diet help

My Transformation So Far

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I’ve changed a lot in this last year. And I’m not only talking about this physically. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve tried different things. Figured out what works.

Consistency is everything.
I worked out before but it was sporadic. Once I started making it a habit daily, I not only started to enjoy it more but I also craved it. Eating correctly was the same. We always think ‘oh that’s not so bad. Its just today I’ll eat it.’ But when you think like that everyday, its bad.

Where I started
I was just doing the workout games for the Kinect when I started working out on a regular basis. They were fun and gave me a good competition with myself. I saw my improvements and how often I worked out in one spot. That’s where I made it a habit to move my body, I gained strength of being able to do body weight things and got a greater range of motion. It was my stepping stone. Once I felt like I was beyond the games on my level, I started slowly buying more weights to go in my home gym set up. I bought a couple of ebooks from fitness Instagram people I followed that I liked to get me to figure out this whole weightlifting thing. I started researching moves and exercises on bodybuilding.com and fell in love. Weightlifting is awesome for a thrill, a challenge and a way to let your stress out.

As for eating, I started learning about macros on my own after seeing many fitness accounts on social media talk about it. Props to my own mom for pretty much believing the IIFYM type of diet. She always said its about how much you eat of things, calories in have to be less than calories out to lose weight. Whether that’s calories in of carrots and lettuce or Snickers bars. So props to you Mom, for being ahead of the game.
Anyways I started figuring out the macro thing for myself as well as learning about how to reverse my metabolism. It was a slow process. But it did happen. I figured out my maintenance macros to build muscle at the weight I was starting at. I kept up with my calories, carbs, fats & proteins daily. Its a bit of a game at first-figuring out what works and how to fit everything in. But once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much do it without even punching each bite in.

My Routine Now
After working on my metabolism and figuring out really what works for me, I’m not as crazy about my macros. I don’t punch in anything anymore. I don’t even think I have MyFitnessPal on my phone anymore. I listen to my body now and I follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your diet should be whole healthy foods. 20% whatever else you want. That’s it guys. Once you change your habits you change your cravings, your taste buds and foods you reach for automatically. Its that initial change that sucks. Once you get past those first couple of months or so, you get used to it. And the results just come with it. You’ll realize how crappy certain foods make you feel and you honestly won’t miss them anymore. You’ll want to workout because it actually gives you energy. You just have to get started.

For my working out, remember I am a trainer by day and a coach by night. I love my body plenty in many different ways. But I do still work myself out. I lift heavy about 4-6 days a week. I do cardio maybe twice? Always after a lift session, usually on leg days I’ll do the step machine. If I do cardio on the treadmill, its always HIIT cardio and never more than 20 minutes long. Same for the stepper- no more than 20 minutes.
My ab progress? I started out doing abs 2x a week, but now I just engage my core with everything I do. And if I do abs in a class I teach or for conditioning, I’ll do it with them. Otherwise, I’ve stopped doing hard core an exercises in my own personal gym time.

I have created a guide for nutrition for those wanting help but don’t know where to start. Its completely FREE!!!
Just leave me your email and I’ll send it over! It has an intro to macros, a list of things to eat for each meal of the day, even a couple of recipes.

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The Right Kind of Goals-Setting Yourself Up for SUCCESS

goalSHORT TERM GOALS VS LONG TERM-WHICH IS BETTER?

When it comes to goal setting, a lot of people want to think “I want to be a size 0 and I want it now”. What if I told you life doesn’t work like that? Just like if you set your eyes on your dream career, you don’t get to just make the decision and then make it happen over night. For most, it takes months, even years to get the proper education, degrees, certifications, and training to reach those goals. Well, just like the career change example, you can’t just make health and fitness goals that are so big and have them happen within 24 hours. But so many people think it should work that way, so when they starve themselves or they work out hard for only 1 day, they give up already. But the journey has only started, so why give up before you even tried?!

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SHORT TERM GOALS=SEEING SUCCESS AND RESULTS QUICKER

Create goals that are stepping stones for your long-term goals. Think about your goals of getting a degree, or moving up in your career to being the boss-it doesn’t just happen overnight after you decide that’s what you want for yourself. Health doesn’t happen overnight, either. It’s broken into pieces and smaller steps you have to take little by little to help you get to that ultimate goal, and you may even change your goals as you move forward. For a degree, you break off little pieces of information you are required to know to obtain the degree in smaller forms in each class you take. With that dream job, you have to work hard everyday and slowly prove yourself to everyone in the position you start at and move up slowly. That’s how this works, as well. Don’t get overwhelmed with wanting to drop 20 pounds in a week. You are setting yourself up for disappointment before you even start. But if you tell yourself your goal is to eat a healthy breakfast every morning this month and work out for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, you will feel better about yourself. Or make a goal of wanting to get into your old jeans in a couple of months. Small goals lead you to the bigger ones. They are easier to obtain and keep you motivated when you reach them to keep going towards the bigger goals. Stay focused and keep pushing.

PROCESS GOALS VERSUS PRODUCT GOALS

There are two different types of goals-product and process. Mainly everyone sticks to product goals, like losing 10 pounds, getting to a goal weight, fitting a certain size. That’s great and all, but sometimes when you focus too much on your size, the physical deal of getting healthy and fit, you forget the whole reason you really should be doing this. The scale shouldn’t never be your only motivation. Don’t start down the path of being so focused on numbers. What are you going to do when you get to that goal weight? Just be satisfied and happy the rest of your life? Think you can just be that goal weight the rest of your life? Doubt it. Don’t get hung up on that stupid piece of metal. It doesn’t determine your wealth. And for the record, if you do this right and actually build some muscle, the scale may go up rather than down as your waist shrinks.

Process goals. My favorite. When I get a new client, I always ask them what their goals for themselves are first. And I always hear the product goals. They ever even think about process goals. That’s when I speak up and ask them about things they always wanted to do-hike up a mountain, go rock climbing, PR on squats, do a strict pull up, knock out 8 million push ups without stopping. Those are the goals that make people love this lifestyle. These types of goals are what get us going in the mornings, they keep us pushing and excited to keep this habit going. I haven’t stepped on a scale since my last doctor visit and don’t plan to until my next one. Ask me my weight I have no idea. But I can tell you my PR on deadlifts. Ask me how far I have come in my heavy squats. Ask me how many push ups I can knock out in 60 seconds. These are the goals you can see yourself get to and quickly. And you can always find something new to try and reach without it being unobtainable. My current goal at the moment? A full muscle up. The damn things suck, but I have learned the things I hate the most and suck at are the things I need to work on the most. Think about what you want to accomplish. Maybe it’s a half marathon. Or getting a handstand. Maybe master the splits. Learn to dominate the weight room and not feel intimidated. Swim a certain length without stopping. It could be to be able to bike a certain distance. Or learn to dance without feeling a fool. These goals are what make we (the fitness enthusiasts) never get tired of this life. It pumps our blood. It gets us going. This is our secret, if you want to say we have one.

 

Now, what do you want to accomplish?

 

 

‘Health Coaches’ versus the Real Deal

You know what is really grinding my gears lately? I see all of these ‘health coaches’ wanting to ‘change your life’ with products like Herbalife, Beachbody, & so on, and yet, all they did was buy into a company to sell some crap to you.

Anything sound wrong with that to you?

COACHES WHO SELL PRODUCTS ARE ONLY SALES PEOPLE!!!!

They are not certified trainers, nutritionists, dietitians, personal trainers, not in any way affiliated with the health care community AT ALL.

And yet they are getting big and have followers listen to their every word while spending their hard earned money on these gimmicks that will never work, or will simply be a quick fix.

Most of these things are a pyramid scheme, whether they come out and say it is or not, it is. You buy under someone else who then helps you sell to more people and get them to buy in under you to sell as well. That’s what it is. No one actually has any education nor training on anything they are teaching you. They simply teach you to use their product and that’s that.

THE DIFFERENCE IS REAL

I have spent thousands of dollars in not only my college education but also in certifications that may I add were not cheap nor were they easy to obtain. I had to spend hours for several months to study and prepare for these exams. Sleepless nights. On top of keeping up with my college studies. And yet, here are these people pretty much claiming they are what I have worked hard to become, and then selling you products and information that are pretty false with zero science nor any backing in their statements.

Please be careful in who you are giving your money to and who you are listening to. These products are not the miracles to lose weight. Shakes are not food and should not be treated as such. Chemical loaded garbage is not how you will obtain any sort of health and you should be consulting and getting your help to reach your goals from a trained professional. We actual professionals out here honestly working hard to become certified and educated on topics to better help you with actual science and proven studies feel defeated when others out there are simply buying into a business and then doing our jobs. I am not even saying this to promote my own business, but also for the many professionals out there who have to be just as frustrated as I am.

 

Be careful. Be cautious with whom you are taking information from. And please ask someone if they are wanting to give you advice in fitness and health what their credentials are to be able to do so…..

 

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FAQ/Q&A

As a trainer, a coach, and simply an Exercise Science student, I am often asked questions, and they are the same for most people. So, I am making a good post to answer the most common questions all at once!

 

What should I be doing for my pre and post workout? Should I invest in those powders? If so, what kind?

In general, I don’t promote any special brands nor kinds of pre/post workouts. Why? I don’t use any myself, unless I am just really dragging one day. Otherwise, you can do really well just by eating carbs or even having a good ole cup of Joe. By having carbs, caffeine, or a small amount of sugar 30-90 minutes before you workout should do well enough to get you going. I do not recommend eating very heavy things, or a whole meal. I personally find it easy to upset my stomach. If you want to eat a big meal, I’d suggest maybe 2 hours before working to try and digest a good bit before you go bouncing and sweating. A good example of something to have for a pre workout would be a small pb&j with natural jelly and peanut butter, on 1 piece of whole wheat bread folded in half (to make a half sandwich), or even just simply eating a banana or two. Nothing fancy, no spending more money on unnecessary powders or drinks. As for post workout, be sure to consume carbs, protein, and you can also have some sugar as your body will use the sugars well right after you workout and/or when you first wake up. For post workout, I used to do shakes, but honestly, I am not huge on shakes as it is. If you are, go for it. You don’t have to spend tons on them though. Go to amazon and find a flavor that sounds good, look at reviews, and order. No need to spend $100’s of your hard earned money on such, though. You can simply get your post workout refuel from foods. Yes, I said it. You can. Don’t buy into the gimmicks that you require protein shakes. If you want, you can just have a meal of lean meat or leafy greens for protein (or even the popular peanut butter), have carbs such as a plain baked potato (rice cake with the peanut butter), and vegetables/fruits. Easy as that.

I just started working out, do I need to have different days for different muscle groups like I see everyone doing on IG (leg day, chest day, etc)?

No. If you just started there is no need to go hardcore like a bodybuilder. You can do full body workouts and worry about form first before you actually add resistance/weight. Make sure you can do your bodyweight first. For example, if you can not knock out multiple push ups (full on push ups, not on the knees, chest all the way down), you should NOT be worrying about bench pressing. If you don’t have the balance and control to do a squat that keeps your chest up and bending from your hips before you bend the knees, don’t add a bar on your shoulders until you can. If you almost fall every time you lunge, work on balance first (hold one leg up, keep balance for 60 seconds, switch legs, then add an unstable surface to do it on, then try with eyes closed) before you do weighted walking lunges or Bulgarian squats. You could also just split it up where you do upper body one day (arms, shoulders, back, chest, abs) one day and then do lower body the next (glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings). You should be seriously working out and more advanced to be splitting the muscle groups into their own special days. You should know your way around the gym and be lifting decently heavy. Otherwise, it really isn’t necessary.

Do I need to really carry around a gallon jug of water everyday? Is a gallon a day really necessary?

For the average person, no. Unless you are sweating a lot or really are trying to lose serious weight, no that much isn’t necessary. Be sure on days you do workout (especially cardio/outside/humid weather) you do need to be consuming more water than on days you aren’t as active. You should hydrate before, during, and after your workouts. And even if you do choose to drink a gallon a day, find a refillable water bottle you like and can carry around and figure out how many refills it would take for you to get to a gallon/or whatever your goal for the day is. I personally buy the 1.5L bottles of Smart Water and refill it anywhere from 2-4 times a day. Get a water filter on your kitchen sink if possible and you are good to go. No need for carrying the gallon jug all over the place. They are a bit big and bulky. And keep water bottles in reach (car, backpack, bag, desk, workplace, locker, etc) so you never have an excuse. That’s why I suggest getting a cheap bottle and size you like, I pay at most $3.00 for the Smart Water and just refill the bottle several times. I can pay for 4 of those at a time and have 4 bottles to place in areas so I have no excuse to not be hydrating.

I am doing the shake/juice/cleanse/ridiculous diet. What is your opinion?

These fad diets are ridiculous. The week long cleanses? Please, conduct even your own research on them. You do not have any reason to be cleansing for so many days in a row, and so often. If you need to cleanse after eating horrid food for a long time, simply eat RAW fruits and vegetables for a day. That’s it, guys. Cleanses are a scam. How can you even be cleansing really if those juices are just stripping the fibers and good stuff from the produce anyways? Cleansing should be making you to excrete the unwanted things from your body, without fiber, that doesn’t really happen. Eat a giant leafy salad with a drizzle of oil. Eat baby carrots as snack. Eat apples and bananas. Eat a bag of broccoli. It’s really not hard, expensive, nor needed to do for multiple days at a time. And don’t think you need to cleanse twice a month. As for the shake diets (Beachbody, SlimFast, blah blah), I am not an advocate for only consuming a shake in which has loads of sugar, hardly any nutritional value, for most meals of your day. Please tell me how a blended, sugar loaded drink can be better for you and make you lose more weight than simply eating fruits and vegetables. You can’t. There is no justification there. Besides the companies making you spend money. Most people won’t even last on the diets anyways. Why? Your body wants to chew food. It wants SOLID FOOD. A shake is just that-a shake. Juices are just that-juice. Your teeth are made for you to chew and consume solid food. It’s what your body is made to consume and use for fuel. Please give it that. Having a shake maybe for breakfast along with some fruit/eggs/etc would be more likely what I would suggest you do with them. Otherwise, you won’t stay full nor satisfied for long.

Is low carb the only way I can lose weight? I see it everywhere!

NO! NO! NO! Let me say it again: NO!. Why do carbs get a bad rap? Because most people are consuming terrible, refined, and fat loaded carbs rather than the carbs you need. EVERYTHING HAS CARBS. I bet those diets forgot to mention that fruit has natural sugars, it has carbs. Vegetables? Yup, they have carbs. Everything but water has carbs. And guess what? Carbs are literally what make your body run. Even your BRAIN uses carbs to work. Your body requires carbs to function and work. So how does it make any sense to be telling you carbs are the enemy? Instead, they should be telling you that the processed junk is what’s actually bad for you. If it says ‘low-carb’ it means it’s HIGHLY processed and terrible for you. I doubt it has much of anything your body can actually use. Think about that as you go down the aisle with all of the Atkins products.

I don’t know where I am messing up. I eat granola bars, flat bread, low fat foods, salads, organic stuff, drinking juice/diet drinks, and work out. What am I doing wrong?

In general, the magazines, TV, and internet promote ‘healthy’ foods for you to have, even though they are the opposite. Granola is not actually the healthiest thing in the world. That quaker man is lying to you. Look at it. See that sugar content? How about the nutritional values: the carbs/protein/fats are close to those of a candy bar. Think about that. Low fat foods are a chemical shit storm. Stay away. Unless you are getting sprouted/whole grain/unrefined bread (read: NOT WHITE) then you aren’t really being healthy. White breads/tortillas/rice have been stripped of all nutrients. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat, sprouted, and flax versions to get nutritious values your body can actually use. For salads, I see this too often. Yes, you are eating vegetables, but it looked like you were having vegetables with your ranch rather than the other way around. Dressings are what get you. If you are drowning your veggies in ranch/honey mustard/1000 island, you are loading up on unwanted fats and sugars. No bueno, guys. Instead, opt for oil based dressings, or simply squeeze a lemon or orange. I even use salsa to change things up. If you are drinking regular orange/apple/grape juice, you are consuming your days worth of sugar pretty much. Unless you can find no added sugar versions, you need to stick with making your own if possible. Pain in the butt, but worth it. For diet drinks: the sugar alternatives have been shown in studies to do so much damage to you. One of the main things that could be damaging your diet is the fact that these ‘0 calories’ sweeteners are actually causing you to crave more junk food, causing you to mindlessly go butcher your eating habits. They have also been shown to aid belly fat, cause migraines, and bloat you. Simply steer clear of these. Stevia is a great alternative, but there’s a catch even with it, unless you are getting Stevia and read the ingredient list and it ONLY has Stevia listed, you are still getting fooled. Even the ‘Stevia in the Raw’ packets are not pure stevia, they are usually mixed with dextrose and other fillers. Stevia can be found in a pure form usually as a liquid you can use a dropper to add to baking/drinks/whatever you want. It is an acquired taste, but once you slowly start using it (I started by adding it into my teas/coffees) you won’t miss regular sugar.

I have tried eating 100% ‘clean diet’ but I always end up eating like I did before. I saw someone say that that was the only way to actually becoming fit/thin/healthy. Is this true?

Nope. Unless you have SERIOUS dedication, you won’t stick to it. Especially if you live with/date/hang out with/work with/go to school with people who don’t eat that way, it’s hard. It literally puts a mental toll on you. You get seriously obsessive with ingredient lists, never wanting to eat other people’s cooking, never eating out, and simply just getting into a dark place. It’s a great idea and on paper, but to stick to something so serious is just bad. Plus if you do eat that way, when you do ‘treat’ yourself, you’ll get insanely sick. Balance. It’s all you need to find in life. If you can eat 80% whole, healthy, ‘clean’ foods, and then just 20% of the other stuff you like (donuts, alfredo, mac and cheese are some of my own faves lol), you’re doing really good. That’s why I have fallen in love with and have continued the Macro counting thing for nearly a year so far. I still eat things I love with my boyfriend/family/friends, but for the most part on a day to day basis, I am eating tuna, chicken, salads, raw veggies, etc. Even many body competitors are changing from the clean diet of eating chicken and brown rice only to following the flexible/IIFYM diets. It’s not hard, plus if you want to put on muscle, you really need to be eating to fuel the muscles otherwise, when you workout (read:cardio) you might dip into your muscles to burn for fuel for it. Not good.

I don’t want to look like the Hulk. Do I still need to be having protein? And lifting weights like the guys? I just want to ‘tone up/slim down’.

Unless you are currently or plan to take steroids, you won’t look like a man. Women naturally only have a super tiny amount of testosterone. We are full of estrogen instead. Men are the opposite, they are stock full of testosterone, making them getting huge and bulky more quickly and a bit easier than women can possible. Look it up for yourself if you are wondering. The facts are out there, guys. Lifting weights helps you actually burn more calories. Did you know that? 1 pound of muscle you add will burn 50 more calories a day just at rest than if it was 1 pound of fat. Put on 10 pounds of muscle, you burn 500 more calories in a day (at rest), so 500 X 7 (days in a week)= 3500 extra calories burned in a week alone (that’s not including your workouts). Guess what? 3500 calories is equal to a pound. You would lose a pound a week. Simple math. So lift the weights, girls. And as for protein, protein is actually already in you. It’s in and needed to sustain every single living cell. It is one of the amino acids that you need to recover and build muscles properly. Even if you don’t workout much, the body still needs protein. If you workout and lift to gain muscle, then you need to increase your intake to maintain. Simple.

 

 

If you have any questions that aren’t listed here, don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

-a

Benefits of Writing IT DOWN

We all get busy, we all think ‘well that isn’t so bad’ or ‘I worked out a few days ago…I think’. We all get wrapped up in school, work, family, friends, pets, chores, errands, and just keeping our heads above water (trust me I know-I work two jobs as well as a full time students and I get up and have to be somewhere by 8am every single day of the week-I GET IT). But while you are guessing about your food intake, you thoughts on how much you are eating, how much you are actually active and pushing your goals onto ‘next week’, today is still here and you can fix it all TODAY. RIGHT NOW.

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It has been proven in countless studies that people who physically WRITE down their goals before they start trying to obtain them are more likely to stick with it and actually achieve them. 

Here’s some more statistics for you. This is the more troubling one:

 

50% (yes-HALF) of the people who start a new diet/workout routine or program will END UP QUITTING. 

This should be startling to you, as it is to me. Why? Why do we constantly put our health on the back burner? Years from now, you will have so many aches and pains, along with some diseases or disorders probably and wish you had taken your health seriously NOW before it was too late.

CHANGE YOUR APPROACH

Can we stop only dieting/exercising to lose weight?! This is aggravating as a fitness professional, it’s all I see. If you start think about simply getting healthy, becoming active to prevent diseases, to keep your body working properly, and to eat right to fuel it. It’s like you have a Lambo and you decide to never wash it, never have maintenance done and you decide to use orange juice instead of gas. Really guys? I love cheese fries as much as the next girl but I know my body can’t USE that junk for much of anything besides storing it as fat and hating me for putting that fried stuff in it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do eat a balanced diet, so I eat loads of fruits, veggies, protein packed lean foods but I also eat when I get a craving. My goal isn’t surrounding whether the scale says SKINNY or it says FAT ASS. Because guess what? That scale DOESN’T know me. For most of my life, for my height, according to those ridiculous charts doctors go off of based on height and weight to determine your BMI and whether you are overweight or not, I have ALWAYS fell under the overweight column. Even though I have been an athlete, with muscular legs and been in small clothing sizes. So I don’t believe the scales. You should ditch yours, too.

 

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That’s what weight is-mass times acceleration of gravity. Yet so many people spend their lives worrying about this stupid calculation. Chill out. Eat. Workout. Be happy.

 

Keep a journal-for work outs and for food

When you write down things and see it on paper, in one place, you can really start to realize what it is you need to work on, what you are doing that might be really working for you or damaging your goals. 

For food, I always come back to MyFitness Pal. Why? Because this world is glued to a freakin piece of technology constantly in their hand at all times, so by having an app you can take anywhere, you can even pull up foods if you are out to eat and about to order, to see what fits your macros/calories or any of that stuff if you count them. You can scan barcodes on most foods and it’ll pop up automatically, showing the content and serving size immediately. For average people, they do not realize a few things when it comes to eating

1.) Calorie/fat amount. This is a big one. If you asked someone the amount of calories in something they were eating, they would usually guess a number incredibly lower than what it really has in it. Educate yourself! If you thought there was only 300 calories in a slice of pie but it really has 800- you are seriously underestimating you daily amounts. So be sure you are aware of these things.

2.) Serving Sizes.  This is another biggie that I see even with educated individuals. Marketing people for foods and brands are smart. They know how to get you to buy their product and eat it. If they say that 1 serving of something is only 100 calories, you are sold and go digging in, head in the bottom of the bag like a vulture. Please read further on your nutrition label. The serving size is probably tiny, like 10 crackers, 2 cookies, etc. You have to watch this. If there were only 100 calories in a serving, but you just mindlessly ate 12 servings, well…….

 

As for your exercising and working out, you can easily do this by setting a goal-let’s say you want to work out at least 3-5 days out of a week. So write that goal and put it on the fridge. Now invest in a calendar, one you can hang somewhere you can see it daily, like the fridge, the wall, your bathroom, the front door, where ever. Get one that you can go back and see your progress later, so not just a washable weekly/monthly board one. Now pick two color markers. On each day, you will mark with a check mark in one color or a big X in the other color. The check mark will mean you worked out, the X will represent that you did not. 

 

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(You can also Google ‘Workout Calendar’ and find some awesome templates to print out and use if you want!)

 

Of course you can do your calendar digitally, but there’s something about marking it yourself-with your own hands, and having a physical connection with this log. It’s just like writing your goal, you can type it out but it won’t be the same as if you wrote it in your own handwriting with pen and paper. There’s a psychological connection when you actually write with your own hands that you don’t get from technology. You can also see your progress and how you have been adhering to your goal all at once, rather than clicking on the days one at a time on your computer. But, to each their own. Do whatever works best for YOU!

 

Happy Working out guys!

 

-a

Quick Tips

I am working on a plan for someone, as well as my eBook’s that I have going on. While I am working on these things, here are a few tips and suggestions I have in both the eBook as well as workout plans. This is for those doing heavy lifting and following the IIFYM lifestyle that I firmly believe in. You may benefit from this as well! Plus this gives you a taste for how I do my writings/plans/ebooks! Enjoy and happy lifting/eating/living!

 

 

For every exercise, increase weight for each set. You should struggle on the last rep. If not, increase your weight and go again. You should be fatigued at the end of each set of each exercise (excluding the warm up set)

Always stretch after your workout. You should stretch after your muscles are used and blood has pumped and heart has elevated. Otherwise, you are more prone to injuries and tearing/straying a muscle. Stretch after the workout to prevent soreness and prevent injuries from the workout you just completed. More flexibility=more range of motion=less injuries and strains.

On days with cardio, you should do HIIT cardio. You will choose the style of cardio you wish to do and complete 15 to 20 rounds of intervals, doing 30 seconds of all out sprinting (going as hard and fast as you possibly can) and then 30 seconds of walking/resting (going very light). HIIT style burns more fat, boosts the metabolism and has longer lasting effects even after the gym versus standard cardio. It also keeps your body guessing to prevent plateaus after some time of working out.

Consume BCAAs/glutamine and your protein ASAP. Protein can be in shake form, bar form, or whole foods (chicken, tuna, etc.). Also have carbs and sugars (I love greek yogurt with fruit, PB & J on either a rice cake or flat bread/english muffin, etc).

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KEEP UP WITH MACROS. DO NOT ADD IN YOUR WORKOUT/CALORIES BURNED. On MyFitness Pal, you can put in your workout and it’ll subtract that calorie burn from your total calories for the day. Please do not factor in the workout. The calorie goal for the day for you has been set, even with workouts. If you are to consume 2500 calories, consume 2500 calories on rest days, AND workout days. Even if you burn 800 calories, you will not eat 3300 calories to make up for the gym. It defeats the purpose of your plan.

Try to plan your day, but you do not have to do it a week or even 24 hours ahead of time. But with IIFYM, it’s best to go ahead and juggle your macros and what you can play with according to cravings ahead of time to ensure you eat more protein/less fat/more carbs etc. I start by eating my breakfast (whatever I want that morning) and input it. I then try to balance my day after. Breakfast is where I really go all out usually. If I know I want to incorporate 2 Oreo’s after dinner, I input it and figure out where I can make up more protein. You can delete what you enter into the app easily to play around with what you can do before you go messing your macros up.

IF YOU CRAVE SOMETHING, PLEASE EAT IT. If you have craved Cheetos for 2 days straight, you are better off just eating a handful of Cheetos (or a small bag) and getting it over with rather than letting your cravings build up and then binging on 8000 calories of bad foods. That 300 calories Cheeto bag is much better than the 8000 calorie binge (plus the guilt during/after and feeling beyond fluffy for a week). If you are craving something terribly, please consume it, even if it doesn’t fit your macros. It will save you in the long run.

 

Reverse Dieting-Why it Works

It’s common to think ‘oh I should just quit eating and I will lose weight’. That’s what we are taught even at a young age and grown up to know. If you want to lose weight, you eat like a rabbit and drop weight at the snap of a finger. But is it really all that simple? Are our bodies that easy to handle? And is this good for our bodies?

We are built and made to eat. And not just pecking at lettuce. Carbs are meant to be our fuel and we are to get nutrients from produce. The food that comes from the earth-not a factory or a box-is great for us, with so many benefits and vitamins to help our bodies function. And we think if we stop eating completely, this is a healthy way to lose weight.

WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THIS WAS BOGUS.

We are meant to eat, often and abundantly. Your body even tells you when it’s hungry and when it is not. Listen to it. If you are starving, you better eat more than a cube of cheese (cough cough, any Devil Wears Prada fans).

dev

 

I laugh everytime I think of this girl. But as I laugh, I know there are so many people out there who really do live and think like this. Do you know what is really happening? The body is holding on to what little food it does get, and storing it as fat and eating away at muscle and all sorts of terrible things. This isn’t what we are meant to live like. This is not the answer to losing weight.

If you are hungry, you should probably eat. And not just some lettuce. Try a protein bar. Try a rice cake and peanut butter. Have an apple AND a banana. A cube of cheese is not going to feed you, and the fact that this girl binges on rolls in the hospital after getting hit with a car kind of proves that this starvation diet will eventually in a carb overload-sooner or later. Because your body and your mind craves, no needs, carbs. It’s our fuel. Everything has carbs in it. It’s our gas to our engine. It makes us run. It keeps us going. Even your brain feeds off of carbs to work properly. By not feeding your body, you are do much more damage than good.

If you have been living like this and believing the starving diets are the only way to ‘skinny’, you not only will need to rethink everything, but you will have to literally reverse the damage you have done. You will need to slowly increase your calories, slowly incorporate more food and more substance to your diet. Stop spending 2 hours on the treadmill a day. You have to change your whole ways, but once you have, you will actually start seeing results-you will eat more and actually lose weight. You will be able to eat more and see changes because your metabolism will be working the way it should.

1200 calories a day is not meant for a person who is active, it’s hardly enough for a person who just lays around all day, so why is this a number we see too often as a ‘daily goal’ all over the place? Because someone who did not do their own research, someone who does not care about their own health nor the health of the other people they are influencing, someone who simply picked a number at random and thought it was a good idea. Quit with the 1000 or 1200 calories a day. If you go under 1500, you are probably not seeing results if you are wanting to actually have muscle and not simply be ‘skinny fat’.

1500 calories a day. That’s still not that much. I eat 2000 a day, I work out almost every single day of the week if you include the fact that I work at two gyms (an adult gym and also as a cheerleading coach). I lift weights five or more days a week. I hardly every do cardio (2-3 days a week maybe, and it’s HITT only for 15-20 minutes at a time). I eat what I want. I mainly want good foods, so I eat them. I eat when I am hungry. I stop when I am full. I even eat Reeses Oreos occasionally, as well homemade peanut butter cups (pretty much I have lots of peanut butter daily). Once you feed your body and get your metabolism doing what it is actually supposed to do, you no longer have to be so strict with what you eat (unless you are on contest prep or something).

So please, for the love of everything delicious, stop with the 1000 calorie days and start healing-and nurturing-your body.

 

-a

Why the Fad Diets & ‘Quick Fixes’ Don’t Work

fad

 

Every time I get onto Pinterest, I see the fad diets going around. Low carb. Low fat. Drink only water for 3 days. Buy expensive juices. Only eat a banana for a week. Are you KIDDING ME?

Please stop thinking there is some miracle ‘quick fix’. It’s so frustrating when there are decent, honest people (like myself) who have been working or our ass off (literally) to get to where we are. I didn’t start getting abs and a toned booty from a fad diet. Or a magic pill. Or any sort of detoxing. I sure as hell didn’t purchase any tea that claims to ‘make you skinny’. These rip-offs most of the time take before and after pictures from people who really did put in hard work in the gym and changed their eating the hard way, then claiming they got their results from their product/service/diet. There is this thing called reverse image search on Google. Save the next pic you see from a ‘miracle’ weightloss program and reverse image search it. I bet my savings that you would find the pic from some poor innocent soul who posted it to show off their real results from doing all the right things. Stop giving these people money. Stop believing the hype. Please educate yourself on a diet before you ever try it . If you need help, seek your physician, coach, or a dietitian who would be happy to be honest with you, unlike the scammer who is selling you the wrap/juice/pill/tea.

These ‘miracle’ diets may help you lose that initial weight, yes. Most of them have you drinking lots of water. Guess what? Up your H2o intake and you will drop weight anyways thanks to losing water weight. If you aren’t hydrating properly with actual water, your body retains what little it does get since it has no idea when it will get more. Drink enough water, you will lose that water weight. Simple science. But if you do the fad diet (giving that you could stick to it-most of them are so ridiculous most people quit a day into it because they are starving themselves), you may lose some weight and get all excited. But guess what? Unless you genuinely change your habits, within probably a month or so (maybe sooner) you will gain that weight right back thanks to never actually changing your lifestyle.

HEALTH IS A LIFESTYLE. NOT A FAD. NOT A DIET. NOT A QUICK FIX.

So why is everyone still buying this crap? Because advertising is great, people are lazy and impatient. But obviously if what you are doing right now concerning exercise and eating is not giving the results you desire, you are going to have to change them to get those results. It’s up to you how much you want it, whether you are willing to wait to see your results during a slow process. Another problem with the fad diets would have to be the fact you not only are losing fat, you are losing muscle too. Being ‘skinny fat’ is a thing, too, you know. Do you want to just be ‘thin’ or do you want to find health & happiness for the long run? I personally choose the latter of the two.

no fad

DETOX

I believe I have touched on this topic before, but I see it so often that I have to keep talking about. Detoxing does not require pills, special teas, juices, smoothies, or anything else. You also shouldn’t be detoxing every week. Want to detox because you feel bloated and like you are retaining water (or you ate McDs three times the past 48 hours) you can. Without added products, special brands, or breaking your bank.

DETOX 101

  • Hot lemon water
  • Green tea (only sweetened with fresh fruit or raw honey)
  • Filtered water
  • Fresh & raw (not cooked, not juiced) produce

Why the produce? And why not juicing? Do you know what juicing does? It takes the FIBER and lots of nutrients from the fruit/vegetable. Fiber and proper hydrating are keys to detoxing. Water helps push toxins out and get your digestive system going and makes the process smoother and easier, and we all know what fiber does. It’s really not hard. Go to a farmer’s market and load up on fresh fruits & veggies and you’re fine. Detox like 2 days at most I would say. Just enough to get the bad stuff pushed out of your system. No special products here.

 

You need fat/carbs/food

All of these diets that tell you to stop eating pretty much all foods, should give you an immediate red flag waving in your mind. Carbs are in everything but water. Yes, that broccolli and spinach has carbs. Carbs is a natural fuel. Get over it. Any diet that says no to fueling your body should never be a ‘thing’. Ever.

As for fat, you need fat to lose fat. Yes, you have been lied to and deceived I am sure. Healthy fats like those find in beans, nuts, salmon, olive oil, etc. are good for you. You need them. They help your body. Eat some.

LOW FAT/LOW CARB/NO CALORIE=CHEMICAL STORM

You read that right. If your food is labaled as low/reduced/zero of the macros your body needs, this means more crap was put in it to make it this way. And if you think ‘no sugar’ is an automatic way to know if things are healthy, please look up the side effects of all of these sugar replacements like aspertame in that Diet Coke people love. Get headaches a lot? That is probably your culprit right there. Apertame is terrible. I would prefer you drink the real deal (refined white sugar) than any of those substitutes. Want an alternative that is healthy? Fuit juice (like simmering berries into an almost syrup without adding anything), raw honey (not the high fructose corn syrup and not even containing pollen), or Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener from a plant. Even diabetics can have it. But be sure it doesn’t contain fillers.

 

Please educate yourself and do your research before you start any of these diets you see out there. People know how to advertise and make products look so amazing because it’s their job. They know how to lure you in. Use your brain. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

 

-a

My Fitness Pal-Why You Should be Using it

My Fitness Pal has been around for a while now. It’s an easy app you can download on any smart phone (Windows/Apple/Android) and you can keep up with your food and drink intake at the touch of a button. You can manually enter the food or you can now even scan barcodes and the app will load the information for you. Most foods are already plugged in and all you have to do is search for it, find it, and enter how much of it you had. Super simple.

Screenshot_2014-06-06-08-54-00

Why use it

Studies have shown for many years that having and keeping a record of you food intakes (a food diary/journal/daily log) does significantly help with changing eating habits, whether it’s losing weight, gaining, becoming healthier and so on. My Fitness Pal is extremely easy and since it is in app form (with a login) you can access it from all your mobile devices and even from your computer. You really have no excuse to not be able to record everything you eat, as you eat it.

I know it can become tedious having to enter in everything you put your mouth, but it helps you realize what you really are eating every day. A lot of people when asked how many calories/fat/protein/etc was in something they just ate, they weren’t even close to the real numbers. You should know what you are eating. You should know the reality that most people do not actually eat the serving size recommended and listed on the nutrition facts for most foods. You are probably eating twice that amount unless you actually go around measuring your food. Measure your food and plug into the app BEFORE you eat it, so you can really see what is going into your body. If it is 3000 calories and has 500 g of fat, I don’t care who you are, you’ll probably think ‘well, I probably shouldn’t actually eat this’. This is good way to handle binges/mindless snacking and so on. If you see the damage before you ever even do it, you’ll think twice about it.

You also are probably guessing your calorie amount and how much you really eat on a daily basis and are probably off by a lot. Most people who are overweight do not realize how much they are actually eating. It’s like a denial type of thing your mind does. By recording your daily intake, you can hold yourself accountable and also notice where you need to make your changes.

You don’t have to be on the macros counting diet, IIFYM, nor do you have to be counting calories for a food diary to help you reach your goals. I would suggest you try the macros counting if you do want results and without depriving yourself, but to each their own. A food diary will make you aware of your daily habits and since you can even add friends and they can see your daily log, too, it holds you accountable. You can even share when you reach goals on social media sites if you so choose. These sorts of things tend to help motivate more than just trying to diet and keeping it all to yourself. It’s a proven fact that social support is in fact a big factor when it comes to being successful and sticking to a workout routine or diet.

With My Fitness Pal, it’s pretty simple and user friendly. Simply plug in your foods, you can even try and plan ahead by entering foods you think you may eat and seeing how your macros or calories come out if you are a counter. You can view your nutritional values for each food as well totals for your whole day. You can view it in list view and also as a pie chart. If you are a macro counter, you can set your goals for macros (carbs, fats, protein) and look at your pie chart to see where you are for the day.

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I honestly don’t know what I would do without My Fitness Pal. Now I am not saying be strict everyday and I am certainly not saying you don’t get to have treats every now and then without recording them. I do. So you can too. But once you get in the habit of plugging in your food and what a good day looks like and have done it for a while, you get the general idea of how you should eat and what to eat without having to be so strict with plugging it in. And that cheat meal? Don’t even worry about plugging it in. If you do, you’ll feel really guilty probably, and nobody’s got time for that.

 

Let me know if you try My Fitness Pal! Add me if you want to!

ashhealthgirl

 

Happy eating!

Watermelon Slush!

It’s summer. It’s hot. How do you cool down? How about a delicious slush drink, but healthy? Here is the answer to your prayers!

 

Watermelon Strawberry Slush

watermelom

This. This is all you need.

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Fresh Watermelon
  • Blender

 

That’s it. Put a handful of frozen berries in the blender. Throw chunks of your watermelon in. Blend. Tada.

slush

It is soooo delicious.

If you aren’t a berry fan. Simply put a handful of plain old ice cubes in the blender with your watermelon chunks.

Stay cool!

-a