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    When Should You Eat Carbs? By Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

    When Should You Eat Carbs? By Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

    You may have heard about “protein timing,” — but if you haven’t it refers to the distribution of protein throughout the day, and before/after training sessions for optimal muscle protein synthesis (the process by which cells make proteins).


    There are different studies and philosophies on how this should be accomplished depending on your overall goals. If you train regularly, then you probably have a system down pat already.


    But are you paying attention to “carb timing?”


    If you’re not, you might be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to your health, physique, and losing those last 5-10 lbs


    The research for carbs and high-intensity exercise is very clear; however, the research about meal distribution for metabolic flexibility and body composition is not as well-established and definitely not widely-recognized.


    So why should you pay attention to how you distribute carbs throughout the day?


    It primarily has to deal with “metabolic flexibility,” or your body’s ability to adapt to different metabolic demands (aka the stress you put on it through eating and training).


    We know that the consumption of any carbohydrates requires an insulin response so that our cells can absorb the sugars from the macronutrient for energy. Eat too many carbs, though, and your body might not be able to keep up.


    Research studies have shown that the body can use (burn or store) about 40 grams of carbs after a meal (assuming you’re not exercising while digesting the meal). Meals that exceed 40 grams require more and more insulin to shut down fat metabolism and force the extra carbs to be converted into fat for storage.


    This limits the body’s ability to burn fats, increases fluctuations in blood glucose, and increases hunger.


    For the average person trying to lose weight - keeping carbs lower at the beginning of the day and higher towards the end of the day.




    Stay connected with Team ICON Member Emily Hayden:

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

    Macros Made Simple by April Imholte

    Macros Made Simple by April Imholte

    Do you ever hear the word “Macros” and nod your head like you know exactly what the other person is talking about when in reality, you have absolutely no clue? It wasn’t that long ago, I myself looked like a deer in headlights when Macros was the topic of conversation. A few years ago, I started digging deep into understanding macros and how they can affect your physique. 

     

    Let me be the first to tell you that understanding Macros is comparable to “winning the jackpot” when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. It’s a complete game changer. And the good news is, it isn’t nearly as complicated as it may seem.   

     

    If you want to impress your friends and family and contribute to the next conversation you are a part of surrounding this very topic, keep reading as I break down the ABCs of Macros for you in 5 simple steps.  

     

    1. What exactly are Macros? Macronutrients, aka “Macros”, are simply your Proteins, Fats and Carbs. They make up the foods we eat and are needed in large amounts in order to provide our body with energy (aka calories) on a daily basis. Macros allow our body to function properly and carry out activities of daily life. Certain food items are considered to be Proteins, others Fats and then there’s my personal favorite, Carbs. Some foods contain a little of each macro and are considered to be “combo foods.”   

    2. What is the function of each Macronutrient? Protein is responsible for several duties; primarily repairing and rebuilding tissues which includes, you guessed it, lean muscle tissue. Protein contains essential amino acids which are the “building blocks” for our muscles. This is not exclusive to muscle tissue but also includes skin, hair, nails, even the cells that line our intestinal tract. Protein also helps support immune function which can ward off illnesses. Our body must convert protein sources into essential amino acids. In order to ensure I am getting enough of the essential amino acids my body requires, I also supplement with REAAL EAAs which have been clinically proven to be 3x more effective than whey protein and 36x more effective than BCAAs at building and restoring lean muscle tissue! Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of energy. This includes the cells of the brain. Last but not least, let’s talk about fats, which tend to get a bad rap. Healthy fats supply our body with fatty acids. These fatty acids must be consumed through the foods we eat as our bodies cannot make them, such as Omega-3 found in fish oil. Fats also aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as Vit A, D, E and K. They also help to protect vital internal organs.  

    3. What are some examples of Proteins, Fats and Carbs? One of the easiest ways to understand if a food source is considered a protein, fat or carb is to read the nutrition label. If the grams of one macronutrient are higher than the others, that is what it should be considered. For example, let’s say the protein grams in an item are quite a bit higher than carbs or fats, you would consider that food to be a protein source. Ideally, the majority of foods consumed per day will be whole foods. If there is no nutrition label to refer to, here is a list that you may find helpful.  

      1. Lean Protein Sources: chicken breast, turkey breast, extra lean ground beef, egg whites, fish, and dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.  

      2. Carbohydrates: fruit, potatoes, rice, oats, quinoa (also contains a good amount of protein), beans, whole wheat bread, starchy vegetables.  When choosing carbohydrates, stick to complex carbs versus simple carbs such as sugar, sweets, juice, etc. 

      3. Healthy Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, natural peanut butter or almond butter, fatty meats such as salmon, and egg yolks.  

    4. How do Macros make up our Calorie Intake for the day? Most people would be able to give you a fairly close estimate of how many calories they consume from day to day. However, if asked how many grams of protein, fats and carbs one consumes per day, the majority have no clue. Simply put, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats all contain calories. Protein and Carbs contain 4cal/gram. Whereas Fat, which is more calorie dense, contains 9cal/gram. For example, if a food item contains 20g of Protein, 80 calories would be derived from Protein. It’s simple math but helpful in understanding how food makes up your total calorie intake per day.  

    5. How do I know how many Macros to consume per day? This question is the most complicated to answer as not two individuals are alike when it comes to nutrition. Trying to copy a meal plan your buddy, neighbor, spouse, has will most likely not work for you. Hiring an online trainer or following a program like those offered on bodybuiling.com will be your best bet when it comes to figuring out what works for you. If you are looking for a general starting point, the 40/40/20 rule is a good place to begin. 40% of your calories should come from carbs, 40% from protein and the other 20% from fats. For example, if following a 2000 calorie diet, this would equal out to 200g protein, 200g carbs and 44g fat daily. I would also encourage you to document your daily intake using a macro tracker such as Myfitnesspal app.  

    In conclusion, the best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with macros. Stay consistent for at least a week and only adjust your macros if you aren’t making progress. And remember, progress is measured by more than just a number on the scale. Until next time, wake up each day reminding yourself to Be Strong & Courageous and Keep “Livin Fit”.  

     

    For more helpful training tips, workout ideas, macro-friendly recipes and more, follow me on Instagram@aprilimholte

     


     

    Stay connected with ICON Meals Influencer April Imholte:

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    Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    How to Increase Muscle & Minimize Fat Gain

    How to Increase Muscle & Minimize Fat Gain

    Originally published on nutrabio.com


     

    You clicked on this article because you want to put on slabs of muscle, right?  Here’s the part that scares people… You need to put yourself in a caloric surplus in order to accomplish that. Yes, the same surplus that causes so many to gain dreaded body fat.  The question becomes, can you effectively increase muscle mass while minimizing fat gain?  To put it simply, yes.  You can increase muscle while minimizing fat gain.  However, there is a balancing act that needs to take place.  So, put your arms out, steady yourself, and let’s jump in. 

    Below in this article will be some of the best tips and tricks to keep your body fat under control while trying to increase muscle mass.  But first, let’s discuss the difference between bulking cycles as they differ significantly. 

    Clean Bulking Vs. Dirty Bulking

    If you’re trying to increase muscle and minimize fat gain, you will want to focus on clean bulking.  What does that mean?  It means keeping your nutrition in check while in a caloric surplus and filling it with healthy macronutrients – clean sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Notice how all three macronutrients are included in the previous sentence?  That’s because they are all going to fill a role when trying to increase muscle mass. 

    On the opposite side of the spectrum is dirty bulking.  This approach is where you eat anything and everything in an effort to put on weight (including fast food) – which can lead to massive increases in fat gain. 

    The tips below will fall under the clean bulking method as the last thing you want to do is put on a ton of body fat (you will gain a little during a clean bulk, though) and then spend the next several months on a treadmill trying to lose all of that weight which in the process could strip away some of your hard-earned muscle. 

    Track Your Nutrition

    The goal when trying to increase muscle mass while minimizing fat gain is not allowing your caloric surplus to get away from you.  While you need to eat more than you would to achieve your maintenance level, that doesn’t mean taking a 2,000-calorie maintenance and jumping up to 4,000 calories per day, thinking the almighty Gainz God is going to shine down on you. 

    Take it slow and increase your calories by around 10% and see how you fair after a week.  If you notice you’re gaining weight, but when you check your body fat it’s gone up, back it down a little bit to around a 5% increase in your calories.  Remember, slow and steady will help prevent fat gain.  Strive for 0.5-1.0lb of weight gain each week.  Anything more and you’re potentially adding body fat. 

    At the same time, track your nutrition with something like MyFitnessPal.  You don’t know what you don’t know, and while you may think you’re at a sweet spot with your nutrition, you could either be drastically over or drastically under your calories, which will not provide you the results you’re looking for. 

    Prioritizing Protein

    Protein is your friend.  You need protein in order to help increase muscle mass.  Strive for around 1g per pound of body weight.  Make sure you have protein in every meal and each snack.  Things like steak, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beef, nuts, seeds, legumes, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, to name a few. 

    Achieving 1g can be difficult for some who aren’t used to eating a lot of protein.  Therefore, it may be wise to consider a protein supplement to help you increase your protein intake without force-feeding yourself. 

    NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate would be a fantastic and clean protein source that is extremely low in carbohydrates while containing zero fat.  This allows you to enjoy a delicious treat while easily increasing your protein intake.  With more than a handful of flavors to choose from, you’ll always have a wide selection to choose from, regardless of what you’re craving. 

    Leverage Your Carbohydrate Intake

    Where a lot of people go wrong is thinking they need to drastically increase their carbs in a bulk.  Not so fast. Instead, what you should do is be specific about when you are consuming your increase in carbs.   

    Leveraging your carbohydrate intake around your training will be your best bet.  Have a carb-filled meal pre-workout (around 60-90 minutes prior) to benefit from the added glycogen and then also post-workout (with a protein powder) to help replenish glycogen and kickstart the recovery process. 

    Keep Healthy Fats In Your Diet

    People tend to shy away from fat as they believe eating it will cause them to experience fat gain.  That’s not always true.  Consuming healthy fats will not only help you feel satiated, but it can also help balance hormones and even boost your testosterone levels (which you would greatly benefit from while bulking). 

    Look at natural sources like fish, steak, nut butter, seeds, and whole nuts.  Add those to your meals and reap the benefits of healthy fats. 

    Train Hard And Heavy

    This is pretty straightforward and one that we aren’t going to spend a lot of time on.  If you want to increase muscle, you need to lift heavy.  Now, that doesn’t mean maxing out each workout.  What it means is, using a weight you can achieve 8-10 repetitions with where the last few reps you’re really pushing yourself.  Going to failure on every set of every exercise is not going to be beneficial. 

    If you wanted to hit some isolation exercises at the end of your workout where you lighten the weight, go for it, but make sure if you’re hitting 15 reps where your muscles are on fire before you put the weight down (you want to make sure you are going to failure if using lighter weights to really break down those muscle fibers). 

    Back Off On The Cardio

    Now is not the time for marathon cardio sessions.  For health and heart benefits, you can still keep some cardio in your routine, but do not be obsessive with it as you’ll be burning off the calories you need to increase muscle mass – which will only force you to eat more food in order to make up for the reduction. 

    That being said, at least keeping some cardio in your plan will further help you minimize fat gain while you bulk.  Just make sure your calories at the end of the day are still around 10% higher than your maintenance. 

    Get Enough Sleep

    This section is incredibly important.  If you want to see any changes to your physique, you need proper rest and recovery.  You should strive for a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night.  Should you fall short, it could dramatically stall your progress.   

    Make sleep a priority and change around your schedule to allow for proper rest if you truly want to increase muscle mass.

    A Complete Guide To Gluten By Team ICON Shawn Wells

    A Complete Guide To Gluten By Team ICON Shawn Wells
    Unfortunately, gluten is responsible for causing several intolerances in humans, most severe being celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease of the intestine. Slightly less severe is non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS); a related gluten disorder which triggers an immune response but is not an autoimmune condition. When gluten interacts with the cells lining the intestine, it triggers the immune system to respond, causing inflammation and damage to the gut. When this trigger remains, and the immune system is continuously activated, the inflammatory response can become chronic or long-lasting.

    Read more

    Michael Dean Johnson | Reality Star/Personal Trainer | Everyday ICON

    Michael Dean Johnson | Reality Star/Personal Trainer | Everyday ICON

    This week we're excited to feature MTV reality star and personal trainer, Michael Dean Johnson. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Michael gives us insight on fitness, the day-to-day grind, and of course living and eating healthy! Here's why Michael Dean Johnson is our Everyday ICON of the week... 

    Can you give us a little background on yourself?

    Growing up in Tennessee, I was very active throughout my childhood. My fitness journey really began, though, when I started competitive wrestling at the age of 10.  I competed in wrestling over eight years for my school teams as well as the Tennessee National Team. Over those years, I learned a good amount about discipline. Wrestling opened my eyes to the fact that strength is a choice, and that we have the ability to push ourselves to do things we never thought possible as long as we persevere.

    Upon graduating high school, I transferred my dedication to wrestling over to bodybuilding and weightlifting. After four men’s physique competitions – including three 1st place finishes and one overall victory – I decided to move to New York City to kickstart my modeling career. Since making the move, in addition to becoming a published fitness model, I’ve been featured on MTV’s hit show ‘Are You The One’ and have made over 15 appearances on Bravo’s ‘Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen’!

    What do you do?

    I am a personal trainer. I'm also a sponsored athlete for MuscleTech and Leorêver.

    What made you want to do what you are doing?

    I have always loved working out, ever since I was a kid doing push ups in my bedroom. Working out has always been a great outlet for me and has taught me a lot of discipline and helpful tools for life... I’d like to share my experience with others!

    Why Icon Meals? What makes us different?

    Icon meals is hands down the freshest prepared meal service out there... it doesn’t matter which meals you get and on which day you eat them, you can always expect them to be fresh.

    What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

    The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “That is that success isn’t easy (in anything) if being successful was easy then everyone would do it... so be prepared for hard work!”

    You are a social media “influencer” what are you doing to be “influential” in today’s society? 

    I like to say that I only spread good vibes. I try not to talk bad about others whatsoever on social media- I try to spread only positivity in hopes that it will help someone else.

    Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?

    As cliché as it is... Arnold Schwarzenegger has inspired me for years. He always talks about putting in hard work and I respect that.

    How do you balance work and life demands? 

    I have a good support system at home- my wife is someone who I can always count on and she helps to push me through any struggles.

    What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?

    I want to be known as the guy who only spread positivity.

    What is your current focus? Any plans for the future?

    Currently I am preparing for a bodybuilding competition in early spring so I’m eating my meals and putting the work in the gym!

    What are your favorite Icon Meals? Or favorite thing about Icon Meals?

    THE BREAKFAST MEALS 🤤 the Icon breakfast meals are hands down my favorite (the pancakes or the southwest egg skillet) 

    Stay connected with Michael Dean Johnson on IG at @michaeldean2.0

    His personal training site is: https://www.philosophy-fitness.com 

    Want to be featured as an "Everyday ICON?" Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!