How to Avoid Gaining A Million Pounds on Thanksgiving

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Okay, okay a million is a little dramatic, but gaining weight and binging on Thanksgiving is accurate.

Believe me, I get it. I come from a long line of people who know how to cook and are incredibly passionate about good food.

Going home for Thanksgiving is like entering Disneyland for my belly. Every single dish is incredible and since I’m an only child there is always an over-abundance of leftovers since we end up cooking for a family of 8 (easily).

Needless to say, there’s no way I could sit here and just say, “Eat less!” as I’ve seen a handful of trainers online say. Eat less? Are you kidding? Have you tried a homemade raspberry and peach pie? GTFO.

Also, keep in mind that gaining a pound or two will not destroy your life. I’ve always felt that enjoying food and time with family is always more important than depriving yourself. Unless you’re prepping for a contest, that’s a whole different situation.

Thankfully, there are ways you can help your body prepare for the calories you’re about to eat. Supposedly, the average person eats around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, if that gives you any idea.

Here are two, right off the bat from Jim Stoppani, and then we’ll dive into the rest.

1. Cut your carbs early in the week.

2. Try intermittent fasting.

3. Make things from scratch.

Even looking at MyFitness pal at the difference between a homemade and a store bought pie shows a difference of 30 calories. While that may not seem like a lot, that can add up over the course of an entire day (let’s be real: an entire weekend) of eating.

Also, that’s just a generic example. Maybe instead of apple pie you make a different type of pie: a list of the different types of pies and calories.

Out of all the dishes, I read that the green bean casserole actually has some of the most calories out of all the traditional Thanksgiving options, so maybe you switch that for something else.

4. Keep exercising.

This is the big thing that people overlook. They completely quit exercising for the year and swear to start up again in the new year.

If you’ve already decided to binge over the holiday, just decide to start bulking for the season and lift heavy enough to where you actually make that happen. Some tips: read on.

Go hiking. Go snowboarding. Lift weights. Play some football with your family. Keep active don’t just sit on the couch. Take advantage of how empty the gym is during November and December.

5. Drink more water.

I know, this sounds simple. Also, please note I do not mean drink more alcohol, I mean drink actual water. When you work on drinking enough water between rounds of food, you’ll feel full. This, coupled with taking the time to chew your food and eat slower, will prevent that painful oops-I-binged stomach pain.

Keep it simple! Don’t complicate this, and most of all don’t beat yourself up if you binge hard. Spending time with family and finding ways to give back to the world this holiday season is way more important than anything else.

Also, in case I don’t say it enough, thank you for reading this article or any articles I’ve ever written. It means a lot and I am incredibly grateful.

Vita Jym Review – Should You Take Multivitamins?

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Only one in ten Americans eat enough fruits and veggies.

Of course, this isn’t shocking to anyone, but the problem is that by not eating enough, we deprive our bodies of the essential nutrients we need.

Also, so many people in the fitness industry are constantly pushing macro nutrients (IIFYM – protein, carbs, fats) while completely ignoring the micronutrients.

I avoided taking multivitamins for years because they always made me nauseous, but when I heard Jim Stoppani was releasing a multivitamin, I had to order it and see how it worked for me.

If you’re looking for the fast answer to the question: I will never go back to another multivitamin.

That usual nauseous feeling from multi-vitamins? Yeah, these don’t have that.

Vita JYM is missing quite a few micronutrients (zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D).

The reason for this is simple: these interfere with other micronutrients in a standard multivitamin. You can read the complex science behind that: here.

Sure, it’s time-consuming to have to take multiple vitamins throughout the day to get them all in, but it’s better than taking a vitamin where you’re not even absorbing most of the micronutrients you need.

I like to keep reviews pretty short, so let me just say if you’re looking for a multivitamin, you should keep this one in mind.

Vita Jym is 10/10 and absolutely fantastic.

You can find Vita JYM at Amazon: here.

My Favorite Fitness Resources

On your fitness journey, you’ll come across a LOT of people who want to give you advice.

Some of this advice will be wonderful, some will be horrible. The secret is to find sources that are reliable so you

1. JimStoppani.com

As my absolute favorite resource, Jim Stoppani has his doctorate in exercise physiology along with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut. (More of his credentials.)

Basically, he knows what he’s talking about. You can join his membership site for a small monthly fee or follow his free programs and advice all over the internet (primarily Bodybuilding.com). Not only did I see insane results from his Shortcut to Size program, but his supplement line is top-notch.

He’s fighting hard to end the lies that the supplement industry tells all of us, so we can demand better.

If you want the truth about reaching your fitness goals backed by real science, Jim is your guy.

2. Bodybuilding.com

Next in line, Bodybuilding.com. I LOVE this site and it’s where I refer most people who have questions about the fitness world. They give free programs, have articles on almost everything possible, and have the free Bodyspace community where you can meet like-minded people and track everything related to your personal fitness stats.

3. Elliott Hulse’s YouTube channels: Strength Camp and Life

I’ve written posts in the past about the impact Elliott had on my life, but almost any question you have about fitness, life, strength, how to eat for your goals, stretching, meditation, or anything else is on his channels.

4. ChadHowseFitness.com

While Chad’s site is primarily for men, it’s one of the few sites where I read the articles religiously. He focuses not only on health, but what it means to live a legendary life. The philosophy and purpose of your life is just as important as the physical side.

You can have all the physical strength in the world, but if you are mentally weak life will chew you up and spit you out eventually.

5. JazzyThings on Instagram

Jazzy has singlehandedly changed how I cook. There are not enough websites out there that show you how to cook food with VERY few ingredients. The brilliance of Jazzy is that most of her recipes only require a few items and BOOM. Delicious meals. They usually consist of ingredients you probably already have around your house.

Those are my top 5 sources I can’t get enough of so far in 2015. What are YOURS?

10 Things You Must Accept on Your Journey of Strength

1. You must dedicate yourself to your own journey.

For many of you, it will only be you on your path. Sure, it’s nice to have a friend along on your journey, but you can’t rely on other people to guarantee your success.

It’s hard to be alone, doing your own things, but understand you are the only one who wants their own dreams to come true. No one else wants it as bad as you do.

2. Consistency is more important than the details. People want to argue with me about protein and cardio but they haven’t even gone to the gym in the past two weeks.

Shut up and hustle. Then focus on the details, but never focus on the details before the hustle.

3. Getting your body in peak condition might make you hungry for other goals in your life.

Starting to change my body has made me aware of the other limitations I have in my head. It has forced me to set my goals even higher and in turn make me hungry for new horizons.

I don’t view it as a bad thing, but just be ready for possibly wanting to change your entire life once you realize what you are truly capable of.

4. You must trust in the process.

You can’t go from out of shape to ripped with abs in a weekend. There is a process that you must follow. Trust in this. Put in the work and show up, even if the results are slow.

You’re still lapping everyone on the couch.

5. Commit to the lifelong process.

This requires finding your deep “why”. What really gets you in the gym? Why do you really want this goal?

When I was going to the gym for aesthetic purposes, it never lasted long. A few weeks at best.

When I found myself at rock bottom, I realized that changing my body had more to do with creating a stronger foundation to rebuild the foundation for my entire life, well, I haven’t missed a gym day yet. Each rep now stood for a better future instead of just doing it because I felt like I “should”.

There will be times when the gym hurts. When you don’t want to be there. There will be times when you’re exhausted. What will keep you going back?

I want to find out what my body is truly capable of. I want to push it as far as it can go.

No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable” – Socrates

6. Setbacks are normal.

You only fail when you quit forever. If you keep starting again, you are never truly a failure. If you get injured, skip a week, cheat on your diet, who cares?

I know, I know, I just said consistency is important and to burn all the bridges on your way to your goal, but we are just humans. We will always have setbacks.

Just a few weeks ago, I was on a diet, but I allowed myself a girls night out and while I was only supposed to have a small meal and two drinks, I instead had all kinds of food and eight drinks.

It wasn’t in the plan, but the next day I just got back right on the horse with my diet and exercise. It was worth the break, and considering I only go big or go home a few times a year with my diet, why not?

I’m committed to the long-term process and know that this is a lifetime journey.

Always just get back on the horse.

7. Take advice from people who walk the walk.

There is a quote I heard a long time ago that I never forgot:

Only take advice from people who have what you want.

There are thousands of people out there who want to tell you what to do when it comes to diet and exercise. Only about 1% of them actually follow their own advice.

I follow programs from Jim Stoppani because he has his PhD in this and is ridiculously fit.
I absorb all the articles from Chad Howse because he’s walking the walk every day not just in fitness but in life. He just went on a spontaneous trip to Italy, a great reminder of how important it is to take action and to not just dream.
I follow Elliott Hulse (and his strengthcamp channel) because not only is he fit, but his blending of the body with psychology is exactly what I want in life.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I don’t have what you want, don’t listen to me. Find someone who is living a life you want and has the body you want.

8. Real food matters.

Learn how to cook a good meal. Cook all your meals on the weekend. Be prepared! Stop being weak to your food cravings. Sure, a cheat meal can be great for your mind and for a break, but if you find yourself having a cheat meal three or four times a week, you’re not preparing well.

Learn where your food comes from. Grow a garden if you can. Stop eating so much processed crap.

9. This journey is about who you become.

Fitness will build your character in ways you never expected. The commitment and dedication will pour into all areas of your life.

You are becoming a stronger person internally every time you go to the gym. Keep going.

10. It will hurt.

Sore muscles, exhaustion, that last rep that burns… None of it is easy.

This isn’t a fact that most people want to accept, but life is pain. Life is about being uncomfortable, but everyone is searching for comfort.

A couch is comfortable, but it won’t get you closer to your goals.

It’s uncomfortable to pitch a new client, to ask someone out, to ask for a raise, to get in shape, to try a new diet, to learn a new hobby… The best things in life are surrounded by pain and discomfort. You have to cut through it to get to the good part.

Embrace the pain and discomfort and you will have all those things you always wanted.

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Shortcut to Size: Week 12 Final results (Before and After)

finally finished Shortcut to Size.

(Also, if you want to try this program, you can find it for free here: Shortcut to Size)

So let’s just jump right into the results:

Weight gain: I gained 14 lbs. Some fat, but mainly muscle. It’s a mass gaining program so this was expected.
Arms: Gained 2 inches.
Hips: Gained an inch.
Chest: Gained an inch.
Waist: Gained an inch.
Quads: Gained three inches. (Ridiculously stoked on this. I have chicken legs.)
Calves: Gained an inch.
Forearms: Gained an inch.
Shoulders: Gained 1.5 inches.
Neck: Gained 1.5 inches.

Also, here are some before and after pictures:

(Note: Sorry for the shitty quality, I had to take these myself and the only camera I have is my iPhone. Hopefully you get the point anyway.)

Arms: Beginning/6 weeks in/12 week final:

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Back: Beginning/12 weeks:

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Legs: Beginning/12 week:

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So, there you go!

This program is awesome and clearly produces results. I can’t say I followed the diet/supplements perfectly, but I definitely made sure to get in a shit ton of protein shakes.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to gain some muscle! Train for your goals, not for you gender.

I also did a video review of this program:

Also, a big thank you to Jim Stoppani for creating this program and also giving me a lifetime membership to his site! It is hands down the best site ever and anyone who wants to stop wasting time and actually get results should check it out: https://www.jimstoppani.com

You can also check out Jim’s supplements to accompany the program: here.

Drop any questions in the comments!

 

Shortcut to Size: Week 2

Week 2 of Shortcut to Size has been absolutely no joke.

Let’s just say this week I have been limping around my house like a grandma… but I won’t lie that I’d do it all again to get the results that I have seen this week!

This one is going to be a short update compared to my update about Week 1 which you can read here.

What I learned from this week was that on the days I didn’t eat my full total number of calories, I was so much more sore than I was on the days that I did hit my goal.

Plus, thanks to Jim Stoppani, the creator of the program, my lower crossed syndrome (a forward hip tilt), is starting to come back to normal for the first time in years due to the strengthening of my abs and my hamstrings. Simply incredible. My lower back pain is starting to fade and I can’t begin to explain how much of a gift this is.

I’m hoping at the end of week three to take some pictures because I really want to document this process since the results are absolutely insane.

Not to mention, this week I had a blast lifting stronger weights than half of the boys in the gym.

Like I said, the results are no joke! If you want a real program with real results, this is the program to try.

Shortcut to Size: Week 1

Starting Jim Stoppani’s program, Shortcut to Size, has been the absolute best fitness program I have ever been on.

For those of you who don’t know who Jim Stoppani is, let me give you the short summary: He has his doctorate in exercise physiology, and when you finally realize that all the workout ideas you get from Pinterest don’t work, you follow his proven system to get the results you want.

The Program:

The best part about this program, is that it is free to download (See: Here). There are absolutely zero tricks or gimmicks to this plan, and you can sign up for his free weekly newsletter, but only if you actually choose to. I would recommend signing up for the free newsletter from Jim only because: 1. It’s not spammy, you actually only get the e-mail once a week. 2. The videos in the newsletter help you understand what he’s asking you to do.

I won’t go into too much detail about the program, he can explain it better than I can.

My Personal Considerations:

For myself, I have upper crossed syndrome and lower crossed syndrome which is from years and years of writing and studying to get my college degree while sitting at a desk. Basically, my neck leans forward, which created a rounding out in my upper back and for my chest muscles to be shortened and tighter, and my lower back has an arch in it from my hips tilting forward.

Thankfully, this is all reversible, it’s just a matter of tightening and loosening some muscles.

So, I had to take this all into account with this program. I was determined to start this program, since I had seen on Jim Stoppani’s Twitter  how many people were seeing results, but I went through to make small tweaks here and there to get the program to work with my weak muscles. Essentially, for me it was important to not do as many chest exercises as the program has and include some mid-trapezious work along with lots and lots and lots of stretching for those tight muscles.

What works:

The biggest problem for so many females I meet when it comes to gaining muscle is simply this: They don’t eat enough.

I’ll be honest that for myself when I was younger (and ever before working as a trainer) I had the mindset of: If I only eat once, I will lose weight. At the time, I had no idea this would get me all of the exact opposite results I was looking for. It’s such a shame this is the biggest message that goes out to young girls (and boys) everywhere.

For my weight and height, my daily goal range of calories is between 1,800 and 2,000. If you’re a female new to building muscle, I know the first thought you have is that you’ll gain a ton of weight, but let me tell you, you won’t. All of the calories have gone right into my muscles and I have seen tremendous growth after just the first week alone. It’s also fun to be able to eat huge meals and not feel that sinking guilt that so many females have issues with.

The best part about this program is that when it’s shoulders day, Dr. Stoppani has you work every muscle in your shoulders. There are no major muscles that get away with being passed over, let me tell you.

The Results After Week 1:

I don’t know any other words besides: holy crap. I have never gained so many results in such a short amount of time.

Between eating enough calories and the rest-pause on the last set of each exercise, it has been amazing. My quads are starting to pop out (which is a huge deal for me because I have the tiniest upper legs compared to my calves… Thank you all those years of lacrosse), my triceps are definitely showing, my biceps are getting some little definition, and overall I just feel strong and healthy.

I’ve only wrapped up Week 1 and I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!

(Updated! I included a video!)