Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Purpose Driven Life

Many of you may be familiar with the popular book; "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Some of you may have even read it a few times. I have tried three times to commit the time to reading his book but sadly, it's never happened for me. Kudos for those of you who have!! One day I'll get there... One day. :)

Maybe I should look and see if it's available as an audiobook yet?

Anyway - I frequently make reference to diet and exercise as part of our purpose. I believe in God and I believe He created our bodies to be the most ultimate of machines. I also believe we each have a PURPOSE to fulfill and in order to do so, we HAVE to take care of our bodies. I have always believed in living a purpose driven life, even if I've never read Rick Warren's book by the same title.

Taking care of our bodies is a holistic approach too. Our body needs to be fed and fueled just as much as our minds and our spirits do (and with the same degree of QUALITY!). You may not believe in God the way I do, but I believe each of us find spirituality in something. Nature. Peace. Church. Reading... whatever it is... we generally nourish our spirit through this belief. Without caring for our WHOLE self I feel we cheat our purpose.

I discovered this article last week and was thankful. Thankful to see a church doing, learning and working together to build a WHOLE person with purpose. Rick Warren, realized he wasn't just struggling to baptize his "fat" congregation, but that he too had a problem. For Warren, is was realizing the impact obesity had on his cognitive function... but he implemented and led a change in/with his congregation. They created the Daniel Plan (a veggie based diet) and as a church, they became a healthier community! It's an incredible story and one that I have felt that our churches should be doing for YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy the article and testimony. I hope you find encouragement and purpose for doing the good work you're doing; be it for God, your spouse, your children, your spirit, or your life. Fulfill your purpose.

Rick Warren and church tackle obesity

By Madison Park, CNN
updated 10:41 AM EST, Tue January 24, 2012

Rick Warren told his church that he gave up carbonated drinks, dairy and fast food. His trainer says he works out twice a day.
Rick Warren told his church that he gave up carbonated drinks, dairy and fast food. His trainer says he works out twice a day.
  • Pastor Rick Warren started a health plan addressing diet and fitness at church
  • Warren has shed 60 pounds in one year
  • The Daniel Plan uses small groups to encourage healthier habits
(CNN) -- The epiphany occurred at a baptism.
With more than 800 people waiting, Pastor Rick Warren took them one by one and immersed them in the church's baptism pool. During this spiritual rite at Saddleback Church, the pastors hold the people briefly underwater, and then pull them out.
"On that particular day, I was baptizing 858 people," Warren told his congregation last fall. "That took me literally four hours."
"As I'm baptizing 858 people, along around 500, I thought this ... 'We're all fat.' "
Warren turned his realization to himself.
"But I thought, I'm fat," he said. "I'm a terrible model of this. I can't expect our people to get in shape unless I do."
Warren, considered one of the most influential pastors in the country, delivered the inaugural prayer for President Obama in 2009 and wrote the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life." Now, he was embarking on a new mission: Curbing the obesity epidemic at church.
Warren seems like an unlikely man to lead an anti-obesity crusade. A ruddy man with plastic frame glasses, he has admitted to gaining 90 pounds over the last 30 years and failing at various yo-yo diets. He declined an interview for this story.
Based in Lake Forest, California, Saddleback is one of the largest churches in the United States and has eight locations throughout Orange County. Warren has a casual style in his ministry, usually preaching in jeans.
A slimmer Rick Warren addressed the congregation on January 14.
A slimmer Rick Warren addressed the congregation on January 14.
Since January 2011, Warren has been shrinking. He gave up carbonated drinks, dairy and fast food, he told the church. He works out twice a day, according to his trainer, Tom Wilson. Warren shed 60 pounds on a diet-lifestyle program devised at Saddleback Church called the Daniel Plan.
The program's name comes from the biblical story about Daniel. In the story, Daniel and his friends, who are Israelites living in Babylon, refuse to consume royal food and wine. By eating vegetables and water, "they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food," according to Daniel 1:15 in the Bible's New International Version.
The Daniel Program, which started at Saddleback Church last January, advises how to eat healthier foods, encourages workout routines and urges participants to join small groups. The program was free.
Warren recruited three doctors to develop the plan: Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist; Mark Hyman, a family doctor; and Mehmet Oz, a TV host and cardiac surgeon.
"The secret sauce of Saddleback is we do this as a community," said Amen, one of the medical contributors. "It's very different than most health plans where you do it with yourself or your wife. You get to do this with a whole community."
Studies indicate that people who try to lose weight or adopt healthier habits in groups are more likely to be successful than individuals working independently.
The small groups have health and spiritual curricula, and provide a support network. Saddleback was the ideal place, because small groups already existed at the church and Warren had "instantaneous capacity to make this happen," said Hyman, another contributor to the Daniel Plan.
"The church was the perfect incubator," he said. "This was a way of leapfrogging and getting a social experiment done."
Chiquita Seals said she lost 125 pounds with the emotional support offered by her small group.
Chiquita Seals said she lost 125 pounds with the emotional support offered by her small group.
Chiquita Seals, a member of Saddleback, said that having a small group was instrumental to her 125-pound weight loss. Her group met twice a month to discuss their health, and they also hiked together. Each small group has a health champion, whom Seals credits with "helping me emotionally, physically."
"The health champion guides the group -- 'This is what we're cooking, this is what we're doing' -- and cheers you on and helps you out. It's not just the food you're eating, it's also mental gain," she said.
The church held a race, cooking demonstrations and various workout classes led by Tae Bo founder Billy Blanks. It overhauled the menus and vending machine products sold at church and placed symbols to indicate which choices were healthy. Doughnuts often given to the congregation were replaced with trail mix. The church developed a website with recipes, advice on physical activity and health information.
"It's not a diet, not a healthy quick scheme, it's designed to be a way to create health," Hyman said.
At the end of the first year, about 15,000 people had registered for the program and 250,000 pounds were lost, according to Saddleback Church. The Daniel Plan is a program the founders intended to spread to different faith communities across the globe, Hyman said.
But many at Saddleback wondered why the church would get involved in health and weight loss.
Julie McGough said her family has become healthier by going on the Daniel Plan.
Julie McGough said her family has become healthier by going on the Daniel Plan.
"I wondered whether this was something church should be doing," said Julie McGough, a member of Saddleback Church for 18 years.
McGough and her husband decided to try the plan, because they had gained weight during his illness with multiple sclerosis. Between his doctor's visits, hospital appointments and busy schedule, the family came to rely on fast food as their staple.
The couple and their two kids, ages 10 and 16, cleaned out their pantry, gave up the In-N-Out burgers and started cooking as a family activity. They started eating chicken, broccoli, squash and a variety of vegetables, and in smaller portions. They bought a trampoline for the kids and also started hiking.
One year later, McGough has lost 28 pounds. Her husband has lost 55 pounds and stopped taking as many medications.
"This is what we should be doing," McGough said about the church's involvement in the health plan. "I am far more able to serve God because I'm healthy."
Warren said in several speeches to the congregation that he never paid much attention to the perils of obesity such as diabetes and heart disease. But when he heard that obesity could affect a person's brain power, it snapped him into action. Growing evidence indicates that obesity is associated with impaired cognitive function, such as attention and memory problems.
Warren often repeats the same phrases when discussing the Daniel Plan. "The Father made your body, Jesus paid for your body, the Spirit lives in your body. You better take care of it."

"The Father made your body, Jesus paid for your body, the Spirit lives in your body. You better take care of it." -- R.Warren

How awesome is that!? Now... maybe this is a *hint* to me... my purpose? 

:) Have a great day friends! Keep up the good work. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Motivational Monday

After last weeks butt kickin', I figured I should be a little nicer this week. :) That doesn't mean what I said last week isn't still true or that you should ease up on your convictions; because I'm not!

Take these words to heart. They encompass everything I believe.

Have a HAPPY and HEALTHY Monday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Motivational Monday: A Big Kick in the PANTS!

***I'm really up on my roost tonight... You have been warned!***

I've started and rewritten this blog a thousand times now. I've been simmering about this subject for a few weeks now and last night, well I had reached my limit. I was a full boil. Steam and all.

Some of you might find this post rude, mean or even uncalled for; but quite frankly I feel that many of you (my readers, family, friends, strangers, fellow citizens, co-workers, patients, etc.) need a swift kick in the butt!!

For weeks I've been worried about my parents and in-laws over their health. For years, I've worried about the health of both my grand-fathers. It's been a couple of years that a few, close and dear friends have been on my heart. And... I worry all the time about my patients and the terrible state of health our country is in.

I have no idea why I'm so passionate about it, but I am. NOTHING gets my blood pressure up higher than to get me talking about someone [general Americans] or a family member who won't do ANYTHING to improve their health status! Then, to top it off, sweet ol' Paula Deen goes on national television to announce that she has Type II Diabetes and that she doesn't have to change the way she eats, how active she is... she just "takes her pill"!!!


I love Paula Deen for her personality (I've never made a single recipe of hers) - but I hate the stance that she took. She had an opportunity to lead a CHANGE in the way the South (generally) sees their diet and educate others about the consequences of being over weight, making poor dietary choices and managing diabetes. Instead, she takes the "easy" way out and compounds the American theory that it's 'normal' to just pop a pill and keep doing what you've always been doing. [[check out this post from the Washington Post.]]

I won't just hate on Paula... but I will hate on the majority. This might even include you, family members or friends... but I don't care. I can't say it "nicely" right now and if I could kick everyone in the butt; I WOULD! I'd grab each and every one of you by the shoulders and SHAKE you until you listen!!!

STOP MAKING EXCUSES! We are killing ourselves and everyone is just sitting around watching!!

I see younger and younger people dying because they think it's their doctors fault they aren't healthy. Parents are blaming our school systems for the poor diets our children are consuming. Mothers are so "busy" they won't schedule an hour a day to get their heart to the gym or out for a walk. Men are being stubborn and turning their noses up to adding vegetables to their meals and cutting out added fat/salt because "it doesn't taste good". We've got young girls looking like their 20 before they've even turned 13. Diabetics are running around with blood sugars greater than 300 all the time and covering everything with insulin instead of burning off the sugar with some exercise. Our kids are getting fatter and still they continue to sit around watching TV, playing video games, chatting and texting while their bikes sit unused in the garage.

What is it with our society--- What is wrong with YOU that you have to have a "tipping point" to make real changes!? Why is living a life with purpose not enough? Is everyone so busy and depressed that they can't do what's GOOD FOR THEMSELVES?! God gave us an incredible body, an incredible machine, and we're destroying it.

Why is living a long and happy life -- feeling good and energized not worth changing how/what you eat and how you move your body?!?!?

IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME!?!? Sure! I believe it can be hard. No, I've not had my own weight struggle per-say... but I've seen enough first hand that I know I don't want to BE stuck on my couch, moaning all night in pain, or feeling miserable/guilty every time I eat. Yes, it might hurt and be "hard" at first... BUT EVENTUALLY it gets easier! Soon, it's a way of life. It's just how you do things.

So take this "KICK IN THE BUTT" as your motivation today/this week. If you need me to really grab you by the shoulders and tell you that it's time to make a change, we can arrange that. I care about you so much that I WANT you to love yourself enough that you find a way to eat right, exercise, de-stress, be spiritual, find financial freedom and enjoy the life you have to LIVE while you're here to live it!!

How's that for tough love?

A Year of Parenting.

It's been a smidge over a year now since we became parents. Puppy parents that is.

At Christmas last year (2010), I would have NEVER thought we would fall in love with a dog (ANY dog) like we have with Ginger. Earlier in the year, my sister and brother-in-law had a tragic departure from their first dog, Laci, after their relocation to New Hampshire. Laci didn't adjust well to the move, was living in a much smaller area, and was anxious all the time. Needless to say despite Megan's every attempt to help Laci, Roan and Meg had a hard decision to make. For Meg, it was terrible. She had to put down her "baby" before she became a real danger to someone else. My heart hurt for my animal loving sister in a way I couldn't really understand.... but I tried to comfort her and love on her while she suffered the loss of Laci alone (Roan was on sea duty during the entire struggle), in a new place and far away from family. 

Meg worked through the loss just as any human would. She tried to move all of the reminders of Laci out of sight so she wouldn't have to "think about her"; despite her attempts there were always the random days where Megan would find one of Laci's toys she had lost, or just her leash and the mourning process would happen all over again. :( Eventually, through lots of prayers, working out and loving friends Megan's heart healed and a special little package awaited her arrival in NC for Christmas. 

Charlie, Ginger's sister -- how GREAT are those ears?!

Our friend, Susan, was able to give Megan and Roan a new addition to their family. This new addition soon became known to our family as Charlie. She wasn't more than 3lbs., solid black and had the cutest ears!! I swooned over her as much as Meg did. Before long (and a bottle of wine later), I had talked Todd in to trying to get one of Charlie's sisters!

Susan helped us as much as she could, but Ginger was the last of the litter and was spoken for. The new year came around and we had only seen one picture of "GiGi".

Between this single picture and the raving reviews of our friend Susan, Todd and I thought long and hard about taking this cutie in to our home. Soon, Susan called to say that the lady who had "spoken for" Ginger had decided to not take her. Although the news came unexpectedly and quite quickly, we decided to take her in to our home. A few days went by and we arranged for her pick up in Winston-Salem, NC.

We were typical first time parents. Scared and overly cautious. I had NEVER cared for a dog full-time and Todd had very limited experience. After night one and only one wake up call from her little crate, I knew we would be okay. Ginger has always been an eager and quick learner. She has always enjoyed long walks and has now become a light runner too!

She loves to go riding with the windows down.

Ginger and her BFF, Tucker (my Aunt Becky's Dog)

Being at Nana's wore her out!

Having Ginger in our lives this year has been a nice change. She brings lots of energy and excitement to you EVERY time you walk through the door. She is wonderful company, even while sleeping. Most of all, she's made dog lovers out of me AND my mother-in-law!

I hope our family will continue to grow and that Ginger will be a very loved "first pet" for any children we are lucky and fortunate to have later in our lives. I also DREAD the day anything happens to her or the end of her life is near... but until that day comes, I will enjoy all the belly rubs, bone chewin', our long walks and her incessant butt waggin'.

Here's to another year as a dog lover. :)

Thank you Ginger for making a dog-lover out of me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Bikram

It's been a while since I've posted a Wednesday workout so I thought I'd expose a few readers to one of my favorite activities: Bikram Yoga.

I was going once or twice a week for 6 weeks prior to the holidays and haven't gone since... and I'm craving the heat with all this COLD weather! I just want to get warm from my bones out.

Bikram is a sequence of yoga that consists of 26 postures systematically designed to work every muscle, ligament, tendon and organ in the body. The postures are very doable and the classes are always the same (90 minutes). The best and worst part of the class is the temperature. The rooms are a nice and toasty 105(F). Now, don't freak out because the room is "warm"!! It's part of the practice!!! Yes, you're going to get sweaty in this practice. We all know that sweating helps to remove toxins from the body (it also helps to cool us!) so with the heat, your body warms up faster, your stretching is deeper from the beginning, and you're getting rid of the "junk" your body doesn't need through some icky sweat.

If you've never tried Bikram - TRY IT! There are studios all over the place and worth giving it a solid try. Don't go once and never again. Your first class will be VERY different from your 4th and 10th. I struggled at first to be still and focus, to ignore the heat and be okay with doing what my body could do that day (not two days ago). But when you leave... ohhhh, you'll feel amazing. Seriously.

Take a few minutes to check out this video. It's a beautiful arrangement of a class, the postures and testimonies.

Good luck! Have fun staying warm this Winter.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Motivational Monday: Finding the Motivation

Lately, I've been struggling to stay motivated myself. Between work, the holidays, planning for the new year, deciding what my running life will look like in 2012, having friends and family in and out over the last few weeks and agreeing (after much debate) to take a PRN position at another hospital (which I won't start until February).... It's just been hard! :)

I feel you guys! (and I don't even have kids yet - which makes me wonder how I'll EVER be able to "do it all". yikes!)

But I got a little motivated this weekend thinking about a few things:

1.) Girls on the Run. The Spring season starts in March and it's been a month since I last ran with my "girls" and I'm going a bit stir crazy... I can't wait to see each of those smiling faces and hearing them cheer each other on towards their goals. It's motivation I LONG for these days. I miss the fun. I miss the giggles. I miss teaching girls to love themselves. A few more weeks and our 5k training starts again! YAY!

2.) Running Marine Corps Marathon. Yup. I said it. I'm going to do it. Well.... Registration opens March 7th. My calendar alarms are set and I'll do my best to be one of the first 30,000 people to crash the website and get registered before it's full and closed. Fingers crossed! I've got LOTS of training and many races between now and the end of October - but I'll do everything my body can do to run those 26.2 miles on these strong, short legs! :)

3.) I randomly got to thinking about an old blog post I wrote. Maybe you remember her? She had those cool hot pink Nike running shoes? :) Well.... just in case you missed her story.... or if you do remember her, here it is again. She's inspiring.

Her and her hot pink kicks are today's motivation. Our motivation to keep moving. No matter how we do it, just keep doing it.

Hugs, love and enjoy the miles. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tips from the Trainers...

My friend, Katie Wade, is amazing. We met in college at UNCG and I really wish I had tracked the number of miles we logged together in the two-ish years we ran, cycled, lunged and walked together. This girl is the superwoman of trainers. I don't know ANYONE who loves to workout more than me, except HER! :)

Plus, she's amazing. Katie ALWAYS has a smile on her face, a hug ready and a way to motivate even the sleepiest of sleepy heads at 0500! I have always believed that a good trainer/teacher doesn't have to scare you to do your workout... the best motivate you to kick your own ass. Katie does all that and still makes you want to smile at yourself in the mirror when you're done!

Isn't she beautiful!? :) She'll probably kill me for posting this. 

She went off to Florida for graduate school my senior year of college... we haven't seen much of each other since then. She ran the Marine Corps Marathon in '09 when Todd did and we only got to catch up via phone then. We ran into each other, literally, at Charlotte Douglas Airport one early morning when I was flying out for work and she was going back to FL (was the best surprise ever!). We made it to her wedding almost two years ago now and I'm hoping to run with her sometime this year... She's constantly racing. Half marathon here. Marathon there. And every now and then some crazy ultra run of 40+ miles.... or something crazy. (and you guys think I'm CRAZY!?) Odds are, I should be able to meet up and run with her SOMEWHERE in the continental USA.

Anyway - I'm working on a business plan for an idea Todd and I have. One of these days it will come to fruition. Katie, I pray will be a part of this business. She doesn't know a single thing about it yet... but she will. :) One of these days soon. I can't imagine this idea without her. (who knows, it might be my only ploy to get her and her husband back to NC)

Katie posted this article on Facebook this week. Her friend, of whom I don't know personally - but know that I'd love her if I did, Michelle Adams is quoted in the article too. More strong women helping and encouraging others to be stronger!! I love it! So, the real reason for this post: The Sports Nutrition Insider article. (Although, Katie deserves a shout out and some love. If she had a website established for her LLC, I'd happily advertise her services too!)

Enjoy! You can read the whole article here or here. More to come of Katie I'm sure... :-)

Wanna Lose Fat? Gain Muscle? Simple and Sagacious Advice From Planet Earth’s Leading Sports Nutrition Scientists, Dietitians, and Personal Trainers

Question:  What simple piece of nutrition/supplement/exercise advice would you give to a fitness enthusiast who wants to lose fat/gain muscle?
My advice is this:  – DO consume 5 g of creatine daily; DO consume a high-quality protein immediately post-exercise.  DO consume fish or fish oil regularly.  DON’T consume (or limit severely) processed carbs.  DON’T make sad sorry excuses.  And quit stuffin’ your face for Pete’s sake. – Jose Antonio PhD FACSM FNSCA FISSN –  Sports Nutrition Insider Editor in Chief
Words of Wisdom From The Experts
Focus on protein at every meal (poultry, lean beef, fish, eggs, dairy or even a protein shake). – Jim Stoppani PhD – Muscle & Fitness
Eat foods that don’t have a label (fresh meats, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits) every 3 hours! – Juan Carlos Santana MEd FNSCA CSCS*D – Institute of Human Performance
5 fish meals/week!!  Remember all fish count; both fish protein and marine fats are uniquely able to enhance body composition. – Susan M. Kleiner PhD RD FACN CNS FISSN – author of Power Eating
Eat breakfast. It tells your body that you will not starve it and in turn your body will jumpstart your previously sleeping metabolism. If your body doesn’t trust that you will feed it-especially after hours of no food like when you were sleeping- it will hold on to any extra fuel (body fat!) like an old lady clutches her purse when she rides the subway! – Gunnar Peterson CSCS CPT – Beverly Hills-based Personal Trainer
Take caffeine pre-workout.  Supplement with creatine.  Stop eating so much sugar.  Cut back on all processed carbs.  And eat more protein!  – Jeff Stout PhD FACSM FNSCA FISSN – University of Central Florida
Macronutrient manipulation is the best way to improve body comp.  You don’t have to eliminate carbs or fat, just think about adding high quality protein to every meal/snack.  Shoot for a 2:1 or 1:1 (for rapid changes) CHO:PRO ratio. – Abbie Smith PhD CSCS*D CISSN – University of North Carolina
Pay close attention to your hunger and satiety cues. When you reach for food, ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you are eating for other reasons like boredom, stress or anger. – Marie Spano MS RD CSCS FISSN
Don’t be enchanted by the evangelistic tales of things falling or rising in the blood (testosterone), muscle (protein synthesis or breakdown), or metabolism (e.g. ‘fat burning’), which often are disconnected from what you are seeking. Ask for evidence on the ACTUAL PRODUCT, for what REALLY counts: increased muscle mass and/or decreased body fat. – Anthony L. Almada MSc FISSN 
Use common sense and stop the silly fad diets.  It’s not about low calorie, low sugar, fat free, gluten free or any other ‘label.’ It is as simple as eating a variety of natural foods in there natural form at the right times of the day and be mindful of proper portion sizes. You have choices: an apple or a candy bar, a had full of M&M’s or almonds, fast food or home cooked, water or soda, etc. You know the answers, apply them and you will look and feel amazing. It is that simple! – Kim Lyons NASM CPT – former trainer on The Biggest Loser
Consume whey protein. Numerous studies have shown how whey protein may prevent hunger, decrease inflammation and manage insulin better. If you can’t have the supplement, increase dairy food sources in your diet. – Marta Montenegro MF MS CSCS NSCA-CPT
For nutritional supplements, before spending a lot of money avoid all the marketing hype and try to focus on the actual ingredients and the science behind them. Seek out help if you need, it. Contact the ISSN. For your diet, try to eat as “clean” as possible by decreasing your carbohydrate and saturated fat intake and by trying to “chew” most of your daily calories as opposed to “drinking” them. –Darryn Willoughby PhD FACSM FISSN CSCS CISSN – Baylor University
A new year’s tip for a leaner 2012: Reduce (or eliminate) added sugar intake, increase lean protein intake, and take advantage of the power of caffeine! – Colin Wilborn PhD FISSN CSCS ATC – University of Mary Hardin Baylor
When all else fails, reduce your intake of starchy carbohydrates, and replace with fibrous carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables with high fiber and low energy density. – Tim N. Ziegenfuss PhD FISSN CSCS
You can use the best equipment and technology to fine-tune a high-end sports car, but without fuel it simple won’t perform.  To get the most out of your training, you need to consider your body a high-end sports car.  I mean you wouldn’t put water into the gas tank of a race car would you?  Then why put junk into your body?  – David Sandler MS CSCS*D FNSCA FISSN – National Strength and Conditioning Association
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Preparing healthy meals in advance and keeping supplements organized is essential to staying on track and achieving your fitness goals. – Rehan Jalali Celebrity Nutritionist
Make sure each of your meals contains a wholesome, fiber-rich carbohydrate like fruit or a small portion of whole grains for energy and a lean protein to keep you feeling satisfied and to keep your muscles strong. Round out your meals with vegetables for fiber, nutrients and healing antioxidants for your exercised muscles. – The Nutrition Twins: Lyssie Lakatos RD LD CDN CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames RD LD CDN CFT
I would recommend a high protein diet.  I took breads out of my diet in the last three weeks and lost five pounds.  I even eat chicken for breakfast with tea.  Have protein bars for snacks too.  My mind also just feels better and more energetic for working out.  – Suzy Favor Hamilton 3-time Olympian
Avoid processed, refined white flour, white sugar carbs. And don’t be afraid to eat fat! – Mona Rosene MS RD
There is no way to out-supplement a poor diet, nail your nutrition first. Dump the processed ‘foods’ and stick with lean proteins and veggies. – Michelle Adams MPH CISSN CSCS IFBB Pro
Measure your current body composition, set a specific goal composition, calculate the difference (in lean mass and body weight), then plan your training and diet accordingly. Focus on nourishment to build the body you want, instead of malnourishment to destroy the body you don’t – Damon Hayhow CISSN
Don’t be afraid to eat less than what you think that you need! –Douglas Kalman PhD RD FISSN FACN – Miami Research Associates
Protein throughout the day with the most important times being breakfast and post exercise (at least 20 grams). If you include at least one significant protein source with all meals and snacks you are on the right track as protein needs are increased relative to exercise effort – Rob Wildman PhD RD LD FISSN
Try to eat every 3-4hrs. In each meal try to include each of these three things: a lean protein (like chicken or fish, etc.), a fibrous carb (fruits and/or veggies), and a healthy fat (like avocado, nuts, etc.) – Nick Tumminello CPT CSCC
Success is never about the food. It’s all about having the skills, tools and the environment that ensures better choices are made consistently, but also the right choices are consistently available every time. Food proximity rules; if it’s easy to get to, eventually you’ll eat it! – Paul Cribb PhD – Metabolic Precision
Most importantly, have positive mindset about working out and eating clean. Get rid of all the junk food in your house, and be consistent with weight lifting and cardio. Especially women- do not be afraid to lift a little heavier than usual! – Liza Muravyeva MS RD
Start simple. Cut foods that are highly processed, high in sugar, high in saturated fat and low in nutrients. Drink 2 liters of water before noon. If you must have a late night snack, reach for a lean protein and step away from the bowl of ice cream. STOP blaming your parents for “making you fat”. Create a DO-ABLE nutritional plan and stick to it! – Jay Dawes, PhD CSCS Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Eat more protein working up to a minimum of 0.75 grams per pound of body weight .  This works to support muscle growth and keep you full longer so you shove less food into that hole below your nose. – Mike T Nelson PhD(c) CSCS MSME
Don’t just “wing it” when it comes to nutrition. Know your protein, carb and fat grams and limit your fat loss to no more than 1.5 pounds per week. – Raphael Calzadilla BA CPT ACE
There really is no substitute for a great training program and good clean, well-balanced diet. For the recreational fitness enthusiast interested in losing fat and gaining muscle, rather than looking for the ultimate quick fix that simply does not exist, focus your efforts on a strenuous training program and well-rounded diet. – Kristy Lee Wilson BS NSCA-CPT NASM-CPT PES CES
Even caloric distribution throughout the day, along with quality and balance, will positively impact body composition, glycogen storage, protein synthesis and immune system health. – Heidi Skolnik MS CDN FACSM 
To enhance body composition will require time; make sure you schedule time to shop and cook.  I train my client’s brain and brawn.  You must have a strong positive mindset; you cannot let other people drag you down or sabotage your own fitness and health goals.  In the end you control your health and well-being. – Nicole Moneer Guerrero NASM-CPT CISSN IFBB Pro
Regardless of what type of training you are doing, always eat something within 15 minutes following every training bout.  Ideally, this should include carbohydrates and a high quality protein source without excess dietary fat. – Lem Taylor PhD FISSN CISSN – The University of Mary Hardin Baylor
Of all of the 20 amino acids leucine is mainly responsible for driving skeletal muscle growth (or at least turning on protein synthesis).  To optimize this process consume 2-3 grams of leucine whether in supplement form (with 1.5 grams isoleucine and valine) or from high quality proteins each meal.  Milk based proteins are 10 % leucine, egg is about 9 %, and meats are about 8 % leucine.  This would amount to about 30 grams of high quality protein per meal for example from a milk based protein (3 grams of leucine). – Jacob M. Wilson PhD CSCS*D - University of Tampa
Eat like a caveman. Or to be PC, A cave-person. We’ve come full circle on this one. Eating wild game, fish and a variety of in-season vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds proves to be our best bet for a lean, well-functioning body. And one more thing…SLEEP! Chronic sleep deprivation can cause weight gain by affecting hormones that control appetite as well as the way we store carbohydrates. – Gina Lombardi RDH NSCA-CPT *D – Host of Fit Nation
To transform your body, you must drink enough clean water, eat high quality REAL food 4-6 times daily and challenge your body with resistance.  And then plan the next day.  Consistency and planning lead to physical success.  The little things done daily make ALL the difference.  – Billy Beck CSCS CISSN
Don’t overcomplicate things…simply make only one small positive nutritional change at a time until that small change becomes a good habit, and then add the next small change. Over time this will work out much better than changing many things at once– (and the results will last longer too). Also, be sure to add protein to every meal that you eat! Our research has documented that this helps to promote fat loss and muscle mass gains. - Michael J. Ormsbee PhD CSCS CISSN – Florida State University
One “cheat meal” is ok, if your diet is typically on point. Don’t beat yourself up or stay too rigid. One salad doesn’t make an overweight person thin either. It’s about the long haul.  – Shawn Wells MPH RD CISSN
Enhancing body composition implies maximizing lean muscle mass and reducing stored body fat. In terms of maximizing lean muscle mass, supplement with creatine monohydrate. Not only is this supplement safe and inexpensive – it WORKS. – Bill Campbell PhD CSCS FISSN
The simplest beginning is to start cutting back carbs (e.g wheat, grains, potatoes, anything ‘white’; but not so much fruits and veggies).  Increase protein intake esp lean meats and egg whites.  Also, whey protein creatine and caffeine (pre workout) are proven supplements to help you achieve your goals.  –Ty Nordic CSCS
Pay attention to what you eat before, during and after your workouts and be sure that regardless of the goal a good bit of general advice is to eat at least 1-2g/kg of protein per day (especially when trying to lose to maintain the muscle you do have), healthy fats are wicked good for you and should be at least 30% of your macro breakdown for fat loss OR muscle gain and don’t be afraid of carbs!!! – Melissa Traynor CISSN ACSM CPT-HFS
Spend a small percentage (10%) of what you would on your fitness equipment, clothing etc and another 10% of the time you spend on your fitness endeavours on your food and food preparation. It will pay dividends over 10:1 in terms of performance and recovery in most cases. – David Driscoll MSc CSCS
If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, you need to eliminate the single nutrient that will stimulate fat storage: sugar. In a study conducted by researchers at UCONN, men who ate a high-protein, moderate-fat, zero carb diet lost significantly more fat and gained almost double muscle than men who ate more sugar and less protein. Rule of thumb: if it tastes sweet, only eat it after your workout, if at all. – Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic PhD RD
Bump up your protein and reduce simple and extra complex carbs as much as possible- and make sure to consume some carb protein combination immediately post exercise!!  – Kelly Kennedy PhD CISSN ACSM-HFI
Cook and pack your own protein-rich meals and keep “emergency snacks” such as nuts of all kinds (e.g. walnuts, almonds, etc) in your car so you never skip a meal or are tempted to hit the McD’s drive-thru!  And wash every meal down with pure simple water! – Carla Sanchez NSCA-CPT IFBB Pro – Performance Ready Team
You have to just do it (i.e. nutrition and training) consistently.  You need proper nutrition (including appropriate, credible supplements) and a training plan tailore to suit your goals.  It must be a lifestyle not a quick fix. Quick fixes don’t work; because they are quick to come and quick to go. – Jenna Becker MS RD CISSN
Challenge your large muscle groups a couple of times a week by doing squats, throwing hay bales, or hoisting cinder blocks so that you are huffing and puffing and burning. Stay consistent, maintain good form and increase the resistance as you get fitter and stronger. – Tom Seabourne PhD CSCS
Shoot for 10 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, with most of the portions coming vegetables as sugars from fruit not helpful when aiming for weight loss. Vegetables are best juiced, steamed, lightly cooked and blended into soups, or raw; with stir-fries, roasted and casseroles thrown in for variety. Power this up with plenty of fresh or dried herbs. And how to achieve this? Add several colourful servings to EVERY meal and snack starting with breakfast. – Andrea Cullen
Adding lean protein is hands down the best way to promote muscle growth – it is the building block.   Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is a tall order, so also adding Branched chain aminos pre workout for preserving muscle is a good plan as well.  – And stay out of the Drive throughs…..;-) – Shannon Leroux Pro Figure Athlete
Track your food intake.  Often after a few days of tracking the realization usually is:  underestimation of overeating or overestimation of undereating. – Allison Ethier NSCA-CPT CanFitPro-PTS CISSN
My single piece of advice would be to get back to the basics. I think to often we are all trying to find the latest and greatest new things and forget about the tried and true. These include a clean, natural food diet with basic supplementation of protein, creatine monohydrate and EAAs. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is! – Lacy M. Puttuck RD CISSN CSCS
Increase your protein and vegetable intake, increase meal frequency, and decrease sugar, processed foods, and portion sizes. Three important supplements to begin taking are: a multivitamin, vitamin D, and fish oil. – Stephanie Svoboda CSCS CISSN
Change your mindset in how you view food. Every time you eat you have a choice to choose foods that provide the body with stable energy, enzymes, and nutrients to improve the efficiency of the body and decrease inflammation.  Get out of a diet mindset and make your food choices with those positive principles in mind. – Amanda Carlson-Phillips MS RD CSSD – Athletes’ Performance
Make sure your resistance training program is practical (nobody gets an ideal physique by doing bicep curls while balancing on an inflatable disk) and that the weight/load and/or volume are substantial, throughout any variations, to satisfy muscle building. Supplements (i.e. whey protein, caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine) and diet are complementary to body composition enhancement as well as exercise regimen progressions.  But don’t think for a minute that there is a magic pill, powder or potion that makes you exempt from eating cleaner and working harder!  – Anna Lepeley MS PhD(C) CSCS CISSN
Muscles lack the necessary enzymes to use alcohol as fuel.  It negatively affects reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance, thermoregulation, fluid balance, glycogen conversion and muscle growth.  Alcohol decreases strength, power, speed, muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness. For these reasons, the healthiest alternative is abstinence. – Robert Taylor Jr SCCC CSCS*D CES NSCA-CPT*D CSES
Everyone wants a simple explanation as to how they can gain muscle and lose fat.  The reality is that it’s a difficult process with no easy way from point A to point B. The best advice I can give you is that patience, dedication, and hard work are by far the key ingredients for changing body composition. The worst plan executed with the best work ethic is way better than the best plan executed with poor work ethic. – Layne Norton PhD IFPA and NGA Natural Pro Bodybuilder
Pick a goal, devise a system to reach that goal, and work toward it with both determination and patience. The opposite of training is beating the crap out of yourself every workout, with no goal beyond pain tolerance and bragging rights. It makes no more sense than the old advice to eat a low-fat diet and walk around the block a few times. Training is in the middle of those extremes: hard work, but with a plan and a purpose. – Lou Schuler
Success is a result of consistently doing the right thing. The client or athlete that fails to be successful is the one that simply will not adhere to what we know works. Their world is filled with excuses, whining about their lack of progress, yet they never realize that the blame for their failure rests solely on their shoulders. – Mark Myhal PhD
Have a whey protein shake preferrably an organic kind  like warrior whey to ensure highest quality nutrients, about 30 min pre-workout with about 20-30 grams with water or almond milk and ice and post-workout when hunger strikes within 30 min to an hour about 30 grams with a little fruit like berries, a little fat like almond butter, and organic greens like greens plus for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. – Yarixa Ferrao
Take advantage of your post-exercise nutritional window–consume 1/4 gram/lb of whey protein as soon as possible following your workout.  It’s perhaps the easiest thing you can do to maximize muscle protein synthesis. – Brad Schoenfeld MSc CSCS – author of Look Great Naked
Set performance-related exercise (or sports) goals.  What you get out of workouts is proportional to what you put into them. Human beings are naturally performance oriented, and setting performance goals provides the motivation to put a lot into one’s training. -  Matt Fitzgerald, CISSN, author of Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance
A ship that’s overloaded and brought about far too sharply will likely capsize; so, too, will a person fail at achieving their goal if they attempt to make too many changes at once. Thus, be in it for the long-haul. Make one change, let your body respond and then begin to plateau before adding a second change. In this regard, the best and most simple way I’ve found to effectively change a person’s body and energy levels is to first have them change their breakfast. If you can control blood glucose from the moment you wake up, a large part of the battle has already been won. – Chris Lockwood, PhD, CSCS
Eat leafy greens at every meal, they contain omega-3 fats too! Think spinach & eggs with salsa for breakfast, a handful of mesclun greens tossed into a smoothie mid morning, a big composed salad of tuna & beans on a bed of arugula for lunch, romaine lettuce wraps filled with Greek yogurt, shredded carrots & olives midday, and steamed kale alongside a baked sweet potato & lean grass-fed beef or steamed fish for dinner. Power meals don’t come in containers. – Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD, CPT, CDE Certified Holistic Chef
Go for the “White-Out” approach to diet by eliminating the white’s: sugar, bread, rice, and pasta. Skip sugary soft drinks and fruit juices. Instead, get your carbs from fibrous veggies and some fruit. And by all means eat more protein with your meals! Mixing protein with carbs means less of an insulin spike and less fat storage — good news for your abs! – Rick Collins Esq FISSN
Make protein your number one nutrient source. Cut back or eliminate carbohydrates and focus on solid protein sources such as meat, fish and whole eggs and good fats such as avocados, and fish, olive and macadamia but oils.  Don’t skip meals and make sure the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning is consume at least 50 grams of protein. – John Romano – VPX Sports