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Reading through the weekend 30 day challenge check-ins and loving the honesty. Lots of great things brought up that I want to touch on below.
The weekend often brings a different approach to nutrition, where many people feel they can kick back, and loosen up before hitting it hard again on Monday. The issue is, that your body doesn't process your Fri/Sat/Sun nutrition differently than your Mon-Fri nutrition, and if you truly want to reach your goals, you have to be "all-in" everyday.
Being all-in doesn't mean deprivation, or shying away from dinners parties and restaurants, it means that you just need to plan a little bit better, or let your friends know that you won't be having that extra glass of wine tonight - you've got goals and only one fits! You're committed to your health, and you've made it a rule to yourself not to blow over just because it's the weekend. Your friends will get over you skipping out on the extra piece of pizza.
"I really struggle with my macros on non training days - I have a hard time with the lower carbs and higher protein....every single weekend (my non training days are fri & sun) I end up binge eating and starting all over again Monday!
Hoping this challenge helps me stay on track for the next two days" - 30 day challenger
"I am really really struggling with my rest day macros! This week, I have had more than usual rest days due to other obligations (sad!) and I am having such a hard time with my fats and calories and even a bit of my carbs! I have no problem hitting my protein macros! My fats are always way too low. Today, even though I tried to focus on my fats, I was still at 20g lower than I should have been..... - Private Nutrition Client
Dr. Alli: I didn't set the macros for the first individual, but rest days can be extremely difficult to manage because likely your cals are lower, your carbs are lower, your fat is higher (second quote) and your protein can vary. Rest days present a problem, as some individuals think "I'll just workout and then eat my workout day calories" which actually can work the opposite to how you want it to. The cycling of carbohydrates is important as to promote muscle growth on some days, and maximize fat loss on the other days.
If you find yourself constantly binge eating on a certain day of the week something needs to change in either your macros programming, or the way you approach your macros on this specific day.
If hitting high fat is your problem...
For many of the individuals I work with, Fat is a increased on the rest day. Good choices need to be made in terms of the quality of fats you put in your body. Foods high in omega-3s are preferred. It can be tough to hit a high fat number without going over your carbs. I've compiled a list of foods below to opt for on your rest days.
Start early with a quality breakfast!
Consider adding fats/oils to your meals as a good way to hit your target
"Weekends are definitely harder but I always manage to be "ok" hitting the protein goal is harder to obtain for me. I've been doing my breakfast at 50g of protein. By lunch I hit 70-90g. But I still need to eat protein for dinner.... And I don't have much of an appetite for protein in the evening. I think I need to reverse my lunch/ dinner. Keep my dinner lighter. And jack up my lunch. It's all learning for me!"
Dr. A: Great idea! Nutrient timing is less important that hitting your overall macros.
"Today was my first "weekend" night, and I worked a long week, so I knew i would want a caesar. I made it fit and ended up moving things around to accommodate. Before, I would just eat and drink whatever and not worry so again I'm happy to have accountability. "
Dr: A: Nice job! Feels good to know you can still eat whatever you want, just in the portion sizes that works best to continue to hit your goals.
Interested in learning more about nutrition coaching? Click here!
After sharing a picture of my breakfast yesterday, which had 60grams of protein from chicken, egg whites & whey protein, the following question was asked. I thought it was a great question and that likely many people have it, so I've shared my response below.
Q: I was under the understanding that your body could only absorb approx. 20gr of protein at a time so shouldn't you keep you meals snacks around that?
Protein absorption - "how quickly can our digestive system absorb amino acids into our bloodstream to use for our physiological processes?" Now - this is a hugely complex question because it is very hard to measure, and it is different person to person based on size, gender, muscle mass, type of protein ingested etc.
Food does not move through the digestive tract in the same order it arrived in. Protein in the stomach will stimulate a certain hormone that will delay "gastric emptying" (this is why you feel more full when you eat protein). As it delays the emptying of the stomach, it is in essence "buying you more time" to absorb the amino acids from the protein you eat. So you could eat a sub sandwich, and the carbs could move fully through your small intestine, but the protein could remain for a while longer.
Once the amino acids have been absorbed into your blood, the body then uses them for tissue growth, repair.... if there is leftover protein then it can be converted into glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis.
Now, 20g of protein post-workout was found in this study to be the max amount needed to stimulate protein synthesis (in young men), which meant that eating more than 20g after working out did nothing more in terms of stimulating muscle growth. But there is a key difference here - anabolic response and protein absorption in one sitting are different things.
Back to my point about converting protein to glucose.... anything that you eat over the amount of the daily needs for your body will be stored and turned to body fat. One of the key things to note is that if you are following the proper macros for your goals (let's say weight loss) is that you body will 'burn that food' because you are in a caloric deficit.
This is not to say that nutrient timing is not important - it's just that your overall caloric and macronutrient intake should be addressed first.
Hope that helps.... sound off below if you have any more questions....
- Dr. Alli
P.S. learn more about the 75% rule here
I love the gym. I want you at CrossFit Groundworx. I want to train with you, I love it when my gym is full and buzzing with energy!
So why am I, a gym owner, chiropractor & fitness enthusiast, telling you to stay away from the gym and rest?
It may come as a shock, but training doesn't make you stronger. The act of exercising is very catabolic which literally means "break down." Your whole body is under stress: muscle fibres are damaged, tendons and ligaments strained and glycogen stores are depleted. Yet, exercising makes you stronger, it makes you look and feel good. So what's the secret?
Simple - you are gaining strength, repairing damaged muscles & refilling glycogen stores during your recovery stage.
Scheduling rest days are just as important as scheduling your workouts. Yet, often it's hard for people to take a day or two off because of the belief that it will set them back in their performance and progress.
It seems easier to get to the gym and bust your ass than take a recovery day. Squat 1RM stalled? More squatting! Fat loss stalled? More cardio! is commonly the first thing people do in an attempt to get better results.
Here are 4 reasons why you need to make a mental adjustment and start believing that days off are good for you, your strength, your fitness & your body composition.
1. REST BUILDS MUSCLE
When you engage in strength training, you are essentially 'tearing' muscle fibres. The repair of these small tears is what causes the muscle to grow - for you to become stronger and to look more 'defined.' Without a period of relative rest, your body does not get the opportunity to repair and grow. You are not getting the full benefit of your training if you are not resting.
2. YOUR PERFORMANCE WILL NOT SUFFER & CAN EVEN IMPROVE
Generally speaking, it takes about 2 weeks of inactivity before you see a noticeable dip in your performance level. A day, or two off from training will not set you back from the hard work you've been putting it. In fact, a day or two off is necessary to stay motivated,
3. STAY SHARP
Taking a period of relative rest can keep your hunger for progress sharp, and help to prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be as detrimental as physical fatigue. Taking a day off can recharge your body, and keep you excited for your training.
4. REST PREVENTS INJURIES
Taking a day off when something hurts might be common sense but still I hear "I thought it would go away" daily in my chiropractic clinic. Pushing too hard without time off can lead to overuse or repetitive strain injuries. These can take weeks and even months to recover from. Taking days off can be preventative and contribute to your longevity as an athlete.
Just like setting your performance goals, set your rest goals. What is something you want to accomplish on your day away from the gym? Go for a walk? Spend time playing pick-up with your kids? Look at your schedule and pick your weekly rest days. A day where your intense activity is limited to allow your body to recover. "Active recovery day" gets thrown around a lot - and I value a routine of light yoga or cardio to improve other components of your fitness like flexibility. Try adding in a regular weekly rest day and I promise your fitness and health will only benefit.
- Dr. Alli
Dr. Alli Cain is a chiropractor, CrossFit coach/box owner & nutrition consultant living in York Region. Her mission is to act as a catalyst for you to make a meaningful change to improve your health.
Not long ago, you were overcome with excitement to try something new! You showed up with high energy everyday, and made things happen for yourself. But overtime, your motivation has begun to waver, and your results are taking a hit because of it.
If you find you have been ebbing more than flowing lately, try 1 (or all) of these 9 suggestions to regain your momentum!
1. Eat a quality breakfast. Don't think past this meal and overwhelm yourself. Starting the day off right just may lead into you crushing a day of macros!
2. Start your day off with a tall glass of water after you brush your teeth.
3. Track all of your food today. No matter how it adds up, you'll learn from it.
4. Exercise for 10 minutes. 10 minutes is better than 0 - and who knows where it could lead.
5. Show up to your favourite workout class with the intention of being there just to move. Once you get going, you might find the energy to work HARD! But, even if the energy never shows up - at least you've moved your body and made some personal connections with other people in the class
6. Check the nutrition information before you go out. Websites or My Fitness Pal are great resources to learn the content of your food. Now you can make an informed decision.
7. Make an appointment to take care of you. Find a private trainer, chiropractor, RMT, etc. that will help elevate your health and leave your body feeling good.
8. Eat 1 serving of vegetables at your next meal. 5-10 servings of vegetables might sound impossible to you. But 1 is doable.
9. Go for a walk. It doesn't matter how long or how far, it just matters that you go.
Which are you going to do today to regain momentum for your health?
- Dr. Cain