What’s the Answer? Fitness & Nutrition Questions

As we meet people socially and professionally, the most common questions we get asked about nutrition and fitness are:

  1. How many calories should I have daily? What should I eat?
  2. How long will it take to get muscle definition by lifting weights?

Ready for the answer?

It depends!

That is our standard answer and the most appropriate answer, but that’s not what people want to hear.  They want the one-solution answer they can follow and that helps them achieve their goals quickly
An individualized plan is far better than a generic one to help you achieve your nutritional needs and fitness goals. Each of us has unique needs based on our genetics, gender, activity levels, nutritional profile, and habits.

So, will we give you answers to the above questions?  Well, since we can’t give you one-on-one professional advice in this post, we’ll give you food for thought so you can apply it to your own circumstances.

We believe that living a healthy lifestyle is a journey in which you have ups and downs, and during which you continuously learn.

Below are two quick, easy ways to learn about calorie consumption and muscle definition.  We offer these as ways to begin your learning journey.  After you watch the video and read the article, think about the questions we pose for you.

Calorie Consumption

Note: Video on “How Many Calories Should I Have in a Day?” is part of a playlist.  Click on the top left of the video to select the correct video.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my goal? Lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight?
  • How physically active am I or do I want to be?

Having asked yourself the above questions, consider that energy balance is only one factor for weight control, and keep in mind that not every calorie is of equal value or quality. A 100-calorie pack of jubes-jubes is not the same as a 100-calorie piece of fresh fruit.  The fruit has more vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  So, ask yourself more questions:

  • How much protein, fat and carbohydrates do I eat for each meal?  What’s the right balance for me?  Are they good quality nutrients?
  • What foods do I enjoy?
  • What do I know about the foods I’m eating?  Am I reading the labels on packaged foods? How can I swap out packaged foods for whole foods like vegetables, fruits and nuts?
  • How much am I eating?  Am I full before I finish my plate of food? Do I snack more than I should between meals?


  • Eat balanced meals with fat, protein and carbohydrates (play around with quantity of each that works for you),
  • Eat a variety of foods to get a variety of nutrients,
  • Good quality foods (higher in vitamins and minerals) are the goal instead of counting calories,
  • Be wise about how much you eat at meals and for snacks.

Treats are okay but just not every day!

Growing Muscles

IMG_3176This is a short, to the point article from LIVESTRONG.com about muscle growth.

How Long to Notice Muscle Gain?

Ask yourself:

  • How consistently am I lifting weights or working out?
  • How hard am I lifting?  Note: If you are a woman and are afraid to look like the Hulk if you lift heavier weights, don’t worry too much.  Women don’t have enough testosterone to grow muscles that big!
  • Am I challenging my muscles enough by varying my workouts?
  • Am I carrying some extra body fat?
  • Am I eating enough good quality foods to grow muscles?
  • Am I doing too much cardio?  Am I doing enough weight lifting? What’s the right balance?
  • Am I getting enough rest between workouts?

Looking toned is achievable.  Commit to and follow through on healthy eating and consistent workouts.

The science of health, fitness, and nutrition is fascinating and the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn.  At the start, the information you learn may be overwhelming and sometimes contradictory, but as you experiment and apply the knowledge to your circumstances, you’ll see the results and things start to make sense.

Enjoy the healthy lifestyle journey!

Recipe of the Week:  Chocolate Almond Butter Delights

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Top-to-Bottom Strength Workout

Some mornings at the gym I just want to do my workout and get out – no thinking, no fuss.  Do you know what I mean?  On those days I show up without a plan and follow my instincts using a top-to-bottom pattern.

What is Top-to-Bottom Workout?

This is my version of going into autopilot.  For an overall workout to target the major muscles, I start with strength exercises that work the muscles from the top of my body all the way down to my feet.  Doing this helps me remember what exercises to do and gives me a pattern to follow.

Sample Workout

The workout includes 1 or 2 exercises for major muscles and takes about 30 minutes for 3 sets of 12 repetitions.  You can add more exercises per muscle, add/reduce repetitions, add/reduce weight, or add/reduce sets.

Do what feels right on that day.  Here’s a sample:



Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly

Barbell Bench Press


Bent-over Row Standing


Dumbbell Curl – Standing

Hammer Curl – Standing


Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension

Rope Triceps Press-down

Abdominals & Obliques

Push ups

Cross arm ball crunch

Side bends – with or without dumbbells


Bridging Single Legged

Quadriceps & Hamstrings


Dumbbell Deadlifts




Calf Raises


There are so many variations to the sample exercises above.  You can use a Swiss ball, bench (flat or incline), or the floor. You can lunge forward, backward, sideways; you can use dumbbells, barbells, bodyweight, and so on.

Just go with the flow and give it a try.

Recipe of the Week:  Coconut Flour Pancakes




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