We don’t believe in "stupid questions." Please ask away! We want this experience to not only be a positive one. . . But a learning experience as well! Before you fire off an email, please take a look at my frequently asked questions.
I have a food scale now, but I’m not sure how to measure my food. Do I have to weigh my chicken raw? What about rice and potatoes?
o Meats, poultry, and fish are cooked measures. o Potatoes, oats, and pasta are dry measures.
o Brown rice is a cooked measure.
If I’m not hungry, do I need to eat?
o If you haven’t met your macros for the day yet, then yes. Consider yourself fortunate that you’re feeling full while you’re dieting - it won’t last long! Remember that if you’re not meeting my macros, which means I’m unable to make changes to your diet since you’re not following my program in the first place.
This feels like so much food. Are you sure I’m on dieting macros?
o This is a common concern amongst individuals who are not used to eating mostly whole foods. I promise you that you’re eating on a calorie deficit. You’re feeling full because you’re sticking to nutrient-dense food choices.
I’m starving. What do I do?
o Increase your fibrous veggie intake and perhaps consider eating fewer calorie-dense foods. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep, and eating all your meals. Don’t be afraid to consume your scheduled meal a little earlier than planned if the hunger is really bothering you.
o Change your mindset to “dieting stinks!” to “dieting is difficult, but I can do it.” Fat loss is simple, but it’s not easy. Once you understand and accept that fact, the journey will become a lot smoother.
What can I use to track my macros?
o You have a couple of options. Otherwise I know people use CalorieKing, FitDay, MyFitnessPal, and the LiveStrong websites - they’re free, you can save all your information, and they calculate all your macros out for you. For those with a smartphone, I recommend downloading one of the apps (I personally like MyFitnessPal) for an at-hand tool.
I can't seem to get the calories/macros to line up in MFP, for tomorrow I have 155g carbs, 67g fat, 160g protein, yet it's only totaling 1829 calories. Do I trust the macro and not worry about the calories, use a different app, or...?
o Ignore the calorie count - I've noticed that it tends to be off as well. Makes no sense. Just meet your macros.
Sometimes I find that I still need 20g of protein at the end of the day but have already hit my fats and carbs. If I add a protein shake to get the protein I will go over in my carbs a bit and therefore my calories. Just wondering if it comes to that if I bother trying to hit the protein macro for that day?
o Yes you should. Refer to the food list and choose one of the lean protein sources. But if you're in a bind, I'd much rather you hit your total calories and be slightly off on the macros. HOWEVER, ideally that won't happen because you will have PLANNED AHEAD
In counting carbs, are we counting "net" carbs (subtracting fiber), or entire carb count?
o Everything. Though you don't need to count fibrous veggies (eg. broccoli, spinach, lettuce etc.) at all UNLESS you are consuming more than a few cups a day.
But I hate broccoli...?
o So don’t eat it. Find another veggie that you are willing to eat. Asparagus, green beans, kale - do you like any of those? There’s no point in forcing yourself to choke down foods that you hate; that’s only going to make you harbor negative feelings about the dieting process. Choose the path of least resistance.
Isn’t dried fruit a healthy option? What about granola or trail mix?
o Contrary to popular belief, the answer is... not really. They’re surprisingly high-sugar and very calorie dense. Look at a 1⁄4 cup serving of granola. It’s usually over 200 calories. That seems like an awful lot of calories for a tiny portion, doesn’t it? If you really love these snacks, then go ahead and incorporate them into your day, but be very careful about how much you consume.
Recipes: I like to cook some recipes that incorporate many macros into it, such as a casserole. Is this okay while following our plan since what I portion for myself will not necessarily have the exact amount of protein, carbs or fat that all servings will have? If the recipe is calculated out to be 6 portions I'd just have that portion (as best I can) but it's possible the amount of chicken, for instance, in that portion may be a bit more/less than another portion would be. In short, macros will not be exact...
o Yes, that's fine. As long as not every meal is like this. Do I need to kick my daily _____ habit? It’s my favorite!
o Use your food scale to weigh out a small portion everyday and fit it into your macros. Yes, you can! I’m serious! :)
What do I do with all this junk food in my house?
o Either stash it away or throw it all out. It may seem like a waste of money but the payoff will be great. Your waistline will be thanking you.
When do I eat my carbs? Only in the morning? Do I have to stop after 6pm like Oprah Winfrey does?
o Absolutely not. Center your carbs around your workout. So if you’re exercising in the morning, you carbs should be consumed in the early hours of the day. If you’re working out later in the evening, then it’s perfectly fine to have your carbs at night.
o Your body does not shut down once the clock strikes 6p.m. Be smart about fuelling your body at the right times.
Oops, a whole bag of chocolate-covered almonds just fell into my mouth. What do I do now? How do I regulate damage control?
o First things first: come talk to me. Send me an e-mail and we’ll chat.
o In general, I’d advise that you brush yourself off and continue on your diet. Do not manipulate your macros to “make up” for your blooper unless I say otherwise. This is critical. The last thing I want is for any of you to fall into a binge-starve-repeat cycle. It’s too easy to fall into the mindset that you can eat more today and fast tomorrow... but that’s a recipe for disaster. Accept that you made a mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Is there a particular amount of carbs/protein that we should be trying to hit pre/post workout?
o Not particularly, though ideally you'd have a protein + fat pre-workout and protein + carb post-workout. The PWO (post-workout) window is also the best time to get in your "fun" treats (eg. Starbucks Frappuccino, sugary cereal, ice cream, etc.)
For warm up sets, do you recommend doing these for every exercise in a training session, or just the bigger ones like squats, deads, bench, etc.?
o For the most part, yes. But if you're feeling like you could benefit from a warm-up set, then definitely throw it in.
How do I track the calories I’ve burned through my training and cardio?
o The short answer: you don’t. Unless you’re using something like the BodyBugg (which is very expensive), just about every single application and machine that tries to calculate your calorie burn is grossly inaccurate. I once had a treadmill try to tell me that I burned over 1,000 calories after running for an hour! Work hard during your workouts, but don’t worry about how much energy you’ve expended. Focus instead on nailing your nutrition and you’ll be golden. I promise.
Is it good to do extra cardio outside of the days prescribed?
o If you enjoy it, then go right ahead. But I will warn you to be very careful. Think about it: you’ve only just begun your fat loss process and you’re getting in 3-5 workouts a week. Sounds good in theory, right? Well, what happens when your progress stalls? You’re either going to have to drop calories a little or sprinkle in a little more exercise. The only direction you can go with the cardio you’ve been doing is up. Seriously? Why would you want to keep piling it all on?
o Think of it this way: cardio should only be administered when absolutely necessary. You can make plenty of progress with the workouts I have prescribed you; if it gets to the point where I as your nutrition coach feel like additional cardio is warranted, I will let you know.
I missed a workout. Can I combine two days into one?
o Back-to-back training sessions on the same day? I don't recommend it. If you missed a day on your diet, would you combine two days’ worth of macros into one?
o Simply pick up where you left off.
These workouts seem easy. Is it okay that I’m shortening the rest periods?
o A training program is as easy or as hard as you make it. It’s your responsibility to pick the appropriate weight for the prescribed rep range and to deliver the intensity. If you feel like the rest periods are too long, you’re not working hard enough. Do not shorten the rest periods; they are set the way they are for a reason.
I gained 0.6lbs since yesterday and now my day is ruined! My diet’s not working! I’ve failed!
o Stop right there. How much water did you drink yesterday? How much salt did you ingest? Did you burn the same number of calories, did you pee and poop exactly the same as the day before? I don’t think so. Day- to-day fluctuations in bodyweight are to be expected, so don’t blow little changes out of proportion. Fat loss is not a strictly linear process. What matters is that you’re observing a long-term downward trend.
o Also keep in mind that muscle is much more dense than fat. If you’re a beginner to strength training (or if you’re on steroids!), you’ll likely experience a phenomenon known as “recomposition,” or “recomp” for short. This is when you simultaneously gain muscle and shed fat... the sweet spot that everyone wants! If this is what’s happening, you’ll find that you’re looking better and better in the mirror but the scale weight is either staying the same or increasing. Relax. Good things are happening.
What kind of rate of progress should I expect?
o If you’ve in pretty good shape to begin with, then I would say 0.5- 2.0lb/week weight drop is to be expected. For the much heavier folks, faster progress is normal, as they have more fat to lose. So don’t discredit yourself if you’ve “only” lost 1lb in a week. The Biggest Loser has brainwashed us into thinking that we need to lose upwards of 5- 15lbs in a 7-day span, and this is absolutely not realistic!
o You don’t really want to lose at a faster rate than this because you want to retain what muscle mass you have. Drastic drops in bodyweight is usually an indicator that you’re either A) losing water weight (which is common at the beginning of a fat loss journey), or B) you’re losing muscle mass. Do you want to weigh less but be nothing but a smaller, flabbier version of yourself? I didn’t think so. Don’t let this be you!
When’s the best time for me to take my measurements?
o First thing in the morning – after you’ve done your bathroom business – on an empty stomach. Not in the evening after you’ve spent an entire day ingesting food into your belly, not after you’ve chugged a bunch of water.