Actionable Tips For Weight-loss, Success, and Optimization

By Ryan Hail

We have all heard how to lose weight…Exercise More! Eat Less! Try this diet! While this information is not technically incorrect, it falls flat on actually giving clients the results they seek. Why? Because they are non-specific and some do not promote actual healthy habits. Here are my 3 steps to weight loss.

1) Intermittent Fasting (IF)

This is a method of eating in which you restrict your meals to a certain window of time in a given day.

How it works: Time restrictive eating can be broken down a lot of ways, my go to for most people is to start with a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feed. A simple way to practice this would be to have your last meal of the day around 7-8pm, skip breakfast, then start eating again around 11am-12pm.

While skipping breakfast is the most popular method, you could also opt for an early dinner followed by a late breakfast. Regardless of how you decide to implement IF, the key thing to remember is that this is a piece of a much larger puzzle and does not give you “freedom” to eat a diet filled with unhealthy food. Be sure to choose nutrient dense, whole-foods such as vegetables, fruit, coconut oil, avocados, fresh fish, eggs, meat, nuts/seeds and beans.

2) Move 30-60 minutes on most days of the week.

This part is critical for not only weight-loss but mental and physical well-being. This can include a walk first thing in the morning, a CrossFit class, Yoga, Powerlifting, etc. The “art of doing” is the important piece here. Just move!

3) Manage Your Hormones. Manage Your Life.

Hormones basically run everything our bodies do. They are chemical messengers that are critical to life and vitality. When my normal tips and tricks do not work with a client, I start to become curious about how optimally their endocrine (hormonal) system is operating. One hormone that is getting a lot of attention right now is cortisol, better known as the stress hormone. Some cortisol is needed for survival but too much for too long can create havoc on your quality of life as well as your waist line!

Ways to balance your hormones:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Honor your circadian rhythm by sleeping 7-9 hours per night. Ideally from about 10pm-6am.
  • Mediation and Breath Work 10-20 minutes per day
  • Socialize with uplifting people

Bonus Material: (For people who have already implemented the strategies listed above).

  • Lift Weights 1-3 times per week for about 30-45 minutes. This can be included in tip #2.
  • Get a full blood panel to help you better understand your unique biological needs.
  • Meet with a fitness professional to fine-tune your program.
  • Research the Metabolic Typing Diet. (While I am not a huge fan of prescribing diets, this is one that looks at the individuals needs and can help people understand their relationship with food on a much deeper level).

Hopefully these tips not only guide you to weight-loss, but encourage you to lead a healthier life filled with laughter, love, and peace.

Note: Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has potential benefits for anti-aging, cancer, cognitive function, inflammation, hypertension, and the metabolic syndrome; but the evidence so far is insufficient to justify making clinical recommendations.²


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About the Author:

Ryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science from Wright State University.  In addition, he is a certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT), CrossFit Level 1 Coach, USA Weightlifting Specialist Level 1 (USAW SPC L1), Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 (CHEK) and he stays on the cutting edge of fitness programming through workshops and peer communications. He has enjoyed working with his clients to enable them to perform better, feel better, and live better for seven years.  His background focuses on sports performance training, corporate wellness, CrossFit, and Olympic weightlifting.  Ryan’s hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, lifting weights, yoga, reading, stand-up paddle boarding, and exploring Austin!

Classes: Boot Camp. PowerFit. Barbell Club. H.I.I.T.

Consumer Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Devices: What to know before you buy

By Kelly Hood

With the rise of home health electronics, many people own a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) scale or handheld device to monitor body composition at home. Commercial BIA devices provide a relatively simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive technique to measure body composition. BIA devices work by sending a very low, safe electrical signal through regions of the body between plate electrodes; BIA scales do this through the feet whereas handheld devices go through the arms. The electrical signal passes quickly through water that is present in hydrated muscle tissue, but it meets resistance when it contacts fat tissue. The resistance, known as impedance, is measured and input into equations to calculate body composition, hydration status, and even bone density. Taking the measurement is easy, quick, and painless – but are the results accurate compared to industry gold standards?

Commercial BIA devices differ from one another in a variety of ways including body segments utilized for analysis, electrode contact points, body fat prediction equations, and cost.

Consequently, they can vary in their reliability and validity for different populations. For example, BIA scales only send a current through your feet and into your legs, missing out on a large portion of your body. Similarly, handheld devices only send a current through your hands and across your arms and chest. This can lead to over or underestimation of body fat, depending on one’s body type and gender. Also, depending on the specific equations used by each BIA scale, body fat results may not be as accurate for certain populations. Not all equations are the best fit for specific ethnic groups or body sizes, and most consumer devices use proprietary equations and do not directly display measured impedance.

A recent study conducted at San Francisco State University found that a consumer BIA scale had an error of ± 4.4% when compared to the industry gold standard of hydrostatic weighing. In addition, the scale underestimated body fat in males by an average of 2%. The consumer scale was found to be incredibly reliable both between days and between weeks, suggesting it is a reliable at home device. Further research needs to be done to investigate how sensitive it is to tracking changes in body composition. It is likely that the underestimation of male participants was due to gender differences in fat distribution. Males more commonly carry fat around the abdomen, which the foot-to-foot BIA scale used in the study may not have adequately registered. Alternatively, the specific equation used in the scale may not have sufficiently accounted for the fat distribution in males. Current research agreed with the study findings, revealing that BIA devices typically have a larger error range, ±3.5-4%, and become less accurate in individuals with higher BMIs. Additionally, hydration status of the individual can affect the measurement. To account for this and to ensure the most accurate results when tracking body composition over time, measurements should be taken at the same time of day under similar conditions. Thus, the accuracy of body fat measurements using regional BIA devices should be interpreted with caution.

To make better use of an at home BIA device, consider occasionally having your body composition assessed using hydrostatic weighing. This industry gold standard method for measuring body fat percent, with an error of ±1-2%, costs around $50 per test. Testing requires a trained technician and can be found at certain fitness clubs or local universities, including San Francisco State University. Measurements from gold standard methods will give a more accurate portrayal of your body composition, and an idea of how far off an at home BIA scale is for future use. The results from body composition testing can be used to identify health risks, personalize your exercise program or evaluate how well your current exercise and nutrition program is working for you, so it is important they are accurate.


American College of Sports Medicine. Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 9 th ed. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, Baltimore, 2013.

Heymsfield, S.B., Wang, Z., Baumgartner, R.N., & Ross, R. (1997). Human body composition: advances in models and methods. Annual Review of Nutrition, 17: 527-58.

Fields, D.A., Goran, M.I., & McCrory, M.A. (2002). Body-composition assessment via air-displacement plethysmography in adults and children: a review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75: 453-467.

Peterson, J.T., Repovich, W.E.S., & Parascand, C.R. (2011). Accuracy of consumer grade bioelectrical impedance analysis devices compared to air displacement plethysmography. International Journal of Exercise Science, 4 (3): 176 -184.

Boneva-Asiova, Z. & Boyanov, M.A. (2008). Body composition analysis by leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in non-obese and obese individuals. Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, 10 (11): 1012-1018.

About the Author:

Kelly graduated with a double Bachelor of Science in Exercise Biology and Psychology from University of California at Davis. She recently completed her Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at San Francisco State University, where she conducted body composition research for her Master’s thesis. Kelly joined the BaySport Preventive team in 2015 to assist in the San Francisco Preventive Medicine Clinic and at biometric screening events across the bay. She is an avid runner, recreationally running marathons and local trail races across the bay. In her free time she enjoys, rock climbing, yoga, and exploring the great outdoors.

BaySport’s Healthy Holiday Challenge: Finding balance during the holidays

By Giselle BirangGilead Scale

Every holiday season, millions of Americans ring in the New Year with a common goal: weight loss. Waiting until after the holidays when many
people overindulge is challenging and can often cause frustration. The goal
of health and weight loss is to find balance and the Healthy Holiday
Challenge is designed for just that.

The Healthy Holiday Challenge is an eight week program designed for
employees to maintain and not gain over the holiday season; bringing in the New Year on a positive note. Employees form a team of four (individual participants are welcome) and weigh in as a group.

With three weigh-ins (initial, mid-point, and final), weekly informative emails, and team member support, each team’s goal is to maintain their initial weight throughout the eight weeks. Prizes are awarded at the end of the challenge to the teams that maintained and or lost weight.

Each week has a different health focus so as not to overwhelm the participants. One week can focus on mindfulness and relaxation, while another week focuses on exercise and healthy meal swaps.

This fun and free employee resource is used as a wellness tool for education, motivation and accountability. It helps the employees stay focused throughout the holiday season so they are not overwhelmed come the New Year. This challenge makes a healthy lifestyle attainable with the access to education and support from the Wellness Department.

Health is about balance. It’s a lifestyle that needs to be maintained and the Healthy Holiday Challenge is a fun program that helps thousands of employees reach their goals, start the year off by feeling healthy and enables them to find that balance.