Total Daily Energy Expenditure: Pt 2

Daily Caloric Intake for Gaining or Losing Weight

In our previous article we went over what a Total Daily Energy Expenditure calculator is, and an example of maintaining the same weight, and the basics behind the use of it. In this article we will be going over how though calories are calories in regards to sheer weight goals, it is better for you and a better goal to have a balanced diet and active lifestyle.


It is important to get a good amount of carbohydrates to have sustained energy and to be able to have the ability to work out when you want, unsaturated(mono/poly) fats because your body needs some fat to be able to function properly especially for those looking to gain weight. If you are working out, especially lifting weights, you will want to make sure you are also getting enough protein in your diet. And of course, either eating a multivitamin or eating fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamins.


You will also need to get some carbs that have fiber, and sugar in moderation, though it isn’t something you need by any means. For someone who is looking to lose weight, it will also depend on how much they want to lose per week/month. A deficit of 500 calories per day comes out to roughly a pound a week lost. For example, if you are a 40-year-old male that is 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weigh 240 pounds, you will need to eat 2,387 calories per day to maintain your weight. If you want to lose a pound a week you will need to eat 1,887 calories a day. It can be hard to know how many calories you are eating without a calorie calculator, which is one of the best tools to pair with a TDEE calculator.

Anything that can track your daily macros will help you make sure you are reaching your goals. These numbers reflect someone with a sedentary office job, but they will change as you work out more. Without using a calorie counter app, a TDEE calculator, and tracking your exercises, it can seem extremely arbitrary trying to lose weight and knowing how much you need to eat less per day. That same person however, if they have gotten their weight down to 170 pounds, and working out 3-5 times a week, and is looking to gain 1 pound a week, will need to eat 3,091 calories per day, or 2,591 to maintain your weight.


Regardless of if you are cutting (losing weight) or bulking (gaining weight) you will need to make sure you get enough protein. The TDEE calculator can actually help you with the numbers. You need to hit those numbers because otherwise your body will break down your muscle to get it’s needed protein. If you are on a low carb diet of 155g of carbs a day, then you will need almost 309g of protein a day. But if you are on a high carb diet, you will need to get far fewer to hit your goal weights.

If you are looking for help with getting start on a new nutrition plan or learning more about the calories you should be consuming, contact our trainers at Str8 Training.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure: Pt 1

Daily Caloric Intake for Gaining or Losing Weight

It can feel daunting trying to figure out the fitness goals that you want to hit. Especially when you have set numbers you are trying to hit every week, breaking that down into day by day amounts can seem difficult and arbitrary. But with a couple tweaks to your diet and having an actual number of calories to eat a day, you can figure out how much you need to be eating every day to lose or gain weight. There are ways that you can calculate what that daily number is, using what is called a TDEE calculator. Basically it takes the amount of food you are eating a day, how much you weigh, your total activity, and then calculates how much or how little calories you need to eat to gain or lose weight. But there is a little bit more that goes into it than that.

If you are looking to lose weight, then at its most simple it is eating less calories each day than you use, barring any diagnosed medical conditions that impede your body’s natural ability to reduce your weight. There is a huge amount of varying ways in which you can go about consuming those fewer calories, and using more calories/burning more fat in a day. But we will not be going in-depth into your diet or you exercise routine in this article. We will be going over breaking your goals into actual steps and being able to measure the number of calories you can consume a day when taking into account physical traits and amount of exercise you do in a week.

Calculating calories

You can use any calculator, but this one is built on a bootstrap frame and does not ask for any personal information to get your results, which you should be weary of. For example, someone who is 180 pounds, 6 feet tall and 30 years old and works out 1-3 times a week, needs 2,495 calories per day to maintain the same weight. That same person who does not work out only needs 2,177 calories per day to not lose or gain weight, however. You can be a “healthy” weight but still live unhealthy.

It doesn’t matter quite as much where you get your calories from (i.e. 2000 calories of rice vs 1,000 calories of rice and 1,000 calories of chicken, or 1,000 calories of rice and 1,000 calories of M&M’s) if you only care about staying the same weight or just losing or gaining a certain number of pounds. But just because you can change your weight does not mean that is the best course of action over the long run. It is important to have a well-balanced diet (which definitely sounds like something from a 1980s breakfast commercial).

In our next article we will be going over gaining and losing weight using the TDEE, some of the differences in diets, how to define exercises, and some of the potential pitfalls in TDEE calculators.

TDEE Calculator link:

Healthy Alternatives to Soft Drinks, Sugar, Candy and Snacks That Don’t Hurt Your Teeth: Part 2

In our previous article we went over briefly some of the negative effects of soda, sugar, candy and junk snacks, and went over some basic replacements for them. In this article we will be going over more alternatives, and some foods that are considered “healthy” but are not really any better than traditional sweets.


One of these is fruit juice drinks. Apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice and things of that nature would seem like they would be a lot healthier. But in reality some have even higher amounts of sugar than soda. The only advantage of juice is that some of them have Vitamins, mainly vitamin C and a few have potassium. As mentioned in our last article, iced teas and Gatorades will have the same issue. And the electrolytes that they are stated to have, are normally less than 4% of the amount you need a day.

The best thing to do is to check the nutrition facts. Some hot chocolates with real coco are fairly healthy, and some real fruit juices are at least better for you than soda. And sometimes, it is unrealistic to expect a completely sugar free and great tasting alternative. Sometimes you have to go with something that is only half as unhealthy.

Smoothies can be a very tasty replacement for shakes and sweet drinks, if you prepare it with fresh fruit, milk/yogurt, and maybe some veggies. But if you make them like Naked Smoothies make their drinks, you will end up with a lot of sugar, and a small number of vitamins. Bananas that are fresh are great for potassium, strawberries are good for taste, blueberries and pineapples and oranges can give you vitamin C, milk and yogurt will give you protein, carbs and something real in your smoothie.

Veggies like avocados are not the best tasting in combination with fruits, but they do have healthy fats in them. Another OK replacement for shakes/ice cream is low-fat pudding, which is surprisingly healthy when it comes to certain brands, as well as yogurt. Something to keep in mind however is that just because something is low-fat, doesn’t mean it is low in sugar. And for things that are low in sugar, that does not mean that they are low in fat.


While it will not give you calories, will curb your appetite for a small amount of time.

Sweet Potato Fries

Making sweet potato fries is a great alternative to junk food.

Dark Chocolate

If you are going to have candy, dark chocolate is the healthiest by far, but still something to have in moderation.

Kettle Corn

Unsalted and unbuttered kettle corn is actually OK to have as well in moderation.

Hopefully this helps you, as anything that is lower in sugar will have less of an effect on the decay of your teeth. Change doesn’t happen overnight. If you can just replace your candy with something else, or your soda with an alternative, or find a healthier snack, then you are on the right path to having healthier teeth and finding sustainable eating habits.

Healthy Alternatives to Soft Drinks, Sugar, Candy and Snacks That Don’t Hurt Your Teeth: Part 1

We all know that sweets and junk food are bad for us; they make us gain weight, they decay our teeth, they slow down our immune system, and damage our organs over time. But the reason our body craves sweets is not just because the sugar, contrary to popular belief. We actually crave it for the calories it provides, and the number of calories and thus instant energy already available (sugar is the base form of energy and easy for our body to use but is the shortest lasting type of energy too).

When we were cavemen it made sense for our bodies to get all the sugar it could, because a little bit from a fruit for example, would give us a boost while we continue our search for food, and our body would want us to get all that we can from it because sugar would be found in limited amounts in nature. There is a wide-range of food however that is sweet or has a lot of flavor but not any sugar in it.

Today we will be going over some tasty alternatives to soft drinks, sugar, candy, and junk food snacks. However, for many foods, it will be hard to find a 1:1 replacement, but it may be possible to find an alternative. For example, if you really like ice cream, but do not like all the fat and sugar that is in the food, unless you buy sugar free ice cream (which still has sugar alternatives and dairy), there isn’t necessarily a 1 to 1 replacement. But there are some alternatives. The best one is using cool whip, putting it in the freezer, and using that as your sweet snack you can eat out of a bowl.

Cinnamon is also something that has natural sweetness, but no sugar at all. In fact, cinnamon is actually an antioxidant, meaning that it isn’t just health neutral, but it is a net positive. Cinnamon is not as naturally sweet as sugar, so it is hard to use it as a direct replacement in instances where you would have used sugar. Like you can’t replace sugar with cinnamon in your brownie recipe. But you can make things like sweet potato fries and put cinnamon on it, or when you make toast you can put cinnamon on top of them. It is great for pastries and bread food, and more.

Unsweetened tea and herbal teas are also a great way to get a flavored drink that isn’t full of sugar. Brisk Iced Tea and Gatorade, while many may think they are healthy, are actually full of sugar. Ultimately water is the best, but Crystal Lite is generally low in sugar, and fine for even diabetics. Some Diet Sodas are still full of calories; they just use sugar alternatives to get around it.

In future articles we will be going over more replacements for junk food and candy, which can be a hard one to find alternatives for in general.

Encouraging Muscle Growth: Exercise And Nutrition

A lot of factors go into encouraging muscle growth. Some factors are commonly known, such as work outs, endurance training, and more. However, some factors are less well known, but just as important. These include sleep, diet, helpful supplements, and activities to reduce inflammation. Today, we’ll look at an overview of these factors, all of which come together to promote muscle growth.

Workout Options

A commonly known aspect of encouraging muscle growth is working out. To encourage muscle growth, you have to work your muscles to the point of exhaustion to create micro-tears in your muscle fiber which will then grow back stronger than before. This can be done through a variety of workout routines, including high weight exercises, low rep exercises with an Olympic bar, or sprinting. For added endurance training, high rep exercises, body weight exercises, and distance running will help.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of fitness because our body does most of our regenerative processes at night during sleep. When you are awake, most of your energy is devoted to keeping your body functioning. At night, your body has the resources to focus on rebuilding muscle. Therefore, if you are not getting sufficient sleep, then eventually your body will not be able to heal as fast as damage is created.

Amount of Sleep Needed

The amount of sleep required for healing can vary from person to person, depending on age, activity level, and other factors. However, in general a minimum of seven hours of sleep is needed for average physical activity. If you are working out heavily, or must do a lot of physical labor during the day, then you may need closer to eight or nine hours of sleep at night.

Sleep Needs Change

As people get older, they need less sleep. From those in their late teens to those in their early twenties, up to nine hours of sleep may be needed for their bodies to recover, especially if they work out a lot. Those in their late twenties to late thirties may need slightly less, around eight hours of sleep. As your age increases, it becomes easier to function fully on seven hours of sleep or fewer, regardless of daily activity. However, this can vary by person, some people needing more, others needing less sleep to recover. Pay attention to your body and ensure that you get the amount of sleep that’s right for you.

Diets that Promote Muscle Growth

Another important factor in encouraging muscle growth is what you eat. It is commonly known that protein is an important part of healthy diet. It is also important to ensure that you eat enough antioxidants to combat muscle inflammation. Many antioxidants are found in vitamins, such as vitamin C and various B vitamins. Another important element to include in your diet is unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats. These ensure that you stay healthy and that your heart can get blood and oxygen circulated throughout your body.

Sources of Necessary Nutrients

Knowing what your body needs is one thing, but finding foods that carry those elements can be more challenging. Below are some suggestions for getting enough protein, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.

Protein: Good sources of protein include lean meats, nus, and dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and eggs.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants can be found in various vitamins, such as vitamin C and others. Healthy sources for these vitamins include fruits, such as oranges (making fruit smoothies is a great way to get antioxidants). Salads also offer many great antioxidants. If you need to supplement your diet, vitamin C tablets are also an option.

Unsaturated Fats: Unsaturated fats are good for your health, and can help lower cholesterol. Healthy sources of unsaturated fat include nuts, seeds, certain grains, avocados, yogurt, and eggs.

What to Avoid

While some fats, like unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are good for your body, others can be detrimental. Avoid foods high in trans fat, and limit foods high in saturated fat. These fats can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of developing certain health issues such as heart disease. These fats are found in high amounts in fried foods, such as doughnuts, and baked goods, such as crackers. Avoid these types of foods as often as you can.

If you would like more information about exercises and nutrition that encourage muscle growth, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

New Year’s Resolutions: Achieving Fitness Goals Part 2

One of the most important parts of meeting a fitness goal in the new year is planning how to achieve it. For those with weight loss or general fitness goals in mind, deciding what activities will get you to your goal can be difficult. Here are some tips on choosing the right activity to help you reach your cardio fitness goals!

Eye on the Prize

While New Year’s resolutions are aimed at the goal being achieved over the course of one year, remember that you don’t have to reach it by a certain date. This is especially important for number-oriented goals. Goals that focus on ensuring that you stick with the actions that will lead to the desired result are generally easier to keep up with than goals that only specify the end goal.

Do Your Homework

Before choosing an activity, you should make sure to do you homework in regards to what actions will best lead you to fulfilling your resolution. This could include a variety of things, such as picking a workout plan, or supporting exercises to add onto an existing exercise routine. Also consider looking into ways to increase your general physical activity through activities like extra hobbies or sports. Finally, for fitness goals, make sure that you factor health eating into the plans for reaching your goal.

Cardio Related Goals

For those who set goals related to cardio, select a workout plan related to your specific goal. A great activity for improving your cardio health is running. If your goal is to run a five, six, seven, or ten minute mile, then you will want to plan workouts that increase your endurance. A helpful endurance activity is to do sprints. Sprints have the most benefit, not only for increasing short distance run times, but also for increasing long distance run times. Weighted sprints are a great way to supplement this workout, though normal sprints are also helpful.

Some helpful distance running workouts include meter dashes. For this exercise, start with the longer distances and slowly decrease the distance until you reach the shorter ones.

  • 200-300 meter run (x 1 or 2)
  • 100-200 meter run (x 2 or 3)
  • 50-100 meter run (x 3-5)
  • Repeat

The great thing about distance running is that there are a lot of workouts and a huge variety of cardio exercises. There are also many cross country workout plans if you prefer running longer distances. However, if you want to improve your cardio health but hate running, there are additional options for you.

Cardio Without Running

If you dislike running, then forcing yourself to do it all year for your resolution will make meeting your goal that much harder. Cardio is cardio, and while different activities will work out slightly different muscles, if you push yourself then at the end of the day you will still be making your heart stronger. Instead of doing something you don’t like, consider alternatives. Swimming is a great option to consider in place of running. Doing laps in a pool can be an excellent cardio exercise.

Stretching and Warm-Ups

Another option for meeting cardio fitness goals is to add a stretching routine into your activities. Stretching before any workout has proven to decrease injuries because it is a warm-up that makes your muscles more limber and more resistant to tearing during exercise. For cardio, some recommended stretching routines include yoga, or fitness yoga, though other routines will work as well, as long as they help you stretch.

Enjoy Your Workout

Whatever workout activity you choose, the important thing is that you stick with it. You are far more likely to continue doing something that you enjoy, so pick an activity that you don’t mind sticking with throughout the year. If you hate running but love biking, then bike. If you hate working out but love the competitive nature of sports, then consider joining a sports club and attending several times a week.

If you would like more information about meeting your fitness goals this year, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

New Year’s Resolutions: Achieving Fitness Goals Part 1

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, and every year millions of resolutions get broken. There are many types of resolutions that you can make, such as learning to play an instrument, cooking more, or taking a class. One of the most frequent resolutions is getting in shape. Fitness resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some people aim to lose weight, while others just want to feel more fit. Whatever the resolution, reaching fitness goals can be tough. Here’s some tips on keeping this year’s resolution!

Break Down Your Goal

When making a resolution, many people set their goals by the year, but this can lead to goals seeming far away and unachievable. Instead, consider breaking down your resolution into smaller steps that you can take week after week, day after day, and step after step. In addition, if possible, mold your resolution around actions, not results.

Action-Based Over Results-Based

It can be hard to know exactly how much activity is necessary to lift ten more pounds a month, or to lose five pounds a month. These are results-based resolutions, and they can leave you feeling like you have failed early in the year. To avoid this, consider action-based resolutions. These are resolutions made based on the activities necessary to attain your final goal. Instead of making the resolution to lose five pounds, make your resolution to go to the gym three times a week, or something similar. These are clear, actionable goals.

Don’t Forget Nutrition

If your goal fitness goal is based on weight loss, you’ll need to consider having some nutritional goals as well as ones involving physical activities. An easy way to keep an eye on your nutrition is to make sure that you eat healthy meals every day that provide a healthy amount of carbs and energy, but is not have on calories. Another important part of having proper nutrition is ensuring that you have some healthy, low calories snacks to hold you over in between meals.

Don’t Go Without Eating

Having healthy snacks to consume between meals is important because it keeps you from going hungry. Allowing yourself to go without food forces you to fight hunger pangs, which uses up a lot of your willpower. If you let it go too far, you will eventually be okay with eating anything instead of sticking to your nutritious meals. This temptation to eat anything, such as candy or junk food, can set back your goals. To avoid it, make sure that you have healthy snaps available.

Getting Enough Energy

If you exercise a lot, you’ll need to plan your diet around getting the energy you need while still have a lower overall caloric intake. Eating things with complex carbs such as pasta and oatmeal, good fats like nuts and eggs, and high protein foods like diary products and meat, will help you to get the building blocks your body needs to maintain your energy. In addition, high protein and vitamins are also important. These elements help your body repair itself from the damage it takes from exercise.

If you would like more information about keeping your New Year’s resolutions for better fitness, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Protein Supplements For Vegan And Vegetarian Diets

It’s commonly known that if you’re a heavy lifter, you have to eat enough protein. When it comes to protein, most people have it easy — just eat plenty of meat and you will hit your protein goals. But if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, then the choices of how you get enough protein may be more limited. In this article, we will be going over some different ways that vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein while maintaining their dietary needs.

Protein and Whey Powder

A great option for getting protein is in smoothies. There is a wide variety of foods that can be turned into a smoothie protein drink. In addition to any foods that you put in a smoothie, you can also add protein powder for an extra boost. For vegetarians, simple whey protein will do. Whey protein comes from getting all the protein and amino acids in milk and breaking them down into their base components.


Whey protein is a great option for vegetarians, but vegans will need to find an alternative source of protein. One great replacement option is the use of seitan. Seitan is made from the proteins taken from wheat. Of course, this is mainly done using the gluten in wheat to derive the amino acids, so if you are also observing a gluten-free diet you’ll need to be wary of this type of protein.

Hemp Seed

For anyone who has Celiac Disease or whose body just does not handle gluten very well, there are alternatives to whey and seitan. One of those most natural, healthy, and least processed options is hemp seed. Hemp seed is heavy in protein and has all of the building blocks that your body needs. Hemp seed also has high levels of good fat, and a lot of the vitamins and minerals that modern humans lack in their diet. Magnesium, zinc, and calcium exist in especially high concentrations in hemp seed. Hemp seed also contains little or no THC, and is an all natural protein source.

Soy and Rice Protein

Two more common options available for increasing protein intake are soy protein powders and rice protein, though keep in mind that rice protein is likely to contain gluten. These are great sources of protein and offer an alternative to whey and seitan.

Additional Options

Another great source of protein is nuts and rich foods like avocado. Grains are a great option as well. Rice, wheat bread, cereals, and oatmeal are all very healthy options that contain grain. If your dietary restrictions allow it, dairy can be another option to consider. The most health conscious options include non-processed cheese, Greek yogurt, and fat-free milk.

If you would like more information about vegan and vegetarian options for increasing protein intake, or if you have other nutrition questions, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

The Important Benefits Of Cold Weather Workouts

When it comes to working out, people will go to great lengths to come up with an excuse to postpone it. This is why only 20% of the entire United States population gets the recommended dose of daily physical activity. During the winter, unfortunately, these numbers are even lower. So, why should you workout in poor weather conditions?

Better Performance

Those who expose themselves to low temperatures must become more resilient to go through a high-quality workout. According to the research conducted by the University of Oregon, people who are heat-adjusted will have more efficient workouts in the cold. If you spend most of your workouts in the regular-to-hot environments, your blood will have more plasma. Thus, once you switch to a less comfortable surrounding with snow and wind, you will be able to do more for longer periods of time.

Burn Calories Even Through Warm-Ups

When you workout in cold weather, you will usually shiver for the first 10-15 minutes. Nevertheless, even shivering facilitates calorie burn. Therefore, you will be able to capitalize on the very first second of your winter workout all the way to the end. How does this work? Well, since there will be a rather notable discrepancy between the outside temperature and your body temperature, your body will have to burn calories to keep you warm. Thus, shivering will help you compensate until you are properly warmed up!

Mental Endurance

Working out consistently is not easy, sure. Working out in cold weather is a whole new level of hard. Think of running while your throat is scratching because of the cold air that enters it upon every breath. Or lifting weights when the bars are nearly frozen and your hands feel as if they are dealing with icebergs. These conditions enable you to step out of your comfort zone and build the aforementioned resiliency. Once you are accustomed to this colder climate, your regular workouts will seem easier.

The Discovery

The thing about working out when it is warm outside and you have nothing but a short-sleeved shirt on is that it is easy to keep track of progress. For example, you can see how much you are sweating and use that as a frame of reference to your other workouts. The disadvantage of this is that it can turn into a mental barrier. With cold workouts, you will not really know how much you achieved until you take off those layers and see your body pumping below all the clothing. This can be referred to as the discovery stage when you realize that you just accomplished more than usual with less exhaustion.

Be Knowledgeable

If you are willing to try out a couple of cold workouts, you should beware of common myths that can get you injured. For example, all of the following would be tips to stay safe during this transition:

  • Get a proper warm-up;
  • Do not put on too many or too few layers;
  • Stay hydrated;
  • Finish with a stretch.

Doing all of the above will ensure that you get all the benefits of a cold workout, while minimizing the potential dangers. If you would like more information about cold weather workouts and fitness, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

The Importance Of Pre-Workout Nutrition Planning

Workouts are a big deal. They aim to recharge and revitalize your body. They aim to give you more energy as well. You can’t approach a workout session just like anything else, however. That’s because you have to prepare for it in the appropriate manner. Lack of workout preparation can often be a big mistake. If you don’t prepare for your exercise session properly, you could end up crashing and burning prematurely. Focusing on high-quality pre-workout nutrition can do wonders for those who want to take their physical fitness routines to the next level. Focusing on it can be great for those who want to make the most out of their valuable exercise time, too.

Aim to Chow Down Prior to Hitting the Gym

Don’t make the mistake of eating right before you begin your workout session. Don’t make the mistake of walking into the gym while scarfing down a sandwich or energy bar, either. Try to sit down and eat between 30 and 90 minutes before your workout. This can provide you with vital fuel that can help you take full advantage of your session. Remember, too, that you don’t want to begin your exercise feeling excessively full or bloated. That can lead to a lot of discomfort and sluggishness that you simply do not need.

Keep Your Fat Intake Low Before Working Out

Aim for pre-workout nutrition that’s not high in fat. Strive for fewer than 15 grams of fat if at all possible. Fat serves as a macronutrient that has the ability to decelerate the vital digestion process. This is precisely what you want to avoid. You should aim to make it easy for nutrients to access your bloodstream.

Consume a Good Amount of Protein

If you want to approach your workout session feeling like you’re on top of the world, it can be an amazing idea to consume a good amount of protein beforehand. Proteins can encourage muscle development well. People who want to optimize their workouts, as a result, should aim to take in a minimum of 10 lean protein grams. It can be a good idea to speak with a reputable nutritionist regarding your individual protein requirements as well. There are protein varieties that accommodate certain people better, after all.

Steer Clear of Excessive Fruit Intake

It may seem like a good idea to recharge with fruit prior to beginning a work out. Excessive fruit intake, however, is something you want to dodge. That’s because it can contribute to serious and unpleasant digestive woes. If you want to make sure you do absolutely nothing to interfere with the success of your workout, you need to keep excessive fruit intake at bay, plain and simple. Don’t go crazy with the fruit salad.

Focus on Your H20 Needs

Proper hydration is essential for people who want to approach their workouts feeling like a million dollars. Be sure to drink plenty of water prior to beginning your exercise session. Make sure you always have ample fresh and clean water on hand as well.

If you would like more information about workout nutrition strategies, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Training Tips For Long Distance Running Events, Part 3

In our previous two articles, we have talked about running routines, rest days, and the proper ways to workout to train for long-distance running. In this article, we will discuss the proper nutritional dieting habits to keep in mind while training.


Another important thing to keep in mind for those looking to build muscle while training cardio, is that running and working out without eating enough protein, can cause muscle loss. When the body needs energy, the first thing it does is begin to break down the ADP in the body, which is either carbs broken down or essentially the basic sugars we need. This is used first, then your body will switch to trying to break down carbs and the energy stored in fat. But for muscle rebuilding, your body needs protein. When you are sore and your body is repairing the muscle, it will first try to use any protein available from recently eaten food. If it is not available, than your body will have the use protein from muscle not currently being repaired to strengthen the necessary area. You will still need to do weight-training or sprints to build muscle, but proper nutrition can ensure you don’t lost muscle.

This usage of stored or available energy is why they tell you to eat complex carbohydrates the day before heavy exercise. This is because the fact that it is not simple sugar or a simple to break down carb, it takes a while for it to be broken down, and when it is, it stores a lot more energy than other food sources. So the next day when your body needs energy, they are just being made available. Remember that there is a lot more than just pasta that has complex carbohydrates. These include green veggies like spinach or green beans, anything whole grain including bread and oatmeal. Potatoes and corn are great, which is a reason why lean meat like turkey or chicken and potatoes is such a perfect food for recovery. You need to keep in mind that you will be burning a serious amount of calories while training long periods of time, so make sure you get enough calories as well. A good idea is to look up daily caloric intake calculators, so that you can see exactly how much calories you burn in a day training the amount you do, and taking into account height and weight. This will tell you how many calories you need a day to stay at the same weight.

Lifestyle Habits

We already went over the importance of sleep in the last article, but it is part of building the right habits. To ensure you get your sleep on track, turn off phones and devices an hour before bed, don’t drink caffeine after 5, open a window to allow natural light to encourage natural wakefulness in the morning, and stay consistent, with workouts to tire you and your sleep schedule.

Avoid sugary foods, as that energy will only create crashes when you need energy the most. Avoid drinking caffeine for energy during runs, and avoid smoking or anything that damages the lungs. Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to repair muscle effectively, decreasing the amount of gains made during a workout. Hopefully with all of this in mind, you are well on your way to finishing(or kicking butt) at your first big race.

If you would like more information about nutrition and training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Training for Long-Distance Running Events, Part 2

As we continue covering training for a big race, we will be going over a workout plan, the importance of sleep and a bit on building muscle while doing cardio.

Distance Workout Regimen

Proper training will rely on you having days you workout hard, days you go long-distance but slow, and days you completely rest. One of the days you rest should be a day before the day the race should take place. If it takes place on a Saturday, pick a Friday. In that scenario, you would want to run a fixed amount of miles during the week, with maybe a day for doing another workout style than just pure distance, but more intense with less distance still. Say 3 miles. You should have Friday off, but come Saturday, run 5-6 miles, slowly, and increase this number a mile or 2 each week. Sunday you can do some supporting exercises, focus on weight-training, or do other types of cardio like biking or do some sprints. Monday take off again. Tuesday, repeat. When you are training, remember to always stretch, before and after, and to take it slow.

The most important days are the rest days, though. This is when your body is building muscle and repairing itself. Make sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, as that is a very important part of your body’s regeneration cycle. When you exercise, you don’t just get sore from lactic acid. You get sore because your muscle’s have microscopic tears all over them, and repairing them can cause inflammation. And the only way that it can repair them is when you are sleeping. That is why you will often wake up more sore than you were when you went to bed, because overnight your body accumulated inflammation while it was repairing itself.

For Sunday, the day you do cross training, you have a lot of options. The pyramid style run mentioned in the first article can be used during the week or here, but you really have a lot of options here. This can be treated as a reward day, or an excuse to do some fun cardio. Bike rides are great. Sprints are great because they build muscle and endurance a lot quicker than jogging. It is actually quite a considerable difference. Boxing can be introduced, or really any number of sports. Sports are a great excuse to work out but still have fun. Some people use this as a day to weight train. If you have never lifted before, now might not be the best time to start doing heavy lifting. But it might be a good time to do low weight high volume exercises. Even if you are used to lifting, if you are training for distance stick to high volume exercises. Trying to lift too heavy can cause injuries to start to appear, as long distance is prone to causing injuries already.

Stay tuned for more info on nutrition and eating to build physique in our next article!s. If you would like more information about training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Training Tips For Long Distance Running Events

Practicing long-distance running right is a great example of putting in the right work and getting the right results. Training for a marathon is not a sprint, it’s a marathon in itself. You will need to focus on more than just the exercise (though that is very important obviously). Lifestyle habits will also help add up to better success. You will need to focus on diet, sleep habits, and more to train correctly. For those looking to gain muscle mass at the same time, additional practices will need to be followed along with traditional distance training.

Training Types

Exercising for distance running is different than training for a sport, weight-training, or aerobics. This type of training mainly focuses on building cardio, but you should still incorporate core exercises, high-volume weights, and body-weight exercises into your routine as well. There is also a difference between running a marathon and running a 5K. As the distance you will be running increases, you need to tolerate and train for different things. For a shorter race, it is your cardiovascular health that is more important, but eventually you need to train your body to handle the longer distances and increased stress by building muscle and skeletal resistance. Your joints will adjust, your bones will strengthen, and supporting muscles will form due to the planned stress you put on your body.

Interval Training

Commonly known as “pyramid workouts,” interval training involves running at different rates, different speeds, and different distances, in an effort to ensure you train for cardiovascular health and muscle groups. Sprinting is a great way to strengthen your musculoskeletal system, and in this workout you practice sprinting, jogging, and slow jogging or walking. You will want to make 10 laps total, but if you must start with 5 and take a break after, that is fine. Start with briskly jogging 200 meters, then sprinting back 100, then slow jogging or walking for the last 100 meters. At this point you should have returned to your starting spot. Repeat this 5 times. Feel free to mix it up for yourself.

Supporting Workouts

Core workouts can be a great help in encouraging a sustainable run stride and endurance. Some great options for supporting workouts include:

  • Elbow-Ups – Using a pull-up bar, hold yourself up with your elbows slanted, and lift your knees up so you’re at a 90 degree angle, then pull your knees up to hit your elbows, and lower them again into a 90 degree angle, and repeat. Feel free to use arm supports to hold yourself up.
  • Weighted Sit-Ups –Using a decline bench for sit-ups, weighted if desired by holding weight behind your head, start light.
  • Weighted Oblique Pull-Ups –Using an incline bench, begin these by sitting against the bench. Lean on your side, hold a 10-20lb weight in your hand facing the ground, and gently lower it to the ground then raise it back up, working out your obliques (“side-abs”).
  • Planks – hold for 90 seconds, or side-planks for obliques. Side-plank dips optional.

In our next article we go over retaining muscle, a distance workout regimen, and some basic nutrition information. If you would like more information about training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Why Does Soreness After A Workout Mean?

If you have worked out, you know the feeling that follows it the next morning. Your alarm goes off, and your whole body is sore. Some people hate it, others see it as a badge of pride, something that they earned and something that is proof they are working out hard. But there are a huge amount of misconceptions about soreness, what causes it, what it does, and how to deal with it. The more informed you are about its causes, the better you will be able to treat it.

What Really Makes You Sore

A common misconception is that lactic acid is solely responsible for muscle soreness. That is actually not true. Muscle soreness is caused by your muscle fibers getting micro-tears that then need to be repaired the next day. It is also caused by the inflammation that follows these micro-tears. One of the reasons that ibuprofen and Tylenol help with the muscle soreness is because they are NSAID’s, or “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”, meaning they will go straight to the cause by reducing inflammation.

What Sore Muscles Means for Your Body

After these micro-tears happen, your body will begin to repair them. And when your body repairs them, they come back stronger. That is why soreness is considered important to muscle growth, though the actual pain goes away after a few weeks of working out. Lactic acid is actually important to the overall workout process as well. Lactate will help your body get more oxygen while you are working out, and help you work out longer. When it is present the next day, it is because it is being used by the cells to repair tissue damage.

Soreness Relief Using Massage

When massaging sore areas, the goal is actually not to just simply work out lactic acid either. It is mainly to increase blood flow and oxygen to the areas that need it, and the blood will carry the compounds needed to make your body feel better and any proteins needed for repair. But the idea of massaging your body to displace lactic acid is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. You should still aim to work the muscle all over, but do not apply too much pressure. A foam roller works best for this. A massage will actually help reduce cytokines, which are responsible for inflammation, and stimulate the mitochondria so they begin repairing even faster.

Soreness Relief Using Food

As for food, it is very common to get cramps during soreness. So eat plenty of food with potassium. Bananas are great for this. Free radicals also are responsible for soreness by causing oxidative stress. Plenty of Vitamin-C, which is an antioxidant, can help to reduce pain and recovery time. And of course, protein. If you are looking to lose weight and gain muscle, keep in mind your body still needs protein. And when your body does not have enough protein available from fat stores or recently eaten food, it will have to pull it from muscle tissue to make the repairs. This means undoing some of the gains you have made. So low-fat high-protein food is what you should aim for. Eggs are a great option for this, as well as turkey or any other lean meat.

Rest is Important

A small note, plenty of sleep is needed, as the main repairs are done when you are sleeping. That is why you often wake up sore, even if you weren’t after the workout the night before. All of the inflammation from the repairs will be present by the next morning, such that you feel it fully after sleep. But that is good; it means the repairs are happening. The more you sleep the quicker you will heal.

If you would like more information about post-workout relief, visit the professionals at STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

The Best Way To Return To Your Workout Routine

It can happen to anyone. Even people totally dedicated to fitness can have a vacation or even just the summer heat interfere with their workout routine. But it doesn’t have to be hard to get back into the swing of things. A few simple tips can make it a much easier experience.

A Lot Depends on Framing

It’s easy to see a workout as a responsibility that you have to get back into. But you should remember that workouts, while obviously involving a lot of work, are also an opportunity. It’s a rare chance to really focus 100% on your own health. There aren’t many times in the day when you can really make it all about yourself. A workout is a rare time in a day where you really have full permission to just focus on your own life.

It’s partially a time to really focus on improving your body. But it’s also a point in time when you’re allowed to just let your mind wander and consider the various things going on in the day. Basically, this all has to do with framing the experience.

When you have an event which needs to be performed than a lot depends on how you look at it. Framing it in the context of the positive aspects will quickly make it a far more enjoyable experience. Framing it as something you get to do rather than have to do will make it something to look forward to. It’s all a matter of focusing on the positive parts of the workout.

Put Some Work Into Planning

If you let yourself just work out when you feel like it then you can be certain that you’ll probably never feel like it. One of the most important things to remember about a workout is that it takes some time to get back into the habit. A workout can be the most enjoyable part of someone’s day. But to get to that point one needs to get over the initial growing pains. The joy of a fun workout is the reward for sticking with it during the first week or two spent getting used to it again.

It’s important to create a schedule that won’t provide any wiggle room. Everyone will have a different way of going about it. But for many the best way is really working it into a schedule. Tell people that you’ll be there so that it’ll be embarrassing if you’re seen elsewhere. Set an alarm as a reminder. Anything to make it obvious to yourself that it’s something that you’re not allowed to skip. Before you know it the workout will return to being something you don’t want to skip.

Remember That Your Body has Changed During the Vacation

This goes along with needing to force yourself back onto a schedule. An enjoyable workout is the reward for consistently working at it. But a few weeks is all the time it takes for muscle to begin fading away. You won’t be nearly as strong when you return so you shouldn’t immediately try to be. Nor should you be too hard on yourself if your muscle has faded. The new goal will just be working your way up to where you were before and then pushing past it. Again, a lot comes down to framing. Focus on the fact that you’re not starting from scratch and are closer to your goal than the vast majority of people who are starting from scratch.

If you’d like more information about workouts and motivation, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.