CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish.

How To Have A Happier And Healthier Holiday Season

The holiday season is full of guilty pleasures.  However over indulgence can ruin your holidays by making you susceptible to disease, causing or exacerbating health issues and damaging your mental health.  For many it’s far from the most wonderful time of the year.  Here are some tips on how you can be healthier and happier this holiday season! 

  1. Exercise regularly.  Regular exercise will keep your metabolism going and also has been proven to lower your appetite. 
  2. Don’t use food or drink as motivation for exercise.  Getting a workout in so you can eat or drink more is one of the worst things you can do.  Exercise should be part of your normal routine and not used as a reason to overindulge.
  3. Keep regular eating habits. Skipping a meal so you eat and drink more a holiday event will only lead to overindulging.  Keep your regular eating habits and consider having a filling snack before your event.  Focus on foods high in protein, or healthy fats or carbohydrates such as fruit, protein shakes or a small handful of nuts that will help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
  4. Make a Rainbow. When making a plate, focus on adding items of various colors which will help ensure you include healthy, nutritious food items.
  5. Eat until you 80% full. This concept was originally developed in Japan and is an easy way to reduce calories and avoid that gross feeling of being overstuffed.
  6. Choose drinks wisely. Avoid drinks high in sugar and they are often higher in calories than the alcohol.  Focus on low calorie mixers (get seltzer not tonic), use fruit for flavor and if you feel the need for flavor ask for a “splash”. A way to ensure moderation is always have a glass of water between drinks.
  7. Take a walk after dinner. Studies show that talking a walk after meals can significantly lower blood sugar levels, help with digestion and even elevate your mood.
CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish. Uncategorized

5 Behaviors That Support Weight Loss Goals

Being a personal trainer, I have seen clients try a variety of diets, such as keto, paleo and Mediterranean, with varied success. I can tell you with certainty that success had very little to do with what diet they were on. However, I have observed five common behaviors among those who were successful that can applied to any weight-loss regimen. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, here are five behaviors you should focus on:

Target consistency over perfection.

If you follow your plan 80% of the time, you will get better, more sustainable results than if you try to be 100% compliant. But be mindful—even if you make good choices throughout the week, you can quickly waste all that effort with weekend splurges. In addition, binging can change your body’s metabolism, forcing it to store extra calories again. So strive to be compliant 80% of the each day rather than 80% of each week.

Find ways to reduce stress.

Life is stressful on your mind and body, and weight loss can add additional stress. You’re asking your body to work hard, and changing your diet takes effort. Stress can lead to poor nutrition choices and low energy. To reduce stress, plan both your workouts and meals for the week in advance. You should also create a list of stress-relieving activities and set aside at least 15 minutes a day to complete them.

Focus on diet first, then exercise.

Weight loss starts in the kitchen. While many would prefer to work out more rather than change the way they eat, you can’t outwork a bad diet. Exercise will help expedite weight loss, as it burns calories and raises your metabolism, but any successful weight loss program needs to focus on nutrition first.

Doing less is better.

Complex diets can be overwhelming and cause additional stress. Focus on a few behaviors that will create a significant impact, such as cutting out late-night snacking, sweets or drinking, and do those well. If you try to do too much, you will end up doing a lot of things sub-optimally. This is a surefire way to waste energy and create more stress. Identify what is truly important and focus your energy on those few behaviors.

Get help!

If you’re serious about losing weight, you need help. A dietitian or health coach can save you lots of time creating meal plans, and a personal trainer can provide you with the most effective workouts. Getting professional help not only gives you expertise, accountability and support, but they also relieve a lot of stress—all of which greatly increases your chance of success.

Weight loss is hard; you will have setbacks, and that’s ok – don’t expect perfection. By focusing on these five behaviors, weight loss can not only be achievable, but also sustainable in the long term. Take control of your health and your fitness and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn more about our “Healthy Lifestyles Program” that will help you create habits around nutrition, exercise and stress relief that will last a lifetime.

McDonalds Drink Size ComparisonCategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish. Uncategorized

What we can learn from the Japanese about health

Japan is widely considered one of the healthiest countries in the world, with one of the highest life expectancy rates (84 years, versus 78 in the U.S.). And while their older population should make them more vulnerable, Japan also has the fewest deaths, by far, due to Covid-19 when compared to other G7 countries: only 18 deaths per million (compared to over 1,000 per million in the U.S.).

While many experts believe cultural factors such as a homogenous society; no handshaking or hugs; and pre-existing use of masks have contributed to Japanese success against COVID-19, their population’s extraordinary health is also an important factor. As the Economist reports:

“Although the population of Japan is disproportionally elderly, and therefore potentially more vulnerable to Covid-19, it is also very healthy. Only 4.2% of Japanese adults are obese, a condition known to make the disease more lethal. That is the lowest rate in the OECD and one-tenth of America’s.”

Gyms aren’t as common in Japan as they are in the U.S., and the Japanese smoke and drink more than Americans. So how do they stay so healthy? I had the opportunity to live in Japan years ago, and can point to several cultural norms that we can learn from the Japanese to improve our health.

Focus on Health

In Japanese, the equivalent of “How are you?” is the phrase “Genki desuka?” This translates to “Are you healthy?” Imagine if you were asked about your health numerous times a day; wouldn’t that keep it top-of-mind?

For those of you old enough, you might remember the movie “Gung Ho” with Michael Keaton, where a U.S. car plant is acquired by a Japanese company. In the movie, the new Japanese owners unsuccessfully attempt to implement a morning exercise routine that they do in Japan. Japanese companies still value exercise and give their employees exercise breaks throughout the day.

Key Takeaway: Make health part of your daily discussion. Ask others about their health and what you can do to support them. And think about ways that you can implement healthy practices in your workplace or community.

Value Quality, Not Quantity

The Japanese are infamous for having high quality standards, and this includes their food. It’s virtually impossible to find low-quality food in Japan, even at McDonalds! The “bento” is a traditional Japanese meal that epitomizes the focus on quality over quantity. With high quality standards comes increased prices, as fresh fruit, vegetables and meats are notoriously expensive in Japan; however, high prices helps limit consumption and waste.

Key Takeaway: Resist the urge to “super-size” and focus on smaller quantities of higher-quality foods. Don’t be afraid to indulge in foods high in fat and protein, such as meats, cheese, nuts and avocados, which will help you feel “full” and avoid overeating.

Pro-tip: Eat at local restaurants that use local ingredients, and avoid fast-food and chain restaurants.

Eat Fresh Foods

While you can find a variety of pre-packaged foods in Japan, the Japanese emphasize home-cooked meals and fresh foods. It was typical for me to eat a salad at breakfast. Below is a picture of a traditional Japanese breakfast which typically includes fish, rice, miso soup, eggs and vegetables. This looks a lot healthier than a stack of pancakes covered with syrup and a side of bacon, right?

Key Takeaway: Focus on whole foods. You should have a serving of fresh fruit and/or vegetables at each meal. Even if you don’t have time to cook, make sure you always have some fresh fruit and vegetables on hand to supplement.

Pro-tip: Become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member or get a weekly fruit and vegetable subscription to ensure you always have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.

Walk and Bike More

Walking, biking and public transportation are the main forms of transportation in Japan, and they have one of the best public transportation systems in the world. (It helps when owning a car, parking and taxis are incredibly expensive.) Even if you are taking public transportation in Japan, you typically have a decent walk to and from your destinations, along with any transfers.

Key Takeaway: Before calling Uber or driving, see if walking, biking or public transportation is a feasible option. Not only will it improve your health, but you’ll save some money and the environment.

Portion Control

The Japanese have a phrase “hara hachi bun me,” which translates to “eat to you are 80% full.” This term originated in Okinawa and has been credited with the extraordinary health of Okinawans. Portions in Japan are much smaller than in the U.S., and we Americans constantly felt “hungry” when eating out. Perhaps it was not that the portions were too small, but rather, that our portions are too big! High food prices in Japan also help them to limit portion sizes.

Key Takeaway: Eating until you are 80% full is a simple yet highly effective way to control calories and lose weight. No calorie-counting or dieting is needed. Try it for a week, and you’ll notice a huge difference in the amount you consume and how you feel.

Pro-tip: Try using smaller dishes, which will help you limit portion sizes. When eating out, considering sharing your food.
McDonalds Drink Comparison

In American, our health is deteriorating; we reached an all-time high in obesity rates in 2020 at over 42%. Not only does this make us more susceptible to illness, such as heart disease and COVID-19, but it also takes a significant toll on our economy, as healthcare costs continue to rise. To improve our health, we need cultural changes that emphasize regular exercise and healthy eating habits. This can only happen with support from the government, businesses and communities.

What changes can you make to create a healthier society?

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish.

We’re staying home, but are we staying healthy?

Key Points

  • Shelter in place orders have created the unintended consequence of people living unhealthier lives
  • An unhealthy lifestyle compromises your immune system and can lead to higher risk of catching COVID-19 or increasing the severity of its symptoms
  • Social distancing will likely end before a vaccine is available. Until then, your best protection to COVID-19 is to have a strong immune system through a healthy lifestyle

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, cities and states around the world have enacted “shelter in place” regulations, encouraging citizens to “stay home and stay healthy” to slow the spread of the virus. But while we’re doing a great job staying home — we aren’t doing a good job of staying healthy.

Recent studies since many states enacted shelter in place acts show:

Health is more than simply whether you have COVID-19. While local governments have restricted movement and forced fitness centers to close, they’ve classified alcohol as “essential,” loosened rules around its sale and encouraged us to eat takeout food to support our local businesses: a dangerous combination. It’s in our nature to turn to alcohol and comfort foods during times of stress, but this is the opposite of what we should be doing during a health pandemic.

Our leaders and the media have focused their attention on social distancing and sanitation as the best ways to mitigate the damage of the coronavirus, but they are missing a  key piece of the puzzle. To truly protect our bodies from COVID-19 and the severity of its infection, we need to strengthen our bodies’ natural defenses by focusing on comprehensive, personal health.

Here’s how we can do that:

Boost your immune system. Research shows you can strengthen your immune system through lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, managing stress and getting enough sleep. These steps can help prevent illness by strengthening your body’s ability to defend itself from disease-causing microorganisms.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity may be one of the most important predictors of severe coronavirus illness, especially among younger people, studies show.  In fact, the chance of hospitalization due to COVID-19 for those under age 60 doubles if you are obese; obesity may also increase the risk of dying from the virus.

Limit alcohol consumption. Many believe drinking alcohol can help kill the virus; this is false. The World Health Organization recently issued a warning that alcohol consumption can actually increase the risk of catching COVID-19, as well as the severity if you do get it.

Exercise regularly. Recent studies show  that not only can exercise strengthen your immune system, but regular exercise may also help prevent one of the major causes of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death: acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Until there is a vaccine, there will always be a risk of exposure to COVID-19, even with social distancing. By making these changes to our lifestyles and keeping our bodies as healthy as possible,  you will not only reduce the likelihood of catching COVID-19 and the severity of its impact but you will also help society by reducing the spread and the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19.

Our training staff at Flow Fitness can provide you the guidance and accountability you need to help you reach your goals of living a healthier life.  Email if you would like to speak to someone about how we can help you.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish.

You can and should eat carbs at night

There are several myths in the nutrition and fitness world surrounding carbohydrates (or “carbs”) and their effect on our health. Most people believe carbs are “the devil” — the reason they gain weight. One of the biggest myths we hear is that if you eat carbs at night, they will turn to fat.  There is nothing farther from the truth.

Carbs are an important macronutrient, required for your body to perform at its best. In fact, consuming carbs at night can actually reduce stress while helping you build muscle and burn fat. Don’t believe me? Then keep reading.

When we are stressed, our bodies produce a naturally occurring hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress as part of our body’s “fight or flight” response, and it can affect every cell in our body.

Cortisol activates our sympathetic nervous system (sending commands to our brains such as “Run, Lift, Fight, Act Now”). When we are unable to properly shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode (commands such as “Rest, Digest, Recovery”), we can become caught in a vicious cycle of stress overload.

We should manage our cortisol levels so they peak at the right times, which include when we wake up in the morning, during our workouts and when we need to be alert and focused. However, we don’t want to spike our cortisol levels at the wrong times, either (i.e., just before bed or when meditating or relaxing), as this will lead to a state of stress. Reducing cortisol production allows our bodies to calm down so we can rest and recover.

Carbs can help us control our stress levels by blunting our cortisol response. Consuming them in the evening allows our bodies to tap into that parasympathetic mode, so we can ease into a more restful state of mind and eventually into sleep.

But that’s not the only benefit. Your body undergoes most of its repair and recovery while you’re sleeping, utilizing both protein and carbs as energy sources to repair your muscles. By eating carbs at night, not only are you blocking cortisol production, but you’re also providing the necessary resources for your body to build muscle and burn fat.

Of course, don’t take this as a license to eat pizza before bed; you still need to eat healthy and ensure your calories are in check, maintaining a caloric deficit or at neutral if you want to lose weight. You should also focus on carbs that are unrefined carbs such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Your diet should be evaluated based on weekly nutritional behavior and objectively based measurements, not by a singular item or meal-timing strategy. But at least now you know the truth about carbs — so go ahead and have that slice of bread with dinner!

Need help creating a fitness and nutrition plan? Sign up for a personalized training session at Flow Fitness today.

CategoriesBlog Nourish.

The Holiday  Survival  Guide 

The holidays are a busy yet wonderful time.  It’s the season for friends and family , holiday travels and delicious food and drinks. With so much going on, how do you stay consistent with your workouts and nutrition and avoid gaining weight during the holidays?   

We’ve created this Holiday Survival Guide to help you enjoy the season without wasting all the hard work you’ve already put in. With a little bit of structure and some planning, you’ll stay feeling your best this holiday season. 

Holiday Survival Tip #1Eat slowly, and to “satisfied” — not stuffed 

  It takes your digestive system 15 to 20 minutes to physiologically tell your brain: “Stop eating, you’re full!” Eat slowly and enjoy your food so your brain can catch up with your gut. This is your most effective yet simple tool  and will allow you to still enjoy all the food during the holidays.   

Imagine your hunger is on a scale from one to 10, with one being starving and 10 being “stuffed.” Aim to finish at a seven out of 10 on that hunger scale. This will allow you to enjoy your food and feel satiated — while saving you a ton of calories.    


Holiday Survival Tip #2: Use portion control, not calorie counting 

Counting calories during the holiday is usually a recipe for failure. It’s annoying, impractical and the last thing on your mind when you’re trying to celebrate. Instead of calorie counting, focus on portion control.   

This video illustrates how easy it is to create your own meal with the right portions using just your hand.   Your hand is proportional to your body, making it the perfect tool for measuring food and nutrients with no calorie counting required. 



For more details, check out this  article.


Holiday Survival Tip #3 Resist hitting the “pause” button 

One of the biggest issues we see is people embracing the “pause button” mentality during the holidays: putting their diet and exercise on hold with the expectation that they’ll make up for it in the new year. Sticking to your workouts will not only help you stay on track toward your goals, but can also be the perfect holiday stress reliever.   

There is never a “right time” to resume healthy habits. The truth is, you never want to stop any momentum you have; it can create potential roadblocks to restarting in the future.  Keep to your regular routine as much as possible to help balance out your food intake and boost your mood during this busy season. 


Holiday Survival Tip #4Limit alcohol consumption 

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your sleep, workout performance, mood, immune system and more. Not to mention, drinks are serious calorie bombs to your waistline.  

However, you don’t need to completely cut yourself off. Consider giving yourself a “drink limit”: e.g., two glasses of wine per meal. Another tip: If you know you’ll have a few drinks, space them out with a full glass of water in between; this will keep you hydrated and slow down your consumption. Lastly, avoid drinks that have sugary mixers, which can often double the calories already present in alcohol.   


Holiday Survival Tip #5Prioritizing “me” time  

Offset the stress of the season by making sure you set aside a few moments each day for self-care. This will help reduce anxiety and keep your mindset positive throughout the holiday hustle and bustle. Take a yoga class, do some meditation or buy yourself a massage!    


Holiday Survival Tip #6: Get enough sleep 

Most of us don’t get sufficient sleep. Too little sleep can leave you feeling anxious and fatigued, and can even lead to the overconsumption of calories.  

The added stress of the holiday season can compound the effects of poor sleep even further. Do your best to stick to your regular sleep routine,  and  make it your goal to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.   


Holiday Survival Tip #7: Focus on what’s around you 

While people tend to think of the holidays revolving around food and drinks, remember the real importance of the season: family and friends. This is a rare time of year where you get to spend extra time with the ones you love, so take full advantage of that. Make time for special moments together, or start a new family tradition that involves healthy activities.  

Here are some ideas:  

  • Do physical activities such as a “Turkey Bowl” football game, round of cornhole or tossing the Frisbee.  
  • Break out the board games or cards.  
  • Go on a family hike, or go ice skating or skiing.  
  • Look at the neighborhood Christmas lights.  

There is no need for an “all or nothing” mindset during the holidays. With a little bit of moderation and by sticking to a fitness routine, you can enjoy the holiday season without taking three steps back. 

CategoriesBlog Nourish.

Your Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Photo, iStock.
By Mackennon Klink, CSCS, PN1

Sooo……. What do you wanna eat?

This is the million-dollar question we ask ourselves (or significant other). Typically, we don’t either plan or know what we are going to eat for lunch or dinner the following day(s). If we do plan ahead, it’s usually that uninspiring sandwich for lunch or having leftover (again) for dinner when we’re exhausted arriving home.

It may seem like a daunting task to organize and plan your meals ahead of time, yet it’s actually an easy process that will allow you to consistently nail your nutrition, save your time and money, and improve your relationship with food.

There’s a lot to unpack so I’ll break it into sections and address each mental hurdle step by step.

What Exactly is Meal Planning?

Meal planning is the process of planning what to eat in advance for the next meal, day, and/or week. At first, meal planning seems like an impractical task, yet it’s a much easier task than imagined. In fact, you’re already meal planning without knowing it. Don’t believe me? Think to when you are grocery shopping. You aren’t just purchasing a bunch of food for tonight, but for foods you’ll be eating in the upcoming weeks. That is a basic form of meal planning.

Meal planning simply revolves around being more organized with your eating habits and food selection with a talented list of foods you want to eat. With the key words in that previous sentence is “want to eat.” In order to meet your nutritional goals (lose weight, eat healthier, etc.) you must adhere to your food selection. It makes absolutely no sense to purchase a bunch of foods you absolutely hate or using complex recipes requiring hours to finish when you starting.

The Benefits of Meal Planning

Hopefully, you realized that meal planning isn’t as of a daunting task and you’re already doing a basic meal planning every time you get groceries. Truth be told, there is no right or wrong way to meal plan. The correct meal planning method is the one you are consistency able to do. Meal planning is different for everyone, depending on their financials, obligations, lifestyle, and other factors. Regardless, there’s numerous benefits everyone can reap from meal planning.

1) Save Money by Cooking

Learning how to cook is THE best thing you can do and is a thousand times cheaper (and healthier) than going out to restaurants.

Even if you’re just ordering a salad, you don’t fully know everything they put inside. They don’t care about your waistline. They’ll load that sucker up with as much food topping and items as possible. Restaurants are more concerned about making it as tasty and enjoyable as possible to get yo money.

Here a quick comparison: For the price $12-15 of a meal at a restaurant, you can buy 2lbs of chicken, 2lbs of potatoes, and bags of frozen veggies at the same price point. So instead of having a single meal, you now have the necessary resources for 3-4 meals. In addition, you’ll avoid the hidden sugars, fats, and oils restaurants use to make their food so good.

Mack Tip: your significant other will find you 1000% more attractive if you are able to cook a few decent meals from scratch.

2) Nutritional Consistency and Adherence

When it comes to improving your health, consistency is the name of the game! While I’m sure you heard that before, it’s so true that consistency and adherence are what makes any diet successful.

Here some honest truth; Paleo, Ketogenic, Whole 30, South Beach and any other diet literally works for it places you into a caloric deficit. There’s absolutely no reason to starve yourself in order to lose those pounds. If your diet doesn’t fit with your lifestyle or you cannot consistency adhere to said diet, it’s time to get a new one. The best diet is the one you enjoy while making consistent, objective progress. Period. End of story.

3) Making Healthier Decisions

Planning your meals ultimately allows you to take control of your own personal nutritional needs. By having your ingredients readily available and know what you’re cooking is essential to making nutrient dense meals you’ll enjoy.

Nutrition dense meals means the food is high in vitamins, minerals, macros, yet low in overall calories. A few examples would be fruits and veggies, lean meats, and potatoes to name a few. As previously mentioned, every diet works by having the individual eat more lean meats/protein and more veggies. In addition, by getting more nutrient dense meals, this means lower total calorie meals, more quality macronutrients, and getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

4) Increase Food Variety

No one likes to eat the same meal over and over again, or sticking to strict, rigid diet. By meal planning, you’re in complete control what you eat and the foods you want to eat. This will allow your meals to remain enjoyable and “fresh.” As they say, “variety is the spice of life.”

5) Decrease stress

Cooking and preparing for dinner should be enjoyable – not a mad rush to subdue your hunger. Since you already have everything readily available, this allows you to be creative with your meals. A creative and thoughtful menu takes the pressure off the week and ensures your happy with your nutritional choices.

6) Save time

When you are organized and plan ahead, you avoid the frantic, last minute mad scramble of “what the hell am I going to eat?” when it’s 8:30pm at night and you’re exhausted after working all damn day.
With your ingredients and recipes already at home, it’s much easier to prepare your meal quickly, efficiently, and stress free.

These are just a few rewards you’ll reap as you progress through your meal planning journey. If you are unsure what you should prioritize while food shopping, I’ve put together a quick and easy recommended food list for you. This isn’t an “end all-be all” list. This is simply a list of foods I enjoy eating and cooking. With this list, you’ll have all the tools necessary to create healthy meals.

What is the Goal of Your Meal Plan?

Even before you begin planning out and rationalizing your weekly food items, you need to identify why you want to do this. Some people want to eliminate the evening stress of cooking, while others simply want to get into the habit of cooking.
Since we have been discussing meal planning in fat loss terms, the majority of individuals begin meal planning to lose body fat and gain muscle. The honest truth is, these are common goals and isn’t enough to sustain a diet or consistently going to the gym, especially when it becomes tough. To lose body fat, you need to know “why” it’s important to you.

Ask yourself, “Why does this matter to me?”
Don’t just focus on the superficial level, go deep.
Dig deep, and please, don’t say because abs are “hawt.”
Once you clearly establish your “why”, you need to maintain it throughout your journey. When it becomes difficult, you want to remember why you started in the first place to help you resume the course.

One you establish you “why”, the next step is to figure out your meal planning goal(s). Do you want to:
Eat better?
Save money?
Save time?
Cook less/more?
Adhere to a new diet?
Have family dinners be less stressful?

Someone who’s sole intention to save money will have a very diffident approach when compared to someone losing body fat or addressing a specific health concern. If you simply want to stay in budge or get into the habit of cooking meals, you probably want to stick to a simple recipe, rather than a complicated recipe with a bunch of ingredients.

By clearly identifying your primary goal, you’ll automatically set yourself up for long term success when compared to others. Focus on your daily nutritional needs and work back from there. Don’t try to change everything at once. Small hinges open big doors, so focus on making small sustainable changes, like cooking 2-3 times throughout the week.

How to Get Started with Healthy Meal Planning

Up to this point, you have figured out why you should be meal planning and what success means to you. Now let’s actually get started.

Meal planning needs to fit around your lifestyle – work schedule, gym routine, family and work obligations and responsibilities. I have found that Sunday is usually the best day to meal prep for the week.
Your primary goal when meal prepping should be focusing on cooking enough protein and veggies, plus a starch if you need the additional carbs. Eat real foods and keep it simple.

Let’s break this down step by step:

1) Determine how many meals you are preparing:

First thing is to determine how many lunches/dinners you need to prepare. For example, if you want to eat a healthier lunch, then focus on preparing for 3-5 lunches that week.

If you want to take it a step further, you can divide your daily macros to ensure your prepped meals keep you on track to hitting your goals. Based on your daily macro goals, you should have an idea on your meal’s “macro goals.” For example, my daily protein goal is 200g. I know I eat 4 meals a day, so that means each meal needs to have 50g of protein. Obviously, your macros would be different due to your training and physique goals height, weight and other physical characteristics, but the example works.

2) Choosing what foods to eat/prepare:

You want to focus on preparing foods you enjoy and know you’ll eat. It makes no sense to prepare a Tri tip steak if you are a vegan (why would a vegan cook this, idk, but just roll with it).

To make your life easier, I’ve prepared a list of foods to choose what to prepare.
Choose 1-2 PROTEIN sources from this list to cook & season to your liking:
Chicken Breast
Turkey Breasts
Ground Turkey
Grass Fed Beef
Wild Game

Choose 1-2 CARBOHYDRATE sources from this list to cook & season to your liking:
ALL the veggies
Gluten Free Oats
White Rice
Sweet Potatoes/Yams
White/Red Potatoes

If you tend to run low on fats, consider preparing, portioning out, or cooking your carbs/proteins with some of these FATS:**
All Natural Nut Butters
Tree nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, etc.)
Seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, etc.)
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grass Fed Butter
**Beware that fats are the most calorie dense macro at 9 calories per gram of fat. Make sure you are weighing/measuring fats accurately to not go bust on your fat/calorie goals.

3) Time to cook!

At this point, we know what our ingredients/foods are so let’s get cooking! It’s time to take over that kitchen with your set ingredients. Feel free to cook with your preferred sauces and spices. Once cooked, portioned into your individual container and your done! See?? Not too complicated after all, right?!

Meal Prep Tips and Tricks

As previously mentioned, there is no “right way” to meal prep. Meal prepping will be slightly different for everyone depending on their diet and nutrition, lifestyle, food choices and selections, and adherence. Think of it more as a learning process to help you achieve your individual nutritional choices and fitness goals. To help speed up the learning process, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

1) Start small
If you have never meal prepped before, it can be overwhelming to think of everything you need to do. Instead, focus on cooking enough for 2-3 meals and start pre-planning your grocery list. (side note – never go to the grocery store hungry, otherwise you’ll be over indulging in foods you don’t need.)

2) Multi-Task
If you have an oven and stove, you can always be cooking multiple items at the same time. For example, if you are cooking steak, chicken, or ground beef on the stove, cook your veggies in the oven.

3) Cook an extra dinner
The last thing you want is to run out of food on a Wednesday. Instead of splurging additional money at a restaurant, which you have no idea of how much oil, spices, and what else they put inside, make an extra-large dinner. This will ensure you’ll have plenty of leftovers for the whole week.
For example, if you are making stir fry, you can easily double or triple the number of veggies and protein for additional meals throughout the week.

Once you understand how to meal prep, it quickly becomes an easy task. Make sure you keep it simple and fun by focusing your meal prep on veggies, protein and modifying as necessary to fit your individual preferences.

The difference between hitting your macro goals just simply rely on willpower, and hertanic effort.

Once you get the hang of it, your meal prep can be done within 1-2 hours. That small chuck of time will make your diet more nutritious, save you time, money, and stress throughout the week and allow you to achieve your goals faster!

CategoriesLive Fit. Nourish.

Why Spot Reduction Doesn’t Work

Why Spot Reduction Doesn’t Work

One common question we get at Flow is how to lose fat in a specific area. We hate to break it to you — but it’s impossible to spot-reduce fat. So you can stop doing endless crunches to melt belly fat, or eternal tricep dips to slim your arms. Instead, focus on overall fat loss through a healthy balance of nutrition and exercise.

Nutrition is crucial to fat loss. It’s simple math: To lose body fat, you need to eat less than you burn each day (known as being in a “caloric deficit”). Keeping a food journal is a great way to track what you’re eating, which keeps you honest and focused on your goals. When meal planning, make sure your plate has a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. This will roughly look like:

  • A palm-size serving of protein.
  • A fist-size serving of carbs.
  • A thumb-size serving of fats.
  • …and, of course, a large handful of veggies for each meal. 

Aside from what you eat each day, make sure you’re drinking enough water. Water helps flush out toxins while keeping you hydrated, which is very important when thinking about fat loss. 

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish.

Underperforming? Try This All-Natural Enhancer

Whether it is at work or in the gym, we are all looking for an edge.  We work hard for our goals, yet sometimes our progress stalls, like a teenager learning to drive a stick shift.

There are many ways to get great results, and often they’ll cost you money for a special product that may not even help.   However, there are plenty of natural ways to enhance your performance without costing you a penny.  Simple tweaks to help push you past that plateau.

Below is a natural way to maximize your results while in the gym.


While drinking water sounds painfully obvious, did you know that most Americans are constantly in some form of dehydration? Being properly hydrated will help almost every aspect of a person’s life. Water is essential to maintain blood volume, regulate body temperature, and allow muscle contractions to occur. Further, water has a thermogenic effect on the body that has been proven to aid in fat loss. Finally, when properly hydrated, your exercises will “feel” easier, allowing you to move and feel better while in the gym.
You should aim to drink about half you weight (in ounces) of water each day. For example, an 180lb individual should drink at least 90oz of water. A quick and tasty way to improve your water is to add freshly sliced limes, lemons, or cucumbers. How do you know if you are properly hydrated? The simplest way to know is by the color of your urine. It should be clear with or have an off-yellow tone.

There are many different means to become hydrated outside of drinking water. All fluids can be used for hydration (except alcohol). Focus on consuming or drinking the following: Water (unflavored or naturally flavored), sports drinks, soup (watch out for high sodium levels), low fat milk (non-fat or 1%), coffee, herbal tea, and fruit (watermelon is 90% water, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, etc). In fact, eating more fruit is an excellent way for those wanting to lose weight. Fruit will have fewer calories and re-hydrate you simultaneously. It’s a win-win situation.
For more re-hydrating fruit examples, click here.
You lose more than just water during your workouts. When you sweat, you are losing electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. An easy way to replace those lost electrolytes is to drink a sports drink (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade).

Sports drinks have three primary roles:
1 – prevent dehydration
2 – replace electrolytes
3 – provide carbohydrates for exercise use.

Fair warning – Sport drinks can range from 20-150 calories, primarily consisting of carbs, so be wary if you are on a low carb diet. Simple solution is to pour out ½ the contents in your Gatorade and replace with water (dilution).

So next time you start looking on-line or in your local health food store for the “Next Big Thing” to help you improve performance. Take a moment and ask yourself how hydrated you keep yourself through the day. Chances are if you have not been at your best, water will make all the difference and cost you very little!

Written By, Flow Coach Mackennon Klink, BS, CSCS, PN1

CategoriesBlog Nourish.

Understanding Fats

Wrapping up the unveiling of understanding basic nutrition, we’re completing the macronutrient trifecta with a practical overview of dietary fats. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are all essential to building and maintaining a healthy and resilient body. Having an understanding of what each does for you is a powerful tool in accomplishing your physical goals, as well as maintaining both physical and emotional health.

The human body is not a mysterious black-box, but a regular machine that with the appropriate tools (applied knowledge) can be manipulated into building the desired results.

In popular portrayal, fat is seen as a dietary boogeyman. The truth of the matter is that fat is an essential macronutrient that serves vital functions in our bodies, keeping us alive. We’ll discuss those roles below, as well as how to establish how much you should be eating to reach your goals.

Fat’s Role in the Body

The Hard Facts

  • 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.
  • 1 pound of fat/lipid contains 3,500 calories of energy.
  • There are 2 essential dietary fatty acids:
    • Linoleic acid
    • Linolenic acid
  • Fats are essential for the breakdown and absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K in the body.
  • The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends that the average person’s diet should consist of 20-30% fat, balancing saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats.


Where proteins and carbohydrates only have 4 calories per gram, fats have more than twice that amount with 9 calories per gram.

A single pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories of energy. Consider how many calories you burn jogging on the treadmill in one hour. You may be able to reach 200 at a moderate pace. To burn one pound of fat jogging at this rate would take roughly 17.5 hours. This obstacle, along with the fact that muscle consumes calories even at rest, is why weight training to develop muscle is incorporated into the majority of most weight loss programs.

Dietary requirements that are labelled essential are those that the body cannot synthesize itself and must be gained through the diet, just like the 9 essential amino acids that are used to construct proteins. Linoleic and linolenic acids are both considered essential to the human diet.

Linoleic acids and linolenic acids are both found in plant based foods. Your body uses these to build omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are used in all tissues in the body.  A deficiency in linoleic acid can lead to reduced growth rates, abnormalities in the liver and kidneys, weakened immune functions, depression, and dry skin.

Various minerals and vitamins that are needed for your body to perform essential functions as well as regulate hormone production are fat-soluble. That means that they can only be broken down and absorbed in the presence of fats.

Saying that a diet consists of 20-30% fat means that 20-30% of the calories you take in per day come from fat. This has to do with balancing your macronutrients to ensure you get the most from everything you eat, that you get everything you need to eat, but that you do not overeat and take in too many excess calories.

Practical Tips

You could probably eat more fat to improve your health. Not all foods are equal, but by no stretch is a piece of pie going to kill you. With that said, there are some solid go-to sources out there you can include in your diet that will provide plenty of linoleic and linolenic acid that will keep you fueled up and feeling good.

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring, etc).
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chia Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Coconuts and/or coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Full-fat yogurt

Whether you’re hoping to be the 2030 World’s Strongest Man, are training for your first marathon, or just want an extra skip in your step walking down the street, keeping a balanced diet is an essential tool to reach your goals. Once you have the know-how, it comes naturally, so break off a piece of chocolate and enjoy.

To learn how to calculate your macronutrient balance, reference the “Balancing your Macronutrients” article listed just below.


The other articles in this series include:
Balancing your Macronutrients

Understanding Carbohydrates

Understanding Protein