5. Track Your Dang Calories and Bodyweight
I wrote an article about progressively overloading and how to apply it to different facets of your life. How do you expect to progress at something if you do not track it?
To start, you can use an online energy expenditure equation to figure out an ESTIMATION of your maintenance calories. I then urge you to invest in a cheap food scale (8 bucks!) You then set your protein intake as per point #4. Protein has 4 calories per gram. Subtract this caloric load from the number given to you in your online calculator. You then have the rest of your calories to disperse between fats and carbs. Do you like pasta, bread, and cereal more than butter, beef, and nuts? Fine, then use a higher carb approach. Other way around? Great, use a higher fat approach. We do not need diet dogma here. You do not have to be in the Keto camp or the high carb camp. You can simply be you…and eat whatever you want, as long as you track and hit your daily allotment.
Remember that fats have 9 calories per gram and carbs have 4 calories per gram. I personally, would not lower my fat intake to below 15–20% of my daily caloric load, as they are imperative for various functions in our bodies (cell membranes, hormones, cell signaling, etc…)
I do not care what you do, as long as you always hit your protein mark, and that you track your intake to ensure you are not overeating. I saw a comment on the internet that made me laugh the other day. Some lady wrote “Calories in Calories Out never worked for me, only Keto helped me lose 20 pounds.” I laughed, because people think that eating Keto somehow spontaneously makes you lose weight. No, it was the fact that this lady was in a caloric deficit while on Keto, thereby leading to weight loss. I understood what she meant (the traditional method of tracking calories didn’t work for her, but Keto made her feel more full so she ate less and lost more weight). But your diet does not have to be restrictive.
Yes, this means you can in essence eat whatever you want. Wanna eat an ice cream sandwich every night for dessert? I have no problem with that, as long as you have hit your protein mark, and have BUDGETED for said ice cream sandwich. Look at my example below to explain all this:
So let’s say we have a 150 lb person who has an estimated maintenance calories of 3,000 cal/day (based on this calculator, if this person eats 3,000 cals a day, they should stay at the same bodyweight).
Using our rule of 1g protein/lb of bodyweight, that = 150g of protein which is 600 cals (150x4). 3,000–600 leaves us with 2,400 cals to play with.
If this person loves carbs, let’s set his fat at 15% (of the original 3,000). This comes out to 450 cals from fat. With fat having 9 cals/g, we do 450/9 = 50 g of fat.
Now all the rest is for carbs. 3000–600 (protein) — 450 (fat) = 1950.
Carbs are 4 cal/g so 1950/4 = about 488 g of carbs (yes that’s a lot, but I am actually eating 490 g of carbs a day and actually follow a very similar approach).
So on a daily basis, this person should eat 150g protein, 50g fat, and 488g of carbs.
Now nutrient timing could be its own article so I won’t get into the nitty gritty of that. But in general it is best to split protein evenly throughout your day and eat the majority of your carbohydrates before, during, and after your training session (1,2). But say you want that 170 cal Klondike ice cream sandwich each night before bed. That is totally fine, AS LONG AS YOU SET ASIDE 170 CALS FROM THE INITIAL 3,000.
Now all you have to do is track your bodyweight and find a weekly average to determine if you are losing, maintaining, or gaining weight. Depending on your goals, you just make slight adjustments to your caloric intake. You would keep protein stable, and in this case, I would start slashing my carb intake first, because I have so much to work with. For more information on this, I will absolutely write more articles, but I urge you to check out www.RennaisancePerioidization.com
6. Drink Your Dang Water
Do I even need to throw any science at you for this one? This one should go without saying. Your body needs water…not Coca Cola (sorry, not sorry). Most of us do not drink nearly enough water every day, and when we compound the diuretic (dehydrating) effects of caffeine, man we are in for a world full of hurt. Most people go around light headed, head throbbing, bloated, and irritable just thinking that’s normal. Maybe you have some underlying health issue, but before jumping to conclusions, I urge you to buy a gallon jug of water and try to finish that thing everyday for a week. Then report back to me on how you feel.
7. Movement is Thy Medicine
You use it or you lose it. Physical function is crucial, and in fact I think I know someone who demonstrated that as we age, we tend to eat less and move less thus shifting us into a sarcopenic state that spirals downward (3). Set a daily step goal and crush that Sh*t. Buy a cheap step tracker (2 bucks on Amazon!) and get after it. Set the bar low first, and every 30–45 minutes just get up and move a bit. If you like taking longer walks, then you can do that as well. Again, I do not care how you get your activity in, just do it, track it, and aim to beat your performance each time. Again, I plan on writing a separate article on the power of walking (ZONE 2 training), but it should go without saying, that a low impact activity that you can do EVERY SINGLE DAY is of benefit to your mental and physical health.
8. Do Some Form of Resistance Training
No, I am not asking you to go out and train to be the next Mr. Olympia. What I am asking you to do though, is to either use weights (dumbbells, barbells, cables, etc…) or bodyweight to strengthen your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and mind! Again, I will use my published article as a jumping off point: We know that it is typical for older individuals to become sarcopenic which is devastating for one’s health (3). However, if we build a significant amount of muscle mass, we give ourselves more of a cushion to help us into our later years. Hence, we have the potential to be less fragile as we age.
Also, muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain. Skeletal muscle requires 13 kcal/kg/day to maintain whereas adipose tissue (fat) only requires 4.5 kcal/kg/day (4). Thus, the more muscle mass you have, the more of a calorie burning machine you become. You do not burn a whole bunch of calories performing exercise routines, but over several years as you build your muscle mass, you essentially turn yourself into a 24 hr a day, 7 day a week calorie incinerator.
9. Get Some Sun Daily
A recent systematic review demonstrated that 24% of Americans are considered Vitamin D Deficient (4). Vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, cancer, depression, muscle weakness, and death (5). We can get extra vitamin D from supplements (more on this in Plotkin’s Point #10) and/or we can get vitamin D from the sun! In brief, UVB rays from the sun hit our skin cells, thus giving these cells the energy necessary to convert cholesterol (hence the importance of dietary fats!) into vitamin D.
Currently, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 mcg (600IU; 6). One study demonstrated that 13 minutes of sun exposure during midday in the summer just 3x per week was enough to maintain healthy vitamin D levels in Caucasian adults (7). Another study from Oslo, Norway concluded that 30 minutes of midday summer sun equated to consuming 10,000–20,000 IU of vitamin D (8).
We also know that direct sunlight improves serotonin levels, thereby enhancing our mood and potentially lessening the severity of depression (9).
10. Take a Multivitamin
Well since we figured out the whole macronutrient situation in point #5, it is now time to deal with the micros. Despite our best efforts to “eat the rainbow” it is almost impossible to hit the RDA for all the major micronutrients. And those RDAs are bare minimums, so if you are active and are looking for peak performance, you probably are going to require more than the minimum dose. That is where a high quality multivitamin comes into play. If you add one of these bad boys into your regimen, you are guaranteed to hit the RDA and then some because of your well-balanced diet. Like I have mentioned earlier, most people just feel tired, sluggish, and energy-depleted and act like that is normal. They give the excuse “I am just getting older” or some other lame reason. I bet 9 time out of 10 those people are missing some key micronutrients and could greatly benefit from a properly-dosed supplement.
That is exactly where Pinnacle Supplementation’s multivitamin comes into play. Every ingredient is backed by CLINICAL EVIDENCE in humans. You do not need to worry about anything, as Pinnacle has done the heavy work for you and figured all that out. All you need to do is take 2 capsules 2x daily with a fat source and you are good as golden. Simple as that.
11. Keep a Daily Journal/Goal Setting
Keeping track of your day is a phenomenal way to kickstart progress. Before I go to bed each night, I like to write 3 things I am grateful for, 3 things that went well that day and 3 things I would like to work on the next day. Then when I wake up, I write down 3 goals for the day. This, added to both long-term and short-term goal setting can be the mental boost you have been looking for. This process keeps you grounded, focused, and aware of your surroundings.
Quit going through the motions in life and instead aim to have intent with everything you do. You can do that by keeping a journal and setting goals.
OK, so that was a lot that I threw at you over these 2 articles, but to briefly sum:
Let’s focus on setting a consistent sleep and wake time and ensuring we get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and aim for more if you are heavily active. We can then focus on limiting processed foods, prioritizing protein, and tracking both our caloric intake and bodyweight to optimize our physiques and performance. If we couple all that to drinking lots of water everyday, moving everyday and potentially even resistance training, we are off to a great start. All we need to do to tie this beautiful bow together is to get some sun to improve our vitamin D levels and overall mood, and take a well-dosed multivitamin to check all of our boxes. Last, if we set goals and journal daily, there is nothing that can throw us off our path to success.
Well there you have it folks. No need to spend thousands of dollars on fancy gadgets or fringe chemical injections. These points are not flashy and I am not going to make millions of dollars by telling you to walk more and eat less junk food. But guess what? It is these non-sexy points that if done consistently with 100% intent, will probably get you much further in life than any biohack could.