Me with Sandra Lee at the Race To Deliver
The first tulips are just starting to emerge from the soil right now, but in ten weeks it’s July 4th Weekend and summer will be in full swing. Time to move the jackets and sweaters into the bottom drawers and the backs of closets and move the tank tops and box cuts to center stage. No more hiding under layers of clothes. Time to show some skin and get some sun. And along with all of this comes the immediate desire for dramatic physical change.
At Empower Fitness, we’re busy helping our clients do exactly that – from our fashion models and celebrities, to our “soccer moms” and business executives - everyone’s mindset seems to have shifted to “lets do this NOW”.
I’m here to help. This is the first week of Empowering tips on nutrition and exercise to get you fitting into that tight swimsuit by the time you’re invited to the first pool party of the summer. Follow the tips I’ll outline here over the next ten weeks and you’ll be ready for the beach - whether your “beach” is the pier at Christopher Street, the pool at the Soho House or the white sands of Fire Island Pines.
While what you do in the gym is important, what you put into your body seven days a week is even more imperative, so we will start this week with seven nutrition tips that are essential if your goal is a leaner, more toned body.
1) Eat Breakfast – Eating a balanced breakfast is the best way to kick-start your metabolism for the day. It is best to get a mix of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates within thirty minutes of waking up in the morning. Adding a fruit or vegetable to that mix is ideal. And because our modern food supply is lacking in many of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function properly, it is essential to get a good multi-vitamin supplement every day. I take VGF 25+, made from more than 25 organically grown fruits and vegetables and not synthesized in a lab. They also make one formulated for the needs of women.
2) Your Body is a Furnace – Think of your body as a furnace that functions best when you throw a log in every three to three-and-a-half hours. If you throw too many logs into the furnace at one time, it smothers the flame. If you wait to long before throwing in a log, the fire dies down. That fire IS your metabolism, your body’s ability to burn calories (instead of storing them as fat), so feed the fire frequently and you will burn up the calories you are taking in much more efficiently.
3) Sugar is your enemy – It is sugars (and white carbohydrates and processed foods that your body treats as sugars) that turn to fat in your body. When you eat these items, your body releases too much insulin which in turn shuts down it’s ability to produce it’s only fat-release hormone, effectively locking in fat storage. Your body is either a fat-storing machine or a fat-burning machine, depending on it’s hormonal balance. To get this balance right, avoid sugars, white carbohydrates and processed foods, opting instead for lean proteins (egg whites, fish, chicken), complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, brown rice, yams) and fruits and vegetables. If you’re shopping and cooking at home, the “good” foods will be found in the periphery of the supermarket, while the “bad” ones will be found in the aisles in the middle.
For a list of the best foods for turning your body into a fat-burning machine, you can download my Supportive Nutrition Guide The password is: Metabolism
4) Protein is your friend – If you want to be lean, eat lean. Try to get a source of lean protein into every meal. This has a double effect that can be magical when it comes to building the leaner, more toned body you desire. First, because proteins are complex and require energy to break down, you burn up to 25% of the calories you are taking in just in the process of digesting them. Second, proteins also ameliorate the negative impact of any of the sugars that you ingest with them so that they are more likely to be burned for energy and less likely to be stored as fat. The best sources of lean protein are from egg whites, fish, lean meats and poultry, so be sure to get plenty of these into your diets.
5) Good Fat, Bad Fat – Our bodies need some fat in order to survive, but some fats are helpful while others are very harmful. Your body needs and cannot produce “essential fats” – the fats that come from things like fish, nuts and avocados. Eating more of these fats and adding a fish oil supplement to your diet will be helpful to your quest for fat loss by making your body less apt to crave the bad fats. Speaking of bad fats, you want to minimize the saturated fats in your diet, fats that are solid at room temperature such as butter and the fat in steaks. The fats to absolutely avoid are the hydrogenated fats, also known as trans-fats; these are enemies to every cell in your body and some of the very worst things you can eat.
6) Calorie Count – I believe that most people do not need to count calories. Rather, if you eat breakfast early, eat until you are satisfied but not “full” and then do it again every three to three-and-a-half hours, you should be getting the correct amount of calories for your body. That said, if you’re a numbers person and want to be very specific, you can calculate how many calories you use in a day . That will give you an estimate of the number of daily calories you body needs. In order to lose weight safely and consistently, eating five hundred fewer calories per day is recommended. To add muscle to your body and gain weight, eat five hundred calories more than you burn each day.
7) Water, Water Everywhere – Maybe you have heard that sixty percent of the body is made of water. In order to function properly and, yes, that includes the ability to sore fuel as muscle and process and burn fat, one must drink enough water every day. While there is some disagreement as to how much is needed, an absolute minimum is one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. So drink up!
Getting the right nutrition is the foundation for starting the process of getting lean and toned for summer. There is a maxim in fitness which says that you cannot out-train a bad diet. And it’s absolutely true. Every small change that you make will have a huge impact on how your body looks and feels. So start now.
Check back next week, and I’ll get you started with some tips to make your visits to the gym much more efficient and productive. Next week’s blog will be week one of a ten week exercise program that will change your body way more efficiently than what you are doing now. And over the next ten weeks, my blog will be a great guide to help you go from where you are now to where you want to be when the thermometer rises up above eighty degrees and it’s time for some fun in the sun.
Greg Rothman, MS PT, is a fitness professional, writer and the owner of Empower Fitness Studios in NYC. He received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has twenty years of experience in the fitness and rehabilitation fields. He believes that absolutely anyone can have the body of their dreams once they understand how to eat and exercise in a way that supports their goals. It is his mission to Empower as many people as possible to do just that. His “Recession-Proof” Fitness Programs are an affordable way to find dramatic physical change over the course of 10 weeks. Greg is happy to hear from you if you have questions about any topic related to fitness or nutrition, and can be found at www.GetEmpoweredFitness.com.
Greg Rothman, MS PT, is a fitness professional, writer and the owner of Empower Fitness in NYC. He received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has twenty years of experience in the fitness and rehabilitation fields. He believes that absolutely anyone can have the body of their dreams once they understand how to eat and exercise in a way that supports their goals. It is his mission to Empower as many people as possible to do just that. His “Recession-Proof” Fitness Programs are an affordable way to find dramatic physical change over the course of 10 weeks. Greg is happy to hear from you if you have questions about any topic related to fitness or nutrition, and can be found at www.GetEmpoweredFitness.com.