Looks Can Be Deceiving- The TRUTH about Protein Meal Replacement Bars

kellogs bars

They taste great, they are marketed to be a meal replacement, and they “say” that if added to your diet you can lose weight!!

why-you-always-lying-video

Sounds great but is it true? The answer becomes vague once you start to dig deeper….

confused

Let’s keep things simple here people: If you BURN more calories than you ingest you will become leaner. However the way in which you do it will determine whether you are losing FAT or weight. The former is very important in that losing weight is counterproductive. First losing weight alone isn’t a true indicator of good health because with weight you are losing fat, but mostly water and muscle. Most people have been decived by the media into thinking that losing weight is the number one goal to looking good, but the true is that what most people are looking for is proper BODY COMPOSITION. Proper body composition is the reduction of fat cells within the body which equates to loss of FAT which will also result in loss of weight to some degree. Now you may be thinking, “isn’t that losing weight?” Yes, but the type of weight is extremely different in that you have retained muscle and water while stripping away the fat that is layered on top of your muscle. Once your muscle starts to show this will give you the “toned” look that you are reading this blog hoping to find the answer to achieve!

This brings me to my point of protein meal replacement  bars, especially brands that give unsuspecting people false advertisements that keep them running in circles when trying to drop fat. Keeping calories in mind understand that knowing your personal allotment of calories is the quickest way to drop fat ALONG WITH knowing the proper split of macronutrients you need to achieve a certain body composition. If leaning out (known as losing weight) is your goal, then an uneven macronutrient ratio could BE THE DIFFERENCE between just getting skinny and looking GREAT when you hit the beach.

Abnormal amounts of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar are the top causes for fat gain because after a certain amount that is completely specific to your body, these macronutrients will be shuttled to fat because it is not being used. For you IIFYM people out here this explains why although a calorie is a calorie, the TYPE of calorie consumed makes all the difference.

The reason these protein replacement bars get you in trouble is that if you don’t pay attention to the macronutrient ratio that you are consuming you can be led by false pretenses that you are eating healthy when in fact you might be taking in way more calories than you thought you might be taking in. Take some time to look at the nutritional facts of some of your top generic protein bars.

Lets take a look at a popular meal replacement bar

IMG_9642

Now lets look at a regular sized rice krispy treat

IMG_9647

Now check this out

IMG_9643

Its all on the same aisle!!

Now I’m not saying that you can’t add in meal replacement bars into your diet and lose fat- but you have to be mindful of knowing what you are putting in your body. As you can see you could actually fair out better eating the rice krispy treat!! Also, don’t fall into the trap of “net carbs”. if a calorie is a calorie, then a CARB IS A CARB. If you count your calories then you must add in those carbs regardless of what the packaging says.

Bottom Line- READ the nutrition label and know that everything is not what it seems in regards to food when marketing is involved. Your best bet is to stick with real unprocessed foods and rich protein sources such as eggs and lean meat if you are looking for protein. If you have a sweet tooth then do your self a favor and understand the relationship of calories and macronutrients in regards to body composition. In one cases, you might fair off better with a butter finger than a cliff bar.

Four Ways to Stay Lean Year Round

IMG_8319

For anyone that has worked to achieve a low body fat percentage, one knows that the process is tedious yet a wonderful feeling. However so many people use outdated techniques that call for extreme low calorie diets that are restricted of many foods that cause enormous cravings that spur almost uncontrollable cheat meals that sometimes turn into cheat days or even weeks. What few know that there’s are a couple of small “hacks” that serve to keep people lean all year. The days of staying lean by eating like a bird are over. We have found 4 simple steps to keep your palate satisfied, allow you to go out with your friends and not be weird around lunch time, and see those abs that you have worked so hard for.

1.The 90/10 Rule

images

  • Let’s get real here: You nor anyone else had the will power to avoid junk food YEAR ROUND and that is perfectly fine. Just as one meal won’t make you lean, one meal won’t make you fat either. The key however is to reserve these fatty junk type of foods to ten percent of your food intake. In other words save the doughnuts and cheese sticks for RARE OCCASIONS. Now this doesn’t meal you can’t enjoy some of your old favorite pastimes, but 90% of your food sources must continue to be from rich nutrient dense foods. Keep the majority of your carbs complex, eat loads of veggies and keep your proteins lean. Earn that double double with animal sauce, you will thank us later.

2.  Choose Your Condiments Wisely

wf

Many of us LOVE FLAVOR which is freaking awesome. However many of our favorite spices, sauces and condiments are loaded with empty calories which can add up quickly. Although slightly more expensive brands such as Walden Farms carry a vast variety of dressings, syrups, condiments and even jelly that are calorie, carb, and fat free! These brands will usually be in the diabetic section of your large grocery chains and make all the difference. Give them a try and you will be surprised that such witchcraft actually exists.

3. HIIT

sprinting

No matter what you have heard in the past, all cardio is not created equal. In regards to any training program consistency is the goal. Now during someone’s leaning out phase of training one might be more inclined to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day. But what about all year? The reason why high intensity interval training (HIIT) is so effective is that it is QUICK. About 15 to 20 minutes of a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio of short bursts of maximal cardio activity followed by a less intensity rest period not only burns more fat due to EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption), but mentally you are more inclined to spend 15 minutes doing cardio than 45. An example of this would be a 30 second incline sprint at a 10.0 incline and 11mph speed for 20 seconds followed by a 1 minute light jog at 4.5mph on the treadmill. The beauty of HIIT is that it can be used with about any form of cardio which means you have unlimited variety! Use HIIT training 3-4x per week right after your weight training session to rev up your metabolism, preserve muscle and drop some serious body fat.

4.  Integrate Carb Cycling with IIFIYM

arnold-low-carb-day

At Swxller we don’t believe in DIETS, because simply they don’t work. What you need is a system to stay on track with the 90/10 rule AND fit in some of your favorite foods to not feel “deprived”. Carb cycling is a technique that helps to continually increase your metabolism by manipulating your carb intake to continuously drop your body fat percentage. You will rotate from 3 low carb days to deplete your muscles of muscle glycogen , followed by 1 high carb day to aid in recovery and cause your body to only use carbs for energy rather than storing it. The storage of unwanted carbs is a main contributor of fat retention. There are many calculators from a variety of websites, but an easy way to employ  the carb cycle is to multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 to find out your  high carb day, then divide that number by .75 to find your low carb day.  Always keep your protein to 1g per pound of bodyweight and keep your fats to 0.5 to 0.75 per pound of bodyweight . The process is tough but very rewarding if you stay consistent with it.

Now when it comes to IIFIYM there is a lot of literature out there that says if a food fits in your macros then it is fine NO MATTER WAHT TYPE OF FOOD IT IS. This implies  that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits. But we are smarter than that right?? Remember you still need NUTRIENTS. However by using the 90/10 rule there will be times in which you can have went treats and still stay on track.

During a carb cycle, in order to not feel the effects of near ketosis, which is lethargy, irritability, fatigue, and a reduced motivation to train, you should eat your carbs in the morning and around your training. Right after training you have a window in which your body will absorb SIMPLE CARBS as muscle glycogen and will not store it as fat. This is your A HA moment and window of opportunity! By using the methods of IIIYM, you have the opportunity to ad in a SMALL sweet treat in the place of dextrose right after training to satisfy some cravings and keep you on track of eating rich nutrient dense foods 90% PERCENT OF THE TIME.  To make is process easier use applications like myfitnesspal to track your meals and your macronutrient intake.

REFERNCES

Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J., & Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity, 32(4), 684-691.
King, J. W. (2001). A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women (Doctoral dissertation, East Tennessee State University).

Paplinskie, S. A. (2013). An Autoethnographical Tapestry of Feminist Reflection on My Journey of a Fitness Model Physique.

Ahima RS, et al. Leptin regulation of neuroendocrine systems. Front Neuroendocrinolgy 2000;21:263-307.

Kozusko FP. Body weight setpoint, metabolic adaption and human starvation. Bull Math Biol 2001;63:393-403.

The Power of The Knife & Fork- Part III |5 Costly Meal Prep Mistakes

5 costly meal prep mistakes

I know… yea i know.. You have went to the grocery store, got all of the approved foods and hit up every youtube channel known to man to feed your excitement to start getting this whole nutrition thing down!!! Maybe yes??? Lol maybe that was just me, but in this third installment of “The Power of The Knife & Fork” we will discuss the top 5 most pertinent mistakes people make in the meal preparation process. Before I divulge this precious info lol.. let me remind you that there are companies that market “healthy foods” that are not healthy for you at all and will sabotage your progress to become a high performer. So if you are reading this while drinking a special K Protein shake….. I’ve just slapped it out of your hand.

Lets Go!!

Although I primarily work with athletes who have no problem taking coaching and following a proven program for results, for the regular person the thought of preparing meals for an entire week feels foreign and the process daunting. Well here at Swxller we believe in putting your big boy pull ups on and sucking that up: IT DOES NOT MATTER YOUR TRAINING PLAN!! IF YOU PUT CRAP FOOD IN YOUR SYSTEM YOU WILL GET CRAP RESULTS PERIOD. If you want to COMPLETELY speed up your training progress and achieve and incredible physique you MUST control what you stuff into your face. This leads me to my 1st mistake…

Mistake # 1-  I’m gonna make these 4 little meals and my body we be on point!!

1. MEAL PREP IS NOT A QUICK FIX IT MUST BECOME A LIFESTYLE

DO NOT become one of those people who get all excited just to prep their meals for one week, only eat half the meals, then go out on Friday and throw all of their hard efforts away because “you just had to go to 5 guys”. Regimenting what you eat may seem like a laborious task but consistency will greatly reduce the time it takes you to prepare your meals. We have stated before that we do not believe in diets. A diet is not sustainable and depending on what diet you may be on, very dangerous to your health. Get in the habit of prepping each week and EARN that special meal where you eat whatever you want. Your dedication of proper meal prepping will also give you the tools needed to be able to go out with your friends and order the food that will keep you on track.

Key: Dedicated yourself to prep your meals each week. It will save you a ton of money in the long run and your body (and spouse… hell IG page for that matter) will thank you in the long run.

Mistake # 2 – Why even bother prepping?DO you know how much money this S$%^ is gonna cost?!

2. SHOP LIKE THE CANDY LADY

NO.. you cannot eat candy lol… but we say shop like the candy lady meaning to buy your food IN BULK. Utilizing places like Sam’s, Costco, BJ’s etc, will not only save you a lot of money but allow you to buy a lot of food at once. Buying larger containers of peanut butter, for example, will also save you trips to the grocery store. True you can go to your local sure market each week but more times than none you will spend WAY more money for less food.

When you buy in bulk remember to buy high quality FRESH products (which we talk about in Part 2 of this series). Although this process isn’t complicated if you are still working with processed foods its gonna strain your progress and hurt your pockets.

In regards to meat NEVER buy small cuts. Now is the time to get creative and buy a whole chicken instead of a pack of chicken breasts and learn to COOK all parts to save money. Remember to be smart with your choices that you buy.

Mistake #3-  Man it takes way too long to cook all this food!!

3. NEVER COOK 1 WHEN YOU CAN COOK 3

Now that you are in the meal prep gang lol, there are a few essentials  that you will need in your kitchen to help save time when preparing your meals.

Disposable Aluminum Trays & Aluminum Foil– Why waste all that time cleaning up dishes when you can prepare meals in catering pans? This method helps to save time and allows you to cook a lot of food at one time in the oven

Slow Cooker– When budgets are light and you are still a novice in the kitchen, a slow cooker is the perfect appliance to cook a lot of meat at one time and ensure that it is TENDER (young tenderoni lol) and ready to me used for your weekly meal prep. This “set it and forget it” appliance also will help to free up time to cook more items simultaneously in your kitchen.

Rice Cooker– Let’s face it… INSTANT RICE SUCKS. Remember we want to buy quality products. By having a rice cooker you can by good quality rice and ensure that it is fluffy and light and good to your tummy. If you’re on “Grandma” status in the kitchen you could still use the stove but we believe in efficiency.

Spray Oil- Spray oil is a wonderful solution and cost-effective option to cooking in bulk. Keeping in mind that you want to watch your fat intake,, spray oil will greatly reduce the amount that you use when you are cooking. You only need enough oil to grease your pan and pots while cooking. The oil that you need and ONLY NEED IS

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

COCONUT OIL

We will keep it simple- use those two.. don’t debate we don’t wanna hear it. If you are allergic to one use the other one.

Mistake 4- ” I bought all this food and I only have enough for 3 days.. smh this meal prep thing doesn’t work

4. WHERE IS YOUR FOOD SCALE? MEASURE YOUR FOOD

Food scales and measuring cups are imperative when meal prepping. Each person is different and there is no cookie cutter approach to the amount of protein, carbs, and fats you should eat with each meal. That number will depend on your current training goal and apps such as MyFitnessPal are great tools to help you figure out how much YOU need to eat to get the ideal physique. Once you have that specific number you want to use your food scale and measuring cups to ACCURATELY proportion all of your meals so that you are taking in the proper amount of nutrients at each fueling session throughout the day.

Food scales are relatively cheap, less than $25 dollars and can be bought at places such as Walmart and you can get food measuring cups for next to nothing at the grocery store. When you are equipped with these tools you can portion each meal to the ounce!! Although nutrition isn’t an exact science weighing your meals is as close to perfect as you can get to optimum nutrition.

And we bring it to number 5 which is

5. CONTAINERS

Containers matter.. point blank period. To preserve freshness, create uniformity in your fridge (to save space), and keep you on track the TYPE of container that you put your food in makes all the difference. VERSATAINER is a brand that you can buy off of amazon and you can get 150 containers for less than $50 dollars! Although you can get the simple containers from the grocery store, you want to meal prep to your best ability. Containers such as versatainer will ensure that you can get all of your portioned food inside the container  and save food to freeze that you do not use right away.

We hope that these solutions help you in your meal preparation and remember that trail, error and experience will be your best teacher during your meal prep journey

Swxller