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episode #150

Interview with Allison Jackson: Mindful Eating, Importance of Protein, Role of Recovery

May 17, 2022 in Podcast


This week I interviewed online fitness and nutrition coach - Allison Jackson! We discussed how she became a professional fitness competitor and dials in her diet for competition. We also touched on: - Importance of Protein - Building Muscle for Women - Role of Meditation for Health - Rest and Recovery Tips and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

0 (1s): Coming up on the get lean, eat clean podcast. 1 (3s): I typically follow a moderately high protein, low fat diet. So 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat, nothing is off limits. Obviously the closer you get to competition, the tighter your diet gets. We call it dirty foods. Like, you know, the protein powders, the protein bars start to go away. You go at completely unprocessed, but you know, for my clients, it's typically most women don't eat most women and wet and then men don't eat enough protein, right? So that's one of the tweaks is making sure you eat enough protein and that will typically help you stay full, help you build muscle. And then just really take a hard look at your fats and protein fats and carbs. Where are those coming from? Like, you know, you may want to limit that the pizza and the donuts and stuff, and really focus on the whole grains, the sweet potato, that the avocado like the healthy unprocessed foods that, that 80 20 rule. 0 (54s): Hello and welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. I'm Brian grin. And I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was in five, 10, even 15 years ago, each week. I'll give you an in-depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long-term sustainable results. This week I interviewed online fitness and nutrition coach, Alison Jackson. We discussed how she became a professional fitness competitor and dials in her diet for competition. We also touched on the importance of protein building muscle for women, role, a meditation for health rest and recovery tips and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was. 0 (1m 37s): This was a hard hitting episode with Alison. We touched on a lot of great topics. I know you'll enjoy this one. I did too. Thanks so much for listening. All right. Welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. My guest today is Alison Jackson. She's an online fitness nutrition coach out of New Jersey. Welcome to the show. 1 (1m 56s): Thanks for having me. Brian's great to be here. 0 (1m 58s): Yeah. I was just on Allison. Our Alison interviewed me last week, so we're doing a bit of a swap here and excited to have you out. I was, I was going through your website, looks like, and you can tell the audience you work mainly with corporate moms. Is that right? 1 (2m 12s): Yes. Yes. That's my main target audience women in their like forties to sixties, kind of had the kids are headed towards perimenopause and menopause. 0 (2m 22s): And what made you go down this road? 1 (2m 25s): Yeah. Well, it's funny. It's I always find that you might find the same thing. You typically coach people like yourself. Right? So obviously when I first got started, it was moms who maybe had younger kids and now as we kind of enter the next stage of life, I feel like I could relate to that, that group very well. 0 (2m 43s): Yeah. And, and just with your past, I noticed you did some fitness competitions. I'd love to hear how you got into that. And I know you, did you turn pro in 2019? Is that right? 1 (2m 55s): Yes. Yeah. So it's funny. Everyone always asks, like, how did you get started with, and I actually used to read my dad's muscle fitness magazine. So I used to work out on his weight bench in our unfinished basement. And I always looked at the pictures of those bodybuilders, like Corey ever said, and Jay Cutler and all that, like the eighties and nineties bodybuilders. And I was like, gosh, I would love to one day be able to do that. Like, can you really transform your body through diet and exercise? So it became a bucket list item and it kind of always was in the back of my mind. So went to college, got married, had kids. And in 2012, I was like, I'm doing it. I'm just going to pull the trigger and do what I had done marathons triathlons. I was like, this is the next kind of fitness challenge. 1 (3m 37s): And I did it and I got hooked. So I've been competing every year since then. I did my last show in August and yeah, it's, it's like, once you get the bug, that's it. 0 (3m 48s): So you do do a show like once a year. Is that typical? Okay. 1 (3m 52s): Yeah. So since I started, I've been doing a show every year minus the pandemic. Cause obviously there, there weren't any shows going on. And then this is actually the first time I had made a conscious decision to take off two years to rebuild kind of regroup. This last one kind of threw me for a loop. As we get older, it just gets harder. Like women are like always asking, oh, with my hormones and menopause, what do I need to do differently? You need to do the same thing, but it's just that much harder and takes that much longer. 0 (4m 19s): Yeah. It's interesting. What would you say, I guess, do you go through like a cutting stage, maybe explain to us how you get ready to prep for a competition. I'm just curious to know how, 1 (4m 32s): Yeah, absolutely. I always say I'm a professional diameter. So I typically gain and lose 15 to 20 pounds each year. So I, my stage weight five, six, my stage weight is 125 pounds, but in the off season, I, you know, get up to 1 45, 1 50. So what it starts doing is I track my macros and I start cutting. I give myself at least six to seven months and it's just a slow, steady cut. You know, obviously in the beginning it doesn't seem as stringent, but then by the end, you know, super low calories, low fat, just watching, literally everything, including condiments, spices, the stick of gum, I have like everything that you consume. 1 (5m 15s): So it gets really, really strict and disciplined, but it is very slow and steady. So that, that, I think that's an important point to make that go on to the days of the 12 week cuts for competitions. 0 (5m 26s): And I guess, what did you learn about yourself and that you can apply to clients, you know, for yourself, if you weren't in competitions, what would your normal weight be around? Would it be about 1 45 in that range? Okay. 1 (5m 40s): Yeah. That's a, it's funny. Cause that's what I'm trying to face. So of course, so, you know, coaches need coaches. So I have a, a competition coach right now and we're trying to figure that out. Like where is a good maintenance weight where it doesn't feel like I'm still dieting? Because my happy weight is 1 38, 1 40. Like, I feel good in a bikini. I feel good in my so 1 45, 1 50, I'm feeling a little fluffy. So we are trying to figure out where does that happy weight, where I don't feel like I'm dieting. And I feel like I'm at a good, a good, comfortable weight. 0 (6m 7s): And so if you're going to cut, what, what, what steps do you go through? And do you apply those same principles with the clients you work with? Let's say they want to cut a little bit, not necessarily for a competition, but you know, they're just, 1 (6m 22s): Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I do apply the same way that I applied to myself. I apply it to them. I typically follow a moderately high protein, low fat diet. So 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat, nothing is off limits. Obviously the closer you get to competition, the tighter your diet gets, we call it like dirty foods. Like, you know, the protein powders, the protein bars start to go away. You go at completely unprocessed. But you know, for my clients, it's typically most women donate. Most women went and then men don't eat enough protein, right? So that's one of the tweaks is making sure you eat enough protein and that will typically help you stay full, help. You build muscle. And then just really taking a hard look at your fats and protein fats and carbs. 1 (7m 4s): Where are those coming from? Like, you know, you may want to limit that the pizza and the donuts and stuff, and really focus on the whole grains, the sweet potato, that the avocado like the healthy and processed foods that, that 80 20 rule. 0 (7m 17s): And as far as protein is concerned, most men, like you said, and women probably under eat protein. How do you implement adding in protein to individuals dyes mainly just trying to get an animal proteins and, and build around that. 1 (7m 35s): Yeah. So what I tell people the best way is to make protein, the foundation of each meal and snack, and that could be egg whites, chicken breast. It could be a protein bar, protein powder. It could be anything that, that you enjoy eating that's most important. We don't want people torturing themselves. Like if you are not a meat eater, don't eat meat. There are, you know, at a mommy tofu seitan, there there's non-meat products that you can eat to be able to hit that goal. And for most people, it's, it's one gram per year, lean body mass or one gram per your target body weight is what I typically set my clients at. 0 (8m 10s): Gotcha. So if you're 1 45 and you want to get the, like you said, one, what's your competition rate 1 (8m 15s): 1 25, 1 25, 1 25. 0 (8m 17s): So you're aiming for 125 grams of protein a day. 1 (8m 20s): Exactly. 0 (8m 21s): And do you split that up within two meals, three meals, or how do you go about that? 1 (8m 26s): I try to spread it throughout the day. It's funny. Cause once you become used to eating protein, it's almost like now I take in so much protein. I have to, I have to like watch myself, but I try to spread it out throughout the day so that you're not jamming down like 60 grams of protein at one sitting. 0 (8m 40s): Right. And what would you say to women who are like, oh, I don't know. You know, I hear this sometimes I don't want to lift because I would get bulky. I'm sure you heard this. What, what do you have to say about that? 1 (8m 53s): That's my favorite favorite myth. I always say I've been, I've been competing, lifting as heavy as I can for over 10 years now. And I'm lucky like newbies might gain two or three pounds of muscle. I'm lucky if I gain a pound or two a year, because when you cut granted at the beginning, it's a lot of fat, but towards the end, it's also muscle. So when you're cutting you, you tend to lose both you can't. I mean, you try your best to distinguish between fat and muscle. But, and I always say to women, you're not toning, you're building muscle. So it's removing the body fat to unveil that the muscle underneath 0 (9m 30s): Right. Toning is such like a, it's just not, it shouldn't be a word. 1 (9m 35s): I agree. 0 (9m 37s): It really shouldn't be a word. And then what about, like I noticed on your website, you talk a little bit about like mindful eating and the role of like mindset. How do you, how do you apply that to your, you know, to your eating and to your clients? 1 (9m 50s): Yeah. So during the whole competition journey, as I've mentioned, you know, during the pandemic, the running any competition. So during that time, I actually pursued my yoga teacher certification, which really helped me to get an understanding of the whole mind body spirit aspect. I always thought, oh, diet, nutrition, diet, nutrition, discipline, but it's really having the right mindset, having a growth mindset, you know, visualization, positive affirmations and being mindful. And part of that, you know, I always say it's meditation, mindfulness mindset. They all build upon each other. So when you meditate, you are practicing mindfulness. And when you're mindful, it's going to help your mindset. So I always tell my clients, that's the biggest hurdle when, when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals, it's making sure, you know, mindful eating, like eating without distractions. 1 (10m 40s): Super hard to do. I highly recommend everybody try it because we usually eat in front of the TV with our phone, with a book, with some things that distract us doing work at lunch. You're you just pop in front of the computer. It's hard to be mindful and eat, but it makes you so much more self aware of if you're full, are you enjoying the food? I think it's super important. 0 (11m 0s): Yeah. I like that. You bring that up because I always talk about, you should have all your meals sitting down at a table, right? Not like in the car and I've got this. Normally I am sitting down at a table. We all, it happens from time to time. Right. But if you could do all your meals and even, even if you're going to snack do your snacks at a table, because I think that's what happens with a lot of people's they're snacking on the road, or, you know, maybe the movie theater or things like that. I mean, I'm not a big fan of snacking in general, but I feel like if you're going to do that, sit at a table. 1 (11m 34s): Yes. I totally agree. And I know so many times you get caught up at work that you're, you're eating as you do work. And all of a sudden you look at your plate and you're like, oh my gosh, I don't even remember what I ate. How much a, I can't believe it's gone already. Cause I didn't even, wasn't really thinking about it. So I love that idea of eating. Cause I know a lot of times people are standing at the counter there, they have their plate in their hand or, you know, walking around. It's like, no, make it, make it a, you know, like a ritual, right. Sit down and eat. And it only takes you 10, 15 minutes to actually eat you, you know, a meal or snacks. It's not like a huge amount of time out of your day. 0 (12m 6s): Yeah. I explained that to my dogs because I, you know, I don't know. I just, I got them both slow feeders so they can slow down a little bit when they're eating, 1 (12m 16s): People need people. 0 (12m 18s): That's great. And actually I just thought of something. Yeah. Individuals need slow flow feeders, right? 1 (12m 25s): Yeah. For 0 (12m 26s): Sure. And they need to chew their food. Right. That's a big thing. I think if you consciously chew your food, I I'm I'm victim of it sometimes. I'll I won't chew my food as much as I should. And I think that helps get you satiated and help. It'll slow you down 1 (12m 43s): And it'll slow you down for sure. But even, you know, taking bites of putting your fork down on, like I'm a big one to that. Or it's like, you're, you're putting another bite and you're not done shooting the first one. It's like being again, being mindful of how you're eating, how quickly you're eating, 0 (12m 57s): What do you do re regarding like meditation dude? Is this something that you practice every night or do do it in the morning or what's your routine like? 1 (13m 5s): Yeah. So I poo-pooed meditation for the longest time. I was like, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm doing it wrong, but this doesn't work for me. All the, all the excuses everybody has. And then I said, all right, I'm just going to try it for like a minute and then build off of that. So there's three apps. I've tried them all enjoy them all. But I started with guided meditation. So there's calm insight timer and Headspace. There's three free meditation apps can 0 (13m 28s): Start it at least. 1 (13m 29s): Right. I mean, at a minimum, I mean, there's tons, but those are probably the three most popular, but starting with a guided meditation and then build off of there. So for me personally, before I logged on to my computer in the morning, I do at least a 5, 10, 15 minute meditation, depending on how I, you know, how I'm feeling that day. It, it just gets you grounded clues your head. Just, it's just a great start to the day. How about you? Do you bet? Do you meditate? 0 (13m 52s): I do. I mean, I do enjoy yoga. I do hot yoga at least, at least once a week. I wish I would've did it more, but at least once a week, I always leave there thinking why don't I do this more? 1 (14m 3s): Yes, 0 (14m 4s): I really do. I it's such a great balance. Cause like, you know, if you're lifting and, or doing some type of cardio, it's just like a nice balance. So I think of yoga as some type of meditation, but above and beyond that I've been doing not every day. I should do it every day, but I'll do meditation before bed. 1 (14m 24s): Actually. 0 (14m 25s): I just find that it's sort of, it like separates the day from like time to go to sleep, you know, like it, it takes switching, hitting a switch. And so I find that I enjoy that, but, but yeah, anything morning mindful in the morning or in the evening, I think is, you know, or in the middle of the day, I guess it there's no bad time to do meditation. 1 (14m 46s): It's funny that you mentioned middle of the day because that has been like, I know three o'clock sometimes I either get a, or I want a sugar fix or you get to that point where you're just like, I'm spent, I've actually been, I call it an appetite thing, but I do like a 10 minute and it's almost like a sleep meditation. And you're like, right. That like, you're like hanging right there, like on the borderline of like sleep and meditating, but I find it it's a great way to recharge. 0 (15m 8s): Yeah. I mean, yeah. Even just like a spare short power nap is great. Yeah. So regarding rest and recovery, I wanted to touch on that because I think that gets lost sometimes. And I'm sure as a competitor, you had times where you felt like maybe you were overdoing it not getting enough rest and recovery. What types of things do implement for that? 1 (15m 29s): Yeah, that is a super important one. And it's funny cause I just did, I just had a video on that, on how restaurant recovery should really be a part of your workout plan, like make sure that you're incorporating actual formal rest days. So as a competitor, it's funny. I used to wear that badge of honor of waking up at four 30 in the morning to go to the gym, sleeping five hours. And it's like rest is in terms of rest, sleep is super important, but also looking at different ways to recover. So like hot yoga or foam rollers or massage or stretching or regular yoga incorporating those even active types of recovery and rest are so important. And you know, especially as a competitor, you, when your calories are reduced, your workouts are increased. 1 (16m 15s): It's like you you're like, you know, wearing your body down. So, so recovery and doing different things like that are super important to prevent injury, to kind of keep you going for sure. 0 (16m 27s): And what are your splits like? I'm just curious when you're getting ready for a competition as far as lifting. 1 (16m 34s): Yeah. I typically do a five day split. I do two to three lower body and then one upper body. That's what I said. 0 (16m 43s): And I heard that. I like to hear that. I think most people reverse that, right? They like to do the upper body. Like I remember just, you know, working out with friends and through the years, people are like wanting to do, always do all provided. I've always enjoyed lower body. And I think at least two times a week of each upper lower is, is a good place to start. 1 (17m 4s): Yeah. And I typically do three on the lower because obviously I have my weeks by week pot parts or my lower body for as, as most women. But it's funny. I liked hearing that as a guy that you focus on large. I know a lot of guys, clearly someone I'm married with married to love, just focus on the upper. They don't need the lower. 0 (17m 22s): Oh my God. I, I mean, I love Laura, my, my wife, no, those not happy because it's, there's not a lot of shorts or pants that you fit into when you have like a, maybe a lean her waist and big thighs. Like I have, I've not found that. So if anyone's heard of a good short, that ha that's geared towards that, let me know. Yeah. No lower body. I always say. And maybe you can add on this, the importance of lower body, what w w what does make that such more important than upper body? 1 (17m 52s): So I think it's really important to be balanced. So if you're going to, you know, work the lower or work, the, you have to do your whole body. So I know that people are like, oh, I don't do calves, or, oh, I don't do, you know, like pick a body for women. I don't do chest. You need to do every, every muscle in your body, because they're all interrelated, interconnected. I have to say to my husband, like when he gets back issues, I'm like, it's probably because you don't work your lower body. Like, you know, it's like the different muscle groups that you use when you squat, when you dead lift, when you do lower, lower body, so important. 0 (18m 24s): Yeah. And I would just tell him that if he's lift, if he starts lifting more lower body, it's going to increase his lifts for his upper body, because, you know, you're stimulating. I actually think that, like, if you're still more hormones and more testosterone doing lower body, first of all, your glutes, your biggest muscle anyways. So, and if you focus on that, that all sort of help increase your lifts on your upper body, 1 (18m 47s): The I'm going to, I'm going to share that. 0 (18m 51s): Yeah. He will. He'll get stronger in the upper body for sure. What about, like, as far as if you're working with a new client, like, for example, what is your calorie count? Normal, not competition, you know, what's your baseline, 1 (19m 7s): My baseline. So my, you know, TDE, my total is right around like 2100 2200. 0 (19m 13s): Okay. And then if you're cutting, you're cutting to what's. 1 (19m 17s): So I S I'll start around 1800 and 1700, 1600. So by the end, I'm at a level that I tell my clients not to eat out, which is usually around 1200, as low, as low as like, you know, 50 grams of carbs. You know, we do a lot of carb cycling. The protein never changes, but the carbs and fats get, get tweaked throughout the, the prep 0 (19m 39s): Get adjusted. So you bring, you bring the calories down, you also bring the carbs down, keep the protein the same, and the fats about the same, or maybe 1 (19m 48s): That's will go up and down. So like, we'll do carb cycling. And if my carbs are really low, my fats will be a little bit higher. And then we Jack up the carbs will bring down the fats. 0 (19m 56s): Okay. And when you're talking carbs, what a typical car was like that you're consuming. 1 (20m 2s): Yeah. So I'm a huge fan of sweet potatoes, rice cakes, regular rice. It's a mix, but, you know, as you get closer, like I said, it's a lot less processed, but nothing is off limits. So like on a re feed day, I might have, you know, a slice of pizza, of course, upon like five weeks out, I will not. So it just gets stricter and stricter as you get closer and closer. 0 (20m 26s): And, and if you're working with like, just say a busy mom, you're obviously handling that a little bit differently. How do you, how do you work with someone that says they just want to lose a little bit and get some muscle? 1 (20m 37s): Yeah. So what I'll typically tell them is I think one of the most important things is really meal prepping. So coming up with a game plan of how to set yourself up for success, to make sure that those challenges and obstacles and stress and all the things that come up during the week, don't derail you and usually dinner for most working moms is the toughest, the toughest meal with the rest of the family. So trying to give them healthy, fast recipes that the whole family will enjoy, that will help them hit their macros. That's usually how I get my clients kind of hit the ground running. 0 (21m 10s): Okay. And as far as like, we'll talk about one more pillar of health was just sleep. How do you help your clients optimize sleep? 1 (21m 19s): So I, I always tell them that they need to find ways to distress. And I always recommend meditation having a sleep routine. So winding down, like to your point about meditating before bed, whether that's shutting off the electronics, getting into your pajamas, whether it's a warm bath, reading a book, just creating a routine that sets you up for sleep, and then making sure you have a good sleep environment that stark the temperatures, right. There's not like, you know, everything stays out of the bedroom, electronics and stuff. So that's how I typically try to help my clients and then try to come up with a sleep schedule, try to go to bed and wake up the same time if possible, including on the weekends, because it's gonna make your life that much easier. 0 (21m 60s): Yeah. I love that. I think having a consistent time that you go to sleep is so important and then giving yourself like an hour or two to just like wind down and do things that aren't maybe in front of a screen. 1 (22m 12s): Super important. 0 (22m 13s): Yeah. I didn't even want to put a TV in my bedroom. I never grew up with a TV in my bedroom. And then we did put one in because we moved about a year ago and we never use it. I think, you know, 1 (22m 25s): That's so funny. I it's funny. We have a TV in the bedroom, but I like watching it as I get ready in the morning, like watching whatever the morning news, but I typically don't watch it at night. 0 (22m 33s): Yeah. Yeah. Well, this was great. I wanted to do a, sort of a hard hitting episode with you. And perhaps this is a question I ask and I know you asked me a tough question for our, so this one's, I don't think it's too tough, but what, what advice would you give a middle-aged woman or even man, who's looking to get their body back. Maybe they're in their forties, in their fifties, like your typical client. And they want to get their bodies back to maybe when they were in their thirties. What tip would you give them? 1 (23m 1s): Yeah. So I always tell people I'll I actually give three steps to take to just like to get the, get the ball rolling, right? Start tracking your food in my fitness pal or other free app that tracks your macros. It'll give you a full nutrient neuro nutritional, like report out everything from your sugar, your fiber, protein, carbs, fat. So just do a baseline. See where you're at. See how many calories you're taking in. Then try to hit 10,000 steps or wherever you're at track your steps. If you're a 5,000 shoot for seven, if you're at seven shoot for 10, just move because you actually burn more calories moving throughout the day than you do in a dedicated workout. Dedicated workout is super important. Don't get me wrong. 1 (23m 41s): But to get started from ground zero, that's what you want to do. You want to track your food. You want to get your steps in and then finding a way to manage stress and manage your energy is so, so important because that's going to help you sleep. It's going to help you hit your nutritional goals and your movement goals. So those are always like my kind of three go tos. 0 (24m 1s): Yeah. I love that three tips, but we'll take it. Excellent. Alison, where's the best place for people to find you, 1 (24m 9s): You should come visit me@alisonjacksonfitness.com and I have the same social handle as well. 0 (24m 16s): Awesome. Well, I appreciate you sharing knowledge with us today and thank you so much for coming on the podcast. 1 (24m 23s): Thanks for having me. 0 (24m 27s): Thanks for listening to the get lean, eat clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine. And I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode, feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member. That's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

Allison Jackson

This week I interviewed online fitness and nutrition coach - Allison Jackson! We discussed how she became a professional fitness competitor and dials in her diet for competition. We also touched on: - Importance of Protein - Building Muscle for Women - Role of Meditation for Health - Rest and Recovery Tips and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was!


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