Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

2.26.17 – Keto Cheese Stick Waffle, Bacon, & Egg Burger { 6g of Carbs }

It’s Sunday & what better way to start your day off with a lower carbohydrate meal and some relaxation? Some people tend to enjoy higher fats early in the morning ( especially if they work out later in the day or evening ) and tend to feel more focus with lower amounts of carbs in…

This content is for Macro Magician Club – Gold Membership members only.
Log In Register

The Flexible Dieter’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever had those days where you were so busy or life was just so crazy that before you knew it, it was 5pm and you had yet to eat anything!? 

You then proceeded to eat all of your macros from 5pm till you went to bed that night. It was pretty awesome right!? Straight feast! 

Well by doing this, you inadvertently practiced a dietary strategy known as "Intermittent Fasting." 

And more than likely if you clicked on this guide, you have heard of Intermittent Fasting before and are looking to learn more on how to maximize it so you can reach your goals!

In this guide I will be covering:

  1. What is Intermittent Fasting?
  2. Popular Intermittent Fasting Protocols
  3. Why Your Muscle and Metabolism will be just fine
  4. Why Your Hunger is Lying to you
  5. What Really Matters
  6. Creating Your Intermittent Fasting Strategy
  7. My Full Day of Intermittent Fasting
  8. Early Morning Training
  9. Intermittent Fasting Done Wrong

1. Intermittent Fasting:

So what exactly does this mean!?

Simply put, Intermittent Fasting is an eating strategy, not a diet. You are simply timing your meals to where you are fasting for a certain period of time and then feasting for certain period of time. 

We all do some type of intermittent fasting every single day. We eat in a certain window of time (usually the hours when we are awake) then fast while we sleep until we have our first meal the next day.

  • ​So if you are eating your last meal at 8pm and not eating breakfast until 8am the next morning, then you are doing a 12 hour fast between meals! Bet you never really thought of this!

Our bodies are super duper smart and we tend to underestimate their abilities to adapt to the circumstances that we put on them.

To paint the picture, think of back when our ancestors, those beautiful cavemen and cavewomen, were roaming the fields looking ​for their next meal. They only ate what they killed and did not have the luxury of going to a local supermarket when they needed food.

Our bodies operate differently during times of "fasting" and times of "feasting."

  • ​When "feasting" our bodies have a regular supply of food and do not need to rely on stored energy.
  • When "fasting" our bodies do not have readily available energy sources so it has to mobilize energy stored in our bodies like glycogen and body fat.

2. Popular Intermittent Fasting Strategies

  • The Warrior Diet which is a 20 hour fast and a 4 hours eating window. So that would be fasting between 8pm-4pm the next day and then eating from 4pm-8pm
  • The LeanGains approach is more a modest approach of a 16 hour fasting window followed by an 8 hour eating window. This would look like fasting from 8pm to 12pm the next day and eating from 12pm-8pm.

3. Fasting & Your Metabolism

I know you must be thinking, "But Zach, if I fast for 16-20 hours, what will happen to my metabolism! Shouldn't I be eating every 2-3 hours in order to keep my metabolism going!? Gotta fuel the fire!"

​The theory goes that if you eat small meals all day long, you are fueling your metabolism thus you will burn more calories that way! You "Bro Science Alarm" shouldn't going off right now!

Let go into why this metabolism humbo jumbo is just not the case.

  • ​Whether you eat 2500 calories spread throughout the day or 2500 calories in a small eating window, your body will burn the same amount of calories processing that food.
  • This is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
    • When we ingest a certain amount of calories, our bodies will burn about 10% of the size of the meal in calories digesting it.
    • So if I eat a meal that is 500 calories, then my body will burn 50 calories processing that meal.
    • And if I eat a meal that is 2000 calories, my body will burn 200 calories digesting that meal.
    • So if I eat 4 individual meals of 500 calories each, I will burn 50 calories each meal. So that is 50 x 4 = 200 calories of TEF
    • So your TEF is the same for the four smalls meals as it would be for the one huge meal of 2000 calories! 

4. But What About My Muscle!?!?

Am I going to lose all my hard earned gainzzzz!?​

The short answer is absolutely not! For 99% of the population who is just looking to lean up, look great naked, and lead a healthy life, then this passage is something you really don't need to stress over!

For the 1% who are looking to compete at the high levels and want to maximize every single facet of putting on muscle mass, then this is something you'll want to take into account. 

Dr. Layne Norton and his lab have found that in order to optimize something called Muscle Protein Synthesis (simply the removing of damaged proteins and building of new ones stronger than the ones before), we need to be consuming protein more than just one time a day. 

So spreading your protein intake out for 3-4 different feeding throughout the day would be best for maximizing this muscle protein synthesis. Not going to cover this too much but look at the example of my day later in the post to get an idea of how I navigate this.

5. Hunger Signals

Won't I be starving while fasting!? 

I know for some of you, fasting seems impossible because you wake up every morning with this crazy hunger that you think will kill you if you don't eat something!

Lol

Well let me tell you that this is something that is more​ related to what you body is used to rather than you actually being hungry. Studies have not conclusively shown that whether or not eating more or less frequently is better or not for hunger but what they have shown is that the bodies seems to adapt to the meal frequency is it most accustomed to.

So for example, if you are eating 6 meals per day started at 8am and eating every 2-3 hours, your body will naturally out of habit, become accusomted to this eating pattern and your hunger will coincide with that.

But if you are used to skipping breakfast and eating 2-3 larger meals in a smaller eating window, then your bodies hunger will fall in line with that as well.

So if you are someone who thinks you need to eat breakfast because you are soo unbelievably hungry, know that this is more because of your bodies hunger habits rather than you being actually hungry.

I used to struggle with this but I use a few strategies to help with this morning hunger:

  1. Drinking a 20oz glass of room temperature water immediately upon waking up in the morning.
  2. Drinking another 20oz of water combined with 10g of BCAAs (go into more detail on BCAAs in supplement post linked) to help curb that hunger.
  3. Then having my coffee which has caffeine which acts as a appetite suppressor.
  4. Staying busy and keeping my mind off food! My mornings are my most busy times of the day as you will see later in the post when I walk you through my IF protocol. 

6. What Really Matters

After reading everything I've covered so far, I want to remind you of the two factors that are most important in regards to body weight and body composition.

1. Calories In vs. Calories Out determine whether you lose or gain weight

  • If you eat more than you burn then you will gain weight
  • If you eat less than what you burn then you will lose weight

2. Macronutrient Ratios are what determine our body composition

  • ​If we hit our macros for the day, then we hit our calories for the day.
  • Our most important goal is to hit your macronutrient goals for the day.

Never forget that these are the most important factors and Intermittent Fasting is a strategy to help you hit those goals for the day.

I do not want you to think of one fasting schedule being better than another. It doesn't matter if you are doing a 12 hour fast or a 16 hour fast. What truly matters is what you can do in the long term. And that means a intermittent fasting protocol that fits your lifestyle so you can consistently hit your macros and your training hard while living the life you desire! 

7. Creating Your Intermittent Fasting Strategy!​

Is Intermittent Fasting right for you?

Well you should know the answer to this question is yes in all cases! Why is that!? Because as I outlined earlier in the post that we all do some form of intermittent fasting every single day!

Things to ask yourself when figuring out your "Fasting" and "Feasting" time frames:

  1. What would fit my lifestyle the best?
  2. Do I like big meals or small meals?
  3. Am I trying to lose or gain weight?
    • If you are trying to gain weight, I would advise to not fast as long because it will become much more difficult to get it enough calories in throughout the day to support that weight gain. Not saying you cannot make it happen!

Best way to start is just by skipping breakfast and having you first meal at lunchtime!

8. My Intermittent Fasting Strategy:

So let me take you through a full day of eating to help you see how I use intermittent fasting while cutting.

  • ​I wake up at 5:45am, heat up water to brew my coffee in my french press, drink a tall glass of water that has been heated up for room temp in microwave
  • I then make my 20oz glass of water with 5-7g of BCAAs to help with curb my hunger and make sure I have some amino acids in my system especially while deep into my cut.
  • I then head to GPA (my personal/sports performance gym I own) or any business meeting I have to go to.
  • Then after all my morning sessions at the gym, I am heading home around 11:30am to go have my first meal.
  • This first meal comes around 12pm which is about 700-800 calories composed of around 60-70g protein, 10-15g fat and 70-80g carbs.
  • I workout around 2 and end around 3:30-4pm and then start my afternoon sessions until 7-8pm that night.
  • So I then have around 5pm a standard sized protein bar and a couple pieces of fruit like an apple or banana. I am home and start cooking dinner and eat around 8:30pm.
  • This meal is around 800-900 calories and a macro friendly dessert around 200 calories 🙂 This is my biggest meal of the day.
  • I then go to bed at 10:30-11:00pm and repeat this all over again!

All my calories and water in for the day ab check 🙂

What if I train in the morning?

I would simply just take 10g of BCAAs pre workout to ensure I have some circulating amino acids to keep muscle protein synthesis stimulated. And if I have to prolong my fast after training for another couple hours, I will ingest another 10g of BCAAs just to be safe and keep that muscle protein synthesis stimulated till my first meal.

9. If It Fits Your Lifestyle

Remember our goal with all this information is to mold nutrition to where it helps up live the lifestyle we desire. ​

As you can see, my nutrition complements my lifestyle. I use my nutrition as a tool to live the lifestyle I want to live rather than other way around.

This is applicable to doctors, construction workers, hair stylists, athletes, stay at home moms, college students, and literally everyone in the world! The best diet is the one you can stick to so by figuring out an intermittent fasting protocol that fits your life perfectly, it will help support you reaching and keeping the results you desire!

10. Intermittent Fasting Done Wrong

One thing I see a lot now is utilizing Intermittent Fasting in a way that allows someone to have a full out binge. 

For example, there are strategies where someone fasts for 22-23 hours and then eats all their calories in a 1-2 hour window. This more time than not is just a glorified binge. I'm not saying this is a terrible approach but most times this is just to facilitate a binging habit. 

I am not one to promote or support disordered eating so I just wanted to point that out because it is very prevalent in the IF community. Yes it's ok every once in a while to do this but do not make a habit of it because you most definitely run the risk of developing a disordered eating pattern or negative relationship with food.

What you learned today

  1. Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but is simply a "feasting/fasting" strategy.
  2. Your metabolism will not slow down from infrequent feedings.
  3. Hunger is more from habits rather than actual hunger.
  4. Hitting your macro goals for the day is the most important factor.
  5. By molding your intermittent fasting approach around your lifestyle, you can consistently hit your macros thus causing long term/lasting results.

What is your Intermittent Fasting Strategy!?

Let me know in the comments below what you IF strategy currently is and/or what it will be in the future! 

Also, please share this post with anyone you know needs to start using IF to help them reach their goals!

Lastly, thank you so much for reading and hope this helped tremendously!

​Thanks and God Bless,

Zach​

Birthday Cake Oreo Cheesecake High Protein Pizza

There are very few things in life that are better than the 2 things I'm thinking of….

Can you guess what those 2 things are!? I kinda gave it away in the title….

If you guessed steamed broccoli and plain chicken breast then you are corr…… well I mean to each their own 🙂

But seriously if you guessed Oreo and Pizza then you are correct my friend!

In America, we love our Oreos and Pizza​. Not only do we love them but we love to eat a lot of them.  Just do a simple google search and you will find memes like these.

Well what if I told you I have a recipe today that will allow you to eat both of them together every single day, no matter if you are cutting and are on poverty macros!?

Excited yet!? I was when I ate this for the first time and shed a tear of pure happiness!

Ok enough talking out of me…. Lets get to the recipe!

Da Macros:​ Per Whole Pizza 🙂

  • ​392 Calories
  • 50g Carbs
  • 8g Fat
  • 37g Protein

​That is Macro Sorcery at it's finest! And if you want to make it higher protein/lower carb, look for my advice down below on how to do that!

Da Ingredients:​

1. 1 Josephs Lavash Bread (or could use a flatbread. Josephs just have unreal macros)

2. 1 Cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

3. 12g Fat Free/Sugar Free Cheesecake Pudding Mix

4. 28g (1oz) Fat Free Cream Cheese​

5. 1.5 Birthday Cake Oreos

6. Zero Cal Spray Butter

7. Spraaaankles

8. 4g Stevia​

Da Recipe:

1. Preheat Oven to 350. Then place lavash on pan and spray with zero cal butter spray. Cook until the lavash is almost golden brown all the way to the middle. This will ensure you will not have a soggy middle on your pizza. This usually takes about 5-7 minutes so watch it.

2. As this is happening, you will need to start making your protein pudding and cheesecake chunk icing to top the pizza with. For your protein pudding, you will need to take your 1 cup of greek yogurt, 4g of your ​pudding mix, and 2g stevia and mix them all together in a bowl until everything is all mixed in. Then to make your cheesecake chunk icing, you will need to take 8g of your pudding mix and 2g stevia and put into small bowl. Then slowly add water and mix until you have volumous icing. Then add your cheesecake chunks and mix them up.

3. Now you are ready to take your lavash out and top with your protein pudding and icing. Start with the pudding and spread over evenly. Then add your icing on top of that spreading evenly as well. Then add your crushed oreos and spraaankles!

4. Then throw back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes and boom! Gainz!​

Pro-tip: If you want to make this higher protein/lower carb, add in protein powder instead of your pudding mix. That will save you at least 10-12g carbs on the total and add a good bit of protein. ​

Homework Time!

1. You need to go get all these ingredients and make this recipe! I'm serious when I say it is sooooo good and is a game changer!

2. If you loved this recipes, then how would 70+ other #macrofriendly recipes just like this sound to have in your arsenal!? Well if you enjoyed this one, make sure to click here to check out my all new Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Book of Recipes 2.0 that just launched the other day! ​

3. Keep being awesome! :))) Have a blessed day my friend!

Lyle McDonald Interview: Flexible Dieting

Today I am so lucky to bring you an exclusive interview with the one and only Lyle McDonald! Lyle is a physiologist and author who is one of the top thought leaders in the fields of nutrition, fat loss and muscle growth. He has spent the past decade plus obsessively dissecting the latest research in order to bring the world unbiased information that they apply right away! His site BodyRecomposition.com is his platform where he has hundred of amazing pieces of content using an evidence based approach to provide everything you need to know on the most important topics in this all encompassing health field.

And for those of you wondering, Lyle is arguably the creator of the phrase and dieting philosophy we all know as Flexible Dieting! He created his book, The Guide To Flexible Dieting all the way back in 2005! That's crazy… We will touch on how much crap he got for writing this book in the interview. 

Nonetheless, this is a value bomb loaded interview so dive into the material and be ready to learn a ton!

Lets get it started!

The Interview​:

Me: Lyle! How are you doing my friend! Hope all is well!

Lyle: I'm doing well Zach! Looking forward to the interview.

Me: Ok lets get it started then!

Question #1: ​From my research, you were the first person to popularize the eating strategy known as flexible dieting when you published, A Guide To Flexible Dieting all the way back in 2005 which helped spur the movement which is not in full force. Since my readers are all either just now learning about flexible dieting or are currently flexible dieters but still want to learn more, what 3 tips would you tell them that would help the most to maximize their success along this journey.

Lyle: I actually think you're correct, at least in terms of talking about it in any sort of formalized way or outside of the research. At the risk of being a little bit ranty, I wrote that book in 2005 and it went more or less ignored. Now in 2015, nobody can talk about anything else with endless "Guides to Flexible Dieting" and at least one case of apparent plagiarism where someone claimed to have pioneered the idea. Sorry, no. 

​I'm not sure I can actually come up with three tips about flexible dieting but I might go with this. First realize that taking a flexible approach to dieting does not mean eating whatever and whenever you want. If your goal is fat loss or even health, being flexible (as opposed to rigid) simply means not taking the typical black/white, either/or, good/bad approach to dieting.

​People think in terms of foods as either diet or non-diet, good or bad and that's a rigid approach. Adoption of flexible dieting attitudes, that is realizing that a single deviation from the diet doesn't mean that you're a failure or that the diet has failed, and that almost any food, within limits, can be included on a diet is the key to flexible dieting.

​A second important tip is to realize that, no matter how rabid a lot of people are about flexible dieting, it's not perfect for everyone. Dieting takes practice and folks who are often in the early stages of flexible dieting often find that a given flexible strategy throws them off the rails or doesn't work for them. In that case, use it as a learning experience.

​No approach is optimal for everyone and people tend to see any mistake as a failure in themselves. I'd say try any specific flexible dieting strategy three times, making adjustments based on whatever went "wrong" the first or second time and if it's still not working, abandon it. A little ways down the road, when new habits have become more entrenched, they can be tried again.

Question #2: ​I love flexible dieting because it allows you to not only individualize your diet based on your needs but also allows you to model your diet around your current lifestyle. The best diet is the one you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Would love you to hear your thoughts on most restriction diets and why flexible dieting is superior?

Lyle: ​I'll assume you mean dietary approaches that go from "This food is bad, NEVER eat it again." It's just human psychology why this tends not to work. Knowing you can't have something makes you want it more. It also promotes the type of diet/non-diet food approach. Certain foods are what you eat on a diet and others are what you eat off a diet and this is a bad way to conceive of the process. Any fat loss diet should include foods and components that allow and promote long-term maintenance.

​This type of "this food is bad" also promotes the same type of black/white rigid thinking that is the problem. It makes foods good or bad (often in a moral sense) and that's just an absurd way to approach it. There is also the concept of never. It's one thing for me to tell someone to wait 12 weeks (to establish habits) and then work on including previously problematic foods into their diet. But NEVER, who can survive with that approach.

​Flexible dieting of varying types avoids all of this. Eve knowing that, on occasion, in controlled manners that you can eat some food takes away the psychological stress from it. Never turns into sometimes or occasionally and that's much easier to deal with in both the short and long term.

Question #3: ​On the topic of lifestyle, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs who want to adopt flexible dieting into their lifestyles. What do you think about flexible dieting for the busy entrepreneur?

Lyle: ​I don't see why the concept would be any more or less relevant for any specific situation but in this, I could see it being potentially more useful. Many entrepreneurs, factually, do a lot of business over food or drinks. It's just part of the job. And being a pain in the ass about what you can and cannot eat or taking a client out for drinks and then saying "I can't have a drink as I'm dieting" is not a good way to facilitate those types of relationships.

Flexible dieting at least gives the potential to allow and plan for that. Schedule a free meal for that meeting, make adjustments at other times of the day to allow for it's inclusion without derailing things in the long-term. You get the idea.

Question #4: ​An awesome benefit to flexible dieting is the idea of discretionary calories. It is the idea that if I hit my macros, fiber, and micronutrients, I can have foods like ice cream, cookies, and any other foods that most people classify as "dirty." What do you think about this and whether there is any added benefit to going to 100% "clean" rather than fitting in these discretionary calories?

Lyle: ​One of the concepts that is relatively new and was not in my book is the IIFYM movement or If It Fits Your Macros. While this idea has been perverted in both directions, it basically came out of a reaction to the idea that the ONLY way to get lean is to eat CLEAN 100% of the time. Frankly, clean eating represents one of the most rigid approaches to dieting out there. Even the name alone, some foods are clean (morally) and others are unclean (morally). Eat clean foods and you are morally good, let even the tiniest bit of an unclean food cross your lips and you're not.

​At the same time, for people just starting out, IIFYM can cause more problems than it solves. Taste buds take time to adjust and while the IIFYMers are fairly rabid that everyone should be doing IIFYM, it simply doesn't work for everybody. It's one of those strategies that still requires control and some people get thrown off their diet with it. As above, try it a few times, if it doesn't work, drop it. Dieting should always be a learning experience.

Question #5: Another big problem that many people encounter on their fat loss journeys is whether to cut calories significantly and try to lose weight fast or to make a small deficit and have a longer weight loss period. Would love your thoughts on both of those approaches and the pros and cons of each.

Lyle: ​Depends on the situation. Contrary to popular belief, the idea that big deficits always fail more is untrue; more rapid weight loss actually predicts better long-term success. There are probably a few reasons but even that is only conditionally true. Diets based around shakes, prepackaged foods, etc. do nothing to reteach good eating habits.

​It goes back to their being diet foods and non-diet foods. Rather, extremely low calorie diets based around whole foods, exercise and behavior change are what show better long-term success. Because they focus on a diet that is based around whole foods, exercise has it's major role for most in weight-loss maintenance and long-term behavior change is the key.

​My own Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, a "crash" diet, is set up like this; it's based around whole foods (protein, veggies, essential fatty acids) so that when the diet is over maintenance means adding foods back to that base, rather than switching to a completely different set of foods.

Now many have argued, and there is probably much truth to this, that smaller changes are more likely to be sustainable and lead to long term habits. I don't disagree with this but consider someone with a hundred pounds to lose. A small change, unless it represents something pretty egregious is not going to generate weight or fat loss at any reasonable rate and this person is just as likely to become discouraged as anything else.

​A decent compromise here, for the obese, is to use an extreme diet right off the bat to get some nice short-term weight and fat loss (which is psychologically rewarding) before moving into a more moderate fat loss diet in the long run. In contrast, for a lean dieter trying to get very lean, extreme diets, unless they are very short can cause problems with exercise performance and such. But there's also not as much fat to lose.

So it's a matter of context and both approaches have their place so long as they are properly implemented.

Question #6: ​So would you say that the more body fat you have, the higher your dietary fat should be? and vice versa for the leaner you are, the more carbs you can consume? And some thoughts on improving nutrient partitioning and how you can earn more carbs?

​Lyle: Generally speaking, yes. There is a generally good correlation between increasing body fat and insulin resistance; it's not universal mind you and you can find individuals at higher levels of body fat who show completely normal insulin sensitivity.

​But in the first group, moderating carbohydrate intake and raising dietary fat can help avoid major blood sugar swings; there is also research suggesting that the obese respond differently to the fullness signals from the stomach than lean people do. I know that studies show that eating low glycemic index (GI) and lower glycemic load (GL) diets work for this too but, realistically, these aren't the foods that most people eat in the real world. It's usually just easier to lower carbohydrates and be done with it.

​In general, there is a relationship between leanness and insulin sensitivity although it isn't universal. Some lean people are insulin resistant too. By far and away the single aspect we can control to improve insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance (for lack of a better word) is training. And it has to be higher intensity training such as weight training. This improves muscular insulin sensitivity, depletes muscle glycogen (enhancing fat burning) which gives a bigger "sink" for incoming carbohydrates.

Question #7: ​If you have a client who says they are maintaining their bodyweight on 1000 calories and wants to lose body fat, what would your approach be with their diet?

​Lyle: Tell them to track their diet because factually this is not happening unless they weigh 100 lbs. No study in the history of ever, outside of some severe disease states, has found someone with that low of a metabolic rate for maintenance unless they are absolutely tiny. In all cases, they are mistracking their food intake and that 1000 calories is really 2000 calories.

​Question #8: You have a lot of information out there on helping people get rid of their stubborn body fat. Would love your thoughts on the idea that you cannot spot reduce body fat and that you just need to be in a caloric deficit for long enough to mobilize that stubborn body fat.

Lyle: Spot reduction is impossible. The idea that working a given muscle can burn off the fat on top of is it simply incorrect as there is no direct pathway from the fat on top of a muscle to that muscle. Body fat has to be mobilized into the bloodstream, under hormonal control, where it floats around until it gets burned (by the heart, muscle, liver or whatever) or gets stored again.

​There was a recent study, actually, that almost offered a justification for spot reduction. It used something like 30 minutes of leg activity and for some reason, probably a local hormonal response some fat was mobilized. But it was in the mg range, it would have taken like a year to mobilize even a single pound of fat that way. Do 5 minutes of proper weight training and 25 minutes of aerobic activity and you've done more for fat loss than any 30 minute glute class.

​So far as stubborn body fat, for men it's usually just a matter of patience since abdominal and low-back fat is not as stubborn to get rid. Certainly there are strategies to help it along but the issue is that most men don't realize how lean they have to really get to lose it. Sub 10% is going to be required and most men just give up.

Women's lower body-fat is a whole different thing as it is profoundly stubborn to mobilization. It's the last to come off and sometimes still doesn't. There are various diet, supplement and training strategies that can be used to help with this. The physiology behind all of this along with strategies to deal with it are all detailed in my Stubborn Fat Solution.

Question #9: I am a huge proponent of making lean gains and staying in a small surplus in order to minimize fat gain while gaining lean muscle mass. What is your recommendation on how big of a surplus to be in order to optimally make lean gains?

Lyle: Depends on training status. A beginner can gain faster and handle a larger surplus, though it never has to be huge, than someone who is well trained. You might start a beginner with a 15-20% deficit, setting a goal of maybe 2 lb/month weight gain and an advanced person might use no more than 10% surplus (a few hundred calories) to start.

Question #10: ​Lastly, I wanted to get your take on low intensity cardio like walking in order to burn extra calories without beating you up and taking away from your training. I like to walk between 10,000-12,000 steps a day so I can eat more food to support my training. Would love your thoughts on this and if you think this is a good strategy.

Lyle: Despite a lot of nonsense that is being written about how cardio is ineffective (or at the idiot extreme, "makes" you fat), it's been used for decades to get lean when combined with proper weight training and a diet. It's easy to recover from, can be done daily and while it may not burn a lot of calories acutely, it adds up. Burn 300 calories from extra walking daily and that's 2100 calories/week. Nearly 2/3 a pound of fat (not exactly) from an activity that won't impair recovery.

​The fascination with interval training is a mistaken one. Yes, it's time effective, yes it generated nice fitness gains. It's also very high intensity, exhausting if it's done properly and can't (or shouldn't) be done daily. Yes, a combination of low-intensity work with the occasional interval session is great on a diet. Some can't even recover from that. Since a lot of people who are dieting want to do some type of activity daily, you have to pick one that can actually be done every day. Low intensity fits that description, interval training does not.



















Me: Well Lyle, that is all I have for ya today! I just wanted to say thanks again for being so generous with your time and the amazing answer you provided us today. You are someone I look up to and am truly honored to be able to share this interview with the readers! Wish you nothing but the best my friend!

Lyle: I enjoyed it! Keep up the great work and providing amazing content. I love to see young, go getters who want to make a difference in this field so I was more than happy to do this for ya! Talk to ya soon!

Homework Time!

Make sure to check out Lyle's site Bodyrecomposition.com! His site is a endless gold mine of amazing information so you'll be smart to go check it out if you enjoyed this interview!

And if you have yet to join the Flexible Dieting 101 FREE Course below, then make sure to join so you can be on the fast track to Flexible Dieting Mastery! 

#LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes Recipe

Many people know of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

But very few people have ever heard on the Leaning Tower Of Rice Cakes

The Question I get a lot is, "Zach, how exactly does one make a #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes!? 

And so today I am going to show you exactly how I make my oh so tasty towers!

Da Ingredients:

  • ​6 Rice Cakes of your choice
  • 1.5 Cup (339g) Plain Non Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 8g Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix 
  • 2g Stevia

Optional ingredients can include:

  • ​More Sugar Free/Fat Free Pudding Mix for a drizzle down the side
  • ​PB2 made into a drizzle
  • Sugar Free Pancakes syrup
  • Protein Icing
  • Topping like my oreos above
  • Sprinkles for the #aethetics 🙂

Da Directions:

How to make your Protein Pudding:

1. Take your 1.5 cups (339g) Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt and put into a bowl .

2. Add 8g Sugar Free/Fat Free Pudding Mix and 2g stevia to bowl​ and mix them together.

​3. Lay all rice cakes down flat on a plate or cutting board then evenly distribute the protein pudding onto each rice cake. 

4. Then stack them to the ceiling.

5. Then take your additional toppings that were in the optional section and get creative! Let your imagination wander but not to much unless you have unlimited macros :)​

A few examples of my #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes Portfolio:

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros: 689 Calories, 106g Carbs, 9g Fat, 52g Protein

Ingredients:

  • ​3 Plain and 3 Chocolate Crunch Rice Cakes
  • 1.5 Cup Plain Non Fat Greek
  • 12g Fat Free/Sugar Free Cheesecake Pudding Mix 
  • 2g Stevia
  • 12g PB2
  • 3/8 (15g) cup Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal 
  • 1 Reese's Cup

Directions:

1. Make protein pudding

​2. Add to rice cakes and then stack them.

3. Mix up your 12g pb2 and 4g sugar free/fat free cheesecake pudding mix. Slowly add water and then mix to the consistency of an icing​. Then chop up your Reese's cup into small pieces.

4. Drizzle the pb2 cheesecake icing down the side of your tower ​and then apply your Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal and the chopped up Reese's to the side and then enjoy! 

Fruity Ice Cream Pebbles #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros: 587 Calories, 86g Carbs, 4g Fat, 53g Protein

Ingredients: 

  • ​3 Plain and 3 Chocolate Crunch Rice Cakes
  • 1.5 Cup (339g) Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 12g Sugar Free/Fat Free Cheesecake Pudding Mix
  • 3/8 Cup Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal

Directions:

1. Make your protein pudding

2. Add Protein Pudding to the rice cakes and stack them to the ceiling.

3. Mix up 4 grams on the sugar free/fat free pudding mix slowly adding water until you get the consistency of an icing/sauce.

4. Then drizzle down the side and add your cereal and sprinkles! And thats it!​

Your Homework:

1. Go make a #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes! Be creative and make something epic! And it doesn't have to be this massive tower like mine! Just make a mini tower that fits into your macros 🙂

2. Post it on social media and tag me in it and I will repost it on my page!

3. Share this post with just 1 friend who you think would love to make one of these epic towers! Or even better, just share on your favorite social media account. Moral of the story, just share it! 

4. Join the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Community if you have yet to do so! It's totally free and you will be the first to hear of all the amazing things coming in the future! Ohh and plus you get my Flexible Dieting Book Of Recipes FREE!

The #PimpMyRiceCakes Gallery

It all began with an idea…..

I remember growing up watching this show on MTV called Pimp My Ride hosted by a rapper named Xzibit. On this show, they would take peoples crappy cars and pimp them into something absolutely absurd! I mean just look what they did to an old ice cream truck lol.

My Mission

In society, rice cakes are seen as the clunker car that gets us from point A to point B but definitely not in style! When most people start dieting, they substitute rice cakes in for the fun things like cookies, chips, and various other not-so-macro-friendly foods in order to help them achieve that caloric deficit. 

My mission is to change that perception of rice cakes and make them into that luxury choice that you are proud to be eating no matter if you are cutting, bulking, or maintaining! 

Story of my life...

Why Rice Cakes Are Your Best Friend?

Well simply put, the macros on these bad boys are amazing! They are arguably one of the most macro-friendly tools we have in order to reach our body composition goals! In my previous post, Macro Friendly: How to eat a ton without gaining a ton, I covered in great detail why macro friendly foods will make achieving your goals so much easier and why rice cakes are an essential tool to have in your arsenal so make sure to check it out if you have not. But I'll give a quick refresher of the macros of each rice cake variety.

Rice Cake Varieties Macros:

  • ​Plain: 30 calories, 7g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein
  • Buttered Popcorn: 35 calories, 8g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein
  • White Cheddar: 40 calories, 8g carbs, 0.5g fat, 1g protein
  • Apple Cinnamon: 50 calories, 11g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein
  • Caramel Corn: 50 calories, 11g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein
  • Chocolate Crunch: 60 calories, 12g carbs, 1g fat, 1g protein

#PimpMyRiceCake Was Born​

In order to make this happen, I had to make rice cakes cool again so #PimpMyRiceCakes was born! 

So how does one #PimpMyRiceCakes!?

Well it is quite simple but does require some imagination. Let me walk you through step by step on how exactly to do this.

Step 1: What is the theme of your meal?

This step is crucial because we need to know the theme of the meal in order to move onto the next step. So deciding whether the meal is meant to be savory or sweet will determine the class of rice cakes you will utilize.​

Step 2: ​What flavor rice cakes with you use?

So after you've picked your theme, you can move onto which rice cakes you will utilize. If you chose savory, then you would have to pick between either plain, white cheddar or buttered popcorn rice cake flavors. And if you chose sweet, then you can pick between plain, apple cinnamon, caramel corn, and chocolate crunch flavors. ​

And how to pick which ones of those to use for your creation, think of how each would complement the meal. So if are having something that is birthday cake themed, you wouldn't want to go with caramel or apple cinnamon because those really don't complement the birthday cake theme​. You would chose the chocolate crunch or plain rice cakes in order to match the theme to the rice cakes.

Step 3: How will these rice cakes be used?​

This is the part where it gets fun and you get to utilize that wonderful imagination of yours! I personally #PimpMyRiceCakes in many different ways like:

  • ​Topping them
  • Sandwiching them
  • Stacking them 
  • Breaking them up into a topping
  • Dipping them
  • And many more!

Really the possibilities are endless!

So what I am going to do is show you my #PimpMyRiceCakes portfolio so I can give you some ideas on how you can start pimping out some rice cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anywhere in between! Remember these are just for ideas! There are some macro-friendly ideas and some that are not-so-macro-friendly but I wanted to show you the whole portfolio so I can get you pimping some rice cake to support all those #gainz! 

The Rice Cake Gallery

Savory Rice Cake Creations

1. Egg Fajita Rice Cakes

Macros Per Rice Cake: 85 Calories, 9g Carbs, 1.5g Fat, 7g protein

2. Buffalo Chicken/Bacon Rice Cake Sandwich

Macros Per Rice Cake Sandwich: 266 Calories, 19g Carbs, 8.5g Fat, 25g Protein

3. Jalapeño Queso Chicken Rice Cakes​

Macros Per Rice Cake: 206 Calories, 11g Carbs, 7g Fat, 22g Protein

4. Steak, Chicken, Egg Queso Rice Cake Sandwich

Macros Per Rice Cake Sandwich: 310 Calories, 20g Carbs, 12g Fat, 26g Protein

5. Buffalo/Jalapeño/Cheddar Rice Cake Fried Egg Burger! 

Macros Per Rice Cake Burger​: 367 Calories, 19g Carbs, 17g Fat, 32g Protein

Ice Cream Topped Rice Cakes

​1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Rice Cake

Macros Per Rice Cake: 240 Calories, 43g Carbs, 3g Fat, 14g Protein

2. Vanilla Berry Ice Cream Cheesecake Rice Cake

Macros Per Rice Cake: 162 Calories, 26g Carbs, 3g Fat, 7g Protein

3. Chocolate Butterscotch Sprinkle Ice Cream Rice Cake

Macros Per Rice Cake: 148 Calories, 33g Carbs, 0g Fat, 4g Protein

4. Vanilla Confetti Cheesecake Ice Cream Rice Cake​

Macros Per Rice Cake: 195 Calories, 33g Carbs, 4g Fat, 7g Protein

Sweet/Dessert Rice Cake Sandwiches

1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream Rice Cake Sandwich​

Macros Per Rice Rice Cake Sandwich: 335 Calories, 52g Carbs, 4g Fat, 22g Protein

​2. Peanut Butter/Banana/Honey Chocolate Rice Cake Sandwich

Macros Per Rice Cake Sandwich: 322 Calories, 52g Carbs, 6g Fat, 24g Protein

3. PB&J Cheesecake Rice Cake Sandwich

Macros Per Rice Cake Sandwich: 210 Calories, 36g Carbs, 3g Fat, 16g Protein

4. Cinnabun Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Rice Cake Sandwich

Macros For Rice Cake Sandwich: 315 Calories, 53g Carbs, 6g Fat, 17g Protein

#LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Click here for recipe post on how to make the infamous #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

1. Oreo Birthday Cake #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes​

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 645 Calories, 95g Carbs, 7g Fat, 54g Protein

2. Graham Cracker Cheesecake #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 630 Calories, 103g Carbs, 4g Fat, 46g Protein

3. ​Fruity Ice Cream Pebbles #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 587 Calories, 86g Carbs, 4g Fat, 53g Protein

4. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 689 Calories, 106g Carbs, 9g Fat, 52g Protein

5. ​Lucky Charms #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 564 Calories, 93g Carbs, 3g Fat, 41g Protein

6. Apple Jacked ​#LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 595 Calories, 101g Carbs, 2g Fat, 46g Protein

7. Take 5 #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes

Macros For Whole #LeaningTowerOfRiceCakes: 675 Calories, 103g Carbs, 9g Fat, 51g Protein

High Protein Snack Rice Cake Creations

1. Pretzel Cookie Cheesecake Rice Cakes

Macros Per Rice Cake: 145 Calories, 25g Carbs, 2g Fat, 8g Protein

2. Chocolate Butterscotch Walnut Rice Cakes

Macros Per Rice Cake: 148 Calories, 15g Carbs, 4.5g Fat, 14g Protein

3. Cinnamon Vanilla Peanut Butter Graham Cracker ​Rice Cake

Macros Per Rice Cake: 125 Calories, 22g Carbs, 1g Fat, 9g Protein

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cashew/Almond Rice Cake

Macros Per Rice Cake: 144 Calories, 14g Carbs, 5g Fat, 12g Protein

6. Vanilla Peanut Butter Butterscotch Rice Cake Sandwiches

Macros Per Rice Cake Sandwich: 192 Calories, 28g Carbs, 1.5g Fat, 26g Protein

7. Double Berry Cheesecake Rice Cakes

Macros Per Rice Cake: 82 Calories, 13g Carbs, 0g Fat, 5g Protein

8. Double Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter QuestBar Rice Cakes

Macros Per Rice Cake: 230 Calories, 30g Carbs, 7g Fat, 20g Protein

What's Next!?

Share this with ​just 1 person you know. Or even easier, share it on Facebook, or Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any social media platform you can think of!

And I want you to use one of these ideas above and make your own pimped out rice cakes! Post it on instagram and use the #pimpmyricecakes and tag @TheFlexibleDietingLifestyle. If you do, I will repost it on my instagram!

And if you have not yet, please join the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Community where you will have every new post like this sent directly to your inbox when it comes out and will also be in the loop for new things on the horizon! Ohh and you get my Flexible Dieting Book Of Recipes FREE as well! Kind of a no brainer…. 🙂

Flexible Dieters Guide To Supplements: What You Need & What You Don’t

The Golden Ticket of #Gainz!

​Imagine if you were Charlie and you just found the golden ticket. But in this story, the ticket gets you access to that all in one perfect supplement that builds muscle and spot reduces body fat while giving us the leeway to eat all the food we wanted! And exercise/training is optional! 

And imagine that you get this golden ticket and you are given this glorious supplement! How exciting! So you gather up all the foods you love in various amounts, get your next season of your favorite shows ready to watch and you sit on the couch waiting for the #gainz to start a comin!

You do this routine for a couple weeks​ and notice some significant gains but they were not the gains you expected! You are doing the opposite of what you were told the supplement was going to do! You are gaining body fat, not gaining any muscle and have no leeway to eat all the foods you wanted! What the heck!

In our health and fitness journey's, we've all been at this point. We got a supplement or 2 or 10 that we thought would be that miracle cure ​but were let down time after time! I mean I think we all have seen these ads (to the right) every time we go anywhere on the internet! 

So you might be thinking, "So Zach, do you not take any supplements!? Are they all scams!?" ​

​In all honesty, I believe supplements do play a very important role in our health and performance! But we all need to realize that they are a called "supplements" for a reason. They are simply meant to supplement your nutrition and training. We need to understand that our training and nutrition give us the most benefits but an individualized supplement plan can take them to the next level! 

And so today I wanted to dive into how to create a highly individualized supplement program that is perfect for YOU!

In this guide, I am going to go over

  • The Hierarchy of Importance
  • Why Supplementation should be individualized
  • My Supplement Stack
  • How to Create Your Own Individualized Supplement Plan

The Hierarchy of Importance

I am going to be honest from the very beginning. Supplements on the magnitude scale do not rank very high because as their name suggests, they are "supplements." They are simply meant to supplement our training and nutrition to fill in any gaps that have been left unfilled. 

But……as we know, anything small can turn into something really big over time!

The Compound Effect​:

I recently read Darren Hardy's (Founder of Success Magazine) ​book The Compound Effect where he outlined the simple but overlooked principle that we are simply the result of many small habits/actions we have made or not made over the span of our lives. He used an amazing example to convey this message by showing the power of a single penny.

Without going into the whole story, he simply asked you to choose between two options:

  • Take $1 million dollars today.
  • Take 1 measly penny that doubles every day for the next 31 days.

So what if you choose the penny? Well after 1 week, you'd have an embarrassing $0.64 and after 2 weeks you'd have $81.92. At this point you are thinking, "Why the heck would you choose the penny!?" But be patient and watch the compounding do its magic. After 3 weeks and only 1 week away from your compounding coming to an end, you would still only have $10,485.76. But with the principle of compounding, you are building up the momentum to cause a true breakthrough and at the 30 day mark, you would have $5,368,709.12! Holy moly! 

In todays society, we want that miracle supplement so that would be like taking that $1 million right away! We want to feel something right away that makes us 1 million times better! But as you can see from this example, that not really how it works. So this example was to paint the picture that a supplement that can give you a 3-5% benefit seems small in the beginning but when compounded over a lifetime, can make a world of a difference!

But remember this doesnt compound over time like it does if we don't have the other more important parts of our diet in line! Remember where this falls on the hierarchy of importance.​

​What Are Your Goals

When thinking about creating your own individualized supplement stack, you need to first look at your goals and whether these supplements will supports those goals. 

For most people, your goals are to:

  • Look great naked
  • Gain Strength
  • Improve overall health
  • Feel Great
  • Slow that darn aging process
  • And lets be honest, it always comes back to looking good naked!

​Ok I'll be honest, I was just describing myself so I guess it would be beneficial if I just go over my supplement stack and make individual recommendations for specific cases. Sound good!?

More is not always better….. 

We live in a society where more is often seen as better. The same can be said when looking at how we take supplements. We think by taking every vitamin in our pantry that we've accumulated over the years along with a new multi vitamin​ and any other supplement we can get your hands on we should take. I'm here to say STOP!! 

Why is more not better!? Why not bomb ourselves with all these vitamins and minerals!?​ Well there is a process in our bodies that is going on every time we take these direct antioxidants (vitamins and minerals) to where when we have too many of each one (the cup is overflowing) they are oxidize and become pro-oxidant. This is really really bad…. 

​Let me use an example that will paint the picture. Think of when you bought some fruit or veggies that you forgot about in your fridge. When you first bought them, they were nice and fresh. But low and behold, one day you wake up and there is this ungodly smell coming from your fridge. They have gone bad and they are stinking up your whole house and attracting bugs from all over the neighborhood. I want you to think of this same process going on in your body when you are bombing yourself with all these direct antioxidants you do not need! You are probably doing more bad than good! 

Wait Zach, What About Multi-Vitamins!?​

​I am by all means not saying mutii-vitamins are bad but throwing 100% RDA doesn't necessarily mean that you have the optimal levels of dosage. The RDA recommends levels of 400-800IU for Vitamin D when the optimal levels are actually between 2,000-5,000IU daily. And there are many micronutrients that you already get a ton of in your diet that you don't need more of and run the risk of them become pro-oxidant like I described above. We definitely do not want that. ​

So by creating an individualized approach with specific vitamins and minerals that you are deficient in, you can take what you need and not what you don't. That where this approach is way superior to the generic multi-vitamin one.​

So keep that in mind when reading this post and ask yourself if each one of my recommendations will help you reach your goals! 

Disclosure: Please not that some of the link below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies and there supplements, and I recommend them because they are highly effective for me, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend your money on these products unless you feel you need them or they will help you achieve your goals.

My Supplement Stack

1. Nrf2 Activator

You probably just read "Nrf2 Activator" and were like, "what the heck is that!?" Well I was the same way until I did my research and realized that this was arguably the most important supplement I could be putting into my body. My Nrf2 Activator of choice is Protandim. This is by far your best option because of the immense peer reviewed research on the product, not just the ingredients in it. 

Why it's import​ant:

Protandim is known as a "Nrf2 Activator" which in it's simplest terms just gets your body to start producing antioxidants on its own rather than having to rely on getting them from external sources like our blueberries/strawberries, vitamin c, walnuts and many more. Washington State University just published a peer reviewed published study where they stated that Nrf2 activation has the potential to become "the most extraordinary therapeutic and most extraordinary preventative breakthrough in the history of medicine."  

This is significant because up until we are around 20 years old, our Nrf2 pathway is firing like crazy and thus we are in a constant state of growth. We are winning the war against the free radicals (bad guys) and this is because we have plenty of antioxidant enzymes (good guys) being produced to create enough antioxidants to ward them off. But once we hit that 20 year old threshold, this pathway starts to slow down and thus we begin to lose the war. This disparity where the free radicals start to outnumber the antioxidant enzymes is known as Oxidative Stress.

This phrase will be mainstream news here in the coming months so I want my readers to be the first to hear about it. I want you to think of oxidative stress as the factory that is significantly contributing to the production of most of the bad things in your body to happen like cancer, disease, inflammation and aging. 

What's in it?​

  • ​Milk Thistle Extrac (225mg)
  • Tumeric Extract (75mg)
  • Green Tea Extract (75mg)
  • Bacopa Extract (150mg)
  • Ashwagandha Root (150mg)

​How Does It Work

When you read out the ingredient list, a thought might arise, "well I already take a couple of those so I should be fine." Well that's a perfectly valid thought but I want you to think of this as if you were baking a cake. These 5 ingredients are specifically formulated in these amounts to cause an up regulation of ​the Nrf2 pathways in our bodies. When taken separately, you do not get that Nrf2 activation that you would when taken together in those specific amounts.  Just like when baking a cake, if you just throw the ingredients together in random amounts, you will not get a cake. Click here to watch a video that explains Nrf2 really well if you'd like to learn more about it. I highly recommend watching it.

How To Take It​:

​I take 1 Protandim per day with my biggest meal to ensure absorption.

Where do I get Protandim?​

You can get Protandim here through this link right here.

2. Vitamin D3

Why it's Important:​

​Vitamin D3 is one of the 24 essential micronutrients that are critical for our human survival. We are meant to get most of our Vitamin D3 from the UV rays of the sun but in todays modern society, it is very difficult to reach these sufficient levels even if you live by the equator. Supplementation with Vitamin D3 is associated with a laundry list of benefits that is growing by the day. This list includes:

  • ​Immune health
  • Bone health
  • Increased cognition
  • Decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis

Can I get enough from food or from the sun?

​The Sun

Vitamin D is not really a "true" vitamin because we really don't need food to get it. Natural sunlight allows our body to create this Vitamin D. But like I said above, it is very difficult to get enough of it because of our modernized society where we where we wear clothes (adam and eve messing things up by eating that darn fruit) and drive in cars with windows that block virtually all UVB. Same goes with sunscreen in which the bare minimum of SPF 15 will decrease the amount of vitamin D made in the body by about 99%! 

Food​

Vitamin D is extremely rare in foods. I am not going to go into too much detail on this but just know that vitamin D is truly the sunlight vitamin. This graphic below shows the very little variety we have in vitamin D containing foods and that they only contain minimal amounts of this essential vitamin.

Should you take it?

Absolutely. You could get tested to see where your Vitamin D3 levels are by your doctor asking for a 25(OH)D test. Make sure to ask for this specific test because there are others that have similar names but this is the only one that will tell you if you are getting enough Vitamin D3. For me personally, I have "sufficient" levels of vitamin ​with my test stating that I was at 52 ng/ml. The Vitamin D Council suggest you aim for that ideal level to aim for be 50 ng/ml. 

Do you need to get tested? Probably not. I'm just OCD like that! But one thing I know for sure is that you should be taking this daily to make sure your Vitamin D3 levels are or stay at that healthy range.

How much do I take?

The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5,000 IUs per day. That is personally what I have been taking for the past couple years. 

We live in a society where more is seen as better but when you are taking your Vitamin D3 do not take more than 10,000 IUs. After this threshold, research has shown that it becomes toxic in the body​

When do you take it?​

Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble molecule, which simply means that the fatty acids serve as its transport. Just think Vitamin D3 is so big time just like the Fresh Prince of Bellair and has Jeffrey as his own chauffeur to take him to where all the beautiful women were! 

So you will want to take your vitamin D3 with either a meal containing some dietary fat or with your daily supplementation of fish oil which is next up on the list! 

What Vitamin D3 supplement do I use?​

I personally use Vita Optimum Vitamin D3 5000 IU. It is a very high quality choice with a great price.

3. Omega 3 Fish Oil​ paired with Vitamin E

​Fish oil is at it's simplest terms, oil from fish but it is much more than that from a health perspective. There are 2 specific groups of Omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and both are extremely important. Regular intake of these 2 Omega-3s is extremely important because they are very important for cardiovascular function, nervous system function, brain development, and immune health to name a few.

Why It's Important​

Well as I stated before, Omega 3's are super important for those vital functions of the body but it goes much deeper than that.

Omega 3 intake is essential for optimal performance of our cell membranes. ​Why do we want our cell membranes working optimally? Well this cell membrane for the cell is like the bouncer at the best club in LA. If we have a lot of omega 3 fatty acids surrounding our brain cells, then messages from our super important neurochemicals like serotonin can be transmitted more easily. Of the 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin so I hope this paints the picture of how important it is!

Omega 3 intake is also super for metabolic health! Yeah now you can start paying attention! I know all that brain stuff was not going to interest you… Who cares about our brains, I'm just trying to get lean! Well Omega 3's definitely help with that! With lots of Omega-3's, our muscle cells become more insulin sensitive to insulin while fat cells decrease. So this simply means that your body will shuttle more nutrients to your muscles rather than to your body fat!

Can I get enough from food?​

Yes you definitely can but it is very difficult nowadays to do so. ​It's hard for us who live in Western countries to get omega-3 fats from dietary sources. We eat very little to no wild caught fish and game to where most of these omega-3's are present. And if you want to get it from whole foods, it is going to cost you an arm and leg to get the quality of sources necessary to get those omega-3's. 

Should you take it?​

In my eyes, this is a must nowadays in our modernized culture where everything is processed. It's important to understand the Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio in the body too. We evolved with a fat intake ratio of 1:1 of these fatty acids but now it's close to 1:20 because Omega-6 fatty acids are super abundant in our culture​. Most meats, any vegetable oils, and nut/seeds, fast food, and any of those tasty desserts, are all chalk full of omega 6 fatty acids. So now you can see why that ratio is 1:20 now in favor of Omega-6's! When this ratio is out of whack, it puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease, increased body fat, and a higher risk of depression to name a few!

How much should you take?​

Aim for between 3-9 grams of total fish oil with about 1-3 grams of EPA + DHA per day. And I mentioned at the top about pairing your fish oil with Vitamin E. This is anecdotal and still being tested but Vitamin E is known for it's ability to prevent oxidation in the body so when pairing this with your fish oil (which is known to oxidize) you are giving yourself a better chance of preventing that oxidation.

When should I take it? 

I personally take mine at night after dinner. Nothing special about that. Just a habit I've established with when I take it.​

What Fish Oil and Vitamin E do I use?

​I personally use Natures Answer Liquid Omega 3 Deep Sea Fish Oil. This is a very high quality fish oil from smaller deep sea fish varieties and is is very cost effective. I take the liquid version because the capsule forms tend to be filled with nonsense and also give me the fish burps lol. I don't have time for all that nonsense! And my Vitamin E of choice is Kirkland Signature Vitamin E 400 IU .

4. Magnesium

Why It's Important:​

I want you to think of Magnesium as the ultimate co factor in our bodies​. What is a co factor? Well they are a non-protein chemical compound that is required for the protein to be able to do it's job. I literally could do a whole 5,000 word post on magnesium but I'll try and be short and sweet with this.

Magnesium is a co-factor in over 350 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular activity, heart function, temperature regulation, detoxification reactions, formation of healthy bones and improving insulin sensitivity.

Not enough magnesium, and you run the risk of a laundry list of problems such as: 

Literally every system throughout the body relies on magnesium! No one talks about this but it is vitally important!

And if you have trouble with regularity with going to the bathroom (pooping) lol, this will help dramatically with this! ​

​Can I get enough from food?

In an ideal world the answer would be yes but in todays society, the World Health Organization has placed magnesium deficiency on it's list of concerns because 2/3's of the American population are deficient in magnesium. That's a big number! 

Why is this the case? Well our foods that are normally rich is magnesium, like our green leafy veggies, are being grown in soil that is deficient in magnesium, thus causing our veggies to be depleted too. And our other food sources that should be rich in magnesium ​such as nuts, seeds and legumes, contain various acids (phytic, oxalic) that interfere with the absorption of magnesium. 

​Should you take it?

Absolutely. As you can see, magnesium is essential to pretty much every system of your body.

How much should you take?​

A recommended does would be 400mg daily for men and 200-300mg daily for women. 

When should you take it?

I personally like to take it at night before I go to bed. Why? Because one of the benefits to magnesium intake is that it helps with revving down your cortisol levels and up regulating the melatonin necessary to fall fast asleep. So I take my 4g about an hour before bed. I personally use Bulk Supplements Magnesium Glycinate 

What Magnesium supplement do I use?

I personally use Bulk Supplements Magnesium Gylcinate. ​ 

5. Probiotics

A mentor of mine named Ryan Andrews from Precision Nutrition once helped me truly understand probiotics just by helping me understand the root meaning of the word. Probiotic comes from the Latin root word of pro which means "before, forward" ​and bios which mean "life". Thus when put together, probiotics are life promoting.

Why is this important?

Probiotics are "life promoting" because they provide beneficial bacteria to our digestive tracts that allow for us to digest our food and absorb nutrients effectively. So just think that we are not technically digesting out food, the bacteria is. This bacteria is our gut influence our overall health, metabolism and body composition. They are extremely important in also helping our immune system distinguish between good and bad guys to make sure it pull the trigger to quickly. This is the case if you ever have had a food sensitivity. Mine used to be dairy but it had subsided since I started taking my probiotics.

So if you are thinking, "well I'm trying to make #gainz, so how does this help me do that?" Well those trillions of microbial travelers that inhabit your body play a massive role in your production of anabolic hormones. These hormones are these free sterioids that are essential for muscle growth and recovery between workouts. A recent animal study found that male mice consuming the probiotic bacterium Lacotobacillus reuteri had a significantly higher levels of circulating testosterone regardless of the type of diet they ate!​

The most common causes of poor gut health are:​

  • ​Medications especially antibiotics (they kill our good bacteria)
  • Stress
  • Poor Diet (alcohol, processed foods, over-eating, poor fiber intake, sugar)
  • Radiation or Chemotherapy

Should you take it?

I believe that this is a necessity from a prevention standpoint. Our guts are so important and is that front line that processing the very fuel that keeps us alive. We want that gut performing at its best at all times.

Can I get this from food?

Yep you can so if you are healthy, you should aim for 1-2 servings of probiotic rich foods each day. These foods include yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and bacterially cultured cheese. So if you are eating these already and your digestion is working well, then you should be ok not taking a probiotic. But if not, then it would be well served to be taking one to make sure that gut it working at its best!

How much should you take?

​The goal should be to get between 3-5 billion CFUs of health bacteria per day to support your digestive system. I personally take 6 billion CFUs because I know don't want to leave any doubt. You can take up to 10 billion CFUs if your gut health is in bad shape. 

And small disclaimer… You may feel worse before you feel better when taking your probiotic because ​the bacteria releases toxins. 

​When should you take it?

It is best to be taken with a meal. Preferably your first big meal of the day.​

What probiotic do I take?​

I take Life Vantage's Probio. It has 6 billions CFUs of essential bacteria that are necessary for that optimal gut health.​ 

6. ​Creatine Monohydrate

Is one of the most researched and well documented supplements in history but is still one of the most misunderstood by most of the population! I'll be frank when I say: Creatine is not a steroid! 

Why this is important​:

A mentor and thought leader in the S&C field, Bret Contreras, said it perfectly when he titled creatine as "a versatile supplement" because of the many roles it plays in the body!​

Creatine is a molecule that is already produced in the body where high energy phosphate groups (creatine phosphate) are stored. During high stress periods, these creatine phosphate molecules are released to aid in cellular function. This action is essential not only for increased strength but also in brain, bones, muscles and liver function.

Creatine simply helps us take the energy that is stored in our food and transfer it to our bodies so we can fuel our work/activity. This reigns supreme for in the gym when you are squeaking that tough set of 5 reps on the bench press or on the track when you are running that 40 yard dash. Just adding 1 extra rep onto a heavy set or being able to run that 40 yd dash .05 seconds faster over time add up to significantly more volume that wouldn't of been there without creatine. This allows for great #gainz in the long run!

And the same can be said with our cognitive function as well! Our brains use creatine to transfer energy as well so when our brain cells have adequate creatine production, our thought and memory processes are improved! 

Let me use this analogy to help paint the picture a bit more. So imagine you are going to make some burgers for the family tonight. Everyone is so excited and can't wait to have these burgers. They have been thinking about these wonderful burgers all day! Well imagine that you go into the fridge and realize that you don't have any ground beef to make these burgers with. Everyone is devastated…. So now you run to the store to grab some ground beef, get stuck in traffic, long line at the grocery store, and traffic on the way back. By the time you get home, it has been over an hour and everyone already ate because they were starving. Now imagine this happened every time you promised a meal like this. 

That story is exactly what is happening to your body every time you need quick energy! You don't have enough creatine phosphate stored to supply that energy and thus your body has to go to another energy system, which slows the process to create or replenish the energy! This is true for physical and mental performance! 

Can I get it from food?

Yep! A typical diet has about 1g of creatine but in order to get all the benefits of it, you need to be intaking around 5g per day. The richest sources of creatine are from your wild game (red meat) sources. This makes sense if you think of the athletic demands that these animals have on them to hunt or not be hunted in the wild. They need that readily available levels of creatine so they can survive.

Should you take it?

​Do you want to have quick energy available for your body and mind to perform at its best!? If so, then the answer should be a definitive yes! 

How much should you take?​

5g every day. You will hear people say to load and/or cycle on and off your creatine but don't worry about all that. Just focus on getting 5g every single day.

When should I take it?​

Research has shown that it is better absorbed (not much better) around training but the research was in ​individuals who had never taken creatine before. From that, it is hard to tell if this would be the same for someone like myself who has been taking it for a long period time who's creatine phosphate stores are already saturated. Just focus on picking a time when you will be consistent with taking it every day. 5g of creatine a day, keeps the #gainz comin your way!

What Creatine do I take?​

I personally take a Creatine Monohydrate from Bulk Supplements. It is super cost effective and super high quality so its a win-win!​

7. Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine can be seen as Batman's Robin with creatine being Batman. Beta Alanine is more of a performance supplement compared to creatine. It is a modified version of the amino acid alanine which has been shown to enhance muscular endurance. What makes beta alanine so special is because it is essential for the creation of the dipeptide know as carnosine, which is the true acid buffering agent. Along side beta alanine is histidine, which when are bonded, create this carsonine. Don't stress over all this science! All you need to know is that if you were in the gym doing sets of 8-15 reps, then this would act as a buffer for the acid accumulation in the muscles, thus allowing you to be able to get a few more reps.

Why this is important?​

As we all know, training/exercise/working out or whatever you want to call it, is great for our overall health. We also know that they more muscle we have, the more healthy we tend to be (not going to list the millions of benefits). ​So think of every single workout you did, you were able to knock out a few more reps on each set of each exercise you did. For example, you did 4 exercises at the gym that each called for 4 sets of 15 reps. Well lets say you had been taking your beta alanine and were able to knock out 2 more reps on each set. So for each exercise, you were able to get 8 more reps, and for the whole workout, you were able to get a total of 32 more reps! Now over the span of 3 workouts during the week, you now got 96 more reps! And over the span of a month thats 384 more reps! I think you got my point 🙂 The same can be said for being able to do more weight for those 15 reps. So if you could only do 10lbs for that 15 reps and now you can do 12lbs for that 15 reps. 

So what happens when you are able to do more reps or more weight for those reps!? More muscle, more fat loss, better insulin sensitivity due to increase muscle and strength, and the list goes on!

Can you get it from food?​

Yes you can carnosine from carnivorous animals such as chicken, beef, fish and pork in the form of carnosine. ​But carnosine in its whole form is very hard for our bodies to absorb. Our body is efficient at producing the histidine but is not very proficient at the production of the beta alanine so by supplementing with the beta alanine, we are able to give our body the tools to create the carnosine thus leading to more #gainz!

How much do you take?

I personally take 3.5g per day so I would advise anywhere between 3-5g daily. If you are a smaller woman, then I would take the lower side of those recommendations. Beware that you might have to ease yourself onto this because of the itchy/skin raising feeling it gives you. You can even spread out the dosage out across the day in smaller amounts to erase this itchy/skin raising feeling. 

When should you take it?

I personally have to take it with a meal because if I don't, I get the feels super bad! Some people like it but I personally do not lol.

What Beta Alanine do I use?​

I personally use Bulk Supplement Beta Alanine Powder. It is super competitively priced and it super high quality!

8. Pre-Workout/Brain Food Supplement

I personally am not a big fan of typical pre workouts and stimulants because of the way they make me feel so I have stayed away from them for some time.

Typical pre workouts are just straight caffeine with a bit of creatine and beta alanine thrown in there. They honestly make me feel like I am going to have a heart attack every time I take them and then I crash a couple hours later from the huge rush that drains my adrenals. 

I personally use PEScience Alphamine because of the combination of a moderate dose of caffeine (125mg) with L-Theanine. Why is that combination important? Well because L-Theanine is an amino acid that is synergistic with stimulants such as caffeine to take the edge off. That is massively important to me as I am someone who gets that edgy feeling from pre workouts. I notice it gives me an intense focus rather than a heart attack!

Why it's important ​

Well if you are someone who wants to go to the gym not only with energy but with a combined focus that will yield you optimal performance, then this is the best option I have found for just that.

Should you take this?​

I highly recommend you take this if you need an extra boost to kill your workout but it is not a necessity. This is definitely a luxury supplement so if you have some extra money to blow on supplement, this is one that helps me perform my best in the gym.

What Pre-Workout/Brain Food supplement do I use?

I use PEScience Alphamine. It is by far the best pre workout supplement I have ever tried because of the brain food component. It is a game changer for me. Here is the link if you are interested in ordering some Alphamine and use the discount code "FDL" for 30% off your order. 

9. Protein Powder

And last but not least, we have the infamous protein powder supplement! We all know how important our protein intake is for literally every single facet of our bodies to be working optimally. The word protein actually comes from the Greek word Protos which means "first one" or "most important one." So to say our protein intake was important would be an understatement. 

Protein powder is derived from many different food sources like milk, beef, egg, pea, hemp, rice, soy, cranberry, and artichoke. Each of these sources have there strength and weakness. I can cover each in more detail in a later post if you guys want me to but just know that if you have a digestibility issues with certain foods like dairy or eggs, then those might not be the best choice for you. 

Why its important?

​Well as I stated before, Protein is derived from the greek work Protos meaning "most important one" and it lives up to that title. And for many of us, it is a struggle to get in enough protein in order to maximize our health and performance. This is where our protein comes in to fill the gaps. 

Should you take it?​

If you struggle to hit your protein on daily basis then I think this is one that you should add to your stack.

How much do you take?​

​Well this is up to you and your current protein intake from whole food sources. For example, I take in about 1-1.5 scoops of protein powder per day which equates to about 40g protein coming from protein powder. My goal for each day is 200g protein per day so it makes up 20% of my daily protein intake. The rest of my protein comes from mostly whole food sources. That should be your goal as well but don't stress too much over it! Just hit your protein! Some days you'll have 10% of your intake from protein powder and others it will be 50%. No worries! Just hitting you protein is the most important thing.

When do you take it?​

Well this question depends on your demands on recovery. From a strictly body composition standpoint, timing means very little but from a recovery standpoint, it is very important. If you have multiple sessions in a day or need to maximize recovery for the next session, then taking in 30g protein post workout would be best along with some carbs if you are a leaner individual. 

What Protein Powders do I use?

- P​Science Select Protein Powder

  • And why do I advise using this brand? Well because it checks off all the boxes above as a quality protein source but is also a blend between whey and casein protein which is a potent combination of fast and slow digesting proteins. 
  • This combination is not only great for a steady stream of amino acids, but also is great for cooking which you all know me for! It takes away that dryness that most protein powders when cooked with result it. And you all know my recipes are not dry!
  • So use the discount code "FDL" to get 30% off your protein!

Honorable Mention Supplement Recommendations

Nitrate​s

Nitates are a compound found in leafy green veggies and beetroot.

Why its important​:

​Nitrates are responsible for breaking down into nitrites which are eventually turned into nitric oxide (NO) which provide a multitude of performance benefits. They have been shown to improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance, blood flow, and work output. What that all means is increased muscle recovery between bouts of exercise. Just remember that Nitrates improve our bodies ability to product ATP from the food you eat. Takes the food we eat and turns it into fuel. High levels of these circulating nitrite help the mitochondria in cells produce ATP more efficiently. 

​Should I take it?

Well here is the tricky part. The selling of a nitrate supplement at a dose high enough to cause these effects is not legal. But fortunately we can get this benefit from whole food sources. So this could look like a shake with spinach, swiss chard and lettuce mixed in. Consuming in shake form will increase absorption.

How much should I take?​

Well the recommendation is 500g of these leafy green veggies to enjoy the full benefits of this nitrate in your workout. I know that sounds like a lot. But once blended, its really not much at all. ​

When should I take it?​

1-2 hours before your workout depending on how big your pre workout shake or meal is. ​

BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein. They get there name partly because of there structure which has a "side chain" of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. These three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. If you are not a geek like myself, don't worry about all that sciencey stuff! Just know that BCAAs are the building blocks of protein synthesis and every production.

Why its important?

​In order for our BCAAs to participate and facilitate these essential processes, they must be available to the body. This means that we need to eat enough of these BCAAs to ensure that they are there to fuel these essential processes. 

The super cool thing about BCAAs are that they are the only amino acid that is not degraded in the liver. The usual process is that amino acids have to be regulated by the gut and liver before being circulated elsewhere in the body but BCAAs head straight to the bloodstream to fuel the gains!

Should you take it​?

BCAAs are very important especially because of the concentration of the all important amino acid leucine. For the body to create new proteins, it needs an estimated daily leucine intake of between 1-4 grams per day. That is the bare minimum and if you are a hard training athlete, then this requirement has been se​en to be up to 12 grams per day! 

I see the use of BCAAs to come into play in 3 different scenarios for those who track there macros.

  1. For those who workout fasted or with little food in them. Limits the circulating BCAAs necessary to fuel performance and protein synthesis. 
  2. Those in a lower calorie intake aka those who are in the nitty gritty of their cut. Not as much building blocks for the body even if protein is hit so BCAA supplementation ensures you have enough to preserve that precious muscle. 
  3. Those who are working out multiple times per day or are working out for over 2 hours.

Can you get enough from food?

Absolutely! And that is why I have this on the honorable mentions list. I personally take BCAAs when I am cutting in the mornings because I like to fast until I eat my big pre workout meal. So by taking 10g of BCAAs​ in the morning, I am getting that dose of these essential amino acids especially leucine, to fuel that new protein production. 

BCAA content in food types (% grams of amino acids per 100g of protein)
  • ​Whey protein isolate = 26%
  • Milk protein = 21%
  • Muscle protein = 18%
  • Soy protein isolate = 18%
  • Wheat protein = 15% 

So think of your food intake and what sources of protein you use to hit your protein goals for the day. 

And if you are new to Flexible Dieting and have never calculated your macros before, click here for the guide to walk you step by step on how to do that. 

When should you take it?​

During extended times of fasting, take 5-10g of BCAAs every 2-4 hours during the day especially if you are on a cut.

This is the same if you are training fasted. Supplement with 10g BCAAs before training.

What BCAAs do I use?

​I personally use BulkSupplements BCAA 3:1:2 Powder. I use this one because of the ratio of the increase ratio of leucine to the other amino acids because of much more powerful it is. Most BCAAs do not have this ratio unless it is specified like this. Plus, this is the highest quality brand I could find and their prices are amazing! 

Fat Burners

So bare with me when I cover this supplement that has single handedly destroyed tons of credibility for the supplement industry as a whole. Most fat burners usually are super high in caffeine which cause a thermic effect in the food thus making us burn more calories. Don't get me wrong, caffeine is well documented to be great for you but the copious amounts that are put in most is not the best thing in the world and also leads to diminishing returns due to your body becoming used those greater dosages.

But some people will want an option for a fat burning supplement and I will recommend that you have a great training and diet regime down and want that extra little additional push for losing body fat. This should be seen as icing on the cake.

The one fat burner I can recommend is one by Life Vantage. This has minimal caffeine less than 25mg compared to most that have 300mg or more. And it is full of awesome B-Vitamins as well as a mix of citrus and green coffee extracts that are being cited more and more for there fat burning effects. You can click the link here if you want to check this one out. 

No One-Size-Fits-All Approach Here

Supplements are bashed a lot in the fitness and nutrition industry as useless and an unneeded cost which is true most of the time. But as this guide was able to show you, there are a lot of great options that can help you plug in the gaps in your diet and training that will aid in your making those #gainz!

But…….

Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They are meant to be a supplement to an already well establish training and nutritional program. So if you think all of these supplements are going to be some quick fix then you are setting yourself up for failure.

If you are Flexible Dieting, tracking macros and training hard, then you are already way ahead of most people and with consistency, you will achieve amazing things results! Just remember our hierarchy of importance above and know that these can really help but they need to compound over time.

Disclaimer

​These supplements are just a recommendation of what I take. I am not a doctor nor do I wish to be one (actually kinda do but too much school) but have done extensive research on all of these supplements. Check with your doctor before taking any of these supplements. 

Your Homework

Look at your lifestyle, goals, budget and any other factors to figure out which ​supplements fit best with your plan.

Then please share this guide to any of your friend and family who could benefit from this guide!

And if you are not a member of the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle community, please sign up below and I will send you my Flexible Dieting Book of Recipes! It's all FREE so let me give you cool, FREE tools!

​Thanks and God Bless,

​Zach

Butterfinger Protein Donuts!

My friend Homer Simpson and I both share a love for Donuts 🙂

The only thing I don't love about donuts in the fact that they are so dang calorically dense and literally destroy my macros!

For example, just look at what 1 Reese's Peanut Butter Square Donut from Dunkin Donuts would cost you:

  • ​370 Calories
  • 47g Carbs
  • 19g Fat
  • 5g Protein

I thought to myself, how can I create a recipe that will allow me to eat 4 donuts, not destroy my carbs and fats for the day and also hit a solid amount of protein? Once this challenge was set on myself to make it happen, I got to work and came up with something beautiful!​

Da Recipe!​

Ingredients​ for donuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Take all ingredients and put in mixing bowl.
  3. Add water till you get to the batter consistency. Not too thick but not too runny. Just right 🙂
  4. Spray Donut pan with non stick butter spray
  5. Add batter to each donut hole and make sure you fill just below the rings on the donut mold. Your donuts will rise so you don't want to overfill the molds. Also make sure not to cover the top circle on the molds because you won't get a donut hole if you do!
  6. Put in oven for 8 minutes and watch them rise! 
  7. Take them out of the oven and out of the molds and let them cool for a bit.
  8. Now you have donuts! but where the icing!?

Protein Icing recipe:

Da Macros: Per Butterfinger Donut

  • ​125 Calories
  • 14g Carbs
  • 1g Fat
  • 13g Protein

That's It! Go Enjoy Those Donut #Gainz!

Victory!!

But are you crazy enough to try this…...

I went a step further with my Butterfinger Donuts and used them as the buns to my Butterfinger Donut Bacon Cheeseburger!​

Aww Yeah!!

Your Homework: MAKE A DONUT BURGER! 

Not only does my friend Homer Simpson like Donuts but he loves Donut Burgers! 

Ok well at least make the Butterfinger Protein Donuts if you don't have the courage to try the Donut Burger!

If you are looking for some more original, tasty, and macro friendly recipes, check out my many more by clicking here!

Thanks and God Bless,

Zach​

Ohh and P.S. If you are not a member of the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Community and want my Book of Recipes FREE, sign up below to get instant access! 

The Flexible Dieters Guide To Traveling & Not Losing Your #Gainz

Think about how awesome it would be to travel and not lose of your #gainz!? Or maybe even come back lighter than when you left like what happens to me most times!

And I'm going to be blunt by saying that thank God you have Flexible Dieting for when you are traveling because it is by far the best tool you could have in order to travel often and still keep your results. If you've ever tried to travel while on a meal plan you either fell into 3 different categories:

  1. You were so stressed out trying to get foods close to what your meal plan called for that you couldn't even enjoy the trip or focus on the business that brought you there
  2. You had to be anti social and either eat at the hotel, eat at different restaurants than your​ friends/co worker, and/or you didn't go out at night with them to get a few drinks because your meal plan didn't tell you what to do in that case
  3. You said screw it and just ate whatever the hell you wanted and you didn't care if you gained the weight back on. You didn't want to have to deal with trying to juggle a meal plan with all the others things going on that traveling presents. YOLO as the young kids say these days!

Lol

Hitting your macros is easy when you are home but it becomes a challenge when you are surrounded by a bunch of unknowns that traveling presents.​

But what I am going to try and do in this post, is to teach you how to control what you can control and be ready for every situation that traveling ​could throw at you.

I want to take you step by step from before you leave on your trip to when you are back stepping on that scale looking better than when you left 🙂 ​

In this post I am going to cover:

  • ​The Typical Traveling Struggles
  • The Pre Travel Tool Kit
  • The Grocery Store
  • Uber X vs. Uber Black
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Eating Out
  • Hotel Recipes
  • Eating Intuitively
  • KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

The Traveling Struggles

When we travel, there are many different problems that arise that try to derail us on our abilities to hit our macros when traveling

  1. ​Protein is super duper hard to hit. Protein is already hard enough for most people to hit but when traveling, you have to be very proactive to make sure you hit it
  2. Carbs and fat are super duper easy to hit and we have to be proactive when traveling to make sure we don't go way overboard on these bad boys
  3. A non existent dietary fiber intake.

Pro-tip: Literally try and take in as much protein as you can when traveling. At every meal, make sure you are getting a solid amount of protein because it'll ensure that you are full and will limit the cravings to go nuts on all the goodies that'll present themselves every which way you look! If this is the only tip you take from this post, I had done my job because this will solve 80% of the struggles that will present themselves while traveling.

Let's get this started because as my boy Xzibit does best, I am going to pimp this struggle bus and make you into a well oiled pimped out traveling machine!

The Pre Travel Tool Kit

Before we leave for your trip, we should have an array of foods that will allow help us hit our macros while we are traveling to our desired destination. These foods should be non perishable items that are versatile in their uses. This is what I always pack when I travel to ensure I am not reacting 

1. Protein Powder & Protein Bars

  • ​These two are going to be a constant in whatever traveling situation you are in. They are both so versatile and portable so they are a staple in my travel tool kit.
  • Especially choosing bars like Quest Bars which are high in fiber which will kill 2 birds with 1 stone. 

Quest Bars are clutch when traveling

​2. PB2

  • ​Is another versatile option that is easily portable and can be whipped up with just some water to have a quick snack either in the air port or on the road.

3. Sugar free, fat free pudding mix

Protein Icing Topped Caramel Corn Rice Cake

  • ​This is another powder than can be added to your pb2 and/or protein powder to make a tasty protein icing to snack on. Just simply take your protein powder, pb2 and pudding mix and put it into a bowl. Then add water and mix until you get the consistency you want. Then boom you have a tasty icing to hit those macros with 🙂

4. Rice Cakes

  • While in my hotel, only had the ingredients listed above with me so I whipped up the protein icing and added to a few rice cakes.

5. Flatout Wraps or any other wraps you can pack with you

My airport wraps of #gainz

  • ​As you can see, I took those wraps with me in the airport and had some deli meat in a small cooler along with cheese and spinach, and made some tasty wraps!

6. Packets of Solid White Tuna or Chicken

  • ​If you don't want to carry a cooler, you can simply get a few of these packets and add them to your wraps as well. 

7. Lean Beef Jerky: 

  • ​Is expensive as hell but is a very convenient travel source of protein 

8. Sriracha and Mustard

​The Grocery Store

Most hotels have a fridge you can store things in so the grocery store will give you a few things that you can utilize in order to hit your macros.

Your grocery trip should include things that can literally be taken from their package and put together in order to create the meal. We are going to get lean sources of protein along with low carb and low fat options.

Boars Head Over Roasted Chicken on top of rice cakes topped with Sriracha and Avocado

Why is this? Because on our trip, we will have no problem hitting our carbs and fat but we want to make sure you are proactive with our protein intake. We want to minimize our intake of carbs and fats so when we do have to eat out, we have enough carbs and fats left to budget towards those restaurant meals. 

  • Protein Sources:
    • Deli Meat
    • Solid White Tuna Packets
    • Fat Free Greek Yogurt

Chocolate Protein Icing Covered Strawberries

  • Carb Sources:
    • Low carb/high fiber wraps
    • Green/leafy bag of mixed veggies to add to wraps or make a quick salad
    • Rice Cakes
    • Fresh Berries
  • Fat Sources:
    • I tend to shy away from getting really any fat sources for the hotel because most places I'll go out to eat will be higher in fat so I don't worry about it.
    • But you can grab some hard boiled eggs from the grocery store or from the continental breakfast

Uber X vs. Uber Black

Uber Black Bentley

Uber X

So does taking an Uber enhance your chances of not getting fat on vacation!? Well not exactly but it provides a great analogy of a strategy I use while traveling.

When traveling, there are a lot of unknowns but what we do know is that as the day goes on, the more extravagant the meals and drinks get. ​So what does Uber X and Uber Black have to do with it?

Well the Uber X is the basic, non luxury taxi service that you can get for a cheaper cost. It's not as luxurious or fancy but it gets the job done​. Then you have your Uber Black which is a more luxurious option. You are picked up in a black car or limousine and is the option most businesses utilize. It is a higher class service but costs more as well. So why the heck are we talking about Uber?

Well I want you to think of your eating on vacation the same way. When do we always run into the most trouble during vacation? It is at night. And how can we combat this? By treating earlier in the day like Uber X so we can ​treat our night like Uber Black!

How do you this!? Well earlier in the day, you want to make simple choices. Stick to higher protein, lower carb, lower fat ​options. By doing this, you are saving a large chunk of your carbs and fats for later on in the night so you can use them on your extravagant meal(s) and drinks! 

Let me show you how I would do this from my continental breakfast, lunch, up until my dinner that night.

So say my goal macros for the day are to hit:

  • ​300g carbs
  • 65g fat
  • 200g protein

Disclaimer: When traveling, I usually skip breakfast and eat my first meal between 11am-12pm. I tend to listen to my hunger cues more when traveling because my schedule is filled with a bunch of unknowns. So I'll usually drink some BCAAs throughout the morning and then have my first meal around that 11-12 time frame.

And also, I want to save as much of my macros for the later part of the day so I have more to play with :)​ And in case you were wondering, skipping breakfast is not bad. I've already covered it in a ton of detail so if you have not read it yet, feel free to click here and check it out here.

But if I was going to eat breakfast, I would try to keep it as high protein as I could while minimizing my fat and carb intake. This is where I would utilize my protein powder and pb2 that I packed with me. I would make a protein icing by mixing 2 scoops of protein powder with 1 serving of pb2 in a bowl. Then I would add in ​some water and mix until I got the consistency of icing. Then I would either take my rice cakes I brought with me or got from the store, and top it on a those or would grab an english muffin from the continental breakfast. Then I would take 2 hard boiled eggs and add those into the breakfast as well. 

Then for lunch, I would look for something simple as well. This would be a big salad or burrito bowl with mostly veggies. with a double serving of a lean protein source like chicken. I would use a lighter dressing for the salad to save my fats and probably not have any cheese on there as well. Remember, we are budgeting our macros necessary so we have plenty to work with at night. An example would be this meal I got from a mexican restaurant that was like chipotle

Then at Dinner, this is where the fun begins. I would have plenty of fat and carbs to ​play with with a moderate amount protein. This would ensure that I am not having to restrict myself and can enjoy the night. Of course, you don't want to go nuts but you can enjoy that pizza and beer if you'd like or a massive ice cream cone like this! 

Aww Yeah!

Intermittent Fasting

While traveling, I am not as hungry as I normally am because I am so busy with all the work or festivities I will be attending throughout. So this is why I love intermittent fasting while traveling. And in case you were wondering, intermittent fasting will not ruin any of your gainz. I covered it in great detail here so make sure to check it out 🙂

When traveling for business, most of my work is ​done in the mornings. I am constantly on the move and distracted so food is not something I want to have to worry about. This is common with most business professionals. So I start my day with a huge glass of water and then sip on BCAAs throughout the morning while I am doing any work obligations that I have. This usually starts at 7am and our first break is around 12:30. And when I am distracted, my hunger goes away. So I listen to my body and I start to get hungry and my brain gets foggy around that lunchtime hour and that is where I will break my fast. This allows me to not waste any of my macros earlier in the day when I'm not hungry so I can have a nice lunch and more importantly, gives me more leeway at night when I'm out and about in the city.

Eating Out:

Finding out how to eat out while traveling is unbelievably important to making sure you don't blow up while traveling! Here are a few things I do when I go to a restaurant so I make sure I stay on track.

1. If it is a chain restaurant, look up the nutritional information online. Almost any restaurant has their nutritional calculator online. Just a simple google search of "Restaurant ​Nutritional Information," and many options will come up

Burrito Bowl with tons of veggies, black beans, and double chicken

2. Well what if is a mom and pop restaurant!? How the heck do I track that?

  • ​All you gotta do is figure out the genre of food that the place serves and then find a chain restaurant that is very similar. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect. So if you are going to a mexican restaurant, look at what you are having and go to the chipotle nutritional calculator online and put together a meal that is similar to what you got. Super duper simple.
  • This meal pictured was from a local mexican place and I used the chipotle calculator to track it. Super easy

3. Don't be afraid to ask for things cooked a certain way!

  • ​If you look up the nutritional information online for most food choices, you will see that the fat content is abnormally high. One way to significant combat this is by asking for your food to be cooked without oil.
    • For example, if you were to order broccoli from a place I go to called The Loop, the online nutritional information tells me that there are 4.5g fat for a side serving of broccoli. Well that tells me that they use a bunch of oil cooking it so I just ask for it to be cooked without oil and now erase the 4.5g of fat I would've had if I wouldn't of asked. 
  • The same can be done with adding and substituting things into your meal. 
    • For example, instead of that side of cole slaw or rice that comes with your meal, asking for a double serving of veggies with no oil. 

Eating Intuitively: Our end goal

While traveling, I think our end goal is to be able to eat intuitively and not stress about food while traveling.

Most people when they are traveling don't want to have to worry about tracking their food. When you are traveling, there is usually a lot going on so worrying about food is another just another thing most people don't want to add to their plate. (that was punny!) 🙂

So this is where eating intuitively comes into play! Just using your flexible dieting experience to eyeball and be aware of what you need to be taking in for the day.

I'll use myself as an example for my last business trip to Phoenix. I was there from thursday till sunday morning. This is what a typical day of eating looked like for me during my mini cut where my macros were 200g carbs, 50g fat, 200g protein:

  • Wake up around 6:00 am, chug a tall glass of water and get ready for the day. Do some mobility in the hotel room and then shower.
  • Around 7am I take a neurological activator (brain food) supplement with 5g of BCAAs and put them in a shake cup full of water. 
  • Then I was off to meetings till around 9:30am. At that point, I went to starbucks and got a Venti Medium Roast coffee with a splash of fat free milk, ground cinnamon, and a little bit of splenda. If you noticed, I have yet to have any food yet. I'm honestly not hungry yet and am listening to my hunger cues. 
  • By 12, I am pretty hungry so I went to a local sub shop to get some lunch. I ordered a footlong chicken sub on Multi Grain Bread. On this sub I got double meat to ensure I got a big chunk of protein in. I also got pepper jack cheese and fit as much veggies as I could on it. 
  • Around 4:30, I had a Smores Quest Bar to help hit my fiber and and get some more protein in. 
  • So at this point I can guestimmate that I've taken in around 100g protein, 100g carbs, and about 25-30g fat. 
  • That night, we choose to go to a personal pan pizza place. I knew that I had a solid amount of macros left to play with and should be able to fit a 10in pizza in. This place allowed for you to put as much topping as you wanted on it. So I knew I need 100g protein so I went for a ton of meat on that bad boy. I went with a lot of chicken and a medium amount of steak and feta. I went with just enough cheese to cover the pizza and then loaded it with a ton of veggies. Went with as much red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and jalepenos that we could fit on it. The end product wasn't pretty but it was epic! 
  • So how did I fit pizza into my macros? I understood where I was at during the day and waited earlier in the day to eat until I was hungry. So later, when everyone wanted to go grab pizza, I wasn't out of macros so I couldn't be that weirdo that said pizza didn't fit into my macros. 

My Pizza! Picture doesn't do it justice!

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid 🙂

At the end of the day, keeping it simple as much as possible while traveling is the sure fire way to minimize the damage you can do while traveling!

1. Stick to whole food choices as much as you possibly can. Keep it as minimally processed and colorful as you can.

2. Eat as much lean protein at every meal​ as you can

3. Limit the extravagant sauces or dressing that come on most sandwiches or salads.​

4. Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when you are hungry.

5. Don't over think it and restrict yourself! If you know you are having an extravagant meal at some point in the day, then keep it high protein and light in carbs/fats in your other meals.

If you practice these strategies, then all will be great and dandy​! You can do this!

Homework​

Utilize these strategies during your next trip! Traveling rewards those who are proactive rather than reactive so make the most of these tools and keep the gainz a comin!

​Are you friends with me on Facebook and/or following the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle on Instagram!? If the answer is yes, then thank you very much but if no, then make it happen! You are missing out on all the daily content I post on there that could exponentially increase your #gainz

Lastly, make sure to join the Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Community below for free so I can send you all the best content so you can become the Flexible Dieting Jedi that will lead to endless #Gainz! Ohh and you'll get the Flexible Dieting Book of Recipes For FREE as well!

My 5 Life Saving Recipes While On Poverty Macros!

I'm A Wimp…...

I'll be honest, when I started this mini cut, I thought it was going to awful… I was so used to eating a ton of food and never really feeling hungry. I have a massive appetite and love to eat huge meals so I knew it was going to be a challenge trying to satisfy my appetite while being on poverty macros. To give you perspective, I went from 400g carbs and 65g fat per day to 200g carbs and 45g fat. ​

The trick when dieting is to trick your body into thinking it is eating the same amount of food by picking more macro friendly option aka more volumous, ​so you feel like you are eating the same amount of food!

But this mini cut was a blessing in disguise because it gave me a kick in the butt to create some macro friendly recipes ​or I was going to die! 🙂

So In this post, I am going to cover my 5 recipes that I've created that have allowed me to flourish while on these poverty macros and make this mini cut a piece of cake…. That was punny 

So here are the recipes I will cover:

  • ​High Protein Cinnabun Dip
  • #RiceCakeSandwiches
  • Banana Berry Protein Fluff
  • Buffalo/Queso Salsa Chicken Salad
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly High Protein Jello Cheesecake 

Recipe #1: High Protein Cinnabun Dip

I needed to find a recipe that was portable, high volume, macro friendly and most importantly, was sweet to have for my first meal of the day. I started thinking of my options and knew I wanted to use my new Body Nutrition Trutein Cinnabun protein powder (honestly the best protein powder I have ever tasted… literally not even close. And no I'm not paid in any way by them) to make a tasty creation. So I thought of my options for the base of the recipe and knew that chickpeas would be a great base because of my previous recipe for cookie dough. 

So if I wanted for it to be higher volume, I knew I was going to need to add a few ingredients to it that would make it expand. So I messed around with the recipe and came up with a glorious recipe!​

Da Ingredients:

Da Recipe:

1. Wash and rinse your beans and then put all ingredients into blender.

2. ​Blend ingredients for 120 seconds

3. Then let sit for 30 seconds, and then blend again for 60 seconds.

4. Then pour batter into your massive bowl of choice

5. Lastly, sprinkle a tiny bit of PB2 and ground cinnamon on top and then add toppings of your choice to complement your massive bowl of High Protein Cinnabun Dip!

6. Ohh and you have to carve out at least 30 minutes to be able to eat this whole things so add that in as well 🙂

Da Macros for the whole blender without toppings: this cup is 1/6th of the blender by the way. This was a little single serving for my momma 🙂

  • ​440 Calories
  • 56g Carbs
  • 6g Fat
  • 45g Protein
  • 16g Fiber

My Whole Tupperware Full Topped With Various Puffed Cereals

​These macros are crazy……. Blows my mind every time I see it! Just wish I could've made it look as great as it tastes! 🙁

Recipe #2: #RiceCakeSandwich

White Cheddar Chicken/Bacon/Fried Runny Egg #RiceCakeSandwich

There are two things in life that I absolutely love and if you know me or have followed my stuff for some time you will know exactly what they are: Rice Cakes and Sandwiches 🙂

Before this mini cut, there hadn't been a day where I didn't have at least one of those for as long as I can remember. So ideally during this mini cut, I wanted to find a way to fit in my rice cakes and sandwiches.

Then one day I got the brilliant idea, "well what if I just combine them and kill two bird with one stone!?" Rice cakes are macro friendly and are crunchy so they fit the bill for being my bread for my sandwiches! And #RiceCakeSandwich was born!

The Beast! White Cheddar Burger topped with Queso Tossed Chicken, Bacon, and Fried Runny Egg along with other goodies!

The Ingredients:

  • ​Rice Cake Flavor of your choice (Depends on what type of sandwich you are making)
  • Protein Source(s) of your choice
  • Complementary toppings
  • Sauces of your choice
  • Then Sandwich between the two rice cakes! So simple!

Macros are really based on how lean you protein source is. The leaner cut of meat, the higher more macro friendly it is. Carbs are always going to be around 20g with any of these sandwiches which is clutch when on poverty macros!

PB&J #RiceCakeSandwich!

And in case you were wondering, #RiceCakeSandwich ​comes in a dessert form as well! PB&J version below! Took 2 plain rice cakes sandwiched between PB2, sugar free strawberry jelly, dannon light & fit vanilla, and fresh blueberries! Such a tasty snack that doesnt destroy your carbs for the day!

If you make one of these, make sure to use the #RiceCakeSandwich and tag me in it! Gotta see what your rice cake sandwich game is looking like!​

Recipe #3: Protein Fluff

Strawberry Banana Protein Fluff

This recipe is one that is a classic in the flexible dieting community but is one I never really utilized ever in my life! And man was I missing out!

The Recipe:

Disclaimer: Know that you need a good blender for this recipe to work.​

1. Take your 140g frozen strawberries, 1 scoop Body Nutrition Trutein Banana Creme protein powder, 4g stevia or sweetener of your choice and put into your blender

Berry Banana Protein Fluff!

2. ​Add 100g diet soda and 100g water or just add 200g water. Diet soda makes it fluffier so the more diet soda, the fluffier it will be. I used diet black cherry soda. And no diet soda will not kill you!

3. ​Blend for 5 minutes and then lets sit for a for about 30 seconds and then blend for another minute

4. Then put into a big bowl of your choice and block out another 30 minutes to eat all this!​

I'll just let my girl Agnes display my excitement!

Macros: 

  • ​170 cals
  • 18g carbs
  • 0g fat
  • 25g protein

Recipe #4: High Protein Buffalo/Queso Salsa Salad  

Buffalo/Queso Salsa Salad topped with Egg, Bacon, Chicken and 93/7 Ground Turkey

How much you forget how awesome salads are when you have not been on poverty macros for almost 6 months! They are a game changer and provide that volume that keeps me sane and gives my mouth quite the workout! 

The Recipe:

  • ​3 Cups of Raw Spinach
  • 3 Cups of Seasonal Greens of your choice. I chose baby kale, arugala, and red and green chard.
  • 150g Romaine
  • 150g Cucumber
  • 85g Baby Carrots
  • 150g Tomato

Not My Salads!

Throw all those in a bowl massive doggie bowl (literally the biggest bowl you can find in your house)

​Then pick your protein sources to top your salad with. I used:

  • ​4 oz 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey
  • 4 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 2 Fried Eggs
  • 1 Slice Turkey Bacon

Finally, pick your salad dressing of choice. I decided to make my own Buffalo/Queso Salsa dressing and it it glorious. Here the recipe:

  • ​68g On The Border Monterey Jack Queso
  • 34g Hot Salsa
  • 5g Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • Mix all together and you have your wonderful dressing! 

Macros on the dressing are:

Chicken Version w/ Some added 2% Sharp Cheddar on top!

  • 100 cals
  • 9g carbs
  • 6g fat
  • 2g protein 

Cant beat those macros for dressing!

So now you just take all the ingredients and add to your massive doggie bowl and devour that bad boy! Ohh and be prepared that this will take a good 30 minutes to devour 🙂 That is a theme with many of these recipes because I have a large stomach to fill

Recipe #5: The Grand Finale! My Peanut Butter & Jelly Jello Cheesecake In A Bowl!

This recipe is a game change and it is so freakin delicious! literally tastes just like a PB&J!

Here's what you'll need:

The Recipe:

1. Microwave 1.5 cups of water for 2 minutes. Then add water to bowl and then add your jello mix. Thoroughly mix until there are not clumps of jello mix in there. Add 6 ice cubes if you want to have it quick set and be ready to eat in an hour. 

2. Once jello is set, you will need to make your cheesecake protein pudding to top it with. All you do is take your non fat greek yogurt and your pudding mix and add them to a bowl. Then mix until thoroughly until you no longer see the pudding mix. Then add your stevia to taste. 

3. Then mix up your PB2 into a peanut butter consistency.

4. Now take your bowl of now set jello and add the protein pudding on top and spread evenly across. Then add your PB2 to the next layer. And thats it if you don't want any toppings! But who doesn't want toppings!​

5. Optional: Add your puffed cereal of choice and some sprinkles because there pretty 🙂 Then enjoy!

Macros without puffed cereal: ​

  • ​210 Cals
  • 20g Carbs
  • 2g Fat
  • 32g Protein

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Raspberry PB&J in a bowl!

And that's it team/family! 

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Wanted to share these amazing recipes that have literally made this mini cut an absolute breeze!

​Let me know in the comments below which one of those recipes you are going to try first! 

Also, be a great friend and share this with anyone you know that needs some great recipes to help them achieve their goals! The more tools we have, the easier it becomes!

Lastly, ​if you are not a member of The Flexible Dieting Lifestyle Community yet, make sure to subscribe below so you don't miss out on any more of these tasty recipes that will be coming in the future!

1 2 3