recipes

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.

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Changing Your Habits By Just Changing Your Thinking

I had a huge exam last Friday, so I was a little MIA preparing for it. But I was still on track and worked out 5 days last week. I didn’t get much sleep, but I have definitely been making up for it the last two nights. I start my new job at World Gym tomorrow, and I am pretty excited about it. I’ll even be teaching classes. And I hope to get training to officially teach yoga classes! I am looking forward to the future.

What I see a lot when it comes to the struggles of wanting to lose weight, get healthy, and get fit is one thing over and over and over again.

I feel hungry/I feel deprived/I miss junk food/I like snacking too much/it’s too hard/I don’t know what to eat/I have to eat more than celery.

What if I told you changing into a healthy lifestyle isn’t as hard nor as complicated as you think it is? A lot of people overthink it. Or they are following and reading about the hardcore fitness people who are either models or competitors who eat rice, chicken and spinach all day. Life isn’t like this if you are looking to be healthy or fit. I swear. Even if you get into this and want to compete, you still actually don’t need to live off of brown rice and chicken. (Don’t believe me? Look up #iifym on instagram and tell me there aren’t any competitors posting Poptarts and peanut butter all on their feed).

Think of changing this way:

REPLACE YOUR NORMAL FOODS/SNACKS/DRINKS WITH HEALTHY ONES.

No starving. No deprivation. Simply replace. If you think of it in this way, it’s a bit easier on the brain. Like a mind game. If you tell yourself ‘well I can’t have those Cheetos’ you’ll sit there and think about Cheetos until you go insane you are in a pool or your own drool from your mouth watering over that cheesiness. But if you tell yourself ‘I am sort of hungry and would like some Cheetos. But I am going to have some string cheese and broccoli.’ Literally that’s it. That’s the secret. Don’t just say ‘I can’t have that stuff’, say ‘I am going to choose better foods because I know they are better for me’. And of course, once in a while you do get to indulge in those cravings. If you are really strict on yourself, you won’t stick to this. You will binge and get nowhere.

Make your favorite dishes, but healthier!

There are so many people even on Instagram and Pinterest that have awesome recipes on there for healthified versions of your favorite foods. Like spiralizing squash or zucchini for ‘pasta’ dishes, switching to whole wheat/multigrain waffles from the regular white, drinking juice infused water rather than sugary juice, have sparkling water with fresh lime instead of a soda, eat a protein bar rather than a candy bar (there are some out there that taste like candy, no lie), make banana ‘ice cream’, and so on. If you want a snack, have one. But a healthier one.

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Once you change you mind and thinking, your body will follow. If happens. Every single time. Don’t overthink fitness and health. Don’t stress out over these changes. Accept them. And love them. It makes this transition easier and you’ll be happier.

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

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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

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).

 

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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!

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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

Example of a Shopping List

Wanting to eat well, to lose weight, become healthy, and get fit is a great thing to want to do. But the problem I keep hearing over and over again is the problem of ‘it’s too expensive to get healthy food’. Are you sure about that? Let’s break this down.

So, you eat out, let’s say, 5 times a week.

You get a $10 meal each time.

=$50.00 there.

You buy snacks and drinks when you stop and get gas=$30.00 there.

When you go to the store (then stop at McD’s on the way home because you don’t feel like microwaving a TV dinner) you buy Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and Frosted Flakes (name brands, not the store):

=$100.00 there.

That’s nearly $200.

Now let’s see what we can do with eating healthier.

At the store:

-Kiwis are 2/$1=$4

-Oranges= $4.00

-Frozen strawberries=$2.50

-Milk of choice=$4.00

-Greek yogurt is .90 on sale=$4.50

-Oatmeal=$2.00

-Whole wheat bread=$3.00

-Whole wheat pasta (or corn)=$2.00

-Laughing Cow wedges (cinnamon and the tomato herb)-$5.00

-Local Grapes-$5.00

-Green beans (canned) are on sale 10/$10=$3.00

-Natural Peanut butter (store brands are now making the natural kind)=$1.50

-Ground Turkey= $3.50

-Local tomatoes= $4.00

-Fresh Spinach=$4.00

-Frozen tilapia=$3.00

-Frozen Salmon=$4.00

-Microwavable brown rice=$2.00

-Tomato Sauce on sale 10/$10= $2.00

-Natural grape jelly-$2.00

-Multi grain english muffins-$2.50

-Stevia packets-$2.00

-Green tea bags=$1.50

-Gallons of water (if you do not have a filter)=$7.00

-Babybel cheese minis=$3.00

-Sliced oven roasted turkey for sandwiches=$2.50

-Eggs=$2.00

-Balance bars pack of 6=$5.00

-Frozen vegetables=$10.00

-Olive oil-$3.00

-Rotisserie Chicken (already cooked-put in fridge and microwave when you want to eat)-$5.00

Guess what that equals to?

$108.50

YES. This was $91.50 cheaper than eating like crap. 

Want to know why the healthy, planned way is probably cheaper in the long run? Eating unhealthy and not monitoring what you are putting into your body usually means you are eating and buying on impulse. When you get hungry, you didn’t plan what to eat, or when to eat so when you suddenly get hungry, you go after the first thing you crave, without a thought as to the dollar amount. Eh, not the best idea.

YOU CAN EAT HEALTHY AND SAVE MORE MONEY THAN EATING POORLY.

I was always broke when I ate like crap. I now monitor my spendings and save money every month. How? I buy my weekly supplies on the weekend, and I usually go to 2-3 different stores as I know where it is cheapest to get certain items (yes, Kroger and Wal-Mart are at the top of my money saving places to get my staples-so no need for fancy stores). Look for sales. Get local produce to get the cheapest, best tasting produce and to support your local economy instead of supporting the scientific farmers that create the produce you see in chain stores like Wal-Mart.

 

Here is a list for you to be able to save next time you go to the store.

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I will start posting daily meals and recipes with these items soon! Or you can go ahead and follow me on Instagram or Twitter and see daily food pics!

 

a

 

 

Meal of The Day- Lobster Pasta!

Healthy Lobster Pasta

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So you’re excuse for not eating right is: on a budget/no time/picky eater or family/I don’t know what to fix.

Who doesn’t like pasta? Who doesn’t like lobster? Not many people.

I made two versions of this awesome dish-one with whole wheat noodles for my guy and then one with zoodles (read: zucchini noodles).

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I got the organic whole wheat pasta from Whole Foods yesterday. If you or your family are new to this healthy eating thing, definitely go with the whole wheat pasta recipe before making them jump in the deep end with the zoodles.

If you are going for the zoodles, here you go!

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I got this spiralizer for under $10 off of amazon. I had seen many people use them and make vegetable ‘noodles’ so I figured I better try it. I was skeptical if my cheap one would work, and it did!

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You literally just put your zucchini (mine is organic- yours should be too or it should be local) after you wash it (yes, wash all vegetables, even organic) and cut the ends off of it. I stuck one end into the spiralizer and twisted it.

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I did need to occasionally chop the pointy end off of the veggie that was in the spiralizer, to be able to twist and make the zoodles properly. Otherwise, it was getting mushy.

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Spiralizing was actually super fun! The zoodles was short at first and I was getting sad because I like long noodles. After a minute though, they got long and awesome.

I went ahead and got the water boiling to cook the whole wheat pasta for my guy and got out the rest of my ingredients:

  • Olive Oil (I used extra virgin, you can use any)
  • Tomatoes (I used home grown from the garden, you can use any type like Roma, cherry, heirloom….)
  • Mozzarella (the fresh block kind)
  • Lobster (or any seafood/meat of your choice)
  • You can also throw in a handful of fresh spinach to make it even better. Or add some fresh cracked pepper for a flavor boost 

Cut your mozzarella into small chunks, they will melt and get stringy quicker. Everyone loves melty, stringy cheese.

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Chop your tomatoes. Get the meat ready (chop it, whatever you need to do as the dish is really quick when you throw it all in the pan on the stove-if your meat choice needs to be cooked, you should do so *prior* to all of this).

Once the whole wheat noodles were cooked, I got them off of the stove and drained. Then I threw them into a big skillet. I topped with all of my ingredients and drizzled with olive oil.

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Start mixing and tossing your ingredients to get them all mixed up and make sure you keep it moving so nothing burns in the dry pan. Your heat on the eye of your stove should not be cranked up all the way. Medium heat does the job just fine. Keep stirring and tossing until the lobster is heated and your cheese is melting. Turn the eye off and let it sit to still heat some in the hot pan. Transfer the mixture into your serving bowl and VOILA.

For the zoodle dish, you do the same thing, except you will put your freshly spiralized zoodles into your pan and then top it with your ingredients.

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Toss around over heat until the lobster is hot and your cheese is nice and gooey. It will be hard to resist eating it before you get it on the plate, I know.

Transfer to your serving plate/bowl. And dig in.

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Final whole wheat product.

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Final zoodle product.

I honestly loved the zoodle dish more than the whole wheat. But they were both great and I am sure you (& your significant other/family/kids/roommate/grandma) will surely love it. This was a good meal that was fairly cheap (Lobster was 2 for $5, pasta was $3.00, tomatoes were home grown, olive oil we already had, and the cheese was $4.00= I spent only $12.00 on feeding my guy and I). This was also a very fast meal. I spent 10 minutes. From start to finish. The longest thing was cooking the wheat pasta and making my zoodles, which I did both at the same time and still, took no time.

NO EXCUSES!

Please let me know if you try this! You can tag me in your meal pictures on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @fitgirlrules

a

Working Out as a Female

As women, we are thought of as fragile, dainty, and very different from men. We always have. We have fought to be thought of as equals in the work place, with earning the bread as well in families, to be able to vote, and to be able to stand side by side our fellow males. So why is it that in the fitness world, women are supposed to be completely different? We are supposed to be cardio queens and not step foot in the weight room unless we are crazy or lesbian according to most of the fellow males of the gym. But why? And why is it that so many women think that cardio is all they should do and all that they need.

False.

Being a cardio queen won’t make you ‘tone’ (note: I hate the word ‘tone’. When most people want to say they just want to ‘tone’ up, it really means they want to lose fat and gain muscle definition) or make you magically able to still eat whatever you want as long as you run for 6 hours afterward.

Pick up some weights. Some heavy ones.

You read that right. You don’t even need to go to the gym in the weight room (where you will more than likely will be judged, looked at oddly, or harassed by the males) if you know what to have at home. Even body weight exercises are great for building some muscle to. I barely know grown men who can knock out 100 burpees in a row (burpee= jump up, squat down and get into plank position, push up, plank position, jump back up-that’s 1) or be able to do many handstand push ups NOT against a wall. It takes some muscles to do any of these.

Why lift? I just want to lose weight. Cardio is great for that right?

Cardio is great at first, when you go from doing nothing to running/biking/whatever it is you want to do. But your body will get used to it. You will get to a point where you running 2 miles everyday is expected and it no longer does anything for your metabolism or health really. By switching it up, you can prevent this from happening. Cardio queens always end up hitting a plateau and they think ‘oh no’. They don’t know what they are doing wrong. They probably also thought they could just start running/cycling/etc and not worry about their diet because they’d lose the weight no matter what. False, again.

Without combining both exercise and keeping up with your food, you won’t really get the results you want, or if you do, it probably won’t last because your habits didn’t actually change and you’ll gain it back.

weights

Don’t just do 80 curls with a 2 lb weight.

Yes. I am saying it. I have seen so many trainers give women a really light weight and tell them to do like a million reps. If you want results, like the kind you see in fitness magazines, if you don’t want to just look skinny, you’ll use a higher weight.

Lift heavy. Monitor what you are eating. Do cardio only a few times a week, for short time.

HIIT cardio is the best cardio if you are looking to maintain your muscle, speed up your metabolism and aren’t a fan of running much. A 10 minute HIIT session will even get your metabolism boosted for the next 48 hours more than a 60 minute steady session.

Building muscle boosts your metabolism.

Muscles burn more than fat. It’s simple. Once you put on some muscle, you will have your metabolism being your friend rather than your enemy.

If you are starving yourself and just doing steady cardio, you have probably pretty much killed your metabolism. It’s near non-existent. You will have to eat, yes, actually eat to reverse your metabolism.

STOP EATING 1000 CALORIES A DAY.

You are probably constantly tired, never have energy, feel miserable and anxious, and hate your life. Wanna know why? YOU HAVE TO FUEL YOUR BODY.

I get so sad seeing all these females eating a 1200 calorie diet a day and then jumping on an elliptical for an hour. You have to eat to see results. You will need to eat often and twice those calories (but with good fats, protein, and carbs) to reverse the damage that has been done.

Yes, I was one of these girls. I starved myself for about a year. I wanted days of only eating 600 calories a day, then I got on the elliptical for 60 minutes minimum. I had just gotten out of high school and cheer/gymnastics. I was clueless on how to live in the real adult world and try to not blow up without my high school sports to keep me active. I wanted to look like a model. But I was clueless on what to do, and how much damage I actually was doing to myself. I would fall asleep at times I really shouldn’t have, and I slept all the time. I was a bitter, angry, worried, and anxious person. When I look back, I honestly hate the person I was.

There needs to be info and help and guides for females to know what really works. I want to help make that happen. If you need help reversing your metabolism after eating 1000 calories a day, after spending endless hours on the treadmill, please contact me. I would love to help you get on the right track. I really want to change the myths of getting in shape and being healthy.

 

I genuinely want to help.

 

Email me: ashhealthgirl@gmail.com

 

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Supplements-Are they actually worth it?

In the big bad world of fitness and health are thousands upon thousands up supplements. Some are to be the ‘miracle pill’ or tea, or whatever to make you lose weight and gain muscle overnight. This is false. I don’t care what the product is, not possible. But behind all of the giant companies with their false ads, are the little guys hiding that are actually worth a damn. I, myself, take only a small amount of supplements. I mean, I barely even make protein shakes with powdered whey after my workout as I workout from home and prefer to get my protein from real sources, or I would rather have a protein bar (with good macros of course) rather than stand at the blender and have to suck down this huge shake before I shower (I have skin problems and need to shower pretty quick after sweating so much). I could wait until after I shower, but depending on my womanly duties of shaving every inch of my body every so often, I might end up going past the time window you should consume your protein to recover and hold on to your muscle mass [30 minutes after working out you should consume your post-workout/protein]. So, I have started taking BCAAs as soon as I finish my workout with a glass of water as well as shove a small protein bar in my mouth (I am an attractive lady, can’t you tell?). But, as I always say, to each their own. If you are into whey protein (the giant tubs of protein in varieties of flavors in almost any store, pharmacy, or health store) and want to mix it with water in your blender bottle at the gym (**pic of blender bottle for the new people to this lifestyle, you can buy these pretty much anywhere, online, Target, CVS, and so on**) blender b   then go for it. I personally still feel the chalky, gritty powder and I would prefer to blend it actually in a blender, with milk and ice (to make it thick like a milkshake) to make it enjoyable to me. I think a lot of fitness people choose the blender bottle with milk or water for their protein intake after the gym because they feel like they have to. Like it’s their only choice. I think life is too short and I am going to enjoy how I have my protein, simple as that. Another thing very popular right now is Quest Bars. You can find them online or at health stores (think GNC, Vitamin Shop, Whole Foods, etc) and they have several different flavors.

quest bar

I have tried them, and I hate them. I tried baking them, broiling them, with yogurt, everything I could think of. So many people love them (like, use them for everything in baking and even bake small pieces to make a ‘cereal’) but I just can’t stand them.

There are many other brands out there that I enjoy and are still macro friendly.

My favorite at the moment, are the Balance Bar brand. Delicious, macro friendly, so many flavors, affordable, and a good size. Some protein bars out there are huge and ridiculous in my opinion. My favorite flavor currently is cookie dough.

Balance Bar Cookie Dough Close

Supplements are tricky. You can take a pill form for pretty much any and all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need to have in a day’s time, but is that what we should do? Instead of eating healthy foods take a pill? You should always try and get your nutrients from FOOD FIRST. The pill route is great if you really are struggling with a deficiency, but try and get what you are looking for in food forms.

With that said, I am not big on supplements. I do not believe your body absorbs the pill form on nutrients the way it does wholesome foods. Your body is meant to use the food as it’s fuel (like the gas to your car), but the pill form is just another man made route to try and make life ‘easier’. We as a society are so lazy we would rather take vitamins in a pill than eat some damn vegetables. That’s sad.

These are the only things I am using at the moment, and I have my reasons for each one.

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BCAAs. For recovering after a hard lifting session and to hold on to the muscle you have worked hard for. BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids. This is the number one supplement out there with the most research pointing towards success and only good things from it. If you are wanting to diet down but also gain muscle, it’s nearly an oxymoron. But BCAAs make it possible. BCAAs and glutamine are natural amino acids that are actually already in our bodies. They are building blocks for muscles.

Glutamine.

Like BCAAs, glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that your body already produces. It’s a building block for building and maintaining those rock hard muscles.

Cellucor HD

Many people take preworkouts. There are powdered forms, and pill forms. I have tried a few. The Cellucor C4 (powdered preworkout) is great if you can deal with powdered mix drinks. I bought some in Strawberry Margarita, but just mixing it with water in my blender bottle wasn’t doing it for me. If I mixed it with hot water and put it in the fridge like Koolaid, I might be happier, oh well. I’ll try that later I guess. So I take the HD pill as my preworkout. It is a fat burner as well gets you pepped up with energy and able to focus on my gainzzz (read: working out hard to build muscle). I do not suggest taking more than one a day. I simply take one about 60-90 minutes before my workout. The bottle says take one in the morning and then one during the afternoon. Don’t get hooked on things like this. It also has high caffeine amounts, which may interrupt your sleeping at night. Many people have said they also had problems with their stomach when taking this. It is probably because the back of the bottle says twice a day and even suggests taking up to 3 a day. Please take caution when taking supplements. Take it for what you need/want it for and no more.

Cellucor CLK

Raspberry ketones is a chemical taken from red raspberries and there have been a few researches done that shows this chemical to increase the metabolism. I only started taking this as a sort of trial and error experiment. I had someone tell me they swore they were seeing abs because they took ketones with every meal. I am still skeptical, but this was a good price as an add on from an online health order so I thought I would try it. I have not noticed any ‘miracles’ like Dr. Oz himself tried to claim from this chemical in a pill form. I have noticed my #2 is red now and it scared me like no other at first (TMI, but I don’t want anyone else worried if they do try this product).

Combining the CLK and HD are supposed the Cellucor duo to seeing amazing results. I have been taking the two for about a week, so there is still time to see. I am the guinea pig to try and tell you if it really works or just save your money.

**For preworkouts, you can also simply eat. Eat carbs, eat something like an english muffin (whole grain) with a little natural peanut butter. Or eat a banana. Or drink some coffee. It is NOT necessary to consume a preworkout**

A lot of people are also taking fish oil daily. I personally consume a good amount of fish naturally. I am a sucker for fresh sushi rolls from Whole Foods, as well as stocking my freezer with shrimp, scallops, salmon, and other white fish from the same store (try and get your seafood from reliable sources). Fish oil can help with high blood pressure and high bad cholesterol levels, as well as for women with painful periods. Fish oil has many, many good reasons to take it, but like I said above, FOOD FIRST BEFORE PILLS. I have upped my fish intake because I have been battling depression the last few months due to a tragedy I dealt with. And I will say, eating right, drinking enough water, getting rest, working out and eating the fish has all worked in making me hopeful and happy. Not just one miracle thing works. You have to be willing to do everything it takes to be happy and healthy, in every aspect of the words.

What I am trying to say is:

  • To be fit, you do NOT require to spend loads of $$ of supplements. You can see results and have great health without a pill or supplement in sight.
  • If you choose to take supplements, do your research on what you should take and the results and/or side effects that may occur. You should also research the brand you are looking into.
  • For some supplements, you need to make sure you aren’t being scammed. Probiotics, for example, are live cultures. Like what is in most yogurts. They should be chilled. If you are buying an antibiotic and it’s not in the fridge section, you may want to research more about the brand.
  • Read reviews. Yes, things work differently for everyone. But if you look up something and it’s nothing but 300 people saying they hated it and it was a waste of money, you probably should look for something else.

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Fad dieting: the breakdowns of the latest fads out there

This change can be overwhelming mainly because of all the different diets, the different workouts, the different plans, and the different facts you are hearing from everywhere. One person is crossfitting and eating all the bacon they can handle (Paleo) and getting like Hulk, while another person is dropping weight by going vegan and running half marathons daily. What should you do? Where should you start? Here is a guide to help you towards your own personal goals.

 

The Diets

There are really so many out there with so many ‘success stories’ that I can see why pretty much any and all of them can seem tempting to you. But I will list the diet fad with it’s rules and regulations as well as my thoughts about it. You can always make your own judgement I just want you well equipped out there as many people want you to join their fad (**read cult**) for their own gains in some sort.

 

Atkins

Where do I even begin? Please do not think you can some how have a ‘no carb’ diet. This doesn’t exist if you even only eat plants. Atkins is the low carb diet, with the products in the store (sometimes the same aisle as the protein bars, which saddens me when I am doing my stocking up) that supposedly have zero to no carbs. This diet is practically a giant lie through and through. Carbs are in everything but water. Carbs are your friend, no matter what this diet tries to sell you.

 

SlimFast

I shutter at the thought of only eating the SlimFast line of products. With SlimFast, you are to choose from their range of products (shakes, meal bars, snack bars, so on) for two meals and two snacks and then having a balanced dinner. My problem with SlimFast is the chemical shit storm on that ingredient list. If you want a protein shake for a meal, make one in a blender with ingredients you know where they came from. (Protein powder of your choice+milk of choice+ add fruit or ice as desired, BLEND boom)

Paleo

Paleo is the cave man diet that is big in the Crossfit world. You don’t eat dairy, grains, processed foods, legumes, starches, and of course alcohol. But you can eat all the meat you want. Some say fruits are okay, lots of the followers say no because it’s sugar. It’s the diet the beginning humans used to have, because it’s all they had. Hunting and harvesting was all they knew of when it come to survival. My opinion on this is the fact that it sounds like a good idea, but then there are the people who eat mounds of bacon and think it’s great, it’s Paleo. And legumes? They are full of protein and fiber. They come from the earth. Along with wheat and grains. I do not know why you would simply rid your diet of whole food groups unless you are diagnosed with a medical problem, especially food groups that come from the earth. I am just not comfortable with a diet that restrictive.

Gluten Free

The latest craze of the ‘fad diet’ world. I see Gluten Free all over the shelves of the grocery stores now. But is it all that you think it is? Is it that miracle to all miracles? You know why things with gluten are actually poor for your health? The refined garbage and bleached flours are what’s hurting you. Gluten is the elasticity to hold the breads and doughs in baked goods together. It’s the little bubbles when you bake bread. It gives bread the consistency it needs to be that texture, and that fluffy feeling. Yes, gluten is the devil for people with certain diseases. But for everyone else? The gluten free crap on the shelf is full of other terrible things for you. You lose the gluten and replace it with probably 8 more ingredients that are worse. If you do feel better with the gluten free lifestyle, make your gluten free things at home, please. Otherwise, stick with whole wheat. Whole wheat, not white, is best for you. Whole grains are good for the body as well as your soul in my opinion. Having a freshly made tomato sauce with some whole wheat noodles along with a big helping of a fresh mixed greens salad topped with fresh lemon juice. My soul would be complete. As well as my body loving me.

Vegan

Vegan is when you have no, NO animal products. No dairy, no meat, nothing. There are lots of vegan junk food out there though, so if you choose this route, please know you can still be unhealthy. Raw Vegan is the best choice. You eat strictly plant based foods and just as it sounds-the uncooked versions. You can eat bananas and carrots all day. You can make smoothies by blending bananas and other fruits with ice. You can do the juicing of raw fruits and veggies. If you can stick with this diet without feeling deprived (that mental stability I am always talking about) is what you need to keep in mind when you choose a diet that is right for you to follow.

Raw Til 4

This diet is for the people who love the idea of Raw Vegan but don’t know if they can stick with it strictly and able to keep it together mentally. Raw Til 4 is when you keep it raw vegan (plants/fruits/veggies) uncooked until 4 pm. After, most people say to only have cooked vegetables and whole grains (have potatoes and brown rice for example) while others are more lenient (I support this one the most, it’s more likely you could stick to it for a lifetime, day in and day out) after 4 with grilled fish and other items. I fully support the Raw Til 4 diet and the people I have heard from about this diet are extremely happy-mentally and physically. You can stick with it for the longterm versus a lot of the other diets.

Fruitarian

This is the Raw Vegan life  but you only live off of fruits. This is a good idea, except having a vegetable is actually not bad for you. This is like the banana diet craze going around. I hate bananas (yes, I hate it, they are so good for you) but you can do so much with them and they are amazing for you. Saying that though, spinach is great for you too. To each their own on this one. I could eat pounds of kiwis don’t get me wrong. I just feel you would lose nutrients from other sources with this.

Counting Calories

The old fashioned diet. My mother believes, still, in religiously counting calories daily. Calories in needs to be lower than calories out. This is usually the way of life for people with a rocky relationship with food, especially in eating disorders (namely anorexia). Yes, the logic is there. Yes it works. 1) Do you really know how many calories you need in a day, to maintain/gain/lose? The only way to know this is to calculate your needs. You can find calculators for this formula online to make it easy (such as http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories). A lot of factors make up how much you need. Using My Fitness Pal app on your phone will help find this number as well. 2) 2000 calories of donuts versus 2000 calories of vegetables is made up completely different. Other factors should be involved. If life was so easy that you could simply only worry about calories for the rest of forever and be healthy, it’d be great. But life is complicated and messy. And so is being healthy.

IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros aka Macro Counting)

Spinning off from calorie counting, you can count the major nutrients you need in your diet, how your calories are made up in a day. Your macros are protein, fats and carbs. How you do this diet is keeping track of what you eat in a day and figuring out what percentage of your calories in the entire day were from each source (carbs, protein, fats). My Fitness Pal does this breakdown easily for you. So if you should be eating 2300 calories a day, you plug in your intakes for the day (you can plan ahead and plug in or plug in as you go) and see the breakdown of your macros to know if you are on track or not.This is my style. This is the diet I mainly stick with. Yes, it’s time consuming to keep up with everything you put into your mouth, but once you get the hang of hitting your macros, you kind of know how to do it. You can stop plugging in the numbers, unle/s you are on contest prep or something.

Clean Eating

This is the purest of the pure. You would have to eliminate it all, the process, preservatives, all the crap that comes from the modern food pretty much everyone consumes in today’s day and age. You only eat whole, natural foods. No refined sugars, flour, nothing. You would replace everything with the purely natural. Honey and pure stevia for sweetening (or pure organic fruit juice). You would make nearly everything from scratch. This is quite the commitment. The problem with this diet, is the sanity. This is the main diet I talk about then I say you have to have mental stability with the diet you choose. Clean eating can cause people to become beyond obsessive. What kind of life is it to worry about everything you eat, not being able to go out with friends to a restaurant, not ever being able to eat foods other people make most of the time. This is great for people who really can just eat organic, grass fed chicken boobs and brown rice day in and day out. It’s wonderful in perspective and on paper, but it’s hard in action. It is hard in real life. And it can cause disordered eating in a different aspect. A lot of people in the fitness world who were once very very strict with clean eating (especially on contest diets) have an eating disorder. They are obsessed with every food that touches their lips. They breathe eating clean and figuring out what is in every food out there. This is a disorder. It is the same as anorexia, just a different approach. If you are living every day worrying about what to eat, when to eat, what you are eating, it’s a problem. If you choose this way, please, please, please be careful. Please do not be so strict and hard on yourself. Life is short. If you become obsessive and disorded, please seek help. Please stop while you are ahead and evaluate everything. Your mental health should never be replaced with the ‘goal body’.

The 80/20 Rule

This is the way you can balance the clean eating with finding balance and harmony with all the the foods you love but you know aren’t good for you at all. This is the ideal diet. Moderation. You spend 80% of your time eating whole, natural foods that fuel your body the right way. The other 20% is what you love (pizza, cookies, a small french fry through the drive through). This is the break you need from the healthy world. If it’s recommended to rest from working out at least once a week, why wouldn’t the rule apply to your eating? You need a break from it all once in a while. It’s good for you. I personally follow this lifestyle along with the IIFYM. I have never been better. Never been happier. Never been in a size 4 pants before. But here I am (with my brand new size 4 jeans I bought yesterday). I just fill up on fruits and veggies first, think like the Raw Til 4 diet, except not so strict. I try to eat really well breakfast and lunch. I am a little more lenient for dinner (it’s also usually my refuel after working out right now-I work out after lunch most days since leaving the desk life). I am not saying I go get a Big Mac (gross, sorry, but I just can’t do McDs) for dinner, but I will have a burger my boyfriend grilled, I will get a steak and veggies at Outback (even get a sweet tea if I feel like). This is a good lifestyle you can stick with and still be happy and healthy all the way around.

Intermittent Fasting

This is big in the fitness world right now. You fast for a certain number of hours (let’s say you don’t eat from 8 pm until noon the next day). Yes there is science behind this, but I do not know many people who can starve themselves that long without going crazy. For most people, fasting and starving only equals binging later on, and usually on terrible foods (three double cheeseburgers and a milkshake, with a side of brownies). You have to have some serious discipline and dedication for this one. I really have only heard/seen major success from this from the males who try it. I have heard of men even helping their vitals at the doctor with this diet. Yet again, it is what works for you and your body, mind, and soul.

Carb Cycling

With this, it is like the fasting up above, but you have high carbs days (like on work out days, leg day, etc) and then low carb days (like rest day, or active rest, light activity). You need mad discipline. You will need to stay away from peanut butter, oatmeal, and so on. You will live off of chicken boobs, veggies and so on. No rice. Little fruit (read sugars=carbs). It would suck. But it works for some people.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this has helped you feel a little bit more educated and equipped to be able to choose the right style of eating and diet you think is best for you. Your body is different from mine. It’s different from the last person you saw. It’s different from Jim Bob down the road. You have to figure out what is best for you. It needs to keep you healthy: mind. body. soul. If it doesn’t, try something else. You need to find what you can stick with for the long haul if you want results, if you want change. Not just for this week or month.

 

If you have questions, please let me know.

ashhealhthgirl@gmail.com

 

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