slimfast

FAQ/Q&A

As a trainer, a coach, and simply an Exercise Science student, I am often asked questions, and they are the same for most people. So, I am making a good post to answer the most common questions all at once!

 

What should I be doing for my pre and post workout? Should I invest in those powders? If so, what kind?

In general, I don’t promote any special brands nor kinds of pre/post workouts. Why? I don’t use any myself, unless I am just really dragging one day. Otherwise, you can do really well just by eating carbs or even having a good ole cup of Joe. By having carbs, caffeine, or a small amount of sugar 30-90 minutes before you workout should do well enough to get you going. I do not recommend eating very heavy things, or a whole meal. I personally find it easy to upset my stomach. If you want to eat a big meal, I’d suggest maybe 2 hours before working to try and digest a good bit before you go bouncing and sweating. A good example of something to have for a pre workout would be a small pb&j with natural jelly and peanut butter, on 1 piece of whole wheat bread folded in half (to make a half sandwich), or even just simply eating a banana or two. Nothing fancy, no spending more money on unnecessary powders or drinks. As for post workout, be sure to consume carbs, protein, and you can also have some sugar as your body will use the sugars well right after you workout and/or when you first wake up. For post workout, I used to do shakes, but honestly, I am not huge on shakes as it is. If you are, go for it. You don’t have to spend tons on them though. Go to amazon and find a flavor that sounds good, look at reviews, and order. No need to spend $100’s of your hard earned money on such, though. You can simply get your post workout refuel from foods. Yes, I said it. You can. Don’t buy into the gimmicks that you require protein shakes. If you want, you can just have a meal of lean meat or leafy greens for protein (or even the popular peanut butter), have carbs such as a plain baked potato (rice cake with the peanut butter), and vegetables/fruits. Easy as that.

I just started working out, do I need to have different days for different muscle groups like I see everyone doing on IG (leg day, chest day, etc)?

No. If you just started there is no need to go hardcore like a bodybuilder. You can do full body workouts and worry about form first before you actually add resistance/weight. Make sure you can do your bodyweight first. For example, if you can not knock out multiple push ups (full on push ups, not on the knees, chest all the way down), you should NOT be worrying about bench pressing. If you don’t have the balance and control to do a squat that keeps your chest up and bending from your hips before you bend the knees, don’t add a bar on your shoulders until you can. If you almost fall every time you lunge, work on balance first (hold one leg up, keep balance for 60 seconds, switch legs, then add an unstable surface to do it on, then try with eyes closed) before you do weighted walking lunges or Bulgarian squats. You could also just split it up where you do upper body one day (arms, shoulders, back, chest, abs) one day and then do lower body the next (glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings). You should be seriously working out and more advanced to be splitting the muscle groups into their own special days. You should know your way around the gym and be lifting decently heavy. Otherwise, it really isn’t necessary.

Do I need to really carry around a gallon jug of water everyday? Is a gallon a day really necessary?

For the average person, no. Unless you are sweating a lot or really are trying to lose serious weight, no that much isn’t necessary. Be sure on days you do workout (especially cardio/outside/humid weather) you do need to be consuming more water than on days you aren’t as active. You should hydrate before, during, and after your workouts. And even if you do choose to drink a gallon a day, find a refillable water bottle you like and can carry around and figure out how many refills it would take for you to get to a gallon/or whatever your goal for the day is. I personally buy the 1.5L bottles of Smart Water and refill it anywhere from 2-4 times a day. Get a water filter on your kitchen sink if possible and you are good to go. No need for carrying the gallon jug all over the place. They are a bit big and bulky. And keep water bottles in reach (car, backpack, bag, desk, workplace, locker, etc) so you never have an excuse. That’s why I suggest getting a cheap bottle and size you like, I pay at most $3.00 for the Smart Water and just refill the bottle several times. I can pay for 4 of those at a time and have 4 bottles to place in areas so I have no excuse to not be hydrating.

I am doing the shake/juice/cleanse/ridiculous diet. What is your opinion?

These fad diets are ridiculous. The week long cleanses? Please, conduct even your own research on them. You do not have any reason to be cleansing for so many days in a row, and so often. If you need to cleanse after eating horrid food for a long time, simply eat RAW fruits and vegetables for a day. That’s it, guys. Cleanses are a scam. How can you even be cleansing really if those juices are just stripping the fibers and good stuff from the produce anyways? Cleansing should be making you to excrete the unwanted things from your body, without fiber, that doesn’t really happen. Eat a giant leafy salad with a drizzle of oil. Eat baby carrots as snack. Eat apples and bananas. Eat a bag of broccoli. It’s really not hard, expensive, nor needed to do for multiple days at a time. And don’t think you need to cleanse twice a month. As for the shake diets (Beachbody, SlimFast, blah blah), I am not an advocate for only consuming a shake in which has loads of sugar, hardly any nutritional value, for most meals of your day. Please tell me how a blended, sugar loaded drink can be better for you and make you lose more weight than simply eating fruits and vegetables. You can’t. There is no justification there. Besides the companies making you spend money. Most people won’t even last on the diets anyways. Why? Your body wants to chew food. It wants SOLID FOOD. A shake is just that-a shake. Juices are just that-juice. Your teeth are made for you to chew and consume solid food. It’s what your body is made to consume and use for fuel. Please give it that. Having a shake maybe for breakfast along with some fruit/eggs/etc would be more likely what I would suggest you do with them. Otherwise, you won’t stay full nor satisfied for long.

Is low carb the only way I can lose weight? I see it everywhere!

NO! NO! NO! Let me say it again: NO!. Why do carbs get a bad rap? Because most people are consuming terrible, refined, and fat loaded carbs rather than the carbs you need. EVERYTHING HAS CARBS. I bet those diets forgot to mention that fruit has natural sugars, it has carbs. Vegetables? Yup, they have carbs. Everything but water has carbs. And guess what? Carbs are literally what make your body run. Even your BRAIN uses carbs to work. Your body requires carbs to function and work. So how does it make any sense to be telling you carbs are the enemy? Instead, they should be telling you that the processed junk is what’s actually bad for you. If it says ‘low-carb’ it means it’s HIGHLY processed and terrible for you. I doubt it has much of anything your body can actually use. Think about that as you go down the aisle with all of the Atkins products.

I don’t know where I am messing up. I eat granola bars, flat bread, low fat foods, salads, organic stuff, drinking juice/diet drinks, and work out. What am I doing wrong?

In general, the magazines, TV, and internet promote ‘healthy’ foods for you to have, even though they are the opposite. Granola is not actually the healthiest thing in the world. That quaker man is lying to you. Look at it. See that sugar content? How about the nutritional values: the carbs/protein/fats are close to those of a candy bar. Think about that. Low fat foods are a chemical shit storm. Stay away. Unless you are getting sprouted/whole grain/unrefined bread (read: NOT WHITE) then you aren’t really being healthy. White breads/tortillas/rice have been stripped of all nutrients. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat, sprouted, and flax versions to get nutritious values your body can actually use. For salads, I see this too often. Yes, you are eating vegetables, but it looked like you were having vegetables with your ranch rather than the other way around. Dressings are what get you. If you are drowning your veggies in ranch/honey mustard/1000 island, you are loading up on unwanted fats and sugars. No bueno, guys. Instead, opt for oil based dressings, or simply squeeze a lemon or orange. I even use salsa to change things up. If you are drinking regular orange/apple/grape juice, you are consuming your days worth of sugar pretty much. Unless you can find no added sugar versions, you need to stick with making your own if possible. Pain in the butt, but worth it. For diet drinks: the sugar alternatives have been shown in studies to do so much damage to you. One of the main things that could be damaging your diet is the fact that these ‘0 calories’ sweeteners are actually causing you to crave more junk food, causing you to mindlessly go butcher your eating habits. They have also been shown to aid belly fat, cause migraines, and bloat you. Simply steer clear of these. Stevia is a great alternative, but there’s a catch even with it, unless you are getting Stevia and read the ingredient list and it ONLY has Stevia listed, you are still getting fooled. Even the ‘Stevia in the Raw’ packets are not pure stevia, they are usually mixed with dextrose and other fillers. Stevia can be found in a pure form usually as a liquid you can use a dropper to add to baking/drinks/whatever you want. It is an acquired taste, but once you slowly start using it (I started by adding it into my teas/coffees) you won’t miss regular sugar.

I have tried eating 100% ‘clean diet’ but I always end up eating like I did before. I saw someone say that that was the only way to actually becoming fit/thin/healthy. Is this true?

Nope. Unless you have SERIOUS dedication, you won’t stick to it. Especially if you live with/date/hang out with/work with/go to school with people who don’t eat that way, it’s hard. It literally puts a mental toll on you. You get seriously obsessive with ingredient lists, never wanting to eat other people’s cooking, never eating out, and simply just getting into a dark place. It’s a great idea and on paper, but to stick to something so serious is just bad. Plus if you do eat that way, when you do ‘treat’ yourself, you’ll get insanely sick. Balance. It’s all you need to find in life. If you can eat 80% whole, healthy, ‘clean’ foods, and then just 20% of the other stuff you like (donuts, alfredo, mac and cheese are some of my own faves lol), you’re doing really good. That’s why I have fallen in love with and have continued the Macro counting thing for nearly a year so far. I still eat things I love with my boyfriend/family/friends, but for the most part on a day to day basis, I am eating tuna, chicken, salads, raw veggies, etc. Even many body competitors are changing from the clean diet of eating chicken and brown rice only to following the flexible/IIFYM diets. It’s not hard, plus if you want to put on muscle, you really need to be eating to fuel the muscles otherwise, when you workout (read:cardio) you might dip into your muscles to burn for fuel for it. Not good.

I don’t want to look like the Hulk. Do I still need to be having protein? And lifting weights like the guys? I just want to ‘tone up/slim down’.

Unless you are currently or plan to take steroids, you won’t look like a man. Women naturally only have a super tiny amount of testosterone. We are full of estrogen instead. Men are the opposite, they are stock full of testosterone, making them getting huge and bulky more quickly and a bit easier than women can possible. Look it up for yourself if you are wondering. The facts are out there, guys. Lifting weights helps you actually burn more calories. Did you know that? 1 pound of muscle you add will burn 50 more calories a day just at rest than if it was 1 pound of fat. Put on 10 pounds of muscle, you burn 500 more calories in a day (at rest), so 500 X 7 (days in a week)= 3500 extra calories burned in a week alone (that’s not including your workouts). Guess what? 3500 calories is equal to a pound. You would lose a pound a week. Simple math. So lift the weights, girls. And as for protein, protein is actually already in you. It’s in and needed to sustain every single living cell. It is one of the amino acids that you need to recover and build muscles properly. Even if you don’t workout much, the body still needs protein. If you workout and lift to gain muscle, then you need to increase your intake to maintain. Simple.

 

 

If you have any questions that aren’t listed here, don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

-a

Fad dieting: the breakdowns of the latest fads out there

This change can be overwhelming mainly because of all the different diets, the different workouts, the different plans, and the different facts you are hearing from everywhere. One person is crossfitting and eating all the bacon they can handle (Paleo) and getting like Hulk, while another person is dropping weight by going vegan and running half marathons daily. What should you do? Where should you start? Here is a guide to help you towards your own personal goals.

 

The Diets

There are really so many out there with so many ‘success stories’ that I can see why pretty much any and all of them can seem tempting to you. But I will list the diet fad with it’s rules and regulations as well as my thoughts about it. You can always make your own judgement I just want you well equipped out there as many people want you to join their fad (**read cult**) for their own gains in some sort.

 

Atkins

Where do I even begin? Please do not think you can some how have a ‘no carb’ diet. This doesn’t exist if you even only eat plants. Atkins is the low carb diet, with the products in the store (sometimes the same aisle as the protein bars, which saddens me when I am doing my stocking up) that supposedly have zero to no carbs. This diet is practically a giant lie through and through. Carbs are in everything but water. Carbs are your friend, no matter what this diet tries to sell you.

 

SlimFast

I shutter at the thought of only eating the SlimFast line of products. With SlimFast, you are to choose from their range of products (shakes, meal bars, snack bars, so on) for two meals and two snacks and then having a balanced dinner. My problem with SlimFast is the chemical shit storm on that ingredient list. If you want a protein shake for a meal, make one in a blender with ingredients you know where they came from. (Protein powder of your choice+milk of choice+ add fruit or ice as desired, BLEND boom)

Paleo

Paleo is the cave man diet that is big in the Crossfit world. You don’t eat dairy, grains, processed foods, legumes, starches, and of course alcohol. But you can eat all the meat you want. Some say fruits are okay, lots of the followers say no because it’s sugar. It’s the diet the beginning humans used to have, because it’s all they had. Hunting and harvesting was all they knew of when it come to survival. My opinion on this is the fact that it sounds like a good idea, but then there are the people who eat mounds of bacon and think it’s great, it’s Paleo. And legumes? They are full of protein and fiber. They come from the earth. Along with wheat and grains. I do not know why you would simply rid your diet of whole food groups unless you are diagnosed with a medical problem, especially food groups that come from the earth. I am just not comfortable with a diet that restrictive.

Gluten Free

The latest craze of the ‘fad diet’ world. I see Gluten Free all over the shelves of the grocery stores now. But is it all that you think it is? Is it that miracle to all miracles? You know why things with gluten are actually poor for your health? The refined garbage and bleached flours are what’s hurting you. Gluten is the elasticity to hold the breads and doughs in baked goods together. It’s the little bubbles when you bake bread. It gives bread the consistency it needs to be that texture, and that fluffy feeling. Yes, gluten is the devil for people with certain diseases. But for everyone else? The gluten free crap on the shelf is full of other terrible things for you. You lose the gluten and replace it with probably 8 more ingredients that are worse. If you do feel better with the gluten free lifestyle, make your gluten free things at home, please. Otherwise, stick with whole wheat. Whole wheat, not white, is best for you. Whole grains are good for the body as well as your soul in my opinion. Having a freshly made tomato sauce with some whole wheat noodles along with a big helping of a fresh mixed greens salad topped with fresh lemon juice. My soul would be complete. As well as my body loving me.

Vegan

Vegan is when you have no, NO animal products. No dairy, no meat, nothing. There are lots of vegan junk food out there though, so if you choose this route, please know you can still be unhealthy. Raw Vegan is the best choice. You eat strictly plant based foods and just as it sounds-the uncooked versions. You can eat bananas and carrots all day. You can make smoothies by blending bananas and other fruits with ice. You can do the juicing of raw fruits and veggies. If you can stick with this diet without feeling deprived (that mental stability I am always talking about) is what you need to keep in mind when you choose a diet that is right for you to follow.

Raw Til 4

This diet is for the people who love the idea of Raw Vegan but don’t know if they can stick with it strictly and able to keep it together mentally. Raw Til 4 is when you keep it raw vegan (plants/fruits/veggies) uncooked until 4 pm. After, most people say to only have cooked vegetables and whole grains (have potatoes and brown rice for example) while others are more lenient (I support this one the most, it’s more likely you could stick to it for a lifetime, day in and day out) after 4 with grilled fish and other items. I fully support the Raw Til 4 diet and the people I have heard from about this diet are extremely happy-mentally and physically. You can stick with it for the longterm versus a lot of the other diets.

Fruitarian

This is the Raw Vegan life  but you only live off of fruits. This is a good idea, except having a vegetable is actually not bad for you. This is like the banana diet craze going around. I hate bananas (yes, I hate it, they are so good for you) but you can do so much with them and they are amazing for you. Saying that though, spinach is great for you too. To each their own on this one. I could eat pounds of kiwis don’t get me wrong. I just feel you would lose nutrients from other sources with this.

Counting Calories

The old fashioned diet. My mother believes, still, in religiously counting calories daily. Calories in needs to be lower than calories out. This is usually the way of life for people with a rocky relationship with food, especially in eating disorders (namely anorexia). Yes, the logic is there. Yes it works. 1) Do you really know how many calories you need in a day, to maintain/gain/lose? The only way to know this is to calculate your needs. You can find calculators for this formula online to make it easy (such as http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories). A lot of factors make up how much you need. Using My Fitness Pal app on your phone will help find this number as well. 2) 2000 calories of donuts versus 2000 calories of vegetables is made up completely different. Other factors should be involved. If life was so easy that you could simply only worry about calories for the rest of forever and be healthy, it’d be great. But life is complicated and messy. And so is being healthy.

IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros aka Macro Counting)

Spinning off from calorie counting, you can count the major nutrients you need in your diet, how your calories are made up in a day. Your macros are protein, fats and carbs. How you do this diet is keeping track of what you eat in a day and figuring out what percentage of your calories in the entire day were from each source (carbs, protein, fats). My Fitness Pal does this breakdown easily for you. So if you should be eating 2300 calories a day, you plug in your intakes for the day (you can plan ahead and plug in or plug in as you go) and see the breakdown of your macros to know if you are on track or not.This is my style. This is the diet I mainly stick with. Yes, it’s time consuming to keep up with everything you put into your mouth, but once you get the hang of hitting your macros, you kind of know how to do it. You can stop plugging in the numbers, unle/s you are on contest prep or something.

Clean Eating

This is the purest of the pure. You would have to eliminate it all, the process, preservatives, all the crap that comes from the modern food pretty much everyone consumes in today’s day and age. You only eat whole, natural foods. No refined sugars, flour, nothing. You would replace everything with the purely natural. Honey and pure stevia for sweetening (or pure organic fruit juice). You would make nearly everything from scratch. This is quite the commitment. The problem with this diet, is the sanity. This is the main diet I talk about then I say you have to have mental stability with the diet you choose. Clean eating can cause people to become beyond obsessive. What kind of life is it to worry about everything you eat, not being able to go out with friends to a restaurant, not ever being able to eat foods other people make most of the time. This is great for people who really can just eat organic, grass fed chicken boobs and brown rice day in and day out. It’s wonderful in perspective and on paper, but it’s hard in action. It is hard in real life. And it can cause disordered eating in a different aspect. A lot of people in the fitness world who were once very very strict with clean eating (especially on contest diets) have an eating disorder. They are obsessed with every food that touches their lips. They breathe eating clean and figuring out what is in every food out there. This is a disorder. It is the same as anorexia, just a different approach. If you are living every day worrying about what to eat, when to eat, what you are eating, it’s a problem. If you choose this way, please, please, please be careful. Please do not be so strict and hard on yourself. Life is short. If you become obsessive and disorded, please seek help. Please stop while you are ahead and evaluate everything. Your mental health should never be replaced with the ‘goal body’.

The 80/20 Rule

This is the way you can balance the clean eating with finding balance and harmony with all the the foods you love but you know aren’t good for you at all. This is the ideal diet. Moderation. You spend 80% of your time eating whole, natural foods that fuel your body the right way. The other 20% is what you love (pizza, cookies, a small french fry through the drive through). This is the break you need from the healthy world. If it’s recommended to rest from working out at least once a week, why wouldn’t the rule apply to your eating? You need a break from it all once in a while. It’s good for you. I personally follow this lifestyle along with the IIFYM. I have never been better. Never been happier. Never been in a size 4 pants before. But here I am (with my brand new size 4 jeans I bought yesterday). I just fill up on fruits and veggies first, think like the Raw Til 4 diet, except not so strict. I try to eat really well breakfast and lunch. I am a little more lenient for dinner (it’s also usually my refuel after working out right now-I work out after lunch most days since leaving the desk life). I am not saying I go get a Big Mac (gross, sorry, but I just can’t do McDs) for dinner, but I will have a burger my boyfriend grilled, I will get a steak and veggies at Outback (even get a sweet tea if I feel like). This is a good lifestyle you can stick with and still be happy and healthy all the way around.

Intermittent Fasting

This is big in the fitness world right now. You fast for a certain number of hours (let’s say you don’t eat from 8 pm until noon the next day). Yes there is science behind this, but I do not know many people who can starve themselves that long without going crazy. For most people, fasting and starving only equals binging later on, and usually on terrible foods (three double cheeseburgers and a milkshake, with a side of brownies). You have to have some serious discipline and dedication for this one. I really have only heard/seen major success from this from the males who try it. I have heard of men even helping their vitals at the doctor with this diet. Yet again, it is what works for you and your body, mind, and soul.

Carb Cycling

With this, it is like the fasting up above, but you have high carbs days (like on work out days, leg day, etc) and then low carb days (like rest day, or active rest, light activity). You need mad discipline. You will need to stay away from peanut butter, oatmeal, and so on. You will live off of chicken boobs, veggies and so on. No rice. Little fruit (read sugars=carbs). It would suck. But it works for some people.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this has helped you feel a little bit more educated and equipped to be able to choose the right style of eating and diet you think is best for you. Your body is different from mine. It’s different from the last person you saw. It’s different from Jim Bob down the road. You have to figure out what is best for you. It needs to keep you healthy: mind. body. soul. If it doesn’t, try something else. You need to find what you can stick with for the long haul if you want results, if you want change. Not just for this week or month.

 

If you have questions, please let me know.

ashhealhthgirl@gmail.com

 

a