Food For Fuel: The Nutrition and Exercise Balance

Abs are Made In the Kitchen & Other Talk 

[picture credit, fall 2015]

You’ve heard it before, abs are made in the kitchen right? 

Did you stop long enough to think about this and accept it as a truism and not some catchy phrase?

For the sake of balance, I don’t suggest that you spend all of your time in the kitchen, or over analyze every food choice you make, but I do want to share my nutrition thoughts with you, as a real person, who happily indulges on a chocolate chip cookie [or two], every now and then.

Everyone always wants to know the secret to losing weight, maintaining weight or gaining weight. Sometimes, I wish there was a way to waive a magic wand, Harry Potter style, and have the perfect response to this ongoing conversation. To clarify, I do not have a magic wand, which means I do not have the perfect answer but, I will chit chat about the “secrets” now.

The question always comes down to two contenders – diet [we will call this nutrition] and exercise. There has to be a happy balance between both, but this does not necessarily mean an equal balance. Or that you have to follow the balance 100% of the time [we believe in 80/20]. Bob Harper’s recent take on the matter has gained a lot of attention – and it should, because he’s right, diet is extremely important. He suggests 80% important. [Want to read more, check it out here:]

So what does that mean…? You have to eat healthy. No, Planet Fitness, it is actually not benefiting your members to encourage them to indulge in a Tootsie Roll at the end of every sweat session. We will leave that topic on hold for another day because I am getting to the point here. 

Jesse Jamnik said it best when he put himself out there to the Facebook world explaining the benefits of good nutrition and supplementation. He started with, “I think it’s working…” I think he’s right. It is his thoughts and story telling that sparked my need to write this post.

The calories you consume are extremely important. And, it’s not just the number, it’s the type – and, then it’s when. You are not going to run off yesterday’s “bad” choices – that’s silly. You are not going to gain superhero like muscles if your daily nutrition consists of every fast food chain around. You have to develop a lifestyle – one that is comprised of healthy choices, nutrition and exercise included. Listen, they complement each other.

We (whenever I say we, it is always referring to me and Jesse) prescribe to a very unique and challenging training program, by choice [it’s what we love to do]. We run and we strength train [heavy weight style]. Yes, we do both, and both to the semi-extremes. And, we maintain this challenging and demanding program by fueling our bodies properly, getting [enough] sleep, and supporting endlessly.

The thing you need to remember, is that we fuel our bodies properly.

It took plenty of trial and error. It took research. It took acceptance of the science. It took a need for more to start to figure out the calorie and healthy food game.

Your goals can be achieved through a balance of diet/nutrition and exercise. Go to the food first – we can get everything we need through proper food, proper timing, macro nutrient combinations, vitamins and minerals. It comes down to the right food [and supplements], at the right time in the right quantity. Then add your exercise choices [whatever they may be].

Clean Food + Supplementation for the gaps food can’t fill + Exercise = Healthy Balance

* * *

Here is Jesse’s story…[as the proud life adventure partner, aka girlfriend, I’m sharing] 

I think it’s working…


For years I’ve tried to crack the code with this whole fitness and nutrition thing. Knowing all along just how vital nutrition is to fitness and results, I tried every diet and muscle building plan imaginable, and spent thousands of dollars along the way doing so.

I’ve probably tried nearly every supplement on the damn market. Pre-workouts that made me feel like I was on some sort of illegal drug, twitching and having hot flashes, to testosterone boosters promising the world, to recovery drinks that claimed to have magic powers because some big steroid-injected freak [for lack of better term] in the magazine said so.

A couple years ago I thought I made the connection with food. I transformed from someone who worked out and was in decent shape to ripped beyond what I could have ever dreamed of growing up as a little “fat kid.”

I pushed the limits, worked out twice a day, never missed a scheduled workout – you name it, I was all in. The PROBLEM – my recovery times were in the toilet, I was always tired and constantly felt like I needed to draw more energy from somewhere. Something still wasn’t quite right. 

“In shape” but not really….

Sound familiar?

Then came the issue of heavy lifting and running as I became involved with OCR and adventure racing. Now, it’s ultrarunning. And, supposedly the balance between strength training and running can’t be done together right? I was, and still am too stubborn to believe that one.

I constantly “killed” myself to find balance between the two. During the summer months I would get faster but lose around 10-12 pounds of hard work. Ugggg! [This is aggravating as all hell to anyone who knows how hard you must work for lean muscle mass!]

Over the last couple of years, I’ve taken more time to study deeper, learn more and figure out what makes our body work and function efficiently. I used myself as a test subject and pushed things harder, but smarter, creating balance. My food hasn’t changed much, but my quality of supplementation to fill the void has, and the best way to describe that is – WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

At 36, I feel amazing. I average 50 – 60 miles a week and complete 3 heavy, superset, drop set weight sessions along with some other cross training methods and I’m finally able to hold and maintain 185 pounds with little body fat. I experience little muscle soreness, my mental clarity and daily energy is through the roof, I accomplish goals — and, to note, this all comes at a time could easily be very stressful [You see, for those of you that don’t know the backstory, we recently moved to Maine. But, I haven’t fully moved yet to fulfill job obligations. So, at this point, I am a Maine resident on the weekend, a Rhode Island resident on the weekdays.].

I don’t know about you, but we all have choices. You can choose to listen to others who have failed and think they know. You can keep going down the same path you’ve been taking, or you can hunt down REAL SCIENCE (which is hard to find) like I did. Remove the harmful dyes, artificial stuff, and toxins. Remove the fake sugars and weak dosing of most companies. Combine that, with the same hard work you are doing now, time your nutrients (very important) and feel how magic starts to happen.


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