The truth is that body transformation has more to do with what you eat than how much you exercise. The saying, “You can’t out work a bad diet,” is exactly true. I am living proof of that. During triathlon training a few years ago I experimented with different ‘diets’ – most of them were calorie based. The basic premise was to shove calories down my throat like garbage into the incinerator. Making fire for sure, but not burning efficiently at all. In fact, my physical shape did not change at all even though I was swimming, biking, and running 10-13 hrs/ week! If you really want to see changes in how you look and feel from the inside out, you gotta get the food part right.
Ugh. I know. It’s so hard. Cookies…
Here are a few things I’ve learned so far on my journey:
1. Remember: FOOD IS FUEL! Your results are dependent upon how well you fuel your body. Don’t think of food as a reward or use it for comfort. That’s a hard habit to break! Recognize your weakest time of the day and plan ahead for it.
2. Several smaller meals allow you to better absorb nutrients and keep your blood sugar steady. Try to eat three meals a day, with two or three snacks in between. Yay! Snacks!
3. Here’s a good one:
Eat Less CRAP: Carbonated drinks Refined sugar Artificial sweeteners and sugars Processed foods
Eat More FOOD: Fruits and veggies Organic lean proteins Omega-3 fatty acids Drink water
4. DON’T GIVE UP!
One bad meal does not ruin you, just as much as one good meal would change you. It’s all about CONSISTENCY OVER TIME. Put the bad meal behind you and KEEP GOING. It will take time, but I promise it will pay off!
5.For additional meal ideas, visit myrecipe section on my website, search “clean eating recipes” on Pinterest, and be sure to check out my favorite clean eating resource at 90/10 Nutrition!
CLEAN EATING just means taking out all of the additives to processed food; eating food in it’s purest form. Changing just a few things here and there in my family’s diet has made a huge difference!
Most people would agree that to make healthy eating and fitness into a lifestyle, you will need healthy habits. Helping people create healthy habits that stick long term is a key purpose of Team Quadzilla. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and examine if your healthy habits are as healthy as you think. Read on to see if you relate to any of these common habits that do more harm than good.
1. RUSHING TO THE GYM
Everyone is busy. Probably too busy, but that’s a topic for another time. Stressing, speeding, and leaving no time to shift your mind and body from work mode to exercise mode is not healthy. Give yourself time to warm up and mentally focus in order to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.
Better yet, skip the gym altogether. There are fantastic options for all fitness interests and abilities streamed to your enabled devices at Beachbody On Demand – my go-to for efficient workouts at home. No frantic drive through traffic, no crowds, lunks, or gawkers, no sweaty machines, you get the idea. Ask me how to try BOD for free. You’ll save time and money and very likely get better results.
2. LOUSY GOAL SETTING
In a moment of inspiration, or desperation, you sign up for next month’s Tough Mudder, or half marathon, even though you haven’t exercised in a few years. Or maybe you realize a wedding or class reunion snuck up on you and you must shed 20 pounds, so you spring for a 30 day gym membership, or adopt the latest fad diet.
But that’s just part of getting motivated, right? Not exactly.
There is nothing wrong with setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, but you need plan. Work backward from the event date to create incremental baby steps to help you get to your goal. Start small and slow, as going all gung-ho the first few days will likely end in injury, frustration, or burnout and you will fail to meet your goal. I am happy to help you come up with a plan that suits you.
3. IGNORING RECOVERY
Especially if you are feeling good and are highly focused and motivated to reach your goal, it sounds crazy to take a break. However, taking a day off can make your next workout more effective. Research suggests that planned recovery can improve performance and also help you boost intensity. Your body needs to rest and recover. It takes a lot of energy for your body to build and repair sore muscles, and you mind will appreciate the break as well. Recovery day can be complete rest or easy activities like stretch and relax yoga, or an easy cruise on your bike.
It’s not macho or impressive to workout hard every day, it’s foolish. Overtraining is a thing, and it will set you back. Plan rest days and work hard on the exercise days. Your body will thank you with excellent results.
4. WORKOUTS ON REPEAT
“I’m going to run a half marathon, so shouldn’t I just run?” Fair question. The answer is absolutely not. No matter the specific event you are training for, it’s best to mix up your workouts so you’re not overtaxing the same muscle groups. Supporting muscles need attention as well. Without a well-rounded plan, imbalances in the body will crop up eventually lead to injury. A running plan, for example, should include stretching/ yoga type workouts and total body strength training to optimize your results.
Further, you may stop seeing results if you’re doing the same workout every day. Your body gets used to certain exercises quickly, so changing it up can keep you on track to build muscle and endurance. By the way, the Beachbody On Demand programs are designed to incorporate necessary “muscle confusion” expedite total body fitness in minimal time.
5. LAZY NUTRITION
“I exercise every day so I can eat whatever I want.” False. Exercise makes up maybe an hour or so a day, but what you eat over the other 23 hours makes all the difference in your results. And I’m not just talking about weight loss or gain. Eating well has innumerable benefits to your overall human performance including more energy, increasing athletic performance, boosting your immune system, decreasing inflammation, improved mental clarity, etc.
You will never be able to out work a poor diet. Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods — think healthy fats, lean protein, plenty of vegetables — and being aware of how and when you’re eating. Generally speaking, its helpful to maintain an even blood glucose level in your system which means eating smaller meals more often. Eating when you are bored or stressed is usually a bad idea.
Healthy eating habits are best done in baby steps. Change one thing at a time. I recommend to replace foods vs. cutting them. Instead of saying, “I’m going to quit diet soda cold turkey,” try “I’ll replace diet soda with a naturally flavored water.” Once that is normal for you, move on to the next item. Research shows that small, easy changes done over time create more consistency and long-term results.
I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.
I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
I Timothy 4:8
Son I think today most would agree we worship sports and athletic accomplishments based on how much money we spend on the pursuit of these things. But it is fascinating because, amidst our attraction, many nevertheless miss seeing and understanding the value of bodily stewardship. We, by far, enjoy the drama, the competition, or discussion but sometimes fail to see the great life lessons in fitness, exercise, coaching, and athletic pursuit.
I wish that many years ago when I was a teen and young adult that someone would have reinforced to me that I only get one body—a single physical machine—for an entire lifetime and that I must care for it for a lifetime. While we might think this is intuitive, my younger mind always thought I was invincible and unbreakable, and what I put into it and got out of it could be pushed to the limits every day without consequence. Yet this state of mind overlooks the importance of stewarding the physical machine we are given.
Here are a few essential thoughts on good physical stewardship.
One | Physical care is good stewardship
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
In this life, we are called to steward many things as men. One of the things we often default to thinking about is the stewardship of money. But there are a lot of other things we steward—one we often overlook is our body. The “machine” God gave to each of us during our lifetime is important. It serves an essential purpose, and we must steward it with care. This means we should understand physical care and exercise as needed, and not something we should neglect. We are only given one biological machine for carrying around our spirit and soul, and therefore, we must steward it with excellence. Notice Jesus’s remarks in the Book of Luke:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
The life principle is this: how we steward the small things, wealth, or otherwise matters—this is true of anything, including the body. Our body is our means of human existence, interaction, witness, and communication with others. We feed it so that we can have the energy we need to be faithful and fulfill our responsibilities in living out the good news as a witness to the world. This machine needs quality inputs and outputs to ignite strength and vitality to do God’s daily work. And it’s our individual responsibility to care for it.
Two | God cares about your physical body
And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
If Jesus didn’t care about our bodies, he would not have healed people. But he did so frequently and for many reasons. With renewed energy, men and women who were healed by Jesus went on their way, praising God and telling the world about the One who heals not only the spiritual afflictions but physical ailments. These men and women went forward in life, walking again, seeing again, and experiencing community again. If they were hungry, Jesus fed them. If they were bleeding, Jesus touched them. If they were dying, Jesus saved them. Jesus did these things for people who wanted healed machines, and these people went forward, knowing that they should care for their bodies, stewarding them, because God values spirit and body.
Three | God cares primarily about your eternity
And when he saw their faith, he said [to the paralyzed man], “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”—Luke 5:20, 24
This instance is interesting. Jesus heals both the paralyzed man’s spiritual and physical needs, but notice that Jesus addressed his spiritual needs first. Which if you read the story, you’ll discover created an interesting moment of tension and controversy for a few religious leaders. But this is Jesus, always stirring up controversy by ordering things precisely and correctly.
The general principle is we discover from the order that Jesus performed this healing is “stewardship of the body,” not the “worship of the body.” And we know that we can overdo anything—including how we care and tend to the body. While care for the machine we are given, we should be careful about giving our bodies, sports, or even athletic pursuits priority over God—to the point they become God. Our bodies are the means of worship, not what we worship. Our primary need is for a relationship with God through the forgiveness that God provides, which is why Jesus does this first in the case of this paralyzed man. And at this moment, Jesus puts a big punctuation mark on its importance by doing it first.
So the lesson is this son—steward with care what God has given to you. And steward it in such a way it gives glory to God, not yourself. The body God gave you is your means of witness to the greatness of God. So run this life with endurance and do so with the health and physical stamina God gave you and so run the race with endurance.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.
News flash: your metabolism slows as you age. In a review of data on energy expenditure, researchers found getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, many daily habits can drain your metabolism even further, making it easier to pack on the pounds. But you don’t have to go down without a fight. Address the following list of bad habits and watch your metabolism and energy levels improve.
Bad Habit #1: Skip breakfast
Eating a nutritious breakfast is a great way to start your day. Because your metabolism slows during sleep, eating can fire it up and help you burn more calories throughout the day.
When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.
Rush University Medical Center
Bad Habit #2: Eating the wrong breakfast
OK, so it’s about more than just eating something in the morning. Your body is like a finely tuned machine and it needs to be fueled properly with real food. If you grab a sugary donut or eat a muffin in the car, you’re setting yourself up to crash later. Instead, choose something with filling protein and fiber like eggs, Greek yogurt and berries or whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter.
Bad Habit #3: Sitting too much
Going from your office chair to your car to your couch can lead to a very sedentary routine. And sitting for extended periods puts your body into energy-conservation mode, which means your metabolism can suffer. Solution: consider adding some movement while at your desk, or try a Team Quadzilla Fitness Challenge.
Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.
UK National Health Service
Bad Habit #4: Neglecting strength training
Cardio is great, and it can quickly burn calories, but once you’re done running or cycling, your calorie burn quickly returns to normal. When you do HIIT and resistance-based workouts, however, your calorie burn stays elevated for longer as your muscles repair themselves. Per the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” And, according to ACE, a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories daily compared to a pound of fat.
Bad Habit #5: Not eating enough protein
Protein feeds your muscles, promotes satiety, and is an important component to sustain a healthy weight. Eat too little, and you may have trouble building or maintaining muscle mass — and per the above, we know muscle’s importance to metabolism. Also, protein requires more energy to break down than carbs or fat, so you’ll burn more calories during digestion.
Bad Habit #6: Not drinking enough water
In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increases metabolic rate by 30%, and that spike lasts for more than an hour. So, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and you’ll get the added benefit of a boosted metabolism.
Bad Habit #7: Stressing out
When stress levels increase, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol leads to increased appetite, cravings for comfort foods, decreased desire to exercise and reduced sleep quality — all things that negatively impact metabolism. So, while you can’t always control your stress levels, managing stress can go a long way toward protecting your body’s internal fire.
Bad Habit #8: Binging refined carbs
If you eat sources of refined carbs like white bread or pastries regularly, it could be slowing down your metabolism. Research shows those who consumed the most refined carbs burned fewer calories and had higher rates of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin than those who adopted lower-carb diets that focused on complex carb sources. “Refined carbohydrates from the diet turn into blood sugar very quickly; blood sugar is used for energy by the body [but] if it’s not used for energy, it can quickly turn into fat stores,” explains Lee Murphy, RD, senior lecturer of nutrition at the University of Tennessee. Carbohydrates are important for energy, but skip refined carbs in favor of fiber-rich, unprocessed carbohydrates such assweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables and whole-grain bread or pasta.
Bad Habit #9: Ignoring dairy
According to research published in the journal Nutrients, people with the highest intake of milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products had the lowest rates of obesity. This is part of a growing body of research linking dietary calcium to improved regulation of energy metabolism. “Dairy products are sometimes known as metabolism boosters, in part, because they contain protein and calcium — both possibly helping maintain muscle mass while potentially promoting weight loss,” says Murphy. Before you start eating dairy at every meal, Murphy cautions your calorie counts and fat intake should remain within recommended guidelines.
Bad Habit #10: Sleeping in a warm room
A small study found sleeping in a cool room — either leaving the air conditioning running in the summer or turning down the heat before bed in the winter — could increase levels of so-called brown fat, which burns calories to generate heat. The ideal overnight temperature, according to the research: a cool 66ºF (19ºC).
Bad Habit #11: Not sleeping enough
One bad night’s sleep is enough to leave you feeling sluggish, impair your cognitive processing, and make you more likely to overeat. String together several nights in a row — or a lifetime of inadequate sleep — and science shows decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.
Bad Habit #12: Chowing on fast food
You already know ordering a burger and fries at the drive-thru adds a lot of extra calories, “but it could also cause your metabolism to slow to a crawl,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While you might be more likely to reach for a higher-fat meal in times of stress, “the high-fat content takes more time to digest,” she explains. This can slow down metabolism, while stress compounds the problem. In one study, women who experienced at least one stressor over the past 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories after eating a meal containing 930 calories and 60 grams of fat than those who were not stressed. The difference could add up to an 11-pound weight gain in one year.
So there you have it. How many of these bad habits do you relate to? Fret ye not, there is hope. Take one at a time and work on it with small reasonable goals and ask someone to hold you accountable. Success follows your consistent work on the commitment to be better every day. Special thanks to Kevin Gray and Jodi Helmer for doing some heavy lifting on this article.
News Flash: People who may have maintained their weight easily in their 20s and 30s, start to feel more challenged when they pass the big 4-0. Can I get an AMEN?! We shouldn’t be surprised since we know we’ve begun to lose lean muscle mass and experience far more hormone fluctuations at midlife and beyond. So we ask ourselves:
Am I doomed to that middle-age spare tire and growing bigger in all the wrong places?
The golden rule of weight loss — eat less than you your body burns — is more difficult as you age because your body changes metabolically. The internal furnace simply doesn’t burn as hot as when you were younger. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up – as so many mid-lifers do.
As with any healthy habit, the key to success is consistency and mindfulness. So maybe you’ll need to be more focused and dedicated to your goals than when you were younger. Read on for some tips:
1. CONSIDER YOUR EATING PATTERNS The good news about getting older is you’ve had time to understand how nutritional changes affect your health. You’ve gained experience about the impact of certain food choices, and now it’s time to put that knowledge to use. As metabolism slows with age, you might not be able to get away with some of the indulgences that your body used to forgive you for.
That doesn’t mean you must starve yourself or jump on the latest fad diet. Rather, it should prompt you to be more conscious about your choices and patterns, including portion sizes, the timing of your meals and snacks, and the choices of the foods you eat. You are smart enough to know your unhealthy habits regarding food, so this is the time to address them mindfully.
2. ADDRESS PORTION SIZES It’s no secret our culture works against our plans to maintain a healthy weight. Processed foods and fast food options abound, and our frantic pace of life increases the temptation to shove anything into our mouth NOW. Cooking at home is de-emphasized in favor of convenience, and portion sizes have changed significantly from even a couple decades ago.
Packaged food “serving size” doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how much you should eat. Tracking portion size is super helpful. Consider using the popular Beachbody Portion Fix containers and nutrition guide* to help you see what you should be eating every day. You will be surprised at how full you will feel when you eat the right foods in the proper portions.
3. WATCH CARBS AND CALORIES Carbs and calories are not all evil. It’s the QUALITY of the carbs and calories that counts. Processed foods are often “empty calories” that offer the double whammy of little sustained energy, and only short term hunger satiation. Resist the temptation to choose pre-packed, processed foods with long ingredients lists on the label. At the same time, you need to eat, so resist the temptation to starve yourself to lose weight. Whole, real food is best.
When you’re older, keep in mind that your metabolism is already slowing down, and starving yourself will only reduce your metabolism. The ‘starvation effect’ means that your body holds onto fat when you don’t eat enough, so your suffering completely backfires.
4. LIFT HEAVY STUFF Science: As you age, your muscle mass loss causes your resting metabolic rate to decrease, changing your calorie-burning mechanism. In other words, your internal furnace does not run as hot as it used to. That can be even more pronounced by a poor diet, smoking, alcohol use, sedentary behavior and genetics.
Further, as muscle tends to turn to fat when not used, you may also lose balance, coordination and strength. This is why it’s so important to keep active as you age. Don’t be one who retires to the lazy-boy because you are too weak to walk, pedal, travel, play with your grandkids, etc. But the good news is you can increase strength starting today, regardless of your starting point.
Resistance training performed a few times per week can not only help you regain what was lost, but can also increase bone mass, and studies have suggested it might improve sleep, help cardiovascular health, boost your mood and a list of other benefits.
It can be more challenging to lose or maintain weight as you get older. But getting more conscious about what, when and why you’re eating — and adding strength training* to your routine can help you age better.
*For more information about nutrition plans, exercise plans, building healthy habits, etc., reach out to me for personalized advice and resources.