Race Day Tips!


Race Day Tips!


Most of you know me as the smiling guy who greets you in the gym. Some of you know my passion for running and fitness. If I have not met you, my name is Pat Der. I am the General Manager here at GSFP and I love to run.  I have been running since 2010. I have completed 8 Marathons and 8 Half Marathons. Outside of the gym I am the co-founder of the Green Cormorant Run Club (GCRC) here in Oakland. We are a small intimate running club that meets on Tuesdays at 6pm at the Lake Chalet at Lake Merritt. Since 2013, I have been fulfilling my passion by helping others and helping them with their running goals. I am a certified Road Runners Club of America running coach and a student of running who is striving to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from our awesome trainers here at GSFP, reading books and through my own experiences. I am honored that Dave has asked me to write a blog to give you all some tips on the upcoming 2017 Piedmont Turkey Trot 5k.

Pat’s Race day tips!

Get everything you need prepared before you go to bed

·      This means lay out your race gear, pack everything necessary for pre, during and post race. Pin your race bib to your shirt and don’t forget to set your alarm. Preparing as much as possible the night before will save you a lot of time and stress during race day.

Give yourself some time before the race

·      Give yourself enough time to get to the race, to find parking, warm up, and to use the rest room. You want to go into the race with the least amount of stress as possible. The race itself will put enough stress on you and you don’t want carry extra stress during the race.

Don’t try anything new

·      Stick to your game plan.  Don’t add anything new and stick to things that you have tried and true. This means everything from nutrition, clothing, shoes and the way you run.

Eat a light breakfast 1-2 hours before start time.

·      Race starts are very early and most of us do not have an appetite before 7:00 am and I bet most of you skip on breakfast on a regular. Its called breakfast for a reason, Break the Fast. Breakfast is so important before a run and to start your day because you are breaking your fast. The last time you probably ate was dinner 8 + hours ago. You are going to need energy to carry you through your race. So make sure to get something in your system 1-2 hours before your race. I usually eat a small bowl of rice, two eggs and I drink some coffee before my race. Remember… do not try anything new; eat a breakfast that you are used to. You don’t want to upset your tummy or digestive system before your race.

Take care of bathroom needs

·      Go through your daily cycle.  Trust me, you do not want to run while you have the urge to go. Porter potty’s are far and few between. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be in one of those blue boxes sweaty, out of breath and breathing in human waste. Sorry but I know all this too well from experience.

Dynamic warm up

·      It important to warm up your body but most importantly to wake up your neurological system.  It sounds cheesy but you do want your mind and body to start working as one. You will have a better start and better race if both are on the same track. Go through our GSFP Dynamic flexibility to warm up your body and brain.

Start slow

·      Yes this is a race and yes you want to finish as fast as possible. You also want to have a good race. Starting out slow allows your cardiovascular system and respiratory system to warm up and stabilize.  It is way more enjoyable trying to get negative splits then turning on the boosters at the beginning of the race, using all of your energy and struggling to finish. Plus if the race has photographers they are usually at the middle and end of the race. You want to make sure you are in a sweet stride and looking strong for the picture.

Water vs. electrolytes

·      It’s your preference. I like to drink the electrolytes during the race and pour the water on myself to cool off.  Water is great and can keep you hydrated. The benefit of the drinking electrolytes replenishes you with some carbs and salts. Remember… do not try anything new.  If it’s a brand you have never tried, just stick to water. Traditional coaches will say to drink at every water station to stay hydrated.  I suggest to only drink when you are thirsty. Drinking too many fluids can get you waterlogged and all of those fluids will be swishing around in your stomach. Very uncomfortable. Like in life… Everything in moderation.

Have a mantra or remind yourself why you are doing this

·      Sometimes midway through a race it gets tough. Having a motivational mantra can help you get through some tough times. I like to remind myself why I run.  Sometimes simply keeping a smile on my face gets me through the race.

Have Fun

·      This is rule #1! If you are not having fun than look forward to a long race. Yes we can get competitive and you want to beat the next person next to you or get a personal record, but make sure you are having fun doing it. I challenge you to encourage other runners around you. Dish out high fives to other runners or spectators. And most of all don’t forget to smile!


Good luck to you all at the Piedmont Turkey Trot and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!





Why Your Body Composition Isn’t Improving When You’re Doing Everything Right


Why Your Body Composition Isn’t Improving When You’re Doing Everything Right

I lift, do cardio, and eat clean-- but I can’t seem to build more muscle. 

I dropped a few pounds for the first few weeks, but nothing has changed since then.

I’ve been running three times a week, yet my body looks the same!

If any of these statements sound like you and you’re frustrated by the lack of body composition progress, you might be wondering if you’ve been doing everything wrong.  

What is really going on?

Like everything else in nutrition and fitness, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach in improving body composition. You have to try out one possible fix after the other and make adjustments.

In this article, you’ll learn why you’re not seeing the results you want and be able to identify the adjustments that you can make to address these issues.  

Before you revel in the Aha! moments below, keep in mind that improving body composition is not mainly about getting from Point A to Point B as drastically as you can, but rather making slow yet substantial changes in between Points A and B.

1. You are not sleeping enough.  As we’ve previously discussed in detail, getting enough sleep is necessary (and not merely a luxury) if you want to change your body composition.
For instance, if you’ve been working on increasing muscle mass, you have to make sure that certain hormones in your body are doing their jobs. These include your growth hormone (GH), testosterone, and cortisol levels.

First off, your growth hormone plays a huge role in muscle growth and development. In adults, growth hormone secretion is at its peak shortly after the onset of sleep-- that is during the first phase of slow-wave sleep (SWS) or Stage 3 sleep. Sleeping 7-8 hours per night can help to ensure you get enough cycles of SWS to promote GH secretion.

Another significant study, with findings published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, revealed that GH intervention improved body composition in children with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by weak and poor muscle development.

Fewer hours of sleep and not receiving enough bouts of SWS may also deprive your body of testosterone. This means trouble because the testosterone hormone is associated with increased muscle mass. In a 2008 study showed that poorer sleep quality was associated with lower testosterone levels, causing unfavorable differences in body composition compared to those with better overall sleep quality.

You also have to worry about cortisol. Popularly known as a stress hormone, cortisol is the antithesis of GH and testosterone in terms of muscle mass development. One of its functions is to break down tissues- your muscle tissues for one- in order to provide you with energy if you’re truly dealing with something stressful. Sleep-deprived individuals have been shown to have increased cortisol levels the next evening, between 37-45% more than previous days.

Your Game Plan: Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep and stick to it consistently. This will help you get enough Stage 3 sleep, which in turn elevates your growth hormone and testosterone levels while making sure that the rascal cortisol is under control.

2. You are chronically stressed.

Chronic is the keyword here. The occasional small doses of stress can help us get stuff done through cortisol providing quick bursts of energy and heightened memory. Having some form of adversity in our lives has also been shown to be beneficial in moderation. However, being chronically stressed is a different story.

Let’s go back to our favorite stress hormone— cortisol.

Just a couple months ago, the Obesity Journal published the findings of a study examining the link between cortisol levels and adiposity (being overweight or obese). After measuring the cortisol levels of 2,527 men and women who were over 50 years old, the researchers came up with this conclusion— the higher the cortisol levels, the greater the body weight, BMI and waist circumference. This was after controlling the factors that might be linked to obesity such as sex, age, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits.

Plus, high cortisol levels were also associated with persistence of obesity over time amongst the subjects.

In short, you might not know it, but the buildup of daily stress can hinder you from making significant progress in improving body composition.

Your Game Plan: Whether it’s personal or work-related, stress happens. The good news is you can take steps to control how you feel. Some people utilize mindfulness meditation while others feel better by just laughing it out. You can also try going for a walk or taking a quick nap. Do whatever feels the most relaxing to you.
The most important thing is to always schedule a chunk of your day to do these self-care activities.  Often, people tend to forget that self-care is a must, just like eating and sleeping.

3. You are relying too much on exercise, but your poor eating habits haven’t changed.

Eating out with friends or workmates seems easier than cooking at home all by yourself. Not to mention that you can’t just say no to second helpings of free lunches at work. So you promise yourself that you’re going to simply burn those extra calories later at the gym. It turns out that you may be doing more harm than good.

A 2012 study among Japanese adults found that while exercise intervention alone for achieving weight loss may work, combining diet and exercise efforts is most effective in weight reduction. On top of this finding, a systematic review of similar studies proved that exercise is associated with a concomitant increase in caloric intake. In other words, it makes you eat more. If those extra calories are “reward” calories like a sugary soda or piece of cake, you may be offsetting the fat you burned off during exercise.

Your Game Plan: Re-examine your food choices and experiment with cutting down on highly processed foods or certain food groups. If possible, try keeping a food journal for a couple of months to help you get a sense of your eating habits. For some folks, calorie counting works. Others have the greatest success when they went low-carb, high-fat, or did intermittent fasting alongside their exercise programs, but the biggest goal is to understand and balance your caloric goals when your diet and exercise routines change.

4. You have imbalanced blood sugar.

Here’s a recap of how insulin works. When blood sugar increases (usually after a meal), insulin delivers glucose (sugar) to the cells for energy. However, eating too often or overeating can make your body less sensitive to insulin’s effects. This elevated insulin level can also lead to an increase that pesky stress hormone, cortisol.

More importantly, when insulin resistance occurs, your cells cannot intake the sugar from your blood. As a result, the liver converts this sugar into triglycerides that are stored as existing body fat through de novo lipogenesis, just in case you’ll need them for energy in the future.

This could have been useful for our ancestor’s ages ago when there was a shortage of food. Yet these days, food means opening your fridge or dropping by at the nearest convenience store. However, your body is unaware of this modern day fact, which in turn leads to unwanted weight gain.

For this reason, it may be beneficial to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels. Continued excess glucose loads can promote insulin sensitivity and lead to more complex metabolic abnormalities including Metabolic Syndrome. This can possibly be one of the reasons why fat mass remains stubborn despite working out or supposedly eating clean.

Your Game Plan:  Excess carbohydrate consumption (pizza night or Pasta Thursday?) causing de novo lipogenesis can be mitigated by none other than exercise! Balancing your macronutrient intake or utilizing intermittent fasting (with guidance from your medical professional) can help you balance your insulin resistance without having to directly monitor blood sugar levels. Looking for more tips? Try blueberries or cinnamon!

5. Your exercise routine is not aligned with your body composition goals.

People have different body composition goals. You might want to reduce fat mass for now while your workout partner may be more interested in developing lean muscle mass. Working out together may be fun and engaging, but can also hinder your attempts to reach your personal body composition goals.

There’s also the issue on exercise intensity. This study found out that regardless of age, you’ll experience a significant increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis (increased muscle mass and strength) with more intense exercise.

This finding was supported by another study performed at the University of Ontario. The first group cardio trained for 30 to 60 minutes while the second group completed four to six 30-second sprints. And the results? Both cardio and sprint groups had the same amount of boost in lean muscle mass (around 1%), but the sprint group burned more than twice as much body fat than the cardio group, 12.4% and 5.8% respectively.

So if you’re looking into losing fat mass, increasing intensity for short intervals instead of steady state cardio may be your best bet.  Doing total body strength training circuits 3-4x per week will help improve your lean muscle mass which in turn will improve your resting metabolism.

Other Possible Reasons

o   You’re still eating highly-processed foods disguised as healthy, like the ones with “low-fat” or “zero sugar” labels. Instead, exercise more diligence in your food choices by paying attention to nutrition labels.

o   You are underestimating alcohol. All those calories lost from workouts and clean eating can be canceled out if you’re having too much booze. First, alcohol is high in calories even in small amounts (7 calories per gram of alcohol, not to mention the drinks with alcohol and carbs). Second, food tends to taste better with booze. The more you drink, the more likely that you’ll eat more. With that said, go slow on the margarita and beer.

o   You have an existing medical condition that is possibly stopping you from losing weight and improving body composition. Sometimes, there are medications that can either cause weight gain or hinder significant body composition changes. In these scenarios, it might make sense to prioritize treatment of your existing medical condition or work with a healthcare professional to make lifestyle changes.

Wrapping It All Up: Try out different things

Take notes and track your progress.  You do not have to channel your inner mad scientist when trying out which fix is right for you.  Do one tiny change at a time, give it at least 2-4 weeks, and take notes.

Start small by using honey and cinnamon instead of white sugar to add more flavor to your tea. How about not using electronic devices two hours before you sleep? Another good idea is to focus more on functional exercises with either your body weight or resistance instead of your usual jogging routine.

Through self-experimentation, you not only become more aware of what works for you (and what doesn’t), but the process itself is also more rewarding and fun. No matter what the established facts and research findings will tell, you’ll know yourself better in the end.







Through my years in the fitness industry, I have noticed there is one main ingredient that keeps people from reaching their fitness goals. That's consistency, and not only throughout the summer but in general. Most people tend to be impatient when it comes to exercise, expecting miracles to happen over night. The body requires time and effort in your pursuit to a better version of yourself. You need to give your exercise program enough time to change you. Neurologically, it takes most individuals 6-8 weeks to see noticeable changes in their body through consistent workouts. But it's not just about the workouts, consistency in your nutritional habits play a role as well.

As with anything we pursuit in life, whether it is to have success in work or business, or strive to achieve our dreams of a better life, without consistency day in and day out for months and months we will not get to where we want to go. The same goes for your exercise programs. You can have the best coach on the planet, and the best nutrition plan to follow, but if you do not stick with it consistently, you will wind up spinning your wheels and driving yourself nuts as this can be very frustrating for someone who is trying hit a certain goal. 

No matter how good your current training program may be or how perfect a nutrition program you have planned to follow, none of it matters if you are not consistent in your training and nutrition habits. Consistency truly is the key to lifelong fitness and health. Even a not so great training program will outperform a good training program as long as someone remains consistent to the not so great training program.  This is because the longer you are consistent with your training the better you will become mentally and physically.  As with anything in life the longer you train the more experience you obtain, and experience is the greatest teacher which results in knowledge and wisdom.

The 3 Keys To Consistency

I feel there are three main components in any exercise program to build lean muscle and lose unwanted body fat that must be consistent. Those are resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and proper nutrition. All of which are equally important in your pursuit achieving your health and fitness goals.

Think of them as a team, which requires everyone to do their job or a machine whose parts must work synergistically. When teammates work together or machine's parts work together, they accomplish more than they could alone, which in most cases results in a success win or a completed task.  Same goes with our three components listed above.  If one is not executed consistently, the other two will suffer and so will your progress. Don't get me wrong; to assume we can be perfect, 100% of the time, will just be setting ourselves up for failure. Our goal should be to follow our programs the best we can day in and day out most of the time. The longer the time you stick with something the better you will become at it. Let's go over some ways we can remain more consistent with our exercise programs.

Resistance Training

Based on your individual goals, you should perform some type of resistance training with weights anywhere from 3-6 times per week. The importance of resistance training is that it will help increase your lean, tone, muscle mass, thus giving you a better shape to your body and increasing your resting metabolism. Think of muscle as a 24-hour furnace, in order to improve our metabolism, we must be sure to maintain or even increase our lean muscle so that we can enjoy some of the finer pleasures in life without guilt.

To help keep you more dedicated; I would find a good workout partner with common goals or increase your training session at GSFP either with or without a coach.  Classes are an added benefit of GSFP family members and you are always welcome to bring a friend.  This way you are held accountable for your goals and training sessions. I am more likely to go to the gym if I know there is someone waiting for me that I am accountable for. Also having a training partner or coach will keep you more focused and motivated during your workouts and will keep you from getting bored of the same old routine.

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular activity is necessary to keep the metabolism roaring and help you burn some extra calories that will lead to fat loss. The main reason I choose to do a good amount of cardio is that it allows me to eat more food and still make the fat loss results I am looking for. Some people who rely on diet alone to lose fat usually find themselves losing weight but also a lot of muscle. Keeping a little bit more food in the diet, but using cardio to burn more calories will end up in retention of lean muscle while losing the fat.

I would recommend doing your cardio first thing in the morning, 30 minutes plus, before breakfast. This way it is out of the way, and it will really boost your energy for a good portion of the day to follow. It is a little tough in the beginning, but after a week, you will feel so good doing it, you will be locked into a routine.

If there is no way you can do it first thing in the morning, I would do it right after you train with weights or at night after your last meal. Bring a headset with your favorite music, podcast, or audiobook to help the time go faster.


This is by far the most inconsistent of the Big 3 that 95% of the clients I have had issues with over the years. Some honestly go by the motto "I Work for the Weekend", and are good for 2-3 days, then blow it for 2 days, etc.

It is a vicious cycle that will lead to frustration. The goal is not to do an all out sprint and crash at the end.  Go with the 80/20 or 90/10 rule based on how committed you are to achieving your goals or improving your quality of life. Eat good 80-90% of the time and 20-10% of the time you can have a cheat "MEAL" (Not day, lol).  Otherwise, if you have never followed a solid plan you will crash.  I would rather you follow a balanced nutrition program 80% of the time that will keep you sane and happy than one that tests your patients, limits, and causes you to fail. 

It's never a bad thing to enjoy an ice cream once in a while.  Just not an entire carton or every night. 

If you slip up and indulge in one or two of your meals, your life is not over, you did not fail your program, and the day is not ruined, just start back on your nutrition program on your next meal following.

Convenience is a big factor that affects the consistency of eating the right foods. I recommend you get in the habit of preparing your own meals ahead of time. I try and do it on the weekend or mid week.  This will eliminate the excuses of stopping off at a fast food place because you have nothing to eat. It will also eliminate the excuse for skipping a much-needed meal.  The weather is great in California and we can grill year round.  There are 1000's of healthy grilling recipes out there that will allow you to enjoy your food and not get bored eating the same thing over and over again.  If you need some recipes or help with your nutrition programs we have the knowledge and tools at GSFP to help you.  Just ask your coach or me:)  Most of our clients do not take advantage of the nutrition programs we offer because they are afraid that we will learn the deepest darkest secrets, lol. Do not be afraid, no one will judge you, we are here to help you. 

It is recommended that most people should eat 5-6 small meals a day to boost their metabolism. And it takes a minimum of2 weeks of a consistent eating regime to start boosting your metabolism so that you see noticeable changes to your body.  Without proper nutrition or eating habits, you can actually slow your metabolism down and lose that lean muscle you are working so hard to build.  Some people think that if they stop eating they will lose fat, but your body will actually do the opposite of what you want in order to survive and maintain a state of homeostasis or balance.  It will break down your muscle for easy energy and store fat to survive if you are not eating enough.   Supplement companies today make it very easy to hit all of your meals and caloric requirements. 

We specifically work with AdvoCare products at GSFP because they are of the best quality and safe. AdvoCare is considered one of the industries most trusted supplement companies.   Highly regarded and recognized in their areas of expertise, members of the AdvoCare Scientific & Medical Advisory Board use their knowledge and experience in the fields of medicine, nutrition, and science to ensure that all AdvoCare products are formulated with the highest quality ingredients based on the latest scientific research.   Some members include:

  • Stanley Dudrick, M.D., F.A.C.S.: Pioneered research and development of intravenous hyperalimentation (Total Parenteral Nutrition)
  • William Kraemer, Ph.D., FACSM, FNSCA, FISSN, FACN: National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Past president,
  • Karl Keen PhD: Distinguished Professor of Nutrition & Internal Medicine University of California, Davis
  • Gail Cresci Ph.D., R.D., L.D: Associate Staff Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Cleveland Clinic, Former Associate Professor of Surgery, Medical College of Georgia, Member of AdvoCare Scientific & Medical Advisory Board since 2014 

AdvoCare has formed a strategic alliance with Informed-Choice to certify the products that carry the Informed-Choice logo are banned substance free. AdvoCare values its relationships with the athletic community as well. With testing on the rise for performance-enhancing substances, both at the amateur and professional levels, this alliance allows athletes to make informed choices about what they put into their bodies. Informed-Choice has specialized anti-doping experience. Their WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) experienced laboratory adheres to standards for sports supplements and has analyzed more samples for banned substances than any other lab in the world. The AdvoCare program exceeds industry requirements.
If you are interested in purchasing Advocare supplements that are guaranteed to help you achieve your nutritional goals go to https://www.advocare.com/170114376/ .  There you can purchase a protein powders, a meal replacement packets, protein shakes in a can already mixed, and protein bars. Again this helps eliminate any excuse for not getting the proper nutrition your body needs.

I would rather you eat whole foods but these supplements will make it much more convenient during those least convenient times. 


Like anything worth doing right, a consistent routine will take some time to develop. After a couple of weeks, it will be part of your everyday routine. Once you hit that level it is smooth sailing, almost "auto-pilot." Sure, in the beginning, it will be rough to prepare all your meals, do all your cardio, and hit every training session.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are always here to help. 

We are always here to help you "Make Yourself Stronger Than Your Excuses"

PS.  On a side note, I will be doing 100 workouts in 100 days.  This is something I want to do to help improve my consistency! 

If anyone wants in let's get after it.  I will give you details!! #NoExcuses #WorkOutsInMinutes #MYSTYE



Tips for Surviving the Holiday

1. Workout in the AM: Morning workouts have a way of really waking up your mind & body. It gets the metabolism revved up for the day. Your AM workout does not have to be an Olympic training session, it could be as simple as doing a 10-15 minute strength circuit. Keep it simple. You will be surprised what a few minutes can do for you and your metabolism.

2.Don’t Skip Meals: Eat 5-6 times a day. Will discuss this more in tip #8. Skipping meals to “save room” or to make up for your over-indulgences is a bad habit you must break. Skipping meals does one thing & one thing only, it entices you to over-eat.

3. Eat Before Going Out: Say it with us, “HOME = CONTROL.” Take the time to eat something BEFORE you head out. This will help you avoid overindulging or being tempted by everything you see & smell. Being on the go is no excuse. Snacks travel well.  If you are going to a dinner or a party try a tablespoon of Almond Butter and a large glass of water before you go out.  The good fats will help make you feel satiated and you will be less liikely to eat everything on the menu:)

4. Drink & Be Merry…in Moderation: Here’s the question: how do you DEFINE moderation? That is the key to how you handle your “merriness.” If you will be indulging in alcoholic beverages, a good tip is to bracket your drinks with water. Remember, sugary beverages may seem harmless but the numbers add up quickly.

5. Stay Active: Don’t let go of your workout regimen just because it’s the holiday season. We know you have a lot of things to do. No Excuses. Your health & fitness are a matter of priority. You must make time for it.  There are a lot of simple things you can do at home & on the go that can help you stay active & burn calories. Make that extra effort. Now is not the time to get lazy & complacent about your daily activity regimen. Stay focused. And if you are traveling and need a workout for the road, our team would be more than happy to provide you with something that will not take up a lot of your time.

6. Continue to Strength Train: It’s important to maintain your lean muscle mass. Remember, building muscle helps you continue to burn more calories even when you are finished your workout routine. Weight lifting will help you to tone, lift, & strengthen your body. Keep it up! Slow and steady cardio will just male you fat:)

7. Drink WATER: Really? Ok.. I probably shouldn't have to explain this one again? Remember, water keeps you hydrated, feeling full, flushes toxins, clarifies the skin, keeps the organs functioning, etc, etc, etc. Drink up!

8. Eat 5-6 times a day: Eating small meals more frequently helps to keep your body properly fueled. Understand, when you feel hungry, you’ve waited TOO long to eat. Think about it like this: your body is a car with a small gas tank. If you have a small tank, you can only go so far with a limited amount of fuel. Therefore, it requires you to fuel up more often. Don’t allow yourself to run out of “gas.” Fuel up!

9. Select your Treat: Notice, we did not say “select your TREATS!” lol! Pick one! We know it can be hard but you can do it. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with everything you see. You know there will be holiday pies, cookies, candy, ice cream, cupcakes, muffins, & tasty drinks. Decide what you want. Eat it. Enjoy it. Move on.

10. Set Realistic Goals: How many times have you heard us tell you, “This is a process.” Rome was not built in a day. That means you can not expect to reconstruct your normal behaviors & see sustainable results overnight. It’s a process. It was a long-term process to gain it. It will be a long-term process to overcome it. Remember, this is a LIFEstyle change. Establishing and working towards both your short term & long term goals will help you stay motivated & put you in a position to win. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is improving your overall health, wellness, and establishing sustainable weight loss.  Be on the look out for new programs we are putting together to help improve you daily habits. 



Don’t Over Think Your Nutrition

So, over the past couple weeks I’ve been asked on multiple occasions, “what is the best diet for me to cut weight?”  To answer that honestly, there is no one diet or BEST diet that works for everyone.  Like your fitness programming, your nutrition program should be customized and tailored toward your lifestyle and needs.  A successful nutrition plan isn't necessarily considered the “Best Diet” or most “Popular” that’s hit the market at a specific time (Paleo, Atkins, Vegan, Whole 30, etc). But that doesn't mean that the so called “Best Diets” out there are wrong either.  They all focus on similar points such as: Food Awareness, Quality, Nutrient Deficiencies, & Exercise.  Being more aware of what food you are putting in your body will help you through outany nutrition program.  Most of the programs out there all recommend choosing high quality whole foods, that are minimally processed, and is nutrient-rich.  They eliminate nutrient deficiencies, which keeping with the previous point, its about what you put in your mouth.  Making sure that your food is nutrient dense, minimally processed with rich nutrients that your body can actually use rather than store as fat.  This will help control appetite and food intake.  They also promote EXERCISE.  Which we all know is the gateway to staying fit and weight loss.
But where do you start?  How do you know how much to eat?

I think that the most important thing is to first work on good eating habits and be aware of how much you are eating by controlling your portion sizes.  It doesn't make sense to count calories when you don't understand how the different types of calories you are putting in your body effect your end goal.  Its just silly to get all wrapped up and overwhelmed in the time consuming process of calculating the amount of calories you are consuming and stressing about breaking up your macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fat).  There is a lot more science and calculations that go into that.  And it involves a lot of time that most people with full time jobs, who have a family to support, a social life, simply do not have.  Your nutrition program shouldn't be so difficult that you give up and say “the hell with this shit!”

So…Lets start with simple… Then we can tweak your program for the best results possible.  

Understanding portion sizes is a good start to simple.   Using your hand as a way to measure your portion sizes of protein, carbohydrates, and fats is a good way to initiate good, simple, eating habits and controlling how much you eat.  Below are some simple ways to make measuring your portions easy using your hands rather than pulling out the scale, measuring cups and spoons, and calculators and smart phone apps (which for the most part are in accurately counting your calories anyway).

To Determine Protein Intake:
For protein-dense foods like meat,
fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a
palm-sized serving.

We recommend women eat one
palm-sized portion with each meal.

For men…we recommend eat two
palm-sized portions with each meal.

Note: a palm-sized portion is the same
thickness and diameter as your palm.



Fist Sized Portion

Fist Sized Portion

To Determine Your Vegetable Intake:
For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad,
carrots, etc. use a fist sized serving.

We recommend women eat one
fist-sized portion with each meal.

For men…we recommend eat two
fist-sized portions with each meal.

Again, a fist-sized portion is the same
thickness and diameter of your fist.



Cupped Palm Size

Cupped Palm Size

To Determine Your Carbohydrate Intake:
For carbohydrate-dense foods like
grains, starches or fruits use a cupped
hand to determine your serving size.

We recommend women eat one
cupped hand - sized portion of
carbohydrates with most meals.

For men…we recommend eat two
cupped hand - sized portion of
carbohydrates with most meals.



Full Thumb Size

Full Thumb Size

To Determine Your fat Intake:
Fat fat dense foods like- oils, butters,
nut butters, nuts/seeds use your entire
thumb to determine serving size.

We recommend women eat one
thumb size portions of fat
with most meals.

For men…we recommend eat two
thumb size portions of fat
with most meals.

Examples of Good Protein Sources:  

  • Eggs
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Beans
  • Steak (lean)
  • Shrimp
  • Red Lentils
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Pork Tenderloin

Examples of Good Carbohydrates:                  

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Red Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Brown Rice
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Plantain
  • Butternut Squash

Examples of Good Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bell Peppers
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery

Examples of Good Fat Sources:  

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Raw Avocado
  • Butter
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Almond Butter
  • No Sugar Added Natural Peanut Butter
  • MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides)

I recently posted an article on Facebook on how we tend to overeat or until we are full and how we tend to let our external, visual cues determine how much to eat instead of listening to our bodies.  Understanding portion sizes and how much we should eat is a good way to start creating good eating habits.  A couple more habits I want you to try are:

  • Eating slower
  • Put less on your plates
  • Eat meals that are satisfying and make you feel satiated
  • Eat your vegetables and salads first
  • Drink your water between meals and not during meals (big glass right before you eat)

Be on the look out for more Eating habits and Nutrition advice.  My goal is to help you create good habits now so it is easier for you to maintain them throughout the upcoming holiday season.  

And remember…

“There is no BEST diet…The BEST diet is the diet that is best for YOU!!”






I think I’ve figured it out!

I think I’ve figured it out!

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Siriji Lamenzo0 Comments

What? What have I figured out?

Finally, I think I’ve found something that actually works.

When we talk about fitness, nutrition, habit building, strength gains, lifestyle changes, mindset shifts, there are a gajillion different ways, different plans, different ideas and a never ending barrage of new research, new formulas, new ways to do things. Each one better than the last, right? Each one touting that you’ll get the best results you’ve ever had, and this time it’ll last forever!

Oftentimes, all this information and new research, new and hot trainers to learn from, new fad diets only leave us more confused, more unhappy and still not achieving the results that we want from our own fitness and nutrition programs.

But, I think I’ve found a solution. I know I have for myself. I’ve developed my own training program for myself that for the last 6 weeks I’ve been working on. It’s not complicated, it’s not overly ambitious and my results so far have been amazing. I feel great, I’m achieving personal records in the gym each and every week and I’m pretty sure that I’ve finally hit on the right formula for me to adhere to.

So, what’s the big key to all this success? It’s one simple word. Patience.

Yep. That’s it. Patience.

Even if you work with a personal trainer or nutritionist for guidance and help, it will take time to figure out YOUR particular formula. I urge you to take the time, and be patient with it. Once you put all your pieces together in the right way, you too can feel as good as I feel right now.

Ask yourself one simple question to get started, then start trying new things and keep asking yourself that question until you’re able to fine tune your strategies for success.

Ask yourself: Does this make me feel good?

That’s it. Then practice patience and remind yourself that any change is a process that if you trust, you will get there.

For me, nothing is set in stone. I know that my formula changes. It changes with my moods, it changes with my energy levels, it changes with my work schedule. But, I roll with all that so that I can stay on track. I miss workouts, I don’t always eat the best food but I work on being patient and knowing that tomorrow I will do better. I don’t kill myself in the gym, but I workout almost everyday. I don’t count calories, macros or track anything. For me, that’s what works.

What works for you? If you want results either with your workouts or your diet planning, you need to know that. And, if what you do does not make you feel good, it’s not the right thing for you.

In the mean time, be patient and trust the process.