There are 5 basic habits that we teach at Preston Strength for nutrition. If you can master these 5 habits, you will be well on your way to the body of your dreams without ever counting calories or weighing food. These habits should guide your eating choices and help you make the right decisions no matter the situation you are in.
You may already be following some of these habits. That is great! If you are, then continue to do so and read on a bit more about each of them. We will be providing you with a meal plan at the end of the book you can use for great results.
You also may not be following any of the habits, and that is OK as well. We all have a starting point, and knowing that point is crucial to our success. If you are not following any of the habits, start with the first one and master it for the first week. Each week, continue to add in one habit until you have mastered all of them! If it takes longer than one week to consistently apply a habit to your life, no worries! Simply try again next week.
We want to focus on successes in this program. Don’t worry about your mistakes; instead, focus on what you did well each week, and build on those successes so that you can continue to grow and learn about your nutrition.
Here are the 5 Habits:
1. Eat frequently. This doesn’t mean that you need to eat 6 meals a day. That can be overwhelming. We recommend eating every 3-4 hours, but don’t sweat the details. At first, just try to get in consistent meals and one snack each day.
This way of eating will help you keep your metabolism running high and maintain your lean mass. You are also less likely to binge if you eat consistently every 3-4 hours.
A great schedule for this is eating when you wake up at 6 or 6:30am, then again at 11am, then a snack at 2 or 3pm and dinner at 6 or 7pm. This is a simple and easy to follow schedule. You can also eat first thing at 6am, snack at 10am, lunch at 2pm, and dinner at 6 pm. The meals can be moved around to fit your schedule.
You shouldn’t be so concerned about eating at the exact right time that you can’t focus on anything else. The important thing is that you are prepared with your foods and understand when you need to eat.
2. Eat a complete protein at every meal /snack. Protein is the staple in our nutrition plan. It helps support your lean mass and will keep you full. Try to get in at least 20-30g of protein at each meal. If you look on a food label, it will tell you exactly the amount per serving of protein. We will cover what is included on a list of complete proteins later.
You have you remember that 20-30g of protein isn’t the weight of the food you are eating; it is the protein in the food. If you look at the food label, you will be able to see the grams of protein in a given food. You can also use the palm of your hand as a guide for protein servings (a portion the size of your palm will provide approximately 20-30 grams of protein).
One of the biggest objections that we get for this habit is that it is hard to eat protein on the run. That simply isn’t true if you know what you are looking for! There are protein supplements, tons of options in convenience stores, and simple snacks that you can pack to help you stick to your habits.
3. Eat vegetables at every meal. Try to get in two servings of veggies at each meal and snack. This can be one of the tougher habits to master, but you can make it easy on yourself by keeping easy veggie snacks around such as carrots, celery, and other quick to eat veggie sources.
One serving of veggies is about ½-1 cup. So you need to be eating 1-2 cups of veggies each meal. This can easily be accomplished with salads!
Veggies not only help to give you nutrients that you need to get the most out of your training program, but they help give you fiber, keep you full, and provide you with many illness-preventing nutritional components. You won’t have a problem with hunger if you make sure to get your veggies in at each meal.
4. Only eat carbohydrate-rich foods after your workouts! Especially if your goal is fat loss, we want to restrict your carbohydrate consumption to within 1-2 hours post workout. This is great news because you don’t have to deprive yourself of carbs, but you have to earn them first in a workout!
The reason that we remove carbs from our meals (other than veggies) outside of workout times is that they increase fat storage because of the effect that they have on our insulin levels. When our insulin levels increase, fat storage increases. This is something we want to avoid.
However, after a workout, our bodies are primed to utilize those carbs for energy and to repair our muscles. This is a great thing! After a workout, we want to replace the glycogen (or broken down carbs) that we used during the training sessions and use them to repair our muscles and make sure we are recovering well. If we recover well, we can come back and train hard again the next time and get better results.
I would try to avoid breads and gluten-based carbs after your workout and stick to things like potatoes, rice, and other non-wheat based carbs as much as possible. The reason is most of us don’t handle gluten or wheat very well, and it can cause some inflammation, which can cause bloating and fat storage (along with other health problems).
5. Eat healthy fats daily. Fats are not the bad guy! You should work to eat a good balance of fats (saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated—just no trans fats!). Fats help regulate hormones in your body and keep you full. It is important that you don’t limit your fat intake to help with weight loss. You should try to get 1/3 of your fat intake each day from each of the types listed above. If you have a carbohydrate-based meal after training, try to limit your fats in this meal if possible.
If you follow these basics most of the time, you can let loose and splurge here and there without regressing in your fitness plan.
Do you need an expert program designed for you, plus coaching and accountability? Click the button below to sign up for a FREE 1/2 Hour Strategy Session to get you back on track:
I remember the moment like it was yesterday...
I had just turned 40 years old and my wife and I were working out at the gym. I was doing a machine shoulder press and attempting to go for a really heavy set. And then... WHAM!! It felt as if a bolt of lightning had shot through my neck as the weight came crashing down. The pain was immense as I had herniated a disc in my neck with immediate nerve pain as well.
I spent the next couple of years trying to figure out new, safety ways to train. I was intent on training hard forever... but I knew that what I once did was no longer working. That was when I realized that my new training goal was to make my body and mind feel 10 years younger, like they used to.
After spending the next few years writing, re-writing, testing and re-testing new training methods for "older body's" I came up with a plan of action that works like a charm. That's why I opened my Preston Strength training studio. I knew that if I could make myself feel 10 years younger and my current training clients, it was time to reach more people.
With no further ado, here are 5 things you should do each day to feel 10 years younger:
1. Drink More Water
It may sound too simple but most people do not drink enough water daily... even though they think they do. The key is to drink enough water each and every day... not just a hit and miss thing. You should aim for half your body weight (in pounds) of water (in ounces) daily. That means if you weigh 200 lbs you should drink 100 ounces of water every single day.
The second part to water consumption is the importance of water as soon as you wake up. Aim for 36 ounces of your daily water intake within 1/2 hour of waking up. This rapid hydration of your body will make you feel fantastic throughout the day as it helps rid your body of toxins and saturates your muscle cells so you feel your best.
2. Get Your Sleep
As a trainer I see so many people who simply do not get enough sleep. This is a non-negotiable if you want to feel and look 10 years younger. There's truth to getting your "beauty sleep"... Zzzzzzz......
Too often adults feel as if they don't need as much sleep any more. BIG MISTAKE! You wouldn't keep driving an overheated car. Your body is like an overheated car when it doesn't get enough sleep.
One of the ways to get enough sleep is simply to go to bed at the same time each and every night. Sporadic sleep patterns create less than ideal quality of sleep. Your sleep habits are developed much like exercise and nutritional habits.
Try to go to bed 1/2 and hour earlier each night for a week. That's 3 1/2 hours more time in bed. Your body will enjoy that.
3. Drink a Super-Shake.
One of the keys to feeling and looking 10 years younger is obviously your nutrition. If you put crap in, you'll get crap out. If you take care of your nutrition... well, you'll just be better all-around,
One of the things I always tell my clients is not to think about what you can't eat. Instead, concentrate on eating the things that are good for you... and then worry about the other stuff later.
My wife and I have been starting each and every morning for years with our Super Shake. This morning shake helps us get a good amount of the veggies, fruit, healthy fats and lean protein that our bodies need for the day. In fact, my shake gives me almost half of the nutrients I need daily. That makes it pretty easy to stay on track. Here is the Super Shake recipe:
- Handful of spinach
- Handful of broccoli
- 1 cup mixed berries (frozen)
- 1 teaspoon almond butter
- 1 1/2 scoops whey protein powder
- 1 cup of water
** Blend for 1 minute and enjoy
4. Strength Train 2-3 Days Per Week
Strength training to add or maintain lean muscle tissue is a must for feeling and looking 10 years younger. The key is to do the right kind of strength training when you're over 40. You should focus on full body strength training sessions, using functional strength training exercises.
[NOTE: We don't believe in using machines at Preston Strength... with only a couple of exceptions. In general, you should use exercises that force your body to move through space as opposed to sitting on a machine. Also, if you can perform an exercise while standing up with your feet on the floor it's always better!]
We also don't believe that adults over 40 need to use barbells much anymore. It's the fixed range of motion with a barbell that can be unfriendly to our joints as we get older. Far better to use other tools such as dumbells, sandbags, sleds, medicine balls etc.
If you're stuck and in a rut and need a coach to help you get on track and stay on track, sign up for a FREE Strategy Session with me by clicking the button below:
TOP EXCUSES AND WHY THEY AREN’T TRUE
1. I don’t have time…. You do have time; it just needs to be important enough. Make an appointment with yourself and make it a habit.
2. I’m too busy - let’s get real, if it’s a priority, you will make time for it, like watching the final episode of Real Housewives.
3. I don’t like to workout….. You just haven’t found what you like. What excites you? What did you love to do when you were a kid?
4. I don’t have anyone to train with….. Grab a friend, join a group, start your own workout club. Like attracts like. There are tons of things to join and do if you just look.
5. I can’t afford it…. There are so many different methods of training that you are bound to find something to fit your budget, even if it’s free!
6. I don’t know what to do…. Research the internet or find a coach, that is what a coach is for, to answer your questions and point you in the right direction to get the results you want.
7. I don’t know where to start…. The most important thing is to start, do something, it doesn’t matter what it is. Still stuck? Hire a coach.
8. I don’t want to get ‘big’….. Ladies, you won’t get ‘big’, you will develop nicely defined muscles. Most of us won’t do what it takes to get ‘big’.
9. I have a bad __________(knee, back, shoulder) so I can’t workout…… Great excuse, but that is all it is, an excuse. You can always do something, even if it’s just stretching on the floor or a slow walk around the block. Move improve your body!
10. I am not motivated.. Another excuse. If you always wait until you feel like it then you won’t do it because your feelings keep you locked into your comfort zone to keep you safe, not successful.
11. I worked out before and didn’t see any results….. Did you have specific, measurable goals? Did you have a plan? If not, of course you didn’t see any results, you didn’t have a plan or even know what you wanted in the first place.
12. I am too old…. It’s never too late to be what you haven’t been.
13. My kids get in the way…. Get it done before they get up, work out while you watch them play soccer or better yet do something with them like biking or hiking. Set an example for living a healthy lifestyle.
14. I’m too fat…. We ALL need to get exercise to stay healthy no matter our size.
15. I’m already thin…. Being thin doesn’t mean you have a healthy body fat % plus exercise has other benefits besides weight such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, etc.
BOTTOM LINE: There will always be an excuse not to, the trick is to find a way to do it. Commit to be fit.
If you're like most of my clients over 40, many of the reasons you should strength train might leave you unconvinced. The rippling abs at the poolside and flirtatious glances across the gym are more of an irritating distraction than a persuasive reason to try a new style of training.
But "middle age" probably isn't something you're ready for either. If walking downstairs makes your knees sound like the cellar door in a horror movie. You're often resisting the lure of the afternoon nap ("I was just resting my eyes, honest!"). If you're now having to decide to either buy new pants or lose those few extra pounds you've been carrying around… Read on.
Reason #1. Increased Muscle Mass
One of the best reasons to include strength training is the increase in lean muscle tissue. This is great for many reasons; you look lean and muscular, not the frail look that comes with losing a lot of weight without strength training.
Your leaner physique carries more muscle mass, which means you'll burn more calories while at rest, and eat more calories without gaining weight. This means more muscle mass is essential for foodies!
A more muscular physique doesn't mean you'll be bulky - far from it - unless that's a look you're actively trying to achieve. It means you'll be better protected from those aches and pains in your joints that may be starting to creep in. The extra muscle will preserve and strengthen the vulnerable joints like the knees, hips, shoulders, and low back.
Reason #2. Improved Mobility and Flexibility
Flexibility is about muscles being able to lengthen through a range of motion passively. In other words, being bendy. It's the foundation of mobility and can improve posture, coordination, and muscle performance.
Mobility is about the joint being active in a range of motion. That means not just bendy, but strong in that position. It's crucial for keeping your body in the safest position to use your strength effectively.
Strength training should include both flexibility and mobility work. They matter because the improved balance helps prevent falls - and if falls do happen, you're less likely to be injured. The enhanced strength that comes with mobile joints means it's easier to keep up with the demands of life. Quality of life is improved because you can enjoy activities or sports without worrying about physical limitations.
Reason #3. Improved Bone Mass
Peak bone mass is when bones are their most dense. This means they are less likely to break. Bone density peaks around age 25-30, and by age 40, we are all starting to lose bone density - unless we do something about it.
A loss of bone density is known as osteoporosis. Some people are more susceptible to it than others; women over 40 in particular, especially those who have been smokers and who drink alcohol regularly.
As well as consuming a broadly healthy diet, including enough calcium and vitamin D, lifting weights can help make bones denser. This prevents injury from fragile bones. It also improves the chances of a full recovery in the event of a minor accident.
Reason #4. Improved Cognitive Function and Health
Recent research suggests that lifting weights regularly can improve cognitive function compared to people who don't. So, you'll have better memory, quicker and more accurate perception, a longer attention span, verbal accuracy, and you'll find it easier to use language and experience a subjective improvement in thinking.
Thi effect of resistance training has been established for a while in older populations. Still, now it's recognized in younger lifters too. It's not entirely clear why this happens, it's thought it might be because of new neural connections formed, but if lifting weights a few times a week comes with all these bonuses? It's worth considering.
The benefits of lifting weights go beyond the physique goals that you may have been led to believe are the ultimate goal. The benefits to your longevity and holistic health can't be understated. That's without any comment about the extensive mental and emotional health benefits.
Often when people start regularly training for strength, they are first drawn in by the physical benefits. The thing that makes weight training so attractive to people in the long term is usually the less visible benefits - feeling younger, sleeping better, and having more energy. If you're new to lifting weights, it's good to start under the guidance of a coach to make sure you're moving safely and with proper technique.
Steve Preston, Strength Coach, Husband and Doggie Daddy.