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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. 

Granny-Does-Deadlift2.jpg

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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MY "NON-DIET" SKILLS FOR HEALTHY EATING

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MY "NON-DIET" SKILLS FOR HEALTHY EATING

Well I’m back with a Wednesday wisdom for you all, and I’m excited about the topic. Lately I’ve been full of so much I want to share that it’s been hard to pick! So you may be getting more than just Wednesday Wisdom this week :)

Anyways, on to the subject, I’m giving you 4 skills to master that will help you on your healthy eating journey. I’m calling them “non-diet” skills because they are skills that will help you create a healthy relationship with food, and are skills to use long term. I’m all about getting to the root of the problem, rather than shedding some quick water weight with a detox diet. Good things take time and effort! Don’t think you have to master all of these at once, but lets try 1 at a time, each week taking on a new skill to practice. 

Skill #1: The PAUSE.

This may seem simple but it can have a huge effect! At your next meal, practice taking a moment to pause, evaluate your hunger. If you feel like you could eat more without reaching your max fullness, but remain at a comfortable state, then continue with a few more bites. If during that pause you feel at a comfortable spot, satisfied, and if you were to eat more your clothes would start feeling tighter, or you may start feeling overly stuffed and uncomfortable, then put down your fork and be done. This moment of pause is so important and we hardly ever stop during a meal to evaluate our hunger. This typically leads us to overeating and feeling stuffed. We want to fill satisfied and energized after we eat!

Skill #2: Healthy Swaps.

This skill is relative to where you are in your own healthy eating journey (yes we’re calling it a journey again). The idea is to see what ingredients you could swap for slightly healthier ones. For example, maybe right now you love sugary toasted nuts as a salad topper. Try swapping out the sugary roasted nuts for some plain toasted nuts. Or maybe you use a sugary dressing from the grocery store, try swapping that out with a simpler, homemade dressing with less sugar. Little baby steps towards healthy choices make a big difference in the long run. Check out some other healthy swaps with this free print out I put together.

Skill #3: Determining worth it vs. NOT worth it.

This skill comes with being honest with yourself. You may have to stop and ask yourself why you’re eating something. Are you eating that cookie because someone put it in front of you and you just reached for it out of habit, and it doesn’t even taste that great? Or is it because it’s your favorite homemade cookie that your grandma makes once a year and you enjoy every last crumb because its that good? Its making those occasional treats really worth it and delicious, and learning to pass on the stuff that we don’t love, and typically eat solely because it’s in front of us, or because we’re bored, or whatever the non logical reason is. 

Skill #4: Finding your ‘Sanity Keeper’ indulgence.

So you’re trying to eat better, stay on track. But you’re finding that you can’t be perfect ALL the time, you’re human! Welcome to the club. My suggestion is to find you ‘sanity keeper’ indulgence, which is something you know will satisfy you with just one or two bites to take the edge off. It will give you a sense of satisfaction when you need a little somethin somethin, but you know you won’t go overboard on. For example, when I’m craving something sweet, and dreaming of desserts, I’ve found that if I have a little piece of dark chocolate this will do the trick for me! When its a good rich chocolate, one little square is all I need. It’s low in sugar, and doesn’t leave me craving more. Some nights I don’t crave anything, but when I do, I have some chocolate ready to go. Find what works for you.

So there you have it! Which skill are you going to work on this week? Let me know, lets chat, I want to hear all about your successes! And struggles, we all of them! Have a happy, healthy, awesome week!

 

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What's the best Diet???

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What's the best Diet???

WEDNESDAY WISDOM HERE! Hot topic, especially as we start off this new year. All of our social media feeds being flooded with New Years Resolutions, Cleanses, Detoxes, workout Trends, etc. How do we know what diet to choose? What's the secret?? Well I'm here with some words of wisdom. I'll tell you the secret....The best "diet" is the one we can maintain and helps us feel our best! That's it! Suprised? I'll teach you my simple guidelines later, but lets start with this No Diet Approach.

Let me explain.

You can have the most calculated, scientifically tested, measured out meal plan in the world, created by the smartest dietitians, but what good will it do you if it's too complicated to keep track of and stick with once reality sets in. The reason most diets fail is because people get sick of tracking stuff, its unrealistic with their lifestyle, and they quite. We want to go out with our friends and enjoy a meal without thinking of all the numbers throughout the night. We want to be able to make one meal for the family rather then individual orders for each member, leaving us feeling deprived in our corner as we eat our low-calorie diet food. We want to go to the grocery store without our heads almost exploding from reading all these labels, trying to remember what we should or shouldn't eat. This isn't to say you shouldn't even bother in trying to eat healthier, but my advice is to forget the diet rules and make one simple step towards a healthier YOU. Start where you're at, and small and simple changes in the right direction will end up making a huge difference over time!

The thing is, there's always a fad diet. Remember when the Atkins diet was the thing? or the Gluten Free Ban Wagon? Most popular now is the Paleo Diet, is this finally the answer we've been looking for??  In a recent article I read about the current hype on the Paleo diet, anthropologist Dr. William Leonard shared his research findings, “Our species was not designed to subsist on a single, optimal diet. What is remarkable about human beings is the extraordinary variety of what we eat. We have been able to thrive in almost every ecosystem on the Earth, consuming diets ranging from almost all animal foods among populations of the Arctic to primarily tubers and cereal grains among populations in the high Andes.” This to me, explains that we are all going to react differently to different foods, but as a whole, we are capable of utilizing a wide variety of foods. So when a diet plan calls to cut out whole food groups because we aren't supposed to be eating those foods in the first place, I don't fully agree (unless its processed junk your cutting out). Of course we should all listen to our bodies, and if we have a certain sensitivity that's totally different. For example, some people have a dairy or gluten sensitivity, but that doesn't necessarily mean these foods are harmful to everyone.

So want to hear my plan for the simplest diet ever?! Start where you're at and work towards the following:

  1. Eat whole foods, avoid labels
  2. If you do have a label, you want the shortest ingredient list as possible
  3. Have a vegetable (or more) at every meal
  4. Eat less sugar (especially processed sugar)

And there you have it! SIMPLICITY 

So when I say start where you're at and work towards healthy, here's what it may look like for you. 

  • If you always eat out, try cooking two meals at home this week, and then work your way up to 3 meals, 4, 5, and then maybe you only go out to eat 1x per week!
  • If you always have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, try a bowl of oats with fruit instead (fewer ingredients). And then maybe you add in some nuts or seeds to your oats, and some zucchini for your vegetable! Try throwing in spinach to your smoothies as well.
  • If you love pasta for dinner, try swapping out your noodles one night for zucchini noodles, or adding vegetables to the sauce. 
  • If drink fruit juice, try having a whole piece of fruit in stead, you will consume about 1/3 of the sugar that way. 

Don't try to be a perfect healthy eater all at once. By taking these baby steps, the habits will stick and you will transform your way of eating over time! If you try to do it all at once it will become frustrating and you'll be right back on the diet roller coaster. 

I hope this helps and please let me know if you have ANY other questions at all. Feel free to comment below or send me an email! If you're interested in some healthy recipes to get you started you can check out some of my fitness & meal plans here. Also I'll be doing my 2nd annual Resolution Revival again this February. A 4 week challenge to keep the New Year momentum going, full of daily workouts and meal guide. This year I'm adding an exclusive video page that will have the full workouts you can follow along and do them with me!! Exciting stuff :)

In the mean time, here's a sneak peak recipe that will be on the guide that you can try out this week!

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: 4 Steps for Goal Setting Success

Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and are enjoying this week with loved ones and some extra free time! Any one else feel all turned around during this week in between Christmas and New Years? Its been a little crazy but awesome! With it being the Wednesday before New Years I wanted to give some tips on starting the year off on a healthy foot. We all want to make New Years resolutions, but sometimes the New Years hype can get a little overwhelming. The problem is when we try to take on so much at once, a couple weeks into it we realize we can’t stick to all of these changes at once, and we quite. 

I want you to Join me in making 1, yes only 1, resolution on January 1st. We’re going to focus on that 1 goal for that week, give it all our focus. By the end of that first week we will re-evaluate. If you feel you have the first goal somewhat under control, then we can add one more. If the first week was a big struggle, we’re going to re-commit to that 1 goal for the 2nd week. Baby steps here. You don’t have to commit to a whole life of that goal up front, but we’re just going to take 1 week at a time. Biting off as much as we can chew. Before you know it you’ll have several healthy habits created over that course of a few months! 

Setting yourself up for success is key. Some of your goals may take a little prep work. If your goal is to go to the gym every day that week, you’ll need to make sure you have a gym pass, and that you have a time in your day carved out for that gym session. Also, eliminate the chance for error. Set reminders for yourself. That could be an alarm on your phone, or a sticky note on your mirror, whatever works for you!

The last step is to have a source of accountability. Tell someone about your goal! This is the vulnerable part. It takes some bravery to put yourself on the hook like that. By telling someone your goal, you add an extra layer of motivation. They will know if you’re following through or not. This can be scary but its so helpful! 

I’ll give you mine as an example:

  • My goal: Sugar detox. eliminate processed sugars from my diet for a week.
  • Setting myself up: throw away any left over Christmas treats or junk in the house that will tempt me 
  • Reminder: My Screen Saver on my phone will say “New Years Cleanse”
  • Accountability: I’m telling all of my followers and my husband about my goal. 

So now its your turn. 

  1. Pick your goal
  2. figure out what you need to do to set up for success
  3. Set a reminder for yourself
  4. Tell someone your goal! Put yourself on the hook

And remember, whatever damage you did this year, you get a fresh start! Time to move forward to a healthier you!

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Well Merry Christmas ya'll. It’s Tuesday, and I’m on the plane right now flying back to Salt Lake City to be with friends and family for the holidays and I’m so excited! No place like home for the Holidays right? Well as I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you guys this week before Christmas, I’ve been having a common theme come up. The Christmas tradition that we may not like, but feel it every year. The feeling that lingers around us all at Christmas time is the feeling of a sugar overload, and food-coma. Who’s with me? Most of us enjoy a little extra intake of goodies this time of year and it usually leaves us with a nice cozy layer of fluff to start off the new year. While the extra layer may be nice for the warmth (if you’re always freezing like I am!) we probably don’t want it to stick around for too long. Well I’ve come up with 5 tips to help you bounce back from the Holidays and start the new year off right.

Have the best Christmas weekend and soak up the company of loved ones and the spirit that Christmas brings! 

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Book Club: The Rules of "Normal" Eating

 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM

Here in Spokane Washington, I train at a gym called FitEdge. We work with our clients to obtain the 4 pillars of health. These are Mental, Physical, Fuel, and Regeneration. As part of our mental health, we aim to create a healthy relationship with yourself and food. To help with this, we started a little book club with our clients and I'd love for you to join in! Right now we are reading a book called 'The Rules of "Normal" Eating' by Karen R. Koenig. Each week we are discussing 1 or 2 chapters. I am loving this book so far! It's so real and relatable to all the things we deal with in our heads that we may think our normal, or we may not really know what "normal" eating is. This book will help you get on track with your core beliefs that effect your relationship with food and your success with maintaining a healthy weight. She breaks it down in such a great way. It's a quick and easy read to get you started off right approaching the new year! You can check out the Book Club blog Here. For now, I'll share this weeks post with you here at Body Design by Britt. 


This week we get into some great stuff. Chapter 5 is called ‘Beliefs of “normal” eaters’. If you’ve felt like you don’t have any “normal” eating beliefs DON’T PANIC. We can change. In Chapter 4 we talked about reframing our thinking. How do we do this?

  1. Step one is to identify your irrational, unhealthy beliefs
  2. Step two is to rework them into rational, healthy ones

Think of your own irrational beliefs towards Food, Eating, Weight, and Body. Now try to transform them into rational beliefs. She gives us an example for each category in this chapter (pg 87). I like the example for Food: irrational - “There are lots of bad and forbidden foods I shouldn’t eat”. How many times have we heard this?! “Don’t eat this, but you can eat that”, or “Top 5 foods to NEVER eat”. Sound familiar? Lots of catchy fitness magazine titles may come to mind. Well she explains that a more rational belief would be “There is no such thing as a bad or forbidden food” or “Foods can be nutritious or not, but they don’t have good or bad qualities” or “No one can tell me what foods I should or shouldn’t eat”. Those sound better right?

The chapter goes on to list several beliefs of “normal” eaters, showing us the irrational belief and then how it changes to a rational belief. One of my favorites was “Feeling good or bad about myself depends on what I eat or don’t eat”. That is totally irrational but I’ve caught myself thinking that several times. The more rational thought would be, “How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat”. This is so powerful. Our self worth and confidence is so much more than food & eating! We need to know that and believe it.

One of my favorite excerpts from the chapter is on page 98. “Normal eating is about listening to your body and making healthy decisions. It’s about pleasure, satisfaction, abundance, self-trust, good self-care, internal messages, and most of all, enjoying food. Disordered eating – whether compulsive/emotional or restrictive- is about fear, deprivation, rigidity, childish gratification, mistrusting oneself, poor self-care, external messages, self denial, and scary feelings. What is most striking about the comparison is that disordered thinking about eating has so little to do with actual put-it-on-your-plate-and-enjoy-it food!”

What are CORE beliefs?? In the book she defines them as "your most basic assumptions about yourself and the world, your take on life; they contain your bedrock values and most firmly held convictions about how things should work." This is where our beliefs about food, eating, weight, and body all stem from.

What are your core beliefs?

If you believe in yourself and that you have big dreams your going to accomplish, you are more likely to take care of your health and fuel your body the best you can to reach those dreams! In this chapter she helps us with tools for figuring out what our core beliefs are. Once you’ve discovered your list of core beliefs (about 10 or so) weed out the irrational ones and reframe them into rational beliefs following her example in the book. Some examples of other core beliefs might be -the glass is always half full, not half empty  -We can achieve anything in life with hard work  -We get what we deserve  -Skinny people are happier  -Rich people are happier  -Money can't buy happiness  -etc. (mantras that you live by)

An example that I found while looking into my core beliefs is the belief that “People may not like me if I’m not in shape or gain weight.” This is totally irrational! For this exercise I reframed this belief into “My weight or physical appearance will not effect how much the people I care about love me or how they feel towards me.” By changing this belief, I will change other irrational thoughts and fears that come along with it. This includes being scared to eat in front of certain people, or feeling pressured to look a certain way.

How do we connect our core beliefs to our thinking about food, eating, weight, and our body? Well she gives us a 3 step guide!

  1. Identify the eating- or body-related behavior you want to change
  2. Identify the irrational eating- or body-related belief underlying the behavior
  3. Identify the irrational core belief that underlies the food/weight/body- related belief

Easy enough? give it a try! Here is an example from the book:

  • Behavior: Finishing all the food on my plate
  • Belief: I am being wasteful if I don’t finish all the food on my plate.
  • Core Belief: Being wasteful is an unforgivable sin

This totally describes me! This week I’ve been practicing being ok with leaving food on my plate if I’m not hungry for it. Being OK with scraping food left on my plate into the garbage if its not enough to save for tomorrow. I’ve made progress! Find a belief you have towards food/eating/or body that you want to change and practice this week.

Another example of this:

  • Behavior: Weighing myself every day
  • Belief: I need to weight myself to know what I should or shouldn’t eat
  • Core Belief: I can’t trust my body to know what it needs

This is a great exercise to figure out where we can adjust our daily thoughts and behaviors that stem from our core beliefs. Remember, it may take a while to identify and change beliefs and behaviors, and that’s Ok! The more we sift through and work towards identifying these beliefs, the easier it will become.

What were your thoughts about chapter 5?

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My 3 S's to avoid the "All or Nothing" mindset trap

We’ve all been there, “well I already had a donut for breakfast, the rest of the day is shot. I’ll eat whatever crap I want for the rest of the day” or “I don’t have time to do my full workout today so I mine as well not even do anything” or “If I’m going to eat healthy I can’t have ANY sugar or ANY fatty foods for the entire month” or “I’ve already had one cookie, mine as well finish the whole bag!” Sound familiar??

Today I want to talk about a common state of mind that I see with clients, and have experienced myself. I’ve been reading about it in my book “the rules of Normal eating” as well. This is the trap of the “All or Nothing" mentality. The thought that there’s no middle ground with health. You’re either extremely healthy, chewing on organic kale, or extreme on the side of sweets and treats and couch sitting. 

In the book I’m reading ‘The rules of “normal” Eating’ (you can follow along with my book club here) she talks about how changing our beliefs towards food will change our behavior with food. When changing our beliefs we want to take a look at which of our beliefs are irrational vs. rational, and get rid of those irrational beliefs. For example, the belief that eating 1 cookie is just as bad as eating the whole bag so you mine as well eat the whole bag, is totally irrational! A more rational thought would be, ok I allowed myself 1 cookie, I’ll feel much better if I stop there rather than eating the whole bag. 

The problem with the “All or Nothing” mindset is that it becomes hard to maintain these extremes long term and we end up riding this up and down roller coaster. We’re either feeling pressure to be “perfectly healthy”, or feeling bad about ourselves for falling off the wagon. But the truth is we can be healthy in the middle! It's called MODERATION, and not viewing food as the enemy!

I think a big part of this for most people is over complicating it. We have so many voices around us saying “you have to count calories and macros” or “weighing your food is the way to go” and the chatter goes on and on. We think we have to do all this extra stuff if we want to be healthy and it becomes overwhelming and time consuming! What if I told you there’s a simpler way? I never teach calorie counting or macro counting to clients because I want to give you tools you will use for long term success. Who wants to be crunching numbers every time they eat for the rest of their lives? We’ll learn more about how to simplify below. 

Alright, now that we’re more aware of what the “All or Nothing” mindset is, how can we avoid it?? Here are my 3 S’s for avoiding this mindset that I’ve had success with in my life and want to share with you.

  1. Simplify. Forget the measuring and counting, and use your built in portion control kit, your hands! This is an easy way to control your portions that I’ve adopted from Precision Nutrition. They’ve made this awesome infographic that I’ve attached to share with you.
  2. Have a “Sanity Keeper”. What is this you might ask? Well its a food that you love, and can’t see yourself every living without, that you allow yourself. It’s just enough to take the edge off when you get that naughty food craving. You know that you are never going to give this up. At times when you need to cut back on sugar, or lower your carb intake, you may need to avoid certain foods, but this Sanity Keeper food you’ve chosen can always be in your life. The key is to allow it in moderation. This will help you avoid feeling deprived which usually results in a binge. For me its chocolate. I know I can have a little square of dark chocolate if I’m craving dessert and it will take care of that craving for me. I feel satisfied without feeling guilty, it’s a win win!
  3. Just Start. the final S is for Start. You may feel overwhelmed thinking that you have to be this extreme healthy person and go on some crazy diet, so you never start. This will never get you to where you want to be. Just start with baby steps. You don’t have to change your life in 1 week. Start with going to the gym once that week. Then add in 2 days a week. Then maybe you start drinking more water and less soda, and then slowly these healthy habits will get easier and become natural to you! 

Well there you have it, my quick and dirty guide on how to avoid the trap of the “All or Nothing” mindset. Remember the 3 S’s: Simplify, Sanity Keeper, and just Start. Leave your comments below on how these strategies have worked in your own life or what other brilliant ideas you’ve come up with on your own! I’d love to hear :)

And as always, your questions are welcome here anytime!

Feel free to share this post along to your friends and family who may be interested in the information. Thanks you guys rock

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY TIPS

With Thanksgiving this week, I wanted to share some of my favorite healthy tips for enjoying this time of year, without feeling a massive food-coma-hangover come January. The focus of this post is on Thanksgiving, but you can use these tips throughout the Holiday Season, and throughout the year really! The truth of the matter is there are always going to be parties, get togethers, chances to eat out with friends, and that donut guy at work who always brings treats (sent to sabotage our efforts!), so until we change our mindset towards food there's never going to be that "perfect time" or convenient time to lose weight or reach certain fitness goals. These are things I've found to help me in overcoming overeating and maintaining a healthy body composition all year round.

1) First off, schedule in your sweat session. I'm not saying you can always just work off anything you eat. You don't want to get in the habit of always trying to burn off your previous meal. You'll get no where. But when we're in a healthy routine of exercise, our body manages the food better. We can handle some extra calories on occasion and its not going to be the end of the world. You will feel so much better eating that piece of pie knowing you got your workout in.

2) No need to deprive, Portion control is key! We all have our favorite traditional parts of the thanksgiving meal. I love my Mom's stuffing and her homemade rolls with homemade raspberry jam, the best!! A big part of that is because she only makes them at thanksgiving. So keep in mind that its only 1 time a year. You don't need to healthify your traditional favorites if you don't want to. Enjoy the real deal, but just watch your portions. Have a delicious, flaky, buttery roll, just don't have 5! Typically what happens when we cut ourselves short & make our Shape Magazine Healthified - Tofu Stuffing or whatever it is that we think will be a healthy alternative, we end thanksgiving feeling deprived, maybe full but not satisfied. Then we may end up eating more later on because we never got our full Satisfaction. Enjoy the good stuff, just watch your portions!

3) To help out with that portion control, remember not to overcrowd your plate. We often will just eat whats left on our plate whether we want it or not. So take small portions at first, you can always go back for more if you really want, but its harder to stop if it's on your plate already.

4)  Slow Down! Most the time, over eating is just a result of eating too fast. Our bodies are pretty good at letting us know when we're full, we just have to give it time to relay the message. Practice setting down your fork after you've had a few bites, a few times throughout the meal. Enjoy the company of those around you, drink water, breathe. The food on your plate doesn't have a time limit, it will still be there! And before you get seconds, try to wait at least 10 minutes. That should give your body plenty of time to let you know if its really still hungry. Slow eating is mindful eating!

5) Don't beat yourself up over one meal! Moderation is healthy. Enjoy the holiday, and get back to your healthy routine the next day! Drink lots of water and don't miss your post holiday workout!

Well there you have it! 5 tips to help you stay on your road to healthy this Holiday Season! Have a great thanksgiving everyone! And I've got you covered with a workout! Download my Turkey Burn workout below and do it with the whole fam this weekend! It's a full body blast, guaranteed to make some room for Turkey Dinner ;)

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Cracking the Craving Code

tea

Think of the last time you had a strong craving to eat something. Whether it was a tub of haagen daz, or a basket of french fries, you wanted it, and you wanted it bad. We all have cravings. Cravings aren’t always bad. Sometimes we crave what our bodies are truly in need of. For example, Chocolate Cravings are for real! Ok maybe not ALL the time, but there are several components in chocolate that the body may become deficient in, especially magnesium and antioxidants. We’re often told to avoid cravings, suppress our cravings, have will power! But what about the concept of satisfying a craving, in a healthy way, which will then allow us to avoid the deprivation and binge cycle that so many of us fall into. Interesting….   

So today I want to talk about figuring out why we’re craving certain foods, checking in with our selves, and satisfying that craving in a healthy way. I’ve been trying to tune in to my own cravings and figure out what it is that I need emotionally or physically, rather than the tub of ice-cream or whatever it may be on my radar. 

  • First step: Decide what your mood is when you get the craving. For me I’m more of a happy eater than a depressed eater. In the past, I typically associate good times and happiness with eating treats & desserts. When I’m sad or down I don’t really feel like eating. This differs from person to person depending on experiences you’ve had. If you get home from a long day of work and all you want to do is pound a whole Pizza, thats most likely linked to emotions from work, rather then your body really needing that pizza, and chances are you won’t really feel better after eating the pizza.  
  • Second step: Find an alternative fix to satisfy the root of the craving. If you’re craving a Pizza binge when you get home from work, you’re probably feeling a little stressed out from the day. Try the healthy alternative of going for a quick run when you get home, or calling a good friend to talk or vent, or whatever you need to release that work load. Or sometimes for me, I’m with family & friends, and playing games, just having a great time, and I want to eat the whole bowl of peanut butter m&m’s in front of me because I’m just happy! Well if I’m aware of this, I can make sure I’m not putting a bowl of “happy” m&m’s in front of me and replacing that with a veggie tray or something along those lines. This step is basically just weeding out the emotional cravings from the physiological cravings. 
  • Third step: Find the healthiest option for what you’re craving and satisfy it. Sometimes it’s a taste, or a smell, or just a texture that we crave. Here’s a list of some that I’ve experienced and my recommended cures:
currently my favorite flavor! just in time for the holidays :) 

currently my favorite flavor! just in time for the holidays :) 

  1. Something Warm (Hot chocolate, Molten Cake, Cider) —> Herbal Tea! this has been my favorite lately. They have amazing holiday flavors right now that smell and taste delicious, and I don’t crave the sugar loaded hot chocolate anymore!
  2. Something Cold (icecream, shake, pudding, popsicle) —>  Frozen Grapes or blueberries, Protein shake, Frozen Banana icecream, Homemade fruit popsicles
  3. Something Creamy (pudding, frosting, icecream, creamy soup) —> Avocado, spoon of natural nut butter, healthified mashed potatoes recipe) 
  4. Something Salty (potato chips, french fries, crackers) —> Homemade baked french fries, dry roasted nuts (in moderate portion), stove popped popcorn
  5. Something Chocolatey —> a small square of rich dark chocolate
  6. Stressful eating —> Do 10 burpees and see how you feel!
  7. Eating out of Boredom —> Drink a large glass of water & Pick up a good book to start reading (its hard to eat when your hands are holding a book! or do 10 burpees and see how you feel :)

These are just a few tips I thought of and that have worked for me! There’s lots of healthy ways to satisfy cravings, so find what works for you, and I would love to hear your ideas! Remember, cravings aren't always bad. Determine the root, healthify your options, and honor your body!

 

 

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Why Meal Plans fail & how to transform your diet the sustainable way!

Today I want to target the frustration some of you may have experience with, and that is why meal plans don’t work (at least for most of us). If you’ve done one of my online training programs you’ve probably noticed that I give you the healthy basics, and tools to create your own meals, lots of healthy recipes & meal prep ideas, and guidance for building a balanced meal, but its not directly laid out for you as far as: eat this much of this food at this time. I call it a meal guide rather than a meal plan. The reason for this is I want to help you without crippling you. Similar to the concept of “teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry” or whatever that saying is. Well the idea is that if you’re given the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices and you know the reasoning behind it and the effects it has on your body, you’re more likely to make those good choices on your own, for the right reasons, resulting in long lasting results. My meal guides focus on realistic goals and healthy habits, relative to your unique starting point and circumstances.

Birthday Dessert!

Birthday Dessert!

Here’s the deal, meal plans or diet plans aren’t the best solution for a few reasons. Let me break it down for you. First of all, they’re hard to stick to. I mean life happens. There’s always a weekend out with friends, always a holiday, always a party, and if you have kids they’re always going to need food as well. A common statement I hear is, “this week is my childs birthday party, and its a really busy week, so I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “Well it’s halloween, then its thanksgiving, then its christmas, so I’ll start the program after new years.” Well I don’t expect you to give up every party or holiday in your life so that you can stick to a strict meal plan. This may lead us to rebelling and feeling guilty, resulting in quitting all together. 

Second of all, meal plans are typically meant for a short term effect, maybe it’s really low carb for example, and when followed for too long can result in issues with metabolism, & hormone levels. Or a quick juice cleanse detox, resulting in water weight loss, but no energy. In other words, the meal plan can be a little too perfect. We need to fuel our body depending on our activity level, and if we aren’t getting enough fats, or carbs, or proteins for a long period of time, certain systems in our bodies will not function properly. We may feel overly tired, overly hungry, and have a bad taste in our mouth for healthy eating. This shifts us into that mindset of resenting “health food” and craving more of our favorite comfort or junk food. Viewing salads & vegetables as “diet food” when in reality this is real food. 

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

Third of all, most meal plans focus on nutrients (Proteins, Carbs, Fats), calories, or measurements (ounces, grams, etc.) instead of actual food. This can be so confusing. When you’re at a restaurant you don’t see the grams of nutrients next to the item, or how many ounces of potatoes are in the dish. With all these numbers and measurements it can be confusing and overwhelming what to focus on and trying to remember all the different recommendations. Was it 50g of Protein, or 60? Am I supposed to have 300 calories for lunch or 400? The point is this can all be nonsense and distraction if you’re missing the whole point of making healthy choices for the right reasons.

When I work with clients working towards fitness goals, I start where they’re at. I have them keep a 2-3 day food journal so I can see what an average day in their stomach looks like. Based on where they’re at, we can set goals, 1 week at a time, to make changes that will stick. We talk about real food, in real life situation, so that we can get real results that will last. I educate on why you’re making the choices and the benefits that will come. If you’re used to hot pockets and dino nuggets, you shouldn’t just immediately jump on the Kale band wagon. Pace yourself and just think, “how can I make this meal just a little bit healthier & better for me?” Maybe its adding a side salad to your hot pocket meal. Then maybe you create a healthier homemade dressing for your salad. Then replacing the hot pocket with a homemade recipe, and it continues until you’re at a level of health where you can feel & perform your best. You will LOVE the process and the positive changes in your body rather than RESENTING your diet or meal plan. Instead of thinking of a list of rules you have to stick to, or what you can and can’t eat, think of food on a spectrum. One end of the spectrum is completely healthy, unprocessed, Organic, grown in your back yard, homemade meal, and the other end is a deep friend twinkie dipped in chocolate. Think of how you can make your meals a little closer to that healthy side of the spectrum. You may find yourself in a situation where the options aren’t perfect, but you can always find the healthier choice. You may also find that the occasional “unhealthy” choice is ok, because its your grandma’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or your favorite flavor of ice cream for your birthday. Its recognizing the difference between splurges that are occasional and totally worth it, and mindlessly eating a box of cookies because they’re in front of you.

Part of my goal with each client is helping them figure out their relationship with food, their strengths, their struggles, and move forward with healthy goals at a healthy pace. Fitting HEALTHY into their lives, not trying to squeeze them into this unrealistic healthy box that we think is the only way to lose weight or get fit. 

So if you want help reaching your goals with weight loss & fitness, please send me an email or hit my up on instagram, I would love to get started! But if you’re looking for a calculated, strict, calorie counting meal plan you won’t find it here, sorry! Feel free to send this over to a friend you think would enjoy!

Happy Wednesday Wisdom ya’ll!

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Its Possible! 5 tips for Cooking QUICK & EASY

Alright we all know when it comes to eating healthy, prep is key! You’ve probably heard it a million times, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail! The reason so many of us eat crappy junk food in the first place is because it’s convenient! Whats more convenient than stopping at Little Caesars on your way home and picking up a $5 pizza? Hot and ready for the whole fam to stuff their faces with. Or a bag of chips you can just pop open and enjoy the salty greasy goodness ;)

Well I’m hear with some good news! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an all day in the kitchen kind of thing. A lot of us work full time, or have mommy duties all day, I mean who has time to cook these days? Well you DO! Let me share a few of my tips for cooking healthy, quick, and efficiently. Don’t get caught up and overwhelmed with people posting about making exotic beautiful meals from scratch everyday, thats not reality, thats social media. 

First of all, you have to accept the fact that it’s never going to be quite as fast, cheap, and easy as Mcdonalds, those are just the facts. But with a tad more effort, you can have a healthy, filling meal, that won’t break the bank and taste AMAZING. It takes a bit of planning & effort, but everyone can do it! It takes commitment and deciding that you’re going to live a healthy lifestyle, feeding you and your family healthy meals. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to throw in a frozen lasagna occasionally, but just do your best! Here are my tips that should help:

 

Tip #1: Invest in a Crockpot.

If you don’t currently own a crockpot, I highly recommend you get one. This will save you time in all sorts of ways. I have so many recipes that I can just throw into the crockpot, turn it on, set the timer, and walk out the door, coming home to an amazing smelling house and dinner all ready to go. It gives you the convenience of going about your day without having to watch the oven or stove. Also, you’ll always have left overs, which will save you time throughout the week. Bonus, you’ll spend less time doing dishes! One pot meals are amazing. 

 

Tip #2: Plan Your Weeks Menu, with Strategy

Find 5-6 healthy dinner recipes you want on the menu for the week, allowing for a night out on the weekend (if you want help with this part reply to this post and I’ll hook you up with all sorts of good recipes). Plan so that the first couple of nights you make a crockpot meal, a soup, or something with lots of leftovers that you can utilize throughout the week for lunches or breakfast. For example, this week I made a big batch of Lentil Soup Monday night, and Tuesday night I made shredded pork in the crockpot. Both were large batches that I’ve been using for lunches, eliminating extra time in the kitchen for sure. 

 

Tip #3: Utilize half prepped ingredients

Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and awesome ingredients! Ok Trader Joe’s isn’t the only place you can find pre-prepped ingredients, but I’ve just found a lot of my favorites here. Don’t think you have to do everything from scratch. Take advantage of swift time savers such as pre-riced cauliflower (its a mess to do it on your own!), sliced jicama, or pre-cubed and peeled butternut squash, or awesome low-sugar sauces (enchilada sauce & curry sauce from Trader Joe’s are awesome for crockpot meat recipes) that add flavor to any meal. I’ll be posting a lot of these products in my Friday Favorites post this Friday so stay tuned! Still go for whole, unprocessed ingredients, but take advantage of a little pre-prepped help. 

 

Tip #4: Always make extra

When you’re making a meal, always think about what you can do to save you time later on. If you’re making a salad, get out a few tupperware containers while you’re at it and just make multiple salads in one setting, packed and ready to enjoy that week. If you’re slicing vegetables for dinner, slice more and put them in baggies for a healthy snack while you’re at it. If you’re boiling water, get some eggs out and hard boil a few for the week. If you’re making rice or quinoa, double the batch and put what you don’t eat in the fridge. This will become second nature with experience and practice.

 

Tip #5: Multi-task your cooking

This tip is geared towards having success with a 20-30 minute meal. I start by getting all of my ingredients out that I will be using for the meal and figuring out what part of the meal is going to take the longest to cook or bake and I get that going first. So if I’m having sweet potatoes with my meal, I’ll get those in the oven first thing, then I prep everything else while those are baking. Or if I’m having fish, I’ll prep that, get it in the oven, then in those 15-20 minutes of bake time I make my salad or veggies, and then everything is done at once! 

 

Well there you have it, my 5 tips for being quick and efficient in the kitchen. It may seem overwhelming and daunting at first if you’re not used to cooking or if you don’t even like it. But trust me, practice makes perfect, and by cooking your own meals you will always know what you’re putting in your body, giving you control. You will also save money! Don’t get caught up with thinking it needs to be perfect or thinking every meal has to be fancy. Just keep it simple and try new flavors! Enjoy! leave a comment with any questions or recipe requests

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REVIEW: renew float spa

Alright today I got to try something totally new and amazing. I had the opportunity to try out  Renew Float Spa for a float! What is floating you may ask (well I didn't know either) but here's what I learned:

Imagine what it feels like to be floating in space, no gravity, completely dark, completely silent, the perfect environment for tranquility. You step into this big white pod which contains 10 inches of water that is the same temperature as your body - 93.5 degrees, as well as the air temperature. The water contains a whole lot of Epsom Salt which creates a buoyancy for your body that removes the effects of gravity on your body. You feel completely weightless, allowing every single muscle in your body to fully relax. With the water and air temperature being equal to your body, you lose track of where your body ends and the water and air begins. You are completely distraction free, and your mind goes into a state of calmness with a rush of dopamine and endorphins. You get a full hour in the pod, first 5 minutes with soft music playing to get you in the zone, then 50 minutes of dark and silence, then for the last 5 minutes the soft music returns for your to come back to earth. Its the craziest feeling! I think at one point I fell asleep and when I came back to life I seriously felt like I was on the moon! 

Some of the Benefits of floating include:

Feelings of deep calm & relaxation, flow of feel-good endorphins, relieves stress, refreshes & rejuvenates the body, improve sleep patterns, reduces rehab and recovery time, relieves chronic pain (arthritis, headaches), improves blood circulation, Decreases production of cortisol, lactic acid and adrenaline, improves clarity of though and concentration, facilitates deeper meditation, Synchronizes left/right hemispheres of the brain, and so much more! 

So to sum up my experience, I thought it was an amazing must try. In my opinion it's a little bit over priced, but you get a discount on your first time so that's a bonus! Since it is on the pricier side I would schedule it after a grueling physical activity that you are sore from, or before an event that may be causing you anxiety or need some extra serenity going into. My favorite part of the experience was the feeling of being completely weightless that I have never felt before! Also when you get out your body feels relaxed and energized and the epsom salt does wonders. This would be an awesome and unique gift card Christmas present for a friend or family member! Lots of these float spas are poppin up, so if you're not in Spokane, search the one nearest you!

You can find them here: www.renewfloat.com and insta: @renewfloat

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: when to CONTROL and when to LET GO

icecream bar in Balboa, totally worth it

icecream bar in Balboa, totally worth it

Today I want to address the subject of controlling what we can, and being ok with what we can’t. Applying this to the area of Health and Fitness, I get a lot of clients telling me “well I did great for about a week, and then I ate out with friends and totally blew it”, “This week I have 2 birthday parties, and a wedding, so I’ll start the plan next week” or “I’ll train the first of the week, but then we’re going on a vacation this weekend so I’m going to have to start all over!” And the frustrating comments continue. The fact is LIFE HAPPENS, and if we look for them, excuses are EVERYWHERE! My reply to these concerns is always to “do the best you can on your own, eat your veggies, plan your meals, eat according to your activity level, get your workout in - even if it's just 15 minutes, and then on those occasions when you’re celebrating, or a neighbor has you over for dinner and they feed you cake, its not the end of the world!” 

nutella crepe in Paris..... totally worth it

nutella crepe in Paris..... totally worth it

My point is this: When we’re in control, at our own house, doing the planning, in our day to day life, be on your best behavior, fuel your body the best you know how to. Turn these practices into healthy habits that just become a way of life. That way, when we are out with friends, or attending a party, it’s not the end of the world if we don’t have the best options available to us. Still do your best with your options, don't go on a complete sugar binge, but you don’t have to beat yourself up over someone cooking with canola oil instead of avocado oil, or having one of the cookies your friend brought to the party, or a piece of the wedding cake. That’s the beauty of living with moderation 365 days of the year. That 80/20 mentality. There’s always a holiday, there’s always going to be birthday parties, or social events, and these things should be enjoyed! The idea is to get in a healthy routine that works for you on the day to day, and then be ok with flexibility in moderation. Prioritize the splurges that are worth it to you

Puff Pastry in Italy.... yep, enjoyed every bite

Puff Pastry in Italy.... yep, enjoyed every bite

Enjoying a pumpkin donut at a cute little pumpkin patch to kick off October is totally worth it and should be enjoyed! Sitting on your coach and reaching your hand into the bottom of the bag of potato chips just because they’re there and you're bored is probably not worth it. You be the judge ;) 

Its shifting the perspective of the “diet” mindset into the mindset of a healthy lifestyle and fueling your body right to feel your best. It will soon become obvious to you that mentally and physically you perform better with a healthy, whole foods diet, and the sugary-junk-food binges don’t feel so good. 

Cookie Sandwhich at Manhattan Beach Creamery....... amazing and no regrets

Cookie Sandwhich at Manhattan Beach Creamery....... amazing and no regrets

Don’t make every little “unhealthy food choice” such a big deal in your mind. Nobody’s diet is perfect, nor should it be! I think a perfect diet allows for flexibility and enjoyment of foods you love. That's why I have a piece of Chocolate everyday! Its small, and its dark, but super rich and does the trick to cure my craving and make me smile! Now I’m not saying I have a full candy bar every day to cure my cravings, but if you practice moderation you allow yourself some wiggle room, and you learn to appreciate it more!

Chocolate in Switzerland...... The Best! It would be a crime to pass up

Chocolate in Switzerland...... The Best! It would be a crime to pass up

So take away message: If you know you have a halloween party this weekend and you want to enjoy a caramel apple, do your thang, eat clean this week leading up to the party, and a low sugar/low carb breakfast & lunch that day, get a workout in, and enjoy that party! Maybe don’t down the whole apple, but see how you feel after a couple slices. Learning to tune into your body is key! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not to be lived strapped down to our mind always thinking of what we can’t eat! HAPPY WEDNESDAY WISDOM! 

-Britt

German Chocolate Icecream Sundae for Date night.... Yes please, worth it

German Chocolate Icecream Sundae for Date night.... Yes please, worth it

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EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!

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EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!

Being a trainer I've learned more and more the importance of fueling your body right. You can't heal your body without the nutrition side of the equation. I've put together this Video Blog post to explain my view on nutrition and give a quick crash course to what my approach is and what you can learn and practice with being a client of mine! I've also provided my written script for the video if you rather read that watch my face haha totally understandable! hope you enjoy :)

"I wanted to do a quick overview and crash course of my whole philosophy and guidance on nutrition. This will be an intro to the approach I take and what you’ll learn with me as your trainer. We are constantly bombarded with different eating rules and diets that it can be so hard to sort through all the information and figure out whats right, what we should be listening to, and whats going to work for us and our goals.

Well being in the fitness industry world for a few years now I’ve done a lot of reading and testing what works best for me and my clients. I’m going to simplify the whole thing for you. “EAT REAL FOOD” (write it on a paper sign). As simple as this sounds, it can be a little tricky still. Over time, we have lost touch with what real food is and our relationship with food has been distorted.

First off I want to clear up the word “Diet”. When we hear the word “Diet” most of us cringe thinking - restrictive, calorie counting, hunger, guilt, broccoli, I don’t know, just all these things that are often associated with the word diet. Well when I refer to “Diet” I simply mean how we eat, what we put into our bodies. Along with that, I want you to forget about ideas of calorie counting, “fat free” diets, “gluten free”, Paleo, Macro counting, food timing, weighing your food, any of that stuff, forget about it. I'm not saying all these things are horrible, I’m just removing the labels that your mind may be associating with “diet” and simplifying it with “EAT REAL FOOD”. This means knowing whats in our food, and avoiding chemicals & fake ingredients. Basically you should either have no food labels (because you don’t need it - fruits, vegetables) or you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients & know what it is on the label. 

Lets talk about macros. First of all, what are macros or macronutrients? These are Fats, Proteins, and Carbs. 

I want to talk about FATS first, there’s a lot of clearing up to do here. Fats have had a bad rap for a while, especially saturated fats. The food industry had mass amounts of industrial crops so they decided to turn it into oil. This was a BAD idea. Back 60-70 years ago, these fake oils replaced real oils (such as butter) in many situations and homes, and this has led to a lot of the health issues today. This oil became so cheap and available that they put it in EVERYTHING, and these food industries made a lot of money! On most labels of processed foods you’ll see these crop based oils such as Soybean, Canola, peanut, corn. These are chemical filled fake oils. Stay away! We want natural oils, which include, real grass fed butter (thats right, you don’t need to be afraid of butter anymore), coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil. Some other great sources of fats are nuts & seeds, salmon, avocado, eggs. And just a note on eggs, Dietary cholesterol (or cholesterol that is in the food we eat) has no correlation with the cholesterol levels in our blood. So egg yolks are totally great, and meat. All animal products contain cholesterol, but it won’t cause high cholesterol in our bodies, just want to clear that up.

Next up is Protein. Protein is so important. It's responsible for our bodies maintaining and repairing tissues, especially muscle tissue in our bodies. If you want to maintain or add lean muscle mass, protein is essential. We want to get protein from the most natural sources we can. So choosing free range chickens for meat and eggs, grass fed beef, as close to the source as we can get with dairy products. What our food sources eat goes into our bodies as well, so if our animals are eating all of those industrial crop products with chemicals, those chemicals are going in our bodies as well. We'll talk about the problem with this in a later session about omega 3's and omega 6 balance. And I know it gets expensive to do this, so all I suggest is do your best. Maybe this week you try free range eggs, and then next week you get grass fed beef. Just do what you can. and its a lot cheaper than all the drugs and pills that you may need down the road prescribed by doctors! just sayin :)  Women should be eating about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and men could be consuming up to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Depending on goals this could be reduced a bit.

Third is Carbohydrates. There are a TON of misconceptions about carbohydrates. low-carb, high-carb, no-carb, sugar-free, what to do! So basically any carb source in its simplest form inside your body gets broken down into sugar, which are body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are an awesome source of energy and our bodies need carbs, but where we go wrong is with the amount. most of us do not need the amount of carbs we consume and it gets stored as fat in our bodies. Most of us aren’t running through the forest hunting dinner every night, or biking as our main source of transportation. We need to get back in tune with when our body needs the extra fuel from carbs, and when we don’t. Also get back in tune with cravings vs hunger. Sugar is addicting, and I claim that as a fact. So most of the time we want carbs or sugars, we're not really hungry, we're just listening to those addictive cravings. Carbs spike our blood sugar levels which effect our energy levels throughout the day. Thats why most of the people going to eat a sandwich & chips and a soda on their lunch break come back to work feeling that 2-3pm energy slump. Its an energy roller coaster when carbs are your main source. We can neutralize this with fats and proteins in our diet. By the way, Carbs come from lots of sources, most familiar is breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, sugar, but vegetables and fruits are carbs as well! And I don’t think we need to avoid grains and breads & sugar all together, but just be mindful of when your body needs it. So if we’re climbing a mountain tomorrow, ya I”m going to have a bowl of oats in the morning with some fruit, and I’m gonna stir some coconut oil in there as well for that fat source. I know i’m going to use that fuel on my hike. Or before a long run, I'll have a piece of toast with nut butter and banana for my fuel source. But avoid eating a big bowl of cereal or muffin before you go sit at your desk all day. So the idea is to shift our mindset and habits from this carb binge, fat fearing state of mind, to a balanced, real food, mindful eating approach, and fueling our body for what it needs. Using food as a fuel source rather than this horrible thing that makes us fat!

How do we make the shift? Our culture and mainstream grocery stores and food sources make carbs so prevalent and convenient and cheap!  Whats more convenient than a pack of easy cheese and pretzel sticks and a hot pocket? or a pop-tart? I mean seriously its like magic! Well in order to make this healthy eating a reality, we need to make the healthy options as convenient and second nature as we can. First of all, knowing in your mind what a healthy plate looks like is key. With this embedded into your brain you can build a healthy meal wherever you are! Sometimes you’ll have better options than other times, but just doing your best in whatever situation is key. So this is what the government food plate guideline is today (show picture). They have grains as big as vegetables, and then fruits and proteins a little smaller, and then dairy in your cup. Well one problem I see is that 3 out of the 4 sections are carbs, and 2nd problem is that their is no room for fats. So I’m gonna X this one and show you my plate guide. (show new picture) First off, you got your protein source here. Whether thats Turkey, Eggs, Tofu, a mix of Quinoa & meat, or cottage cheese. Then you have your Vegetables. Vegetables at every meal! yes even breakfast. There’s so many ways to sneak vegetables in. I always load my eggs with chopped veggies, you can buy a big bag of frozen veggies if thats more convenient for you (aim for organic if you’re doing frozen because they’re picked at the right time and no chemicals used), spinach or kale in your smoothies, there’s lots of options! But get veggies in every meal. and then you have your fat. This is key to help you feel full, to stabilize your blood sugar levels, curb your cravings, and perform your best. This is why so many diets fail and people get HANGRY because they aren’t eating enough fats. Fats are super important for our cognitive function as well, so we will be able to think and focus so much better. This fat on the plate can be avocado, Olive Oil with your veggies, butter on your sweet potato, Chopped nuts on your salad, there’s lots of options there too. And in the cup I just put water! So many of us aren’t drinking enough water. A lot of the times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, so I always tell my clients to carry a water bottle, and if they have a craving, take a drink first and see if the craving continues. 

So you can build this healthy plate in a lot of situations. At the salad bar, get your lettuce, topped with lots of veggies, a protein, and some nuts & dressing for your fat. A Burrito bowl with guacamole, etc. Along with knowing how to build your plate, meal prep is another key to success! You don't have to go crazy and measure out all your little tupperwares for the week, but just be smart and efficient with your time in the kitchen. ALWAYS make extra when your cooking and put it in a tupperware for tomorrows breakfast or lunch. Spend a couple hours one evening to do some crock pot meat, Chop up veggies for the week, and boil a bunch of eggs. You’ll be set. almost as convenient as a hot pocket ;)

My quick recap is remember to EAT REAL FOODS, • Fats are good (natural fats), • Avoid chemicals, if you can’t say it or know where it came from, you probably shouldn’t eat it, • and remember how to build your plate, Veggies, Protein, Fats, Water! 

So there you have it. Episode 1 of my Nutrition crash course. Next time I’ll be talking about Sugars & artificial sweeteners and supplements. :) and please comment with any questions you have at all. I’ll try to answer them best I can! and share this with any friends or family members you think may enjoy it! Thanks guys!

 

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Get Foam Rolling in Your Life, the Right Way

Alright some of you may still be wondering what the hype about foam rolling is. Is it just a trend? Does it actually do anything? Why does it hurt so bad? Well hopefully I can answer some of your questions and influence you to try it out and enjoy it like I have.

First of all, what is foam rolling? It is more scientifically known as SMR, or Self-Myfascial Release. It is a soft tissue therapy (muscles, tendons, fascia, connective tissue) that you apply to yourself with the goal to release tightness and soreness, also referred to as trigger points.

Some of the Benefits of foam rolling include:

  • Increasing range of motion
  • Increasing long term flexibility
  • Decrease Muscle Soreness
  • Decrease Muscle Pain long term
  • Increase Neuromuscular efficiency
  • Maintain normal muscle length
  • Address muscle imbalances
  • Aid with Injury prevention

Think of it as a little Therapeutic massage to yourself. Ok maybe a little more painful at times, but the more you do it the less painful it will be! 

Alright first order of business, how to choose the right foam roller? You can order them for as cheap as $8 off amazon if you’d like. You want it firm. It needs to be hard enough so that it’s pressing into you, rather than you pressing into it. Personally, I like the firm, solid black classic.

Now lets talk Technique. You may have seen people just roll around up and down on these things. Thats not exactly right. You should roll around for about 30 seconds to break things up, but then start to feel where you have tension and target that spot to release that tension. You want to push through that spot, relax, and feel it release. You will feel pain, but try to stay on that point until it releases. Then move on to the next spot. This is a slower process that most people think. 

When should you foam roll? Ideally every day, but you can start out with a few days a week. Before and after your workout is perfect. You will notice that your muscle soreness will decrease, and it’s a nice warm up before you get started. 

What Muscles to target? Well most commonly tight on humans is our IT bands, or the outer thigh. Your IT band connects your hip down to the outside of your knee. Since so many of us sit, or bike, or run, we aren’t getting that lateral movement, so that naturally tightens up. This can cause a pull on your knee and you will feel pain. Roll through that IT band, break up that tightness. Other points that are my favorite to target are your quads, calves, glutes, and back. I find my glutes are often in knots, so I just sit on the foam roller and knead through the soreness. Along with the benefits above, you will start to notice a longer, leaner look to your muscles if combined with regular exercise and a healthy eating routine. 

A common mistake? Most people always want to stretch their hamstrings, it feels good, but I suggest you stay away from it unless you are foam rolling them as well. Here’s the deal, our hamstrings are usually over lengthened. Think about it, hips are tight & short (sitting the majority of the day), hamstrings are over lengthened & being stretched through the day. Foam rolling breaks up the muscles, helps reduce the length of the muscles back to normal, and then you will feel stronger and better when you stretch them.

So there you have it, my quick 101 crash course on foam rolling. Have other questions? Let me know, comment below. Think someone else could benefit from this information? Share this blog post and spread the word, and let me know how your next foam roll session goes :)

ALSO ON THE BLOG......

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POWER DOWN AND MEDITATE - My new healthy habits

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POWER DOWN AND MEDITATE - My new healthy habits

I’m sure you’ve all had the post-tech-screen-binge hangover feeling where your eyes burn and you feel like you’ve just consumed way to much information about your social network. If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself looking at your phone first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed. This has been weighing on me and I’ve decided something needs to change. With this Back on Track 30- Day Fitness Challenge, part of the program is focusing on a healthy habit each week. Participants email me their healthy habit that they want to work on that week and I check in with them throughout the program. By the end of the month we will have a few new healthy habits that we can be proud of and that have brought us closer to our overall goal of living our healthiest, happiest life. 

Well I couldn’t just stand on the side lines! I’ve dedicated myself to the program as well. My healthy habit that I am working on this week is powering down all electronic screens at least 30 minutes before I go to bed, and not turning them on for at least 30 minutes after I wake up in the morning. The second part of this routine is adding in at least 5 minutes of meditation in those 30 minutes both morning and night. Now before you think the word “meditation” means weird woo woo type stuff, give it a chance. Meditation can be done in many different forms. In fact, prayer is a form of meditation which is something I’m sure most of you already do. The last few days have been amazing with this routine! I sleep better, my eyes don’t hurt from the blue light and squinting, my morning is more peaceful and my day goes better. 

I’m a huge supporter of powering down screens before sleep and here’s some reasons why:

  • First off, you’ll sleep better, meaning your quality of sleep improves drastically! With before bed screen time you never truly get into REM sleep where all the rest and recovery actually happens. 
  • If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, you are much more likely to have success if you’re getting enough sleep!    
  • You will also be able to reduce stress, and stay away from mood swings and depression. When our tech screens are constantly on we can blur the lines between work and home life. We need our home life!
  • Our productivity, organization and critical thinking skills are compromised when we spend too much time distractedly jumping from one site to another. We may develop issues with focusing on a face to face conversation.
  • And you get to cuddle undistracted, morning and night with your love! That by itself is worth unplugging! 

Ideally we should be powering down 2 hours before bed, but I’m starting with 30 minutes and so far its been great! Baby steps. 

Some tips for success with powering down:

  • Get an actual alarm clock instead of using your phone.
  • Get an actual, paper book to read at night and in the morning if you like to read. This will be much better than staring at your phone to read. Or have a journal by your bed to write in!
  • Leave your laptop and phone charging in a different room at night so its not right next to you.
  • Think of all the things you can get done in the morning if you’re not glued to your phone! You can stretch, meal prep, read a book, clean, shave your legs, workout… haha just saying

If you listen to any podcasts or read any productivity books you’ve probably come across the same common theme that I have, and thats the power of meditation! The majority of powerful, successful, and productive people make time for meditation in their day. The benefits go on and on but to name a few common ones: 

  • reduces stress
  • improves concentration abilities
  • increases self-awareness
  • can increase happiness
  • can slow aging
  • can benefit cardiovascular and immune help. Where to start? try out this app HEADSPACE and see what you think. I know most of you are thinking you don’t have time for meditation but just give it a shot and see if it helps clear your mind in your busy life! Start with just 5 minutes a day! 

Well there you go, now you know the healthy habit that I’m working on and I’d love to hear yours. Comment below and share this with a friend who may want to jumpstart their fitness goals with this 30 day Back on Track program.

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