The Importance of Exercise Intensity - Empyrea Group Training

How hard do you work out? The truth is that everyone will always have a different answer to that question because everyone has a different perception of "intensity". The more that we step out of our comfort zone, your perception on "intensity" diminishes making you stronger, work harder and push longer. This is how the human body changes and adapts to an ever changing environment.

Watch my video below where I discuss the importance of workout intensity and how much of a key factor it is to always push yourself hard in the gym, no matter what!

On a scale of 1-10, how hard do you push it at the gym?

Lesson 1 - What are Carbs, Proteins, and Fats?

Hello Empyreans!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! 

Empyrea Group training is happy to announce the launch of our educational video series! These videos are designed to help guide you through your fitness journey!

Lesson 1 - What are Carbs, Proteins, and Fats?

Our first lesson is about the 3 macronutrients. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We believe that in order to develop healthy eating habits, we need to understand what we are eating first.

All foods are made from from these 3 macronutrients. If you want to look better and feel better, you need to know how much your body should consume depending on your bodyweight, exercise intensity, and your fitness goal. The amount consumed of each macronutrient changes when you become more physically active. The more intense your activity is, the more your body will want to seek out these macronutrients. 

What is a Carbohydrate?

A carbohydrate is a fancy word for sugar. Your body needs sugar to do EVERYTHING like walking up stairs, cutting an onion, waiting on line for coffee, cleaning your room, breathing, and everything else. Carbohydrates can also be thought of as ENERGY.

There are two types of carbohydrates. There are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar up quickly for a short period of time. Complex carbohydrates spike your blood sugar gradually over a longer period of time. Simple carbohydrates come from foods like fruit, syrups, honey, and white potatoes.  Complex carbohydrates are your foods like whole grain oats, fibrous vegetables like broccoli, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, granola, quinoa, and brown rice.

Be aware that complex carbohydrates that become processed turn into white simple carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are usually white in color like white rice, white pasta, white bread, and quick oatmeal. If these processed carbohydrates are ingested, the effect is very similar to that of eating fruit, honey, and other simple carbohydrates.

When Should I Eat These Carbohydrates?

Simple carbohydrates should optimally be ingested right before and right after intense exercise or physical activity. The quick elevation in blood sugar levels will give your body a stream of fast, usable sugar to fuel your muscles. Ingesting simple carbs before a workout will also delay the time before your body taps into your reserve sugar stores called glycogen (stored glucose). 

Complex carbohydrates should be eaten more throughout the day, preferably in the morning. But if your fitness goal is fat loss, your carbohydrate servings should mostly come from your lower calorie, complex carbohydrates which are your fibrous and green leafy vegetables. 

Complex carbohydrates may also be optimally ingested a couple of hours before your workout and a couple of hours after your workout. Having complex carbs two hours before a workout will perfectly time the peak of blood sugar elevation right when your body needs it most. 

What is a Protein?

Proteins can be thought of as BUILDING BLOCKS. Our bodies need protein to make things like muscle, organs, saliva, hair, nails, skin, nerves, and brain cells. When you start engaging in intense exercise or physical activity, the importance of protein becomes critical! 

Protein foods come from chicken, beef, turkey, fish and other animals, greek yogurt, cheese, eggs, and milk, and protein supplements. The more protein you ingest, the more likely you'll build lean muscle. The more lean muscle we have on our bodies, the more efficient and easier it will be for your body to burn stubborn body fat.

When Should I Eat Protein?

Protein should be eaten throughout the day and should be present in every meal. Minimum daily protein requirements should be as close to your bodyweight as possible. When you start becoming more physically active or exercise intensely, your protein intake needs to be even higher!

Protein may be optimally ingested one hour before and within 30 minutes after intense workouts. Having protein before a workout will give your muscles the building blocks it needs to repair and remodel new muscle during exercise. It will also delay the time before your body starts tapping into the protein stores in your muscles for energy.

What is a Fat?

Fat is a key macronutrient, especially if your fitness goal is fat loss. Fats help support a lean body composition. Your body needs fat in order to create and balance key hormones that are known for burning fat and building muscle like testosterone, estrogen, and growth hormone. Fats can also support metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, keep you feeling satisfied, strengthen your heart, and decrease inflammation. 

If your goal is fat loss, we advise a reduction of carbohydrates and eat foods that are higher in healthy fats. A body with balanced hormones, supported metabolism, satisfied pallet, less inflammation, and a strong heart is better designed to build lean muscle and burn body fat, wouldn't you agree?

Foods that have great fat content are your nuts, seeds, nut butters, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, red palm oil, avocados, and even meats, especially salmon. 

When Should I Eat Fats?

You should eat more fats than carbohydrates if your goal is fat loss. Eating fatty foods with your protein will leave you more satisfied and promote a leaner body composition. Try to save your carbs for pre and post-workout or you can even dedicate a whole day to eating carbohydrates if the rest of the week was particularly low with them. Here is a link to our previous blog about healthy fats:

Eat to Promote Fat Loss!

So now that we know have a better understanding of these macronutrients, we should have a better idea of how to promote fat loss.

Save your simple carbohydrates for pre and post-workout and eat fibrous, green leafy vegetables with fats and protein throughout the rest of the day. The combination of fats and protein will keep your body designed for fat loss and give your muscles the building blocks they need to create new muscle. The more muscle we have on our body, the more body fat we will burn throughout the day. 

I hope you all enjoyed Lesson 1 of our educational series! If you haven't  subscribed to our YouTube channel, please do! Subscribing to our channel will give you access to our future videos. Subscribe by clicking here!

Follow us on Instagram @trainempyrean for exclusive behind the scenes photos and videos.

Thank you for your continued support! Talk soon!

Always Dedicated to Your Success,

Carl Grande and Justin Marrone

Eat Good Fats to Burn Bad Fats!

This Guy...

It is very normal to think that having more fat in your diet will make you fatter. I mean, I would think the same thing too, right?! If I'm trying to lose body fat, why would I eat more fat?

In a sense, yes, that is correct, but there are different types of fat. These fats will ultimately be determined to store as extra, unwanted fat or utilized for fat-burning energy. I will break down every type of fat and show you which kinds are the most important to incorporate into your daily diet.

Types of Healthy Fat

There are three different types of fat: Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated Fat

Saturated fats are found in unprocessed animal fats and tropical oils like coconut, cacao, and palm.

Monounsaturated fats are found in Olive oil, avocados, peanuts & groundout, and tree nuts.

Polyunsaturated fats have two different types: omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fats are found in flax and fish oils. Omega-6 fats are found in most seeds oils like canola, safflower, and sunflower.

So when you hear someone say "healthy fats", these are the fats they are referring to.

What is an "Unhealthy" Fat?

Unhealthy fats, like trans fat and hydrogenated fats, are fats that are produced in masses, created for the sole purpose to make food nonperishable or to have a very long "shelf-life".

This means that every time you see a food in the grocery store that is in a box or looks like it's meant to stay in that box for a long time, it most likely contains trans fat (I call it transformed fat). These also include most of the foods you would see in a mall food court.

Margarine is an example of a hydrogenated fat or a scientifically created fat to make liquid and perishable fat into solid, shelf-stable fat. Also, most cooking oils you see on a shelf in a grocery store have some "bad fat" just because it needs to stay on that shelf for as long as possible.

Why Should I Eat More "Healthy Fats"?

Hopefully so far I have dissected the fat topic enough, so you all have a better understanding between the good and bad fats.

So now lets talk about the benefits that come from the good fats, and why incorporating more of them in your daily diet will get you to burn more body fat faster than ever before!

We need adequate fat to support metabolism, signal cells to perform certain tasks, improve the health of various body tissues, increase immunity, regulate hormone production, and allow proper absorption of many nutrients such as vitamins A and D.

There is strong evidence that healthy fats improve cardiovascular function, burn visceral body fat (hard, sticky body fat), keep you feeling full in between meals, and even alleviate depression.

There is also average evidence that fats prevent certain cancers, preserves memory, increases longevity of eye health, reduces incidences of aggressive behavior, and alleviates symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

Five Fatty Foods You Should Start Eating Now!

Salmon Steaks: Having the skin still intact in this specific cut of the salmon increases the fat content of the fish. Salmon filets are definitely more protein-dense, but the steak cuts of salmon provide a much fattier serving.

Avocados: A very great snack that keeps you feeling full for hours! Add a dash of pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder (I even put hot sauce!) for a flavor explosion in every bite! Cut the avocado in half and save one half for later; a 2-for-1 snack idea! Tip: Lightly squeeze lemon juice on them to avoid browning.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: A very great oil for cooking, baking, and putting the "smooth" in smoothies! This oil has a very high cooking temperature, perfect for cooking in the pan for eggs and pancakes. You can use coconut oil for baked goods or add a tablespoon in your smoothies to supercharge it and create a smoother texture! It is also naturally solid and melts almost instantly when it is heated. This is definitely not your average messy vegetable oil.

Flax/Chia Seed: These superfoods have great fat content and even pack some muscle-building protein! Sprinkle some in your Greek Yogurt or add a tablespoon to your smoothies.

Almond Butter: Great fat content in this peanut butter ally. Stir in the liquid that sits at the top (that's the natural fat) until smooth. Add a tablespoon to your smoothies, drizzle some over some protein pancakes, or even add a little bit to some frozen yogurt (when deserved of course!).

If Your Goal is Fat Loss...

Incorporate more of these healthy fats in your daily diet immediately! A reduction in carbohydrates and an increase in healthy fats will get your body to burn unwanted body fat faster than cutting these nutrients out. You will feel fuller longer and have a lot more energy, but most importantly, you will look great too!

Always Dedicated to Your Success!

Carl Grande and Justin Marrone

6 Basic Steps to Nutritional Success!

Justin here!

I want to go back-to-basics with you today.

Life is all about choices. At Empyrea, we want to help educate everyone on how to make the right choices when it comes to their health and fitness, however, the only way to end up where you want to go is to have a good grasp of the most basic concepts.

Sometimes it pays to revisit the basic steps to leading a healthier lifestyle, even if you think you are well beyond your humble beginning.

Some of us may be further along the road than others with our health and fitness, but it’s never too late to stop, take a deep breathe, and ask yourself if you are following some of the most simple steps.

If you can make your small daily steps into habits and make your habits consistent, then over a longer period of time, you will have built a strong foundation for your nutritional success.

Only with a consistent daily foundation built up of small steps-turned-habits, will you be able to progress further into more complex dietary tactics and advanced habits.

Follow these 6 simple steps that will help you succeed during your health and fitness journey. 

Make them habits, TODAY!

1. Are you eating slowly?

Check in with hunger, sit down, relax and take your time; studies have shown that taking 15-20 minutes to complete a meal will help aid in your digestion and make you less hungry by the end of your meal.  If fat loss is your goal, make sure you stop eating when you’re about 80% full.

2. Where is the protein dense food?

Are you about to eat at least one palm-sized portion of protein dense food? Women should have one palm-sized portion and men should have two. This is a minimum, but a great place to start. Apply this to eating lean meats (ground turkey, steak, chicken, lean pork, fish, etc.)

3. Where are the veggies?

Are you about to eat a large portion of veggies? They can be prepared any way you like. One serving is about one fist-sized portion and you should try to eat a few portions per meal. Ultimately, you should have between 7-9 servings of veggies per day! This may sound like a lot, but if you have 2-3 portions per meal, it will add up before you know it. This should give you an idea of how undernourished our population may be when it comes to getting their veggies! It’s not asking a lot!

4. Where are the carbs?

If you have fat to lose but haven’t just worked out, eat less pasta, bread, rice, and other starchy carbs. Even though whole-grain is the healthier option during the day, eat less because it still contains carbs! Focus the majority of your carbohydrate consumption (excluding veggies) around the times of your exercise, for they will be utilized more efficiently, and less likely to store as body fat, rather than just eating these foods at random times of the day.

5. Where are your fats coming from?

Today you need some fats from various foods, prioritizing whole food sources like eggs, meats, fish, olives (oils), nuts and seeds. Spread these throughout the day, especially if you are trying to lose body fat!

6. Are you drinking enough water?

Our bodies are 60% water. Thus, if you weigh 150 lb, then 90 lb of you is water (it is important stuff). Try having 16 oz. of water three times a day BEFORE meals and make this a habit. It will help aid in loss of body fat. This will also help keep you fuller, hydrated, and boost your metabolism!

How much should I eventually drink daily?

Men: 16 cups per day (125-130 oz/day)

Women: 11 cups per day (91-95 oz/day)

Calorie Control

I have added the following β€œcalorie control guide” from Precision Nutrition as a tool to getting on the right track, and to help you avoid thinking about counting calories.

Counting calories, although necessary for specific health and fitness goals, is not something a newcomer should even be thinking about.

Take away the confusion, and begin to eat healthy foods while relying on your own hand as a guide for how much food you should be having during your meals and snacks.

Take a look here for a great visual. This is great for getting back-on-track after a vacation or time-off as well.

Again, this is a back-to-basics beginner approach, but it never hurts to take a look back to where you should have all started, even the most seasoned athlete, client, or fitness professional!

If you can take something away from this, please do.

You will thank yourself down the road!


Here for all of your Health and Fitness Needs!


Justin Marrone

Have a question? Please email me!

How to Control Binge Eating and Avoid "Crashing"

Andrew has very busy days.

Andrew wakes up every morning at 6:30am. The first thing he does is set his coffee machine to brew a fresh cup of Joe and jumps into the shower.

When he is all dressed, he heads downstairs to his kitchen, grabs a slice of white bread and pops it in to the toaster. When it's done toasting, he keeps it in his mouth as he ties his shoes. He finishes the rest of it with his hot cup of Joe, grabs his jacket, and he is out of the house by 7:30am. His commute is 30 minutes long to work.

The next time Andrew eats is about 12:30pm. He usually goes out to eat with his co-workers to either the Chipotle around the block, a Jersey Mikes Subs in a shopping plaza not too far away, or Ray's Pizzeria across the street.

Today, he enjoyed an Italian Sub on a white roll with a large soda. By the time he gets back into the office, it is 1:30pm and he has about 3 more hours left in his work day.

By the time 2pm rolls around, Andrew has this huge drop of energy and feels really tired. His eyes all of a sudden shut at will and it's very hard for him to keep them open. This isn't the first time he has experienced this so what does he usually do to stay awake?

He goes to the vending machine, which is on the same floor as his office, and gets a bag of chips with a can of Diet Coke. This common snack duo should definitely give him the mid afternoon "pick me up" he needs right?

Right before he is about to clock out a long day at work, Andrew is really hungry again and can't wait to eat dinner. He is actually thinking about what he's going to eat for dinner for the last 30 minutes of his work day. Is it going to be Chinese Food or a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich from his favorite pizzeria? Or maybe he'll stop at a Shake Shack and grab a burger with a side of fries? Whatever it's going to be, it's going to be a lot of it!

During the drive home, all he is thinking about is what he is going to eat. He drives past a neon sign that says "Hot Fresh Pizza" and BOOM! He's locked. Pizza it is! Nothing is getting in Andrews way until he has a "Hot Fresh Pizza" in his mouth.

He gets home dials it in, and eats half of the box and puts the rest of it in the fridge for dinner tomorrow. An hour goes by after that delicious feast and all of a sudden, Andrew is hungry again! Andrew is now opening cupboards, the freezer door, and the pantry for anything that can satisfies his late night sweet tooth.

Andrew has a couple spoonful's of vanilla ice cream and attempts to watch a movie on Netflix but falls asleep before he can even put the ice cream back in the freezer.

Beep, beep, beep goes his alarm and Day 2 out of 5 of the work week begins with the same daily routine all over again.

Have you ever had a day that kind of looked like this? Rushed morning, big lunches, mid-day crashing, "target locked" eating binges, and irresistible urges of sugar at night?

I have.

Today's Lesson: Never Skimp on Breakfast.

Hi all, Carl here and I can explain why habits like Andrew's, day in and day out, can lead to a life of never-ending eating and "addict" like symptoms. I'll also show you what you can do better everyday to reverse these habits and live a life of ever-lasting nutritional abundance and energy.

First, let's talk a little bit about Andrew's morning routine. Without probably having much thought, Andrew's breakfast was 1 slice of toasted white bread. If it's any meal of your day that should have the most thought behind it, it should be breakfast. I mean if we broke down that word it would be "break" and "fast". Essentially breakfast is the first meal that breaks your daily fast which is sleep!

Let's say you get 7 hours of sleep. That's 7 hours of time your body is being deprived of nutrients. Wouldn't you agree that your body must be starving for nutrients as it rises in the morning? A slice of white bread won't do the trick. Its like having to put gasoline in your car and you only put 5 dollars worth of gas in your tank to last you the whole day. You better expect to have very little productivity and energy at work. 

Researchers in Netherlands found that those who started the day with a high-calorie meal rich in complex carbohydrates were more likely to feel satiated (full) for longer and made smarter eating decisions throughout the day. So breakfast should be the most important meal because of this reason. Having a large, nutrient-dense breakfast will make you eat smarter, jumpstart your metabolism, and give you the fuel your body needs to take on a long work day.

I would've recommended Andrew to have 4 eggs, 3 slices of turkey bacon, and 1-2 slices of multi-grain toast. Another option could be a Greek yogurt (preferably unflavored) with 2 tablespoons of whole-grain granola and some blueberries topped with a drizzle of Agave Nectar (a low-glycemic natural sweetener similar to maple syrup or honey).

With a breakfast that is more nutrient packed like this, not only will Andrew feel fuller longer, he would've probably had a more productive morning since his body would've been properly fueled to carry out tasks. Instead, he set up the perfect recipe to start a cycle of binge eating and extreme fluctuations of energy.

The Science: Blood Sugar Elevation and Insulin

Understanding what happens to our body, physiologically, when we eat food will give us a better understanding on how and when to properly fuel our body for what it needs to do.

When we digest carbohydrates, it breaks down into usable glucose or sugar. When we ingest white carbohydrates like white rice, white potatoes, white breads or wraps, corn (even tortilla), and baked goods, your blood will become super saturated with these sugars and your body is forced to call upon insulin to regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Since the blood becomes so saturated in sugar in such a short period of time, your body has to excrete high amounts of insulin to quickly drop blood sugar levels down immediately to stabilize homeostasis (your body's normal functioning state). This process of a high spike and fast drop of blood sugar levels creates the body to feel extremely fatigued, sleepy, and tired.

Perfect example, Thanksgiving.

We starve ourselves all day long to wait for a gigantic feast at dinner time. Before filling your plate with all of these delicious looking foods, your blood sugar levels are at an all-time low. Now here comes, the turkey (which is high in tryptophan which helps promote sleep), stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, gravy, and ice cream, the list goes on!

Regardless, blood sugar level SKY ROCKET through the roof! Insulin sees all of this sugar flooding the blood so now the body has to excrete huge amounts of insulin to quickly bring your sugar levels down. Now, this explains the reason why half of your family is passed out on the couch missing the first half of the Thanksgiving game. You have just created the ultimate recipe for a sugar rollercoaster that puts you right into a food coma. Goodnight!

The Application: How to Use Low-Glycemic Foods to Give You Sustained Energy and Forever Control Your Blood Sugar

Here are 3 applications that you can start incorporating into your current diet to avoid feelings of "crashing" and give you the energy your body needs to conquer your long work days. With these applications you will have much more control over your blood sugar and significantly reduce your chances of being diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. So please read along and implement if this common, irreversible, disease runs in your family. You may be able to stop the dangerous, "family passed" disease forever!

1) Eat carbohydrates that slowly elevate blood sugar.

Low-glycemic carbohydrates are carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar much slower and for longer causing your insulin level to gradually rise to easily control the elevation of blood sugar levels. Not only will you have much more energy over a longer period of time, you will have much more control of your insulin secretion, significantly reducing your chances of Diabetes Type 2.

Instead of eating white rice, have brown rice. Instead of eating white breads, have multi-grain or whole wheat breads. Instead of having white potatoes, have sweet potatoes. Try to shoot to have as much vegetables as fruits in your diet. Vegetables are the low-glycemic versions of sugar-spiking fruits.

2) Have 6 smaller meals spaced 2-3 hours apart.

Having 3 large white carbohydrate based meals at one time spikes your blood sugar way too high in such a short period of time. Having smaller, more frequent whole-grain carbohydrate based meals throughout the day will slowly elevate blood sugar levels just when the blood sugar levels from the previous meal slowly begins to drop. This is the key component to keeping your energy levels high and sustained throughout the day and to forever avoid feelings of "crashing:

Keep your main meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner but switch out the white carbohydrates with the low-glycemic version of them. Add protein dense snacks perfectly between each main meal. Not only will you make smarter choices with your next main meal, you'll probably eat much less than your used to.

3) Try to avoid feeling "starved".

When we begin to feel very hungry, these are when the crazy "target locked" sensors in our brain begin to fire up. Once these sensors unleash, you will crave all the foods you shouldn't be having. This is when you become ravenous in the kitchen and start eating chips, candy, greasy foods, baked goods, ice cream, cheeseburgers, EVERYTHING.

Even when you start to feel a little hungry, it's better to snack on something (like a little handful of almonds) then to ignore the feelings of hungry and waiting till you become very hungry and want to inhale everything in sight!

Try incorporating Greek Yogurts with granola, organic peanut butter with 4 apple slices, or turkey slices rolled up with low-fat cheese in between main meals. This will give you better control in your food choices and regulate your blood sugar much better than not having snacks in between.

The Take Away: Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals Throughout the Day.

Just by eating more smaller meals frequently throughout the day, you will make smarter eating decisions, have better control of your blood sugar, give you long sustained energy, and you'll even lose some body fat along the way.

I hope this was helpful to anyone reading this post!

Always Dedicated to Your Success,

Carl Anthony Grande

- Head Trainer, Fitness Manager