A "healthy" food that is actually NOT healthy!

There are all sorts of marketing schemes you are exposed to every single time you walk down a grocery aisle. Claims that this is “heart healthy” or “lowers cholesterol” or “a fat free food”, etc. Did you know that almost all of these labels are actually just purchased by the food company to be allowed to be placed on their packaging and actually require NO nutritional or scientific data to support this label (case and point, the “hearth healthy” label, sugary cereals have this label yet they are made up of over 50% sugar, which is actually inflammatory and directly linked to heart disease related medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes). Here is a food that you may have always believed to be “healthy” but actually is not:


Most oatmeal that people consume is processed, instant, oatmeal, so many of the healthier properties have been stripped away by this processing. Most of the instant, boxed oatmeal you purchase at a grocer has added sugar, and because of these two things, oatmeal happens to be a high glycemic index food, meaning it spikes your blood sugar (Here is a study with these findings HIgh glycemic foods create a fat storage reaction in the body and a sudden drop of blood sugar, which sends signals to the body that you are hungry …even though you may have eaten as soon as a few minutes ago! Along with making you hungry sooner, the study found that people who consume oatmeal instead of eggs for breakfast were found to eat 81 percent more food during the day (those who ate steel cut oats ate 51 percent more, than those who ate the omelet, this being a less processed version of oatmeal). What was also found is that those who ate the oatmeal were found to have higher levels of insulin, blood sugar and stress hormones (cortisone and adrenaline), all of which wreak havoc on our metabolic systems and create inflammation (which, guess what, is NOT heart healthy).

Bottom line is, just because a food is labeled with a claim, doesn’t mean this is actually true or that the food manufacturer has to meet any standard to meet this claim. Stick with foods that mainly don’t have any labels at all or need to make a claim (like meat, produce, and dairy). Things in a box or a package have to make claims to get your attention and to convince you that it’s food, when you should be sticking to eating mainly foods that don’t need fancy labels or health claims.

2 essential hacks for your health and fitness routine

Many people struggle with sticking to a diet and exercise regimen because they can't seem to get into the habit of sticking to these new behaviors. Here are some hacks to help you form better habits so that you can avoid those daily annoyances that can throw your fitness and health goals off track. 

Annoyance #1:  I am really hungry and on a diet and there is no food around that follows my diet plan. 

Hack #1:  Stock up!  As a part of the Fire Team Whiskey fitness and nutrition program, we provide our participants 60 healthy portable meal replacement bars and shakes and encourage them to stow a few of them everywhere they normally are on any given day. Stock your purse, car, office desk, briefcase and gym bag with a few non-perishable healthy snacks. Every weekend, grab a few and re-stock all your bags and car. Buy your snacks in bulk so you are not having to stop every day and make purchases for just that day. That way the next time you are driving to a meeting and your stomach is grumbling, you can open your glove box and grab that bag of almonds instead of being tempted to hit a fast food drive-through where you know you will be tempted to order anything but the salad. 

Annoyance #2:  I joined a gym but it seems like every day something comes up and I just don't have time to get to the gym. We all have hectic, busy lives and almost on a daily basis, we just don't have time to get everything done. Gym time often gets pushed to the back-burner because it is not as important as the kid getting sick at school and now you have to go pick him up or the last minute assignment your boss throws on your desk to be done ASAP 30 minutes before the workday was supposed to end.

Hack #2  The best hack for this is to be realistic about the fact that maybe your life right now does not support your ability to get to a gym and switch to an option that doesn't require you to travel anywhere to workout. There are so many great online workout programs. I developed the Fire Team Whiskey Fitness Program specifically for people who have unpredictable schedules. If you have a 20-minute window of time, throw on some gym clothes and get it done! You need no equipment and an area the size of a yoga mat. Get your workout done during your lunch break. Go change, shut your office door and get it done. Do a quick wipe down in the bathroom if your office doesn't have showers (baby wipes and deodorant are your best friend for quick bird baths post office workout) and get back to work. You really shouldn't need to leave the office for lunch anyways because you implemented hack #1 and already have healthy food options stored in your office desk. 

So get to hacking and get those healthy habits set in stone! 

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3 ways you are ruining your workout

As a fitness trainer, I can only shake my head and be dumbfounded about why people sabatoge the time and effort they put into their workouts. Here are 3 ways you are ruining your workout.

#1: Nutrition is the # 1-way people ruin the potential gains from their workout. The assumption of calories in = calories out has long been debunked. Just because you burned 250 calories in your spin class today, doesn't mean that 200 calorie donut just magically disappears in your body. The body is not that simple. It does not operate like a bank account.  The body responds differently depending on the macros you consume. Using the donut as an example, a food high in carbs and sugar releases a torrent of insulin in your bloodstream to manage the spike in blood sugar. Since your body already most likely had a sufficient amount of glycogen stored for energy in your liver, those donut carbs are gathered up and stored as fat. The body is very efficient at saving up plenty of energy and rarely needs that afternoon sugar fix you think you crave because you burned too many calories with your workout. 

#2:  Another way a person ruins their workout is lack of diversity. I have worked in several gyms as a fitness trainer. Every gym looks the same. You have the same people, using the same equipment, doing the same exercises, at the same rate and the same amount of reps. Nothing ever changes. The body adapts very quickly when we workout. Most people look at workouts as just checking the "I worked out today" box. They don't ever challenge themselves, push themselves or work different muscle groups in different ways. I am a big fan of non-traditional workout mixed with traditional. This keeps the body guessing, works different muscle groups and touches upon all the areas essential to total fitness: strength, cardio, flexibility, speed, agility, balance, body composition, endurance, coordination, reaction time and power.  I personally do traditional weight lifting maybe one to two times a week. The rest of the week is a mix of non-traditional with functional fitness exercises. Yoga, TRX, climbing, kyaking, HIIT, tractor tire workouts, swinging hammers, throwing medicine balls, agility ladders, bungee cord resistance work, etc. 

#3:  Lastly, the way many people ruin their workouts is by treating their gym time like a social hour or "catch up on my Netflix" time. Distracted working out is not beneficial. I don't know how many times I have watched people stand and chat, and chat, and chat. 30 minutes go by and not one movement has been made! Or the person so engrossed in their tv show that they are just moseying along on their cardio equipment, not even out of breath. Going one slow pace and not pushing yourself to get close to target heart rate is doing you no favors. 

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How To Stick To Your Diet While Traveling

Summer vacation time is upon us and many of us will be traveling to get a little sun, rest and relaxation. And most of us will return from those trips bloated and heavier than we were when we left for that vacation.

Last summer I drove to New Orleans Louisiana form the east coast of Florida. It was a very long trip. I was determined to stay on my eating plan the whole trip. My one allowance was to have a beignet at Cafe Du Monde, which is something you have to do in New Orleans. My trip was so successful, I actually LOST a couple of pounds on my trip! What was my secret?  I purchased a car cooler that plugs into the power source in your car. I meal prepped and brought lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks for each day of my trip. I brought my protein shake packets and a tiny single cup blender for my breakfast each day. During my road trip, all I had to do was open up the cooler and grab my food. I did this every time I had more than a couple of hours of driving ahead of me. P.s. This was a HUGE financial savings for my trip too! I was able to stay in a much nicer hotel in a great area because I knew I wasn't going to be paying an arm and a leg for several meals each day of my trip!

For flights, obviously, you can't take a car cooler. But you can bring a lunch box that has the insulation built into it that you can prep the night before your trip. This will cover you for the day of the trip, with all the snacks you have to keep cold. Anything else, that doesn't fit into the lunch box, throw in your carry on. Nuts, beef jerky, apples, individual packets of nut butter, individual cans of tuna or chicken salad, protein shakes and a blender bottle are great options.  No refrigeration needed for these on the go snacks. In your cold lunch box, pack small containers of salad with your choice of protein, salad dressings, boiled eggs, carrot sticks, hummus, cheese sticks, etc. 

When it comes to eating out, most places have healthy options, so you can stick to your plan. When I am traveling, I allow for ONE TREAT. You can plan it out like I did with my New Orleans trip, or you can spontaneously use it if something really tickles your fancy and just have to try it. This is a great approach because that treat then becomes the highlight of your trip. Instead of just going insane and blowing off your eating plan, completely wrecking the progress you made,  and returning back from your trip feeling bloated, guilty and heavier by a few pounds, you can return from your trip feeling great and with the memory of that one special treat that you enjoyed thoroughly, guilt-free!

Copyright Fire Team Whiskey® 2018 All Rights Reserved

Hours in the gym and not seeing results?

So you are spending hours in the gym each week and you are not seeing the change in your waistline?  This is because you are missing the most important piece of the puzzle, changing your nutrition to optimize your body's ability to melt that fat! The only hormone in your body that tells your body to store fat is insulin. The key to turning your body into a fat burning machine is keeping your insulin levels low as much a possible. The number one thing that spikes your body's insulin is carbohydrates and sugar. Here are some tips for getting those insulin levels down so you can shed that spare tire! 

#1:  TRACK YOUR FOOD: The biggest mistake people make is not tracking what they are consuming every day. Research shows that people greatly underestimate their calorie consumption if they are "just winging it".  There are a ton of apps you can download to your phone and easily and quickly track what you consume on a daily basis. The app should give you a range of suggested daily calorie consumption based on your goals. As a trainer, I suggest that you also track your macros (percentage of protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and keep your daily carbohydrate percentage under 30%. This will keep your insulin levels lower, thus sending the signal to your body to burn fat for energy. 

#2:  READ LABELS:  In this day and age of information, I am still astounded by the fact that people don't bother to look at the nutrition facts on their food before they choose to eat it. It doesn't take but 30 seconds to turn a package over and read. What are you looking for? Check out the ingredients. If one of the 1st three ingredients in the food is sugar (or another word for sugar), you should not be consuming it. When in the grocery store, see if there is a healthier alternative to what you are used to choosing. There is most likely a healthier alternative. 

#3:  STOP DRINKING YOUR CALORIES:  You love those craft beers huh? Guess where those beers are going? Straight to your waistline!  I tell clients that I am working with all the time that if they only make one change in their nutrition, this should be it. Just stop drinking calories. Save the beer for special occasions (no more than twice a month). Better yet, when you drink, just drink a liquor on the rocks with a squeeze of lime. This is a lot less carbohydrate and calorie-heavy than those heavy craft beers. Switch out sugary and carbohydrate packed drinks (like juice, soda, and sweet tea) with water and zero calorie alternatives like flavored sparkling water, unsweetened tea and coffee with unsweetened creamers. 

If you are not willing to change your nutrition along with putting in the time at the gym, then you are severely limiting your ability to get results. Like they athlete is made in the kitchen, not the gym. 



© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved

6 Mistakes You are Making When Reading Labels

Mistake #1:  The "Light" version of a product is healthier for me. 

"Light" products are processed to reduce either calories or fat, and some products are simply watered down. Most of the time manufacturers add more of something else to make up for removing whatever they removed to make the product "light". Most of the time, this means they have added more sugar.  

Mistake #2:  Products that say they are "whole grain" are very good for me. 

This sounds very healthy, but basically just means that they used whole wheat flour in the product. Cereals are notorious for using this label to convince you that this is a way to get good fiber in your diet, hoping you will ignore the fact that there that their product is 40% sugar. 

Mistake #3:  Products that say "all natural" are healthy choices. 

This does not necessarily mean that the product resembles anything natural. It simply means that at some point the manufacturer had a natural source (for example, apples or rice) to work with.  

Mistake #4: If it is organic it is healthy.

This label says very little about whether the product is healthy or not. For example, organic sugar is still sugar.  It may not have been grown with the pesticides that conventional produce is grown with, but it doesn't magically make sugar good for you just because its organic. 

Mistake #5:  If it says "no added sugar" then it is a low carb choice. 

Some products are naturally high in sugar. The fact that they don’t have added sugar doesn’t mean they’re healthy. For example, many fruit juices and canned fruits use this label. Both of these products are very high in carbohydrates, despite the "no added sugar" label. 

Mistake #6:  If it is gluten free then it is a healthy choice.

Gluten-free does not equal healthy. It simply means that the product doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye or barley. Many foods are gluten-free but can be highly processed and loaded with calories, unhealthy fats and sugars. 



© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved