Meet Our Nutritionists: Amanda

large

Educational background:

Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

1600 hour Dietetic Internship

Registered Dietitian

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

 

Nutrition Philosophy:

  • Eat real food that tastes good and is going to nourish your body and help you live a long, happy life.
  • Take advantage of science—get your blood work done, your DNA tested. These can give you pieces of information to help you optimize your diet that you can share with a Certified Nutritionist/Physician that can help you with this.
  • Don’t let food be a stressor—always keep it simple and go back to the basics.

 

Reason for becoming nutritionist: 

I grew up eating homemade meals my Mom made from scratch and learned about the importance of eating real food at a young age. As I got older, I started to get interested in how the balance of the food we eat affects our day-to-day lives. I quickly learned that food can have a huge positive impact on health and even be used in place of or in conjunction with medicine. I was like a sponge! I read every book and wanted to know everything, which led to me changing my major part way through college from nursing to nutrition. I haven’t looked back since.

The beauty of food/nutrition is that it is the perfect combination of art and science. We can do things like get our blood work done or our DNA tested to tell us more about how we absorb food and what the current nutritional status of our body is. This is amazing, but what is even more amazing is that we can use different foods to fix imbalances, support health, and see real change in these scientific measurements. Combining foods to create a delicious meal to support our health is an art.

 

How long I have been working for Kettlebell Kitchen:

Since June 2016. I started working for KBK because their mission aligns with mine—providing people with the nutrients and nutrition information they need to live a healthy life. KBK keeps it simple and honest with only real food ingredients, but the food still tastes amazing. The owners of the company are two amazing guys that are so passionate for helping people and believe in what they do 100%. I was honored when asked to join the team.

 

Favorite KBK meal:

Bacon Chicken Waldorf

 

Weirdest healthy food I love:

Kombucha—fermented, carbonated tea with tons of healthy bacteria to support gut and immune health

 

Favorite type of fitness/workout:

Gymastics. I have been crossfitting for a little over 7 years now. I did it for fun for about 5 years and then started competing the last two years going to Wodapalooza and Regionals with a team in 2016. Prior to CrossFit, I danced for 10 years and was a division 1 rower at the University of Connecticut.

 

Favorite non-food/fitness hobby:

Being upside down and outdoors with my two dogs.

 

Best part about working for KBK:

The food duh! But really it’s being surrounded by people that inspire you and constantly motivate you to get out of your comfort zone, help others, and be the best version of yourself.

Achieving Your Goals: Eating for Wellness & Vitality

wellness

Example: “I want to improve my energy levels so that I can play with my kids after work and make it to the gym 3x per week.”

 

Macronutrients: Are you eating enough?

One of the first areas to explore with low energy is how much you are eating and the breakdown of those macronutrients. Making sure that you are eating balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day  is important for balancing blood sugar hormones and maintaining high, even energy levels.

wellness1What does “balanced” mean? A balanced meal includes protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, beef, pork, etc), healthy fat (such as olive oil, avocados, coconut, nuts/seeds), and some form carbohydrates, preferably a variety of low-starch, fiber-rich vegetables. If you are working out that day, you can include a starchy carb as well (about ½ a fist for most women and a whole fist for most men). Protein and fat are both very satiating nutrients, but also don’t have a profound effect on blood sugar. The more refined (processing that strips nutrients and leaves pure, quickly digesting carbs) a food, the quicker and more dramatically blood sugar spikes and therefore, ultimately drops. Such blood sugar highs and lows directly affect energy levels as well as mood and cravings!

How do you take action and create this balance yourself? You can start by using your plate as a guide: Fill about ¼ of your plate with protein, ¼ with healthy fats, and the other ½ with vegetables.

wellness2

Eating at regular intervals throughout the day is also key for balancing blood sugar and energy levels. There is no one-size-all recommendation for how many meals to eat daily– some people prefer three square meals per day, others prefer 3 meals and 1-2 snacks, and some people even do well eating 2 large meals or 5-6 small meals! The key here is spacing these meals out throughout the day and always starting the day with breakfast. Skipping meals, especially first thing in the morning, will cause a drop in blood sugar. Your body will try to compensate for this by creating glucose from stored forms, a process that involves both the liver and adrenal glands. Adding more burden to these organs over time can also have a profound impact on energy. Skipping breakfast sets you up for a day of blood sugar highs and lows, cravings, and even mood swings.

If you are finding your energy is low, or you have frequent dips throughout the day, definitely take a look at what is and is not on your plate and how often you are eating. How nutrient-dense is your food? How refined is your food? Are you skipping meals? Make adjustments and take note of how you feel over time!

 

Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals

Our bodies need an amazing amount of micronutrients to function optimally. These micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are what keeps the body going! Every chemical reaction that occurs in the body requires help from enzymes (made from proteins) and vitamins and minerals, which act as cofactors. Billions of these reactions occur every second, which is why we don’t feel good when we aren’t eating well. Not obtaining proper amounts of vitamins and minerals can directly affect your energy, even if you are meeting your macronutrient and calorie requirements.

Tips for increasing your micronutrient intake:

  • Include leafy greens and cruciferous veggies at most meals. You get the most bang for your buck with these since they contain a wide array of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (powerful antioxidants), and fiber per calorie. One handful is adequate, but the more, the better!
  • Add more veggies to your recipes.
    1. Making a smoothie? Add in a handful of kale or spinach.
    2. Making meatballs, a casserole, or meatloaf? You can mix in cooked spinach, shaved brussel sprouts, mushrooms, riced cauliflower, shredded zucchini, diced peppers, etc.
    3. Are you on the go for breakfast and don’t always want a smoothie? Make egg muffins ahead of time. Whisk eggs and veggies together, then put in muffin tins and bake. You can grab and go in the morning with a piece of fruit or some avocado. These are great for snacks too!
  • Look at what your are drinking. Drinking plain water? Consider adding lemon or another citrus fruit for extra micronutrients. You could also try drinking some coconut water after you workout and swapping your afternoon coffee for kombucha tea (For some info on kombucha, visit: http://www.housekombucha.com/drupal/what-kombucha)

wellness3

Digestion- are you absorbing your nutrients?

Obtaining the micronutrients the body needs also depends on digestion, the process that helps us absorb and therefore utilize these nutrients. You won’t get the full benefits of eating regular, balanced meals made up of nutrient-dense food if you’re digestion isn’t up to par. How do you know if you need a boost? Digestive symptoms like indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, and constipation are a clear sign. However, digestive dysfunction often manifests in other ways, especially immune, neurological, and skin disorders– such as inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disease, brain fog, acne, eczema, etc. Since there are such close ties between the digestive system and all other organ systems in the body, numerous symptoms we deal with regularly can be traced back to digestion.

wellness4

Digestive issues are very common in our modern society. Most people lead busy, on-the go lives, and the effects of stress degrade the strength and integrity of the digestive organs. Processed foods lacking in nutrients and high in artificial ingredients and digestive disruptors like gluten and casein (the proteins found in wheat and dairy respectively) are main components of our modern diets. Certain medications such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents) such as ibuprofen can negatively affect the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. These stressors all add up, and when we neglect to care for our digestive systems, our health suffers! We need to take better care of our digestive systems in order to feel our best!

The Moral of the Story:

Remove: Digestive disruptors + immune stressors + inflammation

Add: Nutrient-dense food + stress management + healthy digestion habits

→  Improved digestive, immune, and endocrine health → increased nutrient absorption and improved energy levels

Tips for supporting healthy digestion:

  • Try to always eat in a relaxed state. Sit down, avoid distractions, and chew your food well.
  • Support healthy gut flora by including probiotic-rich,  fermented foods in your diet as often as possible- such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha tea
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially raw, which are rich in fiber and enzymes.
  • Include gut-nourishing foods often, such as bone broth, coconut oil, egg yolks, organ meat, and grass-fed butter/ghee.
  • Drink plenty of water- digestion is a hydration-dependent process!

 

Hydration

Our bodies are about 60% water! That fact alone proves how important it is to make sure you are drinking enough. Being adequately hydrated provides the body with the energy it needs for optimal mental and physical performance. Since water helps to transport nutrients throughout your body, when you are dehydrated, your brain becomes foggy and often makes you think you are hungry. If you are even mildly dehydrated, you can’t efficiently transport the nutrients you need, so your body thinks it isn’t getting them and tells you to eat! Your performance also suffers from dehydration. If you have ever been dehydrated and tried to work out, you know how difficult that is. You can get muscle cramps and experience dizziness and extreme muscle fatigue. Hydration is a key part of the recovery process as well. Water carries nutrients to different parts of your body, remember? Your muscles need nutrients in order to recover so make sure water is part of your recovery routine as well.

wellness5

How much are you drinking?

The minimum amount of water the average person should be drinking per day is half of one’s bodyweight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lb., then you need a minimum of 75 oz. of water daily. If you exercise, or drink diuretic drinks such as coffee, you should add 16-24 oz. on top of this.

If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, it is recommend to weigh yourself before and after you exercise. For every pound lost during exercise, drink 16-24 oz. of water to replenish. The exact amount will differ per individual. If you are a smaller athlete, start with 16 oz. and if you are larger, start with 20-24 oz.

How do you know when you are dehydrated?

The first sign of dehydration is fatigue. If you are fatigued and have a slightly dry mouth, your body is already about 1-3% dehydrated.

Common Symptoms of Mild Dehydration:

  • Headache or head rush
  • Slightly dry mouth, eyes
  • Slightly decreased urine output
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Chills
  • Head rushes
  • Constipation

Don’t ignore these symptoms! Stay ahead by drinking water throughout the day.

 

Coffee consumption:

Most people with low energy have a very close relationship with coffee– some to the point where they can’t function without it! But although coffee is usually the first thing we reach for when we feel our energy waning, it may actually be the last thing we want to consume. Why? In the long run, caffeinating our already stressed, tired bodies isn’t fixing the root cause of low energy and ultimately, is making it worse.

wellness6

Coffee has amazing health benefits and is proven to enhance mood, focus, and productivity. Coffee also is rich in antioxidants important for preventing against cancer and heart disease. However, too much of a good thing can be bad, especially for our energy levels. For one, coffee is dehydrating, but consumption can also crowd out consumption of water, therefore further dehydrating the body. Secondly, caffeine is a stimulant, alerting our adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that help us fight or flee from a stressor. Our reaction to the coffee is what makes us feel alert. However, compounding stress in our lives depletes our bodies’ abilities to function at their best! Lastly, if consumed late in the day (after 3pm for most people), coffee can negatively affect our sleep quality, leaving us feeling less than rejuvenated each morning and further perpetuating the unhealthy cycle of caffeine reliance. Ultimately, caffeine does not give the body energy (or wings); it gives the body stress.
If you feel you rely on coffee to get you started every morning, or get you through the day, it may be a sign you’re too dependent. Try lessening your intake and focusing on natural sources of energy (like nutrient-dense food, water, and quality sleep) and find some healthy replacements for your coffee fix.

Tips for kicking your coffee habit:

  • Drink tea instead. Green, herbal, and kombucha teas all have amazing health benefits. Some have minimal amounts of caffeine, so can help give you a subtle boost without taxing your body.
  • Swap for an “herbal coffee” like DandyBlend or Teecino. These have the same warm flavors as coffee, but actually are made from roasted, dried herbs and/or grains. (Many are gluten-free, so although grain-based, may not be problematic for you!)
  • Go for decaf. You can start by weaning yourself and mixing a 3:1 ratio of caffeinated to decaffeinated, then 2:1, then 1:1, and eventually 100% decaf.
  • Try mushroom coffee! (We like this brand, Four Sigmatic: https://us.foursigmatic.com/). These coffee blends also contain ingredients such as chaga and ashwaghanda that help the body better deal with stress.
  • If you are looking for an energy boost, especially mid-afternoon:
    • Get up and move! Walk or stretch, get some fresh air.
    • Eat food
    • Drink water

 

Outside factors:

Stress:

The effects of chronic stress on the hormonal system can be intense, particularly on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which directly affects our hormonal balance and energy levels.

Body senses stress = Adrenal glands release hormones–> Cortisol = Flight or fight response

This flight or fight response stimulates multiple reactions in the body, but one that’s particularly important is the breakdown of glycogen (stored carbohydrate for energy) in our liver. Fight or flight tells your body it needs energy, so your body creates it by releasing glucose (quick energy) into the bloodstream. This occurs whether you are sitting in traffic or being chased by a bear and creates a dysregulation in your blood sugar.  And when blood sugar levels aren’t properly regulated, cortisol levels and patterns are affected, leading to issues such as fatigue, low thyroid function, decreased muscle mass, elevated or depressed immune function, increased body fat, and increased hunger and cravings.

wellness7

Some tips for dealing with stress:

  • Just breathe. Breathing is the easiest way to see an immediate decrease in stress. Plus, when we are experiencing stress, it’s often the first thing we stop doing. Make it a habit to remember to breathe deeply when feeling stressed. You can focus by closing your eyes and count your inhales and exhales!
  • Take time to reflect on when you experience stress and where it comes wellness8from; this is extremely important for figuring out how to reduce it. Whether you want to sit in thought or write something down, take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions:
    • Where is your stress coming from?
    • Can you control it?
    • What can you do to change it? If nothing then how can you change your mindset toward it.
  • Understand the power of planning and a routine. Having a solid morning routine helps get your day started in a very relaxed, organized way. You are following steps that you created to start your morning the way you want, rather than rushing out the door and trying to remember everything you need to do. A night time routine also helps you wind down from the day. When you stick with your routine, your brain becomes conditioned to associating certain acts with bedtime/sleep and this makes it easier to wind down and fall asleep.
  • Look at your work space. Whether you work for yourself or a large company, it is important to create a positive and encouraging work space. Here are some ways to brighten up your space:
    • Use essential oils! If you are looking for something that is natural, instant, and doesn’t take any effort from you, then we highly recommend investing in essential oils. You can keep some at your desk and smell them when you get tired, distracted, or just want a little pick me up.  If you have your own office or your coworkers don’t mind, you can use a diffuser.
      • Oils that are great for energy: lemon, wild orange, peppermint, lemongrass.
      • Oils that are great for stress: lavender, lemon, ylang ylang, chamomile, eucalyptus.
    • Post your favorite inspirational quote somewhere. What’s going to motivate you to be more positive, get more done, and stay accountable to your goals? Find a quote that speaks to you and gives you motivation when you are lacking it.

 

Sleep:

How much sleep are you getting per night? If it’s not at least 7 hours, this may be an important area for you to focus on. Just getting one extra hour per night can have an immense impact on your energy and mood throughout the day. Also look at your sleep quality- are you waking up often throughout the night? Your stress hormones may be high if you don’t properly wind down at night, especially if you work or exercise late in the evening.

Some tips for getting better sleep:wellness9

  • Wind down at night before bed.
  • Establish a nighttime routine that helps you to relax and unwind from your day at least 30 minutes before getting into bed.
    • This could be reading, knitting, coloring, taking a bath, having a cup of tea… whatever works for you, do it! Getting yourself set up for the following day can also be calming- write your next day’s to-do list, pick out your outfit for work, pack your gym clothes, etc. Knowing you don’t need to rush around to do these things in the morning can take some stress away!
  • Sleep in complete darkness. Use a sleep mask or invest in some blackout shades.
  • Lessen your exposure to blue light once the sun sets.
    • Our bodies are biologically adapted to certain sleep/wake cycles that are in rhythm with natural light and darkness patterns. Being exposed to unnatural blue light from phones, computers, and TV can depress melatonin (a hormone associated with rest and sleep), and therefore make falling and staying asleep much more difficult.  Most smartphones now have integrated a setting to tint the screen color toward an orange hue instead of blue. You can also use an app to do this, such as f.lux, which also can be downloaded on your computer. Blue-blocking glasses (orange-tinted shades) are also helpful (you can find a pair on Amazon.com for under $10!)

 

Movement

Many people workout everyday, but then sit at a desk all day and wonder why they have poor energy and a hard time achieving the body composition they want. Getting movement outside of the gym each day is just as important as your one hour of working out. Not only does it have positive physical effects, but it’s also great for energizing your brain. It can be very difficult in our technology-driven world to get up and move during the day and stay active, but we recommend using some of our suggestions to help!

Tips for getting more movement during the day:

  • Create a reminder to move around during the day. It’s really easy to get caught up in work and let it take your brain over. Help yourself out by putting a sticky note on your wall or creating a reminder in your phone to get up and move every hour or so. Walk to get water or just walk around your office and take deep breaths. Get blood flowing and wake up your brain again. Getting into different positions is also beneficial for your body. Whether you are standing or sitting, it’s not healthy for your body to be in the same position for an extended period of time.
  • Schedule your workouts like meetings. We all lead busy lives, so if you don’t make time for exercise, you will be less likely to find it. Scheduling your workouts ahead of time prioritizes them. Once you get into a momentum of regular exercise, it will be easier and more enjoyable to keep up with!
  • Start each day with some form of movement. For example: Go for a short walk with your dogs or quick jog. Do some simple yoga poses. Make a routine of doing 10 air squats and 10 pushups before breakfast. Even just taking 5 minutes to stretch each morning can help to start your day in a positive way. Whatever works for you, do it. A body in motion stays in motion!

 

Recovery

Recovery from exercise is even more important than doing the exercise itself. This includes adequate rest, quality sleep, a balanced diet with nutrient dense foods, stretching, and mobility. Many people focus so much on getting to the gym and how that will help them reach their goals, but forget about the other factors that are so important. We addressed many of these above, so we just want to take some time to talk about mobility and flexibility. Being mobile and able to get in the correct positions while working out is imperative for your long term success.

Find something that works for you and do it daily. There are tons of online resources and programs out there that are easily accessible. If you don’t know what to do on your own or need some motivation from someone telling you what to do, check out the resources below. We recommend trying a few and then seeing what you like best. There is no “better” option. The best option is what works for you and is something you will do on a regular basis. Our favorites:

  1. romwod.com
  2. mobilitywod.com
  3. https://www.doyogawithme.com/ (this is FREE!)

 

Summary:

Eating for wellness and vitality takes a holistic (multifaceted) approach. Just like our bodies are composed of different organs and systems that work together for optimal function, we too need to consider different lifestyle factors to reach optimal wellness and vitality. Focusing on nutrition along with digestion, hydration, stress management, sleep, movement and recovery are all essential for overall wellness. We always say, “consistency is key” and the same goes here; eating for wellness is a lifelong process of nourishing and nurturing of our bodies’ changing needs.

 

Meet Our Nutritionists: Joanne

joanne

Educational background:

Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts & Nutrition

Master’s in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics + Culinary Entrepreneurship

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

 

Nutrition Philosophy:

Simply that food is medicine, I emphasize whole foods first. People need to understand where food comes from and how it’s made. It’s important for people to be in-touch with what they are nourishing their bodies with. Once people understand food even at a basic level, nutrition and wellness stem easily from that. Nutrition needs to be part of a holistic approach since diet alone cannot lead to overall wellness; together with being active, sleep and other factors it contributes to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Reason for becoming nutritionist:

It is a great combination of food + culinary arts+ human biology + biochemistry, all of which I love. The unique Culinary Nutrition program at Johnson & Wales made me realize I could turn my passion for all those subjects into a bright career helping others reach optimal health, one delicious meal at a time.

 

How long I have been working for Kettlebell Kitchen:

Technically 6 months. I was a culinary nutrition intern in Spring 2015, then I left for grad school and to earn my RD credential.

 

Favorite KBK meal:

The bison beef sliders and anything with our beef brisket

 

Weirdest healthy food I love:

Goat’s meat!! I am Ugandan, I grew up eating it and I love whenever I find it here in the States.

 

Favorite type of fitness/workout:

Distance trail running ‎or Pilates….I know I am the odd-one-out that’s not a CrossFitter!

 

Favorite non-food/fitness hobby:

Aside from food which feels like so much of my life, I am old soul I enjoy reading anything by Steinbeck or Hemingway or watching classic films

 

Best part about working for KBK:

Besides the food, getting to work together with people who are genuinely passionate about health and fitness; they really do practice what they preach! Also being able to guide people to good nutrition not only through education/counseling but also by providing them with delicious meals made from whole foods.

 

Achieving Your Goals: Eating for Strength & Performance

performanceExample: “I want to improve my strength & endurance for an upcoming competition in 3 weeks.”

When eating to perform and gain strength, it’s important to first get your priorities straight. Learning how to fuel your individual body in a way that works for your recovery and your workouts, plus makes you feel good and supports your health and body composition is truly an art. The 3 main areas to focus on when eating for performance are:

 

1)  Food Quality (Vitamins, Minerals, & Sourcing):

  • Nutrient-density (amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber)
  • Where your food comes from (organic, grass-fed, wild, sustainable, etc.)

 

2) Food Quantity (Calories & Macronutrients):

  • Calories: total amount of energy from food
  • Macronutrients:
    • Protein: broken down to amino acids in the body and important for almost all bodily functions; increases satiety
    • Carbohydrates: body’s main energy source; helps you perform and recovery from exercise as well as feeds your brain
    • Fat: broken down to cholesterol and used as the backbone of hormones; also increases satiety and can be utilized for energy

 

How much should you be eating?

  • To best support performance, eating roughly as many calories as your body utilizes daily is ideal. Eating for weight maintenance ensures that you’re adequately fueling your body and obtaining all of the nutrients your body needs to function well day-to-day, as well as recover from training properly.
  • If you want to also lose fat while supporting performance, it is doable. However, we recommend only eating a slight caloric deficit (5-10%) in order to still be adequately fueling your body while you lose fat. This helps maintain your strength and energy, but also muscle mass.
  • To  gain muscle, you must put your body in an anabolic state, or a state of growth. In order to do this you must eat in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than your body is burning). A great place to start is by adding 500 calories to what you are currently eating (if it is maintaining your weight).

 

Should you track macros?

  • If you have never tracked your food and are unsure of how much you are currently eating or what you should be eating, then we think tracking can be helpful, especially for serious athletes.
  • If you wish not to, you can try eating intuitively (according to your body’s hunger and fullness signals), but with a demanding training schedule and performance and/or muscle gain goals, it’s easy to overestimate how much you’re eating. Under-eating is one of the most common nutrition problems when it comes to performance goals not being met and individuals struggling with putting on muscle.
  • If you’re looking to gain muscle, tracking can be especially helpful in finding the right balance of not eating too little, but also not overeating that could lead to fat gain as well.

 

Tips for success with tracking calories/macros:tracking

  • Calculate your needs from a reliable source or get professional assistance. With all KBK meal plans, you get personalized macro calculates from our qualified nutrition team!
  • Download an app (we like Myfitnesspal for its food database + many Kettlebell Kitchen meals are also there!)
  • Don’t expect to be perfect right away! Hitting your numbers is trial and error, so learn along the way and adjust your intake as you go. Anything within +/-  10g of each macro is okay as long as your overall calorie intake remains relatively the same.
  • This isn’t a green light to eat whatever you like! Consuming natural foods rich in micronutrients should still be a priority. Processed foods and refined sugars will hinder your efforts toward your goals as they cause inflammation and irritate the digestive system, leading to less efficient breakdown of macronutrients.
  • If you’re having trouble meeting your caloric needs and/or are  lacking in a certain macro, focus on calorie-dense foods such as:
    • Fats: Avocadoes, full-fat coconut milk, coconut oil, butter/ghee, nuts and seeds
    • Carbs: White potatoes, yucca, plantains, sweet potatoes, oats, white rice, quinoa
    • Protein: Since protein is the most satiating nutrient, it can be difficult to add more whole foods sources. If you’re consistently under your protein goal, it may be beneficial to try a clean protein powder or grass-fed collagen.

 

3) Meal/Nutrient Timing:

Nutrient timing might sound complicated but you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want. There are certain times of the day, depending on physical activity and goals, where it is more beneficial to include or exclude specific macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat). The goal is to include simple carbs (carbs that digest quickly like bananas, dried fruit, white rice, white potatoes) before/after working out and focus on eating complex carbs (carbs that digest slower like sweet potatoes/winter squash, quinoa, GF oats/bread, ezekiel bread) outside of workout times.

pyramid

Tips for being successful with nutrient-timing:

  • Eat about 60% of your carbs before/during/after you workout. This helps fuel your body for your workout and helps aid in recovery to get your muscle ready for your next workout.
  • Spread protein out evenly throughout the day. This gives your body a pretty constant flow of amino acids and helps preserve and build muscle.
  • Avoid eating too much fat before you workout. Fat is digested much slower than carbohydrates and if eaten too close to your workout can upset your digestion. It’s perfect to pair with meals outside of your workout window so that you feel more satisfied and absorb nutrient appropriately.

 

How do you know what macronutrient approach is right for you?

Figuring out what works for you takes a lot of experimentation, consistency, and focus. There are a few different approaches you can take fueling your performance and/or gaining muscle. See application of each approach for Dan: A 6’0 tall, 29-year-old male weighing 190 pounds who needs 2,600 calories per day for his activity/goals.

  • Higher carb, low-moderate fat, and protein appropriate for your body weight:
    • For Dan, this would look something like: 325g (50%) carbs, 175g protein, 67g fat
  • Carb cycling: this means you can eat higher carb and lower fat on workout days and eat lower carb and higher fat on rest days (again, a very important concept to experiment with and see what works). This approach is often good for people that are looking to lean out or maintain their current weight.
    • For Dan, this would look something like: On training  days: 325g (50%) carbs, 175g protein, 67g fat / On rest days: 195g carb (30%), 175g protein, 124g fat
  • Moderate carb, fat, and protein. Depending on what type of physical activity you participate in and how often, you might not need as many carbohydrates as in the first example. This is a more moderate approach.
    • For Dan, this would look something like: Splitting carbs/protein/fats evenly (roughly 33% percent each): 215g carb, 215g protein, 98g fat.

 

Outside factors:

Sleep:

Are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night? Are you sleeping throughout the night? If you answered no to eiher of these questions, your performance and body composition goals are likely already affected. Sleep is crucial for recovery and rebuilding. The body repairs and rejuvenates when we sleep. Our digestive systems get time to rest, our livers regenerate to properly detoxify our bodies, our hormonal systems balance, our muscle tissues repair and rebuild. Without enough sleep, our health suffers, our performance declines, and our bodies hold onto excess fat.

bed

Creating a nighttime routine can be a helpful step in getting the sleep your body needs. Many of us work long hours then workout at night, get home and rush through dinner while we watch TV. Then we find ourselves scrambling to prepare for the next day before we finally go to bed.. Or worse, neglecting to do so and therefore rushing around in the morning before we head out the door! Winding down at night from a busy, stressful day and intense training session is necessary to fall and stay asleep. Plus, routine helps our bodies naturally prepare for sleep.

Suggestions for building a night-time routine:

  • Power down your screens. Screens emits blue light that is stimulating to your brain. This stimulation makes it more difficult for us to fall asleep because it disrupts the melatonin rhythm that makes us sleepy. reading
  • Choose an activity that relaxes you that doesn’t involve a handheld device. This could be reading, drawing, listening to music, or spending time with a loved one.
  • Make a list of important tasks you need to do the next day to get them offyour mind.
  • Try to go to bed at a similar time each night.
  • Set up your bedroom to promote a good sleep environment: try blackout shades to keep the room dark, turn down the temperature (ideal temperature is 65-72 degrees), cover screens to block light from disrupting sleep.

 

Stress:

Stress can have a profound impact on your performance, recovery, sleep, and potential fat loss/gain. Why is this? Stress, whether it be mental or physical, directly affects your hormones,  which affect everything! When your body is stressed (no matter what the source) it prepares for a fight or flight response.

When our bodies perceive stress, our adrenal glands release hormones, including cortisol (most commonly known as the “stress hormone”). Cortisol regulates many changes that occur in the body in response to stress, such as increasing blood sugar, metabolizing nutrients, increasing blood pressure, dilating the blood vessels, and activating the nervous system. This is what prepares the body to fight the stressor, or flee from it.

However, it is  very important for cortisol levels to normalize once there is no longer any threat. Regulation of this hormone is crucial for balance of all others. Cortisol levels too high or too low can decrease insulin sensitivity, cause fatigue, lower sex hormone production, depress the immune system, disrupt sleep cycles, cause fat-loss resistance, and lead to muscle tissue breakdown.

Stress isn’t all bad. Short term stressors like exercise (as long as you don’t overtrain) are really beneficial for our bodies because our hormones return to their proper balance. It’s when your body is in a chronically stressed state that it starts to affect your hormones.

This once again, brings us back to the topic of sleep, nighttime routines, and recovery. It truly is crucial to put as much energy into your recovery as you do to your workouts. This includes being mindful of how often you are working out, what your energy levels are like, and if you need to take an extra rest day or a deload week.

If you are regularly using caffeine and/or pre-workout supplements in order to have energy to workout each day, you might want to consider taking a break to let your body balance out and restore proper hormonal balance. Then if/when you do you these supplements, they will have a more powerful effect and you will need much less.

 

Hydration:

Making sure you are adequately hydrated should always be a top priority. You should be drinking at least half your bodyweight (in pounds) in ounces each day. Example: If you weigh 180 lb., you need to drink a minimum of 90 oz. daily (more if you drink coffee or other diuretic drinks!) On days you train intensely, you’ll want to add at least 24 oz. on top of this. Inadequate hydration hinders recovery and negatively affect your performance.

High temperatures and long, intense sessions also lead to an increase in water loss through sweat, so obtaining electrolytes is also important. Mineral-rich foods such as unrefined sea salt, coconut water, and nettles tea are great ways to obtain electrolytes that help us to stay hydrated.

 

Recovery and bodywork:

Adequate recovery is crucial to reaching performance goals but also to support your overall health. Not allowing your body to rest, rejuvenate, and rebuild sets you up for injury, fatigue, and even regression toward your goals.  Make sure you’re working recovery days into your training routine. Some prefer taking planned rest/recovery days, and some prefer taking them as they are needed. Whichever works best for you, just make sure you’re taking days off training and deloading routinely.

recovery

To help boost recovery, try adding some of the following into your routine:

  • Massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Float-tank therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Epsom salt baths

Mobility work is also an amazing way to support recovery and overall performance. Prioritizing your warm up with specific movements each day is a great way to prepare your body for training. To make sure you are hitting all major areas of the body, you can choose what days you will focus on what areas. Delegating days and splitting up the work also makes it less overwhelming. This will prevent you from going to work on mobility and feeling like you need to do it all in one day!

Example:

  • Mondays: Thoracic, Lats, and Chest
  • Tuesdays: Hips flexors and Quads
  • Wednesdays: Low Back, Hamstrings, Calves, Feet (don’t forget these guys.. Very important for lower back)
  • Thursdays: Thoracic, Lats, and Chest
  • Fridays: Hips flexors and Quads
  • Saturday: Low Back, Hamstrings, Calves, Feet
  • Sunday: Full body mobility/stretching

 

Summary:

If you are having trouble reaching your body composition and performance goals,  it’s time to evaluate all of the different areas we mentioned above. It’s easy to focus so intensely on your training that most other things like mobility, recovery, nutrition, and sleep take a back seat. This is where many people go wrong. The most successful athletes make these their top priority as well as listening to their bodies in order to decide what is right for them. If you’re struggling and you don’t have all of these different areas in balance,  it’s time to make a change. Remember, if you’re supporting performance by adequately fueling your body with proper nutrition and focusing on your recovery, specific body composition goals will be easier to reach.

Achieving Your Goals: Eating for Fat Loss

fat-loss

Example: “I want to lose 15 pounds before spring 2017.”

Eating for fat loss means eating to nourish the body in a way that meets personal  nutritional needs and allows the body to be in a healthy state to lose weight. Eating less and moving more often sets us up for failure by over-taxing our bodies without providing the nutrients they need to function at their best. This system is especially detrimental if one is eating highly processed and refined foods, which are nutrient-poor to begin with.

A healthier, more successful approach to fat loss is multifaceted: including nutrition, mindset, movement, and other lifestyle factors like sleep and stress. In this article we break down some of our best recommendations to help you kickstart your weight loss goals in the new year:

fl1

Nutrition:

Put primary focus on what you’re eating, making food quality a priority. Your aim should be to include more real, whole foods- these are rich in nutrients to keep you  fueled properly, and are also more sustaining than processed, sugary foods that give a quick spike in energy but ultimately make you  tired, hungry, and cranky.  When you eat more whole foods (like healthy animal proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds), your hunger and fullness signals become more reliable, so controlling quantity of food becomes easier. Be mindful of how much to eat based off these  signals, or track your intake if you’re feeling lost. (More on that below!)

 

Balancing energy:

Eating for fat loss also requires a delicate balance between being properly fueled but also having a caloric deficit to spark fat loss. Again, there is no need to drastically cut calories– for a 10-15 pound weight loss goal, a deficit of even just 10-15% of total daily calorie expenditure can be plenty. (For example, if your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is 1,900 calories, this means eating around 1,600-1,700 for fat loss). Fat loss is much simpler when you’re eating enough to feel satisfied and energized! You can even go a step further and track  macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats which provide calories) intake, to ensure you’re getting the proper balance needed to  support your goals and activity levels.

Eating less and moving more often sets us up for failure by over-taxing our bodies without providing the nutrients they need to function at their best.

Tips for maximizing nutrient-intake even in caloric deficit:

  • Include a wide variety of foods to get a wide spectrum of nutrients.
    • Vegetables and fruits of all colors. Generally, the deeper and more vibrant the color, the more rich in micronutrients!
    • Natural fats from varying sources: wild fish, nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil, avocadoes & avocado oil, etc.
    • Protein sources: Beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, wild game, etc.
    • Different spices, fresh herbs, and unrefined sea salts
  • Focus on foods that are satiating (getting and keeping you feeling full): Protein is the most satiating nutrient, so be sure you’re consuming enough! Fats are filling, but are also calorie dense, so be mindful of portions! Non-starchy vegetables are rich in fiber and water, so can provide a good amount of volume such as green salads, cauliflower rice, or zucchini noodles (pictured below!)

fl7

Calorie counting vs. intuitive eating:

Do you need to count calories? Nope. Everyone is different- some prefer it, some despise it. However, if you’ve never done it before, it may be worth trying- even to just get a baseline of what you’re currently eating. Focusing on set calorie/macro goals works especially well for high level athletes with demanding workout schedules or those with specific goals who are confused about how much to eat to meet them. Tracking doesn’t need to be long-term, but it can be helpful to help us meet specific body weight goals.

Tips for success with tracking calories/macros:

  • Calculate your needs from a reliable source or get professional assistance. With all KBK meal plans, you get personalized macro calculates from our qualified nutrition team!
  • Download an app (we like Myfitnesspal for its food database + many Kettlebell Kitchen meals are also there!)
  • Don’t expect to be perfect right away! Hitting your numbers is trial and error, so learn along the way and adjust your intake as you go. Anything within +/-  10g of each macro is okay as long as your overall calorie intake remains relatively the same.
  • This isn’t a green light to eat whatever you like! Consuming natural foods rich in micronutrients should still be a priority. Processed foods and refined sugars will hinder your efforts toward fat loss as they are not satiating, lead to more cravings, and cause inflammation.

Trackingfl3 your food intake can be a great tool to learn more about food and your body, but it’s not for everyone. If tracking your food stresses you out, then it may be best to try eating intuitively: listening to your body’s hunger and fullness signals to know when and how much you should eat. The key is to eat real, whole foods free of chemicals and harmful additives. This allows your  hormones to balance and regulate and your metabolism to function at its best. This will help you feel balanced and satisfied at meals, and you can always make adjustments as you go!


Tips for success with eating intuitively:

  • Practice portion awareness:
    • Use your hand as a guide fl4
    • Or divide  your plate: ½ vegetables, ¼ protein, ¼ healthy fat. Make adjustments over time as your hunger patterns shift.
  • Relax and avoid distractions at meal times
  • Slow down and chew your food well
  • Focus on really tasting and enjoying your food instead of rushing to scarf it down!

 

Outside factors:

Movement:
exerciseBeing active is important for overall physical and mental health as well as fat loss. We recommend including exercise 3-5 times per week. In order to lose fat, you have to be eating in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than your body is burning). You can take a deficit from your calorie intake, but another way to increase that calorie deficit is to include exercise. Exercise also helps retain muscle mass so that you lose mostly fat. It also helps boost energy and mood!
Outside of your time in the gym, it’s also really important to keep moving throughout the day. Try setting up a standing desk at work and alternate between sitting and standing. If you sit, get up throughout the day to stretch and take short walks to break your day up. Stay active when you get home (doing chores around the house, walking pets, playing with your kids).

fl5Sleep 7-8 hours each night:

Adequate sleep is very important for fat loss for many reasons. One major reason is that our hormones reset while we are asleep. Hormones drive fat loss, cravings, energy, and most bodily functions. Sleep is also the time when our body rests, regenerates, and rebuilds. In order to feel your best and lose fat you need enough sleep; life is more pleasant when your brain is functioning properly! Make it a priority.

Take control of stress:

Excessive stress drives fat storage, making weight loss very difficult. Try to limit stress as much as possible. This is going to look different for everyone but here are some tips:

  • Own the morning: make a solid morning routine that will get your day started off right. Use this time to make a plan of attack for your day to help you feel organized and accomplished.
  • Set boundaries.
  • Have a routine at night to help you wind down.
  • Choose your attitude. Are you negative, positive or neutral?

Mindset matters:

Brainwashed by popular diet culture, most people with weight loss goals only focus  on what they “can’t” eat. We’re taught we need to deprive ourselves if we want to meet our goals (which is far from true!) How can we expect to succeed with a negative mindset!?

Taking responsibility and having a positive outlook are both absolutely necessary not only for long-term fat loss success, but also enjoyment during the process. Know that you are capable of achieving your goals! Remember, you are in control of what you eat! Focus on what you “choose” and “choose not” to eat, instead of what you “can” and “can not.” Put emphasis on getting healthy first (we know weight loss follows), and think about nourishing your body with the foods you eat.

fl6

Mindset also includes the goals we set for ourselves and how we tackle  them. Make sure  you’re setting realistic goals (For example: losing 15 pounds in 2 weeks isn’t likely realistic) and breaking them up into short-term goals so that you can progress by taking small steps forward. (See “Goal-Setting: The Why & The How” for more info on how to successfully set goals!) And we can’t stress the importance of patience! Lasting weight loss takes time, and weight loss too rapid can be detrimental to your body.

Progress isn’t measured just on the scale:

Sure, you’ll want to see that scale moving down, but just because it hasn’t yet doesn’t mean you’re not progressing. Take progress pictures and measurements and monitor how your clothes fit first and foremost! Take note of other measures of progress: your energy levels, sleep quality, performance in workouts, etc. Keep track of even the smallest changes. This is extremely beneficial to help you learn what is working and what isn’t, and also to keep you motivated and accountable.

How each person monitors progress is different, but make sure you’re measuring something! Your goal is to look at how your progress averages out over the span of a week or even a month. You don’t need to be perfect every day, but just hold yourself accountable. The aim is not to make you feel guilty but to instead keep you motivated and help you see how your efforts add up to help you reach your goals.

So as you may realize, fat loss is not as simple as “eat less, move more.” Taking a holistic approach and looking at various nutrition and lifestyle factors is the best foundation for successful fat loss. If fat loss is a goal for you in the new year, we hope that you can utilize the tips in this article to achieve your goal in a healthy, sustainable manner. Pick 2-3 to start with and go from there! Every small decision you make has an impact, moving you toward the larger goal. Consistency is key!