Monday, April 27, 2009

One More Addition About Food

One more quick addition about food...I'm getting a few questions about what to eat before and after a workout. I'm going to answer this question assuming that the person asking it has no major medical issues (i.e. heart conditions, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure) and that the person asking it is geared for weight loss, toning, and burning of fat ("getting in shape").

When we say "before" a workout we mean 1-2 hours have to give your body a chance to digest the meal before putting the workload of strenuous exercise on your system, otherwise you might experience cramping, stomach pains, constipation and/or incontinuity, other gastro-intestinal issues, and dehydration. The National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) recommends that your pre-workout meal be a blend of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber...more specifically, 50-60% of the meal carbs, 20-25% protein, 20-25% fat, and 5-10% fiber. Common pre-workout meals that I recommend include:

  • apple with cheese (2-3 small slices)
  • celery with peanut butter (about a tablespoon)
  • yogurt with granola (about a tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked or cooked oatmeal
  • small (6-8 oz.) fruit smoothie (milk, yogurt, fruit, protein supplement)
  • granola bar with milk

There are several other combinations and types so please feel free to add or remove others as long as you stick to the basic breakdown. These pre-workout meals should be relatively light (200-300 calories) and should provide the body a good blend of nutrients your body will need prior to workout. I would also recommend all meals accompany 8-16 oz. of water.

Your post-workout meal should be eaten 40-60 minutes after the workout and should be a higher blend of protein (50%), lower blend of carbs (20-25%), fat (10-15%), and fiber (5-10%). The post workout-meal should be a bit higher in calories (400-600)...some common examples include:

  • egg white omelete with ham and cheese
  • turkey and swiss sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mustard, light mayo
  • cottage cheese and apple sauce (organic) with banana
  • large (12-16 oz.) fruit smoothie w/protein supplement
  • cheese, apples, and crackers (low-fat)
  • bran muffin with string cheese

Again, these are just ideas and intended for those trying to burn fat and lose weight. Consult with your medical professional. Feel free to post more ideas or email me questions.


Quick Additions

Two quick things I wanted to clarify after my last post as I've had some questions about it...first, I mentioned in my "DON'T" section "count calories, but watch what you eat"; in other words, I'm suggesting an overall mental shift in the way we look at ourselves other than just calories in and weight (the number on the scale) out.

As any of my clients will tell you, I'm a huge proponent of body composition testing (scientifically known as bioelectrical impedance, caliper testing, or hydro-static weighing) as opposed to weighing oneself to gauge one's health. I suggest getting yourself a body composition test immediately before embarking on a nutrition or exercise plan (any doctor, nurse, or local gym can do this test). You will gather much more important information than just weight--you'll garner your lean body mass (i.e. muscle, bone, tissue) and your fat mass (usually as a %), as well as your hydration levels (very important!).

When I work with clients I focus on "re-distribution" of fat to lean mass as well as increase in hydration levels (we should be 60-65% hydrated) as opposed to strict weight-loss. My feeling has always been simple: would you rather weight 130 lbs. with 35% fat or 125 lbs. with 20% fat? Which way do you think you'd feel better? Sleep better? Live better? I've seen too many crash diets and cleansing diets that deplete the body of important nutrients and energy just to lose 5 or 10 lbs. You have to remember that the body is most efficient in slow and sustained manners...quick gains or losses are unhealthy and usually lead to future issues.

So, short-story-long, don't just "count calories". Eat balanced, portion meals (several of them, in fact) each day...drink plenty of water...focus more on what goes INTO your body as opposed to just the AMOUNT that goes into your body.


There was some mention of a specific calorie number that should be eaten based on findings from a website. In no way am I going to knock that particular website or any of the other websites that track calories, foods, etc. I think these websites serve a purpose and are very useful. As a matter of fact, I strongly recommend the use of the government's website as a way to track meals and eating.

However, it should be noted that the amount of calories a person can eat to maintain, lose, or gain weight (the basal metabolic rate, or BMR, for short) is dependent on the individual person. More specifically, the BMR depends on age, gender, height, weight, and other medical issues (i.e. diabetes, glandular issues). One can only obtain a true BMR by doing a Resting Metabolic Test (again, put on by your doctor, nurse, or local gym)...everything else is just educated guessing.

Next, I'm going to post a quick 30-minute workout to get you off that couch and into life! Be ready!


Friday, April 24, 2009


I wanted to post some quick do's and don'ts when putting together a meal-plan for your health and fitness regiment. As always, these are only suggestions and you should consult with your medical professional before undertaking any plan. I've found that keeping your meal plan very simple will allow an individual to achieve their goals easier. So, in light of my last post, here are some quick do's and don'ts:


* Drink plenty of water throughout the ounce per kilogram of bodyweight (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.)
* eat food that is raw or organic (i.e. fruits and vegetables)
* eat 4-5 meals per day...don't "snake" it...this will increase your metabolism
* drink 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before you eat a large meal (like breakfast or dinner) and drink 16 ounces of water IMMEDIATELY when waking up
* PLAN AHEAD! VERY IMPORTANT! Pack fruit, trail mix, yogurt, and other portable foods ahead of time in your purse, backpack, or bag...this will keep your from relying on veding machines, convenience stores, and fast food
* Snack consciously...mindless or emotional nibblind can lead to overeating...try to eat a snack without doing anything else. Don't watch TV or study at the same time, especially if you are under stress
* Choose nutried-rich foods such as whole grain muffins and crackers, baby carrots, popcorn, fresh fruit, yogurt, low-fat cheese, peanut butter, and nusts and seeds
* Be aware of hidden calories, fat, and sugar, especially if you are less active...generally, foods that have more than 3 grams of fat/100 calories are considered a high-fat food...when reading food labels, if more than half of the carbohydrates are sugar, consider this a high-sugar food item (beware of cereal bars, sports drinks and fruit drinks)
* Look at the label for what is a serving of a particular item. You might consider an entire granola bar to be a serving but, on the label, one half of the bar might be called a serving. You would then need to double the calories, fat, protien, etc. when calculating calories
* Eat about an hour to an hour-and-a-half before a workout--this meal should be relatively high carbs (i.e. 50%) with balanced portion of fat (25%) and protein (25%)...ideal pre-workout snacks are yogurt, apples, celery w/peanut butter, oatmeal (1 serving)
* Eat about 30-40 minutes post-workout...this meal should be higher in protein (50%) and equal parts protein and carbs (25% each)
* FIBER-FIBER-FIBER!! The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for fiber is about 25 grams per individual--this is too low! Fiber has a multitude of uses within the body, such as providing satiety (feeling "full"), intestinal fortitude and motility, retain health and tone of intestines and stomach, reduc risks of several types of cancer, reduce cholesterol and strengthens heart, regulates body's absorption of glucose (diabetics included)...I recommend my clients eat 50-70 grams of fiber a day, whether via food, supplement, or grains


* Count calories, but watch what you eat
* Starve your body
* put extra salt, butter, msg, or other garbage on your food
* drink more than a cup of coffee, soda, juic (non-organic, from concentrate), wine, beer, per day
* drink Gatorade, juice, or alchohol instead of water...water is separate and should be treated as such
* exercise and not eat...eating is critical to feeding the body and replenishing/regenerating with proper nutrients
* Starve your body

Notice I put starvation in's that important. Losing weight is not the same as not eating. In future posts I will talk more about nutrition and exercise specifically but, for now, I think this will give you a good start to taking proper steps for your meal plan. Also, look for recipes and specific meal ideas in the future.

Thank you!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Power of the Food Log (continued)

The written word can be a powerful thing, particularly with exercise and fitness. I find that the clients I work with that have written, attainable goals are far more likely to succeed than those that simply verbalize or "think" about things. Think about this for a second--do you think you'd get more accomplished in a day with a written list or simply thinking about the "to-do" list?

It's no different than when I have my clients write down food and nutrient consumption. Not only am I, as his or her trainer, getting a better understanding of what's happening when I don't see them, he or she is getting a clearer picture of their habits and where their pitfalls are. Not only that, it gives them ideas of when they eat, what they eat, and even WHY they eat.

Now, notice I'm not specifically mentioning "counting calories". Granted, with food-log analysis I am addressing calories and specific dietary needs and metabolism based on the individual, but I'm not asking my clients to do that. I abhore the word diet--I think the negativity it breeds is extremely counter-productive and only leads to perpetual vicious cycles of eating. I'm specifically referring to and addressing "habits" of an individual.

Obviously calories are important but they are not the "end-all-be-all" of a nutrition program. Also, everyone is unique and each individual need is different for everyone. Caloric consumption and weight-loss or maintenance is purely based on the age, gender, physical condition, medical condition, and lifestyle of each individual. No two people are alike. You might be the person who looks at food and gains 5 lbs. while your brother or sister eat 4 cheeseburgers a day and doesn't gain a thing. (btw these "quick metabolism" individuals are often at a health disadvantage which we'll discuss in a later post)

So, I recommend writing down your consumption in this way:

1. What is it that you are eating? Serving size is critical
2. When are you eating this?
3. Water? Supplementation?
4. Fruits and vegetables (very important!!)
5. Are you eating before or after a workout?
6. What's your fiber intake like?
7. Why are you eating like you're eating? Is it habitual (i.e. "I always have a big dinner with the family" or "I always drink 4 cups of coffee to start the day") or is it for need? Do you "live to eat" or "eat to live"?

I emplore you to keep a 3-day food journal. Post it or e-mail it to me and I can take a look and see where you're at. Going forward, I will be posting specific ideas and recommendations for general use and, if you like, for you specifically. Please remember that I'm not a doctor, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so any recommendation must be considered as an opinion of the author--please check with your medical professional before accepting any advice.

Talk to you soon!


The Power of the Food Log

Before addressing goals specifically in my next post I want to touch briefly on a topic that I find very powerful when addressed: The 3-Day Food Log. When I begin working with a client I ask them to write down a food log of everything that goes into their mouths for 3 days straight. Water, food, fruit, vegetables, supplements, SWEETS, and all the other good, bad, and ugly things that might have been eaten during that span.

Write it'll find out a lot about yourself...I'll touch on the pros and cons next post.


Thursday, April 16, 2009


Hello! In my first post I discussed 5 areas that are essential to the success of any health and fitness plan. Simply put, they are nutrition, sleep, resistance and flexibility training, cardiovascular training, and psychology (is it fun?).

Today, I'm going to touch on the latter factor which I feel is the most critical, psychology. More specifically, is it fun? Now, by "fun", I don't mean going to the carnival and getting wet on one of those "splash" rides "fun". When I say "fun" I'm alluding to more of an emotional component that goes into every endeavor we undertake, whether it be exercise, work, school, or getting out of bed in the morning. What is the reason? What, specifically, elicits us to do what we do? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it power? Why do we do the thing we do?

When I'm working with clients we always address goals. I know in an instant if a potential client is going to succeed simply by the goals they list. I also ask the client to write them down (or I write them down for them)--the power of the pen can not be underestimated! As an individual beginning or thinking of beginning an exercise program I emplore you to write down at least 5 goals for yourself. They can be anything from losing weight, lowering blood pressure, battling fibromyalgia, or getting stronger.

When attempting to help clients achieve more I am helping them first by identifying their personal goals. I use a simple approach that can be broken down by the word SCAMPI--and, no, it's not a meal at Skippers--more than 100 published studies have shown that specific goals encourage specific results. So, when writing down your goals, utilize SCAMPI, as listed below:

S -- Specific -- make your goals specific; don't write "I want to lose weight." Write "I want to lose x lbs."
C -- Challenging -- people who make challenging goals tend to accomplish more than those setting more modest goals...imagine what you could accomplish if you knew you couldn't fail?
A -- Approach -- goals should focus on desired ends to move towards, rather than negative states to avoid; avoidance goals conjure up memories of accidents or failures, and people with avoidance goals are less happy, healthy, and motivated than others
M -- Measurable -- your goals and progression must be monitored and measurable; measurable goals encourage steady progress by minimizing the tendency to conceptualize success in all-or-none-terms; this is VERY important to avoid major relapse and total collapse (the "snowball" effect")
P -- Proximal -- supplementing a long-term vision with a near-term goal...if you plan on losing 20 lbs. you must first lose 1, right?
I -- Inspirational -- goals should be inspirational in the sense that they are consistent with a client's own ideals and ambitions...people strive toward inspirational goals with greater interest and confidence

Try this simple acronym of goal-creation before even going to the'll find out a lot about yourself immediately and the things you need/want to do become evident! If you need help creating goals or ideas than please let me know. Next time I'll talk about how to translate written goals into your fitness and exercise program!

Take care!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Welcome to Rapid Body Sculpting

Welcome! This is my first endeavor unto the world of the internet and, with the help of Michele Mudrow, I am attempting to "spread the word" and help those in need regarding health, fitness, and exercise. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I've worked with a lot of different folks from all walks of life and the one thing I hear often is that "I can't do it" or the "exercise isn't for me". Well, I'm here to tell you that is wrong!

Health and fitness IS for everyone! Is there a better feeling than being healthy? Is there a better feeling than being with your friends or family on a walk, a hike, a bike ride, at the park or in the backyard, running around, playing, and having fun? Is there a better feeling than the sense of accomplishment you get when you walk a little farther, run a little faster, or play a little harder than you did before? Ultimately, there is no better feeling than setting a goal, whether it's in fitness or in life, and then achieving that goal.

I am here to help. Now, I don't profess to be a guru or a messiah...but I do profess to know a little bit about how the mind and body works, how exercise and fitness, when correctly undertaken, can lead to new worlds and feelings for the better. Simply ask Michele, one my friends and greatest success stories. Do we want to live in a world where computers and Wii video games and TV's run us, or do we want to live in a world where we can get out and enjoy the things we love to do without running out of breath or being hurt?

Rapid Body Sculpting is more a mindset than a fitness regime. In this blog I will attempt to relay the 5 most important factors of being fit and healthy: cardiovascular training; resistance and flexibility training; sleep; nutrition and diet; and, the psychology of it (i.e. is it fun?). Please don't hesitate to post and questions or ideas you have. In the future, look for exercise ideas and programs, meal planning solutions, and other tidbits that have helped my clients and I achieve fitness success!

Thank you!