Monday, August 31, 2015

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners !

Are artificial sweeteners as bad for you as you think ? There are so many different ideas running around about artificial sweeteners share many recipes, diet products, and meal ideas that contain or include artificial sweeteners. After assessing the scientific evidence, monitoring my own personal experience, and combining these findings with other anecdotal sources, I use them sparingly and that's totally my decision to enhance my enjoyment when eating some meals.
There are a number of things I considered before implementing sweeteners into meals, and I want to go through those one by one. But first, let’s clear up what classifies something as an artificial sweetener, because let’s be honest it can get confusing and I was for a LONG TIME !
Natural Sugars, Sugar Alcohols, and Artificial sweeteners.. What's the difference?
Natural sugars are complete sugars with four calories per gram. I don’t recommend them to be included in any diet. However, food marketing has done a remarkable job at making things like “organic cane sugar” seem like a healthier alternative, when realistically it has the same negative effect in the body as other sugars.
Sugar alcohols, on the other hand, have fewer calories than natural sugars, varying from one to three calories per gram depending on the type. Certain types are also less likely to influence blood sugar in the same way as true sugar, as they are not completely absorbed and metabolized by the body.
Finally, artificial sweeteners, while possibly still having an influence on blood sugar and insulin levels, have no caloric value in and of themselves.
When it comes to the effect of artificial sweeteners on physique, many claims are based upon correlation and not causation which often causes confusion. Reports that the usages of artificial sweeteners leads to increased weight gain and greater rates of type 2 diabetes are likely not based on a causal relationship, as a zero-calorie product is innately unable to lead to direct weight gain.However, the likelihood of increased preference for the sweet taste of artificial sweeteners and continued preference for “sweet” foods, may lead to weight gain in individuals who fulfill these cravings with calorie-laden items.
When it comes to physique, I have built a national-level physique while keeping artificial sweeteners in my diet all the way to stage and while reaching extremely lean body-fat levels. In the past, I prepared for shows without sweeteners, cutting them out to ensure no negative effects. But at my most recent shows, I left them in all the way through show day with no obvious differences in physique.
In terms of function, both mental and physical, I notice no difference whether I am consuming sweeteners or not. I have assessed my mood, energy level, strength, and focus throughout weeks with no sweeteners at all. I can say honestly can’t tell the difference. I only add in sweeteners to things like yogurt or cottage cheese to make it more enjoyable but not as an everyday occurrence.
By doing your own research and assessing your own experiences with these products, you will be able to make the best decision to suit your body and lifestyle. I enjoy a sweet treat every once in a while and if I am not seeing any noticeable differences, then using them occasionally is ok !

Friday, August 28, 2015

Post Workout Power !

What is the best thing to drink post workout?? Finding the right balance of protein and carbs post workout are key to starting the recovery process right after you leave the gym. When you are working out at an intense level, your body requires more fuel to repair your muscles. When you workout, your body is has a high level of insulin that can be utilized for your advantage post workout when you need to replenish your carbs and protein along with electrolytes and minerals.
Your insulin sensitivity is highest up to 30 minutes post workout. Mixing a good source of protein with carbohydrates that are fast acting is the best way for your body to utilize this time for muscle repair and growth. The best ratio to follow of protein to carbs is 1:2. So you might ask how mush of carbs and what kind should I have post workout ?? You want to think 20-25 grams of protein to 35-40 grams of carbs.
Cortisol is increased during workouts that tend to be a large culprit for your stress hormone. Having high levels of coritsol that are not leveled out can cause many issues like metabolic syndrome and digestive problems. This is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Cortisol is inhibited by activating the insulin response that I previously talked about. So by utilizing the 30 minute window post workout, you can start to repair muscles and decrease the cortisol hormone.
Along with protein and carbs, your body needs to be replenished of minerals. Working out and sweating a lot causes your body to become depleted in Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium. It's very easy to become dehydrated which would cause a stress on your body which increases your stress hormone cortisol. This is the opposite of what you want to happen when you are lifting weights. You need to make sure that you are replenishing your minerals with a quick drink like a Kill Cliff that is carbohydrate dense and has many replenishing minerals.
If you have time, try this post workout recovery drink !
Almond Banana Shake
-1 scoop protein
-1/2 cup almond milk or water
-1/4 cup raw almonds
-1 large frozen banana
Black Forrest Shake
-1 1/2 cup frozen cherries
-1 cup spinach leaves
-1 cup vanilla or chocolate almond milk
- 2 scoops protein powder
Point of this is to make sure that you are taking the time to recover from your workout with a quick source of carbohydrates and protein to keep your insulin and cortisol levels in check while repairing your muscles !!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Swim it Out!

Since the summer season is ending and schools are already starting, shifting priorities to change things up might put your workouts on the back burner. Lucky there are many options that you can do for the winter months that bring you right back into the swing of the "summer" spirit. Have you ever thought about swimming indoors? Hitting up the local pool for lap swim can be the best thing that you can do for cardio and endurance with low impact on your joints !
Swimming is technical just like any other movement that requires attention to details if you want to become a better and more agile swimmer. Just like lifting, no matter how strong you are if you are not moving with the proper form you wont be efficient at moving. Below are 7 pieces of advice to teach you about swimming and getting the most out of your workout!
1- Enter the water with your fingers first. Your hand should cut through the water first and then your elbow should follow. Many people don’t bend their arm enough. This means the arm is straight when it enters the water, and therefore the hand and elbow enter the water at the same time. When your hand is straight, you are not able to pull the water efficiently.
2-When your hand enters the water, you need to glide, stretch, and reach as far as you can. You can gain a few inches for every stroke, which would make a huge difference over the course of a swimming race or triathlon
3-Your hand should not cross the center-line and it should not be too much to the outside. In fact, it should be right in line with your shoulder. If your hand crosses the center-line, you will zigzag from left to right.
4-By rotating your body, you can reach much farther with your hands and you can use a lot more strength when pulling the water. By rotating, instead of only using your shoulder, you also use your lats muscles, pectorals, and core. It will also prevent many shoulder injuries.
5-By keeping your hand loose, you maximize the area your hand takes in the water. Don’t keep your fingers tightly pressed together because your arm will be contracted and you will lose energy.
6-By raising your elbows high, your hands will enter the water with the proper angle and you will be able to pull water efficiently because your entire forearm will pull water. This also reduces the drag in the water.
7-For a sprint, such as 50m, 100m, or 200m, you should kick as much as you can because the event is short and you don’t need to manage your energy. For a longer event, like a 5km or 10km open water swim or an Ironman, you should kick less because you need to conserve energy. In those cases, keep a two-beat kick, which means you do one kick for every stroke.

You can practice sighting by swimming laps keeping your head out of the water. Your head should stay still and your neck should be relaxed and not contracted. Try to fix something in front of you and make sure your head stays still and doesn’t move from left to right.You need to be able to breathe on both sides so you are able to adapt to any conditions think about when you do an open water swim, you don't want to be breathing into waves as you swim !
Swimming is a great way to increase your muscular endurance as well as keeping your cardio in check ! Get down to a local pool and do lap swim and then head to the sauna for a nice relaxation cool down !!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Hump Day with a Positive Mindset !

The power of a positive mindset... Do you realize how much impact it has on your day to day activities? One of my favorite quotes is this one:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are
all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” --Nelson Mandela

Your mind is powerful and you have the ability to make everything you want happen. If you can change your mindset to think about the amazing things you have in your life, you will start to create a healthy environment that will transpire into more creative and healthy outlets. Think of when someone smiles at you, its hard not to smile back at them and just feel good inside. Even if it is just in that moment. There are many aspects in our lives that we need to have more positive moments with, especially our bodies. I know that many people that I work with, come to me for help with "how" they can lose weight.. But they are asking me while poking, squeezing and manipulating their bodies in a way that creates a negative response to fat loss. In turn you are just setting yourself up for failure because weight loss and fat loss are always adapting and changing.

In order to correct this behavior of negative self talk, you need to change the way you are thinking and responding to your internal dialogue. You can choose fuel our bodies with healthy foods and you can train and exercise your body to make it capable and efficient of optimal performance. Your goals are incredibly important when changing your mindset. Having CLEAR and specific goals that are measurable over time have the best rate of success and will allow you to focus on more than just how you look!

One of the best tools I have used and learned is how to create a manifesto of your personal goals for short and long term to define what it is you REALLY want !

Fitness and body image is not one dimensional. In order to achieve your goals it is important to know, specifically, what they are. This Manifestation List is a great way to do this while maintaining a positive, realistic outlook
on your fitness goals. The premise is to write the answers like you ALREADY accomplished the goal !

1. Write down at least one goal about what you want your body
to look like.

2. Write down at least one goal about what you want your body to
do that it can’t do currently.

3. Write down at least one goal about how you want your body to

Now take this list and post it somewhere you can read it every day!!! If you reach your goal now you can replace it with a bigger goal that you can work towards !

Be the creative force behind your life! Be positive and create a healthy mindset to captivate your dreams and make them reality!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's NOT magic.. It's just Hard Work !

Losing weight does not require "pills" to get you there. With so many people falling into the fads of weight loss supplements and especially, miracle pills that somehow incinerate fat cells, its no wonder people get their hopes up to simply be disappointed when NOTHING happens.
I can't tell you the amount of people who ask me about weight loss pills and fat burners to make them "lean". Many of the pills on the market are worthless and some can be quite dangerous if taken in excessive amounts. However, there are some supplements that can boost your metabolism and increase your body's ability to burn more calories and fat. I am going to highlight the pros and cons of some of these supplements that can create a positive change in your body composition along with PROPER DIET AND EXERCISE !
Research shows that caffeine…
-Improves strength
-Improves muscle endurance and anaerobic performance
-Accelerates fat loss
Caffeine increases the amount of catecholamines in your blood, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores to be burned. This, in turn, raises your body’s basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy it burns at rest. The higher your metabolic rate along with lean muscle mass the more calories your body can potentially burn. The general dosage of caffeine seen in weight loss studies ranges between 2 and 6 mg per kg of body weight per day.
Green Coffee Extract
This supplement is made from green coffee beans, which contain high amounts of the chemical chlorogenic acid, which is supposed to aid in weight loss.Green tea leaves are rich in chemicals known as “catechins,” which are responsible for many of the beverage’s health benefits.Extensive research shows that one of these benefits is weight loss, and the reduction of abdominal fat in particular.
Catechins accomplish this by blocking an enzyme that breaks down adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores and increase basal metabolic rate.
The inhibition of this enzyme allows these fat-burning chemicals to remain in your blood for longer periods of time, which increases the amount of fat you lose.
However there isn’t much research available on the substance and the research that is available isn’t reliable. According to a meta-analysis of the five green coffee extract human weight loss trials published, only three were worthy of review and all three had a high risk of bias due to funding sources.
Yohimbine is a chemical extracted from a species of African plant, Yohimbe. Fat cells have two types of receptors for adrenaline and noradrenaline (also known as catecholamines). These receptors are called “alpha-2″ and “beta-2″ receptors.
The physiology is quite complex, but what you need to know is when catecholamines bind to beta-2 receptors, fat cells mobilize for burning. When the chemicals bind to alpha-2 receptors, however, the cells don’t mobilize.
Research shows that that 0.2 mg/kg of body weight is adequate.
You should be aware, however, that yohimbine can raise blood pressure. Thus, if you’re hypertensive, I don’t recommend you use it.
This a substance found in high amounts in the bitter orange plant, which has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat various types of health disorders.Chemically speaking, synephrine is similar to but less potent than the powerful weight loss compound ephedrine.
Synephrine helps you lose fat faster in several ways:
-It increases lipolysis (the breakdown of fats for burning) and basal metabolic rate.
-Like yohimbine, it blocks the activity of alpha receptors in fat cells.
-It increases the thermic effect of food, which is the “energy cost” of processing the food you eat.
Synephrine is also a mild appetite suppressant because anything that increases the activity of adrenaline and noradrenaline can also reduce hunger.
So in conclusion, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you don’t also know what you’re doing with your diet and training, they’re not going to help you. If you are looking for LONG lasting results, nothing beats hard work and training in the gym on a consistent basis!

Monday, August 24, 2015

What's For Dinner ?

"What's for dinner?" It's a question many people dread because eighty percent of the time they don't know the answer. Hopefully that's not you, but if it is, you're in for a treat.
These recipes will set you up for a week full of simple, tasty dinners. And even better, they're designed for anyone especially for muscle building ! You will get your share of nutrients to support muscle growth and meet your daily requirements!
A healthy meal with Kale, meat and potatoes ! An all time favorite and staple to many diets !
4 baking size potatoes of any kind (yukon gold, russet, sweet, etc.)
1 pound lean meat of choice
2 green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bunch fresh kale (about 3 cups, chopped and de-stemmed)
2-3 tomatoes, diced (or use 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Wash potatoes and prick liberally with a fork (for venting steam when baking).
-Bake potatoes about 1 hour until tender OR microwave for faster cooking but place in the oven for 10 minutes to brown and bake.
-With about 15 minutes left until potatoes are finished baking, place Italian sausage, garlic, oregano, and green onions in a fry pan and cook until meat is browned.
-Add tomatoes and kale. Sauté until kale is bright green and warmed.
Serve baked potatoes sliced open with a generous spoonful of kale and meat sauté over top.
Happy Monday and ENJOY a healthy meal with left overs for the week!

Friday, August 21, 2015

No Time? No Problem !

So you have NO time to train? I have the perfect thing for you! Fat loss doesn't take a lot of time, you can lose fat, get stronger, and get in better condition even with minimal workout time per week. You've got to commit to three key components:
First, find a window of an extra ninety minutes twice during the week.There are 10,080 minutes in a week. The two ninety-minute time periods represent only 1.8% of your total weekly minutes. Find the time to train. If you make it a priority it will happen!
Second, give 100% effort during the actual workout. Make a swift attempt to push as hard as you can when you are working out. That means, little rest, NO selfies, and have a plan BEFORE you go into the gym. A workout session in itself does not burn a significant amount of calories but the effort you put forth is the difference in how many calories you burn POST workout and beyond !
And the final and most important is DIET ! What you eat is going to affect your goals whether the goal is getting stronger or losing fat.Eat a proper balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you want to gain muscle, then create a calorie surplus. If you want to lose fat, then create a calorie deficit. Emphasize whole foods and minimized the processed stuff. Hydrate, majority of your body is 70% water.
Here are 3 workouts for you busy people needed something effective and efficient !
Workout #1
300 Mountain climbers
150 squats
Chin ups x max reps x three sets with a 1:00 rest between each set.
200 jumping jacks.
100 bent-knee sit ups. Don't anchor your feet.
Workout #2
Use a resistance where you can achieve only one-half of the target repetitions in one set, then work your way to the total rep goal.
50 dumbbell or medicine ball squat-to-overhead presses
30 burpees
100 bar or dumbbell overhead presses
150 leg presses
100 dumbbell or barbell bent-over rows
Workout #3
One time through this exercise menu. Use a :40 to 1:00 rest between each exercise. Use a resistance that makes it difficult to achieve the prescribed reps.
Low/seated row x 25 reps
Leg push (squat, leg press, or deadlift) x 20 reps
Push up x max reps
Pulldown x 15 reps
Leg push (another squat, leg press, or deadlift) x 15 reps
Overhead press x 15 reps
Upright row x 15 reps
Leg push x 10 reps
Incline press x 15 reps
Bicycle crunch x 150 reps
Romanian deadlift x 20 reps
Then, do the total body finisher. Four rounds with minimal rest between each.
Dumbbell squat x 5
Bent-over row x 5
Overhead press x 5
Push up x 5
As you can see there are MANY options! Now that I have given you NO reason to make an excuse, go in the gym and get it done ! You have one life and one body !

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spice up your Post workout !!

If you are looking to try a new recipie here is a great one that you can make ahead of time and freeze OR you can have on a lazy Sunday rest day and not feel one bit of guilt !

Sweet Potato Waffles
Servings 2


3 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (I microwaved a small sweet potato for 4 minutes, then peeled and smashed)
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


Preheat your waffle iron
In a bowl or stand mixer combine all ingredients and blend until smooth
Grease your waffle iron (unless it's non stick), pour in the batter and cook, remove when done (cook time will depend on your waffle iron)
Serve waffles with any toppings you'd like. I served mine with pure maple syrup and Paleo Butter.

Sweet potatoes are great for your health. They are high in vitamins A and C which help to prevent certain cancers. Sweet potato has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and manganese it contains.

They are just as effective in curing both internal and external inflammations. Lowered inflammation has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body following the consumption of sweet potato.

The carotenoids in sweet potato can help your body respond to insulin and stabilize your blood sugar. Sweet potatoes also have a significant amount of Vitamin B6, helping resistance to diabetic heart disease. Their high content of soluble fiber aids in lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol, and their abundance of chlorogenic acid may help decrease insulin resistance.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, helping to promote a healthy digestive system. Research has found that they may also help to cleanse heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury from the digestive tract.

As you can see the benefits are amazing and they are so versatile to use. From eating them with your lunch or making an awesome breakfast like this ! Enjoy eating your potatoes and feel no guilt along the way !


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are YOU a Peanut butter Lover ??

Who LOVE peanut butter ? Well everyone does.. but the problem is that it has a lot of fat in it and it's high in calories. Unless you are looking to add calories to your diet, making sure that you measure out your "spoonfuls" is important. But have you hear of PB2? Its fat-free powdered form of peanut butter that you mix with water. No, it’s not the same as the real thing but it has a consistency that is comparable and decent for how low-calorie it is with only 20 calories per tablespoon !
It is made by pressing peanuts to remove their fat and oil content, while maintaining their taste. The process turns the solid peanuts into a kind of peanut dust that, when mixed with liquid, reassembles a butter-like spread. But don't mix too much water or you will be adding in more mix.
There is one downfall of this. It loses the fat, the the spread becomes depleted of the mighty health benefits of the healthy full-fat peanut butter. It's seemingly counter-intuitive, but the full-fat spread can actually promote weight loss and keep you feeling full. So using this as a substitute for your fat is not the best way to keep your hunger at a minimum BUT it's a great addition to shakes, yogurt and smoothies !
Here is an amazing way to use PB2 !
Low Fat Peanut Butter Cookies
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup applesauce
3 tablespoons PB2
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup oat flour
¾ cup old fashioned oats
Beat eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon together.
Mix applesauce and PB2 together until it is combined. It will thicken up.
Stir peanut butter and applesauce mixture into egg mixture and mix well.
Add oat flour, stir until moistened.
Finally, stir in the oats.
Let chill for 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350.
Scoop chilled dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet (I used a 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie)
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let cool for five minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet.
Let cool completely.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eliminate Soreness !

When you workout its inevitable that you are going to find some pain and discomfort. You need to make sure that you are aware of your body and how it feels. Many people say they are in "pain" but you need to learn better cue words to define this. Is it a sharp pain in certain areas? Is it a dull pain that you have for a long period of time? Does it stick around or does it go away ? These are great things to learn and how to explain them to your coach or trainer who can help to pinpoint and correct the problem. My question then is... Should you train with pain?
First you need to identify the pain as acute or chronic? Acute pain starts suddenly and is associated with tissue damage or injury. If you experience it during a workout, resist the impulse to push through the pain. Some rest might be in order to prevent a more serious problem.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, lingers and is often resistant to medical interventions. It’s frequently caused by nerve damage and associated with negative psychological consequences.
The tricky part is knowing if the pain is just temporary or if it might cause more injury. You will get sore after a workout if you are using new muscle groups or increase your intensity. Delayed onset muscle soreness also happens 2 days post a heavy workout. Being sore is ok but being injured or feeling like you have been hit by a truck 72 hours after a workout is not good. You need to pay attention to your body and its signals. If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout and that is something that should never be ignored. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day.
You can combat soreness by stretching, foam rolling and using mobility tools to break up the lactic acid in your muscles and help eliminate the stiffness. Don't forget when you workout you are creating micro tears and then your muscles become inflamed to repair and make stronger.
If you are really sore you can try taking 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 100 milligrams of ubiquinol or coenzyme Q10, and a curcumin supplement before workouts. Depending on your preference, you can go with standard painkillers for relief or take an Epsom salt bath to ease your sore muscles. But don't forget the best remedy is to keep moving the next day and flush out the lactic acid that creates the muscle soreness !

Monday, August 17, 2015

Eat More Fat !

at more FAT ! Yes .. Fat does NOT make you fat but it is essential for your body to function properly. Fat is one of those essential macronutrients. More specifically, we are talking about essential fatty acids (EFAs). When your body doesn’t get in enough of the nutrients it needs, it will send out hunger signals to tell you to eat until it does get them. Essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body, so they need to be consumed through your diet.
Another reason you need to eat fat to lose fat is because fat slows down the digestion of food. Why is this beneficial? When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose and sent into the bloodstream. When this happens, insulin comes in and shuttles that glucose to muscle tissues (or fat if glycogen stores are full). If too much glucose is in the bloodstream at one time, insulin is released in greater amounts preventing the release of fatty acids.
Certain vitamins can only be digested and transported with the help of fats. These fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are responsible for many body functions, including:
-Healthy skin and hair
-The assimilation of calcium
-Blood clotting
What is one amazing and versatile fat ? Avocados !
Avocados contain essential fats that your body needs along with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Being high in mono-saturated fats, they are excellent for cardiovascular health as well as stroke prevention due to the higher folate content. Since they are rich in fiber they keep you feeling full for longer and stabilize your insulin levels. Avocados are also great for reducing your LDL and cholesterol levels.
Eating avocados can also benefit your skin and hair along with slowing down the aging process because of the high content of vitamin E. Since they are also an anti-inflammatory, they are linked to help prevent Alzheimer disease.
There are so many great benefits to add in this essential fat into your diet. When choosing an avocado make sure that you choose some that are already ripe or soft to the touch and some that are firm so they have time to ripen up !!!
Add them to a healthy salad, make it like a dressing or even as a dessert with chocolate !!! The possibilities are endless!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Get Stretching !

One thing that i feel is OVER looked in training is mobility and stretching. I am guilty of this one as well because in the past I would use the "I don't have time" to stretch, even for five minutes post workout. Man do I wish I learned how important stretching and mobility is to proper lifting techniques.
Mobility and stretching can be built into your workouts in three unique ways. The key is to spend time working on the areas of your body that need it most, rather than just doing random stretches. Begin by looking in your individual movement patterns through and fined areas of tightness and trigger points, while also spending time on mobility.You need to learn how your body moves and what is should feel like instead of how it feels when tight and sore.
First way to integrate it into your fitness routine:
The Classic Approach to Stretching
Before workout - Warm up
Workout – Full range of motion exercises
After Workout – Static stretching
Second way:
Integrated Training
Before workout – Dynamic stretching, self-myofascial release
Workout – Mix power and strength training with mobility exercises as supersets
After Workout – PNF, active isolated stretching, and static stretching
Third way
Mobility Training Sessions
Spend ten minutes to two hours stretching and mobilizing
Dynamic stretching has had much better results opening the joints and muscles up to their current limits but without the negative side effects. Dynamic stretching will not often result in large mobility gains, and therefore should be reserved as a warm-up.
Below are 7 Tips for stretching !
-Warm up first
-Perform dynamic stretching vs. static stretching
-Do some yoga on a weekly basis
-Learn proper stretches for what your mobility issues are and focus on them
-After your workout do static stretching
-Stretch to the point of moderate discomfort but not to pain
-Use stretching as a way to destress the body and mind
Spending dedicated time to mobility and stretching will pay dividends in the long term, allowing you to train more effectively and have reduced risk of injury. Always remember to keep within your personal threshold and that it is possible to overstretch in a workout. Your focus should be optimal movement patterns, and full range of motion for all your joints. Specific range of motion will be body specific to your makeup, and the goal is efficient movement. Take care of your body NOW and it will repay you in years to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Make your BODY a Fat Burning Machine !

Your body is a machine. What you feed it will ultimately affect how you feel and how your body responds to external factors. Feed your body right and you will see how much of an impact it has on your well-being and how amazing you will feel. Your body will start to appreciate the nutrients and you will start to see immediate results from the foods that nourish every cell!
Learning what foods to eat and when to optimize your nutrition is key.Reset your body from the inside out by getting your nutrients from a delicious array of whole foods.Here’s what you should be looking for: whole grains and legumes for zinc, lysine selenium, B vitamins, and slow-digesting carbs, the most colorful array of veggies you can find (for beta-carotene, micronutrients and minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and indigestible carbs that help keep you from snacking on less nutritious foods, lean protein for muscle building and fullness, along with healthy fats from foods like nuts, avocado, and olive oil for muscle building, tyrosine, and overall healthier thyroid function.
Here are some healthy options to add into your healthy diet !
Fruit- Two of the best options that you can have are Apples and Grapefruits
Apples are a low-calorie fruit. They do contain plenty of fiber, which is broken down in the body through the burning of calories.
Like the apple, the grapefruit is high in fiber. It also helps lower insulin levels in the body.Insulin levels determine the amount of fat the body stores.The lower the insulin levels, the higher the metabolism.Aside from fruit, which other foods are a welcome addition to your diet to increase metabolism?
Natural yogurt contains a lot of protein.Not only does protein help build lean muscle, but it requires a lot of calories to be processed by the body.Yogurt also helps regulate the digestive tract because of the presence of pro-biotic cultures.
Lean Meats and Eggd
Like yogurt, lean meats, such as chicken and turkey, contain a lot of protein and are scant on fat. The lean muscle tissue built by proteins needs a lot of energy to maintain.Eggs are known as the perfect protein, but their ability to boost lean muscle and strength gains isn’t due to just the protein alone. It gets a lot of help from the yolks, where the cholesterol is found. If you’re worried about your cholesterol shooting up from eating the yolks, cholesterol from eggs has been shown to decrease the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles associated with atherosclerosis.
Spicy Foods
Yes, it’s true. Spicy food, more specifically, food that uses hot chilies of any variety, can increase metabolism.Hot chilies contain capcaisin, which make your body burn calories long after they’ve been eaten. Capcaisins cause some people to sweat when they’re eating a spicy Indian curry or some fiery Mexican cuisine, but don’t shy away from the spice if you want to increase your metabolism!
Eat these foods and you're guaranteed to burn more calories... just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest. Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle by lifting HEAVY !

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Healthy Cookies !

Chocolate Chip Chewy Cookies !
When you workout and eat right there are times you just need a sweet treat to take the edge off. I have the perfect thing for you to try when the sweet tooth monster strikes ! Eating healthy doesn't need to be boring or BLAH!
1/2 cup raw organic almond butter (feel free to swap the almond butter for any nut butter)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 pastured egg
dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Mix almond butter, coconut sugar, and egg until you have a batter
Create a ping pong ball sized dollops on the cookie sheet with at least an inch between them.
The dollops will flatten out into battery saucers
sprinkle chocolate chips as desired
bake for 8-10 minutes
the cookies should come right off with a spatula

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fitness TIPS !

In a world full of opinions, you never know which ones can be trusted to be true and which are just slightly off from the truth. The world of fitness and nutrition has SO many contradictions its no wonder everyone is stuck on a crazy diet fad and then left with just a massive headache on what to do next.
The list of common fitness advice are:
What type of workouts are best for building muscle? What about losing fat?
What foods should I eat and what should I avoid?
Does meal timing and frequency matter?
How can I avoid getting “bulky”?
Why is belly fat so hard to lose?
Should I lift weights or do cardio or both?
The list goes on and on but you get the picture ! The funny thing is that fitness and nutrition are not complicating at all. You just follow a plan and stick to it along with training and adequate recovery and your good to go ! But here are a few of my favorite misconceptions !
Calorie counting doesn't work... WHAT ? Well that's the farthest from the truth. Your body is like a scale using a caloric balance of calories in vs calories out. IF you eat more without any exercise, you need to take that into consideration when counting your calories for the day. The benefits are amazing when you know what you are doing. It can put you in complete control of the most important aspects of your body: your weight, body composition, and health.It can free you from the anxieties and uncertainties of “dieting.” Of having to hope for results and second-guess everything you put in your mouth.It can free you from the traps of yo-yo dieting, restrictive dieting, starvation dieting, and just about every other diet pitfall.
If I (as a woman) lift heavy I am going to get bulky. Oh you mean you want that "toned" look? That requires LIFTING weights and no you will not become a HULK by doing so. Men have 10-15 % more testosterone than women which is why they can put on more muscle. Lifting weights increases your metabolism and creates a shape to your body. The key to lifting is knowing how to supplement your diet to remain healthy and lean along with providing your body we adequate nutrition to perform.
We are lead to believe that carbs AND fat are bad. So what are you left with? Protein and veggies ? That's no way to live your life. A lot of these misconceptions come from FAD diets making you believe that a certain food group is bad for you. No individual food can make you fat. Only overeating can.Carbohydrates aren not your enemy You have nothing to fear from insulin and low-carb dieting doesn’t help you lose fat faster.The truth is any diet that completely restricts a food or food type is unhealthy and not worth your time.You can eat a balanced diet that includes everything you enjoy, including your favorite carbs and indulgences, and have a muscular, lean, and healthy body .Remember that your body isn’t what you eat–your body is what it does with what you eat. And it’s incredibly good at adapting to a wide variety of diets.
I NEED to lose fat.. let me do cardio... WRONG ! Cardio is at most an added stimulant to reduce fat but NOT the best way of doing it. Funny thing is people everywhere believe that getting and staying lean requires the regular sacrifice of thousands of hours doing cardio to get lean. BUT, you can lose fat and stay lean without doing any cardio whatsoever. And you can get really lean, you can do it with no more than a couple hours of cardio per week.
The problem with abusing cardio to try to get lean is threefold:
1. It’s too easy to eat back the calories you burn.
You have to work really really hared on the treadmill to burn a few hundred calories but you can eat it all back and then some with a handful of nuts or small bar of chocolate.
2.. Your body adapts to low-intensity exercise to reduce calorie expenditure.
You must create adaptations in your workout. Doing steady state all the time will create a pattern for your body and then it will adapt and remain the same. You need to force a stimulus for changes to happen.
3. Cardio burns fat but it burns muscle too.
We say we want to lose “weight” but what we really want to lose is fat and preserve muscle.This is extremely important because if we lose too much muscle while losing fat, we wind up with the dreaded “skinny fat” look.
So here is the overall point. If you too learn how to manage calorie and macronutrient intake, free yourself from restrictive dietary dogmas, and shift your focus toward heavy weightlifting and away from excessive cardio, I guarantee you’ll make more progress than you ever thought possible.

Monday, August 10, 2015


More and more often it is brought to my attention how much society influences our thoughts on what "beautiful" is. The world of health and fitness lately has not been depicting a good representation of what "being" fit is or looks like in my own personal opinion. When you are starting a fitness journey, it's easy to get caught up in an "image" of what you think you should look like and we are basing those thoughts on what the cover models look like. Sadly, the images we are looking at are highly photo shopped and the models are being pampered by a team of professionals. If we are in constant comparison with the photo shopped image, how are you going to ever feel like you compare?
There is not one ideal body type and there is no right or wrong one either. Real women have curves, real women have imperfections, and real women have insecurities. We need to learn to love our bodies for what they DO rather than how they look. Our bodies are a gift and blessing that we should not take for granted, however this happens often.
You need to see and view yourself as a powerful machine that is meant to serve you and provide a quality life for you if you treat it right. You need to start viewing your body for performance and the ability to allow you do move, think, workout, and do all the things you want to in life. The easiest step is to just appreciate yourself on the daily! Take the positive approach and love your body. Don’t wait until you achieve your goals to love your body because your health and fitness routine should enhance your overall life from the very beginning.
To make it simple, you need to love what you are TODAY and keep improving on it ! You will never reach a point of satisfaction because you should always be learning and wanting more out of your life! Do what you enjoy and don't try to fit into a certain mold just because others are doing it.
Every single day is a gift and blessing to you. Don't worry about other people and don't worry about what others have. If you focus your life on what you have in the present moment you will begin to see the endless opportunities that you have right in front of you. Stop wishing for it to be easy and learn to work through all the hard times because it will be so worth it in the end !

Friday, August 7, 2015

Your Body is AMAZING !

Your body is AMAZING !
If you just stop and think for a second on what your body does each and every moment, it's so miraculous that we should be happy to just be alive !
You can hear, understand, comprehend and create solutions. Your brain contains every dream, every memory, and every failure you ever had. Your eyes adjust to colors, light and give you a sense of your surroundings. You can hear noises, voices, and learn just by hearing sounds. What is beautiful is that your lungs work in unison and take a rest before your next breath. Taking a look at what your body does for you, the next 10 facts will help you see how truly amazing the human body is !
1. For every pound of fat gained, you add seven miles of new blood vessels.
New tissue needs blood supply, so your vascular system expands to accommodate it. This also means your heart must work harder to pump blood through the new network, which may reduce oxygenation and nutrient replenishment in other tissues. Lose a pound? Your body will break down and reabsorb the unneeded blood vessels from the previous tissue.
2. Muscle tissue is three times more efficient at burning calories than fat.
This is why possessing more muscle should be a training goal for most people. More muscle = more calories burned = less fat = being more fit looking. Simple goals and simple math.
3. You are taller in the morning than in the evening.
When you crawl out of the sack in the morning you are at your tallest. On average, you are approximately one half inch taller when you wake in the morning, thanks to excess fluid between within your spinal discs. While you are sleeping, these fluids replenish. During the day your body has to deal with the stress of standing, so the discs become compressed and the fluid seeps out. This results in you losing a small amount of extra height.
4. Your stomach manufactures a new lining every three days to avoid digesting itself.
As a part of the digestive process, your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid (HA). HA is a powerful corrosive compound also used to treat various metals. The HA your stomach secretes is also powerful, but mucous lining the stomach wall keeps it within the digestive system. As a result it breaks down the food you consume, but not your own stomach.
5. Your body produces enough heat in only thirty minutes to boil a half-gallon of water.
Your body is the epitome of a study on the laws of thermodynamics. You produce heat from all that is going on - exercise, metabolizing food, maintaining homeostasis – and as you sweat, exhale, excrete, and urinate (lovely thoughts, all of them).
6. Human bone is as strong as granite, relative to supporting resistance.
Would you believe a matchbox-size chunk of bone can support 18,000 pounds? Compared to concrete, human bone is four times greater in support strength.
7. Your skin is an organ.
Just like the liver, heart, and kidneys, your outer covering is an organ. An average man has enough skin on his body to cover approximately twenty square feet. For an average woman it is approximately seventeen square feet. Approximately 12% of your weight is from your skin. And, your skin replaces 45,000+ cells in only a few seconds. It's constantly growing new skin and shedding old skin.
8. By the age of eighteen your brain stops growing.
From that age forward it begins to lose more than 1,000 brain cells every day. Only two percent of your body weight is occupied by your gray matter, but is uses up to 20% of your overall energy output (it needs carbohydrates). Your brain works continuously and never rests, even when you're asleep. Aside from producing REM dreams, your brain works overtime to replenish its ability to function normally during your daytime waking hours.
9. There are more than 600 individual skeletal muscles and 206 bones in your body.
If all 600+ muscles contracted and pulled in the same direction, you could lift over twenty tons of resistance. Additionally, the adult skeleton is composed of 206 bones, but at birth an infant skeleton contains approximately 350 bones. Over time, some of the 350 bones fuse together and eventually grow to the 206 adult figure.
10. You need to consume a quart of water each day for four months to equate to the amount of blood your heart pumps in one hour.
On average, your heart beats 40,000,000 times per year. Doing the math, over your lifetime (both men and women averaged), that results in 2,600,000,000 heartbeats (two billion, six hundred million). This does not even factor in your increased heartbeats due to your love of exercise.

These are only ten things you probably did not know about body. Pretty amazing stuff! There is plenty more to know about the human body, and I recommend you discover these facts by being inquisitive.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Healthy Body Healthy Gut !

Your body undergoes A LOT of stress. Majority of the stress is harvested within our bodies and primarily within our digestive and gut health. By protecting our gut health we are ensuring that we are getting the proper nutrient absorption while keeping a healthy balance of bacteria to increase our immune systems.
When we eat the small intestines does the majority of the nutritional breakdown as the nutrients are transported into the bloodstream. They then travel to the liver which creates glycogen from sugars and carbohydrates to give the body energy. The liver also removes toxins and chemicals such as alcohol by detoxifying these substances before they are removed as waste. The remaining material travels through the large intestine and colon before being eliminated from the body.
It's pretty amazing to believe that our bodies do wonderful things so why wouldn't we want to keep it in great health to function at an optimal level?
While we should avoid foods that we know don’t “agree with us,” those that make us constipated, bloated or gassy, we should also take light of these five key points:
1. Eat Healthy
-Avoid excessive alcohol consumption that can do irreparable damage the liver, esophagus and stomach lining.
-Drink plenty of water that aids with the absorption of nutrients and assists with the process of passing waste through the body and helps in preventing constipation.
-Make sure to get probiotics and prebiotics to help contribute to a healthier gut. Probiotics are good bacteria that supplement the good bacteria in your gut. You can get them from fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut and are found in foods like raw onions and chicory root.
-Monitor your medications and take them only as directed as some of them can be very taxing on the digestive system. NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and acedemediphine can cause serious stomach problems.
2. Moderation, Regulation & Slowly
-Slow down when you are eating, relax and chew your food carefully to ease unnecessary stress on your digestive system.
-Try to eat at regular times throughout the day and avoid overeating. This will help the digestive system to more efficiently process the foods we consume by preventing hunger and helping the stomach to prepare for our meals.
3. Exercise Regularly
-Regular cardiovascular exercise is not only healthy for our heart, it also helps to strengthen the muscles in our abdomen that assist with the digestive process. This helps to stimulate the muscles that push food through our digestive system and prevents it from becoming too tired and feeling overworked.
4. Stress Management
-Have you noticed when you are stressed out you’ll often have a tight feeling or burning sensation in your stomach? This is because stress affects nerves in the digestive system and can worsen or lead to problems like peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
-Stress can also cause bloating, gas and constipation for some, while others may experience diarrhea and an urge to relieve themselves more often. Watery and loose stools may be a sign that all the important nutrients are not being absorbed by the digestive system. Learn ways to calm down here.
5. Stop Smoking or Don’t Start
-The dangers of smoking are more than the increased risk of cancer, heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, it can also lead to problems with digestion.
-Smoking reduces the pressure that exists at the junction located between the esophagus and stomach which can lead to acid reflux, heartburn and other problems.
-Smoking also aggravates inflammatory conditions in the bowel and worsens peptic ulcers. The threat of cancer is not only linked to the lungs, but also associated with many other parts of the body, including those found in the digestive system.
Natural Remedies can also help heal and protect your gut !
-Apple Cider Vinegar: Drinking this with water and a little honey is said to help the digestive system by decreasing starches and helping to keep healthy bacteria intact.
-Bitters in Soda: Many people swear by this old bartender’s trick of mixing several drops of bitters with soda, tonic water or ginger ale to relieve nausea.
-BRAT: This acronym, bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, is well-known by many mothers who use it as a method of soothing an upset stomach, diarrhea and/or nausea for their children.
-Ginger: Whether you use the root in a tea or consume ginger ale, people have been using this ancient remedy for both pain and nausea relief for thousands of years.
-Peppermint: It is believed that the menthol in their leaves will soothe an upset stomach and quell nausea and most people drink it in a tea.
We can all live longer and fully lives avoiding unnecessary health problems that may arise by eating better and getting more exercise. Having a better digestive system is another added bonus to these better lifestyle choices.
References – July, Digestive System: Facts, Function & Diseases – July 2015:, Gastroenterological Society of Australia…/12-things-you-should-know-a… – July 2015:, 12 things you should know about common pain relievers – Harvard Health…/coconut-oil-benefits-for-dig…/ – July 2015:, 12 things you should know about common pain relievers – Harvard Health…/digestive-health/natural-upset-… – July 2015:, 6 Natural Upset Stomach Remedies…/ – July 2015:, Senior Wellness: Becoming Aware of Health Issues that May Arise