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If you’re carb sensitive read this!

Scrolling through my newsfeed on Instagram I got an alert that someone just sent me a DM.

It was in the middle of the day and I had just taken a break from working on my super-awesome-secret-project that’s coming out next week (stay tuned), so I had a few moments to check it out.

Lol, how’s that for a plug in? ☺

The message read,

Hey Brooks, I love your content. I was wondering if you could help me out. I noticed that I don’t deal well with carbs at all.

I feel as if I could look at carbs and could gain weight.

What should I do!? Please Help!

This was a great message because I understood exactly where she was coming from.

Right off the bat I knew that she was an endomorph body type and knew that she needed to eat certain carbs at certain times throughout the day so her body could metabolize them better.

Knowing the right carbs to eat at the right time can help with her fitness journey and also reduce bloating.

That being said, no matter your body type here are the best times to eat carbs .

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Breakfast

One of the best times to consume carbs is right after you wake up.

Remember that skipping the most important meal of the day can set you up for overeating later in the day.

I always suggest a breakfast that combines complex carbs and fiber with some protein.

To name a few- oatmeal, Greek yogurt, muesli, grapefruit, bananas, eggs, almond butter, watermelon, blueberries are perfect during breakfast.

Coffee and tea are also perfect on the early parts of the day. Caffeine has been linked to a lower risk of several diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer.

Studies also show that it may even help you live longer. A combination of caffeine and antioxidants are responsible for many of the observed health benefits.

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Pre workout

Not eating before a workout can result in low blood sugar, which leads to lightheadedness and fatigue throughout training.

Eating carbs pre workout will give you more energy, prevent muscle catabolism and increase muscle anabolism.

Id also pair this with eating a good source of protein so that you’ll also be able to promote protein muscle synthesis.

Pre workout meals should be a combination of simple and complex carbs.

White rice, white potato, sweet potato, ezekial bread, bananas, whole grain bread, oats, fruit and yogurt are perfect choices.

 

 

Post Work Out

It is very important to introduce carbs and proteins in your diet again after your workout.

 Post workout meals should be focused more on simple carbs.

Consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.

Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein.

Your body's glycogen stores are used during workouts. Eating carbs after your workout helps replenish them.

White rice, white potato, Quinoa, Rice cakes, and even some cereals would be good choices.

Cutting carbohydrates from your diet won't do your workouts any favors.

Its also important to note to stay away from fats pre and post workout due to slowing down the digestion process.

We want to make sure we get those nutrients immediately into our bodies.

Do yourself a favor and follow the above tips!

Connect with Reuben:

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How to Stay On Track With Your Diet While On Vacation

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I just came back from a 10 day voyage overseas.

Wait a minute, it was by plane so I guess we can just say it was a vacation. Voyage just sounds really cool lol.

Anyways, this was my first time being in Asia and I’m super pumped to be here. The culture is definitely different but I am welcomed with open arms.

As many of you know I’m by nature am a foodie, I love trying out new foods, wines, and desserts. Honestly, I just like to live a little bit in between competitions etc. since I have a higher calorie intake.

And boy did I!

One thing I always checked myself on was balance and I definitely ate consciously and tracked my food when I could.

It’s important to know that when you take a trip, you got to make sure your diet does not go on vacation, too. A vacation is a time to unwind, to celebrate, to rejuvenate however, it is not an excuse to totally throw away what you built up during your training and dieting phase. 

A lot of times we get in shape for a vacation and then tend to eat cheat foods then carry around the burden of guilt during and after the vacation.

So this leads me to the main topic of this article which is 3 tips to stay in shape during your vacation.

 

 

1. Always do CARDIO no matter what.

Wake up in the morning before your breakfast and start the day off right. This allows you to be a little bit more conscious about what youre eating throughout the day because you were able to burn some calories and still stay somewhat on your “normal” routine.

If you cant do your typical jog on the treadmill try some outdoor activities on the beach like beach volleyball, biking, surfing, swimming and snorkeling.

 And if youre not at the beach go for a hike.

The key here is to get out and do something.

Just an FYI, did you know that walking in soft sand is a killer workout? It burns more calories than walking on flat ground. Some experts suggest that you can burn twice as many calories walking in soft sand.

Approved Tip:

Get a fit bit so you can keep track of calories burned if you’re doing a lot of walking while exploring - recommended choice for this is fit bit blaze 2 is my go to and tracks all day activity.

 

2. Save your calories for dinner

When it comes to your diet and more specifically carb intake, back loading may be the best idea. When you save your natural starches for dinner and eating lighter, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables during the day, you maximize fat-burning hormones while you are active during the day.

Foods such as yams, sweet potatoes, and brown rice gives you a longer stretch of time where you are burning fat more efficiently.

Approved Tip:

Consume more protein and complex carbs in the morning and moderate fats with protein or carbs that night.

 

3.  No weights, no problem.

Cardio activities are easy to find when you're on the road. Lifting weights, however, presents more of a challenge. Hotel fitness gyms aren’t that appealing when you're trying to get a solid lift in. You usually don't have much equipment.

Good news is that you don't need any equipment to maintain your physique while away!  A number of exercises require nothing more than your body, some good music to work out to, and an open space will get you set.

Exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, bicycle crunches, and triceps dips can get you covered.

Approved Tip:

If your hotel doesn’t have a gym pushups pull ups squats and ab workouts does wonders for maintaining your gains while away.

 

Try 5 sets of 20 of each and feel the burn!

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Getting back on track after a vacation can be difficult, and jeopardize all of your hard work. But follow the above 3 tips and rest assure we got you covered! Make sure to stay in shape while you travel.

If you want my help personally for a custom meal plan and workout plan all you have to do is CLICK HERE and I’ll create the best program for you that you’ve ever had. I guarantee it!

-Brooks

 

Sources:

https://www.livestrong.com

https://www.verywell.com/exercising-on-vacation-1229765

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Do You Count Vegetables As Calories?

Do you count vegetables as calories? Having been in the industry of macro counting and flexible dieting for quite a while, I can’t even count the number of times this question comes up. It’s a great question. However answering this is complicated. I usually get back to them by asking - Did you eat them?

Because if yes, then the answer is simply yes. Anything you eat should count on your daily macro diet plan.

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Remember, if we consume just the number of calories our body needs each day, every day, we will maintain our weight. If our calorie consumption is too low we lose weight, too high and we will typically gain weight. That being said, let's talk about 2 types of calories.

First one is:

Regular Calories

Regular Calories are calories from random types of food. Just because two foods have an equal amount of calories doesn’t mean they are equally healthy.

Fat has more than twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates and proteins. A gram of fat has about 9 calories, while a gram of carbohydrate or protein has about 4 calories. You could eat twice as much carbohydrates or proteins as fat for the same amount of calories.

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The next one is Fiber Calories

Dietary fibers are complex carbohydrates, so some people estimate that they provide 4 calories per gram just like any other carbohydrate. However, others say that calories from fiber don’t count since your body’s digestive enzymes can’t break down fiber. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the body. Instead it passes through the entire digestive system and is excreted from your body relatively unchanged.

There is one type of dietary fiber or fermentable fiber that is fermented by “good” bacteria living in the colon. The product of this fermentation is short-chain fatty acids and gases. Short chain fatty acids are then absorbed and used to produce energy. It is estimated that on average 70% of fiber in foods are fermentable, but this may vary since some foods may have different ratios.

Whether you choose to count fiber calories or not, the one thing you have to do is keep it consistent across the board so you don’t change out too many variables.

Some of the healthiest high fiber food include:

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Ultimately, the most important part of every single weight loss diet is creating a caloric deficit.

Thus calorie-counting will greatly help you track your dietary habits and reach weight-loss goals.  A caloric deficit happens when you consume fewer calories than your body burns or burn more calories more than you consume.

When you do this, your body is in a state of negative energy balance. Where it doesn’t have the calories it needs to perform all of the daily tasks. For your body to do these daily tasks, it is forced to burn your own stored body fat for energy. As a result- YOU LOSE WEIGHT.

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Top 5 Ways to Measure Body Fat %

What’s up team!

I’m now 4 weeks out from my next competition and I am as excited as ever. A great way to make sure that I’m on track with my progress is to track my body fat %.

Of course, keeping track of your weight and energy levels are also important but body fat percentages gives you more detail in regard to where you’re holding the fat.

So, for instance if you’re holding more fat in your legs, depending on which test you take the machine on can tell you how much fat and which leg has more fat than the other.

Totally cool right?

My goal is to get my measurements now and at the end of 4 weeks do it again for another recording.

I want you all to do this with me as I go along!

I did my measurements with a dexa scan which is the platinum standard for body composition testing. However, the dexa scan isn’t usually that accessible unless you know somebody who works in an exercise physiology lab or if you live in the area around a dexabody.com truck.

There’s many ways to measure body fat percentage and here are the top 5 including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a device that sends low-level, safe, electrical current through the body. Just about every gym has one of these machines. Its quick, easy, and painless to use. Through this method, body composition and body fat percentage are measured.

Pros: The BIA can be easily found and you don’t need a certified operater to give you your restuls.

Cons: Readings can be affected by hydration levels, food intake, skin temperature, and other factors, like weight. This type of analysis is straightforward to use however, the results on this machine can vary + or – 15.

2. Skin Calipers

This method is done by measuring the amount of body fat covering muscles under the skin in several locations on the body by lightly squeezing an area of folded skin with the calipers. You would need a fitness professional to calculate the total percentage based from the data gathered.

Pros: Skin caliper measurements are the cheapest and least complicated form of testing fats percentage. It is a top choice for regular, practical and affordable testing.

Cons: It's possible the margin for error is higher when you're testing yourself with calipers instead of using other higher forms of fat percentage testing devices.

Depending on who does your test, the results also may be off + or – 10

3. Bod Pod

In this method the machine will measure the air displace, which is plugged into a formula to determine body fat percentage. You’ll have to wear skin tight clothing and be in the bod pod for 5-8 minutes.

Pros: Perfect method for children, the elderly, and disabled individuals may have trouble being still. Easy and very quick test process. Depending on calibration this method can be at + or – 7.

Cons:  Not many facilities use the Bod Pod so it can be difficult to locate one. It also requires skintight clothing, such as spandex shorts, swim cap, and swimwear

4. Hydro static weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is a method used where the person is submerged under water and weighed. This weight is compared to their normal weight and calculated with considerations of the density of water.

Pros: Believed to be most accurate. It is considered “gold standard” of measuring body fat percentage. This method can be at + or – 5.

Cons: It is very inconvenient as it needs a lab, hospital, or specialty center so unless you are in absolute need of a very accurate reading, this method might not be worth the time. It is also very costly.

5. Dexascan

DEXASCAN or Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometryinvolves the use of X-Ray technology. It measures the absorption of high and low energy ray beams.

Pros: A very quick procedure. DEXA scanning is superior in accuracy to skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, bod pod, and hydro static weighing.

 

Cons: Same with hydrostatic weighing, DEXA scanning requires special equipments and facility. Thusscheduling an appointment is essential.

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15809537

https://www.healthost.com/blog/view/413453/pros-cons-of-the-5-most-popular-body-fat-testing-methods

 

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ON EFFECTIVE FITNESS HACKS, THEN YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT MY LATEST GUIDE OF 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (WITHOUT STARVING YOURSELF OR SUFFERING THROUGH AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE "DIET.")

>> CLICK HERE <<

NEED A CUSTOMIZED EATING AND WORKOUT PLAN TOWARDS YOUR FITNESS GOALS? CLICK HERE!

Connect with Reuben:

Reuben on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reubenbrooksfitness

Reuben on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/approvedbybrooks

Reuben on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/reuben_brooks

Reuben on  Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/reubenbrooksfitness

 

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Creating Unstoppable Motivation

Last week I met with an old college buddy at the gym to train together. We were good friends back in college and it’s been a minute so I figured why not? We could get in a good workout and also reminisce on our golden memories from college. 

As we were catching up in between sets he mentioned that he lost his motivation and had been out of the gym for a couple of months.

Ironically I knew that within our first 5 seconds of greetings. Jokingly I said “you gotta lay off the Popeyes man!”

He said his problem wasn’t necessarily the Popeyes. His problem was that he would get on a few good strides for a couple of weeks and then start missing days at the gym, skipping his cardio sessions, and ultimately his diet and health started to go down hill.

He mentioned the real reason that he wanted to work out together was so that he can get some motivation from me.

Let’s get one thing straight, I’m all for motivation and personal development but no one can give you motivation, it’s something you have to create from within.

 

Now before I start spitting out philosophy like Yoda, you got to understand that the motivation you get from listening to speakers and surrounding yourself with highly motivated individuals is only temporary.

Its there one week and gone the next.

You have to have a purpose, a goal, and also a vision.3 Ways To Create Unstoppable Motivation

1.    Your WHY.

Whether it’s to get your life in order, to eat healthy, or to go back hard in the gym ---  you always have to remember your “why”.

A little bit about me.

Growing up my parents owned a health food store and every day after school I would go and work in the shop. My mom ate healthy and was basically the role model for the shop.

My dad on the other hand ate horrible, and that led to him developing diabetes. He was from the Caribbean so he was always eating sweet bread, rice, beans, cake, cookies, etc.

Soon he started to have complications with his health. He ended up getting both of his legs amputated and died before 65.

Now that is my why.

Yours doesn’t have to be so dramatic but you have to have a reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing. Whenever I’m feeling down, depressed or when I feel like this maybe isn’t for me I just remember my why. That just keeps me going.

2. Create goals for yourself.

Every morning I write out my daily goals. This isn’t a to-do list, these are actual goals that Im looking to accomplish whether it be today, for the week, or even for the month. It helps me look at the bigger picture.

Always remember your why and then set your goal on how to get there. If not, you will just keep spinning your wheels and not move closer to success.  You must set a SMART goal -- smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goal.

3. Ask yourself - HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

Yes, that is a very generic question. I’m sure you’ve been listening to that from Eric ThomasTony Robins, Oprahor any motivational speaker for the last 3 years.. But the question is so powerful. If you want to succeed on something,  you had to have a strong desire. You have to be on the verge of obsession to get to your goal.

You have to really write down your goals. You have to read it. You have to visualize it. You have to think those thoughts and do the work. You have to ask yourself how bad do you want it.

And why and make that connection and connect the dots. And that my friends is how you’re gonna create your motivation.

Write it. Visualize it. Talk about it. Most importantly act on it. If you follow these steps, you’ll notice positive thing start to happen in your life.

For me going to the gym working out and eating properly is something I have to do. Why? Because I love it. I fell in love with it. My dad passing at young age allowed me to spread my message so that I can help more people. It makes me feel I’m on the right life mission and a sense of purpose.

Start today, start putting up your goals today, start putting them on today. Start taking the action. I don’t care if it’s late at night while you’re reading this. Stop. Do some push ups or do whatever you need to do. Do it right now? What’s stopping you?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ON EFFECTIVE FITNESS HACKS, THEN YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT MY LATEST GUIDE OF 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (WITHOUT STARVING YOURSELF OR SUFFERING THROUGH AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE "DIET.")

>> Click here <<

NEED A CUSTOMIZED EATING AND WORKOUT PLAN TOWARDS YOUR FITNESS GOALS? CLICK HERE!

Connect with Reuben:

Reuben on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reubenbrooksfitness

Reuben on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/approvedbybrooks

Reuben on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/reuben_brooks

Reuben on  Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/reubenbrooksfitness

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Natural Zero Calorie Sweeteners?! Here's What You Need To Know

We often consume too much sugar for our own good. I admit, even I am guilty of that sin from time to time. Good thing is once in a while wont kill ya, make you fat, and you don’t have to go on a religious fast for this small tasty sin.

 

I love naturally sweetened foods but sometimes you just need a little extra humph for your homemade concoctions WITHOUT the extra sugar calories. If you’re reading this blog then you’re probably one that’s also watching your weight.

There are sweeteners out there with virtually zero-calories intended to replace sugar and its needless calories and can taste just as good.

Sugar substitutes are forms of food additives that provide a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are naturally produced while others are produced synthetically.  You can also find more information about sugar from my previous blog. >> CLICK HERE

 

Here’s the top 3 healthiest zero calorie sugar substitutes.

1. Stevia

Derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana.  Stevia is very sweet and has virtually no calories. It is quite popular and mostly used for medicinal purposes in South America.

It is linked to lower both blood pressure and blood sugar levels making it the healthiest choice for sweeteners.

Stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. When it comes to stevia, you only need a tiny bit at a timeto sweeten your morning tea or next batch of healthy baked goods.

2. Erythritol

If you’re a label reader (and I hope you are!), you may noticed erythritol becoming more and more popular on ingredient list. Especially in sports and energy drinks and some popular snacks.

Erythritol is naturally found in some fruits. However, if you buy a powdered one, chances are it was made through industrial process.

The reason why it doesn’t provide calories or sugar to its consumer is because its non systemic meaning it doesn’t get metabolized.

It contains 0.24 calories per gram, or about 6% of the calories as sugar, with 70% of the sweetness. It can also cause digestive problems at high doses. Try to stick with NON-GMO Erythritol to avoid digestive issues.

3. Truvia

Truvia is an estimated 200 times sweeter than sugar. Derived from the stevia plant Truvia is a hybrid sweetener between Erythritol and the stevia plan.

Truvia is also a zero-calorie food, unlike sugar, which has about 4 calories per gram. Truvia an attractive alternative to sugar for people who have diabetes and typically avoid excess sugar.

Be careful while using this one, too much can cause an upset stomach. Moderation is the key for enjoying Truvia safely.

For more information on  natural sweeteners here: CLICK HERE

 

You may want to ask- What about Honey?

For those health conscious, instead of using sugar, it is not uncommon to use coconut sugar, molasses, honey and maple syrup as sweeteners.  I recently wrote an ARTICLE on great sugar substitutes that aren’t much different from sugar.

Yes, they may contain slightly smaller amounts of fructose and some tiny amount of nutrients--- your liver really won’t be able to tell the difference.

But hold your horses with this one!

They still have a high amount of sugar content in them.

Let’s take honey for example, 1 tbs of honey has 17.5 grams of carbohydrates and 1 tbs of regular processed sugar has 12 grams of carbohydrates.

Although honey is unprocessed and a healthier option it still posses more calorie content than the process sugar.

The goal here is to watch our sugar intake so that we don’t store it as fat or spike our insulin levels too high.

Those who are overweight and insulin resistant large amounts of sugar are straight toxic.

There are a few people who might want to avoid sugar-based sweeteners completely. This includes food addicts, anorexics and people who are on a very low-carb diet.

All in all, the context of healthy, real food based diet, small amounts of these natural sugars won’t because you harmful to you. I wrote a previous blog oh the dangers of too much sugar here: CLICK HERE

 

The best piece of advice I can offer you is to learn to reduce your need for sweets. I like having my clients have their favorite treats once a week guilt free J

 

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ON EFFECTIVE FITNESS HACKS, THEN YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT MY LATEST GUIDE OF 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (WITHOUT STARVING YOURSELF OR SUFFERING THROUGH AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE "DIET.")

>> CLICK HERE <<

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This may be the reason why you aren't losing weight

Why am I not losing weight? Even after the hard dieting and working out, you’re still not losing weight or even worse you’re going up in weight?

Although your weight is a concern this is not the question you need to be asking yourself. There are a lot of misconception in losing weight. Cutting calories and working out has its proper way however, more often than not these two steps are often misused by people.

Before we play the blame game on ourselves we need to take a step back and look at the variables. Am I tracking my food consistently, am I burning enough calories via cardio, and how intense really are my workouts?

1. Eating too many calories.

Often times we think that eating clean or healthy will help us lose weight. It is true - however, there are times were we can easily overeat on the healthy options. For example, when we’re bored and want to have a quick snack that’s healthy a lot of people tend to go for some type of nuts cashews, peanuts, or almonds. Although nuts provide a plethora of health benefits they also have a high number of calories! Lets not forget that fat calories are twice the amount of protein and carbs.

 

1g protein = 4 calories

1g carbs = 4 calories

1g fat = 9 calories

 

Always remember, just because the food is healthy does not mean you can eat or consume an unhealthy amount of it for “health” sake!

 

2. Make it a habit to record or track your calories.

You should be in control of the variables that assist with your weight loss and your calories are a direct correlation. Track EVERYTHING that you eat… even the healthy foods. Just because its healthy doesn’t mean we can eat all willy nilly.

3. Abuse of cheat meals.

There are a lot of studies which support that cheat meals definitely aid in losing weight. However, more often than not cheat meals are being abused! Overindulging after working out or having 2-3 cheats in a week is a huge No-No! Come on! Be realistic! You still have to be smartand keep our end goal in mind at all its. Cheat meals should be scheduled and planned in advance. Not every after workout or 2-3 times per week.

The main purpose of strategically adding in cheat meals is to boost your metabolism and to of course, satisfy you cravings. Do not overdo it.

 

3. Exercising a lot versus exercising right.

I beg of you for the love of baby Jesus don’t become a cardio bunny. You know the same people in the gym that’s always doing cardio but still looks the exact same they did a year before.

Add in resistance training (weight bearing exercises) and also some HIIT (high intensity interval training) to spark your metabolism for weight loss. A combination of steady state cardio and HIIT training are the best for fat loss. Studies show that HIIT can suppress appetite and boost your metabolism for a whole 24 hours after the workout is complete.

When you have the right combination of diet and tracking your foods, weight training, and cardio that’s when you’ll unlock the magic door to your weight loss goals.

The above items are some of the reasons why you're still gaining weight or plateauing  even after all of the efforts. At the end of the day the key to losing weight is going to be from your diet, cardio, and workouts. Do not let your effort and sweat go to waste by not properly tracking your foods andor your workouts! Exhaustion can often lead to demotivation. Simplicity and consistency wins the race!

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ON EFFECTIVE FITNESS HACKS, THEN YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT MY LATEST GUIDE OF 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (WITHOUT STARVING YOURSELF OR SUFFERING THROUGH AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE "DIET.")

>> CLICK HERE <<

NEED A CUSTOMIZED EATING AND WORKOUT PLAN TOWARDS YOUR FITNESS GOALS? CLICK HERE!

Connect with Reuben:

Reuben on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reubenbrooksfitness

Reuben on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/approvedbybrooks

Reuben on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/reuben_brooks

Reuben on  Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/reubenbrooksfitness

 

 

Sources:

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/tips/weight-loss-plateau-tips/

https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Reasons-You-Losing-Weight-24882317

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Wine And Weightloss

Let’s talk about one of the ladies’ favorite, wine! Wine has been there for us through joyful and awful moments, wine can console one from a devastating situation or get the party going.

But did you know that wine is actually good for your health? And yes you can drink wine even if you’re under a diet plan.

This is a lifestyle and the key word is life. Sometimes its you have to live a little. However, track your wine!

Let’s check three different kind of wines and compare their caloric content and benefits:

Red Wine

Since Red Wine is made of Red grapes, it contains High-fiber Tempranillo which is used to create Red Wine itself. This content is known to have a significant effect in lowing cholesterol levels. It also has Polyphenols, which are the anti-oxidants in wine, this helps in protecting your heart from the risk of clotting. Other fantastic benefits of Red Wine, it controls, blood sugar, fights colds and has cancer prevention benefits.

White Wine

Is a little less healthy compared to Red Wine; Red Wine when processed include the grapes’ skin which is rich in antioxidant. The White Wine on the other hand is processed without any skins, but regardless the grapes itself are still healthy so white wine is still a ‘healthy’ adult beverage. Just like Red Wine, White Wine is still high in anti-oxidants; a study also shown that moderate lifelong white wine intake actually improves lung health. White Wine can also cause less hangovers.

Rose Wine

Contrary to the name Rose wine is not literally made from roses, but still made from grapes but it does include some of the rose plant in the wine. Rose Wine has the same benefits as with White Wine, however some Rose Wines, in addition have increased levels of reservation, which have more anti-oxidants.

 

How to track your wine consumption?

A surefire technique that I am using and that I provide to my clients is to track ANY calorie that you eat  by using MyFitness Pal. For those of you not familiar with this cool tool, you can check it here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

Tracking your alcohol consumption via MyFitness Pal makes the whole world easier. Just key in the data based on the amount and what type of wine you intend to consume. MyFitness Pal will compute it for you.  Sample below:

How often should you be drinking wine?

Well, I would recommend drinking wine once a week, and include it in your calorie tracker.

 

TIP:Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories Pick these lower calorie alcohol alternatives:

Red or white wine: 5 ounces | Calories; 118, Carbohydrate: 4g

Remember that alcohol calories is the second most potent source of calories. We don't burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol.

And alcohol is seen as a toxin, in that case, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first which means fats are getting in line while waiting for the alcohol to be metabolized first!

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ON EFFECTIVE FITNESS HACKS, THEN YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT MY LATEST GUIDE OF 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (WITHOUT STARVING YOURSELF OR SUFFERING THROUGH AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE "DIET.")

>> CLICK HERE <<

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5 Foods that Boosts the Immune System

It’s that beautiful time of year again. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and everything seems to be going alright.

That is until you smell the roses and your eyes start to water, nose gets stuffy, and then you start sneezing uncontrollably for ten minutes straight.Although sometimes this is inevitable, there are some things you can do to build a stronger immune system.

The body when stressed and warn-out will manifest symptoms like sluggishness, low-energy and even flu like symptoms. Some folks (including myself), can’t afford to be sick because of the demands of their lifestyle.

Well, if you’re anything like me we have got to be doing a better job with building a strong immune system and what better way to do that then through food!

There are plenty of foods out there that help in boosting the body’s immune system, but not all are easily accessible, here are 5 foods that can definitely put the boost back in your immune system:

1.    Yogurt –The research states that the probiotics existing in yogurt helps with balancing out the harmful bacteria in the gut. Research also shows that a healthy gut results to a healthy physical body. Although probiotics are available in other forms, yogurt is highly suggested as it is easily absorbed by the body and also high in protein.

2.    Berries – There are variety of berries that are readily available, berries like Acai Berries, Elderberry, Blueberry, Strawberries, Blackberries even Cherries are filled with anti-oxidants. Not only do berries contain powerful antioxidants that boosts the immune system, berries are also known to fight chronic illnesses such as Cancer. Berries like the strawberries have a substance called Phenols, which is responsible in protecting the body from diseases. Acai berries on the other hand is ten times stronger and is also known to slow down aging and infection.

3.    Oysters – More popular as an aphrodisiac, Oysters are also good boosters of the immune system. Why? Shellfish like oysters contains Selenium that helps build up good white blood cells. Its also a very good source of protein, along with vitamins B12 and D, zinc, copper, manganese and iron. Zinc, strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells produce rapidly. While the Omega 3, discourages or minimizes inflammation in the body.

4.    Sweet Potatoes – If you love potatoes, better to switch to sweet potatoes to boost your immune system. Like carrots, sweet potatoes contains beta-carotene when absorbed by the body and transformed into Vitamin A. Vitamin A not only fights free radicals, that causes cancer, but also boosts the immune system and is known to slow down the aging process of the human body. This also gives you an excuse to eat sweet potato fries.

5.    Ginger – Ginger has been known to cure sore throat for centuries, this is because ginger is rich in gingerol. Gingerol is bioactive substance known to lower the risk of infections. Ginger is also known to have antimicrobial properties that inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E Coli, Salmonella, Etc. If you’re looking to boost your immune system just drop a few ginger shavings in your favorite smoothie or dishes.

Most of these foods are organic and readily available in your local stores, so there shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t include it to your daily meal plan. With a dose of these healthy foods, good eating habits, exercise and sufficient amount of sleep, you are guaranteed to have that healthy lifestyle you’ve been wanting.

If you want to know more on effective fitness hacks, then you have to check out my latest guide of 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (Without Starving Yourself Or Suffering Through An Overly Restrictive "Diet.")

>> CLICK HERE <<

NEED A CUSTOMIZED EATING AND WORKOUT PLAN TOWARDS YOUR FITNESS GOALS? CLICK HERE!

 

Connect with Reuben:

Reuben on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reubenbrooksfitness

Reuben on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/approvedbybrooks

Reuben on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/reuben_brooks

Reuben on  Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/reubenbrooksfitness

 

Sources:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/01/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods

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4 Best Supplements for Joint Support

What do runners, body builders, power lifters, and soccer moms all have in common? Achy joints.

Just recently my joints started to hurt more often than I’d like because of my increase in cardio for summer. This has led to having bad leg days in the gym and less intense cardio sessions.

Not many of you know this but throughout college I worked at GNC and also Olive Garden all while prepping for competitions and struggling with school.

While at GNC I was able to learn a ton about supplements including a few on joint support.

Below I’ve listed 4 joint supplements that I take or have took in the past:

1. MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane

It’s an organic sulfur-containing compound that that could decrease the effects of stress and pain, fight inflammation, increase immunity and boost energy levels.

It also has active sulfur. This is a great thing because sulfur is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It's primarily essential for different critical bodily functions every day. MSM is mainly linked to treat Osteoarthritis and joint pain caused by work outs. Primarily because it helps decrease joint inflammation, improves flexibility and restores collagen production.

It is not just limited to providing miracles to joints but it also aids in digestive problems like Leaky Gut Syndrome and treats skin problems like Rosacea, Allergies and wounds.

2. Chondroitin

Chondroitin is one of the most sought after joint-supporting supplements used to treat the pain and loss of function associated with osteoarthritis and joint pain due to training. It primarily helps rebuild cartilage naturally as Chondroitin is a major component of cartilage that helps it retain water.

Chondroitin is naturally made by the body but can be manufactured in the form of supplements synthetically or from the cartilage of animals.

The idea is that taking extra glucosamine and chondroitin in supplement form helps your body replace damaged or worn away cartilage much faster.

3. Glucosamine

Chondroitin sulfate works together with glucosamine. Glucosamine is also a natural compound found in healthy cartilage. It has anti-inflammatory properties and help with cartilage regeneration. If made in a supplement form, it can be done synthetically too or can be harvested from shells of shellfish.

Experts say it is best to take glucosamine in a 5:4 ratio, glucosamine sulfate (1,500 mg): chondroitin sulfate (1,200 mg) for a 120-200 pound person.

The differences in effectiveness of chondroitin may also be caused by variations in dosing and quality of the supplements. The chondroitin content between different brands can vary a lot so make sure to check the label.

 

4. Fish Oil

Fish Oil is another supplement perfect for joint support. The two types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA and DHA can reduce inflammation, which causes swelling and pain.

Fish oil also lowers blood triglyceride. These are fats that circulate in the blood­stream thus protecting against heart disease and helps reduce high blood pressure. Fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in individuals with arthritis and joint pains due to training.

You already know that weight lifting can be brutal on your joints.

After a rigorous session of hardcore powerlifting or running the kids around to soccer practice you're more likely to feel the pain after. Regular use of a good joint support formula is beneficial to reduce the inflammation in your joints and relieve your pain.

Approved Tip: Try finding products that have a combination of MSM, Chondroitin, and Glucosamine all in one pill.

If you want to know more on effective fitness hacks, then you have to check out my latest guide of 7 PROVEN STEPS TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND BURNING FAT (Without Starving Yourself Or Suffering Through An Overly Restrictive "Diet.")

>> Click Here <<

 NEED A CUSTOMIZED EATING AND WORKOUT PLAN TOWARDS YOUR FITNESS GOALS? CLICK HERE!

Connect with Reuben:

Reuben on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reubenbrooksfitness

Reuben on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/approvedbybrooks

Reuben on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/reuben_brooks

Reuben on  Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/reubenbrooksfitness

 

Sources:

https://draxe.com/msm-supplement/

https://www.nutritionexpress.com/showarticle.aspx?articleid=172

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3 Key Ways To Retain Muscle Mass as You Age

One consequence of aging is the inevitable loss of muscle. This phenomenon is called sarcopenia which is a natural part of the aging process.

You can’t stop aging but you can slow it down by changing your diet, workouts, and lifestyle.

Majority of body building adults achieve their muscle mass peak sometime during their late 30s to early 40s. After that point, a gradual loss of muscle mass begins and can continue a steady downhill course as age progresses.

Symptoms of muscle loss can include low energy levels, which can interfere with physical activities. Thus further decrease muscle mass.

So, is there anything you can do to avoid this? Not really. However, you can slow it down and here are 3 essential keys to decelerating sarcopenia.

 

1. Diet

Protein is the most valuable food for repairing and building muscle fibers. With that being said, increasing protein in your diet will make a great impact in reducing sarcopenia.

Of course it’s not just how much protein you eat, but also what type of protein you consume. Not all protein is created equal. Here are the best foods to include in a muscle-building program:

  • Grilled, baked, or boiled meats (chicken, turkey & lean beef)

  • Egg whites

  • Trace proteins from veggies

  • Trace proteins from nuts

  • Whey isolate protein supplements

 

2. Do Strategic Compound Movement Workouts

A sedentary lifestyle is the best way to speed up sarcopenia. Compound movement workouts increase muscle strength and endurance using weights or resistance bands.

Research shows that a program of progressive resistance training exercises can build muscle fast and help slow or even stop the loss of muscle tissue in as little as two weeks.  

Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, band exercises, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract.

But of course, you should work with an expert to develop an exercise plan customized for your age.

 

3. Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle well into old age prevents muscle mass from declining and can even add six more years to people's lives. If you are a chain smoker, you should know that cigarette smoking is associated with poor lifestyle habits, such as low levels of physical activity and impaired nutrition. In addition, smoking itself is another lifestyle habit that has been found to be associated with sarcopenia.

 

Studies have found that people that smoke and are daily alcohol drinkers were more likely to develop sarcopenia at an earlier age. It’s also been reported that they had lower relative skeletal muscle mass than subjects who never smoked and that men with sarcopenia smoked significantly more, according to the same Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal research that connected alcohol abuse to sarcopenia.


While everyone loses some muscle mass with age, it’s possible to slow or even reverse some of that loss with regular exercise, proper diet and many other easy, natural lifestyle changes. For the elderly, maintaining muscle mass and function is vital to having functional independence. Muscle deterioration can be prevented, decreased and reversed with the methods mentioned above.

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How To Increase Carbohydrates After Low Carb Dieting

So you finally got down to your goal weight after a few months of being in a calorie-restricted diet. Kudos to you! But what’s next? How do you increase your carbohydrates while staying shredded and not sacrificing too many pounds being gained?

Lets face it, you want the best of both worlds. You want to be able to literally, “Have your cake and eat it to,” but you have to have more carbs in your diet to even fit that cake in your macros. You still want to look like you’re “4 weeks out” but you don’t want everyday to be a low carb day. You understand that increasing your carb intake is a key factor when it comes to building muscle and staying lean but you don’t want to put on too much weight.

Fortunately, you’re in luck, my soon-to-be-high-carb-eating friend. What follows is a simple process that will require some discipline and a whole lot of patience but I am going to show you step by step how to reverse your carbs and stay photo shoot ready.

When you have more carbs in your body you have more energy. The brain can function better and my personal favorite is you get to eat more!

Don’t Be A Rookie, Take Things Slow

Here’s where most people fail miserably when it comes to reversing carb intake: If you want to increase your carbs up to lets say 250g per day, the optimal method is to focus on slowly increasing your intake week by week.

Don’t make the mistake of jumping up to 250g immediately after months of low carbing.

That said, we’re still going to spend our first couple of weeks relatively low and slowly work our way up. This is wise because:

·       It avoids unnecessary unwanted fat

·       If you’re carb sensitive you’ll be training your body to handle more carbs over a period of time

·       It will give you more control over your diet

The Game Plan

Enough with the lectures, lets get to the good stuff. Carbs will change every week, protein will drop down to a little bit above body weight and fats will change every other week.

For Men

Week 1-2 – Increase carbs by 20g and cut back 15 minutes of cardio.

Week 3 – Increase carbs by 20g, increase fats by 5g ONLY if weight hasn’t gone up much.

Week 4 – Increase carbs by 20g and cut back 15 minutes of cardio.

 

For Women

Week 1-2 – Increase carbs by 10g and cut back 5 minutes of cardio.

Week 3 – Increase carbs by 10g, increase fats by 3g ONLY if weight hasn’t gone up much.

Week 4 – Increase carbs by 10g and cut back 10 minutes of cardio.

This process goes on and on each week until week 8-12. Then you will have to cut the amount of macro’s you’re adding each week and start watching the mirror more.

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