Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Much Should you be Eating?

If you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight, build muscle etc then you need to know how much to eat to achieve this goal. I have used several calculators and a variety of formulas and this calculator (and formula it uses) remains my favorite. It is super detailed and gives you descriptions on each of the exercise intensities. I would recommend doing a calculation for an exercise day and a non-exercise day so you can adjust your calories in your food-tracker app to reflect the difference in activity.

1 pound of body fat is equal to 3,400 calories, so a weight loss journey is not something that happens overnight. The MAXIMUM caloric deficit from the total daily expenditure you calculate should be 1,000 calories, otherwise you will risk catabolizing the muscle you have worked so hard for as well as drastically slowing your metabolism. A 1,000 calorie deficit per day will equate to about 2 pounds of weight loss per week. A 500 calorie deficit should cause a 1 pound weight loss per week. Keep in mind, it takes roughly 3 weeks for your body to adapt to whatever changes you make, so stick to it for 3 weeks before you try to change up the plan!

Link to Energy Expenditure Calculator

Here is an example of the calculator all filled out:



Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bikini Show Prep--Week 2

I am very happy with my decision to start the prep early so I can enjoy holiday outings and nights out with friends before getting more strict in the few weeks leading up to my March 11th show! Don't get me wrong, it's already tough to be cutting my calories from 2,200-2,600 down to my carb-cycling range of 1,600-2,200, but you better believe I look forward to those high carb days! I am also doing 4 days of cardio, but am only doing 20-25 minutes each bout. Depending on how my body is responding I may increase this as my prep continues!








Is Sitting all day Really Killing you?

Do you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day? If so, here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64%. You're shaving off seven years of quality life. You're also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting all day is killing you. That's the bad news. The good news is that this is able to be counteracted no matter how lazy you are.

Our bodies weren't made to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time, even with exercise, has a negative effect on our health. What's worse, many of us sit for up to 15 hours a day if most of our time is spent in the car, office chair, car again and couch until we go to bed. 


Immediately after sitting down: 


As soon as you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your metabolism adjusts accordingly to only burn roughly one calorie per minute. This is 1/3 of how much you would be burning if up walking. A major cause of Type 2 diabetes is from the inability to uptake glucose in insulin--this is reduced by 40% after sitting for only 24 hours.


After 2 weeks of sitting more than 6 hours a day: 


Within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increases its store of fatty molecules, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and insulin resistance. This means your muscles aren't taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just 2 weeks, your muscles begin to atrophy and your VO2 max (max oxygen consumption) drops. This decrease in cardiorespiratory fitness will show itself when you are attempting to climb stairs or walk the dog. Even if you are working out every day, this deterioration begins the second you stop moving. 


This trend continues, and the effects of sitting begin to manifest and worsen. Women can lose 1% of bone mass per year by sitting more than 6 hours a day. I know this looks bleak and unavoidable if you have a 9-5 desk job and intend to for the next several years, but here are some strategies to counteract the repercussions of being sedentary. 


How to remedy the situation: 


1. Make sure to stand once an hour 


This one isn't about working out, which is positive and necessary in its own right. It's about creating bursts (even if 5 minutes) of moderate activity throughout the day and giving your body a break from sitting. Moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk. Yard work or cleaning your house counts as long as it gets you moving. When I had an office job, I would take a coffee/water and bathroom break each hour to give me a reason to get up and out of the chair. For these intermittent breaks, you don't have to do what people think of as exercise.


2. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day


The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous. 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week of moderate activity is ideal. To facilitate lean muscle growth and improvements in bone density, adding in 2 days per week of moderate to high intensity strength training is recommended. 


Even with these changes, you will still have tightness and weakness from staying in one position for an extended period of time, so make sure to stretch and perform mobility exercises when at the gym or relaxing at home! 




https://lifehacker.com/5879536/how-sitting-all-day-is-damaging-your-body-and-how-you-can-counteract-it


http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bikini Show Prep--Week 1

It's been awhile; actually it's been a year and a half since my last bodybuilding show. I am coming into this prep with a new outlook. I want to enjoy the journey this time rather than focusing so much on how I look, whether I will be as competitive as the other girls or who I need to know and pay to coach me to have a shot at my pro card. My priority right now is opening my gym in August 2018, but with everything going as planned en route to that goal (let's hope I didn't jinx it!), I thought it would be as good a time as any to prep for a show.

I have almost exactly 3 months from today to get myself down to 12-14% body fat while building 2-3 pounds of muscle at the same time. I wanted to document my journey to show my clients I understand and empathize with them in their own journeys toward their varying goals. The self discipline it takes to get ready for a bodybuilding show is surprising, especially getting down to those last few weeks!

I haven't really publicized it, but in the past year and a half I have attempted to prep for 2 other shows only to bail out when juggling prep, building a business and school got to be too overwhelming. I don't feel bad about delaying the prep, because I know if I can't give 100%, I won't enjoy the process.



One of the toughest parts for me in getting ready for a show is the posing. Even if you have a phenomenal physique but can't showcase that, you won't place well. Posing has been my weakest in past shows, so this time I am seeking outside coaching. I plan to attend posing workshops at the Armbrust pro gym in Wheatridge, CO (about 30 minutes away from me) anytime I can. I am doing this show on a budget, so I will be creating my own exercise program, diet plan and only outside help on the posing. Thankfully, I have some awesome trainer friends who I can use as resources if I have any major questions! 

Stay tuned for my week 1-4 show-prep diet plan! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Souvlaki Chicken

I have to give a shout out to my awesome client, Angela for this amazing recipe! I often get burnt out on meal prepped chicken by the end of the week because of how dry and flavorless it gets, but this recipe is the anomaly!

For the entire meal, I usually do: 4oz chicken/zucchini mixture, 1/3c tzatziki sauce, 1/2c halved grape tomatoes and 2oz red potato.




Ingredients for Souvlaki Chicken: 

-3tbs fresh lemon juice
-1.5tsp chopped fresh (1/2tsp dried) oregano 
-2tsp olive olive oil 
-1/2tsp salt
-4 garlic cloves (minced) 
-1/2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)
-1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces

Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce: 

-1.5cups plain greek yogurt
-1 large cucumber (finely chopped) 
-4 cloves garlic (minced)
-1/2 lemon (juiced)
-2tbs olive oil
-1.5tsp dried dill week, or 2tbs fresh dill (minced)
-Pink himalayan salt to taste
-Black pepper to taste

Directions for Souvlaki Chicken: 

-Combine everything in bag to allow chicken to marinate 
-Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through

Directions for Tzatziki Sauce: 

-Chop cucumber first to let as much water out as possible
-Combine all ingredients and leave in fridge until ready to eat! 



Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Increase your Metabolism

Metabolism is the term for all the chemical reactions in your body; these chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning. However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn. The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.

Here are several easy ways to increase your metabolism and keep it heightened: 

1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It's caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. 
Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating. One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet. 
Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it helps prevent you from losing muscle, a common side effect of dieting. 

2. Drink More Cold Water

People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake.
However, drinking water may also speed up your metabolism temporarily. Studies have shown that drinking 17 oz of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature, but there are fewer studies to back this claim. 
Water can also help fill you up. Studies show that drinking water a half an hour before you eat can help you eat less. One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't.

3. Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity. It can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished. This type of workout causes an after-burn or excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) that continues the following several hours.

4. Lift Heavy Things

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and increasing lean muscle mass can help increase your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest. Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss. 
In one study, 48 overweight women were placed on a diet of 800 calories per day, along with either no exercise, aerobic exercise or resistance training. After the diet, the women who did the resistance training maintained their muscle mass, metabolism and strength. The others lost weight, but also lost muscle mass and experienced a decrease in metabolism.

5. Stand up More


Sitting too much is bad for your health. Sedentary lifestyles are becoming all-too-common in America, and this lack of regular physical activity paired with unhealthy eating will cause a significant weight increase. In fact, compared with sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories depending on your size. 
If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also invest in a standing, or request your work provide one.

6. Get a Good Night's Sleep

Lack of sleep is linked to a major increase in the risk of obesity. This may partly be caused by the negative effects of sleep deprivation on metabolism. Lack of sleep has also been linked with increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which are both linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This could explain why many people who are sleep deprived feel hungry and struggle to lose weight.

7. Drink Coffee

Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3–11%. Like green tea, it also promotes fat burning. However, this seems to affect lean people more. In one study, coffee increased fat burning by 29% for lean women, but only 10% for obese women. Coffee's effects on metabolism and fat burning may also contribute to successful weight loss and maintenance.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism





Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Best Strategies to Maintain your Weight Through the Holidays

'Tis the season of family togetherness and feasting, but not to worry, you can bake your pumpkin pie and eat it too!

Health conscious people all over the world brace themselves for these 2 months full of parties, feasts and festivities. It can be overwhelming to find a balance between enjoying these happy and festive months and maintaining the results from all your hard work over the past several months.

My philosophy is that everything is appropriate in moderation. The holidays SHOULD be enjoyed, and for me, yes, this involves ham, sweet potato casserole and pie. With this outlook, I still like to come into the holidays excited and prepared with a plan to keep myself on track.

1. DON’T PANIC

Remember that your food choices don’t equal your value as a person, and stay positive even when things don’t go exactly as you plan. It's easy to eat or drink a little too much at one party and let this begin a negative spiral through the rest of the holiday season. 

The holidays are challenging for everyone on the eating front, and self-love goes a long way toward letting you come out healthy and happy on the other side. Don’t let one or two frustrating events spoil the entire season!

2. PICK YOUR BATTLES

In the spirit of cultivating a growth mindset, be realistic about what you can and can’t tackle. While, “I’m not going to eat a cookie for the entire holiday season” is unrealistic for most of us, “I’m not going to eat any cookies at the work” is entirely doable.

I recommend taking a good look at your calendar and evaluating which events are worth a bit of a food splurge. You can use whatever criteria you want for this, from the quality of the food to its sentimental value. What’s important is that it’s worth it to you (and that the food is delicious of course). Two special occasions per month is a reasonable target. You can dial this slightly up or down depending on your goals and how important the holidays are to you, but if you’re celebrating multiple times a week it could be problematic.

Once you have chosen your truly special occasions, don’t worry about them anymore. Look forward to enjoying them guilt-free. We’ll use the following steps to make sure the damage is minimal.

3. PLAN YOUR ATTACK

Now that you’ve chosen what is worth splurging on, you have also decided what isn’t. For me this was always work events. When these are events that I can’t gracefully refuse, it’s important I know my plan before heading in.

Always remember that food isn’t the reason you’re attending, and try to focus on people and activities instead. That said, when planning for food, there are a few key factors to keep in mind:
For shorter, cocktail hour-type gatherings, my priorities are making sure I eat beforehand or making concrete dinner plans afterward. That way a glass of wine or two won’t trick me into believing that subpar food is my only option. For longer events and dinners where escaping food is impossible, I optimize my food choices for health and make peace with the fact that this won’t be the most rewarding meal of my life.

In these cases, my number one priority is eating vegetables. I try to fill up on as many as I can, so at least the evening isn’t a net loss health-wise. My second priority is eating some kind of protein or meat, so I’m satisfied enough to avoid the lackluster desserts that will inevitably show up later.

Finally, at events like this I stick to lower alcohol drinks (wines, lighter beers) and completely avoid cocktails, which are often as sweet as soda. For me, cocktails are a splurge and I’ve already decided this event wasn’t worth it.

4. ANTICIPATE OBSTACLES

Executing your plan may be easier said than done. For instance, buffet-style meals can be particularly challenging for many people, as there are no clear boundaries to stop you from overeating.

If holiday events are difficult for you, chances are you fall victim to the same traps over and over again.
Do you skimp too much on dinner then lose it at the dessert table?
Do you eat a dozen hors d’oeuvres before the real meal even starts?
Try to anticipate these obstacles and set up an alternative course of action.
In the buffet example, the sheer number of options can often overwhelm our better judgement. Avoid this by committing beforehand to only eating one (satisfying) plate of food.

When it is time to serve yourself, examine the entire table of options before making your decisions, then choose the tastiest items you can find that are as healthy as possible. Once you’ve made your selections, eat them slowly and mindfully.
Setting up your alternative plan before the event prevents you from having to make decisions in the 
heat of the moment and reduces your reliance on willpower.

5. BE REALISTIC

When planning your attack and anticipating the obstacles, it is absolutely essential that you are realistic about the situation and your abilities, or it will be hard to achieve success. 

I don’t know anybody who can make it through multiple hours of drinking on nothing but raw carrots and celery, so don’t make that your goal. Be smart about your strategy and honest about your limitations, and make sure that your plan will work in reality, not just in theory.

If you feel like you’re guessing about what your options will be, try to find out more about the event itself and what to expect. If you aren’t confident about your ability to execute the best plan you can think of, consider recruiting a friend for more ideas and moral support.

6. CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES

Living healthfully isn’t a single challenge or conquest, but many small challenges that add up to the bigger picture. Keep this in mind as you go through the holidays, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. This is important for maintaining and happy and healthy lifestyle! 

Focusing on each of your wins as you experience them gives you a feeling of progress, and makes your small actions more meaningful psychologically. Feeling successful is far more motivating than “I wish I were thinner” or “I wish I had more willpower,” and can help you persevere down the stretch.

7. LEARN FROM YOUR SLIP-UPS

With many small challenges comes not just small victories, but likely a few small slip-ups as well.

DON’T PANIC.

If one of your plans of attack doesn’t quite work and you end up with three nutella brownies down the hatch before you can say “cheat day,” it isn’t the end of the world.

Instead of skipping your workout and eating a pint of ice cream in the bathtub to console yourself, acknowledge the incident as a miscalculation and ask what you could have done differently to prevent it. And no, the answer isn’t “be a better person” or “be stronger in the face of temptation.” Instead ask what strategies you could have used to have avoided being put in that situation.

For instance, you may have not eaten enough during dinner and still been legitimately hungry afterward. Eating more protein or veggies could have given you the fuel you needed to make it through the evening. Or maybe you didn’t realize that your favorite pastry chef was going to be catering this event and it suddenly switched from not-worth-it to totally-worth-it. Maybe you could have adopted mindful eating strategies instead of succumbing to the what-the-hell effect, and enjoyed a much smaller portion. Whatever the issue, it is something that needs to be acknowledged and addressed or it will likely happen again.

8. ADAPT AND ADJUST

As you build your holiday hacking skills you are certain to experience many successes and many setbacks. This is called learning, and it is the only way to make long-term progress.

Every year your circumstances will be slightly different. You’ll have different obligations, you’ll move, change jobs, get married, get divorced, have kids, they’ll grow up, etc. Life keeps happening. Your strategies will need to adapt to the changing times, but the lessons you learn each year will stay with you.

Another important addition is to make sure you enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones! 


Source: MyFitnessPal


How to Stay in Shape While on the Road

Whether you are traveling for pleasure, world domination, epic questing, or business, it can be hard to stay on track with your workout plan and diet regimen. Not having access to your usual gym, prepared foods and personal trainer can certainly be overwhelming and lead to a serious “fall-off.” 

We are all creatures of habit and it is easy to adhere to a simple routine when you are in one place. Traveling should be enjoyed and although splurges and embracing  the local culture is vital, you also want to ensure you don’t wreck all the hard work you have already put in! So, how can you maintain your  healthy eating, regular exercising and consistent sleep patterns while on the road? Here are some tips that may help you:

1. Start your day with healthy breakfast that includes a hearty dose of protein. It doesn’t matter where you are, healthy options can always be found. Hotels and restaurants are realizing the significance of leading a healthy lifestyle and will usually have a “lighter fare” menu, or an “al a carte” section with simple and healthy options! Some easily-found items will be: eggs, whole wheat bread, whole wheat english muffins, avocado, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, egg white omelet, greek yogurt parfait etc. 

2. Traveling and eating foods you are unaccustomed to can cause digestive upset, so try to have a probiotic regularly. this can be a kombucha probiotic drink, kefir, pills, or yogurt. 

3. Ensure you are getting enough water. This will be huge as dehydration can lead to some pretty serious symptoms that can escalate quickly. Migraines and lethargy are very common amongst travelers struggling to stay hydrated! Try to stray from sugary, caffeine-heavy or carbonated drinks as these are typically full of ingredients that will only further dehydrate the body. 

4. Stairs offer a good workout if you cannot get to a gym. Bodyweight workouts can be just as great (if not even better) than those with weights! If the stairs are limited to 4-5 stories, make sure you make the right choice. 

5. Tea is a miraculous drink, not only does it provide energy for doing fun activities throughout your travels, but it is also full of antioxidants that can help boost your immune system. There is usually caffeine, which is fine as long as you do not over do it! Many teas will also aid in digestion and keep everything moving smoothly while you are away from home! 




Monday, November 13, 2017

4 Common Habits Sabotaging Sleep

We all know how important proper nutrition and drinking enough water is to our health and fitness routine, but adequate sleep is an integral part of your success as well.

There have been recent studies looking at sleep quality and athletes. Not surprisingly, researchers noted that people who are regularly exercising and causing eustress to their bodies need more sleep than non-exercisers due to training load and recovery needs.

I also find that having some healthy fats and protein before bed helps a ton too, especially if you're highly active throughout the day. Your body uses fats at rest, so giving it a dose of this "sleeping fuel" before bed will help your body repair (this is the protein part) and aid in fat facilitation while you snooze!

Of course, knowing you should sleep and actually getting that sleep can be two very different things. There is a slew of tactics we probably all have tried when suffering from insomnia, but many of those strategies may actually be making things worse. Here are some of the strategies I have tried in the past and found I have done them incorrectly:

1: Melatonin supplementation:

Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally produces around sunset each day, but many people think they can pop it like a sleeping pill and feel the results immediately. It takes about 3-4 hours for the melatonin to take effect, so make sure you are taking it a few hours before you plan to head to bed.

2: Going to bed only when you have hit exhaustion:

Keeping consistent with your sleeping schedule is imperative when trying to overcome insomnia. When seasons change, it's expected we will fluctuate with it. On those summer nights, we always want to stay up later, but feel lethargic and sleepy when it gets dark at 5pm in the winter. Try to find a time to hit the hay that is reasonable throughout the year. If you stay consistent with your bedtime and waking time, your body will know what to expect and your REM sleep will be more regular and uninterrupted.

3: Counting sheep

For me, counting only causes anxiety when I start to hit higher numbers while still wide awake. Counting sheep is meant to be a de-stressor, but I have yet to see its effectiveness. What works for me is visualizing a process I enjoy doing, so myself at the gym having a really good workout, doing meal prep on a Sunday, hiking up in the mountains etc.

4: Checking the clock:

You have to wake up to a certain degree to register the time, and this can kick you out of your sleep cycle. Try to avoid checking the time, and to do this, I typically turn my phone face down or turn my alarm clock away from me.

Again, consistency is key. Make sure you are going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Easy Breakfast Bites

I have been doing the same thing for breakfast for the past few months, and decided it was time to switch it up! I typically do an egg and an oat component, so this week for my breakfasts I made these egg white frittatas, pecan wood bacon and peanut butter overnight oats to eat throughout my morning.  I typically eat 2-3 of these at a time. Macros (for 1 mini muffins): 30cal, Fat: 1g, Carbs: 1g, 4g protein.





Ingredients: 

-2 16oz cartons of egg whites
-1.5 cans diced green chiles
-5 oz grated cheese of choice
-1/2c red or white onion
-2 handfuls baby spinach
-1c diced mushrooms
-Salt & pepper to taste
-2tbs olive oil (to sauté veggies)

Directions: 

-Sauté mushrooms, spinach, onions and green chiles in olive oil until softened (about 8 minutes) 
-Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray if not already non-stick surface
-Fill 1/4 of each muffin cup with veggie medley
-Fill remaining space with egg whites
-Evenly distribute cheese on top of all cups
-Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and peper
-Enjoy your delicious and macro-friendly breakfast for the week! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Macro-Friendly Protein Smoothie

This is always my go-to post-workout treat! I, as every sane person should, love nut butters! They're loaded with healthy fats AND deliciousness. When trying to cut calories though, I will either do just 1tbs of the nut butter, or will sub it out for PB2 (powdered "peanut butter"). Adding some iron in with the spinach is something I've always done, and you can't taste it at all!



Ingredients:
-1 scoop vanilla (chocolate would be great too) protein powder (I use whey)
-1.5c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-2tbs but butter (I used almond butter)
-1/3c plain Greek yogurt
-1/2 banana (I usually use a frozen one)
-1c spinach
-1tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just cinnamon)
-3tbs baking stevia (optional)
-1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
-1c ice

Directions:

-Blend it all together!

Monday, October 16, 2017

How to know what to Spend on a Trainer

Trainers can be expensive right? And it seems so overwhelming when trying to pick one with all the different levels of experience, certifications and specialties to decipher and compare. Easiest and most advantageous option: choose me. 😋  But in all seriousness, it can be a stressful process and often will lead to disappointment and stress; all problems we are trying to avoid with engaging in an exercise routine!

Price comparison: When looking into getting a trainer, the prices should be taken into consideration, but here is a chart I have created to give an overview of my rates in comparison to other gyms in the area. Mine are the most reasonable because I don't have to give 60-70% of it to the gym to allow me to train there--going independent is one of the best career decisions I have ever made!


Working with an independent trainer like myself is great because typically, you will not also have to purchase a gym membership to work with said trainer, she is likely more experienced and ambitious, and she will usually have an extensive network of healthcare professionals to recommend if something is out of her scope of practice--independent trainers are networking gurus!

What to ask: Make sure to pay attention to the letters after your trainer’s name, and ask what’s entailed in each one. (Remember, plenty of companies out there will hand out certs for two-day courses; that’s not what you should be looking for.) While top certifications mean you’ll pay a bigger fee, it also means you’re getting a highly-educated trainer. The best trainers have been in the industry for a few years and will have a degree in something fitness-related (mine is a B.S. in Sports Management: Wellness & Fitness).

Always prioritize quality over quantity. It’s advantageous to train twice to three times a week with a great personal trainer; it's like you’re getting time and a half. You’ll come out of each session having learned more about form, technique, and workout programming that you can use in your individual training.

Keep in mind, you get what you pay for, so if the rates are significantly less than the industry standard, I would ask some questions about her degree, certification, specialties, previous jobs, before/after pictures, success stories, future plans etc to make sure you are signing a contract with some one who really is qualified to aid you in reaching your goals.

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/how-much-trainers-cost

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Simple Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

I've made variations of these over the past several months, but I am super excited for these peanut buttery ones this week! I used the Peanut Butter & Co cinnamon raisin swirl, but any nut butter will work! I bet cookie butter (although not the healthiest) would be bomb too! I find having food ready to grab and go ensures I start my day off right with a hearty (and delicious) breakfast. Depending on how wild and calorically-dense I make the oatmeal, I will often times have and egg white medley with some turkey bacon or some hard-boiled eggs along with it. If my oatmeal is more than 250 calories by itself, then I just allow this to be my first breakfast.



Ingredients:

-1/2c old fashioned oats
-1/2 + 2tbs unsweetened almond milk
-1tbs Peanut butter
-Cinnamon to taste (I used 1/2tsp)
-3tbs baking stevia
-1tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

-Put everything together
-Chop up the peanut butter so it's more dispersed
-Shake the container
-let sit for at least 12 hours to let the oats absorb the milk
-EAT ALL THE OATS!




Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yoga for Depression

Between 2005 and 2015, 24 randomized controlled trials have investigated yoga as a way to help treat depression, which is nearly five times the number that existed before 2005. These studies suggest that yoga can be a useful tool to consider alongside traditional forms of treatment for depression, such as medication or psychotherapy.

There is still debate on whether a specific style of yoga is better than another, but there is nothing conclusive to show one is superior to another. Consistency and enjoyment are the main requirements for an exercise routine to be effective. A 2016 review of general yoga research supports finding several styles of yoga yielded the best results. The most commonly studied styles of yoga are hatha yoga, which is a general umbrella term for yoga that includes movement and poses; an integrated approach, which combines yoga breathing, movement and poses, and meditative states; and Iyengar yoga, a form of hatha yoga that emphasizes precise body alignment and breathing.

Larger and more long-term yoga studies on depression are needed, but the evidence is promising and provides important groundwork for future research. In the meantime, people with depression may want to consider yoga as an additional potential resource to complement existing traditional forms of treatment.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/yoga-could-complement-traditional-treatment-for-depression-2017090712369



Monday, August 28, 2017

Cocoa Almond Energy Bites

These are so easy and yummy! I've been losing energy mid-workout, but didn't want to eat too much before only to end up feeling nauseous at the gym. These are a perfect, healthy, energy-packed treat to keep your energy high throughout your workout or as a snack in between meals. This recipe should make 21 bites. Macros (per bite): Cal-48, Fat-1g, Carb-10g, Protein-1g




Ingredients: 

-1 package pitted medjool dates (9oz) 
-3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder 
-1 1/4c almond flour (and another 1/3c for coating) 
-1.5 tbs unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbs baking stevia 
-1/4 tsp salt (optional) 

Directions:

-Blend dates in food processor until a smooth dough forms
-Mix in cocoa powder with hands
-Mix in 1 1/4c almond flour
-Mix in milk, vanilla, stevia and salt until smooth
-Create 21 one-inch balls and then roll them in almond flour
-Serve immediately or store for longer in the fridge! 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Walnut PB2 Overnight Oats

Like almost everyone else, I love peanut butter anything! These are an awesome morning treat with a great macro breakdown to get me through my morning! I typically have these pre-gym, but if eating hearty things before your workout upsets your stomach, save these for after! Macros: 254 calories, 14g fat, 25g carb, 11g protein.





Ingredients: 
-1/3c old fashioned oats
-1/3 + 2tbs unsweetened almond milk
-1/4c baking stevia (use about 2-3tbs if using granulated) 
-2tbs PB2
-0.5oz crushed walnuts (about 3tbs)
-1tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 
-Mix it all together 
-Let oatmeal soften for at least 12 hours before eating! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Staying on Track while Traveling

This topic always comes up with my clients after we've started training and they're about to go on a trip away from home and their normal routine. First of all, if it's a recreational trip or family vacation you should enjoy it! I find food and dining at new restaurants to be a huge part of the culture wherever I go, so eat the food you've been dying to try but just don't go overboard on portions. If it's a work trip, it's still work, so I always advise to meal prep before or have a plan in place ahead of time to keep yourself accountable to your goals while away.

Even if it is a trip for fun and to a new place, I still typically plan for one splurge meal a day and then try to keep it well-balanced for the others. Another thing to keep in mind is that "healthy" food should also be delicious! Vacation doesn't mean fry everything...unless you're in the south I suppose! (Haha) I look up reviews for restaurants ahead of time, whether I am traveling for business or pleasure, and then I can make sure the local foods I do plan to try are the best around!

For the actual traveling to and from somewhere portion of the trip, I always bring snacks. You can fly with food by the way--a lot of people don't realize that! The only restrictions are on liquids, so I often times will bring a giant bag full of prepped meals for when I'm not eating out with friends or family! Some easy snacks that wouldn't need to be refrigerated (or could go a long time without being) would be: beef jerky, tuna packets/cans, protein bars, peanut butter & celery, fresh fruit snack strips, avocados, oatmeal packets, nuts, energy balls, protein powder (if you are okay with mixing with water of course, apples, bananas etc. I usually try to bring snacks that will cover all my macros, so a staple for me when traveling is nuts, jerky, and a piece of fruit!

Most hotels will have mini fridges and microwaves, so if you are able, I would bring some meals to eat in between your business dinners and networking events. For the eating out part while trying to stay reasonably healthy, there are SO many restaurants now that will cater to allergies and special food requests. Use TripAdvisor or Yelp to search for keywords like "paleo," "gluten-free," "vegan," etc.

Something that might be overlooked is the need for a reusable water bottle. Remember to chug the water before going through security, but there are water fountains all over airports and it will save a ton of money to bring your own to fill up rather than buying a $4 water every time you get thirsty!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Simple Blueberry Overnight Oats

I change up my recipes, but overnight oats are a staple in my meal prep every week! These blueberry oats made for a yummy start to my day and provided just enough carbs to power through my workouts without feeling stuffed! I would then have my protein shake after and taper my carbs as the day went on. My goal is to continue to maintain strength and energy even while cutting down into the 52kg class for my powerlifting meet. Having carbs around your workout is vital to keep those energy levels high! Macros (per serving): 146cal, 28g carbs, 3g fats, 4g protein





Ingredients:

-Old fashioned (not quick) oats
-Nutmeg
-Fresh blueberries
-Unsweetened nut milk
-Baking stevia
-Vanilla extract

Directions:

-Set out however many individual containers you want to use
-Scoop 1/3 cup old fashioned oats into each
-Pour 1/3 cup nut milk into each
-Add 1/3 cup blueberries to each
-Add dash of nutmeg
-Add 1 tsp vanilla extract to each
-Add 2tbs baking stevia to each
-Shake and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating! 

Benefits of Exercise for Individuals with Autism

Unintentionally, training for special populations has become one of my specialties. I believe everything happens for a reason and am very thankful for the classes I have taken in school that have prepared me to work with some really incredible people. Beginning in high school, I would volunteer at a summer camp for the mentally and physically disabled, and love that I still get to stay in touch with a few of the campers! Once I moved away from home and into a big city, I got so overwhelmed with the hustle of school, work, competing and life in general that I no longer got to volunteer with the special olympics or the summer camp I had grown to love.

Within my degree requirements were several classes covering what it takes to train for varying special populations. One of these classes was focused on training for people with learning disabilities. Not everyone thinks the same, and I have always found this SO refreshing. I love meeting new people, immersing myself in cultures and groups outside of my norm, and educating myself in training for those with disabilities has allowed me to do just that.

The most notable characteristics of autism include an impaired ability to communicate and relate to others socially, a restricted range of activities, and repetitive behaviors such as following very specific routines. While the causes of autism are unknown and preventative measures have yet to be discovered, there does exist effective behavioral therapy that can result in significant improvements for many young children with autism. Most behavioral intervention programs focus on developing communication, social, and cognitive skills. However, new research suggests some alternative therapeutic choices that include sports, exercise, and other physical activities can be helpful in supplementing traditional behavioral interventions, leading to an improvement in symptoms, behaviors, and quality of life for individuals with autism.

In America, 16% of children ages 2-19 are overweight, and this percentage is increased to 19% amongst children with ASD, with an additional 36% at risk for being overweight. It has been hypothesized that decreased physical activity is the primary reason for the increased rate of overweight autistic children. Unusual dietary patterns and the use of antipsychotic prescription drugs that can lead weight gain may also contribute. Participation in physical activity may be challenging for individuals with autism because of possible limited motor functioning, low motivation, difficulty in planning, and difficulty in self-awareness. It is best to begin with simple tasks that mildly challenge all the senses, and increase frequency and intensity as improvements are seen and confidence is built.

I have conducted an extensive amount of research to prepare for training children and adolescents with varying levels of autism, and find seeing the improvements in coordination, body awareness, social skills, reaction time and confidence to be extremely rewarding and motivating!

Monday, June 5, 2017

You're on that Paleo Diet?

I am very much a supporter of having/doing everything in moderation. To transition into or maintain a healthy lifestyle, one must still incorporate the things he/she likes. If you're strict enough to fully stick to the paleo diet for even a few weeks, I give you props. It's super restrictive and takes an insurmountable amount of self-control. Due to how impractical and strict the diet is, I don't recommend it to be a long-term diet for my clients. If I find someone who works well with having a really thorough and easy to follow plan for weight loss then I may suggest this diet for a short period just to jump-start the fat loss and boost motivation from seeing results rapidly.

There's definitely a learning curve that coincides with any new diet plan, but there are tons of books and articles laying out how the paleo diet works. The prioritization of the food in this diet is my favorite part. There is an emphasis on natural, higher-quality foods that will keep the body fueled and balanced. Some of the foods this diet bans are actually great for you if you get quality ingredients (i.e: legumes and grains). The parts that were missed in constructing this diet: the inability to change what you eat overnight and follow it sustainably, you can't cut out all the things you enjoy eating, and people don't live in bubbles.

I will admit I live a fitness lifestyle excessively, but I STILL LOVE PIZZA AND BEER, and I would never ask my clients to entirely cut out something they enjoy. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your habits and lifestyle forever, so no, not by going on a crazy diet that promises you'll lose 10 pounds in a week. Unfortunately, this effective and maintainable approach will take time to develop, so stick to it and reach out to me or another industry professional if you're facing any struggles!




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The "Go Hard or Go Home" Mentality

I am an extremist and in some ways it's an admirable trait, but in others it can result in some dangerous consequences. I am pretty open about my past and my fitness journey that has shaped me into the woman I am today; 3 years ago, I was suffering from Anorexia and couldn't seem to beat it no matter how much support I had. I grew up without an understanding of a healthy lifestyle and how to get the results I wanted without sacrificing my health. Through education and experience, I have recovered, but it took some time. Life is all about moderation and enjoying living in the moment.

Anyone can fall victim to misconceptions about nutrition, exercise, body image, gym etiquette, life etc, but with my experience in working with women, I have found the diet and exercise misconceptions and misinformation to be prevalent. I never have any judgements being that I have thought/done/said most of the things I hear from my clients, but it is my mission to better the lives of all my clients while still helping them attain their goals.

DIET:

When you see positive changes upon eating healthier, you want to keep it up right? This is a natural progression when seeing all the hard work paying off, but taking it to the extreme and obsessing over every little thing you put in your mouth becomes unhealthy and all moderation is lost. There is also guilt that accompanies this transition; food should never be labeled as "bad" or "good" and guilt shouldn't be felt is there is a splurge every now and again.

I am always stunned when my clients respond with "you eat that?!" when I mention going out for pizza, my love for donuts or how I really enjoyed my Village Inn pie the night before. I'm not perfect by any means, but life is too short to not enjoy every second of it. Eating out and socializing is a huge part of life, and I would never expect my clients to avoid these experiences.

Those little splurges every once in awhile in between wholesome and nutritionally-dense eating helps boost the metabolism as well--it provides a challenge for the digestive system and the metabolism will be elevated for many hours after in an effort to process the food it's unaccustomed to! Of course, this also shouldn't be taken to an extreme where you're popping poptarts every day (haha, but seriously)!

EXERCISE:

I can relate to feeling like you want to go more and more when you start seeing results from all the hard work you're putting in at the gym, but there is such a thing as overtraining. The first few weeks of starting an exercise routine will be tough, both mentally and physically, and painful, but stick it out because it will be worth it!

Exercise should be individualized and enjoyable. Getting to see your body change and your health improve looks and feels wonderful. Exercise should make you feel great about yourself, make tasks of daily living easier, provide positive health improvements, build muscle, boost energy and alleviate stress; but when taken to an extreme, its benefits are masked. Try never to use working out as "punishment" for eating something "bad" or as a way to "earn" something later, or in an attempt to make up for the week you missed at the gym etc.

Try to be active every day, but not all of these days need to be in the gym engaging in an intense workout. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day, go for a hike, walk the dogs after work etc. Always keep your sights on the big picture and do whatever it takes to make sure you get there in the safest and most efficient way possible.


Monday, May 22, 2017

When to Quit Your Job

I follow Michael Boyle's everything religiously and recently he referenced Ryan Lee and this awesome article. This perfectly describes what I feel I have been going through for the past few years! I have always been different and knew I was destined for more, but just recently it has come together to allow me to follow my true passion and go independent. Granted, I do promotional modeling and brand ambassador work on the side when I am not training, but I am finally to a point where training under MJ Fit is my "job" and the demos and promos I do are my side gig. It's taken a long time and a lot of work to get here, and it's only the beginning!

Although I have been thinking about starting my own company for the past year and a half, I really wanted to make sure I had the clientele, time and tools necessary to make myself successful. Waiting until I finished school was also a priority--when I commit to something, I want to make sure I can give it 100%. Mr. Lee was more calculated than I have been being that he waited until he had been generating more than his gym teacher salary for 6 consecutive months before leaving. I more just spoke with all my clients to make sure they would support me and help me with referrals. I also began marketing myself in the community to begin growing my business even more.

The focus on creating deadlines for yourself to achieve your long-term goals is imperative. I consult bi-weekly with a member of the Small Business Association of Denver to make sure I am setting realistic and appropriate goals for myself, and then also making sure I reach them. I was nervous that once school ended, I would lose that accountability and adherence to the timeline I had promised myself I would stick to. The goal should not be to "get rich quick," but rather to build an empire and something that will be timeless and fulfilling. To quote Mr. Lee, "No momentum = Business death," do having deadlines to make sure there is a sense of urgency is vital.

In the real-world, life is draining and overwhelming, so I decided to make my dreams come true and to do that I needed to drastically cut my financial obligations. I had full-time school, full-time job in an unrelated field, part-time training job at a gym that paid terribly and was still trying to work on my business as well as myself as an athlete. It was too much, too expensive, too draining and way too miserable. I needed more flexible hours to allow me to get my priorities in check, so I quit the full-time job and began focusing more on my business which allowed me to soon quit my part-time training job to start my own company! I pay a monthly rent to train at the facility where I do and also do promotions on the side--I love my life now and can spend a lot more time preparing to open my gym! The promotions allow me to network in a few of the neighborhoods in Denver I am looking at for my gym/to live, so it's a win/win in my book!

Attached is the awesome article!

https://freedym.com/quit-job/


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Eat More Fat = Get More Fit




It's crazy how big of an impact the 80's and 90's fat free craze had on our society's idea of what a "healthy" diet really is. Fat is a good thing (the good kind of course) and when you extract all fat from a diet a person is going to be left hungry and will fall victim to cravings.


Fat is such a dense energy source that is satiating for a long duration, so it should be a staple in anyone's diet regardless of goals.

The bad stuff:

Trans Fats--these are the fats that will be in preserved foods, so steer clear of frozen pizzas and McDonalds hamburgers and you should be good to go.

Saturated fats--there are some okay sources of this, like coconut oil, animal products and dairy products, but in excess it can cause the onset of any of the risk factors.

Monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats--These are going to be in "heart-healthy" foods, so salmon, avocados, most nuts, olive oil, seeds and a few others. To create a healthy and balance diet, your meal plan should be rich with this type of fat.