Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Progress Stalled and You Don’t Know Why? Use this Checklist to Figure it Out

Progress Stalled and You Don’t Know Why?
Use this Checklist to Figure it Out

Has your weight loss or muscle building or strength progress stalled? There are a lot of variables at play and it’s sometimes hard to determine which one(s) have caused the plateau.
Use this checklist, compliments of Andrew Heming at (plus a few of my own suggestions in blue) to find out why.

·        Do I have a clearly defined goal?

·        Is my training focused on my goal or am I distracting myself with cool but non-essential exercises or techniques? (Or am I trying to accomplish too many goals at once without focusing on any?)

·        Do I have unrealistic expectations? (Am I trying to be ripped by Tuesday” Am I expecting to gain 40 pounds of muscle in a month?)

·        Am I doing the big, hard, uncomfortable, result-producing exercises?

·        Am I keeping a training journal?

·        Am I getting better at these exercises by regularly adding weight?

·        Am I training consistently?

·        Am I following a program for an appropriate amount of time or am I program-hopping? (Or conversely, have I been using the same program for too long?)

·        Am I consistently monitoring goal-relevant assessments? (e.g. measurements)

·        Is my nutrition on track? Am I keeping a food log?

·        Am I consistently using the right supplements for my goals?

·        Do I get enough sleep?

·        Am I getting sufficient rest? (Is that two-hour game of pick-up basketball killing my muscle gains?)

·        Am I managing stress effectively?

·        Am I training with good effective form or just using a lot of wasted effort without concentrating on doing it properly? Sloppy form is wasted effort.

·        Am I just adding more and more volume to overcome a plateau? “More” isn't always the answer.

Many people mistakenly look for a programming solution when they aren’t practicing sound training, nutrition or lifestyle habits.

Progress doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. It happens in fits and starts. If you are doing all of the above correctly then give it time.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Leg Press Challenge

A footnote to the challenge: This is all about time under tension (TUT). If you can't get to 100 reps without stopping reduce the weight. Of course you can't reduce the weight below the weight of the sled (On some machines the sled weighs 125 pounds or more) so perform the 100 reps in as few sets as possible shooting for at least 50 reps on the first set. And try to increase the reps each day.

I think It’s Time For A New Challenge

This one is going to concentrate on the lower body for all of you who skip leg day or just give lip service to leg day.

 Never skip leg days sport memes:

I know, leg day is hard. But if you skip it or just do leg day half-assed once or twice a week you are doing yourself a huge disservice. The muscles in the lower body are the largest in the body. Working hard on the legs produces much more of the hormones (mainly human growth hormone and testosterone) that builds muscle mass throughout the entire body. Want bigger arms or chest? Work the legs! Want to lose fat faster? Work on the legs! This will also lean you out fast.

I’ll be doing this challenge right along with you. In a word, my leg size sucks. My leg strength is not bad but size is another story. This challenge is more about building muscle and shape (ladies) than building strength.

The 100 Rep Leg Press Challenge

This challenge comes from Florian Bianchi. Bianchi works with pro body builders, elite pro athletes and Olympians.

For this challenge the 45 degree leg press machine (also called a vertical leg press) is preferable but a horizontal leg press machine will work if that’s all you have available.

·        You’ll be doing the challenge every day.

·        Perform the challenge at the start of each workout

·        Use a very light weight to start. You may need to begin with an empty sled to begin with.  That can be anywhere from 45 to 125 pounds depending on the brand of machine.

·        Shoot for the full 100 reps without resting the first time with an empty sled to determine a good starting weight. If you must rest, use just a pause at the top with locked legs without racking the sled.

·        Use a moderate speed and tempo. Not too fast or too slow.

·        Add weight as you progress. But this challenge is not about doing 100 reps as heavy as possible. The goal is to get the blood flowing and getting pumped.

The whole 100 rep set should take about 2 to 3 minutes and can change you lower body forever!

Over time (4 to 6 weeks minimum) this will increase the number of capillaries to your legs. The result is easier and faster blood flow to your legs thus speeding up the uptake of oxygen and nutrients and more efficient clearing of lactic acid and nitrogen molecules between sets.

Increased vascularization also makes it easier to mobilize fat in the legs and working the legs daily improves your ability to recruit the muscles.

I’m going to add my own wrinkle to Bianchi’s challenge….

·        Vary your foot position on the plate each day (high, middle and low) and foot width (narrow, medium and wide) to work all the muscles of the upper leg (quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors and the glutes).

The higher you place your feet on the plate the more you transfer the work to the hamstrings and glutes. Lower position puts the work on the quads.

The wider the foot placement  the more the work is transfered to the inner thigh.

A narrow stance transfers the work to the outer thigh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

7 Things You Can Learn from the Pro's

7 Things You Can Learn from the Pro's

You probably have little or no interest in becoming a competitor in bodybuilding or power lifting or figure competition. And you’ve heard many times from me that you shouldn’t try to copy the programs or nutrition plans of the pros. And I stick by that.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can learn from competitors.

No posing suit required.

Be Competitive…..with yourself. No one else matters. Your goal is to be better tomorrow than you were today. One more pound lifted, one more rep, one more set.

You’ll make mistakes. Learn from them. Find what went wrong and fix it. And don’t let it happen again.

Don’t eat or workout based on your emotions. Progress or a good workout is much more satisfying than a pint of ice cream or watching a “Walking Dead” marathon when faced with stress.

Be all business. In the gym, put on your “don’t talk to me face”, avoid eye contact and get the job done.

Competitors avoid:
·        Getting too hungry
·        Getting too tempted
·        Eating for emotional relief
·        Having nothing healthy around to eat
·        Rationalizing junk food or skipping workouts
·        Going to the gym without a plan
·        Grocery shopping without a plan

Have a Long Term Plan. Don’t even try to do everything at once with a goal centered on next week or next month. Conservative weight loss or muscle gain adds up over time. Starving, fad diets, diet pills and gym marathons do not work.

Build Muscle and Protect it. Regardless of your goals never sacrifice muscle. Why? Muscle is pretty and metabolically expensive. (It burns more calories). Lose muscle and you’ll only end up being “Skinny-Fat”-meaning you look smaller but you’ll still be fat.
Weight train to build muscle, not to lose fat. As you build muscle the fat will take care of itself if your nutrition is on point.

Love the Process. Screw the Scale. Celebrate small improvements and trust that the right behaviors will yield the results you want. Read Throw Away Your Scales

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

5 Ways to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Workout

5 Ways to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Workout

Training takes time and it takes effort. But it’s highly probable you are wasting both time and effort.

The body is a highly efficient piece of machinery. The body will do everything in its power to use the least amount of energy to perform any task and everything possible to protect itself and neither of those traits is necessarily effective for your workout.

The body attempts to force efficiency and safety by using momentum and inertia. Both can render an exercise somewhere between inefficient and worthless. Think about the guy doing bicep curls swinging the bar with his back and legs instead of the biceps. Everyone (well, everyone except the guy swinging the weights) recognizes that as waste of time and effort. We’re going to talk about ways to help with the less obvious, but still ineffective ways you’re wasting time and effort.

Start with the Setup

Get in the habit of setting up for every exercise the right way with the goal of eliminating as much momentum and inertia as possible so that all effort is directed to the muscle or muscles to be worked.

·        Stand or sit straight. When you slouch or lean forward or back you change the dynamics of the exercise and your ability to contract muscle. Stand or sit tall, lengthening your spine. Shoulders back and core engaged.

·        Lock it Down. Lock down every body part or muscle except the one to be worked. Squeeze you quads and your core and your glutes. Not a maximum contraction but enough to prevent movement. Try to brace against something. Push down on the floor with your legs, push against an object with the upper body.
The one arm dumbbell is a good example to use.

Push down with your legs and push against the bench or rack with the arm and shoulder, tighten your core and glutes isolating the muscle being worked.

·        Use a Full Range of Motion. Both the contracting and the stretching of the muscle being worked are important when trying to develop a muscle. Half reps don’t count. You may also develop an imbalance which can lead to injury.

·        Initiate the movement with the muscle being trained. No swinging. No jerking. No body-English. Concentrate on using only the muscle or muscles being trained. Lock everything else down. Your body wants to use the most efficient means to move the weight. That usually means it wants to use the largest muscles. You have to learn to resist that automatic response.

If you can’t initiate the movement with just the muscle being trained you are using too much weight. You’re ego is ruining you gains.

·        Maintain Continuous Tension. Use a full range of motion but stop just short of full extension. Any type of pushing movement is the best example. When you bench press and push all the way to the point where your arms are fully extended look at your elbows, wrist and shoulders. You’ll see that the joints are “stacked” one above the other. You have just transferred the entire load to you joints and off the muscles. Pausing at the top of a squat or deadlift or letting your arms hang at the bottom of a curl creates the same effect. You will inadvertently pause at the point. You are, in effect, resting. That’s cheating. Not to mention putting strain on your joints. Continuous tension on the muscle is what builds muscle. Don’t stop where it’s easy! Stop just an inch before lock-out.

Getting Stronger or Building Muscle has Nothing to do with How Much Weight You Lift. It’s All about How Much Weight you Lift Correctly.

Monday, November 21, 2016



Sorry, but I couldn’t find any actual before and after pictures of men’s glutes .

This article is not for women only. You’d better pay attention guys. Glutes consistently top the list of body parts women admire most in men.

Glutes and hamstrings are consistently one of the most underdeveloped muscles despite being among the most important from an aesthetic and an athletic stand point.

From a functional standpoint, the glutes provide a substantial portion of the power for movement in the hip and thigh. For example, standing up from a sitting position, climbing stairs and just standing upright. The glutes in humans are the main reason we can stand and walk or run upright while other animals (including other primates) cannot.

From an athletic standpoint, the glutes are responsible for moving the leg forward and backward as in running and jumping and are one of the most powerful muscles in the human body.

And yes, genetics play a part in glute development or lack thereof. That doesn’t mean you can’t train for a better butt.

Being one of the strongest muscles in the human body means you have to be prepared to train them hard. Like the calf muscle, the glutes help you stand upright a good part of the day. So to get the glutes to develop takes some work. They only get bigger if they get stronger.


Squats are the best lower body exercise of all time. But stopping your squat anywhere at or above parallel puts most emphasis on your quads and isn’t going to put enough stress on your glutes,

To fully engage your glutes you need to squat well below parallel. The lower the better.

I understand that not everyone can do squats below parallel (having weak glutes is part of the reason some people can’t do squats). So here are several alternatives.

Barbell Hip Thrusts

You must bring your hips up so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Squeeze your glutes for a count of 10 and lower to the starting position and repeat. See video

Stiff Legged Deadlifts or Romanian Deadlifts (RDL)

To take the focus off your lower back push your hips back as far as you can until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your back straight (no rounding of the back) and lower the weight as low as possible. The closer you position your feet together the more you will engage the glutes. See Video

Weighted Walking Lunges

Using dumbbells or kettle bells in each hand, step forward. Lunge and alternate legs with each step. Bring your knee down as far as possible without your knee extending past your toes.
See the video

Ham-Glute Raise
Holding a weight plate to your chest, raise your upper body up to parallel with your legs. Don’t hyper-extend your back past parallel. Focus on using your glutes and hamstrings to raise you upper body not your lower back.
Hold at the top for at least 10 seconds while squeezing your glutes hard
Lower your upper body back to the starting position and repeat.
See video

You can see videos or other alternatives HERE

Just Saying.....

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What is this Funny Looking Contraption?

What is this Funny Looking Contraption?

It's called a "Trap Bar" and here's why you should be using it...

The "Trap Bar" or "Hex Bar" is used primarily in the dead lift, shrugs and even squats and can be one of the most helpful pieces of equipment you ever use.

Trap Bar Dead Lift

The dead lift is probably the single best exercise ever invented for increasing strength and building muscle. It should be a staple in every program.

However, many people have trouble performing the dead lift properly or have not been trained to do it properly. Proper form is an absolute necessity in the dead lift. 

The trap bar dead lift has several advantages over the straight bar dead lift. 
  • The trap bar dead lift shifts the weight from in front of the lifter to the mid-line of the body removing considerable shear stress from the lower back. The stress is effectively shifted from your lower back to the quadriceps muscles (which is where you want it)
  • The trap bar dead lift almost forces the lifter to use proper form automatically. Much of the learning process in the dead lift is learning how to keep the load as close as possible to the center-line of the body. The Trap Bar does that automatically.
  • For you trainers, I've known trainers who purchased the trap bar themselves for use in their gym. It's That much easier to train the dead lift with a trap bar.
  • With the weight located at the center-line of the body you can typically lift considerably more weight. An experienced lifter can add as much as 50 pounds to the lift.
  • The trap bar dead lift prevents having shins that look like this: 

Below is a video of a trap bar dead lift.

The benefits to a trap bar dead lift are easy to understand once you try it. The shift in stress and difficulty becomes very obvious.

The trap bar is also great for squats, rows, weighted carries and even presses for many of the same reasons they are great for the dead lift. Link HERE for some unconventional trap bar exercises from T-Nation

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rule# 1-Stop Eating So Much Crap

Rule# 1-Stop Eating So Much Crap

 How's the diet going???:

A while back I wrote an article entitled The Only 4 things You Need to do to Lose Weight. #2 , #3 and #4 have already been discussed here, here, and here .

#1 is closely related to Rule # 2-Pay Attention

This will be a short article. Why? Because you already know the answer. You just choose to ignore it.

When someone asks me where they should start, I turn it around and ask them where they think they should start. They always give me the correct answer! Funny how that works…

I usually get an answer like “I should probably stop drinking 4 or 5 soft drinks a day” or “I should probably quit stopping at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.” Whatever answer they give me, they are always right. They know where they should start. They know it’s a bad habit. And they know they need to change.

I could give you a long list of things you should change. But that would be overwhelming and you wouldn’t stick with it. You break bad habits and addictions  one step at a time.

So pick one part of your eating ritual that you know is bad for you and eliminate it. Then pick another and another and another.

You also have to eliminate the temptation. Don’t keep that item anywhere near you. Clean out the pantry and your desk drawer at work (where you hide the snacks-you know you do that). If you stop at Dunkin or Crispy Cream every morning, take another route to work.

Whatever you pick, get familiar with the numbers. This goes back to Rule # 2-Pay Attention  For example, two  plain crispy cream glazed donut is 480 calories and 24 grams of fat. That’s 2400 calories in a 5 day work week. You could lose almost a pound in a week by eliminating that one item. A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit is 460 calories and 23 grams of fat. In a 5 day work week that’s 2300 calories and 115 grams of fat.

You already know where the crap is in your diet. So....

Stop Eating So Much Crap

Pay Attention


Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rule # 3-Move

Rule # 3-Move!

fat and happy kitty watching 'big bang' marathon while sitting:  
If this resembles your latest selfie, You Need to Read This.

 In an article last week I gave you The Only 4 Things You Need to Lose Weight. This is # 4 on that list.

Here’s something to think about:

A Swedish study, published this past summer, in the European Journal Of Preventive Cardiology followed nearly 800 subjects for almost 50 years.
Their conclusion: Only smokers died early at higher rates than couch potatoes.

As fat levels increase, so do blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and inflammation. These changes translate into increased risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular death: Obesity and Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes and Cancer.
Reducing body weight by only 5% significantly reduces risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

Think about that for a minute. ….
No, think about that while you’re watching TV for 37 hours a week (the average for Americans). Think about it when you look at your kids or grandkids or spouse.
Think about it when you order that Peppercorn Burger at Red Robin at 1970 calories.  
Read about #2 Pay Attention here.

 It doesn’t really matter what you do. I can tell you what works best and what works fastest. I can tell you how to work around old injuries or physical limitations. But anything is better than lying on the sofa eating chips and dip watching “Dancing with the Has-beens”.

Start out just walking if you need to and go from there. But do something!

Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm Too Old to Get in Shape...


I hear this excuse all the time. And that's all it is, an excuse.

I touched on this in an article back in 2015 and republished it as one of the most read articles over the last two years. You can read it here Your Excuse is Invalid .You should read it or re-read it just to get a better understanding of my history.Also read this article Bodybuilding or Fat Loss for Seniors

The fact is, we all get older (hopefully) and our body and abilities change. It happens at different ages for different people and different activities. We get a step slower, build muscle slower, lose fat slower. The oldest three professional football players are 43, 42 and 41. And they are all kickers. Tail backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks usually have a much shorter career. Golfers, on the other hand can play considerably longer. 

My son and a friend were playing golf and the starter paired them with a husband and wife in their late 70’s. The older couple couldn’t hit it far but every shot was straight. They always hit the green and always two-putted. They were smart and adjusted to their abilities. They shot two over par for the 18 holes.  

You have three choices. You can mourn. You can surrender. Or you can define a new plan.

But go to the article linked above and look at my history (including my injuries and ailments). I’m now 67 years old. But the fact is, I was at my strongest when I was 50 years old. My personal records in the dead lift and squat were set on my 50th birthday.

Am I special? Hell no.

Then how did I lift more at 50 than I did in my twenties? I got smarter and wiser, at least as it applies to fitness. (In other areas, maybe not so much). I love the saying; “If you were never young and foolish you’ll never be old and wise.”

In my twenties and thirties I worked hard at everything I did. I had enough work ethic to offset my lack of knowledge. But when I got back in the gym in my late forties, hard work was not enough. I had more injuries and more ailments. I had to find a better way.

So I worked on better form and nutrition and better programming. In short, I worked smarter not harder. I had to learn to work out like I was fifty, not twenty.
And I got to my largest in lean muscle mass at 228 pounds with body fat in the low teens and I set PR’s (personal records) that put me in the “1000 pound club” at 1295 pounds in the big three lifts. (There are people now that lift more than that on 1 lift. The records for the big three are over 3000 pounds. )

Now I’m 67. But I’m still learning and still progressing every week. Will I ever lift as much as I did at 50? Nope. Then why do it? Because I feel better than I have in years. My old injuries and ailments bother me less than they did when I was 30. I have more energy, more stamina and I’m healthier overall. I haven’t had a cold in almost eight years. Will something come out of nowhere and put me down? Maybe, given my history and family history. But until then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

A friend and sometime workout partner (who is older than me) says he’s constantly asked by his friends why he works out as hard as he does. Mike’s answer; “Because I can”.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rule # 4-Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions

Rule # 4- Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions

A few days ago I wrote an article entitled The Only 4 Things You Need to do to Lose Weight

Number 4 on that list was Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions.

The minute you start making excuses (to yourself or others) to justify your screw-ups is the minute you start a downward spiral to failure. One excuse leads to another then another and another.

You're not competing with anyone. Your main competition should be with yourself. Your main goal is to simply be better tomorrow than you were today. 

The excuses you make are fooling no one but yourself.
See Your Excuse is Invalid

Training is not hard. Fixing your nutrition is not hard. The hard part is giving up a few of the things you enjoy today for a better you tomorrow. 

What are you 12 years old? Act like an adult and take responsibility. No one put you in the situation you're in but you. No one can get you out of this situation but you. Fix This....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016



Nutritional advice is everywhere you look. But that doesn’t mean its good advice.
If you read articles on this site very often I’m sure you are aware of my skepticism of the food industry. But in fairness, food manufacturers aren’t the only culprits.

The scientific community is not perfect either and the media has created some major myths by simply sensationalizing information and only telling you half the story.

Here are a few more myths you need to ignore:

Egg Yolks are Bad for You.

This one has been around for so long that it’s impossible to tell if it was bad science or a bad interpretation of the science. But the recent science has determined that Dietary Cholesterol, for most people, has little effect on blood cholesterol.

Cholesterol is necessary for hormone production and digestion. But your liver can produce all the cholesterol your body needs. If you have high blood cholesterol it is largely determined by your genetics, not your dietary cholesterol intake.

Focus on eliminating saturated and trans-fats from your diet instead.

Coffee is Dehydrating

Not sure if you know...I always get a cup of ice water when I drink my coffee :):

Coffee is a diuretic. But it’s an extremely mild one. Two or three cups per day will not dehydrate you.

Natural Sugar is Better than Added Sugar

Sugar is sugar. The sugar in that pound of grapes you just ate is the same as the sugar in a candy bar. Your body will react differently when combined with other nutrients like fiber or protein (so yes, the grapes are better for you) but just being “natural” makes no difference.

Organic Food is Automatically Healthy

Organic junk food is still junk food.  Organic candy bars are no better for you than non-organic candy bars. They contain the same amount of sugar, fat and empty calories.

Margarine is better for you than Butter

Most margarine contains trans-fats that are much worse for you than the saturated fat in butter.

Low-Fat Versions are Better than the Originals

Since fat makes foods tastier and more filling (9 calories per gram) you’ll likely eat more of the low-fat variety. Even more detrimental is the “halo effect” of anything labeled low-fat.” It’s low-fat so I can eat more of it, right?”

When fat is removed from foods it is usually replaced with sugar and/or salt to improve the flavor. Low fat brands often contain more calories than the regular kind.

Everyone will Benefit from Giving up Gluten

Unless you have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, giving up gluten will not make you healthier.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rule# 2-Pay Attention

Rule# 2-Pay Attention

An article a few days ago told you The Only 4 Things You need to do to Lose Weight

So let’s talk about Rule# 2-Pay Attention.

Stop being a mindless eater. I know it’s extreme, but you might have to actually read a nutrition label or two. Even if you don’t keep a food log or track your calories or track your macro’s you’ll still become aware of nutrition. And that's a huge step forward.

I’m not a big advocate of counting calories and macro’s for the rest of your life. You’ll get tired of it and quit or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Some people do great with counting but most don’t.

Who should count?
·        Skinny people wanting gains. They usually eat far less than they think they do.
·        Bodybuilders or physique competitors
·        Anyone with a specific aesthetic goal

However, I do recommend you count calories and macros for a few weeks to learn something.

Here are a Few Facts

·        If you want to lose fat you must put yourself in a calorie deficit.
·        According to several studies, the average person under estimates their calorie intake by an average of 429 calories per day. That’s over 3000 calories per week. That’s almost enough to gain a pound of fat per week!
·        Even dietitians under-reported their own calorie intake by an average of 223 calories per day even though their job involves dealing with these things on a daily basis.
·        According to a test where they ask people what a calorie is they didn’t find a single person who could give a clear definition of a calorie.

Are we in agreement that you need to learn a few things? Good. Here we go….

1.   Some foods are “Calorie Dense”

Weight and size often have nothing to do with calories. Which weighs more an apple or a donut? The apple of course weighs about 4 times as much as a donut. But the donut has 2x the calories. This example is pretty obvious but not all examples are so obvious. Pay attention…

2.   Why are all the foods you like “bad for you”?

That conception is not entirely true but it seems that way sometimes.
The answer has to do with what’s called the “Bliss Point” and makes food “Hyper-palatable.”

When you eat hyper- palatable foods they set off a series of mechanisms in our brain referred to as the “Reward Response System”. It’s the same system that kicks in when you take drugs or have sex. It makes you want to consume more and overrides the system that tells you you’re full.

The “bliss point” is the right combination of sugar, fat and salt. That’s why you “can’t eat just one” potato chip even if you’re full. None of these 3 things are terrible alone. (You need some fat and salt to live). But combine them in the right proportions and you’re going to eat too much. Food manufacturers are well aware of this.

3.   The Health Halo Effect

Consumers believe that foods advertised as “healthy” are lower in calories so they overcompensate by eating more of these foods.
In studies, people who were told a meal was “healthy” ate 131% more calories even if the “healthy” option had more calories than the unhealthy option. People can be diligent about what they eat and still ignore how much they eat.

Even when consumers seek out healthier meals they tend to overcompensate by adding unhealthy extras or even adding a dessert.
Beware of foods labeled as “organic” , “low fat”, “natural”, “diet” or “healthy”.

4.   Hidden Calories

Restaurants with less than 20 stores are not required to provide nutrition data. (Some states have passed stricter laws concerning certain data such as trans-fats). Even if they do have to provide nutrition data the data does not have include such things as oils used in preparation, sauces, marinades, cheeses added to your burger, mayonnaise, cream in your coffee…

Salads are healthy. But add cheese, croutons, bacon bits, oil or dressing and you “healthy salad” can easily reach 400 calories.

I could go on with this for a while but I think you get the message- Pay Attention.

Don’t spend your life tracking every little detail of your nutrition but pay attention and learn to compensate. Keep a log for awhile using a service (free) like until you get in the habit of paying attention. Learn to ignore, or at least  verify, the flashy message on the front of the packaging and look at the nutrition data.