second piece of cake. 

I will always ask you guys yo track and still post on the weekends. It may be harder than the normal week but i promise its worth it. You owe it to yourself, don't fall off after all that hard work. I cant wait to see you all progress. Have a great weekend guys! 

Where Can I Get Some Protein?

We are a couple weeks into the program and many of you are doing very well and staying consistent. I am starting to see things click with all of you and you are all understanding the process more and more each day. This is the goal of the program to give you all the knowledge and right information to help you in your daily lives. By now we know there is no magic pill or magic food that we can take that will get us to where we need to go. It takes a consistent honest effort and that comes by making a choice everyday to do that. With that said having knowledge to make this decision can go a long way in the subject of nutrition with so much false information out there. My goal is to provide you with knowledgeable real information that you can use to help you in this process. 

So the main question I have been getting these past couple of weeks is, “where can i get more protein?”. It is very common in a western diet that we lack protein. You may have noticed the first couple of days that your fats and carbs were very high and your protein very low. We have to be intentional about getting protein in our diets. Fats and carbs are easy to come by because most of the time they are “grab and go foods” that are easy to make or get and we don't have to think about preparing the meal. Protein is more expensive and may take time to prepare, but with a fe simple changes to how we prepare our meals for the day or week we can make sure we at getting in the amounts we need to thrive. 

Why Is Protein So Important? 

  • The main reason protein is so important is that it is the building block of muscles, it is what they are made out of. If we are doing any type of training we need protein to maintain and build new muscle. 
  • Protein keeps us full. in terms of food that we take in protein is that one macro that will keep us full and help keep us away from some cravings. If you are ever feeling a craving coming on try having some more protein to keep you in check. 
  • Protein has the highest thermic effect. meaning that we are burning more calories when we are digesting it than other macros, and this is a good thing. 
  • When we are on a calorie count to lose weight, getting the right amount of protein helps us from not losing our lean mass that we have. Which is important when we are looking at body composition goals 
  • We need protein for more than just our muscles. It helps regenerate our cells along with many other bio benefits. 

In conclusion protein is very important and it is essential for us to get the right amount in. 

What Foods Should I Eat to Get More Protein? 

  • The first food source we want to look for is an animal based source. This means; poultry, beef, seafood, wild game, eggs. Anything that comes from animal should be our first source of protein we go for. My biggest tip for getting a good amount of this protein in is make larger quantities at dinner to have leftovers for your lunch. If you are making ground beef on Monday night and you make a pound of it and you only need 1/3 of a pound for dinner, use the rest for lunch the next day. 
  • I know it is hard to get a good amount from the meats and eggs that we eat if we cant change the quantity the next thing we can look for are some protein packed snacks. My favorites are; Greek yogurt, beef jerky, cheese sticks, protein bars. These should all be snacks and would not be a staple of your diet or where you get your main protein from. These all have other macros in them such as carbs and fats, so if you are running high on those try to avoid theses and stick to the meats. 
  • One thing that has really helped me get my protein levels up is a good protein shake. Now again this should not be our main source and not something we should always turn to but during a busy day or right after a workout it can work magic for your protein numbers. You want to use a good quality source and make sure its from a brand you trust. MY favorite because of taste and quality is SFH Pure. It is awesome and works! I will post a link to the website or you can get it at the gym at our store. 
  • The post workout shake has been the single thing that has help me with my protein intake. That should not take away from getting good quality sources. Always look for the best lean meats at the store this will go a long way in overall health benefits. 

As you can see we need protein and it is important. So when you are planning your day or looking for a food to eat look for protein always. This will help us excel and thrive to our goals. If you have any questions on protein sources or protein powders please feel free to ask. 

Here is the link to SFH protein that I use: https://www.sfh.com/shop/whey-protein/

When Should I Eat? Nutrition Timing.

    Many of you have been asking for information on meal frequency and nutrient timing. This is a common nutrition topic that many people often ask about. When you are changing up how you eat, after you get down the basic then comes the questions of when you should be eating these foods and at what times. There are two different subjects on this matter and they are meal frequency and nutrient timing. The meal frequency being more about the timing of the meals we take in and how many times you should be eating in a day. Nutrient timing is dealing with more of what macronutrients should you be taking in at certain times of the day. This subject is beneficial to go over but we must remember that at the end of the day if we have met all our goals and have the right amount of calories and macronutrients we are headed the right directions and will see results regardless of how we got there during the day. With that being said lets break this down so I can give you a clear picture of what this subject looks like. 

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Meal Frequency

Eating 8 meals a day will not speed up this process or “trick” your body into leaning out. When our goal is general weight loss the meal frequency has no effect on the results, only the calories and the macronutrients we consume have that effect. You want to choose times to eat that fit into your personal schedule. Any times that will give you, consistency, accuracy, and flexibility should be the main consideration. There are some common myths out there involved with meal frequency like, don't eat after 7pm, or don't work out on an empty stomach, or eat 8 meals a day to keep your metabolism up. While they are common when coming across a “diet” none of them have scientific evidence to be beneficial to you. Meal frequency, as in how many times a day should I eat? This has no bearing on our weight loss goals. If I eat 1000 calories in one sitting and wait 7 hours later and eat the other 1000 calories, this will do nothing to my body composition and where I am headed with weight loss goals in mind if that is the right amount of calories and macronutrients that my body needs. So you can put aside the myths that you need to separate your meals evenly or you have to eat at certain times. This makes this a much more flexible approach. We all have busy schedules and it would be very hard to eat every 3 hours. Ask yourself when you want to eat and that is when you should eat. This is about you and your goals. 

Nutrient Timing

The second thing to think about when we are talking about meal timing is the nutrients in those meals and when you should be consuming those nutrients. There is a little more to this subject but for our goals which is overall weight loss this still pails into comparison of our calories and the right macronutrients we take in. Do not get to hung up on eating nutrients at certain times, this will take away from the flexibility of this program. An example questions would be, should I be eating protein right after I train? This is an example of the timing that has to do with nutrients. There are 3 main times that you want to consider taking in the right nutrients. All these times have to do with you working out. They are used as tools to prioritize your workouts, they are not a special trick to make you loss weight any faster. Still keep in mind even if you don't use these timing methods and still take in your calories and right macronutrients you will still lose weight. The 3 times you want to consider when     you are talking about nutrient timing are; 

  1. Pre Workout 
  2. Post Workout 
  3. Post Post workout 

Pre Workout

Pre workout does not mean right before you are about to pick up a barbell you should slam an energy drink. That will do nothing for you other than help you throw up during the workout. Pre workout meal is considered to be about an hour to two hours before you workout. This is to let the food digest. This meal should contain a good carb source that is more slowly digested than something like a sugar carb, and a good protein source. We want the carb to give us sustainable energy and the protein to help our muscle. The one thing you want to stay away from pre workout is fats.Some examples of a good pre workout meal include: 

Carbs 

  • sweet potato/ potato 
  • White rice 
  • oatmeal 
  • whole grain pasta 
  • whole grain bread 
  • Zucchini 
  • Butternut squash 
  • Cauliflower 

These are just some examples but choose something you like to eat that is a carb. 

Protein 

  • lean meat 
  • ground turkey 
  • chicken 
  • Egg whites 
  • Deil meats with no nitrates 
  • Whey power 

Post Workout

    Post workout meal is 30min to an hour after but if you feel like you can put something on your stomach right after that is ok too. Most of the time this will come in a liquid form because that is easily digested and gets to our blood stream fast. This meal we want some fast digested carbs and a protein source. This is one of the only times when a sugar carb is more acceptable than a fiber carb source. There are many benefits that come from consuming a post workout shake with carbs in it. This will help you your CNS recover and give your muscle what they need to start the recovery process. I personally like to mix my carbs and protein together and take it as a shake. I take a carb supplement but it is basically an unflavored powder that I mix with my protein. Some examples of post workout meals: 

Carbs 

  • Carbohydratepowder (dextrose) 
  • Gatorade/ Powerade 
  • Coconut water 
  • Kill cliff/ fit aid 
  • Any fruit juice 

Protein 

  • Whey powder 
  • Pea powder 

Post Post Workout

    This should be a “complete meal” that includes a protein source, carb source and fat source. The timing should be approximately 60-90 minutes after consuming the post workout shake. This meal is to insure that you are getting some fuel for your body, you just put it through a hard workout and it needs to recover for tomorrow. The food options on this meal can be whatever you like to eat just portioned out to what is right for you. 

Putting It All Together

    To put all of this together we now know that eating 20 times a day or eating twice doesn't matter as long as the calories and the macros we are taking in are right. Nutrient timing can be beneficial but only to prioritize our workouts it is not a magic trick to get us to loss weight faster. At the end of the day we want to focus on hitting the macros and cals everyday. If you are doing that on a consist basis then we can look to optimize your nutrition more by looking at timing. Don't let this information stress you out you can still get where you want to go and not do any of the timing. I will say that again, you can get where you want to go by not doing any of the timing. Keep focused on hitting your numbers and good things will start happening.