Breaking Through Plateaus

Breaking Through Plateaus

I thought this article was appropriate seeing as so many people are trying to get lean for the summer.

Weight loss plateaus can be both mentally and physically taxing for anyone. Progress and results are what drives people and keeps them motivated to continue a healthy diet and exercise regimen. But what happens when you are doing all the right things and suddenly your results become stagnant?  Anyone that has lost weight has experienced a plateau in some form or another. Whether these plateaus last a week or a year, breaking through a weight loss plateau is crucial for your physical results and your psychological well-being.

 The Science Behind Plateaus

The progression from initial weight loss to a weight-loss plateau follows a typical pattern. During the first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop is normal. In part this is because when calories from food are reduced, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen holds on to water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases water, resulting in substantial weight loss that’s mostly water.

A plateau occurs because your metabolism — the process of burning calories for energy — slows as you lose muscle. You burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight even doing the same activities. Your weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism. At this new equilibrium, calories eaten equals calories expended. This means that to lose more weight, you need to increase activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.

How To Overcome Plateaus

1. Make A Plan And Stick To It

Look back at your food and activity records. Make sure you haven’t loosened the rules, letting yourself get by with larger portions or less exercise. Track everything to ensure you aren’t cheating and you are sticking to the system and keeping yourself honest.

2. Change Your Workout

They say variety is the spice of life, and this holds true when it comes to your workouts. Without change you might find yourself dreading the monotony of regular gym sessions and simply lose motivation. Additionally, your body can become used to the same caloric burn and muscle exertion as it becomes more efficient at completing regular movements. Give your brain and brawn the wake up call they need by shaking up your usual routine with some new additions.

  • Try increasing the speed as you exercise and do short bursts of intense exercises (such as sprinting) for one to two minutes followed by small rest periods. These short bursts of anaerobic activity will stimulate your body to release human growth hormone, which helps to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass.
  • Maintain your body’s adaptation period by changing the intensity, duration, frequency and/or the mode of exercise and include interval training if necessary.
3. Pack More Activity Into Your Day
Think outside the gym. Increase your general physical activity throughout the day by walking more and using your car less, or try doing more yard work or vigorous spring cleaning. Little things like this will increase your overall caloric expenditure over an entire day.

4.   Calorie Cycling

This technique takes some pre-planning, but it could be just what your body needs. Cycle your calories by toying around with your daily caloric consumption. Maintain the same caloric intake over the course of a week, but eat 100 calories more one day, followed by 200 fewer calories the next day. Some folks call this the “zigzag” method, but no matter what you call it, this method disrupts your body’s equilibrium and will rev your weight loss engine. If you have been losing weight eating 1400 calories a day, eat around that many calories for three days. On the fourth day eat 300 to 400 calories more. Make sure those calories come from healthy foods mixing protein, carbs and fat. Those extra calories should not come from nachos and beer.

5. Spike Your Calorie Intake With One Meal A Weak

The human body will adapt to ANYTHING you do consistently over time.  This refers to weight training, cardio conditioning, and nutrition. Over time your body will adapt to the new caloric intake unless some type of adjustment has been made. Try offsetting your eating schedule by spiking your calories one meal a week by 400-600 calories. To increase your caloric intake on those “cheat meal days”, simply eat more nutritious food.  This will not only offset your metabolism, but will also keep your digestion and metabolism working optimally, ensuring a greater amount of fat-loss.

6. Cut Carb intake

Try reducing your carb intake to 50-100 grams per day to reduce insulin production and fire up your fat metabolism. Make sure that you’re eating enough protein for your weight (Shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight) eating the right vegetables and snacking on high-fat foods to keep you feeling satisfied.

7. Find Ways To Keep Your Metabolism Elevated 

  • Eat six small meals a day. Eating small portions throughout the day will help keep your metabolism going. This is an extremely useful tactic in breaking your weight-loss plateau. Eat something when you wake up in the morning, perhaps a small omelet or some steel-cut oats.  Pretty much keep your meal times as normal; breakfast, lunch and dinner with a meal in between each and something for the evening.  Keep it higher in protein, small in calories, and nutritious.
  • Drink cold water. Drinking cold water can elevate your metabolism for several hours following completion.
  • Eat metabolism boosting foods. Things like cinnamon, curry, jalapenos, oatmeal, beans, green tea, ginger, grapefruits, apples, coffee, almonds, blueberries, watermelons and turkey can all help boost your metabolism.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Heavy Weights or Light Weights?

Heavy Weights or Light Weights?

People who skip breakfast are 450% more likely to be obese! Fuel up with a high protein/fiber breakfast to kick-start your day.

I get this questions all the time. “Should I lift heavy weights for low reps or light weight for high reps?” The common misconception in the fitness world is simple. To tone, use high reps with light weights. To bulk up use heavy weights with low reps. This is why you often see women doing lighter weight and more aerobic exercise while men are primarily lifting heavier weights to bulk up. NOT SO FAST!

New Research

New research and studies show that both men and women can largely benefit from the use of both heavy weight with low reps and light weight with high reps. The key is pushing your muscles to fatigue. Straining to lift very heavy weights isn’t the only way to pump up muscles, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Similar results can be achieved, they say, by lifting light weights a greater number of times.The secret is simply to pump iron until muscle fatigue sets in, says Stuart Phillips, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster.“Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can’t lift it any more,” Phillips says in a news release.

The Science

Researchers recruited 15 healthy men with an average age of 21. Each was told to lift light weights and heavy weights with varying repetitions.

  • The weights represented a percentage of their best or heaviest lift. Heavier weights were set to 90% of a man’s best lift, and light weights at 30%.
  • Weights were set to 80% to 90% of a person’s best lift required five to 10 repetitions before fatigue set in. At 30%, it took at least 24 lifts before similar fatigue developed.
  • The researchers measured fatigue at the cellular level by examining results of muscle biopsies done 4 hours and 24 hours after workouts.
The Results

Similar amounts of protein used in muscle-building were produced whether volunteers lifted at 90% of their maximums until they ran out of steam and when they lifted only 30% of their best until they could lift no more, the researchers say. The key in both instances was lifting until fatigue. If in either set the subject stopped short of fatigue there was less of a muscular response.

Why This Is Important For You

Subjects trying to lose/maintain weight-Often times people are discouraged from lifting weights because they think it’s specific for body builders or those want to bulk up. The truth is that muscle mass is largely dependent on genetics, cells, diet, and hormones within the body. If you are a woman trying to maintain or lose weight, lifting weights is not going to make you bulk up.First, it is physiologically impossible for you as a woman to put on large amounts of muscle mass; you’re body’s hormonal makeup is not one that will allow you to do so. I cringe when I see people coming into the gym and going for a light jog on the treadmill every day for a half hour when their time and effort could be used much more efficiently doing full body/weighted exercises. People don’t understand that performing these exercises will burn fat more efficiently and help redefine your body composition.

For kids– Parents are afraid to let their kids lift weights because they think it will inhibit joint and growth plate progression. Light weights and high reps can provide less joint and bone strain while still producing the essential benefits you get from lifting weights and exercising.

For older adults or people with injuriesOlder adults and people with injuries can have joint problems or limited range of motion which would prevent them from training with heavy loads.  This study shows that they have the option of training with lighter and less intimidating loads and can still receive the benefits.

The Catch

While light weights and high reps can still activate the anabolic response in your muscles and produce similar muscle volume characteristics as heavy weights, pure strength gains are better generated by using heavy weights with low reps. There is also some debate about whether heavier weights gives you more of a myogenic tone ( A harder and firmer look) and training in higher rep ranges promotes more sarcoplasmic (fluid) hypertrophy (which in turn yields a “softer” pumped look). This is a topic for an entire blog in itself but regardless, experts agree that similar benefits can be achieved through lifting both heavy and light weights. The key is working to fatigue.

My Recommendation

Here is my current routine that I think people will find very useful and easily adaptable no matter what your fitness goals are.

Monday: Total Body: Heavy Weights With Core

Tuesday: Sprint Intervals

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: Total Body: Heavy Weights With Core

Friday: Sprint Intervals or Steady State Elliptical

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: Total Body Light Weights/High Reps With Core (For the past month I have been doing a body pump class which consits of 4-5 minutes of each major muscle group lifting light weight until exhaustion. Takes about 45 minutes)

For another great study on this topic check out this article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430105358.htm

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

The Truth About Nutrition Bars

The Truth About Nutrition Bars

In a recent study published by consumerlabs.com 30 nutrition bars were broken down/analyzed and over 60% of the bars failed to meet labeling claims! What is really in your “health or nutrition bar”?

Thank you to Rachel for the suggestion on this topic.

Meal replacement bars, snack bars, weight loss bars, energy bars, and protein bars are a convenient and easy way for people to get a quick snack or meal when they are on the go. The problem is that 99% of the products out there are loaded with carbs and sugars that spike insulin levels and promote fat storage. Despite the hidden ingredients and artificial additives, marketing gurus have duped consumers into thinking that these “nutrition bars” are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals when in reality this is far from the truth. The FDA claims that it currently does not have any formal guidelines for nutrition bars or the labeling on nutrition bars.

The Breakdown

“Protein Bar” is an extremely deceptive term.  Most bars contain more carbs than protein. The consumer labs study found that a typical bar is made up of

  • 49% of calories from carbohydrates (mostly from sugars)
  • 29% of calories from protein
  • 22% of calories from fat
What To Stay Away From 
Clif Bars
The concern here is the 45 grams of carbs and 21 grams of sugar (for comparison a snickers bar has 35 grams of carbs and 28 sugars). If you are not an endurance athlete than that amount of carbs in the form of a small snack is way to high. Ever notice how the Clif Bar rapper conveniently covers the ingredient list. Here is why. With over 30 ingredients, it is hard to decipher what exactly the bar is made up of.  Organic rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, organic evaporated can juice, organic date paste, are all fancy names for sugar that make up this so-called “nutrition bar”. While ingredients like evaporated cane juice are not as detrimental to refined sugar, it is close enough.
The Take Away– Stay away from Clif bars
Atkins Advantage Bar
With Atkins Advantage you get more bang for you buck because the lower carb and sugar levels. You also get a solid 15 grams of protein with only 210 calories. The unfortunate part is the saturated fat and ingredients. With over 50 ingredients, there are several hidden land mines such as glycerin, sucralose, cellulose, artificial flavors, which are all code names for SUGARS!
The take away- Eat only if there is no whole/unprocessed foods available like fruit or nuts.
Nature Valley Bar
I commend General Mills for their bold and forthright honesty. They are not trying to hide anything. The second ingredient is SUGAR! With high levels of carbohydrates and sugar, nature valley bars have nothing “natural” about them. High fructose corn syrup and brown sugar syrup are two ingredients that have single handily added to the obesity problems in the US.
The take away- Don’t even think about it
Power Bars
This label is also very informative as it provides the disclaimer that the FDA has no regulation over these “health bars”. With 45 carbs,  27 grams of sugar, ingredients such as evaporated cane juice, glucose syrup, and fructose, a power bar is basically a glorified candy bar. At least they have less than 30 ingredients as opposed to some of the other examples listed right?
The take away- If you are going to have something with the nutritional equivalent of a candy bar why not actually have a candy bar that tastes great? Opt for a snickers or twix instead.
Why so much sugar?

In their early development, nutrition bars were bland and primarily eaten by fitness enthusiasts. However, the bars underwent a transformation to appeal to general consumers. The bland, stiff, and protein packed bars didn’t necessarily appeal to the general population. To compensate, manufacturers made their products more flavorful by adding corn syrup, sugar, sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, colors and hydrogenated oils, which are all bad for your health.

What To Eat Instead

Kind Bar

Definitely the best nutrition bar out there. The calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar content is a well-balanced mixture that can provide an adequate snack  in between meals. What I love about these bars is the simplicity of the ingredients and the natural additives. Unlike the rest of the bars, you don’t see a list of 30 ingredients with names that are too long to pronounce.

The take away– A good snack that offers a variety from eating nuts or dried fruits by themselves or with trail mix.

Conclusion

As a general guideline, the less ingredients the better. Eating something in its most natural state is always your best bet. The best example I can think of is a product like peanut butter. When buying peanut butter look for one ingredient, PEANUTS! Avoid products with ingredients other than peanuts like what you see in most commercial products.  For example, Jif regular peanut butter’s list of ingredients includes peanuts, salt, sugar, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, and diglycerides. I never encourage people to eat anything processed like nutrition bars but I understand there or some times when nothing else is available. If that is the case, choose something like a KIND Bar where there are only a few ingredients or prepare ahead and always carry around some nuts and fruits.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

The Truth About Fruit

The Truth About Fruit

Fruits are a summer staple and excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whether it’s the antioxidants from berries, the cold preventing properties of citrus fruits, or the hydration benefits of water based fruits like watermelon, each fruit has a unique set of benefits. The recommended daily amount of fruit  is dependent on total calorie intake but can lie anywhere between 3 and 7 servings. Here is an example of what you would be looking at to meet these requirements.

  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz.) 100% fruit juice
  • 1 medium fruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
Now Comes The Point Of This Article
With summer right around the corner, people start to become more concerned with their body image and composition. Being cognizant of  foods you are putting in your body is essential to a lean physique. Fruits are no exception. Believe it or not, too much fruit or the wrong fruits can lead to increased body fat due to an excess amount of sugar ( in the form of fructose and glucose). Especially for those that aren’t as active as they should be, (you know who you are) limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake is important to keeping body fat off.
What To Eat

Choose 3-4 low carb fruit servings
  • Berries– Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are a staple in my diet. They are loaded with antioxidants, provide a great source of fiber, have a low glycemic value, and taste great. Add 1/2 cup to your oatmeal or breakfast in the morning (1/2 cup)
  1. Calories- 42
  2. Carbs- 12 g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sugar-8g
  • Grapefruit– Grapefruits  have high amounts of water content which helps boost metabolism as well as containing numerous antioxidants. Grapefruits have a low glycemic value and contain soluble fiber which will help fill you up while being low in calories. (1/2 medium grapefruit)
  1. Calories- 40
  2. Carbs- 9g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sugar-5g
  • Watermelon– One of the main health benefits of watermelon is its status as a powerful antioxidant, found in vitamins A and C. Watermelons are moderately high in sugar with a glycemic value of 72, but small amounts, especially after a workout can be part of a healthy diet.  (1 wedge- approximately 1/16 of the watermelon)
  1. Calories- 86
  2. Carbs- 22g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 2 g
  5. Sugar-18g
  • Kiwi– Kiwifruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, as one large kiwifruit contains about as much vitamin C as 6 oz of orange juice. They are also a very good source of vitamin K, and a good source of potassium and copper. (1 medium sized fruit)
  1. Calories- 46
  2. Carbs- 11 g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sugar-7 g
When To Eat Fruit
  • In the mornings-A low glycemic fruit in the morning before breakfast will kick-start your day with powerful antioxidants and soluble fiber that will keep you feeling full. The sugar in the fruit will be burned off throughout your daily activities and workout as well. NOT AT NIGHT.  A midnight snack is OK but don’t reach for the fruit and think it’s a healthy choice. Fruit digests out of the stomach in 20-30 minutes. If fruit is consumed at night, it will sit on top of the slower digesting foods and cause indigestion/excess fat storage.
  • Before a workout– A simple carb (fruit) 30-60 minutes before a workout  will be converted into glucose and used by the body as energy during your workout.
  • After a workout– A simple carbohydrate within  30 minutes after your workout will help restore glycogen levels and raise insulin levels which will help  muscle growth. This is the only time of the day when a high glycemic fruit is acceptable such as a ripe banana or a dried apricot. Make sure you don’t overdo it on portion size and try to pair the simple carb with a protein source for an optimal recovery source.
Have an orange. Not orange juice

Fruits are essential to a well-balanced diet. Like all food, moderation is key. Whenever possible, stay away from fruit juices as most contain artificial sweeteners and loads of added sugars. Fruits like apples, bananas, and dried fruits have high amounts of sugars and carbohydrates and should be timed appropriately around your workout. Eat fruits that you will give you the most bang for your buck. Things like berries, which are loaded with antioxidants but relatively low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars will help contribute to an optimal diet and ideal body composition.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Why Our Society Is Fat?

Approximately 72.5 million American adults are obese and 42% of Americans Will Be Obese By 2030.

Obesity, diabities, and other weight related issues have become an epidemic in today’s society. Trans fats, artificial sweeteners,  and sugar loaded foods are partly to blame. Laziness, time restraints, and abundant resources are also major contributors. But how about our ancestors and genetics? What if some of our genes and bodily make up were predisposed towards storing fat? One theory suggests this could be a contibuting factor to the obesity epidemic that has taken over the US.

Thrifty Gene Hypothesis

Background

In 1962 geneticist James Neel proposed the thrifty gene hypothesis to partially explain the rise in diabetes in the world. The central premise of this theory is that through natural selection we evolved to be efficient at food storage and utilization. In Neel’s original hypothesis, he stated that ancient humans went through a cycle of feast and famine. The people who had bodies that were better at fuel storage or utilization were more likely to survive during the famine portion of the cycle. Thus over many generations, we developed genetically to be exceptionally efficient at the intake and utilization of fuel as these were beneficial adaptations throughout the majority of human life.

Relating To Obesity

This theory suggests that humans have genes which predispose them to obesity and fat storage.  Essentially, our bodies have evolved as a product of our ancestors whose primary goal when they ate was to store food as fat. This ‘thrifty’ genotype would have been advantageous for hunter-gatherer populations, especially child-bearing women, because it would allow them to fatten more quickly during times of abundance. Fatter individuals carrying the thrifty genes would thus better survive times of food scarcity. However, in modern societies with a constant abundance of food, this genotype efficiently prepares individuals for a famine that never comes. The result is widespread chronic obesity and related health problems like diabetes.

Why Weren’t Our Ancestors Fat?

In the hunter-gatherer society, food was gotten largely through physical activity. Our ancient ancestors have been estimated to have hunt for food for 1-4 nonconsecutive days per week, while women gathered food 2-3 days per week. Needless to say, they were a little more active than the average American who spends anywhere from 10-12 hours a day seated.

 ‘Stone Age’ genes and ‘Space Age’ circumstances

A 2 minute drive in a car with leather/reclined/heated seats to the grocery store is not the same as several miles of hiking and scavenging to find food and resources. We have theses genes which have been inherited from our “stone age” ancestors in these “space age” circumstances where resources are over-abundant almost to fault, and everything is convenient and easy.

Opposition And Problems

  • What about other sociities such as asian cultures where obesity rates are not even close to what they are in America?
  •  The field of epigenetics has shown that the body can manipulate the degree of transcription, or activation, a particularly gene has. Even more astounding is that environmental factors can impact the epigenome within a lifetime, thus altering how a gene functions. This suggests that our genes could recognize certain environmental factors available and adapt as a result which would poke holes in the thrifty gene hypothesis.

Conclusion

As can be seen, the genetics of obesity and the thrifty gene hypothesis are a complicated subject. It is easy to accept or dismiss portions of the hypothesis based on select data, but when taken in full it is clear that we simply do not understand everything that goes into the relationship between genetics and obesity.

Regardless, the important thing to remember is that environment and activity levels play a very large role in obesity problems in America.  Sure we all have different body types and some of us are more likely to put on weight, but the good news is that with proper dietary and exercise practices, you pretty much control your destiny.

Thanks for reading and I will be interested to here comments about this theory and post.

From South Bend,

Kevin

5 Great Fat Loss Tips For Summer

5 Great Fat Loss Tips For Summer

Utilize Multi-Joint Exercises

  • Multi-joint exercises work large muscle groups which require the most energy and create the largest anabolic response in your body which  leads to the greatest amount of calorie expenditure. (long winded sentence?)
  •  Multi-joint lifts imitate our natural movements by working several muscle groups and in the process create a healthier posture and more proportional frame.
  • The body works better in movements along a kinetic chain; that is, large portions of the body assist other portions of the body in completing a complex movement. Dont limit yourself to isolated movements (like a bicep curl) if you want to burn fat.
  • Multi-joint exercises increase your metabolic rate and stimulate production of more fat burning hormones such as growth hormones and testosterone.
Examples

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Power Cleans

Use Circuit Training And Short Rest Intervals

  • Circuit training creates maximal growth hormone responses which is the most efficient way to burn fat.
  • It is optimal for raising your metabolism which will have fat burning effects during your workout and up to 48 hours after your workout.
  • Short rest intervals ensure your heart rate stays elevated for the entirety of the workout which will create the largest amounts of caloric expenditure.
Examples
  1. Supersets and tri-sets
  2. Crossfit workouts
  3. Interval training

Eat High Protein, Low Carb, Low Glycemic, And Unprocessed Food

  • Foods that fall under these guidelines will ensure you are conserving/building muscle and lean body mass while burning fat.
  • Foods with a low glycemic index will allow you to control your blood sugar and maintain steady insulin levels which will limit fat storage and ensure a healthy metabolism.
  • Low-carb and unprocessed foods will be utilized by the body as energy and help to break down proteins and fats which will help trigger the fat burning function in the body.
  • High protein and high fiber foods will keep you feeling full longer and help prevent overeating.
Examples
  1. Lean meats
  2. Cruciferous vegetables
  3. Greek yogurt
  4. Nuts
  5. Nut butters

Cut Out Juice, Soda, Sports Drinks, And Limit Alcohol. 

  • Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet and over half of Americans have sugary drinks every day.
  • Definitely the most relevant tip on the list for summer is avoiding any drinks that are high in sugar, calories, artificial sweeteners, and sodium.
  • Sugary drinks can cause enormous insulin spikes which will offset your hormonal balance and can lead to extra fat storage. Likewise, sugary sodas and drinks can stimulate appetite and cause you to overeat even though you may not be hungry.
  • Every liquid calorie is a calorie added to the day’s total.  Liquid calories don’t fill you up or deliver the essential vitamins, nutrients, and fiber you get from whole foods.  Drinking liquid calories doesn’t have a huge impact on what you eat that rest of the day either. Over the last 20 years, Americans have added between 150 and 300 calories to their daily diets — about half of them in liquid form.
  • Alcohol is an entirely different story in itself, but from my perspective, drinking one or two nights a week will not have a dramatic impact on fat loss. Just remember, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!

Examples of what to drink

  1. Water with lime
  2. Tea
  3. Coffee
  4. Almond Milk
  5. Red wine/clear liquors without a sugary mixer.

Burn Calories Outside Of The Gym.

  • This one can put you over the edge in terms of reaching your body composition goals. Stay active, especially in the summer. Whether it’s a beach volleyball game, throwing the football around, or going for a walk after dinner having an active mentality and lifestyle will ensure your muscles get the work they need and your metabolism and heart rate stay mildly elevated.
  • Dont settle for exercise in the gym alone. Take the stairs, park farther away from the door, and perform activities other than sitting on the couch watching TV.
Examples
  1. Swim
  2. Walk your dog
  3. Go hiking
  4. Join a softball league
  5. Play pick-up basketball

Thanks for reading and hopefully these tips will help you achieve the summer-bod you have been working towards. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks.

From South Bend,

Kevin