Fueling the Metabolic Fire

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Fueling the Metabolic Fire

Greetings P4L family! My name is Michael Phillips, and I'm a new addition to the P4L team. I'm introducing a blog series called Gains on the Go. It's all about learning new information, upending fallacies, and using that knowledge to make healthy eating and exercise more sustainable and adaptable to a busy lifestyle. I want everyone to find a way to overcome the obstacles that life likes to put in the way of your fitness goals. I've been in the industry a long time, and fads are more rampant in fitness than just about anywhere else. Thankfully, geeks like me love to sift through the data to separate fact from fad, so you don't have to. Without further ado, let's kick things off by talking about something that is very status quo in the fitness industry: meal frequency.

If you’ve been given advice on a diet for fat loss in recent years, you’ve likely been told that you need to eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism revved up and burning calories all day long. It sounds good, but I’m not even sure where this information originates. The body of literature that exists on the subject of TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) does not support this suggestion in the slightest. It is true that some portion of the calories you consume is used to power the digestion and absorption of the food itself, but the impact of meal frequency on that is virtually non-existent. If you eat 5 slices of bread in one sitting, or spread those feedings evenly throughout the day, the energy required by your digestive system to process this food is the same. This should be very empowering for you folks out there that find eating so often is incompatible with your lifestyle.

Besides constraints that work may place on your eating habits, food is also an important part of socializing. You can eat dinner with your family, have lunch with a coworker, or try the dishes at your company holiday party without sabotaging your gains (or losses). That is to say, you can eat like a normal person! If you transgress, just adjust the amount of food you consume in the subsequent meals; it's really that simple.

Similarly, you don’t have to force yourself to eat breakfast in the morning if you aren’t hungry. Again, the idea that breakfast stokes the metabolic fire is pretty pervasive, but the support for this idea simply doesn’t exist. The research surrounding the consumption of breakfast is very correlative in nature. It merely shows that those who regularly eat breakfast tend to have lower body weights. However, there are tons of confounding factors: people who are generally hungry in the morning may just regulate their appetite better, or they may eat breakfast because they consider it an important component of health, thus making them more concerned with health in general, or many other possible co-factors. How can you adjust this to help you? Well, a lot of people don't have a big appetite in the morning, have trouble getting up in the morning, or simply just want to wait until they can eat breakfast at the office. If that's you, then you can redistribute the calories to later meals (e.g. dinner with your friend from your hometown), wait a couple hours after waking up, or just have a very quick and easy snack. Make it work for your life and schedule.

The pendulum has even begun to swing the other way, with intermittent fasting diets becoming increasingly popular. Although there is some promising research to support this strategy, I still feel that more research needs to be done on humans, and it needs to be done in a more realistic way. Right now, most of the research showing the positive impact this eating pattern has on health is based on research done on rats, and using an alternating day fasting protocol where you literally skip eating every other day. However, I suggest you keep an eye out for emerging information on this topic, as it certainly shows some potential. If nothing else, this strategy seems viable; I'm just not sold on it being superior yet. A lot of people love this dietary routine because of how well it jives with social eating. If you don't eat anything for 16 hours, then you can cram a lot of food in the remaining 8 hours, relatively speaking. It's not a free pass to clean out an entire buffet, but it's easier to eat like a normal person if you have the flexibility to eat a large meal if you want or need.

My suggestion for using this information is to avoid getting caught up in adjusting your whole life to accommodate a different meal schedule. Eating is too important to our social lives and emotional well being to try and adjust it to fit an unrealistic schedule. Try to make your eating schedule as sustainable as possible. Do you like to sit down and eat a larger dinner with your friends or family in the evening? Do it! Just make sure the calorie consumption throughout the rest of the day is a bit lower to compensate for a larger dinner. Are you the type of person who wakes up starving in the morning? Then have a big ol’ breakfast and let calorie consumption taper off later in the day. Do you want to take advantage of the catered meals your company provides? Go for it. The key is to make your diet work for you.

Dieting requires enough sacrifice and behavior change already; don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

There is also a caveat to keep in mind with this piece of advice. Frequent feedings have some support for improving satiety. That is, smaller, more frequent meals may help you feel more satisfied (i.e. less hungry) than an equivalent amount of food consumed in larger and less frequent feedings. Thus, if you find through experimentation that this describes you, then it may be worth trying. As well, if you simply enjoy more frequent meals and it's not a hassle for you, then by all means go for it. I'm not suggesting it's a bad practice; I'm merely suggesting that eating every 3 hours is not a requirement for you to reach your goals. Meet your calorie requirements in the way you see fit. I promise you that finding a diet you can adhere to consistently is the most important thing you can do to set yourself up to succeed.

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Photo Credit : LUM3N


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The Positive Effects of Overcoming Judgment

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The Positive Effects of Overcoming Judgment

It is natural for human beings to make judgments: on things, people, situations, and themselves. Judgments allow us to distinguish our opinion on nearly every aspect of our life, but it is all too often that these judgments hold us back.

As a trainer, I see this all too often: people judge themselves and the extent of their capabilities much too harshly. “I’m fat”, “I can’t do that”, and the list of conclusions too quickly jumped to goes on.

Their own sense of inadequacy discourages them, and it makes them untrusting of their own abilities. As a trainer, it is my job to push my clients both in the gym and out to accomplish things they didn’t think possible. This may well be a fitness goal, but almost just as often, the goals set with clients can pertain to their nutrition, hydration, sleep, pain reduction, overall lifestyle, or mental health. By setting these types of goals, I aim to boost my clients’ confidence in themselves and their capabilities. I believe that this is perhaps the single most important aspect of my job: to allow them to defy their own judgments of themselves. This is why I enjoy working at P4L as much as I do: my coworkers and I aim to not only achieve our clients’ fitness goals but to help them surpass their own perceived limitations and achieve things they didn’t think possible.

Not only do people’s judgments of themselves seem to be a detriment to their personal growth, but I have seen in my own life that being quick to judge others can indirectly lead to being overly-critical of myself. Earlier in my life, I was quick to pass judgment on others and had no problem dismissing someone based on these judgments. I would catch myself jumping to conclusions about the type of person I believed these people to be. I didn’t think much of my overly-critical tendencies, but I was also constantly worried about what others thought of me. With time, I realized that by being so quick to judge others, I came to assume that others did the same of me. This preoccupation with how others thought of me made me self-conscious and, at times, quite paranoid. I felt isolated from those around me simply because I had such trouble trusting them - how could I trust them if I couldn’t know what they were thinking, and what they thought of me specifically? It took me a majority of my life to realize that my concern with what people thought of me and my tendency to hastily pass judgments on others were inextricably linked.

By the time I was around 19 years old, I made a conscious effort to have an open mind towards others and the type of person they were, their personal stories, what brought them to this point, etc. Overly-critical judgments would still form in my head, but I had to learn to disregard them. With time, my paranoia began to subside, and the less I considered my harsh judgments of others, the less concerned I was of potential judgments others made of me. I felt happier, the ever-present sense of isolation diminished, and I felt more connected to the present moment and the world around me.

Judgments are an innate part of the human psyche and allow us to understand and categorize the world around us. However, it seems that giving too much credence to these judgments, especially those concerning yourself and others, can hold you back from your true potential. Everyone can make judgments about their own abilities, and some of these may very well be true. However, it is important to remember that these are most likely not all true - the person holding us back the most is, more often than not, ourselves. Have an open mind, and if you are quick to judge like so many people are, try for a while - at least until you have a more complete understanding of the person or situation - to disregard these judgments. It can truly make a world of difference.

 

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#HowIPerformForLife : Ryan

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#HowIPerformForLife : Ryan

When did health and wellness become an important part of your life?

Health and wellness have always been an important part of my life.  I played lots of different sports as a kid (particularly baseball) and have gotten more into long-distance running in the past several years.

Image Credit : Andrew Sorensen

Image Credit : Andrew Sorensen

When was the last time you pushed yourself beyond your limit?

When I ran my first marathon in August 2016.  I totally hit "the wall" around the 20-mile mark and really struggled to finish (but I made it!).

Where is your favorite place to run/walk in the city?

Golden Gate Park.  It's great for getting away from all the cars and being able to run uninterrupted for long distances.

 

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5 Places to Unpack Your Passion

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5 Places to Unpack Your Passion

Last September, I found myself sitting in front of my computer, debating whether or not to sign up for a 3-part course called "Confident Cooking" at Sur La Table. I wanted to sign up, but I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone there and frankly, my cooking skills were severely lacking. In a moment of blind ambition, I pressed purchase.

Fast forward to the first class: I showed up early, put on my name tag and apron, then took a seat waiting to see who I’d be working with for the next 3 weeks as we conquered making chowder, biscuits, risotto, pasta, and more. I ended up getting paired with a newlywed about my age and her mother-in-law. As we talked, I discovered we had a lot in common and that they too weren’t pros in the kitchen - it was quite a relief to learn that we all had this in common.

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Over the next couple of hours, I learned how to properly use a Chef’s Knife and worked with my team to prepare a great meal. By the end of the class, we’d made a delicious salad with purple grapes and toasted walnut vinaigrette, buttermilk biscuits with maple butter, and a pot of sweet potato chowder with chicken and corn. The first class was a success: the food was delicious, I didn’t burn any food, and no injuries from the knife work. I left feeling energized, accomplished, and proud of myself for trying something new. I couldn’t wait to tell my roommates about the class and pick a night to cook for them that week. Needless to say, they were impressed by my new skills. Over the next few months I took a few more classes, cooked for more friends and along the way, I discovered a passion for cooking - one I never thought I’d have.

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

How did I end up at a cooking class?

Earlier that September I had been doing quite a bit of soul searching - I was trying to find my happiness. I asked myself a couple of hard questions: aside from continuing education for work, what have I learned for myself lately? When was the last time I tried something new?

During my search, I realized that learning makes me happy.  I missed everything from the challenge of a new activity to conversing with family about these challenges. Most of all though, I missed the fulfillment that conquering these new challenges gave me.  
Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Realizing that the only learning I had done in the past few years was centered around work was a motivator to sign myself up for my first cooking class - and I’m extremely happy I made the decision to do so.  Since September, I’ve continued to go to new classes outside of my comfort zone. Last Saturday, I spent my day at Workshop SF learning how to knit! Not my most successful endeavor but it was a fun day meeting new people and trying something I hadn’t done before.

 

I’m so happy that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, and I would encourage others to do the same.

San Francisco has an abundance of places to take workshops/classes to learn or even just try something new. I invite you to get our of your comfort zone and explore interests that may bring you happiness.


Top 5 Places I Recommend:
 

Workshop SF: Their motto is “Drink Beer and Make Stuff.” Workshop SF offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from making leather wallets to sewing to brewing your own beer and pretty much everything in between. Check out their website to see everything they’ve got to offer.

Image Credit :  Pixabay

ODC: Located in the Mission, their facility offers traditional dance classes (tap, ballet, jazz) and even goes into an eclectic offering of Salsa, Belly Dancing, Bollywood and admittedly what sounds the most fun to me: “Vogue and Tone.”

Image Credit : Pawel Kadysz

San Francisco Outdoor Adventure Club: Full of multi-sport weekend trips, this is the one if you’re ready to brave a new physical endeavor. Their trips include weekends in Tahoe, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. If you need a getaway, consider signing up their surfing and beach vacations in Costa Rica.

Image Credit : Dino Reichmuth

mic-perform.jpeg

Endgames Improv:  Most classes here are about 3 hours long but are fairly small, allowing for a lot of personal interaction. You can hone your skills in character or scene work, sketch writing, or musical improv. While you’re a student there, you also receive free admission to all of their shows.

Image Credit : Markus Spiske

Sur La Table: Classes include basic knife skills all the way through baking macarons and cooking various cuisines (French, Thai, Italian, etc). Classes are offered on weeknights and weekends -  they even have date night options that both friends or couples could attend together.

Image Credit : Tranmautritam


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#HowIPerformForLife : Ning

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#HowIPerformForLife : Ning

What motivates you? What helps you get up in the morning?

My fiance, Noah, my parents and my dreams in life motivate me and help me to get up every day.

I met Noah six years ago. He really tripped me out the night we met. I thought to myself, "WHO is this guy?" Mainly because he had (has) a spirit that made me feel like anything is possible. I've been so grateful to have him in my life all these years and he's shown me that truly, anything IS possible if you work hard and don't give up. He's a very inspiring person, not just in his accomplishments and charitable work, but also how he is as a human being - in how he treats and takes care of people in life.

In 1971, my parents left the Philippines for the United States. They gave up living in their homeland and everything and everyone they knew to build a new life for our whole family, with a savings of five hundred dollars. In the years that followed, they worked hard to bring the whole family over...both sets of my grandparents, and ten aunts and uncles. I have very fond and clear memories of going to the SF airport a lot, to welcome a new relative who would end up staying with us for a time. I was always excited about it. It became a ritual of sorts. Today, when I'm at family parties, and I see my whole family...grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids now....it makes me smile so much, because everyone is doing well. My parents worked so hard and taught me and so much of my family what persistence, hard work and true grit is. To see all of us - a big family flourishing here in the Bay Area - is an inspiration.

I've had a lot of dreams for my life since I was a child. All kinds of dreams that span my career, travel, relationships, personal fulfillment, philanthropic work and possessions. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, those dreams seemed so far out of reach. Today, seeing that my hard work and decision-making helped me attain and accomplish a lot of my dreams, it really proves that dreams come true. It inspires me to continue to work hard and make good decisions to accomplish more of my dreams. I aspire to be the person who never retires and is continually working on being a better person and a value to our community.

When was the last time you were proud of yourself?

In September 2016, I left the company that I loved working for - to go out on my own, as a freelance consultant and artist. In truth, it wasn't just leaving this particular company, but a big step in taking a very different step in the career I'd built over twenty years. It was such a hard and heart-wrenching decision because I loved my previous company, Atlassian - and still do. But my inner voice told me that I had to take the leap - to do things I'd dreamt about since I was five years old. So, I was proud when I resigned and said to myself....this is about me and my other dreams now. So far, I feel like I'm making good progress and am proud to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zones. I've been so touched that so many friends, family members and former co-workers are encouraging. Some folks have gone so far to say that I'm an inspiration to them. That makes me super proud!

Have you had any proud moments here?

I've had many proud moments at P4L.....accomplishing a tough workout, learning new things about wellness and implementing them, pushing to accomplish exercises that Justine or Cheri have me do, giving a talk to the staff about career development and seeing friends enjoy their workouts who I referred to P4L. One of my proudest moments though was when I saw P4L win the first place on Yelp for a personal training gym - because in the first months I could see and feel that P4L was top-notch and amazing - and I wanted other people to know and experience it as well. So that win validated that it truly is a special and wonderful place that others believe in, as well. That was three years ago when I joined the P4L family and I feel even more pride today!

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