Cheat Day Regret: How to Make a Comeback

Cheat Day Regret: How to Make a Comeback

How to Recover from Your Cheat Day

The big game calls for big snacks with some equally big numbers on their nutrition label. We all allow ourselves a little room for our favorite foods sometimes, and major events usually take credit for this. However, there’s no need to forfeit your goals if you’ve strayed from the path.  

There is a way to recover from your splurge, and it’s not a crash diet. Here are 5 healthy ways to get yourself back on track: 

1. Don’t Panic

Food cravings are natural and there are a lot of reasons for them. Often, they are linked to common physical and emotional triggers like a lack of sleep, PMS, stress, nutrient deficiencies, and more.1 So, even if your cheat day wasn’t game day, it’s good to understand that our bodies often fight with our brains when it comes to cravings.  

The good news? There is evidence to indicate that the occasional cheat day can help you stay on track for long-term goals.1 True, the excess calories or getting kicked out of ketosis can make your progress slow-going, but, having an outlet to occasionally enjoy your guilty pleasures can make the mental battle a bit more bearable. 

The other tips come in no particular order but it’s a good idea to check-in with yourself first to make sure you’re not beating yourself up for the cheat. It’s healthy to acknowledge that cheat days are a good thing in moderation, and if you really overdid it, that you are capable of making a comeback.

2. Drink Water

Water helps your body do what it’s already doing, better. Drink water to help your liver and kidneys do what they do best, which is to help process and flush out toxins.2 It’ll also benefit your digestive tract and help move things along. If you ate something your body was no longer accustomed to receiving, you may start to feel a little “backed up.” Water will help get things back to normal. 

In addition to helping your bodily processes, drinking water can help you eat less. Cheat days usually involve sugar and carbs, the food items most people are cutting from their daily diets. Sugar and carbs do a great job of lighting up your craving for more! Chances are, the day after your cheat day, you’ll be craving just a few more nibbles. Drinking water can help you feel more satiated which helps fight additional cravings.

3. Stay Off the Scale

You might be tempted to weigh yourself to assess the damage but doing so will not help you at all. The scale will almost certainly tell you that you’ve gained weight. Seeing a higher-than-normal number can be really discouraging, but the good news is that the weight you gained is not fat. It takes much longer to gain fat than you might think. The extra weight is most likely water.3  

Here’s the thing: carbohydrates are a good source of glycogen, an easy-to-process energy source. Glycogen happens to bond very well with water,3 a readily available molecule in your body. This is why the scale says you are heavier, because for every gram of carbohydrates, you have 3 or 4 molecules of water bonded to it.3 Your body retains this water and the scale reflects the added weight. Keep your sanity by staying off the scale and take comfort in the fact that you can still bounce back from water-weight.  

You might think, “well, #2 was to drink water; won’t that add to water-weight?” It really won’t. Drinking water is actually cited as a method to help lose water weight.4 When your body feels dehydrated, it will cling to the water it has. Conversely, if you over-hydrate, your body will retain water as well. Just keep a balance.

4. Take Advantage of Your Refueled Glycogen Stores

Speaking of glycogen, if your body has some fresh stores, use them! When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose. That glucose is either used up for immediate energy or converted into glycogen and saved for later.5 Your body has limited glycogen storage and unlimited fat storage, so if your glycogen stores get full, your body converts glycogen into triglycerides (a type of fat). Triglycerides can be used for energy or get stored in your body fat.5 

 

Get a solid workout in to help use up the stored energy and limit your carb intake to help your body use what you put in on your cheat day. 

5. Resume Your Healthy Eating Habits

Make sure your cheat day doesn’t turn into a cheat week. Remember that a single day or meal isn’t going to undo weeks or months of hard work, that the scale is most likely reflecting water-weight, and that you can help your body get back to healthy habits. Look back fondly on how delicious your cheat meal was and then zero back in on healthy eating. 

For information on how train your taste buds to love the taste of health foods, read our article: It’s an Acquired Taste. If you’re still thinking about how the body uses glycogen and when it starts burning fat, read our article about Exercising on an Empty Stomach. 

To stay informed with our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. Penney, Stacey. “Do Cheat Meals Make Diet Sense?” NASM Blog, 11 Oct. 2018, https://blog.nasm.org/nutrition/cheat-meals-make-diet-sense/ 
  2. Chandler, Brynne. “The Best Way to Clean Out Your Body Naturally.” Healthfully, 24 Dec. 2019, https://healthfully.com/the-best-way-to-clean-out-your-body-naturally-5350801.html. 
  3. “Does A Cheat Day Undo A Week at the Gym?” InBody USA, 21 Sept. 2018, https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/88406017-does-a-cheat-day-undo-a-week-at-the-gym/ 
  4. Mawer, Rudy. “13 Ways to Lose Water Weight (Fast and Safely).” Healthline, 9 Aug. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-ways-to-lose-water-weight#section8 
  5. Boyers, Lindsay. “Burning Fat Vs. Glycogen.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 16 May 2019, https://www.livestrong.com/article/331651-burning-fat-vs-glycogen/.

Compound Movements and Why You Should Do Them

Compound Movements and Why You Should Do Them

What are Compound Movements? 

What if I told you that doing compound movements in the gym burned more calories during your workout; would you know which exercises to do?  

What if I also told you that compound movements burn more calories postworkout than any other exercise, would you believe me? 

Imagine learning that this type of movement maximizes your time in the gym, helps you lose weight, and helps you burn more fat; would you do more?  

Compound Movements, also known as Compound Exercises, are multi-joint movements that work several muscle groups at one time, compared to isolation movements that work one muscle at a time.  

An example of a compound movement would be a squat. A squat works your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and core. An example of an isolation movement is a bicep curl, which only works the bicep. See the difference? One muscle versus many muscles. The more muscles you are working at one time the more calories and fat you will burn. Cool, right?  

Compound movements are not only for the gym but also can be a great home workout. You don’t necessarily need heavy weights. You just need a little bit of time and a little bit of space to get in some good compound exercises. 

Benefits of Compound Movements

One of the biggest benefits of compound movements is that they make effective use of your time. When you are short on time but want to put in a quick weighttraining workout, think compound movements. Other benefits include:  

+ more calories burned 

+ improved coordination 

+ improved flexibility and range of motion 

+ gaining more muscle  

+ improved strength

Best Compound Movements 

The following list is derived from an article by the American College of Sports Medicine. While these 7 items are personally my favorite, there are unquestionably other compound movements that might work better for you. It all depends on your level of fitness. Give them a try! 

  1. Squats 
    • Areas of Focus – quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and core 
  2. Deadlifts 
    • Areas of Focus – almost the entire body but especially the hamstrings, glutes, arms, core, and back (trapezoids)  
  3. Bench Press 
    • Areas of Focus – chest, shoulders and triceps 
  4. Pull-ups 
    • Areas of Focus – entire back region (emphasis on lats), forearms and biceps 
  5. Bent-over barbell rows (reverse grip) 
    • Areas of Focus – back region (emphasis on upper back; rhomboids, trapezoids), and biceps 
  6. Shoulder Presses 
    • Areas of Focus – entire deltoid region: front, medial and rear (emphasis on front deltoids) 
  7. Lunges (static) 
    • Areas of Focus – entire leg region (emphasis on glutes and hamstrings) 

Combine Compound Movements with Isolation Movements

Combining both types of movement makes for a great workout. For example, a squat to a bicep curl or a squat to a bicep curl to a shoulder press.

It’s important to keep good form while performing exercises. Squatting may seem safe but when weights are added and the exercise is done improperly, it could result in injury.

Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Have an LA Fitness Pro Results® trainer help you with the basic principles of weightlifting and proper form when exercising.  

Bottom Line  

Next time you are in the gym or doing a home workout, incorporate a few compound movements. Get your heartrate up and boost your metabolism. Since compound movements engage several muscles at one time, it requires more energy from you. In turn, you burn more calories by spiking your metabolism and increasing your heart rate, which make you stronger.  

Check out this workout routine “The 2 Week Workout Finale for the Your Best Beach Body Ever!” This 2 week workout routine combines plyometrics, compound movements and integrated intervals so you can strut your stuff with confidence. For more articles like this one, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the Living Healthy Blog.

Top 10 Positive Health and Fitness Trends for 2020

Top 10 Positive Health and Fitness Trends for 2020

Trends vs Fads

Health and fitness trends sweep the nation every year, and many of them are either a waste of time or, quite contradictory to their intention, are dangerous for your health. Not to be confused with fads, trends indicate a change in behavior that develops gradually among members of a population. Fads seem to crop up out of nowhere and are fueled with a lot of hype, but they don’t last as long. 

We’re looking into the expected trends for 2020, based on a worldwide survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. Over 6,000 participants, 60% of whom have 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry, have identified these items as positive trends!  

The survey did not make room for any of these items to be critically evaluated, so that’s up to you, but it does help recognize some new and emerging trends for the coming year. 

That being said, this is what you can expect to be trending in 2020: 

Wearable Tech

Wearable technology can mean a lot of things now. In the fitness industry, one of the first tracking kits came about in 2006 when Nike+ embedded a tracker inside a pair of shoes.1 It measured the things you would expect it to measure: time, distance, pace, and calories burned. You would see your stats on the, then popular, iPod Nano screen. Obviously, people loved the idea of seeing a representation of their hard work. So today, wearable tech continues to increase in popularity.  

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT involves bursts of high intensity exercise mixed with brief periods of rest. Research has done a lot to prove the effectiveness of HIIT workouts, especially when it comes to improving cardiovascular health and even in its effectiveness in changing your body composition. In fact, in his research on the relationship between HIIT and fat loss, Stephen H. Boutcher explains that HIIT “may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.”2 

Group Training

Your cycling, Pilates, yoga, swim, and dance classes (to name a few) may see a spike in attendance this year. More people are learning about the benefits of group training! Not only do class members have the advantage of group support, motivation, and accountability, they have the benefit of a certified instructor leading the way. Your group instructor can amp up the energy to help you push harder and knows when to scale things back to give you a chance to catch your breath. You may also get instruction on correct form, so you don’t have to guess whether you’re moving in ways that are safe for your body.

Training with Free-Weights

This method of training is picking up steam. Strength training and functional training have been in the top 10 fitness trends since 2007. Training specifically with free weights, however, now holds the 4th spot in the top 10.3 This includes working out with everything from dumbbells and barbells, to medicine balls and weight plates. Working out with free weights happens to have a lot of benefits. If you’re looking to make the switch, check out our article on how to transition from machines to free weights. 

Personal Training

Because of the customization personal training provides, many people turn to it to reach their health and fitness goals. Clients get one-on-one attention, a personalized workout plan, progress tracking, and plenty of guidance and support as they move towards their goals. It’s no surprise that this one has been a top 10 trend for the last 14 years.3 

Exercise is Medicine® 

This one is a global health initiative that encourages healthcare providers to assess a patient’s physical activity, recommend treatment, and refer patients to exercise professionals.3 As this becomes more commonplace, you may start to notice your provider taking more of an interest in your fitness regimen. This is an exciting development because it further acknowledges the importance of an active lifestyle and can help patients monitor their activity in more than one place. 

Body-Weight Training

Training without (or with minimal) equipment started getting popular around 2013.3 This type of exercise focuses on what you can do using your own weight to train. This involves exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, planks, crunches, and more. It’s inexpensive, easy on the body, and can be done almost anywhere. It’s a great segue to more involved types of exercise or to help you ease back into things if you’ve been away from the gym for a while. Body weight exercises are also a great way to warm up your muscles before you start doing your weighted reps. 

Fitness Programs for Older Adults

This is an awesome trend to see taking a foothold in the top 10 this year. Coming in at #8 is fitness for older adults! The reason we’re excited is because this trend indicates that people are living longer and remaining healthy and active longer!3 Many healthcare providers now prescribe strength training to older adults as it helps them maintain their independence and more easily perform activities of daily living. Check out our article on Strength Training for Aging Bodies to learn more about how strength training helps older adults, and to view some helpful exercises.

Health/Wellness Coaching

Health and Wellness Coaching is a behavioral approach to achieving health and fitness goals. You can sit down with a coach (one-one-one or in a small group setting) to share your unique health goals. In return, you receive guidance with goal setting, support and encouragement,3 and if you’re in a small group, a sense of community with others who share similar goals or struggles. This is a nice one to see take a place in the top 10 as it focuses more on the mental and emotional process of tackling health-related change.

Certified Fitness Professionals

Last, but not least, a quickly growing trend is in the preference of certified fitness professionals. More and more people are trusting certified professionals over those who are not. We know it’s important to our members which is why our Pro Results® Personal Trainers are all certified! We also seek expert knowledge for our blog posts and podcasts, hosting guests like Registered Dietitian Debbie James, Family Physician Dr. Bob Davari, Master Trainer Geoff Fox, Certified Psychiatrist Dr. Neel Doshi, and more.

Honorable Mentions

The following items made the top 20 and are still pretty awesome trends to see emerging (or sticking around) for 2020.  

  1. Functional Fitness Training 
  2. Yoga 
  3. Circuit Training 
  4. Exercise to Combat Childhood Obesity 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about all the up-and-coming trends! Do you plan to commit to anything on this list? Let us know in the comments below! To stay in-the-loop about our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. Rogers, Andrea. “Wearable Technology: A History.” SPLITFIT, 1 Nov. 2018, splitfit.com/fitness-technology/wearable-technology-history/. 
  2. Boutcher, Stephen H. “High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss.” Journal of Obesity, Hindawi, 24 Nov. 2010, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/868305/ 
  3. Thompson, Walter R. “WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2020 : ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.” LWW, 9 Jan. 2020, https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2019/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2020.6.aspx

What to Do When Weight Loss Stalls | QA

What to Do When Weight Loss Stalls | QA

Question:

Are you able to help me with calorie recommendations? In the last 8 months I have lost almost 60 pounds through diet. I started going to the gym 4-5 days a week and seeing a trainer 1 day a week. My weight loss has virtually stalled in the past month. I don’t know if my calories are too high or too low.   

I am a 57-year-old male and I currently weigh 254 pounds. I am eating between 1,400 and 1,800 calories a day. Based on the online diet calculations I should be eating 1,900 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week. I use Apple Watch to track calories and usually burn between 400 and 800 calories a day more in exercise calories. I never eat back the exercise calories. Thanks for your thoughts. 

Doug S. 

Answer:

A brief month stall is a blink in your profound progress over the last year, Doug. It sounds like your metabolism has adapted to the diet and exercise routine you’ve set up. Time to shake things up!  

What your calories are comprised of makes a big difference in whether you’ll store or burn fat. Since you’ve already done the math and determined your intake is lower than suggested, I’d say try adding a couple hundred calories in vegetables, legumes and pre-workout shakes or recovery drinks on exercise days. Don’t add more if you feel satisfied at your present intake. 

Assuming your training workouts are progressing, focus on amping up your gym visits on the other days. You may benefit from a new exercise like a high intensity interval training (HIIT) class, harder weights/resistance, or increased cardio duration. Also look at your daily activity outside the gym and try to increase movement whenever possible.  

Remember that weight loss and body composition change aren’t linear, but usually occur with ups and downs. The fact that you are consistent in your exercise routine and dietary tracking means you’re very likely to see results again soon. Read more about overcoming plateaus in the Living Healthy blog, here and here. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Recommended Reading - Q+A

10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

National Green Juice Day is practically here, and we’ve got some green ingredients that would be perfect for your juicer or blender. Speaking of which, what’s the difference between juicing and blending and is there a best method? 

Juicing vs Blending

Depending on what you want to get out of your beverage, or rather, what you want to leave in, you will have to make a choice between juicing and blending.  

Juicing extracts the liquid from the fruits or veggies and leaves the skin, the pulp, and pretty much everything else behind. According to our registered dietitian, Debbie James, juicing allows you to reap the benefits of drinking up more vitamins and antioxidants, but because it’s a less filling beverage, you’ll also likely consume more (which means more calories).1 She also notes that juicers work best with produce that contain water. For example, you’ll have quite a hard time juicing an avocado or sweet potato which you’re more likely to see in blended drinks. 

Blending essentially pulverizes the whole fruit or vegetable. This means that you have the benefit of consuming nutrients and fiber that are often stripped away when you’re juicing. James explains that blending can create a more satisfying beverage which may lead you to consume fewer total calories. When using a blender, you’ll also be able to add ingredients like “ice, yogurt, protein powder, [and] peanut butter.”1 These types of ingredients can help mask flavors of veggies you wouldn’t normally enjoy. If you’re planning on substituting a meal with your beverage, this approach is probably better suited for you.1  

Creating the Perfect Recipe

The perfect recipe is in the preferences of your taste buds. However, there are some tricks to making a more nutritious drink no matter which method you choose. Whether you’re juicing or blending, James recommends incorporating a ratio of 3 vegetables to 1 fruit. This is one way to lower the sugar content and increase the nutrient content.2  

Ready for some ideas? We’ve got a number of green and nutritious ingredients that you can add to your beverage: 

Nutritious Add-Ins*

  1. CucumberCucumbers contain fiber and are a good source of:  
  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Water 

2. Mint – Mint contains fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Manganese 

3. Lime – Limes contain fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C, B6, and Thiamine 
  • Minerals: especially Iron, Calcium, and Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

4. Green Apple – Green apples are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins A and C 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Fiber  

5. Avocado – Avocados are full of healthy fats and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K, C, E, B5, B6, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium 
  • Fiber 

6. Pear – Pears are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium and Copper 
  • Antioxidants 

7. Celery – Celery is a great source of fiber and water and contains small amounts of: 

  • Vitamins: like Vitamin C, K, A, and Folate 
  • Minerals: like Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

8. KaleKale is highly nutritious as it is a great source of:

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, K, C, B6, and smaller amounts of B1, B2, and B3 
  • Minerals: especially Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, and smaller amounts of Iron and Phosphorous 
  • Antioxidants 

9. Watercress – Watercress is a great source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K and to a lesser (but still significant) extent, Vitamins A and C 
  • Minerals: especially Calcium and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 

10. Spinach – Spinach is high in insoluble fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, C, K1, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Calcium 
  • Antioxidants 

*Nutrition information is from various sources. Click the link for each item to view the source and to read additional details.

For more information on fresh juice, read our registered dietitian’s answer to the question: How Long Does Fresh Juice Hold Its Nutritional Value? Or, read up on what you need to know if you plan to Substitute Meals with Your Juice or a Smoothie. To stay in-the-loop about our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. James, Debbie. “How To Get The Most From Juicing: Q+A.” Living Healthy, 31 Mar. 2017, https://blog.lafitness.com/2017/03/30/get-the-most-out-of-juicing/ 
  2. James, Debbie. “Is It Safe to Substitute Two Meals a Day with Juice or a Smoothie?” Living Healthy, 16 Jan. 2014, https://blog.lafitness.com/2014/01/16/is-it-safe-to-substitute-two-meals-a-day-with-juice-or-a-smoothie/

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