Tag: nutrition

Weight Loss 75% Diet, 25% Exercise

By Emily Creamer-Collins, Master Trainer
Worcester Fitness 

If fat loss is your goal, both nutrition and exercise are important. Generally speaking, weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.

Weight Loss at Worcester Fitness
If fat loss is your goal, both nutrition and exercise are important.

Calories in/out

On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers who didn’t diet lost only six pounds over about 21 weeks. It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.* For example, if you eat a fast food steak quesadilla, which can pack 500-plus calories, you need to run more than four miles to ‘undo’ it!

So what should you eat? It’s true that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular because they offer the fastest results, but they can be difficult to sustain. I recommend striving for a more balanced plan that focuses on real food - fruits, vegetable, lean proteins and whole grains.

*Huffington Post 2014

Worcester Fitness Nutritional Advice
"I recommend striving for a more balanced plan that focuses on real food - fruits, vegetable, lean proteins and whole grains. "

Less Meat, More Plants

One of my favorite quotes is from Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  There’s no room for processed food in that rule!

But do yourself a favor and try focusing more on the FOOD you’re eating and less on the CALORIES you’re taking in.  Most people think controlling portions means counting calories, but there’s a better way.  Leading nutritionists at Precision Nutrition developed this cool Hand Measure System to use instead of getting bogged down by the confusing art of calorie counting. 

Palm of your hand

And your hand is all you need!

Your hand is proportionate to your body, its size never changes, and it’s always with you, making it the perfect tool for measuring food and nutrients – minimal counting required. 

Here’s the breakdown:

A serving of protein = 1 palm

A serving of vegetables = 1 fist

A serving of carbs = 1 cupped hand

A serving of fats = 1 thumb

Here’s how to use this method to build a plate of food:


Step 1 = PROTEIN (meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt)

Men: two palm-sized portions [~ 40-60 g protein]
Women: one palm-sized portion [~ 20-30 g protein]

Step 2 = VEGETABLES (broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc.)

Men: two fist-sized portions
Women: one fist-sized portion

Step 3 = CARBOHYDRATES (grains, starches, beans, and fruits)

Men: two cupped hand-sized portions [~ 40-60 g carbs]
Women: one cupped hand-sized portion [~ 20-30 g carbs]

Step 4 = FATS (oils, butters, nut butters, nuts, and seeds)

Men: two thumb-sized portions [~ 15-25 g fat]
Women: one thumb-sized portion [~ 20-30 g fat]

Worcester Fitness Nutrition
"...pay attention to results."


Men eating 3-4 meals as outlined would get around 2,300 – 3,000 calories each day.

Women eating 3-4 meals as outlined would get around 1,200 – 1,500 calories each day.

This system is easier than counting calories and nearly as accurate.  Just like with counting, though, pay attention to results and adjust as needed.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

afigIt’s no wonder we humans have a complex relationship with food.  Depending on which type of household you grew up in, you were either taught that you had to finish everything on your plate, or you had a big family and so “family style” was really more like “load up the plate in case there’s nothing left”, or maybe an adult family member ate very sparingly and would say “Don’t eat too much, dear.  You don’t want to get fat like Aunt So-and-So”.  Even if you grew up with a healthy relationship with food, there is a lot of information out there that can boggle the mind.  It seems like every month there is a new fad diet or program promising amazing results. With all the information out there, it’s difficult to decipher what to eat, what NOT to eat, how much is too much and how much is just not enough.

As a certified Nutrition Specialist at Worcester Fitness, I would like to set the record straight on a few confusing points.

1. Every meal plan is as unique as the person it’s designed for.  What works for one won’t always work for another.

2. Diets don’t work.  There, I said it.  What does work? Lifestyle changes.  Sure, some trendy cleanse may help you temporarily shed water weight but what we are after here is fat loss and the only way to lose the weight and keep it of indefinitely is to adopt lifestyle changes that you can keep long term.  Are you really going to drink those shakes for the rest of your life? What happens when you stop?

3. Muscle is a fat burning machine.  If you aren’t strength training as part of your routine, add it in!  You’re body and soul will thank you for it.  If you are intimidated or unsure where to start, book some time with one of our Personal Trainers- we are here to help you.

4. Don’t over complicate good nutrition.  KISS- Keep It Simple, Silly.

5. Know your numbers.  There actually is a magical formula that is used to determine what your estimated energy requirements are.  Email me at andreafig@worcesterfitness.com and I will be happy to help you get started.

Whatever your relationship is with food, know that you are given a reset button.  Use it now to get started on the right path.  Use it every morning if you have to. It’s your time to get the results you want.  The saying is true, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.”  80% of the results you’re after will come from good nutrition. You’re worth it.

sarah copyHelp, I’ve been kidnapped by a band of bubbly camp counselors and their unruly pint-sized followers. They’re forcing me to teach proper swimming technique for hours on end, and eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. I tried to create a smoke signal during a raucous marshmallow roast last week, but my escape was thwarted before it ever got off the ground. I imagine it will stay like this for most of the summer; days spent swimming, bike riding, and running around with rambunctious campers will likely prevent my regular presence at Worcester Fitness. But, rest assured, I’m getting in daily workouts, and drinking my milk.

Worcester Fitness isn’t the only place that will be seeing a little less of Aquagirl in the coming months, you can count Flying Rhino, Picasso, Corner Grille, Kaizen, Baba, Coral, and Bocado in that club as well. I’m the first to admit that my habit of eating out on (more than) a regular basis has gotten out of hand. The Central Mass restaurant scene is almost too good to resist.

I’ve spent every summer at Camp Putnam since I was eight years old, and one of the things Camp prides itself on is serving home-made, family-style, all-you-can-eat, nutritious meals, three times every-single-day (an alarming number of hyphens, I know). Stop by at 8:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., or 5:30 p.m., and you’ll see little ones gorging themselves with fresh veggies from the local farm stand and countless cartons of 1%. Summers at Camp have always reset my nutritional compass by saturating my diet with “real food.”

Speaking on behalf of insufferable picky eaters everywhere, I would like to recognize the growing trend in restrictions. “Gluten free, vegan, sugar free, low fat, low sodium, no carb, no dairy, soyless, meatless, wheatless, macrobiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, sustainable, local and raw,” Jessica Bruder writes in today’s New York Times. Some say nutritional choices are a way to form identity or to lift our mood – I say that Camp Putnam makes choosing easy. With fresh produce on the table every meal, it’s hard to go wrong, and as a result of selecting wisely, I feel better in all realms of my life.

Keep it “real” WF nation!