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Health and Fitness Tips

Nutrition Questions

When I am out in the community I am stopped at the grocery store, car wash or in restaurants by health-minded people who have questions on nutrition and fitness. I am happy to answer as many questions as I can and felt that many people would benefit from the questions asked. Here are a few of the more common questions I receive.

Question: How can I maintain my confidence and motivation to sculpt my body?

Answer: Life is full of goals, I say to my clients. The important thing to remember is that to achieve a goal we must have objectives and measurable activities.

Let say that your goal, a general statement of what you want to achieve, is to achieve good nutritional balance and muscle mass. Next, set an objective (an objective is a statement that narrows tasks that are needed to complete your goal), that relates directly to your goal. For example, one objective may be, "to increase chest size by four inches over the next thirteen months." In order to achieve this objective, that eventually achieves your goal, you need measurable activities (very specific activities that help you achieve your objective, these are measurable by achievement and by setting time lines). A great measurable activity to achieve the above objective would be, "perform four weight lifting chest exercises that focus on measurable activity to achieve the above objective would be, "perform four weight lifting chest exercises that focus on increasing size, three times a week, four times a month, for thirteen months." Another measurable activity may be to change your nutritional balance to include more protein to help build that big chest.

Now that you have got the plan, focus on completing the measurable activities that will help you achieve your desired results. Review, and if necessary modify, your plan every other week. This will help you remember why you are spending the time and energy being a healthier person.

A quick summary of staying on track and motivated: Your mission or purpose in life; Goals that help you achieve your mission; Objective(s) to help you reach your goals; And measurable activities that help you achieve your objectives.

Question: I have one main health challenge in life and that is controlling my weight. No matter what I do I can't lose any weight and when I do, it is difficult to maintain my new weight. What can I do?

Answer: First, we all have different metabolisms. My friend Jeff eats all day long, it seems, and has a difficult time going weight, whereas my friend Justin struggles to maintain his weight on 1,300 calories a day (and he is very active).

Our metabolisms are 80% determined by age, sex, fat-free body mass and fat mass. The remaining 20% is most likely determined by genetics.

There are few things you can do to speed up your metabolism. First, increase your muscle mass through exercise and weight training. Twenty minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise increase your metabolism throughout the day - burning calories more effectively and more muscle burns more calories.
Another way to your metabolism more efficient is to eat small meals throughout the day rather than eating three large, fat-laden meals. Foods high in protein, low in sugar and that have a smart proportion of carbohydrates and fats will more than likely increase your metabolism, if eaten six times (in small portions) a day.

Question: I eat small portions six times a day but often I crave more. Is there any way to help me fill more full?

Answer: For years marketers have tried to sell us appetite suppression pills, powders and drinks that promise to help us control our eating during meal time.

The answer is very simple - WATER. By drinking two full glasses of water (12 ounce or more) during meals you will: feel more full; hydrate your body; and train your stomach to eat smaller meals. Put a lemon slice into your water for a little flavor now and again.

Question: Is it important to time my meals around my work out schedule?
Answer: My first question when I am asked this question is, "what is your goal - losing weight, muscle gain or toning?"

If you are trying to lose weight, doing early-morning cardiovascular exercise is best done on an empty stomach. This enhances the fat-burning effects of your workout. However, if you are trying to increase muscle mass, I encourage my clients to structure their meals around their workout. Time one of your small portioned meals sixty minutes before your work out. This meal should contain around 10-15 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates. This will increase the energy available for muscles during your workout and will improve your performance. After your workout (within 30 minutes) consume another 25 grams of protein and 50-80 grams of carbohydrates (protein bars are great for this). Finally, two hours after your workout eat a protein rich meal to help speed recovery and build muscles.

Question: I find it difficult to eat six meals a day - can't three do the same?

Answer: Remember, if you do what you have always done, then you will get what you always have gotten! The advantages of eating frequent small meals daily are numerous. Consuming six small meals a day improves protein utilization and muscle growth, increases your metabolic rate - which gives you more energy throughout the day and allows you to burn more fat.

It is a difficult lifestyle change from eating three large meals a day to eating six small ones. Our work life and personal lives often revolve around meals. I promise you that if you try this healthier way of eating for one month, you will become leaner, look better and perform better in and outside of the gym. Keep your meals' nutritional balance in proportion with your personal goals.

Staying focused and eating properly are major elements in achieving your fitness goals. Reviewing your goals and showing-up are half the battle, good luck!

Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation, or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, spin yoga, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at

Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center, LLC
459 Acoma Street · Denver, Colorado 80204 · 303-860-7131
Hours: Monday-Friday: 6am-8pm · Saturday: Closed · Sunday: Closed