Four Ways to Stay Lean Year Round

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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 However so many people use outdated techniques that call for extreme low calorie diets that are restricted of many foods that cause enormous cravings that spur almost uncontrollable cheat meals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

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  • 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

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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

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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

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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 Key To Unlock Your Squat

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If you want to be an all around stronger, more powerful, and more dynamic athlete, then squatting in some form must be in your  present training regimen. As critical is this exercise is, it absolutely amazes our team how many athletes and “weekend warriors” alike hate and even try to avoid the squat. Yes, we know that squatting is hard but with a few simple and helpful hints you can master this key exercise and start to push some serious weight!

How is your mobility??

We could talk squatting technique until we are blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that until  you are proficiently mobile in your hips, ankles, and thoracic spine, it will be extremely hard to improve your squat technique. Whether your heels come off the ground, your knees cave in, you have bad posture, or your hips round at the bottom,all problems of the squat and any exercise for that matter stem from MOBILITY. Although often neglected, mobility should be at the forefront of training. The more mobile an athlete is, the more powerful they will become!

How can I fix my mobility then??

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Proper mobility stems from what we like to call corrective exercises . Correctives help to improve deficiencies  in movement patterns that will allow us to improve mobility. Since we are talking about the hips, ankles and thoracic spine we will highlight a corrective from each category to get you started towards improving your mobility.

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

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Tight hip flexors are an area of improvement for most athletes and your hips are vitally important especially if you want to become a better mover. To perform the half kneeling hip flexor stretch, get down on one knee and raise both arms into the air. Next lean your hips forward keeping an upright torso to stretch your hip flexor muscles. Hold this stretch for 15 to 20 seconds then perform on the other side.

Wall Ankle Stretch

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Perform the wall ankle stretch by first standing in a split stance with the “up” foot six inches from the wall. While holding the wall, keep your up foot flat on the ground and work to press your knee to the wall.  When you can successfully press your knee to the wall, move your foot slightly back and perform again.

Perform exercise 2 sets of 10 repetitions( 2×10) per  leg

Kneeling Thoracic Stretch

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Get on your hands and knees and  beginning with your right arm, reach through between your hands and knees to your left side and hold for 4 seconds to stretch your thoracic spine. Next perform on the other side.

Perform 2×5 each side

These tips are vital in getting more mobile in your squat. perform these corrective exercises each day and watch those squat numbers go WAYYYYY up!!!

~ Swxlller