Color Skins

3 Steps to Selecting the Right Fitness Plan

3 Steps to Selecting the Right Fitness Plan

By: Angelo Poli, The Huffington Post

So you want to get in shape. I see it all the time, gym bag in hand, iPod fully loaded, and a workout that looks like something you’d expect if Richard Simmons and Hulk Hogan got together to teach a yoga class. You have guts, determination, and the Rocky theme in your head. The only thing missing: a fitness plan. Before stepping foot on the treadmill, let’s talk about three things you need to do to get results.

Read More

4 Ways to Stay on Your Diet Without Giving Up Your Social Life

4 Ways to Stay on Your Diet Without Giving Up Your Social Life

By: Angelo Poli, The Huffington Post

Dinner parties, dances, and date nights can add up to disaster if you’re not ultra savvy. One of the most infamous gripes I hear is feeling like you have to choose between sticking to your diet and causing a scene at parties.

You’ve worked hard to get yourself in shape! Don’t assume amnesty to the oldest of influences — peer pressure — just because you’re out of high school. The desire to remain inconspicuous in a group is one of the most common reasons people break their diet. If you’re often social and want to keep your Vogue (or GQ) physique, you’ll need to know the tricks. Here are four real world tips I give to my high profile clientele:

Read More

Everything You Know About Weight Loss Is Wrong

Crack open your average diet book and what do you see? Eat this, not that (actually, the current raft of diet books often advocate something like, “Eat Monday, not Thursday”) but it’s the same, oversimplified idea. Then they spill a lot of ink telling you why their system works. Then they tell you to do it…forever. Folks, it doesn’t work—you are not like the next guy reading that book. And the 170 pound you won’t be like the 150 pound you you’ll be in three months, or the person you’ll be next week, or even twenty minutes from now. Many diets—probably most—work until your metabolism figures out what you’re up to. Then they stop working. Your metabolism is a moving target. You can’t treat it the same way all the time. So why should you eat like someone else, and why should you eat the same all the time? The answer is you shouldn’t—not if you want optimal results. MetPros’ Metabolic Profiling system provides an integrated nutritional method that finally closes the door on cookie-cutter diets and provides an evaluation based system for nutrition planning. The hardest part of selecting a diet is predicting what method of dieting your body will respond to best. Again, no two people are exactly alike (which may help to explain why so many different—and sometimes contradictory — diet systems exist!) The way you respond to dieting differs in how quickly your metabolism stabilizes after a nutritional shift, and how fast you readjust to foods being reintroduced. Most popular diets fall short because they lack ongoing evaluation and individualization—they simply require that you (and everyone else reading the diet book!) eat according to a particular plan, more or less forever. Often, these books and experts create unwavering rules that are very difficult to abide by, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then, if you “fail” on their diet, it’s YOUR fault—not theirs. The MetPro System takes a different approach. We provide you a system for “periodization”—step-by-step adjustments based on your results from one week to the next. We then give you the green light when you’re on the right track, and provide warning signals when your body isn’t responding optimally— all based on evaluation of YOUR results—no one else’s. There’s wiggle room too. During most phases you can have a “cheat meal” now and again—sometimes up to six times a week—more on that later. If you fall off the diet wagon, you can ease yourself back on again.  After a period of careful “metabolic reconditioning,” during which time you work your way down to your goal weight, you’ll be able to eat more than when you started—without gaining weight. Those are big promises I know, so let’s back up a bit. What kind of diet is MetPro? Is it a reduced calorie diet? Does it balance hormones? Is it a method of carbohydrate management? The answer is yes—to all of the above. Folded into the MetPro System are several battle-tested weight loss techniques, which combine  to produce the best weight loss results possible. It’s a system that allows you to best approximate your starting diet based on individual evaluation—which then evolves, based on your daily progress. Every day you use Metabolic Profiling it adapts using a self-directed method which keeps it compatible with your up-to-the-minute needs. This evaluative approach lets the numbers do the talking, helping you to understand exactly where your metabolism is and what your next steps are when you reach a plateau. It’s efficient, practical, and easy to comprehend. Even sluggish metabolisms can be jump-started with the right nutritional strategies (some of which may be unfamiliar—probably because they aren’t in line with the current dieting trends). MetPro will reveal the specific strategies that work best for you by adapting to your needs until you discover your personal Metabolic Profile. Then, the system continues to update your diet through a process of ongoing aptitude tests. Most people are familiar with tests like these: personality tests, romantic compatibility tests, and career aptitude tests all hone in on particular traits that help to generate a clearer picture of some aspect of who you are. In many ways your unique metabolic blueprint is no different: it’s specific to you, and it can change from one moment to the next. These changes are based not on dogma (“No carbs!”—“No fat!”—“No food after 6!”—“Nothing but tomato juice!”), but on your response to each step. As you proceed through the MetPro System, you will learn which weight loss strategies work best for you, and you’ll be nudged further in that direction. Over time, your results will prove which approach you respond best to.

Paleo, Weight Watchers, Atkins: What diet is right for your body type?

Every month my clients ask me about one of the new nutritional trends. Last month everyone wanted to know about the HCG diet, this month it’s Paleo. CrossFitters the world over swear by this diet yet most of the elite competitors by their own admission don’t follow it strictly. Does that mean it’s not right for you? Not necessarily. Having an understanding of what mechanics are involved in a nutritional model like The Paleo Diet is the key to knowing what’s best for you. For the purpose of this discussion we’ll review the steps needed to properly evaluate what your nutritional needs are. Then we’ll consider the mechanics behind a few popular diets and see how they stack up.

One of my hobbies as a sports nutritionist is to follow trends in the nutrition field and observe as the public opinions of specific foods, even entire food groups shifts. It never ceases to amaze me how opinions thrash to and fro like waves in a storm being influenced by the media, advertising, and commercial stigma’s. Remember when egg yolks were bad? Then yolks were good. Now the American Heart Association has settled on “Yolks are ok, but just in case no more then one per day”. Really, that’s no big deal when you consider that we’re used to vilifying entire macronutients. It seems to go by decades. In the 80’s yourleg warmers and sweat bands were kicked to the curb if you weren’t low fat. In the 90’s we packed up the carbohydrates. Breads, grains, and cereals were marched out back and shot. Even if they were allowed in the house they were hidden in the cupboards guests wouldn’t see so you didn’t have to explain yourself. On a related note laxative sales saw a noted increase those years. Today it’s all about Gluten Free and Organic. Eat what you like so long as it comes naturally from mother earth and is sold to you by a cashier who smells of hemp seed and likely doesn’t own a clothing iron.

So are all trends bad? No. In fact all of them have merit and benefits. The trouble is misapplication and extremes. Having a working understanding of the basic principles a diet is operating on can allow you to be a savvy dieter. With the mountain of opinions and endless stream of new diets entering the market it is definitely a “buyer beware” situation. My goal here isn’t to promote or discourage any one method of dieting. Rather I want to arm you with knowledge that will allow you to make better informed decisions about your nutrition and health. Let me share with you my secret to making nutritional recommendations. Evaluation. Unless you evaluate your needs and goals you can only vaguely guess what nutrition plan is right for you. Here’s an example of a full evaluative process:

1.) Determine your primary goal Be a specialist not a generalist! I know, I know . You want to burn fat, build muscle, loose weight, increase your strength, shrink your waist, and grow 2 inches taller. Who doesn’t? Your body responds best when focused attention is given to one primary goal at a time. Don’t get me wrong, people can achieve multiple goals at the same time via diet and exercise but unless you prioritize your goals and have a clear defined focus, you’ll never be able to maximize your results.

2.)Acknowledge your body type -Are you a petite frame with longer arms and legs, prone to accumulating fat in your mid section more then legs? You’re an Ectomorph. Can you wrap your thumb and middle finger around your wrist and easily touch your finger tips together, even overlap? Say it real slow… Ecto- morph. Does going more then 4 hours without food cause your alter ego to rear it’s ugly head making your irritable, headachy, and ravenously craving carbs and sugar? Maybe your a different body type… just kidding. You’re an Ectomorph.

– Did you have an athletic build in high school? Not to skinny or stocky, you know the Goldilocks zone. . just right. Mesomorph. You set some athletic records in high school, maybe even college, but now spend most of your time working late hours at the office crumpling pieces of paper to toss at the waste paper basket. Deep down you still think of yourself as a warrior and athlete. Yeah, you’re a mesomorph. Food is good, but you’ll gladly skip a meal to build an appetite for your favorite dinner. Mesomorph.

-You were bigger and stronger than all the kids in grade school. By high school you already began equating the word “metabolism” with various profanities. Endomorph. Gains in the weight room seem to come easy, as do gains at the buffet line. Everyone else seems almost delicate when compared to your sturdy bone structure and frame. You can wrap you thumb and middle finger around your wrist but most of you can barely touch. Endomorph.

Don’t like your body type? Well, you’ll have to take that up with your parents. Sorry, can’t help you there. All I can do is give you a rough road map of how your body type “generally” responds to various nutritional activities. Each body type has their pre-disposed strengths and weakness, simply acknowledging them is a vital key in evaluating your nutritional needs. As for me, I’m an ectomorph. I live in perpetual irritation that my wife still has more developed calves then me. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I can drown my sorrows in a few extra carbs at night without paying too much penalty.  Now these are generalizations. Often people can have traits from more then one body type, however most people will quickly identify with one of the above somo (body types)

So what does your body type mean for you?

Ectomorph – Typically lower in body fat and often struggling to gain muscle. No matter how “clean” or “healthy” your diet, most ectomorphs will need more calories to make substantial muscle gains. Generally add in this order – assure that adequate (and possibly a little more) protein needs are met. Then begin liberally adding complex carbohydrates and a little healthy fat. If you still are not seeing gains, consider adding more fats as you will be too full to muscle down more and more carbohydrates. Fats will give you more caloric bang for your buck and as such remains the “end game” diet strategy for hard gainers by default.

Mesomorph – Change it up. Your body will respond to changes. Wanna build muscle? Fine. Do it for a while then switch it up. Get your body used to extra calories and carbs for recovery and then start scaling back and watch the body fat strip off. Or if you want to do it in reverse, cut back on your carbs or calories until you stop seeing changes in your body and then gradually increase both your food intake and training intensity and let your body build some muscle.

Endomorph – Your body doesn’t play by the rules. Everyone tells you to eat this or take that to fuel your muscle and aid your recovery. Fuel the muscle starve the fat… right? Who cares about muscle. That’s right you heard me. You’ve been building muscle since you were four years old!  Once all you fitness professionals finish gasping at the notion that I just suggested it’s ok to allow your body to lose some precious muscle, consider this: Unless you plan on being a competitive powerlifter (even then strength is mostly neuromuscular) I can think of very few endomorphs that wouldn’t sacrifice 10 pounds of muscle if it meant losing 25 pounds of fat. Even with restricted food intake, hitting the weights still seems to trigger muscular development. Use that to your advantage, but tune your nutrition more in favor of weight loss. You will likely have to be more diligent about monitoring your intake then the other body types, eating fewer calories and carbs than someone of similar height / weight but of a different body type. Be consistent and take full advantage of the benefits of aerobics.

3.) Evaluate your current diet. The only way to know where we’re going is to know where we came from right? Keep a food log. I know, you’re fed up and ready to start your new diet now. Don’t. Most of you will ignore me because you have a friend who went on the ABC diet and got XYZ results so you think it’s going to work the same for you. Wrong. The only way to know what diet approach will work best for you is to evaluate what your body is currently used to. If you aren’t particularly savvy about nutrition and macronutrients use an online calculator. Over a few days of typical eating note your approximate calories and ratio’s of carbs, protein, and fat. Based on that determine if you have the most room to adjust calories, carbohydrates, or a combination of both. Then make your choice what style of dieting best suits your needs. Don’t forget to factor in your body type.

So what diet options are out there? Basically there are 3 categories of diets. By decade popularity they are:
  • Natural and gluten free. The Paleo Diet is one of several that fit this genre. (current trend)
  • Carbohydrate restriction. The Atkins Diet is the popular grandfather to much of this genre. (Low carbohydrate diets have been popular from the late 90’s through today)
  • Calorie restriction. Weight Watchers is still a leader pioneering this principle. (popular in the 80’s and now promoted differently, but the same basic science)

THE PALEO DIET

Restricts dairy and gluten. It allows liberal use of everything else provided it’s “clean” or “unprocessed”. Basically what we have here is a “Hippie’s guide to digestive treatment” …. and a pretty darn good one too. There are two failings. Difficult adherence and non-specific attributes (I’ll explain that shortly). We have a 20 – 20 – 60 scenario here. Twenty percent of the population are going to find this diet to be the holy grail of digestive relief leading to massive improvements in their quality of life. Twenty percent of the population are going to see no digestion change and quickly get fed up with shopping from the one shelf in the grocery store that’s gluten free. Sixty percent of the population will see some marginal improvements and could go either way. How do I know this? I evaluate people’s nutritional needs every day. For every 10 people who sit in my office roughly two of them will have obvious digestion issues, discomfort, and problems. Two of them will be those who eat a diet of rusty nails and dry wall yet amazingly feel fine. (We all know people like that.. .. and yes we hate them) Six of them will land somewhere in the middle. Naturopaths who believe gluten and dairy to be the devil itself will think me crazy for not believing everyone has intolerance’s. Meanwhile, the bread and dairy industry will ask how entire civilizations have flourished on diets rich in milk and grains for millennia. I have no interest in getting in the middle of their feud. I just call it how I see it. 20 – 20 – 60.

Those of you die hard fans who eat and breath paleo don’t need to send me mail defending why you feel paleo is nutritionally superior to other ways of eating. I’ve heard your arguments, acknowledge them, and am now attempting to provide clarity and perspective for the “average” consumer trying to select a diet. In fact to be perfectly blunt, I’m not interested in recommending people follow the best diet (insert gasping sound here). What I’m interested in is helping people select the “best diet” that they can actually convert into a “lifestyle”, and those are two very different things. If I were to put pen to paper and be forced to recommend the “best” diet to save humanity, it would probably end up looking like some sort of fusion high protein vegan diet (nutritionists know why that’s funny). Rather my goal is to provide people with tools to identify the diet that will work best for their circumstance while considering all factors including goals and lifestyle.

Alright already lets get to the point, will Paleo make me lose weight? And the answer is (drum roll),  … maybe. That’s where the non-specific attributes come in. The paleo diet really is dominantly a digestive health program. In a effort to eliminate processed foods, chemicals, and inflammatory properties, junk food has been eliminated. By default that is going to result in a drop in caloric intake for most people. That will equal weight loss. In an effort to restrict gluten, most of our favorite carbohydrate options have been removed.. pasta, breads, etc. Therefore it will likely result in a significant reduction in carbohydrates. For most that will mean weight loss. Then why do I say “maybe”? Because even though as a matter of happenstance it will somewhat accidentally result in lower carbs and calories, there are still several foods allowed on the diet that are excellent for gaining weight. For example: banana’s, sweet potato’s, and nuts are perfect examples of high glycemic carbs, low glycemic carbs, and fats ideal for packing on pounds. So losing weight on Paleo depends on how you do the Paleo diet. Lots of people dance when they hear salsa music, but that doesn’t mean they all know how to salsa. The moral of the story is if you don’t know how to dance, get off the floor. My recommendation, if you want to try Paleo, more power to you, but use a qualified nutritionist to help you structure your Paleo plan to meet your needs.

Paleo is more for athletes anyway right? Consider your body type! It depends on your needs. For example, a Paleo diet structured to emphasize meats and veggies with moderate low inclusion of low glycemic carbohydrates and very low inclusion of high glycemic carbohydrates (banana’s, raisins etc), canbe quite well suited for an endomorphic body type looking to lose weight. On the other hand an ectomorphic competitive athlete attempting to limit themselves to the recovery that fruits and veggie can provide alone will leave them falling short of their athletic potential every time. Unless they’ve developed romantic feelings about pounding buckets of mashed sweet potato’s with every meal, they’re simply not going to recover optimally. But I’ll live off fats. I love nuts. No. You won’t. Sporting a high fat diet, low in carbs defies every scientific study done on sports nutrition and performance in the last 60 years. If you want to perform your best in the glycolitic pathway (looking at you CrossFitters) you’ll need carbs.That is why elite CrossFitters are rarely “strict” Paleo by their own admission. While only theoretical, I’d bet that if a pole was taken of truly elite CrossFit athletes who follow some variation of the Paleo diet what we’d find is that those who are Endomorphic break their diet and “carb up” less often then those who are Ectomorphic needing ample carbs at that level of performance. Ironically, Rich Froning Jr. and Annie Thorisdottir, the 2011and 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Champions are both classic Mesomorphs – smack dab in the middle. Niether follow Paleo. Let the debates continue.

THE ATKINS DIET

As some of us sports nutritionist call it “The Tyrannical Eradication of Carbohydrates from the Planet”. So will I lose weight on it? Yup. So you see the battle us nutritionists have when convincing dieters to be moderate in their eating habits. It’s a tricky one. People want instant gratification and if they see the scale dropping it’s hard to convince them to do anything else. Carbohydrate restriction, especially when fairly severe, causes the body to metabolize a greater amount of lipids (among other energetic substrates) in the synthesis of ATP. Extremely low carb diets and exercise aren’t good bed fellows.They’re at each other’s throats. Low carbs wants to take a nap while Exercise wants to hit the gym but needs a ride and Low carb isn’t moving. Exercise keeps yelling “you’ll never be healthy or fit without me!” Low carb just smirks”yeah but I can just lay around and still lose weight so why bother”.

Ultimately most people will gain the weight back after following an extremely low carb diet. Here’s why: 1.) Cutting all carbs does indeed make achieving any level of intensity while exercising difficult, therefore as a lifestyle change you’re missing half the battle. Usually I spend my days managing people who think they can “just” exercise and get results… yeah, let me know how that works out. With the “low carbers” I find myself trying to convince them that a strict diet without exercise is just as bad. It’s like they’re all on a giant boat, “low carbers” on one side, “Exercisers” on the other. The Low carbers are laughing because there’s a hole on the Exercisers side of the boat. Kind of short sighted.

2.) Difficult adherence, nearly impossible long term. Sure, I could spend a week or two living off bacon, cheese, and burgers wrapped in lettuce. Double double protein style at In-N-Out here I come. Course I’ll need to buy stock in Metamucil and Exlax. Eventually I’ll just need a bite of something loaded with carbs, and when I do…

3.) I’ll wake up the next morning looking like I fell out of the “Fat Tree” and hit every branch on the way down. Good morning puffy face! You see several biological elements converge at the point of cheating on a low carb diet to make us instantaneously fat and filled with self loathing. After weeks of “low carbing it” your body is in full-on glycogen depletion mode. Athletes will purposely restrict a small amount of carbs just prior to carb loading. You have now achieved all the elements necessary to qualify for carb loading by having just one meal. The morning after… You wake feeling puffy taking notice that your rings are now stuck on your fat swollen fingers as you stagger to the scale. Looking down at your new number brings up feeling of guilt and remorse as you replay in your mind how it all happened. You walk away thoroughly depressed and console yourself with ….you guessed it. Carbs.

Notice that my reference is to extreme carbohydrate restriction. Moderate restriction is a completely different animal and can be applied to great benefit in many circumstances.

WEIGHT WATCHERS

It’s good old calorie restriction turned into a game with points. Significantly less structure than some recent diets. High emphasis on quick and easy identification of the lower calorie options across multiple venues via a “point” system. It may seem overly simple, but that’s why it’s been successful for many people for years. It’s not overly cumbersome. In times past there hasn’t been enough emphasis placed on making the right or healthiest choices with food. This diet has favored pure and simple identification of the lowest calorie option. From a nutritionists perspective that can be fraught with problems as selecting foods only based around calorie content can lead to a highly processed and nutritionally depleted diet. Individualization, adaptivity to unique needs, or athletic structuring is nearly absent. In recent times they have shifted to a more educational model promoting more balance and healthier selections. That is good, but a large percentage of their patrons are only exposed to a limited amount of the educational process, those who stay involved will likely do best.

SUMMARY

The key lies in evaluating what your body’s needs are based on your body type and previous nutritional history. Keep a food log, it will be enlightening. Research more about your body type and carefully consider your goal. Make sure the diet you’re considering is compatible with your goal. If all else fails or you reach a plateau that you’re unable to navigate, get help from a qualified nutritionist.

Dieting Through The Decades: The History Of Weight Loss

What we choose to eat isn’t simply about filling our bellies; it’s an expression of who we are, when we are, and often, what we value. “You are what you eat” now takes on new meaning in a world of carnivores, herbivores, “fat free” fanatics, raw food artists, junk food junkies, and juicing warriors. Food and diets are as much of our pop culture as music and entertainment. We’re fascinated with what people are eating and what diets the celebrities are following.

Reality television routinely showcases people with outrageous food cravings and uncontrollable obsessions — it’s our new voyeuristic entertainment. Meanwhile, diet propaganda shockingly encourages young women to starve themselves while other venues promote guzzling beer and inhaling pizza as a man’s rite of passage.

As a species, the human race is getting fatter. Obesity rates increased 214 percent between 1950 and 2000. Two out of every 3 people in the U.S. were obese or overweight in 2010. Not surprisingly, bookstore shelves are lined with new diet books daily. How did we arrive at this point, and what diets have been the most persuasive on our culture? What can we learn from the missteps — and smart moves — of the past?



The ’80s Journey, Depeche Mode, Back to the Future, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Full House. Ah, the ’80s, notorious for many things — including the turning point for our waistlines. It was the perfect storm, personal computers became mainstream, Nintendo ushered in the golden age of gaming with the NES, and the original Star Wars trilogy was completed. What further reasons did we need to sit and stare at a screen? Meanwhile, the food industry ramped up the packaged snack selections. Obesity began reaching epidemic proportions, and the need for an honest solution to the problem became obvious.

To cater to the demand for less fattening foods, manufacturers began making everything “reduced fat” or “fat free.” This was in response to the philosophy that fats made you fat. Since fats are the most calorie dense macronutrients, their reduction became a common way of cutting calories.

The concept of restricting the food we eat has been around since humans have had a desire for slenderness, but the low-calorie trend began to really pick up steam in the ’80s. These diets used different methods to get their participants to eat fewer calories: Some promoted pre-made, calorie-controlled meals; others implemented low-calorie snacks aimed at reducing appetite. Most promoted restriction of all types of fats.

What we got right in the ’80s: Reduced calorie diets result in weight loss when caloric intake is sufficiently lower then what the participant is accustomed to. In other words, if the participant typically eats 2,500 calories per day and the diet reduces them to 1,600, the dieter will lose weight, at least for a little while. However, if the dieter is already used to eating only 1,600 calories, reducing it marginally further to 1,400 calories will only result in minor weight loss — if any.

Where we went wrong: Low-calorie diets are based on a false premise that a person’s metabolic rate, or number of calories they require, is fixed. In reality, the primary function of our metabolism is to keep us in stasis (status quo), or to adapt to our nutritional environment. This means if we eat less, our metabolism will gradually re-adjust to run slower, negating marginal reductions to our caloric intake. This is known as the “survival mechanic.” If a person burned a set, unchanging number of calories based on genetics, even a small reduction in calories would result in unending weight loss. We know, of course, that this simply isn’t so; we hit plateaus and stop losing sooner than we’d like. Despite the fact that our bodies try to thwart our best efforts, fat and caloric restriction remain a principle method of battling the effects of overfeeding ourselves in America.

The ’90s: Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Jurassic Park, PlayStation, Friends, and the Internet forever changed the landscape of our lives. Welcome to the ’90s, also the era when we decided all carbohydrates were to be drug out back and shot.  After years of chowing down on every cookie, cracker, and crust that manufacturers slapped a “low-fat” label on, we decided we’d had enough. Fats were in, carbs were out, and we quit caring about calories. Low-carb diets all revolve around the single theme of cutting — you guessed it — carbs.

More aggressive variations on this theme actually promote entering a state called ketosis. Ketosis is triggered by fasting, starvation, intense exercise, and yes, low-carbohydrate diets. Reducing carbs too much can leave you with mental fogginess and even cause irritability. In the absence of carbohydrates our bodies are forced to use alternative metabolic pathways to produce glycogen. The flip side is it can lead to greater metabolizing of fats.

What we got right in the ’90s: In many ways, your body views fat (lipids) as a second -ate energy source and needs a little encouragement to use them. Fats are your body’s preferred fuel source for sustained low energy output activities. But by the 90’s these activities (the foremost being walking and manual chores) had been replaced with power steering and remote controls. Cutting carbohydrates was a means of tricking your body into using more fat for fuel during a greater variety of activities. If you don’t have enough sugars (glycogen) available, well then, I suppose you can burn a little more fat. It’s this encouragement of using fats for fuel that’s earned low carbohydrate diets their iconic status in weight loss history.

Where we went wrong: While cutting carbohydrates did indeed lead to increased fat burning, being over aggressive also led to the depletion of fuels necessary for intense activity making exercise, a key ingredient in long term weight loss, difficult. Furthermore, going for bouts with little to no carbohydrates leaves the body in a “carb sensitive” state. This environment isn’t dissimilar to that of athletes preparing to carb load before a race. By reducing their carb intake the body readies itself to store additional rations when they become available. I teach my clients that there is a difference between the carb cost and the calorie cost of a cheat. When it’s carbs you’ve been cutting the cost is much higher; a couple dinner rolls and a glass of wine can easily result in waking up to 2-3 pounds of extra you in the morning even though they only amounted to a few hundred calories.

Dieting since 2000 and beyond: Eminem, Black eyed Peas, iPhones, The Office, and Mark Zuckerberg changing the way we connect with people. Today as technology marches ever forward, the trend in nutrition is going backward to our beginnings. What we have is a melting pot of diets under the broad theme of “eating natural”. Among their ranks are; raw food diets, paleo and gluten free, vegetarian and vegan, and organic food plans. They each promote a chemical free, minimally processed approach to eating, but the similarities end there. Many of their proponents are at each other’s throats vying for the label of “the human’s natural diet”.

Any such claims are hard to make stick since humans have populated nearly every inch of the globe with nutritional variances as diverse as the climates and terrain these cultures were born out of. Arctic settlers and coastal cultures have thrived off food from the sea, including organ meats and even whale blubber. Jungle tribes and tropical civilizations have flourished eating a mostly plant based diet. Farming cultures have been among the most enduring consuming a mixture of grains and animal products. Some of these diets conflict philosophically over what humans were originally designed to eat, but they wholeheartedly agree that processed foods laced with high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and artificial sweeteners aren’t it.

What we’re doing right: We’re no longer in denial about the effects greasy–fried foods have on our bodies. And we know we probably can’t get away with snacking on sweets and crackers every night. More recently we’ve learned to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid foods laced with harmful ingredients. Overall we’re trying to eat foods more like our grandparents did.

Where we’re still going wrong: We’re still overweight and filling hospital rooms with people suffering from preventable disease. With improved lifestyle and nutrition many of our country’s ills would fade away. Why are we not acting? What is the missing ingredient that will solve our problems? The answer may surprise you: based on what I see in my clients, I think the answer is time. Most people cite “not enough time” as the reason behind their poor eating habits. Our technology-driven society rewards those who move fast, multitask, and rush. In the future I believe the most effective nutrition plans will place emphasis on practical strategies, simple food prep, and offer its patrons compelling evidence that investing the time in procuring healthy foods is a worthwhile investment.

High Heels and Barbells: The Changing Psychology of Fitness

High Heels and Barbells: The Changing Psychology of Fitness

By: Angelo Poli, The Huffington Post

For years, experts have been touting the value of weight training for women, but the shift from cardio machines to barbells has been slow. Women have long held that weights are for getting bigger and cardio is for getting smaller. But we know that isn’t so. Early indications from CrossFit, boot camps, and private training programs are that some women are catching on and getting results. Could they know something you don’t? Are wrist wraps and lifting gloves in the same gym bag as lipstick and Lululemon the new norm?

Read More

Fixing Your Metabolism: 4 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss

Fixing Your Metabolism: 4 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss

By: Angelo Poli, The Huffington Post

Challenge what you know about your metabolism. The truth is, your metabolism works quite differently than you realize. I’ve dieted celebrities, bikini models, and pro athletes. I’m not talking about Jimmy-local either. I mean the guys and girls you can buy posters of at Wal-Mart. How’d they get those ultra-coveted physiques? Not how you’d think.

Read More

Science Based Exercise: The Gym, Where Golfers Go To Die

Science based exercise: The gym, where golfers go to die…

It’s becoming more and more of a cliché around here. The more athletes I train, the more injuries I hear about that originated “in the gym” training for their sport. Why?

It’s the same reason for golfers as it is for any other sports participant; in reaching for athletic excellence they followed out dated advice.

Lets speak strictly “athletically” and leave technique, experience, and the ability to maintain mental focus under pressure (all abilities necessary to excel as a golfer) off the table for a moment.

What makes the ultimate physical athlete? What should the Zeus of golf look like and be able to perform? Massive upper body strength? Gymnast like flexibility? No..

The elite golfer needs to achieve one thing. A body that functions as it was originally designed. All the joints, bones, and muscles in proper alignment working together as a functional unit. In this position an athlete’s body works together and has the greatest capacity for power, stability, balance and of most concern to the golfer, reliable and predictable movement. We call this “neutral anatomical alignment.” An athlete who achieves this has all the tools necessary to maximize their potential. While following the rules governing human movement and muscular balance we manage to develop a physique with greater strength, speed, and power.. Great! But BE CAUTIOUS, if achieving greater strength and power comes at the expense of violating the body’s innate blueprint for functionality, your athletic ability and possibly structural integrity will be compromised.

How so..?

For starters, Americans (and most industrialized nations) are already starting at a cultural disadvantage functionally speaking. Understanding this is absolutely vital to reaching your potential athletically. The human body has muscles responsible for postural integrity, fluid motion, and general maintenance of full range movement. Nearly all of us have crucial muscles and stabilizers that have atrophied (weakened) as well as over taxed hypertonic (shortened and tight) postural muscles trying to do the job of their weakened counter parts. This goes for both the couch potato and the muscle bound jock alike. There are many reasons for this in our society but a simple one that most people can relate to is as plain as the chairs we sit in. Our bodies are designed for motion. Only in movement are our bodies maintained and calibrated to our original functional blue print. But we are a nation of professional sitters. We sit to work, we sit to travel, we sit to recreate, we sit to eat, we sit to rest, and likely as you’re reading this… you’re sitting. This culture forces our bodies to execute one of the programs it’s best designed for: adaption. Our bodies are constantly in a state of adaption to both internal and external stimulation. If we run regularly, our lungs and cardiovascular systems adapt to become more efficient. If we eat too much, our bodies store the extra fuel in areas that allow us to (usually) manage the extra weight until we are somewhat plump. Imagine if we were to store all our excess body fat in our ankles and wrists.. we would become prohibitively clumsy. No, our bodies adapt to withstand the demands placed upon it. Even our skin adapts to manage greater sun exposure.

Humans as a culture and generation are once again adapting to the demands of our life style and it’s not for the better.

Our culture forces adaptive responses in the major axis of the body (the pelvis) and extends to the common mis-alignments we see nearly everywhere, sagging forward rolled shoulders and head, rounded upper backs, turned out feet, to name a few. Don’t believe me… open you’re eyes. It’s an epidemic that’s particularly worrisome amongst our youth. It’s everywhere.

Do you suppose our bodies could be so mis-shaped and out of alignment without the muscles and joints being severely compromised? Of course not.

Now you the athlete are deciding which of the latest “improve your swing” exercises is going to help you drive 50 yards further down the fairway. Please listen. I work with some of the top athletes in the world across multiple sports and have been amazed at the endurance of faulty belief systems in nearly all sports. You are asking the wrong question!

What you need to be asking yourself is, how do I restore my body to it’s original functionality, before our “lifestyle” eroded it’s balance and alignment? If you can answer this question reasonably then you’re already ahead of most trainers in the gym. Now your time in the gym, stretching, and training will be well worth your investment. Anything else will likely contribute further to muscular imbalances, further compromise of your joints, reduced range of motion, and make you more susceptible to injury.

But there is good news for golfers and anyone wanting their bodies to “thrive”. While I always feel time and resources spent with experienced professionals trained to identify weaknesses in your body (not just the beach muscles) is a worthy investment, basic logic and a few simple principles can go a long way in allowing an athlete to make good choices about their conditioning on their own.

First take an honest look in the mirror. Stop sucking in your gut, don’t puff out your chest and quit zeroing in on the veins in your forearm. They will do nothing to hold your spine erect, head in the neutral position, or help you swing your clubs with precision and reliability. I want you to just relax. View your posture from the side. Even without a plumb line or advanced measuring instruments you will be able to see where your body is sagging, drooping, rolling, or rotating. Every bone in your body is being held in place by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Picture a circus tent withcables holding the giant poles in place. If some of the cables are tighter and shorter on one side and weaker on the other the pole and everything attached to it will lean and sag.

That’s what’s happening to your spine and subsequent bones and structure. No wonder our junior high aged sons are already walking duck footed and our high school aged daughters have forward rounded shoulders and a head that sinks down. We’ve conditioned our bodies to get used to weak and shortened muscles.

Now back to the mirror. If from the side our shoulders slump forward try this: Roll your shoulders further forward, feel what muscles are working to bring them forward, then return them back in line with our ankles (like a greek statue). Take a moment in this position (shoulders drawn back) and feel what muscles are working in order to hold them there. It’s easy to assess what muscles have become dominant in that game of tug of war.

If you’re like 95% of the clients I see on a daily basis it’s likely that your chest (anterior) muscles have won the war. The muscles in your upper back (posterior) have long since surrendered with flailing white flags and yielded possession of your shoulder girdle to the overpowering anterior nations. Precious landscape on your body has been conceded as terms of surrender to allow your body to continue functioning. Your head has migrated forward and south, your pelvis has traveled distant from it’s original position to bear the load and your feet have rotated apart to manage the new partitioning. In short, you’ve been conquered.

Lets apply some critical thinking at this point. If this describes to some degree what you see in the mirror, how logical would it be to further develop your anterior muscles (the already over powering force in your body)? Yet this is exactly what I see in 99.9% of athletic programs I critically evaluate. Please stop doing this. Your body is begging you.

What exercises should I focus on for improved athletic performance? The answer depends on how close you are to the initial goal of “neutral alignment”. If you are in good alignment then your body is prepared for any regime that is balanced and thoughtfully designed. If your body is still “out of phase” (mis-aligned) then you need to incorporate exercises that directly strengthen the weakened muscles in your body. Simultaneously it’s critical to avoid additional development of the muscle groups that are causing your body to drift further from it’s original blueprint. Next time you kneel down for that last set of …. ask yourself why? Will it strengthen a muscle group that will directly contribute to improved muscle balance throughout my body? Will it’s effect directly translate to improved performance in my sport? Will it overdevelop muscles that are already dominating within my musculature?

By considering our training’s impact on our body’s alignment (and therefore our functionality), we put ourselves in line for the best possible outcome.

America’s Bleeding Metabolism: What’s Happening To ‘The Biggest Loser’ Contestants?

America’s Bleeding Metabolism: What’s Happening To ‘The Biggest Loser’ Contestants?

By: Angelo Poli, The Huffington Post

Contestants on The Biggest Loser are suffering the same fate as all crash dieters — just proportionate to length and intensity of the crashing. Now they’re rebounding and don’t know why. In fact, no one seems to have an explanation worth the ink that’s being spilled. They paid for weight loss on credit and their metabolic interest rate is too high.

The article in The New York Times reveled that most had gained weight back and nearly all were experiencing metabolic slowing. While the article considered these outcomes to spell doom and gloom for anyone battling obesity, I’m cautiously optimistic that pieces like this will bring to light how badly the entire industry needs to rethink what they “pretend” to know about the metabolism.

Read More

The Metabolic Mystery: Long-Term Effective Weight Loss Explained (At Last)

If you’ve tried dieting before and think your body is “just different somehow,” listen up! Here is this mystery unveiled:

Weight loss is not merely about eating well or eating poorly, eating too much or too little. Weight loss is an adaptive response. It’s a mechanism that is triggered under conditions that are predictable but nonetheless unique to your body. That’s it in a nutshell. That’s why diets that work well for some fail for others. That’s why every few months, a new diet book shoots up the bestseller list. That’s why so many millions of people are frustrated in their weight loss efforts. They’re chasing that moving metabolic target…blindfolded.

It’s also why we at MetPro have developed a reputation as “fixers” among people with stubborn weight loss problems. When other systems, books and methods fail, people come to us. We get the job done because we understand that an effective weight loss plan isn’t about eating progressively less and less food, but about optimizing your metabolism.

To understand the weight loss mechanism better, consider your body’s shivering response. Shivering is a survival mechanism designed to warm you up when you experience a drop in temperature. Does everyone shiver when the temperature reaches 60 degrees? Well maybe West Coast softies like me and my staff do. But my hearty pals in the Midwest or Northwest probably wouldn’t notice the slightest chill at 60. Indeed, there are so many differences between bodies that it would be impossible to isolate an exact temperature at which everyone will begin to shiver. Yet this is very close to what the diet industry has tried to do by suggesting that everyone will lose weight if they eat ABC amounts of XYZ foods.

The truth is that everyone’s body possesses the ability to lose weight as a function of survival—just as they possess the ability to shiver to warm themselves—if specific criteria are met. But those specific criteria differ from person to person. I call the point at which the necessary criteria to lose weight are met nutritional contrast.

How does nutritional contrast help you lose weight? Back to the shivering analogy: for a man who grew up in the bitter cold of Alaska, walking outside in 60 degree weather is a day at the beach and unlikely to cause him to shiver. On the other hand, the older, retired desert-dweller, who spends most of his days in extreme heat might start to shiver in a moderate climate. In this case shivering has less to do with the actual temperature and more to do with the contrast between what the individuals are used to and their current environment.

Weight loss works much the same way. Just as the climate you’re used to affects your ability to withstand shifts in temperature, your nutritional environment profoundly influences your ability to tolerate shifts in food intake. If you’ve been eating very little for some time your body has adapted to that nutritional environment—your metabolic “engine” is running at a very slow pace, squeezing as much energy as possible from whatever food you consume.  Any further reduction in your food intake would result in little if any weight loss. If, on the other hand, you routinely overeat, your metabolism is speeding along at a rapid clip so that even a relatively small reduction—say, 15-20% of your normal caloric intake—could (and probably will) result in significant weight loss.

This is why you can have two women of similar body size following the same diet yet have completely different results. One may lose only a couple pounds before hitting a plateau while another drops much more weight with ease. It all depends on the two dieters’ prior nutritional environment.

The woman who didn’t lose much was probably already on a highly restricted diet so her metabolism was slow. The slight change in food intake from the new diet made little difference. The woman who lost weight with ease was undoubtedly used to eating more than the woman who did not. Her metabolism was running at a higher rate so when she reduced her food intake her still fast metabolism dipped into her fat stores to sustain her normal energy expenditure and she lost weight.  Another obvious point that most diet books miss: just as eating less slows your metabolism, eating more stimulates it.  So the more food your body is used to taking in, the greater (and more effective) the result when you begin (or resume) dieting.

This is why The MetPro System will always up-shift your intake when possible. We want you to get the metabolic boost that comes with eating more and we want to avoid—as much as possible—the metabolic SLOWDOWN that comes with eating less. This principle usually trumps other factors such as age, family history, and even gender. That’s because it’s a simple and indisputable fact of human biology.

So does that mean that it’s hopeless if you’ve been watching what you eat and carefully monitoring your intake and still have more weight to lose? Far from it. There are several methods of creating the needed nutritional contrast to trigger weight loss. In fact, even a diet that currently is not resulting in appreciable weight loss may be able to once again trigger an adaptive response. You just need to tweak it a little.

Are you ready to let MetPro’s team of coaches help you transform into the best version of yourself? Schedule your free consultation