Strength and Plyometric Workout

 
 
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I love combining weight lifting with plyometric workouts. There is something about lifting heavy weights combined with an explosive move. It makes me feel strong and athletic.

 Today’s workout gave me all of those feelings. Plus, a few moments of wanting desperately to lie down.

 I used dumbbells for this workout, but you could use a barbell, sandbag, or kettlebells.

 

Dumbbell and Plyometric Workout

This workout is 20 minutes for 5 rounds.  You’ll perform the workout every minute on the minute (EMOTM). Each superset starts at the top of the minute. After you complete the superset, you’ll rest until the next minute starts, then begin the second superset at the top of the next minute. Continue in this manner until your 20 minutes is up and you’ve completed 5 rounds.

10 bent over rows + 10 burpees (no push up)

10 goblet squats + 10 squat jacks

10 overhead press + 10 clapping push-ups (do them on your knees if needed)

10 straight leg deadlift to high pull + 10 tuck jumps

 

Don’t forget to maintain proper form and record your workout. Let me know what you think of the workout.

 
 
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How to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Protein broken down to its smallest form are amino acids. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of life. Adequate protein intake is needed to build, repair, and maintain body tissue including muscle. Amino acids are used to transport substances and aid in the production of enzymes, neurotransmitters, antibodies, and hormones.

 
 
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How much protein do you need?

Many people have a difficult time consuming their protein needs. The recommendation for the general (healthy) population is 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) of body weight. That recommendation is meant to meet minimum needs to prevent protein deficiency. Those that regularly workout should consume 1.4-2.2 g/kg (0.63-1g/lb) of body weight. This amount of protein is meant to meet their basic needs as well as grow and repair muscle.

Benefits of consuming adequate protein?

Besides our basic biology needs that I mentioned above, adequate protein intake has several other benefits such as satiety, weight management, and increase performance. Protein has a higher thermic effect when we digest it. Thermogenesis is a process that generates heat through the digestion of food. We burn more calories to breakdown and digest protein than carbohydrates and fats.

What are some protein sources?

I’ve listed common animal protein sources for each meal to give you some ideas. 

Breakfast

  • Eggs

  • Breakfast meats

  • Egg sandwiches

  • Protein smoothies and shakes (made with protein powder)

  • Ready-made protein shakes

  • Protein oatmeal (made with protein powder)

  • Protein pancakes (made with protein powder)

  • Protein baked goods (made with protein powder)

  • Greek yogurt

Lunch and Dinner

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Beef

  • Fish

  • Tuna fish

  • Deli meat

  • Bison

Snacks

  • Greek yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • String cheese

  • Homemade protein baked goods (made with protein powder)

  • Protein bars

  • Protein shakes and smoothies (made with protein powder)

  • Beef/Turkey jerky

  • Pork rinds

Desserts

  • Protein ice cream

  • Greek yogurt

  • Protein microwave mug cake (made with protein powder)

  • Protein baked goods (made with protein powder)Protein cheesecake (made with protein powder)

5 Reasons Why I Follow Flexible Dieting

 
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Flexible dieting, or sometimes called IFYM (if it fits your macros), is a way of eating that allows a balance of all foods while maintaining or improving body composition.

The main concept of flexible dieting is that you have a target number of macronutrients that adds to a specific calorie amount. As long as you hit those target numbers you can choose the foods you wish to eat.

It’s important to know that I don’t fill my macros with junk food because I can make it fit. Most of the foods I eat are healthy and a small amount are indulgences.

These are my top 5 reasons why I follow flexible dieting.

 

1 - I never feel guilty or deprived

The main reason I like flexible dieting is that I never feel deprived. I can almost always figure out a way to fit a specific food into my diet while working toward my body composition goals. If I want to eat sweets or drink a glass of wine, I can and I don’t feel guilty. 

 

2 - I can fit in all foods

This way of eating allows for an 80/20 intake. Most of my meals, 80%, consist of lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. The other 20% allows for less healthy foods as long as I don’t go over my macros and calories for the day.

For instance, every Friday is family night which includes pizza. Friday morning, I plan my meals to fit in pizza. Eating pizza with my family is important to me for a couple of reasons. One, I get to eat pizza, which I enjoy. And two, it is teaching my kids the importance of balancing our food intake. For most of the day, they see me eat lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.

We also like to eat out on Saturday. Again, I plan my meals in the morning and make room for a restaurant meal. I can almost always make it fit.  

 

3 - I am in control

This way of eating allows me to be in control of my diet and body composition. It also helps me to be more disciplined not only in the way I eat but also in other areas of my life. The absence of restriction with my food has caused me to become more disciplined with my eating. 

"Through discipline comes freedom." - Aristotle

 

4 - I have more energy

I plan certain macros around the time of day when I need more energy such as my workouts. For example, I eat most of my carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon. This is the time when I workout, and get most of my work done. It is also the time of day when I function the best.

 

5 - I sleep better

I sleep better because of all the reasons listed above. My diet is balanced in both macronutrients and micronutrients. I don’t eat too much or too little. I am less stressed because I am in control. And, I don’t have any negative feelings toward myself or my food choices.

Even though I enjoy this way of eating and think it would be helpful for many people, it’s not the best for everyone.

My recommendation as always is to experiment and find a way of eating that allows you to function at your best, consist of healthy and enjoyable foods, and you can be consistent with.

What eating style works best for you?

5 Tips for Surviving Back to School Meals

 
 
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The first couple of weeks after school starts is always a mad rush in my house. Not only do we struggle to get into a morning routine, but we also struggle with finding an afternoon and evening routine.

Like many families, our afternoons and evenings are always packed with chores, homework, and fall sports. The best way to survive the craziness of fall is to get organized, and that includes finding ways to incorporate healthy and quick dinners.

Here are my top 5 tips for setting yourself up for success and not resorting to take out.

 

1 - Meal Plan

Look at the calendar and see when you have time to cook and when you need to eat leftovers or make something super quick. For me, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are my busy evenings. That means I need to make dinners on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday that will have leftovers or I need to plan quick meals on my busy nights.

Write down what meals you plan to make throughout the week including breakfast and lunch. Then pick a day to shop for the entire week.

 

2 - Meal Prep

Meal prepping can help relieve some of the pressure to cook every night. You could meal prep all of your dinners or just the protein and cook your sides every night.

 

3 - Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker

If the thought of meal prepping sounds exhausting, consider using a slow cooker. Put the ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, set it on low, and have a hot dinner by the evening. If you double the recipe you will have enough for leftovers.

 

4 - Write a master list of meals

Write a master list of meals that take longer to cook and quick meals. On the master list, include the site or book of the recipes. You could also screenshot the recipe and keep it in a recipe folder on your phone.

 

5 - Create meal rotations

To simplify meal planning even further, at least for the first couple of weeks heading back to school, consider creating a meal rotation. Meal rotations allows everyone to know what’s for dinner. It also saves you the headache of coming up with new meal ideas every week. If eating the same thing every week doesn’t sound appetizing, then pick a general theme. For instance, pizza on Fridays. You can make a different pizza every Friday.

Try a couple of these strategies and let me know what you think. Do you have any tips for surviving back to school?

How To Prevent Your Metabolism From Declining As You Age

A couple of years ago, I took a sports nutrition class, which I loved. Sports nutrition is one of my favorite area of nutrition. I loved learning different nutrition strategies and practices used to change body composition and improve performance and health. It’s amazing how we can transform our body with the right nutrition, training, and mindset. 

One of the topics I was surprised to learn was how much our metabolism declines as we age. For every decade after we reach 25 years old, our metabolism declines by 2-4%. We lose approximately 5 lbs of lean mass every decade between the age of 25-65 years. That’s huge! Keep in mind, the more muscle you have the more calories you are burning, which means you can eat more food without gaining weight. So, while it seems that our metabolism declines because we are aging; it actually declines because we become less active as we age. 

Fortunately, we can improve our metabolism by making a few lifestyle changes. 

 
 
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Nutrition

Eat enough real, non-processed foods. When you eat below your body’s caloric needs, the amount your body needs to function, your metabolism decreases. Research shows that eating around 1,000-1,200 calories will drastically lower your metabolism causing your body to conserve energy and sometimes break down muscle for energy. This makes it hard to lose weight if that is your goal. 

Eat enough protein. Proteins are the essential building blocks of the cells in our body. Consuming protein also increases metabolic rate via thermic effect in order for the body to break it down and digest. Fat has the lowest thermic effect.  

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. If you’re not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, it might also be a good idea to take a basic multivitamin to prevent any deficiencies. Vitamins and minerals don’t directly increase metabolic rate, but deficiencies can cause a decrease in metabolism. 

Drink enough water. You should drink at least half your body weight of water in ounces. Mild dehydration can cause a decrease in metabolism by 3%. Yikes. 

Exercise

Lift weights. Strength training increases lean mass by building muscle which increases metabolic rate. So, lift anything heavier than what you’re used to lifting. This can be dumbbells or your children or the edge of a couch, seriously anything will work. Once that becomes easy, find something slightly heavier and lift it. Women, lift heavy weights. I promise you will not look like a man. Your body does not make enough testosterone to look manly. 

Engage in high-intensity exercises. Intense exercises include strength training, interval endurance exercises such as sprinting, jump rope, circuit training, kettlebell workouts, and plyometrics. 

Vary your workouts. You keep your body guessing by alternating different types of exercises. This causes your body to burn energy and add stress to your muscles/bones, which in turn makes you stronger. When your body becomes accustomed to a specific workout, such as steady-state running, your body will be more efficient and will use less energy to complete the task. This is great if you are training for a marathon and need to conserve energy. This is not great if your goal is a change in body composition. 

Sleep

It is imperative that you get at least 7+ hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep can cause your metabolism to slow down and not function properly. Lack of sleep causes a decline in growth hormone and thyroid hormone while increasing cortisol. And it can affect your appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin, by stimulating hunger and appetite and causing you to crave more processed foods. 

While there are a few small changes you can make to increase your metabolism, such as drinking ice cold water, consuming caffeine, and eating spicy foods, the changes listed above will give have a greater effect. 

Do you have any tips for boosting a slow metabolism?