March 15, 2017by Rock Fit0

The word Metabolism is a popular term these days.

Most of us know that if our metabolism is “slow”, then we’re likely to gain weight.

But how does a person’s metabolism slow down–or speed up–and what does all that mean?

What does Metabolism mean?

The word “metabolism” is used to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do on a daily basis.

Your body has an amazing ability to move, heal, and stay alive.  Without this amazing biochemistry, life itself would not be possible.

Your Metabolism involves how the cells in your body:

  • Allow for activities you can control (e.g. physical activity, exercise, movement,).
  • Allow for activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, healing injuries, digestion, processing of nutrients, etc.).
  • Allow for storage of excess calories for later.

All of these processes put together form your metabolism.  You can start to see how these processes can function slowly, quickly, or just right.

This leads us to learning about your “metabolic rate”.

What’s your Metabolic Rate?

Your Metabolic Rate is how fast (or efficient) your metabolism works and it’s measured in calories.

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine, the more calories you burn, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off for good.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your Metabolic Rate?

Many factors affect how fast, or efficiently, your metabolism works.

The first thing we think of is our thyroid.  The thyroid gland sits on the front of your throat and it releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  The more thyroid hormone you produce, the faster your metabolism will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How much lean muscle you have also affects your metabolic rate!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

Muscles that actively move and lift weights need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle you have, the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.

Once you’ve built that muscle, your body will burn more calories–even when you’re not working out (i.e. when your body is at rest).

This is exactly why strength training and weight-bearing exercises are often recommended as part of a weight-loss program.  We want muscles to be burning those calories from fat for you!

Unfortunately, when women lose weight, they often times burn muscle instead of fat.  This causes their metabolic rate to slow down–which is exactly what we don’t want to happen.

Therefore, there’s a need to offset that weight loss from fat by building lean muscle.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and process the food you eat.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body processes foods differently.

Dietary Fats, for example, increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by a whopping 15-30%.

By trading some of your Fat or Carbs for lean Protein, you can actually increase your metabolic rate!

Another plus to eating protein is that your muscles need protein to be firm and toned.

By training your muscles, and feeding them what they need, you’ll set yourself up for weight-loss success.

What about Stress and Sleep?

Don’t forget about the importance of Stress and Sleep…

Research shows that Stress and Sleep have an impact your metabolic rate.  Stress has zero calories and  Sleep has zero calories.  But, the more stress we have in our lives—the more fat we’re likely to store.  And, the less quality sleep we get—the more hungry and tired we’re likely to be.  This leads to eating more food to make up for the lack of sleep.

Getting your Stress and Sleep in check is absolutely necessary to allowing your body to be as healthy as it can be, which in turn allows you to burn fat and lose weight.

Combining proper Nutrition, Exercise, Stress, and Sleep will result in the stronger, confident, feel-good body you’re looking for.

Ken Diaz Founder, Rock Fit
Ken Diaz
Founder, Rock Fit







P.S. Want a great MetabolismBoosting Recipe that will help you burn fat and build lean muscle?

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February 2, 2017by Rock Fit0

Everyone’s doing the same old workout, and the same old diet, while expecting different results.

We call it the Groundhog Day Diet!

Mix things up with your weekly workouts (or change the way you eat) to overcome weight loss plateaus, stimulate your metabolism, and work with your body’s ability to adapt.

Watch our video below to learn more…


Ken Diaz Founder, Rock Fit
Ken Diaz
Founder, Rock Fit

January 10, 2017by Rock Fit0

How to Avoid Processed Foods

Lab Created Foods Dominate our Diet

It’s no surprise that eating well is highly challenging in today’s modern world. Food is advertised and offered everywhere. Big money in the food industry is spent perfecting the appeal – message, taste, and satiety – of the processed foods that now dominate the American diet.  All the while, food allergies and food sensitivities have increased among the women we train at our personal training studio.

According to an article published earlier this year in BMJ open, 58% of the energy (i.e. calories) Americans eat comes from ultra-processed foods. These foods are created in a lab, and contain salt, sugar, oils/ fats, chemicals, and additives that imitate the qualities of real foods.

In addition, food plays a starring role in how we socialize. Deviating from accepted traditions or social expectations for eating and drinking can bring us under fire from well meaning friends and loved ones.

Combine this with the over burdened lifestyle common in major US cities–work, family, technology, chores, social obligations, and traffic fill every minute, leaving little time for shopping, prepping, and preparing foods at home.

In short, the deck is heavily stacked against us and our intent to have a healthy diet.

Healthy Eating Mindset Tips

For me, the first step in managing my eating strategy is to acknowledge and accept the realities of the situation.

Second, I make eating whole natural foods a priority, while realizing that I will not be able to eat this way in certain situations.

Third, I listen to my body and follow what it’s telling me in terms of food preferences. I would not be successful by forcing myself to eat foods I don’t truly enjoy.  I ask myself, within the realm of foods that came from the earth, which are the ones I most enjoy?

Fourth, how can I purchase, prepare, and store these natural foods to support my goals?



Here are some great strategies for making eating nutritious food a forever lifestyle and not a short term diet:

1)  Prepare fresh food and have it ready to add to meals, for snacks, or to take with you on days you’ll be out of the house.

  • Red, orange, yellow or green peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, and broccoli florets can be cut into bite size pieces for on the go healthy snacking.
  • Plan meals where vegetables play the starring role:
    • Lettuce, tomato, onion, and peppers can be chopped and ready to add on top of beans, chicken or beef for fast Mexican at home. Add mashed or sliced avocado for a healthy fat.
    • Ready to eat spinach can be topped with pecans, bee pollen, chopped apple, a sprinkle of Feta cheese, olives, and a teaspoon of drizzled Olive Oil or honey for a fast salad.
    • Snap peas, green beans, peppers, mushroom, and broccoli can be washed and prepped for a quick at-home Asian-themed stir fry.

2)  Keep it visible – on countertops and what you see when you open the refrigerator.

  • On the flip side, place processed and unhealthy foods in closed cupboards and high shelves or, better yet, simply don’t keep them at home.


3)  Regularly shop for fresh food. TEST – does this grow on Earth or come from nature?


4)  Eliminate as many processed foods as possible. For those you do buy, check and compare the list of ingredients and opt for brands with less total ingredients. Aim to eliminate or reduce processed foods with added chemicals, artificial colors, added sugars, added flavor, and ingredient names you cannot pronounce.


5)  Be aware of portion size. If you have specific foods you love, but that are not healthy choices – go ahead and enjoy them, but do so in moderation. When you enjoy these foods, savor them and focus on their flavor and texture. One trick to help you stick to this is to buy individual size bags of these unhealthy foods. It’s much easier to realize you’ve had too many chips if you’re opening a third small bag than it is if you’re eating out of a party sized bag.


6)  Pay close attention to your body, and stop eating when you are satisfied rather than full. Follow the Okinawan rule “Hara Hachi Bu”, which instructs people to eat until they are 80% full. It takes the brain time to process the sensation of being full. Given the lag between the brain and stomach, eating to 80% actually means we are eating to being full, rather than overstuffing ourselves.


7)  Opt out of food advertising – turn the channel, walk out of the room, turn the page. Major companies and powerful brands are spending significantly to sell their products, but we must train our brains to love and crave the foods that are truly best for us.


8)  Avoid foods that are designed to trick our minds into overeating. Foods that combine and balance multiple flavors so that no single flavor lingers (such as Chips, Doritos, and Diet Coke) turn off the brains built in mechanism for flavor satisfaction, which results in over-eating. Foods that dissolve/ melt into nothing (i.e. Cheetos, cotton candy, etc) use vanishing caloric density to trick our minds into thinking we’ve consumed nothing. And, in a way, we haven’t consumed anything but empty calories due to the lack of nutrition within these processed foods. This leaves us with a feeling of hunger and may even trigger cravings for more of these empty calories. (


Make the Best Decisions for You and your Family

As a mom, navigating the world of processed food is a big challenge. Using these strategies may reduce your and your family’s risk of gaining weight, suffering from disease, and suffering decreased quality of life. Doing so will help you feel confident that you’re making the best decisions for yourself and for your family.

If you have strategies that work for you, share them with us in the comments below. Let’s all support each other in this uphill battle!




Michelle Berkley, NASM-CPT
Rock Fit Personal Trainer