Is calorie counting a must?

Is calorie counting a must?

We get this question a lot at the gym. The long-short of it, no you don't have to count calories. The main thing is that you fill up on whole foods that are nutrient dense, meaning foods that are packed full of nutrients with only necessary calories.  Just think about this every time you get ready to eat:

  • Why am I eating this?
  • What is this going to do for me?

An example of foods that have very high nutrient density would be brightly colored veggies, unprocessed grains, and lean meats.

An example of foods that have very low nutrient density are sugars, sodas, ice cream, and flours.

Why is this important?

To obtain adequate amounts of nutrients, we must be able to consume more foods. In order to do this we need to be selective with our food choices and lean towards foods with less calories per serving.

Once you have established long-term dietary habits, you can now see the results that you are looking for. If you constantly change your diets based on the "next best thing," then you have set yourself up for failure before you have even started. Stick with something and give it an honest try... do it for a month... do it for three months... or better yet a whole year.

I personally don't want to be attached at the hip to a scale. If I want to eat something, I am going to eat it. However, I fully realize that where there is reward, there is also risk... something has to give. So if you really want that pizza, what are you willing to give up in order to eat it?

 

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Authentic Pad Thai

While on our honeymoon, we had the opportunity to cook authentic food but we're able to customize the menu due to dietary restrictions. 

 Check out this recipe for an easy and delicious meal. 

What You'll Need

  • 9 oz./250 g. pad Thai rice noodles (click on the link to see what these look like)
  • 3/4 lbs to 1 lb boneless chicken thigh or breast, cut into small pieces or strips
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh red or green chili, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts or cashews, ground or roughly chopped with a knife
  • 1 fresh lime, sliced into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

 

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

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Whole 30 version

Ingredients:

Sausage --

1 pound ground grass fed beef

½ teaspoon garlic

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon sage

¼ teaspoon fennel (this is what really gives it the sausage taste)

Pinch red pepper flakes

Black pepper to taste

Everything Else --

3-4 sweet potatoes

1 onion diced

1 bell pepper, diced

8 eggs (large – XL)

½ cup of coconut milk (READ LABLES CAREFULLY – YOU DO NOT WANT ADDATIVES AND OTHER JUNK)

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Instructions:

In a skillet combine all the sausage ingredients. Cook until almost done. Add the onions and finish cooking

Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and eggs.

Spread broiled sweet potatoes in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle bell peppers. Pour egg mix over the top

Put in oven for 30 minutes

Notes:

This is a great dish to make at the beginning of the week, because it refrigerates well, so it makes breakfast quick and easy!

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Shamrock Shake... Valor Style!

Check out our healthy spin on a Fast Food Favorite. Easy and checks all the boxes for a healthy meal on the go! Give us a shoutout if you try it out!

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The Benefits of Lifting

            The runner’s high. If you have pushed your body during a run you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is a truly amazing feeling. I’ve been a runner, and while I was never a marathon runner, I did my fair share and put many miles on my shoes. I have earned almost every type of Nike Running Club badge you can earn and have smashed my personal records. So believe me, I understand why running can be so appealing. During those long distance runs, I would put in my headphones and tune out anything that was bothering me. It didn’t matter how awful school, work, or anyone was—I could, metaphorically, run away from my problems. In high school, this made soccer and lacrosse much easier in the final minutes of games because I could keep up, but the beginning of every game was slow for me. I had so much endurance, but I felt weak and slow compared to the other girls on the field. I now realize that I was.

            My first year of college was my first experience in an actual gym with actual weights and lots of people that had way more experience than I did. I was scared out of my mind, so I stuck to what I knew. I ran, and my idea of “expanding” my workouts involved using every single piece of cardio equipment the gym had to offer. Looking back, for someone that was supposedly “working out,” I was watching an awful lot of Netflix. The more I think about it, the people that predominately used the cardio equipment and some weight machines also watched an alarming amount of Netflix, and often looked miserable or just stared mindlessly at their phones while moving at a snail’s pace on a treadmill. This may just be because this was a college gym and everyone is on their phones all over campus, but it makes me think, Could I really have been benefitting from something that I was able to do so mindlessly? The people that looked the happiest and the most alive at the gym were those that were lifting—especially the women that were lifting. They looked happy and confident, and I found myself wanting that so badly.

            At the end of my freshman year I was battling major stress and depression, and running did not help. I was able to escape my problems while I was running, but once I stopped they caught up and felt worse than before. It was like I couldn’t outrun my problems, stress, and depression no matter how hard or far I ran. The harder I tried, the worse my physical health got. I was stress eating because the running no longer helped and my knees started to creak with every step that I took. All the muscles in my feet hurt from slamming against a treadmill or the sidewalk while I ran. The worst part of it all was that I wasn’t losing the fat that I wanted. In fact, I looked bigger than when I started college.

            As I began my sophomore year of college, I changed my major and took a leap of faith. I went from a major that was split pretty much 50/50 in terms of male to female students to a male-dominated major called Fitness Development. This major was designed for people that wanted a degree that would help them enter the fitness industry. At this point I had little to no idea what I was doing. I was about 90% clueless on how to use free weights. I could pretty much do a bicep curl and maybe half a shoulder press. I was scared to death of two things: looking like a fool and looking bulky if I lifted too heavy and too often.

            I quickly got over my fear of looking stupid when I realized that complete strangers were willing to help me if I simply asked. The part that took a little longer was getting over the fear of being bulky from lifting heavy. Lifting became so appealing to me because I started to realize that no matter what type of body I was predisposed to I could change it and make it look better and move better. You can either accept what kind of body that you have been given and enhance it or let it destroy you.

            Lifting actually started to balance my life out. Tasks and events that once seemed impossible became easier because I thought to myself, “If I can lift all that weight, how hard can [insert difficult task here] be?” Another benefit to lifting is what it does to your body after you are done and the lasting changes that can occur. Once a week I will “cheat” on my clean eating and eat something like Five Guys or pizza and I don’t feel guilty about it because I know that my body can handle small amounts of bad food. I am in no way saying that you can out-lift a poor diet or extra cheat meals. Everyone’s body is going to respond differently to different types of food and it’s about figuring out what works for YOU, not for a fitness model on a magazine. The whole point is that I get it when it comes to the runner’s high and I get that doing something new is scary. If you find that you have been running a long time and you don’t look or feel the way you want, it might be time to give heavy lifting a try and see how it makes you look and feel.

 

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.”

-Thomas Jefferson

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Women and Weightlifting

Myth: Women shouldn't lift heavy weights.

This myth is particularly common in weightlifting because women worry that lifting weights will bulk them up. However, without chemical assistance (testosterone), women cannot and will not be able to add muscle as efficiently as men can and do. Because women’s testosterone is lower, they likely won’t be able to lift as heavy as men, in some cases, this is true. But, those three-pound "lady" dumbbells aren’t doing you any good either. 

Throughout your program, the amount of weight that you lift, whether you're more focused on pounds or reps, needs to periodically increase. You should perform anywhere between six and eight reps to get the most out of your workouts. Obviously, this depends on your goals, but this is true for most women.

If you're interested in learning how to effectively and properly lift weights, our upcoming Strength Challenge is a great place to start.

So, go and pick up some weights!

Stay #ValorStrong,

Kyle

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She went for a run to be Healthy. These 5 things happened.

She went for a run to be Healthy. These 5 things happened.

Take a drive almost anywhere when the sun is shining and you are bound to see some runners out there pounding the pavement. No doubt, they have the best intentions in the world and just want to be healthy, look better, and burn some calories and fat. What they don’t know is that they are actually working against themselves in many ways. 

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Are You Suffering from Nutritional Boredom?

Are You Suffering from Nutritional Boredom?

We are here to help make the old boring foods exciting again! Let us know what you think.

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4 Ways To A Strong Heart

4 Ways To A Strong Heart

This month is a time to be extra mindful of the healthy foods we eat and things we do to keep our hearts healthy. Here are some heart-healthy guidelines to keep your diet on the right track to a healthy heart.

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3 Smart Super Bowl Snacks

3 Smart Super Bowl Snacks

As football season comes to a close, people are gearing up for the biggest game of the season. But a Super Bowl party doesn’t have to mean compromising your healthy eating lifestyle or missing out on the party food fun. Here are some tips on how to navigate the football party spread without stressing about overdoing it!

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Just Stop

Just Stop

 The only constant is change, but in order to change we must first want to change. Climb your personal mountain and reap the rewards. Deep down we all know what we need to do, so be like St. Nike and Just Do It!

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Sac•ri•fice:

Sac•ri•fice:

Sac•ri•fice: The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone. What have you done lately to make someone else better around you?

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The Power of Progression

The Power of Progression

Do you feel awkward doing a certain movement the the gym or in life? I know I do.

If you cannot properly do an exercise, it doesn't mean that you will never be able to do. It just means that you can't do it right now. Don't make the athlete fit the program, make the program fit the athlete. 

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TRX Suspension Training: Are you doing it right?

TRX Suspension Training: Are you doing it right?

TRX Suspension Training has become very popular recently. However, it is often used in the wrong way. We have seen it used as a crutch more so than as a tool to strengthen your core and total body. 

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Organic or Non-Organic?

Organic or Non-Organic?

Want to save money but still eat healthy? In our recent grocery store tour we broke down the organic myths. Click the link to find out how to save money today

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Are you warming up, or are you just doing the warm up?

 Don't think of the warm up just as something you "get through". Make sure your timing it right, or doing extra work on the trouble areas you might have. If you get done with what is on the board early before class starts, the worst thing you can do is stand around and let your muscles tighten back up. Jump rope for a bit. If your lower back is sore/tight, spend that extra few minutes before class rolling it out with a LAX ball and doing some stretches. If your hips are tight, do some extra glute stretches or striders (these are just examples). Everyone is different, if you have something that is chronically bothering you, as us. I can't tell you how much of a difference this will make in your overall health.

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The Truth About Temporary Internet/DVD Programs (P90X, T25, Z83S...)

The Truth About Temporary Internet/DVD Programs (P90X, T25, Z83S...)

"If only it were that easy to create a training program that helps people become stronger, leaner, faster, and less prone to injury – those type of results require the expertise of an exercise professional, not a multi-level marketing convert masquerading as a fitness trainer."

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Are you spending your time and money, or investing it?

Are you spending your time and money, or investing it?

What are you spending your money on? If you didn't think of your health take a look at this article. It is more important than you might think. The best way to cut health care costs is by being healthy!

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Adaptation Error - Don't make the mistake! Warm up AND Cool Down.

Adaptation Error -  Don't make the mistake! Warm up AND Cool Down.

"Today’s mission is to examine your post-training practices.   Too many times I witness really good athletes perform an excellent warm up, perform heroic feats of strength and wattage, then well, do nothing.  People, after strenuous training, you’ve got to take care of yourself."

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Be a Good Parent. Get your "Kid Fit"

Be a Good Parent. Get your "Kid Fit"

The Kid Fit program will develop strong muscles and bones, promote weight control, increase the quality of sleep, and give them the self esteem that they may be currently lacking. Valor will get your son or daughter to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, transform their body, and develop their mental strength. Do you want to see your son or daughter succeed in life? Give them every opportunity possible to succeed. Think back to the opportunities that you had, or the ones that you wish you had. Don't let this one pass you by.

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