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Nutrition
This idea came about when the automatic ice maker broke at our house and friends were coming over for a crazy trip of sky diving and wine tasting. The night they came into town, they were desperate for ice in their beer… because nobody likes a warm beer, of course.     I had just finished prepping my Hulk Muffins for the next week, so my clean muffin tin was lying on the counter to dry. In desperation for some ice, one of the girls came up with the idea to use the muffin tin as an ice tray. So they added the water and threw it in the freezer for 45 minutes, and voila; an immediate ice cube maker! The ice cubes fit perfectly into the glass and looked pretty damn classy for just being frozen water. And that’s what sparked this idea… Thanks to the desperate need for cold beer, I came up with a kick-ass party idea for summer!   fruit infused summer recipes in San Diego   First, take your muffin pan and only fill it half way to the top with water. This ensures there’s enough space for the fruit you want to add in! Since ice cubes are small, you’ll want to dice up your fruit & herbs to fit within the muffin tin or ice cube tray. Try any of these fruit infused combinations: strawberries & blueberries, lemons & limes, strawberries, blueberries, cilantro, oranges, or peaches.     Classy summer party DIY dice your fruit to add to water     Once you’ve diced your fruit, its time to add your favorite combos to the tray! If you’re like me and prepare too much fruit, then no worries! You can eat the rest or make fruit infused water instead! I did both. Add fruit to your water and ice to stay hydrated for summer   Now just add the tray to your freezer. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the ice cubes to freeze. If you’re preparing for a party, be sure to start preparing at least 2 hours ahead of time to have everything ready before your guests arrive. San Diego summer party ideas and recipes When the ice is all set, then its time to get out some pastel-colored straws, mason jars, and add your fruit infused ice! This is such a simple recipe that’s guaranteed to impress your guests. On top of looking and tasting wonderful, there’s also the perks of adding more nutrition to your meals along with staying hydrated throughout your day. Try out this healthy and classy DIY party idea for summer! healthy ideas for summer recipes Play around with different fruit combos and let me know in the comments which are your favorites! If you decide to make your own fruit infused ice for summer party, tag #FlexClub in your pictures on Instagram or Facebook! I can’t wait to see your guests’ reactions!
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Nutrition
There are 8 common white lies and myths that you may hear being told about going vegan and changing your diet. Oftentimes vegans promote the diet as something exclusive that allows and ENCOURAGES you to eat as much as you want. Being vegan is nothing magical and it doesn’t just dismiss science or your natural metabolism when you take out dairy and meat products from the occasion. I was inspired by the comment below to write an article to better inform people on how weight loss, nutrition, and calories work. There are multiple myths and false truths in this comment alone (metabolic damage?), but we’re going to focus on the myths relating to veganism.
  Vegan -- annoying comment2 “I think you should do more research on veganism. Do some searching on the high carb low fat. Also search about metabolic damage. Vegnaism has helped my body so much. I do not get sick anymore (I used to have a very weak immune system and get sick almost every week), I have gotten lean, I’m gaining muscle and strength. This has changed my life. Please keep trying. When going high carb low fat try a majority of fruit. Eat a lot. I mean 3,000 calories minimum every day. Especially for active people. Carbs do not make you gain fat. They are energy. Eat.” This comment has a new myth in every sentence. Let’s dig in.

THE EIGHT MYTHS ABOUT GOING VEGAN

Will you lose weight on a vegan diet?

MYTH 1: You will lose weight & get toned when you go vegan.

Weight loss has less to do with what you’re eating and everything to do with the amount of food you’re eating. This is just like saying that you can’t eat cookies while on your weight loss journey; you absolutely can. Those of you who are familiar with counting macros already know this. The reason that people find it easier to lose weight on a vegan diet is because a majority of the meals include vegetables & fruits, which are naturally low in calories and high in fiber. This is why when people are on a weight loss journey, its suggested to eat tons of vegetables; they fill you up with fiber and are lower in calories, which allows you to eat a large amount. At the same time, eating on a vegan diet does not guarantee that you will lose weight. There are many people who gain weight on this diet because they’re eating higher than their maintenance. Again, it has nothing to do with veganism and everything to do with your caloric intake. Can you eat more calories on a vegan diet?

MYTH 2: You need to eat more calories as a vegan.

The amount of calories you eat is completely irrelevant to being vegan. This is like people who say “muscle weighs more than fat,” when really muscle is simply more dense than fat. Just as a pound is a pound, a calorie is a calorie. If you’re eating 100 calories from plants and 100 calories from animal products, you’re still eating 100 calories. Eliminating animal products from your diet doesn’t suddenly mean that you can eat more calories. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you’re on, calories are calories and your BMR isn’t going to double simply because you’re not eating animal products. This is the misinformation which leads people to gaining a ton of weight on a vegan diet; people believe they can eat an excessive amount of fruit and find themselves bloating and gaining weight. Can anyone eat a vegan diet?

MYTH 3: Veganism is for everyone.

Its important to understand that just because something works for you does not mean it works for everyone. Accept the fact that some people simply need animal products to be healthy. I know several people who want to maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet, but couldn’t due to health issues. Some people need to maintain a diet with animal products to remain healthy. For example, someone who suffers from food allergies or IBS may not be able to go vegan and still be healthy. On top of this, our bodies vary in the macro ratio needed to function best. Especially for bodybuilders; protein, carb, and fat ratios are important for muscle growth. In general though, ratios are important individually because it effects the way your body functions. Its hard to get the correct amount of protein in your diet, no matter whether you eat higher in fats or higher in carbs as a vegan. On top of this, eating lower in fats effects hormones and causes other problems as well. Some people experience this more than others, again, it all depends on the person. Does going vegan make you healthier?

MYTH 4: Being vegan makes you healthier.

A high percentage of people who maintain a vegan diet are health-conscious and stick to fresh and whole foods. In doing this, they are giving their bodies health benefits. These same health benefits would be provided to any person who decided to eat healthier, non-processed foods. All the while, there are TONS of junk food that, if vegans ate, they would experience health problems just the same as anyone else. We’ve got Oreo’s, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Lays, and several other foods that are vegan. Its not the lack of meat that’s making them healthier, its eating fresh and nutritious foods, which can be done in a non-vegan diet as well. Are humans supposed to eat animals or dairy?

MYTH 5: Humans aren’t designed to eat animals.

There are many arguments that go back and forth with this. There’s information that can prove and disprove this argument. Scientists have examined the design of our teeth, acidity in our stomach, and our intestines to try and decide if we were ever truly meant to eat animals. Going back into history, humans have always ate meat and they wouldn’t have survived without it; it provided protein, which there was no other way to get the amount needed without it. On top of this they were also using every other source of the animal, such as hide and fur, to survive. The society that we live in now, animals are being mutilated and abused which is the reason why a majority of vegans are against eating meat. At the same time, its hard to maintain a healthy vegan diet without supplements in replacement of animal products. Do vegans get enough protein in their diet?

MYTH 6: You can get the same amount of protein in a vegan diet.

Many vegans claim that you can eat enough protein from raw vegetables and that it either a) provides the same amount of protein as animal products or b) you don’t actually need as much protein as science says. One way that vegans will prove both statements is by showing examples of vegan bodybuilders. Its a known fact that bodybuilders need lots of protein, so why wouldn’t this prove that vegans get enough protein? Some people gain muscle really easily. Some people don’t need as much protein in their diet as others because some build muscle easier than others do. This has a lot to do with genetics and testosterone. Not everyone can build a decent amount of muscle on a vegan diet. On top of that, if you look into many popular vegan bodybuilders, its not uncommon for them to go vegetarian (adding in eggs and dairy) during their training season to get the amount of protein that they need to sustain their muscle. Even people who could care less about maintaining muscle typically lack vitamins that come from protein sources. Do you need to eat high carb low fat as a vegan?

MYTH 7: You need to eat a large amount of carbs.

Carbs are great; your body uses them as its main energy source. At the same time, eating high in carbs and eating little to no fats isn’t necessary either. All calories taken in are used as energy, whether it be carbs, proteins, or fats. There was a study: “The A to Z Weight Loss Study,” which tested between a low-carb diet and high-carb diet. The study found that the results of the two programs were practically the same (although, those who ate higher in FATS were found to lose more weight) and that it doesn’t make a significant difference in whether you are high or low in carbs. Do take note that the people who were on the high-carb diet found that it was harder to maintain and that several dropped out of the study before the full year was over due to this. This means that whether you eat more carbs or more fats is irrelevant to weight loss. What is important is how many calories you’re taking in. Do you need to take supplements as a vegan?

MYTH 8: You can get all of the nutrients in a plant-based diet that you can get if you eat animal products.

If you’ve planned out your meals, are educated in nutrition, and take the correct amount of supplements, then you can probably manage a healthy vegan diet. The problem here is that from the things I hear from vegans, it seems that most know very little about nutrition based on the misinformation mentioned above. If a person doesn’t have knowledge relating to nutrition and calories, then its more than likely that they aren’t sure of specific nutrients they should be consuming (and how much) to keep their bodies healthy. Some of the things that vegans lack are protein in general, vitamin A, vitamin D, B12, and zinc.
Being vegan doesn’t give you magical powers. Its the same as any other diet. Its all about calories and nutrition. Be careful about the information you’re provided. Despite all of this, veganism is not too hard to transition into! If you plan on going vegan, be sure to do research and figure out how you’re going to get all of your nutrients. I encourage you to try it out if you’ve been looking into it; itss great for animals, our environment, and thus for humans as well.

If you want to learn more about going vegan, let me know in the comments below!

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Nutrition
Prior to competing in my first NPC bikini competition, I was eating 3 meals a day and snacking on something whenever I was hungry. When I got myself involved in my first physique competition, I quickly figured out that my diet was going to change drastically. The goal with competing is to drop to a low body fat percentage; the average bikini competitor should fall around 13% body fat. In order to do this, it was important that I ate 6 meals per day and spaced them out to eat every 2-2.5 hours exactly. Girls on my team sometimes stayed awake until two or three in the morning to get their final meals in.     Eating 3 meals per day is part of the norm. But once you get yourself involved with health and fitness, you’ll soon find from others in the industry that you should be eating 6 meals per day every 2 hours. “It’ll help with weight loss,” they say. “It’ll speed up your metabolism,” they say. What’s the deal? Does it really make a difference?   How weight loss works: calories in vs out   Directly, the number of meals or time you eat is almost irrelevant to weight loss. Weight loss is quite simple: it’s all about calorie expenditure (calories in vs. calories out). If your goal is weight loss then you need to be in a caloric deficit, regardless of anything else. There are several ways to get yourself into a deficit:
  1. Eat lower than your caloric maintenance level
  2. Start up a workout program for cardio
  3. Follow a workout program for resistance training
  4. Follow a workout program for cardio & resistance training
  The option that you choose is based upon preference and how soon you want results. The most effective program is one that includes cardio, weight training, and a maintainable diet (with cookies, if that’s what you’re into). Your meal timing and spacing won’t mean anything at all if you’re not in a caloric deficit.   Blood sugar, insulin, and meal timing   Indirectly, the number of meals you eat can be a game changer. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it was the worst and contributed to an eating disorder. Typically, eating more meals throughout the day can help in overcoming binge-eating disorders because it doesn’t cause your body to go into shock thinking that you need food (which happens often in a typical American diet), but with me it had the opposite effect because it caused me to think about food 24/7. Eating 3 meals per day vs. 6 smaller meals per day raises your blood sugar levels, which triggers a spike in your insulin. The purpose of insulin is to regulate blood sugar. In doing so, it takes the glucose (or sugar) in your body and moves it to your fat storage to lower your blood sugar. On top of this, it also disables your body to burn fat during this time. Sugar is in almost everything you eat, whether it’s considered “healthy” or “unhealthy”: candy, bread, rice, noodles, rice cakes, fruit, sweet potatoes, legumes, milk. Anything labeled as a “carb” is broken down into sugar by the body. This does not mean we should fear carbs; they’re our main energy source and we need them to live. Eat your carbs, but realize how eating too many at once can trigger an insulin spike. Because we need carbohydrates as optimal energy to survive, it’s important that we have them used as efficiently as possible rather than eating a ton at a time and having the rest stored as fat (and thus, preventing our bodies to burn fat during that time). Our bodies are in constant need of fuel throughout the day. Research says that every 2-3 hours is the time that we need to refuel and refeed our bodies. When we eat, our bodies digest those meals as quickly as 30-90 minutes. Whatever energy isn’t needed will be stored as fat and not be made useful to us.   Burning muscle instead of fat   Eating six small meals throughout the day guarantees that there will not be an insulin spike; there will be less sugar in your meals compared to eating a large meal. Because of this, very little (if any) of the calories from your meals will be sent to fat/ energy storage. This will not only stop energy from being stored as fat, but it also means that we are still able to burn fat throughout the day. Remember that our body takes energy from fat storage and uses them when needed throughout the day. Energy is often being stored as fat, but often being used as energy as well. This is why it’s important to remember that calorie expenditure is the most important thing in weight loss. As long as you’re in a deficit, you will be losing weight, but you may actually be losing muscle instead of body fat depending on how you time your meals. When you pay attention to meal timing, it ensures that your body is using body fat as energy instead of muscle. You don’t want fat burning to be altered because you spiked your insulin by eating too large of a meal. This is why sometimes bodybuilders lose more muscle than necessary due to the lack of consideration for meal timing.   Dieting to be happy   Personally, I do intermittent fasting; the complete opposite of eating small portion sizes. I prefer to eat a large amount of meals in a small amount of time or “window.” Intermittent fasting has its benefits as well and it all relates to preference and how our body and mind reacts individually to our plans. Intermittent fasting can be another great way of timing your meals, as it relies on fat storage for energy throughout the day. For me, eating larger meals at the end of the day keeps me from binge-eating. What works for one person may not work for the next. The beauty of health and fitness is discovering what works best for your mind and body. When it comes down to it, weight loss is all a matter of calories in vs. calories out, but meal timing and portion sizes are something to pay attention to if you want to take your fitness journey to another level.  

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Programs you may enjoy:

San Diego weight loss program Guide to Success: Goal-setting planner  Lean bulking bodybuilding fitness program

 

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Training
Weight loss rates in the United StatesOver 45 million people report going on a diet each year just within the United States. Along with this, billions of dollars are spent on weight loss programs each year, yet over 2/3 of our population is overweight. The real question is: why are you not losing the weight after all of these diet plans and workout programs? The answer to that is simple. There is only ONE thing that can lead to weight loss: being in a caloric deficit. If you’re not losing weight, you’re not in a caloric deficit. That’s something weight loss pills, waist trainers, and fad diets didn’t tell you. Just because you’re eating less, eating healthier,  or exercising more doesn’t mean you’re going to lose weight. It all depends on whether or not you’re going over your maintenance level. To ensure this means that you should not be using cookie-cutter diets, but rather using meal plans created specifically for you. The Steps You Must Take to Lose Weight  Okay, so you created a meal plan for yourself and workout 30-40 minutes per day, but after months and months of trying to lose this weight, you see no change. That’s because you’re eating too many calories or not exercising as hard as you need to be to lose that weight. Step 1: Figure out your BMR– this is how many calories you burn at rest, also known as your metabolism. To figure out your BMR, you can calculate the estimate by hand or just use an online calculator. Step 2: Once you have this number, drop your intake down by 150-500 calories. This will get you into the caloric deficit that you need to lose weight. Step 3: Find an activity to fall in love with. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn. Activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, sports, or weightlifting are all great forms of exercise to speed up weight loss and promote cardiovascular health. The key here is to make sure that your workouts are intense enough to get your heart rate up and trigger your body to burn more calories. How to lose weightIf you have all of these steps down, then you are good to go. Now take progress pictures and track your circumference measurements to make sure that you are seeing changes. If you’re not seeing changes after 4-6 weeks, then that’s a sign that your calories aren’t cut low enough or your workouts aren’t vigorous enough. Example Say your BMR is 2,500 calories. If you cut your calories by 500, then you would be eating 2,000 calories. Within a week you would already be losing one pound of body fat from cutting 500 calories from your diet. Now lets add in exercise to that plan. Say you burn 300-700 calories per day in the gym from HIIT workouts and weight lifting. You would be looking to lose 2 pounds of body fat per week. Within a month, you could be losing around 10 pounds. Understanding how weight loss works is important for those who want to make some serious changes in their life. Once you understand the basics of what it takes to lose weight, you will no longer fall into the traps in this industry. No more falling back into your old routines. Drop your fad diets and begin a real, healthy plan that will get you on the right track. Having trouble coming up with a meal plan? Scroll to the bottom of this page and SUBSCRIBE to my newsletters. I’ll be sending out the grocery list that I personally use and give to clients for their plans to those who sign up. Its time for change!

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