Food Scale

Weighing your food – a little neurotic? Probably. Difference in your routine? Most likely. Not as tedious as you think? You got it!

A food scale is the first tool I recommend, next to a food tracking app, to get the nutrition side of your health and wellness fully dialed in. You can usually find one for $15-30 – a small investment for a lot of information. Knowing how much of an ingredient or food you are actually eating is so important. Some foods come pre-packaged and you can use the information written to figure out how much is in a serving. Problems arise with the bulk ingredients (that you SHOULD be going after) that only give nutrition facts off of weight. At first it will seem strange to weigh everything but over time I have found it to be just another part of food prep and even found it to be a time saver. Here are three “features” and uses I have found:

Tare Function – place an item on top of the scale and press “tare”. This re-zeros the scale for another food. This recipes super fast as you can add ingredients with exact weight and tare the amount in-between.

Food Scale Instead of Measuring Cups – certain liquids are only measured by volume and measuring cups are still needed. However, most foods have their exact weight (given in grams typically) on the nutrition facts label.
ex. 1 Two tablespoons of peanut butter is a serving. Rather than dealing with it sticking to your tablespoon and not being sure if it’s an exact amount, just weigh it (32g) and be done with it.
ex. 2 You have 6 ingredients that would all use measuring cups normally. Rather than making a bunch of dishes, you can add each one and tare in between!

Exact Portions – once you enter a recipe, you can weigh the final product and use that number to figure out portions.
ex. Box of pasta and can of marinara sauce is 55 oz. An 8oz portion is 8/55 of those two ingredients (easily added to a tracking app like MyFitnessPal).

The power of knowing exactly what you are eating is huge for people looking to lose weight, build muscle, or just eat a little more healthy. If you are tracking and not getting to your goals it becomes extremely easy to adjust your nutrition because you have accurate CORRECT data that isn’t guessed with “dollops” of this and a “pinch” of that. It may not seem easy or convenient but it’s what works.

Starting Up: Equipment

EDITED: 1/31/2016. I have some new thoughts… ?
Home gyms carry many advantages but there are many questions that arise regarding equipment, space, and needs for specific programs: How do I start if I don’t have a ton of money spend on the equipment? What do you really need to be successful? What if I don’t have room? The information in this post should provide you the tools to get started today.

I recommend the following items to anyone looking for the simplest way to start any program requiring resistance training. At some point you will want to probably upgrade but this is your bare bones starter:

Resistance Bands – $40:
You can use loops to increase intensity and the type of bands I recommend have the ability to clip (karabiner) multiple bands to one handle. These will also act as your pull-up move with a door attachment. I recommend this set of Bodylastics bands. The set includes the handles that I mentioned, door attachment, and ankle straps as well as 5 QUALITY bands.

Yoga Mat – $15-30:
Great for core work and obviously yoga, Pilates etc. Recommended especially if you are working out on a hard surface. Some are better than others. I have found the GAIM brand to be longer lasting than the kinds you can find for $10.

Shoes: You really just need something comfortable to start. After a while you may find you want to get a good cross trainer for explosive lateral moves.

That’s all you need to begin a program! Like any hobby, there are add-ons, upgrades, and all sorts of ways to trick out your home gym. All that matters is that this gets you moving in the right direction. Better yet it is equipment that will still be useful even if/when you upgrade equipment. Finally, all of this fits in nearly any space. I have made 10′ x 10′ rooms work just fine and even living rooms with the coffee table pushed out of the way work. Don’t worry about having everything perfect, don’t worry about having all of the equipment, just show up. Show up and give it everything you’ve got with what you have!