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Being a Trainer without the "Trainer Body"

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Being a Trainer without the "Trainer Body"

I feel we live in a culture that as morphed the terms weightloss, thin, fit, lean, shredded to mean the same thing as healthy. Along with that, we link anything to do with fat, body fat, and weight gain to mean unhealthy. To some, healthy has become this measurement of how many times you workout in a day, how lean you are, and how well you stick to your macros. Whether you're a trainer, some sort of health and fitness professional, or just a human being in this world pursuing health, this is for you. 

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Do you REALLY need to lose weight??

This time of year is when the resolution and goal setting motivation is at an all time high. This past year has given me a new perspective on health and what goals I should be striving for. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, HEALTH LOOKS DIFFERENT ON EVERYONE, and at all different stages of our lives. A fitness goal your best friend is working towards, may sound great, but quit comparing! Her goal may not be the best thing for you and your health. Sometimes our goals need to go against the grain, and that’s OK!

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Changing the Conversation of Body Shame to Body Love

Quite body shaming, and show some love. From my experience it only takes one body shaming comment to trigger a whole room of women talking about what they don’t like on their bodies. Let's change this. Redefine Beauty, refocus your attention and praise, contribute positivity to the conversation, Strive for YOUR healthiest self, and don’t compare

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10 Lessons I've learned through HA Recovery

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10 Lessons I've learned through HA Recovery

Tuesday, November 7th, almost 3 months on the dot from going “all in” I got my period back. Meaning my first NATURAL period in over 5 years!!!! Whoo hoo! However, my work isn’t done yet. Now comes the fun of finding the balance with exercise, fuel, and keeping my cycle. But this has been such a relief I can’t even tell you! Hard work, patience, persistence, faith, prayer, and trust in my body has all paid off. And of course the encouragement and example from others was a game changer. The past 3 months have honestly been the hardest and longest 3 months of my life.

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How do you define Healthy?

Well what if I told you that you can’t panic your way thin. I heard this in a podcast recently and I really liked the concept. Often times we approach weight loss and fitness with the mindset that if we look at ourselves and point out what we need to change, try to burn as many calories as we possibly can during a workout, torture ourselves, limit our calories from food, we’ll get there someday. We think that If we put enough hate, stress, panic, and pressure on ourselves to get a certain body that we think we need to have in order to be beautiful, then we’ll have success and life will be better. Even if we’re miserable while doing it.

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10 tips for eating out and staying fit

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10 tips for eating out and staying fit

For today's post, I'm bringing you a little collaboration with my friend and fellow Fitness loving Foodie, Chandler. She's the brains behind the go to food blog and instagram of Spokane, SpokaneEats. One major mutual belief - Life is too short for mediocre food! 

As a fitness coach and personal trainer, a few of the common question I get asked are “what do you eat? How do you eat perfect all the time? What should I eat? How can I eat healthy if I don’t like to cook?” And on the flip side, some of the questions that Chandler gets are “how do you eat out all the time and stay in shape? How often do you work out to balance out all the good meals? What’s your secret to staying fit with a food blog??”

Well I’ve come up with 10 tips to help you out. Whether you’re a food lover, fitness lover, or both, there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too.

1) Decide on a healthy lifestyle.

This means leave the “Diet” mentality behind. Healthy eating is not something you start on Monday and end on Friday. It’s balance. It’s something that is easy to maintain if you’re doing it right. If you’re on a “Diet” that makes you miserable and you can’t wait until the 30 days are over so you can end it, then something’s not right. The advice I give my clients is to start where currently are and make baby steps towards a healthier you. Don’t jump into anything extreme that seems daunting. By taking smaller, manageable steps, you’ll create a healthy lifestyle overtime.

2) Prioritize what’s worth it

This is about learning to pass up on mediocre food just because it’s there and enjoying the whole experience when you do splurge on a meal out. For me, part of what makes a splurge worth it comes down to what I like to call a “foodie experience” (which my husband loves to tease me about). This includes the good company I’m with, the location we’re eating, if it is something unique on the menu, or that you can’t find anywhere else (like voodoo donuts in Oregon), if it’s a special occasion or holiday, and how satisfied I’ll feel after eating it. If I don’t find at least one of these factors, it is NOT WORTH IT, and I’ll move on. (Read more about prioritizing your plate here, and when to splurge here)


3) Learn to cook healthy from home

As fun and convenient as eating out is, part of eating out and staying fit is not eating out for every meal! If you’re passing up on mediocre, not worth it food, then you better learn some kitchen skills. Nowadays it’s so easy to cook quick, healthy meals from home. With things like riced-cauliflower and spriralized veggies, you’ll be well on your way! (If you need some more guidance in the area of meal planning, cooking, and prepping I got you covered. Check out my Meal Guide services here. Need some healthy recipe swaps? Find them here)

 

4) Eat extra healthy for Non-social meals

When you prioritize what’s worth it, and learn some basic skills in the kitchen, you’ll be able to enjoy the meals out and eat extra healthy when you’re on your own. This becomes a bit of a balancing skill. If you know you’re going out for a friend’s birthday Thursday night, and your favorite ice-cream shop is involved, keep the sugar content down for your other meals throughout the day. Try a two egg veggie scramble, or a green smoothie for breakfast. For lunch, lighten things up with a salad and leave out the big sandwich, and definitely limit the processed carbohydrates in your daily diet. I talk more on this subject in my “all you can eat” blog post here.

 

5) Schedule in your workout

You’ll feel awesome, and your body will respond to a few extra calories so much better if you’ve had a good sweat session in your day. It can be hard to make our way to the gym or get in any form of exercise if we haven’t actually planned it in as part of our day. I tell all my clients that the best way to make exercise a part of your life is to schedule it in, just like you would a hair appointment (but hopefully much more often than a hair appointment!) We all have time for at least 20 minutes of exercise each day, we just have to make it a priority and plan for it. (for more tips for sticking to a workout plan click here!)

 

6) Sharing is Caring

I would say 90% of the time I eat out, I have enough food for two. If I don’t split my meal with someone, I end up saying “wow, I’m stuffed, I totally could’ve shared that!” So I’ve learned to listen to that. Remember that you can always order more food, but the chances of you needing to are slim. Restaurants typically have large portions. Especially when ordering a dessert, usually a few bites will do the trick! You can also try going halfsies with someone on a splurge & something lighter like a salad. Splitting something like a burger or pizza with a salad is always a good choice. That way, you can try more things, but not over stuff yourself with the indulgent dish all to yourself.

 

7) Don’t forget you can customize your plate!

Usually when I eat out, I like to enjoy the dish the way the brilliant chef designed it to be. However, there are times when I don’t want chips or fries on the side, and I would rather splurge somewhere else. In those instances I always ask for a different side option and most restaurants are accommodating! You can always get some sort of vegetable or salad instead of the chips, French fries, or mashed potatoes. Don’t forget you have control when it comes to whether your meat is grilled, fried, breaded, etc. Opt for grilled when that is available. You can also ask for extra greens instead of a grain base if you’re feeling like really lightening it up. Go into the situation with a game plan, knowing you always have options to “healthify” your meal!

 

8) Walk more, sit less

This one may seem super simple, but I find it makes a big difference! As this directly ties in to eating out, try parking far away from the restaurant so that you get a little walk in before and after your meal. If there’s a wait at the restaurant, walk around while you wait rather than sitting on the waiting bench. If you have a lunch break at work, take a walk! These are just good healthy habits to incorporate into your daily life. Train yourself to walk more, stand more, and sit less, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you. (Get my tips for more daily activity here)

 

9) Cut out the Extra - Unnecessary Calories

When dining out, most of us will end up eating more calories than we anticipate. These sneaky calories come from the bread basket, the basket of chips, the bottomless fries, the extra sauce, the drink, the loaded dressing… the list goes on. Most of these “extras” aren’t going to make or break our eating out experience, but it’s just there so we eat it. Unless it’s a restaurant that’s known for its fresh, homemade bread, then I'm passing on the bread basket. The bottomless chips & salsa at Mexican restaurants is one of my down falls for sure. I try to drink lots of water and wait until my meal gets there at least before I go to town on the chips. When ordering a salad, always ask for your dressing on the side (they typically put double the dressing than I would ever put on my own). Also, avoid the tasteless liquid calories. One glass of lemonade has over 50 g of sugar!! By cutting out these unnecessary extras, you can focus on the good stuff and still leave feeling satisfied.

 

10) Learn to Live the Moderation Life

For me, the key to living a healthy lifestyle and staying fit while eating out comes down to moderation. I know this word may seem a bit overused, but just hear me out. I often have clients tell me that they are “all or nothing” and they could never just stop at 2 bites, but I’m not buying it. I believe you can train yourself to be a moderator. It may take some practice at first, training yourself to stop when you may want to mindlessly keep going. When we master moderation, we can enjoy a night out on occasion, we can have a few bites of dessert, we exercise a healthy amount, we have the desire to move more, and we don’t have to feel guilty or depressed after a little indulgence. (read more on my views about moderation here)

 

Food shouldn’t be feared, it should be enjoyed. It is fuel for our body to do all of the amazing things it’s capable of doing! The more we embrace this perspective, the easier it is to adapt to a life of healthy moderation.

 

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Fitness and Fertility: The road to regaining my period

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Fitness and Fertility: The road to regaining my period

Today I decided I’m going to get personal and share something I’ve been struggling with and have been scared to write about. My hope is that I can reach someone going through the same thing and give them hope and encouragement just like I received from a friend who was vulnerable and brave enough to share with others. The selfish part of this is to help me get through it and not feel like I have to put on a fake presentation for people with hope that they may have a little more understanding for what’s going on. So here it goes…(deep breath)

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How to Cut Ties with your Unhealthy Habits

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How to Cut Ties with your Unhealthy Habits

I’ve been thinking about what keeps us from reaching our goals. Part of my day to day job as a trainer that I love is taking a look into my clients lives and figuring out together how to better reach their goals & create a healthy lifestyle they can maintain. With lots of contemplating and discussing, I’ve decided that one of the biggest stumbling blocks are the unhealthy habits that have become a part of our lives that we may not even recognize as habits. 

Let me shed some light on what I’m talking about. Maybe you always set your alarm for 30 minutes before you have to leave out the door, therefore leaving you with no time to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Maybe you always put the chips in the most convenient cupboard so you know exactly where to go when the salty craving hits. Or you always go with a friend to the gym who just wants to chat the whole time so you never really get the workout you want, haha gotta love those chatty friends! It could even be just going to the same grocery store you always go to, and walking the same route you always do, which conveniently leads you right to the ice-cream isle or the dang Oreo section! Then we buy them, and then we have to eat them.

The point is that these un-healthy habits are the things we do throughout our daily/weekly routines without even realizing we’re doing them. We’re probably looking beyond the mark with what we think we need to change to reach our health and fitness goals, when it could actually just be simple and right in front of us. 

My suggestion for breaking through this road block is CHANGING THINGS UP. Shake up your routine. I’m going to give you 3 suggestions that I’ve given to my clients to help detach from those un-healthy habits keeping us from our goals.  

Ok but first things first, let’s define a habit: it’s a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Dig deep and think of an un-healthy habit that is part of your life right now. If you think of how to get rid of a bad habit, doesn’t it make sense to change your routine! This brings us to my first suggestion.

  1. Change up your daily routine. Shuffle things around. Get creative and go crazy with this. If late night snacking is your issue, change up your entire nightly routine. This could be saving your plate of dinner until after your kids are asleep so that you have it ready to eat instead of your snacking habit. By shuffling your routine a bit, you’ll have no time to snack on the bad stuff! If a good nights rest is your struggle, maybe try sleeping on the opposite side of your bed away from where your phone is plugged in so you get a better sleep. Totally guilty of this! Maybe it’s going to the grocery store in the morning instead of the end of the day when you’re tired and hungry. Or if those tempting drive throughs get ya, try even changing the route home you take so that you don’t have to pass all those luring signs. Small rituals we have may trigger bigger behaviors, so best to just mix it all up!

  2. Out with the bad and in with the good. When you get rid of something in your life, it makes sense to replace it with something better right? This step is in hopes of avoiding the empty hole that can be left when we remove something that’s been a habit. Say you want to stop drinking soda. Well you’re still going to reach for that can of soda habitually unless you have something else to replace it with. Try a La Croix drink or some sort of sparkling water to get you that same fizzy goodness. 

  3. Learn to control what you can, and deal with the rest. There’s a sense of power that comes from being in control of our lives and decisions, rather than letting life just happen to you. Sometimes things our legitimately out of our hands, and the important thing is to do our best at bouncing back. However, I argue that In any situation we have some aspect that we can control. Even if it’s just our mindset, we have control over that. You may not be able to have control over your crazy Tuesday schedule of carpooling kids back and forth and them screaming in the back seat because they’re hungry after soccer practice, but you do have control over prepping some healthy snacks for you and the crew in the car to have amidst all the chaos. You may not have control over where your family chooses to go out to dinner, but you do have control over making an educated healthy choice off the menu (avoiding a sugary drink, getting your meat grilled, not eating the whole bread basket, etc.) Flexibility is key here as well. Don’t forget to live life. If a friend brings you her homemade banana bread, you say thank you and enjoy it. Then you just bounce right back into your healthy routine. 

A final thought is to be patient with yourself. If you think about it, habits aren’t created overnight, good or bad. If you’ve been doing something a certain way for 15+ years, that behavior isn’t going to just change over night. These adjustments take time. All that matters is that you’re moving in the right direction. Even if you take 3 steps forward and a couple steps back, you’re still better than you were when you started! 

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Compounding Interest and your Health

Reaching your fitness goals 1 healthy habit at a time

The last few months, my husband and I have been doing a lot of financial research, getting our spending and saving in order, and setting long term financial goals. Working towards financial independence can be a long road, so the sooner you start the better, and consistency is key! So naturally my mind went directly to create a health and fitness metaphor, duh. I received the inspiration while listening to a podcast where compounding interest was mentioned. It had me thinking, it’s the little daily things that we do over a long period of time, for a life time, that lead to our healthiest selves. Just like compounding interest with money, small, daily, healthy habits will build up over time and result in big results, big change that we may not see through the process.

When it comes to health and fitness, a lot of the time we over complicate it, or think it has to be this big change, this big diet, extreme exercise program, a magic juice cleanse, and with this big change we want big results. Either that or we underestimate the power of consistency. To some of us, the big change or the extreme plan may seem easier. Ripping the bandaid off, rather than the slow and steady, daily persistence of small and simple healthy habits. If we don’t meet our goals in a certain amount of time than we become disappointed and quit (similar to not seeing your money grow, and pulling it out prematurely).

We live in a time of instant feedback, we want to see results now! But that’s not how compound interest works. We put in a little bit at a time, consistently, and over time that money grows. Not only does it grow, but it begins to grow at an increasing rate. Can you see the correlation here? Just like with saving money & being financially healthy, with our physical health, the sooner we start the better! And the trick is to never stop, just keep on chugging along. Where we start is different for all of us. Our goals need to be maintainable and realistic for us. As we start where we’re at, creating daily habits towards a healthier lifestyle, we will start to experience benefits to our health, and our fitness will improve. As with compound interest, the results may not be noticeable right away. This is where patience and consistency come in. Building a stable healthy habit foundation that we’re solid with will be key for the long term. Over time we build up our will-power, our cravings and pallets adjust, and we can become better in tune with determining hunger, satiety, and body awareness.

It’s easy to get a little distracted with all the “get rich quick” schemes out there, or in the health world all the fad diets and quick fixes. This is why I recommend baby steps with all of my clients! You wouldn’t dump every single penny you own into an investment account right? But a few dollars out of each pay check isn’t so bad. You catchin my drift?

So to put this into play, here’s a little continuum for healthy habits I came up with. Check it out and see where you’re at right now. From where you are, figure out the next little step towards a healthier you would be. Don’t think you have to be making all these crazy health concoctions you see posted on instagram if you’re still working on your water intake. You do you. Keep it simple. Before you know it, you’ll be living a long healthy life. A lifestyle that’s maintainable and that you love living!

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Carob - Healthier than Chocolate?

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Carob - Healthier than Chocolate?

First off, what is Carob? Carob comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea. The pod contains a sweet, edible pulp. Once dried and roasted, the pulp is ground into a powder called carob flour (but more commonly referred to as "carob powder"). It's similar to cocoa powder in color and can be substituted one-for-one in recipes, but carob is unique with its own special flavor and texture. You may want to swap out your Cacao for Carob if you are sensitive to caffeine or theobromine. Carob does not contain either of these like chocolate does. 

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How to stay fit when life is NOT perfect

My whole purpose with this blog post is to help shift your mindset from viewing health & fitness as this extreme program - workout every day, meal prep every meal, avoiding all indulgences, and meditate for an hour each day in a rose garden with an ocean view - to a more realistic view that it's a lifestyle, and the fact is that life is not perfect. The other fact is that what's healthy and working for one person may not be the right path or plan for someone else. We all have our own busy schedules, our own family situations, and our bodies are very different. READ MORE, click on title :) 

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Friday Favorites: How to get in your Veggies!

If you've worked with me, done my programs, or have been following me for some time now, you know that I'm always preaching to get your veggies in at every meal! Well today for my Friday Favorites post I wanted to share with you my 5 favorite ways to sneak in those veggies, especially the green ones! Click the links to download my recipe PDF's and if you want more of these amazing recipes along side an awesome, kick butt workout program, sculpting your body in 8 weeks, click HERE to get my Sculpted for Summer program! Available no until the end of April, soooo don't miss it! 

Ok so here we go, my 5 favorite ways to get in your veggies!

1) Replace those Grains with Veggies! It's a simple step but can make a huge difference. You can make veggies the base to any meal! Some of my favorites are Cauliflower rice, Spiralized Zoodles, Shredded Carrots, and of course just a bed of leafy greens with all the delicious toppings (spinach, arugula, kale, etc.) (Check out one of my favorite veggie based recipes HERE)

2) Frozen in my smoothies. Did you know that you can freeze veggies? I've heard the concern of not wanting to buy too much produce for the fear it will go bad before you get the chance to eat it. Weeeell Fear no more! Just before that tipping point of going bad, take those green leafy vegetables and put them in a zip-lock and stick them in the freezer! You can also do this with Cucumbers and zucchini. Peel, cut in half, and freeze. These greens will be perfect to throw into your morning smoothie, adding good texture and bulk without sugar or a lot of calories.  (Check out some of my favorite Green Smoothie Recipes HERE)

3) Shredded in my Oats. This one may sound a little crazy. Why would you every put vegetables in your oatmeal? But trust me, it adds bulk without the sugar, and you can't even taste it! You can still have a sweeter breakfast with veggies included, best of both worlds. Some of my favorite ways to do this are shredded up Zucchini, or those frozen greens I was talking about. Stir them up in your oats, add in your other flavoring & liquids and heat them up in the microwave or stove top. (Here's a recipe for some Zucchini Oats to try out - plus some more of my favorite oaties.

4) Shredded in baked goods. I love to bake, and I also love to eat what I've baked :) So lets make this a win win and sneak some veggies into those baked goods! If you have little kids who don't like eating veggies this is a great way to get around that. You can put shredded or blended veggies into pancake batter, quick bread, muffins, waffles, etc. Some favs are zucchini and carrots. Here's one of my favorite carrot muffin recipes.

5) And of course, the easy way out, Super green powders! If you just need something quick, extremely easy, and feel like you're not getting enough veggies in your meals, or you rather drink your greens than create a meal with vegetables, you may want to try a green powder. The trick is picking the right one. I'm not an expert on this stuff, because I love cooking and eating whole veggies, but I've recruited some back up. Check out this article from Barbend.com that ranks the best super green powders out there! Lots of good information so make sure to check it out. 

Well thanks for following along and reading. I'd love to hear what your favorite ways are to sneak in some extra veggies, comment below! 

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Get Pumped: 5 Major Benefits from Strength Training

Welcome Back! So with the recent feedback from the Resolution Revival program I’ve been so proud of the participating clients and their progress and feedback. There were so many who started off with a goal of “losing some weight” or “having my clothes fit better”, etc. But through a little encouragement and time, I noticed a shift as they completed the weekly benchmark fitness tests. Their goals became focused on strength, and increasing their test results. Accomplishing a physical challenge became more important than the number on the scale, or the way they looked. Then naturally, those other goals followed as a side result! So I thought I’d put in a little plug for strength training this week for my Wednesday Wisdom, and setting strength goals for yourself. Here are my top 5 benefits from strength training that will add to your life and your awesomeness :)

  1. Confidence. One of the biggest benefits I see in my clients after strength training is the confidence they stand with. Especially as women, there’s something empowering about being able to lift heavy stuff, am I right?! Knowing that you can jump into any situation (most situations I guess ;) and feeling like you can handle yourself feels amazing. Also, the fact that you’ve pushed yourself through hard things without giving up (hard challenging work outs, not quitting when you feel the burn) gives you a confidence to be able to take on challenges that come into your life. You can do hard things!
  2. Functional strength. The tasks of daily living become easier! You can carry your kids up the stairs without feeling like you want to pass out. You can carry all of your groceries to your car without struggle. Being able to perform the functions of daily life helps you stay young! which leads to the next benefit.
  3. Live a longer, healthier life. There has been plenty of studies on aging and it’s well known that strength training can actually reverse aging symptoms!! Keeping your muscles from decreasing in size, and your bones dense and healthy. There are also plenty of neurological benefits as well, keeping our neurons firing to all areas of the body. Sounds good to me!
  4. Naturally burn more fat. Its a common goal to want to “lose body fat” or “tone up”, but most people go about this the wrong way. Doing more cardio and eating less is not always going to get you there. What you really want to do is strength train, put on some muscle, and then once you have muscle underneath that fat, your body will naturally burn more fat throughout the day, and slowly widdle away that layer and those muscles will start to show. Muscle is the best fat burner we can carry around with ourselves everyday. Muscle mass naturally bumps up our metabolism. If you’re looking for a toned, sculpted, lean look, you have to put in the work to build that muscle before its seen underneath the fat layer. Unfortunately we can’t choose where our body stores fat or gets rid of fat, its just a total body thing. Spot reduction doesn’t exist. But we can choose which muscles we build. Eating right is going to play a huge part as well. Proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies should do the trick! Trust the process. 
  5. The psychological benefits of accomplishment. Think of the last really hard workout you put yourself through. Did you think to yourself after “I really wish I didn’t do that” or was it more along the lines of “that was hard, but I’m proud I pushed myself through it”. Most likely it was the latter. In a recent study I read, they found that strength training is associated with reductions in anxiety symptoms among healthy adults, reductions in pain intensity among patients with low back pain, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia; improvements in cognition among older adults; improvements in sleep quality among depressed older adults; reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression and fibromyalgia; reductions in fatigue symptoms; and improvements in self-esteem. 

 

Well if I haven’t convinced you yet, see for yourself! Grab some weight, take a break from the treadmill, and experience these benefits in your own life. Here’s some feedback from my clients who have taken on my 4 week challenge:

“The challenge really opened my eyes to how hard I'll need to work to make a change in my body.....20 minutes of cardio here and there isn't going to cut it anymore!”

“After 4 weeks my focus has change from losing weight to building muscle, strengthening, and toning. I am excited to start another 4 weeks!”

“Never before have I done anything like this, but it has been really motivating and fun.  I wanted to increase my strength and these workouts have really helped.”

“Done!! What a great sense of accomplishment! Tricep dips are sooo hard! I have to do them on my knees, but I did all of them. Less sore than 1st 2 weeks for sure. Starting to build confidence in my strength.”

“Idecided not to step on the scale. What I am recognizing in myself is that it is challenging and exciting to meet the daily workout strength goals"

I love this feedback, and I am inspired by all of you strong women out there. Share this out with a friend you want to get strong with!

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5 Tips for Breaking through Your Weight Loss Plateau

Something that I hear a lot of from clients is that they seem to hit a plateau on their weight loss journey. They’ve lost some weight but are now stuck and can’t seem to lose the last 10-15 pounds to reach their goal. Or someone that has always been overweight and it seems to be just a natural state for their body. There’s some truth to this. Our bodies, all unique, have a certain size and weight where our we seem to reach homeostasis, when levels in our body our at equilibrium. Our body feels comfortable here. This explains why some people can gain weight and without changing anything the weight gain just seems to stop or slow down. For others it may take a lot longer. Anyways, the focus for today is providing you with some tips that will help you get over that plateau, or that wall, when your weight loss momentum seems to come to a halt. Now, keep in mind that some of us just aren’t meant to be at a lower weight or body size, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change our body composition (adding lean muscle mass, and losing body fat). We have to figure that out over time. For me, I’ve found where a good healthy weight is for me, where I have energy, strength, and I don’t have to starve myself to stay there. It took a while. I’ve been heavier and smaller than I am and I’ve learned whats manageable. I don’t even touch the scale anymore. It’s one of those things you’ll have to play around with to see how your body maintains certain sizes, and what it takes with your diet and exercise to stay there. So lets get right into it. Remember that some of these may work for some of you, and not for others. Like I always say, health and fitness is such a individual process! Its not a one size fits all.

Tip #1: Get your Beauty Rest. So much of weight gain or the halting of weight loss can come from stress our body is going through. This includes mental, emotional, and physical stress. Some stress is good, but we want to avoid the over stress. A lot of this is how much sleep we’re getting. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night and if you can, 8 would be ideal! Make it priority. Put away electronics, and give yourself some quality sleep. Obviously if you’re in the trenches of raising little kids, especially newborns, you may not be able to manage this, but do your best. When we are in a sleep deficit our body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, which aids in storing fat! Yikes, not exactly what we want! So get your beauty rest. Also, take a walk outside, get some fresh air, to eliminate stressors that come from the day to day grind. 

Tip #2: Watch your sugar content. Hidden sugars can be the make or break for weight loss success. If we’re not aware, sugar can be in so many foods that we’re not aware of and can add up quickly. I tell all my clients to try to keep your sugar content below 35g per day if weight loss is your goal. (read my blog post on sneaky sugar culprits here, and high sugar vs low sugar fruits here) This includes natural sugars in fruit, honey, agave, etc. Avoid juices and flavored drinks which can be loaded with sugar. When you start to add it up, it doesn’t give you much room for extra processed junk. Stick to 1-2 pieces of fruit per day and you should be just fine! 

Tip #3: Have a protein at every meal. Consuming protein throughout the day provides you with several opportunities to boost your metabolism through the thermic effect of food (TEF). It also helps promote lean muscle retention, which will naturally boost your metabolism throughout the day. Some options are chicken, tuna, quinoa, salmon, hemp seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils. Of course this has to be paired with regular exercise which leads me to tip number 4.

Tip #4: Change up your workout routine. Sometimes we get in a rut and our body adapts to the normal routine we put it through. Our bodies our smart. They work efficiently. When we throw something new in to our routine, our body has to work a little harder to figure it out. Also with increasing weight, or total volume of our workout, we will strengthen our muscles, making them better fat burners. So move away from the elliptical machine, and add some weights to your life! (if you need some ideas, check out my training programs here)

Tip #5: Eat your veggies at every meal! This is another tip I tell all of my clients no matter what. You can do it! Lots of ways to sneak them in. Why is this so important? Well I like this tip for several reasons. First of all you’ll be getting in more fiber, helping you feel fuller longer, and helping with digestion. Also, by challenging yourself for veggies at every meal, you are going to be replacing more empty calorie options (breads, pasta, sugar) with veggies, full of nutrients and goodness. Some of my favorites are Green smoothies, Zucchini noodles, Carrot noodles, a leafy green meal base (vs. Rice or pasta), the possibilities are endless! You just need to experiment a little and you’ll find it’s not that scary! If you need some awesome, veggie based meal ideas, let me meal plan for ya! (go here)

So there you have it, some simple tips you can try out to push you past that stubborn plateau in your weight loss pursuit! I know we could all work on at least one of these. Start with one step at a time. And don't let the scale be your only indicator of success!! That stupid number can have so much control over our happiness when it really doesn't say anything about strength, health, or body fat percentage, so keep it all in perspective! 

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THE PURPOSE BEHIND YOUR GOALS

I had a thought dawn on me this week. Why do I exercise? But more specifically, why do I exercise the way I exercise. Why do I lift weights? Do I have specific goals I’m training for? When I really dug deep I narrowed it down to the fact that I want to live a long, healthy, adventurous, functional life without health limitations. Secondly I want to feel STRONG and CONFIDENT in my own skin. I feel the most confident in my skin when I can see muscle definition, and when I only have a small amount to pinch on my love handles ;) That doesn’t mean I don’t love my body at all times, I just know what makes me feel the most confident. Everyone’s different. But what I want to focus on today is setting up your goals and training with a purpose behind them. To get the most quality out of your life, rather than just running everyday because that’s what you’ve been told to do, even though your body may hurt, and you may hate it. 

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I was listening to a podcast with Craig Ballantyne, the author of “the cardio myth” and “The perfect day formula” and many other great books, and it sparked these thoughts. You can listen to it here. He talks about how so many people over the last few decades have fallen into thinking they have to do a bunch of cardio to lose weight. Thinking if they miss a day of running, they are going to gain weight. Long cardio workouts are awesome if you’re training for an endurance sport, or if you just love it to clear your mind (my reason for running), but its not the magic path to weight loss for everyone. In fact, lots of people end up gaining weight while training for a marathon, or training on an endurance program because they think they can eat a lot more carbohydrates, or any calories because the calorie expenditure is typically way over calculated. When machines tell you how many calories you’re burning, the calculation is usually 40% higher than reality! But thats a bit of a tangent for another discussion. Back to purposeful goals.

Our goals should make us happy right? They should lead us to a rich & full life. With this in mind, I would advise you to step away from the goals that will not add to the quality of your life. This may take some thoughtful prioritizing. I’m talking about the goals some of us may have to be super ripped & have a six pack, but we’re miserable because we can’t ever enjoy food or going out with friends. We feel more trapped in this pursuit than it may be worth. When it comes to eating and nutrition, the goal should be to FEEL great and have energy. With that focus rather then dieting to lose weight, I guarantee your choices will start to transition towards the healthier direction without thinking too much about it. 

Take a minute now with a pen and paper & write down the reason you exercise and your long term goal with it. Get to the root reason. For example, I work out because it puts me in a good mood (I’m really grumpy without it), boosts my confidence (I like the way I look from years of exercise), and I am so much more functionally strong in my day to day life (I love being able to participate in hikes, skiing, any activity without feeling like I could pass out). With all of this I can better do my part to bring goodness into the world. When I feel awesome, I can bring awesomeness. And as I said before, I want to live a long, healthy, adventurous, functional life without health limitations or confidence struggles.

Now the next layer is setting goals within our training that will lead to that overall long term goal. So if I want to be functional into old age, I’m going to train functionally. I’m going to incorporate functional strength movements into my workouts. Forget the muscle isolation machines where you sit down, put your arm in a crazy contraption & move some weight in one direction. I’m going to focus on free weights, barbell, TRX, and kettle bell exercises where I’m constantly using my core and stabilizers to move weight that could go in any direction. I’m going to foam roll and stretch to avoid injuries, or pain down the road.

The next layer is to get specific within those goals. What are your fitness goals for this year, that will eventually lead to your overall goal for a high quality life. Maybe you want to lose some body fat for a beach trip this summer. Your going to want to incorporate some cardio intervals into your training, and believe it or not, you’re going to want to LIFT WEIGHTS. The muscle you gain will help you burn more fat. If you don’t have the muscle underneath the fat layer than you’re never going to get that “lean/toned” look you’re going for. You’re going to want to work on your eating as well. Maybe you want to do your first Spartan Race this year. You need to be strong enough to pull yourself over a wall so you’re doing more strength based exercise, working with pull ups, or whatever it is you need increased strength for. And depending on the length of the race you will want some endurance training. Incorporating rep ranges above 15 will get you there. There’s lots of different ways to train, and beliefs behind certain rep ranges and their effectiveness, but having short term goals and your long term goals and your “why” in mind makes it so much easier to get motivated and plan out your training with purpose. 

To wrap this up, I just want to encourage you to find your purpose with all this fitness stuff. It helps to keep in mind the long term picture of a quality, healthy life. That means walking more everyday, filling your body with nutritious foods, avoiding processed garbage food, maintaining a healthy body weight, and focusing on functional strength and mobility. Also don’t neglect the rest and recovery part! When our goals align with our long term desires, we’ll see results, and we’ll feel the difference!

Thanks for reading! Leave me any comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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What's the deal with Apple Cider Vinegar anyway??

I’ve been doing a lot of research on gut health and how important health from the inside out is. So much of our health stems from our gut! If you want beautiful skin, more energy, white teeth, less cellulite, etc., start with the gut. Today’s Wednesday Wisdom I’m sharing my findings from my recent gut health research, and my Morning ritual drink recipe (and why I’m loving Apple Cider Vinegar these days). 

Starting off I just want to say that I am NOT a scientist by any means, and I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter. I’ve just been reading, and experiencing benefits on my own so I want to share what I’ve been learning with you all! 

I want to focus on the ingredients of my morning drink and explain why they’re so beneficial. So here it is:

  • Heat up 8 oz of water in a mug
  • add about 1-2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Add a wedge of lemon juice
  • add a slice of fresh ginger
  • add a couple drops of honey
  • Stir all together and sip it down!

Whether you’ve heard of Apple Cider Vinegar or not, you may not know all the awesome health benefits. As I type this, I am feeling amazingly better after being sick for a week, and I just finished a glass of this concoction. This stuff works!

Nutrient Delivery. So this drink is not full of Vitamins & Nutrients, like a green smoothie, but it can help your body put those vitamins and nutrients to good use. The acidic-ness of the lemon and the ACV actually help reduce harmful acid and inflammation in our bodies. It helps improve digestion and the absorption and delivery of vitamins and nutrients to the rest of your body and all the important functions that need to be taken care of. This speedy delivery will result in more energy and radiant skin :) 

Cleans up our insides. Apple Cider Vinegar is anti fungal, and breaks down the harmful bacteria in our bodies. Along with breaking down bacteria, it will break down plaque build up in arteries for a healthy heart, and mucus build up if you’re feeling congested. I have had a week long cold and lingering on with a cough and I felt a huge difference after consuming my drink! If you get seasonal allergies as well you’ll totally reap the benefits.

Weight management. Some of the weight management benefits come from the fact that drinking this can suppress your appetite a bit. It does have a strong taste, and I would suggest starting with a small amount of the ACV and a bit more honey while your palette adjusts. It has also been shown to regulate your blood sugar levels. This is why I love to take it first think in the morning because I reap the benefits throughout the day. Part of weight management is avoiding extreme blood sugar spikes throughout the day. This drink will help your body regulate blood sugar levels. Some researchers believe the notion that acetic acid (the main make up of ACV) turns on genes that trigger enzymes to break down fat and prevent weight gain. SWEET! Now I’m not saying this is the magic pill, easy quick fix to losing weight. You will need to eat a healthy diet full of real food, lots of veggies, and exercise, but this drink can help in your efforts and help you feel great from the inside out. 

The Ginger Bonus. The ginger in this drink is optional but also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is a natural way to treat Nausea and morning sickness for all you momma’s to be! Ginger is also effective in treating muscle soreness. I know a lot of you are working hard at the gym, and can benefit from these healing properties. Ginger also appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort. The list goes on and on with ginger, helping with brain function, heart health, fighting cancer, and more. So definitely not a bad thing to add to the diet!

Give it a try. Especially if you find yourself with an upset stomach or bloated often. There’s a lot of crap all around us so it’s important for us to counteract it from the inside out starting with our systems inside of our bodies. 

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The Ugly Reality of Body Shaming

How many of you have ever felt like your body wasn’t good enough for some reason or another? Not because you didn’t feel healthy enough, but because you felt you didn’t meet some expectation for a certain look. Today I want to recognize the ugly reality of this body shaming nonsense. Before I start I just want to add a disclaimer that I’m not trying to turn this into a pitty party of any kind, I just had some feelings and experiences lately I’m sure we can all relate to, and I want to help as many of you as I can to avoid this trap. If anything I’m just excited to have a conversation with you all because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts and feelings. 

This last year I got down to the smallest weight I’d ever been since I don’t know, pre highschool?? It was this summer after living in Europe where my food was cut down and I walked EVERYWHERE. And then I ended on the note of dengue fever in Thailand so I was in the hospital for a week barely being able to stomach any food. I came home feeling pretty weak, and not my healthiest. I gained back a little strength quickly, and kept with my smaller portions. I felt great about my body, but my fitness level had definitely taken a hit. Adjusting back into life in the US, I’ve let happen what I was afraid of happening. I’m not walking nearly as much, and food is very much more abundant. I’ve definitely gained back some meat on my bones. I’ve been getting stronger which I’m really happy about, and I think being strong builds confidence and is a beautiful thing for women. Then why was I crying last night looking at pictures from a photo shoot I did recently? I prepped for the photo shoot, felt pretty confident, knew I wasn’t looking my best, but still felt good going into it. Why was I beating myself up over body image? I found myself picking apart every picture. I was so bugged my skin rolled over my spandex a little, and that my back fat was showing from my bra line. For the first time since I’ve been out of college and in the fitness industry, I had gained some weight rather than lost weight. This past summer I felt what it was like for all my clothes to be big on me, and people to comment on how small I was. Note that I still got the negative comments like “you’re way too skinny, put some meat on your bones!”. And now just being slightly bigger, but at a totally normal and healthy weight for my body type, I find myself being so critical of my physique. I’ve let the comments and opinions of others effect me in a negative way, as if they know what I “should” look like. Comments like “wow you look….. muscly” or “You’ve really put on some muscle” have caused me to feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m not the right body type for my audience or the people paying attention. This week I let these comments make me feel bad about being “too” strong or “too” muscly. The pressure of having the perfect “personal trainer” physique, or whatever the “perfect body” is in your eyes can sometimes get the best of us. 

 

But I wanted to address this, because I know a lot of us struggle with body image. What’s not ok is thinking there’s a perfect body mold that we all have to fit into. I think its totally ok and healthy to have goals of “getting lean” or “shedding some extra thickness” that we may not love. But the point I want to stress is loving and accepting yourself where you’re at, and have your main goal be HEALTH. I’ve been having so much fun training at the gym the past five months since we’ve been back from Europe, and I’ve been loving feeling stronger and more confident with lifting. I will be the first to admit that I have been eating slightly bigger meals than I probably need to be, and haven’t been too disciplined on my treat consumption. Being in my profession, I know what it takes to shed a few pounds & lean out. But what bugs me about this situation is that I’ve let the opinions of others and comparison of myself to others effect my body image. It’s so easy to compare ourselves in the social media world. We see images of perfect bodies without the whole story behind it all. I know we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to filtered instagram perfection, and I want you to snap back in to reality like I made myself do. Realize that you truly are beautiful! There is no perfect body size. Weight is just a number that can drive us crazy if we let it. When we love ourselves, we can better send love out into the world. Never tell anyone that they are too skinny, too muscly, or too much of anything as far as their body goes. We don’t know how these words can effect someone negatively, and who’s to say what’s too skinny or too muscly anyways? 

 

I’ve found that as we strive to be HEALTHY, the great body will follow! The best body type is the one you feel your healthiest in and that allows you to live your life to the fullest. For some of us that may mean shedding a few pounds that crept up over the holidays thats making us feel a bit sluggish, or for others of us that may be putting on a few pounds of muscle so that we feel like we can take on more of what life throws at us. This past week, while I was feeling so down about the way I looked in these dumb pictures, it just made my heart go out to all the beautiful women who have ever felt anything negative about how their body looks. I want you to know that you are beautiful. One of the main reasons I do what I do is to build up confidence in women and I found myself a victim of body shaming myself. It happens. Lets turn it around, build each other up, and find beauty in strength and health. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy and confidence in my clients after they’ve been working out, feeding their body right with healthy food, and they feel strong and confident. It radiates! Fuel your body with whole foods and stay active and watch the results come. End of the story, I went back and looked through my pictures that I was so critical of earlier and they actually looked great to me! I saw them through a much less critical eye, and noticed my strengths, rather than my flaws. Sometimes thats all it takes! Happy Wednesday everybody! 

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