Avoiding Diet Plateaus (With Kansas City Personal Trainer David Oquendo 26/8/2016)

Hey, today I’m here to talk about plateaus.

A lot of people hit plateaus because they are so low on calories for so long that it causes them to build up cortisol. When you have a low amount of calories and you work out a lot, you don’t recover well. The cortisol starts to build up, your body gets stressed out and starts to fight against it. It makes you retain water weight and you can hold 10 to 15 pounds. You ladies have more of a problem with this than guys. Of course you know when it’s that time of the month and you have your period, it’s easier for you to retain water weight. Also, I’ve talked about this before, as a female your body actually adapts to low calories faster, especially during pregnancy, as that is what your body revolves around. The lower calories you get, the faster it actually adapts.

So if you are on a low amount of calories for a long time, you’re working out really hard, and you hit this plateau and you can’t seem to lose weight, it could be because your body is retaining too much water. An easy way to fix that is to maybe go into higher calories for a little bit longer, adding 400 or 500 calories, trying to figure out your maintenance, staying there for a whole month, and letting your body adapt to normal nutrition, or a normal amount of calories. That way when you go into a deficit again, your body is not as stressed because it’s had normal nutrition for a while, enough to reset it back to normal.

I see it all the time; people feel fluffy and puffy, and just kind of soft, and it’s because in a sense, they’re not following their food plan. They’re always eating really, really low, and they think they have to go lower and lower, and really they’re not eating enough calories for their body to be happy. A lot of plateaus happen because of that.

Another reason you may have hit a plateau could be that you are not drinking enough water. Think about it – the less water you have, the more your body wants to reserve water. So having enough water during the day will help you keep the water weight off. It’s kind of weird and you may pee a lot, but after it levels off again, the water weight will drop.

Another way you might hit a plateau: let’s say you’re not watching your calories, and you start off just eating clean or eating less, by portion size, and you do great. You’re losing weight…losing weight…losing weight…and finally you hit a plateau. It could be that at fifty pounds heavier, your body needed a certain amount of calories and just by eating healthier and a lower amount of calories than you needed, you lost weight. You’ve lost a few pounds and your calorie needs have changed a little bit. You’ve begin to hit that margin where you’re at maintenance now and you’re not losing weight because of it. So if you’ve been eating clean for a while but you’ve stopped losing weight, it’s time to watch your calories to solidify that you are in the position you need to be.

In the end, there’s no better way to get past a plateau than to watch your calories. You know low carb diets, yeah they work, of course they work, because you’re taking carbs out of the usual protein, fats and carbs that you have, you’re only having proteins and fats so you’ve lowered your calories. It’s not necessarily the best way to go, it’s an easy way to go, but eventually at some point you’re going to have to get strict and follow some kind of calorie loss or calorie maintenance plan so you keep your body happy and not cause a high cortisol build up or slow your metabolism down. It’s not a dramatic loss of metabolism but it’s enough, and you’ll hold on to that water weight.

That can really cause a lot of frustration; if you’ve lost ten pounds of fat and you’ve got ten pounds of water weight on, you won’t see the scale drop. If you’re eating right, you’re eating healthy, you’re working out 5 to 6 days a week, but you just can’t drop the weight, you might have to really start dialing in on the calories, and it’s not that hard. It just takes a couple weeks of doing it. Two or three weeks and you’ll begin to see the results. And guess what, when you start seeing results, you’ll want to do more of it. Really think about this, do baby steps, small habit changes, I’m not saying you have to be, boom, perfect. But if you hit a plateau, start looking at how many calories you’re having – it could be a huge issue. Maybe you’re not drinking enough water – start drinking more water. And don’t let the plateau discourage you, keep pushing, find a way, and keep being more strict with what you need to eat.

So – if you’re at a plateau or you’re hitting one right now, and you’ve not followed your diet plan very well, or you’ve never ever followed a diet plan, you just ate healthier, it may be time to really hit that and make sure you’re having enough calories. Or it may be time to go into a maintenance phase where you don’t lose weight for a month and kind of get your body back to normal and happy with the calories you’re taking.

All right, I’m out. Have a great one!


12 Tips for Your Best Body

You know that diet and exercise are important when it comes to creating your best body, but you may be overlooking other techniques for getting into the best shape.

Turn the following 12 simple tips into habits and watch as your body transforms.

1) Eat a Smart Breakfast.

Most people load up on carbohydrates and simple sugars for breakfast. Cereal, pastries, smoothies and juice are all poor choices when it comes to starting your day off right. Center your breakfast around protein and healthy fat, and you’ll have energy for hours. Try a protein shake, eggs, lean breakfast meat, or a handful of nuts.

2) Get More Sleep.

If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night then you could use more sleep. This is especially true if you’ve reached a plateau with weight loss. Give your body the 8 hours of sleep each night and make weight loss easier.

3) Just Do It.

If you’re really ready to achieve your best body ever, then dig down deep and commit. As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of success is showing up.” This is absolutely true when it comes to fitness. Show up to your workout. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’d rather be doing something else. Just do it.

4) Plan Ahead.

Take one day each week to plan your healthy meals for the following week. You don’t have to do all the shopping and cooking on that day, simply jot down what you plan to eat. This small act of planning ahead will keep you on track with healthy meals even when the week gets crazy busy.

5) Drink a Little Protein Shake Before Going out to Eat.

Many people go our to eat because they are very hungry and don’t want to take the time to cook. The problem is most people end up eating too much bread, chips or other appetizers when this happens When you drink a little protein shake before you go out to eat it helps blunt that hunger so you can focus on eating the proper proportions when you eat a meal out!

6) Believe In Yourself.

Do you believe that you have what it takes to transform your body? If you want to succeed in weight loss then you have to believe that it’s possible. Give yourself a pep talk and dig down deep for the courage and discipline to apply these healthy changes to your life.

7) Eat Less Dairy.

Dairy products like cheese or cream add extra fat and calories to your meals. Pass on the dairy and you’ll eliminate unnecessary calories, making weight loss quicker.

8) Sleep and Wake at the Same Time.

This tip sounds so simple, and yet it’s a powerful way to increase your daily energy. Get your body on a schedule and watch how much more productive and energetic you become.

9) Include Veggies at Every Meal.

Most people aren’t too crazy about vegetables, and probably eat less than they should. Make it a point to include a vegetable with each of your meals – even breakfast. The increase in fiber and other nutrients will give your body that extra boost that you’re looking for.

10) Beware of sodium in packaged foods.

So this is kind of mind trick but lots of additional sodium can retain water – which can make you think you gained weight! This is one of the easiest things you can do to make sure you keep the number down on the scale.

11) Drink More Water.

Being hydrated is key when it comes to creating your best body. Drink water throughout your day and limit caffeinated beverages to once daily.

12) Exercise With a Pro.

Are you exercising as efficiently as possible? Do you challenge your muscles enough during each workout? Are you keeping the routine new and fresh? These are all factors that will be taken care of for you when you work with a trained fitness professional. Working with a pro ensures that you make the most of your exercise time.

So there you have it, 13 tips that will take your results up a notch.

If you haven’t joined one of my programs yet, now is a great time to start. Together we will get you focused on your goals with my results-driven method.

Call or email today to set up your first workout. Or fill out the form below to take advantage of our most recent special.


Nutrition Myths With Kansas City Personal Trainer David Oquendo 8/11/16

Today I’m going to talk about the supposed ‘anabolic window’, where you are supposed to eat within an hour of working out. We often hear, “You’ve got to eat right after a workout or you’re going to lose muscle and you’re not going to gain as much.” Or, “You’re going to go into a catabolic (tear-down) state so you have to have protein right after you work out.”

This belief about the anabolic window has been pushed for a long time. At the end of this post, you’ll find a link to research by Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfeld, two respected people in this business. They compared experiments to see what was true about the anabolic window – mainly the idea that you have to eat right after working out to make sure that you don’t lose any muscle and go into a catabolic state. The results were inconclusive but it looks like a post-workout meal did not make as much difference as the pre-workout meal.

Pre-Workout Vs. Post-Workout Meal
A pre-workout meal with a good amount of protein and carbs takes time to digest. By the time you’re finished exercising, you would be well on the way to digesting the food. Those nutrients are just getting into your system, so technically the anabolic window doesn’t happen, as the nutrients are being absorbed into your system and helping you. So if you eat before you work out, the anabolic window is not as important as people think it is.

In one experiment, a person ingested 20g of whey protein right before exertion, and it elevated the muscle uptake of amino acids 4.4 times compared to resting levels before exercise – and the baseline did not return until 3 hours post-exercise. In another example of Essential Amino Acids, 6g were taken immediately before exercise, and this elevated the blood and muscle amino acid level 130% for 2 hours after the exercise, which seems to imply the anabolic window exists purely based on what you eat beforehand.

If you’re doing a fasting work out (i.e. haven’t eaten for 5 hours beforehand) then it’s very important for you to get that meal immediately after because you have no nutrients to use for recovery. But if you’re a person who eats 2 or 3 hours before you work out, by the time you’re done you’re only just digesting your meal and the food is beginning to do its job to help you recover. So eating something or drinking a protein shake right after a workout helps very little if you are actually eating food before you work out, especially a decent amount of food. The majority of people can eat before they workout, so they’re not going to have the issue of an anabolic window. But again it’s all up to how you work out and what your lifestyle is.

If you’re really trying to build muscle, make sure that pre-workout meal is filled with protein and carbs. If you want to do everything perfectly, take some whey protein immediately before you work out, that’ll make sure by the time you’re done ingesting, it’s hitting your system as you finish exercising, or right after.

Personally, I’m not one to drink a protein shake or shovel food in my mouth right after. It’s never had much importance to me, and I’ve always seen results anyway. I don’t do bodybuilding contests so I don’t need to be 100% perfect on everything, and most people don’t. Of course, if you are in a bodybuilding show, then you need to be on point with everything, because the person competing next to you is doing everything right, and you should too. But for the general public, the anabolic window isn’t relevant.

There’s a lot of crap out there that’s not proven. You can call it bodybuilding science, or because a bodybuilder did it, now everybody thinks it’s ok to do it. Or maybe a bodybuilding supplement company says it, and of course, they say it, because they want you to buy as many supplements as you can. Again, do your research and don’t just listen to people.

So here’s the link to the research. It’s filled with jargon that you may find hard to follow but if you want proof, there’s some real hard evidence here.  (

Hope this was helpful!



Nutrition Myths With Kansas City Personal Trainer David Oquendo 08-04-16


Today I’m going to talk about ways to keep yourself fuller, or feeling full when you’re on a diet.

Feeling full when you’re on a diet can be one of the biggest issues with trying to lose weight. You want to feel full enough when you’re dieting so that you’re not constantly snacking and constantly hungry and ruin your diet. I want to give you some tips that I use, that my clients use. Nothing crazy, just simple examples.


#1 – Add more protein to your diet.

A great way to help you decrease your hunger is to increase your protein. By increasing protein you will feel fuller the majority of the time, and the more protein you have, the fuller you’ll feel. Having it multiple times a day, 4 or 5 times a day, will keep you feeling fuller longer as it takes longer to digest than other nutrients.

I really like to add protein before I go out to eat so I don’t eat as much.  It’s a big problem with going out to eat. Most people overeat quite easily when they go out to eat, and it’s usually food that’s loaded with calories – so you get there, it smells good, you’re starving, you order an appetizer, and you’re hitting well over your calorie intake, really fast. So that’s one easy way to do it – just eating some protein before you go out to eat.


#2 – Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods.

Veggies, beans…the more fiber you have in your stomach, the fuller you will feel. If you are consistently having veggies all day long, they will sit in your stomach and longer to digest, it kind of helps you feel full. Try adding fiber to a meal:  let’s say you have 6 ounces of chicken, a cup of rice – add a massive salad to go with it and you’re going to feel full. Salad is a good add-in at dinner time when you’re really hungry. But again, don’t load it with salad dressing. If you’re getting a salad dressing with 120 calories per serving (and most people do 3 servings), it defeats the purpose of keeping the calorie count down, by adding a high calorie salad dressing to a low calorie salad.

Even though you eat veggies be careful what you put on them, how you cook them and how you make them. If you cook them in coconut oil or olive oil you have to account for the fat that is going to add. Just be careful when you’re doing that. I like to not cook my food because it doesn’t take all the water out. It’s a lot harder to eat a piece of uncooked broccoli than it is to eat a piece of cooked broccoli. But I like to eat mine raw because it makes me feel fuller. I don’t sauté spinach because it drops so much. If you like to cook your veggies just realize that they will be easier to eat but they won’t keep you as full, and make sure you are not cooking them in a ton of oil or butter.


#3 – Try not to drink your calories

Make sure the majority of calories you are taking in are from eating. It’s really easy to drink your calories – for example, just go to Starbucks, order a latte and it’s 450 calories, and you’ll gulp it down, no problem. Now, 450 calories to a 1500 calorie diet is quite big. You are already consuming way more calories than you thought you were just by having a cup of coffee in the morning. So try your best not to drink your calories because it’s too easy to waste calories this way. When you’re eating, take your time chewing and swallowing, and don’t waste your time on drinking calories that won’t give you any satisfaction.


#4 ­ – Drink Lots of Water

It’s not that you need a gallon a day to stay hydrated, it just depends on your body size as to how much you have to drink. But – if you’re constantly sipping on water throughout the day, you always have something in your stomach and it’s going to decrease your hunger. Your body will activate feelings of hunger when you are actually only thirsty, so keeping hydrated will prevent that. Overdrinking water probably won’t happen if you keep to a gallon a day or under. Curbing that hunger pains

OK, time for your questions !

“Any different between organic coconut oil and regular?”

Truthfully there’s not enough difference for me to buy one instead of the other. There’s just not enough research to prove anything for me, especially since coconut is surrounded by a hard shell so for it to soak up a lot of pesticides would be harder, than let’s say a veggie.


“What are your thoughts on coconut water for staying hydrated? “

It’s not a big deal, it has a lot of vitamins, but you can get that from other things. You don’t have to do coconut water. Water is great and you have your electrolytes for working out. Coconut water wouldn’t be my go-to source and I wouldn’t buy it just because someone says it’s really good.


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