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Interview with Paul Gagné, World Renowned Strength Coach, Posturologist, and Performance Specialist
In this week's episode of the Milesfit transformation podcast Miles Krol, the owner and founder of the Milesfit Montreal private personal training studio, interviews Paul Gagné, world renowned strength coach, posturologist, and performance specialist. He has trained a multitude of professional athletes and has been a pioneer in the field in terms of bringing injury prevention as well as performance to athletes and regular people. In this episode, they delve into a variety of topics from his career, to the science of posturology and posture, to athletic performance, as well as nutrition. Hope you guys enjoy!
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The Power of the Middle Ground
In today's day and age, we've become an all or nothing culture. We’ve seem to have lost the art of finding the middle-ground where one can find balance and compromise. This is one of the reasons why diets don't work. People are either "on" or "off." They're either on a diet and things are "on track" or they screw up and fall off (and the "screw-it" syndrome begins with a huge trip to binge-city!) What if the solution was simply found in the grey zone?
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Change Your Habits, Change Your Life
“Meaningful change starts with introspection and honest consideration.” Our lives are largely structured by our habits. For example, the job we have is the product of a set of habits we developed to gain the skills to be qualified for that job. Now we have habits that allow us to continue our work, from getting dressed in the morning, to our commute to work, to the way we handle the tasks at our job. We create habits to get us what we want, and to maintain what we have. These habits can become deeply ingrained in us, to the point where they are subconscious. We go through the motions of these habits without thinking about it. It’s just how we live. However, not all of our habits help us. Some of those subconscious processes can hinder us when we want to make important changes in our lives. A habit that serves you where you’re at won’t always help you get to where you want! The solution is to change, but how do we do it? Well, this is the ultimate question!
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Sugar!
"The secret is not to cut out anything! It’s to have a healthy relationship with food: one where you have an all inclusive approach and mentality." Our clients ask us all the time if they should cut out sugar on their weight-loss journeys. Our answer is no! If you completely abstain from something, all you’re going to do is create built up tension! What this inevitably results in is breaking the strict regime, consuming some sugar, and feeling a ton of guilt and shame! And when you feel guilt and shame, you will also inevitably end up in a town called binge-city! Where you develop a syndrome known as f*ck-it syndrome, and you throw every single good dietary principle out the window! The secret is not to cut out anything! It’s to have a healthy relationship with food: one where you have an all inclusive approach and mentality. This is exactly how we coach our clients. We don’t believe in diets and we don’t believe in strict nutrition protocols. Yes, if you’re a super athlete or you’re training for a competition, by all means you do need a strict and regimented approach. But, if you’re like 99% of the population, and you just want to enjoy food, and look and feel great, then you have to have a healthy relationship with food that permits a long term sustainable way of eating!
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Tutorial: How to Properly Perform the Bench Press
In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to properly perform the bench press and the most common mistakes I’ve seen as a trainer. I hope it’ll help increase your lift and your PR.
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Self-Sabotage
“Thomas Edison failed more than 1000 times while trying to invent the light-bulb! Every-time he failed, he declared that he found another way to NOT invent the light-bulb.” Are you screwing yourself over? Who here has self-sabotaged before? Raise your hand and join the club! Why do we do this? Well, I think that's a great question to ask because it seems quite bizarre that we would sabotage ourselves from getting what we want! We're peculiar beings, aren't we? Self-sabotage is an interesting phenomena. Especially because I don't think the body wants to self-destruct. As a matter of fact, I think it could be quite the opposite! What if self-sabotage was our own body trying to protect us from ourselves and it had nothing to do with screwing ourselves over other than the perception of such by the inability of our conscious minds to understand what's up? How could this be?
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A Work in Progress
We're all works in progress doing the best we can with what we know (and doing the best we can given the circumstances of our lives). Perfection is an illusion. Ideal happenings don't exist. What we want never unfolds as we envisioned it. That's the name of the game. We only know what we know, and we don't know what we don't know. Life is a journey of uncovering that which we don't know to make the unknown known. If we had it all figured out, there wouldn't be much point to the quest of life. The hero's journey is about self-discovery through constant micro-journeys jump started with calls to action, followed by facing dragons, and finally coming full circle with the treasure in hand. Journey - challenge - victory. And, victory can mean getting yourself beaten down to a fine pulp. Sometimes you have to lose to win.
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Slow Down!
A common mistake I see lifters of all levels make is disregarding tempo during their strength training. Tempo is essentially the speed with which you lift and lower the weights. Many lifters pay this no mind, and simply lift and lower the weights as quickly as possible. This is not ideal for a couple of reasons. First of all: it can be dangerous. If we’re simply trying to lift as fast as possible, we aren’t controlling the movement, nor are we focusing on the specific joint action taking place. Lifting too quickly can lead to bad form and excessive strain on our joints, which is the last thing we want in the gym.
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Goals Versus Rituals
"Life is not about the end result—it's about the process of transformation. It's about witnessing yourself re-invent yourself, and evolving into a new person." Making a clear distinction between goals and rituals is a SUPER important line to draw in the sand. Goals = something you achieve. Rituals = the habits you execute on a daily basis to move you towards your goals. Goals = outcomes. Rituals = steps. Do you want to focus on the outcome or the steps? I suggest the latter! Goals get you excited, but often can get you equally overwhelmed. You want to envision what you want and think about it from time to time, but you don't want to get caught up in the imagination of things for too long. Once you know what you want, it's all about setting up the rituals to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
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What is Junk Food and How to Quit
"As you shift towards a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods, then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food." If only junk food didn’t taste so good, then it would be easier to resist. The reason for its craveable flavor is a specialized balance of sugar, fat, and salt. But while it tastes phenomenal, it’s detrimental to your fat loss results. Junk food is becoming more and more cleverly packaged as healthy choices, and so, it’s becoming more and more difficult to judge what is actually junk and what is not. Here are some ways you can identify junk food...
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Time with Yourself
"Surrender. Detach. Align. Explore." In the fast-pace World that we live in, it's sometimes quite hard to find ample time for yourself. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day busyness, that we forget about the importance and necessity of connecting to our inner-being. Life is full of endless things to do, and if you had multiple lifetimes at your disposal, you'd still have a hard time doing everything that there is that can be done! With that being said, it's about managing yourself (and your goals, dreams, and desires) within the construct of the finite lifetime we have.
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Get What You Really Want
"Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant. The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant will always win. The Elephant, The Rider, and The Path are a great framework for understanding yourself and what drives you. All human change depends on it." Have you ever acted against your better judgment? Of course you have! We all have. Sometimes you do things that you later regret. And this keeps you from achieving the body that you want. You hit snooze rather than waking up early to exercise before work. You blow off your healthy eating plan to indulge in a hamburger and fries. You start an exercise program only to drop out two weeks into it. These regrettable actions prevent you from achieving your goals and keep you stuck.
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Your Relationship With Food
“Break away from the negativity surrounding food. Allow yourself to take this journey one step at a time, and realize that no matter what that this is a process.” All of us, whether we know it or not, have a relationship with food. Being that eating is essential for survival, it’s fairly reasonable to expect that over time we all develop our own habits, preferences, and feelings about food. This relationship begins when we’re very young, when we try something delicious (or disgusting) for the first time, beginning to develop our preferences and tastes. It continues through our upbringing when we are exposed to family recipes, cultural practices, and rituals around eating, which shapes our emotional attachment to food. Then, in adulthood, we gain more agency in our food choices, further developing our own tastes and habits.
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On Seeing the Forest for the Trees
"The reality is that just like most things, getting fit and staying fit takes time, patience, and effort." The health and fitness industry has long been inundated with phoney, one-stop solutions. They make us believe that achieving our goals is as simple as taking a pill, avoiding one type of food, or buying some expensive, goofy-looking exercise contraption. We want solutions, and we don’t want to wait for them. As unrealistic as that is, it’s what we all want. However, the reality is that just like most things, getting fit and staying fit takes time, patience, and effort. Those are the three major tenets of achieving any kind of fitness goal. It’s the unglamorous truth that is behind getting results. You have to work for them.
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The ABCs of HIIT: An Introduction to High Intensity Interval Training
“What this means is that through HIIT, not only can you increase your cardiovascular endurance even more effectively than steady state cardio training (like going for a 5 km jog, for example), but you can also increase your muscle endurance and lean muscle mass.” These days, the term HIIT is being thrown around a lot, inside and outside of the gym environment. We often hear people talk about HIIT cardio or how HIIT can help you lose weight, but what is it really, and why is it so effective for fat loss and increased endurance when properly used? While you may have frequently heard this term, you may not know that HIIT actually stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Simply put, this means training by alternating through cycles of intense bursts of activity at maximum heartrate, with cycles of rest in-between. So now that we understand what HITT is, why is it beneficial? While it has been known to have many different advantages for the body, some of the key benefits include increased cardiovascular health, fat loss, and increased muscle endurance. Depending on your own personal goals, and which benefits of HIIT you would like to focus on, there are many different ways to use high intensity interval training. One of the most popular ways to train is what is widely known as the Tabata Method.
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Lead by Example
“Be the change you want to see in the World.” This is one of my favourite quotes. The sentiment here is one of ownership and personal responsibility. As frustrating as it sometimes can be, the world does not conform to our will. While we may not have total agency over the world around us, we do have agency over ourselves. We can tell ourselves our problems come from the outside in, but the solution is always from the inside out.
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Essential Elements of Weight Loss, Health, and Wellness
"The essential elements of health and wellness can be summed up in four parts: nutrition, resistance training, sleep & stress, and cardiovascular exercise." When tasking yourself with a weight loss mission, it is important to establish some fixed goals you would like to achieve before you get started. Whether it be losing a certain amount of weight or body fat, or simply wanting to become a healthier individual. Creating these goals will help to motivate you and stay consistent during the process. The other key part of changing your body is to produce a complete regime that includes a healthy eating plan and an efficient exercise routine. However, many people do not properly understand the essential elements that are needed for consistent weight/fat loss. Here is what you need to know. The essential elements of health and wellness can be summed up in four parts: nutrition, resistance training, sleep & stress, and cardiovascular exercise. Making sure you include a balance between these elements will provide you with a certain level of dietary stability. But understanding each element and its various complexities is absolutely critical to achieve success.
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A State of Gratitude
"We don’t need anything more to make ourselves whole when we live in a state of gratitude." I’m sure many of you have experienced negative self-talk. In fact, I’d go as far as to say we all have experienced this at times in our lives. We get down on ourselves and the voice in our heads seems to never have anything good to say. This is often caused by low self-esteem and fear. These fears are rooted deep in us, and are often enforced by the images we see around us. We live in a society that tells us we are not good enough, that we need to buy things to improve ourselves. So the self-talk persists and we become trapped in a vicious cycle.
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You Are What You Eat
“The truth is if I had taken more time to focus on nourishing myself, I would have felt less tired, had better focus, and would have been able to work just as hard, if not harder!” We’ve heard the saying time and again: “you are what you eat.” It’s one of those phrases that gets said so often that it loses its meaning. I wanted to look at this expression and explain the truth behind it. Everything we eat is broken down in our bodies and used to fuel us and repair us. Food provides all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that form the building blocks of our entire physiology. In this way, we quite literally are made up of all the things we eat.
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Emphasize Your Weakest Link
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Our bodies are complicated machines with lots of moving parts. Often, when we train, we end up overemphasizing the parts of us that are already strong, and ignore the parts that might need a bit of help. It’s understandable. No one wants to feel weak! But the fact of the matter is if we don’t focus on those weaker muscles, we may end up with imbalances and injuries (which I assure you is much worse than feeling weak!).
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When Salads Go Wrong
When planning out a diet or a new nutritional regime, one of the first things many of us do is prepare a list of healthy meals that can help expedite the process. The most common meal associated with weight loss is salad, and while there are certainly a number of benefits salads can yield, it may not be the most efficient or the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. In my experience, the phrase “I only had a salad for lunch today!” is not synonymous with “I ate a healthy and nutritious meal today!” This is primarily due to the fact that most of the salads you would get from a restaurant are loaded with things like fried croutons, bacon bits, high-calorie salad dressings, etc. And it often results in a much higher caloric intake than things like burgers and fries. It may be hard to believe, but it’s true!
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Simple and Easy Weight Loss Tips
Having personally undergone my own weight-loss journey in the past, losing almost 120 lbs, I know how difficult and daunting the process can be. We often perceive it as a complete overhaul, a 180 degree lifestyle change. We feel like we have to start from scratch with a brand-new, complicated diet, and an intensive, gruelling exercise regimen. The reality is that those kinds of drastic changes are just not realistic for most people. We have jobs, families, and commitments that require our time and attention, and massive overhauls to our lifestyle simply won’t fit into our lives. The truth is, the best way to start any kind of weight-loss or fitness journey is with small, incremental steps. I’m going to share with you some simple tips to implement that will help you start your weight-loss journey, without completely losing sight of the rest of your life and commitments!
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The Simplest Diet for Living Well, Being Healthy, and Losing Weight
When people begin their fitness journey, they can easily become confused and overwhelmed by the onslaught of conflicting information and opinions on the best way to get healthy and lose weight. There are hundreds of different diet plans out there, and everyone seems to be preaching a different way to accomplish your goals. One day we hear that carbs are the enemy, and the next day someone cites research telling us the exact opposite! People are constantly debating the details, and we end up missing the forest for the trees, suffering paralysis by analysis and never actually settling on a consistent plan. People! I have news for you! Weight loss and good health are actually pretty simple. What we miss when we see all these different diets is that, for the most part, they’re all grounded in the same basic principles. Following these principles with patience and consistency will lead us to success. So what are these principles? Well, let me tell you!
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Slow Down to Get Real Results
Everybody wants to lose weight quickly. If you could get in shape fast, wouldn't you want to do that? But I've learned that anything worthwhile takes time. There are no shortcuts. There's just hard work and dedication to get the Real Results that you want.
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Eat Sugar
Now I know what you’re thinking. Eat sugar?! How could that be a nutrition tip?! Common fitness “logic” always tells us to avoid sugar like the plague! Well, I’m not saying eat sugar at every meal, nor am I telling you to add a teaspoon of the stuff to every single dish! The scientific research around over-consuming sugar is clear: it’s not a great idea.
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Milesfit: Transforming Lives Through Fitness
“At Milesfit, we facilitate the physical, emotional and psychological transformation of our clients through fitness.” Change can be daunting for all of us. The way we live our lives is influenced by many factors. Our upbringing, our experiences, the things we’re exposed to by the media, the things we tell ourselves and allow ourselves to believe about the world.
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3 Tips to Improve Your Posture
Establishing and maintaining good posture is an important but often overlooked aspect of health and wellbeing. Having misaligned posture negatively impacts our comfort, sleep quality, sports performance, breathing, and even our metabolism! The body is a complicated machine, and when parts are out of alignment, it can’t function properly. In our society, we spend a lot of time sitting down. This leads to imbalances in our posture. The typical posture we see and experience is what is often called “the Donald Duck posture”. Our hips tighten from sitting, which pulls our pelvis into an anterior tilt, making our butts stick out. Then, to compensate, we pull our chest up and out by tightening with our lats, opening up our ribcage and shutting down our deep abdominal muscles. Now that our lats are tight from all that chest-puffing, our shoulders begin to roll forward, and our shoulder blades pull away from each other.
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Be Your Authentic Self
We live in a society that often asks us to be something other than ourselves. The pressures to change ourselves are everywhere. “Fitter” body, nicer clothes, whiter smile, better job, more money. We are constantly taught to strive for more and more, to focus all of our energy on improving ourselves and paying for solutions to problems that don’t actually exist. We’re taught that being ourselves is not enough. We have to be more. We’re told that if we don’t do these things we won’t be accepted, we won’t be liked, we won’t be loved. We’re social creatures. We thrive on connection and belonging, on being a part of a whole. When we’re told that just being ourselves isn’t good enough and that we run the risk of being left out unless we change, we often cave under that pressure.
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Can I Eat Carbs To Lose Weight?
Can I eat carbs to lose weight? This is a very common question that people ask me, and there are a lot of different opinions out there online. So I think it’s important to take some time to really break this down and put it into context. Let’s start with an example of an average person who might have 10 to 25 pounds to lose. That person hasn't likely been following an optimal nutrition plan, so the first step in their journey is to clean up their diet. In the early stages of that kind of weight loss, I’d generally suggest cutting carbs out of their diet for anywhere between one and four weeks.
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Weekend Nutrition Advice
Weekend nutrition! This is where so many of us take a wrong turn and over-eat and over-indulge! If you're trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, be fit, and control your weight, throwing everything to the wind on the weekend is NOT the answer!
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Meal Prep: The Missing Link of Weight-Loss Success
The number one area where most people fail when it comes to losing weight is nutrition! You can exercise daily, and burn lots of calories, but if you’re in a caloric surplus (or in a massive deficit – i.e. eating too little food), your weight-loss results won’t happen. With all that said, it becomes quite clear fast that we must pay very close attention to our nutrition if we want to succeed with our fat-loss journey! I get questions all the time about what to eat and when, and what diet is the best, and these are all great and important questions. But it's important to remember that even before choosing what to eat and when, a more important topic of discussion needs to be explored, and that is the topic of meal preparation (AKA meal prep). Meal prep takes many forms. Here are 3 classic ways of meal prepping:
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31 Protein Shake Recipes
Protein is an essential macro-nutrient for getting in shape and so there’s no disputing the fact that protein shakes are an important tool for fitness gains and fat loss. Not only does a protein shake meal replacement take only a few minutes to prepare
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3 Diet Secrets
Want to drop some bodyweight this month? It’s more possible than you think! Incorporate the following diet secrets into your daily routine to naturally boost your metabolism, automatically lower your daily consumption of calories, and keep your motivation going strong so that you drop excess fat quicker than ever before.
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2 Key Nutrition Tips to Lose Weight
Following some kind of diet to lose weight will fail 9 times out of 10! Why is that? Well, the main reason is because following a diet is basically in essence following a complex system of change. Starting something completely new from what we're used to comes as a shock/radical shift to our lifestyle habits, and ultimately presents too many items to change all at once. The secret to achieving the weight-loss and health goals you desire is to take your time and slow things down. This zen mantra is known as: less is more. By doing less, you'll be able to actually follow and stick to the game-plan. Yes, the journey will take longer, but time is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things [it's really all about achieving and, more importantly, SUSTAINING the goal(s)]. With all that said, check out this video below for 2-key nutrition tips to help you lose weight and have more energy. Enjoy!
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New Year Resolutions and Making Change
Every 1st of the New Year comes that special time again! The calendar resets and we have an opportunity at a fresh start/clean slate. Time to establish and follow through on our New Year resolutions!! Full of excitement and motivation, we go forward hoping that this year will be different from previous ones, but unfortunately 90%+ of us hit a brick wall come mid-January when we fall off track and break our new habits. Watch this video below to learn how to make REAL lasting change and actually follow through on your goals, dreams, and desires!
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I Lost 100 lbs - My Weight-Loss Journey
It may surprise some of you to find out that, not too long ago, I was nowhere near as fit or healthy as I am today. Just a short 6 years ago, I weighed 270lbs, a full 100lbs heavier than today. I was exercising regularly, but my idea of training was quite at odds with the reality of being healthy and fit. I was focused purely on putting on size, which ultimately led to me being fat and inflamed (not practicing what I was preaching). The journey to become...
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Stomach Acid Levels and Weight-Loss
A lack of stomach acid production is one of the main reasons why so many people find weight-loss to be such an arduous task. When someone lacks stomach acid, they're likely to suffer from a sub-optimal metabolism, struggle with blood sugar regulation issues, experience cravings, energy lows and sleep problems, and encounter a variety of other issues. All of these responses make it extremely difficult for someone with a lack of...
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All Movements Create Physical Imbalances
All physical activity inevitably contributes to some sort of physical imbalance. It doesn't matter which exercises you perform or what sport you engage in—no form of movement works the body in perfect symmetry. Even simple daily movements like sitting and standing favour different muscles, affecting both our strength and our posture. In other words, just by virtue of moving your body, you contribute to physical imbalances—we are constantly pushing...
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You are When you Eat: Timing Strategies
The time at which you eat certain foods has a huge impact on your physiology. By eating the right foods at the right times, you’ll create a more balanced body. On the other hand, by eating the wrong foods at the wrong times, you’ll shift the body out of biochemical alignment. Understanding when to consume certain nutrients allows us to take advantage of key time periods throughout the day. Let’s take a look at how we can...
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You are What you Eat: Food Matters
Our body is made up of approximately 100 trillion cells. As part of our metabolism, these cells constantly break down and rebuild. In fact, over time, the organs and tissues within our body are completely replaced as old cells break down and new cells form. This process of cellular regeneration begs a very important question: what are the raw materials that serve as building blocks for our cells? The answer to this question is...
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Nutrient Combining for Weight-Loss
On a daily basis, we consume varying combinations of three macronutrients: carbohydrates (breads, pasta, potatoes, etc.), proteins (chicken, eggs, fish, etc.) and fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc.). How we balance our meals with these three macronutrients has a powerful effect on the body’s ability to regulate its physiology. Too much of one in the absence of the others can lead to hormonal swings that can have a...
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