Despite all the rage, You are still just a rat in a Cage

Choosing WHOLE foods, meaning foods that come straight out of the ground, off the tree or from the farm with minimal processing is a very important part of practicing integrity with nutrition. The more whole foods we can incorporate into our daily intake, the better. In addition to choosing whole foods it is important to also determine the balance of macronutrients by which your body performs most effectively. What is your ideal ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat? This answer is unique to each individual and it is an ongoing self performed science experiment that we sadly never learn in the classroom. (I hope to change that one day.) The first step in using yourself as your own scientific test subject is to identify your body type.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Determining a general macronutrient ratio depends on the shape we most closely identify with. There are three commonly used somatotypes that can help you figure out which you relate closest to. The International Sports Sciences Association depicts these types:

Ectomorph: If you’re an ectomorph, you’re naturally thin with skinny limbs and a high tolerance for carbohydrates. Usually, your metabolic rate is fast. A good starting macronutrient ratio for you would be something like 25% protein, 55% carbs and 20% fat.

Mesomorph: Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and athletic. They have a moderate carbohydrate tolerance and a moderate metabolic rate. Mesomorphs can usually start at a 30% protein, 40% carb, 30% fat macronutrient ratio.

Endomorph: If you’re naturally broad and thick, you’re probably an endomorph. Endomorphs have a low carbohydrate tolerance and a slow metabolic rate. If you’re an endomorph, try a ratio of 35% protein, 25% carbs and 40% fat.

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Now, while the above information does have some scientific basis, it is not the end all be all to personal sound nutrition. There are always exceptions. But, as a general jumping off point these are satisfactory guidelines. Once you’ve identified your somatotype and begun structuring your intake around those percentages you can fine tune the numbers to yield the result you are looking for. A tool that I use to see a broad overview of my macronutrients is the dailyburntracker.com .

Another approach to determining your macronutrient balance is through mathematical equations, which is definitely more precise. After you’ve been following the guidelines above for a while and want more fine tuning, the more precise calculations will get you there. These calculations are determined by finding your Basal Metabolic Rate (the amount of calories your body needs to survive), knowing your Activity Factor (the total amount of calories you need to do what you do every day), and defining your goals and lifestyle. The easiest way to discover these numbers is to ask your personal trainer to schedule your nutritional consultation. While trainers are not nutritionists or dietitians, they are required through their education to learn the basics of sound nutrition and how to manipulate those standards to help clients achieve goals. The cheaper, but lengthier and potentially frustrating approach is to DIY by using credible resources on the internet. The resources are out there, but if you aren’t overly familiar or confident with the material it can be cumbersome.

So, now that you recognize that your nutritional intake is an evolving balance that requires education and practice, I urge you to invoke your inner scientist and let the experimentation begin! Once your meals are balanced according to your beautiful body’s needs you will feel more energy and you will start to see a leaner, stronger and healthier you. You can do it!

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More Revival, Less Survival

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!!!!!!! The last bits of Halloween candy have thankfully bit the dust, the sparse leaves are fighting to hang on through the frosty, late fall air and every commercial entity is bursting with the message that the holiday season is blooming! There are so many great resources available offering insight and tips on how to survive, “The most wonderful time of the year,” but this little word nugget is here to encourage you to use this holiday season as a reminder to revive your fitness and nutrition decisions now and arrive at January 1, 2015 in the greatest thriving condition you’ve ever been! Yep, that’s right, I’m challenging you to not only make this the hap happiest season of all, but the health healthiest season of your LIFE!!!!!!

Society has somehow taken the day we reserve for thankfulness and transformed it into a day where gluttony, over indulgence and waste is not only socially accepted, but expected. Ouch, yeah it’s the truth. Think back to the poor pilgrims and Indians on the first Thanksgiving. Their binge meal was likely the equivalent to half of our first plate on Thanksgiving day, and they probably felt as if they were living like kings. Half those pilgrims starved to death their first winter. We are blessed with such great access to food now that we lose authenticity in our appreciation of it, because we do not know what it feels like to really, “starve to death.” I encourage you to recognize that as you sit down to dinner this turkey day. Instead of the mindless inhalation of thousands of calories, serve yourself a few of your favorite things, and allow yourself to experience a sincere gratitude for having those things at your table. While taking part in the holiday, remember to be thankful for your health maybe by doing a workout that morning or going for a walk after dinner. The world may condone sloth and gluttony, but you can choose how you want to celebrate, and you can still celebrate while practicing moderation and mindfulness!

Many people report feelings of exhaustion, stress and depression in the last 2 months of the year and the first month of the next. Since they know these feelings are coming, and they are just “too busy,” they allow themselves to,”take a break,” from routine exercise. I cannot verbalize enough how detrimental to your physical and mental health this sabbatical is. First of all the body does not adjust itself to accommodate the holidays. The metabolism doesn’t do overtime to burn the unnecessary calories, and the muscles don’t get up and work themselves. Secondly, the mind doesn’t stop needing the release of endorphins and feel good neurotransmitters that come with exercising. So discontinuing exercise as a means of reducing your stress levels will end up doing the complete opposite. If anything, I encourage you to take this holiday season by the french horns and recharge your energy by elevating your exercise endeavors. Do you want to feel like the dead brown needles at the base of the Christmas tree, or do you want to be the shining star that spreads a glow of warmth, light and love to everything surrounding it!?? YOU get to choose! The holidays are not something to be survived, they are a wonderful time to embrace love and life and to allow yourself to thrive.

I am thankful to you for reading this and I wish you a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday season. I love you!