Tag Archives: mealplan

6 Pack Bags Expedition 300 (Review)

Overview
“6 Pack Fitness creates iconic bags, luggage, and meal management travel gear for serious athletes, bodybuilding, CrossFit™ and fitness enthusiasts” – 6 Pack Fitness’ Mission Statement. After receiving the Innovator 500 as a gift and posting it on my Instagram repeatedly, I was headhunted by the6 pack bags expedition 3006 Pack Fitness team and given an amazing opportunity to work with them. Being an avid meal prepper with a degree in Dietetics and a career in the fitness industry, this was a dream come true. This review is going to focus on the Stealth Black Expedition 300 backpack though. The first bag they sent me after joining the team.6 pack bags fitness expedition 300

Features
1. Holds 3 meals in 3 Sure Seal Containers
2. Includes a mini Sports Nutrition container
3. A fleece-lined pocket for a laptop/tablet.
4. Fleece-lined pockets for sunglasses and accessories.
5. Side pockets for shaker bottles
6. A large storage pocket that I use for gym clothes, supplements, and shower supplies.
7. Insulated refrigeration unit that stays cold for 12+ hours.
8. A small front pocket that I use as a quick First Aid kit (bandaids, lip balm, hydrocortisone, Neosporin, eye drops, etc.).
9. Includes a small carrying bag for gym shoes.

Great for:
1. Gym use, especially if you work as a Trainer or Group Exercise Instructor.
2. Hiking
3. Beach Days (although the Innovator 300 or 500 is a better option)
4. Office (although the Elite Executive Briefcase is a better option)

To summarize, I would definitely recommend getting the Expedition 300 if you work a fitness related job where your days are generally 8-9 hours. I used to carry the Innovator 500 around with a separate bag for gym clothes and a case for my laptop. What I like most about the Expedition 300 is that it holds just enough meals to get me through work, enough room for a change of clothes, and a compartment for my laptop at just . If your days are typically 9+ hours I would recommend stepping it up to the Expedition 500. If you work a job where the dress code is more business/business casual I would recommend looking into the Elite Executive Briefcase because it looks more professional but still functions like the Expedition 300. I’ll have a review of the Innovator 500 up soon that will highlight the features and benefits of that bag versus the Expedition 300.

Do You Need”Diet” or “Low Calorie” Foods?

Chances are if you’re doing some grocery shopping you may see some of your favorite pre-packaged foods in a “diet” or “low calorie” option. You might see “no added sugar”, “reduced fat”, and so on and so forth. They’re all geared around the same goal, helping you eat the foods you crave with less guilt. Here’s the problem though…is that effective? Eating low calorie, reduced fat, no added sugar foods might be a start but if you eat a whole tub of reduced fat ice cream in one sitting then the end result will still be the same. Here’s what you should do.

1. Figure Out Your Calorie Needs

This is probably the easiest way to start. Google “calorie calculator” and you’ll find a few websites that will give you a rough estimate of the amount of calories you should be eating per day. They aren’t 100% spot on, but it’s better than nothing. Here are a few you can try:

Mayo Clinic
NutritionData
My Fitness Pal

People obsess over the amount of calories in a meal but have no idea how many calories they actually need. They look at one of my meals on Instagram and scoff at the 350-550 calorie count because they’re used to seeing ads for meals under 200 calories.

2. Turn Those Calories into Grams

Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are all measured in grams. So, understanding that you need 2500 calories a day (to maintain your weight) is a good start, but now how do we get to those 2500 calories in the most effective way possible? Find a ratio or percentage. So let’s say your ratio looks like this 50:30:20. 50% of your calories are going to come from carbs, 30% are going to come from protein, and 20% from fat. So your daily plan will look like this:

2500 x .5 = 1250 calories from carbs/4 (amount of calories per gram from carbs) = 312.5 grams of carbs per day.
2500 x .3 = 750 calories from protein/4 = 187.5 grams of protein per day
2500 x .2 = 500 calories from fat/9 = 55.5 grams of fat per day

3. Divide Those Grams by the Amount of Meals You Plan to Eat

I generally recommend 5 meals per day spaced out by 3 hours at a time. So we’re going to take our grams of carbs, protein, and fat and divide them by 5 to give us the amount of carbs, protein and fat we’re going to eat per meal.

312.5/5 = 62.5 grams of carbs per meal
187.5/5 = 37.5 grams of protein per meal
55.5/5 = 11.1 grams of fat per meal

Now when you look at the nutrition label of what you’re about to eat you’ll be able to determine whether that fits in the macronutrient breakdown you’ve written. I’m always in favor of the healthier alternative products anyway so I tend to reach for reduced fat, no sugar added, etc., but if I missed a meal then I’m going to either improvise or buy a meal that comes as close to meeting my needs as possible. I won’t just reach for what advertises itself as the lowest calorie option possible.

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Kodiak Cakes High Protein Cookies Recipe

Check out these Kodiak Cakes High Protein Cookies made with dark chocolate, oats, and Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Mix.

This was my first time making Kodiak Cakes High Protein cookies and they came out great. One thing I want to try is replacing some, if not all, of the butter with applesauce or plain greek yogurt which would significantly reduce the saturated fat content without losing too much moisture. Try it out, experiment and let me know how you like it!

Kodiak Cakes high protein cookiesIngredients
1 1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Mix®
1 scoop whey protein
1 cup quick oats
6 oz special dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Instructions
+ Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until smooth.
+ Blend the quick oats and Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Mix, then add to the sugar and butter mixture.
+ Stir in the chocolate chips.
+ Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Check out the original recipe here and absolutely, definitely, 100% buy the Power Cakes mix. It’s fantastic. I believe they sell it in Costco, Target and Walmart now. So worth it if you want guilt free pancakes.

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3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Energy

Want to be more productive every day? Want to create some momentum early in the morning and keep the ball rolling throughout the day? Tired of feeling slow and lethargic? Here are a few easy ways to stay charged up and in control during the day.

1. Balance Your Blood Sugar

If you want to keep your energy stable throughout the day then you need to first look at what you’re eating and when you’re eating. If your breakfasts consists of a bagel with cream cheese, a coffee and some fruit, then you’re looking at a perfect recipe to crash in 4 hours or less. Loading up on carbs might feel great at first because it spikes your blood sugar and consequently, your insulin, but once your insulin goes to work, your blood sugar may crash leaving you feeling sluggish. Balance your blood sugar by eating 1 small portion of complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc.) multiple times throughout the day to keep your blood sugar balanced.

2. Control your Caffeine Intake

Even I have this problem. I physically can’t wake up in the morning without a cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that, but 5 hours later I’m back to feeling mentally cloudy. An easy solution to this problem is to start off with a cup of coffee and then switch to a couple cups of green or earl grey tea throughout the day. Reason being that tea has less caffeine than coffee, and it’s a much more mild sense of stimulation (for me anyway). Waking up with 1 cup of coffee, having a cup of tea 3-4 hours later, and then another cup 3-4 hours later provides little rushes of caffeine throughout the day, almost like a continuous drip. I’m not very sensitive to caffeine so this works great for me and I can still sleep at night as long as I stop by 4 or 5 pm. Tailor it to your needs.

3. Get At Least 15-20 Minutes of Exercise During the Day

Some people get their best results exercising first thing in the morning and some people need more time to wake up. What’s always worked best for me is working out anywhere from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in regards to increasing my energy throughout the day. I do 15-20 minutes on my “rest days” of either stretching/barrel rolling or light-moderate cardio. That’s all it takes to stimulate some blood flow, increase your mobility and feel more alert for the next few hours. Try it out, you may even find that it works better than a cup of coffee for you.

Check out my Instagram for awesome workouts and meals! Like my Facebook page.

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3 Techniques to Break Through Plateaus

If you’ve been trying to lose weight and/or build muscle, and have been successful only for your progress to suddenly stop out of nowhere, then this post is for you. I just finished speaking to a buddy of mine (and professional New Year’s resolutioner) at the PepsiCo headquarters who has been trying to take off that holiday weight. He allegedly lost 17 lbs over the last 3-4 weeks and suddenly he can’t get any more weight off. There are a few reasons this happens but it always comes down to these two main things: you haven’t changed your training and you haven’t changed your diet.

Here are 3 solid techniques you can use to bring your metabolism back to life and keep seeing progress.

1. Change Your Workout Routine

I made this number 1 because it’s absolutely the most common mistake I see people, New Year’s Resolutioners especially, make. You prepare yourself mentally, invest in a gym membership, start going religiously, and then in 3 months you’re back to spending $20+/month on a gym you don’t use. You might as well invest that $20 in the companies stock at that point. Chances are you show up and do 30 minutes of steady-state cardio on a treadmill or elliptical, run through some of the machines (doing 3 sets of 10 reps) and then leave. That might work for 2 weeks or so but eventually your body has no reason to change because it has no more stimulus to adapt to. It can handle that workout in the condition it’s in. Change up your intensity (think High Intensity Intervals), your rep ranges, the order you perform exercises in, the exercises you’re doing, the angles you’re executing those exercises in, etc. Check out my Instagram for out-of-the-box exercises. You can even go to bodybuilding.com and get free workout plans!

pushups chest home workout weightnnarmsplankpic

2. Change How You Eat

If your diet is basically the same every day, and you keep your exercises the same then why would your body feel the need to change? Once you hit that plateau and you stop getting the results you’re after, change up your workouts. After you change up your workout routine, take a good hard look at your diet. Very simple things like cutting your portions smaller can reduce the total calories you’re taking in on a daily basis. Those calories add up to lbs and then we’re back on track. It’s as simple as having 1 slice of toast with breakfast instead of 2, or switching to cooking spray instead of oil.

IG Meal

3. Think About Recovery

We’re always focused on the hard work, but we never focus on how we recover. This ties into how you eat but also think about how you sleep, how you handle stress, what supplements you take, and the rest days you take. Your mentality is just as important as your physicality and you should take it equally as serious. Make sure you sleep enough so your body has time to recover physically and mentally. Make sure you eat well so you have the right nutrients to rebuild with. Make sure you take ACTIVE rest days. Don’t sit on the couch and binge watch HBO just because you have a day off from the gym. Take your dog on a long walk, take yourself on a long walk, do a 15 minute home workout, stretch or do yoga, barrel roll. Make your workout plan something along the lines of 2 days on, 1 day off. None of this 3 days off nonsense unless your body is telling you that you really need it. Chances are you’re justifying extra days off to yourself. It should come from your body, not your mind.

supplements

Check out my friends over at 6 Pack Bags and my sponsor Scivation for more healthy living tips and workouts. My buddy Rob at Heavy Metal Kettle posts badass workouts you can do to change up your routine.

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5 Keys to Branding Yourself for Success

U R A Brand by Catherine Kaputa is a great business book that applies to everyone, whether you’re an entrepreneur or just looking for the next step in your career. She goes over how smart people brand themselves to get an edge on their competition. An employer probably gets over 100+ applications after posting an open position on a job board. How do you stand out from the rest of those applicants…or do you try to blend in? Blending in might work at first but essentially it makes you a commodity; disposable. You need to build as much value as possible to be competitive. Check out what Catherine Kaputa recommends:

1. Think Different

Study your competition but don’t imitate them. Study what makes them successful or unsuccessful. Think about what you like about their brand and what you dislike; adopt the positive attributes and avoid adopting the negative attributes. Think about what makes you unique and different from the herd and expand on that. If you appear to be the same as all of your competition, then you’re a commodity in the market place.
2. Look for the “Sweet Spot”: Where a Good Idea and Market Needs Meet

Supply and demand is the name of the game. “If you don’t stand for something relevant to the marketplace, you have no value” -Kaputa. Look for a spot where there are few or no competitors, uncover your hidden assets and then determine where there is a need and hit it hard.

3. Choose a Strategy

You need a strategy that gives people a reason for choosing you over your competitor.  There are 10 self-brand strategies you can use to get great results.
1. Be the first
2. Be the leader
3. Take the anti-leader position (go against the grain, think Michael Moore)
4. Own an attribute
5. Use a “magic ingredient” or invent a new process
6. Be an expert
7. Be preferred
8. Set a high price tag (a risky move if you don’t have the skill or experience to justify it)
9. Use your special heritage
10. Own a cause

4. Develop Your Visual Identity

The way you look can influence the perspective of others and often leaves a lasting impact. Who would you trust more, a doctor in ripped jeans, a dirty shirt, and messy hair who smells like cigarettes or a clean cut, well groomed doctor in a lab coat? Think about using one or more of these guidelines to brand your image: clothes, a signature item, a different look that still looks the part, a signature hair style (think Donald Trump), a consistent look, a signature color theme, have a strong presence, leverage your height (think Shaq and Kevin Hart), and staying relevant.

5. Think in Terms of Emotional Engagement

“We form the strongest bonds with the brands we like, identify with, and feel emotionally connected with…”- Kaputa. Think about what the market wants or needs and build an emotional engagement between that and your brand. This reminds me of the Texting and Driving commercials. These work off of a huge emotional response when we see young adults, children, and new parents going about their lives one minute and the next minute they’re involved in a massive, life altering collision. These tear-inducing commercials build a strong emotional engagement with their audience because they relate to anybody who has a car and a phone…which is virtually everyone.

 

IMG_2636

 

Check out my Instagram and see what I’m doing differently to brand myself. If you don’t see anything, tell me what you think I should to differently!

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3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs

It’s come to my attention that a lot of people struggle with a few key points when attempting to convert to a low carb diet. Let’s say someone is having chicken cutlet for dinner with a side of pasta and vegetables. Well the breading for that chicken cutlet is going to make up 1-2 servings of carbs and if you’re like most people you probably didn’t measure the amount of pasta you put on your plate. Your dinner alone could contain over 100 grams of carbs without you even feeling like you ate a lot of carbs.

These are the 3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs:

1. They have no idea how many grams of carbohydrates their body needs to maintain their current weight let alone lose weight.
2. They don’t know how to translate this into meals that provide the predetermined portion of carbs that they need in order to lose weight.
3. They may not know what foods are sources of carbohydrates. Yes, everyone knows bread, rice, and pasta are carbohydrates but few people realize that dried fruit and some starchy vegetables are high in carbs.

I’ve had clients say to me “I’ve been cutting out carbs for a few weeks now and I haven’t seen any results. I can’t lose weight no matter what I do”. Then, when I ask them what a typical breakfast looks like they say something along the lines of “yogurt with granola and fruit”. So what you just told me is that you’re cutting back on carbs but for breakfast you had a sugary protein with carbs and carbs.

In short, here’s my advice

1. Get an Idea of How Many Grams of Carbs You Need

You can use free tracking apps like MyFitnessPal to get a good idea of how many grams of carbs, protein and fat you should be eating, or you can consult with a nutritionist or dietitian for advice. Once you’ve figured out how many calories you need every day and how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you need every day to maintain your weight, you’ll be one step closer to figuring out how many grams you need to cut to lose weight.

2. Cut the Servings of Carbs You Eat Everyday

Sounds a little obvious right? If you normally eat a bagel every day for breakfast doing something as simple as switching to half a bagel every day is enough to spark some results. This is by no means the most effective method, but it’s a method none the less.

3. Clean Up Your Carbs

Switching from white rice to brown rice probably isn’t going to spark the weight loss you’re after alone but it’s a good place to start. Let me be the first person to say that the commercial where they say “sugar is sugar, your body doesn’t recognize the difference” is the most misinforming piece of nutritional information of all time. Your body absolutely knows the difference between the sugar you get from a piece of fruit and the sugar you get from an iced caramel macchiato. Keep 80% of  your carbs from whole sources like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. They’ll keep you feeling satiated longer and they’re less likely to be stored as fat for a few reasons: it’s much harder to eat 100 grams of carbohydrates from vegetables than it is from candy, they won’t spike your blood sugar as much, and you’ll automatically increase your intake of fiber and micronutrients.

4. Use the Nutrition Info Label on Packaged Foods

A typical serving of carbs is about 15 grams. If you absolutely have to eat a processed, packaged food make sure you look at the nutrition info and see how many grams of carbs are in each serving and more importantly, WHAT IS 1 SERVING? 1 serving size of poptarts is one pastry…nobody eats one pastry. If you never check the serving size on the nutrition info label then you could easily be eating 2x the amount of carbs that you think you’re eating.

If you have any questions feel free to comment on this post. Check out my Instagram for low carb, high protein meals that are easy to make and a lot more exciting than eating salads all day. Like this meal (minus the wine and breadsticks):

surfandturf

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Shout out to my sister, Jackie, for this topic idea. She’s an awesome cook and sees people making this mistakes all the time!

What Should You Eat Post-Workout?

Whether you’re Team Whole Foods or Team Supplements you know you have to eat something after you’re workout. The question I always hear is, “what should I eat after my workout?”. I’m all about getting nutrients from a whole food source, but if you’re in a crunch for time then you may want to consider some different whey shakes and bars because, honestly, peanut butter and celery is not an effective post workout meal even if it makes you feel better that it’s more natural. Here’s what you need for an effective post workout meal: simple carbohydrates, fast digesting protein, and very little fat (and if you have to have it, make it a plant based fat). These are some really easy meals you can have within 30-45 minutes of working out. Some are going to be whole food examples, some are going to have supplements.

1. Grilled Chicken & White Rice
6 oz. grilled white meat chicken
1 cup of white rice

Simple right? Add 1 to 2 tbsp. of a very low fat (3-5 g fat/tbsp.) sauce to jazz it up or just eat it plain…like a serial killer.

2. Whey Protein Shake & Gummy Bears
1-2 scoops of whey protein in 8-12 oz. of cold water
1 serving of gummy bears, gummy worms, Swedish fish or dried fruit

Team Whole Foods is going to boycott my page for this. Remember, 4 out of your 5 meals for the day should be from whole food sources and healthy. I even added the option of dried fruit to this meal out of respect! There’s science behind this, I swear. After your workout your body’s insulin levels jump. At this time your body wants to deliver nutrients as quickly as possible to the affected muscles to begin repairing them immediately. Your muscles need amino acids (protein) and glucose (sugar) as quickly as possible to recover. This is why we’re focusing on having a quickly digestible source of protein and a simple sugar.

3. Eggs & Pancakes
1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
1 serving of pancakes (usually 1/3 cup mix)
1/4 cup lite syrup

Hang in there Team Whole Foods. Again, we have a terrific source of protein to rebuild those muscles and we have a source of simple carbohydrates. If you’re not in a crunch for time after your workout, try this out.

eggs & pancakes

4. Lean Sirloin Steak & Potatoes
6 oz. grilled lean sirloin steak
1 whole baked potato

Steak isn’t my first choice for a post workout meal because it isn’t a necessarily fast digesting protein but it’s still a high quality protein source, so it makes the cut. Our whole baked potato still coincides with our goal of simple carbohydrates.

* These meals are just examples. Your independent macronutrient needs may differ.

I could think of a million other post workout meals that fit this description but I’ll stop here. Follow my Instagram page for more post workout meals and a ton of other healthy meals you can try out. BCAA supplements are another great source of fast digesting protein. I use Scivation Xtend BCAAs during and after my workouts.

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Easy Egg Scramble

This egg scramble packs 3 servings of vegetables, 4.4 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein in one easy breakfast! Pair it with two organic turkey sausage links or patties and your looking at closer to 40+ grams of protein. This is a staple muscle building meal in my meal plan because of its high protein, high vegetable, low fat and low carb profile. Not to mention this meal is very satisfying and keeps me full for 3 or more hours. This recipe is super easy and only takes a few minutes to cook.

Ingredients
1 whole egg, 3 egg whites (scrambled)
1 cup of raw spinach
1/2 cup of diced onions
1/2 cup of diced bell peppers
1 cup of steamed red potatoes (chopped)
1/4 cup of reduced fat cheese
1 tbsp. hot sauce

Instructions
1) Coat a skillet with olive oil cooking spray
2) Add 1 cup of raw spinach, 1/2 cup of diced onions, 1 cup of chopped steamed red potatoes and 1/2 cup of bell peppers to the skillet on medium heat
3) Cook until the onions are golden and the spinach is wilted
4) Add your 1 whole egg, 3 egg white mix and scramble until thoroughly cooked
5) Add 1/4 cup reduced fat cheese and scramble until the cheese is melted
6) Plate and add 1 tbsp. of hot sauce

Egg Scramble

Nutrition Info
Protein: 31 g
Carbohydrates: 23 g
Fat: 9 g
Calories = 297

Nutrition Info with the Organic Turkey Sausage Patties
Protein: 43 g
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fat: 15 g
Calories = 407

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Follow me on instagram and like my Facebook page. You can easily stay on track using a 6 Pack Bag. I use the Expedition 300 for work and the Innovator 500 for 10-12 hour work days.

High Protein Parfait in 30 Seconds

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast that you can bring to work look no further. This recipe takes 30 seconds to make and is packed with slow digesting protein and fiber to keep you fuller, longer.

Ingredients
8 oz. Plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup High Protein Granola
1 banana (6″)
1 tbsp. flaxseed or chia seed
1 packet of truvia

Directions
Scoop 8 oz. of plain Greek yogurt into a bowl or container
Add 1 packet of truvia and stir
Mix 1/2 cup of High Protein Granola with 1 tbsp. flaxseed or chia seed
Layer the granola/flaxseed or chia seed over the yogurt
Slice 1 6″ banana on top of the granola
Serve

Greek Yogurt Recipe

Nutrition Info
Protein: 37 g
Carbohydrates: 55 g
Fat: 8 g

This is a super easy and effective recipe. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

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