The month of January is replete with resolutions for exercise and dieting. This article is about the diet aspect of those resolutions and how to hack your diet in a way for your change in body composition to last beyond the first few months of the year.
My first reaction when I hear someone is going on a diet, is usually to cringe. It is from my experience that dieting is not always done in a way to produce lasting weight loss effects. By lasting effects, I mean the weight does not stay off, which is typically the goal. Some diets can also throw your insulin levels and hormonal balance into a tailspin, resulting in the wrong impact on your waistline. A lot of diets get a great reputation because people lose a significant amount of weight on them within the first three to six months. These nutrition plans then get buzz when the person starts telling friends that they seemingly found a magical pill for weight loss. Unfortunately, too often I see that same person gain the weight back once the diet is over or they have given up on resolutions. The reason for the rebound back to the old weight is that the diet plan was not sustainable over a long period of time. The individual’s long term habits never changed. If a diet is too extreme (e.g. cutting out all carbs, or cutting out 500 calories a day), one is likely to come out of the diet in an extreme way. Below are a few sustainable nutrition solutions for weight loss to last:
- Cut back on your unhealthy foods gradually. Make a plan to cut a few ounces out of a sugary food every week. Or if you have a dessert food five times a week, try instead having it only two to three times.
- Find a healthier substitute for your cheat foods (and stick to it). This can be as simple as substituting a piece of fruit for a cookie. The piece of fruit still has sugar but it also most likely has enough fiber to keep you full longer. Dark chocolate can be a good substitute for milk chocolate, for all you chocolate lovers. Studies show dark chocolate satiates a person more than milk chocolate so you end up having your cravings satisfied with less of it. If you enjoy pizza once a week, avoid places like Jumbo Slice or Domino’s, and visit a shop with fresher, more natural ingredients.
- Do not reintroduce unhealthy foods that you do not miss back into your routine. If you end up not craving an unhealthy food that you did not eat for a month, keep abstaining from it. Avoid going back to that food just because your diet is over and it may be convenient. Keep replacing it with a healthy option so that the healthy option becomes the new normal.
- If you cut calories for weight loss, SLOWLY up the calorie intake once the diet is over. Your body adapts to lower calorie counts and becomes efficient at recruiting energy with the lower counts after a while. If you go immediately back to your old levels, while engaging in the same amount of activity, in the short term your body will store those excess calories as fat. You will end up where you started. It is better to add calories slowly into your diet. On the other side, you do want to add those calories eventually, especially if you were at a relatively low calorie count to begin with. Let’s say you cut your calories from 2200-1800 for a six week period. If you stay at that level of 1800 calories, then the next time you want to lose weight, you may have to cut to 1600 calories, then 1400, and so on. You can end up at a dangerously consumption easily. It’s a cycle that you can dodge by gradually upping your calorie count over the course of a couple months to pre-diet levels.
- All calories are not created equal. The quality of calorie you ingest can have benefits on your body composition as well. Sugar is processed differently than fish, which is processed differently than spinach. If you can eat foods that are nutrient-rich instead of junk foods then those calories will do more for your overall goals. You have probably heard of the saying “calories in versus calories out.” The thought behind this saying is that if someone burns more calories than they ingest, then they will lose weight. The saying is obviously simplistic because the quality of food you put in your body goes a long way as well.
Follow these rules and you’ll have less bread to break up. Normally when I talk about diet to a client, there is a glaring unhealthy cheat food, that they know they need to cut out. Whether that is snacking when bored at the office, pints of ice cream on the weekend, late night eating, etc. If this sounds like you, and you gain control of those habits, you will be well on your way to lasting weight loss. I hope these tips help. These are the habits that are easy to control and are most likely to last until the next new year.
16 Jan 2017
At Verve and CrossFit Rosslyn, we know that getting fit takes some serious hard work. It takes a certain mindset to make it through a tough workout while motivating yourself and others along the way. We like to recognize those who not only show growth and determination within our programming, but also inspires others to be their best!
To kick off 2017, our first Client Spotlight of the New Year is David Rummler! A long-time CrossFit Rosslyn member, David’s hard work, positivity, and consistency with the various movements in CrossFit has allowed him to progress amazingly as an athlete. He’s also big on being a part of our fitness community; he recently competed in last month’s Holiday Throwdown and placed 2nd with his teammate Kristen McInerney! Read his story below!
Please introduce yourself and what brought you to Verve Health & Fitness/CrossFit Rosslyn.
Hello, my name is David Rummler and I am fighting the on-set of middle age…. and winning! I’m a father of two tweenagers and husband to an active wife; I can barely keep up with my family, work, travel, life. Three years ago, a friend suggested CFR as a way to learn OLY lifts and “get out of my backyard”.
Prior to working out at Verve/CFR, what was your fitness/athletic background?
Collegiate & high school competitive rower; This was mainly full body endurance/cardio activity (legs/back) with eight other disturbed individuals on the water in unison; conducted 3 water seasons and winter land training (which in hindsight may have been CF before CF existed (9 people getting yelled at by a deranged coach w/sandbag squats, sprints, bench rows, burpees & ergs)). My collegiate heavyweight boat average weight was 212lbs and I was 176 lbs as the stroke; and we took many Ivy League shirts. Post college has been a continual search for a sustainable fitness program that wasn’t monotonous (various gyms/personal training, masters rowing (x8,x2,x1), marathon training) and a program that could fit within the challenges of daily life. Before CFR, I created a backyard CF set-up where I can do just about everything, but doing a WOD by yourself is just a little lonely and a lot less accountable.
What was your initial impression after your first training session/group class at Verve/CFR?
Initial impressions at CFR were great trainers who introduced movement instructions for each class with definition of standards and efficiency tips. There were non-intimidating scaling options provided. I felt personal accomplishment for finishing my first CF WOD of 200 Wallballs and left eagerly interested in “What’s coming tomorrow?”…but also unsure if I would be too sore to come back? After several recovery days of avoiding stairs I returned to a second WOD where I was instructed to grab a Med ball run across Key Bridge and run 20 “Exorsist” stairs with your friend (I named my med ball “Wilson”); I hated/loved it!…..Hooked.
What was your biggest challenge with starting your fitness regimen at Verve/CFR?
- Giving up control! I like to program/plan/schedule, but w/CF ..who knows what we’re doing tomorrow. I would always wonder “Who’s behind the programming curtain & why are they so angry at the world” WODs don’t care what you’re good at or how you’re feeling or what you’d like to do that day; just “getter done” and we’ll see you tomorrow.
- Working out sore. I still don’t know what gets me. The intensity? The weight? Or maybe it’s the quantity of the movements. But it still happens.
- Performing certain skills – there are things that I just can’t do (for now)! So instead I have to focus on attempting to figure out something I can; which will eventually lead me to perform the ”out of reach” skill. Overall three years later… I love NOT planning a workout now, it’s one less thing to think about and schedule; and overall I think I’m a little bit better at everything and the unknown.
Please share with us some of your proudest fitness accomplishments.
PR’s are a highlight, and typically only come after adequate recovery and after I learn/apply some new “nugget” a coach/trainer provides. Accomplishing WODs with heavier weight (Rx if possible); even though it sometimes takes me twice as long to finish, I’m hoping doing this will allow me to increase strength over time. At least in the mean-time for each WOD; I’m collecting more MEPS (CFR’s heart monitor (MyZone) motivation program). Some of my other highlights have been getting Banded Bar Muscle-ups, Hang Cleans, completing Murph (brutal), and performing the CF Open WODs better than I expected.
What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
My favorite movements are the Snatch, OH Squats, Rope Climbs and Erging; my least favorite movements are Double Unders, Handstand Push-ups, Lunges. I have learned that Crossfit is fundamentally “humbling”; no matter how much you think you’re going to enter the gym and “crush a workout”; CF always brings another level, an unexpected combination or targeting muscle groups that unapologetically challenges you equally to the intensity you put in.
Outside of working with the Verve/CFR trainers, what’s the biggest difference that you’ve noticed in your day-to-day life?
Everyone’s situation is a little different, but working out daily w/CFR enables me to do what I’m good at professionally by acting as a “pressure relief” to stress and enabling me to withstand an office profession. None of us are made to be contained in a building and in a sitting position for the majority of a day. The other aspect of my day-to-day life it helps with is maintaining a mini-farm (sustainable garden, flock of 20 chickens & pasture) which requires “real-life” farmer carries (2x5gal buckets of water), hauling 50lb feed bags, cutting trees and chopping wood.
What are your future fitness goals?
Generally, I need to work on my “engine” (cardio endurance) and mental fortitude (I really don’t like “dark places”). Specific goals for 2017 are to snatch 135#, get one ring muscle-up, string together more than 25 double-unders consecutively. I plan to use my fitness more, play more outdoors with my family (climbing, hiking, trail runs, surfing, skiing, travel). My fitness level can be improved, but I know I am stronger than I was last year.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
Focus on technique, attempt to master the movements efficiently. Every repetition counts; don’t short-change yourself. Similarly to rowing, there is a very fine balance between efficiently applying power with technique each stroke, balanced on a “knife edge” and making the boat move really fast or applying all (unconstrained) power, unbalanced and flipping the boat (going nowhere). I think about this practicing CF/Oly lifts; where having the right technique enables one to apply more power (more weight) as I would become more comfortable. Other recommendations would be to use & rely on the Verve/CFR trainers & coaches, watch You-Tube demos and most of all have fun. The folks you meet in CF (especially the CFR community) will challenge you, compete against you, impart knowledge & strategy, commiserate with you, and motivate you.
Share something random about yourself!
I broke my tailbone snowboarding on east coast snow/ice and couldn’t row or do sit-ups for 8 months; even squats hurt. Don’t give up… the human body is amazing!
02 Jan 2017
Check out January’s CrossFit Foundations schedule! Foundations classes take place every Wednesday and Friday @ 6:00pm. These classes are a great way for both beginners to learn the basics and for the seasoned CrossFitter to help refresh and perfect their skills!
And remember: these classes come free with any CrossFit Rosslyn *month-to-month or *6-month term membership. They will not go against your class count! This makes it even easier to keep our athlete’s skills consistent and safe.
Four Must-dos for Fitness
Every exercise routine should encompass these four aspects of fitness:
- Flexibility/Proper Ranges of Motion
If one of these pillars of fitness is ignored by your program, then incorporate it as soon as possible. Specialization in any one of the aspects is fine as well, but not at the expense of the others.
Drink lots of water. Limit sugar. Get enough protein for your body type and goals. Eat fiber and your veggies.
Range of Motion/Flexibility
Proper range of motion through your joints and musculature is KEY for a healthy body. The overhead squat test is one of the best measures of this. Take a PVC pipe or a dowel, hold it overhead and see if you can squat down.
Get out of breath. The more you get out of breath during your workouts, the less that will happen in your daily life. It keeps your heart and lungs pumping efficiently. Run, bike, swim, do intervals, etc.
If there is no foundation of strength, the rest usually falls apart. Being strong also means being stable. There are muscles that are movers while others stabilize. Make sure you are exercising both, but first, build a great foundation of balance and stability.
If you want to live a long, healthy life, and be active and upright into your later years, the best way to do that is through a strength program. It is not as daunting a task as most will have you believe. Two to three days a week of lifting in the squat, deadlift, and press can go a long way to ensure maintenance of bone density, and long term functionality.
Keep in mind these four aspects. I do believe nutrition is at the top of the chain, but never let the others fall by the wayside.
09 Dec 2016
Holiday Throwdown WOD #3:
- Synchro Shoulder-to-Overhead (75#/45#)
- Synchro Front Rack Lunges (75#/45#)*
*Lunges are counted as 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc.
Details for this workout will be explained in more detail prior to the WOD start time.
The FINAL Throwdown WOD will be announced on the day of the competition after all other workouts are performed.
If you are not RSVP’d to compete, come down to spectate and to join in on the potluck!
09 Dec 2016
Holiday Throwdown WOD #2:
4 Rounds for Time of
- 250 Meter Row
- 25 Wall Balls (20# to 10’/14# to 9′)
Split up the work however you like!