7 Ways To Lose Money On Your Health & Fitness?

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Colin Powell

You’ve finally decided. You’re going to take your health and fitness seriously, or maybe you’re already on that road. Good for you. Except along the way you’ll see that there are money pits and cleverly disguised scams to take you for every cent you have with nicely packaged slogans. After years of experience, I’m here to steer you right and help you avoid sinking your hard-earned dollars in unnecessary ways and who they are really right for. Let’s jump right in.

1) Protein Powders. Let’s start with the obvious. Everyone sells them and the prices range from 5lb (2.27 kg)’s for $10 all the way up to $85 for 22lb (9.98 kg)’s. Is it worth it? The short of it is, absolutely not. Just from a useful aspect, there are several reasons why you don’t and one superb reason why you do. The first reason you don’t, there is no need for an overly elevated amount of protein to build muscle. Even a slightly increased amount over the norm will do. Secondly, they market the “window of opportunity” for maximum muscle synthesis. That’s all wrong as well. The muscle-building signal lasts for up to 24 hours after a workout and to that point, studies show that fasting after a heavy workout does not cost you gains.
Who’s it for? If you tragically under eat protein and try as you might you just can’t seem to fix it; if you are vegan and your diet plan is not dialed in like crazy or you find yourself in a situation where you can’t hit your numbers then that is where this supplement comes in real handy. It’s not the devil, just not the be all end all the hype makes it out to be.

2) BCAA’s. Not to keep harping on supplements but since we’re here. Branch chain amino acids are found naturally in many foods. Why not just take the supplements though for ease and convenience? Looking at the natural source for BCAA’s:

— Eggs

— Dairy

— Lentils

— Chickpeas

— Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts.

So when you eat these natural BCAA rich sources, you also get healthy fats, proteins, Macro, and micronutrients. Instead of isolating one thing, you get so much more.

3) Gym membership. You are either in or you are out. Every year thousands of people buy a gym membership and never use it enough to validate its cost or use it at all. It might not seem like a lot but that extra money could be put to better use. On the upside, you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape at all. Doing home workouts is on the rise and just as effective. Your only real need for a gym is the personal training if you are a greenhorn. Then the money is well worth it, but only if you use it.

4) Bad or Wrong programs. Worse than a wasted gym membership is buying into an overhyped, overpriced program. If you’re new, regardless of your goals, keep it simple. Tabata, HIIT, “infernos” and other such programs have their place, but it’s best to start with strength training. Calisthenics costs zero. Do your body weight and work up to weights. Cardio is great too, but start with longer walks then work into a higher intensity. Without the right base, you’ll set yourself up for injury and a non-sustainable program.

5) “Diet Foods.” A big money maker and also a total waste is over-processed “diet foods.” I don’t want to dump on the whole industry, but the so-called “healthy” and “low calorie” is a sham. In my article “Why Health Is Killing America” I get further into this. While there are a few clean prepared foods, if you can just eat whole foods (which you should) then stick to that. Convenience is a real issue for some. Sacrifices must be made.

6) Pills, elixirs, and other Get-thin-quick schemes. Hard work and time is what’s going to get things done, not fat burners, carb absorbers (yes, that’s a real thing) or “natural testosterone boosters.” Most of these come manufactured with synthetic ingredients and those that don’t show promise of working. Want to boost testosterone, balance hormones? Reduce stress.

7) Your Time. I know this isn’t a product but time is money. Every minute you spend unnecessarily following an arbitrary trend or program you can’t get back. For example, studies have shown that anything over roughly an hour in the gym doesn’t generate any more benefits than 45 minutes to an hour. So situate your programs to equal an hour per workout and you won’t burn time. You have a life after all and a life spent just working out is contradictory to what you should be doing. Your workouts should be complementary to your life, not the other way around.

No matter what methods you use, nothing short of hard work, dedication and a healthy relationship with your body will get the job done. Everything else is just a tool.

What’s Slowing Your Metabolism – Nine things to consider

“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” 

Fran Lebowitz

What’s slowing your metabolism? What causes it to speed up? Listed below are several reasons your fuel burning ship had run aground and what you can do reverse the damage.

● Not eating enough. Whhhaaatttt? Seems contrary. Eat more to burn more. It’s true. By eating more whole foods, you’ll light the fire. Your body wants to produce and by supplying the right fuel in the right quantity, you’ll get it going.

● Eating too much junk. Yup. I just told you to eat more now I’m telling you not to. Well, kinda. The artificial flavors, colorings and other additives in heavily processed foods can add excessive fat to your cells. Full of fats, oils, and sugars, eaten with high carbs is a recipe for a stalled engine.

Artificial colors and flavors to reel you in and keep you

● Not eating enough protein. It’s actually pretty common if your not a regular training enthusiast and even if you are, to under eat your muscle building fuel. Studies are dispelling the myths of protein consumption. Turns out you don’t need 1 to 2 grams per pound. Based on you activity, even a slightly elevated amount will yield great results.

● Doing too much cardio. Seems weird, but go with me for a moment. These are arbitrary numbers for the sake of explanation. So your trying to get to a goal weight, you need to shed 15lbs or 20lbs. So you cut you calories by 1,000 from 2,500 to 1,500 and start to run, cycle or zumba you way to greatness. After a while you hit a plateau. So you cut calories by 500 more to get things moving and up the cardio. Now your original 1,000 cut which dropped your total intake to 2,500 is now your maintenance and 2,000 calories is cut level. Eventually you continue down this path until you no longer eat but photosynthesize for food and your up to 1.5 hours of cardio. What do you think happens if you don’t maintain this? What’s worse is that if you gain it back, studies show your body adds additional fat cells for survival purposes so now you gain back more weight and have a harder time taking it back off. So what’s a person to do? See below.

● Do more resistance training. Aside from breaking up the monotony of treadmill life, building muscle will kick your muscle-less metabolism into gear. Let’s look at the body like an economy. Building soft fat costs very little. It’s cheap, easily sourced materials and abundant. Strong muscle, on the other hand, is expensive. Materials and time can get pricey. Your body, if fed properly and not in a starvation mode, will pump into the muscle economy, dumping fat storage in lieu of this newfound resource. The trick is, you have to train heavy and often enough to send the muscle-building signal. Muscles at rest burn aprrox. 50 calories/day per pound of muscle, while fat cells only require about 3 calories per day per pound of fat. No gorging for gains either. Keep it clean and you’ll also keep it lean

● Not sleeping enough. Workouts don’t build a thing, only break stuff down. Gains are made in your sleep. Even if you are active, by not getting adequate sleep, you could be sabotaging your metabolism. Your body likes a schedule too. Try to get 7 to 8 hours a night and aim for the same times daily.

● Dehydration. Fun fact, if you want a serious pump in the gym before you go drink a boat ton of water. Not having enough water in a system made mostly of it causes your body to reallocate its efforts. Keep it hydrated to keep it focused.

● Avoid get-thin quick scams. Fat burners, diet fads, and bogus cheap supplements only slow your progress. There is no “body in a bottle.” It comes from discipline, wisdom and time. If you are taking a fat burner and still eating bagels and donuts daily, odds are you are not hitting your goals. I know it won’t get you runway ready in 2 weeks, but the effort will be worth it. The true goal is to fall in love with the process and make the change permanent, not just seasonal.

● Highly processed grains. The U.S. is one of the largest grain consuming nations. Commercially sold bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, muffins, desserts, flours, chips, and granola bars. To help combat obesity, the USDA now highly recommends limiting consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium. Not just a metabolism killer, eating mostly carb-based diets can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Best to choose natural fiber-rich foods as opposed to refined grains.

If you feel like you are the victim of a slowed metabolism, there are steps you can take to get it going. Above all know two things. One, it took a while to get it that way and two, it’s going to take some work to get it back. As someone who has done it, I can honestly say it is a lot of work but it is completely worth the effort.

My Experience With Intermittent Fasting

Maybe you’ve heard or read something about intermittent fasting (I.F.) but figured eh, that’s for religious people and stuff. Isn’t it? This is my journey with I.F. why I started it, what the benefits are, how it affected me, the ups, the downs and how sustainable it is and what it is really useful for.

Ever been in a hurry to get somewhere like work and not have time to eat? This happens to me a lot actually. Well back in the day if I didn’t eat before work, I would very quickly get this feeling of absolute bodily distress. First the energy dip, then the slight nausea sets in, after that the shakes and feeling of weakness. Finally, you feel like you want to just take a nap, but with an extreme case of brain fog. This was my blood sugar bottoming out and my body not knowing what to do because it didn’t have the glycogen to run it. I would remedy it by eating a bagel or donut and about 15 minutes I would be back to life. At least until it started all over again.

I talked to others who pretty much did the same thing as me (not eating) and they didn’t have the same experience. So…what was my malfunction? I did some research, and by research I mean I spent weeks looking into every possible reason. Hormones, diseases, allergies. The problem with the internet is that every symptom lines up with every ailment. Got a cough? It could be allergies…or tuberculosis. Slight rash? Could be a reaction to a new detergent…or the onset of leprosy. It’s too broad and honestly, you can find anything to support what you think it is as opposed to what it actually is. Fortunately for me, I didn’t just get my info based on that one scenario. Here was how I got my definitive answer.

Years ago when I was hip-deep into my running I noticed that I was bonking out even on short runs.

I wasn’t quite sure why. I would literally run out of energy and afterward would have to stuff my face to feel normal. Everything I read was to “eat before you workout. Carb up before your run.” Problem is, I’m an early riser. Because of…life, I do all my workouts and just about any other activities almost directly after waking up, so I don’t have time to eat before a workout and wait two hours. I do all workouts, running or weight training fasted.

What made it worse was that even after I ate what I thought was healthy foods for breakfast, an hour later I would start breaking down. So initially I looked into specific foods when I came across a message board that had a question just like mine. It had one response. Insulin resistance. After hours of reading, I felt I had an answer. So I started playing around. I did all the things to spark it and it worked. So, what fixed it then?

Most articles tell you nothing. It doesn’t have a cure but interestingly says it could last months or years. So it just goes away? No, it does not. The one thing I read was that you wanted to get away from carbs and be more fat adapted. Thus my fling with Keto would begin, but this isn’t about that. To get my body fat-adapted, I looked into the ancient practice of fasting.

This is where it began. Looking into how we lived in the past, how we went from season to season. It was common knowledge but seemed so revolutionary. So I was going to do it. A 24 hour fast. Except I didn’t because, as I would describe at the time, I almost died. Or so it felt. Turns out, it’s not something you just jump right into. Discouraged but not defeated I came across Intermittent Fasting. Typically 16 to 18 hours. How you do it is, right when you stop eating the previous day the clock starts. You do 12 hours from that time then you want to push 5 to 6 hours after that to reap the benefits. Truth is, your only going to get s good 4 hours of legitimate fasting time. This will take you from say 7 pm until 12 pm the next day. While 4 hours doesn’t sound all that impressive, the effects it has on you is absolutely amazing.

Primary benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

• Boosts energy.

• Weight loss

• Increases energy.

• Promotes cellular repair and autophagy (when your body consumes defective tissue in order to produce new parts)

• Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes. BINGO!

• Lowers bad cholesterol.

• Promotes longevity.

I definitely centered around insulin resistance and autophagy.

Science of Autophagy

There are tons of reasons to fast. It increases longevity, fights diseases. It also increases one’s grit. If you can tolerate going days without eating, mentally you become more disciplined. It was very tough when I started so I did some research and found something to help get me going. A little known supplement called Konjac Glucomannan.

Glucomannan works in the stomach and intestines by absorbing water to form a bulky fiber that treats constipation. It may also slow the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, helping to control sugar levels in diabetes, and reducing cholesterol levels. –WebMd

What does this mean for you if you are doing intermittent fasting? For staters, it helps control hunger by absorbing massive amounts of fluids and giving you s full feeling without actually eating. Secondly, it helps control blood sugar. Now technically speaking your not fasting while taking this, but if you have insulin resistance this is a huge help to get there. Remember, if you have any sort of insulin issues and you dive headfirst into a fast, it could be disastrous.

After a few months of using this, my ability to sustain without eating was getting better. I decided it was time. I did my first 16 hour fast. It was rough. I had zero energy, but I didn’t feel like I was crashing and that got me pumped. I would us I.F. along with Keto for quite some time. Made my running much easier.

Since then, I stopped keto, but I would continue to I.F. for almost a year. It would always help when I would get sick or if my diet was slipping or if I just need a reset to help get me back on track. As a result of fasting periodically for years, I can now eat a regular healthy diet and not experience blood sugar issues. Since I used nothing else aside from I.F. to combat these issues, I largely contribute my success to it

Intermittent fasting is a tool. It’s not meant to be the only way to live. There are people who fast constantly. Your body likes things in cycles. Feast and famine as it were. This helps keeps your body sensitive to carbs, proteins, and sugars. I find that endurance athletes benefit the most from this, in combination with a low carb diet, help create a fat adaptation that uses fat as fuel long, steady energy as opposed to quick burning, high yield glycogen.

To this day I still practice intermittent fasting. I primarily use it as a reboot tool now. When I’m changing eating habits, either seasonally or just willfully, I’ll usually use I.F. to help clean the slate. Typically it’s recommended that you do it minimum for times a year, so about every three months. It can last on the low end one week (16 to 18-hour fasts) up to 4 weeks. After this time you will want to transition back for a period. But why, if I.F. is so beneficial?

The short is, your body is an adaptation machine. If you do I.F. often, it’ll put you in a caloric deficit, over time (not as long as you would think) it will slow your metabolism down, making your body a fat-storing, muscle wasting beast. After all, fat price is cheap and muscle cost is steep. Ever heard of skinny fat? The benefit of having a higher percentage of muscle to fat ratio is a whole different article. Suffice to say, however, that a slower metabolism makes it harder to burn fat should you gain any weight or if you haven’t lost as much as you wanted and you plateau. This is why we were designed to cycle, otherwise, we break the machine. You can do it. It gets easier and it will make you healthier, happier and stronger. Even for weight training, fasting does NOT burn muscle first. Studies will show that you can use I.F. while doing resistance training.

I hope this has helped shed some light on the matter. This was my personal experience over 2 years’ time. If you would like to share yours or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I will answer.