Archive for nutrition

Workout Plan for the Week

Good morning peeps!

It’s Monday and I’m definitely excited about this week. I’ve been a little down lately and Mondays help my mind reset a bit. I know that the best way to get out of a funk is to get organized, make a plan, and GSD (get shit done), so that’s exactly what I’m doing!

Monday HIIT

I got up this morning and hit the stairmill for 20 minutes of intervals to kick-start my Monday. Getting super sweaty to start my week is probably one of my favorite things to do. I hate it while I’m doing it, but as soon as I’m done I feel AWESOME and ready to tackle the week.

Workouts for the Week

Monday: 20 min. intervals + Boxing Class (haven’t done one in a while..it’s gonna hurt!!)

Tuesday: Back + Crossfit (more on this below)

Wednesday: Legs!! (I’ll be in AZ and doing leg day at my home gym is the best thing ever!)

Thursday: Chest & Shoulders + 20 min. intervals

Friday: Conditioning Day (ropes, medicine balls, plyos)

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Hike

Going to be quite the fitness week, but that’s what happens when you make workout dates with a lot of people haha. I mentioned I’d be going to Crossfit on Tuesday. If you know me, you know I’ll never be a die hard, every day Crossfitter (not for me), but I do like to go to Crossfit every now and then. I love the competitive edge and intensity. I made a date with some friends to go try a class (they’ve never done it before), and I think we are going to make it a weekly thing. Woohoo!

This week I’ll also be heading out to AZ for a few days for a work-cation. I’ll be working during the day, and spending time with my family and friends in the evenings. I do love having a job where I can work virtually at times. I’m excited to see my fambam!

Who's working out today I'm working on my back today. Pull ups and rows for days!! (Although the weight pictured was used as a prop...I'm going heavy today people!!!!)

Q’s

1. What’s your favorite activity for a “workout date” with a friend?

2. Crossfit. Yay or nay?

 

10 Secrets to Fat Loss

Good morning! Or afternoon if you’re on the east coast!

I woke up today thinking it was Friday, so boo to that. I know some people are weird about the number 13, but I love it! I think I love it because most people hate it and are scared of it. I’m excited for tomorrow to see all of the people on Facebook that blame their spilled coffee, torn jeans, or broken phones on it being Friday the 13th. 😀DSC03929

10 Secrets to Fat Loss

One of the biggest questions I am asked (almost daily) is regarding fat loss. I thought I’d put together my best tips for fat loss.

1. Food. I know, I know. This isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard it. We have all heard the phrase “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, and truer words were never spoken. If you want to lose fat, you have to have a good handle on what you’re eating. Tracking your food is the easiest way to do this (albeit not the only way). We often times don’t realize how many calories and macro-nutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) we are taking in until we actually take the time to track. If you like pen and paper, you can keep a food journal, but if you’re lazy like me, grab the MyFitnessPal app. It’s great for tracking and allows you to see how much of each macro-nutrient you’re taking in each day.

2. Strength Training. While nutrition is king, and the biggest part of the fat loss equation, strength training is a close 2nd. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. Lifting weights will NOT make you huge. Eating huge portions of cookies, cakes, crackers, and just overindulging in general will make you huge. Hypothetically, let’s say you were to put on 5 pounds of muscle and with a healthy nutrition plan, you were able to lose 5 pounds of fat. (These do NOT go hand in hand by the way, they are completely separate systems and just because you gain muscle, it doesn’t mean you’ll lose fat). The scale would tell you that you weigh the same amount, but you would actually look smaller. Muscle is more dense than fat, so 5 pounds of fat will always look bigger than 5 pounds of muscle.

3. Moderation. I’m not going to tell you that you need to eat clean. I’m not going to tell you that you can’t eat cookies and cake and dessert. You CAN. I eat candy almost every day. I just don’t eat an entire BAG of candy every day. If you keep the things you like in your diet, and eat them in moderation, it is completely possible to lose fat while still enjoying your treats.

4. Consistency. This goes hand in hand with #3. Staying consistent with your food intake is by far the best advice I can give to anyone. If you overindulge one day, don’t sweat it. Don’t try to counteract it by not eating all day or doing hours of cardio the next day. It’s not going to be the game changer. You didn’t gain the weight in one day and you won’t lose it in one day either. With that said, practice consistency. If your goal is to eat 2000 calories per day, aim for that consistently and if you overindulge, go right back to it the next day. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

5. Identify your trigger foods. This might sound odd, but we all have trigger foods. If there are certain foods that you have a hard time just having 1 or 2 of, you have to address this. For me, I have a hard time with cookies. I can eat candy, cake, cupcakes, and ice cream in moderation with no problem. There is something about cookies that just makes me want more and more. (Probably because they are so damn delicious!) For this reason, if I’m going to have a cookie, I just buy a single pre-packaged cookie. I know if I bake 12 cookies, I’m going to either eat more than I want to or spend a lot of brain energy trying to stay away. It’s not worth it to me, so I figured out a way that works for me. I don’t buy packages of Oreos or Chips Ahoy. Instead, I will buy a single cookie (like at Starbucks or something), and enjoy that. Find what works for you.

6. Stop beating yourself up. This was probably the key to my recovery from my eating disorder. I used to try to be SO perfect with my eating that when I screwed up, I would just feel so guilty. I felt like a failure and that I should just get it out of my system so that i could be “perfect” tomorrow. Newsflash: That doesn’t work. When I started being comfortable with where I was and not beating myself up so badly for “screwing up”, I actually started eating better overall. Feeling guilt over eating something that isn’t considered “healthy” will not help you on your fat loss journey, and will more than likely hinder your fat loss.

7.  Eat fat. Yeah, you heard me. Fat is good. I think it’s becoming more known that fats are good for you, but the “low fat” craze is still stuck in some people’s minds. Not only does fat help your skin and hair look bombtastic, but it aids in fat loss. You can’t lose fat without fat. It also helps to keep you satisfied. It’s more calorie dense than protein or carbs (9 calories per gram), so you don’t want to go crazy with it, but adding in things like nuts, nut butters, avocados, and oils into your diet will likely keep you more satiated throughout the day. (And give you locks of a pony!!! ;-))

8. Stop doing so much cardio. Unless you love it, that is. I am not going to say that cardio is bad. It’s not bad. What’s bad is the idea that cardio is NECESSARY for fat loss and that if you don’t do x minutes/hours of cardio per day, you won’t lose fat. Cardio basically trains your body to be more efficient. This means that over time, you’ll use LESS calories to get through that 3 mile run. So what does that mean? It means in order to burn the same amount of calories that you burned when you first started running, is now going to require more effort: more time running, running on an incline, running faster, etc. If you like to run, by all means RUN. Personally,  I like to run every now and then. I like to hike. I do all of those things when I feel like it. But gone are the days of me doing 30-45 minutes of cardio EVERY DAY. I used to do that, and you know what happened when I stopped? I lost weight. Cliff notes of what I’m getting at here: Don’t think that doing hours of cardio is the key to your fat loss. The key is nutrition. Cardio’s affect on that is minimal and will likely cause you to be hungrier and eat more anyways.

9. Accountability. This is definitely huge. I know how to lose fat. Most people actually know at least something about how to lose fat. But it’s hard to do it on your own. I didn’t sign up to work with Sohee because I don’t know what I’m doing. I know what I’m doing and I have my OWN clients that I coach. But I wanted someone to hold me accountable and to take the guess work out for me. I didn’t want to be the person that I was negotiating with when it came to how I was feeling and the progress I’m making. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to sign up with a coach. Friends work pretty well too. Find a friend that will either a) jump on the bandwagon with you and go on a fat loss journey together or b) be supportive and help you when you need it. It makes all the difference in the world when you don’t feel like you’re going at it alone.

10. Plan. This is something that I still struggle with, but I luckily live and work very close to Whole Foods and the Co-Op where I can get fresh, healthy meals on the go. If you plan and prepare some food for the week (cook up some chicken or beef or whatever recipe you like) and keep it on hand, it helps you to not come home and devour whatever is in the cabinets just because you’re hungry. It minimizes the impulse eating and the eating because it was “all that was there”. Plan your day or even your week out so that you’re ready. With that said, don’t be afraid to stray from it either. I pack my food most days, but if I want a cookie or something, I work it into my plan and don’t feel bad about it.

Questions:

1. What has helped you the most when it comes to fat loss?2. What is your biggest struggle with fat loss?

Leave your responses in the comments.

 

5 Things I Do Everyday to Stay Healthy

Staying healthy in an unhealthy world can be really, really tough.

Are you surprised that I called the world unhealthy?

Obviously, not the whole world is unhealthy, but there sure is an abundance of it.

In the U.S. alone:

 

  • 68.5% of adults are overweight or obese; 34.9% are obese.
  • 31.8% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese; 16.9% are obese.

(Source: www.frac.org)

Personally, I think one of the toughest ways to get around this is the temptation that is literally EVERYWHERE.

I’m healthy, but I’m also human. Do you think that just because I’m a fitness professional that I don’t get tempted by all of the marketing ploys that surround me at the grocery store? Of course they do!

It’s tough, man. You head to the store with a healthy mindset of the fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats that you’re going to buy when BAM, there’s a bag of chips in your face and oh, how bout those cookies to your left? Don’t look to the right…it’s ICE CREAM!

I’d be lying if I said I never gave in. I do give in sometimes (which is totally fine)….but I wish it wasn’t even there! I want to make that decision WITHOUT it being shoved in my face.

In any sense, the crap food IS there and in our faces, and it’s there to stay. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, as long as you can practice moderation. I personally love ice cream, chips, and cookies and eat all of them. Just not very often.

So in a world that seems to be closing in on us with all kinds of unhealthy foods, how do we stay healthy day in and day out?

5 Things I Do EVERY DAY to Stay Healthy

1. Drink Water. I know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but seriously. If you’re going to do nothing else that day to be healthy, drink some water. Or even a lot of water.

2. Sneak in some fruit and vegetables. Even if you’re going to have a bunch of crappy foods, sneak in some fruits and vegetables beforehand. It can help you stay a bit fuller so you don’t eat as much crap and it gives you boost of antioxidants and vitamins. (Plus, they’re delicious!!)

3. Walk. I workout most days, and still try to walk places when it’s possible and I have the time. Sometimes I drive places that are definitely walkable, but if I’m having a lazier day, I always opt for some type of walk. I’ll go walk to the coffee shop, or to the Co-Op. If there’s nothing close-by, I’ll just walk around outside to get my legs moving a bit. Even if you plan on sitting around all day, find 15 minutes to just take a walk.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast. I’ve learned over the years that whatever I have for breakfast sets the tone for the day. For example, if I eat something sugary for breakfast, I feel lethargic and gross. That spirals me into just feeling meh, and most likely, my food and exercise choices for the day will follow that. If I eat a healthy breakfast, I know that my chances of a healthy day are that much greater. I can honestly say, I haven’t had an unhealthy breakfast in over a year. (Just a personal choice.) Do I think it’s bad to have an unhealthy breakfast here and there? Of course not, but I do know that I can always have an unhealthy breakfast for dinner if I still want it. (Breakfast for dinner is the BOMB anyways!) I’d rather start my day out with good foods that will likely set me up for a better day. I highly encourage you to try testing this theory out to see how it affects your choices for the rest of the day.

5. Don’t take the day too seriously. If I’m having a lazy day where I don’t exercise much and I’m eating less than stellar foods, I don’t sweat it too much. There was a time where I would internally beat myself up so badly for not eating well or not exercising. These days, I remind myself that one meal or one day of unhealthy eating isn’t going to ruin anything. As long as I consistently eat well and exercise, I’ll be on a good path.

Question of the Day

What are some things you do every day to stay healthy?

 

Battling the Snack Monster: Snack Ideas

If you’re human, it’s pretty likely that even with the best efforts set forth, the snack monster can come at any time. It happens to me, too. And it can be a real bitch.

You’ve planned out your meals, maybe even packaged them up for work, and then it hits….

the Snack Monster.

Last week was definitely one of those weeks for me. I was stressed, it was cold & rainy for a few days, and I just wanted to snack all.the.time.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t handle the Snack Monster all that well this week. Which by the weekend, left me feeling pretty snacked out and ready to get back to regularly scheduled eating.

It also got me thinking about what I could have done, in hindsight, to combat the Snack Monster. With the holiday season in full force, and food literally at every corner we turn, it becomes more and more difficult to refrain from eating allthefood. But if we DO hold back a bit, we’ll probably be much happier with ourselves when we step into the New Year. Of course, if you gain a little weight during the holidays, don’t sweat it, but it’s much easier to maintain weight than it is to lose it, so let’s combat what we can right here and now!

Most of the time, these are some of the snacks I eat when the Monster hits.

Battling the Snack Monster: Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Apple with a Tablespoon of Natural Peanut or Almond Butter

apple-slices-with-peanut-butter

  • Strawberries dipped in Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt

strawberriesyogurt

  • Carrots dipped in Hummus

100Calorie_Carrots_KHB_2359

  • Small handful of Salted Almonds

RS_Almonds-1

  • Grapefruit or Orange Slices

grapefruit

  • Sliced Bell Peppers with Avocado on top sprinkled with Salt & Pepper

IMG_1759a

  • Plain Popped Popcorn

popcorn

  • Chopped Cucumber, Tomatoes, and Avocado with Balsamic Vinegar, Pepper, Salt, and Cilantro

tomatosalad

  • Ants on a Log: Celery with Natural Peanut Butter and Raisins or Chocolate Chips

ants-on-a-log

  • Small Handful of Almonds and Chocolate Chips

almondmixcupThe options are endless, but keeping vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats high on the list of options will help to get you through. It’s a snack, so you shouldn’t be eating to get “full” but rather to feel “satisfied”.  Portion out your snack before you start eating so that you don’t go overboard.

Question of the Day

What are some healthy snack options that you use when the Snack Monster hits?

Tuesday Ramblings

How’s everyone doing today?

I’m just sitting at home waiting for the pest control guy. Fun stuff! We’ve had a ridiculous ant problem for the last two weeks and we FINALLY got someone to come out and fix the problem. It’s been quite a nightmare. Let’s just say, I’m a pro ant-annihilator at this point. -_-

In other news, I found a new protein powder that I’m excited to try called SLAP. I actually ended up buying the entire stack of supplements, which is just L-Glutamine, Whey Isolate Protein Powder, and a Coffee Pre-Workout supplement. I was intrigued by the company because of the minimal and clean ingredients in all of their products. The protein powder is sweetened with Stevia (score!) and doesn’t have any artificial ingredients. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I’ll be sure to let you all know how it is!

photo 1photo 2

Workouts for the Week

I’m still super sore from Sunday’s Leg Insanity, but overall I’m feeling really good and still “on” my game!

Here are my workout plans for this week:

Monday: 20 min. HIIT + Chest/Triceps (DONE)

Tuesday: Boxing

Wednesday: Legs + Bouldering (yup! Haven’t done that in a while!)

Thursday: Shoulders/Abs + Boxing

Friday: Full Body

Saturday: Back/Bi’s

Sunday: REST

Finally…I’m thinking about getting a Brazilian blow out. I NEVER feel like/have time to do my hair and it just ends up being kind of a mess. Anyone ever had one? I’ve heard the chemicals can be kind of harsh, so I’m curious. Let me know your experiences!

Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favorite protein powder?

2. Brazilian Blowout advice please!!!

Why I Train & What I Ate Yesterday

All I have to say today is….I’M SORE. Holy crap….

It’s crazy. Those who have been working out for a long time can understand. You go through time periods where you’re just REALLY on your game. Killing your workouts, pushing harder than ever, and really “digging in”. I feel like I’m in one of those phases and I’m loving it! I’m super sore and have been feeling muscles I didn’t know existed lately. That says a lot for someone who’s been training for 7 years (can’t believe it’s been that long!).

I did a back workout on Saturday that I’m STILL sore from and a leg workout last WEDNESDAY that left me sore clear through Monday. I’ll take it! I feel on, I feel good, my head’s in the game. (The results are showing, too!)

photo 1(7)

I still get people that ask me all the time “what are you training for?” I’m not entirely sure how to respond. It’s hard to explain the competitions that I compete in, in my head. (Haha, yes I’m crazy!) I try to explain it, but most people don’t get it. I train like I’m training for something, but the only something I’m training for is myself. I train to get better every day. I train to prove to myself that I can do it. I train to see progress. I also want to show the rest of the world the impact of training. Maybe MY form of training isn’t right for you, but SOME form probably is. Whether that’s hiking, biking, rock climbing, running, or whatever it might be….there’s something for everyone. It builds mental strength in ways nothing else can. I know that the reason I push so hard and am so efficient, goal-oriented, and well-rounded with my work is because of the training I do at the gym. I treat my work, like I treat my workouts: I’m there to kick ass. I’m not there to putz around. Working out is the one thing in life that nobody can do for you. You can get help with just about anything these days…..but nobody can workout for you. If you take that attitude with you to work, I think you’ll be amazed at how your productivity and success comes to fruition. I am a more confident, go-getting person than I was before I started working out and I am thankful that I fell into Lifts Studio back in 2007 and started this whole “working out” thing.

I’ll step off my soap box now. I get going and just can’t stop!

What I Ate Yesterday

People love to see what other people eat. I’m guilty too. Sweet potatoes are always sweeter on someone else’s plate, right?! 😀

Here’s what I ate:

Breakfast: Quest Bar + Coffee + Apple (had a late start and was out of eggs :-()

questbar

Lunch: 3/4 cup cooked Brown Rice + 1/2 Avocado + Ground Turkey Burger Patty (about 4 oz.)

Snack: 2 Apples + Kombucha

Jonagold-Handappel4

(I definitely had a 2nd coffee too, but I don’t remember when it was?? LOL)

Dinner: Chicken Breast w/ Wing Sauce (umm…I may or may not have eaten this for dinner every night for the last 2 weeks! OBSESSED) + Green Beans

2014-09-10 20.13.18

After-Dinner Snack: 1 Peach & some grapes!! (I LOVE GRAPES)

Kind of a weird day of eating, but then again I’m kind of a weird girl. I am super busy during the day and sometimes it catches up to me and I realize I haven’t eaten enough. I usually end up making up for it over the weekend though (frozen yogurt? YES PLEASE).

Hope you all have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday! It’s Leg day for me…..wish me luck!

Questions of the Day:

1. Do you get into food ruts and eat the

#samethingeveryday?

2. When did you find your place in fitness? What is

your weapon of choice?

It CAN be done!!!!

Being in the fitness industry for the last 6-7 years of my life, I tend to be the go-to person at parties,get-togethers,bathrooms (for real), you name it –when it comes to questions about working out and eating right. I’m TOTALLY okay with that, because I LOVE to talk about it and helping others brings me SO much joy! Hello, I have an entire BLOG about it and LIVE it every day!

Now, what DOES get a bit frustrating is when I stand there excitedly giving people advice and options as to what they can do, and they IMMEDIATELY come back at me with why that JUST isn’t possible for them. I’m tired of hearing that you don’t have time, that you can’t do *this* because it hurts your *that* (barring serious injuries, it is usually something that can be modified very easily!), that healthy food is gross, that it’s too expensive, you don’t have a gym membership, blah blah blahdeefrickinblah! Let me fill you all in on a little secret:

You don’t need to rearrange your life in order to have a healthy one! There is this notion that in order to be healthy you have to “go to the gym a lot and eat vegetables all the time.” You don’t. You just don’t. I truly believe that ANYONE and EVERYONE can lead a healthy lifestyle.

Now to make this clear, I don’t think everyone needs to be like me. I realize that I’m not the norm. For heaven’s sake, I LIKE BURPEES. IT ISN’T NORMAL.  I crave vegetables and eat them in massive quantities for “fun”. While that is me, I realize that not everyone is that and you absolutely DO NOT have to be anything close to that. I believe everyone can live a healthy and active life by making SIMPLE and SMALL changes. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods and you don’t have to become a slave to the gym. I actually would steer you a different direction if that’s where you were headed!

Let me tell you a little story about someone very close to me: my boyfriend Charlie. I always use Charlie as the perfect example of someone who has had the effect of a changed life without actually changing their life around.

IMG_1636When I met Charlie, his habits were very typical of an American. He ate fast food for most meals (McDonalds was a go-to), M&M’s and Famous Amos cookies for a snack, and save for the random hike here and there, he was pretty sedentary. I had no intentions of trying to change him into some health nut or workout freak and I still don’t. That’s not him and that is totally okay.

Charlie knew that his lifestyle wasn’t very healthy and wanted to change it, but, like SO many others, he wasn’t quite sure what to do. In his head, you had to eat broccoli all day if you wanted to be healthy. Aside from the perceived awfulness of a healthy diet, he’s also very stubborn. To him, working out was something he just didn’t have time for. He, once again, perceived this as something that would easily take 2-3 hours out of his day, which was just not possible. He works A LOT and if being healthy meant interfering with his work and passion, it was likely going to last about .543 seconds. I remember the first time I suggested that he try brown rice instead of white rice. I’m pretty sure he considered running away from me and never speaking to me again. (Glad you didn’t, babe). I might as well have insulted Star Wars!!(FYI: You can lose limbs for that kind of talk around this house….) I knew then that this wouldn’t be easy, but I was willing to help and be patient with him since I knew, ultimately, he wanted to be a healthier person. It took me reminding myself that not everyone is like me. I LOVE the gym, LOVE the sweat, WANT to workout, LOVE eating healthy (don’t get me wrong, I love other foods that aren’t so healthy, but for the most part, I like food that makes me feel good), so it isn’t as hard for me to motivate myself to go do those things. Not everyone feels that way about it, and that is completely okay. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

I tell you this because with some small changes here and there, Charlie has become a pretty healthy person!

These days, Charlie eats brown rice, whole wheat pasta, lean meats, fruit, vegetables, and minimally processed foods (by choice and taste), snacks on Greek Yogurt (and loves it more than anyone I know!!), eats balanced meals on the regular (his former lunch of a #2 at McDonald’s has now become a chicken, brown rice, and vegetable bowl at Chipotle), checks ingredients on packages before eating anything (he’s more obsessed than I am on this!!) and he works out with me at least 1-2 times per week. His life has not been overhauled, his schedule has not been compromised, and he does this all by choice. YES, he still eats sweets and junk food. But he does it on occasion, not on the regular. I absolutely support and encourage him, but if he didn’t want to eat healthier and BE healthier, he’d still be eating a steady diet of Taco Bell Double Deckers. He now tells me that on the very rare occasions that he does eat fast food, he instantly feels like garbage and never wants to eat it again. He can’t even believe he used to live on that stuff! (Hell, I did too in high school! Not sure how I even functioned! Teenager cells, I guess.) Charlie will still eat his beloved M&M’s and Milky Ways on occasion, and he will NEVER say no to a milkshake (although, thankfully, he isn’t offered one very often ;-).) This is all just to say, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. Just not all the time. (I’ll be the first to admit that on a weekly basis, SOME type of candy will be consumed by me.)

My point in highlighting Charlie’s story is to show you that it CAN be done by anyone. Even if you’re not trying to be a “health freak” (yeah, I know what you guys say about us!!!!), you are still capable of leading a VERY healthy life. I repeat, it does NOT have to completely change your life. You can still eat the foods you love and do the things you love. It is the LITTLE changes that really add up and that is what you have to remember. Charlie and I still eat frozen yogurt (hey, maybe sometimes we I  might even maybe, kinda, sorta, eat it twice in one day like last Saturday), get burgers, share endless bowls of chips and salsa, and thoroughly enjoy our food. Deprivation is NOT in our vocabulary. Moderation is.

mechartemescal

So what are some lifestyle principles that we live by?

1. Moderation. We don’t eat frozen yogurt and burgers every day. It’s usually a once a week type of thing. (If, hypothetically, you DO get it twice in one day, it still counts as once a week since it was just one day of that week….right?!?!?!)

2. When we are craving a burger or something that is typically deemed “unhealthy”, we choose better ingredients. As I mentioned in this post, Burger Lounge is our go-to because of the ingredients they use. Charlie gets a grass-fed beef burger and I get a free-range turkey burger. No fake, fatty meat and no factory farms. Basically, we try to eat at restaurants that offer a better quality, when available. When it comes to something like chips and salsa, we buy chips that have very few ingredients and ingredients that we can actually recognize, and get salsa using the same standards.

3. We make it at home. For example, instead of eating sodium-laden Chipotle all the time, we make it at home for dinner several times per week. This allows us to control our ingredients so we know what we’re putting into our bodies. Organic Chicken, Brown Rice, Organic Bell Peppers, Half-Sodium Black Beans, Mexican Cheese (we buy any brand that doesn’t have any weird preservatives. This can be tough, so if you’re able to go to a health food store for this, I highly recommend it. The Ralph’s near us only has ONE brand that doesn’t have a bunch of fillers in it), and Hot Sauce. We both agree that it is actually BETTER than Chipotle.

4. Our workouts typically last 20-25 minutes. Sure, sometimes we do longer workouts, but I absolutely 100% guarantee that you can get a fantastic workout in with only a 15-20 minute window to work with. Sometimes they don’t even require ANY equipment at all! (In fact, I’ll be releasing an e-book in the next few months that will give you PAGES of quick, equipment-less, workouts that will have you mopping your sweat off the floor in under 30 minutes.)

As you can see, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even deciding to make ONE small change to your health can have a huge impact. It’s the exact reason why the plethora of excuses drives me crazy. I can’t express enough that you don’t have to go Biggest Loser style and workout 5 hours a day while eating 1200 calories of fake food to lose weight or be healthy. You have to care about your health and make the attempt to make small changes.

I’m HAPPY to answer any questions you guys have. Leave me comments on here or on Facebook and tell me your biggest problems with making healthier choices. I’ll do my best to help you solve them. I believe EVERYONE can live a healthier life without sacrifice. Let me help you on your way to yours!

It’s Hard, But Not THAT Hard

…that’s what she said?

It’s an age old saying “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”. 

They will tell you that if you don’t prep all of your food on Sunday, then you won’t succeed.

They will tell you that if you eat carbs at dinner, then you won’t succeed.

Eating after 8pm? You might as well have done nothing all day. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to dispel some of these MYTHS and give you some tried and true advice that will help.

If you picked out 10 different fitness/health professionals and asked them how to lose weight, you would likely get 10 different responses. Honestly, maybe even 11. The debate is ongoing, but I highly advise that you take the pieces that work for YOU and piece together what is in YOUR best interest. There is no “one way” and it doesn’t have to be insanely hard. (Yes, that means I’m telling you to take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’m not you and you’re not me, and Dr. Seuss would be proud of me.)

When I was preparing to compete in the NPC, I looked like this:

Oh hello there.

Oh hello there.

I sometimes ate 8-10 apples a day (not joking, fruit all hours of the day), oatmeal for dinner was quite frequent (sometimes even at 9 or 10pm!!!), and I rarely prepped all of my food on Sunday. I was lean as f*&^. I got even more shredded than the picture above.

Now I look more like this:

Ab Progress January 14, 2014

Ab Progress January 14, 2014

…but I’m fine with that and still like my body!

The point of the first picture is to prove to you that it doesn’t have to be the hardest thing in the world to lose weight or even get super lean, if that’s your goal. (Clearly my goals are different now than they were in 2009. I want to be leaner, but not as lean as the first picture. I had my fun having the chest of a 6 year old boy, but I appreciate that I’ve stopped confusing my chest size with a very popular automobile club ahemAAAahem).

It DOES take dedication, and I won’t discount that. I was a really clean eater and didn’t eat any processed foods (except for my cheat day once a week).

What I AM here to do, is to give you some helpful tips that will help you get through the parts that are made to seem so difficult. I truly believe that with a little discipline, anyone can make a good change in their life. It doesn’t have to derail your life, and you can still enjoy food. In fact, I think depriving yourself is only a quick fix and can backfire on you over time. Somehow people started getting the vibe that food should be fuel and nothing more. I disagree. While food should primarily be fuel, food is to be enjoyed! There’s a reason that you feel happy when you take a bite of that chocolate chip cookie that’s fresh out of the oven. It’s not an accident.

With that said, here are my tried and true suggestions for anyone looking to get started on the journey to a healthier body (this includes losing weight or just becoming a healthier person)

-Eat a few times per day

This will help to keep your hunger levels in a comfortable place so that you don’t get so ravenous that you start devouring food without even knowing what hit you. No, you don’t have to eat 6 times per day, but try to get at least 3 meal times in. In the end, do what’s comfortable. I don’t necessarily think you should eat 1 meal a day, but if that’s what works for YOU, then who am I to change that? It comes down to….

Eat balanced meals 

For your main meals of the day, I truly believe in eating balanced proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This is not only good for your body (as it needs all three of these), but also keeps you much more satisfied than you would feel if you left something out. Try to include a portion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into each meal.

For example: If you order a baked potato(carbs) and butter(fat) and call it a meal, you’re missing out on the protein. Pair that with chicken, tofu, steak, eggs, or whatever protein choice you’d like. (You can even add plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and I bet you won’t know the difference!)

-Watch your portion sizes

…but LOAD UP on fruits and veggies. For example: A medium container of strawberries like this is about 65-75 calories.

strawberries Eat the entire thing and tell me if you don’t look 6 months pregnant after that. I’ll likely tell you to eat another and report back. You’re only 150 calories into the hole at this point, so I don’t even feel bad. I’m not saying you HAVE to do this, but I’m telling you it’s one of my tricks. Giant bag of broccoli, a bunch of baby carrots, a container of strawberries, 1-2 apples. While they taste really good (and the fruit options double as a sweet-tooth queller), they also help fill you up so that you don’t feel unsatisfied after a meal and start digging into junk foods. This is definitely one of my best kept (okay, it’s not that well kept) secrets. I usually use the vegetables as my “appetizer” before a balanced meal and the fruit serves as my “dessert” when I’m feeling a hankering for something sweet.

For your main meals, you don’t have to go around measuring all of your food, but a good rule of thumb for each meal is this:

-make the protein part of your meal about the size of your fist

-the starchy carbohydrates portion of your meal should fit in the palm of your hand

-vegetables should be abundant and eat as many as you want (see above.if you start getting fat from eating too many vegetables, write me a letter and send it via pigeon. and P.S. let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s probably not the veggies’ fault…)

-fats should be around 1-2 TBSP

-fruit should be about 1-2 fist sizes, ideally

This is only a starting guide, and can vary from person to person depending on SO many things. Start with this and see how you feel.

Watch ingredients

One of the biggest and healthiest changes I’ve made over the years is watching my ingredient list. My boyfriend and I have become a bit obsessed with checking to make sure that we aren’t being fed random, awful ingredients that aren’t necessary. Thank you, but I don’t need any BUTANE in my food. Yes, they put butane (or as they like to call it BTHQ) in many packaged foods. For “freshness”. And maybe spontaneous combustion. The added high fructose corn syrup and hydrolized palm kernel oil that is put into practically EVERYTHING is also unnecessary. Find brands that choose to use REAL ingredients. Eat fresher foods. Eat local foods (that don’t require so many preservatives). I guarantee you will feel better and healthier by making these simple changes only.

Snack Well

(Not SnackWells!!!)

If you choose items like fruit, vegetables, nuts, nut butters, whole grain or sprouted grain breads, greek yogurt, minimal ingredient snack bars, chicken sausages, etc. you will be good to go! Snacking on empty calories does nothing more than keep your mouth busy. If that’s your goal, you might as well just make out with someone and save the calories! Eat a snack and make it COUNT. Some ideas: almonds and fruit, carrots and hummus, almond butter and celery, hard boiled eggs, Larabar or QuestBar, protein shakes and more!

-Eat the damn cookie

If you NEED a chocolate chip cookie (although you don’t really NEED it, but you catch my drift), eat the damn cookie. Just don’t eat 5 damn cookies.

In the end, it all comes down to having some discipline and a level head while wanting the best for yourself. You don’t have to starve yourself, you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, and you don’t have to stop enjoying food. You have to decide that you want to be healthier, first and foremost. While you should enjoy your foods, the majority of them need to also be fuel to you. You will start to notice the difference in how you feel during your workouts (and in life!) as you slowly make these changes. In time, you will find that the foods that fuel you will also satisfy you, and will become the foods you crave. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever want to eat a plate of nachos again, but I do believe that over time, the desire will become less and less. The constant desire for junk will become just an occurrence here and there.

I hope these tips serve you well. I could probably go on for pages with all of the tips I have, so trust me, more blog posts on this subject will be coming!

I am not a doctor, I am not an expert, I am not a magical wizard (although sometimes I like to think I am), so please check with one of those before making any dietary changes or starting a new eating regimen. Listen to your body and go with your gut. 

What is the best dietary change that you’ve made?

What do you struggle most with when it comes to eating?

Recipe + BoulderCrossfitRun

Good morning friends! It’s actually more like mid-afternoon, but it feels like morning to me, so I’m going with it!

Yesterday was a really good day! I was extremely productive (even dyed my hair, woot woot!) and got in a LOT of fitness. I actually didn’t feel like I was overdoing it at all either, which was nice!

Workout

To start my workout, I did a little over 3 miles running around the Crossfit gym. I got there about 40 minutes earlier and figured I should use my time wisely! I took it nice and easy and ran about a 9:30 pace as sort of a warm-up for the Crossfit workout.

Sweaty Lizzio

Sweaty Lizzio

(Side note: These bluetooth wireless headphones my lovely boyfriend got me for Christmas are AWESOME!!! They don’t move AT ALL. I’ve run in them, done plyometrics (including burpees), weightlifted, etc. and they don’t move! They are wonderful!)

Afterwards, I headed into the gym for the WOD. We actually warmed up with a version of tag that was KILLER on the legs. You see, it was your typical game of tag, except you were in a squat position the ENTIRE time and holding a medicine ball over your head. My legs were burning so much! We then did a 1,000 kilometer row for time and then went into the WOD. Good little cardio bursts to start the workout!

Full Tabata – Lowest Score

(this means that whatever the lowest amount of reps you get in any given round is your score)

(20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8 for each exercise)

-Pull-Ups

-Hand Release Push Ups

-Sit Ups

-Squats

The workout was tough (especially the pull-ups and HR Push ups). I ended up with 2/2/8/12 for my score. Definitely want to work on this one and get better at it!

As if I hadn’t done enough exercise, I then headed to the rock climbing gym for some bouldering. I had some fruit and a Think Thin bar on the way for some needed fuel. I just LOVE bouldering so much and I needed it in my life last night. It didn’t disappoint whatsoever. I got stuck on a move on a V2 route that I just couldn’t seem to get through. I think it took me about 15 tries to get. I swore I wasn’t going to leave until I got it. Finally….I GOT IT!! It felt really great. I left right after that. It had been a good 1.5 hours at the gym and I just wanted to end on a good note!

Needless to say, I was dead by the end of that. It was late too, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I whipped up a quick, delicious, and healthy pasta with meat sauce. You’ll love the nutritional facts and it is a LOT of food!!!

Food

Low Carb Pasta w/ Meat Sauce

Serves 4 -5

gfpasta copy

Ingredients: 
-16 oz. extra lean (or lean) ground turkey

-2 cups Mezetta Napa Valley Tomato Basil Sauce

-4 packages Shirataki Noodles (fettucine or spaghetti kind, whatever you prefer)

-4 wedge Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb Cheese

-Fresh Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

-Spices: Oregano, Sea Salt (or Garlic Salt), Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Directions: 

1. Cook ground turkey in a frying pan until browned.

2. Meanwhile, let the sauce simmer in a pan (or if you’re lazy, heat it up in the microwave).

3. When the meat is cooked and the sauce is simmering, add meat to sauce for about 1 minute while stirring.

Noodles: 

1. Pour packages of noodles in a strainer and rinse well with water.

2. Dry off with a paper towel and then microwave for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add spices, and laughing cow cheese and heat for another 1-2 minutes.

4. Mix thoroughly and add sauce and meat.

Here is a horrible, disgusting photo of what you will get, but I PROMISE it is tasty!!!

pasta

Dinner is served!! Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top if you’d like!! This recipe is SUPER simple and I’m not even kidding, you will not know the difference between the shirataki noodles and the real thing once it’s all cooked and mixed together. This is also a LOT of food for this serving size. I’m always completely stuffed afterwards as if I’d eaten a 1,000 calorie pasta dinner! This is easily one of my favorite dishes.

1. What is your favorite quick recipe?

2. If you could pick any food to become ZERO calories, what would you choose? Probably cookies or cheesecake for me! 🙂 

Simple Teriyaki Chicken

Hello friendssss! Last night’s workout was quite sluggish if you ask me. I actually had a good amount of energy, but my body was just worn out. I think the bouldering session on Monday night did me in!

Even so I was able to eke out this workout (and selfie haha):

Chest/Legs Supersets!

Chest/Legs Supersets!

 

Try it if you’d like! It moves pretty quickly! (Always check with a doctor before starting any new fitness routine.)

When I left the gym, I stopped at the store to try to figure out what to make for dinner. I didn’t want something that took a long time, but knew chicken needed to be involved. (I love chicken!)

After some back and forth texts with the boyfriend, we agreed on Teriyaki Chicken. It turned out SO well and was so easy to make that I just had to share!

Simple Teriyaki Chicken

Serves: 2-3 people

Ingredients:

-2 Chicken Breasts

-Veggies of your choice (I cheated and picked up an asian veggie mix from the produce aisle)

Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce

-Brown Rice (as much as you’d like)

-Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

Kikkoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Directions: 

-Cut up the chicken breasts into cubes and marinate in Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce for about 15-20 minutes

-Spray a frying pan with your choice of oil and cook the chicken on low until it’s done (about 10 minutes). Add red pepper flakes!

-While the chicken is cooking, fill a pot with water and add brown rice (2:1 ratio). Cook until rice is soft and water has been absorbed (about 10 minutes)

-When the chicken is almost done, throw the veggies into a separate frying pan with a little bit of soy sauce and cook until they start to brown.

-Fill a bowl or plate and enjoy!

This recipe was so easy and it was really freakin’ delicious!!! Let me know if you try it out!

Do you have really simple chicken recipes? If so, send me the links!!! I’m always looking for new ways to make chicken. 🙂

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