Peter Benedict, St. Andrew’s College Grad On Healthy Eating

Peter Benedict from St. Andrew’s College: 3 Lifelong Habits for Healthy Eating

Peter Benedict, a St. Andrew’s College graduate, became a sports trainer because he combined two things he’s always been passionate about: helping others and exercising. He hopes his blog will inspire others to stay fit and healthy. Read his blog about healthy eating below:

The link between nutrition and fitness is a strong one. If you’ve been grinding it out at the gym and yet see little progress on the weighing scale, look no further than what you put on your dinner plate. Unfortunately, many people still hold the erroneous belief that hitting the gym gives them the license to eat whatever they want, no matter how unhealthy. In weight loss however, everything boils down to calorie deficit. This means there’s no cheating your way around what you eat because it will always show on the weighing scale, or worse, on your thighs, legs, and what-not.

That said, healthy eating goes hand in hand with proper training and exercise. Here are three lifelong habits you should waste no time in learning as they will serve you well more than you ever thought possible:

1. Learn meal prep – In the fitness community, Sunday is considered an unofficial holiday where everyone takes time off from the gym to prepare the following week’s meals. Many people struggle with meal prep but that’s usually only in the beginning, before they get to master the basics. One neat trick with meal preparation is to come up with a list of staple items, such as chicken breasts, oats, and brown rice, to name a few, which are then categorized as protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The idea is to mix and match these categories and ingredients together on different days, ultimately yielding quite a number of recipes.

2. Control your appetite – As mentioned, weight loss is all about maintaining a calorie deficit, and you can achieve this better once you learn how to control your appetite. Before anything else, it must be said that you shouldn’t even think of trying diet pills as they simply do not work and even put your health at risk. One way of controlling your appetite is to avoid processed foods as these can actually trick your brain into wanting even more of them. Just think of why potato chips are so addicting—they make people crave for them, rather than feel hungry for them.

3. Learn how to count calories and macronutrients – Finally, you should learn how to count calories and macronutrients. When was the last time you looked at the nutrition label? I’m guessing a long while, if not never. We already know our goal is maintaining a calorie deficit and accurate, honest counting is part of that. As all calories come from macros, it’s time to memorize this formula: one gram of protein yields four calories; one gram of carbohydrate yields four calories; and one gram of fat yields nine calories. Once you’ve got this down pat, you’ll be counting calories and macros in your sleep in no time.

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Peter Benedict, St. Andrew’s College Grad On LeBron James’ Workout Routine

Peter Benedict from St. Andrew’s College: 3 Things We Can Learn From LeBron James’ Training Regimen

Peter Benedict, a St. Andrew’s College graduate, is a professional sports trainer for athletes. Born and raised in Canada, he moved to the USA to pursue his passion for sports science. Now studying as a nutritionist, Peter hopes to provide readers information about sports training, athletics, and everything in-between.

When it comes to naming the best professional athlete, no other name floats as frequently as LeBron James’ does. While experts will differ in their arguments for and against LeBron, one thing is nonetheless clear: LeBron James’ freakish athleticism makes him a strong contender as one of the best athletes in history. With numerous MVP awards and, finally, a Championship ring for Cleveland under his belt, LeBron showed what sheer discipline and determination can achieve, not to mention savvy health and exercise planning.

Fitting for his moniker King James, there are a number of lessons one can learn from his workout routine and training regimen. Here are a few that stand out:

1.Do as many push-ups as you can – Based on an interview the King had with Men’s Health magazine, he does as many reps of push-ups as he can every Monday, followed by at least 10 reps of pull-ups. This shows us that one just can’t do away with and replace the classic exercises. Taken from the same interview, LeBron revealed that push-ups and pull-ups actually make up part of the core of his routine, staple exercises that help keep him in shape especially during the offseason. Other classic exercises that are part of his routine are side lunges, leg squats, bench presses, and jumping rope on an unstable surface such as a stretching mat.

2. If you need to pick one workout equipment, pick the Versa Climber– The Versa Climberis touted to be the #1 cardio and total body fitness machine and the King seems to be all aboard on that claim, so much so that he even convinced the entire Cavaliers team to join him. As his go-to workout equipment, LeBron enjoys a total body workout through mimicking the movements of climbing a steep wall or mountain, which altogether has catapulted the VersaClimber onto the mainstream.

3. Recovery is just as important as the workout – Is it ever a wonder how LeBron James has managed to overcome the challenges of aging? There’s no doubt he’s only a couple of years away from his prime and yet he is showing no signs of slowing down. How? Apparently, a lot of it can be attributed to his “investments” in new recovery methods. According to a report done by sports blog Bleacher Report, LeBron was one of the first players that started using cryotherapy, a type of medical therapy wherein the person is exposed to nitrogen vapour below 200 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes. Think of it as a more effective ice bath. He also gets weekly massages, which, apart from feeling pampered, promotes blood circulation.

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Peter Benedict, St. Andrew’s College Grad On Wearables and Fitness Trackers

Peter Benedict from St. Andrew’s College: Do You Really Need Fitness Trackers?

Peter Benedict, a St. Andrew’s College alumnus, has over a decade of experience training athletes. He created this blog to dish out diet, fitness, and wellness advice, as well as to further his advocacy of training and healthy living for all. Read his blog below:

When it comes to wellness, are fitness trackers really needed? This is a question that has been asked since the first activity band came out in the market years ago. While the answer to this will likely depend on how active one’s lifestyle is, there are nevertheless reasons to believe that wearables will soon become must-haves, rather than mere wants.

Traditional athletic trainers are more likely to scoff at the necessity of wearables, but even those that may have little use for heart rate monitoring bands will find it easy to sport them, because they have also become quite fashionable. If one were to observe the social media landscape, he/she can come to the conclusion that the active, healthy lifestyle is starting to be seen more and more as something fashionable, or something chic and trendy. But once a person starts reaping the numerous benefits of exercise, he/she wouldn’t need any convincing to continue down this path.

As mentioned, wearables may be more visible because they are seen as fashionable accessories, but there’s definitely more to them than their novel appearances and forward-thinking designs—for athlete trainers, sports enthusiasts, and gym goers, these are key devices that allow them to track, manage, and optimize their workouts. If there’s one argument that can convince these stick-in-the-mud trainers to start using fitness trackers, it’s exactly that: now more than any point in time, they have the tools and data to start optimizing workouts, a somewhat neglected aspect of training.

Before, wearables felt cheap and almost gimmicky, but now the technologies they come with are as sophisticated as ever and hence, more useful. From heart rate monitors and distance trackers to GPS and sleep monitoring, these activity bands seem to be in the running to replace your smartphone as your new best friend, just how companies such as Fitbit, Xiaomi, and Misfit like it.

In the end, no one is saying that fitness trackers can replace discipline and hard work, which are two qualities that are essential for fitness success. If there’s any danger at all to wearing these fitness trackers, it’s that wearers might soon think they can become their own doctors, which is quite a stretch compared to simply being their own personal coach and trainer.

If you don’t own an incredible piece of wearable technology yet, now might be a good time to look up reviews and keep abreast of the latest trends. For fitness professionals like myself, they are certainly neat tools to add to one’s workout kit. Activity tracking is a booming industry with tremendous potential. Who knows what the coming years would bring us next?

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Peter Benedict, St. Andrew’s College Grad On Training Programs

Peter Benedict from St. Andrew’s College: Elements of a Good Training Program


Peter Benedict, a St. Andrew’s College graduate, is a certified fitness professional who is currently completing his nutritionist studies. He has over a decade of experience working with professional athletes, helping them with their strength and endurance training. Read his blog about training programs below:

Whether your fitness goal is to lose weight or bulk up, you should be aware of the different elements that make up a good training program. Not only will you be putting your body out of harm’s way but you can also hope to reap the best possible results. Often, many first-timers will just rely on their personal trainers to develop a program for them, not knowing that these aren’t as personalized as they’dhoped for. Additionally, thanks to the Internet, almost any trainer can now claim to be knowledgeable about certain topics, thus anyone looking into getting in shape should be more cautious.

While training programs are best judged on the basis of their suitability for the people they are designed for, the basic principles of fitness workouts stay more or less the same. Generally, a good training program should possess the following elements:

1. Hits a variety of muscle groups – Ideally, the training program has what are referred to as “workout splits” among the body’s major and smaller muscle groups. For instance, on the first day, the person could work on his chest (major), paired with his biceps and triceps (small muscle group). The following day, he could work on his thighs (major) next, together with the hamstrings and calves (small muscle group). Finally, he can work on his back (major) next, along with the shoulders and abs (small muscle group).

2. Shows a clear plan for progression– A program that appears to have no plan for progression is a red flag, especially when it comes to strength training. This is because progression is necessary if the person working out is to establish any level of consistency which, in turn, will improve his/her performance. Another reason why progression is needed is that it allows structured training to emerge. As opposed to just showing up at the gym and doing any exercise that the person “feels like doing” for the day, having some structure will minimize the risk for injury as well. One rule of thumb for progression is to move on to more difficult exercises when the previous exercise starts to feel less challenging.

3. Balanced and well-rounded – Finally, a good training program will have a balanced mix between isolation and compound movements, as well as the use of free weights and machines. Too much emphasis on one over the other may not yield the best results and further, lead to a poor foundation for working out properly.

Once you find out the routine you’ll be doing, don’t be afraid to ask the trainer questions if there’s any exercise that is unclear to you or questionable to your fitness goals. Your trainer should have no problem finding replacement exercises and addressing any other concerns you may have.

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Peter Benedict | St. Andrews College | Top Three Reasons You Should Work Out Outdoors

Peter Benedict from St. Andrews College: Why It’s Time to Do Outdoor Workouts: Top Three Reasons

Peter Benedict, from St. Andrews College, is a certified fitness professional who is completing his nutritionist studies. Whenever he’s not helping his clients—mostly professional athletes—achieve their fitness goals, he likes hiking along the Columbia River and building Colonial-style furniture. He doesn’t have a beard, claiming it gets in the way of his food. However, he does like working out outdoors. Today, he tells us why you should, too.

Whenever fitness trainers use the word “workout”, people immediately think of metal plates, sweaty bodies, and complicated equipment. However, working out, for me, is not just an activity. It’s a lifestyle. Now, I’m not saying I walk around carrying twenty-pound plates in my backpack, nor do I bench-press every fat cat I see. What I mean about working out as a lifestyle is that every activity must be treated as if it could contribute to your health and fitness.

We’re still in the middle of winter, but it’s never too early to start thinking about outdoor workouts. An outdoor workout is a fitness activity done outdoors. These include activities such as jogging, brisk walking, and biking. If you bike to work, you could consider that a workout too.

Why work out outdoors, though? Here are some reasons you should lose the Spinning class and start actual biking.

1. It lifts you up. A study conducted in the UK concluded that spending time outdoors resulted in a positive change in mood compared to doing work in the gym. I haven’t read much of the article yet, but if it does contain references to seeing the same old people and smelling the same old sweat, it’s legit. Kidding aside, outdoor exercise is associated with a reduction in anger, tension, and depression, and just spending time outdoors, looking at grass and trees, can improve your mood drastically. Unless, of course, you’re a forest ranger and you’re sick and tired of trees.

2. It reinforces your behavior. Unknown to many, a workout is a series of repeated behaviors. You lift, you wipe, you put away. You set the dial, you run for thirty minutes, you turn off the treadmill. Rinse and repeat. This makes indoor workouts repetitive to the point of being monotonous. However, outdoor exercise sharply reduces the monotony of workouts. Because you don’t see the same equipment or people everyday, you don’t get bored as easily. In addition, a study conducted in 2011 said that outdoor exercisers were more inclined towards exercising outdoors again compared to those who went to the gym.

3. It gives you your daily dose of vitamins. Specifically, vitamin D. Vitamin D might help with a variety of health problems, including obesity, depression, osteoporosis among the elderly, HIV, the flu, and tuberculosis. Among pregnant women, higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. One sure-fire way of stimulating vitamin D production is exposure to sunlight, which is something you’ll get a lot of when you start working out outdoors. Just put on your sunscreen, and you’re good to go!


Peter Benedict | St. Andrews College | Top Three Beginners’ Workout Mistakes

Peter Benedict from St. Andrews College: Top Three Mistakes Among Workout Beginners

Peter Benedict, from St. Andrews College, has been training professional athletes for the past decade and has developed a reputation for balancing strength and endurance training. One of his advocacies is to increase awareness of gradual fitness programs among a generation that seems to have lost patience for slow workouts. For Peter, a long-term workout program will build strength and endurance better than a sudden workout that could result in injury or permanent disability to a trainee.

As much as I don’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger for his (in)actions as the governor of California, I still hold him in high regard as a fitness figure. If you find his halting Austrian accent funny, just imagine how it was when he first moved here with nothing but a training regimen and a desire to become the best.

Sadly, this patient approach to fitness has all but become unknown among many athletes and trainers. If you’ve seen The Biggest Loser or similar programs on TV, you could see how they coerce their trainees into doing impossible amounts of exercise. As a fitness trainer, I couldn’t help but list some of the mistakes that I’ve seen among workout beginners, who were probably influenced by these shows. Check out these mistakes, and how to get over them, below:

1. Not knowing how to get the results you want. Upon starting a workout routine, many people think along the lines of “I want to lose ten pounds of fat in a month”. Such an approach will inevitably lead to desperation, especially if the workout routine does not show the desired results. However, a good fitness trainer will break down your routine and explain how each rep and set will help you reach your goals. In fact, he/she will define your goals into bite-sized pieces, such as “I will add five pounds to my clean and jerk every day” or “I will increase my daily protein intake to 150 grams starting this week”. This will help you manage your expectations and give you something to fall back on in case the routine does not succeed.

2. Using too many supplements. As much as whey protein helps you gain muscle mass, combining it with an unhealthy diet will render it useless. I blame the fitness industry and its army of supplement shills for this trend. A supplement is called a supplement because it is supposed to add something extra to what you’re eating. You’re not going to gain muscle mass if you keep eating fast food all week. Shift first to a balanced diet of lean meat, grains, vegetables, and water, then start taking supplements if you still feel the need to do so.

3. Trying to impress others. Going to the gym should never be a competition; it has never been about trying to one-up the next guy who could easily lift 250 pounds, but rather, pushing yourself to lift as much as you can. However, I have encountered too many individuals who injured themselves silly when they tried showing off to others. News flash: it’s better to play safe and lift what you can, than trying to lift more than your limit and show up in a splint the next day.


Peter Benedict | St. Andrews | The Top 3 Most Useless Diets

Peter Benedict from St. Andrews College on the Top 3 Nonsense Diets He’s Ever Encountered

Peter Benedict, a St Andrews College alumnus, is a certified fitness professional and has units in nutrition, making him a credible source of fitness and wellness advice. He adheres to the principle of dietary balance; that is, a diet consisting of different food groups. He believes that diet is just as important as exercise when one wants to lose or maintain weight. In fact, one element will not work without the other.

Most of my non-athlete clients walk up to me and ask, “I don’t think I can continue working out at this pace. Can you suggest any diets that we can do instead?”

I’ve heard this question dozens of times before. Sometimes, I’m really tempted to just tell them off. However, my Christian sense of charity always rights my moral compass, and I just advise them, “Well, we can lower your workout frequencies or change your routine instead. But unless you’re eating an unhealthy amount of junk food, I don’t think dieting would do much good for you.”

It’s really insane how many people think that dieting can take the place of a workout program. To be fair to them, though, I think they might have seen or known people who got into shape without working out. There’s an element of envy, something that goes like “She didn’t do anything! And here I am working out, and I still haven’t shed a pound!”

They might also be expecting those “miracle” diet programs on TV to work for them. But, as a fitness trainer who has studied nutrition, I feel it’s my duty to call a spade a spade. Those diets won’t work with them, just as they won’t work with anyone in the long term. Here are three of the useless diets that my clients have asked me about in the past four months.

The Cabbage Diet.

The Cabbage Diet is exactly what it says on the menu: cabbage. Lots and lots of cabbage. So much cabbage that you’ll end up looking like a vegetable after the seven-day program. What the Cabbage Diet does, in a nutshell, is to reduce your calorie intake. While regulating your calorie intake is an admirable goal in itself, doing it with cabbage is not exactly the smartest decision you could ever make. Cabbages do not have all the nutrients that your body needs, especially zinc and proteins. If ever you lose weight, it would be because you’ve actually gone into a seven-day fast with nothing but pale green leaves to eat.

The Paleo Diet.

I’ve already written about the Paleo Diet before, but in case you missed it, my issue with the diet is that it’s completely ignorant of the physical, genetic, and environmental differences between modern humans and their prehistoric counterparts. That, and it’s very impractical to scour the supermarket shelves for “paleo” ingredients, none of which are paleo to begin with.

The Liquid Diet.

Otherwise known as “juicing”, it involves drinking pureed fruits and vegetables. Proponents of the Liquid Diet claim that it maximizes the nutrient content of the vegetables and fruits. However, this low-calorie technique could backfire once you go back to solid food. This is because the liquid diet slows down your metabolism. If you go back to solid food right after juicing, you actually have a higher risk of gaining weight as your metabolism has yet to go back to its pre-juicing levels.


Peter Benedict | St. Andrews | What the Paleo Diet Gets Wrong

Peter Benedict | St. Andrews | What the Paleo Diet Gets WrongPeter Benedict from St. Andrews College: Paleo, Schmaleo

Professional trainer Peter Benedict, a St Andrews College alumnus, has a degree in kinesiology and studied nutrition and dietetics after college. He believes that a healthy balance of diet and exercise is needed for weight loss and maintenance. As a nutritionist, he touts the virtues of a balanced diet and is strongly against fad diets that promise rapid weight loss. Today, he trains his sights on the paleo food movement.

As a long-time fitness and sports trainer, I’ve seen a lot of diets come and go, including the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet, and The Zone diet. While all of them claim to have the key to weight loss and muscle development, some are far less effective than others. The latest fad, the paleo diet, promises the same things. But what is it anyway, and why do people claim it works?

The paleo diet works on the premise that prehistoric humans ate only certain types of food. Hence, the name “paleo”, which is derived from the Greek word for “old”. The paleo diet includes only food that our prehistoric ancestors would have eaten. Therefore, there is a lot of room for raw meat and vegetables and not a lot of room for bread or fermented food in a typical paleo eating plan.

However, what the proponents of the paleo diet fail to consider is that modern humans have evolved a lot over the past ten thousand or so years. If you compare a Cro-Magnon man and a modern human being, there are stark differences in bone structure, brain development, and posture. Also, because of automation and all the other modern conveniences available today, the physical demands on modern humans are not as heavy as those experienced by Paleolithic humans; the latter spent hours hunting and foraging for food. Thus, there are definite differences between our nutritional needs and theirs.

Another point to ponder is the type of food available in prehistoric times. No, I don’t think Fred and Wilma Flintstone ever ate dinosaur steaks. However, most of their food were either ancestors of today’s vegetables or tougher, more sinewy meats. The cabbage, for example, did not actually exist in prehistoric times; it’s just one of the many evolutionary branches of a specific plant, which include kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. There was no such thing as livestock; our Stone Age forefathers hunted whatever came their way, including bison, bear, big cats, fish, and game fowl. And because animals also evolved over the millennia, present-day meat bears very little resemblance to its Paleolithic counterparts.

Considering the two factors above, it’s safe to assume that the paleo diet is no way related to the real Paleolithic diet that our ancestors ate. One can also argue that health and life expectancy started improving when prehistoric humans discovered yeast, fermentation, cooking, and preservatives. Cooking, for example, eliminated harmful bacteria and made food digestion and nutrient absorption easier. Modern poultry, livestock, and vegetables also took most of the desirable traits of their ancestors, including taste, nutritive value, and digestibility.

This is why I don’t take the paleo diet seriously. If you want to eat like a prehistoric human, you might as well go back to being one.


Peter Benedict St. Andrews: March Madness

It is the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness has officially blessed us with its wonderful presence. Friendships will be ruined during this time of the year and relationships will end. The first day of the tournament had a number of great games with teams winning and hearts breaking. The one that comes to mind was the Vanderbilt. After clawing their way back and getting a one point lead with around 18 seconds. Fisher-David who him self was the main reason they were able to come back ended up thinking they were down by one and fouled to preserve time. He immediately knew the mistake he made and one could only feel for this kid after playing so hard to get his team back on track.

The other game of the night was the Princeton Vs. Notre Dame game. Notre Dame was playing from behind the whole game and had a chance to win it at the buzzer. Alas it was not meant to be as the shot was just a little too strong. There were also a lot of close scares and a lot of the higher seeds had a hard time putting away their opponents. With both Gonzaga and Arizona not putting away the 15 and 16 seeds respectively until much later in the game.

Todays game will bring much more drama and what is sure to be the first of many upsets as well. Will Michigan continue their hot streak they made through Big 10 tournament? A lot of people have them making it really far in the campaign. As of the time of this article it looks like they will pull it out against Ohio State University and will continue their hot streak to move in in regards to the campaign.

No matter what happens this is shaping up to be a great tournament if the first day was anything to base it off of.

Peter Benedict | St. Andrews | Top 3 Foods for Runners

Peter Benedict from St. Andrews College Shares the Top 3 Things You Should Eat If You Run

Peter Benedict, a St Andrews College alumnus, works as a full-time trainer to professional athletes and sports teams. He has a degree in kinesiology and units in nutrition and dietetics, and believes in maintaining a proper balance between training, rest, and sustenance. In other words, a well-balanced diet combined with hard work and adequate rest will result in a high-performing athlete. Today, he discusses the nutrients that runners need, and which foods contain them.

As a professional sports trainer, I work with professional athletes and amateurs alike. A lot of my clients are stumped when I ask them about their nutrient intake. Many consume what they claim to be diets designed to maximize their performance. However, when I take a look at their food diaries, I don’t see a lot of whole food, just a smattering of trendy ingredients and lots of Fitbars. While energy foods themselves are not bad, they don’t provide all the nutrients that a high-performing athlete requires.

What does an athlete need anyway? Scientists agree upon carbohydrates as a source of energy, and proteins to help repair tired body tissue. However, while most diets include both types of nutrients, many leave out certain vitamins and minerals that help runners reach and maintain peak performance. Here are some foods you should eat to keep yourself in top running shape:

Food #1: Seeds, Beans, and Nuts. Seeds contain the nutrients needed to grow a new plant, which means they are chock-full of compounds such as ferulic acid, which helps prevent oxidation. Studies show that a diet rich in beans and whole grains results in a lower risk of certain cancers and type-2 diabetes among elite athletes. Phenolic compounds, which include flavonoids, are also found in seeds and nuts and help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

Food #2: Milk and Dairy Products. If you’re a runner, you might already be drinking milk to help build strong bones. The calcium content alone is reason enough to consume dairy products, but did you know that milk contains other nutrients that could help improve your performance? Whey protein helps in muscle recovery, and studies indicate that it may also have a hand in strengthening the immune system. Stearic acid, which is found in milk, is thought to help reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Fermented milk products, such as yoghurt, contain live bacteria, which improve the immune system and aid in digestion.

Food #3: Lean Meat and Poultry. Aside from being a rich source of protein, which your body needs to repair damaged tissue, meats contain a healthy amount of zinc and iron, which your blood needs to transport oxygen to different parts of the body. Both minerals are also key components of your immune system. We suggest that you walk past the regular meat stalls and go to the ones that sell meat from grass-fed animals, as they contain omega-3 fatty acids which help your prevent tissue inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases. There is also evidence that regular meat consumption helps maintain one’s mental health.