A New Years Resolution

new years resolution

A New Years Resolution

Did you know that most New Years Resolutions are unsuccessful? THEY ARE! There’s nothing better than exercising when it works with your schedule. The problem is you have a busy schedule and exercising takes a back seat on the ‘to do list.’

That’s why most gyms capitalize on you at this time of the year. They know what should be important to you… YOUR HEALTH and losing that damn extra 10 pounds you gained this past year. This is your year and you’re going to start it off right! So, you head to your local gym and sign up at a sickly cheap New Year’s rate. local gym

That’s general membership plus all their classes! What a deal! You head in motivated and maybe even purchase some personal training to get an extra kick. Week one you’re in the gym 5 days a week. Week two you’re in the gym 3 days, then week three 2 etc.  Now, comes February… it’s too cold to go out. Maybe you will do a workout at home, but then you sit on the couch and watch Showtime because Homeland is finally back on this February!

This is why big gyms are successful. They will get you in at a cheap rate. You’ll never show up and they keep billing your card, because their motivation is getting the masses through their doors. You need a gym that focuses on you!

Group classes shouldn’t be 25 people jumping around and flopping on the floor.

If your interested in group classes, then those classes should be small and intimate. This is just one of the things you should consider when looking into a gym or fitness challenge.

For you to be successful this 2020, you need to know how a gym focuses on you…

  • How do they warm up?
  • Do they teach technique or throw you into the chaos?
  • Do they have nutrition guidelines?
  • Do the trainers and other members hold you accountable?
  • Is there a community feel?

You need structure! Say it again… YOU NEED STRUCTURE!

There are a few gyms here in the area that I highly recommend and personally enjoy to follow on social media. These gyms give you STRUCTURE and SUPPORT!

These gyms are run by people who are passionate about training and the relationships with their clients. Stop paying the big corporate franchised gyms who see you as a number and get with the mom and pop gyms.

If I didn’t’ mention you, I’m sorry. I don’t follow you on social media. So, hit me up with a FOLLOW at CriticalMassNJ 

Diet Soda’s

Lets get your brain churning!

Avoiding sugar is a smart move on your part.  Replacing it with an artificial sweetener is a bad move!  Artificial sweeteners still keep the body craving sugar. Therefore, you are in a constant battle to stay away from the deserts! Artificial sweeteners are a bad choice because of the damage they will do to your body.  I am referring to aspartame, which is in so many of our beverages and bodybuilding supplements.  Aspartame, when ingested, is converted to formaldehyde.  What is formaldehyde? If you can remember your high school biology class, then you will remember the preservative that the cats, pigs and organs floated in- that is formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is listed as an environmental toxin by the EPA , and when ingested in the human body, it causes widespread nerve damage: damage to the optic nerve, brain cells, and the nerve cells that control body movement.   Any human being valuing their mind and bodies can easily see how this sweetener can cause cancer and ruin your life.   Obvious side effects of ingesting aspartame are migraine headaches, muscle tremors, vision problems, and mental confusion.  Now I am beginning to figure out why diet coke is so bad.

Why does the FDA allow the use of aspartame?  Well, in 1985 Donald Rumsfeld, The CEO of Searle Laboratories (manufacturer of Aspartame) at the time, was appointed to Ronald Regan’s staff.   Once on board he promoted Arthur Hull Hayes as the FDA commissioner.   Since aspartame was developed no FDA commissioner in the 16 year life of aspartame approved of it until Rumsfeld and Hayes had power.   Are we seeing the pattern here?   CEO of company gets power to hire someone that can approve his product resulting in huge profits! Aspartame is a neurotoxin and that is why it’s ILLEGAL in Europe… Welcome to America! Where money is man’s only desire!

We all know how important it is for you to reach our optimal genetic potential.  Ingesting aspartame will not allow you to reach your peak performance.  When a component within the body does not perform properly, in this case your nervous system, there will be a domino effect causing the whole body to be stressed and to under perform.  So why do we keep eating or drinking this stuff?  I mean I love Diet Coke but now after researching and speaking to some nutritionists, I am going to stop drinking it… or maybe indulge less frequently.  Further reading:  How aspartame became legal timeline

Drink Your Way Thin?

If you’ve been interested in fitness and health for more than a minute, then you know by now how important drinking plenty of water is for getting your body into top shape.

But do you drink enough water? And is it really going to impact your results?

Why Water Matters

Your body is made up of 60% water, which is incredible when you stop and really think about this fact. All day long you are constantly losing water by sweating and going to the bathroom – and this water must be replenished in order to keep your body is healthy, working order.

Many health authorities believe in the 8×8 theory: drink 8 (8oz) glasses of water throughout the day, or roughly half a gallon. However, a growing sector of fitness and health professionals are speaking out against this theory, stating that it is simply too little to keep you properly hydrated.

Those behind the movement to drink more than 8×8 per day are stating that the only way to truly stay hydrated is by sipping on water constantly throughout the day, and by making the effort to drink water when one doesn’t feel the signs of thirst.

Studies have come out that seem to prove that drinking more water throughout the day leads to better brain functioning, fewer headaches and physical performance.

Conversely, when you are operating in a state of mild dehydration you will experience diminished brain functioning, more frequent headaches and a decline in physical performance.

Does More Water = More Fat Loss?

Yes, it is quite likely that drinking more water will facilitate faster fat loss results. This is primarily due to two factors:

1. An increase in metabolism: Studies show that drinking water temporarily boosts metabolism for an hour or so. Drinking cold water will spike your metabolism even higher. This means more calories burned, and more pounds lost.

2. A reduction in appetite: Staying properly hydrated helps to reduce dehydration signs that are often mistaken for hunger. It is also a viable strategy to drink a full glass of water immediately before a meal in order to reduce the calorie intake of that meal, leading to lower overall calorie intake for the day.

Hydration and Health

Staying hydrated is going to help you lose fat quicker, but that’s not the only benefit that you will experience. The following are all health improvements that you have to look forward to when drinking water throughout your day:

  • Lower Risk of Cancer
  • Reduction in Constipation
  • Decreased Risk of Kidney Stones
  • Healthier Skin and Less Acne

It’s clear that drinking water throughout the day is an important part of being healthy and reaching your fitness goals. One of the best ways to make sure that you meet your hydration goals is to keep a large water bottle with you at all times, and to refill it every time that it is empty.

I’m here to help you reach your fitness and fat loss goals! If you are not yet one of my beloved clients, and you are struggling to meet your fitness and fat loss goals, then give me a call or reply to this email.

I can’t wait to work with you! Contact us HERE!


Beware of Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are designed to refuel and replenish an athlete’s body after intense physical activity. These drinks are filled with the calories and sugars needed to fill exhausted muscles with new energy, which is fantastic for the track star who only has 40 minutes of recovery between competitive events.

HOWEVER for the fitness enthusiast in pursuit of fat loss, the sugars and calories found in these sports drinks can undo all of the hard work that you just did in your workout! Yes, these drinks taste good and are marketed to fit, active people, but always be aware of the calorie and sugar count before deciding if you should include it in your diet.

As we learned above, water is your most effective drink for reaching your fitness and fat loss goals.

3 Essential Snacking Tips

A big part of eating for fat loss is keeping your metabolism going all day long with small, sensible meals and snacks. In theory, this is simple and easy: eat a little something every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

Unfortunately very few people do it right, resulting in frustrating weight gain.

The content of your snacks and small meals is of utmost importance. If you’re eating the wrong thing every 2-3 hours then it’s easy to gain weight quickly, rather than what you want, which is to drop fat and clothes sizes.

Let’s jump into the 3 Essential Snacking Tips that I have for you today to keep you on track and burning fat all day long…

Snacking Tip #1: Watch out for added sugar.

Sugar is the biggest problem when it comes to fattening snacks, and so this needs to be the number one nutrient that you check. Your frequent snacks should contain very little, or zero, added sugars.

This is a pet peeve that I have: many ‘health’ foods have massive amounts of added sugars, which will destroy your results. Items like protein bars, jerky, dried fruit, green juice, and trail mix often have added sugars and preservatives that you need to watch out for and avoid.

Your snacks should have little to zero added sugars, and should be a nice blend of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Snacking Tip #2: Check the serving size.

When your snack comes in a package, after you make sure that it isn’t filled with sugar, check the serving size. It’s a popular technique for food manufacturers to give the nutritional facts for 2 or even 2.5 servings, on an item that you will likely polish off the entire package.

If the servings are more than just one then you’ll need to do some quick math. Calculate the total calories, sugar, carbs, fat and protein. Make sure that the numbers line up with your target nutrition sums.

Always be aware of how many servings you are eating in a single sitting. Do the math if you’re eating more than one serving – be honest with yourself!

Snacking Tip #3: Homemade and made-in-nature are best.

As convenient as packaged health snacks are, you will always see better results by eating whole foods found in nature, or snacks that you’ve made at home with real food ingredients. Even the healthiest packaged protein bar from the store is going to contain preservatives and additives that are completely avoided in homemade foods.

A handful of raw nuts, a piece of fruit with fresh nut butter, a hard boiled egg, a homemade fitness muffin (recipe below), some chicken breast on veggies or chopped flank steak on a salad are all better options than any packaged snack.

When possible, stick with whole foods found in nature and snacks and meals that you make at home.

Are you participating in a consistent, challenging exercise program? If not then give me a call or shoot me an email today. Let’s get you started on the best exercise program that you’ll ever try! Click HERE to contact us!

CUT BACK ON SUGAR (28 day plan)

If you love sweets then you know how easy it is to eat more sugar than you should. You’ve probably had a doctor warn you to cut back and know that you have at least a few pounds to lose.

Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more sugar that you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth, it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!

Don’t lose heart! It is very possible to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a way that that’s painless and practical. I have a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on sugar consumption without going crazy. By reducing the refined sugar in your diet you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Let’s do this!

WEEK ONE

In this first week your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much sugar you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording down everything you consume.

This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally sugar grams at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the sugar content of everything you consume and record it.

By the end of this week you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.

WEEK TWO

In this second week your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of sugar in beverages, often without even noticing. You know which beverages in your diet contain sugar, from your reporting last week, so target and cut out these beverages.

Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages without adding sugar, it has a more pleasing flavor than powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners like splenda or aspartame as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.

In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink 8 ounces of water before, during and after every meal and snack.

WEEK THREE

In this third week we are now going to focus on eliminating the food in your diet that contain refined sugars.

What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.

This week target and eliminate the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.

WEEK FOUR

You are on the home stretch! As you enter week four you should already be noticing your clothes feeling a little looser, and your energy levels should be stabilizing. During this week I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take notice of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in sugar.

This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.

The key now is to maintain your new, low-sugar, habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Going forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked back on sugar then go through this four week process again to get back on track.

In addition to removing refined sugar from your diet, participating in a challenging, consistent exercise plan is vital to fat loss. If you aren’t yet one of my amazing clients then reply to this email, or give me a call today!

I’d love to help you achieve a substantial drop in body fat before summer.

Click HERE for more information!

Can Food Addiction be Cured?

The average American has a dysfunctional relationship with food. This is simply because of it’s availability. Our culture is centered around food. We eat when we are happy, sad, and bored…because we can! This has caused us to be disoriented when it comes to how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, and when to stop! Along with societal pressures, this is has given rise to eating disorders and a staggering obesity rate.

Processed foods and the irresponsibility of large food companies is causing mass confusion about what is healthy and what isn’t. These companies have stripped away vital parts of whole foods, added chemicals, and sweeteners and marketed these foods as “healthy”. As a result, people have developed food addictions.

I personally do not believe that food addictions are caused by genetic psychological disorders. What I do believe is that people self-medicate with processed foods because of the physiological effect that it has on the brain. Have you ever heard of someone having an addiction to apples or broccoli? Me neither.

Our bodies are genetically coded for survival. That means that behaviors that ensure our survival are “rewarded”. This reward response occurs in the Limbic System of the brain responsible for our emotions and biological drives such as hunger and sex. When you eat, our brains release a chemical called Dopamine (along with serotonin), which acts upon the limbic system and gives us a sense of pleasure. Some foods elicit this response better than others. Concentrated sugar has a major impact on this response because it is absorbed quickly by the body. This is because sugar is further broken down into glucose, the body’s primary energy source.

While some whole foods have naturally occurring carbohydrate (sugar), other nutrients are also found with it. Other nutrients such as fiber, fat, and protein balance the effect that the carbohydrate has on blood sugar levels. This is important because the higher blood sugar levels rise, the quicker the body tries to clear it from the blood stream using a hormone called Insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows nutrients from the bloodstream to be taken up by our cells.

When a person consumes concentrated sugar over time, the body’s insulin response begins to weaken because the cells that are responsible for secreting insulin become desensitized to glucose. That means, it takes higher and higher amounts of glucose to signal insulin to be released so that the cells can receive nutrition. When cells become “starved”, a hormone called ghrelin is released to “tell” your brain that you are hungry and dopamine levels drop until you eat again. This may be responsible for why food cravings occur, especially to sugar.

The answer to this problem is to slow the transit of foods in your system by regularly drinking water and eating whole foods full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The hormones responsible for telling your brain that you are hungry or full are also controlled by the stretching of the stomach and small intestine. Foods with high fiber, protein, and water content stretch the stomach and small intestine signaling leptin to trigger satiety. Sugar and processed carbohydrates, on the other hand, move faster through the digestive system because they are absorbed quickly by the body. The faster something is digested, the more ghrelin is released to tell you that you’re hungry. Eating nutrient-dense foods will eventually fix dysfunctional insulin and hunger signaling responses. Another way to fix the problem is through Intermittent Fasting (IF), which can reset the insulin and hunger signaling response.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is one of the newest dietary strategies being studied specifically for its fat loss effects. IF involves going short periods without food, such as 24 hours once per week or 16 hours each day. Some of the positive benefits include an increase in immune system function, improvement in blood lipids, improvement in brain function and mental clarity, improvement in insulin signaling, and increase in fat utilization as fuel.

Here’s how it works. When you eat, it takes several hours for your body to break down the food and clear sugar, fat, and protein molecules from your bloodstream. Where these nutrients go depends on many things including your metabolic rate, nutrient demand, and the amount of insulin utilized to clear these molecules from the bloodstream. Most importantly, the more insulin that is utilized, the higher the potential to store those nutrients as fat. When you fast, insulin levels stay low and fat becomes released from fat cells into the bloodstream to be used as energy. When it’s time to break the fast, chances are, your body will respond quickly with insulin and you may even feel full sooner.

While there are mixed results on the effect of IF on fat loss, there is a very logical reason for doing it. It allows you to engage in gradual caloric restriction as opposed to sharply decreasing it. This is important because a rapid decline in calories, especially when exercise is a part of the weight loss plan, can cause hormonal imbalances to occur. This will most definitely halt your fat loss progress and may even cause you to gain weight. IF allows you to restrict your calories for a relatively short period of time and then return to a normal eating pattern.

Intermittent Fasting and Food Addiction

Have you ever felt like you are addicted to food, especially sugar? This is because your brain releases dopamine in response to eating carbohydrates, and more specifically sugar. This is because your brain utilizes about 25% of your total carbohydrate intake to maintain its function and is also easily broken down and taken up by the body to be used as energy. It is a survival mechanism.

Dopamine is known as the “pleasure” hormone. It acts upon the pleasure center of your brain to “reward” you for behaviors that ensure your survival. When you expose your system to sugar frequently your body needs more and more sugar to get the same dopamine release because the receptors that recognize dopamine, become desensitized. There is some evidence to suggest that IF can reset your dopamine response to eating because you deplete your body’s carbohydrate stores during IF.

Adam Eckart MS CSCS FDN-P
Co-Founder, Critical MASS Training Systems
732.889.3319 ext. 2

P.S. For more information on intermittent fasting and other nutritional weight loss strategies please give us a call or email us.