Tired of yo-yo dieting? Let’s try something new… This might be tough to hear, but diets don’t work.

As you may be aware, increased body weight is associated with an increased risk for many diseases, however, there is no well-established proof that higher body weights cause diseases.

In fact, weight cycling (often seen with dieting/yo-yo dietiting) may more likely be a causative factor in the development of diseases (insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia) than weight or BMI alone.

Research suggests that behavior change may play a greater role in health improvement in the absence of weight loss.

Not only can taking the focus off of weight feel empowering, but it has also been shown to significantly improve psychological & behavioral outcomes, particularly in improvements in self-esteem & eating behaviors. Health indicators such as blood pressure & cholesterol levels have also shown improvements with behavior changes regardless of weight loss.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at one of the largest & longest dietary intervention clinical trials– The Women’s Health Initiative. In this clinical trial, 20,000 women maintained a low-fat, reduced calorie diet & increased their activity levels, however after almost 8 years, there was no significant change in weight from the starting point. In fact, abdominal fat (measured by waist circumference) slightly increased.

We do not fail diets. Diets fail us.

Along with lowering our self-esteem, dieting may increase the risk of:

  • Weight gain / regain
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Osteoporosis
  • Decreased muscle mass / metabolism
  • Stress, anxiety & depression
  • Body dissatisfaction & preoccupation
  • Disordered eating / eating disorder behaviors
  • Social isolation
  • Devaluing of health promoting behaviors

You have the power to achieve health & well being independent of your weight.

I challenge you to re-think dieting this year and instead put your energy toward developing self-care & pro-health behaviors that leave you feeling good about yourself & your body!

At Case Specific Nutrition, we pride ourselves on offering individualized care to each of our clients. Are you ready to take a new approach? Email me at dietitiankaley@gmail.com to set up a consultation!



“Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

“The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss” by Tracy Tylka, Rachel Annunziato, Deb Bungard, et.al.


Ditch the Detox Diet!

With the coming New Year, you’re probably thinking about what diet & exercise resolutions to make this year. You are also sure to see countless “detox” diets & cleanses popping up all over the internet.

This year, instead of opting for a restrictive, potentially counterproductive “detox diet” support your body’s natural detoxification pathways via liver, kidneys & digestive tract with the following tips from a dietitian:

Include more plant based foods:

These foods contain antioxidants, B-vitamins & fiber help support our body’s natural detoxification processes.

  • Antioxidant rich foods: Berries, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, orange veggies, coffee, tea, dark chocolate & spices such as cinnamon
  • B-Vitamin rich foods: Whole grains, beans, fruits & veggies
  • Fiber rich foods: Beans, legumes & cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, cabbage)

Aim for ½ of your plate to be filled with a variety of veggies. Add fruit to breakfast, a snack or dessert – 1-2 servings per day is a good goal.

Build a wholesome plate:

Including veggies, protein, complex carbs & healthy fats at meal times will help promote satiety & energy levels that keep you going until your next meal!

Drink more water:

Staying properly hydrated allows your kidneys to remove waste products from your body via urine

Fluid recommendations vary from person to person- in general, you can estimate by dividing your body weight by 2.

Moderate alcohol intake:

Excessive alcohol intake can be taxing and damaging on your liver & kidneys. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women & up to 2 drinks per day for men. A note on red wine: Red wine contains polyphenols (antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage which can lead to heart disease & cancer.) If you choose to consume alcohol, including a 5 oz glass of red wine with dinner may have some protective effects.

Get enough sleep:

Sleep is the time for our body’s to rest, repair & recover. Adequate sleep promotes cardiovascular, kidney health, immune health & healthy weight (by balancing our hunger hormones ghrelin & leptin) as well as our insulin levels (the hormone responsible for healthy blood sugar levels.) Adults over the age of 18 require 7-9 hrs of sleep per night.

Move your body:

Not only can regular physical activity help support cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, bone health, mental function & sense of wellbeing, but it is also essential for regular bowel movements (one of our bodies detox methods!) Adults should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week. 

Clean up your social media:

Although social media does not directly impact our physical health, it can have an impact on our self-esteem, mood & overall sense of well-being. If you’re currently following accounts that make you feel less-than or poorly about your self & self-image, it may be time to replace those accounts with ones that bring you joy & enhance your life!


Healthy Holiday Guide: A Realistic Approach To Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Student Spotlight by Therezia Alchoufete 

  1. Make Realistic Goals
  • Eat in moderation – recognize foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium and avoid over-eating.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of family favorites – enjoy treats, but watch portion sizes.
  1. Find Time For Exercise
  • Incorporate physical activity into holiday chores – running the vacuum burns calories!
  • Take a walk daily – even if that means walking around the mall as you finish your gift shopping.
  1. Plan For Parties
  • Try to eat a healthy snack prior to going to the party to avoid over-eating
  • Avoid items that are high in salt or sugar, such as cheese dip and cocktails – liquid calories do count!
  1. Treat Yourself
  • Make time for sleep, family and friends – this will decrease stress and keep your metabolism going strong.
  • Avoid over-booking your schedule – the holidays can be busy, but leave free time for relaxation.
  1. Create Healthy Traditions
  • Cook with the family and let everyone choose a favorite recipe.
  • Modify recipe ingredients to choose low fat & low sodium options when possible.
  • Don’t change family favorites – instead, use portion control to eat in moderation.

Do This Form of “Cardio” For The Best Results

A very common question I get – “How much cardio are you going to make me do?”

Well, it depends…

First off, most people need to understand their ultimate goal. If it’s fat loss, then you will be using cardio as a tool to burn more calories. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to use cardio as a way to enhance your performance. Having coached competitive swimming now for 10 years, I understand there’s a clear cut difference between peaking someone for a long distance swim, and peaking someone for a 5-10lb fat loss goal.

Second, you need to take a look at your daily activity, not just what you do in the gym. Do you work a desk job? Are you a construction worker? Are you a stay home mom constantly running around chasing your child? Each one of these questions will have a different approach when it comes to cardio – why add more cardio to your day when you’re already running around like a crazy person?

In terms of burning calories and having a short-term goal of shedding unwanted body fat, cardio is a simple as placing your left foot in front of your right. Over and over again.

WalkingSo yes, walking counts. Even simpler, think movement – cleaning your house, chasing your kids, taking your dog out for a walk, etc. You name it, it counts as “cardio.”

If you work a desk job, and want to lose an extra 10-20lbs, think about what has changed over the last few years. On second thought, let me take a stab at it…your eating habits haven’t been the greatest and you sit way more these days, meaning you move less. Am I right?

Okay, Eddie, so what are you saying?

Keep things simple and don’t kill yourself in the gym with 5-7 days worth of cardio – I know I don’t and neither to any of my clients. Plus, is that even sustainable? Before you decide to add more to your already busy schedule, see where you are first. And how you do that is simple, invest in some sort of step tracking device (Apple Watch, FitBit, etc.) Track your steps for a week to gather initial data, and adjust from there.

Here’s my rule of thumb if your goal is to lose unwanted weight/body fat – assuming you have sound lifting program and you are eating according to your goals

• Gather a baseline with your steps, what’s your weekly average? I like to work all my Fit Bitclients up to ~70,000 steps per week

• If you are hitting 3,000 steps, or less, per day, aim to hit 5,000-7,500 steps per day for 1-2 weeks

• If you are hitting 5,000-7,500 steps per day, aim to hit 10,000-12,500 steps per day (on average, 10,000 steps will burn 500 calories).

• Find activities you ENJOY to increase your step count (walk your dog, play more with your kids, clean your house more often, park further away when you go to the grocery store, etc.)

The key, like anything else, is to have a plan, be consistent, and have patience. Now get up and move more!

-Eddie Larios

Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness LariosTraining@Gmail.com


Click HERE to learn about my Women’s 6 Week Challenge

Don’t take my word for it, click HERE to get Melissa’s point of view!


Why You Don’t Need To Be In The Gym Everyday

Does this sound like you?

  • “I’m deep into my career, it’s hard to find time to workout after work.”
  • “Ever since I became a mom, it’s hard to find time for myself.”
  • “With taking care of my family and my busy job, it’s hard for me to spend hours and hours in a gym.”

The list goes on…

Look, I totally get it – we’re busy people, and once we have a family, our priorities shift. The key is to find a structure that fits you and your lifestyle. Asking a mom, or career-minded woman, to be in the gym for 5-7 days per week, for hours on end, is silly. Not to mention counterproductive. I mean, who can keep with that high demand in a gym? I know I can’t.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s a magic pill out there to transform you overnight, but there is an easier way. All it takes is a small step forward and deciding to take action.

So how many days to I really need?

In order to progress, regardless of the goal, you need a plan and you need to execute. Most importantly, you need to understand why you are doing what you are doing with your program. Why? If you don’t know what’s going on, how will you know if the plan is working?

Since I love having all of my clients in the gym, the goal is to learn how to efficiently weight train, be progressive, and not spend hours and hours on end on the treadmill. In turn, this will begin to shape your body the way you have always wanted.

Here’s a simple cheat sheet:

  • New to the gym (consistent for less than 6 months) 2-3 days per week is a great start
  • 6 months or longer in the gym (consistent and progressive) 4-5 days per week
  • Vary your rep ranges and exercise selection from workout to workout
    • 6-12 reps, 12-15 reps, 15-20 reps
  • Rest 1-3 minutes between sets
  • Track your progress! Make sure you are moving in the right direction
  • Cardio? We’ll cover that later 😉

Don’t take my word for it, click HERE to get Melissa’s point of view!

Check out her transformation below!



-Eddie Larios

Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness



Click HERE to learn about my Women’s 6 Week Challenge


1) “American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults.” http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11828249

2) NSCA Essentials of Strength and Conditioning

Intermittent fasting pic

Intermittent Fasting

Is Intermittent Fasting a Diet fad or return to a more logical eating style? There are so many diet trends. Even as a nutrition expert it becomes easy to brush past them as “just another pitch”. To avoid this, I remind myself I am a counselor, and as such I need to be prepared to field a variety of questions. I need to be able to promote or breakdown any concept that comes my way. So, a few years ago, when Intermittent Fasting (IF) came across my desk in a conversation, I decided to dive into the research. Initially unsure of the concept, I dove into the forum corners of the internet to learn what IF was, then like any good medical professional, I turned to the literature for supporting rationale. To my surprise, the concept held weight. Here is the who, what and why about what IF can do for the body.

The phrase “intermittent fasting” sounds intimidating to the average person. Our society has become so fearful of any level of hunger (or too excited by feelings of complete fullness) that the word fast often becomes synonymous with starve. IF is not starving. At baseline, it is a very intuitive concept: our body does not need food all the time. If we look back over human history, we can see that food abundance has only existed in the last 100 years, and food excess for the masses is only as recent as the 1950s and 1960s. Before these periods, most people had some level of food scarcity. That meant missing a meal occasionally or frequently. Once again our minds shift to the suffering of the great depression, or an image of a homeless person looking for a chance to eat. IF is not the same as those things. Instead, IF is the practice of shrinking the time in which you eat. There are 24 hours in a day, and ideally we are not eating, or in a fed state, for a majority of those hours. Keeping food in a 12 hour span is step 1 for any IF dieter. Why?

Without going into too much detail, every time our body eats, we secrete insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone, it signals our body to store. When we eat too often or during too long of a period, insulin gets secreted, and the levels rise in the blood. This leads to two things: increased appetite and further increased insulin. This is why snacking gets so out of control. We eat something small, it digests quickly, insulin spikes, the food stores, we get hungry again, eat, insulin spikes once again before the previous meals hormone secretion is gone. Insulin accumulates and over time our body becomes used to it. Just like an antibiotic, we need a higher dose to do the same thing. Our body produces more insulin, which makes us even hungrier and signals the body to store. This cycle leads to the grazing tendencies of many cultures. Want to perform a fun test? Walk down a busy city street. If there are a bunch of kiosks and storefronts selling snacks, chances are you will see higher rates of obesity than in cities where the focus is on main meals (snacking is absent).

To summarize what we just discussed: IF at its base is controlling the hours you eat to allow insulin levels to drop back to a normal baseline. This regulates appetite, and gets your body out of the “storage mode” it knows too well. For women, eating in an 8-10 hour span is recommended for weight loss. For men, 10-12 hours is usually a small enough window to find benefit. If you are an athlete, or performing a physically demanding event, these rules should not apply. The “intermittent” part of this concept is that it should fit your schedule. I find it helps my patients to either think about it as: break your fast 12 hours from last night’s dinner, or eat dinner within 12 hours of when you eat breakfast. Either way, it forces you to think about when you are eating, which is something we all need help with from time to time.

*** Mythbust *** Breakfast: In the US, the “Breakfast” meal is the meal we eat when we wake up. Everywhere else, and more accurately, it is the first meal of the day- the meal that literally Breaks your Fast! This can be 6a, 9a, 1p, etc. Whatever you eat first is breakfast. So, if your lunch meal is your first meal, it is also your breakfast meal. This is important. The comment “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is only true if you are talking about it as the first meal of the day. This is because the quality and balance of food is extremely important in regulating appetite. An easy example to consider is comparing someone who rolls out of bed, grabs a granola bar and a coffee and starts their day, to a person who gets up, drinks some water, gets ready, goes to work, checks some emails, then takes a break around 9 to heat up oatmeal with some nuts and berries in it. Who will be hungrier at lunch? Who is more likely to make a better choice at lunch? Because of the breakfast and lunch meal, who is most likely to raid the vending machine for something simple and sugary? The quality of breakfast matters more than the time it occurs.

oatmeal breakfastThe focus on quality becomes relevant to all our meals. I always tell my clients that snacks snooze your appetite, they delay the appetite to a later time, while meals satisfy. A focus on real food at key points in the day is extremely valuable. Our society has evolved from a 3 meal per day society into a snack all day society over the past 50 years. We can thank our busy schedules and the time demand that comes with hyper productive technology and automation. Unfortunately, these advances have led to a work force that sacrifices it’s short-term energy and long term health to meet the demands. The disappearance of minimally processed, filling meals at breakfast and lunch is closely correlated to the tendency to over eat at night, complain of cravings, energy dips in the afternoon and of course, snacking. Is correlation causation? Perhaps not always, but I guarantee many of you reading are seeing consistencies.

With the focus on quality comes the focus on spread of food. Once we keep our food in a set period of time, we want to make sure there is time between meals. This allows insulin to rise, fall and dissolve. This regulates appetite and most people notice themselves needing to eat less often immediately. That is the core concept of a breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks are meant to bridge gaps. They are not a daily need to entitlement. They are valuable to curb appetite until quality food can be consumed. They are useful for athletes or those participating in demanding physical feats. Most often, our meals should be our priority.

Once you have selected or identified the hours to keep your food in, an ideal spread of quality food to keep your body satisfied, you are ready to see the steady benefits of eating the way our body intended. Instead of following a meal plan that forces you to eat when you are full, or even worse a meal plan that has you counting the minutes to your next meal, IF allows your body to find a natural rhythm.

For those with high fasted insulin levels (lab draws and symptoms can confirm), the next phase of the intermittent fast is to pick 1-2 days per week and extend the fasted period. For the extended fast, if you normally eat in a 12 hour span, shrink food to an 8 hour span. This extension of the fast drops insulin levels further, and allows the body to get into an unfed state. Don’t worry, this is not something that “crashes” your metabolism. You are not skipping meals. You are controlling when you eat. Your body still has adequate food coming in, it is just spaced in a more practical way for weight loss.

***Let me guess, your personal trainer tells you that you’re going to wither away or lose muscle. Something to remember: bodybuilders and individuals building muscle want high insulin levels- they are extremely active, with high levels of muscle mass, so storage means additional growth of these tissues. Further, they do not have excess fat cells signaling storage into fat, rather they have excess muscle cells asking for energy. So, the lean and fit trainer that boasts about the 6 meals per day they eat- good for them, I do that too! There are definitely people who benefit from that, but many of the overweight and obese clients seeking our advice are looking to shed weight and adjust their hormones. For these people, the “eat more to lose” will often times lead to frustration. Additionally, our bodies have evolved over a long period of time, and humans have survived thousands of years of famines, droughts, and periods of scarcity. If the first thing our body did when we missed a meal was ate our muscle, we would not have survived the trials of time. Our body does not want to consume our muscle tissue. That is a last resort. It is worth noting however that our body does closely regulate muscle. It only keeps what it needs. So for the bodybuilder with an extra 40 lbs of lean mass, if it does not get used, the body will break it down. This isbiceps 2 where the fear of muscle wasting comes from. Once again, advice that is relevant to a specific population, yet somehow made it to the ears of the general public. For those who do not have excessive muscle, fear not, your biceps are safe.

Another common concern that goes along with the fear of muscle wasting is that not eating will ruin your metabolism. Something that most do not understand is the metabolism is just a title for the total burn of the body. Our cells and organs use energy to survive, heal, reproduce and function daily. Our heart beats, our brain thinks, our nerves conduct, our cells divide. These events require energy and produce heat (measured in calories) as a byproduct. While it is true that out metabolism varies (+/- about 40% on any day), fasting does not lead to permanent reductions in metabolic rate, especially when compared to standard caloric restriction. Eating less in general reduces metabolism, but with IF, you are not necessarily eating less. Many times, you are simply eating in a more natural, regulated, and intuitive way, which is quite beneficial. Remember, there is a difference between the person that skips meals thanks to stress all day then settles for low quality food and the intermittent faster than plans when to eat and focuses on the quality of food to regulate insulin and other hormones.

Just like every dietary concept, this is not a one size fits all. Not everyone should do this, and not everyone benefits from this concept. During consultations, my team evaluates our patients extensively before building a program. This is a tool we use for those with hormonal barriers to weight loss. The people that are maintaining or gaining weight on low calorie diets are the most common population. On the contrary, IF is rarely a recommendation you see in the lean and fit, the athletes, the hypermetabolic, and those losing weight for the first time. Our body is a complex system, and IF is just another key that can help some unlock their puzzle of optimal health.


Additional Tips:

  • Water, Unsweetened Tea, Black coffee are okay in the fasted state
  • No artificial sweeteners during fasted state
  • Fasting in the morning is often the easiest time (our breakfast sparks our appetite) – it is easier to stay fasted once fasting.
  • Extended fasts are easiest on days with less physical activity and days with mental stimulation. A busy morning flys by.
  • If you are exercising to perform- do not fast on those
  • If you are exercising to lose fat (slow and steady cardio) you can fast
  • Fasting does not need to occur daily, look at your schedule and listen to your body
  • Ask to have your fasted insulin levels checked- it is not a common lab to order
Organic Pic

Vexing Vocabulary: Organic

By Rachel Duncan

In this edition of the Vexing Vocabulary blog series, we want to explore another commonly misunderstood nutrition buzz word: organic. We see it popping up in grocery stores more than ever before, but what exactly does “organic” mean?

It may be easiest to start with defining the non-organic food that we commonly consume. “Conventional” foods are what you could consider the opposite of organic. These may be grown using pesticides, synthetic or chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides to maximize the yield of the crop. The use of these technologies has been essential in the development of our agricultural system. It is important to know that the use of these conventional means of food production do not make foods unhealthy or unsafe for consumption. Rinsing and washing produce does not entirely eliminate pesticides, but can greatly reduce it. There is no conclusive research that pesticide, herbicide, or insecticide use are unsafe in the production of food.

In contrast to conventional food, organic food has limits on the technologies that can be used in production. Organic produce started being labeled as such in 1990, but there was no official definition of what classified the food as organic until the early 2000’s. Currently, of all of the food marketing terms, “organic” does have a legal definition and meaning. Before a farm or manufacturer can market their products as organic, a government certified inspector must confirm that the USDA standards are met in production. “Organic” means different things based on the food item. In the following paragraphs, we will define and provide examples of organic produce, meat, and dairy.


Organic produce does not use pesticides in production. This means that any weeds are controlled by natural means, such as crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling). Insecticides are also prohibited in organic food production, so natural methods of insect control are utilized (birds, traps, etc.). No fertilizers can be used in crop production that contain synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.

Meat and dairy:

No antibiotics or growth hormones were added to the food products that were fed to the animals, meaning that the livestock are also eating organic feed. In conventional meat and dairy production, livestock may be given antibiotics and other medications to keep them healthy, but this is not allowed in organic production. Organic livestock must also be raised in living conditions that promote their natural behaviors, such as grazing on pastures. This practice has been shown to contribute to the fatty acid content of meats, and is beneficial to the health of the animal.

Processed foods:

There are no artificial coloring, flavoring, preservatives, or sweeteners in organic food products. Organically processed foods must have organic ingredients, with several minor exceptions.  Examples of this would include enzymes in yogurts, pectin used as a binding agent in jams, and baking soda in baked goods.


Levels of Organic Labeling

How can you identify what foods are organic? The USDA enforces the labeling of organic foods. The Organic Foods Production Act requires the USDA to hold nationwide standards for organic agricultural products so the consumer is aware of what they are purchasing. There are four levels of organic labeling that you will see in grocery stores:

100% organic:

All ingredients of the finished product are certified 100% organic. These products can be labeled with the USDA Certified Organic Food label.

Organic Label


95% of the ingredients of the finished product meet the organic criteria. These products can also be labeled with the USDA Certified Organic Food label shown above.

Made with organic ingredients:

70% of the ingredients of the finished product meet the organic criteria. The USDA Organic seal may not be used on the labeling of these products, but “Made with organic ingredients” may appear on the food label.

Specific organic ingredients:

This claim could be made on the food label of a multi-ingredient food product with less than 70% of its ingredients meeting the organic criteria. They may not display the USDA Organic seal, but they may list the organic ingredients that were used in the production.

The “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen”

If you are interested in buying organic produce but have limited availability of organically grown fruits and vegetables, or are trying to keep an eye on cost, this can be a helpful tip!  The “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” can help you decide what produce is smart to buy organic versus conventional. The “Clean Fifteen” listed below on the left are found to have lower levels of pesticide residue than the “Dirty Dozen” listed to the right. If you are aiming to reduce pesticide residue in your diet, it may be helpful to purchase fruits and vegetables on the “Dirty Dozen” list that have been grown organically.

         Clean Fifteen

  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Grapefruit
  5. Eggplant
  6. Kiwi
  7. Papaya
  8. Mangoes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Onions
  11. Sweet peas
  12. Cabbage
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet corn
  15. Avocados

Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas
  12. Potatoes


A Final Thought

At this time there is no conclusive research that organic food items have any more health benefits than their conventionally produced counterparts. It’s important to know that the organic label does not inherently make a food “healthier.” With that being said, if you want to shop organic, we encourage and support you in doing so! There are environmental benefits associated with organic farming practice, including but not limited to:

  • Reduced land mass allocated for corn* and soy production (a majority of corn grown in the U.S. is grown to feed livestock, and most livestock do not naturally consume corn).
  • Improved fatty acid profile of meats (particularly with beef and eggs animals that consume their natural diet digest better, better utilize nutrients, more naturally partition nutrients, and as a result are healthier. Fat content in grass-fed beef is naturally lower and contains fats that are easier to breakdown. Free range organic eggs contain significantly more omega-3 fatty acids in the yolk of the egg.) For more information on this topic, look for our upcoming blog on grass fed, cage free, and wild caught!
  • Improved quality of life for the animals being raised
  • Improved allocation of resources to local consumers (reduced carbon footprint)

* Corn is a very demanding crop and is known for stripping nutrients from soil, depleting it over time, and reducing yield of other crops. There is evidence that the organic farming method which feeds livestock their natural diet of grass in pastures leads to leaner animals, increased availability of land mass for other farming practice, and an improved impact on the nutrient contents of the soil.

You may have noticed that organic food products are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. This is because the yield of organic food is typically lower, and more labor, time and money are invested into the production. If you are interested in buying organic foods, there are some ways to offset the higher prices. Shopping in season is an effective way to save money on organic produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are less expensive and fresher! It is also a good idea to shop around and compare prices of organic items. Taking advantage of local farmer’s markets is a great way to eat organic products and to support your community.







Sit ups

Sit-Ups, The Secret To Belly Fat Reduction?

One guy walks into the gym and asks the other guy, “I want to lose my belly fat, it’s been years since I’ve seen my abs!” The other guy follows up with “Easy man, crunches and sit-ups for a flatter stomach!”

Sounds familiar, right?

Well, before I get into the real-world application of this famous topic, let’s dive into a little research…

Sit ups


One study compared two groups, an abdominal exercise group and a control group. For consistency purposes, both groups had the same calorie count. The abdominal group performed 7 ab exercises for 2 sets of 10, 5 days/week, for 6 weeks! Result? Other than the abdominal group significantly improving their abdominal muscular endurance, there was no significant change in belly fat, or drop in body fat percentages.

All together now – *GASP*

I know what you’re thinking, so now what?

Well, another study compared a non-exercise group to an exercise group, with a slight catch, they were both following a diet that placed them in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than they were putting out via exercise). Results? BOTH groups experienced significant body mass and body fat reductions with the exercise group gaining improvements in exercise performance. And guess what? Not a single sit-up was performed.

Shall we pause for another gasp?


So, spot reduction, a myth? Definitely.

If you’re a guy and you’re struggling with your “spare tire”, here are a few questions I have for you…

  • What are you currently doing to transform your body?
  • Are you including weight lifting to your routine? PS – tune in next week on how exercise selection in the gym correlates to a strong core…and no, I’m not talking about sit-ups, or crunches 😉
  • How would you rate you habits in and out of the gym? Are you being consistent?

We can go on and on with this list. The key is to keep it simple – have a plan, execute, and be consistent. And no, being in the gym 7 days a week is not the answer.

Have a crazy schedule and a family to care for? 3 days per week in the gym is a GREAT start. Click HERE to find out how my clients are doing it.

Or check out the results for yourself – this is Brad. I worked with Brad for quite some time. I can tell you for a fact that we did not program an “ab routine” into his lifting plan. We stuck to the basics…lifting, minor cardio, and consistency week in and week out.


-Eddie Larios

Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness



Click here to learn more about my Men’s 6 Week Alpha Challenge à http://tinyurl.com/y9fbf7pd


1) “The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21804427

2) “Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independent of the method for weight loss.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025815?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum


Trust the Process: a client reflection and celebration of lifestyle change by Jamie Hildebrand


Let me begin with how this all began. How all I wanted to do was prove to everyone I could do another show. How I wanted to walk on stage again for the third time with a smile and flash of my accomplishment of a 12 week prep. However, this time was different. This time I was so much further and ready for the show. I was at a great starting weight 135lbs about. I was lean enough to still enjoy food and not have to put my body through a major shock. I was so excited to hear these words exit Andrew’s mouth. He said it with a smile and so much encouragement that I was so pumped to start this journey again with him.

I met Andrew in December of 2015. I was referred to him by a friend and immediately was interested to hear his thoughts about foods and shows. When we started I weighed almost 150. I didn’t consider myself fat, but I definitely wasn’t in shape. I met with Andrew and told him I wanted to compete. I told him I wanted to do a show and compete in the figure category. That was it. That was my goal. Stand on stage and be a figure competitor. Oh, how I was so far from knowing the real goal.

What’s the Deal with Expiration Dates?

Did you know approximately 90 billion pounds of edible food in the US gets thrown away each year?

The dates on food labels can be deceiving and down right confusing, which can lead to perfectly good and safe food being tossed in the trash.  In reality, you really can use the dates as a guide for freshness, rather than an indicator that food has spoiled.

In general, most foods can be consumed days, weeks, even months past the dates printed on their label. However, there are some dates we should follow closely:

  • Baby formula
  • Deli meats, unpasteurized dairy products, ready-to-eat cold foods, uncooked hot dogs & sausages.
  • Pasteurized dairy products tend to have a gracious life (take a whiff, you’ll know if it’s past it’s prime)
  • Eggs can be eaten 3-5 weeks after “use by” date. (FYI: older eggs make better hard boiled eggs!)

If there’s visible mold (green spots or white fuzz) a funky smell or a slimy texture, toss it!

For more information on how YOU can do your part in reducing food waste, click here!

Resources: USDA FSI Food Product Dating, USDA Food Waste Challenge