Oct 312012

Yesterday we talked about how we are going to keep you in awesome shape over the busy holidays. Now today we need to talk about a handful of diet strategies to keep that body rocking during the holidays.

To start your day off, your breakfasts are going to be simple and a bit heavy on the carbs. You heard me carbs. Look, your days are going to be busy and it’s important to keep your energy ramped up at least into the afternoons.

I’ll give you a few options for breakfast. You can’t lose with starting your busy day off with yogurt. I prefer greek yogurt, but if you don’t like the texture you can go with the regular stuff. If we really want to be diet rockstars let’s buy the good ole plain yogurt and add fruit to it. Better yet, let’s buy the big containers and divvy them up in to single servings this way you have a ready-to-go breakfast. Okay I get it, if yogurt isn’t your style and you would rather have eggs and toast. I say go for it. If you have a time crunch in the morning, you can cook a big batch of scrambled eggs and reheat them in the morning.

To be honest, I’m not all that worried about your breakfast if you can keep the rest of the day under control. So if you are more of a bagel on the go person, I have no problem with that. If you find yourself in a pickle for a mid-morning snack. Go for a handful of fruit or nuts. Be careful here, this is where you might be tempted to go for a sugar fix.

By now you should know I prefer your lunches should be salads. It might get boring, but the name of the game over the next few months is to keep your waist line where it’s at. Make sure your salads contain plenty of protein because that is the last thing we want to miss out on when we are running around. Make your salads in batches and have them ready to go so that you aren’t scrambling in the morning. Your preparation is going to be a critical part of this process.

Supper. I have a rule. No eating after 6:30. We need to keep the fat loss kicking in high gear and one way we can control that is to cut off your calories early in the evening. Your suppers should be low in carbs. So no fruit or bread. Veggies are ok, but let’s stick the the green leafys and avoid the starches like potatoes, carrots, and corn.

Now I know you might not like the no eating after 6:30 idea, but you need to suck it up. Breakfast is just a sleep away so try to keep that hunger monster in the closet until we can defuse it with breakfast in the morning.

We haven’t talked about what you should be drinking yet. Black coffee isn’t bad, just don’t go crazy with it. One diet soda will not throw you off your diet game, so if you are feeling a need of a bit of fizz fix in the afternoon you’ll be okay. Ultimately tea will do you good. It’s got the caffeine to keep you buzzing and it’s better than diet soda. Most importantly, drink plenty of water.

Alright, let’s rock these two months! Tomorrow is day one of the 60 day holiday blitz. I’ll be here keeping you motivated so you just need to stay focused and I know you can do it!

Oct 292012

If there is one staple of a rocking fat loss diet it’s the salad. Salads are an awesome way to inject some solid nutrition into your diet without all those unwanted calories.

However, I know the daily salad routine can get pretty blah if you are eating the same salad over and over. So I decided to put this post together to help you spark a few ideas on how to spice up your daily greens.

I usually put my salads together in three parts, green leafys, proteins, and the extras. I love my spinach so I usually use spinach for my green leafy but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use just good old iceberg lettuce or romaine. For my protein I tend to lean towards tuna because it’s cheap and easy. You can also use chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, and if I’m feeling extra special I will throw in salmon. The extras is my favorite part. I love broccoli. Yes you heard me, I love broccoli, and I will jam my salad full of those wonderful mini green trees. Now if you aren’t a broccoli lover, you can still put plenty of other extras like cucumbers or tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the extras I usually pack my salad full of extras!

Here’s an idea of what you can put in your salads:

Green Leafys
Chicken breast

Black Beans
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Cheese

Joe’s Ultimate Salad

Side note: Black beans are one of those things I was sure I didn’t like until I actually tried them. They are great in salads. So just because you think you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to throw it in your salad. You might be surprised what you like.

Now this is just an idea of what you can put in your salads but certainly isn’t everything. One tip to keep your salads under control is to make them in a tupperware container that you can easily throw into your lunch cooler. The size of the container will make your salads the perfect size for lunch and keep you from going overboard on the greens.

I’ve said before with salad dressings is to avoid the cream based dressings and go for the oil based ones. They may be a bit higher in calories, but the healthy oils contain good fat that helps your body absorb the nutrients in your bowl of green goodness.

On a final note, preparing these salads can take a little time, but you can easily make a few days worth of servings at once. At our house we make up several days worth of salads in tupperware containers. This makes eating healthy on busy days much easier because we can just grab our lunch and go.

Do you have a salad that you love? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Oct 262012

Here is the next round of rapid fire Ask Joe questions!

How do you feel about diet pills?
Not a fan. Let’s pretend these pills actually do what they say they do. Losing weight is a both a physical change as well as a psychological change. You need to learn to be lean. So what happens when you go off these pills? Have you learned new habits that keep you lean and healthy? Most likely not. My advice: do the hard work, it’s worth the journey.

Do I really need to eat five times a day to lose weight?
Short answer. No. The idea of eating five times a day goes back to the theory if you eat five small meals a day you will keep your metabolism flying along thus helping you shed pounds faster. Well sounds great in theory, but for my fellow food addicts out there, eating a tiny portion of a normal meal can lead to a disastrous over eating binge. I’m not convinced that constantly demanding your body to process food every two hours is good for weight loss. Than again neither is eating three huge meals a day. At the end of the day a fat loss comes down to discipline at the plate.

Do you have any suggestions for good workout headphones?
Finally a workout gear question! Both Sony and JVC make headphones that wrap around the back of the ear. I love those. They are about $10, they sound okay, and last for at least a few months. Using headphones at the gym is hard on those little buds (get it?), so I say stick the the cheaper easier to replace ones.

Headphone gym etiquette 101: Don’t have your headphones blasting so loud so everyone in the gym can hear. Don’t sing out loud, you don’t sound like Madonna, trust me. Finally, for all the guys out there wearing the DJ over-the-ear style headphones, from all of us in the gym, please stop.

Hey! Do you have an fitness question you would like me to answer? Post it on my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/joefitness!

May 172012

I’m sure you all have heard of Atkins, Herbalife, Sensa, slow carb, low carb, carb cycling, Forks Over Knives, Paleo, LA Weight Loss, Beachbody, and Weight Watchers just to name a few. I can understand the frustration when it comes to finding the right diet. They all seem to have their little tricks and gimmicks but the truth is they all have a few common reasons why they work.

Here are 9 reasons why these popular diets work:

Eat sensible – All of these diets have one thing in common, you shouldn’t eat more then your body needs.

Exercise – Your body needs exercise and no diet will be successful if you don’t get active. If a diet advertises that you don’t need to exercise… run away.

Drink water – Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. The average body is about 60% water, water is important!

Eliminate sugars – The American diet is riddled with unnecessary sugar. No wonder why we are seeing outrageous obesity trends. Ditch the sugar to get slim.

Be consistent – A diet isn’t going to work if every other meal is bad. Keep your meals and exercise consistent to make sure you have the best chance of seeing awesome results!

Be persistant – No diet will work in one day or even one week, heck even a month you’ll only see the tip of the results you’re going to get. The scale will go up and down. There will be days that seem like your making no progress. These are the times you need to persist and keep an eye on the big picture.

Eat green leafy vegetables – Green leafy vegetables are light on calories and heavy on nutrients and fiber. Just don’t smother them in salad dressing.

Track what you eat – Be aware of what is going in your mouth. ‘Unconscious’ eating will kill any diet!

Commit 100% – You can’t just do the exercise and not change your diet to see results. In order for any weight loss plan to work, you need 100% commitment!

Sure there are probably hundreds of diets to chose from, however they are all very similar in the way they work. Take advantage of these 9 tips and I bet you’ll see success!

If you like this post, you’ll love this one: 7 Secrets of a Successful Weight Loss Plan

Apr 252012

If there is one thing that you probably already know about eating healthy it’s that hunger pangs are evil. Here are eleven ways to help you fight off the cravings.

Stay hydrated – You would be surprised how often you are actually dehydrated versus being hungry. Drink some water before you decide to eat.

Eat low impact snacks – Have some low impact snacks like carrots or apples to help carry you to your next meal.

Stay focused on goals – Keeping a food journal might just keep you motivated enough to wait out until your next meal. Stay focused and see success!

Get rest – Being tired can lead to feeling hungry. Take a quick nap before you decide to dive into a meal.

Relax – Stress is also another trigger of hunger urges. Take a moment to relax and breathe.

Exercise – Instead of eating that next snack, go for a walk instead. A little sweat should save you until your next meal.

Get use to it – Tough love, I know. If you are new to a diet, the beginning can be a little rough, but I promise once you get further down the road, it won’t be so bad.

Eat slower – It takes awhile for your body to know that it’s full. Have you ever eaten so much and ten minutes later you feel terrible? Take your time eating and you will eat less.

Chew gum – Chewing gum can give you the sense that your eating without the calories. Minty gum seems to work better.

Get some caffeine – Caffeine can help suppress hunger urges. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Just don’t over do it. You shouldn’t consume any more than two strong cups of coffee a day.

Keep food away – Keep food out of your enviroment. Easy access to snacks will just lead to eating them.

Feeling hungry can be a put a big dent in your diet plans, but knowing how to fight off the hunger urges can be a critcal skill for seeing weight loss success!

Do you have a way you fight hunger urges? Tell me how in the comments below!

Apr 182012

Pinterest has become an awesome resource for everything from do-it-yourself projects to motivational quotes. Here are 10 awesome boards you should be following for some delicious healthy meals!

Number One
Fitsugar is an awesome resource for everything fitness. Their boards are no exception!

Number Two
If you’re familar with Real Simple magazine, their healthy eating board is a must follow!

Number Three
Shape Magazine has a ton of great pins to keep you healthy!

Number Four
We may not have a Whole Foods in Fargo, but that doesn’t mean we can use their fantastic ideas!

Number Five
Men’s Health has a great collection of healthy recipes that look different and delicious!

Number Six
FitFluential has a bunch of great meal ideas that you should try!

Number Seven
Booty Camp Fitness has a recipe board that you don’t want to miss!

Number Eight
‘How Does She?’ is great blog put together by a group of woman that want to eat great and be healthy! http://pinterest.com/howdoesshe/food-that-s-healthy/

Number Nine
If you know me, I love my smoothies, so why not follow this great smoothie board!

Number Ten
Of course I can’t do a Pinterest post without pluging my own joefitness pinterest board!

Now I know I haven’t covered nearly all the healthy eating boards, so your job is to post in the comments the boards that you think are awesome and we should follow!

Apr 172012

Ask joefitness: ‘Hey Joe, I find it hard to constantly keep track of my calories. Do I really need to track them to lose weight?’

To Count or Not To Count Calories - joefitnessCounting calories certainly can be tedious process, it also may not be as accurate as you think. The process of cooking food can change the amount of calories the food contains. Also, there has been evidence that cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals inaccurately calculate calories burned. Furthermore, the idea of energy exchange isn’t all that accurate either. For example, if you ate a 500 calorie meal and you went to the gym and burned off 500 calories, it doesn’t mean you are a net zero for calories. Depending on the intensity of the exercise, your body needs to recover which can increase the amount of calories your body burns. Confusing? That’s not even the worst of it.

There’s a better way
It is very important to be aware of what you’re eating. This is why having a food journal in a weight loss plan is essential. However, I don’t find it critcially important to track calories. Instead on focusing on calories, focus on the quality of food. If your diet is rich with lean proteins, fruits, green leafy vegetables, and healthy oils, you will more than likely drop those unwanted pounds. If you want to take it a step further, managing your carb intake may be much easier than counting calories. For most people keeping your carb intake below 200 – 300 carbs per day is a good idea, as long as 2/3 of those carbs come from fruits and vegetables.

Diet plans don’t need to be complicated with math. Simply eliminating over-processed foods from your diet can lead to significant changes. Eat clean and look lean!

Apr 112012

Ask joefitness: “Hey Joe, I hear a lot about people going on a detox diets. What are they and should I do one? And will they help me lose weight?”

Detox diets typically are diets that are meant to “flush” all the bad stuff from your body. I’ve also heard them called cleanse diets, flush diets, body cleanse diet, etc.. Typically they come in the form of eating a lot of insoluble fiber, eating some form of laxative (natural or synthetic), or by way of fasting.

One thing I would be clear about is I would never buy a product that calls itself a detox diet. Save your money. Word of warning: If you do happen go on a detox diet, long term detoxing can lead to some major health issues. Constantly flushing out nutrients from your body is a bad thing.

I like the idea of a detox diet, but not for the purpose many of these diets promote. I like the idea because they act as a switching mechanism from a bad eating habit into a new eating habit. To put that in English, I like detox diets because they get people to stop eating crap and start eating healthy. I’m not into the whole grape juice cleanse, honey and tabsco cleanse or latest detox meme spreading over the internet, I think these things are just plain silly and a waste of time.

If I were to design you a detox diet, you would eat plenty of green leafy veggies and lots of fresh fruit. I’d cut out all the sugary drinks and overstimulated coffees. You’d have green tea at least twice a day and you’d be drinking plenty of water. I add some lean meat for your main meals and let you eat nuts for snacks. Kind of sounds like a healthy diet all around doesn’t it?

So when you are ready to start eating healthy and you want to detox, don’t drink the the internet diet koolade, just start eating healthy and make good diet decisions. The weight loss will come soon enough!

Do you have a weight loss question for joefitness? Post in the comments below or send us an email!

Apr 062012

I got this question from a friend the other day: ‘I have a holiday get-together this weekend and I know I won’t be eating very well. What can I do to help me not fall behind in my weight loss goals?’

First off, it’s great that you are being proactive with your diet! If you know you won’t have access to very healthy eats, I like to have my clients eat two low carb days right before a day that they know they won’t be eating well. The key is to get right back into healthy eating mode after the holiday is over.

Also, plan your cheat day around the holiday meal. If you are eating like a diet rockstar 6 out of 7 days, one day where you eat a little bad will not hinder your goals. It might actually help you lose more by replenishing your body with energy.

You are in control of your diet, your diet doesn’t control you! Just remember to enjoy celebrating, and if food happens to be the gathering point, a little cheating won’t hurt.

Apr 052012

Yesterday I posted an article on how to use a carb cycling diet to get amazing results. I received a few emails asking me to elaborate a little more on what a Normal Carb Day would be versus a Low Carb Day.

Here is an example of a 1500 calorie menu for a low carb day and a normal carb day.

Normal Carb Day – 1590 Calories (147 Carbs)
Breakfast – 385 Calories (61 Carbs)
Plain Greek Yogurt – 10oz
Strawberries – 1 Cup
Orange Juice – 12oz

Lunch – 449 Calories (36 Carbs)
Turkey Sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread – 2 Slices
Turkey Breast – 6oz
Tomato – 1oz
Romaine Lettuce – 6oz

Snack – 196 Calories (44 Carbs)
Fruit Salad
Orange – 1 Medium
Strawberries – 1 Medium
Grapes – 2 oz

Dinner – 560 Calories (6 Carbs)
Spinach Salad /w Chicken Breast
Spinach – 6oz
Chicken Breast – 6oz
vinaigrette – 3oz

Low Carb Day – 1513 Calories (18 Carbs)
Breakfast – 499 Calories (2 carbs)
Scrambled Eggs – 3 Eggs
Shredded Cheese – 1 oz
Bacon – 2 Slices

Lunch – 599 Calories (6 carbs)
Spinach – 6oz
Steak (cubed) – 6oz
Vinaigrette – 3oz

Snack – 169 Calories (3 Carbs)
Almonds – 1 oz

Dinner – 246 Calories (7 Carbs)
Chicken Breast – 4oz
Steamed Broccoli – 6oz

What about the High Carb Day?
The only difference from a normal carb day vs a high carb day is you get a cheat meal at the end of your high carb day. You can eat whatever meal you’ve been craving all week! (within reason of course)

As always, if you have any questions email me, post below, or find me on Facebook!