Nutrition with Brian Parana
Lifestyle and Health Coach Brian Parana Shares His Passion for Healthy Living.
Brian Parana has always been active, running track and field in high school and then running in college. Over the years, running has taken Brian on many adventures from marathons to Olympic distance triathlons. Fortunately, Brian found a way to combine his passion with his career and opened two gyms before building his reputation as a health and lifestyle coach. Today, he works with clients to help them identify and achieve their health and lifestyle goals by adopting healthier habits that will take them down the road to better health.
Who is Brian Parana?
I earned my Exercise Science and Nutrition degree in 2005. In the first six years of my career, I worked as a personal trainer in a traditional gym setting. I worked with hundreds of people struggling to manage their busy schedules, careers, and lives at home while learning to balance exercise and nutrition. I took my expertise a step further and opened my gym, which I expanded to a second location and served thousands of clients for over five years. During this time, I developed a higher level of coaching. I coached Betsy Finley as she participated in the CrossFit Games and became a CrossFit World Champion. Since selling my gyms, I’ve focused on coaching clients to better understand nutrition, fitness, and health to improve their lives. Outside of this, my life is truly blessed with a wife of nearly 14 years and four children. We love to travel and have visited 30 states with the goal of visiting all 50 states and beyond.
Explain what a lifestyle and health coach does.
A lifestyle and health coach works with clients to determine their goals and develop an individualized plan that meets the client’s needs. It’s important to understand each client’s unique needs. If you don’t take those life situations and needs into consideration, a coach will not be successful in creating a winning approach for the client.
For someone who is overweight or underweight and wants to get physically fit, how do they establish a healthier lifestyle?
I use a three-step approach. First, I encourage my clients to walk at least 30 minutes and get 10,000 steps per day. Daily movement is vital to get the body to the physical level of activity we need. Second, I ask my clients to take pictures of their food to analyze what’s on their plate. This slows things down in terms of food selection and portion control. I give clients feedback on if they’re over-eating as well as the types of food they need to eat more or less of. This teaches clients to make better food and portion choices. Third, meal design is simple—pick one protein, vegetable, and starch. Your protein and starch portions should be similar in size—one to two decks of cards—alongside two cups of vegetables.
Is eating three meals a day fact or fiction?
Eating three meals a day is sufficient as a minimum. Most people eat between three and five meals per day, which allows you to eat enough food to feel satisfied until the next meal. It also prevents you from getting overly hungry and overeating the next time you eat. When focusing on balancing your protein, vegetables, and starch, eating smaller meals throughout the day helps you meet your daily nutritional needs.
What’s your north star? How can someone who wants to reach their health goals stay on track?
My north star is centered on helping people improve their lifestyles by educating them about proper nutrition and guiding them in building active, healthy lifestyles. Knowing that I’m invested in the outcome of my clients allows me to stay on track and help them navigate the obstacles they face along the way. When I talk to my clients about their north star, it comes down to their why. Why do they want to spend the time and energy to get healthy again? What will ensure their commitment to doing everything necessary to reach their physical goals? We clarify this during the initial call to get to the bottom of what drives them.
What are a few diet dos and don’ts, and do they really work?
Do move a lot, eat balanced meals at regular intervals through the day, drink plenty of water, avoid sugars, get enough sleep, and build positive healthy behaviors each day. Don’t overeat, consume too many simple carbohydrates, drink most of your calories, sit all day, over-exercise, or consume too much alcohol or caffeine.
How do diet, strength training, and cardio complement one another?
When we pair exercise with proper nutrition, it’s a win-win! Always warm up before a workout and do strength training at least two to three days each week. Also, avoid sitting for long periods of time. When you burn enough calories through physical activity, you’ll tighten and tone your body while losing inches in the process. Strength training also builds a strong, resilient body that can keep up with the demands of your daily life.
What should a 35- to 40-year-old do to get physically fit as opposed to someone in their 20s?
In your late 30s, you should have a much better idea of what your goals are because the party phase of life is over, and you’re settled into your life. You should also have a better understanding of your everyday food choices and avoid overeating. With this knowledge, you can transform bad habits into good habits. I tell my clients to give themselves two weeks to build positive momentum as they form new, healthier habits. At this point in life, you’re also probably dealing with energy swings and are much more inclined to avoid the mid-afternoon energy dip that often hits around 3pm. This shifts when you adopt proper nutrition.
What are three healthy foods we should eat every day?
First, lean proteins like chicken and fish. Second, vegetables that are low in calories and high in energy like broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, and greens. Third, small amounts of starchy carbohydrates like beans, lentils, rice, and oatmeal. By including these three categories of food, you’ll eat healthy, balanced meals that will satisfy your hunger and help maintain your ideal body.
Do you have any closing comments?
One of the most important things you can do is live a lifestyle that’s congruent to the body, health, and being you want for yourself. This means being active every day, making good food choices and practicing portion control, drinking plenty of water, and getting plenty of sleep. Once you set yourself up with this lifestyle, maintaining a healthy body is easier in the long-term.
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