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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

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.