Aaron Savvy, ACSM Certified Trainer
I am trying to lose weight. Is there anything I should absolutely stay away from? —Howard, Hollywood
Here is a list of what I like to call the “seven deadly sins” when building a better body.
1. Sugar. We all know the word, and in one way or another we all have a sweet tooth. It tastes oh so good, but that goodness packs an evil punch. There is no nutrition in sugar except high calories, a burst of energy and then a major crash, mood swings and a conversion of those calories into unwanted body fat.
2. Sweeteners. We know sugar is not the best thing to consume, so instead we decide to use sweeteners—diet drinks, Equal, Sweet’N Low, Splenda. Did you know that consuming sweeteners is actually worse than good old-fashioned sugar? Sweeteners manipulate the metabolism by slowing it down and causing a decrease in calorie burning, which leads to weight gain.
3. Saturated Fats. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in the blood. High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods, the majority coming from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Examples are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat milk.
4. Sodium. Sodium occurs in most foods. The most common form of sodium is sodium chloride—table salt. Processed meats—bacon, sausage, ham, canned soups and fast foods—are generally high in sodium. Excess consumption of sodium will contribute to high blood pressure. Healthy individuals should consume no more than 2,000 mg per day, while individuals with high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day.
5. Lack of Sleep. Serious health issues can result from not getting proper rest. The most obvious side effect is reduced energy the next day. However, it is more than just feeling less than our best—the body actually performs less efficiently when we’re tired. Performance, productivity, memory, etc. are all reduced when our body runs on less sleep than we need. The body needs rest to repair tissue, cope with stress and recharge the immune system. Lack of sleep slows down the metabolism, allowing a decrease in burning unwanted calories, which then causes weight gain. If your fitness goal is to create muscle mass, adequate sleep is probably the biggest contributor in getting you there. Get a minimum of eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
6. Alcohol. The physical effects of alcohol may be reversible if a person stops drinking, but some side effects may be permanent. Most alcoholic drinks carry high levels of calories, causing an excess storage of unwanted body fat.
7. Caffeine. You’ll feel good in the moment, but soon you’ll experience low energy. Caffeine is definitely a picker-upper, but with its absorption running through our body, its sponge-like effect is absorbing nutrients we so desperately need. Severe addiction can result in jitters and migraine headaches. Though we think we need it, our body is telling us otherwise by giving us bodily symptoms of abuse.
How much protein should I be taking? —Seth, Beverly Hills
When you are working out four to six days a week your body is going to demand more protein. Considering our bodies are mostly made up of water and protein, it is even in more of a demand. If you cut yourself short on protein all that muscle you are trying to acquire and build will be consumed by the body.
I suggest consuming one gram of protein per pound of desired body weight. If your goal is to weigh 170 then you are going to consume 170 grams of protein a day. For woman I suggest consuming .05 of grams of protein per pound of desired body weight.
For additional questions, feel free to visit me at aaronsavy.com