Should You Arch Your Back In A Bench Press?

Should You Arch Your Back In A Bench Press?

You may have seen some lifters go into a gym, and set up for a bench press, with an arch that would make The Exorcist look like a kids movie.

Maybe you shrug it off and think that it’s weird, and then carry on with your workout.

Or maybe you’ve found this article, since you were wondering what the hell they were arching their back like that for.

And wondering if it’s a safe an effective way to bench press.

Let’s talk about it, and by the end of this article, you might want to consider arching your back when you bench.

 

An Arched Back Is Safer For Your Body

Whenever you bench press you want to have your shoulders pinched together and pulled down (scapular retraction)

If the shoulders are not pinched together and down, this is going to cause your shoulder to pop forward when you bench, which is going to place a lot of stress on your shoulder joint, and rotator cuff musculature.  Which is one of the most common areas of injury during the bench press.

By pinching your shoulders down and back, this is going to create a natural arch your thoracic spine (upper back), and will allow your pectoral muscles and triceps to handle more of the load, while placing less stress on the shoulders.

 

So what happens when you don’t arch in the bench press?

When you don’t pull your shoulders back, the front part of your shoulder will have to come forward.

And when we get to the bottom of the movement, the shoulder being pulled forward is going to place a lot of pressure on your joint, which over time, will lead to discomfort and injury.

Here’s a video of what that looks like.  Watch the shoulder pop forward.

Your Spine Isn’t Loaded In The Bench Press

At first look, it looks like an arched back in the bench press may contribute to a spinal injury.

To the untrained eye, it can look dangerous.

But let’s talk about how the two ways the spine can get injured, axial loading and shearing force.

An axial load simply means a load that compressed, in the case of the spine, from top to bottom, like when a barbell is compressing your spine in a back squat.

A shearing force is where the vertebrae in the spine may be moved in opposite directions.

 

An axial load would occur on the spine in say, an overhead press.

Since the barbell is overhead, the force is pushing down on the spine.

And if you arch your back here, that would be quite dangerous.

Bench Press Arch

But you arch in a bench press, you’re not getting the same load on the spine.

Since the load is perpendicular to the spine, that’s not where the load is being handled,

Since the spine doesn’t get loaded top-down in the bench press, it is safe for your spine.

And since creating an arch positions the bar over the upper back and shoulders, there’s even less tension on the lower back.

 

 

 

It’s A Stronger Bench Press Position

Full Body Tension

By arching your back, you can create more tension throughout your body, and creating more tension means you can more more weight.

So if you want to build a really big bench press, arching your back to create as much tension as possible is ideal.

Creating full body tension makes the bench press become more than just a chest exercise.

It becomes a full body movement, and the more muscles you can recruit the stronger you will get from top to bottom.

 

Leg Drive

Leg drive is when you’re pushing the weight off your chest, you are driving your legs and feet into the floor.

This helps drive both your hips, and your shoulders into the bench, producing more force output.

If you use leg drive properly, if you weren’t holding the bar, you’d slide yourself right off the bench.

Using leg drive naturally accentuates a bench press arch, which allows you to push more weight in this stronger position.

 

Can A Bench Press Arch Be Dangerous?

Actually yes.

If your butt leaves the bench, then force is placed on the spine.

The shoulder and butt act as an anchor point.

And if the butt is not in contact with the bench, then the spine does get the axial load we talked about above.

So if you are benching with proper form, then no it is not dangerous.

As with any exercise, if you are doing it with improper form, then yes, it is dangerous.

Use good form, always.

When arching in the bench press you want to maintain 4 points of contact at all times.

The head, the shoulders, the butt, and the feet.

When the weight gets heavy, do not lift any of those things up, or you are at risk for injury.

 

How Much To Arch Your Back When You Bench Press

It all depends on your goal.

If your goal is to get to your maximum strength with the bench press, then practicing your arch is going to be extremely helpful for you.

This is going to lessen the range of motion needed to complete the movement.  And it’s going to allow you to create as much force as possible.

If your goal is to maximize muscle growth with the bench press, then a significant arch is not necessary.  However, you still want to keep your shoulders pinched down and back to keep them safe, and maximize activation of the chest.

 

Bench Press Arch: Final Thoughts

Despite it looking dangerous, it’s actually not.

Looks can be deceiving, and the bench press arch is the safest position to bench press from.

So next time someone tells you that arching your back is “cheating” or “unsafe”, send them this article.

 

Much love,

Nick

 

 

WTF Is A Macro?

WTF Is A Macro?

WTF Is A Macro?

WTF is a macro anyways?

You may have heard the phrase “I’m counting my macros.”  Or “This fits my macros.”  Or my personal favorite “Ice cream fits my macros.”

Food is made up of 3 macronutrients.  Proteins, carbs, and fats.  The balance of these things combine to make up the three main nutrients our body uses for energy.

In this article I’m going to lay out

  • The difference between calories and macros
  • What protein is, what it does for you, and how much you need.
  • What carbs are, what they do for you, and how much you need.
  • What fats are, what they do for you, and how much you need.
  • Whether you should worry about counting calories or macros

 

WTF Is The Difference Between Macros And Calories?

In a sense, they are the same.  In another sense, they are not.

Each macronutrient contains a certain amount of calories per gram.

1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.

1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories.

1 gram of fats contains 9 calories.

So macronutrients are part of the calories we eat, broken down a little further, and a little more specifically.

 

A calorie is a unit of measurement for how much energy is in a food.  When we count calories, we are counting the amount of energy we get from our food.

When we count macros, we are counting how the energy from food is broken up.

Each macronutrient does different things for our body, and all three are important for our daily life and energy.

 

The Three Main Macronutrients

Protein

Why is important?

Protein’s primary job is to repair your body.  We most commonly think of it as used for our muscles, and to support our sick gainz.

WTF is a macro

Eating adequate protein is going to help you recover from your workouts better, and aid in muscle growth.

It also aids in retaining muscle mass, or in some cases, even gaining muscle when you are in a calorie deficit.

Protein is really quite a magical macronutrient for fat loss in particular, because it does two things that supports fat loss.

For one, it helps you feel full longer, as it is the most satiating of the three main macronutrients.

And secondly, it has a higher thermic effect than the other macronutrients.  Which means you burn more calories from digesting it than with carbs or fats. You burn about 30% of the calories taken in from proteins.

Where can I get it?

Meat, seafood, eggs, protein shakes, greek yogurt, cottage cheese.

These are some of the best sources of protein.

WTF is a macro

Beware of some commonly touted “good” sources of protein, that aren’t actually good sources of protein.

Some common ones are beans, peanut butter, and nuts.

While I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat these foods… peanut butter happens to be the nectar of the gods.  They just don’t happen to be good protein sources.

Let’s use peanut butter as an example.

WTF is a macro

With 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein, based on the math we used earlier of how many calories are contained per macronutrient, we can see this is primarily a fat source.

16 grams of fat x 9 = 144 calories from fat

8 grams of carbs x 4 = 32 calories from carbs

7 grabs of protein x 4 = 28 calories from protein.

13% of the calories are coming from protein. Not a great protein source after all.  However, still delicious.

 

If you’re looking for a little more in depth answer, you can check out my article on How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

How much protein should I eat?

The minimum recommendation for protein is about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

So if you weight 200 pounds, you’d need at least 72 grams of protein.

However, this recommendation is to avoid a protein deficiency.  

Since you’re on a fitness website, my guess is you’re probably trying to figure out how much protein you need to stimulate muscle growth and recovery.

The general recommendation here is between 0.7g – 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

So our hypothetical 200 pound individual would need 140-200 grams of protein per day.

 

Carbohydrates

Why are they important?

Carbs are the body’s main, and preferred source of energy.  After you eat carbs, your body breaks it down into glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar, which your body uses for energy.

This is why if you’ve ever tried a low carb, or no carb diet, you probably felt sluggish, or cranky, or outright Incredible Hulk angry.

WTF is a macro

Where can I get it?

Fruit, vegetables, starches, bread, grains, pasta, processed foods.

Carbs are plentily available in food.

And there’s no shortage of them to go around.

How many carbs should I eat?

Technically, you can live without carbs, and the body can convert dietary fat into a fuel source.

With that being said, you can also charge an iPhone with a potato as an electricity source, but all the same, I’ll stick to using an electrical outlet.

The real answer to how many carbs you should eat is… it depends.

If you’re training very hard in the gym, or an endurance athlete, it’s important for you to set this number on the higher end.

If you do fine with a low carb diet, and are not constantly thinking about Pop Tarts every 12 seconds while doing it, then you can set this on the lower end.

For most people, I’d generally recommend for 45-65% of your daily calories to come from carbohydrates.

To figure out this number for yourself, you’ll need to find an adequate calorie range for you to fall into.

You can do that by getting my Free Calorie Calculator, and find out what your goal calorie target is.


.

One you’ve got that squared away, take the number you’ve been given for calories, and multiply by 0.6 for the high end, and 0.4 for the lower end.  Then divide by 4.

For example, if you have a calorie target of 2,400.  2,400 x 0.6 = 1560.  1560÷4 = 360 grams for the high end.  2,400 x 0.4 = 960.  960÷4 = 240 grams for the lower end.

Again, if you function well off a lower carb diet, that’s okay and you can go lower.  But for most people, I don’t recommend it.  You’ll get much more energy and food satisfaction out of not restricting carbs.

 

Fats

Why are they important?

Fat is an essential macronutrient, and your body cannot survive without it.  It aids in the absorption of vitamins, hormone production, immunity, body tissue health, and metabolic support.  There’s also strong evidence to support cardiovascular protection, and alleviate symptoms of depression.  Yeah that’s right, eating fats make you less depresso espresso.

Where can I get it?

Dairy, nuts, oils, meats, some seafoods, and basically anything fried and delicious.

How much do I need?

Just like with carbs, it depends.  

The main thing is you want to consume at least 15% of your total calories from fat.

Above, I’ve already laid out your guidelines for protein and carbs, whatever’s left over is reserved for your fat intake.

 

The Fourth Macronutrient: Alcohol

Why is it important?

It’s not.  You can live a perfectly healthy, and happy life without alcohol.

However, if you choose to indulge, it can make you seem more confident, while also making you look like a complete idiot.

It can increase your levels of fun at parties, while leaving you with a raging morning hangover.

It has the capability to make you puke, shit yourself, and piss yourself all at the same time.

But anywho, alcohol contains calories, so that’s why it gets the honor of being the “fourth” macronutrient.  1g of alcohol contains 7 calories.

Where can I get it?

If you’re under 21, you can’t

Otherwise, beer, liquor, wine, or Grandpa’s “cough medicine”

WTF is a macro

How much do I need?

Depends.  Are you in for a game of charades with your boring neighbors?  Then maybe a bit more than usual.

 

Counting Macros Vs. Counting Calories

If you’re trying to reach a certain physique, or performance goal, counting calories and counting macros are both viable options.

No matter what, losing weight, maintaining weight, or gaining weight comes down to one thing.  Calories in vs. calories out.

WTF is a macro

But if you completely ignore macronutrients, your goals may suffer.

For example, if you ignore protein, it’s going to have a significant impact on muscle growth and recovery.

No matter what your goal, I’d recommend to keep track of protein.

For fat loss, you can either worry about counting macros, with the total caloric content of your macros adding up to you being in a calorie deficit (as you found with my calorie calculator that you downloaded earlier).

Or you can just worry about counting calories and protein.  Make sure your calories are within the range, and you’re getting 0.7-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Macros are a little more regimented and complex.  If you’re up for the challenge, it can be worth it.

If you like to keep it simple, I’d go the calories and protein route.

Final Thoughts: WTF is a macro?

So now you know wtf a macro is.

You know that it is a more detailed breakdown of the energy that goes into our body.

And you know the 3 types of macronutrients, plus the bonus fourth, which you had a lot of in college.

 

With that being said, if you have any questions, please ask.  The comments are open below, or you can shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]

I’m also taking clients for 1:1 online coaching.

If you’re looking for a little more guidance into what you should be eating for macros, and how to actually hit them, I’m here to come up with a nutrition plan for you.  That way you never hit a plateau, and achieve all of your fitness goals. And you can do it from absolutely anywhere in the world.

 

Much love,

Nick

 

 

 

Is It Okay To Drink Diet Soda For Weight Loss?

Is It Okay To Drink Diet Soda For Weight Loss?

Is it okay to drink diet soda for weight loss?

Diet soda has zero calories, and since the only way to gain body fat is to eat more calories than your body needs, which your body then stores as fat.

But even with diet soda being zero calories, there can be a lot of hype out around whether diet soda is safe to drink, and whether or not the added chemicals can cause weight gain.

In this article, we are going to deep dive what the research says, both in favor of, and against diet soda contributing to weight gain.

Then we will reach a conclusion at the end, and you can learn once and for all whether or not diet soda is okay to drink.

So put your reading glasses on, your thinking cap, and also, a pair of really cozy socks.  Because you should be comfortable.

Let’s get into it.

 

What Is Diet Soda Made Of?

Before we dive into whether the chemicals of diet soda can be harmful or helpful, let’s first understand what is in diet soda.

The thing that scares people about diet soda, is the artificial sweeteners.

Most diet sodas, the popular brands, Coke/Pepsi, contain the artificial sweetener aspartame (which is also known as NutriSweet or Equal).

It’s about 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, and was approved by the FDA in 1981 for use in dry foods, then approved as a general sweetener in 1996.

Like most artificial sweeteners, it was discovered by accident.  Just like when I “accidentally” threw a Nintendo 64 controller at my brother’s head during a spirited game of Mario Kart.

So why does aspartame get a bad rap?

Let’s get into some of the claims around aspartame and diet soda in general, and break down what they mean, and if they are accurate.

 

Does Aspartame Cause Cancer?

There are several studies done that link aspartame to cancer.

Here’s one study on it.  Which shows a strong link between cancer risk in multiple organs when consuming even low doses of aspartame.

However, this study is performed on rats.

And you’re not a rat.

Is It Okay To Drink Diet Soda For Weight Loss

Your body is very different to that of a rat.

So let’s look on some of the research done on actual humans.

Here’s a study that observed 473,984 participants, and surveyed them on their use of aspartame.

.004% of the participants were found to have cancerous symptoms, after a period of 5 years, and this study did not find a link between aspartame and cancer.

As well as this article which finds no link between aspartame and cancer, among the vast amount of medical research done across of PubMed.

So no, as long as you are not a rat, part rat, or occasionally work night shifts as a rat, you are not at risk for cancer from drinking diet soda.

 

Does Drinking Diet Soda Cause Weight Gain?

This question stems from a comment I got on my Instagram recently.

I made a post about how all foods are okay to eat, and the comment I got was such this.

“Ummm… not exactly that simple.  The thing that breaks this rule is Diet Coke… It has zero calories… But study after study shows it actually makes you gain weight due to the chemicals they put in it.”

If you’ve been coming to my page for a while, you know that weight loss occurs when your body takes in less calories than your body burns.

And weight gain occurs when your body takes in more calories when your body burns.

This happens to coincide with the first law of thermodynamics, which summarizes that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Body fat is in essence, stored energy.

And since a calorie is a unit of measurement for energy, you simply cannot store energy from something with no energy in it.

 

The studies supporting weight gain from drinking diet soda, are mostly on rats.

Which we’ve already identified as problematic, so I won’t bother linking them.

 

Here’s a study where 154 participants were randomly assigned to consume different types and dosages of no-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame every day for 12 weeks, and controlled daily calorie intake

And this study found that those who consumed aspartame daily for 12 weeks ended up losing weight.

 

Here’s a meta-analysis which analyzes the results of several randomized controlled trials on humans and artificial sweetener intake.

Their findings showed no evidence suggesting weight gain in adults, adolescents, or children.  It found that replacing sugar with artificial sweetener induced weight loss.

Which makes sense because you’d be replacing something with calories (sugar) for something without calories (artificial sweeter).

 

Does Drinking Diet Soda Trick Your Brain Into Thinking It’s Real Sugar?

The argument here is that your body thinks the aspartame is real sugar, and so your body releases insulin in response.

This study tested 12 non-diabetes subjects, and 10 non-insulin dependent diabetic patients, handed them a Diet Coke, and a friendly smile, then measured their insulin levels.

Okay maybe that’s not exactly how it happened, but the important thing is what they found.

No meaningful effect on their insulin levels.

In fact, after scouring PubMed for hours, I couldn’t find a single well done study that linked aspartame to insulin release.

If you found one, let me know.

Even the studies on the rats didn’t invoke an insulin response.

Research aside, let’s think about it.

Insulin is released to lower your blood sugar levels.

So if your body releases insulin to lower blood sugar levels, even though your blood sugar hasn’t been raised.

This would make your blood sugar level lower than normal.  Which is otherwise known as hypoglycemia.

If you’re having a hypoglycemic response to diet soda, that is a medical emergency, and very abnormal.

 

Are There Benefits Of Diet Soda?

My favorite claim against diet soda is that it has no nutritional value whatsoever.

And that is 100% true.

But neither does water.

Here’s the deal.  Aspartame is refered to as a non-nutritive sweeter.  So we know just by its definition, that it does not have any nutrients.

Something having no nutritional value just means that it has no nutrients in it, it doesn’t make something bad.

Water doesn’t have nutrients in it, but your body needs it to survive.

Of course, I’m not saying that your body needs diet soda to survive.

But I’m not saying it’s bad either.  It’s like adding food coloring to food.  There’s nothing nutritious about it, it’s just there.  Doing no harm.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of health benefits.

For one, it’s first ingredient is water.  So by drinking diet soda, you’re getting hydration benefits.  I mean, you should probably be drinking real water too, but this helps.

Secondly, you are getting some satisfaction out of drinking it.  If it’s something you’re enjoying, and it’s not doing any harm, that is a benefit.

 

Wrapping It All Up

So we’ve learned that diet soda isn’t bad for you.

And even has a few benefits from it.

Bottom line is this:  If you enjoy drinking diet soda, then it is absolutely okay to drink.

And it might even make things a little easier for you.

 

Much love,

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide To Gym Etiquette

A Guide To Gym Etiquette

The gym is a placed filled with both written, and unwritten rules.

Whether you’re stepping foot into the gym for the first time, or are a hardened veteran, it’s always good to know the rules of gym etiquette.

Even if you feel like you know all the rules, or what you should do at the gym, read this.

Because it’s very clear, that not everyone knows the rules (or they just blatantly choose to not follow them).

So don’t skim around, don’t skip through.

And don’t be a Jim Doosh.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nick Anderson (@nickandersonfitness)

 

Gym Etiquette Rule #1: Follow The Written Rules

Most gyms have some rules listed.  Some more than others, some have no rules.

But first and foremost, always follow the rules of your gym.

Most gyms have at least a re-rack your weights rule, which we will touch on later in the article.  Some get even more in depth.

Take Planet Fitness for example.

Planet fitness has a lot of rules.

They get a lot of flack for some of their rules, and not everyone agrees with them.

But remember this: you are at their establishment.

If you had rules in your house, and a house guest didn’t like them, how would you feel if people start disobeying them?

Bottom line: If you don’t like the rules, and refuse to follow them, go somewhere else.

 

Gym Etiquette Rule #2: Leave Things How You Found Them

This one seems obvious, but it is the most broken rule of all time.

In the gym I work at, we have two dumbbell racks, that are on opposite sides of the gym.

There are different dumbbells on each rack, so you know which ones belong where.

Every single morning when I walk in, the first thing I do is go right to the dumbbell rack in the back of the gym.

Bring the 17.5 pound dumbbells that I know are going to be left under the rack, over to the place they belong on the other rack.

Because the same guy comes in every day, takes those 17.5 pound dumbbells, brings them over to the wrong place, and leaves them in the wrong place.

The gym staff is not your mom.

They aren’t there to pick up after you.

Put things back where you found them.

That includes putting your dumbbells back on the rack in the correct place, taking the plates off the bar and putting them back where they belong, and taking your plates off the machine.

Gym Etiquette Rule #3: If You Touched It, Wipe It Down

Not wiping down your equipment is a health risk.  Especially in a peri/post-pandemic age.  You want to do as much as possible to stop the spread of germs.

Health risks aside, it’s gross.  No one wants to sit down on a bench that has a sweat stain that is the exact shape of the back of your head.  Or worse, the exact shape of your butt.

Gyms either have wipes, or spray and paper towels for you to wipe things down.

This is not limited to just the things you sit on.  Also wipe down your dumbbells, barbells, cable attachments.  If you touched it, wipe it.

Gym Etiquette Rule #4: Don’t Talk To Someone In The Middle Of Their Set

There’s nothing worse than being just about to go for a new personal record at the gym, and then Chatty Cathy comes up to you and starts talking about their kid’s hockey practice.

It’s okay to strike up a conversation with someone at the gym.

But remember, some people will be receptive to this, and other’s won’t be.

Good rule of thumb, if someone has headphones on, they probably don’t want to talk.

Regardless of how friendly you are, and someone else may seem however, if someone is in the middle of their lifting, do not talk to them.

If you really feel the need to talk to someone, or feel like trying to strike a conversation up, wait until that person has finished their set.

Gym Etiquette Rule #5: Respect Personal Space

The gym isn’t the New York City subway.

There’s is plenty of space in there, so you don’t need to get right next to someone to go do your workout.

Find your own space to do your workout.

Whether it’s a at the squat rack, a bench, or somewhere near the dumbbells for some standing work.

Take up your own area, and make that your bubble.

And don’t go into other people’s bubbles.

And definitely don’t touch anyone else in the gym without consent.

Gym Etiquette Rule #6: Don’t Stand Directly In Front Of The Dumbbell Rack

This is the worst offense.  If you grab a pair of dumbbells to do curls, shrugs, raises, whatever exercise you choose to do.

Take a step back.

Make sure you leave room for others to get in and grab dumbbells.

Otherwise people will be standing behind you waiting to grab the dumbbells you are blocking.

This also goes for any type of row.

If you’re doing a single arm row, don’t use the dumbbell rack as a place to put your supporting hand on.

Be courteous, and go use a bench.

Oh, and definitely don’t shadow box directly in front of the rack.

Gym Etiquette Rule #7: Don’t Stare At People

Look I get it.

I know people are in the gym, working on themselves.

Maybe you really are impressed with someone’s lift, their form, or you really like the way their butt looks.

Don’t stare.

It’s rude, it’s inappropriate, and you’re probably making that person very uncomfortable.

This one especially applies to men staring at women in the gym.

It is a very real problem that women experience.

The gym is not the place to try and pick up a date.  It’s not a bar, and it’s not Tinder.

It’s somewhere for people to go in, have their own personal space, work on themselves, and get out.

If a conversation strikes up, then that’s great, go with it.

But please don’t go out of your way to try to find a one night stand with someone at the gym.

That’s icky.

Gym Etiquette Rule #8: Have Good Hygiene

I know you’re about to go to a place where you’re going to sweat.

But don’t walk in there smelling like a dumpster.

Especially if you’re working with a trainer.

A little deodorant goes a long way.

That’s All Folks

There you have it, some simple rules to have good etiquette at the gym, so you can be respectful, and not a Jim Doosh.

Any questions, I’m always here.

Much love,

Nick

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

So you want to get more protein in you diet.

There’s about a million and a half reasons for a high protein diet.

If you’re trying to lose body fat, eating more protein in your diet is going to help you retain muscle, and lose only fat.

If you’re tying to build muscle, this is going to massively (no pun intended) going to help your recovery.

So how do you make sure you get enough protein in your diet to get all those juicy protein benefits, and juicier protein farts?

In this article, I’m going to give you some simple tips to make it easier for you to get more protein in your diet.

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

 

Tip 1: Eat Larger Portions Of Protein

If you’re struggling to get enough protein in your diet right now.

This is my simplest and easiest trick that I implement with my online coaching clients.

Here’s how you do it.

Take an inventory of the protein you are generally eating at meals.

Let’s create a sample menu here.

Meal 1: A 2 Egg Omelet with cheese and vegetables – Approximately 13 grams of protein

Meal 2: A Turkey Sandwich with 4 oz of deli turkey meat – Approximately 20 grams of protein

Meal 3: A grilled chicken breast with potatoes and broccoli – Approximately 22 grams of protein

Meal 4: A protein shake – Approximately 20 grams of protein.

This totals to a measly 75 grams of protein.

Now at the end of the day, you’re going to be scrambling to find some high protein snacks to get that number up.

But here’s the truth, you don’t need more snacks.

What if we took all those serving sizes and doubled them?

Let’s take the omelet.  We can add some liquid egg whites to your whole eggs to get double the protein there.

Your turkey sandwich, stack that Bad Larry with 8 ounces of turkey.

Slap two chicken breasts on your plate for dinner.

Last but not least, use a double scoop of protein powder for a thick shake.

 

You’ve now doubled your protein intake, without having to change anything besides portion sizes.

You’re still eating the same foods you already enjoy.

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

 

Tip 2: Eat The Protein On Your Plate First

You feel more full from eating protein than you do from carbs and fats.

And protein is generally the least satisfying, from an enjoyability standpoint.

So many people will put the protein on their plate, with good intentions, and then throw half of it out because they were too full to finish it.

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

Then it winds up in the garbage along with the vegetables you left rotting in your crisper drawer.

A surefire way to avoid this, is dive straight into that protein first.

If you’re trying to get more protein in your diet, you want to quite literally prioritize it by eating it off your plate first.

 

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

 

Tip 3: Know Your Protein Sources

There’s a big difference between a food that is dominantly protein, and one that is dominantly either carbs or fats, and has tagalong proteins.

When trying to get more protein in your diet, you want to prioritize the dominantly protein rich sources.

Here’s a list:

Dominantly Protein Sources

Chicken Breast, 4oz  ≈  147 calories, 26g protein
Ground beef/Ground Turkey, 4oz ≈ 160-200 calories, 21-22g protein
Pork Tenderloin, 4oz ≈ 120 calories, 23g protein
Tuna, 1 can ≈ 120 calories, 21g protein
Deli Turkey, 4oz ≈ 120 calories, 20g protein
Egg whites, 4oz ≈ 64 calories, 13g protein
Salmon or other fish, 4oz ≈ 180 calories, 23 protein
0% Greek Yogurt, 1 cup ≈ 240 calories, 17g protein
Shrimp, 4oz ≈ 80 calories, 15g protein
Protein Powder, 1 scoop ≈ 150-250 calories, 15-30g protein
Tofu, 6oz, ≈ 152 calories, 16g protein
Cottage Cheese, 1 cup, ≈ 160 calories, 22g protein
Tempeh, 4oz ≈ 170 calories, 22g protein

 

Foods That Are Predominantly Carbs/Fats, But Have Some Tagalong Proteins

Peanut Butter

Nuts

Beans

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

Now I’m not saying you can ever have peanut butter, nuts, or beans ever again.

These are great foods, but when you’re filling your plate with protein, you’re not going to be filling it with peanut butter as your protein source, since it’s mostly a fat source.

A great way to tell if your food is predominantly protein is to check the macronutrient ratio.

Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as seeing which macronutrient has the most grams in the food.

To find out how the percentage of each calorie per macronutrient, divide each calorie amount by 90, then multiply by 100.

For example:

  • 27 fat calories / 90 calories x 100% = 30% of calories from fat
  • 52 carb calories / 90 calories x 100% = 57% of calories from carbs
  • 12 protein calories / 90 calories x 100% = 13% of calories from protein

Foods that are mostly protein will have at least 50% of calories from protein.

Consider these your high protein sources, and prioritize these.

 

 

 

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

 

Tip 4: Use Protein Shakes

One of the most common questions I get asked is whether you need to get protein from natural sources.

The answer is that it doesn’t matter.

Protein is protein.

And a convenient, and cost effective way to get protein in is with a protein shake.

Now we just spent some time talking about tagalong macronutrients.

So when you’re choosing a protein shake, I want to offer some factors to consider.

Make sure your protein shake is mostly protein

If your shake has 17 grams of carbs, 2.5 grams of fat, and 17 grams of protein, it’s not mostly protein.

You’re getting a lot of extra calories from it that aren’t protein.

Which isn’t inherently bad, but if you’re trying to focus on protein intake, it’s a lot easier to get those carbs and fats through other sources.

When they’re sneaking into your protein shake, you’re adding extra calories that don’t need to be there.

You can just find a shake that is mostly protein.

 

How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

There you have it.

No magic tips to ingest protein through osmosis, or without doing any work.

But use these tips, and it will make the process a lot easier.

 

Much love,

Nick

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

Whether you’re trying to lose some weight, add some muscle, or improve your overall health and fitness, it all comes down to one thing: consistency.

Interestingly enough, it also seems to be the hardest part for most people.

In a recent Q&A on my Instagram, I asked what my followers biggest struggle with weight loss was.  More than half of them said consistency.

You can have the best plan, trainer, and groceries in the world.  But if you don’t have consistency, none of it matters.

Improve Consistency In Fitness

In this article, I’m going to share with you 4 Tips To Improve Your Consistency In Fitness

So let’s dive right into it.

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

 

Tip 1: Set Goals

Having a clearly defined goal is going to set you up for long term success.  How can you know you’re being consistent if you don’t know what you’re trying to be consistent in?

For consistency based goals, it’s important to have process based goals rather than outcome based goals.

A process based goal is what you are going to do to try and reach your outcome based goal.

Process based goal example: I’m going to be in a calorie deficit 80% of my days

Outcome based goal example: I’m going to lose 20 pounds.

 

While there is nothing wrong with having an outcome based goal, you’re not going to reach that goal unless you have a process to reach it.

So setting process based goals, is how you come up with a plan to reach your outcome based goal.

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Setting your goals is a great way to actually achieve your goals

So what should your goals look like?

 

Sustainable Goals

Any goal you set needs to be sustainable.  There’s nothing wrong shooting high.

But if you’re setting unrealistic goals like “I want to lose 50 lbs for my sister’s wedding next Wednesday”, I’ve got some bad news.

How Improve Fitness Consistency

It’s also unrealistic to set goals like “I’m going to eat 1,200 calories every single day for the month of March.”

Number one, because you should not be eating 1,200 calories unless you are a pottytrained labradoodle.  Number two, because even if you were a pottytrained labradoodle, aiming for perfection is just not realistic.

The reality is, sometimes life gets in the way.  And if you want a high quality of life, while trying to achieve your fitness goals, you’re going to want to allow yourself a little grace.

A better example of a realistic goal might be something like “I’m going to workout 4 days a week for the month of March.”

This allows you some flexibility to schedule your workouts, without making you insane.

Measurable Goals

How can you know you’re succeeding at your goals if you can’t measure them?

Again, if these are process based goals, this is definitely something you can measure.

If your goal is to do X thing X amount of times, then that is very easily measurable.

If your goal is something like “Meh, I wanna lose weight.”

That’s not very measurable, and it’s vague.

Exciting

Your goal should excite you.

It should be something that if you stick to that goal, you can picture how much better your life will be by working on it.

If you don’t get fired up about your goal, then you’re a lot less likely to stick to it.

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

 

Tip 2: Create A Consistency Calendar

If you really want to improve your consistency in your fitness, this one is going to play a huge role.

Here’s what to do.

Go buy a paper calendar, a black marker, and a red marker.

Every day that you’ve fallen within your goals that you’ve outlined in step 1, you put a big Red X on the calendar for the day

Every day that you don’t reach those goals, you put a big Black Circle on the calendar for the day.

At the end of the month, you’ll have a very nice visual of your consistency for the month.  If you see lots of red X’s and few black circles, then you’re doing great.  If your black circles end up being more than 20% of the days of the month, then you have room for improvement.

Improve Fitness Consistency Calendar

Things to aim for:

  • No more than six black circles in a month
  • No black circles two days in a row

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

 

Tip 3: Start Small

The biggest reason people fall off in fitness is because they try to go too fast too quick.

They’ll try to add every healthy habit all at once.

This is a great way to burn yourself out, and feel completely overwhelmed.

What not to do:

  • Workout 7 days a week
  • Eat the bare minimum amount of calories
  • Restrict entire food groups
  • Limit yourself to only eating in certain meal windows

This stuff above doesn’t do anything good for your fat loss.

Because it’s virtually impossible to stick to.

 

Now I know you may be reading this article, and thinking.  That’s great and all, I’d love to start small.  But what exactly should I do?

I’m glad you asked.

Here’s 3 mini-tips to get you started if you’re not sure what to do.

The 3-3-3 method

I’ve used this method with my online coaching clients, and it is tried and true.

3 plates of food each day

  • This is a regular size dinner plate, you’re not eating out of a trough here.
  • 1/2 your plate is filled with either protein or vegetables.
  • 1/4 your plate is filled with either protein or vegetables (whichever you didn’t choose in the above step).
  • 1/4 your plate is filled with whatever the hell you want.

 

3 snack each day

  • Snacks fit in the palm of your hand
  • Make at least one of these snacks fruit, the other two can be whatever you choose.

 

3 days of exercise per week

  • Any form of exercise will do here.  Strength training, walking, unicorn jousting, it doesn’t matter.  Just move your body.
  • If you’re really unsure where to start, take my free beginner’s workout program.

 

This program is designed to take ALL of the guesswork out for you.

Go into the gym, follow this program. Reach your goals.

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

 

Tip 4: The 80/20 Rule

It’s okay to not be perfect 100% of the time.

In fact, I think it’s better to be 80% consistent than 100% consistent.

If you’re having to worry about being perfect all time, you’re not really living life to the fullest.

Life is about more than being all in on your fitness all the time.

It’s about the little moments.  The birthday cake at your nephew’s 3rd birthday party.  Having a couple drinks with your friends after work.  Or just a glass of wine to yourself on a Sunday night.

Being 80% consistent allows you to plan for these events, and be able to enjoy them, and then stay on track.

 

This doesn’t mean go out and have a drink with your friends every single night after work.

It also doesn’t mean be completely on track all week, and when the weekend comes just throw all of your plans out.

That’s not being consistent, and that’s not balance.

 

What it does mean is that 80% of your food should come from nutritious sources.

20% of your food should come from delicious sources.

And that should be done 80% of the time.

 

Now remember, if you don’t manage to stick to this, don’t give up.

If you end up with a few days where you go off track, this is not the time to quit.

You can’t mess up your progress from a couple days of inconsistency.

It takes just as much time to undo your progress as it took to make it in the first place.

 

How To Improve Consistency In Fitness

 

Tip 5: Hire A Coach

A great way to improve your consistency is to have someone to help hold you accountable.

Having a coach that you have to regularly check in with to make sure you’re getting the results you want can be almost like a cheat code to improving consistency.

It’s important to realize that hiring a coach doesn’t mean all the work will get magically done for you.

You still have to put in the work.

But it helps a lot to have someone who cares about you and wants to see you succeed.

If you’re serious about taking your fitness to the next level, or maybe even the first level, go ahead and fill out my online coaching application, and I’ll take all of the guesswork out of it for you.

As always, if you have any questions, e-mail me, [email protected].  I’m always here to help.

 

Much love,

Nick