Spring is Coming

I am a Game of Thrones fan. The show is centered around, “Winter is coming.” Well, this article is letting you know that “Spring is coming.” And, with that said, you may need to make the adjustments to be ready for summer. While working out is key, nutrition is essential.

We have all met someone in life that can eat anything they want and not gain a pound. Yet, if you so much as look at a slice of pizza you’ll gain five pounds. Weight change is controlled by calories in versus calories out. That means that to lose weight, you need to eat less calories than you burn. Conversely, you need to eat more calories than you burn to gain weight (mass gain cycle). This is broken down into macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. All of which have their own calorie count per gram. Not all calories are equal. Not everyone is the same.

The secret to fat loss does not lie within the realms of weight training or hours of cardio, although that helps. The secret comes from the utensil to mouth ratio. Too many times I have heard individuals talk about low or no carb diets, as if that is the ultimate key to fat loss. While it has its place, it can have brutal repercussions down the road, especially when weight training. I was guilty of that, but now use the method in cutting phases, not as a long-term solution. We are going to focus on some common misconceptions and discuss the worst foods to eat for fat loss. We will hit some more obvious foods that are an easy way to cut unwanted, unwarranted, and empty calories from the diet.

Pancake Syrup

I would advise pancakes are not going to get you closer to your goals but let us stay focused on something that offers ZERO to the cause; no micronutrients, no antioxidants, nothing. It is high fructose corn syrup with preservatives and artificial food coloring. Highly refined sweeteners, such as syrup, cause your body to crave more sugar. It is a vicious cycle. If you must have pancakes and cannot live those brief moments of your breakfast without a topping, then at least hit up honey; which, at least offers something to the body.

Coffee Creamer

This is an easy and effective way to cut out hundreds of calories in your day. Sugar spikes insulin, thus inhibiting fat burning and making you feel hungry. Adding this or anything else to your morning brew is like convincing yourself that fruit flavored donuts are healthy. Make the change. If you need coffee that bad, you can tough it out for eight ounces.


Satan himself brought frosting to mortals. I am not going to waste your time on things like donuts and cake. So why waste it on frosting? I mention frosting because not only is it loaded with sugar, it is also one of the few items on the shelf with high amounts of trans-fats. These are the nastiest fats that raise bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol. Trans-fats can also trigger inflammation, which leads to belly fat. “But it’s so good!” Really?  The belly fat you gain is hard on your internal organs and bad cholesterol is just bad. It causes your heart to work harder and not smarter.

Salad Dressing

Everyone wants to diet with salads and then gets frustrated when the fat reduction results are not produced. It’s always a topic with my clients. Dressing is calorie dense with high fat and sugar content. While lite and fat-free options are better, the fat is typically substituted with higher amounts of sugar to compensate for lower fat. As with everything, check the labels. Place lower calorie options on the side. I personally use small amounts of salsa. It’s as close as I ever get to having a taco salad.


Advertised as healthier than butter, it is not. It is high in trans-fats and lacks nutrition. Review frosting to remind yourself of just how harmful trans-fats are to your body. Try using small amounts of olive oil (healthy fats) instead of using butter or margarine.

Moving on, let us break down a few misinterpreted healthy snacks that are actually more harmful than helpful. This is a general list of snacks that I give my clients to keep them on the right side of Heaven; although, they would argue that it’s hell. 


This is the most difficult side or snack for me to give up. It’s so good, plus it has protein and calcium. But it is also dense with fat. Remember, nine calories per gram of fat; cheese is basically a sexy, fat cube. You just want more and more. Take baby steps and start going for 2% fat versus whole. Take it another step and cut those portions in half. When I get frustrated with my own personal progress, I find that, sadly, cheese is the one thing that has kept me from reaching my next goal.

Dried Fruit

Another word for dried fruit would be candy based on the sugar content. What does that mean? Yes, fruit could make you fat. Dried fruit is much easier to go overboard with versus fresh fruit because of its sheer size. There is no water, so it leaves you with sugar and calories. Not just natural sugars as in fresh fruit but added sugars. By now you are aware of the impact sugar has on our weight-loss efforts by altering the blood sugar levels in our bodies, and halting any burning of stored fat for energy. It also produces more intense cravings. Go with fresh whole fruit, or at the very least, make your own. Remember, you have the power, take control.

Energy Bars

Not all energy bars are created equal. Nothing truer than the ultimate healthy snack for dieters and athletes/weightlifters. The energy or protein bar is certainly an area I know all too well. Most of these bars, including granola bars, are just like candy bars with a different and sporty name.  On average, most of your bars will have 200-300 calories, and are saturated with sugar and calories, some in excess of 500 per serving. When on the go, look for something with high fiber and high protein. You want low sugar content. On a side note, many low-carb bars contain sugar alcohols, which could seriously mess with certain individual’s digestive tracts.

Remember, only you can make the necessary changes for a healthier and more fit you. You either will or you won’t. Sacrifices need to be made. Join the Imperium Lifting Crew and ask about the to be Fit (Physical Fitness) or the to be Sustained Programs (Nutrition) offered with our new membership options!

By Cody Rininger

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