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Everything you need to know about GOLO's Bonus Servings

Your Smart Card explains the basics of Bonus Servings, but this blog will give you more detailed information on determining if/when you earn them.

GOLO can work for anyone, but factors like activity level and exercise may cause you to have different food intake needs. For this reason, we have created Bonus Servings, which help optimize your food intake against the energy you burn on a daily basis so that you can steadily lose fat while maintaining muscle!

When following the GOLO for Life® Plan, everyone starts with the same base meal structure as laid out on the Smart Card™ that comes with your first order. Each meal should contain: 2 protein servings, 1 carbohydrate serving, 2 vegetable* servings, and 1 fat serving. Then, based on your activity and/or exercise, you may earn additional bonus servings.

*vegetables are optional at breakfast.
 

What is a bonus serving?

An additional serving of either protein or carbohydrates = 1 bonus serving. Bonus servings are earned per day, not per meal. For example, if you earn 1 bonus serving, then you can add 1 extra serving sometime throughout the day, you do not add them to each meal. (Examples are listed below).What do I eat as a bonus serving?

The best choice for bonus servings is protein, but if you’d like, you can add a carbohydrate to a meal instead. Protein is a better choice because carbs are more rapidly digested and can have a greater effect on blood sugar than protein.

Who gets a Bonus Serving?

Bonus servings can be earned in two categories - Life Activity and Exercise. Review each category below to determine if you earn a bonus serving.

Life Activity

Your life activity refers to how much movement you have in your typical daily routine. Everyone falls into one of the following three categories. 

  • Sedentary
    • You have low activity during the day or have a desk job.
    • Daily steps average less than 10,000 (not including exercise).
  • Moderate
    • You have a medium amount of activity during the day or light lifting at your job.
    • Daily steps average 10,000-12,500 (not including exercise).
  • Active
    • Extensive standing, walking, or lifting at your job.
    • Daily steps average 12,500 + (not including exercise).
Women
 Life activity Number of servings
Sedentary 0
Moderate  1
Active 2
Men
 Life activity Number of servings
Sedentary 0
Moderate  2*
Active 3*

*In general, men tend to have a slightly faster metabolism than women, resulting in a higher calorie burn. As a result, this is why men with a moderate or active daily lifestyle receive an additional bonus serving.

Exercise

The minimum timeframe to earn exercise bonus servings is 30 minutes per session. If your activity is less than 30 minutes, it does not qualify for a bonus serving. See below for more information.

Low-intensity exercises

 Exercise Timeframe Bonus Serving earned
Brisk walking / jogging (3-4 mph) 30 minutes 1
Swimming, rowing, biking, resistance training or elliptical 30 minutes 1
Weightlifting (low weight-more reps) 30 minutes 1
Zumba, aerobics, dancing  1 hour 1
Yoga, Pilates, or water aerobics 1 hour 1
Walking (2-3 mph) 1 hour 1

 

High-intensity exercises

 Exercise Timeframe Bonus Serving(s) earned
Weightlifting (higher weight – fewer reps) 30 minutes 2
Jogging / running (4+ mph) 30 minutes 2
Spinning / biking (10+ mph) 30 minutes 2
HITT class 30 minutes 1
Uphill hiking 30 minutes 1

 

When deciding how many servings you have earned, consider that performing low-intensity exercise should raise your heart rate, but you should be able to hold a minimal conversation.

When performing high-intensity exercise, your heart rate should be significantly raised, and you should not be able to hold a conversation without having to stop to catch your breath.

How do I add bonus servings to my daily food plan?

  • Add to your daily meals – You can add your bonus serving to any of your daily meals throughout the day.
  • As a snack - Typically, GOLO only recommends snacks if you are going more than 6 hours between meals while you're awake. But you can use your bonus serving as a snack if you would like.

Note: carbohydrates should never be eaten by themselves because of how they affect your blood sugar. If choosing an item for a snack, make sure you pick a protein.

Example – if you earn 1 bonus serving

  • Add an additional egg or an extra ½ cup of fruit to your breakfast.
  • Add an extra 3 oz of protein or have a glass of wine with your lunch or dinner.
  • Eat a boiled egg as a snack after your workout.

Example – if you earn 2 bonus servings

  • Add an additional egg to breakfast and an extra 3 oz. of protein to your lunch or dinner.
  • Eat a boiled egg and a 2 oz. serving of nuts as a snack after your workout.

Do I have to use my bonus servings?

Exercising consistently and not using your additional suggested bonus servings can cause weight loss to stall. If you don’t eat enough, your body may hold on to fat reserves rather than use the energy from the food you eat and release stored fat. Additionally, you risk losing muscle instead of fat.

If you engage in an exercise that isn’t overly intense (such as a walk or light yoga/stretching), skipping a bonus serving occasionally should not affect your progress.

However, if you start to see your weight loss stall, we suggest that you review your daily meals and exercise to consider if a bonus serving should be added.

What if I earn multiple bonus servings in a day?

Depending on the type of exercise, some days you might earn several bonus servings. If you find it hard to eat all the servings, try to eat at least 1. We don’t want you to force yourself, but we also don’t want you to plateau by eating too little.

Typically, the bonus servings you earn should be consumed. But the most important thing to consider with bonuses (especially when you get multiple servings) is what you choose to eat.

Protein is the best option, although you can add a carbohydrate or even a glass of wine or a piece of dark chocolate. However, you can undo all of your hard work if you choose lower-quality foods like processed foods and snacks for your bonus servings.

Try to incorporate your bonus servings into your meals rather than having multiple snacks throughout the day.

Sources

This article was written by the GOLO team with facts supported by the following sources:

Health.Harvard.edu

10000steps.org

Heart.org

hsph.harvard.edu

 

GOLO is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness or disease. This blog provides general information and discussion about health and wellness related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. GOLO encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. All opinions and articles linked to and from this page are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent those of GOLO, LLC or its employees. No responsibility can be accepted for any action you take or refrain from taking as a result of viewing this page. GOLO will not be liable for any errors, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

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