You are dieting wrong!!!

Millions of people across the country go grocery shopping, pick up some food, search around the box and a-ha! the nutrition facts. They see how many calories are in the food, maybe see how much, fat, protein, or sugar (carbohydrates) is in the food and then decide whether or not they should buy it. They decide this because they are trying eat a certain amount of calories to meet certain weight goals, losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining weight. However, most people have no idea how the calories are calculated or how many calories each macro-nutritent (macro); protein, fat, and carbs contain. Well you are in luck because I am going to tell you how the calories of each food are determined and how many calories are in each macro. I am also going to tell you how this approach to eating is the wrong way for most of you!
There is a whole bunch of science involved in determining what exactly a calorie is, I won’t bore you with this, but essentially a calorie is the energy the body uses for activity or stores for later use. The body uses the calories for all physiological activity in the body from your heart beat and breathing to each step you take. When you eat more calories than you use your body stores this extra energy as fat.

In order to determine the amount of calories in food, they blow it up, how awesome is that!?! Well there is a little more to it, bomb calorimetry is the process which determines the amount of calories in food. An item is placed in a bomb calorimeter and is electrocuted. The heat that is produced by the food travels into copper piping that heats water, the temperature increase in the water is recorded and boom, there is your calorie count for food. Now this is a very simplified version of how calories are determined but you get the gist of it. Calories are the amount of heat each food produces. Through this process, the calorie count of the macros was determined:
• Carbohydrate-4 calories
• Protein-4 Calories
• Fat-9 calories
• Alchohol-7 calories
However, knowing how many calories are estimated in foods and knowing how many calories there are per gram of macro, and then counting total calories consumed is not the best approach for eating and controlling portions, let me explain.
Calorie counting is a very inexact science. Due to the fact that every person’s body chemistry is different, we all process the food we eat differently. There is a large amount of play in the amount of calories that your body actually processes into useable energy after eating. In fact there can be over a 25% difference, plus or minus, in useable energy than what is in said in the nutrition facts on the box.  Lets take 2000 calories for example, 25% of 2000 is 500.  If your goal is to lose weight and your diet has you eating 2000 calories and you are consuming 25% more than calculated, in just  a week you have eaten 3500 extra calories, the amount in one lbs of fat!

Not only is counting calories inexact but it is very very tedious. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FORTHAT! There are millions of people who don’t care about their diet because they think it is way too complicated to count calories, and I agree with them. Counting calories may be necessary with elite level athletes.
There is a better way to control calories in order to reach your ideal weight, and all you need is your own two hands. Precision Nutrition, the top sport and fitness nutrition education system, has come up with a fantastic system that works great and has been proven through 10,000s of individuals. Instead of using tools and measuring devices, this is how you can count on your hands for making better portion choices.

• Meat/Protein dense food= 2 palms
• Vegetable= 2 fist
• Carbs/grains= 1-2 cupped hands (depending on weight loss or maintenance)
• Healthy Fats= 2 thumbs

• Meat/protein dense food= 1 palm
• Vegetable =1 fist
• Carbs/grains= 1 cupped hand
• Healthy Fats= 1 thumb

It is that easy! The great thing is that it’s automatically personalized, because your hand size is specific to you! Easy personalized eating plan, you can’t beat that.

Here are some examples of foods to eat:
Protein=Chicken, Fish, Beef, Beans, Eggs
Vegetables=Broccoli, cabbage, kale spinach, cauliflower, salad
Carbs=Quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, fruit, whole grains
Healthy Fat= Avacado, nut butter, oils, nuts
These are just a few examples of good food choices.

There are no excuses to getting a little healthier; the hand rule of eating is very simple to follow. This should you get you started to a healthier you! As you progress, you may need to make adjustments to fit your goals but this is great start. Spread the word to your loved ones who need a little motivation to get started, it is as easy as counting 1-2-3!
Please consult your physician prior to implementing any the strategies discussed or engaging in any diet or exercise plan.

How to Select the Right size Boots/Skates


Photo by Kevin Drum (

How to Select the Right Size Boots

When it comes to acquiring new skates, there are enough choices to make your head spin.  Preparing to make a commitment to footwear that binds four wheels to each of your feet can seem daunting.  Since you’ve probably already heard your share of opinions on different setups, I’ll save you some of the guesswork and share my opinion on sizing the boots that you select.

Proper-fitting roller skate boots can enhance your on track performance and prevent injuries.  The best designed skate boots in the world will not do their job if they do not fit properly.  Become an informed shopper, and check out these fitting guidelines and facts before purchasing new boots.

If possible, purchase your boots from a derby shop, or skate shop that sells quad, inline, or ice skates at the very least.  The staff will ask you questions about your skating style and podiatric history.  They will also measure your feet (length and width are preferred) which should be done regardless of where you buy from.  One of your feet is usually bigger than the other, so be sure to MEASURE BOTH OF THEM, and size to the bigger one (unless your going the full custom route).  Most boot manufacturers provide instructions for measuring your feet on their website.  The link for how to measure your feet for Bont’s sizing (any company actually) is here. Remember, you may pay more when buying from a physical shop, but you’re also supporting a local business, and improving your chances of obtaining the right boots for you.


Photo by payachi (

Since derby is an athletic venture, you’ll want to strongly consider treating your boots as athletic footwear. The boot should provide a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the end of the toe box.  This will allow for more natural foot splay under high exertion conditions, as well as being able to extend your toes fully when standing.  If you’ve ever skated for more than 30 minutes in boots that are too tight, you understand how painful your feet can become.  Foot splay, that is closer to barefoot, alleviates most foot pain, as well as improves the functioning of your lower body.  So be sure to measure your thumb’s width (from the side), or just add between 3/8” and ½” (or more if you’re a larger person) to your feet’s measurements.

The optimal time to try on boots is after a training session, or at the end of your day.  Both circumstances will better simulate a skating session, as your feet will be at their largest (normal swelling due to gravity and movement).  Also, wear the same type of sock that you will wear when skating.  Plus it’s nice to have a change of socks!  If possible, you’ll want to skate in the boots before you buy them.  This will rely heavily on finding somebody with similar size feet, and have the boots that you’re thinking about.  Be sure to re-lace the boots to match your preferred lacing pattern as well. (Check these out here)

Once laced up, the boots should grip each heel firmly.  If you’re trying the boots on, you can at least perform some standing squats in them to put your ankle through partial flexion and extension to assess the heel cup.  If there’s any play, don’t be afraid to try adding a set of neoprene ankle sleeves underneath or on top of your socks.  These will also alleviate ankle discomfort during your first few skate sessions.


All skate boots have a fairly large degree of rigidity compared to tennis shoes, due to the sole and upper materials.  So expect a break in period, determined by several factors (skater size, intensity, temperature, etc.), of at least a few hours. Luckily, most boots are now moldable, so taking the time to heat treat your boots will accelerate your break-in period.  There are also ways to adjust the counters in your new boots (these help add rigidity without too much weight), so don’t be afraid to ask your league mates or hop online to search out different options.

The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, contact your primary doctor.  For further information, please visit



The body exists on a three-dimensional plane, but so often we only move in a one-dimensional way, sometimes two if we’re trying.  When you roller skate, you’re incorporating all three planes of movement into your body’s movement patterns, thus increasing your range of motion, injury prevention, and providing greater stability to your body’s mechanical repertoire.

The Sagittal Plane

The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right. Think about a flat sheet passing through your body from front to back. When we move along this plane, we are using the strength of our muscles to move parts of the body forward or backward. The bulk of your body’s extension and flexion happen along the sagittal plane. Most recreational activity movements make use of this plane, including walking, running, biking, rowing, and lifting. For example, when running, both hips and knees synchronously move from extension into flexion, and back into extension, while the ankle, out of phase by about 180 degrees (opposite phases of knees/hips), also moves through extension and flexion.  Similar patterns take place with walking, but obviously not to the same level as running.


One area of the body we often forget to extend? The neck. Every time we look down – think looking down at your phone, or looking at any digital screen – we flex our necks (the upper spine). Many of us can go through an entire day without ever taking the upper spine into extension. Skating, especially in a crowded rink, relies on looking forward, or up if the rest of your spine is in flexion (i.e. you’re bent over). Finding time to extend your upper spine on a daily basis, even by simply looking up at the ceiling when you’re sitting or standing around, can leave you feeling as if you have more room in between your vertebrae.  This is due to your spinal discs being avascular, which means they rely on movement to circulate blood.  Believe it or not, proper movement is the key to health.


The Frontal Plane

The Frontal (or coronal) plane divides the body into front and back. Think about a flat sheet passing through your body from left to right. When we move along this plane, we are moving toward or away from our midline (left or right). Adduction and abduction are movements along this plane, where the former involves bring our legs together, and the latter is spreading our legs apart. Most of our daily and recreational movements involve very little abduction, which is a major problem. As you get older, the use it or lose it principle kicks in, and your ability to balance diminishes (think of older people falling). On a day-to-day basis, we tend to stay pretty tucked in toward the middle (unless you play an action sport that involves changing direction using lateral shifts).


Roller skating takes your body through abduction every time you stride, shuffle laterally, or come to a stop using your edges. Pulling your legs away from the midline helps to both functionally strengthen and open the abductor muscle groups of the hips. When you crossover on skates, or perform gliding shears (repeated spreading and closing of legs), your body adducts.  Developing strength and endurance in your hip adductors leads to improved balance, stability, speed, and agility on your skates.  Watch any speed skater or high level derby player, and notice how much of their power is derived from the leg on the side of the direction they are moving towards (the under push).


To integrate abduction and adduction into your daily life, slap on a pair of skates and stride it out and cross over for thirty minutes or so (laps in CW and CCW will achieve this). At the very least, make it a point to move sideways throughout your day. Your body will thank you.

The Transverse Plane

The transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into top and bottom, but it is a little less straightforward.  Think about it as a sheet that is parallel to the ground, and can pass through any part of your body.  Any time we rotate a joint we are moving along the transverse plane. In daily life, this is the action we do least frequently, particularly with the large joints in the hips, shoulders, and spine.


Roller Skating incorporates a lot of twisting and rotating. Every time you propel yourself in any direction on your skates, you will move through at least one spinal twist (even if it’s simply to keep your body from rotating). Spinal twisting, where the torso rotates, provides a large host of benefits: it relieves muscular pain in the back by lengthening the long muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi (lats); it provides length between the vertebrae and restores movement along the spine (remember avascular!); and, it compresses the organs, stimulating them to do what they’re meant to do, remove toxins from the body.


Incorporate transverse movement into your body every day by putting your body through some twists (think 80’s style aerobic videos), learn some thoracic extension movements, or slap on roller skates and stride it out.  Spins aren’t necessary, especially if you’re not comfortable skating backwards yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing the hokey pokey. That’s what it’s all about!

If you’re not twisting or rotating your body, you may be limiting your ability to truly increase, or at least maintain, your range of motion. Most of our major muscles groups exist in more than one plane. A shining example, the glutes, drives spinal extension, and abduction and external rotation of the hips. This massive muscle group takes a part in all the planes of movement. Roller skating maximizes your body’s utilization of the gluteal muscle group, when you change levels (spinal extension), stride it out and crossover (abduct and externally rotate).


Reference: (Modified from orginal post)

The Parasite of the Day-to-Day: Your Environment!


No matter what you do you are influenced by your environment, whether it helps your thrive or tears you down is the question.  When I say environment I do not mean your ecosystem, like “Oh, I live in a temperate climate”.  What I mean is, by definition, the surroundings and conditions in which you live.  Now an example of this in a comment by Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, in reference to nutrition, “If its in the house you are going to eat it.” this refers to both junk food and healthy food. You will eat what is convenient to you, so if you have a fruit you like on the coffee table most likely that will get eaten, while if you have a bowl of jelly beans most likely that will get eaten.

If you have to constantly fight your environment to accomplish your goals, it is going to be very tough, and an uphill battle to reach the apex of the mountain you are climbing.

But if your environment feeds your motivations then reaching your goals will be that much easier.

It’s like free climbing with no experience vs taking the ski trolley.  You are more likely to make it to the top when your surroundings assist your ascent.

So the question is….Is the relationship that you have with your environment symbiotic or parasitic?


What does a Parasitic Environment look like?

A parasitic environment is an environment that slowly eats away your motivation, your progress, your willpower, your life! 

If your goal is to lose weight but you find yourself stopping at your favorite fast food place frequently on your way to or from work, if you are trying to get more sleep but you find yourself watching TV, or if you want to be more productive during the day but you consistently find yourself, doing the thumb lambada with your phone, scrolling through facebook/Instagram then you are in a parasitic relationship with your environment.


These situations are examples of your environment sucking the life out of your progress.  Sure you can tell yourself, I’m not stopping at fast food joint today, I’m not going to watch TV, or I swear on my mother’s grave I will not look at facebook during arbitrary set of time.  How has that worked out for you?????  I know you have already tried this and things may have started off well but sooner or later, you got that chalupa, binge watched  Luke Cage, or found yourself laughing at those Biden memes.  It’s because the environment ate all of your willpower and then began eating your progress.  This is normal and you are not alone, don’t fret about it, this is normal.  There are many studies that show willpower is a finite resource and the more conscience decisions that you make in the day the more you use it up.  Yes willpower can be exercised like a muscle, but there is an easier way to get started and get closer to your goals, I got your back.

Having a symbiotic relationship with your environment


A symbiotic relationship is when two things work together, with both parties benefiting.  So, when you are in a symbiotic relationship with your environment it is helping you obtain your goals and thrive as an individual.  What does the environment get, you ask, well…it gets to see you grow as an individual, Mr. Environment isn’t very picky. 

Creating and cultivating a symbiotic relationship with your environment takes several steps incorporating mindfulness, thinking, and effort.

  1. First you become AWARE that you are in a parasitic relationship (noticing that you frequently stop at fast food joint)
  2. Second you THINK about how this relationship came about, why you continue this relationship, what steps you can take to remove the parasitic aspect of it. (it is not as simple as the fast food joint, TV, or Facebook/Instagram)
  3. Third you put the EFFORT in to change and maintain your environmental relationship until it becomes naturally symbiotic. (you decide with conscience decision when to go to fast food joint, watch Netflix, or browse “the book of faces”)


Becoming aware of a parasitic environment requires you to be mindful of your surroundings.  Paying attention when you do things that don’t go along with your plan, when you do things you do not really want to do, or when you do things somewhat unconsciously. 

A strong strategy to become aware of these situations is through journaling.  Create an awareness journal.

  1. Get a small note pad that you can carry easily (can also use phone or app like evernote)
  2. Decide an interval of time in which you will document your decisions (no more than hour, anything longer you will most likely miss something)
  3. Set your watch or phone alarm to go off on those intervals (manipulating your environment to help you)
  4. At said time pull out pad and take 5 minutes to write down any actions that occurred that go against your goals, and briefly note why you think you did said action. If you have made good decision note those too, celebrate you successes!!!
  5. Do this for at least week, preferably 2 weeks

An example using fast food joint scenario: “7:00 AM-stopped at Dunkin Donuts-because I pass it every day, looks good, easy to stop at, kind of hungry.  6:30 AM running late, had some coffee”



Now that you are aware of the situation think about what is the actual parasitic aspect of the environment, is it the fast food joint, the TV, and the phone….maybe?  But you probably can’t get rid of fast food joint, throwing away your TV is a bit unreasonable, and you need your phone, so what do you do???  Take account for things that you can change in the environment when thinking about your environment, though you can’t get rid of the fast food joint, maybe you can avoid driving by it, you not going to throw your tv away but can you set a timer on it or move it to a different room, or not going to get rid of your phone but maybe you can keep it in a different room, cut off notifications or download an app that locks you out of certain apps after a period of time? 

You see here that it isn’t necessary the object that is parasitic but the context and its incorporation in the environment.  In the case of the food joint, the route taking to work was parasitic, when looking at the route maybe you notice you pass 20 fast food places before the one you generally stop at, that’s 20 mental decisions to not stop before you actually do, willpower gone!  Even if it is the only fast food joint on your route, if you stop there and you really do not want to then make the decision to just avoid so you do not have to think about saying no.  After you choose the new route, make sure it isn’t too far out of the way.  Since it is a new route you will have to actively think of taking this route.


This same concept applies to the TV, its not the TV it that’s parasitic, it may be the “TV in the room”.  It’s not your phone that is parasitic it is the ease of picking it up and jumping on facebook/Instagram.

The key points are to think about what is parasitic the object, action, or some other environmental factor.  After figuring that out you then think about ways to adjust your environment to make it more difficult to accomplish the unwanted action.


It takes some effort to make your environment work with you, solely because there is change and change inherently comes with effortNow that you have become aware of the relationship and thought about how to improve it, now you must put the effort in to implementing you decisions an making a change. 

Understand that when you first start this new habit and relationship you have with your environment it won’t be easy, but if you stick to it, it will become automatic and/or status quo.

To sum it up

  1. You are in a relationship with your environment, whether you like it or not.
  2. The relationship is either parasitic, and draining you of your willpower and motivation, or it is symbiotic, and working with you to accomplish your goals.
  3. To create a symbiotic relationship use this three step strategy:
    1. First use journaling to become AWARE of parasitic aspects of the environment.
    2. Second THINK about what aspects of the environment that you can change to begin the transformation to a symbiotic relation.
    3. Thirdly, put in the EFFORT and implement the changes that you decided that you needed to make. At first it will be tough but becomes easier overtime.

Take control of your life and work with your environment, don’t let it work you!


Don’t Neglect the Neck

Photograph 055 by Lauren Mancke found on

Have you even been driving and saw something amazing outside your window, like a purple giraffe, you marvel at is majesty, gaze at its gorgeousness, stare at its scintillation……..all of a sudden the car begins to vibrate…what’s happening…does the cow have special powers??? Is my car about to explode??? Then you realize that you had veered onto the shoulder and you’re riding the rumble strips hard.  You put your eyes back straight ahead and you course correct to get back on the road.  Smooth sailing again.

Why did you veer, you didn’t want to, you knew you were supposed to stay straight, you thought you were going straight but….what happened?

In short, you move to where your eyes are.  The eyes play a very pivotal role in movement and performance, for a quick demonstration balance on one leg, go ahead, hold for 15 seconds… close your eyes.  How did that feel, did you have to put your other foot down?  Let’s just say your eyes are important.

I thought this was a post about neck exercises??? Well…your eyes are in your head, and your head is held in place by your neck.  Guess what??? In derby, you are gonna get hit and when you do if you lack strength and stability in your neck your head and your eyes are gonna go all over the place knocking you off balance and causing you veer, possibly off track even.

Speaking of your head getting knocked around, a common injury in derby is a “head injury” also known as a MTBI (mildly traumatic brain injury) or concussion.  Having worked in college and professional football on the sports performance side I have seen many of these injuries and have rehabbed people back to health from these injuries.  Our muscular focus for this rehab……yup the neck, it’s kind of important.  Having stability in your neck and making sure your neck muscles communicate with the other muscles of the body is very important.

Check out this video that gives you some great neck exercises.

Integrated Neck Extension

  1. Sit on box/chair with a large looped band under feet, with feet at hip width apart
  2. Place other end of band behind head
  3. Grasp band with elbows bent at chest level
  4. Extend neck while press band away with arms, maintain pressure on band with feet to anchor in place
  5. Return to starting position
  6. Repeat 15 times

Ball isometric Neck Leans

  1. Place ball on hard surface at forehead level
  2. Lean head into ball while maintaining a neutral neck position, engage core to maintain a neutral spine
    1. Can lean on forehead, side of head, or back of head
  3. To make more difficult you can add movement or do it single leg
  4. Hold for a given time

Hero squat with neck integration

  1. Anchor one end of long band to stable place
  2. Loop other end of band around head
  3. Perform Hero Squat (Here is a description)
  4. Be sure to maintain a neutral neck throughout exercise
  5. Perform 10-20 reps

Feel free to comment if you have any questions

3 Trash Tips for Derby Travel Nutrition

By Steven ‘Trash’ Logan

So you’ve found yourself living a dual existence, managing your professional life, and ravaging the track on 8 wheels.  If you’ve been in the game long enough to roster for your local team, regardless of the level of play, you’ve found that nutrition plays a vital role in how well you perform.  By now, you’re probably making those lifestyle changes that you once thought impossible.  Way to go!  But what about your travel plan?

More than likely, you find your weekends filled with venturing to clinics, or even better, a roller derby convention or two. Ah, the coveted derby con.  Days filled with on and off skate classes, as well as all of the scrimmage play you can handle.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the mental and cardiovascular challenge of multiple scrimmage days.  Want to be able to perform at your peak throughout your entire convention?  Then follow these 3 easy tips.

  1. Habitually Hydrate for Health.  The main staple of all health & wellness is drinking plenty of water.  My go to option, for staying hydrated on derby trips, is buying 2 gallon jugs of water per day.  Here’s another, more ergonomic, affordable option.
    Brita Sport Water Bottle $15.99 for 2 20oz bottles
  2. Pack Plentiful Provisions.  Nutrient dense foods accomplish 2 things for you.  They satisfy your hunger (longer), and they don’t leave you stuffed.  Keeping your body fueled for peak performance shouldn’t come with the price of feeling weighed down or sluggish.  Grab these, or similar items to keep you going strong.
    Slower Carbs & Healthy Fat for Sustained Energy (e.g. granola, nuts)
    Organic Granola Bars $23.14 for 30 1.2 oz bars           
    choconut - Copy
    KIND Granola $11.73 for 3 11oz bags
    Mauna Loa $4.98 for 4.5 oz

    Faster Carbs for Higher Energy Demands (e.g. dried stone fruit, dried berries & cherries)
    Organic Large Dried Apricots $14.75 for 1lb
    Dried Figs & Dates $19.99 for 2 lbs
    Protein & Healthy Fats (e.g. beef jerky, canned fish)
    100% Grass-Fed Beef Sticks $19.95/12                       
    beef stick

    Epic All Natural Meat Bar $28.41 for 12 pack
    meat bar
    Smoked Red Sockeye Salmon $6.99 for 3oz pouch          

    Supplements Improve Hydration and Nutrient Intake, for Superior Recovery  by Reducing Soreness, Increasing Energy and Focus (e.g. electrolyte powders/chews, protein powder, vegetable supplement)
    Pedialyte 8 Pack  $8.99        
    Gress-Fed Whey Protein $15.29/lb
    protein - Copy
    Greens+ $21.19 for 8.46oz
  3. Carry Copious Containers.  Great for mixing and carrying your supplements/food. The wire whisk is best when it comes to mixing powder, but be sure to rinse thoroughly after each use.  They also work great for portioning your food and supplements for each meal/snack.  Even better, if your hotel has breakfast, use them to snag some orange juice, fresh fruit, dry cereal, or bagels and muffins.
    Ziploc Sandwich Bags $9.60 for 150                                 

    Blender Bottle $6.99

Now that we’ve covered your bases, it’s time to plan.  Again, everything starts with hydration, so begin increasing your water consumption throughout your day of travel.  If you’re flying to your destination, be sure to portion out a few of your favorite foods for carry on, depending on your travel time.  Store the rest of your food and containers in your check-in luggage.  If you’re driving, be sure to grab a cooler and some ice.  I prefer to bag my ice in gallon size freezer bags to prevent water damage.  You can also freeze some disposable water bottles to use as ice pack, so that when they thaw out, BAM, you’ve got more water.  Remember, the more prepared you are to perform, the more you can focus on actually performing.

So there you have it, 3 easy to follow tips for planning your nutrition on your next derby adventure.  If you want to improve the way you move on and off the track, check out Greg’s post, 5 Exercises you aren’t doing that will improve your Derby Skills!!!  Perform the 5 exercises when you arrive at your destination, in the morning upon waking, as an off-skate warmup, or between after skating sessions.  Now make your derby training your own, and go reach your next peak performance!


APECS Performance is all about Progressive Performance Through Movement.  We are human performance coaches, with a person-centered focus on self-empowerment through quality movement.  Our holistic approach, compassionately integrates evidence-based decision making, elevates our clients to the person that they want to be.  We offer coaching strategies for any level off-skates, and beginner to intermediate on-skate experience.  We figure out where you’re at in your health and fitness, and then adapt based on your wants.  We strive for progressive autonomy in our clients, through our personalized coaching plans and accountability measures.  The level of your progress depends on your dedication to self-improvement, along with which APECS Performance Coaching package you choose.


Ready to get started?  For Off-Skate Performance Coaching CLICK HERE, and for On-Skate Performance Coaching CLICK HERE!