women’s health

The Right Kind of Goals-Setting Yourself Up for SUCCESS

goalSHORT TERM GOALS VS LONG TERM-WHICH IS BETTER?

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

possibl

SHORT TERM GOALS=SEEING SUCCESS AND RESULTS QUICKER

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

PROCESS GOALS VERSUS PRODUCT GOALS

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

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

 

Now, what do you want to accomplish?

 

 

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

Changing Your Habits By Just Changing Your Thinking

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

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

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

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

Think of changing this way:

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

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

Make your favorite dishes, but healthier!

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

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

A Day in the Life of this Ginger

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

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

Workout Followed by Breakfast

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

My workout was:

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

 

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

 

postowkrout

 

YUM! Protein bar and all natural vanilla greek yogurt!

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

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

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

lunch

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

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

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

snack

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

fruit

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

Then, my favorite meal came.

Dinner.

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

Healthy Burritos

gr tturk

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

topping

Also needed:

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

-Black Beans

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

-Salsa of choice

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

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

-Brown rice if you want

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

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

burrito magic

BURRITO MAGIC

yeahhh

YUM.

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

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

pb cup

Soooo good.

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

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

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It was a good day.

Happy Tuesday!

-a

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!

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

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

Happy Shopping!

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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!

 

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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!

 

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Importance of Stretching-Even if you don’t workout

The latest craze in the world, especially in the female population, has been yoga. And there is a good reason why! Yoga gets your body moving, it helps you escape from your stressful daily life, it moves your body when you have been sitting at a desk all week, for 40 hours or more. It helps you get a break from studying for school. It helps you get the blood pumping, release energy, actually even build muscle slowly over time. Stretching has so many benefits, whether you are suffering from insomnia, stress, feeling bloated or tired, having the usual back pain from sitting too long, or to prevent/heal injuries. Stretching has so many amazing benefits, you would have to be a fool not to get into it!

Yoga, stretching, whatever you want to call it

You don’t even have to necessarily do ‘yoga’. You don’t have to know those crazy poses and moves. I can barely pronounce them myself, so you don’t need to know them either. I just want you to understand even bending down and touching your toes (forward fold) and breathing deeply for a couple of minutes to escape and gain some sanity back during a hectic work day. By doing this daily, you will eventually be able to completely fold over, touching your nose to your knees with your legs straight, reaching your hands behind your feet. And you will feel alive and awesome.

Start small-it’ll make a difference

If you are already working out, you can probably handle more advanced things, but still, be careful. Don’t go jumping into a full on split too quick and rip a hammy (pulling a hamstring hurts- I am still recovering from an injury 6 years ago in my show-off cheerleading days. This injury is what got me into yoga and stretching daily). Start with downward dog, deep lunging, warrior poses, table pose, and simple things. I started with simply typing in ‘Yoga for Beginners’ and following some yoga people on Instagram (yogagirl, beachyogagirl, and ellefit are some of my personal faves). Don’t EVER think to do good at yoga you have to be able to hold a handstand for 8 hours and do fancy stuff like that. Just trying it, even if the most advanced you get is wheel pose (a back bend or bridge to normal people), you are doing the best you can and that’s amazing.

‘But I already work out’

Yeah, so do I. And I get a good workout even at work. But guess what? Yoga and stretching should be done even more by people who work out a lot. The more flexible your muscles are, the more work you can do, the more movement you can do and the less likely you are to pull something or become injured. Stretching after working out also prevents some soreness, and injuries. Even if you are a strong Hulk, you can benefit tremendously from stretching.

Prevents joint pain, arthritis, back pain, spinal problems, lowering heart attack risk,help reduce depression/anxiety/stress

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to pick up the habit of stretching, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes a day? Working out does wonders. If you stretch in the morning, you can get some energy to make it through the day ahead and feel lighter on your feet. If you stretch after eating a big meal, you can help prevent stomach aches and bloating. If you stretch before bed you can help your body go into relax mode and drift right off to sleep.

You don’t need a class, you don’t even technically need to go out and buy a yoga mat

Yeah, they’re cute and all. But do you actually need a yoga mat? No. If you have carpet or rugs, you are totally fine. The yoga mats are more useful for hard wood/tile floors or stretching outside. Save money and just use your carpet in the bedroom as your stretching area.

Build up to the advanced moves

I was a gymnast and cheerleader for a long time. Now I coach. I could handle jumping right into head/forearm/hand stands with no problem. I can also do back bends all day. You may never have done a sport in your life. And that is totally fine. Start with trying to do head stands against the wall if you feel comfortable, but please read up on proper form, possibly ask an instructor to guide you some one on one (try to find a cheap beginner class at the local rec center or YMCA and ask to get extra help after class) or at least make sure you have another person to help spot you and hold your legs if needed to ensure you put your weight on your hands (or elbows depending on your position you choose to execute the head stand) and not on your neck or any other bad area. The easiest way to get into a headstand is to lace your fingers together in front of you, place your hands on the floor and place the top of your skull into your palms. Straighten your legs with your toes pointed and still on the ground. Try and test putting your weight on your elbows that are bent and on the ground (your forearms are on the ground as well as you are still clasping your head). Now jump your legs into a tuck position (knees bent, feet off of the ground). Make sure you are sucking in your belly, keeping your spine and neck straight, supporting your balance in your forearm and elbows. Now straighten your legs with your toes to the sky. Squeeze your booty and stay tight. If you are using the wall a lot for support in the beginning, that’s okay. Stay in this position as long as you can to try and get the feel for it as well as trying to gain the muscles needed to be able to hold this without the wall one day. Eventually, you can start trying to get your legs off of the wall slowly to find your balance and hold the position without support for as long as you can. Then you will be able to try it away from the wall completely.

headstand

 

 

Here are some basic stretching moves you can try anywhere and at any level!

 

Happy Stretching 🙂

 

Jivamukti-Yoga-Beginners-Class-4 Ashtanga-Yoga-Class-1

 

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