to promote nutrition

A Candid Interview with PCG Nutritionist Katie Barberi

By PCG Head Coach Hunter Allen

Tell me about how you started your passion for nutrition.  What sparked your interest and keeps you passionate?

My passion for nutrition started when I had to start watching my own food intake when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2010. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that makes your body unable to process gluten, which is in a lot of foods. This forced me to have to read every single food label I encountered which in turn raised interest in nutrition as a whole. I got my first nutrition certification in 2012 and started practicing that same year.

Since then I just keep getting new training and certifications every year. The number one thing that keeps me passionate are my clients. I love helping people and imparting nutritional knowledge. I want all of my clients to be the best that they can be, and I do everything that I can to stay up to date on all things nutrition as much as I can.

I want to lose weight this winter, how can I do this and also keep exercising?  Won’t my energy levels go down?

When it comes to losing weight the number one thing you look for is having a calorie deficit. So this means that the amount of food you are taking in is always less than the amount that you are expending. If you do this in a healthy manner so that the amount is less but not so much so that you are taking away from your overall energy needs, then it won’t affect your energy levels.

During the first day of the 💥 Nutrition Challenge, I will be going over this in an initial webinar and we will discuss how to find that number for yourself and what is too much deficit versus just right.

What weight loss is acceptable per week?

There is no one size fits all diet.

For weight loss to be consider healthy and sustainable you should lose about a 1 lb to 1.5 lb a week at most. Anything more than that and you start losing to much weight in a short period which makes it easier for you to gain it back. Studies have shown that people who lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time are significantly more like to gain over half of the weight back in that same amount of time.

So rather than take two steps forward and one step back why not just keep taking on step at a time?

If I get stuck at a plateau, what should I do?

The reasons that people hit plateaus are really endless and I don’t have enough time or space here to go over them all. We are all different, and to some extent, we all require different food intakes to make our bodies function. There is no one size fits all diet.

If you hit a plateau your best bet is to get help. Hiring a nutrition professional (like myself) is going to get you help much quicker than you trying to figure it out yourself. I have been doing this for 8 years now, and I have seen and learned a lot in that time. I can help you to get past that plateau and the next one, and the next one.

What are the key things I should cut out of my diet in order to lose that extra body fat?

In order to lose extra body fat, it isn’t necessarily one thing or another that is going to be that magical change to help you lose body fat. As mentioned above, calories in and calories out is a great place to start. The next step is to eat a healthy, well rounded, whole foods diet.

As a general rule, I don’t ever have any of my clients cut anything out of their diet because I have found that it can actually have a negative effect overall. You need to love what you eat while also know that you are eating well.

During the 💥 Nutrition Challenge, we will be covering this as well and going over meal plan style options to help you make better nutrition decisions over the long term.

How many calories do I need to cut out of my diet each day to lose 1lb of fat in a week?

The general rule is 3500 calories is equal to one pound of body fat, but I think that looking at nutrition this way can be WAY too daunting. As mentioned above, during the first day of the 💥 Nutrition Challenge, I will be going over how many calories you should eat in a day in an initial webinar and we will discuss how to find that number for yourself.

I am really curious about this whole “Keto” diet thing.  Do you think this works?  Is it congruent with endurance athletics?

I want to give a little overview of the “Keto Diet Thing” also called Ketogenic Diet. The diet was originally developed nearly 100 years ago as a way to help children who suffered from epilepsy have less frequent seizure episodes. It fell out of use for most of the mid 20th century and then in the early 1990s was researched again when the Atkin’s diet became popular with resounding results. It is based on the fact that researchers in the 1920’s found that if a child fasted for many days, they were able to limit or completely stop their seizures, but as many would imagine asking a child to fast is a very hard thing to do. So they found that putting the children on a diet that mimics starvation and forces the body to use fat as its major energy source instead of glucose/carbohydrates it had the same effect.

Now let’s look at the diet as the fad that it has become as of late and what it does to your body. As mentioned above the keto diet puts your body in a state that mimics starvation. Because you are eating majority fats and proteins and little to no carbs your body has no glucose, which is normally its main source of fuel. When this happens, our body adapts and starts to produce more ketone bodies from fat reserves, hence the name “Keto Diet”. The keto diet itself works well for some but not for others, as every person’s specific needs are different. Over long term studies have shown that the diet itself can have some pretty significant negative effects on the body, especially if it isn’t followed correctly. Too many ketone bodies can cause ketone acids and acidosis which can lead to kidney failure and a few other pretty detrimental problems in your body.

As for the keto diet for endurance athletes, my answer is a hard “no” and studies have proven it to be the case.

As for the keto diet for endurance athletes, my answer is a hard “no” and studies have proven it to be the case. Endurance athletes need glucose to put down power and increase their VO2. If you are only planning on doing steady-state rides or runs for the rest of your life and only care about your ability to utilize fat during exercise then “yes,” it may work for you. But if you want to do anything to increase your FTP (meaning high wattage workouts) and workouts that require you to get to anything above 60% of your VO2 max, then you need carbs and glucose to make that happen and the keto diet is not conducive with that. A recent study actually showed that athletes who had been on a keto diet for 10 weeks, while decreasing their body fat, also had a decrease in their max power, VO2 Max, and their time to exhaustion came nearly 2 minutes sooner. If you would like to read this study as well as one that compiled many studies on the keto diet you can find them here:

LINK 👉 Carbohydrate Dependence During Prolonged, Intense Endurance Exercise

LINK 👉 Ketogenic diet benefits body composition and well-being but not performance in a pilot case study of New Zealand endurance athletes

What do you think about “fasted” training?

Fasted training is a very specialized type of training that should only be done with a professional helping you to do it properly. If this is something that you think you might want to try, I recommend you hire a coach here with Peaks as well as a nutrition coach to work with you on it.

Can I turn my body into a fat-burning machine?

Yes, but it takes time, hard work, and a lot of dedication. Remember that the purpose of our 💥 Nutrition Challenge is to learn how to eat better and lose weight. If you are looking for a more specialized diet than you are better off working with a nutrition coach one on one where we can help you achieve more specialized goals.

We’ve been running a highly popular “Nutrition Challenge” for several years now that gives our athletes a taste of nutritional coaching. This will be your first year at the head of the program, and you’ve created an all new experience. Can you describe the all new Nutrition Challenge?

The Nutrition Challenge is a 6-week challenge to help participants learn to eat better and in turn lose weight. We will be covering the basics of nutrition including how to find the right daily calorie number for you and your body and then using that number to create a meal plan for yourself with a variety of meal options that are given on the first day of the challenge.

A sample meal plan will be made for you to compare yours to but since we all need different calorie numbers that is where you will have to adjust your meal plan to be appropriate for you. The great thing about this is you will have a variety of meals to choose from so you could eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday or you could switch it up from day to day, depending on your tastes. From there participants will have weekly weigh ins with the goal of losing about 1-1.5 lbs per week.

Along with the weekly weigh-ins we will be doing once a week chats where I will sit down and answer questions that anyone may have.

And if you are reading this now, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions before registering! 

Katie Barberi is a Nutrition Consultant at Peaks Coaching Group and has her BS in Anthropology with Emphasis on Nutrition. She is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and a Certified Health Coach. She has her ISSA as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist.