Lean – Part #2 – Diet

The last few days have been rainy and dreary in the city so it felt good to start my day with a good workout.  I probably didn’t get quite the ideal amount of sleep last night, but the last week of cleaning up my diet has already started to improve my quality of sleep and energize me.  This morning was shoulders + triceps:

    Exercise Reps Sets
1 1A Dumbell Shoulder Press 10 4
1B Dumbell Tricep Extension 10 4
2 2A Tricep Pushdowns 10 4
2B Side Raises 10 4
3 3A Weighted Bar Clean & Press 10 4
3B Weighted Bar Standing Row 10 4
3C Bench Dips 10 4
4 4A Front Raises 10 3
4B Back Flys 10 3
Stairclimber 40 minutes

I think that my chest and shoulders were still a little bit sore from Purgatory on Sunday so I didn’t feel like I was able to lift quite as heavy as usual, but I am loving the fourth set of everything, it really give me the opportunity to make sure I am getting a good burn.

As mentioned above, I have been seriously cleaning up my diet.  I have a lot to say on this topic so I am going to break it up into sections, starting with liquids.  Often when people plan/analyze their diets, they forget to include the things that they should and shouldn’t be drinking.  Here are some important beverages to consider in a clean diet:

1. Coffee.  Recently, multiple studies have shown that coffee, in a moderate amount, promotes health by increasing brain function and helping to fight off various forms of cancer, diabetes, and  other diseases such as Parkinson’s.  Additionally, caffiene can be a great boost to help energize you for a long day or to kick start your morning workout.   However, coffee drinks can also be extremely detrimental to your diet.  All of the things that people add to their coffee add calories, and of the worst variety, mostly sugar and fat.  A latte from Starbucks can add hundreds of calories and to your day, not to mention up to 40 grams of sugar which will lead your energy levels to eventually crash.  So when choosing a way to caffinate, if black coffee isn’t an option, choose carefully.

2. Green Juice.  I have recently come to love green juice.  I try to have one every day and often find myself craving it.  While there are many varieties available, I am partial to juice pressed using the Norwalk press, and I specifically love the bottled juices at Liquiteria.  Juice is a great way to get a shot of nutrients that may be difficult to get from raw vegetables during a busy day or that you don’t particularly enjoy eating on a regular basis.  My go to juice is the All Greens with Apple which includes Kale, Spinach, Romaine, Celerey, Parsely and Apple.  Not only are green juices nutrient dense, they also provide a lot of electrolytes and help to balance your body’s hydration.

3. Protein Shakes.  Similar to coffee, protein shakes can be great for your health and diet but are often full of things that are not so great.  Bottled protein shakes are often made with long lists of chemicals and preservatives and full of sugar.  Even a fresh shake from a smoothie bar can contain unknown ingredients.  The best bet is to make your own at home using a brand of protein that meets your needs and adding in the things that you want such as fruit, non-dairy milk and nuts.  But this is not always a conveneint option so when ordering or buying a shake, make sure to read the ingredients or check for what is being added.

4. Water Drinking enough water is one of the most important ways to improve health.  Proper hydration aids in digestion and allows the body to sweat enough to rid it of toxins.  The general recommendation is to drink 8 glasses of water per day, I think that this should be in addition to what you drink while working out and when you are more active or the weather is warmer, more water is always better.

5. Alcohol My favorite thing to drink but not great for your diet.  Not only is alcohol simply empty calories but it often leads to lowered inhibitions, which leads to eating things that you didn’t plan to eat.  The calories in alcohol are the most easily used by your body so when you drink, regarless of how many other nutrient rich foods you might have eaten, the alcohol is the first thing that your body will process, leaving excess calories to turn into fat.  I also struggle to feel fully energized the day after having too many cocktails and my workouts tend to suffer from that.  So all around, alcohol should be avoided in any fitness program.  But when you do chose to drink, make sure that you minimize the damage by ordering carefully.  Some good choices would be a clear liquor with soda water and organic red wine.  Avoid drinks that are extra high in calories and/or sugar such as sweet mixed drinks, margaritas, sangria, and beer.

Next topic will be more solid 🙂



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