Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, including fatigue, generalized aches, brain fog, depression, irritability, nervousness, sleep disturbances, salt and sweet cravings, and digestive problems thought to be caused by chronic stress. It is not a recognized medical diagnosis, although Addison’s disease (or adrenal insufficiency), which involves the inadequate production of hormones is, and needs to be treated.
While MTMM advocates a whole foods first approach and encourages our members to only supplement in the context of clinical deficiency, there are a few substances out there that can safely give you a bit of a boost.
This blog will break down the select few legal and safe substances that are nearly unanimously considered to aid performance. Of course, there are many more out there purported to have bigger and better effects, however, proper clinical research has either not been undertaken on these aids, or no consistent benefit to their use has been demonstrated, so you’ve gotta ask, “is it worth it?”
Do your travel plans align or conflict with your nutrition plan?
This is a conversation we have frequently with clients - whether for business or for pleasure, travel has the capacity to cause a little uncertainty when following a nutrition plan, but it doesn’t need to.
To travel abroad and not experience the rich cultural aspects offered by food would be, in our opinion, a waste of a trip and a failure on our behalf as your coach to properly prepare you.
During pregnancy the body requires an increased nutrient supply to meet both mom and babe’s needs. It’s well understood that a diet lacking in key vitamins and minerals can negatively affect a baby’s development, but new research is demonstrating that the maternal diet - both prior to and during pregnancy - can also have massive effects on a child’s risk of chronic diseases!
As our Canadian crew head into the spring and summer seasons we’re hearing a lot more about itchy, watery eyes, congestion and stuffiness, and overall increases in inflammation. Folks are downing allergy meds like they’re MTMM #almondbuttercups but did you know it might not just be the pollen that’s causing you grief?
Sometimes it’s hard to know when it’s time to reach out for help, especially when it relates to our health and wellbeing. There is so much accessible information out there today regarding nutrition, health and fitness that it can become difficult to navigate and apply it to your own personal situation and needs.
Below are 6 different scenarios you might find yourself relating to. If that is the case, maybe it’s time to think about working with a nutritionist who can guide your towards your goals in a healthy, sustainable way.
1) The Athlete
Are you someone looking to improve their athletic performance? From elite to recreational athletes in CrossFit, weightlifting, endurance training and even olympic level discus throwing - Coach Kat knows how to help.
Coach Kat's passion for assisting athletes in reaching their full potential is strongly reflected in her current undertaking of a Masters in Human Performance Nutrition.
2) Specific Health Requirements
Are you someone with specific health requirements such as hormonal imbalances or pregnancy?
Coach Kat's education and experience has led her clients to success in overcoming various nutritional and health challenges. From managing your health and nutrition while pregnant, getting back your pre-baby body and strength, to designing programs specifically to correct hormonal imbalances, Coach Kat is ready to get you back to feeling like your thriving self.
3) Can’t Get Results
Are you someone who prioritizes their health, puts a lot of time into being active but just feels as though no matter what you try, the results do not reflect the time, money and energy you have invested?
Perhaps you're looking for some further guidance, a subjective eye to take a closer look and offer a structure and plan that can maximize your return on health investment. Sit down with one of our coaches today to talk creating the most optimal plan for you.
4) The Goal Getter
Are you someone who is happy with your health and fitness wise, but wants to push themselves and see how far you are capable of going? There are so many free resources, information and advice out there today, but it's easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with how to apply it all to your individual and unique body, lifestyle and goals.
Ready to take the jump? Coach Maggie is ready to guide you at full speed - helping you dive right in but ensuring you are on the best course to achieve your goals, even if that means just wanting to be a better version of yourself. Your goals will develop with you.
5) Not Sure Where (or How) to Start
If you’re not sure where to start on bringing your health to the forefront - start here
Are you someone who finds themselves at a point where you've had a number of years trying to improve your health, but not really sure where or how to start? Does every step you do take seem to be one that means a drastic change to your present behaviours and therefore your success is minimal and short lived?
Coach Ben has had similar experiences and can therefore empathize with the struggles you are facing. Along with that, he has overcome said challenges and is here to save you from the stress of navigating the confusing world of health and fitness as it stands today, creating a plan that integrates into your current life while providing lasting results.
6) Developing New Behaviours
Are you someone who in the last 10 years or so, has ranked your health outside of your top 3 priorities - behind career, socializing and family? Now you might be starting to feel the effects on other areas of having a poor diet: poor sleep, high stress levels or warnings from health professionals that change needs to happen. Maybe these changes mean needing to pay more attention to your food and developing some positive behaviours and habits surrounding food choice, preparation and understanding.
Coach Ben, specializing in lifestyle and behavioural coaching, is here to help you begin implementing the necessary changes to improve your health, body composition and overall wellbeing in a manner that incorporates your current lifestyle, rather than consumes it.
If you find yourself resonating with one of the above scenarios, perhaps its time to take the leap and ask for help so you can learn about what healthy, sustainable nutrition looks like for your unique lifestyle, goals and needs. Head over to our How To Start page and contact one of our coaches today!
A Six-Pack or a Six-Pack?!
With St. Patricks day coming up and patio season just around the corner, cold beers and refreshing cocktails become increasingly harder to resist. Alcohol does have a definitive ‘holistic’ effect on your system but not necessarily in a good way.
We aren’t here to tell you that you shouldn’t consume alcohol, or that there is no way to fit these types of social situations into a nutrition program. Rather, we want to educate you on it’s effects so you can ensure your decisions are aligned to the progression towards your personal goals. A nutrition program should encompass all aspects of your life, as this is a vital component in increasing overall compliance to program, teaching balance and consistency over long periods of time and ensuring that your success is for life - not just the short term.
Over time, alcohol can cause a variety of cardiovascular complications, such as cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and elevated blood pressure, particularly if you have a known family history. It can also inflame and scar other organs, leading to fatty liver, cirrhosis, hepatitis or pancreatitis. We also know that drinking alcohol can tank your immune system and increase your chances of developing certain cancers, as well as all those pesky bugs that are starting to go around right about now.
Furthermore, alcohol also happens to be extremely calorie dense. In fact, it clocks around 7 calories per gram, nearly as much as pure fat. Unlike fat however, alcohol provides no fuel for your workouts, and actually slows down your caloric burn during exercise. Our bodies are not designed to store alcohol, so they try to rid themselves of it as quickly as possible. This gets in the way of other metabolic processes such as nutrient uptake from food and regulation of glucose storage/release. In the end all those extra calories overload the system, turning to fat and compounding other health concerns or diseases already at play.
What about alcohol’s effects on training? Well, they’re numerous, that’s for sure. Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and actually decreases the amount of time spent in REM sleep resulting in fatigue, decreased daytime alertness, and decreased hormone production. This is especially detrimental in the case of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and testosterone, two of the key hormones for muscle repair and growth. Not only does alcohol suppress testosterone and HGH production by up to 70%, it also causes the liver to release toxins which reduce the amount of testosterone you already have synthesized. To make a bad story worse, alcohol further reduces protein synthesis and causes myopathies to occur, inhibiting the ability of small muscle cells to fire properly, resulting in muscle weakness.
Finally, alcohol causes dehydration through its diuretic effect. No big surprise here, but what does this really mean? Dehydration forces your heart to work harder, and while that increased heart rate in the short term is simply draining, over time it can lead to the muscle hypertrophy and cardiomyopathies listed above.
In addition, once fluid balance is disrupted within the cells the body has a much harder time producing ATP, resulting in lack of energy and endurance. This can have huge implications for athletes, even at a very low level of dehydration – just a 2.5% reduction in body weight can drop performance and VO2 max by as much as 30-45%! Under-hydration also predisposes us to cramps and strains, increasing the risk for injury.
So what’s the answer?
No one is telling you not to consume alcohol, but consider your goals –both short and long term – and consciously think about where alcohol fits into that. You may find you can still meet your goals while enjoying the occasional beverage, or you may find at times you need to reel it in (ie. for an upcoming competition or if alcohol consumption at any magnitude leads to more unfavourable decisions). For those times, be sure to check out one of our favourites, Juli Bauer’s collection of mind blowing mock-tails for both alcohol free and paleo inspired ideas, or feel free to talk to one of our nutritionists for tips to reduce or tailor your alcohol intake in support of your goals. Start here!
As we continue through our month long foray into self-love, it’s time to come full circle. This post will help guide you to explore the way in which your daily routines and resulting actions can provide some insight into what lies beneath the surface, where you truly feel your value lies and where you may need to draw and focus more attention.
As part of our daily practice as an organization, MTMM strives to be concise with language. When we choose the words we print or the expressions we use when talking to our clients, we do so with intention. Meaning that we understand the connotations associated with each phrase or term. This has taken us years to develop, and is never seen as an accomplished task - rather something that continues to evolve everyday, with each conversation.
In more specific cases, we have even made it part of our mission to reclaim terms and phrases that have been bastardized by the industry as a whole, convoluted and twisted in the endeavour to capitalize on insecurity and profit from desperation and ignorance.
Let’s look at the term ‘diet’. For most, this arouses some pretty negative feelings. From underlying assertions of heavy restriction (both volume and variety), or punishment – this term has been completely distorted.
At MTMM, the term ‘diet’ is used to encompass everything you consume, and this goes far beyond the nutritional factor of what foods you choose to eat and how much. But how about the media you consume? What does your Instagram feed tell you to feel about your body? What is the messaging that you are bombarded with each day? What does it tell you multiple times per day about who you are and what you do? Are you in a constant state of comparison? Are you stuck in a vortex of not living up to a certain standard?
It may seem trivial, but everything we consume will have an underlying effect on the rhetoric which plays in our minds, which becomes the story we tell ourselves, which shapes our view of our world, our reality and our place in it. Extrapolate this story a little further and we can begin to uncover the rationale behind our day to day choices. Why do you choose to buy the clothes you do? To eat the things you do? To talk to yourself the way you do?
Each day we are presented with thousands of choices to redefine who we think we are, the value we assign to our position and ourselves within our community. But it all starts with this intrinsic self narrative.
Self-love, as we’ve expanded on in Part I - What is Self-love, is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support both our physical and psychological growth. It is personal, meaning we control the outside influences that may be attempting to alter it. It’s unconditional, meaning that when we struggle, it does not diminish. It is a state of mind, not something that is based on accomplishments or failures, but rather how we perceive the situations presented to us, and our reactions to them.
How do you know if your self-love is lacking? Most likely the chatter in your head is negative. You often feel hesitant to voice your opinion, and most likely will always look to avoid confrontation, even if the issue is something you fiercely believe in. You place yourself low in your social hierarchy and struggle to stand up for yourself.
This builds pressure, and pressure leads to mistakes. Rather than acknowledge the cause, you berate yourself for your slip-ups, internally claim responsibility for things not going to plan, and most commonly – quickly dismiss or put down what you see in the mirror (if you can bear to look at all).
How do we improve self-love?
The answer is built right into the concept. We start with the self. You re-read the above paragraph, take a deep breath and tell yourself that it’s ok. This is our starting point. The only thing now that’s not ok, is not doing anything about it.
This is not a license to start looking for conflict. It is permission to no longer need to accept how things currently are.
Begin to think about the person you wish yourself to be. Don’t picture anyone in particular, but decide upon what attributes are shared by people you admire, and begin to think through how you might try to take their example. Pro –tip here, if you’re looking in the tabloids at celebrities, it’s time to cull your Instagram feed.
Re-read our last blog post and come up with a mantra that you tell yourself about who you want to be and what you want to achieve.
Correct the voice in your head every time it tells you you’re not good enough or can’t do something.
Drink more water. It’s the easiest thing you can do to immediately improve your health. Then congratulate yourself for doing it.
Practice. Daily. Like any new skill, you won’t be a natural, and that’s perfectly ok. The point is, not practicing is not going to get you any better, and every 1% you can improve, gets you 1% closer to where you want to be.
How do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? Easy. You’ll be uncomfortable. Probably heavily. Practicing self-love is incredibly uncomfortable. If you’re reading this, you most likely don’t like to praise yourself, and you interpret compliments from others as a potential punchline.
It’s important to understand here, that self-love/self-confidence does not manifest in arrogance or bravado. They are polar opposites. You don’t need to be arrogant when you are confident, and believing in yourself is far braver than any show of chest beating.
How do you know you are improving?
If you start to notice more positive things around you each day, it’s going to be a reflection of the shift in your mindset.
When you encounter a problem or an obstacle and choose to tackle it rather than panic, you’re improving. The outcome of the challenge is irrelevant in comparison to how you approach it.
If you notice that you like your smile, you’re improving.
If someone pays you a compliment and you respond with ‘thank you’ – you’re improving.
If some, or all of the above begin to occur, and then begin to occur with greater frequency, you’re on the right path – keep going!
Still unsure about how to get started?
Start taking steps to improve your health. Be an adult. Your health is your responsibility and if you’re going to transform yourself into the person you aspire to be, it’s time to take ownership and throw in a few vegetables.
Taking care of yourself is a direct reflection of your self-opinion. Health is a form of self respect, and choosing to be healthier is where it all starts. Again, it’s ok to start simple and start small. 1%’s add up.
If you really need to make some drastic changes to your current practices, avoid allowing yourself to be overwhelmed with named diet protocols and focus on the basics – we’ve listed them to death, but to save you the hassle, start here:
If you know it’s shit, it’s shit, so stop eating it. You don’t need Kat’s masters in nutrition and human performance to understand that junk food is not a great source of sustenance.
Most of what you perceive to be healthy, probably is, or at least is healthier than most of what you’re currently eating. Don’t worry about overdoing vegetables, or having too much apple and Greek yogurt for a snack, if the alternative is chips or cookies.
Drink more water. Believe me, you’re not drinking enough.
Get active. We could argue all day about which training method produces the best results, but all of them will serve you better than doing nothing. Try a few. Ask for help. Go for a walk, then jog, then run. Or stretch – whatever interests you (or get in touch and we can help you find a local facility that can help).
Finally, we can’t overstate this enough – be patient and be forgiving, but don’t accept not even trying.
We’re working hard behind the scenes in an effort to change the way people see food – from something that is to be feared or used as punishment/reward, to something we need, understand and respect – simply a vessel that will help us go from where we are to where we want to be. Without affirmations from our own self that we are worth the time, the effort and the dedication to investing in our health and nutrition, how can we be expected to succeed?
Tell yourself you’re worth it. Now.
And do it again.
If you don’t believe it, keep doing it until you do. Because you are.
You have to want to be on your journey, so make sure whatever it is you are working towards is something you want for you, and not simply a culmination of what you think others expect of you. If you decide along the way that the final destination changes, it’s so much easier to simply amend the course when you are already moving.
Aim to set goals that have a meaning deeper than what achieving those goals will look like on the surface. Wanting to amend your diet in a bid to improve your health so that you can have the energy to do all the things you wish to over the course of a day, including intentional activity, is a great motivator. Telling yourself you can only eat broccoli and spending hours on the treadmill while thinking you deserve the pain you’re in, is not. See the difference?
As practitioners, we aren’t nearly as concerned with what you are putting in your body as we are with the quality of what you put into your mind and how you speak to yourself.
How you speak to yourself reflects how you treat yourself, and how you treat yourself affects the outcome of all your endeavours, not just your health and performance.
Now that we have an understanding of what self love is, what it entails and how to begin the journey, we arrive at point of needing to further develop our understanding of how to foster, nurture and maintain those feelings and attitudes of self acceptance and understanding.
So how do we look to nurture and maintain our new attitude and mindset?
Self development of any kind can be confronting - for in order to improve, we must begin by accepting that we have elements within us that require improvement.
To add further degrees of difficulty to this notion, it is often not the issues themselves that require attention, but our perception of why the issues exist in the first place.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you speak to yourself, what do you say?
Very rarely will the answer to this be positive. Do we dismiss all the good in our character, the loyalty we have to those closest to us, the type of person we aim to be, in lieu of our perception of our current physical condition?
Unfortunately, many of you are probably beginning to get a little uncomfortable just reading this.
Having areas that require focus and attention to improve on (our weaknesses) is not as much of an issue as may be our attitude towards accepting that we are not perfect. It may seem simple to pass off, but often those elements that require the most work to correct have normally been abandoned for long periods of time, often due to the uncomfortable nature of needing to confront that they exist at all.
At this stage, we have accepted that cultivating a mentality of self love is not something that occurs over night, nor is it something that is simply achieved and ticked of a list of ‘to-do’s’.
Self-love, like any other skill, takes a level of constant frequent practice, regular attention and plenty of patience.
We undoubtedly see what we constantly look for. When you begin, inherently you will see a lot of what you do not like. Stop looking for it. Instead, begin to mentally recite to yourself the things that you do like. In the beginning, it will be challenging and confronting, but the more you practice, the more you will begin to see and the more you begin to see, the more you will begin to believe.
It might seem like a trivial first step, but this example underlines both the importance and difficulty associated with coming to love the person you are. Every action you undertake is derived from the narrative you believe about yourself. If that narrative is born in the negative, then this is likely to hinder any further action you look to take in any direction (or not take, most likely). But once you address this underlying issue, you’ll realize that being content and proud within yourself is worth far more than any external validation or criticism from strangers - your opinion of you is what matters the most. Once this becomes habit, you inherently condition yourself to strive forward and look for more opportunities to further your continued development on your journey to achieving self-love.
But it all starts with that first uncomfortable step.
For those of you who find it a struggle to begin down this journey, perhaps it’s time to take some time, look into the mirror and ask yourself why? What are you most afraid of? What could you fear so badly that you dare not like the person you are, or feel yourself worthy of your own love?
If these questions are too confronting to start, simply begin by writing down three attributes about who you are as a person (not physical attributes) that you like most. Maybe you have a killer sense of humour. Maybe your friends regularly confide in you. Maybe your dog gets crazy excited when you come home from work. It’s not important how big or small, relevant or irrelevant you may feel these attributes are, but that you recognize they are there.
Convincing yourself that you’re worth the time and effort to heal, repair and love is the first step forward to achieving anything that could be worth doing in your life. People will come and go. Some will agree with you, some won’t. All of that pales in comparison to the constant practice of holding yourself in high opinion and truly believing in the direction of your journey.
Now that we have an understanding of what self-love is, it’s time to assess where we stand with our own self-love. In doing so, we begin to recognize where we thrive and where we struggle, so that we are able to begin to create a necessary framework in order to improve and increase our opinion of ourselves.
Oftentimes in the beginning, self-love is greatly overshadowed by ideals of self-loathing, that manifest as lingering feelings of unworthiness, undeserving, or even fear toward the notions of self compassion.
What does your inner monologue say about your levels of self respect?
How often do you find you this dialogue to be positive?
That little voice inside our heads is a constant reminder of how we truly feel about ourselves, and the most important component of self love is to make sure the tone of that voice is positive and encouraging - a task only achievable through reflection and acceptance.
Determining what actions are causing you to struggle to practice self-love -
We have to acknowledge the not-so-great moments where we lack self-love in order to develop it within ourselves. If you are unhappy with something you did and that voice inside your head turns negative, start by reflecting on the situation as a whole.
Are you seeing things objectively? Or are you judging yourself for only being human?
Dig to see if there was a circumstance that influenced your behaviour or outcome, and if it is something that you have control over.
If you did have control over the situation and/or outcome, then commit to learning from this experience, rather than beat yourself up over it.
What lessons can you take from this experience where you feel you are underserving of your own self-love? Those lessons can be turned into actions that will then allow you to enhance your own self-love.
Have you ever done something that you later regret because of the repercussions it has on you, your wellbeing, happiness and/or health? Well, because that happened, you have learned what it was that caused you to move further away from being in a state of self-love. The most common way to react to a circumstance like this is to get mad at ourselves and punish ourselves for our behaviour or choices. But rather than taking this approach, think of that action or choice as being a really valuable lesson as to what you need to do, or what you can change next time, in order to return to or achieve a state of self-love.
You deserve to think highly of yourself. You deserve to be proud of your actions and the outcomes they present. You deserve to alter your choices, and take steps right away to move you in a direction you are proud to be going in.
What does self-love mean to you?
As we enter the month of February, (also known as the month of love!), rather than only focusing on showing affection for those around us, what about a little self-love?
The first step to enhancing one’s self-love is to understand exactly what it means.
Let’s start with what self-love ‘isn’t'
Self-love isn’t something that we either have or don’t have, or just one day wake up to find. It’s a state of being that when we continuously strive for, we are able to identify and improve on our weaknesses, as well as our strengths. Self-love also is most definitely not something that we can find in other people, relationships or products. It’s not simply a state of feeling good – it’s much more.
So then, what is self-love?
Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself. Sounds pretty simple, right? But as we continuously strive to achieve this state of appreciation, we come to realize just how difficult that proves to be.
To get a little more complicated, we can define self-love as a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support both our physical and psychological growth.
It's a state of mind that needs to be cultivated and nurtured in a manner that allows us to not just acknowledge our weaknesses or failings, but to accept them for what they are and begin to formulate a positive way in which to address them.
Self love also allows us the ability to identify our strengths and areas in which we thrive, so that we can be proud of what we are capable to accomplishing.
Self-love is personal. It’s no one else’s to take, as much as it’s no one else’s to give. It’s not a number of likes on a photo, or receiving compliments on our physical appearance or actions. It comes from within, and no matter what goes on outside of that, the amount of self-love is not altered.
Self-love is unconditional. Nothing that you do can lessen your self-love.
Now, I encourage you to think about your own self-love. Does it need work? What is it that gets in the way of allowing you to enhance and develop your self-love? The first step to one's self-love is to understand what it is and where we stand on our own individual journey to achieving it.
How To Implement Change
A few hard truths about change:
It’s no secret that we live in a time of instant gratification. Between e-mail, text messaging and the various social media platforms - we have conditioned ourselves to become use to getting response, validation and attention instantly.
This has created some really systemic issues within the health and wellness space, as that same desire for instant feedback can lead to some pretty drastic measures being undertaken, or worse, the abandonment of positive practice at the first sign of a set back or even, ridiculously enough, the slowing of the rate of progress.
Time and time again, we see a preference within the community to take extreme measures short term, repeatedly, rather than a focus on playing the long game, doing things properly, and only one time.
Have we become afraid of hard work?
Do we just devalue ourselves so much so, that we consider ourselves unworthy of time or attention?
Is it simple ignorance?
Or a combination of all?
We have become obsessed with the idea that health and wellness is obtained through a magic bullet. We desperately want to find the pill, drink the potion or eat the herb that holds all the results, without needing to do any of the work.
It doesn’t help either, that we have a billion dollar supplement industry perpetuating the myth, capitalizing on our insecurities and profiteering off our desperation. It’s one hell of trap to get caught up in.
But here are some simple truths to consider when deciding it’s time to make a change. When you feel that surge of motivation to get healthier, consider this:
The big secret
If anything, the biggest secret in health and fitness is that the only way to improve your health, performance and body composition is to be consistent over long periods of time. But this concept isn’t nearly as sexy as ‘rapid loss fat burner shake,’ ‘8 week abs’ or ’10 minute gains’.
The truth is not sexy, instant or pain free.
The truth is that change is difficult. It takes time. It takes a great deal of effort and it requires you to be uncomfortable often.
But it is worth it.
You can’t expect change, without making change
Chances are, you’re in a position where you realize you need to do something about your health due to habits and behaviours that pertain to your lifestyle. We are what we repeatedly do, so if your current practices have lead you to be in a position you determine undesirable, then it stands to reason that those practices will need to change.
If nothing changes, nothing changes. Simple.
But if you are at the point where you’ve decided change is necessary, then I commend you for taking the first step.
Remember, changes don’t have to be daunting or overwhelming in order to have a positive impact. In fact, where we see most change stick is with those that occur slowly over time.
Start with small and manageable. Set realistic targets and positively affirm when you achieve each one.
Regardless of what you decide, the keystone is that something needs to be done differently than it is currently being done, that leads to a positive impact overall - that constitutes change!
Simply wishing things would improve is not going to cut it. Nothing works unless you do, so take action.
Be open to trying new things
If you’ve tried to implement change a few times, chances are you repeatedly try the same way each time. If it hasn’t worked the last six times you’ve tried it, it’s probably time to try a different approach. Obviously, use your common sense here - no doubt there are plenty of ways you’ve heard / read about improving your health - not all of them are going to have a positive impact long term or be sustainable over time. In fact, that’s probably the number one element that should be considered when making change - long term application. Cutting out all of a particular macronutrient might see results for the first 4 weeks, but if you can’t see yourself not eating specific food groups ever again, your risk of reversion is high. If the risk that you will eventually revert back to what you are currently doing and thus back to a place of needing to change, then this line of change is probably not the best way to go.
Most likely, to get to the position you’re currently in where you’re contemplating some life impacting changes, it took you longer than three months to get there. So forget anything that promises you you’ll be ‘finished’ or ‘done’ in any kind of time frame. Our bodies ability to cope and survive for long periods of time being put through the ringer is both a blessing and a curse. But if you’re truly serious about enacting life improving changes, then patience is required. Anything worth doing, especially in this space, is worth doing well - and if you can’t sustain the results you generate for the rest of your life - then why even start down the road?
The true measure of success with any nutrition or health change should be evaluated years after starting, not weeks, and practitioners who actually care about your health and wellbeing will tell you the same. Don’t show me the transformation pictures after 12 weeks. Show me after 2 years.
Focus on what you can control
Setting big long term goals is fantastic - but these big goals are met by achieving lots and lots of small term goals. If your goal is to lose 100lbs by then end of the year, don’t focus on the 100lbs. Focus on making good choices each day that align with your long term goal. If you take care of each day, with the many decisions you are in control of, then the long term goal will take care of itself. What we want to avoid is twofold - either being overwhelmed with how far we have to go, or justifying poor choices by kidding ourselves there is time to make them up.
By focusing simply on each step of the marathon, the miles will take care of themselves.
Focus on what’s in front of you and you alone. Your journey is not measurable to that of anyone else, and your progress and achievements are not comparable to others either. Be weary of all the minor details as well - they way you talk to yourself, the media you consume surrounding body image, your social groups habits - these all directly tie into your relative chance of success. By no means are these easy to confront or deal with, but this isn’t about easy - it’s about change.
A final thought
Stop buying into the bullshit and be real with yourself. There are no gimmicks, no quick fixes and no short cuts. Getting healthy and improving your body composition, is more than just what you eat and how often you train. There will be plenty of periods of being uncomfortable mentally and physically as you confront issues like your relationship with food and the way in which you think about yourself. But by confronting these issues and understanding them, we can ensure that the changes you do make, perpetuate success for years to come, rather than just a few weeks.
How To Improve Your Health and Performance
The beauty of MTMM is the exposure we have to so many different individuals, each working to pursue their goals of improved health and increased physical performance and ability.
But although we work with each client individually to completely customize their nutrition plan based on their specific goals, there are a number of areas that we tend to find are common amongst most.
Whether your goals are to improve your biomarkers, your strength numbers or your body composition - here is a compilation of the five most common focal points we work to address from day one with the majority of our clients.
1 ) Drink more water.
It’s without doubt that this is the easiest area to address. When we ask our clients ‘How much water are you drinking each day?’ The most common response is usually ‘ Not enough’.
Being adequately hydrated is paramount to performance as well as health, and with so many people falling short on their water intake, it’s also a great way to get yourself an edge on the competition.
Water is responsible for cell health, nutrient distribution, temperature regulation as well as waste elimination. It always makes me laugh how many people are willing to buy detox products that cost a bundle, but neglect the best detox agent of all - so it’s pretty damn crucial!
How much should you be drinking? Just like your caloric requirements, this will vary based on your gender, weight, age and activity level but 2L for women and 3L for men is a great place to start. Keep in mind, this is just to stay hydrated, and as you increase your activity level, anything you consume will not count towards this number, as that is merely replenishing!
The easiest way to implement: Simply buy a water bottle and keep it somewhere you will see it often and be reminded to drink (like on your desk). Start each day with a shaker cup full as part of your morning routine and you already have 700mls on the board!
2 ) Eat more protein.
If you’re reading this post, more than likely you’re regularly physically active, which again, will only go to increase your protein requirements. Typically, only around 10% of new clients are eating enough protein when they begin with MTMM.
We live in a society that is predominantly carb heavy. Wherever you look, you are presented with plenty of ‘to go’ food items. Bakery items, sandwiches and the great majority of processed food items are going to be primarily consisting of carbs, fats and then proteins. This is not to say that we don’t need both carbs and fats, but to reiterate that, just like water - if you’re not paying attention to how much protein you’re consuming, you’re unlikely to be getting an adequate amount.
‘But isn’t protein just for those looking to add slabs of lean mass? I don’t want to get bulky…!’
If it was that easy, protein would be centre stage at every supermarket, corner store and petrol station, and there would be no industry for SARMs or steroids.
But protein does much more than provide the required nutrients to build new muscle. It also forms the basis of our immune system and plays an integral part in cellular communication and transport - that our ability for our cells to carry nutrients to where they’re needed and how well they interact with each other.
Protein is also crucial for muscle preservation, which for those looking to lose weight with caloric reduction becomes vital to ensure that weight being lost is not lean mass, but fat mass.
For obvious reasons, this lean mass preservation is of upmost important as we age, where the preservation of strength can mean a substantial difference in both quantity and quality of life.
For anyone engaging in resistance training sports, you want to ensure you have a source of protein at each meal or snack. This may mean eggs and whites with breakfast, chicken/fish/other with lunch and dinner, and a high protein snack like jerky or a shake.
Adequate protein intake is also a concern for our plant based eaters. Not that you can’t get protein from plant matter, but that the volume of food you need to intake in order to meet protein requirements add a degree of difficulty to the task.
3 ) Eat more veggies
The most simple way to ensure you’re getting a solid variety and amount of micronutrients, being vitamins and minerals, is to make sure you’re getting a solid amount of veggies into your diet.
Different colours will mean different micronutrient content, and their bioavailability can be impacted both positively and negatively depending on the way you prepare them, so get creative!
Veggies (not including root veg, which are high in starch) are also quite low in terms of macros and calories, which means we can really amp up the volume without impacting much on your caloric intake. This can be a particularly strategic point when clients are looking to decrease calories but stay highly satiated, as the volume permissible works to engage the stretch receptors of the stomach, signalling to the brain ‘we’re full!’
Find it hard to eat veggies? Again, get creative. Handfuls of spinach into your shakes, soft boiling and blending your veggies to make soups or pasta sauces - these are all sneaky ways of increasing your micronutrient density or that of your family.
When coming off a high processed diet, its common for veggies to taste a little ‘bland’, but after a short while, your taste buds will adapt, you’ll lose the reliance on the layer of sweetener that covers most processed foods and you’ll begin to properly taste the different flavours from your different veggies.
4 ) Cut the crap
Processed foods aren’t good for you - but you don’t need to be a qualified nutritionist to understand that. Not only do they contain minimal traces of nutrients, but they’re also generally pretty calorically dense, meaning unlike the wholesome food mentioned above, it becomes very easy to blow out your profile and overeat on a pretty unstinting and minimal amount of food.
Anything thats built to sit in your cupboard for months on end without deteriorating should send warning alarms off in your head. If you’re honestly looking to improve your health and body compassion, why make digestion harder than it needs to be? If you’re looking for an increase in your performance, start with increasing the quality of fuel you choose to give yourself. If you’re opting for the highest quality petrol for your car but the lowest available fuel for your body and expecting the same output - it’s time for a reality check.
Grocery shopping and meal prep are skills like any other. Just like when you learn to skip or snatch, you’re going to be pretty terrible at the start. But like any skill, the more you do it, the better you will get at it.
At the start, it may feel like a time expense, but eventually you’ll realize that preparing your own food, of a high quality, nutrient dense nature will not only save you time through out the week, but also provide you with more energy, more ability to focus, increased performance in the gym and have you recovering from physical activity much faster.
5 ) Get more sleep
Ok so, you training hard, you come home from the gym, heat up your high protein nutrient dense meal, containing some complex carbs and a number of different veggies. You shower, jump into bed, open the laptop and binge Netflix until 1 am…
You’re so close! But all those training and nutrition improvements can only do so much if your sleep and recovery is jeopardized!
While we break down muscle when we train and tap into fat stores for fuel, the real magic happens when we sleep. Muscle repair, fluid shifts and body composition all take place while we are dead to the world, so it is imperative to ensure we’re getting enough sleep each day.
Unfortunately, we seem to live in a time where we people tend to pride themselves or measure how ‘hard’ they work based on how little they sleep. This ‘I’ll rest / sleep when I’m dead’ mentality is ridiculous, and by applying it all you’re really doing is ensuring it won’t be too long until you are.
Sleep hygiene is a big point of focus for a lot of our clients. Just because you have trouble sleeping, or haven’t been a good sleeper for a long time, doesn’t make it ok. It’s a sign from your system that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
Sub the Netflix for a book, dim the lights, ditch the phone. Aim for 7 hours MINIMUM and watch how quickly the work you’re doing in the gym and the kitchen are exponentially increased!
Change is difficult. It takes time. But it is worth it. Rather than trying to overhaul everything at once, start with one or two of the above points and when you have them down pat, begin to take on new challenges for yourself.
Remember, permanent changes won’t come from sporadic behaviours, so always avoid the temptation to take drastic measure for short term results.
Yes, it takes longer to do it properly, but, when done right, it only needs to be done once!
Looking for more information on becoming the best version of yourself? Visit our How To Start page and message us for a complimentary one-on–one assessment with an MTMM nutritionist!
Dining out on program – can it be done with success?
We all know the feeling: you’re invited out to dinner, and while stoked to see your friends and de-stress after a busy work week, the dread starts to kick in about how you’re going to stay on track with your nutrition program. You can’t be bothered fielding questions and comments about your lifestyle, feeling average the next day because you’ve eaten inflammatory foods that will set your digestive system on fire, or propelling yourself further away from your goals – but you still really kind of want to go.
The same goes when you are invited to someones house for a meal, or it’s the season for holiday feasts. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food and navigating yourself through a family and/or friend gathering can be a difficult task when you’re working towards your goals. Read more about navigating food during the the holidays here.
We get it, we’ve all been there, and the truth is there is no single answer as to how to manage this for everyone. Sharing conversation over food is probably one of the single biggest cultural activities we engage in – and has been so for thousands of years! Just because you’re dialed in and on program doesn’t mean you should have to forgo a social life. But nor does your social life need to take precedence over eating in a way that makes you feel good. To know how to best approach this dilemma it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
Am I prepping for a competition, meet or contest? Do I need to make weight or ensure performance?
Are my athletic or aesthetic goals the priority in my life right now, or are they one of many personal pursuits I am undertaking?
Is my goal to improve my overall health and well-being in a long term, sustainable way or am I focused on shorter-term, finite goals where precision is key?
If you’ve identified yourself as being in a precision-focused stage where performance and body composition is the number one priority, then you are going to want to execute a high-precision approach.
If you’ve identified yourself as being lifestyle focused, with goals which are significant, but not the overarching factor dominating your day-to-day, then you’ll want to take a lifestyle approach.
Note that these approaches are not static – at some points you may fall into the high-precision camp and other times the lifestyle camp. This is healthy and expected. Even top-level athletes have to have a little down time. Your approach is no reflection of your value or commitment, it is simply a different method of executing your plan.
The High-Precision Approach
This approach is about using the same principles you do at home and taking them with you wherever you go. Its accuracy focused, so you’re going to want to pre-plan, stick to basics, develop a mental database, and have a few tricks up your sleeve.
When utilizing the high-precision approach you’re probably going to want to have some conversations with friends and family. Ensure they understand that your goals are your focus, and while you would like to partake there may be occasions when it’s inappropriate to eat out, and that the frequency will likely be low. It is helpful to assure people that your approach is not a reflection or judgement on anyone else, however, this is extremely difficult to do. Demonstrating this though action is often the best route: continue to be socially involved – bring a tea or coffee, or your own food from home where possible, and keep the focus and conversation not on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food choices, but rather about the other things going on in your lives.
Whenever possible try and choose the restaurant. Chain restaurants with over 20 locations are required by law to publish their nutritional info and many others do as well. Sushi is another great choice (check out MTMM’s sushi cheat sheet to help with this!). When unable to choose the location stick to basics: order a protein such as grilled chicken, steak or fish. If an appropriate meal is not on offer you can usually ask for steamed or baked potatoes, rice, or another grain to be added alongside some steamed veggies. Requesting your meal be prepared without the addition of sauces, butter and oils can make this very easy to track.
Once your food arrives you have two options: bring out the scale and weigh/log it, or, take a picture of your plate with your hand beside it for reference so you can log it later at home and know the approximate amounts.
Bonus trick: have a few go-to restaurants and weigh their portions the first time you order then keep a running list. While there will be some minor variation most will not change too significantly between visits.
Always check out your food when it arrives and build in a little buffer for fats – it’s likely some extra will sneak in, whether in be purposeful by the chefs, or a result of contamination. Also remember that protein will cook down by 1/3, so dependent on whether you are selecting a ‘cooked or ‘raw’ entry this could make a big difference.
This approach isn’t perfect - you can’t expect food to be prepared in as controlled an environment as it would at home, but it’s pretty darn good. In a high-precision approach you are still going to want to limit the amount you eat out.
The lifestyle approach is all about achieving your goals, but it looks at the broader picture of long-term success and sustainability. It is the approach most people should be taking most of the time. Essentially, it’s that happy middle ground between binging or throwing your plan out the window and bringing your scales to the restaurant.
Like the high-precision approach you’re going to want to plan ahead: choose the restaurant where you’re able to, check out their nutritional info online, and preload entries into your macro tracker before going out. Deciding in advance will keep you from selecting the deep fried, sugar laden items when you get to the restaurant starving. It will also help ensure you aren’t dramatically under on certain macros, causing you - in a state of starvation - to blow out elsewhere (i.e. because you’ve ordered the chicken breast with lettuce, “hold the dressing,” and are now short 20g of fat, you indulge in a side of truffle fries, clocking in at 450 cals). It also might surprise you what items actually fit well into your nutritional plan. For instance, an ahi tuna steak and asian slaw salad might even leave room for a cheeky glass of wine or carefully selected dessert.
If the restaurant you’re going to doesn’t have something that you’re super excited to eat, then stick to basics – order a grilled protein with a side of veg. Just because you’re out doesn’t mean it needs to be a big night on the town. Save the splashy meal for one you’re stoked for.
Knowing that restaurant nutritional info is likely to be imperfect, over-estimate a touch if you’re looking for fat loss, to provide yourself a buffer
Ensure you’re setting yourself up for success by modifying the rest of your day slightly to make room for the upcoming meal
Always front-load your protein to ensure you meet your targets (it is extremely unlikely you will find large protein servings in meals out unless you are headed to a steakhouse or similar).
Don’t skip meals leading into the event: this will just have you feeling hungry and anxious. Instead ensure you are eating balanced meals throughout the day, but if you know you are going to be eating somewhere that’s a little more generous with carbs or fats than would be your baseline, hold back a few of those macros to buy yourself some room.
Finally, enjoy your meal guilt-free! There’s nothing worse than going out and spending your time worrying about how many grams of fat are in your salad. Enjoy your friends, enjoy the food, and simply jump right back on program the next day – you might even benefit from the little bump in metabolic rate that comes from a refeed!
Your approach to nutrition should enhance your life, not detract from it! If you’re having difficulty finding that happy balance, talk to one of our coaches who can help guide you through the process and give you tools specific to your unique situation. Visit our How To Start page and message us for a complimentary one-on–one assessment with an MTMM nutritionist!
For many, the holiday season is a time for celebration and indulgence. But for some, this comes with more negative feelings than positive. Trying to stay on track with your nutrition and health goals over the holidays can cause more stress than its worth; dealing with the nagging questions and comments from your family members, worrying more about what you’re eating than spending time with your loved ones, and being consumed by feelings of guilt if you do stray from your program. This is not how we want you to be remembering the holidays.
Rather, we should be celebrating the time with the ones we love, feeling grateful for the delicious food we have in front of us and enjoying every single moment and bite that we get to experience.
MTMM understands the difficulties that comes along with the holidays, so we are here to share with you five tips to keep in mind so you can eliminate stress and enjoy the festivities with your loved ones.
Focus on your company, not your plate
Yes, food plays a major part in making the holidays what they are, but our primary focus should be who we are with. When your relationships are a focal point of the holidays (rather than food), this can also help keep you grounded during an otherwise stressful time. If you eat more than usual during the holidays, remember that fullness, like feelings, will eventually dissipate. Food will always be there and feelings will come and go, but the memories you want to remember won’t stay forever. Stay focused on what really matters.
Don’t restrict or punish
Many people come into the holidays with a “feast or famine” mentality, where it’s customary to not eat anything all day in order to have free range to gorge on one meal. These types of eating patterns only make food more chaotic and stressful. Not to mention, going several hours without eating or only grazing ahead of a meal can have serious effects on how your body feels and responds to food. Help keep your energy and blood sugar stable by eating regular, consistent meals, even on days where there will be a big holiday feast. You’ll likely find yourself less obsessive and more able to actually enjoy the foods you are eating when you’re not coming into a meal starving and leaving feeling like you’ve over done it.
As well, we hear it all the time, that old familiar: “I’ll go for an extra long run tomorrow to work off that piece of pie” or “I should not have had so much potato, I won’t be eating for a week.” Comments like these invite the idea that we should punish or restrict ourselves for what we have eaten. Instead, switch your mindset to “yes I’m going to have a great workout tomorrow because of this hearty meal!” and watch your performance in the gym skyrocket.
When we’re referring to a temporary period of time, say a week or two, eating in a slight caloric surplus and indulging in foods we wouldn’t normally won’t really have any long lasting negative effects. More good can come from a big, delicious meal than can come from beating ourselves up over it or ‘over-correcting’ our indulgences.
Ignore the comments
Going back to the first point, we should make sure we are focusing on the company we are with, and getting caught up with what’s happening in the lives of our loved ones, not with what is on everyone’s plate. During holiday meals we often have to deal with comments from other people on what we are eating. It’s either too much or not enough, or too much of this, or not enough of that. The more we engage in conversation about our food, the less time we have to talk about what really matters and what is really going on in the lives around us. Change the subject, brush them off and get back to more important, memorable conversation.
Keep it simple
Now, if you are looking to make smarter decisions about what to eat while indulging a little at the same time, keep these three things in mind:
1. Fill 1/3 of your plate with protein. This will fill you up and keep you satiated for the rest of the evening.
2. Fill 1/3 of your plate with veggies. Even during the holidays we need to get in our veggies, and they also help to fill us up and add some color to our plate.
3. Fill the final 1/3 of your plate with all of the things that you want to have, that you’ve been craving and that you likely wont have for quite some time after the holidays! If we skip this part of our plate, we will likely be left with unsatisfied cravings that might lead to falling off track later down the road - be it after dinner, the next day, week etc.
Have a plan in place for after the holidays
This final point is not to be taken as “put a plan in place so you can punish yourself for all of the treats you indulged in over the holidays.” Rather this is to suggest putting a plan in place for the New Year before the holidays come around as a way of feeling like you are remaining in control, even with a bit of indulging. This will help eliminate feelings of guilt for enjoying your holiday meals because you will have already invested in a post holiday plan to get you to where you want to be.
If you are interested in setting yourself for long term sustainable success in the New Year or even just curious if MTMM is for you and how we can help you achieve your health and performance goals in 2019 - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary one-on–one assessment with an MTMM nutritionist!
It's January 1st.
The whole year is ahead of you.
'This is it...' you tell yourself, 'This is time I put myself first and begin to regain control of my health!'
But as the days begin to pass... holidays wrap up and you return to work... the familiar sets in. Suddenly, your health begins to slip down your list of priorities - replaced by those ever looming deadlines, social engagements and the seemingly never ending emails that all need to be responded to ASAP!
Unfortunately, it's a pretty common story that we hear a lot at MTMM.
But don't despair!
It is possible to improve your health AND stay on top of your work demands - in fact, our clients often report that the more attention they pay to their health, the better their professional outcomes become also!
So what's the best way to progress forward on both fronts?
MTMM’s top tips to maximise your ability to stick to those new year health resolutions!
Keep it simple!!
Compose your meals from whole food sources and ditch the processed stuff – check out the ingredients list of the items you are choosing to buy.. can’t pronounce it? Don’t buy it. Make the decision at the supermarket of how solid your diet is going to be and avoid filling the trolley with temptation!
Cut the liquid sweets!!
When often equate calories and energy to what we eat, but did you know that 60% of calories consumed by North Americans come in liquid form? Pop is the obvious culprit but consider the impact of those white chocolate mint mochas or blended frappachinos as well as those ‘fruit juices’ that pass under the guise of ‘healthy’.
While we’re on the subject of fluids…
Buy yourself a water-bottle and work to Increase water intake. 2-3 L per day is the
minimum necessary amount for inactive individuals If you’re sweating you want to
increase that by at least 1L per hour of activity. Keeping a bottle on your desk or anywhere you will see it means you will be constantly reminded to hydrate, rather than 'out of sight, out of mind'.
Protein is King!
When it comes to achieving goals of body recomposition (less body fat, more lean muscle mass), If you can’t identify a primary protein source in each meal or snack you won’t be able to meet the needs of an active body. Start aiming for a palm size piece at each meal, as well as 1 - 2 protein based snacks per day. Sources of protein include all meat and seafood, eggs and egg whites, soy, tofu, tempeh, beans and legumes, and to a lesser degree nuts and seeds, quinoa, breads,
and dairy. However, you may have to do some research into which sources best suit your individual needs and requirements.
Sit down to eat your meals and chew your food slowly!!
This can promote better digestion and allow our brains to interpret when we’re truly full rather than over-stuffing ourselves. Sitting down for meals will also reduce the meaningless snacking that we often don’t even notice we do! It's not uncommon for people to actaully consume more calories form snacking while waiting for their food to cook, than they get from the meal itself!
Fuel your workouts!
It's ridiculous to presume your body will be able to perform at it's best on no fuel! Have a carb based meal 1.5-2 hours before a workout and a protein based meal immediately following. Choose items like yams, potato or rice as your pre-workout carbs, and lean proteins with minimal fat post.
Less is not always more!
Are you eating enough to burn fat?
Sounds counter-counterintuitive huh? But the truth is, the more active we are, the more fuel our bodies will require.
Feeling sluggish or tired, having trouble sleeping (or feeling the need to nap more),
pulling up extra sore after workouts or heavily relying on caffeine to get you through are
normally signs of under eating. If this is the case, any weight you do lose is likely to be
lean muscle mass, rather than fat!
Ask for Help!
If you're still unsure about what constitutes healthy eating, how to implement it into your lifestyle and how to set yourself for long term sustainable success or even just curious if MTMM is for you and how we can help you achieve your health and performance goals in 2018 - email us at email@example.com for a complimentary one-on–one assessment with an MTMM
Part 1: the small stuff
(or short- term issues that affect your scale weight)
You ate some of your wholesome, performance enhancing food later than you typically do
There’s literally still food in your digestive tract being broken down and absorbed
You weighed yourself earlier than you usually do
There’s literally still food in your digestive tract being broken down and absorbed (see above)
3. You lifted weights yesterday
Resistance training causes tearing, and forces your muscles repair themselves (ie. grow)! This is great, but the process causes plasma to shift into the muscle tissue as part of the process. More plasma = more water weight
4. You ate a lot of carbs or salty foods yesterday
For every gram of carbs we ingest we can hold up to 4g of water, and where salt goes water follows, so decent amounts of either of these very important elements can cause some temporary weight gain
5. You’re freaking stressed
Stress = increased cortisol levels.
Increased cortisol levels = increased water retention (short term), and impaired insulin sensitivity & fat laydown (long term)
6. You’re bowel movements leave a little something to be desired
Once again, there’s literally still food in your digestive tract being broken down and absorbed (see above).
Lesson: Try increasing your water intake and ensuring you are getting 30-35g fibre a day and plenty of exercise!
We have received an immense amount of requests this month from our community asking for some simple prep hacks to help minimize the amount of time it takes to get through meal prep. The first thing to note here is that meal prep is essentially a skill like any other. The more you do it, the more efficient you will become at getting it done. Some of us will even sacrifice a touch of variety (not flavour!) in our day to day meals in order to be able to both eat to our profiles/ templates and minimize the time taken to prepare.
However, there are a few little wins that I have discovered over the years that save a heap of time and will have you wondering how you survived at all previously.
TOP 3 Time Saving Hacks.
1- USE THE MEAT SCISSORS.
See those scissors that come standard in any knife block you may have purchased over the last 20 years? Despite popular opinion, they can actually be used for more than snipping the top off your plastic icy-pole!
Use your meat scissors for the following:
Trim the fat of your steaks / chicken. When I batch cook my steaks, I have nearly 3.5kg to trim. Using the scissors to cut out any fat and gristle has taken my meat prep time from 30 minutes to less than 5. No more hacking up the steaks or ripping them apart with knives – this time saver is a gem!
Try cutting your chicken breasts into even pieces to pan sear. By cooking it in smaller pieces it will not only cook through faster, but the smaller pieces make portioning after the cook much faster also.
Once your meat is cooked, cut it up where necessary to make your portions even. Particularly where meats are concerned, minimal deviation from the recommended weight is highly encouraged. While a little extra veg each day will not dramatically alter your compliance rates to your macros, the same cannot be said for meat.
Use the scissors to make sure those portions are even and make some cuts where necessary. Bite size pieces of meat can also save you the effort of searching for office cutlery later!
2) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY.
I only recently invested in a slow cooker about six months ago and it is, without doubt a total game changer! There is literally less than five minutes of prep time required to get days worth of meat (and/or veg), depending on how much you want to include. For me, I take 2kg of chicken breast, throw them straight in the slow cooker, add some of my favourite seasoning and turn it on low. Come back 5 – 6 hours later and it’s all done. Separate into 10 portions – Boom! For those looking for a little more creativity, MTMM has a ton of slow cooker recipes for lamb shanks/ shoulders, curry, soups and casseroles. These can be provided on request (and occasionally leaked on social media).
Most slow cookers now come with settings for cooking rice. But if you’re looking to really condense your prep time, the separate investment is a winner. Not only can you have three days worth of rice ready to go within 20 minutes, but they generally come with an add on to steam your vegetables at the same time.
3) SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Don’t be discouraged if your first few prep trials are an abysmal failure – they are merely learning opportunities. I can tell you from experience you only need to leave chicken in the slow cooker for eight hours once, before you learn it only needs five. You’ll only mistake the balsamic vinegar when looking for the soy sauce (but eat it anyway) just that one time! The key to staying compliant is to get creative. Herbs and spices are really easy ways to flavour enhance your meals without resorting to sugar dense, preservative rich marinades. Garlic, ginger and chili can provide a pretty decent base to any other concoction you are thinking of trying. Be generous with coriander, cilantro, parsley and basil... what’s the worst that could happen??
Try, try and try again – until you find the perfect combination that suits your tastebuds and your macros.
These three hacks continue to serve me well week in week out. Prep has become a skill that I pride myself on and in no way do I consider it to be a drain or a chore. Take the time to practice, invest in ways to make your preparation more efficient and feel free to get creative. Just because you are paying attention to the food you are eating, in no way does it need to feel bland or restrictive.
Start with small goals, aim to eat at least 4 prepped meals per week, then each week try to have one more. If you foresee that the coming weeks might be particular tough to get additional prep sessions in – take advantage of our partnerships with companies such as Caveman Grocers and Barons of Beef – minimize as much as possible your need to reduce yourself to heavily processed, toxin laden fast food.
Ultimately, it comes down to how high your health and performance rank on your list of priorities, which will determine the amount of effort you are willing to put in!
Looking deeper into labels of packaged foods when grocery shopping can really make or break the overall outcome when meal prepping and calculating your macros.
Scenario: I love coconut and almond milk. The smooth texture, nutty taste and density really amps up my morning americano and is the cherry on top of a solid protein pudding. I buy two cartoons a week. I use it so frequently its the first item that shows up in my "recently added" in MyFitness Pal. Needless to say, its a staple for me.
HOWEVER. With coconut milk being the only packaged food item I buy, initially I made a huge rookie mistake when incorporating it into my diet.
Labels y'all. They put it on the carton for a reason. Take the extra 0.3 seconds to check the label. Its the LAW to have nutritional facts on the box of packaged foods yet how many of us reaaaaallllyyyy look into it when grocery shopping. I can tell you now that I sure didn't. Here's what I discovered in switching from 'Vanilla' to 'Original' to 'Unsweetened' and how I freed up a crap ton of macros for myself to fill up with actual whole foods.
Let's take a closer look at the caloric breakdown, carbohydrate sugar content in each of these options. (Silk Almond Milk used for example**)
As you can see, the carb and sugar count per serving changes quite drastically from vanilla to unsweetened. Personally, being on a lower carbohydrate macro plan, I make sure ALL my carbs come from whole foods to optimize the actual amount of food I consume. (I like to eat a lot...) Needless to say, I've switched completely to unsweetened nut milks and now pay close attention to any added sugars, syrups or "unnecessary" carbs. I encourage everyone to do that extra check up on labels when doing groceries especially when buying packaged foods.
Trust me on this one, its the little tedious things that will make you go the extra mile.