First, what is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and fragile bones that are liable to fracture. Normal, strong and healthy bones contain large amounts of minerals, which make them strong. The amount of these bone minerals within our bones is referred to as our bone mineral density (BMD).
Our bones are in a constant state of adaptation, with bone being broken down and remodeled and rebuilt continuously. When bones break down faster than they rebuild, our bone mineral density decreases.
Our BMD is highest when we are aged in our 20s, and then as we get older our BMD gradually declines. If this loss of minerals from the bone is excessive, our BMD will become very low, and we will develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common cause of fractures in older Americans, especially women. In women, the greatest rate of bone loss occurs in the years immediately following menopause.
How can resistance training help?
Resistance training to prevent osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise in children and teenagers helps produce strong bones; in adults it helps to maintain bone mass; after menopause it can be part of an overall treatment plan that aims to slow the rate of bone loss; and in adults over 65 years physical activity can be used to both reduce the rate of bone loss and avoid injury to bones by improving muscle strength and balance. The strength of your bones also determines the type of exercise that is appropriate and safe for your bones.
Certain types of resistance training have been shown to minimize the loss in BMD, and in some research studies to even produce an increase in BMD. This is beneficial for both the prevention and the treatment of osteoporosis.
If you already have osteoporosis or other medical conditions and have not exercised regularly, speak to a professional about designing an exercise program that is suitable for you.
The best types of exercise for decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis are:
Exercises such as swimming and cycling help improve cardiovascular fitness and build muscle strength, but are not as effective at preventing osteoporosis as weight-bearing exercise. So if you are already swimming or cycling regularly but not doing any other forms of exercise, you should consider adding weight-bearing and/or resistance exercise to your weekly routine.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Resistance training helps improve your bone health by putting strain on the bones, which helps make them stronger. As your body adapts you will need to increase the resistance to continue to improve bone strength. There is some evidence indicating that progressing to heavier resistances is most effective in preventing the loss of an increasing BMD.
Doing a program of resistance exercises 2-3 times per week has been shown to help maintain and even increase bone mineral density in women who have gone through menopause. Resistance training also helps to build up and maintain muscle mass, which helps reduce the risk of falls.
Resistance Training For All
Since the prevention of osteoporosis is a far better strategy than trying to reverse it, all adults should undertake regular weight-bearing and/or resistance training regardless of their age. In young people this will help to increase their BMD to higher peak levels, which will then reduce the risk of it declining to osteoporotic levels later in life. Continuing with this exercise throughout your life will minimize the decline in BMD that occurs with age and further reduce the risk of osteoporosis in old age.
Not sure where to start or what program to run? That’s where I come in! Let me help you get started in your fitness journey with a safe, effective resistance training program tailored to your body and your goals.
If having someone in your corner every step of the way in training, nutrition and mindset sounds like something you would greatly benefit from then take 2 minutes and click the link below to fill out an application for a 15 minute coaching call with me.
Where we will discuss your goals in great detail and find out if we would make a great fit to work together.
Stress and Weight Loss: The Link
You have probably heard me talk fat loss killers in social media posts and videos, but there are so many moving parts that have to work in harmony to achieve fat loss that it’s important to really highlight the major sources of problems. We have talked about how water, diet, sleep and movement all affect fat loss, the one that most people tend to forget is STRESS.
Stress can affect your fat loss in several different ways. As a matter of fact, it can be the major wrecking ball that takes out the other pillars necessary to keep your weight trending down toward your goals.
First, let’s address what constitutes stress. People use the word stress interchangeably with anxiety, feeling anxious, fearful, nervous, overwhelmed, panicked or stressed out. Usually stress manifests in people’s lives without them noticing, but usually shows it’s ugly face through anger, irritability, depression, tension, headaches, joint and muscle aches, gastrointestinal distress, frequent illness and lack of sleep. Your body cannot tell the difference between stressors or negative emotions. All of these things to your body are simply stress. A fight with your spouse, rough day at the job, lost $20 at the slot machine, feeling under the weather . . . the situations are numerous, but the point is, your body doesn’t know the difference between these situations or if you’re being chased by a lion or starving. All stressors cause your body to automatically go into flight or fight mode to help you survive that famine or fight that lion. To do this, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is released, glucose is also released into your bloodstream. Glucose is your body’s primary source of energy. Great, your body is now suited up for battle.
The problem is when the threat is gone (great job, you killed the lion), your adrenaline wears off and your glucose wears off, but your cortisol goes into high gear to replenish your energy supply. So what does this mean for you? Let’s break it down
When your glucose level drops, your body craves sugar because your body knows that sugar will give it the quick energy boost it thinks it needs. The problem with this is, when you consume so much sugar after stressful situations your body tends to store as abdominal fat, which is usually one of the hardest areas to lose it. This creates the infinite loop of stress, cortisol, gain weight, crave sugar, eat sugar, gain more weight and round and round the mulberry bush we go.
So maybe you think you’re stronger and smarter than your body so you don’t end up in the sugar cycle mentioned above. Ok, let’s cuss and discuss what that pesky cortisol does to your metabolism. Even if you aren’t eating high fat or high sugar, cortisol slows your metabolism and as an added perk, also raises your insulin, a hormone that contributes to fat storage. Researchers have found that stress could cause as much as an 11 pound weight gain in one year.
So there’s other perks of high stress, anxiety, cortisol (whatever word, be it 4 letter or otherwise, you’re using for it) on your body. (I really hope you’re picking up on my snarky sarcasm toward stress, because it can be a pesky bugger.)
Are you an emotional eater . . . STRESS. Cortisol not only causes unhealthy cravings but can also make you eat more than normal.
Do you struggle to plan meals or prepare meals when you’re stressed? That probably makes you want to hit up that Chik-Fil-A down the street or just grab something easy rather than taking the time to make a healthy choice.
Stress can often mean you’re overworked, have a busy schedule or spend too much time commuting can really cut into your time at the gym or other activities you would usually do. This also makes people cut out meals from their diet.
And last but not least . . . DRUMROLL PUH-LEASE . . .
Remember SLEEP and how not getting enough sleep can cause you to hold on to extra body weight?? Let’s recap, not getting enough sleep can cause ghrelin, your body’s hunger hormone, to increase and also make your leptin levels decrease. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. So basically when you don’t get adequate sleep, you eat more because you’re hungrier and feel less full.
Ok back to stress. Stress comes in clutch to really round out this terrible cycle by making it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep and get good sleep. So that cycle ends up looking like this>stress=little sleep/poor sleep=increased appetite. It is a nasty cycle, and when you pair that with the research showing that lack of sleep also leads to a decrease in metabolism, you then aren’t sleeping, you’re eating more and your body isn’t burning as much of what you put in.
I’m not sure how you’re feeling about that little cocktail of weight loss disasters, but if you’re 100% not ok with it, continue reading and let’s talk strategies to fix it.
First, we need to say that you will never be fully free of cortisol. Your body does need some, but it produces its own normal amount without you jump starting it like a dead car battery. You have to practice stress management. You can do this through self care, meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, getting adequate sleep, exercising, journaling, reading, listening to music, and eating a diet of health foods. These things are very important to your mental health, physical health and overall well being. There’s nothing frou frou about taking care of yourself. You have one body and one life, treat them well. Other simple things you can do are drinking water and eating more whole foods. These things help fight cravings but you have to put in the work to keep your mind right in order to hit your goals.
If you have questions or want to discuss your situation in more detail, click the link and apply for a coaching call.
The Nutrition Hierarchy
Again - the stuff on the bottom of the pyramid is the most important stuff. As you make your way up the pyramid, you get less and less meaningful impact per time invested.
1. Sustainability And Adherence
The most important thing about your diet? It has to be something you can stick to.
Even with fast weight loss, you'll still be dieting for quite some time. If your diet isn't something you can stick to for at least a few months, you won't be able to get results.
When I first started coaching, I gave all my clients macros - based on my own success with tracking.
What happened? Hardly anyone could stick to their diets.
This is exactly why we spend so much time initially talking about your lifestyle, and what diet structure will work best for you currently. That's how we create a diet easy for you to adhere to.
Now, our goal is NOT to keep you dieting for the rest of your life - so you don't have to be able to see yourself doing this for years... but it has to be maintainable for the course of the diet (typically 3-6 months).
So really, after the diet is over is when sustainability comes into play. The habits you've learned - eat protein at every meal, prepping ahead, focusing on high-volume foods, balancing calorie intake with movement - these are what allow you to sustain your new bangin' body composition once you get there.
Basically, you'll never just be able to eat crappy food constantly and be fit. So while you don't have to constantly be dieting - you do need to implement the healthy behaviors you've learned to sustain your results.
2. Energy Balance
-When you eat FEWER calories than you burn in a day, you lose weight.
-When you eat More calories than you burn in a day, you gain weight.
^This is how ALL diets work. They're simply different ways of getting you to eat less.
For everything else you could possibly want to know about energy balance, check out last week's email.
All your foods are made up of some combination (or at least one) of these “macros”.
our macro intake can have a pretty big impact on your body composition, but it does NOT overrule energy balance. Calories in - calories out is still the most important factor.
The calories per gram varies a bit by macro:
*Protein: 1 gram of protein contains ~4 calories
*Carbohydrates: 1 gram of carbohydrate contains ~4 calories
*Fat: 1 gram of fat contains ~9 calories
*Ethanol (alcohol): 1 gram of pure ethanol contains ~7 calories
Keeping protein high is crucial to building a great body, BECAUSE:
2. Carbs: 5-10% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
3. Fat: 0-3% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
When you eat more protein, you're actually increasing the Calories outside of the energy balance equation, since you're burning more calories via TEF.
Outside of controlling energy balance, increasing protein intake to .8-1 grams/lb of bodyweight daily is likely the most impactful thing you can do to improve body composition. (Although you're good to take protein higher than this, there are no added benefits. So no need to go over the top.)
This begs the question: Does drinking kill fat loss?
Well - no. You can absolutely drink and still hit your fat loss goals. Seriously, don't feel like you need to give up your social life entirely to get in great shape.
Now, your body views alcohol as a toxin. So priority one for your body after drinking is getting the alcohol out of your system A.S.A.P. To be more efficient at this, the body shuts down other processes to clear the system faster. Processes like: Oxidation of fat, hormone production, muscle tissue repair, etc.
Basically, when you drink, your results (losing body fat, building muscle) stop until your body clears the alcohol.
All that being said, fat loss still comes down to creating a calorie deficit. So no need to be afraid of alcohol.
To work alcohol into your daily intake:
*If you're tracking: swap preferably fat, and then carb calories for macros.
-For fat: divide the total calories in your drink by 9. The resulting number is the grams of fat to subtract from your daily intake.
-For carbs: divide the total calories in your drink by 4. The resulting number is the grams of carbs to subtract from your daily intake.
Basically, always keep your protein higher. Carbs and fats are going to have to take a hit. Try to keep carbs as high as possible, as long as possible. Don't let fat drop below 15% of your total calorie intake.
Ok - so this could get really boring. I'm not going to hit you with an exhaustive list of vitamins and minerals. We'll just cover the essentials quickly.
You've probably heard the term nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are simply foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are key to overall health, gym performance, and even your mental state.
Typically whole or minimally processed foods are nutrient-dense foods. Think - anything that comes from the earth OR lives on the earth. Meats, veggies, fruit, etc.
On the other hand, highly processed foods typically contain very few nutrients. Think - Food that's produced in a factory. Typically a very long ingredient list.
Now, the five most common micronutrient deficiencies are:
^A diet with a good variety of whole foods should cover all your bases here. Consuming dairy, red meat, and getting regular sun exposure will keep you on point.
As far as fruits and veggies - a good rule of thumbs is to eat one serving of fruits and veggies for every 500 calories you consume.
So how important is food quality?
Here's the thing - you could eat only Twinkies and lose weight, as long as you maintained a calorie deficit.
For real. The professor in THIS STUDY ate strictly Twinkies and the like for 10 weeks.
Dude lost 27 LBs, while eating strictly highly-processed, sugar-laden foods. All he did was maintain a calorie deficit.
Now, do I recommend this approach? Absolutely not.
Your health will be awful. You need adequate intake of the nutrients whole foods provide to feel good, perform in the gym, and function properly.
Plus, while dieting, you have to deal with being hungry often. Highly-processed foods are literally engineered to make you want to eat more. They're "hyper-palatable". Not ideal when the goal is to eat less.
Eating mostly unprocessed, whole foods will keep you full longer. Whole foods typically have more volume per calorie (you get more "bang for your buck" as far as satiety per calorie goes). They also generally contain more fiber, which also increases satiety.
So does your diet have to be strictly chicken breasts and tilapia? No way.
But - making 80-90%of your diet whole foods will make the process much easier, and you'll feel better throughout.
From there, you're free to enjoy the other 10-20% of your calorie intake from whatever your heart desires (as long as you work it into your food intake goals) without any negative effects on your results OR your health.
5. Meal/Nutrient Timing
How many times have you heard: "You HAVE TO eat six meals a day to lose weight."
^This is super not true.
The thinking behind this myth was - due to TEF, you burn more calories (via digestion) when you're eating. So eating more often means you're burning more calories.
Thing is - on average, TEF is about 10% of the calories you intake. 10% of a larger meal, or a smaller meal. Whether you eat 2,000 calories in 4 different 500 calorie meals, or in 2 different 1,000 calories makes no difference. TEF at the end of the day will still be 10% of 2,000 calories.
So does meal timing/number of meals matter at all?
Well, yes. It CAN make a difference. Just be sure to prioritize. All the stuff we've talked about previous to this makes MUCH more difference for your body composition. Treat it as such.
A few things to consider:
The most important thing - finding the meal frequency that is easiest for you to adhere to. (Anecdotally, clients usually do best with 3-4 per day.)
“Get ripped in two weeks with the SuperShred-69 fat burner!... And don’t forget to use my promo code.”
-J. Swollzz, Instagram Fitness Model
Most everyone has tried some type of fat burner, detox, etc. expecting dramatic results...and…..nothing.
The problem is, the supplement industry is crazy good at selling on the idea that “the thing” is out there somewhere.
You know, "the thing" that’s finally gonna get you the body you want, without having to put in years of hard work and consistency.
"The thing" doesn't exist.
Truth is, most legal supplements do little to nothing. That's why they're way up here, at the top of the pyramid.
Are any supplements worth the money?
*A Note On Proprietary Blends:
Supplement labels often include “proprietary blends”. This allows for the total amount of ingredients in the blend to be listed, while leaving the exact amount of each individual ingredient unspecified.
Taking supplements containing proprietary blends is much more likely to be a health hazard.
Finally, do your own research. The following is purely informative, not a recommendation. It’s up to you to determine if a supplement is safe to take.
That being said, a few supplements do have merit.
Creatine is an extremely well researched supplement, with the most effective form being creatine monohydrate.
Our bodies use creatine phosphate as a fuel source for the first few seconds of intense or explosive movement/exercise. Think of supplementing with creatine as “topping off the tank”. It allows you to maintain high-intensity exercise for slightly longer.
This means an increase in strength, and overall workload you’re able to handle in the gym, equating to building more muscle.
That being said, the effects of creatine are far from “steroid-like”, but it is a proven supplement to aid building muscle and strength.
3-5 grams/day will do the trick.
We’re all well-versed in/potentially addicted to this one.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Although considered a psychoactive drug, its use is extremely common and mostly unregulated.
Of all the supplements on this list, caffeine has by far the most noticeable effects. Not only does caffeine boost mood, alertness and mental clarity, it also has some real benefits to your workouts.
Research shows that caffeine decreases perceived effort, increases power output, and improves endurance.
Not that you needed an excuse for more caffeine, but it’s a real performance booster. Just keep your intake reasonable. Ideally less than 400mg per day.
If you’re able to hit your daily protein requirements entirely from whole foods, there’s no need to use a protein powder. Protein powders are lacking many of the micronutrients that quality, whole food protein sources will have.
But, if you’re struggling to meet your daily protein requirements, supplementing with a protein powder can be helpful.
Whey protein and casein proteins have the best amino acid profiles of available protein powders. They're the easiest for your body to absorb and use. It’s debatable which is superior. The body digests whey protein quicker than casein protein.
Whey and casein protein are derivatives of milk. So if animal products are a no-go for you: pea or rice proteins have the best amino acid profiles.
Getting all of your micronutrients from whole foods is ideal.
Ideal, but not always realistic. Taking a multivitamin is a good way to ensure your daily micronutrient needs are met.
We obtain vitamin D naturally through food and sunlight.
The issue? Most of us don’t get enough time in the sun, and the amount of vitamin D is negligible in most foods outside of fatty fish. As a result, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common
Taking a vitamin D or Cod liver oil supplement can be extremely helpful in preventing this deficiency.
The typical recommended dose is 1,000-2,000 IU per day
EPA And DHA (Fish Oil)
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids. Now, if you eat fatty fish 2+ times per week, you're good on these. If not, a fish oil supplement can help.
Typically, 1-2g EPA + DHA per day is advised.
Again, supplements are the LEAST important factor. You'll rarely see any noticeable difference from taking a supplement. So don’t get caught up in the minutiae of things like supplements, and forget to focus on the things that really make a difference when it comes to changing your body.
Ok, got all that?
A quick summary:
Week Three: The Nutrition Hierarchy
1. Finding a diet you can adhere to and learn sustainable behaviors from is by far the most important factor.
2. You must have a negative energy balance for weight loss. You need a positive energy balance for weight gain.
3. Adequate protein is super important. Carbs and fat intake can be geared towards what is easiest for you to adhere to.
4. 80-90% of your food intake should come from whole foods.
5. Meal timing doesn't matter all that much if you don't have 1-4 dialed in. Eating 3-5 meals per day is slightly more ideal. The most important factor is finding a meal frequency that fits your lifestyle.
6. Supplements typically make little to no difference. A few will help you hit your nutrient needs, and/or slightly improve gym performance.
Feel free to shoot me comment below or send me an email @ email@example.com.
- Coach Kayli
Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.