tips

Leg Day Workout

If you are looking to torch those legs, here’s the workout I did today that will really leaving your legs feeling like jelly (I was shaking for an hour after)

HEAVY back squats (I did these on the Smith Machine)

First set is warm up, so use a light weight (sometimes you can just use the bar to warm up and worry more on form than resistance). 15 Reps.

12/12. Add weights that cause you to struggle starting on 9-10. Add more weight (it can just be a small amount) each set. GO DEEP. Sit back like you are trying to sit down on a chair. If you struggle on activating your hips first before your knees or have a hard time sitting back, do box squats where you literally squat down and back until your booty lightly sits on a bench/chair/box and then immediately come back up. Keep the chest up and head tall. If you are just starting, try to keep your knees behind the toes. Have feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly pointed outwards.

10/10. Use the heaviest weight you can. Make sure you have the form down correctly before going as heavy as you can. Push through your heels, thinking about almost lifting your toes up.

smith m

-Leg Press

I did another warm up set of 15. Light weight.

12/12. Heavy weight where you start struggling again starting at rep 9-10.

10. Push through your heels. Feet shoulder width apart just like in your squats.

leg press

-Leg Extensions (feet together) superset with 10 squat jumps

12. Heavy enough weight it is hard at reps 9-10. FLEX your quads at the top of the motion.

10/10. Heavy weight. Increase weight for each set.

leg ext

-Leg Extension (each leg separate) superset with 10 jumping lunges (alternating legs)

12. Flex quad at the top of the motion.

10/10. Heavy weight. Keep the rest of your body stable and from moving.

single leg

-Walking Plate Lunges

3 sets of 10.

Holding plates in each hand by your side, do walking lunges where you have room. 1 rep=lunge on EACH leg.

lunge

-Sumo Goblet Squats (10 pulses on the last rep of each set)

12/12. Holding a dumb bell like a goblet in your hands in front of you, stand in a wide stance (wider than shoulder width apart) and squat low, sitting back. Pulse 10X on last rep, while sitting low and deep.

10/10. Raise your weight. Repeat as before, pulsing 10X on the last rep in your low squat.

goblet

-Standing Calf Raises SuperSet with Seated Calf Raises

12/12. For standing, you can start like a squat with a barbell (or Smith Machine) and literally come up on to your toes, flex your calf muscle, and go down. For seated, if your gym has the machine for calf raises, use it, or you can use a dumbbell/barbell resting on your knee(s) and simply lift the heels and point your toe, flexing your calf at the top of the motion, and back down.

10/10. Repeat.

calf raises                               SeatedCalfRaise              Seated_Calf_Raise

 

Finish with 15 minutes on the Stair Master OR do 20 minutes HIIT on the treadmill alternating every 30 sec from sprinting to walking on an incline.

 

DON’T FORGET TO STRETCH GUYS!

 

a

College Life-Balancing it All

I am a college student. I also work two jobs. And I already have one college degree, so you could call me a seasoned professional at this thing. I am seeing so many students struggling though, and it’s only been a month into the semester, so I jot down a few key things to help everyone out with handling stress as a college student (most of these can be used for life in general, really).

 

stress

College can be pretty overwhelming. Especially for freshmen coming in.

1.) Being away from home. College usually means students are just now getting out of the house where their parents handled the bills and took everything, so this is the first time they have to become an adult and figure out surviving on their own. This can be intimidating at first.

2.) Also, college kids are having to learn time management as most of us have to work as well as go to school to be able to pay for living and some school fees. Having to balance a job (or two) as well as schoolwork can be hard at first.

3.) Financial stresses are big problem when it comes to college kids. A lot of us can’t have a full time or decent job due to or schedules, so retail, food, and small jobs is where we have to be stuck at, and it’s not a lot of money. You have to stretch a dollar to go far.

4.) Many classes with lots of homework/projects/tests. Until you can figure out what type of classes and how many difficult classes you can handle on your plate in one semester, you can sometimes overload yourself when choosing your schedule until you figure it out. If you choose to have Chemistry, Econ, Trig, Anatomy, and Biology in one semester, you’re going to have a hard time.

5.) Time management (or lack thereof). When you go to college, you’ll need to work, stay on top of schoolwork, but you also want to be social. This is where you make the best friends of your life they say, but how can you pencil any social time in when you are overloaded on all of the other things? You have to manage your time and realize what is needed to be done and when you can have fun. A lot of college students will have fun and forget the assignments until last minute and then mess up and their grades reflect, causing more stress.

 

stopstress

 

How To Balance it:

Invest in a planner, or a calendar. You can even get a calendar that can be wiped off weekly/monthly to keep up with things. Due dates and test dates can creep up on you and if you are not aware of them and can see them often, you may lose track and then be lost when they actually come to be. I always try to grab schedules and the syllabus for each class on day one and mark when things are due for the semester that first week so I know what is going on for each and every class and when. You have to be prepared to succeed in college. This also gives you some more room to breathe.

It’s great to have fun, but get your tasks done FIRST. You can go out and get a drink with buddies one night a week, sure. But only after you have done your homework and studied already. Do not go out every night (I know it sounds appealing) but you need rest and you should actually be studying and reading for your more difficult classes DAILY. The more you review things, the more you will remember and it will make more sense to you. Do not spend thousands of dollars to come to college to party and waste your time being a social butterfly. Figure out what your real priorities are NOW, don’t wait until it’s too late and you flunk all your classes.

 

social

Use the resources your school offers. Did you know part of your tuition fees you get access to counselors, tutors, library study groups and so much more? Yes. This is true. You can get tutoring, counseling for handling stress, even visit the dietitian to help with eating right for FREE. Why not use these resources? You can be a very balanced and happy student just by using the school’s awesome resources.

Always remember your health. Many of us sit at a desk for hours on end doing schoolwork and studying, and then we feel sluggish, tired, and achy. Stretch some, go for a walk in the sunshine. Tell yourself that for every hour you spend in the library, you will get up and walk somewhere for 10 minutes and then come back. You will feel refreshed and not as frazzled. Also, be sure you aren’t getting all your food from the golden arches, a dollar menu, or being passed to you in your car through a window. You need energy to handle college properly, and this is a big key to staying energized and focused. Also be sure you get 7 or more hours of sleep. 7-9 is the best range I have found for me to keep my brain power fueling. Drink all the caffeine you want, but it doesn’t compare to actual sleep.

 

coffee

Take ME time. Being around roommates, friends, fellow students constantly can be draining in it’s own way. Find a past time or hobby that is just for you and something you enjoy. It could be rock climbing, reading, going to the gym, doing puzzles, playing a video game, going to Pet Land and petting each and every puppy in the store, or just waking up to watch the sunrise alone with a cup of joe. You have to find balance in life. Life is short, and you should want to spend it being successful and working hard, yes, but you also need to slow down once in a while and ENJOY yourself. Balance is key.

 

 

 

P.S

BTW I have my eBook pretty much ready….Except it’s on my laptop…which is not turning on and at the ‘doctor’ right now. So bear with me guys 😀

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

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.

20140717_132919

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

 

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:

IMG_20140715_221242

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).

 

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

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

 

 

My Arguments Against ‘Clean Eating’

One of the most frustrating things I keep seeing in this world and fitness/health industry is the finger pointing game. I find it ridiculous that if you have found a diet you like, that works for you, and you can stick with for the long term (this commitment should be up there with marriage guys, it’s serious) than that is great for you. So what if someone else is finding results doing something way different from you. We should embrace each other and be happy they found something that works for them. You don’t have to follow it. Just support them. But instead, everyone acts 5 years old and accuses each other of doing things wrong, without much research and backing into their argument. Which is silly.

clean

Clean eating is the idea that you never eat anything bad for you, which is, pretty much everything in this world. Only eat organic, never eat preservatives, never eat refined sugars, never eating pre packaged food. Pretty much, this is a very strict lifestyle.

One of the arguments of clean eating being the ‘only’ way you can become healthy and fit is that all of the ‘chemicals’ in food are bad for you. Yes, some of the chemicals that have been added to your food are terrible, and some of them are cancer causing agents. But saying all chemicals that are in food are bad for you, really isn’t a valid argument when that organic orange naturally is made up of chemicals. If you have taken any science class in high school or higher, you know this. Chemicals make up nearly every substance in this world. Yes, man has made some chemicals and have added them to foods that are terrible. Yes, try to steer clear of these. But to say all chemicals are bad, that’s a little far fetched.

There are also so many different ‘rules’ of clean eating, that it’s just a headache just to look into it and know what you are getting into. There are lists like this one going around the internet:

list

Yet most hardcore clean eaters wouldn’t touch any cheese, Kashi products, etc with a 10 foot pole. Most serious clean eaters stick with the unsweetened almond milk, sweeten things only with stevia drops (pure stevia), eat plain greek yogurt from brands they do serious research on (or make their own) and only eat organic, local foods. They hardly eat wheat, especially processed pre-made pastas. This list wouldn’t be too bad actually, so if you could just stick with it, I doubt it would be that bad. But that’s usually just the gateway for most. It’s like people with Anorexia, they don’t start just starving themselves right off the bat usually, they start small with a diet and lose a few pounds and then it becomes extreme because they love the feeling and dropping the weight. If you could simply stick with this diet and this list and never go further, great. Good for you. For most, this is just the beginning of the dive into the deep end, head first.

Clean eating is supposed to be a great way for you to eat without counting anything, keeping up with any intakes, just as long as it’s clean. Hmmm. Let’s go over this. So you are saying I can go from counting my calories/macros and as long as I eat strictly ‘clean’ I will still lose weight and can see my dream body in the mirror in a couple of months, then? WRONG. Calories in < Calories out. It’s the equation for weight loss, whether you like it or not. If you are bulking, you will either have calories in = calories out or calories in > calories out. If you go with your clean eating ways, you could fall in love with organic plan greek yogurt and go eating 3 tubs a day of it. You are 2000 calories over your maintenance. Oh no, your shorts aren’t fitting. But went wrong? Oh right, your calories went high so you gained. It’s science, guys. Science doesn’t lie.

Binge

Another downfall of the clean eating hype is the problem of being so strict. Most people who are deep in their clean eating ways become so obsessive of every morsel of every single thing that enters their mouth. Which is a problem. This causes a spiral down into the deep dark cave of disordered eating in it’s way. These people become obsessive to the point they are constantly checking ingredients in foods, scolding those around them for eating ‘bad foods’ and if they have a treat or binge, they hate themselves even deeper than usual because those foods were so ‘terrible’ for them. When it comes to the Battle of the Binge (I will be posting about this soon), I think it is the clean eaters I see dealing with this problem the most. It’s because they are trying so hard to restrict themselves and when a craving finally takes them over, they go nuts and can’t stop. And then they feel guilt for days. What kind of life is that? Would you call this living?

You can combine clean eating with being a human being, I swear. The 80/20 rule is what most people should live by. Eat 80% healthy wholesome foods but if you get a craving, give into the damn thing and have a slice of cake. If you don’t give into these cravings once in a while, you will go nearly insane whether you admit it or not and then you will binge on all the junk food in your house in one night. You will save your sanity, your gut, and your calorie intake a lot of trouble if you just give into the damn cookie calling your name.

 

 

Yoga for the Splits

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Here are some great poses to get your hamstrings and inner thighs stretched out.

Top Left: Triangle pose is great to prepare for the deeper stretches. I always start my stretching and yoga practices on my feet, bending more in my hips and simply letting my upper body drop and focus on my breathing. Whether I start with a forward fold or triangle, it’s a great start. For this pose, separate your legs, one in front of the other. Bend your front leg, take your hand opposite of your front leg, place it on the mat next to your foot and breathe, looking up at your other hand that is straight in the air.

Top Middle: Go straight from triangle pose into warrior (or lunge) simply by changing your upper body position to straight up. Find the deepest lunge you can by bending yous front knee more, pushing your back leg as straight and far as you can without dropping your back leg at all. It should be straight, not bent.

Top Right: Bring your back knee down to the floor slowly from Warrior. From this lunge position, straighten your front leg and bring your booty back over your back knee only slightly, you should not look like your are sitting on your back leg at all. Lean your chest down towards your front leg, place your hands on either side of your foot, trying to even get your fingers past your toes by reaching out as far as you can. Breathe and try to get your nose to your knee.

Middle Left: Pigeon Pose. If I had to chose a favorite yoga pose, it’d be this one. It’s a hamstring and hip opened. I love it so much for so many reasons. I make my girls I coach do it often for many things. Simply bend your front leg, like a half Indian sit children do. Keep yous back leg straight. Try and push yourself further down deeply in your hamstrings. It hurts so good.

Middle Middle: In Pigeon, simply fold forward. Try to place your forehead on the ground, your arms straight out by your head. Reach far with your fingers. Feel the stretch from within your inner legs. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes and listen to your heart pumping.

Middle Right: Come up, and still in pigeon, bend your back leg and grab your foot. Be sure to keep your upper body straight with this, chest is up.

Bottom Right: Mermaid. From the bent leg pigeon pose as above, place your back foot in your elbow if you can, and clasp hands together behind you. This takes hamstring and back flexibility (don’t worry, you will fall over a few times in the beginning, I did too).

NOW SPLIT! The Bottom Middle and Bottom Left are me in my bad leg splits. One has me we chest up, trying to push myself down, and the other is being in a split and simply folding over your front leg, putting your chest on your leg if you can with hands reaching out in front by your head. To get into the split, get back into the lunge with bent front leg, then straighten it like in the pose in the Top Right pic, and simply try to slide down as far as you can!

Middle Split

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For middle splits, there are a lot of poses to work on.

  • Sit in pike (feet together, straight legs in front of you/like a forward fold but sitting) and bend over, trying to lay your chest on your legs, putting your nose to your knee, reaching your hands out in front, past your feet.
  • Straddle your legs (separate out to the sides, still straight) and point your toes. You will bend to each side, going straight towards the leg and then also going to the side (side bend). When bending forward toward your leg, your chest is down, trying to get it on your leg, nose to knee, you can grab on to your foot or reach past it. Do on other leg. For going to the side, sit straight up in your straddle sit, arms up by your ears, now fold from your middle and bend towards that leg. Switch to the other leg.
  • While still in straddle, sit straight up, arms straight up by your ears, now fold forward, trying to get your forehead/chest on the ground in front you. Walk your hands slowly out in front of you as far as you can. Be sure you keep your legs straight out, your knees facing up towards the sky.
  • Bring your legs in from straddle, so that your legs are bent with knees out the side and your feet are together right in front of you. This is the butterfly sit you probably did in PE in school. Try to bring your feet in as close as you can, and push your knees down with your elbows. Hold. Breathe. Now push your feet out slightly and try to fold forward, trying to put your nose to your feet. Breathe.
  • Get up onto your knees, separate your legs as far as you can while on all fours, push down, pushing your knees further and further away (like a middle split but with bent legs rather than straight). Drop your upper body to the ground and hold. We call this the frog sit/froggy in gymnastics/cheer. This helps to get that deep stretch you get in the middle split, minus the pain if you have not mastered the actual split yet. This also helps with healing injuries and soreness in the leg/hamstring/glute area. Try to do this stretch with your chest up, holding yourself up on your hands, trying to bring your booty down to get a deeper hamstring stretch.
  • Now do for the actual split. Go down into it slowly. If you go into any of your splits very quickly and uncontrolled, you may pull something and won’t be able to stop yourself. Please be cautious.

 

 

Happy Stretching!

 

-a