A Dream Chance

Okay, I have been allowing my extra awesome good news to sink in today and for some reason; I’m still freaking out!! (I know, I know…I’ve been dragging this on for a whole day already)

556166_10150966129313426_1163225493_n 376643_10151055067698426_1849405681_nFor those of you who don’t know enough about me; I love fitness.  (okay that’s an understatement; but let’s stick with that for simplest form)

And for many years, I’ve worked and trained in many avenues of fitness; as well as learning and studying anything and everything I could to perfect my training and the training of my clients and members.  I also delved into my own emotional ties with foods and how nutrition should be our primary focus for best results.

Throughout the years; I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities to work with amazing instructors, trainers, members, clients, friends, managers and more.  I’ve taken countless trainings and certifications to keep my knowledge on the front lines of new studies and exercise styles and formats.

During these trainings; I had always admired the “Master Trainers” (this would be the trainers who were training us at the certification sessions) and dreamed that one day I would aspire to work as one too.

Last year, when the P90X certifications were rolled out; I promptly enrolled and became certified to lead classes and trainings, using the popular and successful program that has become a household name. There were hints of more certifications from Beachbody to come.

And so…last August, Beachbody sent out an application form to those who qualified with specific criteria in looking to become a Master Trainer in the Beachbody programs.

Of course, I was excited to hear about it but never truly believed I would be qualified or able to be chosen for such an exciting and rewarding role.

In any case, (since I have never shied away from a challenge of any kind) I filled out the paperwork (which was a million pages long…) and submitted all of the videos and criteria that were asked from us.  I felt a bit overwhelmed but sent the form in anyway and just hoped for the best.

Not expecting too much (but always hopeful); I received a suspicious email from Beachbody yesterday and the letter read “watch this video”…

HMMMMMM……

My heart skipped a few beats.  I had to catch my breath.  And then I pressed “play”….

It was a video explaining that I had been chosen (with a select few of others) to audition for the Master Trainer role at Beachbody.

Wait.  What???

Apparently, all of my hard work and experience and training over the past 2 decades have paid off.  I will be heading to Los Angeles (I know, it’s a stretch for me!) for a 4 day training and audition camp.

I’m in a daze.  Maybe you think it’s not that big of a deal but for someone who has been living in the fitness industry and given heart and soul to classes, sessions and more; I’m elated….

Of course, this only means more fun and exciting blogs for you to follow!!  This is only the beginning!!!

Recipe: Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

Recipe: Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

(Makes 16 servings, 1/4 cup each)

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

Like most people who have truly embraced their smartphones, you’re probably the on-the-go type. So in your honor, this week, we’re offering a great granola recipe that works as breakfast or an on-the-go snack. Now go get ’em!

  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or 100% pure maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, dried, unsweetened apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat honey and oil in small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until oil has melted. Add extract; set aside.
  4. Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
  5. Combine oat mixture and honey mixture, stirring until oats are evenly coated with honey.
  6. Place on prepared baking pan, spreading in a thin, even layer.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is light golden brown and crunchy.
  8. Cool granola completely (it will get crunchier as it cools).
  9. Add apples, raisins, and walnuts; mix well.

Tips: Other healthy additions include unsweetened shredded coconut, sulfate-free dried apricots, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried unsweetened berries, hemp seeds, etc. You can store cold granola in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
81 5 g 3 g 0 g 38 mg 10 g 1 g 7 g 1 g

The Surprising Benefits Weight Lifting Can Have for Women

The Surprising Benefits Weight Lifting Can Have for Women

By Collette DeBenedetto

As a former female bodybuilder, I’ve always loved the weight room. It’s my sanctuary—my place to strengthen and build the muscular temple of my dreams. Getting physically stronger makes me mentally stronger—and the aesthetic benefits aren’t too shabby either.
Female Bodybuilder
But the thought of having a “bodybuilder” physique, complete with massive biceps and bulky thighs, sends many women running straight for the elliptical, which is sad considering how beneficial a proper lifting regime can be. In this article, I’ll address the concerns you might have about weight lifting and help you answer whether or not Body Beast is the right program for you.

Q. Can women do Body Beast?

Female BodybuilderA. Absolutely. Body Beast is designed to promote muscle growth with limited cardio. That doesn’t mean you won’t burn calories or reduce your body fat. The program uses a technique called Dynamic Set Training that maximizes your muscular pump, caloric burn, and testosterone-filled hormonal cascades in order to create rapid changes in your body composition, whether you are male or female.

Q. How does a woman benefit from weight lifting?

A. As you age, you lose muscle mass. Through weight lifting, you can help offset this and increase your bone density. Women who lift weights during their teen and young adult years benefit as adults. Stronger muscles and denser bones make walking up stairs, carrying the groceries, and lifting your children easier. But that’s not all. When you weight train properly, you can improve your balance and build muscles that protect your joints, which helps ward off injury.

Weight training also has a positive effect on disease control and prevention. According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes can experience “improved insulin sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance . . . and a lower risk for heart disease.” To see results, they recommend strength training at least 2 to 3 times a week.

Q. Will I become huge and burly?

A. No. Women simply don’t have enough testosterone to build bulk like men do. If you’re worried about bulking, focus on how many calories you’re eating. That includes calories from protein. Contrary to another fitness myth, excess dietary protein is stored as fat. Unless you’re supplementing your diet with a testosterone-enhancing hormone cocktail and overeating, it’s almost impossible for a woman to get bulky.

Q. Can I use it as a weight loss program?

A. Body Beast is designed to increase muscle mass. Almost every workout targets muscular hypertrophy (growth). It is not a weight loss program. However, if you use Body Beast in conjunction with a cardio-focused weight loss program such as INSANITY®, TurboFire®, or INSANITY: THE ASYLUM®, you can easily lose weight. Combining a cardio-centric program with a muscle-building program is an ideal way to build a rock-hard body and a strong athletic foundation.

Q. What is the difference between the Huge and the Lean Beast?

A. There are two different Beast training schedules: Huge and Lean, both of which come in the Body Beast kit. If you are solely focused on getting big, follow the Huge Beast schedule. It focuses on building muscle with heavy weights and little cardio. If you choose the Lean Beast schedule, you’ll do more cardio and spend additional time shredding in the third phase of the program, the Beast phase.

Q. Why would a women need testosterone?

A. A woman’s body produces testosterone, just not at the level of a man’s. Testosterone strengthens the libido, provides a sense of well-being, and improves muscle tone. The training in Body Beast increases your testosterone levels so that you benefit from all of the above. Beachbody® does not recommend taking synthetic forms of testosterone as these can shut down your natural testosterone production.

Q. Do I have to eat all that food?

A. If you don’t want to gain mass, use a caloric calculator from a different Beachbody program: P90X®, P90X2®, INSANITY/THE ASYLUM, TurboFire, etc. After you’ve calculated your caloric content, use the portions and recipes in the Body Beast guidebook. The Beast nutritional supplements will also work in your favor as long as you time them correctly (see the answer to the next question).

If you’re looking to be a Huge Beast, stick with the Body Beast guidebook and supplements. Some women want to gain as much mass as possible, and the crux of becoming an Amazon is eating enough.

When I was bodybuilding, I wanted to add muscle to all areas of my body. I did, but I also found that I was dropping clothing sizes as I trained. My plan was similar to the Beast plan in that I ate multiple times of day and my meals were composed of complex carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. The Beast supplements were not around when I was bodybuilding, but I did supplement with protein bars and protein shakes to help my muscles grow.

Q. Do I have to take supplements? Will they make me too big?

Fuel ShotA. If you want to gain muscle and get big, it helps to add a little something extra to your diet. Body Beast offers four supplements to help boost your performance, your recovery, and your results: Fuel Shot, Hardcore Base Shake, M.A.X. Creatine, and Super Suma. They can work for women as well as men.

Fuel Shot and Hardcore Base Shake contain a mixture of protein and electrolytes as well as carbohydrates to restore glycogen. If you are following a nutrition guide from another program, you probably won’t need to supplement with these unless you’re trying to gain mass or you’re a vegetarian. In the case of the latter, I recommend supplementing with Hardcore Base Shake protein to ensure you’re getting enough protein.

M.A.X. Creatine isn’t necessary for women looking to lose weight, but it is a great supplement if you want to increase your strength gains for short burst and explosive activities. When I’ve supplemented with creatine in the past, I’ve bloated a bit. This is a common side effect. If you’re not comfortable with the extra bloat, cut back on the supplement.

Suma, also known as Brazilian ginseng, is an adaptogen that, according to the Tropical Plant Database, “increases the body’s resistance to adverse influences.” It also normalizes the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, and acts as an immunostimulant. If you’re a competitive athlete, suma may be on your banned substance list, so please check with your governing body before taking this supplement. Otherwise, it is completely healthy for both men and women to take.

While not all women will be interested in Body Beast, if done correctly, it can add effectiveness to almost any exercise program. But if you’re someone who has always envied Xena’s physique, Body Beast might just be the program to release your inner warrior princess.

Resources:

    • Benton, D., & Donohoe, R. (2011). The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. The British journal of nutrition, 105(7), 1100-1105. Department of Psychology, University of Swansea, Swansea, Wales, UK.

My Pudding Creation

Today has been colder than I’m used to.  I ran 5 miles plus some interval sprints at the end of it.  No matter how hard I was working through it; if I stopped moving, I began to shiver!! The wind was ridiculous!!

So why do you care how cold I was today, right?  (well, really, why are you even reading about it then? haha)  In any case, my nutrition is so important for my training these days and I adhere to my daily intake of Shakeology…

But sometimes the cold shakes just make me…colder!!

So, today I decided to make up my own concoction.  Honestly, I’m not a natural at creating recipes.  I’m pretty good at following another recipe; but you just never know what you’ll get if I’m creating the recipe…

I decided that pudding sounded yummy and here is what I did:

I put 1/3 cup (give or take…kinda guess-timated here) of lowfat cottage cheese (sidenote:  do yourself a favor and don’t ever use the nonfat version of cottage cheese; they are just full of preservatives and taste yucky and aren’t any better for you anyway!) into a blender.  I added my 1 scoop of chocolate Shakeology (but I’m sure you could play around with the other flavors), 1 Tbsp peanut butter (cuz everything is better with peanut butter, right?), 2 packets of Stevia sweetener, 1/2 banana and just enough almond milk to make a creamy (but not runny) consistency.

I whipped it all up and oh my goodness…

IMG_1455I don’t think this picture does it justice.  You can play with the amount of almond milk and cottage cheese you use until perfected but I just had to share!

I actually created a recipe that is amazing!!  And the best news was that when I was done eating it; I wasn’t even COLD!!!  😉

Tomorrow I will be posting a bit about your resolutions and how to make the most of this year; realistically.

Yeah, I did good today!

6 Moves to Get a Better Butt

6 Moves to Get a Better Butt

By Rebecca Swanner

Want a great butt? We recently spoke with Leandro Carvalho, the creator of Brazil Butt Lift® and the new Brazil Butt Lift Master Series, and he shared 6 workout moves that will help you lift, shape, and tone your booty—or, in his words, bum bum—in no time. Follow this workout three days a week for a great behind.
Double Diamond and Super Diamond
Double Diamond and Super Diamond. Begin with your heels together and toes apart, feet externally rotated. Rise up onto your toes, and then slide your heels together so they are touching. Next, bend both knees, lowering your glutes down towards the floor. Keep your chest lifted, abs engaged, and your hips slightly tucked under. Continue to bend and extend your legs, never allowing your heels to touch the floor or your glutes to go lower than knee level. After 10 repetitions, open your feet up wider than your shoulders (still externally rotated), lift your heels, and bend your knees until your glutes are parallel to the floor. Bend and extend 10 more times, always keeping your heels up. Repeat twice more. Area Targeted: Glutes, adductors
Squat

Squat. Begin the squat holding a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, lowering your glutes down and back to knee level. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders down, and abs engaged. The movement should start in your bum bum. If you’re having a hard time with balance, Leandro says to “keep your heels very heavy and just go as far as you can with good form.” Do 20. Areas Targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps
Stationary Lunge

Stationary Lunge. Start in a staggered position, right foot forward, left foot back, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your chest lifted, abs engaged, and shoulders down, bend both knees so that you form a 90-degree angle with both legs. Make sure your right knee is directly over your right ankle, and your left knee is hovering just above the ground. Next, extend both knees and straighten half way to the top, and then lower back into the lunge. After 10 reps, do an additional 10 reps using the entire range of motion, top to bottom. Switch sides and repeat. Areas Targeted: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves
Deadlift

Deadlift. Start the deadlift with feet in a hip-width parallel position, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Roll the shoulders back, lift the chest, pull the abs in, and put a slight bend into both knees. Next, hinge forward from the hips with a flat spine, and slide the weights down the front of your legs. Once your torso is parallel to the ground, squeeze your glutes and return to standing. Do 20 reps. Areas Targeted: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings
Legs Arabesque

Legs Arabesque. Lie face down on a stability ball, making sure your hips are on the ball and your hands are shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. Engage your abs, squeeze your glutes, straighten your legs, and with flexed feet lift both legs up towards the ceiling. Complete 20 reps. Beginners should do this without weights, intermediate users could wear 1-pound ankle weights, and advanced users can use 5-pound ankle weights. Areas Targeted: Glutes, hamstrings
Frog Legs

Frog Legs. Lie face down on a stability ball, making sure your hips are on the ball and your hands are shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. Engage your abs, squeeze your glutes, and draw your heels together and your toes apart. The knee should make a right angle. Press your heels up towards the ceiling 20 times. Beginners should do this without weights, intermediate users could wear 1-pound ankle weights, and advanced users can use 5-pound ankle weights. Area Targeted: Gluteus maximus

For a targeted bum bum workout program that will get you a better butt in 30 days,

https://extranet.securefreedom.com/MillionDollarBody/csShopping/ShoppingCart_Detail.asp?PriceID=176979&Cat=Fitness%20Program|Brazil%20Butt%20Lift&Qty=1

HUNGER PANGS!!!

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So, you’re hungry?  What’s the natural response…

YOU EAT!

But what if you are looking to keep up with your goals of losing weight and finally getting fit this year?  How do you offset the challenge of being hungry vs. losing the weight?

When I was training for my fitness competition last year; I struggled with this challenge like never before.  I was following my meals like clockwork and on track; as it was written.  I was hungry.  I was miserable but I knew that my goals were more important and that since I was eating every few hours; I couldn’t possibly be in any danger of starving….so I sucked it up.

I was told by former and current competitors and trainers that I was supposed to focus on the “end result” and imagine myself up on stage accepting my awards.  (yes, I did win two awards; thank you very much!) In all fairness; I would have probably said the same things to someone asking me this same question but it wasn’t my driving force.

I stuck to it and sometimes; as I look back; I don’t know how.  What was it that gave me the strength and ability to push through the uncomfortable “hunger” feelings?

Well, for one thing; I definitely was not starving.  I was eating foods continuously throughout the day and drinking plenty of water too.  Since I am an emotional eater; this is my struggle as I cut back on calories and foods.  My body begins to “crave” the foods in an awful way and it tricks my brain into telling me that I need to eat.  (and let’s be honest; we never crave salads or the lean proteins I was eating all day so it couldn’t have been true hunger)

The tricks that worked for me and allowed me to continue were great learning tips for my off-season (I always wanted to say that) eating plan.  Since our bodies become accustomed to what we currently feed ourselves; deprivation and serious calorie cutting will not do us any favors.  The cravings will be too much to take and then we find ourselves at a binge-fest; table for one.

What works instead, is to cut back in smaller steps.  Find the balance with some slight discomfort and then when things rebalance and if needed, you can cut back a little more.  It’s a process and a bit like training your body for what you want it to survive happily on.

What items and strategies helped me the most?  I’ll share with you (and all approved by my awesome trainer; a WBFF bikini diva!):

1.  Shakeology….

Surprised about this one?  Well, it was a non-negotiable for me since I had already been drinking it for almost 2 years when I began my training.  I asked my trainer to add it into my daily plan for my sanity and success.  This is simply because it’s got everything your body needs (proteins, healthy carbs, antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, superfoods from around the world) in just 160 calories.  It’s glycemic index is so low (25) that it keeps you full for a long time so you won’t feel hungry again, after a few minutes.  This is why it’s been so successful at helping people lose weight and feel great.  It was my sanity and craving control throughout the bootcamp meal plans.  (those of you who compete know what I mean!)

 

2.  I ate every 2-3 hours….

Now, this habit is one that we don’t adhere to in our American culture.  For some reason, we believe that it’s best to skip breakfast (what???) and then scarf down coffee and sugar loaded foods a few hours later….only to “hold off” until close to dinner.  We then pat ourselves on the back thinking we’ve done some great calorie cutting in our diets; when all we did was eat MORE foods and higher calorie choices in a slow burning metabolized body.   How about changing it to a fuel-burning machine?  To do this; all you have to do is plan 🙂  Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.  Eat again 2-3 hours later.  Repeat up to 6 times daily.  What this practice does, is help your body burn efficiently and never go into what we call “starvation mode”.  By holding off for more than 3-4 hours at a time; our bodies think we are starving and slows down to cut down on the energy being used.  It’s pretty intelligent for the most part; but not so good on our waistlines.  Choose to eat every few hours and don’t worry about “filling up”.  Since you will be getting another meal or snack within a few hours; you can afford to put down the fork 😉

3.  Time the foods you eat around your workouts and time of day….

This is a practice I follow still.  Eat your carbos earlier in your day; when you will need it as fuel and it gets burned up as energy.  Also, just prior and after your workout; eat carbs, proteins and fruits for quick energy and the proteins help to rebuilt the muscles after you’ve torn them up! 🙂  Towards the later part of your day; choose more protein sources as your body uses them at rest to rebuild while you sleep.  It’s less likely to be stored as fat this way; unless you eat too much of it (another blog for another day)

4.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!

It’s really easy to mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger. A lot of times dehydration will trick you into thinking you are hungry. Keep your water bottle close and FULL! The more water the better. It will fill your stomach and help move you past those feelings of hunger.   I start my day with a 1/2 liter of water right away; before I eat anything (and I like to add a spritz of lemon to help) and continue to drink water throughout my day.  If I don’t meet my 3-4 liters each day; I feel it at night (and who wants to chug down a liter of water just before hitting the pillow?)

So, can you succeed at weight loss even if you’re feeling hungry all the time?  Of course!!!    Re-train your body by giving it what it needs, when it needs it, but not anymore.  You’ll deal with some cravings and hunger pangs at first; but once it realizes it’s getting all the nutrition that it needs to feel it’s best and work efficiently…you’ll  start to love your new plan — You’ll not only feel better and lighter but you’ll look better and lighter!!!

Hit me up for some Shakeology samples if you have yet to try them! 🙂

Shall I Show You the Door?

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What is it with excuses?

I have been hearing so many “buts”; “if only” “cant'”and more this weekend that I’m a bit fed up.  For some reason, when we are ready to make a change or reach a goal and things get “hard” or “uncomfortable”; we reach for our favorite exit door;

EXCUSES!!!

Pathetic, don’t you think?  Not that I’ve never given my share of excuses.  They are there for you when you want out of your goals because something became too difficult or uncomfortable for you to persevere.

It happened tonight on the new season of “The Biggest Loser”.  Now, I don’t condone the training techniques and ridiculous workout sessions and yelling that is done on the show but guess what?  IT’S REALITY TV!!!   Which means it’s not REAL life!  Real life is messy.  We don’t have the luxury of living amongst people who are all dealing with the same exact issues and working towards the same exact goals; along with the free and complete availability of more than one personal trainer, cooking tips, challenges and more.

For that reason, I’m moving on to my point…

In tonight’s episode (and in case you’ve ti-vo’d it and haven’t watched; spoiler alert!); one of the contestants couldn’t take Jillian’s yelling and demanding workouts (seriously; I think this would piss most people off but if you are arguing with me here; see paragraph above) and became highly emotional and refused to continue the workout.  Jillian asked her to either work out or leave the ranch.

She chose to leave.

Really?  I think I saw a look of complete and utter shock on Jillian’s face too; but no matter what…the contestant made her choice.  She wasn’t ready to make the changes; no matter how ridiculous some of the methods are.  Had this woman made the decision to push through all difficulties; her choice would have been different.

Most of the people who give up or give excuses to anything (and it doesn’t have to be about weight or workouts; any goals that are pushed aside count) at anytime; are not truly committed to their end result.  We know things are going to get hard; we know that we will struggle and fail at some points.  The secret (for lack of better word; cuz it’s not really a secret) is how strong you want to reach your goal.

If the desire is burning to your core and matters more than the pain and discomfort you feel; you will reach the goal.  If you give yourself an “out”; you WILL take it when weak.

Stop the craziness and just move forward.  Otherwise; don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Other people need the attention; who are more committed…