Today Cooking with Books has a different kind of recipe for you, our dear readers. It's not a recipe for chocolate cake, but a recipe to help you regain control of your fitness and eating habits in 2012. Tim is not only my best friend's husband, but a fabulous Dietician and Personal Trainer and he was kind enough to share with us some great information!
Welcome Tim Chudy of Fitness Together St. Louis!
Q1: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I started weight training in high school to get stronger for sports. I was a tall lanky kid and if I wanted to progress at all I certainly needed to get bigger and stronger. It was just one of those things that kind of clicked for me. I got a lot stronger and a lot bigger and really enjoyed the feeling working out gave me.
If you’ve ever exercised religiously you know how quickly it bleeds over to your diet. No one wants to spend time in the gym only to sabotage it in the kitchen. So I started getting into diet. I credit my dad for turning me into a health nut. He always made our school lunches with very healthy options.
In college I majored in Dietetics. This gave me a very well rounded education, not just with diet, but the science behind all of it. The only problem was the establishment mentality of Dieticians. Plus, I had a strong distaste for the clinical setting. It wasn’t for me. So I skipped out on becoming a dietician and stuck with fitness.
I became a personal trainer in college and knew that’s what I wanted to do. So I combined my education in dietetics and my experience in fitness and made a career. I’ve been doing it ever since.
Q2: What's the most common mistake people set themselves up with when it comes to fitness resolutions?
There are really two mistakes people make. New Year’s resolutions have become a societal staple. You imbibe and indulge during the holidays and once January 1st rolls around it's time to make a resolution. So the first mistake I see people making is having a resolution because that’s what everyone does. You must have a true desire to make a resolution and a change in your life.
When you make a resolution it's got to be something that you absolutely positively want to change for the better. Over 60% of Americans are overweight so it’s clear why the top resolution is always lose weight or exercise more. Even the ones that want to look better and feel better will still fail. And that leads us to the second mistake, commitment.
If they make a resolution with good intent but still fail, then somewhere along the way they lost commitment. Yes, it will be hard and long journey. But staying committed will ensure your success. Successful resolutions are not something to do just because it's January 1. They must be set with intent and then worked on until accomplished.
Q3: What advice would you give a food blogger that's constantly testing out new recipes and is surrounded by food?
Spit a lot! (This might seem crazy, but while in culinary school, where our homework was tasting 20 cookies a night, spitting out the cookies was the ONLY way to not gain 20 pounds a night! -Marnely)
In all seriousness if you're working with food and testing out new recipes and tasting those recipes then you need to make sure that you keep a good balance with exercise and proper diet when you’re not testing.
In college we had a chef that struggled to lose weight. He swore to us that he was following his meal plans we prepared for him to the T. After some searching we determined the problem was he had a few extra hundred calories from tasting the food alone! Dipping your finger into a cream sauce or spoonful of icing has a lot of calories. And those add up. Quick.
Realistically you still have to test and taste and ultimately, love food. But outside of that time you must strive to keep a balance. If you test and taste during the day you should have a light lunch and a light dinner. Don’t expect to eat a normal size lunch if you’re doing a lot of cooking around 11am. Cut back on your portions and make sure you balance your calories through the entire day.
Q4: What do YOU eat on a normal day? // What do you recommend?
My day typically consists of 3 normal meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a morning and an afternoon snack. My favorite breakfast is a scrambled egg sandwich with light Havarti cheese and some Canadian bacon or ham on a toasted English muffin. I may have a Greek yogurt for a morning snack paired with some fruit. I typically eat something on the go whether that's a protein shake or bar for an afternoon snack. Lunch can be anything from leftovers from the night before or a sandwich. Today it was a pita with grilled chicken, tomato, pea shoots, feta cheese and avocado. And for dinner my wife, who is also a chef and likes to cook will whip up a variety of meals. Italian one night, Asian the next. It’s less important to me what she cooks, but she’s always preparing with health and flavor in mind. And yes, they can go hand-in-hand!
As a food blogger I mentioned you really want to focus on keeping a balance with your calories. Keeping your portions under control is key. You still want to strive for 5-6 mini meals which helps keep your metabolism burning throughout the day. Again, if you taste a lot on a given day, maybe you go with 7-8 smaller mini meals. As long as you stay within your recommended calorie range.
Q5: Any exercise advise for the writer that sits on his/her laptop for endless hours a day?
Try exercising intermittently throughout the day. Before you sit down to three sets of 15 squats. During your next break an hour or so later, get up and do push-ups; three sets of 20 push- ups. Then before or after lunch take a 15 to 30 minute walk. Take another midday break to stretch your legs and do walking lunges around the room. You can easily incorporate exercise throughout your day if you cannot set aside 30 to 45 minutes at one time. Plus exercising throughout the day will give your eyes and mind a break from the computer and your writing and allow you to go back to work refreshed and revitalized.