The 411 on the Top 5 Diets!

"Have you heard about this New diet?"
"What diet are You on?"
"Can you eat this on Your diet?"
"Aren't you sick of Always dieting?"
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get tired of the word diet, and the negative connotation people tie to it! Most people begin to assume dieting involves restricting ourselves to small amounts of food or only certain foods in order to loose weight. I think of my diet as the kind of food I habitually eat - it has nothing to do with weight. Food, and your diet, should simply provide energy and nourishment to the body.  So if it does the first but not the second or is highly processed with many chemical additives, I wouldn't consider it a food! Sometimes weight loss or gain may be a side effect when changing eating habits; but, let's face it - if we have to consume food for the rest of our lives, do we really want it to be restricted? I love real, whole, nourishing food, so I know I don't!
Now, there are some ways of habitually eating that have become quite popular lately, and definitely coincide with a health conscious lifestyle. Fad or not, it's important to fully understand them if you decide to follow one of these diets. With health and nutrition in mind, here's your overview of some common diets (aka foods we habitually eat!):
  1. Paleo - Excludes: grains (oats, wheat, corn, rice, etc), legumes (peas, beans, soy nuts and peanuts), vegetable and seed oils (olive, sesame, canola, etc), and dairy. Can have: lean proteins (including seafood, meat and eggs), fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats (coconut oil and ghee are preferred for cooking). Avoid all forms of added sugar.
  2. Vegan -  Diet excludes: meat, fish, poultry, and other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products and honey.  Lifestyle excludes leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.  Can have: fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, spirulina, seaweed, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  3. Dash Diet - The #1 diet ranking by US News & World Report. Allows sweets (5 or fewer). Excludes: high salt and trans fat processed foods.  Emphasizes: fruits (4-5 servings/day), vegetables (4-5 servings/day), low fat or nonfat dairy (2-3 servings/day). It also includes moderate amounts of whole grains (6-8 servings/day); lean meats (6 or fewer), fish and poultry; nuts and beans (4-5 servings/week). It is high fiber and low to moderate in fat. It is a plan that follows US guidelines for sodium content (1500-2000 mg max per day), along with vitamins and minerals (foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium).
  4. Grain/Gluten Free - Gluten is found in many grains and processed foods and has become very allergenic due to genetic modifications and pesticide use. Excludes grains such as: wheat, oats (unless certified GF), barley, rye, bulgar, couscous, semolina, spelt. Excludes many additives: ketchup, soy sauce, egg substitute, most processed and packages foods including vegan meats like seitan (vegan), syrups, sauces, ice creams, cheeses, etc. Grain free also excludes: corn (gluten-free), rice (gluten-free), millet (gluten-free), sorghum (gluten-free). Can have: unprocessed proteins, raw vegetables, natural dairy products, most seeds and nuts, uncanned beans.
  5. Vegetarian - Excludes: all red meat and pork.  All vegetarians choose from these basic food groups: grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. Can have alternate protein sources such as: tofu, tempeh (a fermented textured meat replacement from beans like soybean or black bean), seitan (a thick, textured meat replacement made from wheat gluten), quinoa or amaranth. Types of vegetarians include:

    Pesco-vegetarians – include seafood and fish
    Lacto-vegetarians – include dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt)
    Ovo-vegetarians – include eggs
    Ovo-lacto-vegetarians – include eggs and dairy


It's best to follow the guidelines of your primary health care provider or certified nutrition coach, like mysel; especially if your diet does involve eliminating certain foods. You want to ensure you aren't excluding vital minerals and vitamins when removing food groups from your daily diet. Email me at if you need help designing your own custom meal plan.
On a side-note: Tamara and I along with some of our Soma Superheroes Spartan training team will be taking part in the Spartan Race this weekend! Wish us luck and stay tuned for updates on our race, as well as ways you can participate in a Spartan Race near you!

Chinese Takeout When You Know You Shouldn't...

You read all of the Soma Fitness emails. You know the difference between protein, fat and carbs. You know that thirty minutes of exercise will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Yet you just can't seem to follow through and lose the weight you want. Time and time again, you ask yourself - what is wrong with me?


A new book, video or diet isn’t going to magically get you off your butt and into the gym. You see the problem isn't that you need more information. We live in the information age. One quick Google search can provide enough to get you started with any goal that you imagine.


The problem is work, your commute, the kids, your bad knee or (fill in the blank) are getting in the way. You know what to do, you just can’t seem to do it. Then you get down on yourself because you "just aren't disciplined enough." Sound familiar?


When we are stressed out, tired, or anxious it is too easy to turn on Netflix, grab a bottle of wine and order some Chinese takeout. We know this is sabotaging our goals but we do it anyway. But why? What is the psychology behind this?


Work, romantic relationships, children and finances are just a few of the things that can cause stress in our lives. Everyone has stressors in their lives, even highly successful people. The answer lies in the way we manage and process stress and emotional discomfort. Most of us never learned healthy ways to deal with this so when we feel discomfort we immediately want to cover it up and make it go away. Many of us numb ourselves with a cocktail, or reach for fatty, fried foods or sugar in hopes of comforting ourselves.


So what can we do different the next time these feelings come up? How can we prepare for the stress, and the anxiety? And they will come... maybe even today.


The first step is to know your pattern and your triggers and then create new healthy, coping behaviors.


Food prep is a great example of this. If you know that your weekdays are crazy, and you are prone to rushing around all day without food, then out of desperation and starvation binging on a double-meat pepperoni pizza at the end of the day - why not prep your food on Sundays when you have some extra time?


Stock your house with bananas, raw almonds, Quest bars, Sun Warrior protein, grilled chicken and other healthy food you can reach for quickly. Empty the cupboards of the Doritos and other quick fix junk food. Don't have time to cook? Toss your chicken in a Crockpot and let it do the work while you relax. Then pack a lunch and bring this to work with you. A little extra planning can go a long way.


Is work hectic and filled with deadlines and conference calls? Even the busiest executive can take five minutes every few hours to stretch their legs and take a break. Leave your phone at your desk, and stroll down the block. Reach down and touch your toes! Take some deep breaths and rebalance yourself. It may not seem like a big deal but even a few short walking breaks can keep you from getting overwhelmed enough to reach for that mid-afternoon chocolate bar.


Is wine one of your favorite treats to help you unwind when you get home? Try reaching for a Kevita drink instead. Kevita is sweet, yet low sugar and has plenty of healthy probiotics.  I like to pour my Kevita into a wine glass for a little extra luxury. Then I grab a heating pad and drape it over my neck and shoulders for extra pampering, while catching up on my favorite TV show at the end of the day. I still get the relaxation without the next day dehydration or extra calories.


Have a terrible day and you're mad at the world? I have them too. Instead, of drowning my sorrows in a bowl of macaroni and cheese I go sit in the steam room at the gym for fifteen minutes. On these days I don't put pressure on myself to workout. If I feel like it - great. If not then I'll just stretch and head home to get some rest.


Can't find someone to watch your kids so you can go workout? That's okay. Make working out a family activity when you turn on a fitness DVD. (We like Beach Body's Bum Bum Rapido!)


Stop right now, and take a few minutes to draft your own "stress scenario" alternatives. Life is tough and we are all faced with daily stress and anxiety. The question is, are you prepared to conquer your goals despite these challenges?


One of the benefits of having a coach is having someone who can provide these type of helpful hints, keep you on track and super motivated when the going gets rough.


If you are ready to make those changes and create the body you deserve, send us an email at


Tamara & Summer

Temecula Spartan Sprint!!!

Yesterday, Team Soma ran the Spartan Sprint in Temecula, California. The race was 4.5 miles of hills, flats, muddy bogs and off trail challenges with 25 obstacles including walls, rope climbs, and water jumps.

Summer conquered the course in 1:26:42. She placed 14th in the Women's 30-34 age group, Top 4 percent of women, and Top 10 percent overall! Teammate Oscar Romero finished along with Summer. Finishing third for the Soma team was Aaron Rosenberg with a time of 1:31.


We're especially proud of Jessica Lewis and Tamara White who finished together with a time of 2:24:16, and in the top 60 percent of all women finishers! A year ago, Jessica (click here to see her story) was just beginning her fitness journey and Tamara was struggling with low thyroid function. Finishing the race was a huge accomplishment for both of them!


Check out the video below for more photos!

Lesson Learned... Don't Compare!

Hard to believe that in less than 3 weeks, it'll be 2015. Where did the year go?! Feels like just yesterday Tamara and I were ringing in 2014! I was in the jungle of Tulum, Mexico, and Tam was hanging with frosty elms in NYC. A new year always gets me reflecting on the past and planning my future. Like most of you, I have fitness and health goals I want to accomplish in 2015 (come on vegetarian muscles, grow!!) . This is also the time of year when most people start to ask me, "Summer, how do I lose 20 pounds?", or "How do I make this the last year I set a New Year's resolution to get in shape?".
2010 was the year I decided revolutionize my health and life path.  I never imagined it would lead me to where I am now; an IFBB Pro bikini athlete who lives by being of service to all of those that come to me wanting to dramatically transform their own health and life through the vehicle of diet and training!  As many of you are at various stages of revolutionizing your own lives, here are some important lessons I learned while becoming a Pro Athlete that will help on your own journeys:
1) Don't compare yourself to anyone. Quit trolling other people's Instagram or Facebook pages! It often leads to self-doubt, anger at your own progress, overtraining, judgement, etc.
2) Trust the process and enjoy the ride! Progress may not come as quickly as you want it but this isn't Burger King - you can't have it your way, right away! It's a lifestyle change you want, not instant gratification. I encourage you to take progress pictures and measurements because sometimes your own eyes can't see small changes.
3) Enjoy new information and stay fluid. Constant diet changes or macro manipulation can be overwhelming but it's like watching a new movie and anxiously waiting for each ending. Just roll with it!
4) Branding is a key element to success. Posting on social media helped me build a following of supporters, but they began to hold me accountable and regard me as someone that could represent the IFBB Pro reputation. Stay consistent with your message. Even when I'm down, my brand is about strength and finding strength through all situations. Don't forget - 2015 could be the year you inspire, motivate, or encourage someone else...the year they're asking you for support and advice...the year you're sharing your own lessons learned! Define your own personal brand and what you want to stand for.
Now I know it's not even Christmas or Hanukkah yet, but it doesn't hurt to start thinking of who you ARE in 2015.  I say who you are, and not who you will be because now is the time! Live like you're already a pro, already an inspiration, and are abundant! The beauty of these lessons is that they can apply to all aspects of your life - professional careers, hobbies, relationships.  Hopefully these lessons I've shared will help you think about and plan your 2015 goals!


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Cheers to Collective Deep Breaths (And Thanksgiving Guide)

As we move into the cooler months and the holidays approach, most of us have kicked into overdrive in order to churn out the final fruits of productivity before the new year. While this is good and normal, I also want to encourage balance. Not just physically in terms of eating meals with fats, carbs, and proteins or making sure you add a stretching routine with your lifting, but mental balance as well. (We don't want to get caught looking like we didn't drink our V-8 juice!)
We are all busy and life can pass by so quickly if we don’t take active measures to slow it down and enjoy. This doesn't have to be a thirty minute meditation class. Most of us rarely take the time to close our eyes and take one deep breath, unless we're trying to stay awake while in line at the grocery store, or biting our tongue from cussing up a storm while stuck in traffic!
This has been a great year! For some of us it is significant. We've learned to fight the strong desire to reach for sugary snacks, greasy fast food, drugs, or alcohol. Collectively, the Soma Team and those around us have lost hundreds of pounds this year, learning on a daily basis how to nourish our bodies and improved our lives. It is an amazing dance really… move your body and eat foods that come from the earth and watch your life change. Top that off with a some deep breaths to reflect and show your gratitude and our lives begin to transform.
This brings me to the next subject, Thanksgiving! It is my absolute favorite holiday. I look forward to the food, friends and family vibes all year! Inevitably, I always get a million questions from the Soma community about how to manage the biggest feast of the year. So let me guess what you might be thinking as we're now 1 week away from this glutenous holiday: Ahhhhhhh, how do I enjoy myself and not sabatoge my health next Thursday? Below, is your handy dandy guide that will help you navigate Turkey Day, without the awful stomach ache the day after! (Click on image to download)
(Just keep in mind that protein is your friend that day!) Remember, I want you to BALANCE your good time so you can really enjoy yourself to the fullest!
Here’s to deep breaths,

Restaurant Cheat Sheet: 12 tips for dining out

I'll admit  - I don't always cook and prep my meals 100% of the time. Sometimes I'm traveling for work/pleasure and living out of a suitcase for the week (sure I bring my Sun Warrior vegan protein powder, but that only goes so far). Other times I've got family in town and they're excited to try all the new restaurants that have opened up. When I'm in a relationship, I love my date nights, exploring menus and dancing the night away... can you say, Sashay Shante! So try as I might, every now and then I eat out; which is amazing! Who wants to be one of those weirdos that carries Tupperware full of asparagus spears around everywhere and refuses to eat with friends? Eating out is not the enemy. The key is to make wise choices that won't sabotage your clean eating lifestyle and all that progress you've achieved.
Now truth is, it can all be so overwhelming if you're not equiped with a game plan. The delicious descriptions on the menu, the well lit photos that tantalize your tastebuds... it is all designed to tempt you. However, that was before you had "restaurant guidelines." That's right, after years of doing this clean eating thing, I've created a ton of restaurant ordering tips (no pun intended!), and have listed a few below:
  • Check the "lite" options on the menu. Many times, regular entrees will be offered in smaller portions with less calories, or with steamed or baked options instead of fried. If there are no lite options, try ordering a few sides as your meal instead of a full entree, or ask the restaurant if they will let you order the lunch or kiddie portion.
  • If time allows, check to see if the restaurant posts its nutrition facts to their online menu before heading over. You may be able to get exact calorie and macro counts if they do, which will help you in choosing your meal.
  • Do not skip any other meals throughout the day! Doing this will leave you hungry and open to temptation. When you order your meal at the restaurant simply adjust your macros accordingly.
  • If a libation will be part of your meal, choose clear liquors like tequila, gin, or vodka and mix with low cal or calorie free options like soda water, water with a splash of cranberry, or even stevia and fresh lime juice.
Now, that you are armed with some great ordering tips, let's talk about specifics. Depending on your cuisine of choice, here are some foods that I like to order:
Korean: I love Korean BBQ. It is such a great option when on a weight-loss or bulking program. Order protein like salmon, shrimp, chicken or scallops with a healthy serving of asparagus, sweet potato and kim-chi. Grilling really does make everything taste better!
Burgers: I know, I know... you want the biggest beef patty covered with truffle oil, garlic aioli, and smoked bacon! On the other hand, you really want to look amazing in your New Year's Eve dress. Instead, choose a turkey burger with everything on the side or wrapped in lettuce, sans bun. If available, yummy zucchini sticks, jalapeno poppers, or sweet potato fries are a good swap for regular starchy potato fries. Lots of vitamin A in those bad boys!
American/Seafood: Pretty much any American or seafood joint can be converted into a clean eating cafateria. Simply order grilled chicken, or fish such as salmon, swordfish, halibit, or tuna with light or no oil/butter. Spring for a side salad or grilled veggies with rice. There's no need to starve while sticking to a balanced diet.
Indian: An excellent choice for vegans and meat eaters alike. Idli is a steamed rice bun served with a light lentil soup, perfect for post workout. Enjoy a tandoori chicken dish, but pass on the naan bread and tikka masala. You've got to pick your battles here!
Thai: Chicken Satay and Papaya Salad are great choices and, while oh so good, avoid the temptation of a high-calorie, high-sugar Thai Iced Tea, just get an herbal chai and use that stevia to sweeten.
Italian: Stick to white fish with lemon and capers (almost a staple on any Italian menu). A side of zucchini carpaccio will balance out a great meal. No need to avoid your favorite pasta joint now!
Japanese: Lots of yummy, fresh options here! Get the robata chicken, beef, or seafood with a side of ginger salad and miso soup. You can also try salmon sashimi with ponzu and sauteed Japanese mushrooms on the side.
Persian: Roasted eggplant, dill and lima bean rice, meat and veggie kabobs?! Oh my! Try to keep the red meat to a minimum and use lemon wedges for your salads so you can save room for the walnut pomegranate dressing. Again, perfect for post workout recovery every now and then.
Who doesn't like the chance to dine out with others and experience a great meal! What are some of your favorite, healthier dining out meals? Take a few pics and tag us on Facebook and Instagram at #fitsoma. We'd love to share your yummies with fellow Soma Superstars!

Are Diamonds Really a Girl's Best Friend?


Picture come home on a Saturday morning after your fasted cardio session. Your beau has made you a delicious breakfast, has an outfit & shoes picked out for you, and a note that says "Eat up, put this on, and be ready to go at 11am!" Whoa, excuse me?! You waste no time asking questions - you simply follow directions!

11 am rolls around and your sweetie arrives, red roses in hand. You're whisked away to an unknown destination not knowing what the afternoon has in store. You shortly arrive at the Natural History museum where you are escorted to the Geology, Gems, and Mineral wing. You glare in awe at all the beautiful and shiny stones in your presence. As you turn the corner from admiring a gorgeous emerald ring, you're shocked to see your honey is down on one knee with the huge velvet box in hand. Is this the proposal you've been waiting a lifetime for?! As the tears start to well up in your eyes...
"Babe, you've been working so hard in the gym and eating clean and it shows. But I think there's something missing to make everything complete. Something I thought we could find here in this museum."
Your love slowly begins to open the huge box, you squeal in anticipation of my most beautiful rock you've ever laid eyes on! Then you gasp; nestled in the velvet you find...a bottle of liquid trace minerals! WHAT????
"Diamonds aren't the only minerals you should be concerned with, babe. You also need calcium, magnesium, zinc, and many more!"
Admit it - as disappointed as you might be, you can't help but chuckle at this caring sweetheart! Minerals are a vital part of a healthy body. Many multi-vitamins only contain small amount of minerals, the mineral content of our soil determines the mineral content of the food grown in it and it's been quite depleted in this day and age, and unless you're drinking naturally high ph water from a mountain source OR alkaline water that has been re-mineralized, you likely aren't getting any minerals from your drinking water either. So let's learn a bit more about these diamonds in the rough.
The minerals we need are divided into two groups: trace and nontrace macrominerals. The trace minerals are needed by the human body in small amounts, and many of them are toxic at higher doses. The macrominerals that go into bones, namely calcium, magnesium, and phospherous, together with sodium and potassium, are needed in quantities that exceed those of the trace elements.
According to the USDA, besides being the major constituents of the mineral portion of bones, these minerals are essential for other reasons. Calcium is important in control of contraction and dilation of blood vessels, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Magnesium is used by more than 300 enzyme systems in the human body, including most of those responsible for energy generation, it also helps balance calcium. Phospherous is a necessary components of protoplasm, the living portion of the cells that make up the body, and is also necessary for growth, maintenance and repair of tissues and for generation of DNA and RNA.
* Having muscle cramps? You may be low in magnesium, calcium or sodium. Recommended daily amount for magnesium is 310 to 420 mg, for calcium 1,000 to 1200 mg, and for sodium is 1.3 mg.
** Consitpated? Magnesium coupled with vitamin C can help you become more regular.
*** Trouble sleeping? Calcium deficiency and insomnia have long been linked. It causes tension and sleep disturbances. Magnesium can help relieve headaches that keep you awake and if you're taking birth control, antibiotics, or laxatives, you may be at higher risk for deficiency.
**** Want to build muscle naturally? Combined with proper caloric intake, macronutrient amounts, and exercise, supplementing with zinc and iron has shown to help boost growth hormone levels and aid in muscle growth and repair.
The trace minerals are iron, zinc, manganese, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, iodine, chromium, and selenium. According to the Cooperative Extension at the University of Delaware, the primary use of iron is blood formation and function. Iron is a major part of hemoglobin, in red blood cells, that brings oxygen to tissues. Zinc plays a role in cell and body growth and maturation and in tissue repair. Copper is required to use iron effectively and plays a role in bone development. Selenium helps protect cell membranes from deterioration as well as supports thyroid and immune health. Iodine is required for proper thyroid function. Chromium and manganese help the body process carbohydrates. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. And molybdenum helps the body process other compounds.
Spinach, pumpkin seeds, and silver skin fish have the highest magnesium content. Collard greens and kale are the highest calcium vegetables and dried figs are the highest calcium fruit. The highest phosphorous food source are pumpkin seeds! Lima beans, swiss chard, sweet poatoes, dried apricots and avocados rank the highest in potassium; wheras beets, olives, and celery can provide high amounts of natural sodium.


Tell us your thoughts on minerals - are you getting enough each day? How do you supplement your mineral intake? What's your favorite museum to visit in your town?! Share with us how you mineralize on Facebook and Instagram by tagging us at #fitsoma.

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Try a Fasted Fat Blast!

Ah heck no!

What do all these things have in common? Well if you guessed they're all the things we hear when that morning gym alarm goes off, ding ding ding you're right! Early morning workouts are tough. I'm a pro athlete and I still hit the snooze button all too often! I have one client who actually loves to rise with the sun to get in her daily workout; but, most of us dread those early training sessions. On top of trying to get dressed in the dark or cold, you're trying to figure out whether or not to eat before your burn. What's the big deal anyhow, right? To fast, or not to fast?
By definition, "breakfast" literally means to break a fast. After a long night's rest (hopefully!), not only is your body dehydrated but you're naturally hungry. Here's when fasted training comes in to play.

If you are looking to burn serious fat (perfect for folks on a weight loss, or competition program) fasted training can be your ticket to fast track success; besides, your training performance depends more on what you ate 24-48 hrs before, so you'll be relying on stored sugars and body fat to fuel your workout. Another thing about fasted workout is that overnight, while you're sleeping, your body is burning much of those stored sugars for metabolic purposes (cellular growth, muscle repair, normal breathing, digestion, and to keep your heart beating and brain functioning) so it then begins to mobilize aminos acids and fat for fuel.

So Summer, you're telling me to go workout on a totally empty stomach?

Well, not exactly! Remember 2 weeks ago when we talked about the importance of BCAAs? Before, during, and after fasted training are the perfect times to consume these amino acids. Not only will it give your body fuel to sustain your cardio session, but it will help prevent your body from using more of it's own amino acids (aka muscle) for fuel.

Now, even more importantly for fat loss is doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) for your fasted cardio. Studies show that doing HIIT cardio sessions (usually between 7 and 30 minutes) can burn up to twice the amount of calories than steady state cardio! Yes, the calorie counter looks higher when doing 1 hr of steady state cardio vs 20 min of HIIT or weight lifting, however your body will continue burning fat and calories after the HIIT or lifting sessions!

If your schedule doesn't permit fasted cardio or you are in a muscle building program and still trying to burn fat, hiit cardio will be more beneficial for you than steady state cardio, so don't stress yourself.

Try this 8 minute tabata-inspired HIIT session for your fasted cardio or whenever you can get it in!
40 seconds burpees
20 seconds rest
40 seconds high knee jog in place
20 seconds rest
40 seconds jump squat
20 seconds rest
40 seconds fast mountain climbers
20 seconds rest

Tamara and I would love to hear from you! When was the last time you got in an early morning fasted cardio session? Which one of those above sounds actually got you out of bed!? What do you love or hate about it? I admit, I love when it's over and I can head back into my kitchen to whip up a healthy, filling breakfast! Share with your fellow Soma Superstars your favorite post-fasted cardio breakfasts - tag us on Facebook and Instagram using #somafoodlabs.

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Crab... uh, we mean Carb Feast!


Did someone say crab?!?! Pass the butter, wine, and claw crackers please!

Psssst...hey Summer, I think you misspelled something here! 
Oh whoops, did I write crab? I meant CARB! Hahaha. Crab is more Tamara's thing anyway! Just wanted to get your attention!
I know, I know you're sick of hearing about and worrying about carbs. All you want to do is dive into a big bowl of pasta with a loaf of French bread on the side! Let's face it, so do I sometimes! Carbs can be a double edge sword to your training goals; But the truth is carbs really do matter, and it's not as simple as not eating them at all. So let's step up our carb knowledge, Soma Superstars!Rice, pasta, bread, alcohol, fruits and veggies (beets, carrots, bananas, strawberries, kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus etc.), sports drinks, candy, juice - are all carbohydrates folks! Some are considered simple carbs, and the others complex carbs, but they will all break down as some form of sugar (fructose, sucrose, glucose) and if you recall from last week's lesson on amino acids, our bodies need some sort of fuel (glucose is #1 source) for energy especially when working out. If our body lacks dietary carbs, proteins, and fats, it will break down our muscle for stores fuel. Remember: this is bad! You can't build a booty or have toned abs and right arms without muscle!  This means in order to prevent our bodies from catabolizing itself, we have to fuel it with proteins AND carbs. You read right - I'm anti carb-elimination!
Now, the type of carbs you eat are important. Vegetables and leafy greens contain soluble and insoluble fiber which help with digestion, control blood sugar, and reduce belly fat. Green plant veggies also contain phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals to give us energy, strengthen our immune system, and fight sickness and disease. Fruits like bananas, apples and blueberries are great pre and post-workout carbs on days that you lift, since the quick digesting sugar will give fuel to the metabolic system that is responsible for muscle synthesis and repair.
So what about that "cheat day" yesterday where you indulged on pizza for lunch and an In-n-Out double double animal style for dinner? Processed foods and enriched, bleached flours don't contain the fiber or nutrients that brown rice, organic corn tortillas, or sprouted whole wheat have so think about that before you nosh next. In the meantime, hit the weights hard today! Your body is full of carbs (aka fuel) and it's prime time to use that fuel as energy to build muscle. More muscle = less body fat so lift, and lift heavy!
When you eat your carbs is also key. Unless you plan to run 6+ miles after work,  or throw around some heavy metal in the gym, avoid carbs in the afternoon (folks that are bulking to gain serious mass can skip this part). If you train in the morning or around noon, steel cut oats and quinoa are great breakfast and lunch options, while keeping your afternoon and evening meals more protein, veggie and fat based. Your body burns calories all day long, even if you did nothing but lay in bed all day. Add in normal things like getting ready for work, cooking, cleaning, chasing after kids and you're burning even more calories (we didn't even include if you throw in a workout, too!). In a nutshell, carbs throughout the day - veggies and light fruits on non-workout days, and grains, starches, fruit and veggies on workout days - will give your body the energy it needs to kick butt and be productive.
So about those carbs... eat up! Now that you're equipped with what kind of and when to inhale your carbs, no need to eliminate them from your diet! We'd love to see some of your smart carb meals. Tag us using #somafoodlabs to share your yums with your fellow Soma Superstars!

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