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FAQ/Q&A

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

-a

Benefits of Writing IT DOWN

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

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. 

 

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

 

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

 

Happy Working out guys!

 

-a

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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Quick Tips

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

fad

 

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

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

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

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

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

no fad

DETOX

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

DETOX 101

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

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

 

You need fat/carbs/food

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

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

LOW FAT/LOW CARB/NO CALORIE=CHEMICAL STORM

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

 

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

 

-a

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.

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

 

 

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

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