Foam Rolling Basics

Foam Rolling – The Basics

So… you may have seen people at your gym rolling around on a strange looking foam roller. You may wonder what the purpose of foam rolling is, and if you should be using it.

What is a foam roller?
 A foam cylinder, approximately 6 inches in diameter. They vary in length and density.

Why foam roll? 1) provide self massage; 2) break up adhesions in the muscle and/or fascia and 3) increases blood flow to these areas. This helps you recover faster from workouts and keep your muscles ready to train.

How to foam roll? 3 methods to foam rolling – 1) trigger point (tight, painful spot) and just apply pressure there or 2) small lateral movements against the muscle direction, or 3) roll along the muscle (like the sweeping strokes of a massage therapist). Or a combination of the above.

How often? 10-20 min, 5-6x a week or daily, before and/or right after a workout if possible.

Some cautions: foam rolling might be painful on chronic tight spots, but listen to your body as it shouldn’t feel like injury pain. DON’T roll over joints or injured tissue

Basic Muscle Foam rolling: Quads/hamstrings/calves/feet/glutes/IT Band/adductors Lats/rhomboids/chest (lying horizontally)/anterior deltoid

Hope this information helps you feel more comfortable approaching the foam roller in your gym. Start by sitting on it, then slowly begin to roll around on it. Enjoy and keep that face relaxed when you roll over those hot spots. 😉 xxx, Amber

Nutrition & Supplements

Eat A Salad Every Day

Today, I’d considered myself the queen of the BAS (i.e. Big-Ass-Salad) when years ago–before I started competing in bodybuilding and fitness competitions–I would hardly touch vegetables. And now it’s all about stuffing my face with a huge BAS with lots of yummy protein, veggies, a few nuts or cheese sprinkled on top (maybe a some pieces of bacon, really whatever my heart desires) and my life is now richer because of the BAS, aaaaaaand I am eating way more veggies than ever before. I even had a restaurant which I frequented, name a salad after me, because I wanted everything on the food line mixed in it. So, today I want to share my love of the BAS with you all, and I have listed two of my favorites below. Hope you get a chance to try them and enjoy them as much as I have. Or maybe just create your own. 🙂 And remember, “Just eat a BAS salad every day” and you can’t go wrong. Hope you have a great week!



Asian  Chicken  Salad

• 2c. spinach, cabbage or any other leafy greens

• 4oz-6oz chicken breast cubed or sliced

• cucumber

• 1⁄2c. broccoli,

• 1⁄2 red and/or yellow peppers,

• 1/8c. small amount of carrots,

• 1 tbsp cilantro

• 1 tsp sesame seeds

Combine first 6 ingredients. Top salad with chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Top with 2 tbsp dressing of choice (I use balsamic and olive oil, with lemon). Makes a single serving.


Shredded Salad *This supports liver function, detoxification and optimal estrogen metabolism.

• 1⁄2 head red or purple cabbage, finely shredded

• 1⁄2 red onion, minced

• 1 avocado, diced

• Handful of cilantro, chopped

• Handful grape tomatoes

• 2 chicken breasts, chopped

• 1-­‐2 TB olive oil

• Juice of 1 lemon

• Pinch sea salt

• Black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Makes 2 Servings

Nutrition & Supplements

What is the Paleo Diet?

So you may have heard people saying they are eating “Paleo” now. And you probably think great, but what does that mean? What is the Paleo diet? So, today Im explaining in a very simple way, what it means to eat Paleo.

First, it is based upon the idea of eating the foods our bodies were designed for through thousands of years of evolution. These foods were available to early people through hunting and gathering [meat and fish, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables]. During modern times, advances in technology have made other forms of food available for consumption [grains, dairy, and processed foods], which are not as easy for our bodies to digest. The foods recommended in the Paleo diet generally provide our bodies with more efficient, long-lasting energy that also aid in burning fat. The Paleo Diet is considered to be optimal for digestion, blood sugar regulation, metabolism, and sleep.

So you may ask, what types of food are included in the Paleo diet?

We Paleo practitioners eat a wide variety of meats, poultry, fish, eggs, colorful fruits and vegetables, Healthy fats from coconut, avocado, pastured fatty cuts of meat, grass fed butter, olive oil, and some nuts and seeds. The options are endless, and our plates are always filled with something new and interesting to challenge our palates!
And the foods we try to avoid at least 80% of the time are all grains, pasteurized dairy, soy, legumes, refined sugar, and alcohol (particularly beers, unless they are gluten free or ciders).

For more information on a Paleo Diet, check out these links:
Weston A. Price Foundation:
Chris Kresser:
Robb Wolf:
Mark Sisson:

Nutrition & Supplements

Where’s My Energy?

Wheres my energy

Hey man, where’s my energy?

Life – often it’s a ‘less than ideal’ scenario.  There are nights when sleeping for eight plus hours doesn’t happen and days (or weeks) when stress is a constant companion.  There are periods of time when you might go through training/exercise phases that are – shall I say ‘not the best’…   This could mean way too much, way too little, or just a whole lot of the wrong type.  And then there’s that whole eating thing.  It’s common practice to turn to food for an energy boost – and most often the foods that we turn to are more ‘energy suckers’ than ‘energy infusers’.

All of these variables put together are the making of a “Perfect Storm”.  It’s times like these when that ‘dragging’ feeling is all too familiar.  You know, the one where the minute you get out of bed – the only thing you can think about is how you can’t wait to get back in about 15 hours; or when the clock strikes three, you’re ready for a nap or an IV drip of caffeine.  It’s the days and weeks when you feel like you’re walking around in a permanent haze that just won’t go away.  Well, there’s hope!

While you’re waiting for the fog to clear there are a few things you can do from a nutrition standpoint that may help boost your energy:

  • Stay hydrated.  Dehydration leads to tiredness and brain fog!  (It’s not just the carbs sometimes!!).
  • Stop with the caffeine!  It’s a short term fix and in the end will leave you in an even deeper energy black hole.  It’s also a diuretic and may contribute to dehydration.
  • Mix it up!  Make sure that you are choosing a variety of proteins, veggies and fruits instead of the same things over and over again.  This will ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs to keep the motor running.
  • Don’t overdose on fruit. Turning to fruit for a quick ‘pick me up’ will do you no favors in the sustained energy department and may leave you craving more sweet food later.  When you do eat fruit pair it with some fat and/or protein to slow the digestion and prevent energy peaks and valleys.
  • Got post-workout fuel??  Another thing that may help is incorporating a post-workout meal on the days that you exercise, especially if you are doing long and/or intense workouts.  Within 30 minutes of your activity add a meal/snack that incorporates some starchy, vegetable based carbohydrate (sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, roots and tubers) along with some animal-sourced protein.  This will not only help restore energy, but will enhance muscle recovery.

Stay the course, try these things to help ‘weather the storm’.  Know that with time and/or lifestyle modifications life will settle down, the fog will clear, and there are bright skies ahead!!


Life Stressors May Be Holding Back Your Training

This post will give you a better understanding of how life stressors may be holding back your training, as well as strategies to manage them more effectively.

Enjoy! 😉 xxx, Amber


“I’m tired.”

“I’m overtrained.”

“I have no energy.”

“I ate like crap the other day.”

“I had a long day at work.”

“I feel fat.”

“My genetics suck.”

I remember my last year of College taking 4 classes, doing an internship, working 32 hours a week, homework, projects, and training.

MY LAWD I was extremely busy, and evidently, this led to mental stress.

I started to say things like the statements above, and the mental stress started to affect my training and that was a huge, huge DEAL-E-O.

Im writing this because I feel too many people overlook the component of life stressors when it comes to getting optimal results.

These days, everyone wants to know the magical programming design to build muscle, hidden gems to fat loss, the gold standard macronutrient ratio for their nutrition program, perfect supplementation stack, and then some.

What we all tend to forget is that life stressors that we deal with on a day-to-day basis, lead to mental stress, which have been proven in studies to lead to performance decrements in training.

You can have the “perfect training and nutrition program,” but what if your sleep is always lacking?

Your cortisol levels are chronically elevated through the roof?

Your blood pressure is constantly sky rocketing?

Or your energy levels are sinking like a ship?

The “perfect program” will suffer because of these life stressors and so will your results.

I don’t want you to look at this in a superficial way or a black and white answer type of thing. Im asking you to think critically here and come up with your own opinions.

The truth is we all have life stressors and some we can’t get rid of, but we sure can control them so our training doesn’t suffer.

I want you to look at these life stressors more as how they could become a big problem if they become chronic in your life and you don’t find a way to cope with them.

And with that being said, let’s look at my Top 5!

Stressor #1- Occupational Stress

Corporate world 9-5’s, commuting, being micro managed, meeting project deadlines, driving in revenue, working your ass off to get promoted, wanting to round house your boss because they’re always nagging at you, etc..

Does all this sound stressful?

While stress can have detrimental effects, evidence suggests that stress plays an essential role in developing a healthy body that is able to cope with the various demands thrown our way on a daily basis.

It is very likely that you’re getting off work, going straight to the gym, and have experienced some kind of occupational stress which could affect your performance when you’re training.

The Occupational Stress Fix

While going through your warm up phase, put on your “GET FIRED UP” playlist, think positive about your upcoming workout, and imagine how you’re going to man handle that squat.

If you shift your mindset away from work mode, you will be more immersed into your workout and thus you will have a more effective training session.

Stressor #2- Social Stress

Social stress can be as tough as occupational stress, if not tougher.

The reason being, you can have the best job in the world, fanciest car, and a house that MTV would feature on “Cribs,” but if you don’t have a social life, or aren’t socially accepted, then everything else means Jack.

Everyone wants to be socially accepted whether they admit it or not.

Social stress can also be family issues or changes, relationship issues, and sexuality issues. Social stress can lead to mental stress, anxiety, depression, decrease cognitive function, among other decrements. So it’s imperative that you exercise at a high performance level so these stressors won’t affect your training.

The Social Stressor Fix

If you’re dealing with a lot of social stress try joining a team or taking a group class like a fitness bootcamp, TRX, Pilates, yoga, CrossFit, etc.

The environments in these group classes are very supportive and encouraging. There’s a lot of camaraderie built and this could be a sure way to help you cope with and improve your social stress.

Stressor #3- The Mind-Body Connection

A quote that really sticks with us is by Dr. Layne Norton:

“Your mentality becomes your reality.”

If you’re inherently negative and constantly think about negative outcomes, then you’re most likely going to face negative results.

The same thing goes for being inherently positive.

There are hundreds of studies showing again and again that decrements to health due to the mind body connection are real problems. Mental stress is related to an increase in various potentially harmful chemicals substances such as:

  • Cortisol which degrades proteins, including white blood cells,
  • Antibodies, resulting in a decrease in immune function, and consequently,
  • An elevated rates of sickness.

This also leads to cerebration (thoughts), which is one reason why people that are stressed often have sleeping disorders and it’s because they’re up worrying all night.

The Mind-Body Connection Stressor Fix

The minute you step foot into the gym, make sure to get your mind right.

Do this by playing some good-up beat music (so good that you want to show off your dance moves), get a good warm up in, and get pumped up for your workout.

Who knows, you could have had a hell of a day at work, with the spouse, the kids, the babies mama or daddy.

Play it safe and set the positive mood for a more productive workout.

Don’t bring that energy draining negative vibe into the gym and definitely don’t be that person in the gym walking around giving everyone dirty looks. YOU AREN’T THAT TOUGH!

Stressor #4- Stress Disorders

Stress is not always a bad thing.In fact, stress is absolutely needed for growth.

However, the real problems occur with abnormal and chronic stress responses.

For instance, some people might typically operate in a persistently hectic environment. These environments contribute to alarming numbers of mental ailments including 16 and 32 million cases of depression and anxiety.

These same people will often make excuses to avoid physical activity. This is when stress can cause serious ailments and diseases.

If you don’t utilize the nutrients and energy being supplied by your body during the high stress responses, several diseases can occur such as:

  • Diabetes,
  • Obesity,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Cancer,
  • Asthma,
  • Allergies,
  • Indigestion, and
  • Cardiovascular disease.

Now of course these are somewhat extreme examples, but stress definitely plays a role in their development.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you, consider the fact that fat loss, sports performance, and even hypertrophy could be hampered by a chronically elevated stress response.

The Stress Disorder Fix

If you typically operate in a persistently hectic-daily environment and are always under high stress, consider hiring a personal trainer or fitness coach.

A qualified trainer or coach can take a lot of the guess work out of your training and nutrition program, and make your fitness life a lot easier.

Stressor #5- Nutritional Stress

Nutritional factors can be closely related to stress disorders and can become serious problems if you don’t monitor them.

If you don’t have a degree in biochemistry, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed with information online. Or worse, you could be learning from under-qualified local gurus telling you to eat nothing but tilapia and broccoli “because it’ll thin out your skin.”

Poor nutrition (or nutritional counseling) could  lead to frustration and depression, or even eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, etc.

The Nutritional Stress Fix

Hire a sports nutritionist, a reputable coach, or a trainer that has a nutrition background.

These professionals will take care of the nutrition side for you, and hopefully educate you along the way. If you’re a real go-getter, you could even take a basic nutrition class or self-educate yourself with the right resources.


Stressors in life can absolutely affect your training. Even if you have the most optimal training and nutrition programs, your body can still put the kibosh on your progress in seconds flat.

Numerous studies show mental stress can cause decrements in performance and even hinder adaptation moreso than physiological stress.

And while  you can’t remove all the mental stress from your life, you can learn how to cope with it.

Monitor your life stress as seriously as you would your training and nutrition programs. Failure to do so could be the difference between achieving your physique-related goals, and another month (or year) spent spinning your wheels


Nutrition & Supplements

Does Cereal Make Us Fat?

Does Eating Cereal Make Us Fat?

Does eating breakfast cereal make us fat? Well, that’s what I want to discuss today.The reason Im talking about this is that I came across a news article that was entitled “Breakfast Cereal Tied to Lower BMI for Kids.” BMI is body mass index, and it’s a measure of how fat you are, pretty much. The higher your BMI, the worse offs you are. Anyways, just right at the beginning, I’m just gonna read you the first couple paragraphs here. I think it’s pretty hilarious.“Regularly eating cereal for breakfast is tied to healthy weight for kids according to a new study that endorses making breakfast cereal accessible to low-income kids to help fight childhood obesity. One in every four American children lives in a food-insecure household where breakfast isn’t a sure thing, lead author, Dr. Lana Frantzen told Reuters Health.”I quote here: “Cereal is an excellent breakfast choice. It’s simple and gets those essential nutrients that children need, especially low-income, minority children, who tend to be hit hardest by childhood obesity and related health problems, said Frantzen, who is employed by Dairy MAX, a regional dairy council in Prairie, Texas.As soon as I saw that, the alarms went off in my head. I was like, what is this Dairy MAX thing all about? Dairy MAX is an affiliate of the National Dairy Council, which is a huge lobby group for the promotion of consuming more dairy.I don’t know if we’ve really talked about this specifically, but dairy is very problematic for human health. You can argue with me all you want on this. People say raw milk is good, all this stuff. Okay, raw milk is better than pasteurized milk; that’s fine. If you wanna do that, that’s up to you. But when you look at the composition of cows’ milk, it’s very difficult for the human body to digest and assimilate. It’s also correlated with the development of type 1 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and so forth.As far as I’m concerned, we really should not be consuming dairy, let alone every single day. The occasional whatever is fine, but on a daily basis to depend on it is very, very, I think, problematic.

When I saw that I was like, this is interesting. I need to read on, because they’re basically saying, first of all, that cereal is a good thing for kids, and then milk, obviously, which goes with cereal, is tied in with that. I thought it was very clever that Dairy MAX positioned it in the way that, “Let’s encourage people to eat more grains, and let’s tie that in with milk as well,” because, obviously, the two go hand in hand.


Let’s look at some stats here. Actually, the stats don’t even matter. The funny thing is that…I’m just going through some of the stuff here in the study, and statistics don’t really matter because they’re pretty insignificant here, but what stood out for me was that the cereals that were most common breakfast items included in order of significance—so, the highest ranked and kind of descending from there—is, I quote: “Frosted Flakes”—which we all know is a terrific cereal for kids—“Cheerios, and then Kix.” Those are the most common breakfast items.

And then children who didn’t eat cereal but did have breakfast reported having foods ranging from scrambled eggs, white bread, and sausage, to granola bars, tortillas, and breakfast tacos. I understand what they’re trying to do here. They’re trying to really promote “healthier” food choices for low-income families because they understand that they don’t necessarily have the most money to buy the healthiest foods, but I think it’s very, very irresponsible that Frosted Flakes is being promoted as a suitable breakfast.

It doesn’t matter if you have money or you don’t. It’s amazing that in spite of kids eating Frosted Flakes and even Cheerios, that they had a lower BMI. The whole argument here is that by eating cereal, you’re getting more vitamins and all the fortified stuff that they’re putting into these grains; you’re getting more of that compared to eating less cereal.

Essentially, the more cereal you ate, the healthier you are, more or less, versus eating less cereal. That was essentially the proposition in this study.

It’s problematic because, let’s just look at, I really don’t understand how this works. If you look at Frosted Flakes, it is loaded with sugar.

Frosted Flakes—unfortunately, I ate quite a bit of Frosted Flakes growing up too, and that didn’t serve me very well, but let’s look at the ingredient list.

All right, we have, first ingredient, milled corn; second, sugar; malt flavoring; high-fructose corn syrup. So, now we’ve got three sugars in the first four ingredients. Amazing. And we also know that corn is probably genetically modified. Salt; sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid; niacinamide; iron; pyridoxine; and some other fortified nutrients. Total sugar content per three-quarters of a cup is 11 grams of sugar.

Again, Frosted Flakes is not the best. Cheerios is not that much better either. Let’s just look at Cheerios as a comparison.

Let’s not look at Honey Nut Cheerios. Honey Nut Cheerios has…Honey Nut Cheerios is basically the same thing in terms of sugar content as Frosted Flakes, but that’s not what I was looking for. Cheerios is touted as this whole grain, it’s amazing for your heart, lowers cholesterol, blah, blah, blah. Cheerios is a little bit better; 1 gram of sugar per one-cup serving, so that’s obviously a lot better.

Again, the problem is that it’s not only the cereal, but it’s what you’re putting on the cereal, ’cause when I was young, I would eat Cheerios, but I would load it up with sugar. I would put two to three tablespoons of sugar on top of it; plus, who knows what kids are putting on their cereals nowadays. And, most likely, they’re putting in cows’ milk as an adjunct to the cereal.

Cereal, in this study, was found to promote lower BMI in kids who are eating more of it. That got me thinking, Let’s actually have a look at the study and look at who funded the study, ’cause that’s always interesting to learn about. It was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you ever wanna go into this kind of research, you can search for these journals, and you can look at specific studies and you can look at Statements of Potential Conflicts of interest or Funding and Support Statements, which are usually at the bottom of the studies.

So, for this study it basically says, “Dr. Frantzen is employed by Dairy MAX, a regional dairy council founded by American Dairy Farmers. This research was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy…” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Funding and support: This work was completed with funding form the National Institute of Diabetes”—which is actually pretty ironic, considering that Frosted Flakes and a lot of other whole grain cereals are not necessarily the best for stabilizing blood sugar—“and kidney diseases/National Institutes of Health.”

Breakfast Cereal

does cereal make you fatAgain, there’s a lot of big companies behind these types of studies. Let’s look at another study. I decided why don’t we look for a review of the literature, which looks at all sorts of studies and compiles it into a distilled overview of what everything else is showing?

I didn’t come across one of those, but I did come across something that was interesting. It was published in the journal Obesity in 2005, and it was entitled “The Dietary Intake of Whole- and Refined-Grain Breakfast Cereals and Weight Gain in Men.” Now, this was really interesting. I’m just gonna give you the results very quickly.

“Whole and refined-grain breakfast cereal intake was inversely associated with a body-weight gain over eight years, after adjustment for age, smoking, baseline BMI, alcohol intake, physical activity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and use of multivitamins. Compared with men who rarely or never consumed breakfast cereals, those who consumed more than one serving per day of breakfast cereals were 22 percent and 12 percent less likely to become overweight during follow-up periods of 8 or 13 years, respectively.”

So, irrespective of the types of cereals they’re eating—they could be eating Frosted Flakes, they could be eating Mini Wheats, they could be eating Cheerios—it didn’t matter. This study was basically saying, as long as you had more than one serving per day of cereal, you would have a lower body mass index. I find this very trivial because this study was actually pretty large, looking at over almost 18,000 U.S. male physicians between the ages of 40 and 84. It’s very problematic because when you see this kind of research, the first thing you think about is, Okay, eating cereals is probably a really good thing for me.

But as we’ve talked about in the celiac episode, these cereals are all glutinous grains. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Cheerios, Mini Wheats, Frosted Flakes; they all contain levels of wheat, gluten, genetically modified foods, corn, soy. These are very problematic foods. I still find it very, very amazing that starting your day with breakfast cereal is going to stabilize your blood sugar somehow, which doesn’t make sense to me, and potentially, obviously lead to lower weight gain over several years.

So, it got me thinking, Who funded this study? This study specifically, guess who was funding this one? Let me expose the acknowledgments. “This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants…,” blah, blah, blah, blah, the numbers of the grants, and a grant from the General Mills Corporation.” Well, there we go.

General Mills, as we know, produces or is the manufacturer or Cheerios and a number of other cereals. They’re a huge, huge corrupt food company. I don’t want this to come across as some kind of conspiracy theory of what’s happening ’cause it’s the reality. When you look at—it’s so funny that we put so much weight into scientific evidence nowadays, it’s like, “Where’s the research that shows this? Where’s the research that shows this?”

In a lot of cases, I’m starting to learn that’s it’s almost becoming less and less influential, I should say, in terms of the scientific data, because everything is funded, supported, influenced by some type of corporation. Well then, playing devil’s advocate, you might say, “Where do these researchers get their money from, then, to conduct these studies?” Well, that’s a great question. In some cases they have to look at other places.

However, a lot of university will give grants for research. Some of those universities might be tied into different corporations and so forth, so I don’t know, but when you see studies that are specifically funded by the National Dairy Council or General Mills, you really have to take it with a grain of salt because you don’t necessarily know what’s happening on the backend, and it’s not to say that the results are being confounded or influenced necessarily by where the money’s coming from, but there is a sneaking suspicion thatthose who want to put health claims on their food products are the ones supporting the health studies.

If I wanted to conduct or if I wanted some research to prove that my specific diet was the best, if I had the money, I would fund a study, and, ideally, that study would be set up in a way to product favorable results for my diet. And if it didn’t, then maybe I would slip a couple bills under the table and hopefully conjure up some different results.

Now, I’m not saying that that’s necessarily true, but there’re a lot of cases in which it is. For instance, with aspartame and the research on that and its effect on human health.

So, what I want you to get out of this article is that even though this research comes out showing breakfast cereals are tied to lower BMI in kids. Carb quality counts!

Not all carbs are bad, but then studies like this come out to influence people, especially those without a better understanding of how this stuff works—again, that would be typically the lower-income families, where lower-educated parents have unhealthier kids.

If you’re not a very well-educated person, you have kids, and you see something like this on the news that says “Breakfast Cereal Tied to Lower BMI for Kids,” well then, you’re thinking, “Great. You know what, little Johnny? Let’s go to the store and grab some Frosted Flakes or Cheerios, and let’s have that on a daily basis.” Now you’re getting your cereal, now you’re getting your milk, and now these big corporations are laughing.

The bottom line, the problem with these cereals is that, first of all, in most cases, especially the sugary ones, they’re gonna spike your blood sugar, which is gonna lead to hypoglycemic issues over time. Second of all, they contain wheat and gluten, which are very problematic in terms of what they do inside the human body. And, third, they’re tied in with consumption of cows’ milk in most cases, because most low-income families—and most families eating cereal, for that matter—are not consuming almond milk or alternatives like that.

That’s my take on this. I don’t believe cereal is a great way to start the day. It’s actually not very good at all. If you want a better breakfast cereal, I’m gonna give you my personal breakfast cereal right here. It’s called Blueberry Morning. You take about a cup of blueberries, shredded coconut, half a handful of walnuts—just kinda crumple them up in your hands—you can add in hempseeds, a little bit of ground flaxseed, and then throw on some rice milk or almond milk, and there’s your cereal.

Terrific. It’s all raw, which is amazing. It contains the healthy fats from all those nuts and hempseeds and all that good stuff and it’s got some really, really good nutrition from the blueberries. You’re getting a very balanced approach of carbs—lower amounts of carbs, obviously, through the blueberries—but good, healthy protein and fats from those nuts and seeds.

A much better way to start the day, and you’re not getting into the whole sugary cereals and stuff. Believe me, I grew up eating cereal three, four, five times a day. Sure, I’m not fat but I wouldn’t consider myself…I would consider those foods as being at the root cause of a lot of the health issues I later developed.

If you’ve got kids, I really hope you’re not feeding them cereals, even if they’re supposedly healthy cereals. Believe me, there are much better alternatives out there.

I hope this sheds some light on this matter.


Have you taken the “exercise doesn’t cause fat loss” claim a bit too literally?

It’s true that “eat less, move more” is an overly simplified, ineffective piece of weight loss “advice,” akin to a psychiatrist telling a depressed patient to simply “feel better.” However, that doesn’t make it a downright falsity. Exercise is an essential part of losing unwanted adipose tissue and you can’t ignore it forever and hope to lose the fat you want to lose. I don’t think it’s helpful to look at exercise as a mechanistic obliterator of calories, because that can enable the “I’ll eat this cupcake and then run for twenty minutes on the treadmill” mentality that just doesn’t work. But exercise is a potent enhancer of hormonal function. It can raise testosterone, growth hormone, and improve insulin sensitivity (all of which improve fat loss). It can divert the calories you do eat toward lean muscle and away from body fat. It can divert the carbs you eat toward refilling muscle glycogen. All in all, as long as you don’t overdo things, exercise is an important ally in fat burning and lean mass accumulation


Save Time with SuperSets

So what is a SuperSet? A SuperSets can be defined as:  The act of performing a set of one exercise directly after a set of a different exercise. This has the dual benefit of saving you time in the gym and enhancing fat loss. This tool is great to have in your fitness arsenal.


Enhance Fat Loss:

1. Supersets (w/ moderate to heavy weights) will enhance fat loss better than long cardio bouts or standard straight sets because between each exercise you have little to no rest.  This raises heart rate and keeps it elevated throughout the workout. This jumpstarts your metabolism.


Saves time:

2. These back to back sets can save time and prevent overtraining as well. Overtraining occurs when you don’t give yourself enough rest and proper nutrition to recover (when workouts are too long, testosterone levels slowly decrease and cortisol levels rise-this is opposite of what you want). Superset training keeps workouts short and places a lot of focus on training a certain area of the body very intensely.


HOW TO DO IT: Perform a couple straight sets of chest exercises, like bench press or machine press, then include a superset of dips and push ups at the end. Perform as many supersets back to back as you can, then rest and eat. Avoid doing too many supersets for the same body parts too often. This could lead to overtraining or adaptation.


Nutrition & Supplements

Top 5 Ways to Cut Calories

If you’ve been consuming plenty of natural fats, protein and produce, you’ve taken care of the “what” part of eating, and your body will benefit for years to come because you’re eating for your body’s blueprint.

But if you still carry around a spare tire then cutting calories slightly is still the best way to lose. Here are the first 5 things you can do to make this change:

1. Replace fruits with vegetables.

Fruits contain sugar, which is fine in limited amounts. But fruits are simply higher in calories than vegetables, something many folks don’t know. Replace those fruit snacks with vegetable snacks for equal – or better – nutrition and fewer calories.

2. Cut meat portions in half.

I’m a huge proponent of plenty of protein – at a minimum, 100 grams daily. But often, meat portions are too big. This is especially true in restaurants, but  I have noticed the prevalence of gargantuan steaks and step-aside-turkey chicken breasts at the market these days, too. 3-6 ounces is plenty. Focus on source, flavor, and quality, not quantity.

3. Watch the nut portions.

Nuts are an amazing nutrient source – protein, fat, fiber, vitamins galore. But they are incredibly high in calories. A serving size is a handful, not a pack.

4. Drink only water.

To really lose weight, make sure you aren’t drinking your calories! (Unless those calories are replacing a bulk meal.) Limit alcohol and eliminate dairy and juices

5. Eliminate starchy vegetables.

If you are lean and healthy, things like yams and carrots are fine. But they do tend to have more calories than greens and cruciferous vegetables, so mind those starchy squashes and tubers if you want to lose a few pounds.







Muscle Building Tips For Females

I use the SCORCH Method.

S = Slow Down Your Weight Workouts

Metabolic conditioning workouts are great for fat loss and can help maintain muscle, but if you want to build, you’ll need to move a little slower, take longer rests so that you can go heavier and add a few more exercises. You shouldn’t necessarily be breathless the entire time during your weight workouts. Focus more on the heaviness and the burning.

C = Concentrate On Each Muscle Separately

Ask any bodybuilder (arguably the ideal practitioners of hypertrophy), and they will say each muscle group needs individual attention. Complexes and hybrid movements are great to use every once in a while, but if you’re serious about adding size, it’s recommended you break up your body parts more. Here’s a split I really like:

Day 1: Chest/Triceps
Day 2: Legs (Quad/glute focus)
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Back/Biceps
Day 5: Legs (Hamstrings/calves/low back focus)
Day 6: Shoulders/Abs
Day 7: Off

O = Overload The Muscles By Upping Weight &/or Volume

You can’t make gains without progressively overloading the muscle you’re working. This means using a moderately heavy weight and doing a high-volume workout. Pick up heavy weights ladies! I always say that most women can lift at least 5 lbs more than they think they can. Maybe even 10. Try it!

I also increase volume by doing 4-5 sets of each exercise, 3-4 exercises per body part, in the rep range of 8-12. This makes for a lot of reps. Start with a 15-rep max, and progressively add weight over the span of 4-8 weeks, using the same exercises. Then choose new ones.

R = Recovery

You do your growing during your recovery time, so I’d skip doing the same muscle group twice in the same week if you can help it. The small tears you make in the muscle need downtime to grow back stronger and bigger. Recovery also includes getting plenty of sleep, practicing clean nutrition with enough carbs and protein to help rebuild and NOT doing tons of cardio every day.

C = Carbs And Calories

Nutrition is a huge component in muscle building, obviously. First of all, protein is certainly important, as muscle itself is made up of amino acids. Try to hit 1g protein per pound of body weight, and choose lean sources, including grass-fed beef if possible to get the kind of nutrients so important in muscle building.

Next, enough calories are needed to provide a sufficient quantity of building blocks needed for the metabolism and a surplus to build beyond current levels. And carbs are the wild card. The amount of carbs one consumes is often the difference between building muscle or not. Carbs, especially post-workout, are important to bring up insulin levels in the blood, which play a key stimulatory role in the muscle-synthesis process. Insulin needs to be present in order to build muscle. If you are doing less carbs, be sure to take 5-10g BCAAs post-workout, as they also raise insulin and can act in a similar fashion.

My quick & dirty rule for carbs: If you want to build, multiply your weight in pounds by 1.5 and eat that many grams of carbs (includes most starches from veggies, specifically root veggies) on days you train. On non-training days, cut this in half. PLEASE don’t stress about counting grams! This does not need to be exact! A serving of starch (like 1/2 of sweet potatoe or 1/4 cup quinoa) is around 30g. Eye-ball it. Eat as many carb grams from fibrous veggies  to get the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal metabolic function, like B vitamins and to keep you full for hours post meal.

H = High-Intensity OR Low-Low Intensity Cardio

IF you are intent on doing cardio, make sure it is either high intensity, short duration like Tabata intervals (20 sec on/10 sec off) or track sprints OR very low intensity like leisure walking. High-intensity intervals (20 min or less) hold onto muscle because they spike growth hormone when they push us above the anaerobic threshold, and minimize any spike in cortisol. Likewise, low-intensity walking or yoga/tai chi can have a profound restorative effect on the body, and lower cortisol (a muscle (and fat)-wasting hormone). If you’re going to cardio it up, I’d suggest keeping it to 3x/week max. For best results, do restorative, low intensity walking only.

There are a few other keys like optional supplementation (not illegal!) and getting into which movements are the most effective, but we’ll save that for later.

That’s it for now! Best of luck, let me know how you do! Amber