Category Archives: Health

Chocolate, “clean eating”, and why people just need to chill out and embrace moderation

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Once again in an attempt to prove why we can’t have nice things, one of the other pieces of the article I quoted in my last post talked about how dark chocolate may not necessarily be all that great for you either. I am well known among my friends, family, co-workers, and fitness community for saying “I eat very healthy, but you’ll have to pry the chocolate out of my cold, dead, rotting fingers.”

And I am totally serious. 😀

Granted, on one hand, one must not overdose on anything–especially anything that’s sugary and calorically dense. But on the other, I can’t help but feel that there’s a great deal of scaremongering as click-bait to take advantage of people who are already neurotic about food. Every couple of days I get emails titled things like, “Why exercising makes you fat”, “Why drinking water makes you fat”, “Why cardio makes you fat”, and am expecting the next one to be titled, “Why merely breathing dooms you to be fat, you fatty fat fat person”.

Everyone!

Chill. The. Hell. Out.

There’s this unnecessary struggle in a culture that wants it both ways. We can’t be sedentary and consume twice as many calories as needed and expect to be healthy. At the same time, we can’t obsess over every crumb we put into our mouths until we develop an eating disorder. The phrase “clean eating” is constantly thrown around, but it’s become a nebulous term without a clear definition. People are told “Avoid processed food”, but technically nearly everything is processed to a certain extent, so that’s meaningless too. “Avoid chemicals”, some say, but once again, technically EVERYTHING is a chemical and is composed of chemicals so this is once again meaningless. “Appeal to nature” is a logical fallacy which is oft used by the health and fitness “experts” to scare you into buying their product, book, what-have-you. Don’t buy into it. Don’t try a fad diet or think that you have to eat in an unnatural, highly restricted, and limited way in order to be healthy. Use common sense and good judgment.

People fail at “diets” because they see them as the following:

  1. Torture
  2. Deprivation
  3. Restriction
  4. Temporary

“Clean eating” is about eating reasonably healthy 80-90% of the time and enjoying yourself the rest of the time. It’s about making changes in your habits you can feel comfortable and content maintaining for the rest of your life. People need to develop a healthy relationship with food and learn how to enjoy it in moderation without either feeling deprived or starved. Food is fuel, but it can be tasty fuel.

This is one of the many reasons why I tell people over and over again: any diet which vilifies any of the macronutrients: fats, carbs, or protein, avoid like the plague. All are required in your diet in varying amounts in order to have a balanced meal plan. So when you hear “Carbs are evil”, “fat makes you fat”, run, just run. Neither “advice” will help you to be healthy and will actually harm you in the long term.

And enjoy your chocolate (in moderation). 😛

Side note: one of the sanest reads I’ve found in a while on the subject is called The Lean Muscle Diet: A Customized Nutrition and Workout Plan–Eat the Foods You Love to Build the Body You Want and Keep It for Life! A lengthy title but a worthwhile read. Regardless of whether or not you are vegan or paleo (and the book discusses both), it’s invaluable. It discusses in depth how to eat for fitness in a sensible way that you can maintain indefinitely.

 

 

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Peanut butter: the root of all evil?

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After I posted this link from Shape.com about how peanut butter isn’t a health food on my Facebook page “If a geek can get fit, so can you”, there was a great deal of weeping and refusal to let anyone take away their tasty treat. As a lover of this substance myself, it occurred to me that there needed to a balanced follow-up to explain why peanut butter can and cannot be healthy.

Problem #1: most jarred varieties of peanut butter add all sorts of sugars and gunk to it. You’ll see things like honey, molasses, corn syrup, and all kinds of nonsense that peanut butter just doesn’t need. You don’t need to add all of these sugars to peanut butter and it tastes quite nice without it.

Solution: Read labels and only obtain peanut butter which at most has two ingredients: peanuts, and maybe salt.

Problem #2: While peanut butter can be a reasonable source of protein, 70% of its calories are from fat. Fat is 9 calories per gram, which makes peanut butter fairly intense in terms of calories. A serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons, which is around 200 calories. You can easily by not measuring accidentally eat an additional 200-300 calories per day from underestimating how much peanut butter you’re eating.

Solution #1: enjoy peanut butter in moderation, learn what a serving size looks like. A little bit won’t kill you. And if it fits your macros, all the better!

Solution #2: look up a product called PB2. It’s a powdered peanut butter that has had a lot of the fat extracted from it. I enjoy a tablespoon of it with my chocolate vegan Shakeology. It’s only 45 calories and adds an additional 5g of protein to my smoothie. Very tasty! 🙂

So in conclusion: enjoy your peanut butter, but know how much of it you’re eating and what’s in it other than just peanut butter.

 

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“I’m sick! Should I work out? What can I do if I’m sick?”

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I spent the entire weekend in bed with the stomach bug from hell after missing out on a LOT of sleep in the past week. Did I workout? Hells no! I rested, drank fluids, and spent time watching Buffy and Veronica Mars marathons. My kitties were incredibly upset at my absence and I owe them a kitty cuddle movie night, but I badly needed the rest. No workouts for me!

Whether or not you should workout when you’re sick depending on a few things:

  1. What the illness is and its symptoms
  2. How severe the illness is
  3. The type of workout you’re looking to do

Here’s the problem: the same system that helps your body to fight off a cold or a bug is the same system aids in recovery during and after a workout. To tax it would be the same thing as overtraining and would produce the same results. It would also potentially prolong the illness and make it even worse.

If you’re fighting allergies and/or sinus issues, I’ve found that getting the blood circulating helps to clear the passageways and boost the immune system. The key is to listen to your body and not overdo it. I used to spend all winter with sinus and ear infections until I began working out regularly, now I hardly get them at all. I now average getting sick only 1-2 times per year as opposed to several times, especially during the winter. So exercising can be a preventive measure as well provided you are NOT overtraining and are taking care of yourself, getting plenty of rest, etc.

However, if you have a genuine bug with a fever, vomiting, upset stomach, GI issues, etc., you are far better off taking a rest day or two and going easy on yourself. I had a temperature of 101 and the bathroom became a frequent companion, which meant no, no, no workouts. None. I burned all of 1500 calories on Saturday by lying down all day and I had to suck it. So must you!

I am personally the sort of individual that once I get run down for any reason for a few days: lack of sleep, stress, etc I can pretty much expect that if I don’t nip it in the bud soon, my immune system will be compromised and my chance of illness is heightened. So get your zzz’s, take a rest day every so often–even if it’s an active rest day that involves walking or yoga–and remember that rest and recovery is just as important as working out.

I’ll leave you all with this handy image of a list of when NOT to workout, when it is okay, and what forms are good:

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Don’t let summer run away from you – join one of my fitness challenge groups!

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Here are the fitness challenge groups I have going on RIGHT NOW:

PiYo free shipping until August 11th!

PiYo is a fantastic program by the creator of TurboFire, Turbo Jam, and ChaLEAN Extreme which combines yoga, pilates, and strength training. As of this blog post, I’m halfway through the program and LOVE it! Learn more about PiYo here.

3 Day Refresh

The 3 Day Refresh program is a great way to jump start nutrition goals, recover from bad eating habits or a weekend binge, and more! And with NO starvation, juicing, or any of that crap. Learn more about 3 Day Refresh here!

Body Beast on sale 40-50% off!

Body Beast is a terrific strength training program for people looking to gain muscle, shed body fat, and more! Learn more about it and the huge sale on all Body Beast products here.

Brazil Butt Lifton sale 33% off!

I absolutely love this program and can’t say enough good things about it. It’s dance, it’s cardio, it’s strength training, and it gets RESULTS. It also prepared me for the Insanity program. 😀 Check out more about it and the sale here.

Focus T25fitness challenge pack on sale for month of August!

This is Insanity in 25 minutes. Insanity is no joke, but the workouts can be lengthy. Eliminate the excuses and get this workout! More info here.

10 Minute Trainer – fitness challenge pack on sale for month of August!

Can’t do 25 minutes? How about ten? This is an easier version of P90X in 10 minutes; in fact I’ll call it P90 or Power 90 in 10 minutes. Totally doable and gets the results you’re looking for. Learn more about it here.

 

As you can see, I have a little something for everyone. I even have a purely nutritional fitness challenge group which focuses on drinking Shakeology to get your daily dose of dense nutrition and clean eating, so if you don’t know where to start I recommend joining me there.

The steps to join one of these challenge groups is as follows:

  1. Buy one of the programs from me through the links in this blog post
  2. Add me to your Facebook if you don’t have me on there already: http://www.facebook.com/andreaberman

Once I see you’ve done both, I will add you to my private fitness challenge group on Facebook where you and others will help to motivate each other and keep each other on track!

The August fitness challenge pack sales are here!

Great news! Two of the fastest workout programs–one is 25 minutes long and the other is 10–are both on sale in their fitness challenge packs!

 

Focus T25:

Shaun T is the same trainer who brought you Insanity, Hip Hop Abs, and Insanity: the Asylum. This is essentially a better version of the Insanity program in MUCH less time!

Focus T25

 

25 MINUTES. 5 DAYS A WEEK. 100% RESULTS.

The only thing standing between you and the results you
want is TIME.

Shaun T experimented for the last year to design a program that delivers the same kind of results you’d expect from an hour-long program, in under 30 minutes. He’s pulled out the rest to give you everything you need, nothing you don’t.

The result is FOCUS T25—and the name implies the intent: If you focus your intensity for 25 minutes, and you do it 5 days a week, you WILL get results.

 

View the T25 preview video

10 Minute Trainer:

Tony Horton is the trainer behind Power 90, P90X, P90X2, P90X3, and soon to be released P90. This is P90 or Power 90 in 10 minutes.

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NO MORE EXCUSES.

Does finding time to lose weight seem nearly impossible? Try 10-Minute TrainerÂŽ. This program is designed with one thing in mind: better results in less time. Give superstar trainer Tony Horton just 10 minutes, he’ll give you the body you want.

In 10-Minute Trainer, Tony put his most effective moves into a series of power-packed total-body workouts. His breakthrough Super Stacking™ Technique combines fat-burning cardio, body toning and sculpting, and ab moves, adding resistance bands for even faster results. In just 10 minutes of Tony’s Super Stacking you can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of jogging. With 10-Minute Trainer, you have no more excuses!

View the 10 Minute Trainer preview video

 

There are also two additional programs on sale:

Brazil Butt Lift: 

Hands down, one of my favorite Beachbody workout programs. If you’re a fan of dance cardio but also want some strength training this will be great for you!

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THE SUPERMODELS’ SECRET TO A PERFECT BUTT.

We’re not all lingerie and bikini supermodels. But who says we can’t learn their secrets to getting a firm, lifted butt? Leandro Carvalho, trainer to famous supermodels, combines Brazilian dance, cardio, and his own signature lower-body sculpting moves to help you make your booty your best feature.

Leandro’s proven TriAngle Training method works all three major muscles of the buttocks from multiple angles to lift your butt, reduce your hips and thighs, and tone those stubborn trouble zones.

 

 

View the Brazil Butt Lift preview video

Body Beast: 

This workout is a beast and it WILL get you the results. Everyone from vegan to paleo can do it! If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian and want to know how, ping me.

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MAN UP. HULK UP. IN JUST 90 DAYS.

Pack on up to 20 pounds of muscle in 90 days with Body Beast™. Created by renowned bodybuilder Sagi Kalev, it uses breakthrough sports science to get you big, while cutting fat to carve your physique like no other home training system—ever. Sagi pushes you to the edge to get you pumped out of your mind. With his help, you’ll learn how to train, eat, and live like a Beast.

View the Body Beast preview video

 

 

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