Amanda Fisher Coaching

I help women get crazy strong - physically AND mentally - through strength training, sustainable eating habits, and a heathy mindset.

Category: Support (page 1 of 79)

Building A Bangin’ Metabolism: Your Exact Five Step Action Plan

Alright, let’s roll on with my metabolism series, shall we?

In case you missed my first installment, your metabolism mystery, go ahead and review that.  Likewise, you can read installment two, five questions to ask yourself before you assume your metabolism sucks, as well.

Today, our final installment, is alllllll about the big things you can do (or not do) to keep your metabolism in happy and healthy territory.  Consider it an action plan.  Something to refer back to on the regular, in case you lose your way, or in case you get muddled down in tiny details and need help finding your way back to the big things you can do to actually focus on that matter most.

Remember, like anything, all good things generally take time to accomplish.  I know, I know…the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is sometimes overused, but it’s true.  We can take action on these big things…..over time.  Change, well…change that lasts anyway, happens in days and weeks and months, not overnight.

Some of the items on my list might surprise you.  Some might be things you would typically expect.  My list has nothing to do with superfoods, or dieting, or cleanses, or resetting.  It has everything to do with simple, strategic, and SMART things to focus on (and really, only just a few!) so you can cut through the crap and get down to business.

Should we get right down to it?  Let’s do this!

Don’t diet, but be a detective.  Guess what?  Big Diet tells us just to eat less and move more.  CAN this be true?  Sure.  But, it likely isn’t in the way we think.  And most often, diet tends to run amok and mess up our hormones and hunger and satiety cues, and lead us down the path of “on” and “off” with eating.  Instead of dieting, or eating less, or counting, or whatever, let’s build meals, and reverse engineer this thing!  Instead of relying on a website to spit out how much you can eat per meal or per day, why not build meals and taking notes and tweaking and figuring out how much you actually require to thrive?

I know this sounds overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be.  Build your meals around lean proteins and tons of veggies, and then sprinkle in some complex carbs and healthy fats.  A good rule of thumb is that protein and veggies don’t change in quantity just too much.  However, YOU being a detective is to determine the right amount of complex carbs and healthy fats for YOU.  Then, pay attention to how these things go for you.  If you take a few notes and be aware, you’ll be surprised to find out what things satisfy you and what things really don’t, and instead make you hungrier or a little up and down on energy, instead of stable.

I like to use the HEC method by Dr. Jade Teta.  If your hunger, energy and cravings are managed, you are on the right path, and are probably finding out that you don’t crave or binge eat because, well….you just don’t want to.  Your hormones are balanced, and doing what they need to do so YOU can do what YOU need to do.  This might take some time to figure out, but, it’s worth it!

I have a fabulous FREE resource for you, my #20Under20 Meal System, that will help you build some satisfying and tasty meals to help you get started!

Be strategic and stingy with your workouts.  Strength training is a must for a bangin’ metabolism.  Lean muscle on a body helps that body burn more while doing nothing AND while recovering from gym workouts.  However, we need to be smart.  ALL the workouts, for ALL the time, well, that’s a good recipe to hurt our metabolism long-term.

I like to think about folks after general health and fitness, and a lean body needing about two to four moderately intense strength training sessions each week.  Not two-hour long sessions, mind you.  But somewhere in the ballpark of 20-40 minutes.  This is crucial and a MUST for a metabolism.  Remember, the dosage, or how often, is different for everyone.  The number of sessions that fit into your life and that you can do consistently matters MOST.

After that, some women might benefit from one or two metabolic conditioning sessions.  These could be on different days or AFTER a strength workout.  These are those 20 minute max workouts, more intense, and less time than most think is “worth it” in the gym.

A great way to do your metabolism a disservice is to plod along on the treadmill for hours on end.  Remember, MORE doesn’t equal better.  Effective and better….is better.

My program, #MomBoss, might be a great way to get in about four SHORT strength sessions each week.  These would be an excellent workouts for busy mamas who find themselves wondering “what to do” in the gym, and who want to cut through the bullshit of “more is better” and get their goals accomplished STAT.

Find your stress management approach.  Unmanaged stress can create a shitstorm for us hormonally, which can in turn jack around with our metabolism.  Unmanaged stress can also entice us to eat our feelings, and then instead of acknowledging THAT, we say “my metabolism sucks” and never take action on managing our stress levels.  Please don’t read this as never feel stress.  We will ALWAYS feel stress in our lives in some form or fashion, and having stress isn’t a bad thing.  Managing stress, however, is key.

One tactic I really like for stress management is saying NO a lot.  Don’t always be a “yes” girl.  Your time is valuable, girl, and YOU are valuable.  Say no.  Turn down things.  Initially, this might make you feel MORE stress because you have to learn how to not feel bad.  But, in the long run, this will be HUGE.  If it isn’t a HELL YES, it’s a NO, at least initially.

A second tactic I really like is for scheduling time to do nothing each week, lol.  Seriously,  schedule time that can’t be filled with other things.  Simple as that.  Block out time on your calendar (and your family’s calendar) for doing NOTHING and then use that time to just do nothing or do whatever the hell you want that recharges you a bit.

If either of these two choices give you anxiety, it’s probably time to implement both, stat.  And, if you can’t find time on your calendar for downtime, you need to say no a LOT more.

Go the eff to sleep.  Guess what is our biggest hormonal reset?  SLEEP.  A time where your body recharges and repairs tissue.  Guess what HELPS a metabolism?  A hormonal system that isn’t all out of whack and jacked up.

I know, I am one step ahead of you.  We can’t control that we always GET the sleep, meaning, that we STAY ASLEEP at night, or fall asleep easily.  We CAN, however,  build a proper night’s rest into our schedule, and make an effort to prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  The other great thing sleep does is balance our energy, which….means…..we aren’t likely to experience cravings for sugar and stuff allll day everyday.  And those cravings are generally what make us go “why is my metabolism so slow” when we find ourselves in the candy dish all afternoon at work.

Always be moving (outdoors when possible).  Moving more (this is NOT fitness or exercise) is HUGE.  This can be ANYTHING.  Playing outside with kids.  Taking 10 minute walks after meals to help digestion.  Walking to do errands instead of driving.  Leisure walks.  This actually helps us burn calories in a way that doesn’t really compete with our appetite or anything that we are doing, and falls into that NEAT category from installment one.  And…..time outdoors and time moving your body….are GREAT STRESS REDUCERS.  We aren’t on this planet to work in a seated position all day, then stop by the gym to try and really kick ass for 60 minutes, only to drive home, and sit while eating supper and sit some more while catching up on two hours of DVR.  Bodies are made to move.  In a variety of activities. In a variety of positions.  And our bodies (and brains) need it!  So do our stress levels.

Ladies!  These are five things to begin implementing that don’t cost a dime!  Oh, and long term, they will put you in such a great metabolic space that you won’t be finding yourself googling “ways to fix my metabolism” and finding cures from shady internet sales people, you know?

Please share this with your best girlfriend who needs to stop obsessing over quick fix solutions that wreak havoc long term, mmmmkay?  Oh, and be sure to drop your questions if you have them!

Want my FREE #MetabolicBoss Guide sent right to your inbox?  It's EXACTLY what you need to know to build a bangin' metabolism.  Drop your email below and I'll send it right over!

Building A Bangin’ Metabolism: Five Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Assume Your Metabolism Sucks

Did you catch my first installment in this Building A Bangin’ Metabolism series?  This is the second installment, so be sure you head back to the first one to get all primed up on what your metabolism actually IS, mmmmkay?

So, of course, last week we talked all about the basics of metabolism.  What it actually IS, and what things go into the equation of it.

This week, I thought it would be a good time to deep dive into a few reasons WHY we tend to think our metabolism is slow, or damaged, or basically faulty.  Rather, five questions to ask ourselves as sort of a quickie assessment of how things are really going before we say “slow metabolism.”  These are the biggies I hear frequently as a nutrition coach, and well, let’s get them out there so we can start helping more women understand this information and use it to make their own decisions, right?

These things may have something to do with your actual metabolism, but what generally ends up happening is that we have several other driving forces in the mix that affect our energy balance, and when things don’t necessarily go our way, even when we think we are doing all the right things, it is easy to assume that “my metabolism is slower than molasses” instead of face the other things head on.  This post isn’t about blaming yourself, but instead is a tool to get you thinking about what else may be going on that makes you think your metabolism is slow.

So let’s get down to it.

  1. Are your portions distorted?  It is super easy to read a food label on the back of a snack food and not actually realize that the 150 calories was for A HALF CUP of that food, and not the entire bag.  Or, “just a handful of almonds” being pretty arbitrary.  That could be a legit serving of almonds, or it could be two or more, and that costs some calories.  Want to play a fun joke on yourself?  Measure out one tablespoon of peanut butter.  Like, use an actual tablespoon measuring tool, not just the “big spoons” out of your silverware drawer.  There is a huge discrepancy on what we actually THINK is a tablespoon of peanut butter, and what is ACTUALLY a tablespoon of peanut butter.  My own personal portion distortion is half and half in my coffee in the morning.  Drinking coffee that is tan colored instead of black definitely isn’t two tablespoons of half and half, you know?  I’ve had to re-learn that serving size by using an actual tablespoon so now….after years of coffee drinking, I don’t have to measure anymore.  Look, I’m not saying be a psycho and measure everything but I AM saying it is damn easy to let things get out of whack and then feel frustrated and cry “slow metabolism” when there can be tons of other things happening from a distorted view of what we actually take in.  Awareness is key.  You can turn on the awareness in a healthy way without weighing and measuring everything.  But, actually paying attention to those things you can easily overeat, it might serve you well to stick to single serving sizes or actually acclimate yourself to what a true serving size looks like….that’s not a bad thing, you know?
  2. How many liquid calories are coming in?  This one used to trip me up big time.  I drink plenty of water, and…a fair amount of coffee (and I do keep the half and half usage in check).  However, I used to struggle with liquid calories from…  In two different ways.  In my younger years, I could definitely party my face off on the weekends, and “eat great” during the week, but then basically drink enough calories from Thursday through Sunday to unwind all the healthy eating during the week.  Three nights of partying, at about 100 calories per bottle of my beer of choice back then, adds up.  The second thing this would do for me was make it easy to eat lots of bar food at 3AM, or make it extremely easy to choose foods that were not healthy….three nights out of most weeks.  I’m not gonna lie to you and say don’t enjoy some drinks.  But….there is a big difference in enjoying some strategic drinks during the week, and then enjoying some DRANKS, you know?  I still enjoy beer, and it definitely isn’t the 100 calories per bottle kind.  It’s just at a much more moderate level now.  So, finding a healthy balance for YOU is key.  Everyone is different.  Oh, and feel free to substitute beer for Pepsi or Mt. Dew or Monsters or whatever you are drinking that contains calories.  And PS….I have some nights every once in awhile where it’s time to enjoy some DRANKS, too.  Keeping it to every once in awhile versus most weeks is key for me.
  3. Are you trying to justify eating clean or low carb or a certain way to avoid facing the calorie reality?  No matter if you eat clean or Paleo or low carb….all foods have a calorie cost. No matter if you use Stevia instead of sugar, or brown rice instead of white, or sprouted grain bread versus white bread, or gluten-free-organic-free-range-fair-trade-non-gmo barbecue sauce over Sweet Baby Ray’s….everything has a caloric cost.  Certain ways of eating are generally just ways to get you to cut calories by some means or another.  But….you can still eat too many calories from eating a certain way, and not see your scale change, or see your scale increase, and then feel puzzled because that’s not to happen when you eat “that way.”  Even if you eat only good foods, the scale can go the opposite way than what you’d like, if you eat too many.  It might start to feel like you are powerless, and that for sure, your metabolism must really stink, because you are eating all the right things.  But, to be honest, there’s a good chance it’s just a caloric problem (eating too much, even if they are the right things), and not always about slow and broken metabolisms.  Sure, some might do better eating fewer carbs and a little more fat, or vice versa, but that’s a personal preference and adherence tool, which is a calorie balancing mechanism, and not necessarily anything to do with a slow metabolism.
  4. Been through a life change lately?  I find that many people struggle during certain life changes.  I can identify to many of these life changes myself.  A new relationship?  It’s easy to find yourself out to eat more frequently.  Becoming an adult?  It’s easy to feel like your metabolism is a jerk right about the time you’ve settled into a full time job from college life where you were maybe more active.  Right about the time when you might be planning your wedding, and rocking your workouts to be fit as can be on wedding day, you might feel opposite during the first year of marriage when you are learning how to be in a marriage, settle in, do marriage things, workout a bit less, and the like.  Add some babies to the mix, where your body gains and loses weight as it needs to (or doesn’t), and you find yourself with less time for yourself and a ton of time caring for a new human or two and figuring out how to do all that.  Then….menopause, when hormones are JACKED THE EFF UP for awhile.  Combine lack of sleep which can fuel cravings, with a time in life that might be more sedentary, and your hormones playing some serious roles with how you function….well, it’s kind of a shitstorm.  You guys….lots of opportunities here for us to think about metabolisms being slow that could actually be somewhat true, but also….there’s a lot of other things at play here.  Oh, and PS, as we age, it’s easy to lose muscle, which is a factor for everyone….a healthy amount of muscle on a body makes us a little bit better at burning calories even when we aren’t doing anything…and, if we LOSE that muscle, well…you can see what happens.
  5. Are you gaining and losing the same 10 pounds over and over and over?  Meaning….are you on a diet all the damn time, and then going off your diet when the 10 pounds are gone but never really addressing your overall approach or sustainability to keep you maintaining?  In my coaching experience (and in my own personal history with dieting), it isn’t actually the fact that someone decides to drop a few pounds and cuts some strategic calories to move the scale.  It’s HOW that process happens and the trickle down effect after.  If you mindlessly slash calories for a short time, it’s damn easy to rebound.  And rebound hard.  And then feel terrible about yourself for rebounding.  And doing it again.  And again.  And pretty soon, you are always on a diet.  And your body is probably not responding the way it once did because, well, you’ve sort of messed with some things internally – your hormones, your hunger signals, and your thought process about food.  From my own experience, it tooks lots of small tweaks and changes over time, and learning how to like how I exercise, how I eat, and how I think about alllll those things, and find ways to do them that doesn’t have anything to do with being “on a diet” because….this is just how I do those things now.  My clients who make changes a little more slowly (and sometimes they feel frustrated by doing things one at a time versus ALL the things at one time)…well, those clients are not having their weigh swing around wildly either.  And they are also finding ways to eat all foods, and not restrict or count tons of things.  And, they report feeling balanced, and also not so out of control around certain foods or food in general.

The above five questions are a place for you to start if you find yourself thinking you have a slow metabolism.  Think of it like a personal assessment, a data gathering tool.  Please don’t think of it as a judgement of yourself, your worth, or your character, because that just isn’t useful.  It’s just a tool to help you take inventory of things that might be happening that don’t have anything to do with the rate you actually burn calories.

I strategically avoided movement and exercise for the most part here, because, well, for most….it’s food related.  How we feel about it, how we interpret the choices we make, and how we label our eating.  Oh, and how we TRUST ourselves to make food choices.  Lots of times, alllll those things jack around with our ability to be in caloric balance, and not actually have an impact on our metabolism, even though it might feel like our metabolism is actually the problem.

Ok, this is a good stopping point for this installment.

We will continue our deep dive into metabolisms!  Stay tuned for ways we can be kind to our metabolism and even help ourselves out a bit AND an action plan to help you develop a bangin’ metabolism long term!

Was this helpful?  Please share with your best girl friend….let’s get great quality USABLE information out there for the masses 🙂

Building A Bangin’ Metabolism: Why Is My Metabolism A Mystery?

This is post numero uno in my Building A Bangin’ Metabolism Series…..

The past few weeks I have had many, MANY questions on the mysterious metabolism. MANY.  And in the past I’ve probably shied away from this topic because it involves a ton of work to lay a foundation of truth, provide detail and facts, and….well, sometimes I’m just running low on coffee and energy and the idea of talking AGAINST what is preached at us on social media, and spewed through shares of “truthful” information, well…it sometimes seems like a big damn task.

However,  women deserve and need quality information, and need to know their “big dial movers” when it comes to metabolism and what things they can do to help themselves.  Said another, how can we spend most of our energy on the few things that ACTUALLY matter most?

And with many questions like :

“Whyyyyyyyy is my metabolism so slow?”

“How much does my metabolism slow down every year?”

“Why can’t I have one of those metabolisms like skinny people have, the people who just eat and eat and eat and never gain weight?”

Well, I knew it was time.  Time to break down metabolisms, and their mysteriousness.  Because I get it.  I spent loads of years floundering around wondering if I was wrecking my metabolism by eating too many carbs, or toxins, and other food groups.  I also spent loads of time gaining and losing the same 15 pounds, and either feeling fabulous or feeling like shit, depending if I was up or down.  And, I was FRUSTRATED, because WHY was this so hard to understand.  And, of course, I was using crap information to base my decisions off of.  So, basically, here is the anti-crap so YOU can take the easy route and skip all the bullshit I waded through for so damn long 🙂

Like anything I find as a nutrition and strength coach, the answer always lies in the “it depends” arena on this topic.  Everything depends on a whole lot of things.  Which makes sense, of course, because there are lots of things at play here.

So maybe it makes sense to start from the beginning in this post.

Like….the foundation.  So we can help break down the actual foundation of metabolism.  You know, the building blocks.  The brick and mortar.

I mean, we can’t put a roof of knowledge on a house and foundation made of fluff, can we?  I mean….who can make educated decision on that?  How do we build a bangin’ metabolism without knowing what actually goes into the equation first?

So, this post we are deep diving into just that.  The foundation.

Let’s learn exactly what makes up the mysterious metabolism……

In general terms, your metabolism is basically what is costs to exist everyday.  That’s really it.  Just “exist.”  But that sort of simplicity is what makes us all go “but what the hell,” right?  So let’s break it apart a bit better.  Because “existing” is one piece of the equation, and we need to talk about three other pieces (called living, real life) to kind of understand how this all fits and works.  Before going into the pieces though, I want you to understand something.  There are always degrees of variation in these pieces.  I can toss out some percentages, but to be honest, “it depends” on each individual, their genetic makeup and habits, their lifestyle, gender, and other stuff.  So….just know, I’m giving you the four pieces, and the percentage of how they make up or impact your metabolism, but….it varies a bit on either end, too, ok?

Piece 1 – Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).  Ladies, this is the biggest piece, and what we think of as metabolism and what we reference when we toss out phrases like “I have such a slow metabolism!”  Roughly 60% of our total output (or what it takes calorically/energy needs wise for us to live our life everyday) is RMR.  Remember, though, “it depends,” and the variation of a few percentage points, of course.  So what actually goes into this piece?  This is basically, you, existing without doing a whole lot.  Think laying on the couch and not moving, and catching up on Real Housewives of Orange County….barely lifting an arm except to fast forward through the commercials.

I find that this tends to be the piece that trips ladies up.  This tends to be the piece that many use as a calorie calculation/target each day.  The amount of energy it takes us to “exist.”  And, well, there is MUCH more to the story, seeing as this only accounts for 60% of our energy output, give or take.  So I like to highlight this because calculating our energy needs solely off this number is just usually not enough, because there is 40% (give or take) of the equation to still account for.  Eating enough for just THIS often leads to massive undereating, which can bring on cravings and then going off the rails, then a cycle of guilt, and gaining and losing the same pounds year after year.  

Piece 2 – Thermic Effect Of Eating (TEE, sometimes called TEF/Thermic Effect Of Food).  Yes, it COSTS energy to eat and digest food.  You know, because that’s additional, on top of laying on the couch watching Housewives, only moving to run the remote or blink.  This is 5-10% of the equation (give or take a few points as always).  It costs energy to chew, to swallow, to digest, and then it costs more or less energy based upon if you eat more whole foods (takes a bit more to digest) than it does if you eat things like smoothies or highly processed foods (those things are easier to digest).

I like to talk about this piece because honestly, so many women struggle with fearing food, and viewing food as the enemy, and dang, we get to burn calories from eating calories (of course, strategically, and being mindful, and other things are at play here).  But it helps us see that food is not something to fear.  And, if you are struggling with preparing foods, I’d love for you to give my FREE #20Under20 meal system a run!  20 simple and tasty and healthy meals prepared in less than 20 minutes, yo!

Piece 3 – Physical Activity (Sometimes called Training, Intentional Movement, etc).  This piece is what you actually make an effort to get your body some movement in during the day.  Maybe you strength train three times per week.  Maybe you run three days a week.  Maybe you make an effort to go for a walk each and every day, or do a 30 minute yoga flow every morning when you wake up.  This piece is intentional, and what you are doing to move your body in a specific way.  Here’s the dealio on this piece, though.  It’s highly specific as far as output goes.  It obviously depends on your height, weight, gender, intensity or selection of exercise, etc.

I like this piece.  Because, well, if you are stuck in chronic diet mindset, we get caught up in physical activity being a way to burn off our food choices.  And really, we can use it as an intentional way to better our bodies, and help our output.  It can actually be a helpful tool to better our RMR, but we will talk about that in future posts, mmmmmkay?  

Piece 4 – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).  This is basically every move we make besides “just existing” and physical activity.  Like tapping your foot when you are impatient.  Or scratching an itch, standing and chopping veggies, or brushing teeth and doing your hair.  Literally every move you make aside from existing and intentional exercise.  Again, the percentage of energy output here is based on LOTS of factors – weight, height, gender, lifestyle, etc.

I think most people hear “eat less, move more” and interpret that as eat less and exercise more.  Welllll…..for many, it means literally MOVE MORE in this non-exercise fashion.  Less sitting, more doing and moving and such.  Moving more in a non-exercise fashion is an excellent tool in our toolbox that doesn’t usually create an uptick in hunger or compete with life much, or recovery from workouts.  Not to sound corny, but it is neat to get NEAT, lol.  

So, a quick summary, yes?

RMR (sort of our actual metabolism) is roughly 60% of our energy (calorie) output every day.  RMR is existing, bare minimum…not really living your normal life.

Eating costs energy, too.  Somewhere in the 5-10% of our energy output everyday, but again, it depends on certain factors.

Physical activity and NEAT fill the roughly 30% gap that is leftover.  So you can see, these two combined carry a nice chunk of output.  But, they depend on YOU.

We tend to think about our metabolism as a calculator.  We want the input and output to reconcile and work out according to our goals.  But, it’s not as simple as a daily target all the time.  We need to think of metabolism as shifting and averages.  And not get so damn caught up in specific numbers.

So, this is meant to help lay the foundation on metabolism so we can see what carries the most weight (pun always intended), and where we can be strategic.  I hope this was helpful for you!  If it was, please pass this on to your best girlfriend who could use some crazy helpful info.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to dive deep into:

  • The typical reasons women usually struggle with a “slow metabolism” and feeling frustrated
  • Ways that women can strategically help out their metabolic game, AKA build a bangin’ metabolism
  • Things women can strategically avoid to hurt their metabolism
  • Provide actionable steps to take to audit your own metabolism

Sound good?  Stay tuned!  We have LOTS to cover!

References for this post:

Precision Nutrition – I’m a certified nutrition coach

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