Should you weight train if you want lose weight?

Too many women believe that the only way to lose weight is to do tons of cardio. They decide to start jogging or take aerobic classes five or more times a week. But what tends to happen? They notice their bodies get a little smaller but there are still those “flabby” and “jiggly” areas that aren’t changing.

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Have you been there too?

Cardio is part of the solution; but not all of it! In order to achieve long lasting fitness and goals you can be proud of; you MUST work on weight training and flexibility training too. If you are afraid to lift weights heavier than 5 lbs over time, you are missing out on the best fat burning methods around!

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When you lift weights, you shouldn’t focus only on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell us what is happening WITHIN our bodies at any given time. (which can seem confusing but trust me here!) I like my clients to focus more on picture updates, measurements and clothing fit. The size of your body will shrink as you build muscle and shed fat, but sometimes that scale won’t shift as you’re used to when you’re focused on dieting and cardio only. How important is the number on the scale when you look hot and tight in your skinny jeans, anyway, right?

Here are 10 reasons you should reconsider lifting weights in order to reach your goals….

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1. You will burn more fat. When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and long after your workout ends and you continue to burn fat for several hours afterward. During your cardio exercise, however, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

2. It will change the shape of your body. I always thought that my genes were the biggest reason my body looked the way it did. It’s not completely true. With weight training, you can slim down, create new curves and help change the “I’m over a certain age and my body won’t change much more” mentality. And ladies, you will not bulk up by lifting weights! We don’t have enough muscle building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men can. If we focus on eating a clean and calorie deficit meal plan, we will burn fat.

3. It helps to boost your metabolism. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. You’ll become stronger and feel more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

5. It helps to build strong bones. It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass, and to prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight. Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

6. It helps fight depression. You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, along with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

7. Improves sports fitness. You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s cycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing…whatever sports you enjoy most.

8. It helps to reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis.

9. Helps get our hearts healthy! More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

10. Defends against diabetes. In addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Any questions?

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Are you ready for your transformation too?

Progress in fitness and weight loss isn’t always guaranteed to last and definitely isn’t guaranteed to be easy! I have struggled for most of my life to find the balance in feeling healthy, strong, fit and happy. This is a recap of my last few years of ups and downs…and finally where I can sustain without overtraining, deprivation or binge eating.

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March 2012: I reached my lowest body fat percentage ever and was super lean (and always hungry!) lol It was all about extreme work and no balance. I worked out over 2 hours every day, did fasted cardio in the early morning hours and stuck to a strict diet plan. Restrictions and hard work were what fueled me to reach the goals of taking on the stage (my biggest challenge to date)..that was my motto. I took home 2 trophies; one for 2nd place in my division and the other for 3rd place in the overall division. I was proud but I was also suffering both mentally and physically.
October 2012: After my competition passed, I couldn’t help myself to choose the foods that I had been deprived of for the past six months. I was extremely exhausted and had no desire to continue on my journey to exercise and eating right. My weight started to skyrocket and I found myself unfamiliar with the stages that my body took on. I was not able to control my weight gains, I was tired all of the time, I felt myself slipping into depression and hopelessness. Not a good feeling for someone who has been in love with fitness and health for over 2o years. I found that I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and couldn’t find the motivation to move forward. There was absolutely no balance in my life at this point. We were moving and resettling in a new area and the lack of schedule made it that much more difficult. I wondered if I’d ever get back to where I wanted to be…or at least to the point I was before my competition. I pretty much worked out when I wanted to and ate what I wanted to. My body and mind were suffering from my previous competition training and extreme dieting. I gained over 25 lbs and felt completely hopeless. My body stopped responding and I was miserable.


June 2016: Being an obsessive personality has left me with little choices in finding balance but when I hit rock bottom, I realized there had to be a better way. I could not – and I would not – allow myself to continue feeling this way. This summer, I finally found balance, and stopped suffering for my results. The past few years have been a roller coaster of struggles, diet plans, competitions, and feeling like a fraud to my clients. I never stopped eating clean foods and I never stopped working out…but I damaged my body and my metabolism by taking on too much and punishing myself in many ways. Commitment is not easy and finding balance to live a healthier and happier life is key to long term results. Extreme results are not healthy and def not worth the pain and suffering I went through. I now workout anywhere from 30-60 minutes a day…TOPS! No more and no less. I take at least 1 full rest day every week. I eat to fuel my body, not my mind and not my emotions. This is the rest of my life…and not just a walk across the stage. I want to feel powerful, healthy, strong, capable, athletic, and above all else: HAPPY. I actually feel the best that I’ve felt in YEARS. I hit rock bottom and became tired of feeling tired and always pushing for more.


I am committed to helping women like me feel this way and learn what it takes to eat, workout and live a happy life that doesn’t feel like punishment. If this post encourages or touches you, let’s chat about getting you started on your own journey with my help. I am restarting my one-on-one online training and invite you to join me. You can fill out the form below or send me an email and I’ll forward you all the information to check out. It’s never too late and you’re capable of more than you know! Deprivation and overtraining is not the way. You can be healthy, happy and fit for life! 

Depression Hurts – Foods that can heal

Have you ever felt down in the dumps? I’m not just talking about getting sad about something in general and then being able to move along with a simple smile and mindset shift.

 

I’m talking about downright feeling depressed. Heaviness. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Sadness…these are some of the feelings that may come.

Getting help is key but there’s also much to be said about the foods we eat that have long term effects on our moods and overall well being. These are what has been helping me offset the sad moods more often and even when they hit; they are much shorter lived than in the past. What have you got to lose besides feeling unhappy more than you need to? I’ve even been able to completely get off of my medications that I needed for a time but it takes consistency to daily habits so don’t go thinking you will feel happy as a clam after one healthy day, got it? 🙂

As I’m sure you’ve done in the past (or even presently), I see many people reach for unhealthy food choices when they have a bad day. Think deep fried foods, fast foods and anything with an overload of sugar and chocolate. These are commonly thought of as “comfort” foods but they are actually making matters worse in the long run. These food choices make us feel tired and sleepy, they raise our blood sugars – only to come crashing down soon after. They leave us feeling bloated, agitated, sick to our tummies…not to mention still hungry and wanting more. Do you know??

Wouldn’t you rather have foods that are both delicious and good for you while helping to boost your moods at the same time? I know I would! (oh, wait, I actually DO!).  The first step is to realize that we should start to change the response of reaching for foods as comfort when dealing with a bad day. This only creates an emotional eating pattern; and one I fought years with. The tips I’m sharing here have helped me overcome the patterns and led to a happier mood more often than not.

Here are some food sources to start adding in today, and why:

1. Walnuts and flaxseed

I know, “walnuts”? Right? I mean you hear that peanut butter is so yummy and popular and then there are so much to be said about almonds, which are good sources of healthy fat and some protein but let’s talk a bit about why walnuts and flax is going to be a game changer. Simply put, these contain Omega 3 fats and these not only help with cognitive function (aka: knowledge, memory, reasoning, attention, language, etc) but also help to improve our moods. (happy time more often!) Why? Because Omega 3s alter our brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, which is linked to our moods. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression and anxiety (bing bing bing!) so it’s pretty easy to understand why this is critical.
2. Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables 

Do you remember your mom shooting vitamin C shots into your veins when you were a kid? (oh wait, that was me and I’m slightly exxagerating but it felt like it!). We know it’s good for our immunity but did you also know it’s great for our moods too? Those who are low in vitamin C can feel fatigued and depressed because of it. Some of your best sources come from fruits and veggies such as; oranges, strawberries, kiwi, papaya, berries, dark leafy greens, broccoli and bell peppers…so eat up those colors!

3. Swiss Chard

Ewwww!! Right? Wrong! Let’s talk about why this makes the list…this is a dark leafy green that is high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the biochemical reactions (the transformation of one molecule into another molecule within a cell) in the brain that help to give your energy levels a nice boost. If your life is filled with stress, then you need magnesium rich foods. Swiss chard is on the list…so go get some! 🙂

4. Bananas

One banana, two banana, three banana, four (not sure why this popped into my brain but it had to be said..) Bananas are filled with potassium, we know, right? But did you also know it’s another magnesium rich food and super healthy to add to your daily diet? They also contain tryptophan (an important amino acid that converts into a mood lifting hormone serotonin. #winning) and are great as a quick pre-workout snack, when mixed with a tablespoon of natural almond butter. YUM!

5. Raw cacao

So you know how chocolate helps raise our moods, right? (and is most likely the best “excuse” we come up with when we get the craving!) The reason it helps boost our moods is because it contains “cacao” (which is NOT cocoa, misspelled!). Cacao contains, anandamide, and this helps to give you a feeling of euphoria. (who needs another reason!) It also contains phenylethylamine which boosts our moods too..2 for 1! The problem with chocolatey options are that they are usually high in sugars too, and the crash and burn feeling that follows can create more problems in the long run. Modification is always key. So instead of going for a chocolate bar or processed snack, get cacao in the purest, raw from and add to your food that way. You can create some fun protein balls, fudge brownies and even put it into your oatmeal to make life more chocolatey and happy too!

6. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are not only high in omega 3 fats (we already went over the benefits of these) but they also contain high levels of vitamin C too (we went over this too)…now you can get both benefits with one option! I love making a chia seed pudding. Just add chia seeds to some unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk if you prefer), add some fruit of your choice and refrigerate until the seeds swell and absorb the liquid. OMG! It’s so good and so good for you!

7. Shakeology 

If you follow my blog then you know I never skip a day of getting in my daily dose of Shakeology.

Shakeology is packed with supernutrients. Now we know you are probably like, “say whaaaaat, what’s a supernutrient?” Well, you’re not alone. Here’s some info that helps all the above information get taken care of in one spot…and then some!

Supernutrients are powerful nutritional components within superfoods that provide vital health benefits. Basically, they are the parts of superfoods that actually cause the foods to be “super.” For example, a bilberry is a superfood. One of the components of bilberries (which are an ingredient of Shakeology) that make them “super” is anthocyanins, which help support eye health. Therefore, anthocyanins are one of bilberry’s supernutrients. Got it? Great! Shakeology has a smorgasbord of supernutrients in its ingredients, which is why you really do get your daily dose of dense nutrition with each delicious glass.

Supernutrient: AMINO ACIDS

What it does: Are the building blocks of proteins which help build and maintain muscle health

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Whey, Pea, Chia, Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Sacha Inchi; Vegan Protein blend also includes Oat and Rice Proteins


Supernutrient: PUNICALAGIN

What it does: May help benefit the heart and the health of blood vessels

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Pomegranate


Supernutrient: FLAVONOIDS

What it does: Protects the body form oxidative stress

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this:  Spinach and Kale


Supernutrient: SAPONINS

What it does: May help promote nutrient absorption

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Ginkgo, Tulsi [Holy Basil]


Supernutrient: TANNINS

What it does: May help support cardiovascular health

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Blueberries, Bilberries, Yacon, Pomegranate

These are only SOME of the supernutrients in Shakeology that you consume every time you blend up a yummy shake. Not only is Shakeology a treat to your taste buds, but it is also a great way to treat your body to the nutrition it deserves. Are you heading to the kitchen right now to make a shake? Good choice! 😉

So, there you have it. How to offset your sad moods, how to uplift those happy moods and how to keep them going long term. If you think about it, we ARE what we eat (and drink), so make sure you are adding in the best nutrition possible and eliminating unnecessary calories and fatty foods that do nothing good for us except feel bloated, fat and lethargic. (think: cookies, donuts, fast foods, high calorie drinks and commercialized smoothies)

Need some help? Join our nutrition based challenge that can help you both look and feel your best with some great support.

 

Love is all we need

Today was a rest day.

Sleeping in was glorious and then it was just a busy day. Hustle and bustle and all that. Nothing that was overwhelming or upsetting in any way but it was just

A. LOT.

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Do you know what I mean? Like, somedays, I have so much awesome energy and I get so much done. and then there are days when I have less energy and still push myself to do my best and then make sure to do something nice for myself so that I could feel accomplished. Then there are these kind of days.

The kind of days that are seemingly like the rest. Nothing to write home about and nothing to complain about either. But there is so much that is needing to be done; so much that has already been done and then the feeling of just wanting it all to

STOP! 

These are the kind of days that I just want to crawl back into bed and throw the covers over my head. Now, I know I’ve dealt with my share of anxiety and mild depression. This is just a residual sidenote from my hormones, mood swings and high energy and low energy shifts. I used to really get myself down at these times. I’d cry, I’d vent, I’d eat to numb the pain and feel almost inconsolable at times. I used to wonder “what’s the use?” I do all that I do and then I hit this “wall” and everything feels useless and pointless. I feel sad beyond belief (and for no real reason) and I also feel guilty for feeling this way when there is obviously nothing wrong.

I am being totally honest with you. This is how many of us feel but we don’t share because we are embarrassed or feel stupid about it. But it happens and it’s right there for us to feel and work on how to best deal with. I notice that I don’t suffer from these nearly as much as I used to so whatever I’m doing is clearly working, long term. They do pop up maybe 1-2 times a year at the most and that is so much better than the past.

Here’s how I dealt with it today:

I didn’t work out (because I listen to my own advice and rest) but the exercise may have lifted my mood a bit.

I followed my meals as much as I could. I was not 100% accurate but today, it’s better than damaging myself in any other way. It’s def not about “perfectionism” when mood swings come on.

I spent the day with my family when I clearly wanted to be left alone. We went to the mall and I put on a smile and just enjoyed their energy and spirits. It helps to take the focus off of me at these times and focus my attention on others.

We all enjoyed a chocolate and almond covered apple together and it was decadent! I’m sure in the past, I would have sulked at home all day in my sweats and gorged on whatever I could find in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Nothing is off limits in these moods. So today, the one apple shared with 4 others was definitely a success and I really did enjoy each bite! My hubby even saved the last piece for me and made quite a big deal about it. (I didn’t even mention how I was feeling with him so I think it’s amazing how he just feels me)

I came home and threw on my pajamas and decided to just curl up on the couch and watch t.v. with my daughter but first…I must blog. Blogging is really starting to help me “talk” out my thoughts, feelings and emotions and stay accountable to what I really and truly want to do. Not just in the moment; but for what I want to accomplish long term.

I’m starting to feel better now that I’m letting it go out into the blogging universe and if you have ever suffered, or if you still do, know that you are not alone. You are amazing and special and deserve to feel the emotions and find the best ways for you to let them ride themselves out.

That is the key. They don’t last very long. They are unbearable at times but fighting them only makes things worse. It can be brought on by stress, being overly busy, hormones and a mixture of these issues. What I will treasure most from this day is, after I put my pj’s on, my husband asked how I was doing.

Why would he ask me this? I wasn’t walking around under a dark cloud and from what I could tell, I was acting as “normally” as I could possibly muster up. When he asked me this, I replied honestly, “just feeling a bit let down today.”

And you know what he did?

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He took me into his arms and just held me. It was so awesome to just feel truly appreciated and loved. There are people who truly appreciate and love us all. Let go of those who don’t and hold on tight to those who do.

 

Panic Disorder: You are NOT alone!

Okay, WARNING!! I’m going to be completely transparent and it really makes me feel a little nervous but if I could help just ONE person get the help needed today, that is well worth the nervousness!!

So, backing up, I know that I’ve shared before that I suffer from panic disorder and I just touched on the surface of it. It started when I was 19 years old and I’m not completely sure of the reason that started it, but I had just gone through a major emotional time of my life with an engagement and awful break-up with some deep rooted reasons that shook my world.

I was a wreck. I felt alone most of the time, even though I was surrounded by family and friends. It was a time that taught me what it feels like to be crushed and needing to rebuild on faith alone.

 

So, that is when my panic disorder began, to the best of my knowledge.

I recall the first time it hit, I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep…and then all of a sudden, I could NOT breathe. I could not catch my next breath. It was like with every inhale, I would will to “catch up” to my next breath…

But. I. Just. Could. Not.

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It was the worst feeling I had ever known. I KNEW that if I couldn’t catch my breath, I would die. And the feelings only increased as my panic began to rise. I ran to my mom who tried to talk me down; as I paced around the room, working feverishly to catch my breath and just calm down.

I don’t remember how long that first panic lasted but it felt like an eternity.

And it didn’t end there. It would hit at random, some nights I was able to relax and fall asleep peacefully. Some nights, I would be awakened to the awful feeling of no breath. The cycle was tortuous and at that time there were few resources to turn to. I was alone, nobody could understand the enormity of the feeling as it crushed down onto my chest…and paralyzed me from anything else.

I would recite to myself during the day, that it was only episodes and these episodes would pass. I heard from doctors that I wouldn’t die from this. I remember being furious at the non-caring comment made by one doctor whom my mom took me to see. He diagnosed me with MVP. That is a heart murmur issue and he put me on heart medication.

I knew that this was not the cause of my episodes but when my mom explained to him what I would do and say in the midst of these panics, he just blatantly said, “She WON’T die. She just has to relax”…

As with any issues we face, life goes on and we have to deal with the ups and downs whether we like it or not. I did that and kept my panic hidden as best as I could. After I had my first two children, I went through another enormous roller coaster of emotions and thought I could never recover from it. It was at this time the panics came back with a vengeance.

Tortuous. Severe. Debilitating. My husband had no idea what was happening and in his lack of knowledge, made me feel it was “all in my head”. That, in and of itself, was devastating. I know now that he didn’t understand how awful that felt to me but at the time it was like I was on island all alone with nobody to turn to.

After my third child was born, I formed almost an “abnormal” attachment to him and would just sit and hold him and feel “safe”. I remember anytime I would leave the house and if panic would strike, I would focus on his face in my mind and breathe until I calmed down.

This was the first sign that I ever experienced that “maybe” just “maybe” I had a fighting chance of getting past this. I had no idea how it would be possible, because by now, I had almost come to the conclusion that there was some “ticking time bomb” always waiting to go “off” in my body at any given time and I just had to deal with it all. I had tried many different ways to handle it. Lucinda Bassett (is that her name?) created a cassette tape program with workbooks which I ordered from the radio advertisement that I heard it over. This helped me for a time but never for good. I figured that I was the exception to the rule that it would ever be “over”. But knowing that there was finally a “title” for the disorder was a weight lifted off of my shoulders, after almost 20 years!

In all stories that I’ve heard and all the studies I have researched regarding this issue, there is never ONE way to overcome this problem and the resolution for each person varies. Some can learn breathing techniques to help them overcome the panicky feelings, that didn’t work so well for me. Some have help in medications and therapy. I had one therapy session and the doctor was a bit surprised I had never spoken to anyone years earlier and put me on a low dosage medication to allow me to sleep and control the issues. But even taking the medicine caused me to panic. I found that just splitting the dosage in half and taking as needed has allowed me to overcome the chest clutching breathing issues and sleep without being torn out of my restful slumber to the gripping feeling of being held underwater.

I know to some, this sounds incredibly simple to overcome. I remember feeling embarrassed to talk about it to anyone, which only makes it worse, in my opinion. I hope that opening up and just letting this out can help someone who is feeling alone and crippled by this problem. Seek out someone to help you; whether it is a trusted and caring family member, doctor or therapist. Get the help that makes YOU feel at ease; and not what anyone else tells you is the “answer”. You will know. And if all else fails, you are not alone. There are many out there who share this problem and have never talked openly about it so it could easily be hidden in people you already know and love and are close to.

I am tired of being held hostage to feeling like we have to be “normal” and never speak openly about any issues that we may have. It’s time to just be ourselves and I know it will only allow more people to open up and share their own issues…which is step 1 to a solution in any shape or form.

God Bless you and you are not alone.