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    ICON Meals Catoring To The Competitor In Each Of Us

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    My Fitness Journey: Things I Wish I Would Have Known!

    My Fitness Journey: Things I Wish I Would Have Known!

    Things I wish I would have known when I started my fitness journey!

    1)  Don’t overthink workouts. There was so many times I doubted if I was doing things wrong and wasting time - but I soon realized mistakes are bound to be made and so long as I keep learning I’ll always keep making progress!

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    Mindfulness

    Mindfulness

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)

    Through the use of technology in the workplace, our homes, and our general daily life, the world has evolved a society that thrives on chaotic schedules and instant gratification.

    We don’t often think of long-term rewards. In fact, our impulsive minds have been trained to desire a smaller reward up front than a better reward at the expense of extra time/effort. There’s no question as to why this occurs…look at the amount of people around you constantly glued to their screens, scrolling through endless pages of content just a click or press away. Everything is instant, and we’ve adapted to the “freedom” to overload our minds with subconsciously draining habits.

    Quieting the mind, practicing the art of NOT thinking, and being able to focus on one thing at a time is no easy task…but remember good practices make good habits.

    Whether it’s setting time aside each day for a healthy mental habit like meditation, reading, writing, yoga, etc., the art of concentration is a cornerstone of practicing mindfulness that can elicit stability and a calm state of mind.

    Just like physical exercise promotes the health and longevity of our bodies, mental exercise does the same for our brain. We think more clearly, plan more effectively, and have a much easier time grasping the concepts of the most efficient or optimal ways to plan things out to reach our goals.

    Eliminate distractions, avoid giving in to short-term rewards that rob us of enduring uncomfortable situations for what’s more beneficial long-term 🙏

    Stay connected with blog author Michael Mastrucci on

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

    Mental Nutrition

    Mental Nutrition

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)

    We often associate things like exercise and diet with physical improvement while mental-specific activities like reading keep our mind sharp. However, something I don’t see or hear enough of is how our food choices play into our mental state.

    At one point, we all learned how to track calories/macros and how this affected our physique. Through this, we discovered how to manipulate food choices to allow us the ability to fit “fun” foods into our diet plan. While I’m a proponent of flexible dieting, there’s plenty of people that take these “fun” foods (or more of an IIFYM approach) to an extreme.

    I believe it’s important to find a balance between both nutrient-dense and nutrient-void foods to allow you to truly enjoy your nutritional protocols…but if consistently leaning towards more nutrient-void foods begs the question; have you ever considered how food affects your mind?

    Whether it’s the ability to focus for long periods, processing information, or just clear-headed decision making, your brain NEEDS nutrients just as much as your body.

    While everyone runs on different wavelengths, and some can get away with a more “loose” sort of diet, it’s extremely important to pay attention to not only how our food choices make us feel or operate physically, but mentally as well.

    Enjoy that donut, cereal, ice cream, or whatever treats you love indulging in, but don’t rob yourself of proper fuel just because it fits your macros.

    What is the Keto Diet?

    What is the Keto Diet?

    What is the Keto Diet?

    Have you heard of the keto diet? I’m betting you have since just like intermittent fasting, it’s a hot topic in the health and dieting industries. For many who are interested in trying it or are in the beginning stages of making this lifestyle change, the amount of information and misinformation can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

    The ketogenic diet is a very-low-carb and high-fat diet. It can result in significant reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in glycemic control. We’ve all been told glucose and carbohydrate is where we get fuel from and that’s true – blood glucose is important for fuel – but there’s an alternative fuel source called KETONES.

    And the brain actually prefers it!

    Ketones are an incredible source of energy from fat!

    Living a Keto Lifestyle

    I’ve followed the keto lifestyle for a little over 20 years now and I am not exaggerating when I say that it completely changed my life. I stumbled onto keto after getting extremely sick with Epstein-Barr, battling chronic fatigue syndrome, brain fog, depression, and fibromyalgia. Through my research, I read that a keto diet could help with autoimmune issues and inflammation—at least according to a few trailblazers on the message boards. It sounded like my autoimmune issues didn’t have to hinder me my entire life. They didn’t have to be a death sentence, and there might be some hope. The more I researched the ketogenic diet, nutritional ketosis, and ketone bodies, the more convinced I became that this was the solution to my health woes. After a few weeks following the keto diet, I started noticing an improvement in how I was feeling, and it was becoming noticeable by those around me as well. To say I was thrilled is a huge understatement.

    Keto Food Pyramid

    The keto diet can be beneficial to many people for an assortment of reasons, and it can be customized to fit your bio-individuality. There are three main factors that led me to sticking to the keto diet: it cuts out all nutrient-deficient foods, it helps me to feel full and satisfied and it has cognitive-enhancing effects and there is the weight maintenance effect as well.

    Keto and Diet Studies

    In a review of 23 weight-loss trials published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Tulane University found that both low-carb and low-fat diets led to weight loss, reduced waist circumference and improved metabolic risk factors with no significant differences between diets. They concluded: “These findings suggest that low-carbohydrate diets are at least as effective as low-fat diets in reducing weight and improving metabolic risk factors. Low-carbohydrate diets could be recommended to obese persons with abnormal metabolic risk factors for the purpose of weight loss.”¹

    One of the best and most reliable examples is the A TO Z Weight Loss Study, a randomized trial conducted by a group of Stanford researchers led by Dr. Christopher Gardner. In the trial, the researchers compared four popular weight-loss diets—Atkins (low-carb and high-fat), LEARN (low-fat), Ornish (low-fat) and Zone (technically considered lower carb)—and they found that women following the Atkins diet lost more weight and experienced more favorable metabolic effects after 12 months compared to the other diets.²

    In another recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association—the DIETFITS clinical trial, which randomized 609 overweight or obese adults to a healthy low-fat or a healthy low-carb diet for 12 months—both diets led to similar weight loss and metabolic health improvement (e.g., reduced fasting glucose and insulin). Notably, the low-carb diet led to more favorable improvements in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.³

    One of my favorite aspects of the DIETFITS trial was the emphasis on diet quality. The lead physician Dr. Gardner and his team put a tremendous emphasis on high dietary quality for both groups, which is important because traditional low-fat diets often lead to reduced diet quality due to the low-nutrient density of heavily processed, convenient, pre-packaged low-fat foods (e.g., refined grains, added sugar).

    Remembering Bio-individuality When Starting a Keto Diet

    I love sharing my story and experience with keto. There are two important items I want to mention regarding the keto diet or any change to your diet. The first is that you are making a lifestyle change. You have to find what works for your life and your body. Keto worked phenomenally well for me and my lifestyle and while I know it can work for many others, it won’t be a fit for everyone. We have to keep in mind bio-individuality. All of us are different. Our bodies need different things, our lifestyles require different things. Experimentation is one of the most important things to keep in mind. You’ll never find what works for you without it. Experiment with the keto diet to see if it works for you, try carb-cycling, try the Mediterranean diet or the Paleo diet. Find what works for you and don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t—just make adjustments.

    The second is that when making a lifestyle change, you must grant yourself grace. I know that it’s great to imagine your life on keto—to feel the renewed energy of eating clean whole foods and being free of sugar addiction—but I also know that imagining the keto life and adopting it can be two vastly different things.

    I am a firm believer that nothing needs to be done perfectly. Even I can get thrown off my diet when life gets crazy, or I get too busy, or I find myself in an airport with only 40 minutes between flights. So, when life gets crazy, and you grab a cookie or two don’t despair and throw all of your hard work out the window. Just get back on track with your next meal.

    More Keto Tips

    If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that I frequently share posts about my favorite keto products, keto foods to choose from when you’re making meals and snacks, and how I order when I go out to eat. These are some great ideas for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by all of the information out there. And if you’re still struggling with how to implement this into your life, I recommend not overcomplicating it. Start slowly by focusing on the types of whole foods I list in my 7 Keto Foods to Boost Energy post.

    Make sure you also follow The ENERGY Formula Facebook Group as we share our favorite keto recipes.

    Original article may be found directly on Shawn's site. 

    Stay connected with Shawn Wells:

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

     

    “low-carbohydrate diets are at least as effective as low-fat diets” Hu, T., Mills, K. T., Yao, L., Demanelis, K., Eloustaz, M., Yancy Jr, W. S., … & Bazzano, L. A. (2012). Effects of low-carbohydrate diets versus low-fat diets on metabolic risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. American journal of epidemiology, 176(suppl_7), S44-S54.

    A TO Z Weight Loss Study” Gardner, C. D., Kiazand, A., Alhassan, S., Kim, S., Stafford, R. S., Balise, R. R., … & King, A. C. (2007). Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. Jama, 297(9), 969-977.

    ^the DIETFITS clinical trial” Gardner, C. D., Trepanowski, J. F., Del Gobbo, L. C., Hauser, M. E., Rigdon, J., Ioannidis, J. P., … & King, A. C. (2018). Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion: the DIETFITS randomized clinical trial. Jama, 319(7), 667-679.

    How To Calculate Your Sweat Rate

    How To Calculate Your Sweat Rate

    It’s pretty common knowledge that proper hydration is important for your general health. Most of your body is made of the stuff, and we simply need to drink enough every day. The Mayo Clinic recommends 15.5 cups of fluid a day for men, and 11.5 cups for women (that includes all fluids, 20% of which come from food).

     

    When you’re exercising though...things get a little more complicated. Sweat’s our way of regulating body temperature, and the more you sweat the quicker you become dehydrated. Knowing how much you sweat makes adequate rehydration much easier.

     

    ICON Meals Sweat Rate

    Learn Your Sweat Rate

    Sweat rate measures how much water leaves your body while you’re exercising. Next time you exercise, do these steps to calculate it:

     

     

    1. Head to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
    2. Find your initial weight — weigh yourself in as little clothing as possible.
    3. Write down the ambient temperature.
    4. Go through a 1-hour exercise routine, recording any fluid intake.
    5. After your routine, towel off any sweat and weigh yourself again in the same clothing as before. This is your final weight.
    6. Convert weight loss to fluid ounces or milliliters. (1 lb = 16 oz = 454 ml)
    7. Add fluid lost to fluid consumed during exercise to find your hourly sweat rate at that temperature.

     

    Average people sweat 27 – 47 oz/hr during exercise, but sweat rates as high as 125 oz/hr have been recorded (that was Alberto Salazar while training for the 1984 Summer Olympics). It’s important to remember that climate affects sweat rate. Temperature, humidity, and airflow are all important variables to consider.


    Once you know your sweat rate, you’ll know exactly how much water to replenish during your exercise!


    Besides water, post-workout you’ll want protein to help your body repair and regrow your muscles. Snacks like our Wag Bars are the optimal choice.