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“Remember Low Intensity? That Still Works” by Paul Nobles

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On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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Look I get it – after experiencing high intensity exercise with your heart beating out of your chest, there is no going back.  Anything else doesn’t feel like a real workout.  Here is the problem though:

TRUE variation not only includes low intensity work but does so without the need for a high intensity finisher.

Whether you are weight training or hiking TIME not only can work in your favor but it can also cause greater adaptation based on volume.  You can only do so much work staying just under your red line.

“But it doesn’t feel like I got a good workout…”

My wife actually said this to me after a squat session the other day (et too brute) and I had to remind her that getting better at squatting will make her better at the exercises she does at high intensity.   That’s because if you are doing a WOD for time but you have to scale the weight, if you could do that weight comfortably with similar reps and time, that is more work capacity.  More work capacity equals more adaptation which equals results at the gym but also in the mirror.  So working on your lifts slow (no I don’t mean that 10 minutes you half ass before your real workout) will make you better.  There is another point that is important as well.  When you work on lifts slow and controlled, you will typically end up stronger as a result.  Squats are a great example for me, while I CAN Rx most WODs based on my one rep maxes, I can lift a lot more slow and controlled with good form than I can at high intensity.

Is Your High Intensity Really Low Intensity?

One of the biggest viruses when doing high intensity work is doing it too long too often.  If you are constantly putting your hands on your knees during the fifth 20 minute met con this week it might be tie to look for another gym.  Part of the idea of “constantly varied” is that your program should wave in and out shorter, more intense days and into longer, less intense days.  Don’t get me wrong, I know those 20 minute WODs really get you sweating but if your program is real good you will have 4 minute WODs, 8 minute WODs etc.  The biggest enemy of adaptation is normalcy.  Constantly doing the same thing too often (even if the exercises are varied) will give you a similar mediocre result when it comes to improving.

Overusing Low Intensity

Above I described a scenario where your “high intensity” is actually low intensity because you are constantly checking to make sure that your collars are in place.  You aren’t fooling anyone; we all know that you are  resting.  The other side of the coin is also relatively ineffective.  As we all know, there are athletes that don’t redline near as much or their capacity is high.  They can mentally push themselves through hurdles that others struggle with, so often their solution when results slow is to simply add more work.  So they start adding in hikes or burpee challenges and just wear themselves out (they often under eat too but you can reference all of the other articles on this site for that advice).  It’s like constantly banging your head against the wall.  Yeah the wall may cave at some point but was it really worth it in the end?

Here is my workout schedule

I am not suggesting that this is what your workout schedule might look like.  I am simply putting this out as an example because frankly I don’t go “beast mode” or “kill it” all that often.  My strength days I try to get better and my WODs are conditioning.  If I was training for a competition, my workouts would be different but I am not at the moment; I am simply working out, trying to improve.

  • Mondays is a Rest Day, not an active rest day but an actual “sit on the couch” and chill out day.  If I am really feeling spunky I will take my dog for a walk at a local park.
  • Tuesday is a slow lifting day.  I like to lift coming off of rest because it’s more favorable for being 100%.  Amazingly enough, the stronger I am, the easier heavier WODs are.  Go figure.
  • Wednesday is a WOD Day.  Focus is on conditioning and moving correctly.  I scale freely.  I don’t work on skills in WODs; if I am not good at something I add it as accessory work on slow days.
  • Thursday is a rest day.  See above.  Massages are good on this day.
  • Fridays I lift slow and work on skills.
  • Saturday is typically a longer WOD at our box.
  • Sunday is a WOD.  I almost 100% of the time scale this WOD.  It’s the third of three days and even if I am feeling spunky I try to override those thoughts and dial things back.

The reason for all of this is simple.  I am just working out and because of that, I want to be able to do it as close to 100% as possible without getting hurt.  Make no mistake about it though, if you want to go for a hike with your spouse or do something active, you have my blessing but don’t do it because of fat loss goals.  This indirectly affects fat loss goals positively by building new tissue and adding work capacity but in the end most fat loss goals are typically addressed structuring the way you eat around what you do.

When you’re in the gym, you train to improve.  Keep training as productive as possible.

“Are Cheat Meals Really Cheating?”

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On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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I have often argued against the “cheat meal” idea.  I think it sets up an unhealthy relationship with food because it implies that you are cheating on your diet. Since we believe you should mostly be “not dieting,” the idea of cheat meals is contradictory to our core beliefs.

A super restrictive way of eating that makes you reset when you eat a food that is on the “naughty” list argues against moderation and looks an awful lot like an eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa.  As long as you’re eating enough total Calories and providing your body with the essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and hydration it requires, you’ll be pretty healthy.  Restricting foods puts you at a risk for malnourishment and malnutrition.

Look, I eat mostly meats and veggies and if that represents the majority of your nutrition, then great.  You will never see me make an argument against that.  However, a life of restriction and 7/30 day resets is just unhealthy.  Let’s face it – fitness people tend to be a little more diligent to their food choices, but if you constantly have the same group of women or men trying to get you to participate in their “misery” challenge where you live on yak butter and protein shakes for a whole month, just say “No.”   If your gym is constantly pushing this type of behavior and you’re being ostracized for eating “unclean” foods, leave that gym because they have a very skewed vision of health and fitness.

Guilt Burpees

Similarly, there are groups popping up all over Facebook related to burpee challenges and sit up challenges or whatever.  A lot of them are being set up because people have a bad relationship with food, so they are doing “guilt burpees” to pay the Calorie bill. Folks, this isn’t any better than limiting your food choices.  Exercising to purge your body of excess energy or waste or anything of the sort is called exercise bulimia and it’s no way to live.  In the same vein, restricting your food intake while you engage in high intensity activity can result in long-term metabolic adaptation that reduces your resting metabolic rate – probably due to loss of lean mass.

Eat Mindfully

The perfect approach to nutrition for each of us is individual and ever-evolving.  Each of us needs to build our plans around our schedules, food preferences, and energy demands.  For most of us, that includes eating foods that might not show up on the “nice” list.  So what can you do?  Eat mostly whole foods and eat for joy occasionally, but always have some understanding of what amounts of food your body requires to exist daily.  Calories DO count.  Don’t remain unaware of that simple fact because if you are guilt eating a Snickers alone in a bathroom it’s probably because you have been dieting too long, too restrictively and you are hungry.  Energy density isn’t always a bad thing.  Understand that just because a food is “natural,” that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  Likewise, processed foods aren’t always bad for you!  Everything has to be looked at in context.

The Whole Farm Frittata

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Today after my Sunday morning workout, my husband and I began dreaming about what we were hungry for.  Meat was at the top of the list, LOTS of meat…lots of veggies followed our dream ingredient list…off to the grocery store.  As I wandered the aisles of the grocery store, I grabbed a pablano pepper, one of my faves.  It’s got a hint of spice but not too much.  Some peppers, baby bella mushrooms and spinach followed.  Onto the meat!  Breakfast sausage, diced ham and some cajun andouille sausage…that should do it!  This recipe transformed as I made it.  Originally, I thought I would scramble some eggs up and throw in some meat and veggies.  As I chopped my veggies and cooked up my sausage, I quickly realized that I had more meat and veggies than I did eggs.  Let’s improvise…With my deep skillet full to the brim with deliciousness, I added the last of my eggs from my refrigerator – all 9 of them.  I began trying to cook it up as I mixed it and thought, “Screw this!” and I threw it in my oven, already warm from the bacon I just cooked.  15 minutes later, this beautiful skillet of goodness emerged from my oven…Breakfast for the week!  (If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, just throw it all in a casserole dish and cook 5-10 minutes longer.)

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 pablano pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (2 large handfuls)
  • 2 Cajun Andouille Sausages (I use Aidelle’s brand)
  • 10 oz. diced ham
  • 9 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In an oven safe, deep skillet, cook your breakfast sausage. Drain and set aside.  In the same pan, add your onions, peppers and mushrooms and sauté until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add your can of tomatoes and spinach.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add the ham, andouille sausage, breakfast sausage and beaten eggs.  Combine well.  Put the skillet into the oven without a cover and cook about 15 minutes or until set.  Some of the moisture may rise to the top, just pour this off.  Turn your broiler onto low and put the skillet on the top rack of your oven.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until browned on top.  Let rest a couple of minutes, slice and serve with some cherry tomatoes on top.

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20 g 31 %
Saturated Fat 7 g 34 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 344 mg 115 %
Sodium 849 mg 35 %
Potassium 360 mg 10 %
Total Carbohydrate 10 g 3 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g 9 %
Sugars 6 g
Protein 28 g 56 %
Vitamin A 37 %
Vitamin C 73 %
Calcium 7 %
Iron 17 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

 

“A Positive Mindset Breeds Success!” by Sheri Stiles

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On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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I am often asked, “How are you so strong?” or others will comment on wanting to me like me, or as strong as me. The thing is, I know I am not the best out there, nor am I proclaiming to be—someone will always be better, or stronger in some area than I am. Sure, I have won titles, I hold records, but really all that is is my name on a piece of paper.

I’m humbled by others looking up to me, and I hope to inspire them to be stronger but I don’t want them to downplay their strengths and talents by any means! I am no different than anyone else; I have weaknesses, and I have failures just like everyone does.

What makes the difference is that I won’t give up!

I have goals to reach, I have myself to beat, and I will continue to compete because I love it. Sure, I get frustrated and even mad at things like failed attempts, missed PRs, or a bad competition (hell, I bombed at a pro invitational meet and continued to finish even though none of my attempts counted!) but the only thing I can do is accept it, and move on – work on what I need to work on and get back out there!

Your attitude makes a world of difference in your success!

If you want something, go and get it!  It won’t be easy, and there will be setbacks—but how you react to those is going to determine your success.

I have worked hard the last few years, and regardless of whether or not others believe it, nothing was handed to me. I got my ass to the gym, trained, and made sacrifices!  It didn’t just happen overnight. I have been injured to the degree of being unable to squat the last 6 months, but I have fought every day to keep going.

You can’t give up, or accept defeat. Everyone’s path is different and I don’t think it’s fair to judge them, or yourself, based on someone else’s journey.

Find what it is that makes you passionate, and happy – do that. Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s dumb, or wrong…remember, those people are self-conscious, and have not found their own passion yet.

There are many things we cannot control in life. The only thing we do have control over is our reactions to those situations.

Learn to let go of the negativity, the nay-sayers, the self-doubting, and the negative talk, and you will not only be much happier, but you will be setting yourself up for success!  Have role models and people that inspire you—but remember, your journey and strength is not the same as theirs. Aspire to be the best version of you! :)

Catharine’s ETP Story

Catherine Adams After

On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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I’ve been following ETP for over a year now. Coming from a very low carb diet to one that utilizes carbs at the right time has been a complete game changer for me.The whole process of following ETP, incorporating up to 250g carbohydrate/day has given me a leaner body composition, more PR’s in the gym, greater understanding of nutrition and the ability to have the energy to keep up to my busy family.

The biggest change in following Eat To Perform is a much healthier mindset: eat more, do more. ETP doesn’t advocate the typical diet rhetoric of doing more with less and yet at the same time expecting to look and feel the best. There is definitely a shift in your mindset when you put performance and strength first which will result in what most people are looking for: a leaner body. Prioritizing to fuel your system rather than depriving it, building it up rather than breaking it down is definitely a big win.

A Little History

How did I end up with ETP? I was fairly active in my 20′s, really got into lifting weights, hiking and mountain biking. I was fit and healthy. My 30′s involved trying to keep up with outdoor activities but life seemed to take on a new priority… the 3 kids, all two years apart. As I came closer to 40 I felt I had “let things go” a little too long. After a brush with death from a medical emergency I realized life was short and I wanted to become as strong and able as I could going into my next decade of life. Lose fat and gain muscle was my focus. As I look back now I realize I was more interested in losing fat, it was how I defined being fit.

I went to the ultra-low carb and low calorie diet. In a few short weeks I had dropped 15lbs. It might have been fantastic if I had the energy to enjoy it. I was weak and feeble. Not really the energy-go-getter mom I wanted to be. I was completed depleted and defeated. I felt like crap, especially when I realized most of the weight was just water loss, the fat was still there. And as an extra kick in the pants, my workouts were lame.

Then I came upon ETP. A whole new world emerged that didn’t seem possible. After starting to read the information, more and more I realized it wasn’t fat loss I was directly looking for. I wanted strength, to be fit and able. More muscle meant more fat would be burned anyways. Why not build muscle and strength instead? So I embarked on a new journey. I started following ETP, reading everything they posted. I think I ended up a little obsessed! The calculator ended up being a big surprise for me. At the time my carb intake was 15-25g of carbs a day. I couldn’t imagine adding 75g carbs/day to my diet never mind the 250g the calculator spit out for me. I had lots of doubts and lots of questions. I’m sure I drove Paul Nobles crazy with my constant questioning. I had been convinced carbs were bad. Wanting to trust the process and reading other success stories I decided to try it out. The beginning was a bit bumpy. Leaping in with both feet first coming from a VLC diet to a higher carb has been a challenge. In the beginning I had bloating which made me doubt the whole program. Thoughts of going back to the VLC diet came creeping in again but the Forum made the difference.

Catherine Adams Before

In Comes The Forum

The Back Up: What made the difference? Why didn’t I just quit? The forum is such a motivating place. With the help of the moderators and other members in the forum I kept with it. April has been such an amazing support. We tweaked my macros and figured out the problem. In the process I learned a lot. I learned even more about nutrition and how my body reacts to different food, exercise and stress.

The ETP forum has many moderators that are fully educated in ETP; they have been there and seen it. The forum has hundreds (maybe thousands?!) members from all sorts of different backgrounds with the same mindset. The support is unbelievable. I truly believe consistency is vital for success. The forum has caring individuals who are willing to take the time to answer your questions and keep you on the right track. This support keeps you consistent and motivated.

If your discouraged, no problem. Gaining weight? Someone will help figure it out. Not sure where to start? The forum has got you covered. Have you been doing ETP for a while but need some tweaking? No biggie. Post it and you’ll get multiple answers within a short time. Be aware, the moderators will kick you in the butt if needed too. They will definitely clue in if someone is overtraining or skimping on their calories!

Where Am I At Now?

Physically, I’ve gained muscle and lost body fat. My strength goes up every week. I have a much healthier relationship with food. My body is well fed and well nourished. My kids see me eat, a lot. I’m not hungry all the time. I understand how to use metabolic flexibility. I’m an active member of the ETP forum and love helping others stay motivated!

I recently went to a local box to check it out. When finding out I’ve been training on my own at home a gal said, “You look like that and you did it on your own?”. No, I thought. I had back up, ETP back up.

Thanks ETP! You rock!

Catherine Adams Double Biceps


BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Skins with Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

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On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Skins

Ingredients

  • 4 red garnet sweet potatoes (long and narrow, not too fat)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee (or Grass-Fed Butter)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & chopped
  • ¾ cup Sweet & Smoky BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup fresh spinach chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Scrub the sweet potatoes to clean the skins and pat dry. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  3. Remove potatoes from the oven and cut in half lengthwise. Let them cool about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Scoop out some of the sweet potato and place in a large bowl, leaving some potato flesh on the skins. Mash the scooped out flesh with some salt and pepper.
  5. While the potatoes are baking, add your bacon fat to a sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add your shallots and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes) and then add your chopped spinach.
  6. In the same skillet, add the ghee until melted. Add the chicken breast pieces and ¼ cup of BBQ sauce and cook until no longer pink. Add your chopped bacon just until heated through.  Remove from skillet (don’t overcook, chicken will be tough).
  7. Drizzle the potato skins with a little olive oil and place them back on the baking sheet (skin side up) and bake for 5 minutes to get them crispier.
  8. Remove skins from the oven. Spoon the some of the mashed potato into each potato skin followed by a heaping spoonful of chicken/bacon mixture.  Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes.  Remove the skins for the oven, slice in half and drizzle with some BBQ sauce and ranch dressing (optional).

Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber with seeds scooped out
  • 1 small Red Onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp Distilled White
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Dill
  • ½ Tbsp Honey
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel the cucumber(s) and slice them, along with the tomatoes however you want (julienne, quartered, diced, cubed, etc).
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine evenly.
  3. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. You could eat this right away but the flavor is immensely better if you let it sit overnight.
  4. Eat within a week (if it lasts that long!).

“Your Body – Your Choice” by Sheri Stiles

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As a female in a strength sport, I hear a lot of dumb and annoying stuff. I will also guarantee any girl choosing to lift heavy weights, or lift weights in general, will also hear this crap and share in my annoyances at some point!

Most of these annoyances I brush off—over the past few years I have become much stronger, and usually just laugh at them; however, there are a few that still get me down right irritated to the point I want to punch the offender.

One of those is the fact people feel they have the authority and right to comment on someone else’s physique, or lifting choices. You guys know what I am talking about–the people who sit there and feel THEIR opinion of how YOU choose to look should matter, or influence your choices or desires.

Take a physique or bodybuilding female, and put a picture of her up online… I bet it won’t be more than a few minutes before someone comes along with their righteous opinion. Dismissing that individual’s hard work, dedication, sacrifices, and personal desires for how THEY think a girl should look.

It’s downright ignorant, and purely to benefit oneself.

Think about it… what are they gaining by saying to that female “You are gross, and look like a man.” or, “You are no longer feminine looking.”

The comments and attacks are self-motivated. It has nothing to do with the person in the photo, or their choices. Does what that girl chooses to do affect you? Does that female give a crap if you like muscular girls? Do you think she does it for you?

Nope!

The same goes for strength athletes. I cant tell you the number of times a guy, or girl for that matter, has said to me, “You look manly.” or, “Don’t you want to workout like a girl and not like a man?” (Wtf does that even mean!?) And my personal favorite—“I bet that girl doesn’t get any guys.”–right, because I forgot, that is my sole purpose in life.

Again, thanks for your personal concerns, but I will continue to do what I do because I enjoy it.

If you are a guy making these sorts of demeaning comments, you had best ooze male perfection! The same goes for you ladies attacking another female–you had best be some sort of super female specimen; however, even so, you are probably not the first person most would choose to be around based on your discourteous behavior.

I also encourage the people who make these disrespectful comments to take a look at their own lives. You are probably lacking some self-confidence—work on that. Also, work on being a respectful human being… it will benefit you.  I am not sure where we lost the Golden Rule idea, but too many need reminding of this!


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ETP Testimonial: Chris Dietz Transforms His Body

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Get our BRAND NEW eBook “Your Diet Sucks” for just $14.95!  Learn how to get sustainable results while you eat the foods you love!

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“In the above picture, I weighed around 230 pounds. I had played sports my whole life, football and baseball on high school teams; then I was an amateur skateboarder and recreational snowboarder until November of 2005 when I tore my ACL and partially tore both the MCL and LCL. I had them surgically repaired and I got through the rehab quickly enough and got back to some level of activity, but over time  it slowly dropped off.  You know the story, my job changed from labor to desk, I had a couple kids, I was a pack a day smoker. I had become obese, weak, and out of shape. I couldn’t even play with my son without getting winded within minutes (if that) and needing to catch my breath.

Eventually I decided to get back into shape. We were going to have to reapply for new healthcare and in order to get a decent rate, I had to get my BMI down and quit smoking. In the pic above my BMI was 34 – obese. So I quit smoking and started working out by following workouts you see in mags like Men’s Health. I started running a lot, barely a block at first, but eventually 5ks. I also started researching diets and began changing the way I eat.  

During this time my lifts were stalling and my workouts were getting harder to get through. I was getting injured a lot, pulled muscles, strains,  aches, DOMS, etc… in general I was not any happier at 190 than I was at 230. As a 5’10, 190 lb guy who was lifting, running 5ks or doing hill sprints 6 days a week, I had cut from 2200 cals to 2000 down to 1600. I felt miserable with where my body was, and damnit, I WANTED TO SEE MY ABS! I actually got down to 173 lbs. to appease the insurance company (BMI 24.8!) but it wasn’t fun. It was like my body didn’t want to be that small. I should’ve listened to myself.

Shortly after this pic was taken I started getting fatter again. I was at a loss as to what to do. I thought I was doing everything right. I was trying every supplement and trick in the book to figure out how to get leaner…. I was eating “clean”, cutting out grains, potatoes, rice, sugar, HFCS, etc… I tried Intermittent Fasting, Warrior Diet, Zone Diet, and Paleo/Primal. I kept lowering carbs (even though I technically already was low carb from cutting potatoes and grains, I just didn’t know it) fat burning supplements… I tried every possible thing I could find… except for properly fueling myself. 

The truth is, I was miserable and had been during this whole battle with my body. In my frenzy to find my abs, I had gotten completely lost in the sea of fitness and diet information out there. I don’t really remember how I found ETP exactly, but in November 2013, somewhere in that ocean I came across a write up on April that talked about her taking pictures during a bulk. I read it a couple times  and some others on the site and then immediately bought Metabolic Flexibility for Fat Loss. I read it cover to cover, and then read it again, and again, and again… and it made perfect sense. I signed up for the Science Lab and started a training log. But I still wasn’t ready to accept that I needed to eat more. It took me a couple months to really get my mind wrapped around this concept of eating for performance.

Around Christmas of 2013 I was still clinging to the “eat less, do more” philosophy. Still not ready to let go, and then I remember looking around me at people at work, my friends, and my family. I would see people at the grocery store, Target, or restaurants. I would overhear people talking about cleaning up their diet or being “good” in order to lose weight and I realized  that almost every single person I know, at some time or another, has said they needed to lose weight. Just about everyone has tried this diet or that diet, some 3 week challenge, or meal replacement shakes. I was standing in checkout lines and noticed that almost every single magazine has at least one headline that tells you “how to get slim quick!” I realized we’re being constantly barraged by this “lose weight, smaller is better” message in magazines, TV, and movies. Everyone thinks they can get the body they want by doing a lot of cardio and cutting things out of their diet (but don’t lift weights, it’s dangerous!),  but yet no one I knew was successful at any of it in the long term. That’s when I became aware of the disconnect and realized I needed to do something different.

I was sick of a scale determining my feelings of failure or success. I made up my mind that I wasn’t in this to lose weight, but to be the best version of me I can be. I saw that the “lose weight” me and the “best version” of me were not the same thing. The best version of me required building muscle, which meant eating properly for that goal because the two go hand in hand. I realized I had to tune everything around me out. Everyone and everything who was telling me not to eat eggs, bread, or dairy, (or Oreos which is a major bummer because I really do love Oreos) had to be ignored. I would have to  just smile at them and stick to the plan. I became keenly aware for the first time that EVERYONE around me who is “on a diet” is as miserable as I was and they are failing in their weight loss endeavors.  I made up my mind to commit to ETP.

I knew I had to be patient and consistent with my lifting and with my calories and macros to get long-term sustainable results. No more extreme diets, no more quick fixes, no more questionable supplements. So, with the ETP TDEE calculator and April’s help, I got my calories and macros dialed in. I “fixed” my eating habits to more closely align with my own ideas and feelings about food by adopting an IIFYM approach to allow for moderation of all foods. I still eat mostly whole foods, probably 80/20, and I’m a member of a local, organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. But I no longer stress about each and every ingredient in my food. I don’t have any banned foods. There’s no good or bad, no cheat meals… there’s just food, and it is far easier to choose what to eat when you can apply purpose to a meal. Truthfully, Eat to Perform and the support and advice found in the Science Lab have given me my life back in a way no diet ever could. Where every other plan took things away, ETP gave it back.

This is me now, 227 pounds

ChrisDietzAFTERside

It mystifies me as to why BMI is used by insurance companies(or anyone really) to rate how healthy you are, and the proof of the BMI=health fallacy is right there in these pictures. I’m not the leanest guy, but I’m leaner than I was before. I’m not the strongest guy, but I’m stronger than I was before.
BMI doesn’t tell me that my numbers on the bar are going up every cycle or that I’m hitting new PRs or RRs every month. It doesn’t tell me that I can play with my kids for hours instead of just watching them. It doesn’t tell me that since the beginning, my bench has gone from 75# to 315#, My OHP from 50# to 190#, my squat from 125# to 375#, and my deadlift from 85# to 410#. It doesn’t tell me anything about myself except for a number, a ratio of my height to weight. BMI says I am the same in the first and last picture, 34 vs. 32, but am I the same person? BMI says I am and I call bulls**t.

Screw BMI, I’m going to Eat to Perform and enjoy every single rep and every last mouthful.”

“Thoughts on Competition Day Nutrition” by Sheri Stiles

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There is always a lot of prep that goes into getting ready for a competition (at least for me there is).  I have been competing for almost 4 years now and I’m still playing around with nutrition during events so when I am asked by others newer to the sport how to eat, I sometimes struggle with giving advice.  It’s not because I don’t have thoughts on this, but because there are a million ways it can be done and some methods are better than others; however, I will share some of the ways I’ve gone about nutrition and eating prior to and during my events.

I am sure there are “better” or “cleaner” ways to eat, and it’s going to be very individualized. I should disclose, I do not cut weight for my weight class (I usually drop about 3-4lbs only from not lifting for a week prior) and that’s going to entail a whole different way of eating. I tried it once—hated life!  I also sit too far away from the lighter weight class after years of lifting and gaining muscle, so it would be a struggle for me to cut. I also do not suggest weight cuts for any novice lifter—especially if you’re entering your first competition – but again, there are others who do this and that is fine.

My first powerlifting meet was much different than I do things now. I had been keto cycling for a while—not for any reason really, but a few of the guys I trained with were and I wanted to try it. So, while everyone else at the meet was walking around eating carby goodness, here I was, over in the corner, so happy I could eat a damn banana, rice cakes, and yogurt. I really didn’t know any different at that time. The short time I prepped for that was not filled with thoughts of what I should eat.

By my next few meets I had gotten much better! I was now that “typical powerlifter” walking around with candy and eating a donut after weigh-ins.

When I traveled to compete in Vegas for IPL worlds, and LA for the Fit Expo, I realized that getting a good meal in the night before, and eating during the event was even more important. I wasn’t able to bring my own food like I had in the past as I was flying to these events so after weigh-ins for Worlds, my dad and I hit the buffet. I made sure to keep it somewhat simple, and stayed with safe foods—had an omelet, bacon, fruit, and of course a waffle for breakfast. The night before I had a steak Chipotle bowel. The main goal was protein, and carbs I knew I could digest well.

For the Fit Expo it was a little different—I had somehow weighed in about 7 lbs. less than expected and felt weak. After weigh-ins we again went out to eat. This time, though, it was like carbs galore. I had tomato juice, oysters, an entire basket of bread and butter, and then chicken Alfredo for lunch. Again, the goal was loading carbs and getting my salt intake high.

Now we arrive at the first Strongman event I did this summer.  There were no weight classes – all the women were in open division. So my plan was to carb load for 3 days prior this time, instead of doing it all the night before. I won’t lie, I love carbs (who doesn’t right?) so this was as fun as it sounds!  I ate normal during the days, but had huge bowls of pasta each night. I added salt to my water, I had sweet potato’s at every meal, and the night before had a hamburger and ice cream.  This plan worked—I weighed myself the morning of and had bloated up 6 lbs. I felt strong, and had an awesome event!

As you can see, I play around with what to eat and timing a lot. I don’t think I have it all figured out. I know there are plenty ways to go about this.  What I can tell you, is there are some things that are important the night before and day of.

The Night Before

I personally know a handful of strength coaches who advocate for red meat and a carb source like sweet potatoes, baked potato, rice, pasta, even Chinese buffets the night before an event. Stick with good fats like butter, olive, or coconut oil, and try to keep the sodium intake semi high. I have added small amounts of salt to my water to increase sodium intake, and I love salt and vinegar chips, etc. I wouldn’t overdo it, and this is not the time to try new foods as you don’t know how your stomach may react to them. Last time I competed at a local Strongman event (on very short notice) I had half a rotisserie chicken, salt and vinegar chips, and Mike n’ Ikes. (I know some of you reading this will probably be scared of that.)

Day Of

This can be the hardest part as most of the time you are nervous, and may not actually be that hungry. I still have this problem after many competitions. The best advice I can give is to try and get a good breakfast in. If you are not a huge breakfast person, have something small. I usually have yogurt with granola and a shake, oatmeal and eggs, etc. I try and get a slower digesting carb in paired with protein and some fats so that I at least have some food in me. I haven’t done a meet in a while with a same-day weigh-in, but when I did, after I weighed in was when I ate this small meal. Throughout the day, and before a lift/event, you want more of a quick digesting carb—think about simple sugars.  Candy, juice, bananas, and yes, donuts!  I personally eat baby food. I get the squeeze pouches of bananas, plums, etc. It’s one of the easiest things on your digestion (it’s meant for a baby) and has the simple sugars I am looking for. I usually have a PB&J sandwich at about lunch time (if it’s an all-day event) I also drink pear juice, and do drink a lot of Pedialyte—especially for strongman where I am outside and it’s a long day. I have a shake too, if I am still feeling hungry, but don’t want a lot of food sitting in my stomach.

As you can see, it’s really about knowing your body. Like I said, this is not the time to experiment with new foods, or go super crazy on foods you don’t normally eat. If you usually eat chicken and sweet potatoes, don’t eat pizza and a greasy burger the night before. Stick to smaller meals if you can’t stomach that much food, and watch how your body feels or reacts to the food. Try and get enough carbs loaded in, along with protein and salt. Make sure you have some simple sugars on hand during the meet, enough Pedialyte to keep hydrated, and even if you are not hungry, try and eat a little bit so that you have some energy come your turn to lift.

Then go lift! That’s the fun part :)

Changes to Eat To Perform Challenges

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On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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Here at Eat To Perform, we run two different types of challenges for our members – ETP Challenges and Team Challenges, both with different standards of judging for different goals.  These occur about every two months and serve as a way to reward those members who take their performance, health, and body composition very seriously.  With your 1-year Science Lab membership, you will have the ability to participate in at least five challenges.

Challenge Schedule

We just began our first ever Team Challenge on August 1st!  Starting October 1st and going into 2015, the schedule will work like this:

  • October 1st will begin the last Challenge of 2014 – this will be an ETP Challenge.
  • January 1st will begin the first challenge of 2015 – this will be a Team Challenge.

ETP Challenges vs. Team Challenges

Let me explain the differences between the Challenges and why we do it the way we do it.  A big part of the idea with Eat To Perform is to get people thinking about the value of building muscle (not just fat loss), and both of these challenges emphasize that mindset.  We don’t want you to (and it’s unnecessary) to eat at a deficit all year!  This means building and maintaining muscle most of the time and only having short bursts of restriction so they are more effective and you can sustain that progress.  Put simply, ETP Challenges are about building muscle and they set you up for fat loss-focused Team Challenges.  They’re coordinated throughout the year to help you get the most out of your effort!

In the ETP Challenges, we emphasize muscle as a multiple of that of fat.  As an example, the October 1st challenge will bring us through the holiday season, a time where people typically aren’t looking to “diet”.  During this challenge, we’ll focus on keeping the muscle you are earning during your workouts while you also fit in time to lose fat (if that is your goal).  What typically happens is that people gain muscle, improve their work capacity, and that promotes fat loss.  You essentially change your fat loss equation.

The Team Challenge is different:  it’s focused more on fat loss.  These challenges take place during periods of the year where it’s usually desirable to lose fat, like after the holiday season – think early January.  This gives you the opportunity to focus on building muscle during the fall, then turn around and shed unnecessary body fat.  Because you’ve changed the math in your favor during the regular ETP Challenge, you’ll get very good results and have a lot of fun!  That doesn’t mean we don’t value performance though.

NEW:  Baseline Workouts

Going forward, we will add a NEW component to the Challenges that lets us objectively score for performance improvements!  If you have done challenges at a gym, you know that they will often have a baseline workout to judge gains in strength and conditioning; this is no different.  For now, I won’t give away the workouts but I will tell you how the scoring will work.

  • At the beginning of the challenge, you will do your workout and record the score.  This is your initial assessment.
  • At the end of the challenge, you will redo the workout and your actual score will be the difference between the initial assessment and the follow-up, whether it was positive or negative.
  • Then we take all participants that are in your group and rank the scoring/total the points for athletes places.  That will determine the winner.  Again, think about most fitness competitions like the Games or Regionals and you have the idea.

Adding this component will be a lot of fun and we also think it fits will with our theme of improving athletic performance alongside body composition so we’re really looking forward to kicking things off.

NEW:  Challenges WITHOUT Body Fat Testing

Since day one, body fat testing has been a big part of Eat To Perform and that won’t change anytime soon.  For a long time though, many of the Eat To Performers without access to either BOD POD, DexaScan or Hydrostatic weighing didn’t have many options to participate.  Now they do!  Beginning with our last Team Challenge and moving forward, we’ve added an untested group to allow them to compete alongside other members and get the same great advice from our doctors, nutritionists, and coaches; the only difference now is that they don’t miss out because they can’t find a testing facility nearby.  This allows them to Eat To Perform and pursue a goal without testing (which is completely possible).

We are excited about these new changes moving forward and we think it will make for a more interesting experience for everyone involved!


On October 1st we start our ETP Live Challenge which will take participants through the holidays while keeping fat off strategically.  We have a special offer right now that bundles all four of our books with a Science Lab membership.  For more info click the button below!

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