Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving !


Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from me to you! During this holiday don't forget to take some time to reflect on the things you are blessed with and to really spend time with your family and friends ! Be gracious and give back to others not only now during this holiday but strive to make it a goal to offer your services to others who may need it !!!

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. -Frederick Keonig

And from your trainer !!!

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Be GREATFUL for the Holidays and take some time to breathe!

The Holiday's are here !!!
The official kickoff of the holiday season is this Thursday ! With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's all stacked within a 2 month time frame, we can get all too consumed in the hustle and bustle instead of the real reasons to celebrate !
Far too often we take for granted the little things in life and complain about the things that are privileges.
Think about some of these:
You walk out the door with mismatched shoes
* At least you have more than one pair of shoes to mismatch!
They misspell your name at Starbucks
* You have some "extra" income for little splurges !
The internet or Wi-FI is down
*You have access to technology that many places don't!
Your holiday flight is delayed or you miss the flight
*You have the ability to travel, that is something most people can't do!
Your grocery bags are too heavy to carry
* You have access to healthy food to eat at your leisure!
Your laundry is piling up
* You have CLEAN clothes to wear each day!
You lost your car keys ... again
* Be happy you have a place to lose your keys !
The automatic sinks are fickle and the dryer blows you to pieces
*You have access to running clean water and a place to use the restroom !
Your work is overwhelming at times and piling up
* Be blessed you have a job/career to be at each day !
You see there are many things we take for granted each day. But if we took a step back and realized how much of life is a blessing you might feel compelled to help others ! Remember the life you live no matter how bad YOU think it is someone is wishing and praying for that life right now !
During the holiday season there are many people who go overboard buying gifts upon gifts of expensive items to "please" their family. The experience of the holiday is soon forgotten and replaced by material things. What happened to the days of spending time with family and friends, eating a wholesome meal, giving to others without the expectation of receiving in return?
Thanksgiving is a time to "Give Thanks" to others. What are you planning to do to "give thanks" or give back to others?
Try to pick one thing to do for someone else. Make food for a shelter, offer help at a soup kitchen, package bags for the homeless, or just offer help to your family during the holiday's. Don't forget the real reason for the holiday... To spend quality time with family and friends. To give back to others and to give without expecting in return !!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

So you want to live a FIT life but don't know where to start? START HERE !

Fit life secrets !! Living a fit life requires some planning but it is completely a lifestyle change ! If it were easy everyone would be living life in a fit and healthy state of being. Being fit, active and healthy has major perks such as longevity and an overall sense of well-being that enables you to bring happiness into your life. Learning to approach life with happiness allows your to focus your efforts on the more important things in life !!! Follow these tips on how to start transitioning into living a fit lifestyle every single day.

Eat within 30 minutes of waking up. Your body has been in a fasted state since you last ate so eating within 30 minutes wakes up your metabolism and kick starts your day.

Get enough sleep ! I am so guilty of this which I am working on. Sleep seven to eight hours per night. Sleep helps repair your body, increases your longevity, improves your memory and reduces stress. Make sure you are getting your zzzz's on !

Reduce your stress levels. When your body is constantly at a heighten state of stress many things start happening internally and externally. Your body will produce cortisol which may inhibit fat loss! Try to take a 10-15 minute break a few times during the day. Recharge your mind and take a deep breath. It is easy to get overwhelmed with our fast-paced lives. Try meditation, yoga, sit on the back porch and read a book, or meet a friend for coffee.

Drink more water ! With water being available almost everywhere, you have no excuse to drink up ! Water is essential for your body to function. With more than 60 percent of our body is made up of water Water is needed to carry out our body functions, remove waste, and carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. Since we lose water every day through urine, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing, we need to replenish our water intake. I recommend drinking one gallon per day and even more if you exercise and sweat it all out.

Exercise for one hour a day. Now you don't have to hit the gym to exercise but find sneaky ways to fit movement in. Track your steps with a pedometer and try to hit 10,000 each day as a goal. Do 10 squats every time you use the restroom. Try to add in pushups and sit ups to commercials of your favorite tv shows. The government recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. Anything that gets your heart rate up !

Try to limit your sugar intake. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sugar contains no nutritional value, but it does contain calories and those calories add up very quickly. Be sure to check your food labels and stay away from artificial sugars. They tend to leave you craving more of the unhealthy stuff!!!

Eat foods from ALL the food groups! Anytime you leave out a food group you are leaving out important nutrients that your body needs. Cutting out whole food groups can lead to intolerance that you didn't have before. Include healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and protein in your diet. Choose vegetables that are a variety in color. Eat wholegrain foods such as rice and oatmeal along with other complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. Choose lean meats and fish and boil, bake, or grill them but stay away from fried foods!

Set measurable and attainable goals ! Too often I ask people to tell me their goals and they respond with a generic answer of "I want to lose weight". That is not specific nor measurable. You should have a plan of how much and a time frame of how long you are giving yourself to accomplish your goal and have something to work towards. Make sure your goals are realistic to you and your lifestyle !

Let go of the negativity !Too many time we have negative communication with ourselves. Common negative talk involves telling yourself, “I can’t.” When you say to yourself “I can’t” or “It is too difficult,” you are creating a resistance. Positive mental health is an important part of a healthy life. Surround yourself with thoughts and actions from people who will empower you. From being uninspired and de-motivated, you will begin to feel uplifted and driven to greater self-growth.

Don't try to implement all of these ideas all at once. Work at improving your life with one or two ideas at a time and then keep adding the others in. You will find how rewarding it will be to live a fit and healthy life !!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Disordered Eating .... Are you guilty?

Disordered Eating...A very serious and common problem that many people face everyday.

Today's topic is going to become very REAL very fast. It is something that needs to be addressed and many people feel ashamed and ignore this problem instead I am going to speak out about it !!!

For those of you who don't know my story I will let you into my struggles with disordered eating. I have been overcoming an eating disorder for about 10 years. Yes, my life has been a battle over food and the lack of respect for myself. I have been lucky enough to have amazing people in my life that gave me the biggest wake up call of my life and I am truly thankful they were brutal and honest with me. In college my friend introduced me to the gym and lifting weights. I was HOOKED ! She reminded me that in life STRENGTH is more beautiful and empowering than skinny.

I took the gym as my outlet. Using the weights to drive my health in a better direction. In order to be strong you have to eat to support your goals. I used this as my motivation to challenge my disordered eating and I found my inner passion. My drive to overcome this disease is what motivated me to leave my anorexia and bulimia in the past. It is why I am a personal trainer today. I promised myself that I would do anything in my abilities to give to others the give of inner strength and finding health, fitness, and nutrition to empower your life. In order to have an amazing life you need to treat yourself with respect from the inside with self-love and self- acceptance. I want everyone to know that even though I was faced with challenges, I chose to fight my way into a healthier life. I STRUGGLE ... damn I struggle and I want you all to know that even on bad days, we still have the ability to overcome the past and choose to be better !!! Let me explain what disordered eating is and why I feel its so important to speak on this issue !

What is disordered eating... Anytime you overindulge and then try to compensate for it, you’re engaging in the “binge-punish” cycle. Whether it is in the form of purging food or through exercise. If you feel any guilt after eating you are dealing with some disordered eating habit. People perceive their behavior as “bad” when they lose control, and then they perceive their behavior as “good” the next day when they try to undo the damage. A lot of people go through this cycle every single day and don’t realize it’s disordered… all you see is the weight gain that happens as a result. It turns into yo-yo fad dieting, gaining and losing, then losing control feeling guilty and stop exercising because you don't see the point if nothing is changing.

How did eating become so intense and why is there such a stigma on becoming thin? Our society likes to make things complicated. Not only is there a new diet that comes out weekly claiming to lose weight fast but they combine photo-shop to make even the ideal look unreal. Breaking free from this cycle is possible. It takes dedication and commitment everyday. It comes from trusting yourself and having control over you again and not letting the eating control you.

Step one is to nourish your body. If you are famished you will reach for whatever you see, healthy or not. If you have an association with it such as good feelings or comfort, trying to stop eating is the hard part that begins that binge-punish cycle. In order to break this habit feed your body good ALL DAY long !

Step two is to make sure you have healthy food options always available to you. I am a huge preacher on prep cooking your foods at the beginning of the week and then having them ready to go at any given time. Fail to plan, plan to fail !!!

The final step is to ask yourself "why" ?? Why are you eating those foods? Are you hungry, bored, stressed? Many time we eat for emotions not because our bodies are hungry for them. Unfortunately we also eat the high carb, sugar loaded, high calorie foods because they make us "feel good" in the moment. Our whole lives food and good times are associated together. Think about it.. BIRTHDAYS-HOLIDAY'S- SPECIAL OCCASIONS... what do they all have in common?? Food !!! And good comfort food !!! That starts the association between food and feel good which is why disordered eating almost feels normal when you become stressed ! It becomes normal to use food and a feel better mechanism and then if you eat and eat more you might feel better in the moment... then the guilt and then the cycle begins !

Self compassion doesn’t come naturally for most of us because we operate under the assumption that if you’re hard on yourself you’ll be more successful. This is a giant misconception and I think it’s what keeps people locked in their disordered eating. If you are struggling with this issue, be compassionate with yourself and give yourself some forgiveness. Seek the help of friends who you trust and value their opinions. Learn to trust yourself and find different ways to cope with your emotions !!

If you’re trying to change your disordered eating you have to change your disordered thinking. See if you can let go of the smallness goal because ironically, the strategies that make you weigh less initially are the same exact ones that either backfire and make you gain weight in the long run, or enslave you in a life of wasting away.

When you lose weight without building muscle you become a “smaller” person or known as skinny-fat. You have to eat fewer and fewer calories because your body is not expending as much. But building muscle changes that. It makes you expend more energy, and it requires you to consume more energy to grow. Your metabolism is faster and you burn more at rest. Use the gym to your advantage and push yourself out of your comfort zone !!!

Don't enslave yourself to disordered eating. Don't fall into that binge-punish cycle and try to show yourself compassion !! I found my strength through the power of the weights. I found my life again by challenging my mind. I am still working on overcoming my eating disorder. I have good days and bad just like all of you. My control is what I use to keep me focused to not let my eating disorder define me but I define myself. I am in control and I will control how I feel !! Find love for yourself and treat yourself with respect !!

Workout time.

3 rounds of:
15 clean and presses
10 one leg step ups (20 toatal )
15 bench hop overs (30 total)
2 rounds:
100 mt climber
25 sit ups
10 ab rollouts
3 rounds
15 kettlebell swing squat
10 one arm rows per arm
15 hand release pushups
2 rounds
25 plank jacks
20 jump squats
15 ab sit up with right and left twist

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What is your genetic potential??

What is your genetic potential??

Are you training to maximize your body type or are you training to try to fit one? People research so many forums about nutrition, lifting, bodybuilding, cross-fit, or any other fad that is out right now hoping they fit into a category. People attempt try a shredding diet or a workout program that Mr. Olympia is doing expecting BIG results.. is that going to happen ?? NO

People assume that the big, ripped guys or women in the gym who have muscles are automatically "on steroids" or "juicing". But what it really comes down too is how your body reacts genetically to certian training techniques along with eating nutritional foods in large quantities to get the gains they need. 90% of what your body looks like is based on your nutrition !!!

Your body needs a substantial amount of muscle under the layers of "subcutaneous fat" in order to show when you perform a diet to lean out. If you do not have this foundation underneath, dieting would still leave you skinny-fat. It is also bad to be in constant "diet" and calorie restriction mode with large amounts of training that leads to your metabolism to become unhealthy and cause serious problems !!

Now to genetics. You cannot use your genetics as a crutch to why you can't lose weight or why you can't build muscle. At the end of the day, good nutrition and solid training outweighs your genetics! It might just be a lack of a great training program that is limiting your results !!! There are some athletes out there who are very genetically gifted but are at the top percentile and the outliers when doing research.

When you compare yourself to other people or athletes who are shaped in size, height and weight comparable to yourself, ask yourself what you are doing in terms of training and nutrition compared to them ? You need to stop limiting yourself with excuses as to WHY you can't and start say WHAT CAN I DO ??!!! Where you are now is not far enough; you can ALWAYS achieve a better version of yourself. IF you want to get stronger, you need to train like an Olympic /power lifter for strength and not fear gaining some excess weight in the process. IF you are looking to lean your body, focus on strength training along with metabolic conditioning !

BE THE DOER !!! Don't just sit back and "try" to find out what you should be doing.. GO OUT AND DO IT !

DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF ! You are capable and powerful to go out there and accomplish any goals you want to achieve !!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Are YOU addicted to JUNK FOOD ?

Are YOU addicted to Junk food ?

When trying to lose weight, your nutritional intake is about 80% of the equation. Many Americans are spending too many countless hours wasted through inactivity and eating high calorie junk food. BUT you can take the steps towards fixing this little nutritional blunder and start creating healthy habits. Inactivity at night paired with eating junk foods that are high in empty calories ( meaning it has no nutritional value to you) high in sugar, sodium, fat and preservatives makes it difficult to lose weight. I am sure that if this sounds like you , you use food as "comfort". WHY ... Because junk food releases feel good hormones in your body, kind of like the same ones you get when working out !!! Your body uses these feelings and makes a connection between feeling good based on eating the junk which is why it's so hard to CUT THE JUNK OUT !!

How do you know if you are addicted to junk food ??

Do you ever get cravings for food even when you are full ?? This is one of the largest indicators if you are addicted to junk food. If you just consumed a well-balanced meal but still feel the need to stick a spoon into the ice cream tub, you need to take a second to see what you are really feeling. Are you anxious, sad, worried, or just bored? Your mental state is what drives these feelings. Don't feel the need to reward your feelings with food !

Do you tend to binge eat ? Do you feel like if you stop eating the food will NEVER be there again ? This is a common problem with people who suffer with junk food addiction. In your mind you feel that you must consume ALL of it and not leave any left just in case you wont have it again! This is not good for your mind and not good for your body !! It will be there today just like it will be there tomorrow ! No need to consume it ALL just have a little if you must !

Feel like it's too hard to quit ? Its a sugar addiction !!! Your body will go through some withdrawal symptoms because it's detoxing your body ! I promise you that if you can last 21 days without sugar you will break that habit !!! You just need to cut things out little by little and eventually your body will not want all that sugar !

Do you ever find yourself "making excuses" to eat junk food? Are you rewarding yourself with food ? Are you making excuses as to why you can’t put down that bag of potato chips, then you definitely have a junk food addiction problem. Portion control is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight or for losing weight and when it comes to junk food this is no different.

Feeling guilty? This is a tall tale sign that you have an addiction. Food shouldn't make you guilty! Listen to your body. Your emotions can let you know a lot about your mental and physical well-being, so if you feel guilty after eating junk food then you probably have a problem.

How do you get rid of this junk food problem ?? Simply start listening to your emotions and start reducing the amount of junk in your diet! It won't be easy but it will be worth it ! Try to find healthier options to your sweet tooth and eventually your body will learn to crave healthy foods and you will break this cycle !

Now go do your body some good and workout with this circuit !

3 total rounds for time
-row 500 meters
then 2 rounds of this circuit
*one arm thruster with kick right arm/leg x 5 reps
*burpee x 5 reps
*one arm thruster with kick left arm/leg x 5 reps
*pushup with right and left side knee
Repeat from row 2 more times !!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Accountability !

What makes you feel accountable for your actions? Each person has that one things internally that makes them accountable for their actions. Whether you have a personal commitment to yourself, a co-worker, a team or even your personal trainer, your decisions to do or not to do something is based upon how much you are willing to release your control! When it comes to making healthy decisions about your life, you have two choices: CHOOSE for NOW or CHOOSE for LATER !

Every decision you make has a consequence to that decision. I don't want to say "bad", we are all adults and labeling "bad" to things is a habit we need to steer clear. Someone in our childhood imbedded this connotation into our brains and causes us to associate "bad" with feelings of inadequacy, shame, and disappointment. Those days are over !!! We all can make decisions and those decisions are based upon your accountability to the extrinsic action. Specifically today I want to talk about food and food choices when you are placed in a difficult situation.

Far too many times the opportunity presents itself in a group setting to make choices that may be uncomfortable but how accountable are you to yourself?? Being able to stand your ground in a group is harder than you may think but if you are confident and able to stick to your goals making those decisions will be easy when practiced over time.

Here are some examples of those hard decisions and some ways to combat them !!

Scenario 1
-You are at a dinner party and you need to choose something on the menu to order. You have to make your choice based on you NOT on the people at the table. It is easy to get sucked into ordering what the table orders, usually fried, smothered, or battered but YOU can be the difference !!!
*** Choose to order FIRST ! Yes you can be the leader, set the tone for the table for a healthy meal and then it doesn't give you the option to be persuaded !

Scenario 2
- You are given a gift of homemade goodies for the Holiday's. You don't want to be rude and say no or explain that your watching your weight so you accept and place on your desk to haunt you all day. WHY ?
*** Say Thank You accept them and march them right up to the group room or office space provided as a break room. Explain that you received them as a gift and want to share with everyone. Now you don't have to worry about eating them and everyone has the option to choose if they want some or not.

Scenario 3
- Your significant other is a bit less than supportive or should I say partially destroying that inner accountability. Just because your partner is eating something does not mean you need to eat it as well ! We all have choices to make and you do not need to follow along!!
***Kindly state that you are trying to make healthier decisions and would love for them to join in and do the same. It is easier when both parties are able to work as a team and eat the same thing but if that is not an option then choose something healthy for yourself !!

Scenario 4
-Follow the 80/20 RULE : 80% of the time eat healthy and 20% of the time have a scheduled treat ! Yes I said SCHEDULED treat. You want to allow yourself some flexibility but you also need to be in control. If you schedule a treat into your day you can eliminate some carbs from previous meals to account for that treat. This way you won't completely derail from your diet !!
*** If you know you have an event coming up you want to prepare for it. So workout one extra day that week and really stay on track with your diet until that day ! You are not depriving yourself you are simply living with intentions and a clear goal of your accountability !

So now .. Lets make some great choices ! You have the ability to be accountable for your decisions and you are able to make GREAT ones !!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Exercise your mind !!!

A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. Too often we get excited about a new diet or workout program. We vow to stick with it and for a few weeks you are doing great.. then you hit the dreaded point of no return when your motivation dies down and "life" gets in the way. You may regain the weight you lost or even worse may gain a little more in the process. This can lead to a bad cycle of self-loathing, defeat, and regret of even starting. Having an "all or nothing" mindset is hard to get out of when you think more is more and get burnt out. So on your journey to a healthy body how did you become so mentally frustrated? In order to keep your body working you need to also work on your metal and emotional state !!!

Having a healthy mindset when it comes to fitness starts by seeing things less "black and white". If you didn't eat great for one meal, don't use it as an excuse to continue to eat bad all day. Just pick it up the next meal and reduce calories slightly but DO NOT beat yourself up for the little mishap use it as a way to grow and learn about yourself in this journey. I am going to give you so helpful tools to use to help enhance your healthy mind while working on your body !

What is your internal motivation? Ask yourself: What is it about _____that gets you excited? No matter what your goal is such as losing weight, starting a new program, or changing your behaviors, you need to figure out how to make it a long lasting and effective. When changing something for your health it is sometimes hard to do without it coming from yourself. Sure your friends, family, and doctors might suggest you to change your lifestyle but ultimately it needs to come from inside you. Do more of what you actually want to do instead of making things seem like a chore.

Remember it is not as bad as it seems. We as humans tend to think the ABSOLUTE worst out of every situation but in reality it is never that bad. The road to success is a bumpy road with a lot of twist and curves. Chose to make good decisions in that moment and try not to think too far in advance. Continue to remind yourself that it's really not that bad !!!

Chose to be optimistic. Your perspective is everything. How you see things in life can be the defining moment when you are reacting to situations. Sure things happen, life gets crazy, you miss the gym, you didn't eat so well, or you just gave up for a little. How you learn to pick yourself up and be a positive influence in your own life will set the stage to bring you success in anything you want to conquer. Having negative reactions is not only bad for your mind but also your body. Your body sends out hormones to combat the stress which will cause you more stress. Try to always find the positive out of every situation you are in and this technique will help you to keep your mind healthy.

Just a little phrase from Ghandi
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Now here is your Wednesday Workout !

20 min AMRAP
-weighted step ups x 10/leg
-weighted burpee curl and press (no pushup) x 10
-kettlebell swings x 15
-bosu ball pushups x 20

Have an awesome and beautiful day!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why I love circuit training and why you should love it too !!!

Why I love circuit training and why you should love it too !!!

Metabolic Circuit Training (MCT) also know as Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) is an optimal way to train in order to round out your strength training program. It is a common term thrown around but many don't fully understand what it really means or ever WHY they do it. I can personally tell you that adding in MRT ito your training program, you will see faster results as well as create a more balanced physique.

I personally LOVE circuits. Its the cornerstone of my physique and it helps me balance out my muscles and create overall fullness in weaker areas of my body. BUT what exactly is MRT and what does it do to your body?? Let me explain. Metabolic resistance training is a form of metabolic conditioning. It uses the 3 exercise pathways in our bodies to condition the muscles and turn your body into a fat burning machine. Metabolic conditioning is excellent for fat loss and overall conditioning of the body. It's a full total body functioning workout that leaves your body in a fat burning state 24-48 hours post workout.

A few examples of how you can set up a circuit are as follows:

-Tabata: 20 seconds of hard work, followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 total rounds. This is only 4 minutes of work, but be warned....its a hard 4 minutes

-30 On/30 Off: 30 seconds of hard work, followed by 30 seconds of rest for 6 total rounds

-Circuits: Perform 3-6 exercises in a row with minimal to no rest between sets. These exercises should follow a logical pattern and should include elements of pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, and carrying objects.

One common thought is that circuit training, MRT and strength training are interchangeable terms. They are not however. The primary goal of MRT is to increase the efficiency of one of three metabolic pathways used in energy metabolism. The three pathways are :
Creatine Phosphate Pathway: Also referred to as the Immediate Pathway, this energy system is responsible for providing short (less than 10 seconds) bursts of energy.

Glycolytic Pathway: Also referred to as the Intermediate Pathway, this energy system provides the energy required for short, intense activities lasting the one to four minutes.

Aerobic Pathway: Also referred to as the Long-Duration Pathway, this metabolic pathway provides the energy required for longer-duration exercises of moderate-intensity work.

The rest period determines the intensity of the workout an which pathway is used. Strength training and MRT are not interchangeable. The goals of MRT is to condition the body using various exercises and equipment that tax the body in short bouts while allowing enough recovery time to catch your breath and continue. Using heavy weights to tax the muscles is not the goal but using moderate weights for maximal capacity is the preferred method. MRT circuits are set up systematiclly with a goal in mind. They are not just random exercises thrown together but set up in a complex fashion to reap the benefits of a full body program. IF you are looking for strength gains, using a traditional bodybuilding programming would be ideal for you.

How do you know if this type of training is for you? Ask yourself the goals you are trying to achieve. Then make sure that your goals align with your training and nutrition. The results you desire are based upon training and nutrition. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow:

1.)You need to ensure that you are eating enough calories to support your intense training, The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, so don’t sacrifice your lean mass for a smaller number on the scale!

2.) You should plan your strength workouts for 3-4 days out of the week and supplement MRT training 2-3 times a week. MRT is meant to enhance your strength program and not replace it.

3.) Find activities that you enjoy doing and keep your body moving around. You don't want to compromise your lifting efforts by burning muscle away doing cardiovascular training long duration.

Be sure to add in some MRT training to enhance your strength training program. I promise that you will see amazing results and you will find a new way of training that challenges you!!!