Category Archives: Body Bugg

Bacon and wine

20131020-224103.jpgI owe this blog an update on IGSF Worlds that was in Athens, Greece two weeks ago…but I need to save that for another day at the moment.

Since Worlds has been over for the past two weeks I have not been on a DIEt. I have another post coming on being on a DIEt, but think of every bad thing related to DIEt and DIEting and that was my most recent experience with needing to lose 10lbs for Worlds.

But that is not my point at the moment. Needing to lose 10lbs for IGSF Worlds was necessity and very specific and being restrictive I knew would last for an extremely short amount of time. But life is not confined in those types of little boxes and now that I have relaxed what I eat and when I eat it.

You see…I believe in moderation. Since I had something very specific, like a timeline for weigh-ins for IGSF Worlds…I was extremely strict with my diet. And I was OK with that. There was an end point for that DIEt. (and yes…i am emphasizing DIE in DIEt…because it is no fun). It was specific. It was measurable. But it wasn’t fun. There was minimal sugar, no alcohol, regimented food intake, lower carbs, and in general…food was a chore. The reason I say it was a chore was because it was all about macros and carb counts and calorie counts. I pulled out my body bugg and checked my calorie expenditure and tracked my stepps taken. Did it work? yes. Did I make weight? Yes. But it isn’t living. In the sense of Throeau: “I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life…”.

Food is an interesting, emotionally charged issue. We commune with people when we eat with them. We break bread. Food gives us neurotransmitter uplifts like serotonin that makes us feel good about what we are eating…hence we find comfort in our food. And this is not a bad thing when taken in moderation. But finding that moderation is not an easy challenge. I want to find a balance in my life where I can drink some wine, eat some bacon, enjoy a sweet or three and be comfortable with the choice. Too often we berate ourselves for every little food choice  that we deem ‘not good’. But the reality is…it is ALL good…but sometimes it is just too much. But sometimes you just eat bacon and wine for dinner and call it ‘good’.

How do we get to a homeostasis with our body that both supports a weight that is healthy as WELL as a way to live and chose food that we LOVE. And a way to LOVE our body in a manner that allows for the times when it jiggles just a little too much and might not be some Photoshopped image that we have to compare our self to…but we understand that fitness and fatness are a continuum and some days we get it right and some days we realize that maybe we need to pay a little more to eating more veggies and getting more exercise.

Here is a secret…and it shouldn’t be a secret. If 80% of the time you make really, really good food choices…the other 20% of the time (which amounts to 2-4 meals/week)…you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t go super crazy. But what I want every client to learn is how to fully be present and fully  enjoy that 20%.  I don’t want that 20% to be ‘ooops’…I want them to be: I ate this amazing meal with my significant other or with a close friend and I discovered this amazing restaurant that made the most amazing dinner and desert and I ate it…enjoyed it…didn’t over eat…but savored every moment of it…and then the next day thought about how wonderful the evening was because I didn’t feel guilty about the food I ate and loved every moment with the person I was sharing that moment with and today…I’m back on track…(because I never was OFF track with a dinner like that) and happily eating food that helps me achieve the goals I want and nourishes my body the way that it needs.

I don’t want to be at war with the food that I eat and I don’t think the clients that I coach should be that way either. If I can teach them how to find balance…then I’ve done my job. Life is too short to eat 10 cups of cabbage in one sitting and call it  a sane eating plan. Finding a balance where we can find a healthy weight and a way to eat and approach food that is sane…and sensible and supports a healthy weight and % bodyfat…now THAT is my goal with my clients.

And for the record…all I ate for dinner tonight was bacon and wine…and it was GOOD…and I don’t feel guilty.


Training with the Bodybugg and an experiment with IF

My bodybugg keeps me honest and it gives me some interesting insight into my life and habits. I have a desk job where I analyze weird scientific data all day long, but mainly I tend to SIT a lot. I have discovered a few things:

1) Hitting 10K steps/day M-F is HARD for me. I rarely hit 10K during the week.

2)45mins to an hour of strength &/or kettlebell training is about 250-320 cals.

3)if I don’t workout on a particular day if it is M-F, I might only end up burning a mere 1800 calories! Weekends, I tend to get ‘out and about’ which sometimes has  put me 500 calories above my daily ‘goal’ of 2250…just doing ‘stuff’, not even doing any training.

Overall I’m finding the data incredibly useful.

Experiments with IF aka Intermittent Fasting20120603-134028.jpg

I’m currently working on my Precision Nutrition nutritional coaching certification level 1 as well as I’m going through their Lean Eating program to ‘see what it’s like’ to be coached with nutrition as well as an outlined training program. A couple months ago we did an intermittent fast for 24 hours. It had been awhile since I have done one so the grumble monster, aka my stomach, was out in full force during the fast. But lately I’ve been reading even more on IF and have been curious about including it more into my lifestyle because:

1)More and more scientific studies are showing benefits to doing IF. Here are some good insights into the benefits of IF and the types of IF over at Precision Nutrition.

2)It’s good to be reminded that being hungry isn’t the end of the world. I don’t always do so well when I’m hungry, so practicing being hungry is a good skill for me.

Intermittant fasting isn’t for everyone, but I personally think it has been fun to play with and experiment with myself to see if it is right for me. The Precision Nutrition article I linked to above or this longer article/ebook on IF by Precision Nutrition are good places to start exploring if you are interested in IF both the how and the why behind fasting.

For a very long time I have done the: EAT 5-6X A DAY…small meals, ect, ect. But the truth of the situation was: I hated preparing all that food all the time, and the tiny portion sizes were sad and annoying. Since starting Lean Eating last year, I reduced my daily meals to only 4 meals a day, skipping the AM snack. In truth I actually prefer eating a little more at each meal and eating less frequently.

This week I decided to embark on a new adventure with Intermittent Fasting: the Leangains approach. For me this means skipping breakfast and eating 2-4 meals between 12-8pm. I’m also taking a non-dogmatic approach to doing IF. Some days I may need breakfast…and that’s OK. Some days I may not want to do IF…and that’s OK too. I started playing with a Leangains approach this week and I had a day that I knew it would be detrimental if I skipped breakfast because the day before I hadn’t eaten a solid dinner, so I ate breakfast. No biggie. This morning I had plans to meet a friend for brunch, so doing an IF today was not in the cards…and that’s OK. Biggest thing I am learning: I need to eat a LOT more at my first meal or I will be HUNGRY (or in truth…HANGRY ;-)) by the time I get to my second meal. What I have discovered is that meal timing between 1st and 2nd meal is closer together that it used to be. I used to eat lunch at 12 and then my afternoon meal around 4 and now I can only make it to about 330 before I really need to eat. So we will see if by increasing my meal size at lunch I can push the timing out. Oh…and I am doing this all the while doing my kettlebell training at 6am. Am I hungry on kettlebell days? Sure, but I tend to drink more green tea, make sure I get some BCAA pre and post workout and I have found green tea extract supplements also help curb hunger a little bit. And one last thing to mention…this doesn’t mean that I under eat a ‘normal’ calorie range for someone my size who is eating for fat loss (the last 5 stupid pounds). Even though I am trying to lose those last five stubborn pounds, I still need to make sure I am at least eating enough to support my basal metabolic rate which is about 1400 calories/day. Lately I have been also throwing in one day where I am over 2000-2500 calories so that my body doesn’t totally freak out and think it is starving. Chronic under eaters probably shouldn’t venture into IF, nor those with a history of eating disorders and there are a few other categories of people that JB outlines in the Precision Nutrition articles.

So this month I will be about playing with IF a little more seriously and see if it is right for me. On that note…I think it is time to eat. 🙂

Energy Balance


Gaining weight and losing weight are about the total number of calories minus how many calories you burn. Many people like to complicate the situation, but truly it is that simple. Here is a fun little tool that can help if you are trying to lose weight…The Bodybugg. I just got one for Christmas and I love the thing, even though I hate the stupid software. I have an iPhone 4 and ended up getting the BodyBuggSP. Now if the software that went with it worked like I wanted it to, it’d be a beautiful thing. I think the concept of BodyBuggSP is beautiful but Apex has not invested into the development of the app. (Sorry for the sidebar rant, but after 6 months of owning it, I don’t  suggest purchasing BodyBuggSP, get the other one with the watch display)

I’ve been utterly fascinated with calories burned. I knew I had a sedentary job as a scientist, but I was shocked at how much of the time my body is in base line status where I am only burning 0.1 cals/min higher than if I were sleeping!! It has also been interesting to note that I’m not achieving (sometimes even WITH exercise) a daily goal of 2250 cals burned/day. I might hit around 2100, but 150 calories can make a difference over time if I were to try to maintain my weight. Overestimating one’s daily intake by 150calories per day over a whole year would equal 15lbs of weight gain!

So now the interesting tidbits…EPOC: excess post oxygen consumption. It’s real? it’s fake? It’s only a net burn of 50 calories? It doesn’t matter? I’ve read a few things here and there and so here is where my experiment of one comes into play. Just because this is MY observation does not make it what happens if we were to do a big study on things, but I find some of the findings interesting.

Observation 1: Kettlebell class doesn’t burn THAT many calories

Ok…you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it the over reported ACE study that likes to say that kettlebells burn 400 cals in 20 mins or where some people then try to extrapolate that and say kettlebells burn 1200 cals an hour. The reality about the ACE study is that the protocol they use (a VO2 max protocol doing 15 sec snatch/15 sec rest) is not for beginners. So…my question then became, HOW many calories DOES an average kettlebell class burn?

The answer: a 45 min class…214 calories…not that many…

BUT here is the interesting part. During the next 45 mins of ‘afterburn’ I burned another 145 calories just walking around making dinner! So now we are talking. Also my baseline average went from being about 1.1 cals/min up to 1.2 or 1.3 which can add up with time having a little bit of an elevated baseline burn.

Stay tuned for more over analysis of EPOC, general calorie burning and discussions on kettlebells.