Constructing the Perfect Meal, a Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to putting together meals, I have always found it best to simplify things as much as possible. Nutrition as a whole is something that can be daunting, given the fact that new research is constantly coming out, and it is nearly impossible to keep up with what is currently considered “healthy” and “not healthy.” Therefore, sticking to the basics is always a safe bet. Although nutrition is largely a personal endeavor, there are some foolproof ways to make sure you are hitting the basics with your meal construction. That being said, this is a step-by-step guide I have developed to figure out how to build the perfect meal for you. Step 1: Establish Goals This is the most important step. Everything else hinges upon the decisions made in this step. Are you trying to lose fat? Gain muscle? Optimize for brain health? Optimize for athletic performance? Increase

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How to Bounce Back from a Binge

We have all done it. After cruising along for a few weeks with great nutrition practices, one weekend comes along and seems to wreck all the progress we have made. I imagine that was the case this weekend with many of you. For whatever reason, Guinnesses just taste better on March 17th, and the extra servings of garlic-butter mashed potatoes seem to appear on your plate whether you wanted them or not (you did).   So after we binge and go off the handle a bit, how do we bounce back and get ourselves going again while minimizing the total damage done? The one thing we want to avoid more than anything else is an all-or-nothing mentality. This line of thinking is incredibly common among people who struggle to stick with a nutrition plan. The basic line of thinking is that you need to either be all-in on a meal

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How to Make a Big Change

Habit change is a massive topic. When it comes to nutrition, training, and life in general, all the knowledge in the world will do no good without habit change. Think about all the doctors, gym teachers, or health and fitness professionals that are out of shape. They (hopefully) know what they should be doing, but that does not mean they are actually able to do it.   As usual, I see this breakdown as an 80/20 breakdown. In regards to fitness and dieting, 20% of the results come from gathering proper information, and 80% of the results come from developing and maintaining positive habits. Well-established fitness entrepreneur Mike Vacanti just came out with a shirt that has “Consistency / Perfection” (“consistency over perfection”). The idea being that being able to consistently maintain a pretty good diet is so much more important than crashing and binging repeatedly on a “perfect” diet

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What is the Deal with the Ketogenic Diet?

Although it is not a particularly new fad, the Ketogenic Diet is a topic I have gotten a lot of questions on recently. Usually the question presents itself as: “what’s up with this ketogenic diet, and should I do it?” The answer to those questions are somewhat complex, so it is very difficult to provide a general answer on the spot. The details are crucial when discussing “keto.”   What is it?   First and foremost, let’s cover what keto actually is. If one were to subsist off a diet which causes their body to mimic the state of fasting for a long enough period, their body’s form of producing energy would shift. The goal is to get the body to stop relying on stored glucose (which we get from consuming carbohydrates) for energy production, and instead utilizing a fuel source called ketone-bodies.   In order to turn to this

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Will You be Ready?

Anyone who watched the College Football National Championship on Monday was witness to a fantastic story; one that people will be talking about for ages. For those of us who did not watch the game, are not into college football, or don’t know the background of the story, here is the shortened version of what happened:   Georgia was beating Alabama 13-0 at halftime, and they seemed to have the wind at their backs going into the break Jalen Hurts, the Sophomore QB who had started the entire season for Alabama found himself on the bench for the second half Alabama’s Freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa, who had only taken a handful of snaps throughout the season (all in throwaway time) took the field for the rest of the game Tagovailoa played lights out, threw for 3 touchdown passes, the last of which being a walk-off overtime winner   Whether you

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Advanced Strategies: Intermittent Fasting

The past few blog posts here have been geared toward very practical nutrition that just about everyone can benefit from. They could be applied to anyone, regardless of how advanced their nutritional knowledge is. This post, however is for people who classify themselves as intermediate to advanced with nutritional knowledge.   If you rate yourself on a 1-10 scale (1 = eats candy for breakfast, 10 = grow your own kale and raise grass-fed cattle to slaughter and eat in your backyard) as a 7 or higher, this post is for you.   This post is going to breakdown one particular method of intermittent fasting (IMF). This form of caloric restriction has become very popular recently, and is something we are all fans of here at Compete. As a practice, IMF exists in many shapes and sizes. I have found a method that works for me, and that is the

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A How-To Guide for Crushing 2018 Resolutions

People are pretty split on the concept of creating resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Some people think it promotes the unhealthy habit of yo-yoing; that is, going all in on something (usually nutrition) for a short period of time, then boomeranging back the other way and falling off the deep end. A good way to avoid this impulse is embodying an 80/20 mentality, which I wrote about last week. And so, if you are properly maintaining this 80/20 mindset, and you are at a low risk of yo-yoing, I am all for New Years Resolutions. I am a big self-auditor (another thing I wrote about on this blog) and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to call your medium-term goals into check. A goal is no good if it just exists ambiguously in your head. Furthermore, a goal is no good if it is

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How to Succeed at Failing: the 80/20 Principle

With the holiday season fully upon us, now seems like as good a time as ever to discuss one of the guiding principles of my entire life: the 80/20 Principle. There are many different ways the 80/20 Principle can be applied and put into practice in life, but the one I will be discussing here is how it can pertain to a diet (or if you’re allergic to the term “diet” then think “nutrition program”). Every time I go to a holiday party the following situation happens: 1. Someone comes up and offers me a Christmas cookie from a platter 2. They immediately recant the offer and assume they’ve offended me since I’m a “nutrition guy or whatever” and cookies aren’t healthy 3. I aggressively grab the cookie from their plate and eat it without breaking eye contact. That being said, I don’t go to a lot of Christmas parties.

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CARBS: The Ultimate PEDs

Every once in awhile, the public likes to pick an aspect of nutrition, demonize it, and blame it for all the bad in the world. For a while, it was fat (specifically saturated fat). The notion that eating fat makes you fat and eating cholesterol raises your cholesterol were considered to be simply facts of life. That is, until science stepped in and proved those to be inherently incorrect.   Currently, the whole nutrition world seems to be against carbs. Mythical stories of Lebron’s “Carb Free Summer” circulate around, paleo guys talk about ketone bodies like they’re the food-form of Jesus Christ, and nearly anyone looking through a menu at a restaurant comments on the fact that they’re “trying to cut back on carbs.” The fact of the matter is: carbs are GREAT for you. And in this post I am going to outline why that is.   . .

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Everything You Need to Know about BCAAs

Recently I have noticed a trend on health/fitness accounts on social media. For whatever reason, in the past few weeks everyone has been bashing BCAAs. If I spend 2 minutes on the “Explore” page of Instagram, I will find at least 10 posts explaining (entirely unscientifically) why BCAAs are a waste of money and do nothing for you. In this post, I am going to refute these claims, and defend BCAAs as a performance supplement. If you want to geek out on science with me, read the whole post. If you don’t care about that and just want some answers, skip to the last paragraph right now.   In this post, I’m going to start by explaining what BCAAs are, outline why they are important, and offer recommendations on when/how to use them.   Step 1 – What are BCAAs?   BCAA stands for “Branched Chain Amino Acids” of which

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