|Posted on September 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM||comments (1)|
Summer is coming to an end and for many of you that means returning to some sort of a regular routine. That includes a regular fitness routine. Maybe you've fallen of your fitness program a little (or a lot!) and you want to get back on plan. Thinking that you are starting over can feel daunting and overwhelming, so, instead, think of coming back on plan as more of easing back into your routine. In this post, I will share some easy to implement strategies to get you back on track to achieving your fitness goals. To make the transition even easier, instead of adopting these tips all at once, just adopt one habit, practice it for a couple of weeks and then adopt another one. This is far less overwhelming and you're more likely to stick with it and make continued progress!
Here are some guidelines to get you started:
1. Add in more protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables into your diet (and you will naturally reduce your starchy/sugary carbohydrate consumption). Most people eat WAY too many starchy and sugary carbohydrates (sodas, candy, chips, grains, pastas, breads, etc). One way to naturally reduce the consumption of these particular carbohydrates is to eat more of the other lean-eating-friendly macronutrients. Choose from lean protein sources such as lean cuts of beef, chicken, bison, fish, eggs (and, if you tolerate it well, dairy). If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, check out last week's post Plant-Based Diets: Vegetarians vs. Starchatarians for protein guidelines and suggestions. For healthy fats, choices include avocados, olive oil, organic and minimally processed nuts and nut butters. Eat lots of vegetables and some fruits. There are lots of choices for you here, choose steaming and sauteeing with non-stick spray when cooking them or eat them raw in a salad (green smoothies are a quick and easy way to incorporate vitamin, mineral and fiber rich green leafies and some fruit into your diet). I am a big proponent of eating organic, minimally processed foods whenever possible.
2. Eat every 2-4 hours. It's easy to get caught up in your busy day and forget to eat. The problem is that by the time you do remember to eat, you are famished and want to eat everything and eat well beyond the point of satiation! Eating every 2-4 hours will help keep hunger in check and keep fuel flowing in your body. These don't have to large or complicated meals. One of my favorite go to in a pinch meals is a protein bar (I love Quest bars) and a handful of almonds. When you are short on time, or away from your kitchen when it's time to re-fuel, this is a great alternative to not eating or, worse, eating fast food! Keep these protein bars and nuts in your car, desk drawer, purse or wherever you might be when it's time to eat.
3. Exercise for 4 Minutes. Most people think they don't have enough time to exercise. The truth is, it's something that we must make time for. I find the best way to get some exercise in quickly and with desired results is to do some form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). It can be done anywhere, anytime and with no equipment! One of my favorite forms of HIIT training is called Tabata. It's 4 minutes of intense training and it's fat-burning effects keep on giving long after the workout is done! If you like the sound of this and would like to learn more about (and do!) tabatas, you can download a copy of my 15 Minute Fat Burner Workout when you subscribe to my free newsletter here. Keep in mind that "high intensity" is relative to your body, so what is high intensity for one person maybe someone else's warm-up and vice versa. Start where you are and progress from there, the good news is that it works no matter what fitness level you're starting from!
Pick a strategy and get started! One good practice will lead to another and before you know it, you will be back on a regular fitness program and on your way to achieving your fitness goals!
|Posted on August 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM||comments (1)|
People choose to eat a plant-based diet for a variety reasons. Some people choose it for health reasons and others because of religious or animal rights beliefs. Whatever the case, there is more to eating a plant-based diet than “just not eating meat”. When it comes to fat loss and maintaining ideal weight, vegetarians can run into problems if they don’t consume enough protein, fruits and vegetables. Sound strange that a vegetarian may not consume enough veggies? It’s not that strange. I have known individuals who consider themselves vegetarians, but they mostly consume refined starchy carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pastas, etc). While, technically, they are eating a plant-based diet, refined and starchy carbohydratesare not an ideal food choice to make up the majority of one’s diet. I refer to individuals who follow this eating plan as starchatarians.
A good plant-based diet should include vegetables and/or fruit, healthy fats and protein with every meal. If you include some animal products in your diet such as eggs, dairy (if you tolerate dairy well) or even fish, then you’re getting complete proteins. If you are strictly vegan, getting complete proteins is more challenging but completely do able. Complete protein plant-based foods include soybeans, quinoa, hemp seed and buckwheat. There are other sources of protein such as nuts and seeds that can be combined to form a complete protein, too, and they don’t have to be eaten together, just during the same day. Also, protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein needs. Choose from hemp or pea proteins.
The bottom line is that if you follow a plant-based diet and you want to lose fat and keep muscle, the key is to ensure that you are a true vegetarian or vegan and not a starchatarian. Increase the amount of protein foods, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy ones!) and decrease the amount of grains and sugary carbohydrates you eat. And when available, always choose organic and the least processed foods possible!
Nutrition is personal and the key is finding an eating plan that works for you and your body.
If you would like help putting together a nutritional plan to meet your fitness goals, please check out the services I offer or contact me with any questions you may have. I can design a training and nutrition program tailored specifically for YOU!
|Posted on May 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM||comments (1)|
I am working with one female client who wants six-pack abs and another female client who wants a flat tummy, but with less muscular definition. Another client wants a fuller, more bubbly booty and another one just wants hers to sit higher and tighter. What a lot people don't think about is how much they want their new and improved physique versus how much they don't want to change their current lifestyle. Changing your body requires a change in lifestyle and depending on your specific fitness goal and your current commitment level to fitness, that change may be slight or significant. For example, someone who was previously a junk-food-eating-couch-potato who wants to prepare for a figure competition will have to undergo a lifestyle revolution. Someone who is relatively fit and who wants to tighten and tone up a bit more will have a much easier transition. Even someone who has a long journey ahead of them needs to start somewhere, and those changes should be small, do-able and progress over time. I'm not a big fan of big drastic changes suddenly when we're talking about lifestyle changes and long-term results.
A good place to start when setting your fitness goals is to ask yourself these questions:
1. How much shape and definition do I want? (i.e. "tone" or "sculpt")
2. How lean do I want to be? (well-defined and chiseled or firm but softer)
3. On a scale from 1-10, how important is it that I reach these goals? (1= not important at all, 10= most important)
4. What new habits am I realistically willing to adopt to achieve this goal? (making adjustments to current diet, commit to a consistent training program)
5. What habits am I realistically not willing to give up? (favorite food, happy hour)
Answering these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you really and truly want. When you know what you really want, you can make a sensible plan you can stick with and set yourself up for success. No matter how fit you become, if living the lifestyle that got you there doesn't make you happy, the reality is you will be a fit person who is unhappy. I know for me, having a really fit body and maintaining it is one my most favorite things! But what do you want? How fit is fit enough for you? Because it's your body and you're the one who must live in it, your opinion is the only one that matters. Choose to be fit AND happy!
|Posted on April 18, 2013 at 9:40 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever started a very low calorie diet all enthusiastic and sure you were going to crush it, lose a bunch of weight and live happily ever after? Day one started off pretty good: you confidently breezed through breakfast with half of a grapefruit and three bran flakes and you heroically survived lunch crunching on celery sticks and half a can of tuna. You skipped the handful of almonds you're allowed to snack on because you're hardcore and believe the fewer calories you consume, the faster you will lose weight. Then dinner rolled around and suddenly you turned into the human equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, sucking up everything edible in sight--especially if it contained a lot of fat, sugar and/or salt. What happened? You battled hunger and lost. Hunger always wins because it's a survival mechanism that lets you know it's time to get some calories to fuel your body. Getting too few calories makes your body think you're starving and it kicks into calorie conservation mode and slows your metabolism way down. It's preparing for a famine. This is bad news if your goal is fat loss.
Your body requires a minimum amount of calories to survive (1200 calories for sedentary women and 1500 calories for sedentary men; but, of course, you are not sedentary or you are about to become active soon!). If you don't get the minimum amount of calories you need for the day (and this does vary according to factors such as height, weight and activity level), your body takes over. You experience this take-over as hunger and, in many cases, it escalates to extreme hunger that cannot be ignored. If you attempt to do battle with extreme hunger, you will ultimately lose. You will experience defeat as a feeding frenzy that racks up a huge number of calories. Your body will recoup the lost calories plus interest.
The good news is this doesn't have to be the case! Here are some ways you can avoid a battle with hunger and boost your fat loss efforts:
Start adopting and practicing these habits one at a time. It doesn't have to happen overnight. Just start. Make feeding your body quality fuel on a consistent basis a top priority and you will avoid hunger battles and be in line with your fat loss goals.