Eating For Weight Loss-Low Hanging Fruit

Eating for Weightloss

Low Hanging Fruit


Question: How do you get your biggest bang for your buck?

Answer:  Go for the low hanging fruit!


What are low hanging fruit?


Low hanging fruit are the fruits that are the lowest on the tree so they are easy to reach!  You do not have to work very hard to grab them!


Although you may not spend your mornings in an apple orchard or an orange grove, this short piece will give you some low hanging fruit for weight loss.


Ready?  Let’s start picking.


When trying to lose weight it is important to know what may be having the biggest interference to your goals.  If you haven’t written your goals down, here is a quick and easy guide to help you do that: Goal Setting 101.


Now that you have your goals, let’s look at the low hanging fruit that can contribute the most calories(not necessarily in this order).


  1. Fried foods.
  2. Dense carbs.
  3. Sugary Drinks.


What is the biggest bang for your buck?


After having worked with over 100 weightloss clients the easiest change to make with the biggest effect, for most people, is the sugary drink.


The biggest impact made, time after time is looking at what sugary beverages the person consumes and swapping them for non-sugary substitutes.


Let’s look at normal day drinking habits for a lot of folks.



8oz orange juice

1cup coffee with 1tbsp honey



12oz Soda/Tea


Afternoon pick me up=

12oz Soda/Tea



4oz Pinot Noir


Total Carbs=


564 Calories


Should you throw in 1 Starbucks visit with a super tasty special treat you just threw in another 250cal with 35grams of carbs.


This is getting close to how many carbs someone training for a competitive event might consume, just from drinks.  This means that the fuel your body is receiving is of poorer quality than say from a sweet potato, butternut squash, or even from chocolate!


As a reference, my wife is training as an elite Olympic weightlifter(which requires a lot of strength, therefore a lot of muscle, and a lot of food), and she eats 165 grams of carbs per day.  That is in both food and drink.


That’s a lotta calories in my drink!


You’re right; it is.  


Then we add hash browns, a banana or an apple, some pasta salad, and a sandwich, You’ve got somewhere close to 350 or more grams of carbs. 


If the joints are achy, the brain is fogged, and the beverages are sweet, there is an easy change to be made.  




You want progress, not perfection, so swapping out just one beverage can make a huge difference.


Pick the one drink you can live without, and dump it(then recycle the bottle!)


For me, I had no problem drinking black coffee.  Some folks really want the cream and sugar, and if that is you, don’t give it up!


Maybe you can do without the OJ, or even better, the soda!  Pick just 1 drinkn, give it up for 2 weeks, and see if there is a change.


Again, it is about progress, tiny, tiny steps that you can keep stepping on.


If you keep stepping, you suddenly arrive at the top of the mountain!


Just keep stepping.  I know you can.


Jordan Vance, M.B.A., PNL1

Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs.  He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local.  When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife, he is either helping someone crush their goal, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.

How Much Should You Eat?

How much should you eat?



“How much should I eat?”

I get this question all the time.  A few things you should know before we jump on the answer train…


  1. A blanket recommendation can be dangerous.  It doesn’t account for the genetic differences of the over 7 Billion people on the planet.  It doesn’t account for the personal preferences nor the goals of those people either. If you understand this, you can see this as theory, and see how the theory may fit in your life.
  2. Finding the answer to this question starts with identifying your goals.  Make sure that you go through the process fo goal setting well. Setting goals should be fun and easy and you can find the process for goal setting with our “Goal Setting 101” sheet here.
  3. Drastic changes are bad.  If you feel like any of these recommendations can work for you(and your medical professional agrees) then small changes are the best.  A complete overhaul of your diet is not only destined to NOT have staying power, but it can also have some unfavorable side effects. Understand concepts and seek coaching around those concepts.


Whew!  We got the hard stuff out of the way!


Now on to bigger and better things.


If you went to the Goal Setting 101 sheet, you saw that step 1 starts to answer the question “How much should I eat?”  by identifying what your goals are. Nutrition goals can be broken down into 3 categories:


  1. Aesthetics
  2. Performance
  3. Longevity
  4. DGAF(Don’t Give a F*#&. I threw this one in for fun.  I am guessing that if you are reading this article then you do give a____.)


You could take those a step further with

1) Aesthetics

     A) Weightloss

     B) Weight gain

     C) Weight maintenance with body composition shift(i.e. Less fat/more                      muscle)

2) Performance

     A) Strength gains

     B) Endurance gains

     C) Cognitive function

3) Longevity

     A) Avoid cognitive decline

     B) Avoid cancer

     C) Avoid heart disease

     D) Avoid diabetes

     E) The list goes on, and there is a lot of carryover in disease prevention diets.

          a) If any of these disease preventions sound particularly interesting to you, I highly recommend some sort of genetic testing, like 23 and Me Health Ancestry report, and paired with Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Genetics Report. This alone could add 10 years to your life and also drastically increase health span(health span is how self-sufficient you are; you can live to 130 but be too handicapped to enjoy it for 50 years.  Increasing your health span should be a focus, too )



Plenty More To Come!!!

This prelude is just planting some ideas.

This post is to inform you of a few different ways you could look at how much you should eat.  Individual posts will be coming out over the next week on different approaches for eating within these goals.  There will be plenty more to read on eating for aesthetics, performance, and longevity soon.


Jordan Vance, M.B.A., PNL1

Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs.  He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local.  When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife, he is either helping someone crush their goal, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.

What do I eat every day?

What Do I Eat In Day?

And why should you care?


This article will detail what I eat.

The truth is, you probably shouldn’t care what I eat in a day, but I’m using my example(I know it well) to paint some other ideas.


LLEetttt’sssss GGGgggooooo


For me, at this point in my life(and I’m not sure why), I am performance focused.  My performance, since I love all fitness domains, is strength, endurance, and cognitively focused.

So what does that mean?  

I mish-mash a lot of different ideas together in something that is probably doing too much at once, but, it works for me, it gives me peace of mind, and also meets my needs.


Please note:  If you are reading this, this is purely informative of my current habits.  This is also part of a bigger series of posts on diet and goal setting.


The purpose of this post is to paint an example in a broader context.  This article will be hyperlinked in a few upcoming articles that have some complexity, so this article offers explanations to some of those complexities while not taking away from the simplicity of the posts.


So what you do, bro?


I practice Time Restricted Eating(TRE, sometimes known as TRF(The F is for feeding instead of eating)), but I eat a lot.


What’s that?


TRE differs from intermittent fasting(IF), only by that IF has no definition on time limit.  

Someone on an IF diet could go 2 hours without eating, or 10 days.

TRE refers to eating every day, but only within certain times of the day.  The reasoning for TRE is based on a lot of research around the circadian rhythm(which influences your entire existence). You can read about it here: The Critical Importance of Time-Restricted Feeding in Weight Loss or if you are more of a listener, this amazing piece is worth every second of your time: Dr. Satchin Panda on Practical Implementation of Time-Restricted Eating & Shift Work Strategies.


So now that we have officially glazed over entire volumes of encyclopedias of information on health and diet, let us take a look into what I eat and why. (This is not a recommendation for you and should not be interpreted as health advice; only as inspiration for the idea that there is more to know out there.)


So, TRE; what else?


Next, I eat a lot.  


Compared to Hafthor Bjornsson’s 10,000 calories a day or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 5,470 calories a day I do not eat a lot, but compared to the average American I do.


If you are not fully aware of what eating a lot looks like, here you go (disclaimer; just assume it’s organic, free range, grass fed, wild caught.  I would love to type organic, free range, grass fed, wild caught for you 100 times but let’s just assume it is.)


Protein: 150-180g

Carbs: 150-350g

Fat: 75-115g



Ranges are based on time of year, training focus, and whether or not I just need a break from eating.  As a reference point, my weight is in flux from 170lb’s(77kg) to 180lb’s(82kg) throughout the year. I’ve got up to 191lb’s(87kg) but I found it so hard to maintain and uncomfortable.  I’m 5’7” and come from a small family(my mom is 4’10”) so staying big may not be in the cards.


Daily Break Down:


Morning Routine:  I make a little drink concoction that has protein and fat.  


I’m not going to explain the debate of why some marketing genius was able to market putting butter in coffee, and how this could be a silly waste of your precious fats.  


I will say, however, that insulin production is known to inhibit cognition, and also that I wake up straight hungry hungry hippo.  This drink works well for sippy sippy satisfaction, and also satiety. I do my creative work in the morning, so no carbs is great for a few hours for me.


Also, your body is empty, so digesting fats can be an easier and more thorough task.  You may be able to more easily extract all nutrition from fat without the addition of aminos from protein to break down, or fats sliding through attached to fibers from complex carbs.


So, who knows if I actually focus better or not, but it gives me peace of mind, yo.  Peace of mind.


Also, if you are not up to date on L-Theanine, found naturally in green tea, click that link and read.


Morning Routine Drink

Four Sigmatic Matcha Mushroom Mix=3g

Thrive Market Collagen Peptides=2 scoops

Coconut Oil=1 tbs

Chocolate=¼ serving


I don’t blend chocolate in the bev, but rather munch on it on the side, because chocolate is the bomb.  Forgive the vagueness here, but the quantity chocolate is enough to make me smile, and not enough to make me feel like a glutton.






Snack 1:  at 9:00 am every day.  AB&J, baby.


I’m not totally sure why I care so much about my athletic performance, but I’ve found that an AB&J(almond butter and jelly) can give me a lot of cals, and be fully digested by workout time(for me 11:30 or 12:00).  I am one of those weirdos that has to wait like 4 hours after he eats to workout or it’s a quick trip to vom-city. If you’ve never been there, I very much don’t recommend it.


And it’s not limited just the fear of vomiting.  In general, if I eat too soon, my workout sucks.


Heavy squats with burp chest?  

50burpee box jump overs for time with bloat stomach?  


Good luck impressing anyone, or even being able to put in an intense of enough an effort to actually get better at anything.  If you move slow, you adapt slow. If you need to get more out of your workout, try being a little empty in the stomach; it’s liberating.  


Eating before a workout doesn’t bother you?  No problem; you do you. There is a bit of an argument to be made that blood may be focused on digestion and your digestive system is pulling blood and keeping it from your extremities.  


Heavy bench press or wide grip pull ups today?  Maybe you can get a little more on an empty stomach.    


This is a lot longer of a convo for another day, but we’ve listed a few things to think about and experiment.  


This whole thing is an experiment; don’t forget it.  


Play around. Try new things.  Find out what works. Then try something else out a year later.  


Experimentation(not on game day)=good.  


Snack 2:  Post workout

Banana=1 whole

Fitaid=1 can.  


I don’t deny nor promote the awesomeness that is described on the label of a can of fit aid, but it tastes delicious, and fast acting carbs.






Breakfast: Around 1:00pm


A few things to keep in mind; I am also one of those weirdos who doesn’t really eat until later in the day.  I have my morning routine and my AB&J. I workout during lunch break.


For the sake of this convo, understand that I’m thinking fast acting carbs post workout, then, fats for hormones, and protein, ‘cause gains.  


The argument against fats immediately post workout is because it slows down the digestion processes, and keeps you from having protein/carbs in the “anabolic window of gains.”


This “window”, many folks believe, is within the first-hour post workout.  Muscles are more insulin sensitive, insulin growth hormone 1(IGF1) is available, and gains happen.


Research shows that there is no “anabolic window of gains” Here is a great article on the overview of literature for practical application and here is the original study conducted by the researcher on muscle hypertrophy, Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., CSCS, CPT.  The idea is that if you have enough protein and carbs throughout the day, every day, then you have no need to supplement, or observe the “window”.


Also, a great discussion on the trade-off between performance and longevity, as well as IGF1, pituitary and liver function is in a short video, here.


I eat the Snack 2 to get some carbs in(even though research shows it may not matter too much).  


Why?  Because it tastes good and keeps me from shaking after hard workouts(blood sugar drop).  Once I get over my performance focus, I will probably never suffer from post workout shaking(a symptom of low blood sugar) because my body will be more adapted to fat as fuel and not need as many carbs.  This happens very rarely for me. (45-minute EMOM, anyone?)


That, my friends, is a different encyclopedia of information for another day.


Then onto some whole foods with breakfast, usually within 20-60minutes of workout.  


So why the quick oats vs whole or steel cut?  Because I like quick oats. They may not be as good for you as steel cut oats, but they make zero mess in the microwave and I overboil all the other oatmeals every time.  


Sure, I could get a bigger bowl, but I’m just not there yet.  


Breakfast: Around 1:00pm


Eggs=3 large

Bacon=0-2 slices(depends on the time of year and if cutting)






Lunch: Around 3:00pm


I would love to eat lunch out every day.  I really would.


There is a lot of reason not too and lunch is the hardest for me to skip for a few reasons.  The biggest reason is that of value versus flavor. If you go have an awesome dinner and pay for the experience, that is awesome, but lunch is where you can pay for the food AND get enough to eat.  


Awesome lunch, awesome price, and enough food for the price.  


Lunch out is just awesome.  This is also, for the same reasons, the easiest place for the wheels to come off track.  


Work provides lunch a couple days a week?  Long lunch break and your co-worker is having a life crisis and you need to console over the towns best burger?


Again, it is so easy to come off the hinges at lunch.  Hold on to the reigns. If we can hold on through lunch then the rest of the day is cake.


Lunch:  Around 3:00pm

White rice=1.5-2cups(depending on the season)

Roasted chicken=6 ounces


Chalula=No such thing as too much.






Dinner:  Between 7:00 and9:30pm(day of week dependent)


Dinner is where I find a lot of variation.  We will just outline 1 example, but understand breakfast, lunch, and snacks are often the same thing all week long, then dinner, for me, is where the variety comes in.  



Wild Salmon(sustainably sourced, of course)=6 ounces

Spring Mix=2 cups

Brocolli sprouts=1ounce

Red bell pepper=.5 cup

Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Dressing=1 serving

Avocado=4 ounces






In Conclusion:


This is a low time for calories(reflected by the math this is around 2,400cals for the day.)  I did a 3-day competition 2 weekends back and my body has been craving a reset. That usually looks like a couple weeks of drastically reduced workout volume (37% which is conveniently 2 more days of) as well as drastically reduced calories until I feel light and springy(telling me my inflammation is down and I can handle some more stress for heavier weights in the weight room, as well as the stress from more eating.)  


Eating more can help keep exercise stress down by aiding in recovery, but make no mistake, your body goes through a lot of stress in digesting what you eat.  Seasonality is important to observe with this, hence, the lower content now.

Jordan Vance, M.B.A., PNL1

Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs.  He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local.  When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife, he is either helping someone crush their goal, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.


Goal Setting 101

Goal Setting 101


Progress in any realm is easy if you have a clear goal, a plan to get there, and a method to monitor the process.


The process of goal setting may be the most important and most easily overlooked aspect of success.  There are a ton of resources on the purpose of clear and actionable goals, but let’s take a second and make the process of goal setting also clear and actionable.


When I see people with poorly defined goals, it’s not because the goals suck, or even their adherence is terrible, but most often because they didn’t have a clear vision for what the process of goal setting SHOULD look like.





  1. What are your goals?
  2. Where are you at now in relation to your goals?
  3. What changes are you willing to make that move you from where you are now to your goals?
  4. Apply those changes and see if they are helping you reach your goal.
  5. Assess results.
  6. Repeat the cycle from step 1.




For the sake of this post, we will use nutrition goals as the focal point.


Step 1: What are your goals?


I like to classify nutrition goals into three categories:


  1. Aesthetics
  2. Performance
  3. Longevity


You could take those a step further with

  1. Aesthetics
    1. Weightloss
    2. Weight gain
    3. Weight maintenance with body composition shift(i.e. Less fat/more muscle)
  2. Performance
    1. Strength gains
    2. Endurance gains
    3. Cognitive function
  3. Longevity
    1. Avoid cognitive decline
    2. Avoid cancer
    3. Avoid heart disease
    4. Avoid diabetes
    5. The list goes on, and there is a lot of carryover in disease prevention diets.
      1. If any of these disease preventions sound particularly interesting to you, I highly recommend some sort of genetic testing, like 23 and Me Health Ancestry report, and paired with Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Genetics Report. This alone could add 10 years to your life and also drastically increase health span(health span is how self-sufficient you are; you can live to 130 but be too handicapped to enjoy it for 50 years.  Increase your health span should be a focus, too )


Step 2: Where are you now in relation to your goals?


Are you 50#’s overweight and afraid to get started?  For most folks in this situation, they need to take action.  


I often hear ”Oh I need to get in shape before I join the group classes.” or “I’d love to lose a few pounds before I make any changes”  These situations are often linked back to inaction. Getting “in shape” before joining the gym is like cleaning the house before the maid shows up; the pros are ready to help so don’t make a half effort to save yourself some embarrassment.  


You’ve got to take action to see a change.


Have you made huge progress and are looking for the next step?


Remember the basics.  Go back and identify or even redefine your goals. If you follow the steps you will likely have to redefine your goals often, because the progress will be undeniable!


Step 3: What changes are you willing to make that will move you from where are now towards your goals?


And let’s start small.  Super small steps are the key to making long-term change.  One thing at a time is all that most folks should change.


Can’t quite sugar?  

What’s one thing you consume that has sugar in it that you can swap for a non-sugary substitute?  Do that.


Need more exercise but are afraid of the commitment, the conversations, or the judgments you might face by signing up for a gym?

Go outside and walk for 10 minutes.  Right now. Stop reading. This article will still be here when you get back.  Go for a walk! It’s not too cold. It’s not too hot. It’s only ten minutes. You’ve got to start somewhere.  


Can’t walk?  Pick something up and set it down a few dozen times.  Make sure it is light enough to keep you from overstraining.  Seriously, even setting up a book from the ground to a shelf 20 times can get the heart rate going.  We’ve got to get the muscles moving and the body asking for some different hormones.


Just, start, moving.


Step 4: Apply those changes and see if they are helping to get closer to your goal.


It takes time.


“I substituted stevia for sugar in my morning coffee for a whole week and saw zero changes.”

“I walked for 10 minutes a day, 4 days in a row, and saw zero changes.”


I would be willing to bet that neither of these is a true statement, but it certainly takes longer than a week to notice a real change.


3 weeks.


3 Weeks is how long I recommend testing a change before coming to a conclusion, and even that is premature in a lot of situations.  


In my days of owning a gym, we provided solutions for weight loss and health improvement that are guaranteed to be successful if you commit and show up.  Seriously, all you had to do was walk in the door, and 3 months later, there was an undeniable change. Every client. Every time. When people feel off at 4-6weeks, they just hadn’t had enough exposures.  And this was with some pretty hard workouts that were using up a lot of calories! Making a change takes a lot of effort, but it is worth it…EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.


Step 5: Assess results


Review results every 2 weeks to see how things are progressing, but keep plans quarterly.


Let’s break that down a step further.


Make a 3-month plan to walk 30 minutes total a day, 4 days a week.  If this is for weight loss, step on the scale at the beginning, then again 2 weeks later.  Progress? Great! Keep doing what you are doing!

No change?  Try 2 more weeks, then if still no change, maybe try walking faster, or adding in another day.


Keep the plan for the quarter, and use the 2-week check-ins to see if you are ready to make a small change to the plan(like walking faster).


Workout programs can get really detailed, so we will just leave this as an example for now.


Step 6:  Repeat the cycle from step 1



  1. What are your goals?
  2. Where are you at now in relation to your goals?
  3. What changes are you willing to make that move you from where you are now to your goals?
  4. Apply those changes and see if they are helping you reach your goal
  5. Assess results
  6. Repeat the cycle from step 1




Progress is easy if you have a clear goal, a plan to get there, and method to monitor the process to make alterations if need be.

You got this!

Jordan Vance, M.B.A., PNL1, 

Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs.  He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local.  When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife, he is either helping someone crush their goal, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.

What Get’s In Your Way?

Would you like to know a secret?

It’s hard.

Like, your life in general is hard.

Kids, spouse, school, work, religion, physical health, food(oh food); it’s all so much to keep up with. And self care?!? Yeah right. Right?


Prioritizing what’s good and right yourself is even harder.  Juggling the weight of the world can make it hard to take the time for anything extra.


I’m glad the secret is out of the bag.


There is another secret I’d like to share with you…


There is help out there.

In the health and wellness space there is a whole other world of information that is convoluted, confusing, deep, and opinionated. It is hard to tell up from down.

As a matter of fact, the biggest issue I see that people have are not their goals, but getting over the barriers to their goals.


The 2 problems we run into that people have the most are:


1) Not knowing what to do with the world of information on exercise and nutrition.

The whole world of health and wellness is available at and it is vast! You could spend a lifetime in their and find so much great info. Learning is fun! But who has the time for all of that, too?


2) Accountability.

Folks make it 1-4 months in the globo gyms of the world and have spent more energy avoiding eye contact with people than they did working out, or even meeting new and influential people. Finding the right lighting for an Instagram post, or continuing the texting conversation for the next hour can be favorite pass times of gym goers, as well as the other habit of 30 trips to the water fountain.  Or using to look up form, safety, technique, or even an exercise to throw in the routine.


Don’t worry though, because you are super.  You are amazing.

So: what is really holding you back from progress?


At CrossFit Carolina Beach we help people reach their goals by helping them solve their problems. The barriers between you and your goals might be a new movement, or diet(probably both).

The reality for most is 1(or both) of the problems listed above.  Almost every hits the wall with information overload or accountability.


Here are the answers to the problems listed above:


1)Not knowing what to do with the world of information on exercise and nutrition.
We organize the methods and provide coaching every class so you don’t have to think or question if you are doing the “right thing”.  Everyone needs a coach.  You can pay $40 a month to go to a gym alone and spend time on Google, hoping you are making the most of your time, or you can have someone organize all the worlds info into something that works.

At CrossFit Carolina Beach you can make friends. Here you will meet people.
Teachers. Nurses. Professors. Doctors. Lawyers. EMT. Marines. Army. Fire. Small Business Owners. Carpenters. Engineers. These people are also brothers, sisters, parents, spouses, grandchildren, grandparents.
The community here helps people become their best self yet.


Does any of this sound like you? We can help.

You can schedule a free No Sweat Intro with me by clicking here.


Seriously though; we care.  We can help.



Maternal Nutrition and Effect on Cellular Aging-From Our Friends at Myrtle Grove Chiropractic

At CrossFit Carolina Beach we LOVE nutrition!


We love it because we know that there is nothing as impactful on your journey to health and wellness.


Also, we all want the best for the health of our children.


Did you know that what your mother was consuming before you were conceived plays a part in your health?  Also, in utero?


Our friends at Myrtle Grove Chiropractic put this piece together on maternal nutrition.

You can see the original post here:


“It’s pretty intuitive that proper maternal nutrition while a woman is pregnant is important. Eat healthy, give birth to a healthy baby. But guess what? The health of the baby is influenced by the quality of the mother’s diet long after that baby has grown into an adult. In fact, in robustly duplicated studies, babies born at low birth weight due to poor maternal nutrition had much higher rates of chronic disease and faster cellular aging later in life.

That’s right: maternal nutrition while an infant is in utero will affect that person for the rest of his or her life. It’s not just important in the short term. And here’s something else that might be surprising: making up for low birth weight with rapid postnatal weight gain contributes further to raised risk of chronic disease! The body of a low-birth-weight baby is better equipped to deal with conditions similar to the scarcity experienced in the womb than sudden plenty. A healthy birth weight, it turns out, is a significant indicator of how healthy the baby will be down the road. Poor maternal and early childhood nutrition has lasting, physiological effects.

Whatever conditions a fetus in utero experiences is what their body will adapt to deal with. So, if a baby is born into a different environment than when it developed, say, a baby in utero during a famine that is born into normal circumstances, the long-term effect is enormous. This is because the organs are set up to deal with scarcity, and the baby develops what is often referred to as a “thrifty phenotype,” meaning that their body will conserve as much energy as possible. But if your body is set up to expend as little energy as it can, then what would be considered a normal diet could end up causing obesity. 

A healthy birth weight, it turns out, is a significant indicator of how healthy the baby will be down the road. Poor maternal and early childhood nutrition has lasting, physiological effects. 

Improve your health by participating in a wellness plan at the Myrtle Grove Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center.

We welcome family members of all ages.

Choose to spend your health dollars on a system that promotes health, not disease!”

-Myrtle Grove Chiropractic: June, 2018

Neurotransmitters, Recovery, And Your Training

Do you ever have days when you feel like all you could do is sleep no matter how much coffee you drink?


Or maybe you’ve been on a new strength program for the past 8 weeks and feel weaker than when you started?


Maybe you find yourself walking around the gym in a daze not wanting to get started?


If you said “Yes” to any of these you may have experienced a deficiency or imbalance of your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitter are chemical messengers that get released in our body. They allow our cells to communicate and work together. There are 4 primary neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Serotonin, and GABA. They are both excitatory (speed our cells up) and inhibitory (slow are cells down).


All the neurotransmitters are constantly in fluxuation and balance with one another. This can have a huge effect on our mood, energy, and ability to focus. Some activities like lifting a heavy weight or taking a challenging test use up the neurotransmitters we have on hand.


Strength coach Charles Poliquin is a huge proponent of specific program design built around the athlete. Knowing which of the neurotransmitter types you are dominant in can help you adjust loading parameters, frequency and intensity of training, and plan rest days. Even having a basic understanding of which neurotransmitter type you are dominant in will give you a framework for decision making around your training goals.


Now lets learn a little about each neurotransmitter type.



Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter making it a huge factor behind your motivation towards training and activity levels. Individuals who are dopamine dominant tend to be the ones who are always fired up to exercise. They handle high volume and intensity well but tend to adapt quickly to a stimulus which can cause them to overtrain quickly if their workouts are not constantly varied.


Dopamine synthesis can be promoted by eating foods such as almonds, peanuts, soybeans, avocados, bananas, watermelon, yogurt, beef, tuna, chicken, chocolate, eggs, coffee, and green tea.

Fun project:  Guacamole anyone?  Next grill session, fresh guac as a flavorful topping for proteins and watermelon chunks as a side or for dessert.



Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for intercellular communication between the muscles in the nervous system. Acetylcholine levels can make a huge difference in our ability to recruit the maximal number of muscle fibers. On days where you might not “feel strong” could be because your cells are having a hard time communicating to coordinate on a lift.


Meats, dairy, poultry and fish contain high levels of choline, with the highest levels coming from liver. One 3-ounce serving of meat contains approximately 70 milligrams of choline. Chocolate, peanut butter, brussels sprouts and broccoli also contain significant levels of choline.

Fun project:  meat casserole with brussels and broccoli.  If you’ve got some homemade stock from your chicken, use the to flavor the casserole and to double down on Acetul-CoA production.



GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is responsible for shutting the body down for rest and recovery. You may be experiencing low GABA levels if you find your mind racing or have trouble sleeping at night.


GABA levels can be promoted through probiotic rich foods like yogurt that improve gut health. Foods that increase GABA levels include berries, bananas, and Pu-erh tea. 

Fun project: Marissa and I ferment vegetables at home and use the spare pickle juice in our salads.  Loaded in probiotics and fun to make, it’s a fun experiment for the home.



Serotonin is another inhibitory neurotransmitter and really a jack of all trades. It helps regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to fatigue and depression.


Foods like chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, nut butter, eggs, and green peas all contain high levels of Tryptophan a precursor to serotonin production. One other way to boost serotonin production? You guessed it…exercise!


Fun project: come to CrossFit Carolina Beach for a workout with your sweat heart, then home for some home made pad Thai with eggs, a few peas, and sub that classic peanut taste with almond butter. Carbs for the reload and shared experiences to boost the intimacy.


Want to talk more about training and recovery? Get in touch with us at today!


Email for general questions.

How To Master Your Mind

What do you think about during a workout?


Is it how heavy the weight feels?

The daunting number of reps remaining or time left on the clock?

A creaky knee or that shoulder that always flares up?


Whether you’re in the gym to improve your health, gaining strength and conditioning for your sport, or you are an aspiring professional exerciser you can stand to benefit from improving your mental game. Mental Game is the self talk that dictates how you execute, the inner voice calling the shots. If there have been times in training, competition, and life where you walked away feeling like you could have performed better then maybe it is time to consider improving your mental game.


In his podcast Finding Mastery, Michael Gervais interviews 4x worlds fittest man Rich Froning. When it comes to the mindset of a champion there may be no one better to listen to. Rich discusses his approach to training, competition, and his journey from being a relentless individual competitor to a team champion and family man.


“In training, you listen to your body. In competition you tell your body to shut up.” -Rich Froning Jr.


Rich mentions that he hates losing. In fact, he goes so far as to say that he hates losing more than he loves winning.


This is a common occurrence in top athletes that relates back to a very basic human instinct. That is, all decisions that we make are performed in the name of avoiding pain or seeking pleasure. In this case Rich could not bear the sting of losing after a second place finish in his first CrossFit Games appearance. Even after taking home 6 titles proving his dominance as the fittest man in the world, you can still hear the bitterness in his voice as he discusses that fateful day almost a decade behind him.


What separates Rich and makes him such a great champion is what he did with that experience. When most people could have complained, or quit, or cried Rich let that experience fuel his fire. He did this by attacking his weaknesses in training so that way the next year he could show up with confidence.

Rich goes on to mention that he believed he wasn’t always the best athlete in competition but that it was his willingness to push himself harder when it mattered most that lead him to victory. This is a skill he has been cultivating his whole life. Growing up in a family surrounded by older, stronger cousins RIch constantly found himself competing.


To succeed against a stronger opponent, effort becomes of the utmost importance. Like the old saying goes, “hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” We can all benefit from this maxim and train like the underdog. In the training environment you can create situations that will push you into an uncomfortable place. The more time you spend in an uncomfortable place the less uncomfortable it becomes. This allows you to push deeper and find new thresholds.


Are there any areas in your life that you find uncomfortable? Do you find yourself shying away from those situations or coming up with excuses?


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” -Arnold Schwarzenegger


Everyone’s favorite Mr. Olympia has the mindset of a champion, there is no denying that. As a successful bodybuilder, businessman, movie star, and governator, Arnold shows us that with the right mindset we can achieve success and apply those principles to all areas of our lives.


So what does the mindset of a champion look like? Arnold suggests 6 rules for success:


    1. Trust yourself, have a clear vision of the outcome you want and go for it.
    2. Break some rules, be the exception, be the first, one of a kind.


  • Don’t be afraid to fail, if you are not failing you are not aiming high enough.
  • Ignore the naysayers, if you are serious about your goal there is no space.
  • Work like Hell, harder and smarter.
  • Give something back, what lessons have you learned that could benefit others?



Following these principles will benefit you regardless of your goal or undertaking. Every day is a chance for improvement and you get a fresh start right now.


Are there any areas in your life you need to start to trust yourself? Do you have toxic influences in your life keeping you from trying? What are you focused on besides your goal?


“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.” -Michael Jordan


Michael Jordan was focused on making the shot

Not the win.

Not the loss.

Not the miss.

Just making the shot.


It’s a pressure cooker. To have the ball in your hands with the game on the line. Maybe you have been there before…maybe you have never been there, but always wondered what it would be like.


In life we aren’t always faced with such clear moments of decision, but that does not mean that there is any less pressure or less important outcomes. Every day there are perhaps dozens of little decisions we make that have shaped our character and crafted the life that we live.


Whether it is fighting for one more burpee in the workout, double checking our work before shipping a project, or even getting out of bed instead of snoozing for that 5 extra minutes. Each day we get the chance to take the shot. So many times though we don’t take it because we are caught up in our own heads.


By changing our focus to an outcome that we desire we invite in the opportunity for that change to occur. Our bodies adapt to the stories that our minds create.


Is your self talk keeping you from playing your best in any area? What is a new story you could tell yourself instead?


“If you can see yourself doing something, you can do it. If you can’t see yourself doing it, usually you can’t achieve it.” -David Goggins


David Goggins in no stranger to overcoming obstacles. From losing 120 lbs to becoming a Navy Seal, pull-up world record holder, and running 203.5 miles in 48 hours this man has what I would call mental warfare more than mental game.

How does he do it?


By facing his fears head on. Goggins recognized that by making decisions in fear he was headed down a path that he was ashamed of. He made a choice to become the opposite of all his worst fears, but this change did not happen overnight.


He describes the early days where he couldn’t run around his neighborhood block without stopping and returning to the couch for a chocolate milkshake. He was able to transition and improve by telling himself to be better and try it again. He internalized the message that he was not going to quit by training it every single day. Just like a muscle it grew over time. David would rely on this muscle every time he tackled a new challenge that felt insurmountable.


These are the lessons and tips from some of the best in the world. So how can you start flexing your mental muscles and change your self talk?


Next time you are talking  yourself through a workout or challenging project keep these lessons in mind. Focus on the outcome that you want, not the negative result if things don’t work out.

Separate wants from needs.  If you are out for a jog and you think “I need to slow down” then you have already committed to slowing down.  You can shift that thought to “I want to slow down, but I am going to hold this pace.”  It’s amazing how genuinely thinking this makes it so much easier.

Over time you can shift the thought to “I want to slow down, but instead, I am going to go faster.”  There is a time and place to slow down, but when you know you shouldn’t, separating “wants” from “needs” can be a huge help.


Break things down into small manageable chunks. Focus on your most immediate action and doing it to the best of your ability. And of course, work like hell. The challenges in life are there for growth, tackle them head on.


Debunking 5 Diets

What should I eat?

How much can I eat?

And when can I eat it?


These are 3 questions that always seem to pop up in a world where we all want a physical and mental edge in performance and having the perfect diet is a key component of that. Let’s explore some of the popular diets in the fitness world right now. This is just an overview of each to help you decide if any of these might be something you’d enjoy.



  1. The Ketogenic Diet aka “Keto



Your body relies on glucose for fuel. If there’s no glucose easily available your body needs to find a new way to fuel itself. This happens through the breakdown of fats and proteins. Originally discovered back in the 1920’s as a treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has become widely popular as it can help practitioners lose weight quickly and provides mental clarity.



There are a lot of great high fat foods that can still be consumed (did somebody say bacon?!)



Limiting carb and protein intake requires some specific portioning of food. Measuring ketone levels through blood, breath, or urine is not the highlight of anyone’s day.


2) Whole 30


This diet is completed as a 30 day challenge that allows only whole foods (meats, vegetables, some fruits, and some healthy fats). This diet focuses on the “What” you should eat but is less concerned with “How much” and “When” making it a popular option for novice dieters.



By eliminating processed foods from your diet you give your digestive tract a much needed break. Most folks report higher energy levels. No measuring of portions saves time.



You have to accept that you’re going to be a boring dinner date for the month. Kinda.  There are still a few great options available to you and being educated on how to make decisions on what to eat while eating out can help.


3) Macro Diet


Ignore the “What” you eat in all but the broadest sense. That is, you only account for the macronutrient makeup of food in terms of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Focus in on the ratio or total number of calories taken in to hit a total daily macronutrient intake based on your training goals and calories required.



Eating donuts after a workout without feeling guilty can be a huge relief


Poor dietary choices could lead to micronutrient deficiencies. Frequent consumption of high glycemic carbohydrates could lead to insulin resistance.


4) Intermittent Fasting


This diet focuses specifically on the “When” component of eating. Generally practiced by consuming all meals in a maximum 8 hour time window. This might look like skipping breakfast and consuming all calories between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm followed by 16 hours of fasting. Many individuals pair this methodology with foods that would be considered “keto” or “whole 30” approved.



A smaller window of time to eat during means fewer calories consumed by most people. The long fasting period can lead to increased fat burning.



Some people have a difficult time adhering to the strict time windows that provide the alleged benefits.


5) Vertical Diet


This diet focuses on the “What” you can eat with foods broken down into daily micronutrient required foods and daily macronutrient foods where steak and white rice help you hit your required caloric intake. Caloric consumption is increased based on training volume and goals. Additionally this diet eliminates some unique foods like legumes, onion, and garlic that are considered high FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharide and polyol) foods.



This diet can be a great starting point for someone who has difficulty meeting macronutrient requirements or is new to dieting.



The extreme lack of variability in food choices make this diet a bit boring to follow. It’s very possible that micronutrient deficiencies could occur by following the same simple foods long term.