When I started my weight loss journey in December I never imagined I would look the way I do now. I have always been a gym junky, and just figured my genetics were awful and that I would never be a thin, fit woman. After losing about 10 pounds on my own my body just shut down on me. I stopped losing fat, and I wasn’t making gains anymore. I kept working harder and harder for 2 more weeks and after not seeing any more results I went and found Katie at the gym. I was amazed at the time she took to understand what I wanted from my sessions and where I was struggling. I am a former college athlete and have dealt with numerous coaches and trainers, and I can honestly say no one has worked me out as hard as Katie did. In our 8 weeks together not only did I see amazing changes in my body, but I also saw huge changes in my mental approach to working out, and how I see myself. Not only did I find an amazing trainer when I found Katie, but I found a mentor. –Kate Coffey
Kate, I can’t tell you how amazing your testimonial made me feel or how much I enjoyed working with and getting to know you. You’re going to do great things and make a difference! -KR
For all the people out there making excuses not to improve their health (we all find time for what’s important to us), today I want to focus on the people with the best of intentions who are making it harder than it has to be. I want to reach out to the amazing people who are making the effort, and make your lives a little easier.
To the person who wants to burn their fat off doing cardio before picking up weights to tone: Resistance and cardio go hand-in-hand and should be equally prioritized from the get-go. To get the most bang for your buck, do cardio within 24 hours of strength training. You’ll have after-burn from your strength training to add to the calories you burn while doing cardio. Plus, you need muscle to get your metabolism moving faster.
To the person who has always run, but it doesn’t seem to work like it use to: When you’re under 25, you keep your muscle mass whether you use it or not. Once you start to lose it, your metabolism slows down, and running doesn’t build muscle. Although running is great cardio, you need to add weights/resistance training as an adult in order to see the same results.
To the person waiting to plateau, or trying it on their own, before accessing more resources: If you can complete your journey faster by using all the tools out there for you at once, why not? Maintenance is way easier than initially reaching a goal. Take the easy road to the easy road. Besides, if you are fully capable of reaching your goals on your own, why are they constantly out of reach?
To the person cutting calories like crazy and not seeing results: If you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and won’t let go of anything. You need fat, you need some carbs… you need to eat to lose weight.
Above all else, invest in yourself.
What do you spend on your hair? I know people who spend hundreds of dollars regularly on their hair, but think it’s wildly expensive to spend money on a personal trainer or nutrition plan. Why not spend money on the front end to make the best use of your time and energy? Healthcare is expensive; significantly more expensive than preventative maintenance. Unlike your hair, you don’t have to spend the same amount over and over again. Do it right once, and the upkeep becomes a tiny fraction of the initial investment.
What is your time worth? What is your health worth? What advice would you offer someone else in your situation? Keep that dedication, just make it more efficient.
Take those good intentions, and multiply them. You may find out you can eat more and workout less. Sounds nice, right?
As someone who works in the health and fitness industry, I’ve spent years discrediting diets and supplements. My motto has always been that you should stick with things that have a proven record and the least amount of manipulation. Eat things as close to their natural form as possible, and put in the work when it comes to exercise. There is not pill that will make you skinny without any side effects.
My reasoning for not supporting most supplements on the market is because they are not tested or regulated. No one can guarantee what you’re using or tell you exactly how to use it, so you’re swallowing a mystery, and most likely flushing your money down the toilet (literally and figuratively).
I still feel this way, but I support a company that makes supplements. Why?
Most people do not get everything they need from the foods they eat. In an ideal world, we would get everything directly from the source, but the reality is, we all have holes in our diets.
The first things that made me turn my head and look at Advocare differently were the people (who use it, who make it, and who are behind it), the testing processes, regulations, nutritional panel, long-standing history and time on the market, and the support provided along with the products.
I played devil’s advocate for a few months. I would email Advocare with questions and get on the phone with people, ready to discredit everything, and I was always pleasantly surprised at the responses. These people make things for olympic athletes, they’re a member of the council for responsible nutrition, they have an alliance with informed-choice, and they just really know their stuff. Every step and decision for the products and the company has been very intentional.
Could I find any negative reviews or stories of adverse reactions, of course. My take aways were that they were normal, one-off circumstances. Just like skin care products, anything potent enough to produce results could also produce an unwanted result if someone is sensitive to a particular ingredient. When ESPN and people like Dr. Oz, Mark Cinelli, Dr. Stanley Dudrick and Dr. Leanne Redman put themselves out there in the press and say they’re behind Advocare, I think it’s safe for little old me, with my blog and my fitness company, to put it out there, too!
The thing that sealed the deal for me was my own personal experience.
As someone who already walks the walk when it comes to making healthy choices, I didn’t know I had room to improve that didn’t require a truly drastic, unrealistic change. Besides, there is nothing harder to trim than the last few pounds. Anyone who has watched “The Biggest Loser” knows that the biggest contestants lose big numbers at each weigh-in. Once you get within several pounds of your goal, the weight comes off more slowly.
I didn’t use the products to lose weight, specifically. I was already happy with my body, but we’d been away from home for 3 months, and I felt like I needed to get back on track. Using the products as needed my energy soared, I dropped pounds I wasn’t even trying to drop, and overall have had an easier time maintaining my health and fitness.
When I began my journey as a distributor, it was to round-out my wellness business, and I assumed I would only sell it to clients – I steer away from selling to friends and family. As my journey continues, I can’t imagine not sharing this with everyone. If I can make anyone’s life easier, or make anyone healthier, wouldn’t the people I love be the first people I would want to help?
Advocare is a companion to your health that comes with a coach. Because you can’t buy it off a shelf, you can’t buy the products without someone explaining them to you. You buy a product, and you automatically get an education on how to use it. I know a lot more about nutrition and fitness than your average Joe, and my education and background comes with your product. That’s a bit better than just directions on a label, don’t you think?
Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, increase performance, gain energy, sleep better, or even go to the bathroom more easily (potty talk has become pretty normal…ha!), there is something here for you. Tell me how you would like to feel better. If I can help, I will; if I can’t, I’ll be honest. I don’t want to sell anyone anything they don’t want. I don’t like selling enough.
From the business side, there wasn’t any risk or a pyramid structure. There was simply an opportunity to get my products for less, and the potential to pay for my childcare while I train clients. For my family, it’s a win-win. Plus, unlike even the best Black Friday sale, people can choose to buy wholesale rather than retail.
It’s a way of life, and it works well in ours.
With all the workout options out there, it’s hard to decide which is best for you; especially since they all claim to be “the best.”
Yoga, Pilates, Crossfit, Zumba, mixed martial arts, running, swimming, body building, body pump, etc…. there is someone out there who swears by all of them, so what’s the answer?
There are two answers:
- All of them, but mixed up.
- Whichever one gets you moving.
Think of workout options like you think of eating. For all the healthy foods options, there isn’t one that you should eat exclusively. Ideally, you get a variety of foods AND workout styles. In my opinion, that’s the way to your best body.
Your body will thrive off the intensity, weights and plyometrics in Crossfit, the great sweat you get from dancing or running, the stretching, toning and meditation from yoga and Pilates, etc.
Some people release stress by hitting a bag or pounding the pavement, while others feel relief after gliding through the water during a swim.
Just as there are fad diets, there are fad workouts. There’s nothing wrong with trying them all, just be consistently active and kind to your body.
Answer #1 is my true number one pick for all bodies because it recognizes that, although you will see an initial change in your body by doing any of these full-on for the initial few weeks, keeping the pounds off is easiest when you crosstrain. Also, crosstraining guarantees you are ticking all the boxes to enhance your strength, cardio, flexibility, and, therefore, your overall physique.
Answer #2 is there to let you know that doing something is the most important thing. If you skip every body pump class because you hate weights, but will dance your butt off in Zumba 100% of the time, go to Zumba. Does your body need weights, absolutely, but, at the end of the day, the best workout for you is the one you’ll actually do.
2012 is almost here, which means (after gorging ourselves on holiday food) it is nearly time to make resolutions again.
How many of you followed through on last year’s list?
A significant percentage of the population will list losing weight as a goal, and, for the first few days or even weeks of the new year, you’ll work towards it, but the majority of that percentage will be off the plan by February.
Why? How can you change this pattern?
Simplify, and get SMART.
- Specific – Stating you want to lose weight is not specific. Assign a number, or a performance goal.
- Measurable – How will you know if you are on track to achieve your goal? Are you able to run a mile/ run a mile faster, or is the scale reading lower?
- Attainable – Do you have the means and the time to make your goal happen? Check your resources so you have no excuses.
- Realistic – Unless you live on the “Biggest Loser” ranch, a safe weight loss goal is about a pound a week.
- Timely – Set short-term goals within a long-term goal so you can check in regularly with your progress, and assign your goals to a certain number of weeks or months.
A SMART fitness goal will help you stay on track, in addition to providing smaller, more manageable milestones along your journey you can feel proud of.
Set up a rewards system for the small milestones. Treat yourself to massages, a new kitchen appliance, clothes, a trip, etc. so you have something to work toward at each step.
Sticking to a health and fitness goal requires a lifestyle modification; however, if you go too extreme, you are less likely maintain it. If you start out eating perfectly and exercising everyday, you might give up after one indiscretion. If you schedule breaks and cheat days, you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon. Having said that, if you do fall off, get back on. You’re not going to strike out. This is your health; your life; not a baseball game.
The phrase, “lifestyle change,” sounds overwhelming. It brings to mind giving up things you enjoy. Rather than cutting out all the food you like and going to the gym instead of relaxing, just aim to do something. Make one change a day. That could mean walking to the store instead of driving, or having an apple as a snack instead of chips. One healthy swap each day can make a big change over time. And, one healthy change typically leads to another.
When you sit down to make your list of resolutions this year, make them SMART, and remember, something is better than nothing.
Happy New Year!
I want to give you a visual to help you better understand portion control. First, take out one of your dinner plates. Next, make a fist. Unless you have really big hands and tiny dinner plates, they will be drastically different sizes.
Your fist is roughly the size of your empty stomach. It’s very elastic (especially if you challenge it frequently by eating large portions), and it’s made to stretch to fit about a liter worth of contents. Now, picture yourself in too-tight spandex. That’s elastic too, but put too much inside it and it looks and feels uncomfortable, right?
The next time you get ready to load up a dinner plate think of your little fist-size stomach before you shovel in large bites one right after the other (without so much as time to fully chew and swallow in between).
Remember to always eat slowly so your stomach can gradually, gently stretch to accommodate your food. Your body doesn’t even know you’re eating until 20 minutes after that first bite. If you can cut back on how much you stretch your stomach at meals, your stomach will tighten back up a bit, and the rest of you will likely follow suit.
Make a habit of proper portion control and you’ll avoid that uncomfortably full feeling. Over time, you just might get away with wearing that spandex.
You do not need a ladder to do this workout, but you will need lots of energy and the will to push yourself toward a hotter, stronger physique.
Ladders are a combination of two exercises that alternate and increase number of reps from one on up to ten. You start out with one of each, then two of each, then three…four…five…….ten, as you climb up the ladder.
Below are three ladder examples. I suggest trying all of them together at your next workout, followed by at least 20 mins of cardio. They won’t seem too tough at first, but after you’ve done all of them (55 of each move), you’ll understand why they’re such booty kickers. If you are a beginner, start with modified pushups and smaller dumbbells, but if you’re in pretty good shape and want to really see results, challenge yourself with heavier weights and fully progressed form.
This workout can be done anywhere and is gender-neutral, so challenge your spouse or a friend. A little competition will make everyone work harder.
If you require additional instruction, comment and I’ll add to my explanations. Now, go burn some calories!
Pushup-Shoulder Press Ladder
- 1st Set: 1 pushup, 1 dumbbell shoulder press (stand up with dumbbells at your shoulders, press them straight up)
- 2nd Set: 2 pushups, 2 presses
- 3rd Set: 3 pushups, 3 presses
- 4th Set: 4 pushups, 4 presses
- 5th Set: 5 pushups, 5 presses
- 6th Set: 6 pushups, 6 presses
- 7th Set: 7 pushups, 7 presses
- 8th Set: 8 pushups, 8 presses
- 9th Set: 9 pushups, 9 presses
- 10th Set: 10 pushups, 10 presses
- 1st Set: 1 lunge each leg, 1 squat (feet shoulder width apart, lower your rear like you’re about to sit down, stand back up at the point your rear would touch the seat)
- 2nd Set: 2 lunges each leg, 2 squats
- 3rd Set: 3 lunges each leg, 3 squats
- 4th Set: 4 lunges each leg, 4 squats
- 5th Set: 5 lunges each leg, 5 squats
- 6th Set: 6 lunges each leg, 6 squats
- 7th Set: 7 lunges each leg, 7 squats
- 8th Set: 8 lunges each leg, 8 squats
- 9th Set: 9 lunges each leg, 9 squats
- 10th Set: 10 lunges each leg, 10 squats
- 1st Set: 1 bicep curl (both arms at once), 1 seated heel touch (sit on edge of chair/bench with legs in front of you, lean back slightly with arms behind to support you, bring knees to your chest, then extend toward the floor until your heels touch, raise knees back up/in without fully touching feet down)
- 2nd Set: 2 bicep curls, 2 heel touches
- 3rd Set: 3 bicep curls, 3 heel touches
- 4th Set: 4 bicep curls, 4 heel touches
- 5th Set: 5 bicep curls, 5 heel touches
- 6th Set: 6 bicep curls, 6 heel touches
- 7th Set: 7 bicep curls, 7 heel touches
- 8th Set: 8 bicep curls, 8 heel touches
- 9th Set: 9 bicep curls, 9 heel touches
- 10th Set: 10 bicep curls, 10 heel touches
- Eat a rainbow. Fruits and vegetables are a wide range of beautiful colors for more reason than to make the produce section look pretty. All the colors represent different vitamins and nutrients. So, if you eat a whole bunch of different colors, you’ll get all your vitamins straight from the source.
- Fill up on water first. Often times we feel tired or hungry when we’re actually just thirsty. Water fills you up and helps lube up your intestines so everything else flows smoothly. Ever seen a dry river bed or stream? Things don’t flow so well. Same goes for plants; they die when they don’t get enough water. Plants are alive; your body is alive; you get the picture.
- Fill up on fiber. I have spoken to so many people who have cured all of their digestive issues by incorporating more vegetables, legumes and water into their diets. Water helps lube up your intestines, and fiber helps create bulk matter to move on out. Getting your fiber from your diet instead of from a supplement also incorporates more vitamins and nutrients to your diet, since most fiber rich foods are rich in those as well.
- Have healthy snacks handy. If you keep an apple, raw almonds, lunchmeat, string cheese, yogurt and/or carrot sticks on hand, you’ll be less likely to hit up the snack machine. None of these options are in the snack machine because they won’t live long enough. Take note: If they can live forever in a machine or on a shelf, they can hang out in your body that long, too. You may as well just tape those sodium, sugar and preservative – laden foods to your gut or your thighs. Raw vegetables make a healthier crunch than chips, and they hold up just as well in dips.
- Skip the soda, mixed drinks, energy drinks, specialty coffees, creamer and concentrated fruit juices. If you want to lose 5 pounds in one month, all you have to do is change what you drink. If you can stick to water, freshly brewed tea, black coffee, and the occasional glass of red wine, you’ll be well on your way to a trimmer waist. Diet drinks may appear to be safe options, but over time you can end up with some wicked bladder issues and a metabolism that thinks sweet flavors don’t require any extra work.
- Don’t try to trick your body. If you try to trick your body by feeding it fake stuff, the joke will end up on you. I’m sure I’m not the only one still apologizing to my body about the whole olestra thing.
- Eat at regular intervals. If your body isn’t fed regularly it will go into starvation mode and hold on to everything you feed it. If your body knows it can expect more, it will go ahead and use what you give it. Also, if you wait until you’re starving, you’re more likely to reach for less healthy food options.
- Picture your last meal. When you get hungry, it can feel as though you haven’t eaten in forever. You completely forget the high-calorie meal you ate just three or four hours earlier. Try keeping a food journal or picturing your last meal before you choose your next one. This will also help you to pick a wider variety of foods. Bottom line – we are fanatical about hand-sanitizer, but we pay hardly any attention to what we put in our mouths.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes. Your meals should last you 20 minutes for a couple of reasons; 1) It probably took that long for you or someone else to make a meal, so you should show your appreciation by savouring it. 2) It takes 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s being fed. Give your metabolism and digestive system a chance at keeping up with you.
- Brush your teeth. The minty clean flavor that comes with brushing your teeth or chewing sugar-free gum can deter you from eating more. You know how bad orange juice tastes after you’ve just brushed your teeth? Mint makes other flavors seem less attractive. Don’t have toothpaste or gum handy? Seek out some mint tea. Freshly brewed tea has even more to offer.
- Eat right for your size. We aren’t all the same size, so we don’t all need the same amount of food. This is easier to figure out at home than at a restaurant. Even if you’re only 120 pounds, a restaurant is still going to serve you the same amount of food as they would if you were 250 pounds. Only you can prevent overconsumption, and forest fires.
- Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables. Your plate should be at least half filled with vegetables. The other half should be a quarter of lean protein, and no more than a quarter of starch. I will never understand why we ever started covering the entire circumference of our plates with starch and then topping it with a little of the stuff that’s good for us.
- Make your carbs whole-grain. You wouldn’t serve lunchmeat on a mound of bleached flour and sugar, right? If you’re serving white bread, you might as well. As a general rule, brown is better – unless it’s the brown sugar at the grocery store that’s just regular sugar with molasses added.
- Read the label. If you don’t recognize most of the ingredients on a food label, don’t buy it. Baring spare time and ability, you should be able to recreate anything that is already prepared for you in a grocery store by purchasing all of the necessary ingredients. Looking for a healthier version of a marinade or dressing? Check out the ingredient list and mix up your own minus the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
- Share dessert. Split a candy bar, piece of pie, cookie, ice cream, etc. You don’t need to consume an entire mound of dessert to taste the goodness. Why anyone would ever eat a king-size candy bar is beyond me. Got a chocolate craving? Have two small pieces of dark chocolate and a cup of skim milk. You’ll feel satisfied, plus you’ll have gotten some antioxidants and calcium out of the deal.
- Start with soup or salad. Broth-based soups or leafy greens with vinaigrette will give you a head start towards a healthier meal. Better yet, order soup and salad and skip the big entrée.
- Eat breakfast. Your metabolism doesn’t start until you “break” the “fast”. Non-instant oatmeal, blueberries, a banana, eggs and whole-grain toast, etc. will work like igniter fluid.
- Eat your beans. Lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, fava beans, northern beans, pinto beans, lima beans, kidney beans – they’re all good for your heart, great for your digestive system, they fill you up, help reduce cholesterol, and can even prevent cancer. Add them to soup, salad, pasta, roasts, ratatouille, etc.
- Try to avoid dieting. When we yo-yo diet we confuse our bodies. You don’t like it when someone is a yo-yo in a relationship, right? If you’re yo-yo dieting and trying all the fads, you’re stringing your body along.
- Give yourself a break. So you fell off the wagon one day. So what. Perfection is unrealistic. Be consistent, and try to make healthy choices 80% of the time.
- Project “Dish Makeover”: There is a healthier way to make almost everything. Makeover your favorite dish and share the recipe with friends. You might start a chain reaction of healthy yumminess.
- Make it a family affair. Go to mypyramid.gov and look up the food pyramid and portion sizes. Have your children try to keep up with what food groups they’ve had and what size servings should be on their plates at meals. If they can learn their ABC’s, they can learn Vitamins A, B, C, etc. and other important nutrition tips to live by, too.
- Make it fun. The idea is to have a healthy, positive relationship with food. Food is not your enemy, preparation and abuse are. Love yourself by feeding yourself well. Unlike a box of cheezits or donuts, your body will love you right back.
Perhaps it’s what you’re NOT eating that’s making you fat.
Eating healthy isn’t all about cutting things out of your diet, eating low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, etc.
Your body needs a variety of foods so it can perform all its functions – including regulating fat absorption. Eating a wide variety of foods helps your body to use what it needs and discard what it doesn’t need.
The right food combinations can help your digestive system absorb vitamins, minerals, good fat, and nutrients, and turn waste into bulk to move it on out.
You probably already know that having some olive oil or avocado with your salads and veggies helps your body to absorb all of the good stuff the other ingredients, but did you know that certain foods can help your body absorb less fat?
Your body knows it doesn’t need a ton of fat. We’ve got central heating if we need it, and food is always available, so we don’t really need extra insulation or large energy/fat stores like our caveman cousins did back in the day.
For those of you scanning to find the part where I get to the foods you can eat to help reduce fat absorption, I’m getting there; however, first I have to say that none of this gives you a license to go eat a ton of crap. Nothing is an easy fix-all like that, so don’t go crazy. Also, supplements won’t have the same effect as eating the right foods. In general, avoid taking pills and go straight to the source to achieve optimal health.
Without further ado, here’s a list of foods that have been shown to lower fat absorption.
- Calcium: Men’s Health reports that “dieters with the highest calcium intake from dairy foods lost 60% more weight than those with the lowest.” It’s not all about milk and cheese either; canned beans, peas and fish, yogurt, most dark greens, almonds and oranges have a high amount of calcium, too. Maybe have a glass of skim milk with your steak instead of wine… maybe.
- Apples: ShapeFit.com reports that the pectin in apples prevents your body from absorbing large amounts of fat. In addition, apples are high in fiber which helps fill you up and move waste out of your body.
- Soy: ShapeFit.com also lists soy as a fat absorption blocker because of lecithin, a nutrient that breaks down fat stores. Throw some soy nuts on your salad for a little added crunch, or use soy protein powder or milk in your smoothies.
- Sea kelp / Seaweed: Sea kelp has a natural, soluble fiber called alginate that helps halt digestion of fat. Try some seaweed salad next time you’re out for sushi.
- Unrefined whole grains: The fiber helps you excrete more fat, rather than storing or absorbing it.
The common denominator in most of these foods is fiber. Get your daily fiber intake, and get it naturally.
Also, even if you don’t believe in “fat blockers,” all of these are really healthy options for many other reasons, so there’s no reason not to give them a shot.
I like a little nightcap of 1/2 skim milk and 1/2 vanilla soy milk right before bedtime. Who knew a simple end of day indulgence could make a difference? I would never fully count on these foods to do all the work for me, but it can’t hurt to work them in a little more.
When you initially make the decision to eat healthier, it’s easy to feel limited. You look over the list of “can’t eats” and wonder, what can I eat?
The hardest thing to manage is snacking, so I have compiled a list of snacks you CAN eat without sabotaging your mission.
First, when you start to feel hungry, go drink a glass of water or skim milk. Make yourself wait another two minutes, then decide if you’re still hungry. Often times we mistake thirst for hunger.
A couple of things to keep in mind when choosing snacks are food label awareness and moderation.
It’s great to have the 100 calorie pack options, but you should still look and see where those 100 calories are coming from. If you’re getting a ton of sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils, etc., you’re better off getting 200 calories from something that is good for you. Empty, highly processed calories won’t hold you as long, and you’ll end up needing more food sooner.
Be careful when buying trail mix, too. If the nuts have been roasted in oil and salt, the fruit has been dried and rolled in sugar, and they’ve added chocolate, you may as well just eat a candy bar. I make my own mix at home with dark chocolate chips, raw nuts, a small amount of dried fruit and low-fat granola or Cheerios; then I separate it into snack size Ziploc bags so I have manageable portions on hand.
We are all guilty of messing up a good thing when it comes to snacking. We add mayonnaise to tuna, caramel to apples, salt and butter to popcorn, creamy dressing to freshly cut vegetables, etc. If you must have these things, bring/add them in serving-size portions. Free pouring/dipping can get you in a world of trouble. My mom used to say, “A second on the lips; forever on the hips.”
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth. We put so much energy and thought into what we wear on the outside, yet we mindlessly shovel food into our bodies.
Without further ado, here are some snacking options you can feel good about.
Good snack choices
- Almonds (about 20, raw)
- Olives (5 – too many and you get too much sodium)
- Lean cold cuts wrapped around low-fat string cheese
- Vegetables dipped in hummus (2-4 Tbsps to keep fat down)
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat yogurt with 1/4 cup low-fat muesli or granola and berries
- Apple or banana with 1-2 Tbsps peanut butter
- Celery with 1-2 Tbsps peanut butter
- Berries and light cool whip
- Frozen grapes
- Apple sauce
- Hard boiled eggs