Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When t o Eat!

Q: Is it better to eat a meal before or after a workout?

A: Both. Here's what I like to do: have my breakfast at 9 a.m., work out from 10:30 to 12, and eat by 1 p.m. Here's why:
Back in the old days, people thought they should train on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat, but that has turned out to be FALSE. In fact, your body needs some glucose (blood sugar) for fuel in addition to what it can use from fat stores when you're working out. If you don't have any blood sugar available, your body will eat the muscles' glycogen, or stored glucose. Low blood sugar will also make you tired and sluggish during your training session. For these reasons, I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you'll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone.
After training, during a period known as the golden hour (45 to 60 minutes after a workout), muscles absorb the most nutrients, and glycogen is replaced the most efficiently. You don't have to have a huge meal — just a little something that contains both protein and carbs will give the best results.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tone Your Abs and Legs With These Hard-Core Moves

We all have a trouble zone that makes us crazy when we're trying on new clothes. Were you ever dying to fit into a pair of cool new jeans, but they wouldn't budge past the middle of your thighs? We've all been there, right? Or ever had the dreaded "muffin top" — where your middle is hanging over the waistband? Not cute. Trust me, some heart-pumping cardio is going to make a world of difference in helping you burn off the fat. And doing these three killer moves will really help you sculpt those skinny-jean trouble zones even more!

If you're a beginner, try to do 12 reps and 3 sets of each move along with cardio intervals. Or if you're advanced, try 20 reps and 3 sets to go along with cardio intervals.

Donkey Kick
Start on your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips and your wrists in line with your shoulders. Keep your back and neck straight and look forward. Shift your weight to your left leg.

With your hands still firmly planted on the ground, kick your right leg up and back behind you until it is straight. Keep your foot flexed so that your toes are pointing toward the floor. Slowly bring your right knee back to the ground. Repeat all the reps on the same side, then switch to the opposite side and repeat. Keep checking your form to make sure your shoulders are always in line with your wrists.

Crossover Lunge
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Step your left foot diagonally forward and across the right foot. If you were standing in the middle of a clock facing the number 12, you would bring your left foot across the body and place it on the 1. Slowly lower your right knee until the left leg is parallel to the floor

Then, using the left leg, exhale and push yourself back into your first step. Repeat the same motion with the right leg, only this time bring your right leg forward and place it on the number 11.

Pike Crunch
From a kneeling position, place your abdomen on a body ball and roll the body along the ball until your ankles rest on the top of the ball. Your shoulders should be aligned directly over your hands.

Contracting your abdominal muscles, exhale and pull the ball forward using your legs.
As your glutes rise, keep your upper body stable so that your shoulders stay aligned with your hands.

In the finished position, your toes should be resting on the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Find the Strength to Stop Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can be a big problem when you're trying to lose weight. You have a sucky week (or month!), and suddenly that pint of ice cream seems like the solution to your problem, right? WRONG! That's the old you. The new, empowered, and strong you can push through tough or trying times, knowing that things can and will get better.

Stop letting your emotions sabotage your weight loss. Establish healthy patterns of behavior and invest in your physical and emotional well-being. Here's some good advice from me to you when it comes to emotional eating when your having "one of those days":

I've been there! Emotional eating was my specialty and can still creep in if I am not careful — like last week!

I have found that a good, hard workout definitely helps. For some reason, accomplishing something physically difficult gives me the stamina and focus to get through the emotional difficulties. It has taught me to "buck up," push through it, and get over it. I'm not perfect in this area, but I have made progress.

There are times, though, when I am emotionally spent and what I really need is rest. You know your body — just listen to it. And remember, this is a lifelong commitment — today is just one day in your journey. Tomorrow is a new day and another step forward.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Telling it like it is

Listen, getting in shape is all about setting goals. Losing weight, building muscle, and getting rid of the unhealthy eating habits take guts and perseverance. You're dealing with something big here. When you decide what you want, make it specific and concrete. For example, don't just say that you want to lose weight. Ask yourself some questions: How much weight? And is weight really the most important thing? Or is it more important that you climb your front steps with ease or lower your body-fat ratio? Think hard about what you want, and use your journal to keep track. Once you've figured out where you want to go, here's how you're going to get there:

Learn how to make decisions you can stick with. Remember, you're not just going on a diet, you're establishing a pattern of health that will enhance the quality of your life. Think big, but choose small, attainable goals — lose five pounds to start or fit into pants one size smaller — and build on those goals as you reach each one.

Allow yourself room for setbacks. One setback is only one setback — it's not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your journey toward a better you. You don't have to give up. Just get back on the bandwagon and keep going.

Walk the line between self-denial and self-indulgence. It's the middle ground between the two that will offer you the best foundation for building your new life. Maintain your discipline by allowing yourself little pleasures every now and again.

Understand that there are no mistakes. The things you used to think of as mistakes are now just learning experiences, so don't waste time beating yourself up. You'll encounter small failures — everyone does. But you'll achieve success too. Just remember, every pound you gain can be lost.
Keep in mind that faith in yourself and your work is what will keep you striving for the best. Now, get in the zone and push as hard as you can!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Controversial Queen

Well, as some of you may already know I'm certified in fitness & nutrition. I was an assistant aerobics instructor for 2 years & then went on to teach for a couple of years. I've helped more people lose weight then I can count on my hands ... shoot I'd have to break out all of my old paper work to even give an accurate count.

So today I'm playing on FB when a friend posts that she will be going on a high protein diet to lose weight. Whenever I hear high protein, low carb plans I start worrying about peoples health because this is a very unhealthy way to go when trying to lose weight. I know that there are people out there who say this is the healthiest diet ever but the truth is (remember I studied this) it's no where close to being healthy. I understand wanting to get the weight off as quick as possible but what we all need to remember (myself included) is the weight didn't show up in a month or two and it won't come off that quick in a healthy manner either.

So with the plethora of information out there on ways to lose weight naturally how do you know which way is the best? It's actually easier then you think. No food is off limits ... only the quantity of food is off limits. Think back to the caveman times ... they weren't fatties, now were they? Nope! What did they eat? They ate plants, fruits, and animals. Any diet plan that tells us we can't have food from a certain group can't be healthy for our bodies. Think about the food pyramid ... it's not as outdated as some people would lead us to believe.

Maybe you already eat healthy, I know I sure do. It's sad when I can go to a dietitian and have her tell me I eat cleaner than any other client she has and if she's being honest, healthier then she eats too. Sometimes the foods we eat isn't what's causing the weight gain but the problem lies in the amount of food that's being taken in.

Here's an example of what I used to eat in the course of a day when I was in my 20's and trying to lose weight

Breakfast: slim fast shake
Lunch: slim fast shake
Dinner: garden salad, & a frozen dinner

Doesn't look horribly bad but let me tell ya ... I was always so darn hungry and miserable that once I reached my goal weight I stopped drinking my food. I was hungry cause I never let my caloric intake go above 1000 calories a day. Great news was I lost weight, bad news was my metabolism was so screwed up it didn't know whether to crap or go blind.

I got wise in 2000 when I started studying for my fitness & nutrition certificate. I learned how to eat properly and I learned that anything under 1200 calories a day was the worst thing I could ever do to lose weight.

Here's an example of how I ate while in school:

Breakfast: 3 egg beaters, 1 slice whole wheat toast, and potatoes
Snack: 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup fruit
Lunch: 6 inch sub sandwich and one serving of baked chips
Snack: lettuce wrap: 2 oz turkey, string cheese rolled in lettuce leaf, 1cup berries
Dinner: 1 serving pasta with grilled chicken, 1 dinner roll
Snack: 1 serving sugar free gelatin, 1 tbsp whip cream

I still eat pretty much the same way. Here's a look at what I ate just yesterday;

b:egg beaters sprinkled with ground beef & cheese, apple
s: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup pears
l: grilled chicken Caesar salad, 1 cup berries
s: mocha protein shake
d: 4 oz grilled salmon, 1 cup asparagus, tomato/cucumber salad
s: lettuce wrap: 2 oz deli meat, string cheese rolled in a romaine lettuce leaf

Sometimes eating still doesn't keep the weight off so you have to look at your fitness routine. A good rule of thumb is 30-45 minutes 3-5 times a week of heart pumping aerobics and 2-3 days of weight training to build up your muscles. The stronger your muscles the more fat your body can burn. Did you know that muscle can burn 30 extra calories a day while fat can only burn 3-5? Now what would you rather have on your body? I'll take muscle please! =)

Okay, you do all of this & you still can't lose weight ... what do you do? Take your happy self to the doctor for test to be run. Most times we find that we have a thyroid problem as I did but don't let that news make you think that you can never be a healthy size again. You can, you just have to be more vigilant in your quest to lose weight & take back your life. Look for an endocrinologist in your area, you'll be amazed at what you will find out.

The following is why I'm the controversial queen ... I let a few FB people know why high protein diets like Atkins is bad for your health. Protein isn't bad so please don't get me wrong. Too much of any one thing is bad for your health. God gave us a rainbow of goodies to choose from so why stick with only one color? Of course the discussion was taken out of the spirit it was intended & I was basically told that Atkins is the healthiest diet there is out there cause after all ... it helps you lose weight fast which keeps you motivated to keep losing. Oh, let me not forget that it drops your cholesterol (not mine) along with other things that people claim to be great.

The following conditions may result from too much protein in the diet: The Atkins Diet

Heart disease, Kidney damage, Constipation, Tumors and cancerous growths, Biochemical imbalances in the tissues (over acidity), Arthritis, and Bone-loss (osteoporosis). These are some really scary conditions. I do have one final question for people who think Atkins is the best thing since sliced bread. If this diet is the "be all end all" then why is it that when Atkins died, he died obese?

Someone to Watch Over Me

To chase down big goals like losing 50 pounds or more, you've got to make some major lifestyle changes. Some shifts are easier than others. For instance, trading your chips for air-popped popcorn might be a little easier than getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise every day. For that kind of change, you might need a little extra support.

To help keep your feet firmly on the path to successful weight loss and fitness, find someone to look up to — someone whom you trust to educate you about health and fitness, give you advice and answers when you're feeling lost, and stimulate your sense of possibility and potential.

My role model was a Jazzercise instructor that I met while my husband was stationed in Hawaii. I had just delivered my 2nd child by c-section less than a year earlier & I was way out of shape. She encouraged me to take baby steps instead of giving up on myself. Within a couple months I was already 30 pounds lighter and close to my half way mark. We we sent to NY before I could get all my weight off but as luck/Army would have it Lori (the instructor) followed soon after. I was in every class and soon became her assistant then on to get certified myself. So Lori not only encouraged me to get healthy but I ended up encouraging others to get healthy too.

The easiest way to get instant support is to hire a personal trainer, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to get the support you need. Look for a sponsor in a local support group or a trusted friend who has been there, done that — basically, anyone you respect who has the knowledge you need and the ability to challenge you and keep you moving toward your goal.

Well, what are you waiting for? This is the only life/body you have ... find your buddy so you can make it a healthy one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still pushing the Butter

That's right I'm still here & still trying to lose weight. If nothing else I'm consistant at trying huh. Halloween has come & gone & I'm no more worse fort he wear. I did have some of the kids candy but surprisingly enough this year I didn't feel guilty foreating any of it. I didn't feel the need to hide out in the bedroom with the door lock snecking little candy bars or other little goodies. I ate it all in the open. Believe it or not ... no one said a word to me about it.

I was going to weight in on Monday but TOM had other plans for me. He knows I will never weigh in when he is around to ruin my good spirits. It's ok though, I probably wouldn't hav eliked what I saw anyway. I have been sticking with my exercise program although I have fallen short most days on getting in my 10,000 my steps. I've been averaging anywhere from 5,000-7,000 a day. Not horrible but I do need to get back into my 10,000 steps before I can go to bed mode. I think what's been keeping me from getting all my steps is not walking in the morning or the evening with the hubby. I'm not going to blame it on him either. It's all on me. He will come home & ask me if I want to goforawalk & I will tell him I'm to tired to do it. I'm not really, I'm just being a lazy couch potato.

I've been trying different workouts the last couple of weeks. Last week was Masala Bhangra and Kim Kardashian step workout ... this week has been Chris Freytag's walking toning workout. Below is an example of one oft he workouts. I know it must be doing something cause when the workout is over my muscles are twitching like crazy. Talk about muscle fatigue ... it's good fatigue though! =)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tune in to your own Channel

Think you'll never look like actress Angelina Jolie? You won't. Believe me — Angelina Jolie doesn't even look like Angelina Jolie in real life! Face it: We're bombarded with images of ideal beauty everywhere — on television, in movies, in magazines, you name it. When we compare ourselves with these unattainable, airbrushed images of perfection, we're always going to come up short. No wonder we pick ourselves apart and get depressed!

The only way out of this trap of negativity is to let go of unrealistic notions of what you should look like. While exercise and diet are key components to healthy living, accepting and loving your body — working with it rather than against it — are important, too.

Take a good, hard look at where your negative feelings about yourself are coming from. Determine what the source is — whether it's the media, judgment from family or friends, or maybe a bad relationship; you have to identify it first before you can begin to let it go. Looking for perfect? Forget perfect — it's boring! Embrace your perceived imperfections (c'mon, they make you unique) and love who you are. It's the only way to move forward.