macro counting

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.

LOL

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.

 

weight

 

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. 

 

download

(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

The 5 Minute Transformation Pics

I keep seeing pictures of ‘amazing’ transformations all over the internet (or even just fit people pictures meant to be motivational), but there is a common problem with a lot of them:

-different posing

-different looking people

-too ‘perfect’ looking

-different editing filters

-different clothing

These factors can pretty much make anyone become a fitness model and major ‘fitspo’ person on Instagram. Before you go starving yourself, buying into the pills/shakes/teas/wraps or whatever else is being advertised with the ‘crazy, fast’ results, be sure you inspect the picture being shown. You can even save it to your computer and proceed to upload it into Google images to do a reverse image search to see if the brand or person using it actually stole it from some poor innocent soul who simply worked hard for their own results.

I am going to show you a few pictures to hopefully help you realize how easy it is to deceive with technology these days and to be careful when you are looking at any fitness/weightloss/transformation pics moving forward.

fake tfake trfake tra

This is a serious issue. Each of these people sucked it in, changed their position, their hair, or the filter and that was it. But we are all buying into these ‘fake fitspo’s’ and buying into the crap they are advertising.

I feel like these fake pictures are causing even more serious problems with the self esteem issue that is already a concern for so many people, especially females.

Fitspo is for fitsporation. It is to be fitness motivation. It should be motivating to view and see to want you to get healthy, eat right, and go work out. This shouldn’t be a body shaming thing, and yet, it is. Pretty much each of these women above really aren’t fat, they have their problem areas, but everyone does. Yet, to be liked on social media, you need to suck it in, flex, pose, and change the filter to get recognition.

And what about people who do the opposite for getting healthy? The recovering people who lived with eating disorders and starving themselves? There are many out there, looking to put on weight and mass rather than losing. These people have triggers to make them want to go back to restriction, and how does this make them feel?

There are even so many ‘fitspo’ pictures going around that have been so horribly edited and modified that the fitness model (who looked fantastic prior to the editing might I add) just looks like a Barbie. Boobs and butt are made to be huge, abs are made to be chiseled, and so on. What is so wrong with the imperfections that even make us human? If health and fitness isn’t all about looks, why has this fitness world on the internet taken the turn towards looks? If you aren’t looking like you are about to take the stage for a fitness competition, you pretty much get the boot. And sometimes, even if you do look that good, you will still get the photoshop done to your picture.

Fitspo is mean to be inspiring. It should be of average people most people can relate to making real changes. It shouldn’t be only of skinny people with a quote plastered on to the side of it. And it shouldn’t be so sexual like it is now. Big boobs and a bubble butt mean nothing in the definition of ‘healthy’. When did health and fitness become so sexualized? Oh right, everything has to end up becoming sexual eventual in this day and time I suppose. But really, can we not with the boob jobs and implants and calling it ‘fitspo’.

fake ffake fifake fit

Show me a real girl or guy lifting some heavy weights, or running a marathon. That’s real fitspo. Or show me a person overcoming a terrible disease/tragedy/disorder/disability.

Here’s to no more fakes. No more filters. No more lies. No more editing. No more boobs. No more butts.

trans

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).

iifymlogo

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.

 

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.

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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.

IMG_20140715_221242

 

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!

A Day in the Life of this Ginger

I feel like a lot of people do pretty well with the working out part of trying to get healthy and fit, but they struggle with the diet part. Like I have stated before, you have to change your habits when you commit to becoming healthy. And you have to learn not to associate food with guilt anymore. Just know the bad foods from the good foods, eat more of the good foods. Too many people feel overwhelmed and try to go too far with things. Keep it simple.

To help you get a general idea of things, here is my day in a nutshell.

Workout Followed by Breakfast

I got up at 9 since I knew I wanted to work out prior to a thing I had at around noon. I got up and changed into the workout gear and did a good hamstring session followed by fasted HIIT cardio. Then I had to refuel!

My workout was:

  • Warm up (about 15-20 low weight reps) deadlifts
  • 12/12/10 Deadlifts (standard)
  • 12/10/10 Straight Leg Deadlifts
  • 10/10/10 Single Straight Leg Deadlifts (each leg)
  • 15/12/12 Laying Leg Curls
  • 12/12/10 Standing Leg Curls (single leg)
  • 12/10/10 Cleans
  • 10/8/8 Good Mornings
  • 12/10/10 Power Snatch
  • 12/10/10 Glute raises (laying flat on floor with feet on bench/ball/step with knees bent up, lift glutes and hips up off the floor, squeeze and flex booty at top, come back down)
  • 12/10/10 Squats
  • 20 rounds of 30 sec light walk/30 sec sprint

 

polar

I worked out for an hour and 15 minutes total. Not too shabby. I was ready for some post workout protein before I jumped in the shower.

 

postowkrout

 

YUM! Protein bar and all natural vanilla greek yogurt!

I consumed about 2 Liters of water while working out, so halfway to my daily goal of about 4 Liters (a little under 4 L = 1 gallon).

I jumped in the shower and did a few tasks like go to the bank and met with someone really quick down the road. I sped home due to the fact the water was hitting me. Yes, you will pee a lot. But, you feel better. You are ridding your body of toxins and things all the time, so you feel over all so much better. Just time when you drink your water so you are not stuck on the road/in traffic/in a meeting/etc. No big deal.

So I got home and was HANGRY. Needed a good lunch. I usually consume more food on days I train legs in any form or fashion.

lunch

Lunch was a salad combined of mixed greens, baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, feta crumbles, baby carrots, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (I LOVE TOMATOES), and drizzled slightly with a Lite Italian dressing. I had a low fat string cheese on the side and a protein shake. The protein shake was made of a VI vanilla shake packet, half a scoop of strawberry milkshake protein powder, milk, and a few frozen strawberries blended nicely.

I did some self studying on fitness stuff and worked on some website stuff as well as did some chores around the house.

I got hungry again in about 2-3 hours after lunch and listened to my stomach. Had to get a snack.

snack

Don’t let anyone tell you fruits will make you fat. I live off of fruit a good bit of my day. I usually have a good portion at breakfast. And after dinner. Those people are crazy psychos. Fruit is good for you.

fruit

Protein Bar (my fave one, BTW) and 4 Kiwis (YES FOUR OF THEM), 4 strawberries, and some mandarin orange.

Then, my favorite meal came.

Dinner.

I love dinner. Don’t ask me why. But I don’t get excited about eating until later in the day it seems.

Healthy Burritos

gr tturk

Get some ground turkey. Thaw it out if it was frozen. Cook it until it is brown. Add a small bit of water and low sodium taco seasoning.

topping

Also needed:

-Whole wheat/low carb/high fiber/etc tortillas

-Black Beans

-Natural/reduced fat sour cream (or try plain Greek yogurt!)

-Salsa of choice

-Tomatoes (AGAIN BECAUSE I LOVE THEM. Judge away.)

-Cheese if your macros/taste buds want (low sodium, vegan, reduced fat, etc)

-Brown rice if you want

Heat up your tortillas (30 sec in the microwave is great)

Throw your goodies into a tortilla, wrap up that goodness and dig in!

burrito magic

BURRITO MAGIC

yeahhh

YUM.

By now, I have had about 3.5 Liters of water. Going strong!

After dinner, gotta have something sweet. I made some homemade healthy peanut butter cups, so I had 2 of them.

pb cup

Soooo good.

I am working on an eBook. The peanut butter cups will be in it for all you lovelies. So get excited.

I will be finishing the evening with my guy watching Finding Carter and will do some night time yoga before bed. Good Tuesday. Hope this helps give you a general idea of how I do things on a daily basis. My ending macros look like this:

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It was a good day.

Happy Tuesday!

-a

Health on a Budget

Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

So I got home yesterday from my vacation and lounging on the beach to a problem. A big problem. Our fridge/feezer some how opened itself and was hanging wide open. All of the food I had unfortunately bought prior to the trip was now ruined. I had tried to get frozen stuff so when we got back I wouldn’t have to worry about going to the store for like a week. And then this happened. Oh well.

I had to replace everything. I could have cried. But I put my big girl pants on and got up this morning to go to the store (or stores).

 

Try multiple places for the best deal

It might be a pain, but it’s the best strategy if you can possibly do it. If you live in a more rural area this might not be an option. But if you can try different stores, it’s the best way to save money on certain things. Once you get the hang of this and have gone to the stores near you, you will know what you can get where (where the best prices are).

 

I went to a store that is off the grid pretty much first. Around Atlanta, there’s this chain of stores that are kinda, well, rough. But cheap. And I can get local produce for the cheapest out of anywhere. Even back where I grew up there is a store similar to this, local produce, cheap prices.

Local produce is the way to go when it comes to your fresh fruit and vegetables. Especially if you want to save money. Organic is great, but it’s not the cheapest. Local supports your local farmers and economy and you can feel better about eating produce rather than that lab made produce you find like at WalMart. Gross. Bite into a standard apple at WalMart then bite into a locally grown apple. I will let you be the judge. If you can’t find local produce, the next option would be frozen. Frozen produce is harvested at their peak and as long as you make sure the frozen fruit doesn’t have added sugar, frozen produce is usually pretty cheap for a good bit (store brands can be $1 a bag!). There is always a cheap option for healthier foods. You just have to look and think outside the box.

 

From the first store:

 

food depot

For only $85 I got:

  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwis
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries (fresh and frozen-I prefer frozen for shakes and smoothies)
  • Lettuce
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Frozen Broccoli
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Steam fresh frozen sides (lightly sauced)
  • Fresh (not frozen) tilapia

I also got the non-fitness/health related stuff like the toilet paper, detergent, sponges and soap.

 

Kroger trip:

After the first store trip I moved on to Kroger. While at Kroger, I took note of items that are great choices for those on a budget, even if I didn’t get it myself this time.

breadfibermuffinswheat

 

Bread wise, there are a few good options I would suggest for budget friendly shopping. There are always good deals going on at Kroger, you just have to go and see what deals are going on. Always try to stick with whole wheat, whole grain, or multi grain bread. The sugar free whole wheat is a great option. I also love those light english muffins, which were on sale so I went ahead and got two packs to last a while (I usually eat at least 1 a day).

 

pbingred

pbbing

Peanut butter is a great staple of a healthy/fitness lifestyle. Good macros for the macro counters. Here are two good options from Kroger. The best ingredient wise is the bottom one, with only peanuts and salt in the ingredients. Some of us aren’t a huge peanut fan and can’t handle it (like msyelf). So then you move on to the next option, the top picture. Longer ingredient list, but all natural ingredients and since I won’t be eating the peanut butter jar in a day, having this in moderation is fine.

 

packsalmontuna

Tuna is always a great way to up that protein without any fat or hardly any carbs. If you also like salmon, Kroger has got you covered. If you are really pinching pennies, go for those 79 cent cans. If you have a little more room money wise, the packs are great for on the go since you just rip the pack and eat out of it.

water

I would suggest investing in a $20/$30 filter for your kitchen sink, but if you live in a dorm or some other issues, it may not be an option. So this is how you can afford to have clean water daily. 88 cent gallons of spring water is where it’s at. You can drink from the jug or simply use them to refill your favorite bottle.

macpasta

So you still want pasta. Here are good options for your pasta cravings that can fit your macros/diet. First, Annie’s is a well known brand for being organic and a lot of gluten free options. This is the reduced sodium I have shown, because I know some of you may have heart/blood pressure problems. This is a good way to still enjoy the foods you love (in moderation). Then we have my favorite pasta for spaghetti. Corn pasta! It was less than $3. So good with a great garlic tomato sauce.

turkey

Love tacos? Burgers? How about meatballs for spaghetti with the corn pasta? Ground turkey is a great lean and less greasy way to enjoy those foods you love.

mixsyrup

If you are part of the macro counting life (yes, it’s possible), here is your message from heaven. Heart healthy pancake mix (or try to look for a whole wheat/multi grain one) and lite or sugar free syrup. I bought the frozen multi grain waffles this go around as I already have this mix.

jello

Looking for something sweet? Hellooooooo sweet treat with super great macros. 10 calories sugar free jello! Add fresh fruit and whipped cream and tada. 2 for $4 can’t beat it.

cart

This was my cart. A little over $150 was the damage for all of this. Remember, I had to replace my fridge and freezer foods. So for two people, this wasn’t that bad. I probably can live off of this with my guy for at least 2 weeks.

kroger

This is the haul. about $170 spent at Kroger. So I replaced my food that ruined and them some for a total of $255. That’s right, only $255.00. If you ate out for every single meal, two of you, for two weeks, how much would you spend? It would be at least $50 a day. $50 x 14 = $700

That is a savings of $445!

 

Here is what I got at Kroger:

  • Deer Park water for my guy who works outside in the heat
  • Milk
  • Corn Pasta
  • Protein Bars
  • Microwaveable rice
  • Potatoes (mashed and baked)
  • Chicken thighs & breasts
  • Little shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Fresh Scallops
  • Ground turkey
  • Multi Grain waffles (Kroger brand!)
  • Natural sour cream
  • Greek yogurt (10 for $10)
  • Sugar free jello
  • Rotisserie Chicken (already cooked-easy meals for the next couple of days)
  • Beans (pinto, black and black eyed peas)
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Fiber One bars (my guy loves them for breakfast)
  • Spinach and 50/50 greens
  • Low carb, macro friendly tortillas
  • English muffins
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Blackberries
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Apples (2 for $1)
  • Sugar free syrup

And my non health/fitness stuff like lotion, face wash, etc.

 

 

For dinner, we had the rotisserie chicken, rice, pinto beans and broccoli. Super quick, easy, delicious and budget friendly!

din

I will keep posting how I use these items I bought to help you out!

If you have any questions or need guidance, I am always here for you. Just email me at ashhealthgirl@gmail.com

Happy Shopping!

-a