Question Time! (With Kansas City Personal Trainer David Oquendo)

Hi there! The most important factor in losing weight, of course, is calorie deficit, so you need to eat less than you burn. The only real true way to make sure you do this is to measure your food out. I do this, even with my granola and my milk, is perfectly measured out – to a tee! It’s allowed me to up my calories to 3200 calories. I have 400g of carbs a day, 102g of fat, 165g of protein. I’ve been able to maintain my six-pack with that amount of calories. I plan to increase it a little bit more and see how much I can push it. But it’s measured out, everything, every day.

Question: “What if you like cookies?”
Guess what, if you love cookies, you can have cookies! As long as it fits within your calories. I personally would rather have chips and salsa but I’m not going to have that, but it’s possible to have cookies. You could have Ben&Jerry’s if you wanted to, as long as you stay within your calories, you’ll be just fine.

Question: “Len and Larry’s Protein cookies?”
They’re really just as bad as regular cookies, sorry! The only difference is that they have a little more protein. But they are very very filling, so if you want to taste a cookie and have it fill you up, then Len and Larry’s Protein cookies would be pretty good at filling you up, I think they have a lot of fiber.

Comment: “That’s a ton of macros!”
Yes, it’s a lot of macros, but it works for me. Everybody’s different. I upped my calories from 2200 when I was cutting, to 3200, slowly. They went from 2200 to 2400, from 2400 to 2900, from 2900 to 3200. So I did it slowly. I made sure I wasn’t gaining weight at these calories before I went up. One thing you have to realize is that it takes time to figure out how far you can push it, or what your body is going to do or how it will change when you add calories to it.
By My Fitness Pal calculations I should be at 2900 calories which I thought was kind of low, and by other calculators which are more specific to day-to-day activities, the number was 3200, so that’s what I went with. But for me it’s all perfectly measured out to a tee. I eat pretty similar every day, and it all goes in My Fitness Pal. Some people say it takes a long time to track food, but it doesn’t take that long, it’s just annoying at first, and we know when people get annoyed they generally stop doing things. But if you suck it up for 2 or 3 weeks, and you spend 2 or 3 weeks actually filling things out and measuring, it gets really easy, it becomes part of your daily routine and you don’t worry about it.

Question: “When are you opening a gym in STL?”
It will be a while before I open a gym in St Louis! I gotta at least open one more in the KC area before I do that.

Question: “Talk about your cheats?”
My cheat meals – they’re pretty glorious, I’m not going to lie. But I make sure that I save my calories for the night. On Saturday mornings I work out, and I eat a banana, some peanut butter. Then my post workout is usually a banana, some chicken. And then I go play sand volleyball. Then I eat my cheat meal late at night, but I don’t have many calories till then, and I make sure I save enough calories, so it’s no big deal. And my maintenance is more like 4440 calories if I work out twice a day, so since I am playing sand volleyball for about 2 hours, it’s 4440. But if you are a person that can’t do that, and can’t easily calculate it, it may not be a good idea to change your calories. Based on your daily activities, you may want to keep yours the same.

Now it’s worth talking about this. The reason why I put all my clients on the same calories every day instead of changing it for exercises is because it’s a lot easier when you’re doing something consistently. It’s harder to track when you’re going up and down in calories, you got to add stuff, you got to take stuff away. So it’s a lot easier if you are eating close to the same thing every day, it makes it a lot smoother, easier to track, and most of us do a lot better. Now if you want to change intake with your exercise, that’s great, you can go lower when you’re not working out, higher when you are, but it gets confusing for most people. I don’t want to do it, so I can understand that you won’t want to do it. I only do it one day a week, and that’s Saturday when I work out twice.

Question: “Does it matter the time period of your intake?”
No. It really won’t affect most people at all. Most people aren’t trying to be a bodybuilder so they don’t have to have everything perfect. Most weight loss can occur with very few meals: two meals a day, three meals a day, six meals a day, it’s all the same as long as your calories are the same. When you wake up at 6 am, you’re going to burn the same amount of calories until the next day at 6 am. So it doesn’t matter when you eat it, because you’re still going to burn 2500 calories. I’ve been talking about the anabolic window, and if you work out in a fasting state, then you could have some issues if your post workout meal is not close enough to when you are done with your workout. But if you eat beforehand, and usually people eat about 2 to 3 hours before, by the time you get around to working out, you’re actually only starting to digest the food, so that nutrition is going into your system when you start working out and even after. So that anabolic window is not as important as you think it is. My post workout meal is actually not that big, a little bit of protein, a little bit of fat.

If you’re a bodybuilder and you need to know exactly that you are taking in the perfect amount of calories at the perfect time, or an athlete, and you’re eating a lot of food before you work out and a lot of food afterwards, because you’re based on performance not on fat loss, then recovery is huge. If you’re not eating enough, you’re not recovering enough. If you’re one of my regular clients, you don’t need to worry about the timing of your food. Most people don’t need to. I’ve seen phenomenal results eating whenever I want as long as my calories are the same.

Comment: “I hate water. “
Do you hate water? Suck it up. You don’t get a choice. It’s really easy. You just drink it.

Final Thoughts
Okay, I have to say this. I get bothered when people say, “I can’t eat that healthy, because I want to enjoy my life, I like to enjoy my food.” Well, guess what. People who smoke crack, love crack. Eating is a means to live. A lot of good food tastes pretty good. You’ve just been hitting food with high amounts of salt and high amounts of sugar, and you’ve become addicted to it. So don’t let anyone tell you that eating healthy is a bad thing, or you’re giving up on so much because you’re really not. Once you start eating healthy, the other foods don’t taste as good. Bad food sits badly in your stomach, you feel tired, you feel lethargic, and anybody that says different, they’re lying.

I see it all the time! Tons of clients walk through the door and the better they eat, the better they feel. Again, I compare it to crack. Crack probably feels great to the person smoking it. It’s self-control. If you don’t have it, that’s the reason why you’re not eating healthy. Self-control is not easy to learn, it takes time, a couple months of building good healthy habits, to break habits, and that’s OK. I don’t expect anybody to go cold turkey on bad food. It takes a while, it took me a while when I first started. But if you say, it’s part of life to enjoy this phenomenal food with tons of calories and fat and doesn’t ingest well anyway, then you’re really just lying – it’s just your lack of self-control. Some people may hate this, some people make like this, but it’s true. If you have self-control, you’ll eat healthy. If you don’t, you won’t. I’m not putting you down for not having self-control, you should take into consideration changing your habits little by little and not go cold turkey, and I guarantee you if you are consistent and persist with it, you will cut those cravings, you will start eating healthier, and it will totally change how you feel, how tired or lethargic you are. Your mental clarity gets better. Everything around nutrition helps. The same with exercise. I have yet to hear anybody say – “I work out, I eat healthy, and I feel like crap.” That doesn’t happen. And there’s a reason why!

This has been “Question Time” with Kansas City Personal Trainer, David Oquendo!