Give Into Your Cravings; And This Is Why…

Mid day or late night, the cravings can come on strong, and the thought of ignoring them seems impossible; but the feeling of guilt that comes after you toss down the chocolate cake or potato chips, doesn’t really make you feel any better, either. Maybe, just maybe, these cravings are your body’s way of telling you that you’re lacking in certain nutrients (assuming it’s a physical, not an emotional food craving.) In this article, I reference four cravings that most of my clients experience…sugar, chocolate, salty, and cheese.

The Sugar Craving
Is having a “sweet tooth” a result of developing a bad habit or could it be something more?
When the craving for something sweet kicks in, this could be a signal that your blood sugar is out of balance. Here are 4 steps that will help reduce those sugar cravings:

Step 1
Add foods that balance out blood sugar levels to maintain insulin levels such as:
• Proteins help maintain blood sugar; examples would be organic grass fed beef, eggs, grass feed whey protein.
• Healthy fats; examples would be coconut, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados.
• Fiber will help you stay full longer; examples are vegetables, nuts, chia, and seeds.
• Sour or pro-biotic foods; example are keifer, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or yogurt.

Step 2
Get sugar and grains out of your diet.
Grains convert into sugar, which enters the blood stream; spiking the insulin level and cause the cravings.

Step 3
Supplements to help balance out sugar levels.
• Chromium
• B Complex vitamins.
• Pro-biotic
• Flax or chia
• Spinach Extract

Step 4
Weight training and burst training (H.I.I.T) will stabilize blood sugar.
Long distance cardio will cause your body to crave sugar.

The Chocolate Craving
Chocolate could be categorized under the sugar cravings section, but I felt it deserved its own voice. Chocolate could very well be the most popular of the sweet cravings, yet the reasons we crave chocolate differ then what I listed in the Sugar Cravings section. Craving chocolate may signal a deficiency in magnesium. Chocolate is made with cacao which is high in magnesium. Saying this, it’s best to stick with a small piece of dark chocolate, in lieu of milk chocolate which is usually loaded with sugar. Other foods high in magnesium are nuts, seeds, leafy greens, fish, or my favorite, cacao nibs.

The Salty Craving
Before you grab the bag of potato chips, here is something to consider. If you crave something salty, such as potato chips or popcorn, it could be a sign you’re dehydrated or you might need to add more calcium rich foods to your diet. To satisfy the salty craving, first try drinking a tall glass of water and give it a few minutes. If the craving still lingers, try eating some dark leafy greens, yogurt, or a handful of almonds.

The Cheese Craving
You are back home after a long day, and nothing sounds better then sitting back with a glass of wine with some cheese. Do you go for the cheese because it just seems like the likely pairing with wine or is your body telling you something. Potentially, your body may be deficient in these 3 things:
Healthy fats, Vitamin D, and Calcium.

The bottom line…                                                                                                                                                              listen to your body; don’t fight it. Feeding your body in a smart way, with the nutrients it is asking for, will reduce your cravings and keep your waist line in check.

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Cardio Before or After Weight Training?

cardio-2

What Most People Do

Most of us think to jump into cardio first thing, get a good sweat, burn some calories, then we are ready to hit the weights.  But is this the best idea to lose weight or even gain muscle?  Well, like most things, it’s not as simple as a YES or NO answer.  There are a couple key factors that play a role in whether cardio at the beginning or end is best for you.

 

What Factors Make the Difference

#1 Body types. There are 3 body types, ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph; depending on your body type will determine when to add cardio into your workout.

#2 Muscle Gain.  If you are building muscle mass, you want to conserve as much glycogen, muscle fuel, as you can for the resistant training to allow yourself to push through each set.

#3 Weight Loss.  If you are on a weight loss program, you would want to emphasize increasing your heart rate more then the amount of weight you can push.

 

What Does The Science Tell Us

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning 2008 tells us that integrating cardio and resistant training through out the workout showed much higher levels of both fat burning and muscle increase.  An example would be performing 3 sets x 12 reps of chest press then follow that with 60 seconds of intense cardio on the treadmill.  High Intense Interval Training is the modality of workout I am referring to, also know as H.I.I.T.

Fluctuating the heart rate up and down throughout the duration of the workout puts the body into ‘FAT BURNING’ mode; which is what we want to accomplish.  Intense cardio for a long duration of time will release cortisol, the stress hormone, which will prevent the body from burning fat; which we want to avoid.

 

Bottom Line

The good news is we don’t have to spend hours on the cardio machine to accomplish our goals.  Integrating the cardio throughout the workout, thus fluctuating the heart rate, will create a more efficient way of burning fat and increase muscle.  I want to add, I still believe that body type plays a role.  If you are an endomorph, looking to lose weight, then you are a prime candidate for high interval training.  If you are an ectomorph, then keep your cardio to the end.  A mesomorph can play it both ways, so listen to your body and see which method brings the best results.

Finally, with all this said, the #1 take away is JUST BE CONSISTENT with your exercises.  Cardio before, after, or during won’t make much of a difference if you exercise every once in a while.

 

Be healthy, my friends!

-Scott Elliott

Kool Body Personal Training

 

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