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Tom Runger

Podcast: Tracking Calories Pros and Cons

By | Dining, Healthy Eating | No Comments

Hey Health Nuts! Here is the link to listen to our first podcast episode. Give it a listen: Listen on Spotify

For those who prefer reading to listening, here are some of the key takeaways from our recent podcast episode on the Pros and Cons of tracking calories. Enjoy!

Pros

  1. It gives you an idea of how many calories you are consuming in a day. This is the obvious one! By tracking your calories, you can look back and see how much you ate in a day, as well as weekly averages. This is great if you are trying to lose fat or build muscle.
  2. It is a great way to keep track of your eating habits. You can see what foods you consistently eat, if there are certain days you tend to overeat, etc.
  3. Makes you a more mindful eater. By tracking everything you eat, you naturally become more aware of the calories and nutritional value of specific foods in your diet. This is especially valuable if you track before actually eating.
  4. It is easier/simpler than you think. I track all my meals, and it usually takes about 2 minutes before each meal with easy to use apps – more on those later!

Cons

  1. It can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Tracking calories is not for everyone, and it might cause you to stress about or overthink every little thing you eat, which can lead to anxiety.
  2. Tracking calories is difficult if you eat out often or don’t make your own meals. If you are at a restaurant, it’s impossible to know what oils, dressings, and sauces are used to prepare your food. It is also difficult to measure portion sizes at a restaurant or if someone else is making your dinner.
  3. If you’re not careful with tracking everything you eat and measuring portions, your calories won’t be accurate. Tracking calories takes diligence and precision. If you are incorrectly measuring portions of forgetting to track sauces, creams, or other small items – it can throw off your numbers.

Tools

  1. Download a calorie tracking app such as  MyFitnessPal or LoseIt on your phone. These apps are very similar, and I have used both. The apps make it simple to track food. There is a huge database of foods, and if what you are eating has a barcode, you can scan it and the nutritional information will automatically upload into the app. *Disclaimer – the apps don’t automatically know the amount of servings you are eating. You can adjust number of servings after picking a food item.
  2. Get a food scale. This is important in order to accurately measure the foods you are eating. You can get them fairly cheap on Amazon or in your local grocery store.

5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Health Disaster

By | Dining, Food for thought, Health, Healthy Eating | No Comments

The holiday season is officially upon us. And with it comes family time, Christmas music, last minute shopping, and of course the greatest tradition of them all: binge eating and the ensuing guilt.

While the holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, they can be stressful for those with specific fitness goals or nutritional routines they’ve been trying to follow with fidelity. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to share some tips for avoiding the common health pitfalls the holidays bring.

1. Be forgiving with yourself.

“What the heck? Isn’t this supposed to be tips for staying healthy over the holidays?” Before you click out of the article, hear me out. Keeping a focus on your health is important. Avoiding stuffing your face with nutritionally void junk food is important. But enjoying time with your friends and family is important as well. So, the first tip is to understand and be alright with the fact that you might not eat perfectly and maintain your exact workout schedule over the holidays. And that’s alright. Just do your best to be conscious of your choices, and don’t beat yourself up for having a slice of Pumpkin Pie.

2. Plan Ahead

Planning meals and workouts is of the utmost importance for accomplishing health goals. It becomes even more important if your normal routine is thrown off. The holidays usually bring travel and abnormal schedules. Sit down at the start of each week, take a look at what you have planned, and then fill in times to get your workouts in. You will be much more likely to stay consistent over the holidays if you take time to fit it around your events and activities, as opposed to just saying “I will work out when I have some down time”.

 

3. Stay Hydrated!

I am part of the gallon-a-day club. Each morning I fill up my trusty jug, and swig from it on a routine basis until it is gone. Staying hydrated is one of those universal health hacks that you simply can’t afford to ignore. However, it is easy to slip up a bit with this habit during the holidays. Like everything else, it’s easier for the routine to be disrupted when you aren’t in your normal element.

While drinking enough water has an untold amount of health benefits, there is one in particular that helps during feast season – it fills you up! Simply consuming adequate water before a large meal greatly reduces the chances of overeating, as it helps you feel more satiated faster. So make sure eggnog isn’t the only thing you’re chugging this year!

 

4. Plan out your plate

There’s no two ways about it – Thanksgiving food is good. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, and all those deserts! And you want to sample them all, and that’s fine. But the key word is sample. The goal doesn’t need to be avoiding these delectable foods completely, but rather having some degree of moderation.

Start by filling your plate with some healthier, more nutritious items such as vegetables, turkey, and salad. Once you have taken up a decent portion of your plate, sprinkle some of the additional goodies on. That way, you can still enjoy everything, but you will have put emphasis on filling your plate with mostly healthy items to start.

 

5. Don’t forget to sleep

Most people view the holidays as a time to relax and catch up on sleep. No work, no school – time to sleep in. Ironically, we can sometimes get less sleep over the holidays than normal. People tend to stay up later, go out with friends, and put less emphasis on their sleep because they don’t have to be “up and at ‘em” for work. Obviously, enjoy your time off. Have fun with your friends. But sleep! The more quality sleep you get, the more controlled your blood sugar is. This enables you to curb your appetite and avoid over eating.

 

Follow these 5 tips, enjoy your holidays, and always keep an eye out for Shredded Santa busting through a chimney near you December 24.

Shredded Santa using present delivery as a time to grab a quick HIIT workout

Everything you need to know about Metabolic Rate

By | Health | No Comments

One of the coolest tests offered at Vitruviance is a Resting Metabolic Rate Test. That begs the expected question – what is a Resting Metabolic Rate? How can it help me with my health?

Metabolism simply refers to the process of converting food into energy. The efficiency at which your body accomplishes this is known as your metabolic rate. Each person’s metabolic rate is unique and relies on a variety of factors: weight, age, gender, body composition, hormone levels, activity levels.

Calculating a Metabolic Rate essentially means determining exactly how many calories an individual burns in a given day. Why is this useful? Because it relates directly to the most singularly important law of energy balance: if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. While that is a somewhat simplified explanation, it holds true. In other words, understanding your Metabolic Rate is the first step to achieving a specific health goal.

Now, I will be completely honest – you can easily go online and find a Resting Metabolic Rate calculator. And if you have never calculated this number, this is a good place to start. I tell clients that these online calculators are usually fairly accurate at estimating your Resting Metabolic Rate. However, the one variable they don’t account for is your actual metabolism. These calculators plug in your statistics and pump out an average RMR based on an average metabolism for your age, weight, and gender. The problem is, you might have a faster or slower than the average.

For example: when I have done online calculators in the past, it usually estimates my RMR to be right around 1850 calories. However, when I have completed an actual RMR test, the number comes out right around 2100. I have a slightly faster than average metabolism. While the difference is only 250 calories, that can actually spell the difference between fat loss and fat gain.

While knowing your precise RMR is most commonly used for those looking to lose weight, it can be equally effective for individuals trying to maintain their weight, or even those trying to add lean muscle in a smart and efficient way. So regardless of your particular health goal, knowing and understanding your Resting Metabolic Rate can be a key tool in helping you achieve your goal.

The RMR test works by measuring your breath. Essentially, the machine can determine how much energy you are burning based on the oxygen output in your breath. The test itself takes 12-15 minutes and requires the participant to breathe through a tube while in a relaxed position.

Is it possible to lose weight or reach your fitness goals without knowing your Resting Metabolic Rate? Absolutely. But it is like flying a plane without navigation instruments. It is still possible to get to the intended destination, but why not have a clear image of your specific target? So set up a Resting Metabolic Rate Test today and arm yourself with information to help dial in your nutrition. Inform your Fitness!

Want more information on RMR Testing at Vitruviance? Check out our page here: RMR Testing

A Beginner’s Guide to VO2Max

By | Services, VO2Max Test | No Comments

Let’s talk about VO2Max. What is it? Why should I care? What can I use it for? I am guessing these are questions you might have, as they were all questions I had in the not so distant past. After some Google and YouTube deep dives, I felt like I had a better understanding, but most of the information was overly scientific. I wanted the practical information, simple and straightforward. But it just wasn’t there.

Without further ado, here are the basics of understanding VO2Max.

What is it?

VO2Max stands for the Volume of Oxygen – maximum. It is literally the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. This matters because the more oxygen your body can utilize, the greater your fitness level.

VO2Max is considered the gold standard to measure fitness. The bottom line is this: a higher max equates to an increased ability to intensely exercise. In order to achieve a high VO2Max, an individual must have a healthy heart, lungs, and well-conditioned lean muscle mass.

Why should I care?

Each person has two ages – a chronological age and a fitness age. In terms of your lifespan and quality of life, your fitness age is actually more important. In other words, healthy and fit individuals will have a fitness age lower than their actual age. An example of this would be the ageless beauty (actually 50) Jennifer Aniston.

Safe assumption: High VO2Max

Each person’s fitness age is based on their VO2Max. A study conducted by the journal for Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that People with a low VO2Max (and high fitness age) had an 82 percent higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same as, or lower than, their chronological age. 1

So again, for simplicity’s sake: if you want to add more years to your life and more life to your years, improving your VO2Max is the best thing you can do.

What are the factors that affect VO2Max?

Age, gender, genetics, body composition, and fitness level all play factors in determining VO2Max. Like many things related to health, some factors are outside of our control. But there are always ways for individuals to improve their VO2Max.

How do I improve my VO2Max? 

In short, exercise. Any regular aerobic workout can help, but the most effective form of exercise to improve VO2Max has been High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Why should I take a VO2Max Test?

  1. To get a snapshot of your current fitness level, and how you compare to others your age.
  2. To have a baseline number that you can work on improving through training and healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, you first weigh yourself. If you want to save money, you look at your current bank account. If you want to improve your fitness, measure your VO2
  3. A VO2Max Test gives you specific information on Target Training Zones based on your goals. In other words, the type and intensity of workouts you should do if you are trying to burn fat vs trying to build your speed and power are very different.

So there you have it for an introduction to VO2Max. I will leave you with a quote from a Tim Ferriss Podcast interview with Dr. Peter Diamandis: “There are two elements that tie very much to human longevity: Those people who floss…and those people who have a higher VO2Max”. 2 Food for thought…

Interested in our VO2Max service? Click here for more information and to schedule an appointment: VO2Max Information

Bye Bye BMI – Why Body Fat Percentage is King

By | Body Fat Percentage, Health | One Comment

Have you ever calculated your Body Mass Index? If so, you have wasted 30 seconds of your time. Before you get all indignant, let me quickly explain why you should not pay attention to your BMI and why measuring Body Fat Percentage is a superior method.

First of all, let’s talk about what Body Mass Index is. Essentially, it is a number generated using your height and weight. Let me rephrase that. Literally, it is a percentage generated using only your height and weight. No other factors are taken into consideration. Not gender, not muscle mass, not body type.

Muscle is more dense than fat. Using your height and weight as the only two data points to calculate if you are a healthy weight simply isn’t enough information. For example, I myself am 5’11” and 180 lbs. My BMI is 25.1%, which puts me in the “Overweight” category.I certainly am no Greek god or fitness competitor, but I definitely don’t consider myself to be overweight.

 

How about a few more notable examples? LeBron James is 6’8” and 250 lbs. That gives him a BMI of 27.5%, also “Overweight”.  Phil Heath, 7-time Mr. Olympia winner, is 5’9” and 250 lbs. That puts him at a nice 37% BMI, classified as “Obese”.

 

These may be some extreme examples, but the point is clear. Body Mass Index simply isn’t effective in measuring healthy weight. In fact, measuring weight isn’t an effective way to measure healthy weight. That’s right. The only thing that really matters is how much fat mass and lean mass you have.

Enter Body Fat Percentage. Your Body Fat Percentage is just what it sounds like – how much of your body is made up of fat mass. This is infinitely more important than what a number on the scale says. Again, muscle is more dense than fat. If you are losing fat and gaining lean muscle (very common when you start working out), you are going to look and feel great, even if your weight stays the same or even increases. That’s why whenever clients tell me they want to lose weight, I always respond “No you don’t. You want to lose fat.”

 

Sure, waking up and hopping on the scale each morning is a quick and easy way for people to get instant feedback. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the correct feedback, and certainly not the most accurate feedback. When it comes to your health, tracking your Body Fat Percentage is by far the best bet.

7 Coolest Things About Completing a 3D Body Scan

By | 3D Body Scan, Services | One Comment
  1. It tells your Body Fat %

This is incredibly useful information to have. Your Body Fat Percentage tells you one very important thing that a scale doesn’t – how much lean mass and how much fat mass you have. The key to your health isn’t losing weight, it’s losing fat (and gaining muscle/lean mass).

  1. It Shows a 3D Image of your Body

See yourself in a whole new way, from whole new angles

The 3D Image allows you to see your physique from every beautiful angle. It is certainly a trip the first time you see it. But it is you, real and unfiltered. It allows you to see if there are particular areas you want to improve.

  1. Can compare your progress over time as you complete additional scans

Track your progress by the numbers and visually!

One of the coolest benefits of the Fit3D is the built in user interface that allows you to track progress. When you complete multiple scans, you can see changes and improvements in your Body Fat Percentage, body measurements, and other metrics. And of course, you can see a side by side comparison of your 3D self!

  1. All the information is at your fingertips

Another benefit of the Fit3D Body Scan is that you can log in to your free user account from anywhere. That makes it easy to go back and look at your measurements or metrics at any point, keeping it in the forefront of your mind.

See where you stack up against others of your age and gender!

  1. You can see how you compare to your peers

There have been hundreds of thousands of Fit3D Body Scans completed. When you log into your account, you can see how you compare to your peers for different health and fitness metrics. Definitely a cool feature for anyone with a competitive streak!

 

 

 

  1. Advanced metrics such as Balance Report, Posture Analysis

Most machines that measure body composition provide you with essentially just that, your body fat percentage. The Fit3D scan is awesome because it provides many additional measurements. You can view reports that show you specific information on your balance and posture, along with much more.

 

 

  1. It Motivates You!

I would say about 90% of the people that have come in so far and completed a body scan left saying some version of the same thing: “Time to get to work”. Completing a scan can give you a much-needed kick in the butt. And that’s a good thing. I know when I did my first scan, I couldn’t wait to hit the gym and make improvements for my next scan. Motivation is a powerful tool that helps us improve!

Interested in possibly scheduling a Body Composition Scan? Check out our page for more information: 3D Body Scan