• How To Build A Better Butt

    How To Build A Better Butt

    So, you’re tired of copying endless Instagram model workouts that claim the best exercises to build a better butt require one resistance band. 

    “First, there was Greek civilization. Then there was the renaissance. Now we’re entering the Age of the Ass.” – Jean-Luc Godard

    Well, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out how to build a better butt.

    Before you skip ahead to the exercises guaranteed to build a better butt, there are a few crucial details that need to be covered. 

    If you genuinely want to grow a better butt, there are two things you need to be aware of.  

    #1 You must lift heavy weights; resistance bands aren’t cutting it. 

    #2 You must pay attention to your nutrition. Growing powerful buns requires fuel. 

    In a nutshell, the only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit.  

    And the only way you’ll grow muscles is if you’re eating enough.  

    Quite a problem if you are only eating 1,200 calories, doing endless cardio, and doing resistance band workouts. 

    To maximize muscle growth, you can’t skimp on your intake protein.  

    Protein is the building block of muscle development, preservation, and recovery. 

    The typical percentage of protein in a diet can range from 10-35 percent. 

    You can use the following formula to figure out your daily protein goal range. 

    Goal Body Weight in pounds x .7 = Lower range in grams.

    Goal Body Weight in pounds x 1 = Upper range in grams. 


    120lbs x .7= 84g

    120lbs x 1 = 120g 

    Yes, you can go over your daily protein goal; nothing terrible will happen. In other words, you should prioritize hitting your protein goal daily within plus or minus ten grams. 

    To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit

    Calorie Deficit: A calorie deficit is eating fewer calories than your body burns for energy. 

    Nutrition Science

    To gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus.  

    Calorie Surplus: A calorie surplus is eating more calories than your body burns for energy.  

    Nutrition Science

    To maintain your current weight, you will need to eat at maintenance. 

    Calorie Maintenance: Maintenance calories are the calories that allow you to maintain your current weight. 

    Some guy on the internet….Nutrition Science

    You might think you should be in a calorie deficit; however, to build a strong set of buns you need to eat more than a toddler.  

    Eating to build a better butt

    If your goal is to lose weight and gain muscle, you can do it; however, not at the same time.. unless you’re a newbie. 

    A male might gain 15-25 pounds of muscle in their first year of training, and a female may gain about half of that.

    Someone new to weight loss will also find that there can be “newbie losses.” 

    It is vital to understand that it wont be a linear progression while in a fat loss phase.

    It’s a perfect storm for muscle gain and fat loss when someone is new to both training & fat loss.

    How to build a better butt

    Would you believe me if I told you she weighed the same in these two pictures? 

    She does. 

    That is body recomposition. 

    Body Recomposition – Training to lose body fat and to gain muscle.  

    Read anything on this website.

    If this isn’t your first rodeo, the last thing you must do is another crash diet. 

    dieting for a better butt

    Instead of using another ultra low-calorie diet, I recommend following the Diet 2.0 blueprint. 

    dieting for a better butt

    If you are familiar with strength training, the concept of periodization 

    Periodization: the planned manipulation of training variables (load, sets, and repetitions) to maximize training adaptations and prevent the onset of overtraining syndrome.

    The Diet 2.0 blueprint uses the concept of nutritional periodization. 

    Nutritional Periodization: The strategic combined use of exercise training and nutrition, or nutrition only, with the overall aim of obtaining adaptations that support exercise performance

    Periodization aims to prevent overtraining or premature peaking before an athletic event.

    While you might not be stepping on stage for a physique competition, you certainly don’t want to have diet fatigue.  

    Yes, you read that correctly: the diet before the diet. 

    If you have a dramatic amount of weight to lose, I suggest entering into a calorie deficit, simply because of the health benefits from reducing overall body weight.  

    If you are relatively lean with little muscle mass or someone who has lost a dramatic amount of weight only performing cardio, you will benefit from sticking to maintenance calories.  

    You may be tempted to set an aggressive calorie deficit to lose weight fast.  

    Call me crazy, but the aggressive deficit hasn’t worked before, so why would it work now? 

    how to build a better butt

    Instead of setting your calories low, try one or two months of maintenance calories. 

    While in maintenance, you can spend time focusing on the following: 

    • Stress levels 
    • Sleep quality 
    • Getting stronger 
    • Staying hydrated
    • Improving daily activity levels 
    • Hitting your daily protein goal consistently 

    You might be surprised that the scale goes down simply due to building strength & hitting your calorie target. 

    To determine your estimated maintenance calories, use the following steps: 

    • Track your calories for two weeks as accurately as possible. 
    • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and track it. 
    • At the end of the week, take the sum of your weekly calories and divide it by seven for the weekly average.
    • Repeat this step for your weight to give you your average weight. 

    Do this for two weeks, and if the weekly average weight remains the same, you have determined your maintenance calories.  

    If your weekly average increases, you are in a calorie surplus. 

    If your weekly average decreases, you are in a deficit. 

    You could skip all of the above and do your current weight in pounds multiplied by 15 to give you your estimated maintenance calories. 

    You could reduce your weekly calorie average by 15-20% and be in a moderate calorie deficit.  

    It could be simply reducing your daily calorie intake by 500 calories total. 

    Another option is to use the following equation: 

    Goal Body Weight multiplied by 12.  

    Take that number and add or subtract 100 to give you a daily calorie range. 

    Aim to hit your daily protein target within 10 grams & your calorie range for the day, and you will make progress.  

    Stick to this nutrition plan for the bare minimum of 30 days.

    Thirty days being dialed into your nutrition is one step closer to glorious buns of steel. 

    Okay, now you are ready to build a strong pair of glutes. 

    Your nutrition is on point & you’re itching to start throwing around some iron. 

    Here is something important to consider: 

    how to build a better butt

    Hypertrophy is a focus on developing muscle size. 

    Interestingly, a cross-over exists between strength, hypertrophy, and endurance rep ranges.  

    Completing 6-12 repetitions with proper load is a safe bet for hypertrophy.

    A proper program will be at least four weeks long and will increase your strength. 

    Progressive overload is involved in any strength training program and strengthens you. 

    The simplest example would be increasing the weight you lift every session. If you are new to lifting weights, you might increase the weight from session to session; however, there is a cap.  

    For instance, if your goal is to increase your hip thrust press by 5 pounds weekly, the likelihood of injury grows..and if it were that easy, we would all be thrusting 450 pounds. 

    Slight progressions in tempo, rest intervals, range of motion, and reps completed can all increase the difficulty of a program. 

    You are stronger than you think, so you should challenge yourself during your workouts. 

    Does that necessarily mean you will max out every workout? 

    No, please don’t do that. 

    Several factors are necessary for an effective training program with the goal of hypertrophy. 

    #1. Time under tension. 

    Time under tension is the total time a muscle or muscle group is under tension during a set. 

    Research has shown that increasing the time under tension can improve muscle growth. 

    Your rest period will be more extended when you increase the time under tension.  

    The longer rest period allows for proper recovery and enables you to maximize each training set. 

    #2. Training Muscles In The Lengthened Position

    Training muscles in the lengthened position is a fancy way of saying train using a full range of motion. The body can take on more weight through the eccentric portion of an exercise. 

    Focusing on a slow lowering phase with a pause in the stretched position is a game changer. 

    A prime example would be the Romanian Dead Lift.  

    Building a better butt

    Lowering the weight slowly, controlling, and pausing in the bottom position creates a stretch through the hamstring and glutes. 

    Having a slight bend in the knee places a greater emphasis on the glutes.

    The pause in the bottom (stretched position) eliminates momentum and requires more strength to return to the starting position.  

    #3 Double Progression

    Most training programs might have 3 sets of 10 reps or 3×10

    That programming implies you aim for ten repetitions across three sets; however, does that mean you increase the weight you use each week?

    Someone new to strength training may increase the load they lift each week thanks to newbie gains.  

    Don’t get too excited because that won’t last forever.  

    If it did last forever, I would be deadlifting 900 pounds regularly.  

    how to build a better butt

    Enter the magic of double progressions. 

    A double progression implies you will first increase the number of reps within a specific rep range before increasing the weight.

    Instead of seeing 3 x 10 you could see something like 3 x 6-8 

    You will be able to milk each exercise for all it’s worth. It’s not about how many different exercises are in a program but the quality and volume of the exercises you complete. 

    In other words, you’re better off sticking with an exercise for a more extended period and getting stronger. 

    So, if the programming called for a Sumo Deadlift for 3×6-8, here’s what your progression might look like over four weeks. 

    W1: 165lbs 6,5,6 

    W2: 165 lbs 6,6,6

    W3: 165lbs 7,7,6

    W4: 165lbs 8,8,8

    During your next phase, you would increase the weight and start all over. 

    It will be a challenge & that is what you need. 

    #4 Challenge Yourself

    You need to challenge yourself.  

    The number of times I have had to tell my clients that they are strong would blow your mind.  

    Look at Sara pulling 225lb like it’s nothing. 

    The only way you get stronger is to push yourself. 

    To help illustrate my point, let’s use the Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to determine the difficulty of an exercise.  

    training for a better butt

    If you were to perform a set of Bulgarian Split Squats at an RPE of 8, you would be miserable.  

    However, if it was between life and death, you could squeeze out a few more reps on each leg.

    A lot of it boils down to your mentality surrounding strength training. 

    You might think be thinking: 

    • Am I going to get hurt? 
    • Am I going to drop this weight? 
    • Is this set stealing my soul? 
    • Fuck my coach for programming this. 😈

    All valid thoughts.

    But chances are you will be fine. 

    Because if you can’t finish the rep, you can bail, drop the weights, and let your knee tap the ground. 

    Then, when you’re driving home listening to Taylor’s Verison of 1989,  you will realize you had a few more reps in the tank. 

    It happens every damn time. 

    So, do be afraid to challenge yourself.  

    And if all else fails, order a set of weight-lifting straps. 

    Then you have no excuse but to try your hardest. 

    This video dives into all the information we have covered thus far. 

    I encourage you to watch the entire video.  

    But if you are an eager beaver, jump to the exercise tutorials.  

    Here is a workout that incorporates everything covered in this article. 

    You may not have access to a barbell, so this is a dumbbell-only training session.  

    Exercise Set x RepsRest
    Movement Prep
    90/90 Breathing1×8 breaths
    Half Kneeling Rocking1x8ea
    Adductor Thread The Needle1x8ea
    Single Leg Glute Bridge 1x8ea
    Worlds Greatest Stretch 1x5ea
    Main Lift
    A1. Sumo Deadlift 3×6-8120 Seconds
    B1.Bulgarian Split Squats w/ 3 second pause3×8-10ea
    B2. Couch Stretch 3×30 seconds ea90-120 seconds
    C1. Dead Stop Single Leg RDL 3×10-12ea
    C2. Adductor Rocks 3x12ea 90-75 seconds
    D1. Back Extensions3×12-15
    D2. Copenhagen Plank3×20 seconds ea60 seconds
    Optional Finisher
    E1. Dumbbell Skier 2×8
    E2. Dumbbell Front Squat 2×8
    E3. Dumbbell RDL2×8Don’t put the dumbbells down and rest for eight breaths before repeating the circuit.  
    Modified Pigeon 2×30 seconds
    Half Kneeling Stretch 2×30 seconds
    Seated Hamstring Stretch 2×30 seconds
    90/90 Breathing 1×60 seconds
    Find exercise tutorials here.

    You are stronger than you think. 

    So, start acting like it. 

    Lift all the heavy things, eat well-balanced meals, and get more sleep.

    Give yourself more than 30 days to see results & when all else fails, remember you really can’t fuck this up. 

    You are one session away from proving how strong you can be. 

    I know you can do it. 

    So, keep going.

    Fat loss calculator
  • How To Lose Weight During Menopause

    How To Lose Weight During Menopause

    It is not uncommon for women to struggle to lose weight when they enter menopause. 

    Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading to menopause, where a woman will notice changes in her cycle in addition to:

    • Mood changes.
    • Changes in sexual desire.
    • Trouble concentrating.
    • Headaches.
    • Night sweats.
    • Hot flashes.
    • Vaginal dryness.
    • Trouble with sleep.

    This phase can start between the age of 45 and 55 years old. 

    Women are postmenopausal when it has been over 12 months since they have had their period. While menopause has technically ended, some women may still experience the above symptoms.

    Feeling like you wake up one morning and your body has completely changed is frustrating.  

    To be frank, men have it easier & tend to complain more. 

    Weight Gain During Menopause

    A woman will enter menopause 12 months after their last period. During this time, two hormones undergo a shift. 

    Estrogen is the sex hormone that develops and regulates the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. 

    Androgens are hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction in both men and women. 

    During menopause, there is a drastic decrease in estrogen and an increase in androgens due to the rise of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG)

    Hunger and fullness signals are essential when considering weight gain or loss. 

    Ghrelin is the hormone that signals to the brain that it is time to eat. 

    Leptin is the hormone that signals to the brain that you are full. 

    Individuals dealing with obesity may have a history or family history of leptin resistance. If someone is experiencing leptin resistance, they are more likely to eat past the point of fullness or when they aren’t hungry.

    During perimenopause, there is a decrease in the production of estrogen.  

    Estrogen works to reduce the intensity of grehlin signals. In other words, because of the fluctuation of estrogen production, women commonly experience more intense hunger. 

    Less estrogen = Increased Hunger Signals

    If someone was obese before entering perimenopause, weight gain could continue through menopause and into the later stages of life. 

    From a health standpoint, being obese can increase the severity of menopausal symptoms. 

    Many of my online coaching clients are women, and one commonality is the need to put another person’s well-being before their own.  

    They worry about the well-being of their kids.  

    They worry about the stress their partner is under. 

    They worry about how the rest of the world perceives them. 

    The more time they spend focusing on others, the less energy they have to pour into themselves.  

    Then, the cycle continues with excessive expectations to be perfect. 

    Weight loss comes from self-care. 

    Remember that filling your cup allows you to show up for your loved ones; regardless, you deserve better. 

    If this piqued your interest, I have an entire podcast with Beth Feraco discussing weight loss, menopause, and taking up space in the world.

    Due to hormonal shifts, it is common for fat to accumulate in the midsection & muscle mass to decrease.

    When muscle mass decreases, there is a slight decrease in metabolism. 

    Metabolism is the rate at which the body can use calories for energy. 

    It’s the fact you do less than when you were younger. 

    Your basal metabolic rate (B.M.R.) is the number of calories your body burns at rest. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.) is all the calories you burn during the day from activities that aren’t exercise. 

    Please don’t be mad the next time you have to chase your toddler around or take the dog for a walk because it all counts. 

    Also, consider your total daily energy expenditure (T.D.E.E.), an estimation of how many calories you burn when you include exercise.  

    Your NEAT would be compromised if you were never concerned about your fitness and led a relativity sedentary life.

    Fast forward 30 years, and now you are tired, maybe you don’t exercise, and your B.M.R has decreased due to a loss of muscle mass.  

    It’s a perfect storm that can easily lead to weight gain. 

    First and foremost, if you weren’t active when you were younger, it’s not the end of the world. The human body is pretty damn impressive, and it is never too late.  

    Yes, getting more active might be easier said than done, especially if your energy levels are low.  

    One of the biggest influences on your energy level is sleep. 

    Poor sleep for extended periods can make weight management a challenge. Without enough sleep, the body produces more cortisol, the stress hormone.  

    The increase in cortisol requires the body to burn through more energy and, in turn, increases hunger levels. 

    If ghrelin levels increase, leptin, the fullness hormone, is reduced.

    TL;DR: You will eat more the later you stay awake, impacting your food choices the following day. 

    • Hot Flashes
    • Hormonal Changes (Decreases in Estrogen) 
    • Age-Induced Lower Melatonin Levels
    • Mood Disorders (Anxiety & Depression) 

    All of the above not only disturb sleep cycles but lead to further stress on the body and mind.  

    Going through the menopausal transition can bring a wave of emotions. There can be an increase in depression, anxiety, stress, poor sleep quality, and intimacy issues. 

    How someone chooses to deal with these factors depends on their coping skills. 

    We fall back on coping skills to deal with unusually stressful situations.

    Emotional eating is a learned behavior.  

    Eating might provide feelings of joy and offer an escape. That’s why someone might eat when happy, sad, or anxious. 

    “People who love to eat are always the best people.” 

    Julia Childs

    In my Stress Eating E-Book, I discuss in great detail how to break the cycle of stress eating. This next section is a short snippet from the book.

    I am giving you full permission to stress eat

    But when you catch yourself doing it, play detective. 

    It is easy to get caught up in the “I’m failing” story when you stress eat, but you’re not. You are practicing advanced learning. 

    You can discover what triggers you and how to deal with triggers constructively. 

    To help you, try creating a food and feeling log. It can be a piece of paper, a Word document, or a note on your phone where you can make a note of the following:

    • What were you doing before you started eating? 
    • What did you eat? 
    • How did you feel while eating? 
    • How did you feel after? 
    • What did you do after the meal? 

    Each of these questions allows you to explore your triggers without judgment. 

    They can empower you to understand better why you are making choices. 

    Again, it’s judgment-free and is for you and no one else. 

    As you reflect on your log, what do you notice at the end of the day? 

    If you recognize you are eating the doughnuts before your meeting, you might try something like this: 

    If I notice I am anxious before my meeting, then I will go for a five-minute walk. 

    Sometimes, there might be little to do. It might be an emotion or feeling; recognizing it is a huge win. 

    Remember, you gather clues while playing detective; sometimes, the clues can take a while to make any sense. 

    Keep going; the only way you can fuck this up is if you quit. 

    You’ve made it to the big reveal.  

    How do you lose weight while going through menopause? 

    By now, you have learned that you can’t honestly blame your metabolism & some things are just out of your control. However, your weight doesn’t need to be one of them. 

    Simply put, the only way to lose weight is to have a calorie deficit.  

    A calorie deficit means you are eating slightly less than your basal metabolic rate, the number of calories your body burns at rest. 

    In my opinion, that is a load of poppy-cock. 

    Yes, if you are in a weight loss phase, your metabolism will slow down; however, it is not considered damaging.  

    The body’s survival mechanism, Metabolic Adaptation, ensures you have enough energy to perform essential functions

    Several studies have shown that a less than or equal to 15% metabolic decrease can occur while losing weight. 

    Lowering your calories for fat loss is safe because while you might be eating less than usual, your body still has plenty of fat to burn for energy. 

    For instance, Angus Barbieri didn’t eat anything for 382 days and lost 276 pounds, 125 kilos for my friends outside the United States.  

    The Scottish man survived by drinking tea, coffee, soda water, and vitamins while living at his home, and yes, he did frequent the local hospital for medical evaluation. 

    Angus hit his “goal weight” of 180 pounds and maintained this weight loss for five years, eventually floating around 190-200 lbs. 

    While I don’t recommend fasting for a year, this extreme example demonstrates that metabolic adaptation ensures you will be okay. 

    What tends to cause trouble is a chronic cycle of crash dieting, which can lead to a decline in muscle mass, which isn’t ideal for anyone, especially someone 50+ years old. 

    Here are the spark notes for setting your deficit. 

    Use this equation to determine your calories for weight loss. 

    Goal Body Weight (In Pounds) x 11  

    If your goal body weight were 140 pounds, it would look like this: 

    140lbs x 11 = 1540 calories 

    Now, give yourself a little wiggle room by +/- 100 calories for a range. 

    1540+100 = 1640 

    1540-100 = 1440 

    For a woman with a goal weight of 140 pounds, they would stick with a calorie range of 1440 to 1640 calories per day. 

    After coaching many different personality types, I have found that creating a calorie range makes it easier to stick with your nutrition plan. 

    Some days, you will be slightly under, and other days, you will be slightly over; however, what truly matters is your ability to be in a total calorie deficit for the week.  


    1540 calories per day x 7 days = 10,780 weekly calories 

    How you split up those calories doesn’t matter; therefore, using a range works well. 

    In terms of weight loss, protein is your friend. Protein takes longer to digest and has only four calories per gram. 

    When it comes to muscle preservation, protein is a good idea.  

    Oh, and while losing weight, your goal is to build muscle. Don’t worry, I’ll cover that in a moment. 

    By the time you start perimenopause, muscle mass has begun to decline; also, if you have tried to lose weight only to be hungry all day, you certainly weren’t eating enough protein. 

    To determine your protein goal, you can use the following equation.  

    (Goal Body Weight (LB) ) x .7 to 1 = Protein goal in grams.

    Let’s stick with the 140-pound goal weight. 

    140 lbs x .7 = 98g protein target for the day. 

    140 lbs x 1 = 140g protein

    Protein Goal Range = 98g to 140g per day. 

    Is it okay to eat more than 140 grams per day? 

    You’re darn tooting; eating more than 140 grams is okay.  

    So long as you meet your total calorie goal, you will be golden. 

     I know what you’re thinking.  

    That’s a lot of protein! 

    You’re right. 

    It is. 

    This handy dandy chart can help you pick your protein sources. 

    Meat & Fish Dairy Plant BasedConvience
    Chicken Breast0% Greek Yogurt Tofu Chomps Meat Sticks
    Lean ground beef or turkey1% Cottage CheeseTempheProtein Powder
    Top Round SteakFairlife Milk SetainBarebell Protein Bar
    Pork TenderloinCheeseBeans or Lentils
    Tuna, Cod, Tilapia, Mackeral, Haddock, Sole, Flounder,
    & Shrimp
    Black Eyed Peas
    Eggs & Egg Whites

    To each their own; however, there is no need to follow a low-carb diet to lose weight. 

    Also, low-carb diets do not work well long term for women. 

    There is a hormonal disturbance if carbohydrates are taken too low for women. 

    • a stopped or irregular menstrual cycle*
    • lowered fertility*
    • hypoglycemia and blood sugar swings
    • more body fat (especially around the middle)*
    • loss of bone density*
    • anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues*
    • chronic inflammation and worse chronic pain
    • chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep*

    *Remember the symptoms of menopause from earlier? Sounds similar, right? 

    So, what should you do? 

    It’s helpful to choose complex carbohydrates higher in fiber to help with fullness. 

    Most Americans consume less than half of the recommended amount of fiber.  

    Adult Men: 36 g/day 

    Adult Women: 28g/day 

    Carbohydrates higher in fiber tend to be lower in calories.

    To keep things simple, focus on keeping daily fats between 20-30% of total daily calories.  

    Fat is an essential building block for hormonal health. 

    Fat is the macronutrient with the most significant calories per gram at 9. 

    Does that make it bad? 


    So long as you eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, protein, & carbohydrates, you’re in the clear.  

    Your top priority is hitting your daily protein target within your daily calorie range. 

    Remember, protein is more filling. 

    I covered quite a bit, so here is what to follow for weight loss nutrition during menopause. 

    1. Determine your daily calories with the equation GBW x 11. Then, add 100 and subtract 100 to give you a daily calorie range.  
    2. Determine your daily protein goal in grams with the equation GBW x .7 and 1. It will give you a daily protein goal range. 
    3. Track your daily Fiber intake, aiming for at least 25 grams daily. 

    Stick with all three without further dietary adjustments for 30 days or longer. Weight loss takes time; however, paying attention to your activity levels can be a game changer in addition to your nutrition. 

    For successful weight loss, it is crucial to consider your daily activity levels. 

    Hitting at least 7,500 steps is a pleasant way to increase your daily NEAT. 

    Increasing NEAT = Increasing the calories your body is using.

    Walking keeps you physically healthy.

    Walking keeps you mentally healthy.

    Step count is an easier way to measure total daily activity.

    Because it is easy to track and doesn’t require long recovery periods, walks can and should be a part of your plan.

    7,500 is where the long-term benefits start, so if you have the energy, aim for closer to 10,000 steps per day. 

    Hitting your steps and being dialed in on your nutrition is enough to create a physical change in the body. 

    Walking might be the best place to start for someone with a lot of weight to lose; however, you want to consider the significant benefits of strength training. 

    Lifting weights has many benefits beyond gaining muscle, although that is a major one.  

    Mental Health 

    During menopause, many women deal with decreased mental health due to hormonal shifts. Weightlifting can help regulate essential hormones such as Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Serotonin.


    Due to a decrease in estrogen production while in menopause, there is an increase in the likelihood of osteoporosis. 

    Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder classified by reduced bone strength. 

    Weight-bearing activity can improve bone density and strength. 

    Muscle Mass

    As you age, you will lose muscle mass. 

    You risk muscle loss if you focus on being in a calorie deficit without strength training. With loss of muscle mass comes a decrease in metabolism, which means you will need to use an even lower calorie range for weight loss. 

    That’s why one of the best methods for sustainable weight loss is calorie deficit, strength training 2-3x per week, and improved daily step count. 

    Isn’t cardio the best way to lose weight? 

    No, that’s silly. 

    Also, any calories you burn while doing cardio are quickly eaten back. 

    Strength training is to improve bone density, preserve muscle mass, and get strong. 

    Cardiovascular Conditioning improves your heart health, recovery time, sleep, and stress levels. 

    One of the best things you can do for your general health is practicing Zone 2 cardio. 

    Cardio in zone 2 feels like it would require work to sustain for a multiple-hour session, but it could be done—no gasping for air— for the duration of this workout. 

    You should be able to converse, getting at least 14 words out before needing your next breath. 

    Someone would know you were working out if they talked to you on the phone.

    You can hit Zone 2 (60-70% of max heart rate) by walking on the treadmill with a slight incline. Stationary bikes, ellipticals, or the rower are all fantastic low-impact options for your cardio, too.  

    Your conditioning will improve quickly with a few weeks of consistent work. 

    Aim for three weekly sessions at 20-30 minutes of work. 

    Here’s what to do: 

    1. Increase your daily step count. Instead of jumping by 6,000 steps, focus on increasing your step count by 2,000 this week. When that gets easy, add another 2,000. 
    2. Follow a strength training routine that has you training 2-3x per week. You’re stronger than you know. 
    3. Add Zone 2 Cardio for added heart health benefits 2-3x per week. 

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I don’t expect you to nail all of these on day one.  

    Give yourself six months, plenty of time to make mistakes and figure it out. 

    Mistakes are how you make progress. 

    Weight loss can be a frustrating endeavor while transitioning through menopause. I hope that this article helped point you in the right direction.

    There are many diets for weight loss.

    There is no perfect training plan. 

    What truly matters is finding the method that works best for you and is most sustainable. 

    It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and you’re only racing against yourself. 

    So, take your time, make mistakes, and keep going. 

    Take the guess work out of your nutrition so you can start to lose weight. Complete with a shopping list of fat burning foods that will save you time at the store. There are even quick metabolic workouts to burn fat, save time, and boost your energy.

    🤓 Chris

  • The Beginner’s Guide To Strength Training At Home

    The Beginner’s Guide To Strength Training At Home

    This guide outlines strength training at home for beginners, and goes into more detail than any issue of men/women’s health. 

    When you apply the details of this guide to your training, I guarantee you will get stronger & feel more confident in the gym, too. 

    Before going any further, I want to let you know that everyone was a beginner at some point.  

    Beginner strength training

    Being a beginner isn’t bad. 

    Being a beginner is pretty damn freeing.  

    You can expect to make many mistakes & no one will judge you for it. Ironically, once you have some knowledge, you can still make mistakes, and no one cares. 

    For argument’s sake, define your fitness age as a beginner if: 

    • Most of your workouts are group fitness classes. 
    • You primarily perform short yoga classes on YouTube.
    • You stick with a training program for only one week and then jump to the next one. 
    • You can’t convert Pounds to Kilograms
    • You have never had a gym membership
    • You’re afraid of getting too bulky from lifting weights. 

    Any of these makes you a beginner, and there’s nothing wrong with that! 

    Strength training at home can be convenient.

    • Work From Home 
    • Are a stay-at-home parent
    • Worry about being judged

    As mentioned earlier, everyone was a beginner at some point.  

    The gym can be one of the most supportive environments and a great place to learn. Nobody wants to see you fail; however, everyone is on a different fitness journey. 

    If you are uncomfortable because of your weight and feel embarrassed, it’s okay. Use this guide, get ridiculously strong, and try to join a gym when you feel ready. 

    No matter where you are training, the same principles will apply.  

    In essence, there are five parts to a well-thought-out training program. 

    Every athlete has done a variation of the 5Ps, even if they are unaware of it. 

    If you were to create a strength training program, the 5 Ps would look like this: 

    Prepare: Preparing the body for the specific training session. Think of warming up the body and practicing dynamic movements to ready the joints for your lifts. 

    Practice: The skill that requires the most strength and is the most taxing of the day. It all depends on your current focus because it could be the front squat for one person or a weighted chin-up for another. 

    Play: Consider this further conditioning your ability to move. Play is the easiest thing to add to various sections of your training. 

    Your prep might be someone else’s play and vice versa. 

    You can challenge yourself to explore strengths and weak links and to experiment further.

    An example would be Preparing for your deadlifts by performing kettlebell swings. 

    Later in your training session, you might perform lateral lunge kettlebell swing. They are all variations of the hip hinge and allow you to explore your strength, flexibility, and control.

    Push: This is what you traditionally think of when lifting weights. Think of it as your “pump” section. For my online clients, this is the conditioning section of their training plans. 

    You have Accessory Compound Lifts, such as Bulgarian split squats, B-stance RDL, TRX Rows, and incline DB press.  

    You have Accessory Isolation Lifts (single joint), such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, calf raises, glute bridge, and leg curls. 

    Accessory movements are a way to target specific muscle groups or movement deficiencies.

    Ponder: You most likely have overlooked your ponder section, a moment to sit and reflect on the training session.  

    Reflecting can happen while performing a few stretches or sitting down for your post-training meal.  

    If you can’t think about what went well and what needs improvement, how can you expect to make any progress? 

    When talking about a traditional strength training program, there are several terms that everyone should know. 

    Completing several repetitions of a specific exercise in a row is called a set.  

    Strength Training at home explanation of sets

    In this example, the first number indicates you will perform three sets of 10 reps for your front squat. 

    Rep is short for “Repetition,” a single execution of an exercise.  

    Using the same example, you can see that you will perform ten squats in a row or ten reps. 

    Strength training programming explanation of repetitions

    A few considerations exist when setting the rep ranges in your strength training program. 

    In general, you can look at rep ranges in the following way. 

    Strength training at home rep ranges

    Hypertrophy is a focus on developing muscle size through exercise. 

    Interestingly, a cross-over exists between strength, hypertrophy, and endurance rep ranges.  

    Around 6-12 reps, tough repetitions are a safe bet for hypertrophy.

    Rest periods are the time you rest between sets of specific exercises.  

    If you want to get strong and build muscle, resting will impact your ability to lift an adequate load using a full range of motion. 

    Rest periods might be a new concept if you primarily train by attending group fitness classes. In certain classes, the goal is to keep you moving & sweating the entire time.

    If you love group fitness, rad, but it’s essential to consider you aren’t using hefty weights or a full range of motion during class, both of which are vital for strength training. 

    If you want to save time, you will be a fan of supersets.   

    A superset pairs two exercises that work opposing muscle groups with little to no rest between exercises. 

    For instance, you might see something like this: 

    You would perform the goblet squat and then immediately switch to the row. Once you finish performing rows, you will rest for the prescribed time, anywhere between 120-90 seconds. 

    You can pair an exercise with a mobility drill. 

    The adductor rock will further mobilize your hamstrings and hips. By practicing that mobility drill, you can increase the range of motion used during the RDL. 

    Of all the clients I have coached, no one has ever said they wished they were less mobile. 

    Tempo is the speed at which you perform each phase of an exercise. 

    By adjusting the tempo, you can increase or decrease the difficulty of a movement. The numbers indicate the speed of a movement’s eccentric and concentric phases. 

    Eccentric are slow, lengthening muscle contractions that are for a specific muscle.

    Concentric is the muscle tension rising to meet the resistance and then remains stable as the muscle shortens. 

    The Eccentric portion of an exercise allows you to take on more weight than you can push or pull back up.  

    Imagine how easy it is to squat down with a heavy load and how much harder it is to stand tall from the bottom of your squat.  

    Practicing slow eccentrics is a great way to improve your strength; however, you can expect to be more sore than usual. 

    It would help if you filmed yourself performing your lifts because no matter how slow you think you are moving, I guarantee you are moving 3x faster. 

    Before going any further, let’s clearly define mobility, shall we? 

    When you think about mobility, you’re most likely thinking of passive flexibility. 

    Think of doing the sit-and-reach test in middle school gym class. 

    You relax into your current range of motion…passively. 

    What you want is mobility, which is a combination of strength and flexibility/control. 

    Passively flexible individuals who lack mobility tend to get injured more quickly because they have little control over their flexibility. 

    The goal is to control your entire range of motion, such as a dancer can hold positions like the one below. 

    Mobility for strength training at home

    The secret to developing your mobility is strength training using a full range of motion.

    To truly get the most out of your training, it is vital to create proper time under tension and train your muscles in the lengthened position.  

    Consider decreasing the weight you are using and increasing the range of motion. You will get stronger & your mobility will improve. 

    Mobility for strength training at home

    Bonus: Superset your lift with a mobility drill to increase your range of motion and then train that range of motion. 

    Ultimately, your training split comes down to the time you have and your goals. 

    Ideally, you could train 3-4 times per week.  

    Here are a few examples: 

    3 days per week 

    • Upper pull 
    • Upper push 
    • Lower Body 
    • Upper Body 
    • Lower Body 
    • Full Body 
    • Full Body 
    • Full Body 
    • Full Body

    4 days per week

    • Upper Body 
    • Lower Body 
    • Upper Body 
    • Lower Body 
    • Upper Body 
    • Lower Body 
    • Upper Body 
    • Full Body 
    • Upper Body Pull 
    • Lower Body Push (knee dominate movements: Squats)
    • Upper Body Push 
    • Lower Body Pull (Hip dominate movements: Deadlifts) 

    Something that will influence your training split is your training goal.

    Most men that I have trained wanted to improve their upper body composition, and therefore, the preferred split would be: 

    • Upper 
    • Lower
    • Upper 
    • Full Body (upper emphasis) 

    Most women I have trained were more concerned with their lower body while leaning out their upper body. 

    • Lower Body 
    • Upper Body 
    • Lower Body 
    • Full Body (Lower emphasis) 

    Exercise Tool Box

    Knowing your training splits is pointless without knowing what exercises to do.

    Compound LiftAccessory LiftsCore
    Squats Vertical Pulls/PushesExtension/Anti-extension
    DeadliftsHorizontal Pulls/PushesLateral Flexion/Anti-Lateral Flexion  
    Bench PressUnilateral Knee/Hip Dominate Rotational/Anti-Rotation

    To take it further, here are a few exercises that fall into each category. 

    Exercise Tool Box 

    Knee DominateHip Dominate Horizontal PushHorizontal PullVertical Push Vertical PullUnilateral
    Goblet Squat Deadlift Dumbbell Bench PressTRX RowIncline Dumbbell Bench PressChin-upBulgarian Split Squat 
    Kettlebell Front SquatHip ThrustPush-upBench Supported RowInverted PressResistance Band
    Staggered Stance RDL 

    Core Tool Box

    ExtensionFlexionLateral FlexionRotational
    SupermansReverse CrunchSide Plank Hip DipsRussian Twist
    Dead Bugs (Anti)Good MorningsSuitcase Carry (anti)Pallof Press (Anti)

    You can choose from the programming toolbox when you create your next strength training program.  

    Do you need cardio in your strength training program? 

    Is cardio necessary for strength training

    As a new personal trainer, I truly believed cardio was pointless.  

    Cardio was squatting heavy; that was all the cardio you needed. 

    If you have ever completed a heavy set of squats, it certainly does feel like you have run a marathon; however, it’s not the same. 

    Cardio enhances endurance, efficiency, and cardiac and respiratory function. 

    Lifting weights increases muscle size and strength & improves coordination.  

    In other words, a well-balanced strength training program would include both cardio and lifting weights. 

    Improving your cardiovascular health will only further enhance your strength training.  

    Think of it this way: the more you improve your conditioning, the less rest you require between sets. 

    In other words, if you improve your cardio, your recovery time improves, too. 

    The trouble with cardio is that most folks are running as hard as they possibly can or trying to do daily marathons.

    Cardio for strength training

    Now, does this mean that running is terrible? Heck, no, but if getting faster is your goal, that is separate from improving your lifts. 😉 

    One of the best things you can do for your general health is practicing Zone 2 cardio. 

    Cardio in zone 2 feels like it would require work to sustain for a multiple-hour session, but it could be done—no gasping for air— for the duration of this workout. 

    You should be able to converse, getting at least 14 words out before needing your next breath. 

    Someone would know you were working out if they talked to you on the phone.

    For specific individuals, zone 2 will be hit by walking.  

    Your conditioning will improve quickly with a few weeks of consistent work. Aim for 3-4 weekly sessions at 20-30 minutes of work. 

    Fun fact: You can recover quickly from zone 2 work, meaning you could technically do it daily and be peachy keen. 

    To determine your heart rate zone for zone 2 work, you can use the following formula: 

    180-AGE = Zone 2 HR target OR the assigned heart rate range given. 

    For well-trained individuals, add + 5 to that number.  

    If recovering from a MAJOR illness or injury, -10 from that number. 

    If recovering from a minor illness or injury – 5 from that number

    An RPE 4-5 or 60 – 70% of your max heart rate. 

    If you want to be sure you are in Zone 2, I suggest wearing a heart rate monitor. Not the one on the treadmill or elliptical because those are NOT ACCURATE. 

    Common ways my online coaching clients train their Zone 2 cardio:

    • Walking the stairs
    • Walking on an incline on the treadmill
    • Elliptical 
    • Spin Bike 
    • Rower 
    • Ruck Walk 

    I suggest using low impact for zone 2 because it will require less recovery time, and you still want to properly strength train, too. 

    For those reading this article, attending HIIT group fitness classes four times per week, you’re not doing High-Intensity Interval Training. 

    You are doing cardio, but if you were doing a HIIT session four times weekly, you wouldn’t feel great. 

    A proper HIIT session requires a day or two for full recovery. 

    A High-Intensity Interval Training session involves several rounds alternating between several minutes of high-intensity movements to increase the heart rate to at least 80% of your maximum heart rate, followed by short periods of lower-intensity training.

    “For HIIT workouts, aim for 3-10 intervals of 30 seconds – 4 min each, with 0.5-1.5x as much rest. The shorter the intervals, the more you can do. The longer, the less you should do. Aim for ~10-15 min of ‘hard intensity minutes’ (zone 3-5) during these. Such as 10 rounds of 1 min on 1 min of = 10 min hard effort. 4 rounds of 4 min on and 3 min off is 12 hard minutes.” 

    For the most part, you will be training in Zones 3,4, & 5 for a HIIT session. 

    Burning legs and lungs would identify zone 4. You can only keep the effort up for 15-30 minutes.

    It is pretty much torture.

    Difficult 1-3 words at a time are possible if talking. 

    Zone 5 are short bursts for a few seconds up to 10 minutes. 

    Talking is nearly impossible here. 

    Remember, Zone 2 cardio can be performed frequently due to the short recovery time. 

    You would perform HIIT 1-2x per week at most for general health. 

    Remember that lifting weights will achieve a different cardiovascular effect than performing actual cardio.  

    So, all those random plank jumping jacks, squats, lunges, and med ball passes in your HIIT class…aren’t cutting it, pal.  

    No judgment because you are still moving your body, which is fantastic; however, now you know.  

    Ah, the age-old question: should I switch my program? 


    The answer is no.  

    Okay, it could be more complicated because there are certain factors.  

    A proper program will be at least four weeks long and ramp up someone to increase their strength. 

    Progressive overload is involved in any strength training program and is how you get stronger. 

    The simplest example would be increasing the weight you lift every session. If you are new to lifting weights, you might increase the weight from session to session; however, there is a cap.  

    For instance, if your goal is to increase your bench press by 5 pounds every week, the likelihood of injury increases..and if it were that easy, we would all be bench pressing 350lbs. 

    With a proper training program, you will see progress in different areas of your training.  

    • Number of repetitions completed
    • Amount of weight lifted
    • Number of exercises completed
    • Length of rest periods needed

    If you look at four weeks of programming for the Deadlift, you might see something like this. 

    Week 1: 3×5 

    Week 2: 3×5

    Week 3: 4×3

    Week 4: 4×3 

    In weeks 1 and 2, you will lift 15 total reps for the Deadlift. 

    In weeks 3 and 4, you will lift 12 total reps for the Deadlift.  

    While 15 reps might be more than 12, the weight used for the 12 reps will be heavier.  

    Ladies and gents, that is progressive overload.  

    Progressive overload for strength training.

    As for the programming phases, you could stick with the same program for 4 – 8 weeks before needing to change things. Of course, this all depends on training frequency and experience level.   

    Every time you get a new training program, you shouldn’t see a 💩 ton of new exercises. Slight progressions in tempo, rest intervals, range of motion, and reps completed can all increase the difficulty of a program. 

    “What equipment do I need for a good workout at home?” 

    There are a few considerations that you need to make. 

    • How much do you want to spend? 
    • How much space do you have? 
    • What do you truly need? 

    Let’s assume you have a space in the garage for some training equipment. 

    Also, let’s assume you are on a budget because life is expensive. 

    Here is precisely what I would buy: 

    • Power Blocks are convenient because they are adjustable dumbbells that go from 10-50lbs. It saves you space and money.  
    • Adjustable Bench to perform a variety of exercises. Bonus points if you find one that is collapsable for storage. 
    • A TRX is a solid piece of equipment allowing rows, pushing movements, lower body exercises, and core work variations. Also, you can roll it up and throw it in a bag while traveling. 
    • Resistance Bands are cheap and are a great addition to any gym. 
    • Doorway Pull-up Bars are self-explanatory for chin-ups and vertical pulling exercises.  
    • Stationary Bike for cardio, low impact & cheaper than a treadmill. 

    If you get an excellent tax return, consider purchasing these, too. 

    You don’t need to buy everything all at once. 

    My home gym started with two dinky kettlebells from Modells and a used doorway pull-up bar. It got the job done; you don’t need anything fancy. 

    Here’s a sample of a strength program you can complete at home. 

    Lower Body: 

    Movement Prep

    A1. Goblet Squat 3×6-8 

    A2. Adductor Rock 3x8ea 

    Rest 90-120 seconds 

    B1: Dual Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats 3×8-10

    B2: Couch Stretch 3×30 seconds ea

    Rest 90-120 seconds 

    C1. 1.5 Dumbbell RDL 3×10-12

    Rest 90 seconds

    D1: Single Leg Hip Thrust 3×12-15

    D2. Russian Twist 3×10-12

    Rest 60 seconds 


    Upper Body: 

    Movement Prep

    A1. Dumbbell Chest Press 3×6-8 

    Rest 120 seconds 

    B1. Chin-up 4×3 

    B2. Rocking 3×10 

    Rest 120 seconds 

    C1. 3-point Dumbbell Row 3×8-10

    C2. Push-Up 3x MAX

    Rest 90-120 seconds 

    D1. Lateral Raises 3×12-15

    D2. Zottmans Curls 3×12-15

    Rest 60 seconds 

    You could perform a short zone 2 session or stretch at the end of these sessions.  

    Every Minute On The Minute: 

    • 10-15 rounds: Every minute on the minute 20 seconds MAX effort sprint. Rest for 40 seconds (FULL REST) 
    • Perform on the Bike, elliptical, or rower

    Zone 2 Sessions 2-3x per week 

    • Minimum 20 minutes 
    • Maximum 90 minutes

    This article was quite a bit of information, and I hope you found it helpful. If you made it this far, I am sure you did. 

    Honestly, this scratched the surface of strength training & program design. 

    If your interest is piqued, I recommend checking out the following books: 

    A final word on programming.  

    Less is more.  

    If you want to build muscle, get strong, and improve your health, it takes time and effort.  

    Notice how I didn’t say anything about being perfect. 

  • The Best Meal Plan for Parents Trying To Lose Weight

    The Best Meal Plan for Parents Trying To Lose Weight

    By the end of this article, you will know the best meal plan to help you lose weight

    Before you jump ahead, let me explain that this article lays out the best meal plan for parents trying to lose weight; however, the same principles apply to anyone trying to lose weight. 

    You will learn the foods to eat and avoid to lose weight as fast as possible, all while keeping your busy schedule. In addition, I will share the exact steps I give my clients, like my friend Sam.  

    Sam has been in my online coaching program for a year and has never felt more comfortable in her skin. 

    You’re reading this because your diet no longer works. You are in the same boat as my buddy, John. He was a part of my online coaching program for eight months while working full-time, earning his MBA, and being a dad.   

    John credits his 20+ pound weight loss to developing a sense of confidence that (he) is in control and that (he) can accomplish things because of putting in the work!

    These are just a few folks who have achieved their goals while keeping their busy schedules and losing weight. You can read more about their success here.

    Okay, let’s get down to brass tax and discuss the best meal plan to help busy parents lose weight. 

    Here is a list of the foods to have and avoid while losing weight: 

    The Food You EnjoyAny Foods You’re Allergic To
    Foods With Gluten Raw Meat
    Vegetables Tide Pods
    CarbohydratesThe Bits Of Hot Dog Your Kid Sneezes
    Meals With Your Loved OnesMeals With Your Arch Nemesis

    All joking aside, I’m sure you are about to get your mind blown. 

    Energy balance plays a role in your weight management. This concept is referred to as Calories-In, Calories Out. 

    • You can gain weight if you take in more energy than you use. (Energy Surplus)
    • You can lose weight if you take in less energy than you use. (Energy Deficit) 
    • If you take in the same energy you use, your weight will stay the same. (Energy Balance) 

    In other words, someone needs to be in a calorie deficit if their goal is to lose weight. 

    A calorie is a calorie; it doesn’t matter if it comes from an apple or a donut. 

    Sure, other things, such as fiber, make an apple more nutritionally dense; however, including both makes it much easier to stick with your plan.  

    It doesn’t mean you’ll overdo it on daily donuts. Quite the opposite…it becomes a donut, not some forbidden love. 

    Now that you know you don’t need to avoid your favorite foods while trying to lose weight, here’s something to consider. 

    Protein helps to preserve and build lean muscle mass. 

    Protein has a thermic effect of 20-30%, which is why it is an essential nutrient in your diet to lose or maintain weight. The body requires the most energy to digest protein properly. That’s why it can help with fullness between meals. 

    If you need help determining how much protein to have, click here for my FREE Weight Loss Calculator. 

    As a rule of thumb, aim for a range of .7-1 gram per pound of goal body weight.

    *If you are plant-based, you can use .6 grams per pound of goal body weight. 

    Enjoy this handy-dandy chart chock full of protein source ideas. 

    Meat & FishDairy Convenience Plant Based
    Chicken Breast 0% Greek Yogurt Chomps Meat SticksTofu
    Lean Ground Turkey or Beef1% Cottage Cheese Barebell Protein BarTemphe
    Top Round Steak Fairlife Milk Protein PowderSetain
    Pork TenderloinLow-Fat String CheeseBeans or Lentils
    Tuna, Cod, Tilapia, Mackeral, Haddock, Sole, Flounder,
    & Shrimp
    Black Eyed Peas
    Eggs & Egg Whites

     Look through the chart and add your options to your shopping list for the week. 


    It’s helpful to choose a starchy carbohydrate higher in fiber to help with fullness. 

    Most Americans consume less than half of the recommended amount of fiber.  

    Adult Men: 36 g/day 

    Adult Women: 28g/day 

    Carbohydrates higher in fiber tend to be lower in calories, too.

    Low-Calorie Carbohydrate Options 

    Oatmeal:  Holy heck, is oatmeal filling. This starchy carbohydrate is 150 calories for a half cup, which will double in size once you add water and cook it. Not to mention the 5 grams of fiber per serving! 

    Sweet or White Potato:  Potatoes tend to be incredibly filling, even without all the fixing. 4oz of sweet potato comes in at 100 calories and 3.7g of fiber!  

    When you compare that to 1/4 of a cup of brown rice, which comes in at 170 calories and 2g of fiber, you will find that you could have two servings of sweet potatoes and be pretty darn satisfied.  

    Additionally, brown rice and sweet potatoes are fricken delicious, but from a lower-calorie fiber point of view, potatoes work well. 

    Barley: Well, barley is pretty tasty, and 1 cup has almost 9g of fiber and 193 calories. You will be full and get away with a half cup based on the balanced plate you enjoy. 

    Popcorn: If you enjoy plain popcorn on the stovetop, a cup is about 31 calories. Again, there is about 1.2g of fiber per serving, too! 

    Even plain microwave popcorn can be low in calories and is filling. 

    Legumes (Black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc.): All my plant-based friends know how satisfying beans can be! That is due to their combination of protein and fiber. 

    These are easy to add to any meal and leave you feeling full. 

    A word to the wise: soak your beans overnight before cooking. It is a tiny tip that can help with the toot factor.

    Beans work well for fiber and in your fat loss meal plan

    They are filling, packed with fiber, and low in calories. 

    Here are some of the MANY tasty options you can try.  

    •  Raspberries: 1 cup has 8g of fiber and 64 calories 
    •  Strawberries: 1lb is only 140 calories, and a cup has 4g of fiber
    •  Blackberries: 1 cup is 7.6g of fiber and 62 calories
    •  Watermelon: 1 lb is 138 calories and has 2g of fiber. 
    •  Orange: 1 orange is 74 calories and has 4.4g of fiber
    •  Apple: 1 medium size apple is 93 calories and has 4.3g of fiber
    •  Papaya: 1 medium size papaya is 118 calories and has 5.5g of fiber. 
    • Cantaloupe: 1 large cantaloupe is 150 calories and has 4g of fiber. 

    Oh, and to save a few bucks, you can buy frozen fruit.  

    No matter what fad has popped across your social media feed this week, I will shout this from the mountain tops: EAT YOUR FRICKEN VEGETABLES.  





    Beyond the health-promoting benefits, such as reduced all-cause mortality, they are very filling, packed with fiber, and lower in calories.  

    Because you are in a deficit, you will want to take advantage of feeling full. 😉 

    The goal is to work up to 50% of your plate being vegetables.  

    Oh, and the calories from vegetables still count; they aren’t magical. However, no one ever said, gosh, I eat too many vegetables; I need to cut back.  

    If you don’t know where to begin, try having 1 Big Ass Salad daily. Fill it with as many different vegetables as possible, and you will find that you can curb hunger. 

    Make sure a salad is a part of your meal plan for weight loss.

    You’re an adult, and eating the veggies is a good idea; if you need help getting started, here are a few good options. 

    It is easy to fill up on liquid calories; here are some alternatives that can work well. 

    Diet & Zero Calorie Soda: They are a good option to help with a sweet craving. There are zero calories, and folks who switch from regular soda to diet soda tend to lose weight; go figure. 😉

    Diet coke works amazing in the best meal plan for weight loss

    Coffee & Tea: Both are beautiful gifts from the caffeine gods. Just be aware of how much of your favorite creamer you’re adding, and no, olive oil is not a creamer. 

    Water:  If I started recommending water first, you would have rolled your eyes.  

    Look, thirst is often confused with hunger, and water will quench your thirst better than most other beverages. 

    You can switch from diet soda to flavored seltzer water. 

    Another option is having a glass of water with every meal. 

    If it sounds more tasty, add fruit or lemon to your water. 

    If you don’t like any of those options, knock it off and drink a glass of water. 

    There is no magical secret number of calories to eat for weight loss; the only answer is to be in a calorie deficit. 

    I recommend reading through my comprehensive article on Tracking/Setting Macros if you are unsure where to begin. 

    You will lose weight if you eat within your daily calorie range, plus or minus one hundred calories.  

    How you split up those calories throughout the day is entirely up to you.  

    If you are reading this and are a big believer in skipping breakfast for “health benefits,” but you are hungry in the morning, do yourself a favor and read my fasting article. 

    For my client Melanie, adding breakfast into her routine allowed her to reduce snacking and dial in her eating skills. 

    Melanie has become a pro at meal planning while losing weight

    Remember, the important thing is to be within your calorie range. Snacks are something that goes unaccounted for by most individuals.  

    As a reference point, anything that enters your mouth between meals can be considered a snack. 

    Snacking matters for your meal plan for losing weight

    What works best for someone trying to lose weight is aiming to have an eating schedule. Focusing on eating at specific times during the day will make sticking with your meal plan much more manageable. 

    If you are scratching your head and need help figuring out where to start, focus on hitting three balanced meals that prioritize protein & fiber. 

    Balanced plates are a must for your meal plan for weight loss

    Balanced plates make it easier to stay full between meals.  

    FYI: Doing the easy thing is sometimes a good idea. 

    What about if you enjoy eating smaller meals throughout the day? Or what happens if you find that you aren’t as hungry, so you eat less? 

    When I first entered the fitness space over ten years ago, the big thing was to talk about stroking the metabolic fire by increasing your eating frequency.  

    What does that mean? I’ve got you covered with my deep dive into meal frequency and fat loss. 

    The truth: It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat daily. All that matters is hitting your calorie range and staying in your deficit. 

    That’s it. 

    Suppose you prefer eating six smaller meals, cool beans. I support your choice. 

    If you’re not hungry in the morning, and you end up doing a variation of intermittent fasting and don’t end up overeating in the evening, do it! 

    If all of the above feels very confusing, you can work on hitting three balanced meals with healthy portions of protein & fiber about 4-to 6 hours apart.  

    The perfect meal plan hangs on one thread, and if you can follow my advice, you will have the best meal plan to help you lose weight. 

    You need to look at the system of Good, Better, Best.  

    Good: Prepping breakfast for the week might only be one meal, but it helps with motivation for your other meals. 

    Better: Batch cooking protein, carbohydrates, & vegetables. Then, put each into a container and use each to mix and match, making your meals. 

    Best: Setting a daily macro target, dividing it across all meals, and putting all meals into individual containers. Bonus: Pre-logging all meals the night before in your tracking app. 

    You would lose weight if you picked any of these options and stuck with it for 30 days.  

    Why am I so confident? Consistency matters most, and if the easier option allows you to stick with the plan, then go for it. 

    Most of my clients succeed with Batch Prep instead of Meal Prep, and I outline the difference in my article, Five Ways To Make Meal Prep Easier. 

    Give it a read, and I think you will better understand why the Better option might be Best for you. 

    Well, you made it to the end of this article, which means you are committed to figuring out the best meal plan to help you lose weight. 

    The truth is that the best meal plan for losing weight is the one that you can stick with.  

    Sorry, the answer isn’t sexy. 

    Strike that. 

    Sorry, the answer isn’t sexy. 

    I’m not sorry because if you follow every section of this article to a T, you will stick with your meal plan. 

    The secret is that there is no secret. The only thing that will work is choosing something sustainable flexible, and meeting yourself where you’re at. 

    The goal is to stick with this for the long haul and to allow you to enjoy your life. 

    Remember, calories matter, but so does your well-being. 

  • How to break habits keeping you from losing weight

    How to break habits keeping you from losing weight

    It’s hard to break habits, especially when it comes to losing weight.

    My thoughts on the topic are a bit jumbled because my son is kicking me while lying on his stomach. Maybe it’s a bad habit to let him watch Bluey while I try to work…

    Distracted habits for weight loss

    Yet, here I am writing.

    Why does any of this matter? Writing daily is a habit I have kept for the last seven years. Writing has been a part of my career, whether crafting an email to a client or a detailed caption for a post on social media.

    Writing is a skill.

    Skills require practice.

    Practice requires mistakes.

    Habits can either keep you consistent or prevent you from reaching your goal. By the end of this article will know precisely how to break the habits keeping you from losing weight.

    So, let’s dig in, shall we?

    There are so many different resources on how to form habits. You are missing out if you haven’t read Atomic Habits by James Clear or Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.

    Most of what I will cover can be found in either of those books.

    According to James Clear, there are Four Stages in habit formation.

    1. Cue
    2. Craving
    3. Response
    4. Reward

    These four stages establish any habit and flow from one to the other in an endless cycle. Another way to look at each is:

    1. Cue ➡️ Make it obvious.
    2. Craving ➡️ Make it attractive.
    3. Response ➡️ Make it easy.
    4. Reward ➡️ Make it satisfying.

    According to James Clear, it’s essential to ask yourself the following questions when you wish to form any habit:

    • How can I make it obvious?
    • How can I make it attractive?
    • How can I make it easy?
    • How can I make it satisfying?

    Here’s an example of a familiar habit for any parent.

    1. Cue ➡️ Your kids have finally gone to bed.
    2. Craving ➡️ You want to relax and unwind.
    3. Response ➡️ You grab ice cream and turn on the TV.
    4. Reward ➡️ You satisfy your craving to relax and unwind. Eating ice cream and watching TV becomes associated with relaxing after the kids go to bed.

    The question is, how do you break a habit that keeps you from losing weight?

    Reverse engineer the questions from above:

    • How can I make it invisible?
    • How can I make it unattractive?
    • How can I make it difficult?
    • How can I make it unsatisfying?

    You can’t make your kids invisible 😅 however, you can do things that eliminate stress while they are awake.

    Many parents I work with look at evening rituals such as a dance party or reading a book together. Everyone will be different, but looking at the obstacle and seeing other possibilities is a big part of learning a new habit.

    Here are a few examples clients have used:

    • Family dance party
    • Family board game night
    • Family walk after dinner
    • Family playing with a pet
    • Family reading together
    Dance party habit for weight loss

    Having a structured routine that limits screen time and brings the family together leads to more relaxation.

    Another option is to take the ice cream out of the fridge if that seems to trigger the cascade of events.

    Is this saying that ice cream is terrible? No.

    However, having a period when the ice cream isn’t there can lead you to look for other options like the previously mentioned options.

    Also, if you like ice cream, taking your family for ice cream is different than falling asleep on the couch by yourself with Ben & Jerry’s in your hand.

    bad habit to break for weight loss

    Removing a stress-filled bedtime routine stops the unwanted habit in it’s tracks.

    As you practice turning screens off before bed….you will fuck up. It’s okay; you should expect it to happen because you’re a human. Look at the other opportunities to create change.

    It may sound challenging to make eating ice cream on the couch to relax less appealing. And if you feel that way, I agree; ice cream is fricken delicious.

    So, then, what is the alternative?

    The short answer is to look at the people who share this habit with you. If your partner is doing the same thing & is unaware of your desire to change, good luck changing the pattern.

    Surrounding yourself with a supportive community is critical & your family is a part of that. Does that mean they must stop having ice cream and relaxing on the couch, too? No, but it might suggest they support you when you decide not to have any.

    The next step is joining a community where stress reduction and sleep are common goals. For instance, all the moms and dads in my FREE Facebook Community are focused on losing weight, getting stronger, & reclaiming their health.

    Keeping yourself accountable by joining the Stronger Coffee Crew increases the likelihood that habit becomes unattractive because you have folks who are counting on you & maybe you want to fit in. 😎

    You have covered 2 out of 4 stages & now you just need to make the habit more challenging.

    The more friction is associated with a task, the less likely you are to do it.

    -James Clear, Atomic Habits

    In this example, if there is no ice cream in the house, you are less likely to have ice cream to help you relax.

    Taking it a step further, leaving your phone/tablet in your office away from your living room and bedroom makes it harder for you to use screens for relaxation, too.

    Make the habit an inconvenience, increase the chances of breaking the habit.

    Ah, and for the final step to break an unwanted habit.

    This is quite possibly the most challenging step for most individuals. It requires time to sit down with your thoughts.

    In weight loss, it’s vital to remember that, technically, foods are neither good nor bad.

    • You will gain weight if you eat more than you need to maintain your current weight over an extended period.
    • You will lose weight if you eat less than you need to maintain your current weight over an extended period.
    • If you keep things status quo, your weight will stay the same.

    Now that you and I are on the same page, I can tell you that if you eat 300 calories from apples or donuts, you will still be ingesting 300 calories.

    The body uses calories the same way, no matter the food that yields said calories.

    In other words, if you eat 300 extra calories of apples before bed or 300 extra calories of ice cream, you could still gain weight if done over weeks and weeks.

    If you make the habit harder by removing ice cream and replacing it with chips, cookies, apples, oranges, cereal, and peanut butter, you are still getting the extra calories.

    Your body still gets the reward signal you have linked with relaxation and unwinding after the kids go to bed.

    That’s why you need to dig a little deeper.

    Everything you have just read about is surface level & these habits are there for a reason. At some point, eating ice cream & unwinding on the couch served you well.

    It solved the problem of needing more “you” time.

    Heck, I will venture a guess and say it is something you did long before your kids were even a thought.

    It’s a learned behavior; chances are, when your kids are full-grown, you will continue with the same behavior.

    But all of this comes at a cost.

    All of these minor micro-behaviors can be thought of as a ding on your credit.

    • Every time you get less than 6 hours of sleep. *swipe*
    • Every time you eat to soothe emotions. *swipe*
    • Every time you skip going for the walk.*swipe*
    • Every time you avoid drinking water. *swipe*
    • Every time you let the gym membership collect dust. *swipe*

    After years of swiping the health credit card without making payments, your credit score and you suffer.

    Let that sit with you for a minute.

    The last thing I want to do is come across as overdramatic; however, every time you lean into those habits, you suffer.

    Maybe you don’t feel it now, but eventually you will.

    Parent habits for weight loss

    Sorry, I am pulling a 180 and will tell you that I don’t like “habits.”

    And no, I am not trying to be pedantic or major in the minor.

    Habits are real; however, they only allow you to pass or fail.

    Either you hit the mark, or you are five towns away.

    You might be the person who is okay with fucking up.

    You might be the person who feels like they need to quit because they made one mistake.

    Nine times out of 10, my clients are the latter.

    That’s why we look at practicing skills vs. habits.

    • Habits = all or nothing.
    • Practicing Skills = all or something.
    • Something is greater than nothing.

    Something will give you something to work on.

    A quick recap of how to form “good” habits.

    Cue ➡️ Make it obvious.

    Craving ➡️ Make it attractive.

    Response ➡️ Make it easy.

    Reward ➡️ Make it satisfying.

    🧌 All of the above still applies, but you first need to zoom out to look at your big hairy goal.

    Do you plan on playing with your grandkids?

    Do you want to be self-sufficient as you age?

    Do you want to look good naked?

    There’s no right or wrong answer. The only thing that matters is you are clear on what you want.

    Maybe it feels like a lot to peel back the layers behind your goal.

    bad habits for weight loss

    If that’s the case, answer the following questions about your health/fitness.

    • What ongoing activities would you like to start or take up again?
    • What groups or centers would you like to join?
    • What lifestyle changes would you like to make?

    With those answers, you can work to choose your Values.

    Values are character strengths you wish to bring into the world.

    Goals are something we can complete & once they are done, you cross them off the list.

    Values are ongoing behaviors you follow through on to become the best version of yourself.

    If you need help understanding your values, here is a free resource to point you in the right direction.

    Take a moment to imagine using Google Maps.

    You enter your destination (Goal), and then Google will give you your options, choosing the one with the best ETA (Values).

    Values allow you to make the best decision, leading you one step closer to your goal.

    When you reach the goal, your values will help you determine the next goal.

    If you know your values, then the next step is choosing your goal.

    Goals are fantastic; however, if we return to our Google Map example, how will you get to your final destination if you don’t know where you are going?

    There are two types of Goals. 

    Outcome-Based Goals:

    • Losing 10 lbs.
    • Running a marathon 
    • Not needing a 3 PM nap.

    They are the endpoint, and a skill in and of itself is working backward to determine the steps that will help you get there.  

    Behavior or Action-Based Goals:

    • I will plate a balanced meal three times a day. 
    • I will go for a 20-minute walk Monday through Friday. 
    • I will get to bed by 9:30 PM.

    You can take action-based steps to get one step closer to your goal. 

    The wonderful thing about action-based goals is the ability to keep digging until it feels silly not to do the behavior.

    👇Plate a balanced meal three times a day.

    👇 Make sure there’s one palmful of protein on my plate, three meals per day.

    👇 I will cook enough lean protein for the week.

    👇 Be sure to make a shopping list with the ingredients for the week.

    Try using the Will-I-Do-This-Scale.

    weight loss habits

    Be honest with yourself, and using a scale from 1-10, rate the likelihood you will follow through on your behavior goal.

    1 = 🦆 NO.

    10 =🦆YES.

    Now, before you go and pick something too easy, like… breathing, you need to have still a certain level of “I may still f**k this up.”

    habit for weight loss

    Aim for the sweet spot for goal setting.

    In the book Lean & Strong written by Josh Hillis, he calls it Goldielocksing Skills.

    habits for losing weight

    If you never make any mistakes, you will get bored, and that’s pretty unmotivating.

    If you consistently make mistakes 100% of the time, that is pretty discouraging, right?

    Enter the 80/20 principle.

    You aim for 80% consistency, leaving room for mistakes 20% of the time.

    Fun fact: the 20% is where all the good stuff happens.

    My son used to poop on the floor…a lot. TJ wasn’t the biggest toilet fan during potty “learning;” however, when he needed to help clean up the poop, he realized it wasn’t cool to poop on the floor.

    Now my son poops on the potty.

    Quite literally, shit happened, and he figured it out.

    You need that 20% of shitty things happening to determine the consistency of the other 80%.

    This relationship between mistakes and making progress is serious work.

    It requires you to be okay with not being perfect.

    Lucky for you…no one is perfect.

    Everyone’s poop smells, even your partners…even if they tell you they don’t poop.

    weight loss habit

    In other words, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s to be expected.

    Your best option is to accept the facts and take action that makes a difference.

    You have made it to the end, and there is quite a bit of information to digest.

    So here’s your TL;DR version.

    The best way to stick with your habits is to be okay with f***king up.

    The best way to form new skills is to practice, make mistakes, learn, try again, and make progress. Repeat this from now until the end of time.

    Follow this formula for creating or breaking any habit:

    Cue ➡ Make it obvious/invisible

    Craving ➡️ Make it attractive/unattractive

    Response ➡️ Make it easy/hard

    Reward ➡️ Make it satisfying/unsatisfying

    So here are my parting words:

    Bluey is quite honestly the best TV show.

    Oh, and practice is required for any new/old habit. That’s the cheat code. Be okay with making mistakes because it’s par for the course.

  • How To Stay Full In A Calorie Deficit

    How To Stay Full In A Calorie Deficit

    Hunger is normal, especially when you are in a calorie deficit. However, you really shouldn’t be hungry all the time.  

    So sit down & gear up for a jam-packed article that will teach you how to feel full while in a calorie deficit. 

    The first section will explain the difference between hunger and craving. 

    The second section will give you some of the best foods to incorporate into your nutrition game plan while losing weight. 

    The third section will give you guidelines to experiment with over the next few weeks/months.  

    Get ready for a good one, and I promise you will know how to stay full while in a calorie deficit after giving this a read. 

    Now, let’s get to it. 


    Before we jump any further, let’s be sure we’re on the same page about calorie deficits. 

    When you eat, you are taking in energy. While you go about your daily life, you are burning that energy.  

    Energy balance plays a role in your weight management. This concept is referred to it as Calories-In, Calories Out. 

    • You can gain weight if you take in more energy than you use. (Energy Surplus)
    • You can lose weight if you take in less energy than you use. (Energy Deficit) 
    • If you take in the same energy you use, your weight will stay the same. (Energy Balance) 

    In other words, someone needs to be in a calorie deficit if their goal is to lose weight. 

    You can give my full macro tracking article a read to help determine your calorie deficit.  

    Or you can use the following formula: 

    (Goal bodyweight) x 12 = Total Calories 

    Then add 100 calories and subtract 100 to give yourself a calorie range. 

    Ranges work better than trying to hit one number. 


    (Goal bodyweight 135 lbs) x 12 = 1,620 calories 

    1,620 calories + 100 = 1,720 calories 

    1,620 calories – 100 = 1,520 calories 

    Your daily calorie range would be 1,520 – 1,720 calories. 

    Just a word to the wise, this is an estimate. Even the number from an online calorie calculator is an estimate.  

    That’s why sticking with your calorie range for at least 30 days or longer, is your best bet, ya little rascal. It gives you time to notice trends and make minor adjustments while working on developing different eating skills and health-promoting behaviors.  

    But I know you might be an impatient Imogen, and that’s why you do silly things like…

    Cutting your calories and eating less than my two-year-old. 

    So, Why Am I Hungry All The Time? 

    The most common reason someone is hungry is that their calorie deficit is too big. 

    If you are in a calorie deficit, you will experience hunger.

    You are eating a little less than usual, and if you have been eating in a calorie surplus, you might be more accustomed to the feeling of being over full.

    If you never are hungry or experience a craving, you most likely aren’t in a deficit. 

    I know it stinks to hear that; however, here is a solution.

    The deficit you are attempting to enter might be too big.

    Let’s say you were eating 2,500 calories a day, and the weight loss calculator you used told you to eat 1,200 calories to lose 2-3 lbs per week.

    You are cutting your calories almost in half and setting an aggressive weight loss per week, making it harder to adhere to and more likely to be hungry all the time.

    Suppose you adjust your calories to 1900-2000 calories per day and work on tracking accurately, eating nutrient-dense meals, taking a daily walk, and laying the foundation for health-promoting behaviors. 

    In that case, your weight loss phase becomes more tolerable, and you have skills to fall back on when life happens.

    But I Have More Weight To Lose

    For certain individuals, maybe their weight loss goal is 50+ pounds, in which case, their goal body weight might create a more significant calorie deficit if they use an online calculator or the nifty equation I gave you earlier. 

    (Goal Bodyweight)x 12 = Estimated Daily Calories 

    Instead of aiming for 100lbs, let’s aim for the first 20 lbs. 

    I know, I know, I can hear you now…

    But Chris, that’s not enough; I need to lose MOAR! 

    You’re not the first person to feel this way, and I’m not going to sit here and type a motivational sentence telling you not to feel that way.  

    Feel your feelings. 

    I will say that when you lose weight and look back on all your progress, you’re not going to give two poops about how long it took you.  

    You’re going to embrace that you did it and didn’t do another fricken crash diet, followed by a detox and two more crash diets. 

    The goal isn’t to be dieting forever.

    The goal is to enjoy life.

    The goal is to keep up with your family.

    The goal is not to spend the entire day thinking about food and how hungry you are.

    So, take it slow because you’re the only one in the race, and you’re going to cross the finish line; be patient. 

    Step back and reflect on what you’ve done that hasn’t worked; what do you have to lose by dialing things back and taking your time? 

    Glad you understand. 

    Aim for the first 20 pounds to have a more manageable deficit, and things will improve for you. 

    Oh… and you might still be a little hungry sometimes, but you shouldn’t be hungry all the time! 

    Hunger vs. Cravings

    Yes, as I mentioned earlier, you will be hungry sometimes because you are eating less than before. 

    Here’s the best question you can ask yourself when it comes to hunger: 

    Am I Hungry? 

    Yup. It seems simple, and that’s because it is. 

    You are either hungry, or you are experiencing a craving (which is FRICKEN NORMAL). 

    To boil things down, you can start to look for hunger with the following cues: 

    1. The feeling starts in your stomach 
    2. The feeling increases over time
    3. You’re hungry for a meal

    Number three is quite possibly the most important cue for hunger. 

    We will come back to it in a second. 

    Cravings usually follow these cues: 

    1. The feel isn’t in the stomach 
    2. The feeling comes and goes in a wave
    3. You want a “treat.” 

    Cravings come and go, and if you give yourself 10-15 minutes, it usually passes.   

    Oh, and I don’t recommend standing in front of the pantry waiting it out. That never works. 


    The best question to ask yourself is, “am I hungry for a meal?” 

    Does a piece of fruit sound good right about now? 

    Does a plate of tacos with black beans, rice, and some salsa sound good? 

    If you answered yes to either of these, you are hungry.   

    Now, if the answer is no, chances are you have a craving, and it will pass. I don’t recommend sitting and staring at the cookies while you attempt to let the urge pass by.  

    You can read this article to learn what you can do instead.

    Okay I’m hungry, what should I eat? 

    To keep things simple, we are going to macronutrient by macronutrient.  

    I like having all my fat loss clients first master eating a balanced plate. 

    A balanced plate makes it easier to see what goes on your plate, specifically if you want to manage or lose weight. 

    Portion sizes may be slightly different based on the person, but this is a good starting point: 

    • 25% protein 
    • 25% carbohydrate 
    • 50% Vegetables & Fruit
    • 1-2 thumbs of fat

    So without further ado, let’s dive in. 



    Prioritizing protein during a calorie deficit is important for a few different reasons.  

    1. During a fat loss phase, your goal is to preserve muscle mass. 
    2. During a fat loss phase, your goal is to not be as hungry between meals.  
    3. During a fat loss phase, your goal is to build muscle…maybe.

    Protein covers all of the above. 

    Let’s take a glance at the thermic effect of food. 

    Thermic Effect of Foods: Is the increase in metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories) after eating food.  

    T.E.F accounts for 10% of the daily calories burnt.  

    You’re more likely to be full between meals if you prioritize protein for that very reason. 

    So, how much protein should I have? 

    To determine your protein goal, you can use the following equation.  

    (Goal Body Weight (LB) ) x 1 = Protein goal in grams.

    150 lbs x 1 = 150g protein target for the day. 

    Now, wait a minute; I know what you’re thinking.  

    That’s a lot of protein! 

    You’re right. 

    It is. 

    That’s why it’s a target. You are working toward it, and after you read this next section, you’ll know what to eat. 🤓


    Low-Calorie High Protein Sources: 

    Skin-less chicken breast: I suggest chicken breast vs. chicken thigh because it is a lean cut of meat.  

    Leaner cuts of meat have less fat, and because there is less fat, it ends up being a lower-calorie option. Technically plan/bland chicken breast will probably be the most satiating thing you could eat…but it tastes horrible. 

    So, please do me a favor and flavor your chicken. There are a ton of spices and rubs that are low-calorie. Such as NADAC OG Chicken..🤤

    Or use onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. 

    Lean or Extra Lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef: Easy to throw in a pan and cook.  

    Or you can make burgers! 

    Or you could make a family favorite The Mike Nugget. 

    Pork Tenderloin:  For those who are not a big fan of chicken, don’t overlook a good pork tenderloin.  

    3oz Chicken Breast 3 oz Port Tenderloin
    140 Calories122 Calories
    26g Protein 22g Protein
    3g Fat3g Fat

    Pretty close, right? 

    Fish (Tuna, Cod, Talapia, Mackeral, Haddock, Sole, Flounder, & Shrimp): 

    So, I am allergic to shellfish; therefore, I am jealous of folks who can enjoy shrimp. The fish I have listed above are just a few of the many fish someone can enjoy.  

    Fish are jam-packed with nutrients and tend to be lower in calories while high in protein. For that reason, you could eat more fish; however, no one enjoys a fish burp, so use common sense. 😉 

    Egg and Egg Whites:   Eggs are a more affordable source of protein and contain other nutrients.   

    To get more protein, I recommend using 1-2 whole eggs and mixing them with a few egg whites. This high protein, lower calorie option can be pretty filling, especially if you toss a bunch of vegetables in with your eggs. 

    Zero Percent Greek Yogurt:  This is a staple in my kitchen. Greek Yogurt tends to fill me up, and it is an easy protein addition to oatmeal, salads, or dressings.   

    As a bonus, you can make a high-protein late-night snack: 

    • 1 serving 0% greek yogurt 
    • 1 scoop of Chocolate Protein 
    • 1/2 cup cut strawberries 

    Mix the greek Yogurt with your protein powder and stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. 

    Take it out and put berries on top.  

    Enjoy it, and know that it is protein-packed and pretty darn filling. 

    1% Cottage Cheese:  This one is similar to greek Yogurt – high in protein, low in calories, and pretty darn filling. The only downside is the texture. 

    But if the texture doesn’t bother you (I am cool with it), then enjoy!   

    Protein Powder: A quality protein powder is an easy way to boost your daily protein intake and an excellent choice for a deliberate snack. There are so many protein companies out there, but in my honest opinion, the Cinnamon Cereal Whey Protein from Legion is 🤤.   

    A note for my plant-based friends: 

    You, really, really need to focus on getting enough protein considering you might not be eating meat or dairy.  

    Having a quality protein powder is helpful. 

    Tempeh is technically less processed than tofu, but both are options. 

    So, a good rule of thumb: 

    If the meal contains no meat/protein source, then consider the bean or lentil as your protein.



    I know there is a lot of chatter around needing to eliminate carbohydrates to lose weight/ lose weight faster.  

    You will lose weight in the first week or so because you eliminate water weight.


    It’s pretty silly, and your best bet is to consider what you can sustain. So as much as Keto Karl is best-intentioned, trust me when I say you can enjoy carbohydrates and still lose weight. 

    It’s helpful to choose a starchy carbohydrate higher in fiber to help with fullness. 

    Most Americans consume less than half of the recommended amount of fiber.  

    Adult Men: 36 g/day 

    Adult Women: 28g/day 

    Carbohydrates higher in fiber tend to be lower in calories too. 

    Low-Calorie Carbohydrate Options 

    Oatmeal:  Holy heck, is oatmeal filling. This starchy carbohydrate is 150 calories for a half cup, which will double in size once you add water and cook it. Not to mention the 5 grams of fiber per serving! 

    For oatmeal, you can easily add greek yogurt or protein powder to make a protein-packed fiber bowl. 

    Sweet or White Potato:  Potatoes tend to be incredibly filling, even without all the fixing. 4oz of sweet potato comes in at 100 calories and 3.7g of fiber!  

    When you compare that to 1/4 of a cup of brown rice which comes in at 170 calories and 2g of fiber, you will find that you could have two servings of sweet potatoes and be pretty darn satisfied.  

    Additionally, brown rice and sweet potatoes are fricken delicious, but from a lower calorie fiber point of view, potatoes work well. 

    Barley: Well, barley is pretty tasty, and 1 cup has almost 9g of fiber and 193 calories. You will be pretty full and probably get away with a half cup based on the balanced plate you enjoy. 

    Popcorn: If you enjoy plain popcorn on the stovetop, a cup is about 31 calories. Again, there is about 1.2g of fiber per serving too! 

    Even plain microwave popcorn can be pretty low in calories and is filling. 

    Legumes (Black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc): All of my plant-based friends know how satisfying beans can be! That is due to their combination of protein and fiber. 

    These are easy to add to any meal and leave you feeling full. 

    A word to the wise, soak your beans overnight before cooking. It is a tiny tip that can help with the toot factor. 

    Carrots: For 1 cup of chopped carrots, there are 52 calories and 3.6g of fiber. 

    You can enjoy tiny baby carrots in a bag if that is more your jazz. The reason why these are satisfying is the crunch and texture. Needing to chew more helps with fullness. 

    Fruits: Good lord, fruit is delicious, and the sugar isn’t bad for you, so knock it off. 

    Honestly, they are filling, packed with fiber, and low in calories. Here are some of the MANY tasty options you can try.  

    •  Raspberries: 1 cup has 8g of fiber and 64 calories 
    •  Strawberries: 1lb is only 140 calories, and a cup has 4g of fiber
    •  Blackberries: 1 cup is 7.6g of fiber and 62 calories
    •  Watermelon: 1 lb is 138 calories and has 2g of fiber. 
    •  Orange: 1 orange is 74 calories and has 4.4g of fiber
    •  Apple: 1 medium size apple is 93 calories and has 4.3g of fiber
    •  Papaya: 1 medium size papaya is 118 calories and has 5.5g of fiber. 
    • Cantaloupe: 1 large cantaloupe is 150 calories and has 4g of fiber. 

    Oh, and to save a few bucks, you can buy frozen fruit.  



    Now, no matter what fad has popped across your social media feed this week, I am going to shout this from the mountain tops: EAT YOUR FRICKEN VEGETABLES.   

    Beyond the health-promoting benefits, such as reduced all-cause mortality, they are very filling, packed with fiber, and lower in calories.  

    Because you are in a deficit, you will want to take advantage of feeling full. 😉 

    The goal is to work up to 50% of your plate being vegetables.  

    Oh, and the calories from vegetables still count; they aren’t magical; however, no one ever said, gosh, I eat too many vegetables, I need to cut back.  

    If you don’t know where to begin, try having 1 Big Ass Salad daily. Fill it with as many different vegetables as possible, and you will find that you can curb hunger. 

    I prefer spinach as my base, and you can enjoy 2 cups for about 15 calories.

    Oh, and please don’t skim on your protein too. 

    You’re an adult, and eating the veggies is a good idea; if you need help getting started, here are a few good ideas. 



    Okay, fat is an integral part of a well-balanced diet for all my keto fans. 

    It also happens to be the macronutrient with the most significant amount of calories per gram at 9. 

    Does that make it bad? 


    So long as you eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, protein, & carbohydrates, you’re in the clear. 

    You can adjust your macros to match your calorie intake if you enjoy more fat than carbohydrates. Your top priority is hitting your daily protein target and coming within your daily calorie range. Protein does tend to be more filling too. 🤓

    Here are a few filling options, but I wouldn’t consider them lower calorie options. 

    Higher Fat Cuts of Meat. 

    Higher fat content Greek Yogurt & Cottage Cheese. 

    Avocados (So much fiber!!!) 



    Okay, this is pretty important to mention.  

    Please stop filling up on liquid calories. 

    Alright, I hear you; it’s not that easy. So here are some alternatives that work well. 

    Diet & Zero Calorie Soda: They are a good option to help with a sweet craving. Not to mention there are zero calories and folks who switch from regular soda to diet soda tend to lose weight; go figure. 😉

    Coffee & Tea: Both are beautiful gifts from the caffeine gods. Just be aware of how much of your favorite creamer you’re adding, and no, butter isn’t a creamer. 

    Water:   If I started recommending water first, I think you would have rolled your eyes.  

    Look, thirst is often confused with hunger, and water will quench your thirst better than most other beverages. 

    A good rule of thumb is to try and drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  

    If that sounds like too much, try to have a glass of water with every meal. 

    If that doesn’t sound very tasty, think about adding fruit or lemon to your water. 

    If you don’t like that, knock it off and drink a glass of water. 



    I wanted to throw this one in here because it will be a game-changer.  

    Adding flavor to your food will help you stay full. 

    Spices like cayenne pepper help dull some hunger pangs and can take a dish up a notch.  

    But beyond that, you can look at adding salt, pepper, turmeric, and other spices to your dishes. The flavor profile will increase, you’ll chew the food more, and you will be full longer. 


    What next? 

    If you eat balanced meals with healthy portions of protein and still experience frequent hunger, it might be an emotion, boredom, or exhaustion. 

    During a recent coaching call, a client told me, “I believe overeating is the crux of my problems. It doesn’t help that I am constantly rationalizing things in the moment “It’s just too good.” 

    There are a few ways to start exploring the comfort of being overly full. One thing that can help is giving yourself the chance to slow down. 

    It takes time to recognize you are full, especially when eating quickly.

    Here are a few guidelines that you can experiment with:

    During meals: Put your fork down between bites.

    Putting your fork or hand-based food (sandwich)down between bites allows you to slow down and enjoy the food.

    The next time you pick up your fork would be after chewing and swallowing your food. Other options are to take a sip of water between bites or talk with a friend/family member. 

    During meals: Pay attention to the food you are enjoying. 

    Try picking one thing to notice about your next meal. 

    • Taste.
    • Smell.
    • Texture.
    • Sight.
    • Sound even works, especially if you’re having rice crispy cereal. 

    Mindfulness helps you distinguish between being in love with the taste vs. being full. Research has shown that you are more likely to snack or eat more at the next meal if you don’t take the time to be aware of what you are eating.

    During Meals:  No Screens at meals. 

    Before you skip over this one, just take a moment to read what I have to say! 

    Distracted eating affects your body’s ability to recognize that it’s full. Think about the last time you enjoyed a few snacks while watching television…

    Try picking one meal and putting your phone away. See how it changes your ability to notice hunger and fullness. 

    The biggest thing to remember is that you will need to practice; it implies you will make mistakes which is a good thing. You will learn what works and what doesn’t work.


    Random Thoughts For Deficits


    Since you are in a calorie deficit to lose weight, maybe you have started exercising too. 

    If you have, that’s RAD! 

    Something to consider is on days when you train; you will be hungrier. 

    This is normal and should be expected.  

    However, if you are overdoing it with training to burn more calories, you will only make your deficit bigger, making you more hungry.

    So for those eager beavers out there, dial things back.  

    It’s a long game; if you think you can sustain that training, you have another thing coming. 

    You don’t need to train every day & get over 30,000 steps. 

    Aim for resistance training 3-4 days per week and hitting at least 7,000-10,000 steps.  

    Oh, and it’s okay if things don’t always go according to plan.

    Planning Meals 

    Time for a hard truth. If you intentionally or unintentionally skip meals, it doesn’t always mean you will lose weight. 

    Skipping meals means you will snack. 

    Skipping meals means you won’t accurately track things. 

    Skipping meals makes it harder for you to adhere to your nutrition plan.  

    So, I suggest nailing down 2-3 options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A greatest hits menu, if you will.  

    They don’t need to be fancy meals.  

    It will help you plan your grocery shopping list and have some consistency.  

    If you need some help, I have a whole article on meal prep.


    If you’re tired/exhausted, go to bed. Chances are you aren’t truly hungry, and you need some sleep.

    It’s easy to think you’re hungry when you’re tired. Your body is trying to stay awake.

    But if you haven’t eaten a lot during the day or skimmed on your protein, here are a few options.

    👉 Greek Yogurt with a scoop of protein and fresh fruit.

    👉 Low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit.

    👉A protein shake.

    👉 Just go to bed. 😉

    All of these options are low-calorie and nutrient-dense. They will keep you full and satisfied, decreasing your chances of returning for more than you need.

    Oh, and eating after 8 pm isn’t bad..

    Just be aware of why you’re eating, what you’re eating, and how much you’re having.


    You can just brush your teeth and go to bed because aiming for 8 hours of sleep means cravings won’t be as intense the next day.  


    A lot goes into weight loss & while on paper; it seems simple; it will take making mistakes, learning, and trying again. I hope that some of the tips from this article will make things a little easier while you’re in a calorie deficit. 

    Remember, the goal isn’t to diet forever & the more patient you are, the faster you’ll get where you want to go. 

    If you want more helpful nutrition & fat loss tips join my value-driven email list. Just click here, plug in your details, and you’ll get a welcome gift in your inbox.  

  • Ultimate PUSH-UP Guide: Perfect Your Push-up

    Ultimate PUSH-UP Guide: Perfect Your Push-up

    99, 100, 101… Oh, I didn’t see you there. I was busy finishing my 101st push-up of the day and decided to write this article. 

    I am just kidding; I did 90 push-ups before writing. 

    Okay, enough joking around. I wrote this push-up guide because I saw a 100 push-up-a-day challenge on social media.  

    Many posts show folks finishing their push-ups, grabbing their shoulders, and wincing.  

    That’s never a good sign.  

    Your shoulders shouldn’t bother you after push-ups, even if you decide to do 100 of them. 

    But since you’re a persistent Pete, I promise by the end of this guide, you will be able to perform more pain-free push-ups than an action hero in a 1980s training montage. 


    But Push-Ups Are Easy

    I hear you. Maybe you think push-ups are easy because they are a “basic” bodyweight pushing movement; however, there is nothing basic about the basics.  

    When appropriately performed, the push-up is a full-body strength movement. I mean, look at the stats: 

    Prime Movers: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps
    Supporting Musculature: Abdominals, latisimus dorsi, serratus anterior, biceps brachii, infra and supraspinatus, teres minor, rhomboids, mid and lower trapezius. 
    Bonus: Quadriceps (if legs are extended) & glutes (hip extension).

    There is more than meets the eye when it comes to push-ups.  

    Also, if you’re skipping push-ups, you’re missing out on developing total body strength & control. 

    Strength + Control = Mobility

    Cool, Why Does Any Of This Matter? 

    I’m so glad you asked, Curious George. 

    I will say that being able to perform slow and controlled bodyweight push-ups will only make you better at loaded pressing movements.  

    You will have more body awareness. 

    You will have more control. 

    Your ability to press weight will improve.  

    You will be working with a lot of the same musculature.

    Push-UpBench Press
    Prime Movers: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, tricepsPrime Movers: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps
    Supporting Musculature: Abdominals, latisimus dorsi, serratus anterior, biceps brachii, infra and supraspinatus, teres minor, rhomboids, mid and lower trapezius. Supporting Musculature: Abdominals, latisimus dorsi, biceps brachii, infra and supraspinatus, teres minor, rhomboids, lower trapezius 

    There is quite a bit of crossover between the two pressing movements. 

    Not to mention, proper push-ups allow the shoulder blades to articulate, leading to happy and healthy shoulders. ✅


    By the end of this push-up guide, you will know how and why to stop your pesky elbows from flaring, which has a direct carry-over into more efficient pressing movements. 

    Now let’s move on, shall we? 


    About Those Elbows 

    When I started working as a trainer, one of the more senior trainers took me aside after watching me do push-ups.  

    My elbows were VERY flared, like every stock photo of someone performing push-ups. 

    He could tell my shoulder was bothering me after my set.  

    This is what he said: 

    “Your shoulder is kind of like a golf ball on a tee. Knocking a ball off a tee doesn’t take much, right?” 

    Now, I believe that shoulders are resilient and meant to move in various ways. 👇

    However, your shoulders do not appreciate push-ups with flared elbows. It places more stress on the joint, and it doesn’t feel great if you have ever benched with flared elbows. 

    When you flare the elbows, you lose a lot of stability, and if you do that for long enough, the shoulders get cranky. 

    So here is what we are after: 

    By drawing the elbows in, you will create more stability.  

    With the added stability, you will have more control, and your shoulders will be happy. 

    Another tip is trying to align the elbows with your middle finger.  

    Ever notice how your elbows flare if you perform diamond push-ups?  

    If you have difficulty keeping the elbows in, try slightly turning your hands out.  

    The push-up might become more challenging, and that’s OKAY! After all, you said push-ups were easy, right? 😉 


    Proper Position

    One more note, my anxious ant eater, let’s dive into the ideal body position for the push-up.  

    Please take a moment to review this position, and be sure to apply it to all of the following progressions. 🤓

    Push-Up Progressions

    Forearm Plank 

    • Start on hands and knees
    • Place forearms on the ground making a 90-degree angle.
    • Extend legs back and maintain level hips


    • Start with hands and knees on the ground
    • Push through arms and extend legs
    • Squeeze legs together
    • Create a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. 

    Elevated Push-Up 

    • Use a stable surface
    • Perform your push-up with elbows tight to the body.
    • As push-ups get easier, lower the surface closer to the ground.

    Kneeling Push-up

    • Start with hands and knees on the ground. (Shoulders over wrists, knees under hips) 
    • With elbow pits facing forward, lower your torso with control
    • Maintain vertical forearms through the entire movement

    Negative Push-Up 

    • Start in a plank position with legs together
    • Lower to the ground while keeping elbows tight and moving as one solid unit from start to finish
    • Try taking 5 Mississippi’s before you reach the floor

    Plank Lower to Kneeling Push-Up 

    • Start in a plank position with legs together
    • Lower to the ground while keeping elbows tight and moving as one solid unit from start to finish
    • When at the bottom, pause, lower your knees, and press back up

    Half Push-Up

    • Start in a plank position
    • Lower with control and pause halfway down
    • Push back to starting position
    • Think of holding the bottom position for 3 Mississippi’s 

    1.5 Push-Up

    • Start in a plank position
    • Lower halfway and push back up
    • Lower down and pause for a two-count.
    • Lower knees and press back up; this counts as one repetition. 

    Full Push-up 

    • Start in a plank position
    • Lower down with elbows tight to the body.
    • Press back to starting position.

    In my opinion, no matter how experienced you are with the Push-Up, you will benefit from practicing each of the progressions, especially the first few. Those first few progressions guarantee you will clean up your technique and strengthen areas you may have neglected in the past. 

    Fun Examples

    Once you can complete several sets with solid form, you can switch things up. You can play with fun examples once you practice the basics. 


    Push-Up FAQs

    Why do my shoulders hurt when I do push-ups? 

    Gosh, there could be a few reasons, but if I had to venture a guess, it is because you are flaring your elbows.  

    You might consider filming yourself from the side to see what your form looks like. You can use a little checklist like this: 

    ✅ Are my shoulders over my wrists? 

    ✅ Is my head neutral? 

    ✅ Are my elbow pits facing forward and forearm vertical? 

    ✅ Can I create a straight line from the top of my head to the bottom of my foot? 

    Pick 1 thing to focus on during every set and see how things feel. 

    On another note: 

    Consider doing one beautiful attempt, resting, and then performing another. 

    Yes, you will do fewer repetitions than usual; however, your form will improve. If you want to do more repetitions, drop down a progression and continue to focus on solid form.  


    What if my wrists hurt during push-ups? 

    Great question! One reason your wrist can bother you during push-ups is that your weight is sitting on the heal of your palm. 

    Think of your hand like a foot. The goal is to distribute your weight evenly through your foot so you can adequately balance and have a solid arch.  

    You can apply the same logic to your hands.   

    You want your weight in the center of your palm. To do this, stack the shoulders over your wrists, and keep your elbow pits facing forward. 

    External rotation keeps your hands more active and should take the pressure off the wrists. 

    But what if the wrists still bother me? 

    If that’s the case, I would consider spending time mobilizing and strengthening your wrists with this routine & performing push-ups on something like parallettes. 


    What if push-ups are easy for me? I can easily do 100! 

    Woah, that’s rad!  

    Here’s a question for you. 

    How many of those push-ups were with solid form? 

    If your answer is 20, then you did 80 with 💩 form.  

    I would rather see someone drop down a progression and focus on executing it with a slow and controlled tempo.  

    Yes, it isn’t sexy; however, building strength and control is essential and shouldn’t be over looked. 

    Sometimes our egos get in the way, and that’s ok because I’ve been there MANY times. 

    Slow down, make it pretty, and watch yourself get ridiculously strong. 


    How do I know when to move on to a different progression? 

    This is my favorite question of all time.  

    How do you know? 

    There are a lot of factors someone can consider. I would look at the ease and quality of the movement. 

    Another term for this is the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)  

    You would rate the particular movement on a scale of 1 – 10 

    1= EASY PEASY 


    I know that this can seem abstract if you’re newer to training. So, I suggest looking at Ease and Quality

    Here is a rad infographic from my pals at GMB Fitness. 

    If your Ease rating is Maximum Effort and your Quality is Rough or Broken, that’s a pretty good sign that you’ll want to take things down a notch. 

    But if you find things are feeling smooth and solid, try going up a progression. Things might feel like a challenge, but that’s a good thing. Progressive overload is how someone builds strength and muscle.  

    Both of these measurements are what I use with my online coaching clients. 

    It’s how I get clients to practice autoregulation

    The goal is to have every one of my clients be able to roll out of bed and be ready for whatever the day throws their way. 

    That could be wrangling kids home sick from school or being able to squeeze in a quick session during a lunch break.  

    The goal is to get stronger without running the risk of consistently overreaching. That’s what makes a successful progressive training plan. 


    Be Strong For Life

    Training should leave you ready for what life throws your way. 

    Push-ups are a staple in many of my client’s programming. Yes, they are a basic bodyweight movement; however, they lay a solid foundation for more advanced skills. 

    A truly well thoughout training plan will mix body weight with weighted movements. 

    So whether you’re dusting off the training cobwebs or are looking to spice up your training can be a key training tool for developing long-term strength and control.  

    And if you want to develop total body strength, move pain-free, & see some serious results consider applying for 1:1 online coaching. 

  • Should You Use Meal Replacement Shakes?

    Should You Use Meal Replacement Shakes?

    A client asked me the other day if they should use a meal replacement shake.

    The short answer is yes. The Long answer is I don’t think it’s the best choice.

    Yes, there was a whole fancy schmancy systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss that said MR was an effective tool for weight loss 😱

    But…slow down, Charlie Brown.

    Using a meal replacement shake made it easier for someone to adhere to their lower calorie intake; however, it was a portion control method.

    You know, kind of like following a meal plan that someone writes for you.

    Is it a bad thing? No…

    It just happens that the meal replacement shake is lower in calories, and if someone is replacing 1-2 meals per day with a shake, they are bound to lose weight because…of their calorie deficit.

    You can do the same by shifting some foods selected for your meals.

    Will they be hungrier because they are drinking their calories…possibly? There is less texture to experience when consuming liquid calories, which decreases satiation.

    Will they be able to sustain it long-term? That depends on someone needing meal replacement shakes/ prepackaged meals that stick to their strict diet.

    The goal is not to depend on a strict meal plan, or meal replacement shakes to maintain weight loss. My goal as a coach is to provide someone with self-efficacy.

    It’s essential to learn skills and practice the skills to make progress.

    So the verdict…

    Ideally, you would eat a meal and not drink it. For busy clients, we look at the concept of deliberate snacks.

    Something like a protein shake can be a good call if it will be longer than 6 hours between meals.

  • 8 Effective Ways To Stick To Your Diet While Eating Out

    8 Effective Ways To Stick To Your Diet While Eating Out

    You’ve done it.  

    You have stuck to your nutrition plan all week, and now it’s time to kick back and celebrate.

    It’s time to hit up your family’s favorite taco spot, which means you will have your usual: 

    A few tacos, a margarita, guac, and chips for the table, and maybe even dessert. 

    It’s so good that you decide to finish your kid’s leftover taco, and because you don’t want the guac to go to waste, you order more chips. The chips make you thirsty, and your partner is driving, so you get another margarita. 

    What started as a big meal turned into a bigger one, and as far as calories go…well, it’s the weekend, right?  

    If this sounds familiar, don’t be alarmed because we’ve been there. 

    That’s why by the end of this article, you will know how to eat out without slowing your weight loss progress. 

    Problem #1  You were “good all week.” 

    How many times have you told yourself you were “good” all week and that you deserve to kick back and finally enjoy yourself? 

    Being “good” all week can mean being overly restrictive with your food and calories.  

    After all, if you’re eating 1,200 calories a day and avoiding specific foods, the likely hood of you overconsuming while eating out goes up.  

    Instead of categorizing foods as “good or bad,” start looking at foods on a spectrum going from good –> better –>best. 

    You might do this by switching things up and enjoying foods you save for the weekend on a random Wednesday. 

    Doing this teaches you that specific foods hold no moral standings, and you’ll be less likely to overdo it on the guac and chips.  

    Use the good -> better -> best scale when switching up your routine. 

    Good: Double quarter pounder with fries and a Mcflurry on Saturday

    Better: Double quarter pounder with fries and a diet coke on a Wednesday. 

    Best: Making a cheeseburger and fries at home and having a diet coke on a Monday. 

    Each of these examples can fit into your nutrition plan. 

    Problem #2 The healthy choice still has calories.

    You have decided to stick to your health kick and order the healthiest thing on the menu. 

    Let’s say you go to Apple Bee’s and decide to get their South West Chicken Bowl.   

    According to the Apple Bee’s menu, there are 820 calories:

    • 54g protein 
    • 89g Carbs
    • 30g fat

    Something to consider is other variables such as the amount of oil being used for cooking the food, the serving size given that particular day, and the dressing. 

    It’s a “healthy” option that you could split into two meals; however, because it seems like the healthy option, someone could quickly eat the entire thing in one sitting. I’m speaking from first-hand experience. 😅 

    One meal doesn’t ruin all your progress during the week, but sometimes it leads to you embracing the f*ck it diet. 

    Problem #3: F*ck It 

    Just because you have one meal that can’t fit into some idealistic box of “health and fitness” you have created for yourself doesn’t mean you have ruined your progress. 

    I know it’s not the first time you have heard any of this, yet sometimes you will embrace the f*ck it mentality.   

    “I ruined my “clean” eating progress for the week, so what’s the point.”  

    Diet culture thrives on all-or-nothing thinking. Yes, I talk about weight loss; however,  I am not telling you to beat yourself up when you have a meal with friends and family. 

    I am not telling you that you are a terrible person if your day doesn’t adhere to the plan. 

    I am not telling you there is no point in trying to lose weight if that is your goal. 

    I am telling you that you will make mistakes, and it’s your job to learn something and make adjustments.  

    Does that mean avoiding eating out? Nope. 

    Does that mean believing that calories don’t exist? Nope. 

    Does that mean the things this article teaches you will help? Darn tooting! 


    The Calories aren’t 100% Accurate. 

    The truth is that calories listed on menus aren’t 100% accurate. It’s impossible because there are so many factors at play. Calories listed on food labels are still an estimate. It’s normal, and you shouldn’t panic; however, you should still track if that is your primary tool for weight management. 

    When you cook at home, you might notice it is tough to measure everything out, just you cooking for yourself or your family. Now imagine you’re a chef trying to feed an entire restaurant.  

    Things won’t be accurately weighed. 

    Oil and butter can be used, and usually, it’s eyeballed. 

    It’s okay! You should still enjoy your meal, and here is a fantastic option I learned from an article written by coach Sam Forget.

    Itemizing & Assessing Bulk Assessing
    Look at each component as its own portionLook for your meal on your tracking app
    See the average entry for part of the dish on your tracking app.Check average entry for dish
    Round up by 20%Round up by 20%
    Most AccurateNot As Accurate, But Still Counts!

    Option 1: Itemizing and Assessing. 

    • Look at each component of the meal as its own portion. 
    • See what the average entry is for each part of the dish on your tracking app. 
    • Round up by 20% for each estimate. 
    • Most accurate

    In Sam’s words

    “if you look up “Atlantic salmon,” you might see 10-15 entries ranging from 160-340 calories. But most of them say four ounces is ~240 calories, and you feel like there’s ~8 ounces on your plate (based on your tracking experience).

    In this scenario: double the entry (240 calories x 2 servings = 480 calories), and round up 20% (480 calories x 1.2). You now have your estimate: 576 calories.” 

    The most important part he references is rounding up by 20%. This accounts for extra oil, sauce, or any human error in the kitchen. 

    Option 2: Bulk Assessments

    • Look for what you’re eating on your tracking app. 
    • Check the average entry for the dish. 
    • Round up by 20% 

    This is not as accurate as the first option; however, certain meals will be tedious to itemize. Nobody has time to look at each kernel of corn and bean in your rice dish.  

    Save your time and energy by following the steps, and don’t forget to round up by 20%! 

    Check The Menu Ahead Of Time

    I try to have all my coaching clients look up menus in advance. Looking at the menu makes it easier to put things into perspective and plan the rest of your meals for the day. 

    While the menus won’t be 100% accurate, you can log it as a “place holder.” This makes it easier to see how that affects your calories for the rest of the day. 

    I try to have clients work off a plate template when ordering. 

    It’s a framework you can use when structuring your meals. This might mean getting something like your sauce or dressing on the side, which can be a game changer in a fat loss phase.  

    It’s something to be aware of and to experiment with as you plan your meals. 

    Eating a little less before going. 

     In theory, this sounds easy, but it can be challenging if you go into your meal without being aware of what you will have. 

    It takes more than one meal to ruin any progress you have made thus far. Yes, the scale will be up the day after eating out, but that has more to do with water retention, which is FRICKEN normal, so please don’t fret, chia pet. 

    Okay… I know you don’t believe me, so I will explain it in a little more detail. 

    To lose weight, someone needs to be in a calorie deficit. So let’s say you read my macro article and determine your daily calorie intake should be around 1,800 per day. 

    You then want to look at your weekly calorie intake: 

    1,800 x 7 days = 12,600 calories

    You can split your calories however you would like Monday through Sunday so long as you end up at 12,600, give or take 200 calories. That puts you in a weekly deficit, which matters for fat loss. 

    So if your meal is a higher calorie meal, no biggie, you have a few options. 

    If you know in advance what day of the week you are going out and you know you will let it be a big meal, adjust your intake during the day. 

    That might mean having a smaller breakfast or lunch. 

    It could mean just skipping the snack you usually have before dinner. 

    It all depends on who you are and what works best for your lifestyle. 

    If you know you are going out on Friday and Saturday, adjust your calories to have higher calorie days on those two days. 

    • Monday: 1,720 calories
    • Tuesday: 1,720 calories 
    • Wednesday: 1,720 calories
    • Thursday: 1,720 calories 
    • Friday: 2,000 calories 
    • Saturday: 2,000 calories 
    • Friday: 1,720 calories 

    Total calories = 12,600 ✅

    The technical term for this is calorie cycling, one tool someone can use to give themselves wiggle room. I don’t have clients do this unless they are comfortable with tracking and have learned to understand weight fluctuations.  

    Fork Down Between Bites 

    While calories matter, it’s essential to consider your ability to practice specific eating skills that will help to improve hunger and fullness cues.  

    These skills shift from the calorie-focused approach like the previous steps and emphasize a mindful eating approach.

    The basic gist of mindful eating is to slow the f*ck down! 

    Seriously, slow down and enjoy the meal in front of you. You’re not being “bad” for ordering something off the menu that you want to have. I told you to KNOCK IT OFF, lame Jane. 

    So, slow down and enjoy. 

    Try to take a bite of your food, chew it, swallow it, and savior it. 

    Don’t put another bit in your gosh darn mouth until you have finished the last bite. 

    This can be challenging, especially if it is something highly palatable.  

    • Try placing the food or fork down between bites. 
    • Try taking a sip of water between bites.
    • Try looking up from your food and talking with the person sitting across from you. 

    All of the above will help you start to slow down, making the meal more enjoyable. 

    Match The Pace Of The Slowest Eater

    Okay, maybe you are more of a visual learner and me telling you to put your fork down between bites makes you want to give me a swift kick in the booty.  

    Well, my fine feathered friend, you can try to match the pace of the slowest eater at the table. 

    This is one of my favorite skills to assign to a weight loss client with young kids. 

    It takes my son roughly 45 minutes to eat a single slice of pizza. 😅

    Matching the slowest eater’s pace allows you to check in and acknowledge how fast you are eating. If your dinner date is working on their first bites and you are ready to order dessert, it indicates you need to slow down. 

    Okay, let’s say you’re alone…what can you do?  

    Pause and perform a mid-meal check-in. 

    About halfway through the meal, pause and ask yourself the following: 

    • Am I getting full?
    • How fast am I eating? 
    • Can I slow down? 

    These three short questions can shift the trajectory of your meal. You might find you are full and truly in love with the taste. When you are chasing the taste, it’s easier to ignore your fullness.  

    That’s why checking in is so helpful. 

    Organize Your Plate

    I want you to try to shift things around on your plate. Focus on starting with your vegetables and protein. 

    By prioritizing fiber and protein, you will focus on the nutrient-dense portion of your plate. Once you finish, enjoy the carb portion of your plate. 

    It’s not that carbohydrates are the enemy. No, it just so happens that it’s much easier to over-consume the order of fries before enjoying the rest of your meal. 

    Boxing up half when you sit down 

    Most restaurants serve double portions, especially if the meal is over 1,000 calories. 

    So, if you’re not going to try any of the other options I mentioned earlier, you can ask for a to-go box when you order. 

    Then take half of your plate and save it for another meal.  

    It seems easy, and that’s because it is. 😉

    Horizon Guidelines 

    Honestly, you know what happens when you go out to eat.

    You know what happens when you have a few beers with friends.

    You know how you react to each of these situations, so planning ahead helps.

    It’s not about creating rules because that tends to make someone feel like a failure if things don’t go according to plan.

    Like my weight loss client, John.

    He was having a hard time on the weekends. There were a lot of family parties, drinks with friends, and huge meals out.

    A few weeks ago, he noted a few similar patterns, like eating quickly and eating off other people’s plates.

    So, we decided he would work on setting the horizon guideline:

    👉 Having one plate and one dessert

    👉 2 drinks max when going to parties or out to eat

    After setting these “horizon” guidelines, he noticed that he wakes up on Sunday with more energy and has an easier time kicking off his Monday.

    When he tried these guidelines, sometimes it worked better than others. In our check-in call, we could pinpoint what he could adjust, and then he would try again.

    John’s making some solid progress.

    Nutrition is an experiment, and it requires adjustments along the way. It’s not a one size fits experience; there’s more to it. 🤓

    One Meal Doesn’t Destroy Your Progress 

    Going out to eat with friends and family is special, and if you’re trying to lose weight, it doesn’t mean ordering lettuce and baked chicken. 😉

    You have to plan and adjust as needed. 

    👉 Weekly calories and adjusting for higher calorie days.

    👉 Looking at the menu ahead of time and picking what you want.

    👉 Practicing mindful eating.

    👉 Setting horizon guidelines

    What works for one person might not work for you, and that’s okay. Try a different option until you find what fits your weight loss journey best. 

    If you try all of the above and still feel a little lost, click here and see if you are a good fit for 1:1 online nutrition coaching. 

  • eating at maintenance

    eating at maintenance

    Yes, sometimes I will have a client start to eat more calories, and magically, they will begin to lose weight or have an easier time adding muscle.

    It’s like when I told my fat loss client, John, to start eating closer to 2,700 instead of the 1,600 calories he was eating. His exact words were something along the lines of:

    “Are you f*cking sure?” 😅

    Once we increased calories, he lost weight and found it easier to have enough energy to make it to the gym.

    John’s progress. 🤓

    Now was this because he was in StArVaTiOn mode? Nope, because no one struggling to lose weight is in starvation mode. I am happy to tell you that because I would be very worried about you if you were genuinely experiencing starvation. Most likely, you wouldn’t be reading this post on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop in the middle of the afternoon.

    My client started to eat within a calorie range that he could more easily adhere to, and as a result, he had more energy to exercise, go for walks, and keep up with his family.

    For any of my clients who have experience with yo-yo dieting, we don’t start by cutting calories. That’s pretty silly because that’s what they’ve been doing, and it hasn’t worked out thus far.

    Don’t be such an eager beaver when it comes to weight loss. Spending time eating at maintenance will make life easier. In that time, you can practice foundational eating skills like:

    👉 Noticing hunger and fullness.
    👉 Establishing an eating schedule.
    👉 Practicing eating balanced plates.
    👉 Looking at your bedtime routine.
    👉 Adding movement into your life: Going for walks.

    These are just a few foundational skills that can come before you even take a gander at manipulating calories. 😉

    Someone who promises rapid weight loss is just promising you rapid weight gain.

    Everyone is on their own timeline for health and wellness. Don’t try to match someone else’s tempo because you’ll end up back where you started.

    If you’re ready to take the guesswork out of your nutrition and you’re tired of cycling through diet after diet, click here and fill out your application for 1:1 nutrition coaching.